San Diego was spent mostly indoors. We sat on couches, benches, chairs and other sitting devices, placing our bodies on them and resting accordingly. I got a six pack of "Shark Bite Ale" as a treat for myself, a welcome break from the Millers and PBRs and random van heated beers that get neglected, then found, then downed in a bittersweet celebration, hitting the pallet like a mouthful of fizzy beer flavored spit.
The show that night at Brick By Brick was a little disappointing. We got a free dinner from the restaurant attached to the venue, which is always welcome and an exciting little flirt with success. The service was so slow it was hard not to let out my inner Larry David and start complaining. The complimentary Stella kept me subdued enough to wait it out, but it was silly how long it took to get our food, which was altogether baffling as we were quite literally the only people eating. The result was a 40 ton lead brick of food crammed into my stomach 10 minutes before we were supposed to play. Performing with that much extra weight in your body is not ideal. It's hard to look enthusiastic when it feels like you're running a marathon pregnant with an elephant fetus frolicking in your bowels. There were a few times in the set when I'd burp between yowls and get a little taste of barf, or "vurp" as the kids called it back at Enatai Elementary. During the set Nat busted the head on his giant kick drum, grabbing the feeble momentum we had mustered and dropping it right on it's ass. I wasn't much help in the stand up comedy department either, I just wanted to take a nap, and stood there like I was waiting for a bus while Nat got a new drum from Scott. Two songs later Aaron broke a string and we were back in the same double fish tank, the audience watching me, me watching them watch me. We finished up the set and started partying.
Saviours were great. The Sword was great. Unfortunately people only really started showing up around 10 as Saviours were getting started so we got the dirt end of the show. Afterwards was a hushed hangout at J.P.'s house and then sleep.
Next day was Los Angeles at Spaceland, with Karen (Nat's special lady) officially on tour with us. We arrived really early and roasted in the sun while we waited for the bar workers to show up and open the club. Karen, Aaron and I took a walk and found a tiny little mexican restaurant boasting tour friendly prices on neon signs and I revelled in a most glorious pork burrito, giggling as a shirtless, muscular gentleman burst from beneath a pond and surprised an unsuspecting woman with enormous lips on the Mexican soap opera playing in the corner. I took a hint from past waits on tour and didn't do any heavy drinking before the show. Just some light drinking. It was free slurpee day at 7-11 so I got one and enhanced it with the giant bottle of Malibu rum that Yoni has been nursing for a bit. It will never stop being hilarious that Yoni has a giant bottle of Malibu.
The show ended up being sold out, and the only thing better than a sold out audience is a sold out enthusiastic audience. And the only thing better than a sold out enthusiastic audience is a sold out, enthusiastic, punctual audience that is there to see the opening band, which is what we got. The Spaceland show was easily the best so far and I felt really good about the set.
After the show we went back to Jared's house where he was preparing some hot dogs and beer for us. We walked in and I took a seat at his little patio table where him, his roommate Andy, and a few other people were hanging out. And now a tangent that will make sense soon...
A few weeks earlier a coworker and I were talking about various brilliant things like talking cats and shirtless anger incarnate. We had just done some work on the new Garfield video game for Nintendo DS and I had heard through the grapevine that David Yow from the Jesus Lizard had done the graphic design for the Garfield 2 movie, which is what our game was based on. Yeah. If you didn't know, David Yow lives in LA and does graphic design for movies. Apparently years of getting naked on stage, yowling your voice out of its throat, throwing pint glasses at the audience, bleeding, shitting, and encompassing one of the most violent rock personalities that has possibly ever existed gets a dude the necessary notoriety to break into the field of redesigning shitty cartoons for boring Hollywood marketing. He made it. I'll be happy if I can just get to the point where I realize I need to get a real job before my ear drums disintegrate. Old man internet couldn't confirm that he had worked on that particular movie, but I did get a good look at his IMDB profile that has a current picture of him where he looks kind of like a pissed off Bono without all the makeup and the shit-eating "hello, I am an enormous asshole" sunglasses. The picture looked...
...exactly like the dude sitting next to me. Holy fuck. I had just picked a spot at the patio I knew so well and looked over to see my favorite rock vocalist of all time. The guy that all the other "crazy dudes" try to out-antic and just end up embarrassing themselves. David Yow, next to me. I have one chance to say something here, the only challenge is not coming off like a complete douche or annoying fan-boy. Right as I admit defeat and realize the only possible thing to do is casually hang out and introduce myself if the opportunity arises, the opportunity gets up, says good bye and walks out the front gate. Oh well. Now I get to tell everyone I "met" David Yow on tour and it will be our little secret that really I just sat next to him on accident, mentally shit my pants, and then sat there frozen with terror for thirty seconds before he got up and left. But the hot dogs were exquisite.
Next day was up to San Francisco for the show at Slim's. I wasn't expecting the amount of people that showed up and again we were privileged with a punctual audience. The show was fun. We had played Slim's before and it didn't go as well. We were on tour with the Blood Brothers at the time and it was one of those shows where the room was packed with people who didn't really care about us at all. The reception at this show was much better. I was also stoked on the show for another reason besides the elated roar of 500 bearded metal dudes after each song, because I got my first foosball challenge of the tour. It came in the form of a heckle between songs saying they could kick my ass at foosball. I got so pumped to get rolling with the game after the set, but sadly it was just a dude from Kill the Messenger challenging me on the behalf of his friend who wasn't even there. This didn't comply with any of the rules for foosball challenge so a game didn't happen. After the show we crashed with the amazing Seth in his amazing small apartment.
Next day was stressful. Here's the summary:
Wake up early to run errands. Takes us way too long to get out of the apartment. Nat accidentally locks his keys in Seth's apartment. Yoni is missing when it's time to leave and we have a very uncomfortable wait in 96 degree weather in the van, which we had unknowingly parked right in front of some kind of soup kitchen/needle exchange/methedone clinic/place where crazy cracked out drug addicts hang out on the street and stare at you while they talk to themselves. Find Yoni and drive to Seth's work in the middle off downtown San Francisco at 12:30 on a work day. We travel 10 blocks in 45 minutes. Get Seth's keys, go back to his apartment, get Nat's keys. Try to find a Guitar Center on the way to Seth's work and can't find it. Back to Seth's work to return his keys. Go to East Bay to pick up merch from Alternative Tentacles. Get back on freeway to find the 101 North to go to Eureka for a show that may not be happening. Get turned around in the tornado of confusion that is the Bay Area freeways and go the wrong way on 580. Don't realize we went the wrong way until we hit I-5. Give up and drive to Medford for another evening with the Schrags.
Stacy is the only person to our knowledge (besides me) that has an Akimbo tattoo. It's a huge compliment personally, and he also picked one of my favorite designs we've ever used. Here's a picture. It's on his wrist.
Yoni gets us up early to drive to Portland the next day. Get to show way early and hang out for hours at Dante's leeching off the free wireless. Played Mario DS and got to world 8. Said "fuck" close to 100 times in the process. After the show we partied on a roof. Passed out in the van, homeless style (shoes still on).
Next day we're up early again to get Aaron back to Seattle for an orthodontist appointment. I get dropped off at home for some quality one on one with my favorite girlfriend Maria and our little furry friend Max, and am bummed but not surprised that all she wants to do is watch Project Runway and talk about fashion. Great to be home! We make lunch, I do laundry, shower, play with kitty, and then its off El Corazon for load in. Maria and I pregame a bit over at the Lobo, and then return to the show. Seattle was a huge blast. It was my first being on tour and being home at the same time.