Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Arcata (6/26)

posted by Majestic Ape at 7:00 PM

The drive down to Arcata is pretty awesome but the van is full of fumes. We haven’t done anything about our missing tail pipe and I wonder suddenly how much exhaust we are breathing everyday. I mean its freaking stinks. But soon enough, we distracted by the beauty of redwoods and the coast. As we cross the California line, Paul wants to declare his plum because you can’t bring in fruit from other territories. We discourage him. I flashback to one UK tour when we got seized by the customs police because the produce dog smelled Paul’s orange. There is no one at the booth anyway.

On the rest of the drive we see lots of chainsaw art. There are abundant roadside gardens of redwood castles, clocks, gnomes. We see roaming elk. We see the ocean. We see a guy with long white braids , walking up the highway and pulling a rickshaw. We arrive in town. Co-ops and coffee roasters abound. Get some half price wraps at the club and then wander in search of coffee.

Plenty of marijuana odors overwhelm the whole town. Erick and I end up getting coffee from an ice cream parlor on the other side of town. I look at the ice cream while we wait in line. I’m half tempted to order Humboldt Cream. I’m sorry it’s not green. ACDC’s Thunderstruck is playing in the background.

Erick and I read the weekly paper and note the various bands that will playing in the upcoming week. The Grateful dead cover band, Ripple Effect, is a highlight. Not to be outdone by Bubble Gum Shitface and Lotta Sexy Carpet.

We see that Jeff has moved the van to the town center. He is sitting in the van in the dark watching an ultimate fight. I sneak up to the side of the van and peer in. We are immediately making eye contact. Oh he’s a funny one, that Jeff. We go back to the club. I sip some water and listen to the bartender, an older woman, talk to a local customer about a new vodka.

“It’s really smooth. You should try it.” He does.

He agrees, “It’s pretty smooth”.

She agrees, “Didn’t I tell you how smooth it is?”

He agrees, “Oh yeah, it’s sure smooth.”

She continues, “Yeah, we sample all the new drinks and this one I thought was pretty smooth,”.

He nods. “Yeah, it’s smooth alright.” Wow.

Even inside the bar, it reeks of weed.

The first band, The Ravens, plays. They are pretty awesome. The chick vocalist plays a mean harmonic and I enjoy the other fellows quite a bit. We set up and do a set on the floor. This is becoming my favorite way to play. Jeff is on 10 and then songs are lightning fast. He might be the one person who plays faster when they are ill.

After the show, we meet Chris and Rhondie, who offer us a place to stay. Chris’s band, Audio Wreck had played with us last time when we were in Eureka. They are super nice but we stay with Scott who has lots of rooms and couches. Scott is a card dealer at a local casino and back at his house, he tells us all about casino life, gambling, and ways to win at craps. I’m inspired. I’m ready to hit the craps tables. He also tells us about huge debts, eating Ramen for six months of the year, and losing 20,000 dollars in one night. At least being in a band, you know that you are going to lose every time. I can count on that.

Its one of those houses that has zero toilet paper and the kitchen is more of a recycling center. It appears this group of boys only consumption is alcohol but somehow I find myself awake in their kitchen at 4:00 am eating a can of pineapple.

At 4:30am, a roommate returns and turns on all the lights. He’s clearly surprised to see us. I explain who we are, why we are there. I figure he will just go to his room. He fools with his computer and drinks beer for about 90 minutes with lights on full strength the whole time.

In the morning, he tells us that he wasn’t really using his computer. He was just looking at us.

Erick, the little bitch, missed the whole event. He had grabbed the mattress in the dark quiet laundry room.

At the gas station as we are leaving town, the Pakistani clerk has a sty on his eye. This stoner giant guy comes in and says” hey, big guy, you want me to pop that for you?” the clerk quietly says, “no sir, I do not”, Big Guy repeats himself “Hey! Come on, let me pop that for you?” “No sir, that is really not necessary.” Third times a charm, “Aw, I’ll fix it right up! Let me pop it for you.”

Favorite Arcata Observations:

Mural with animals playing music. Duck in a grandma dress and monkey with an electric guitar. Squirrel with a corn cob pipe.

Painting in the bar bathroom of the four black women in the show shine chairs being serviced by 4 naked black men.

Dudes sitting on the ground in the store door, homeless playing magic.

Guy in the town square climbing tree saying I may be the highest mother fucker in town!

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