Tour started with a quick jaunt down to Portland to pick up our illustrious roadie Yoni Kifle who had some photography up in an art show, and was delaying our punctuality hob-nobbing with various Oregon high brow 'artists' over bree and wine. Actually, he was getting drunk at The Tube while his art show was happening a few blocks away. Too cool for his own party indeed. We met at said Tube and indulged in a few delicious and welcome Hamm's tall-boys before heading over to see the art show, and by "see" I mean milling about the entrance of the crowded strip watching people smoke and nodding our heads in the vicinity of conversations about smart things like "films" and "body modification" (a fancy term for shoving pieces of metal under your skin in an attempt to look like the mutants in Total Recall). It was a good time though, and since there wasn't a show that night we could afford to hang out and take a drive break. Yoni joins us on all the tours and is an incredible photographer.
After trying to poop and failing, Yoni got his things together and we hit the road down to Medford to stay with our good friends Stacy and Kimbo Schrag for the night. The drive was long, dark, and extremely scary for me because we haven't adjusted the headlights on our new van and they point down towards the ground at an angle that incites fear and surprise with only about 40 feet of road illuminated in front of you. Fortunately, death did not find us that night and we rolled in around 1:30 am, thirsty and ready to bum out our hosts who had to get up early the next day. Luckily, Kimbo and Stacy were ready to hang out though and we raged proper. Thanks for partying in the face of responsibility and jobs, we had a blast.
Next day was a haul down to Oakland to play our fist show of the tour at the Stork Club, a cool little bar on Telegraph. The weather could be described as "hellish", or "swimming through the devils colon". If there's one thing I hate it's a brutally hot day, especially when combined with not being in the shade or in front of a fan with an icy cervesa mashed against my crotch. We could feel it when we got up that morning. Mother Nature (evil slut) was cranking the shit up in an attempt to piss me off and make me cranky. Well, fuck you Mother Nature. We now have air conditioning, a razor sharp sword that I wield against your fiendish desires with all the righteousness of a 17th level Paladin in the din of battle against undead masses. I will cleave your whorish sun rays of ultra violet hate and bask in the holy glory that is the humble black vent next to my thigh, spitting it's cool refreshing love into our little traveling geo-dome.
I got a speeding ticket just north of San Francisco. I was trying to outrun heat.
The show at the Stork was a good time. Thankfully no racists were present, as we were led to believe could be the case by some local friends that were boycotting the club due to the owner being a man of ignorance and racial prejudice. But he wasn't there, and all the money that comes in goes to the bands, so all they boycotted was rock. A most heinous offense. Did an interview with Sound Scene Revolution before the show that should be up for podcast pretty soon here. The show was fun, saw some good friends, and played a spotty set that I would refer to as a "warm up". After leaving a few stupidly awesome drunk messages with my friends trying to score a place to stay, our booking agent Michelle took pity on us and figured she wasn't going to make much money off us if we started the tour bruised and junk-sick from a night on the streets and begrudgingly took us in. Stopped for some mission burritos on the way back to her place, and I force fed my road burn on some unsuspecting fools on Mario Kart DS before retiring to bed, champion racer of the mushroom kingdom. Party at Peach's house after the ceremony. Bring your own fire flowers. No lakatus allowed.
Next day we got up and shambled around Michelle's apartment, successfully weirding out her roommates enough to make them stay in their room and not say hi. Got some coffee with Michelle and talked business for a bit, shot the shit about mutual friends and japanese rockers, drank some wine, and hit the road to Santa Barbara. Thanks for putting us up Michelle. You are now officially bound to hosting us at any time we decree it necessary. Sorry. It was in the contract.
The ride to Santa Barbara was typical... It took place on a road. We sat in a van. We did things like read, sit in front of the air conditioning vents, look out the window, and erupt into a chorus of bitter opinions whenever the doors were opened while stopped. The show happened at Casa de la Raza, a hispanic youth center where we had played with Torche and Black Cobra a few months prior. The room that is used for shows was unavailable due to a Quinceanera that was happening. I guess it's a big deal for hispanic girls to throw a huge party on their 15th, kind of like a coming of age type thing for the parents to remember the days of collecting Bratz stickers, a celebration of life before shot-gunning tequila in youthful rebellion. Well, they had the whole building, which meant we got the patio. A show attendee made the astute observation that the show looked like it was taking place at the brothel patio seen at the end of Way of the Gun, sans fountain, pissed off dudes shooting each other, and naked babes running for cover. We also were there considerably early and I made a b-line for a taco truck that had served me a fucking glorious carne asada burrito before our last show. Unfortunately, the taco truck was of the mobile ilk and had moved to a more profitable location. Fortunately, the liquor store next door did not have wheels or an engine and was still in the same spot crammed with all kinds of delicious drinks. We stocked up on entertainment for the next few hours and went back to the van to start entertaining ourselves, the highlight being when Nat said something ridiculous and made Yoni laugh so hard his rum pineapple cocktail (out of a styrofoam cup) came out his nose and back into his drink, which he continued drinking. Craig and The Fucking Wrath dudes showed up and we pretty much turned the block outside the birthday party into our own little punk rock frat row.
The show was weird, as you would imagine a show in a patio at a hispanic youth center would be. The attendance was decent though, and The Fucking Wrath ruled pretty good, and we had fun. Sadly, the members of Akimbo had been partying a little too hard for a little too long, most notably Aaron, who blundered through the set with all the grace of a stunned gorilla. That's not to say Nat and I didn't have our fair share of forehead slappable bloopers, but Aaron had single handedly polished 75% of a fifth of Jack Daniels and you could hear the drunk in his amps. We were a conjoined machine of slop, producing new versions of our songs that sounded like we were 3rd graders playing along to seven different punk albums all at the same time. Ok, it wasn't that bad. I'm embellishing on the behalf of literary frolicking, but once again Akimbo was the embodied uppance that comes with drinking too much before the set. You think we'd learn one of these days.
Immediately after the show we found an In n' Out Burger and gorged in the manner assumed normal for alcohol enhanced appetite, then rolled to Craig's house for the night where we watched an instructional video on how to bar fight like a white trash judo instructor.
The next day was the highlight of tour thus far. We joined Craig, Ox Vs. Thunderbird dudes, The Fucking Wrath dudes, and the Santa Barbara party fun crew for their visigoth games, which are frighteningly close to LARPing in that people dress as vikings and other children of Cimmeria. Sadly, we had to leave before the real games started, but we did see a "Conan", an archer shoot an arrow at a tree, and a few pirates. We also spent a good hour sliding down a hill on blocks of ice, which was possibly the most fun I've had doing anything since I saw Starship Troopers for the first time. You can watch the video here, or just go to Maria's blog because hers is way smarter than mine. We will be submitting this to a yet unnamed soda company to try and get an extreme sports beverage sponsorship.
The show in Riverside wasn't too eventful. It was a blast seeing and hanging out with the dudes in The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower again, and laughing while they made fun of Willy. The show was in a huge, empty, concrete warehouse and the sound was horrendous. There was so much echo all the bands sounded like a wash of indistinguishable noise, which only fueled the drinking and desire to get out of that weird town. We drove back to San Diego with the Plot and now we're hanging out waiting for load in. Tonight we meet up with Saviours and The Sword for the next 10 days, and I'm eager to get the ball rolling on the mega rock that is sure to be... mega.