Saturday, March 15, 2008

The rest of the Feb NE tour. This is the end.

posted by Majestic Ape at 5:35 PM

Detroit was a hoot and a holler. We got there around 9:00 pm, just in time for the van to skate across the yard of ice designated as parking lot in the suburban housing subdivision. Inside, we found a middle-aged man with a mass of curls and a button down shirt, frying up about 30 pounds of cat fish for the 20 or so misfits inside. In the library, there was a game of Dungeons and Dragons going on, and several people were watching some kind of net porn. I sat down at a table to collect myself after the tense drive. In front of me, for my reading pleasure, was a copy of The Poor Man’s James Bond. I remembered this book from my college years. It’s something akin to The Anarchist’s Cookbook. The first page was covered with hand-written text. It was titled “The Do it Yourself Home Suicide Kit”. There were precise directions for how to quickly and efficiently cut and bleed yourself to death. A razorblade was taped to the page. I went to the bathroom.

The bathroom was only half complete but not undecorated. A large orange pentagram was painted on the tiled wall above the bathtub.

I was encouraged.

There were two opening bands, both from Brooklyn. One featured a guy running a laptop, while his partner, adorned with a computer monitor on his head, accompanied with vocals.

By the time we played, the kids were ready to get tribal, and that they did. There was an impromptu mosh pit in the living room. A few very drunk kept people falling over. Despite the awkwardness of the arrangement, it felt like we played well. We certainly connected with the audience.

Jeff, at some point, had gone upstairs to use the bathroom and discovered two rooms. One was all climbing walls, and the other displayed many swords.

While I was changing back into street clothes, I listened to the dialogue from the other room. It went something like this.

“We should get naked,” from an adult male voice.

“Do you think? It would be weird to get naked,” from a young female voice.

“Wow, there are naked people in my living room,” from the voice of the host.

“We should take pictures!” from the adult male photographer that had been capturing the entire evening with very professional gear.

“I can’t believe there is a porn shoot going on in my living room!” from the host.

I stuck my head around the corner. There was the guy who earlier had worn the computer monitor on his head, now nude, with a naked girl on each side of him. They looked young: there were lots of flash bulbs.

The promoters started bringing in snow covered couches from the backyard, in preparation for the Apes overnight stay. We decided to get a motel. I saw one of the promoters hand Jeff a wad of cash.

When we finally arrived at our room at the Knights Inn following another drive through nasty weather conditions. I asked Jeff how much we made. Keep in mind that the guarantee was $500.

“60 bucks,” Jeff answered with flat affect.

I flipped.

“Are you shitting me? No way! That’s bullshit! Why didn’t you tell me?” I was freaking out.

“What would you have done?” Jeff responded.

“We would have taken a trip to the ATM with a tire iron! What the hell is wrong with people? We had a freaking agreement. They broke it before the show but I read those emails that stated that they would be paying almost what our guarantee was. Why is it that every other service in the world, when provided, is paid for? Why is it that people think musicians don’t need to be paid? Why are we seen as disposable? Is it because they think we are having so much fucking fun? We have expenses. We have bills. We are driving around the country in a vehicle that gets 14 miles a gallon and paying over $3.15 per gallon of gas everyday. We are not rich people!” I was livid. I am still livid. If the kids couldn’t keep their end of the deal, they should have cancelled. They should have gone to the ATM.

I do not believe in violence. I do not believe raising one’s voice is an effective way to communicate or get one’s needs met. I did feel, however, that there needed to be a consequence. One must know that one has made a mistake has been made. In fact, it is very difficult to change human behavior. However, it is not impossible. Behaviors that are reinforced over and over again, will repeat. If there is a consequence for a behavior which one should change, over and over, the hope is that that behavior will change. You must teach a replacement behavior, a more desirable replacement behavior. I felt that I missed a teachable moment.


The next day we headed to Chicago where we would meet up again with Sole and the Skyrider Band. The venue was the Abbey Pub. The van was on its last legs. I could barely get it to start, to reverse, and to get into drive.

The show that night was great. I won’t drag it out. All of the bands were performing at a top notch level. The stage sound was great and the audience was great. One of my best friend’s from home, Evan, lives in Chicago now. We went to his place after the show. There was more boozing and bro downs and finally quiet comfortable sleep in a quiet comfortable house.

The next day, we ate at our favorite Chicago falafel place. There is nothing like it in DC. Breck did most of the drive to Columbus. We hit several potholes on the highway and the van would simply shut off at a speed of 75 to 80 mph.

I was looking forward to Ohio as like Pittsburgh, it had become sort of a second home.
The little bar was packed when we arrived. The highlight of the night was the two man comedy team—insert name-.

Our set was notable for a few reasons. Right at the end of Practice Hiding, Erick’s bass rig died. He is quite adept at figuring out the broken part of his chain so we were back in action pretty soon. The crowd was quite somber and I keep making mistakes. I hit tons of bad notes and the Korg fell off the top tier of the stand 4 times. I toned it down but I never felt like I recovered. I met quite a few complimentary folks after the show but the feeling of being a fuck-up had entered the brain.

However, we were staying with long time Ape friend, Gene Mullet. The man is a rock mainstay of Ohio and we were lucky enough to form a friendship. He has a beautiful clean and stylish home right outside of downtown Columbus.

I think I fell right asleep in the giant king size bed with fluffy comforter.

In the morning, I met Lindsay, Gene’s beautiful, smart, and sweet fiancée. It made me happy that he had a love connection. We went to one of Gene’s favorite places for breakfast and had a relaxing last meal on the road. I took lots of photos of other diners and their meals.

I took a different route on the way home thus avoiding the Penn Turnpike. It was a great move. There was beautiful scenery and smooth roads the whole way. When we had about two hours to go, I started to get sad. Erick was on the phone with his girlfriend, excitedly planning his first meal back. Breck had been talking happily with his girlfriend as well. I envisioned Jeff’s mom in the kitchen baking him cookies. Then I got a text message from my mom.

“Your cell phone bill was over $121.00. Stop using email. Get the rest of your crap out of your bedroom. We are turning that room into a walk-in closet.” Ouch. There’s my love.

When we got back to Jeff’s, my little old car was dead. Although, it started right up with a jump from the van, the reality of the age and life left in that car, smacked me in the face.

When I got back to my house in the city, I went to the bathroom. When I stood up from the toilet, my new cell phone, which contained pictures and videos from the entire tour, plopped into the bowl of Diet Mountain Dewed- flavored urine.

We found out a few days later that the van needed a new transmission. We had no choice but to replace it. There was no time or money to purchase a newer van before our next tour that started in two weeks. The new tranny cost about $1500.00 which was surprisingly cheap. The total income from the tour, however, went to fixing the van. Total take home pay from 2 ½ weeks of shows? None.

The shows were great. The people were great. I love our new record. I am thrilled that people seem to like it. We are adequately warmed up for part 2.

Next chapter: Tales with An Albatross.

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