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The Zookeepers Road Stories - 1998

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Mon, 11/9/98
back at work in L.A.

What a weekend. More driving. Less sleeping. Ought to be our motto. "The Zookeepers - more driving, less sleeping."

Friday night was a return to an old familiar venue, Cantina del Cabo in Davis, CA. It had been 8 months since we last played Davis, and it was good to be back. The show was highlighted by a drunk stripper girl who danced on the bar while the bartenders attempted to get her down. She must have been a professional stripper; she was too confident with her moves to be a random girl goofing around. Sadly, she did no stripping for us, just dancing. Still it was memorable.

Better than the stripping girl was our reunion with Davis friends. Albie has a very close buddy that he went to school with in L.A. Dale Titus is his name. He's a bass player, too, and he sat in with us for the first time. Fun to play with him. In fact, Dale, if you're listening, I'm sure we can get rid of Albie if you're looking for a gig. (No need to punch me Alb, I'm just kidding.)

We also reunited with Davis buddies Thomas and Todd. We've gone back to these guys' room a couple of times in the past, and we played a party at their fraternity a couple year's back. We sat around Thomas' room, had a beer and played songs. Sort of a folkie jam with 3 guitars, 2 of which were almost in tune. The next thing we knew it was well after 4 a.m., and we had to hit the road to get back to my mom's.

Saturday hosted the most anxiety-riddled portion of our trip. Two hours outside of Monterey, we broke down at a Taco Bell. One of our belts froze. God-awful noise that makes. We called AAA to get towed. Then I ran down the street to an Exxon that had service bays. The guy there told me he could look at it, but probably not fix it because he was closing in 45 minutes (it was 4:45 p.m. on a Saturday). He said nobody would be open around there after 5 p.m.

So I started calling rental companies, thinking if we could rent a van to get to the show, we could come back tomorrow to pick up Obie van. "Save the gig!," was the primary focus. I must have called 10 companies. Nobody open after 5 p.m. Finally we found a U-Haul place that had a truck.

But as I did the math in my head, I realized we didn't have a chance in hell to get the van to a shop, rent a truck, transfer equipment from van to truck, drive the remaining 2 hours to Monterey, load in and then start somewhere near 9 p.m. So are we just going to stay in Fremont, CA, for the night, soak up the loss and hope we can get home tomorrow?

The AAA guy arrived while I was on the phone with friend Matt in Santa Cruz. We were discussing the feasibility of borrowing his Toyota truck to get to the show. Since we have AAA Gold, we tossed around the idea of towing the van to the gig in Monterey (75 miles). Or maybe to Santa Cruz, then borrow a truck. But then how would we get Obie fixed?

While I was still on the phone, I heard the AAA guy say to Albie, "That's not your water pump. That's your smog pump." He was referring to the malfuncioning belt, and bells starting going off in our heads immediately. Obie van had been making a noise since early summer. Back in September, an oil change guy told us it was the smog pump making the noise. He said that when the pump dies, you can just cut the belt.

So when I heard the AAA guy, I yelled over, "Can't we just cut that off?" I think Albie said the same thing within a millisecond. We knew we were in good shape when the AAA guy gave us a classic "you didn't hear it from me" response. We cut the belt, fired up the van, and 45 minutes of absolute stress disappeared. We were on our way, and weren't even running very late.

The show at Blue Fin Billiards was rather uneventful. It's one of those venues where the audience is not sure what to do with us. They seem to like us all right, but mostly are socializing and playing pool. So audience response is sparse much of the time. Which can make it difficult to keep your energy up for 4 hours. But after the show, the staff was really nice. They bought a bunch of CDs and shirts, and we gave them a few, too. If I worked in a club and had to listen to 4 hours of Zookeepers, I don't think I'd be looking for a CD. It's quite a compliment.

After loading out of Blue Fin, we hit the road for L.A., departing Monterey at 2 a.m. Robert took the helm and didn't let it go until we got to Albie's house 5 hours later. What a stud! Robert pulled an all-nighter drive by himself. Well, with a little help from me. I didn't sleep either. Kept Robert awake by talking. We talked continuously from Buellton to L.A., starting with "finding the angle" to listening to the Peter Case CD "Six-Pack." What was the angle? Mockery. Pure, simple mockery. The CD sucked until we began mocking it. Then we enjoyed it.

By the time we pulled into L.A. we were thoroughly delirious. We had spent over an hour on the subject of sex. Not just sex, per se, but a very particular scenario in which the man has gotten carried away. Then afterwards, he says to his lover, "Oh, gosh. Sorry about that. Are you okay. I don't know what got into me." This is a rather harmless and humorless scenario, but not for long. We ended up with things like, "Honey, were you saying, 'Yyeeessss!' or 'Oouuuchhh!'? I couldn't quite make out what you were saying."

We must have substituted hundreds of phrases into the "did you say ____ or ____" template. For example:
"Did you say, 'God I love that,' or 'Get your **** out of my ***!'?"
Or even better when they're not even close, like:
"Did you say 'Yyyyeeesssss!' or 'Oh my god, your killing my ***!'?"
"Did you say, 'I'm so horny' or 'I'm gonna kill you if you ever get off me.'?"
"I'm sorry honey, I couldn't quite make out what you were saying with the pillow over your head like that."

We arrived in L.A. laughing hysterically at 7:30 a.m. and went to bed. I woke up around 4 p.m. A good night's sleep in the middle of the day. I was back in bed by midnight and up for work this morning. My clock is f***ed. Did you say, "My clock is f***ked" or "My ass is on fire!"?

Tue, 10/20/98, 9 a.m.
back at work in L.A.

Vegas, baby! We had a whirlwind Vegas weekend. Actually, it was just a one-nighter. I guess one of the benefits of living in L.A. is the proximity of Vegas, only a 4 drive when traffic behaves. That's a long way to go for just one show, but this is Vegas, baby! Bet, bet, BET, BET, BET, BET, BET!!!

Albie and I drove up together Saturday afternoon. Our new drummer, Robert, had already driven up late-night Friday. Robert had disclosed to us how much he enjoys gambling. While on the road in Oregon this fall, any time we'd see a poker machine in a bar, Robert would start barking, "Bet, bet, BET, BET, BET, BET, BET!!!" It's become a recurring band chant.

So when we got a last minute chance to play a one-nighter in Vegas, we jumped on it. When I called the guys with the booking, the conversation went something like this:
PV: "Hey guys, I just got a call for a one-nighter in Vegas. Sort of a long way to go for one show, but do you want to do it?"
Albie & Robert: "Bet, bet, BET, BET, BET, BET, BET!!!"

Well, by the time Albie and I got there early Saturday evening, Robert was lying down in the hotel room sulking. He looked like hell. Apparently, he'd driven through the night Friday, hardly slept, then spent most of Saturday gambling. Let's just say he wasn't his freshest going into the show Saturday night, where we were playing 4 sets from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

We were curious about the venue, which was in a place called Gameworks. Gameworks is a giant high-falutin' arcade. Not exactly a dream gig, but it turned out we were playing in the restaurant/bar area which was a pretty cool area. We were relatively well received, most notably by a group of guys from Ventura who were doing tequila shots right in front of us.

The debate all evening was whether or not we'd stay up and gamble after the gig. The consensus was "probably," and predictably, we somehow found extra energy after playing for 4 hours and then loading out of Gameworks. By the time we got back to our room at the Sahara it was pushing 4 a.m., but we headed down to the tables nonetheless.

Albie and Robert really love to gamble, but I must admit, it feels more like throwing money away to me. So my motis operandi is to get as much value for my money as possible. This, of course, translates into free drinks and obnoxious behavior - now that's value!

Albie and I settled at a $1 blackjack table (we are high rollers) and slowly bet $1 at a time while we tried to flag down our cocktail waitress. Unfortunately, we had planted our asses in the section of the world's oldest and slowest, and arguably stupidest, cocktail waitress. She actually didn't look bad for an old lady in a mini-skirt (and if you've ever been to Vegas you know exactly what I mean). But I digress! Back to the morning's activities...

Albie and I had discussed drink selection before we even got to the table. We concluded that Long Island Iced Teas would give us maximum bang per fluid ounce. So when our aged waitress eventually came by, we ordered one each. It wasn't long before we were involved in the classic Vegas trio - gambling, smoking and drinking. Rusty from Minnesota was dealing us really bad hands, but doing quite well for the house. So we stuck to $1 bets and sucked down our drinks.

Apparently we sucked down our drinks way too fast. We didn't realize our waitress was on a 45 minute rotation. Finally she returned and we ordered 2 more L.I. Iced Teas. We grabbed them hungrily when she finally came back, but surprise! Regular iced tea. Now, the last thing I wanted at 4:30 in the morning was caffeine. I laughed and told Rusty that that was just too much for me. I only had $3 left anyway.

I took my last 3 chips down a few tables where I had noticed a much younger, and theoretically quicker cocktail waitress. The dealer was a Chinese woman, who was very sweet to the Chinese guy at the table, and pretty much insulted everyone else. When it was my turn to take a hit or hold, she totally ignored me as she spoke Mandarin to her friend and I hand-signaled to hold. Then she finally looked at me and I shook my head, at which time she lectured me on the proper use of hand signals. When Albie joined the table, he got the exact same treatment.

Somewhere along the way, our old waitress had found us and delivered real Long Island Iced Teas. I guess Rusty had told her about her mistake. By the time I got the drink, I no longer wanted it, which, of course, did not stop me from drinking it.

Before long a relief dealer came in for the Chinese woman, and it occured to me that this was a good time to collect my things and be gone. I counted up my chips and had exactly 20, plus a 50 cent piece I got when I hit blackjack (pays 1, in case you didn't know). So I was 50 cents ahead. Plus 2 drinks. Now that's a value.

It was after five when I hit the sack. Robert was already there, and Albie came in within minutes. I was the only winner, and between the two of them (mostly Robert) they had lost about 1,000 as much as I had won. I'm going to use my lucky 50 cent piece to flip for beds when we're on the road.

Sunday was a pretty uninspiring day. We got up after noon, meandered down to the Sahara buffet, which was the worst casino buffet I've ever encountered. The frozen pizza was the best thing there. Albie and I hit the road mid-afternoon, leaving Robert to blow some more money. As far as I know, he might still be in Vegas.

Bet, bet, BET, BET, BET, BET, BET!!!

Funny Letter From a Band That Wants to Open for Us
August 18, 1998

Hello! :-)

It would plesure us greatly to suplicate our talent to your cause. We are an experimental pop band and think our music would be a nice opening act at your next gig. We change our name and our style of music every few days to keep up with trends in order to be as marketable as possible. We were grunge, then brit-techno for a while, then ska. This band has been designed with the aim of dragging the realm of pop music into the realm of experimental music. This band has been designed to cause people to apriciate originality in music. This band has been designed for the less pretentious reason of getting the band members sex. 85% of our gigs come from placing classified ads in porno magazines, the rest come from the internet. We have currently had no gigs as yet.

Show description: We are currently on our "lose the virginity of the lead singer" tour. The show includes visuals from "The Story of O" mixed in with "Monty Pythons flying circus" and our own movies. The whole point is to get people sexually aroused so that they are willing to repsond to our message of: "which one of you lucky ladies will sacrifce your viginity to the mighty man known as (the lead singer) as he too sacrifices his virginty?!" Our show is bet which feter than was a gochoking to death on a small spunge animal in a gell capsul (a refrence to how a singer in our band witnesed the death of a 3 year old child when he swallowd the pill of a sponge dinosaur and the pill expanded in his throat and he choked to death). We have 3 drummers, 3 guitarists, 3 singers, 3 keyboard players, 3 players of ethnic instruments. We have a garuntee that it will be the most entertaining show you have ever seen. It will be the craziest show you have ever seen. We will make greater fools out of ourselves then you have ever seen. It takes us an average of three hours for us to come up with a setlist for our shows because we have more songs than the clouds have rain (300 recorded, 100 erased during a mental crisis of the lead singer, who commited suicide). In the end most of our show is improvised, although you cannot tell because all the musicians have been playing for at least 10 years. We promise to be very bad thus making your band much better by comparison.

Music description: The music is tottaly and utterly up to the needs of the particular mission we are in at the time. Therefore, while maintaining an experimental sound design, it is extremely catchy, although annoying and loud. Influences: Throbbing Gritle Psychic TV Coil Scorn Pigface Einzturzende Neubauten Chopin Wycleff Jean Busta Rhymes

One time we covered the theme song to the beverly hillbillies and our moms told us to stop or we were grounded.

We will give you a free cd of our music.

Our Ambition:
We plan to start as an independant band, become famous and be accused of selling out, make the statement to the press "you think we are selling out? we will show you selling out!", then we will get our guitars sponsered by Coke and they will be red and we will have the pepsi sign on our bass drum.

We come from a poor family of spanish and portuguess field workers.

Thank you for your time.


member of a band called (choose your title):
Piss Hole #8
The Incarnations of Immortality
Cory's Slug and Snail Bait
The Greatest Band that Ever Died
Land of water
The four non women
Nirvana 2
Popcorn comes in bags
water has no nutritinal value
once I was a sperm
local cassete section
Spirit Until Feces
My Jesus I love you and want to hug you
various artists
The opening band for "The Zookeepers"

Wed, 6/24/98, 5 p.m., mileage: 105,392
I-5 approaching Eugene, OR

We've been in the van since about 9:30 this morning. Another 3 hours or so to go to get to Portland. Coming from Mom's near Sacramento. Drove to Mom's last night after work. We're doing the big L.A. to Portland drive to get to the handful of shows mostly in Oregon this weekend.

This is Doug's last trip. He's sleeping peacefully in the back right now. Albie's driving. We're listening to the Car's Greatest Hits. We're pretty much scanning over anything that wasn't on one of their first 3 records.

Obie seems to be running fine after ANOTHER transmission rebuild. Fortunately, we were still under warranty from the last rebuild (in March), so this one was free. We do have a new mystery sound. Sorta like someone put a card in the spokes of the tires. And the a/c isn't working. Lucky for us is pretty cool today, mostly overcast, so the vents are fine. Last night was pretty toasty coming through the big valley in late June. Even at night it was damn warm.

Drummer auditions have been going pretty well. We've seen a few guys who could work out. Mostly our problem is logistics. We travel so much, but still need day jobs. Who has a day job that will put up with all this travel? (My boss even had a sit-down with me the other day.) We've got more new drummers to see and some callbacks from the first round of auditions, but we won't get back to it until July 12, when I return from vacation to North Carolina.

For those keeping score, the new drummer will be drummer #8 for the Zookeepers. Starting with Mike Stinson in 1992, Scott Goldstein (1992-3), Jack Kurtz (1993), Time (1993-4), Scott Connor (1994), Chris Schoop (1995-6), Doug McCowan (1997-8)...and the new 1998 Zookeepers drummer is..... Don't know yet.

Further trivia: Chris Schoop was the longest lasting drummer, clocking in just under 2 years (Doug has lasted 18 months). Chris was also the only drummer on Set Me Free and did most tracks on Leaving L.A., except 2 tracks by Doug. Time was on most of our debut CD, with a few tracks by MIke Stinson and Jack Kurtz. Scott Goldstein has done percussion on all 3 CDs.

As long as we're keeping score, Ablie is now the longest lasting bass player, at 2 years. We started with Kevin Klein (1992), Tim Watson (1992), Steve Shandovil (1993), Inez Zamachaj (1993-5, just under 2 years), Christopher Maloney (1996), and Albie (1996-present). The only person to last longer in the band (other than me, of course) was lead guitarist Patti Ambs, who was with us from mid-1992 to the end of 1995 (almost 3 years). The band is now 6 years old (first performance was November, 1991).

It looks like the release of our 4th CD, tentatively titled The Cow Disc, will be delayed by the search for a new drummer. We had hoped to spend the summer finishing recording, but the added burden of auditioning and then practicing a new drummer will put us behind schedule. The fall season is generally too busy with travel to get much done in the studio. So the current plan is to have a new disc ready for release early in 1999.

Mon, 5/25/98, 7 p.m., mileage: 102,238
Hwy 99 approaching Sacramento

We're headed to Mom's. Been a long time since we crashed there. Usually we stay with my mom a couple times a month. But lately we've been traveling in other directions. Haven't even done a show in Northern California since early April -- almost 2 months. And have none on the books for the summer. Probably won't get back before September or October. Hopefully we'll finish a new CD over the summer.

We've had a couple of great shows in Southern California the last two weeks. A refreshing change. Usually we have very little positive to say about So. Cal. shows. But these last two were doozies.

The Saturday before last we went up near Santa Barbara to play a party that our friend Kat was throwing. We met Kat last summer when we played in Sedona, AZ. We've kept in touch ever since, but only saw him at one other show since we almost never play near his home in Santa Barbara. Well, Kat got sick of waiting and asked us to come play his party. And what an awesome party it was. Not a ton of people, maybe 30 or so. But damn nice folks, and friends of Kat's, so the fact that he liked us a lot really opened their minds to liking us, too.

We set up on a really small patio area, about 8'x8'. We only brought minimal equipment, so as not to totally disturb the neighborhood. And what a neighborhood. So dark! There is no part of L.A. that dark. I mean no streetlights. There was a little creek flowing by, and lots of cool trees. The little road was only wide enough for one car. It was really nice, especially when you're escaping the big city. The area is called Summerland (I think), and Kat's place is literally a converted caboose. Yes, a caboose makes for a very small house. But very cozy, too. Only room for the necessitites. The party was pretty much held outside.

We played pretty quietly, but everbody was dancing and grooving. The dancing was going so well, we were extending jams and making up stuff as we went along. At one point Doug was singing Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love." So I strapped my guitar onto a young coed so that she could play along. Then I climbed up on top of the caboose and danced around. Eventually someone handed my guitar up, and I played up there awhile. It was a blast. Unfortunately, it was cut a little short by the arrival of the sheriff. But not too short. It was pretty good timing actually. Kat had the chance to read an epoch love poem to end the evening on an upbeat and mellow note. It was a great night.

And so was this past Saturday. We had the good fortune to be invited back to the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach to open for the Young Dubliners. We know the Young Dubs from 4 years ago when they used to be the house band at a great club in L.A. called Fair City Pub. In fact, Keith, the Young Dubs lead guy, was part owner at the club, which was in large part the reason it was such a great place. They'd hire good bands and treat them well. They always had a good crowd because people would go there no matter who was playing -- you could trust the club to book good bands. (Most clubs in L.A. don't care if the bands are any good at all. All they care is that you'll bring 20-30 friends.)

I hadn't seen the Dubs since we played together in '94. It was great to see them again. Really nice guys, and what a great band. Well, they recorded their latest album at the Belly Up, so it's no surprise that they are very popular down there. We were slated to start at 9:30. I went around to the front around 9 because I heard there was a line. There were more people in line than are usually in attendance at one of our shows. It was pretty exciting.

As 9:30 began to roll around we discovered that we had some fans stuck in line who were worried they wouldn't get in before we started. It turned out the show was sold out. Long story short, Doug went out and was able to get them on a list, with no assurances that they'd actually make it in. Albie and I were on stage waiting for Doug to get back, and finally I had to take off my guitar and go out and get him. It was sort of sad when I got him, because we had to leave our 8 friends there in line with a quick "We really hope you can get in."

There must have been 500 people in there when we started playing. We cranked into "Jodie" and got a good response. At some point in the first couple of songs, we got a good boost of adrenalin to see that our 8 fans made it in. It is always good to have some of the devoted there to bridge the gap between band and new audience. Well, between us and our fans & friends, I'd say we really bridged that gap. By the time we ended with "Knocking," the place was totally packed (I'm told 700 is full house), with the dance floor just sardine packed - like concert packed, not dancing packed. Folks were pressed right up to the stage. As we hit the last note of "Knocking," I looked over and saw Ablie knocking out his ear plugs, and I knew exactly what he was doing. He wanted to hear the response from that crowd. And it was a great response. We really nailed it down with the last few songs, and the end of "Knocking" was quite a climax.

Then, of course, the Young Dubliners came out and rocked the house hard. What a great band.

It was definitely the biggest club crowd we've played in front of. And it was a good feeling to know we nailed it. We're really looking forward to returning to the Belly Up. It's a really great club. And we'll be kissing the Young Dubs asses as much as possible to open for them again anywhere we can. What a good time.

Wed, May 6, 1998, noon, mileage: 100,000+
at work in Los Angeles

Don't tell my boss I'm typing in this crap at work. Well, hey, it's noon. It's my lunch hour, damnit! I can do what I please!

We're back home after logging some very serious miles in April. We went to Spokane twice, returning to L.A. in between, and going through Utah and Montana on the way back up. We had some great shows, some good shows, and a couple clunkers.

The best show was probably at Whitworth College in Spokane. It was supposed to rain that Saturday afternoon, and we were supposed to play outdoors. We had gotten up at the crack of dawn to drive the 5 hours from Helena, MT, to Spokane, so that we'd arrive arround noon. Whitworth was having a Springfest with entertainment all day. Man, did God throw us all a loop that day. It was supposed to pour, but it ended up just gorgeous: sunny, warm, partly cloudy. Beeeaautiful day.

We arrived in plenty of time and tossed the football around while an improv comedy troop of Whitworth students entertained the crowd. They were really funny. I thought they were pros, but it turned out they were students. After they were done, one of them came up to me and said he was a big fan. I thought he was pulling my leg, but he said it was true and that he worked for the radio station and plays our disc alot. His name was Kevin.

Before long we were on stage playing in front of a great crowd; everybody hanging out on the grass in front of the stage. For some strange reason, I became Mr. Jabberjaw. In fact, on this whole trip, I was doing a lot more talking from stage than usual. I was like Mr. Vegas. So at some point between songs, I strike up a conversation with Kevin. We started a silly thing where I'd introduce a song something like this, "This is a tune Kevin and I wrote back when we were playing a lot of coffee houses down in L.A." And Kevin would holler out, "Oh yeah, I remember that one!" It was really funny.

When I introduced "Margaret" I said, "This one I wrote about Kevin's mom. She & I were having this affair at the time. (to kevin) I'm sorry Kevin. (to the crowd) I've never really told him...." During the song, a girl next to Kevin started dancing, and then Kevin started dancing, too. I encouraged them both to come up on stage and dance, and then it really got hilarious. I walked out in the crowd, as I'm prone to do with my wireless guitar setup. From the crowd I hollered out for Kevin to sing the next verse. Of course, he didn't know the words or anything, but he's a trooper and a comedian. So he took the mic, and acted like he was going to start singing, and then would just dance around a bit. Then he'd approach the mic again, then dance away. At one point he said, "This song really is about my mother." Everyone cracked up.

I don't know if you've ever heard Doug do his rap thing. Every now and then, if the band is just jamming to no end, Doug will start rapping. And he's really good at it. He's expert at imitations and sound effects. Sometimes he raps the Beverly Hillbillies theme. Sometimes he does the Prince song "Shaking that Ass." I don't know that the song is really called, but he says, "Sexy motherf***er, shaking that ass, shaking that ass." Well, when Kevin was dancing and avoiding singing, Doug started rapping, "Shaking that ass, shaking that ass." Oh man was it funny. Doug would say, "Shaking that ass! Shaking that ass!" and Kevin would shake his ass all over the place. Then Doug would change it up a bit and say, "Now shake it, now shake it." Kevin would wiggle his butt. And then, this is where I really lost it, Doug would say, "Now swirl, now swirl." and Kevin would change his dance, swirling around and wiggling. Then Doug would say, "Now shake it, now shake it." Change back. "Now swirl." "Now shake it." "Now Swirl." This went on for a minute or two.

I was barely able to remain standing I was laughing so hard. Man, I wish we had a recording of that. Or a video tape. Albie and I were barely able to maintain any composure at all, Doug was rapping, "Now shake it, now swirl!", and Kevin was the funniest dancing guy I've ever seen.

"Now swirl" has enterend my vocabulary. It has absolutely no meaning, but it cracks me up everytime I say it. At random as we drive down the highway, I'll say, "Now swirl! .... Now shake it!"

Tue, 4/21, 11 p.m., mileage: 98,143
I-15 nearing Vegas

We're nearing Vegas late on a Tuesday night. There are all sorts of strange noises going on in the van right now. The rear A/C is running, making a weird droning hum. Albie is playing on the PlayStation (a video game system, if you don't already know), and that's putting out some weird noises. The power supply for the TV is humming away. Doug is listening to Soundgarden on the headphones while he drives. The engine is whining to get over this last set of hills before we descend into Nevada.

We've got a long night ahead of us for driving. A quick night for sleeping. We'll arrive in Cedar City about 3:30 a.m. mountain time. Wake up around 9:30 or so to do our nooner at Southern Utah University. I've got the next driving shift - from Vegas to Cedar City. It's actually a beautiful drive. I hope the moon comes out to light up some of the scenery.

Last week we had a great trip to the Pacific Northwest. It started dubiously with yet another van breakdown. We had left L.A. after work on a Monday night, but only made it as far as the Grapevine. The Grapevine is a stretch of I-5 that winds through the mountains that separate Los Angeles from Bakersfield. We got to the top of the first big climb, about 50 miles out of L.A. Then Albie noticed a bunch of smoke in the rearview mirror. When he checked the instruments, he discovered we were almost overheating. We pulled over, and tons of steam blew out of our hood, and basically emptied the radiator right there on the shoulder.

Fortunately, we were right at a call box. AAA picked us up within the half hour, and we were on our way back to L.A., bumming out that we would miss our much anticipated (by us) first club show in Portland the next night. Pep Boys replaced our thermostat the next morning for about $100 and we were on our way, but there was no way we could get to Portland in time.

We spent the night with our good friends Ron & Lan in Klamath Falls, OR, on our way to Spokane. The drive to K. Falls was a little hairy going over the pass to get into Oregon. It was pretty late, about 10 p.m. or so, and snow was really coming down and beginning to accumulate on the highway. But we didn't have to stop and put chains on or anything, and made it through all right.

Wednesday we boogied on up from K. Falls to Spokane for our evening show at Gonzaga University in the Crosby Center, named after famed alumnus Bing Crosby. I believe the story is that Bing was expelled before graduating, but I could be wrong.

We had a really good time at the Gonzaga show. I had a wild hair up my ass and did a lot of talking. I kept announcing that we would be playing "today's favorite country hits, and yesterday's classics." I think it was my cold talking. I was about 3 days into a funky virus. After the gig, we dropped by a bar just off campus to hang a bit with a few folks. But we had to hit the hay early because we had a 7 a.m. wake up call.

Thursday, we dragged our asses out of bed at 7 a.m. and hopped in the van for a 3 hour jaunt over to Ellensburg. We had a noon-time show on the campus of Central Washington University. Pretty well received, though I get the impression a lot of people there don't know quite what to make of us. There were a few solid fans from previous shows there, like Kevin from the radio station, and familiar faces are always very welcome.

Sun, April 5, 1998, 2 p.m., mileage: 94,375
Hwy 101 nr Ukiah, CA

It's sleep deprivation weekend. Started Wednesday night near San Diego atthe Belly Up Tavern openingup for Box Set. Great venue. Great crowd. Great band. We had a great time. We'd been calling the Belly Up for years trying to get a show, and were very happy to finally get one. Then we really had a good show. Friday morning they called and asked us to come back in May and open for the Young Dubliners. Another great band. We're very excited about that. We used to play with the Young Dubs about 4 years ago in L.A. when their lead singer Keith owned a bar called Fair City Pub. We haven't played together in years. Should be a lot of fun.

After the show at the Belly Up, we had a little scare inthe van when we turned our lights on and got smoke from the dashboard. Mysteriously, when we removed the blown fuse, everything seemed to work normally, even though the fuse was missing. It turned out that the alarm unit was freaking out (I found out the next morning).

We drove back up to L.A. and went to our respective abodes. Then Thursday, we got together around noon to drive up to Santa Cruz for a dinnertime show. I had gotten up around 8 to go get the van electrical problem fixed. In Santa Cruz, I was surprised by the presence of my cousin Cliff, who was coincidentally in the Bar Area doing a class (he's from Maryland these days). We had dinner (Beacon Bacon Burgers per usual), and then our show went really well. Lots of familiar faces confirmed for us that if you stick with it long enough, you'll start seeing some results. We drove out of Santa Cruz around midnight with smiles on our faces for the good show, and frowns for the upcoming drive. We were headed the 3 hours to my mom's house near Sacramento.

Friday morning, up around 8 a.m. Happy Birthday to me! April 3. Mom fixed my requested birthday breakfast: French toast with bananas and bacon. Yummy! We dropped by the transmission shop that had rebuilt our transmission a couple weeks earlier. They wanted to check things over quickly. After a test drive, and a short look up on the rack, they sent us on our way in the pourig rain towards Eugene.

From Mom's to Eugene is about 8 or 9 hours. The rain slowed us down a bit, but let up as we got into Oregon, which is totally backwards. Usually the rain starts as we get into Oregon. We got to the club and set up before indulging in one of our favorite road meals: the Stuffed Cajun Chicken Breasts at Taylor's. Not a bad day for food on my birthday.

The show at Taylor's was raucous. The place was hopping for the time we started at about 10:30 until they were kicking folks out at 2. The place was too packed. Couldn't hardly move in there. But that's a problem we'll happily contend with. When we first started playing Taylor's 2 years ago, we had the exact opposite problem. You could move around too much!

Saturday morning we arose and had a great breakfast courtesy of our very generous hostesses Trang and Deb (happy birthday to Deb, too). Waffles, ham, sausage, birthday cake... we're not worthy! Thanks girls! We left Eugene completely stuffed and with high sugar levels, headed through one of the prettiest 6 hour drives you can find. Down the coast to Arcata, CA (right next to Eureka).

If you haven't heard of Arcata, perhaps you've heard of Humboldt County. Known as one of the premier pot growing areas of the world, Humboldt County is a magnet for potsmokers. Which makes for a very agreable audience, and hence, one of our favorite towns to play.

We pulled up to the club at about 6 pm and loaded in before heading over to one of our favorite pizza places on the road. I don't know the name of it, but ask anyone in Arcata,and they oughta know. Huge pizzas. Reaaally good. Not quite as good as the pepperoni pizza we get in Truckee (also don't know the name of that place).

After dinner we checked into the 6 down in Eureka before going back to the club. As we walked onto the stage from the backdoor at Jambalaya, we were treated to an ovation by the only 8 people who were in the bar at the time, all at a table in the back. Already hootin' and hollerin' and we weren't even playing yet. Very cool. I assumed it was some friends whom we had met over the years playing up in Arcata. But it turned out to be mostly new fans dragged down by a guy named Kevin who saw us there last September, which was the last time we were there.

The show rocked. The Arcata crowd was as lively and appreciative as ever. We saw lots of familiar faces, and had a good time playing, and also socializing between sets, though none of us (as far as I know) partook in any of that famous Humboldt weed. We were pretty zonked by 1:30 whe we stopped. I had gotten about 15 hours of sleep in the last 3 nights, and driven 25 hours, performed about 10 hours. We greeted the 6 in Eureka with open arms and heavy heads -- only to be screwed out of yet another hour of sleep by the springing forward of the clocks for daylights savings time.

Now we're headed home for a week. Just a local show on Tuesday at UC Riverside, then a break for the weekend. The following week starts our really killer traveling, with 2 different trips up to Spokane, WA, including one through Utah and Montana. Should be an adventurous April.

Sun, Mar 22, 1998, 1 p.m., mileage: ??
Hwy 50 nr Sac

Well, we finally had the big one. We've had lots of little van troubles over the years, but this weekend, we hit the mountaintop, we reached the jackpot, we blew the transmission. No problem, you say, a new transmission, maybe 800 or 1000 bucks. Um, in a word, no.

Fan clutch, that was $200. Alternator, $200. Starter, radiator, gas tank re-liner, tires, batteries, hoses, belts... It seemed every time we took the van in, we were looking at $200. That was Tupie. She was the $200 queen. It took a lot of $200's, but except for when she got her carb rebuilt and brakes done, you could can't on a $200 tally.

Now we've got Obie. A beast of a van. I mean, Obie's got the force. Obie rocks. Obie is big and bad. Strong, fast. A one ton truck of a van. Could we expect to continue the $200 legacy with Obie? In a word, no.

On the way to Davis Thursday, we noticed Obie was running a little strangely. We couldn't quite put a finger on it, but there seemed to be more vibrations. More shaking than usual. But it was subtle. Nothing to pull over about. We got to the club and did the show, and didn't think much of it. After load out, we cranked up and headed out. I was driving, and I noticed Obie was really slipping getting going. But that was pretty common in the old Tupie days. Tupie would slip a bit until she warmed up.

As we drove to my mom's house on the other side of Sacramento (about 30 miles), we noticed the vibrations were getting worse. When we got off the freeway, Obie was really slipping, and having a hard time picking which gear to be in. By the time we got to Mom's, it was pretty bad. It was about 3 a.m. at this point. We figured it was probably low on transmission fluid - another legacy of Tupie - gotta keep an eye on that transmission fluid.

In the morning we checked the fluid. Seemed like plenty, but it was black. It ain't s'posed to be black. S'pose to be pinkish. Black ain't pink. This wasn't looking good. I called around to some transmission places in Sac. Found one not far from my mom's, but Obie's condition had worsened considerably. Fortunately, the shop was mostly downhill, and I coasted through stop signs. If there had been a hill on the way, I wouldn't have made it. We dropped the van off around 11 a.m.

The call from the transmission shop wasn't the good news we were hoping for. We were hoping for, "Oh, golly gee. Your fluid was really low. We filled her up, and she runs great now." Unfortunately, the news was more like this: "The rear gasket of your transmission failed and dumped all your transmission fluid. You probably drenched the car behind you. There's lots of metal in the pan. You should come down and take a look at this."

You know it's going to be expensive when they want you to come down and see the damage. The trauma of seeing the carnage perhaps somehow prepares you for the trauma of the price tag. I saw the carnage. Actually, there wasn't much carnage to be seen, yet. I saw the metal in the drain pan. He recommended taking the transmission apart. He said it would probably need an overhaul. With that much metal, he said, it almost certainly needed at least an overhaul. But you can't tell until you get in there. Just to open, if there are no other problems, $375. If it needs an overhaul, $1300. Either way, it wouldn't be done before Monday.

My mind was quickly summing up damages. Well, we still had 3 shows to do in the next 36 hours. At least they were only a hundred miles away, not up in Washington or anything. But then, if we couldn't get the van to go back to L.A. before Monday, we'd all be missing work. I was really hoping the shop could put it back together so we could drive the crippled van a few hundred more miles, then get it fixed back in L.A. But MIke (the shop guy) was adament that the seal would fail again, and potentially a lot more damage could be done. And most likely, we wouldn't make it 100 miles, and we'd just be stuck somewhere else.

OK, time for damage control. We went back to Mom's and called around to rent a van or truck. We found a 15 passenger van for $70 a day. There's $150 just to get to the gigs the next 2 days. We picked up the rental and stopped by the transmission shop to get the update. We still didn't know if it would need an overhaul, or maybe we'd get lucky. Or maybe we'd get unlucky.

At the transmission shop, they had the whole transmission torn apart on a work bench. Here's where the whole show-them-the-carnage-before-you-mention-the-price theory came into play. All the parts were worn and burnt looking. The mechanic said "we can't use this" a lot, as he'd pick up a worn, burnt random piece. Sometimes he'd say "we'll have to replace this" just to change it up a bit. Then he'd throw in a "that's what a good one looks like," and he'd point to a shiney similar looking gadget hanging on the wall. To sum up, he added, "It looks like a grenade went off in here."

Then Mike came in to shuffle me into the office to give me the bad news. I was braced for $1300, maybe $1500 with some of those that's-what-a-good-one-looks-like's thrown in. Suffice it to say that my anus puckered when Mike showed me a breakdown that totaled $3300.

This was also excellent salesmanship. While I attempted to catch my breath, Mike showed me another breakdown, in which he had saved me $700 by "shopping around." I can't think of any way to make $2600 look better than to start at $3300.

So now it's Sunday. My mom was kind enough to lend us her car for the week. We're driving back to L.A. in a Nissan. We left all the equipment in Mom's garage. I'll drive up next weekend to pick up the van, and, uh, pay for the damages (more puckering happening now).

Next week is my birthday week, and the good news is that we got a show down at the Belly Up Tavern in Solano Beach (near San Diego) opening up for Capricorn recording artists Boxset, from San Fran. That's on April Fool's Day, and should be a great show, kicking off a really cool birthday weekend that will take us to Santa Cruz, Eugene, and Arcata. Some of our favorite places all in one weekend. I pray the transmission holds! *$@#!

Sat, Feb. 14, 1998
Santa Cruz

Well, we had a hell of a band day yesterday. Started off real rock'n'roll style -- breakfast at CostCo. Not only did we indulge in lots of appetizers (a.k.a. free samples), we also bought a $10 huge pizza. We stuffed ourselves silly on $3.50 each, then while riding the sugar high, I spent about $50 on CostCo junk. You know, that huge package of shop-wipes, 10 video cassettes, jumbo container of motor oil. Actually, I bought useful stuff: beer for our hosts. A case of Sam Adams to say thank you.

Our hosts, Matt & Nicole, were kind enough once again to allow us to crash in their space. Thanks guys! What a treat to hang out with nice folks, instead of crowding into an overpriced shitty hotel room. Then, as a bonus, they came down Friday night to Monterey, along with friends Matt & Melissa, et. co., and riled up the Monterey crowd for us. It rocks when fans from one town come to another and help us get the ball rolling. There was dancing going on that probably never would have happened without our Santa Cruz fans stirring it up. Another big thanks, and, uh, can we crash on your floor next month? I'll be calling!

Friday night's show in Monterey was further blessed with the presence of an old Zookeeper himself. Scott Connor, whom I believe was drummer #4, performed with the Zookeepers from February '94 to Feb '95. He went on our first tour with us in the fall of '94, when he quickly realized that.... well, he had a life. He and his wife Lily were in Monterey totally by coincidence, and dropped by to surprise. I hadn't seen him in years -- 3 years I guess. He's a great guy. Good to see ya Scott.

Sun, Feb. 8, 1998, 5 p.m., mileage: 88,070 (Obie Van Canobie)
I-5 south 3 hours from home

The week from hell! Can you say blizzard? Man, I've never seen so much snow in my life. I grew up on the coast of North Carolina. We'd get a few flakes now and then. But nothing like Obie Van Canobie has been driving thru this week.

We started Monday (2/2/98), Albie and I driving up from L.A. to Mammoth Lakes. Doug had left a little earlier with his girlfriend Janine. The drive up 395 was relatively uneventful, until we got to the the "chain control area." We pulled up to the place where everyone was putting on chains. It looked miserable. Cold, slushy, raining. There were chain installer guys there offering to put the chains on for $25. Albie and I pulled about half way up and stopped. As we stepped out of the van to assess whether we were gonna spend the big bucks or do it ourselves, lo and behold, guess who was right beside us, soaking wet, with a Zookeepers knit cap on. Yes, Doug was on his hands and knees, drenched, struggling to get chains on Janine's car. Albie and I looked at each other and said simultaneously, "Band Expense!" Twenty-five bucks well spent. We watched Mr. Chain Installer put the chains on, which was a valuable lesson that we were to repeat several times throughout the week. As we pulled away, poor wet Doug was still struggling with Janine's car.

We arrived at Whiskey Creek an hour later than we were supposed to. But no worries, we loaded in and had an hour to spare before dinner time. We decided to find the band house and get settled. Easier said than done in Mammoth Lakes, California, in a blizzard in February. Albie and I spent over an hour trying to get to the band house. We got stuck 3 times: were pulled out once by a friendly pickup, dug out once by a friendly passer-by with a shovel, and were able to rock it out once after reinstalling the chain that flew off. In the end, we made it as far as the driveway of the band house. But there was 2 feet of snow in the driveway, and it had taken us over an hour to get there. So we just looked at the house from the road, and turned around, only to get stuck again on the way back to the club. Obie sat in the club parking lot snowed in for a day and a half.

But blizzards don't stop the folks in Mammoth Lakes from partying. The club was packed that night. We had a damn good time, tempered only by the fact that we had driven 7 hours to get to Mammoth, and 1 1/2 hours to get to the band house and back earlier in the day. We were exhausted, and it was a long 4 hour show.

And then the adventure to get to the band house was rekindled. It took about an hour and a half to get a shovel from the club manager's house, get to the band house, and create a parking space in the drive-way for Janine's car. Also, we had to shovel a small path up the 100 foot driveway to the door through 2-4 feet of snow. Once inside, we found clean sheets in a not-too-shabby place. We crashed hard at about 4 a.m.

Tuesday was basically a non-day. The blizzard continued full force. We pretty much just sat around and napped all day. By a strange coincidence, both Doug's and my folks were in town, too. Doug's folks made a very nice dinner for us before we all headed out to the club. Again the place was packed, and we had a little more energy this time.

Wednesday, we got up a little early and hit the slopes. It was a beautiful sunshiney day. Fresh snow everywhere. A little on the windy side, but not bad. I hadn't skiied in 14 years, and never on a mountain the size of Mammoth. What an incredible mountain. The views were incredible, and the skiing was great. By the end of the day, my legs were cramping something fierce. Albie was the only one to take a big fall. We took lots of pictures but nobody got his wipe-out on film.

Strangely, Wednesday night was the slowest at the club, even though the weather was the best. Again we were exhausted, this time by the day's skiing adventures. Doug actually fell asleep while playing. A table of firemen from Lawndale sat off to Albie's side of the stage and were pretty loud and irritating most of the evening. On my side was a birthday party that was getting on my nerves, too. I think it's fair to say we were pretty irritable by 1 a.m., when we loaded out our equipment and headed to bed.

Thursday was a drive to Davis. The big question: what roads are open? Turned out the direct route up 395 to Carson City, then US 50 through Tahoe was all open. Hwy 50 was messy outside of Tahoe, but we didn't have to put the chains on. We made it to my folks house near Folsom in aobut 6 hours. Quick showers and then on to the club in Davis, where we caught the end of the Carolina/Duke game (in which Carolina whooped Duke's ass!).

The food at the Cantina was as good as ever, and bigger than we remembered. Cabo Taco! The first set of the show was pretty mellow, but the remaining 3 sets picked up nicely. Maybe it was the beer, but it seemed like a better than usual gig at the Cantina.

Friday the snow adventures continued. After some kick-ass potato soup thanks to my mom, we headed up I-80 towards our shows in Truckee. We knew chains were required from Baxter to Truckee. But we didn't realize that Baxter was some 40 miles from Truckee. Forty miles in chains (which have a 30 mph speed limit) adds some serious time to a trip. Furthering our tardiness was a series of accidents up ahead on the interstate. They stopped all traffic to clear the road, and we were the first in line. We sat behind the state tropper for an hour before they escorted us the remaining 5 miles to Truckee. We were an hour late getting on stage. Our first late gig in hundreds of shows for over 3 years of touring.

We started when the Bar of America was pretty packed at 10 pm. We had cleared the room by midnight. That's a great feeling. But it was a blizzard outside, and most of the people in the bar were participating in a "Snow-Ball" tournament (soft-ball in the snow) that started at 8 a.m. the next morning.

After the show we headed down the mountain to Reno, where we could get a Motel 6 room for only $26 as compared to the Super 8 in Truckee for $91. It was about 3:30 when we crashed. Albie and I both took a Tylenol PM, and I didn't wake up until after noon, when the front desk was calling to ask if we were leaving or not.

I know if I ever go back to Reno or Vegas I'll do the same thing, but while I'm doing it I can't help but wonder why I'm doing it. It seems like such destructive behavior. I'm not talking about gambling. I'm talking about buffets. I just can't resist that $6.99 all you can eat prime rib buffet. We had lunch at the El Dorado $6.99 buffet. Actually breakfast and lunch. And lunch again, and dessert. And a few cookies and a banana for the road. We stuffed ourselves before heading into the arcade to work off some of the calories. Doug and I played 4 games of air hockey, and our shoulders are killing us this morning. I kicked some pinball butt on the Johnny Nmuematic machine. Won 4 games in a row.

Then we went downstairs to the casino and dropped $25 bucks each into the slots.


Saturday night's show was a good one, albeit a long one. It was almost distinguished as our longest show ever. We started at 8 p.m. instead of 9 to make up for our tardiness the night before. We were scheduled to go until 1:30 a.m., but were allowed to stop at 12:30. It was a serious blizzard outside. Six inches had fallen on Obie Van easily. The rumor was that I-80 was closed due to jack-knifed trucks, but we decided to make a go of it anyway. The general consensus was that we were idiots, and I thought we might be idiots too when we started up the very poorly plowed onramp. Albie and I were having visions of Monday when we couldn't get to the band house. The onramp looked as bad as Joaquin, the street the band house was on. But we made it to the top of the ramp, and the freeway was very well plowed.

We went very slowly over Donner summit. We joked about getting stuck and eating each other. But in reality, all we ate were the cold hamburgers we had bought at MacDonald's for the very purpose, and also about 2000 calories each in candy bars and Rolos. We took the chains off in Baxter, and I had a good joke backing the van up and turning the lights on while the boys took leaks. Damn, I wish I'd had the camera for that one!

We were back at my mom's at about 4 a.m. Up just before noon today, and home sometime in the next couple hours - maybe 7 p.m. We did 6 shows in 6 days, went through 3 blizzards (Mammoth, Tahoe, Truckee). We're pooped!

Sun, Jan.18, 1998, mileage: 85,488 (Obie Van Canobie)
I-5 south 3hours from home

The holidays are over and so it goes that we of course are back at it. We on our way home from K-falls OR. This is our second trip this year and 7 gigs already. Last week we did a show at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo Then 2 count em 2 exciting shows in Morro Bay last Fri. and Sat. nights. Actually the show Friday night was not bad except for the fact that I flu, but the show must go on and it did for hours and hours and hours and hours ..........Nyquil to the rescue. Man does that stuff work for me. Believe it or not that was the highlight of that trip, but that's another story. So this weekend was annual trek to Oregon after a stop in Davis CA.. As always great shows in Eugene and K-falls. 

The word around the van is poptops and trailers. I think we are getting older or we really don't like each other anymore but the "living space," in the van just ain't big enough for the 3 of us. (maybe it's just holiday poundage) . Anyway, debates press on how to get more room in the "Obster" ( yup gonna get it for callin the van that) I say sell the van and by a bus that has: tv, vcr, video games, a wet bar, micro wave, refrig, and a spot on the top to hit golf balls when we are in parking lots. I know shut up and play bass Alb.

Sun, Jan. 18, 1998, 5:00 pm, mileage: 85,443 (Obie Van Canobie)
I-5, 45 miles north of Santa Nella, headed home

Hello '98. A new year. A new lease on life. We had a big "band meeting" type of talk on the drive up to Davis last Thursday. The start of a driving marathon weekend. Davis Thursday, Eugene Friday, Klamath Falls Saturday, home to LA on Sunday. We did 103 shows in '97. Drove xxxx miles. Starting a new year, you can't help but assess your situation.

So we had our meeting and figured out .... well, didn't really figure out anything. I think we concluded that we're doing the right thing. Stay the course. We'd like to do some more recording. Perhaps we'll take the summer off from touring, and just do the day job and recording thing. It sure is hard to put together an album working around a day job. But what else are you going to do, just the day job?

We're also recording a lot of the live shows with an 8-track ADAT. Hopefully we'll get some good stuff out of that, too. It's looking like the spring will be our busiest ever. We might even branch out to some new states like Montana and Wyoming.

But that's all ahead of us, and we just put a weekend behing us that deserves some recounting. The weekend started dubiously at the Cantina in Davis. What a crowd! The place was packed, probably 300+ college students whooping it up. We were a little frustrated because the club makes us play so quietly that we are basically background music. A dozen folks came up during our first set break and told us to turn it up. But we had already been told by management to turn down.

By the end of the night, a bunch of folks were dancing, and we were having a pretty good time. But it really is tough to play for 4 hours after having driven 6. Plus we were all too aware that we had to get up pretty early to drive the 8 hours up to Eugene on Friday. So the Davis show was pretty fun, but a little tainted.

Friday in Eugene was all fun and no taint. The drive was as easy for me as 8 hours can be. I got a one hour nap in there, which helped. We arrived in Eugene to find dinner waiting for us at the apartment of our friends Debbie and Trang. After some good grubbing and a little hanging out, we hit the club to set up. It was a little more complicated than usual because a band from Portland whom I had met over the internet was opening for us. They're called Land of the Blind, and if your in to sort of hypnotic, chanty groovy rhythms, you'll probably really dig 'em. Their website is at:

By the time Land of the Blind finished their set, Taylor's was starting to hop. It's great to have an opening band at Taylor's. The bar fills up, and we're able to hit the stage running. It kills your momentum to start playing when the bar is half empty and nobody's really paying attention yet. Not the case on Friday. We started of with "Bittersweet," and the dance floor filled right up and stayed that way through both of our one hour plus sets. Man, that was a fun gig.

Saturday was the easy day of the weekend. Only a 3 hour drive. We woke around 11 and had breakfast care of Trang and Debbie again. Thanks you guys! Then we made a quick stop at a music store so Albie could by a juice harp, or mouth harp, or whatever those things are called. I'm not sure why he wanted one, but he hasn't been too annoying with it in the van (just kidding, Alb). One last stop in Eugene at People's Coffee for caramel mochas (I abstained this time) and we were on the road to K. Falls.

Saturday night started out great with an awesome dinner by our most hospitible hosts, Ron & Lan. We don't deserve this kind of treatment! We're not worthy! But that didn't stop us from stuffing ourselves with way too much food. Fortunately, we had a couple hours between dinner and downbeat, an unusual luxury for us in K. Falls. Somehow it always seems we're still chewing when we get on stage.

After some quality digestion time, Saturday night was our first return to Waldo's in a year. We used to play there several times a year, and Saturday night was a fond recollection of the good ole days. The place was hopping, and hollering. We played 3 sets, and it just felt non-stop. It was a blast. All the familiar faces were there, and I think everyone had a damn good time. I know we did.

Which is a damn good thing, because, I've said it before, but there's nothing worse than a bad gig before a long drive. Right now we're coming up on Santa Nella, where we're stopping for gas and a driver change (that means I'm up). So, I'd better wrap this up.

In summary, this weekend was just what the doctor ordered. It really made us feel like we're doing something right. We've still got to hustle back to L.A. to go to work. But when the gigs are going great, you feel like you're heading the right direction, and someday you'll get to quit those day jobs. And the icing on the cake. Tomorrow's a holiday (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), then Tuesday we've got a college gig at Cal. State L.A. So no day job until Wednesday. Then we're off to Santa Cruz on Thursday.

More Road Stories - 1998 - Late 1997 - Early 1997 - 1996

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