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!

Portland (6/25)

posted by Majestic Ape at 6:58 PM

The drive with Kevin, Seth, and Josh is mellow, comfortable, and the AC is refreshing. We listen to some Erik b. and Rakim. Its still good, 20 some years later. It’s very strange to not be in my van with my band. After arrival, we get some coffee and hippy food and chill for a bit before heading to Dante’s for the show.

Dante’s is a well decorated nightclub with a high stage, cocktail tables in front of the stage, and an active fire pit located just off the bar. Lots of tensions are expressed during sound check. Erick and I eat at New Good Day Chinese Restaurant. We eat some excellent vegetarian hot and sour soup and some beautiful Chinese broccoli. I hope this isn’t going to produce any sizable quantity of gas in my intestines. We go back to the club and sit outside for a few minutes before, and promptly at 9:30 pm, Rabbits goes on once again.

I must admit, they are even better with a good sound system. I can hear even more layers, awesome riffs, and scary vocals.

I change clothes in the basement dressing room. For some reason, it reeks of cat urine and there are duck feathers on the floor in the bathroom.

During our set, I am having all sorts of tantrums on the inside. I have decided I have no rhythm, no rock, my vocals suck, and I can’t quite figure out what the hell I’m doing up hear wearing red shit, deaf, and running in place.

When there are only two songs to go, I grab Paul’s whiskey and down the whole thing. I get some fire for the last two songs. Good enough.

Our booking agent, Leafy Green Todd, is in the house tonight and I go catch up with him and his awesome partner, Dema. Dema owns a clothing store in San Francisco and I talk to her about design and garment construction. The Makers go on, and once again, I’m thoroughly entertained. After the show, we hang out with everyone for a while before going back to Josh’s.

The next morning, Josh and I get up while my band mates sleep. We go get coffee and then visit the Portland Rose Garden. Its absolutely beautiful and I fear that I bore him to tears when I begin lecturing on the history of rose culture, propagation of various species, daily pruning and upkeep, and blah blah blah. I used to want to be a rose horticulturist. When I worked at a garden center in high school, I would steal rose bushes at the end of every weekend. I knew girls that shop lifted clothes from the mall. I stole rose bushes.


posted by Majestic Ape at 6:56 PM

We arrive at our friends, Erik R. and Anthippy’s house at 1:30 am. We were in the van 15 hours today. Erik R. is thoughtful enough to take us in one day early and leaves the key under his doormat . We all have beds but Paul chooses to sleep on the floor. Jeff is getting quite ill with a cold and I think Paul is making a good choice to avoid close contact.

The room where Erick and I are staying is right across the hall from Erik and Anthippy. At 5 am, I get up to pee. When I come back, somehow, I’ve gotten locked out. I’m not sure if Erick locked me out because he’s mad at me (we were fighting intensely before we went to sleep) or if the door just latched. All I know is that he is wearing earplugs and I’ll have to really bang to wake him up. Shit! I’m only wearing a little tee shirt on and I’m cold on hot days. I go across the hall to the sewing room. I curl up on a firm decorative seat. There are cats everywhere mewing and the light is already streaming in. Another night of sleep, lost forever.

Erick gets up around 10, refreshed and happy. He hadn’t locked me out. The door just latched. I feel sick.

We relax at our friends’ house for a while and go looking for food and coffee. Erick and I walk around the Capitol Hill neighborhood. TONS of annoying over dressers, dread locks, hippy shorts, rasta pasta, the whole deal. Lots of dudes spare changing with crippled dogs. We call our friend Garret (ex-drummer of bands, ‘The Fluid’ and ‘Spell’, current drummer for Alta May) who lives a few blocks a way. He’s home with super- wife, Lily. We go over and hang out with them. It’s wonderful to see them.

They walk us to a Pho place and we have some excellent Vietnamese noodles and wander some more before going back to Rrik’s. Erik drives down to the club with us and he is in rare form. We are cracking up. This guys is so funny, it’s sick. He’s one of the few people who says things horrible enough to make me laugh out loud.

We unload. Already at the club are zZz, Dutch guys who we have played with several times this spring, and my friend Josh whose band Rabbits is playing tonight. Zzz are looking pretty healthy for having been on the road continuously for the last 5 weeks. Erick and I go with Josh and his band mates, Kevin and Seth, to get more Vietnamese noodles. They are just as good second time around.

Unfortunately, Rabbits has to start playing right at 9:30 and there aren’t many people around yet. They are pretty cool to watch and listen to. Josh has a giant PA speaker that he uses for a cab and the sounds that he produces with it are pretty unbelievable. Next is ZZZ who take a long time to sound check, play and break down. Apes play. The room is pretty full and there are lots of friends and people we admire amongst the crowd. We feel lots of love and rock in the room. The guys from the Makers, who are headlining, introduce themselves after the show. They are incredibly nice guys and are pretty entertaining to watch. After the show Rabbits and Apes go back to Erik’s house and we drink in the backyard till 4:00 am. Somehow, Rabbits safely drive back to a friends’ house to crash.

A few hours later, I get up to help Erik clean up because he had invited half the club over for brunch the night before. We go to trader Joe’s to get food and then they prepare the goods. I take pictures. Their friends arrive. ZZZ arrive. They slept in their van. I can’t picture how 3 giant Dutch guys fit in a van to sleep. They barely do, they explain. More photos. I leave my band for the first time ever and go to Portland a few hours early with Rabbits. When I run up the stairs to get my bag from the guest room, I nail myself in the ribs and right tit on the railing. Almost ripped that tiny boobie off! I think it would be funny if we have to cancel a show for ‘torn tit’.


posted by Majestic Ape at 6:54 PM

The drive to Spokane is intense. We are in the mountains all day. I risk getting busted for illegal headphone use because I listen to my I-pod while I drive. I don’t see a one cop during the entire 9 hour drive. Around 6:30, we get off the highway in Spokane. We drive several miles through industrial parks and pull up on a dirty street in front of the Molotov Room. There are several large male crusty punks standing around outside. They are identifiable by their black t-shirts, haircuts, tats, and various studded jewelry. They search our bags for drugs before we are allowed to enter the club. We walk up a giant flight of stairs and the one female employee, Brittney, gives me a bag of chips. Then I’m told the show is cancelled. Awesome! Playing to a huge empty room on a 15 foot high stage couldn’t have been that much fun. We ask where we can get some veggie food. One of the crusty guys shouts down the street to his friend.

“Hey, Dave! Where did Nick used to get vegetarian food?”

Dave answers, “Dude, I don’t know, dude, Nick lived in a van.!”

We go eat some burritos and haul ass to Seattle.


posted by Majestic Ape at 6:51 PM

The drive from Fargo to Billings is kind of awesome at parts but the heat gets brutal. I’m developing bizarre burns on my left arm from driving west with the window down. We get gas near Roosevelt national park. The rock formations are breathtaking. And then suddenly the Rockies appear. I love the desolation. I want to eat those roadside weeds.

When we finally get to Billings, we load in, eat big meals ( I haven’t eaten anything all day because of my night binge), and then I’m off to wander alone. I wander past the woman and children’s shelter, the casino, the bus depot, and 12 step meeting room. Everyone reeks of booze.

My friend Kelly calls. She complains about home. I whine about night bingeing.

Back at the club, we meet the guys from Grabass Charletons and the girls from Soviettes. Everyone is extremely nice. I get to borrow an 8 x 10 speaker cabinet from Grabass Charletons. This is pretty cool. People seem to love the show and then we enjoy the Soviettes. I drink red zinfandel. After the show, we go to stay with young Matt, one of the chefs. He has a nice clean apartment very close to the club. His roommate’s cousin Ryan, is sitting on the couch when we walk in. He is a man of few words. We all sleep very close together that night.

Next morning, we go get an oil change and go to the dollar store. I buy bungee cords that I never use. Paul gets gallons of water. Then we go to a grocery store. I used to think I like grocery stores better and I’ve changed my mind. They are a nightmare. I can’t buy the vegetables that I want because I have no way to wash the vegetables and prepare beautiful multi-colored salads. Instead I buy shitty gelatin filled yogurts. There is a shockingly thin anorexic girl walk out of the store and my band mates lovingly offer comparisons. Thanks, as always, for your support, fellers.


posted by Majestic Ape at 6:45 PM

We wander around after we arrive. Erick and I go to Baab’s, the Seattle Coffee Roaster in the middle of downtown Fargo. While we drink our Americano's, we listen to a woman hiring a young fellow to be a model in her agency. She advises him about the difficulties of rejection, how to pick pictures for your portfolio, not to expect paying work for several months.

"Don't get discouraged, though! We collect our representation fee on the first of every month. There is no grace period for late payment."

Erick and I separate and I go sit on a bench. A large Hawaiian man runs over to me and sits down on the bench next to me. He is sweating bullets. I’m cold.

“Its hot as devil today!” he doesn’t use articles. I just nod. “You want to party?” he asks. “No.” I saw forcefully and go lock myself in the van. Paul walks up and the guy attacks him. Paul tells him that he’s already partied. Good strategy.

Erick and I are sitting in the Chinese restaurant in Fargo. We are listening to several conversations going on around us. There is a young couple on some sort of date. The guy is telling the girl how he believes that some people are biologically oriented toward having open sexual relationships and swinging. He is trying to convince this girl that it is almost like homosexuality. “You know, like gay people, that don’t choose that they are gay. I don’t choose that I need to sleep with multiple people.” Then we tune out for a minute and the next thing we hear is him say “some people are comparing it with rape,,,I tend to disagree.”

Two native American men, a father and son approach us and say “ Hey, are you guys in the apes? I saw your pictures in the paper.”

“ We are playing at the Moose Lodge tonight," we tell him.

“We’ll be there!”, he responds.

We go over to the moose lodge. On the second floor level, where the show is, people are spread out at white plastic picnic tables drinking beer out of frosty glass mugs. The opening bands are pretty awesome. My new friend who I met in Chicago, Sean, arrives and we chat for a while.

The show is awesome. People of all ages are dancing, cheering, and hollering. Our friend who counseled Erick last spring on the fungus of the mind has returned. He is wearing less coats. He doesn’t talk to us. He does smile at us though. Lots. I smile back. Just as much. This town rules. After we go to Sean’s house. I start eating and don’t stop till about 5:30 am. Sorry Sean!


Erick and I in the Fargo Chinese Buffet. Notice my hot zit from heavy doses of sunblock and lots of steamy van sweat. Also, the Fargo movie theater was about to have a grand re-opening, so for some reason, I shot a picture of the beautiful hanging signpost.


posted by Majestic Ape at 6:36 PM


Smooth load in at the 7th Street Entry (psyched because its attached to First Avenue, where Prince used to play.) We have a good sound check courtesy of Matt and then I wonder who the hell is coming to this show. Last time we played Minneapolis, it was a Friday night with 3 awesome bands on the bill in a famous club and there were 15 people present. Now it’s a small club on a Monday night with us and a local opener. Erick and I rush off to find food after the sound check and go to a pizza place with lots of vegan options. After the show we walk around. The air feels cool and great. We go to Panera for some free wireless. I’m pretty convinced that all the employees had developmental disabilities and most of the people in the store had physical or mental disabilities. The girl taking people’s orders kept helping customers figure out what they were in the mood for.

“Do you feel like something sweet or sandwhich-y? Chocolaty or cakie?”, she inquires and attempts to delicately tease out people’s innermost desires as to maximize their Panera eating satisfaction. I wonder if this dialogue is in the cashier’s traning manual. It wouldn’t surprise me.

On the way back to the club a disheveled guy who was probably on methamphetamine addict, begins screaming at me from the across the street.

“Angel! Angel! Come back, Angel! Don’t leave Angel!”

I’ve been called lots of things. Never have I been called Angel.

We wander back to the club. There are a few staff members standing on the street. I ask the soundman if he has any ideas about good people we might be able to crash with. He turns to a tall fellow on his right, who has a closely shaven moehawk. He introduces me to Sean and tells me Sean has pretty good connections. Sean asks my last name. I instantly think, “Uh –oh, I wonder if he’ll know I’m Jewish.” He just tells me he’ll make some calls and to check with him after the show.

I go back outside. Erick is on the phone and he pointing to something on the ground under his foot. He wants me to pick it up. Heavens to Betsy! Lil Rickie found a bag of greens. Its very seedy.

The opening band, Passions, plays. They are really fun to watch. Apes go on next. The 15 or so people in the crowd seem to have a great time with us and its our best night for merch sales yet. We meet Sean D who asks us to dedicate a song to his girlfriend, Mandy, when we are in Fargo the next day. Then Sean comes back and hands me two Ramada key cards and a parking pass. Wow!I am so thankful to him. How awesome is it, when someone who you’ve never met, gets you a hotel room. Again, Sean, many many thanks. I do a shot with him and drive us over to the Ramada.

We check in and then I go out to the van to get my canned goods. On my way back in, two men dressed in professional attire ask if I know a place where we can get a drink. I tell them that I don't know many bars that serve at 3:00 am on a Monday night in Minneapolis.

As usual, I don't sleep much. I get up for good around 9. There is a pool here and I intend to use it. Its pretty scummy and the only other person near is vacuuming it. I do some laps but I’m so cold, its almost unbearable. In the next room, I hear a man discussing food borne bacteria and after I dress, I infiltrate the Listeria Conference. I sit and drink their coffee and listen to the discussions on several species of food borne bacteria. The discussion on how they impact the human body is exhilirating! It’s a perfect morning.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

green bay, WI

posted by Majestic Ape at 11:18 PM

Its Father's Day. We spend the day in Milwaukee. We hang out with our host, Stephanie who is incredibly nice and entertaining. I will attach pictures of her very soon. First we go to the food co-op for breakfast. Walking back to the van, I notice a very small child alone on the sidewalk. He plays with a hole in the ground.

Then we go to the Domes. There is an entrance fee. We leave.

We find Lake Michigan, park the van, and split up. We sight a coffee shop and Erick thinks he sees the guy from American Movie in the parking lot. I tell him to go say hi. He's embarassed, doesn't do it. We walk out on the jetty. The war is pretty foul looking but I just pretend its the ocean and the sky couldn't be more blue. We go down to the beach and touch the water. We've been touching the water at various beaches for almost 16 years.

Back at the coffee shop, I call my dad. We leave.

We pull up at the club in Green Bay. It’s a tiny little local bar called the Main Stage and every store on the block is either boarded up or its closed for the night. Sunday nights in small towns tend to be very quiet and I imagine, on father’s day, things will be even more quiet. There are a few locals in the bar when we arrive. I walk up to one older fellow who I don’t remember from the last time we are here. I say, “Hi, I’m Amanda. I’m in The Apes.”

He replies, “No, you’re gorgeous!”.

Uh oh. Its gonna be one of these nights.

I ask what’s for dinner. “Its burgers, “ says Mr.Gorgeous. I tell him we are vegetarians.

“I can make ya pizza but I don’t know what I’m gonna put on it.”

Maybe some cheese?

He finds mushrooms, onions, and green peppers.

They make us a tiny pizza to share. Its actually pretty good. We ask for another. I’m full but eat a few more baby squares anyway.

I go for a walk to call my grandfather (father’s day) because I have to shout for 40 minutes and prefer to avoid populated places when making this family phone call. I end up walking into a community that appears to be some kind of government subsidized housing project. Nothing like a glowing midget white girl shouting and pacing on a cell phone for 40 minutes to attract unwanted attention. Mostly I just get the ‘furrowed brow’ and ‘head shaking’ stares. A few lip scowls, too. Granddad makes his usual suggestions for APES marketing schemes and as always, suggests we hit the Florida nightclub and nursing home circuit. Then we can stop at his unit along the way and all for of us can take him out to breakfast and he can show us off to his cronies. I don’t think my troupe would make him that proud. Its not the surgical team. He offers to write me another song to record because his lyrics are romantic and sentimental and that’s whats missing from today’s music. He also suggests that Paul and I do a musical theater type routine on stage.

“Paul should wear a long white beard and tall black hat and you should wear an old fashioned pattern floral dress and you should sing eachother love songs back and forth. I can write songs for that! Its my dying wish for my songs to be recorded and published by my famous rock star granddaughter!”

“Granddad, I’m not famous, I’m not a rock star, and you aren’t dying. You are only deaf!”

“Vat, Vat did you say?”.

“I said I love you and I’ll talk to you next week!”

Back at the bar, more locals have gathered. One larger fellow comes in the his dog and tells folks that he slept till 2 pm today, got up to call his dad, and then rolled over and went back to bed. He was gonna come see Apes play tonight but he really wanted to play Command and Conquer on his computer for several hours.

Another older fellow launches into a discussion about sex.

“I would like to have some orgasms. That’s the word they use now. Orgasms. In my day we just called it ‘cummin’. Shit, I want multiple orgasms. I guess multiple Cummins don’t quite sound right. “

The song “Its Been a While” by Stained comes on the jukebox. Everyone begins singing along. Loudly.

I go sit in the van. Moments later, I am startled when there is a middle-aged white guy knocking on the window next to me.

“How much?” he says.

“Get out of here!” I shout.

“HOW MUCH?!” he shouts at me.

“GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!” I holler in my most authoritative sounding voice. He disappears. I’m actually a little shaken up because I’m sitting in this parking lot alone with nary a bandmate in sight. Not that I’m scared. I already figure it might be the only sketchy thing that happens this tour.

The show opens with IfIHadAHifi from Milwaukee. They are pretty funny and entertaining to watch. Next is the Mystery Girls. I talk to their guitarist Jordan after the show. He is a very friendly fellow. I talk to someone else but can’t remember his name.

We play. I suck. I have no energy. Its all gone to that pizza digestion process. I feel bad. There is no room to rock either as the stage is really cramped.

The fellows that own the bar, Pat, offers to host us for the night. Pat owns a ranch outside of town and the sound guy, the door guy, and the bartender all live with him. Later I find out that the big guy who was gonna play Command and Conquer lives there as well.

We follow them home. Its really in the country and we park by the barn with all the wrecked sports car parked in front of it.

When we walk in, the big guy (later I learn that his name is Fish) is sitting in a recliner. He is watching RoboCop II on the biggest wide screen television that I’ve ever seen. The boys sit down and begin a lengthy discussion of every actor from that movie. Then the discuss every other role that every actor from that movie, ever played. I scope the kitchen. I wonder what Kleiny -safe snacks might be available for the taking (by Kleiny-safe, I mean without corn syrup). I spy some Tabasco flavored popcorn. Perfect! I ask the door guy about the popcorn. Says it has been there since early 2004. Better yet. They won’t miss it.

Moments later, a small boy appears in the kitchen. He is the soundman’s son. They are both named Kim. He is visiting from southern Wisconsin and pretty psyched that school is out so he can spend some time with his daddy. Kim jr might even get to move in with his daddy. Scott (the one who called me gorgeous) is not down with this idea. He dudn’t like kids much and don’t want ‘em around. Poor Kim, Jr. He’s really sweet. I talk to him about school for a few minutes.

Pat gets a booty call at about 3:30 am and offers me his bed to sleep in.

“I been sleeping out so much for the last month, my sheets ain’t hardly dirty at all.”


I make my way to the rear bedroom and am excited to see that I will be spending the evening in a bedroom with a black lacquer furniture and Asian decorating themes.

In the morning, Scott makes us coffee. His hand trembles as he pours.

“Ya see, if I make coffee in the morning, I can pretend that the hand shaking is from the caffeine and not the booze that I haven’t started drinkin’ yet. That’s the trouble with bein an alcoholic when you are a bartender.”

I can see how that would be rough. Like a binge eater with anorexic tendencies working in a bakery or a restaurant or walking. Anywhere.

I sit with scott on the van bench out on the deck and we drink coffee while he smokes.

Lansing, MI (this is a back entry)

posted by Majestic Ape at 11:03 PM

We play at a little club near a highway underpass. This is our first show with Bobby Conn. We meet Mark, Colby, Abraham, and Bobby. They are wonderful people. At the moment, they are stressed because their bass player and violininst are far away and will probably miss the show.

They play anyway and a girl from the audience fills in on tambourine. I can tell how talented these people are and I am thoroughly entertained even with some of their band missing. Apes play. Organ problems. Bad cable somewhere. Not fun. People rescue me though, handing me cables till I have enough that work till my systems are operable.

Hard Lessons go on after us. They are local favs from Detroit and we are glad to be sharing the stage with them again. I draw a portrait of Auggie, the guitarist, after the show. However, while they play, I can't stop eating free popcorn. At 2:30 am, we go to the home of the promoter, Mark. His place is clean and very close to the club. Mark has a little Boston Terrier that had shaken its toys so violently for so many years it detached both retinas and it now partially blind. It still plays with toys.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

mil-wacky (6/18/05)

posted by Majestic Ape at 3:40 AM

Tonight we played in Milwaukee.

Smooth, sunny, and breezy drive from Chicago. I drove and was proud of myself for seeing the mattress lying in the middle of the interstate before we ever got close to it. I didn't even have to swerve to avoid it. Shame we couldn't put it on the roof of the van and take it with us.

The bar was occupied by lots of big blonde people when we arrived. I was happy to note a supermarket AND a coffee shop in the strip mall across the street. The stage was located in the rear of the bar in a separate room. The walls were beautiful-- clean, new, wood and stone paneling of some sort.

After load in, we ordered food and I ran over to the supermarket.

Purchases: canned spinach, green beans, mustard, vinegar, baby food (carrots and squash), and simethicone.

The stage room was pretty dead when it was time for Apes to play. We didn't care. We played old songs and all of the Bobby Conn guys were right up front. I felt like we were a big happy family playing together and their enthusiasm was quite contagious. They showed the love when we finished.

Bobby Conn & the Glass Gypsies were spectacular.

After the show we were deciding who to bed down with. Two offers: the guy who thought it would be best if someone stayed in the van AND the girl who could provide some beds in a tool shed with no running water. We picked the guy.

As I followed him in his car back to his house, Jeff told me to follow the wrong red pontiac and we ended up losing him. I called the girl with tool shed. She answered.

G'night from the tool shed.

Friday, June 17, 2005

day 1, bowling green

posted by Majestic Ape at 7:01 PM

We drive out to Gaithersburg in the morning, load the van, and get Paul from the metro. I drive 'till we get to Ohio. I make an effort to speed as much as possible. I have received a few comments recently about my slower driving speeds and I have to correct this false notion.

Paul takes over at 5:30. I make phone calls. And I text message. My new favorite form of communication is the text message. No voices. No computers. No waits. It's seamless and perfect.

We arrive at the little Tiki Bar in Bowling Green about 8:30 and wait for local promoter and music master of Toldeo and its surrounding suburbs, Broc.

He arrives shortly after with his sidekick, Fernando. We head for Myles' Pizzeria. I want to cry. I hate restaurants. I only want hippy food. Everyone is chatting and having fun. I am deciding how to avoid corn syrup. I fail. Later after dinner as my stomach painfully swells, I wander the rainy streets of Bowling Green alone. There are lots of large vampires walking around with handcuffs attached to their black clothes. Must be Goth night somewhere. Sure enough, as I round the next corner, I spy the line of darkly clad youth sporting eye liner. I want to go in but I can’t. I’m wearing red.

The show is opened by Picciuto. He plays guitar to an iPod. He announces that his website is full of porn. I draw his portrait. Then he announces his record is about to come out. More than half of the songs are about cats. He is my new favorite artist.

Broc is very generous with drinks. I watch Paul consume several whiskeys. He gives Erick Red Bulls. Gives me water.

The Apes play. The bar is packed with drunk locals. An awesome girl named Sara is hooting and hollering about how the music called her in from the street. Lots of scary dudes with crew cuts are whooping, too. At one point, Paul yells at the crowd for talking while we play. Uh-oh. Confrontation probably doesn’t go over too well with this bunch.

We do an encore and I rush off to sell merch. Mostly I’m swarmed by very nice guys who I chat with quite a bit. One of the guys from Canada's Electric Tiger Machine gives me a new white thong with their logo printed on it. At some point, one dude rushes up to me and informs me that our vocalist is in the rear parking lots with 3 police officers undergoing sobriety tests. I know that Paul is very very intoxicated. Tour’s over. First night. I go out to watch.

They shine lights in his eyes. I hope and pray that he is polite and obedient. He is. He does some toe to heel walking. I politely explain to one officer that we have just played 40 minutes of high energy rock music and any potential lack of coordination might be due to brain damage from shaking his head. I know this is how I feel at the moment. He tells me that the officers are very capable of making a determination, based on observable behaviors, whether or not an individual is intoxicated. I ask about breathalyzers, potential sentences, bail, loss of licensure. I figure we will be in Ohio much longer than we ever anticipated.

Paul walks over to me. He’s passed. Hallelujah. Apparently he was pulling the van into the parking lot and was pulled over because our license plate light was out. Jeez Louise.

I decide that we will crash with a young fellow named David. He has a house, couches, and says we can even have our own rooms. Sold!

The local drunks are fighting with each other. Lots of threats. I think Jeff gets threatened.
I change out of my costume in the van while the guys finish loading out. I try on the thong. Yuck! Feels bizarre! We load, pack, drive over to David’s. Sleep doesn’t come easy for me anywhere and tonight is no exception. I wander. Lots.

In the morning, I look through every drawer and cupboard trying to find coffee. I fail. I get mad. They are a tea house. Tea is good, too.

The rest of the day I’m peeing blood. Later that night, I remember I had beet borscht for lunch. I found that hippy café.

On the way out of Bowling Green, some long haired dude in a car next to us is honking and waving his hands. I remember that I've left my quick dry towel on the ladder in the back. We turn around and find it in a corn field.

Next stop- Lansing, MI