Tuesday 4-17-07 Drive day to Ft. Stockton, TX
This is our one day “off” on the tour, although driving in Texas isn’t exactly relaxing; East Texas is officially the worst driving region in the US – even more horrible than the aggressively clogged arteries of Connecticut and the Northeast or the endless traffic of Southern California. Most people seem to drive these huge late model pickups like they are drunk, in the middle of the desert or maybe training to avoid IED attacks.
Before leaving Austin, we get our various Mexican food fixes and go to the World’s Largest Whole Foods to buy some provisions. As you enter the store there are signs repeating the mantra “Love where you shop.” I don’t need to love where I shop, but I’d prefer that it wasn’t the nightmare in which I’m continually intercepted by deli counters, seafood bars and pitches for organic cosmetics.
The drive is long. We do laundry at the Motel 6 that night.
Wednesday 4-18-07 Tucson, AZ
The trees kept getting smaller yesterday and now they are pretty much gone. Soon we see cacti – Saguaro – just like in the Road Runner cartoons. We stop at a cold springs for a swim and later to look at Native American petroglyphs. I haven’t been drinking enough water. I feel like I’m going to die by the time we get to Tucson.
We are playing at Hotel Congress, the hotel where John Dillinger was caught. Now it’s been reborn as a “rock hotel.” You can definitely hear the bands really well in all the rooms.
Later there is a smoke machine party in Zombi’s room. Not surprisingly, the smoke keeps setting off the fire alarm until Shawn from Zombi disconnects the alarm. Then nobody could see anything except a blue stage light. People leave after a while.
Thursday 4-19-07 San Diego, CA
It’s pretty exciting to get back to a coast and sit in traffic looking at green trees and grass. We have played the Casbah a million times – it is as we remembered it which is good. We are also meeting up with our friend Grant’s band, Black Taj, here. There are all flying in today to the nearby airport, just outside the club, where planes barely clear the parking garages and buildings.
We get a bunch of Mexican food for dinner and it is great. When Paul, our soundman, doesn’t finish his I get really mad at him. I’m not sure why. I just keep repeating: “You’re not going to eat that? Really? You Just going to leave it?”
Our show is good, I eat a taco onstage which people seem to appreciate. I do. Later, I end up talking to a bunch of people outside about New Zealand where I used to live. Several of them claim they are going to move there.
Friday 4-20-07 Los Angeles, CA
“This is it. Our big chance,” we keep repeating while navigating the traffic and rain on the way to LA. “It’s a very important show. There’s going to be some A & R people from Casablanca.”
Of course, when you finally do arrive at The Troubadour on Sunset Boulevard, things really are different. For one, we’ve arrived 40 minutes early so the one person there at the club won’t let us in. This is annoying, but we decided to walk around instead of argue.
We walk past a Bentley dealership and into a supermarket where a woman is explaining that she has taken too many fat-burning drinks to the check out cashier. “I can’t carry all these to my car.” We look for deodorant but they don’t have Phil’s brand.
Then we go back to the club. It is 3:55, but the woman who refused us entry before says, “It’s not four yet.” I am tired and hungry and start complaining that this a stupid policy. This turns out to be a huge mistake because, although she lets us in three minutes later (still early!) she seems to feel that it is necessary that we resolve this conflict we’ve had.
Her tact is very confusing at first and thoroughly passive aggressive. She (somewhat sarcastically?) offers me a massage if I am “so stressed out” (non-passive translation: Chill out, you fucking duckweed!) and only seems to want to “resolve things” purely on her terms. It seems I need to accept that she was not letting us into the club on perfectly reasonable terms that actually benefited us. This process occurs in four five-minute segments spread out over about an hour. At first I get mad at her when she interrupts me to make her points, then I start laughing, then I get sort of annoyed again.
I eat some samosas on stage, which apparently look like chicken nuggets. After our show, we meet some of the members of the band Tool. We have a lot of friends there as well as my woman, Xan, who has come down for the California shows. It’s good.
Saturday 4-21-07 San Francisco, CA
I am now traveling separately from the band, who get a late start – something to do with a Costco bottle of Vodka. I am with Xan and our son in a rental car.
It’s raining in San Francisco too, but lots of people still make it to the show. They also come early, which is good for Black Taj who have played to about seven and a half people over the first two shows. We see lots of friends –Phil lives here – and Seb gets a birthday cake on stage. During the show I eat a leftover burrito which tastes great.
Sunday 4-22-07 Portland, OR
Yeah. This is a really long drive. 10-12 hours. I’m not doing it though – Xan and I are flying, which is faster even though the Southwest terminal looks like a third world crisis management center.
It is beautiful in Portland which means we get to hang out in the sun while waiting in the airport parking lot for someone to come jump our dead battery. The next six hours are kind of like not being on tour – we live here so it’s really domestic and maybe not worth writing about.
I eat one of Seb’s birthday doughnuts on stage. Very good.
Now I have to leave on tour again. Not fun. Plus I forget my computer power supply which makes writing this journal even more tedious. The show is good – end of the line for Black Taj.