Hi. I'm going on a six week United States tour. I'll be playing most every day except for the 5 days in the beginning of March, where I'll be meeting my ladyfriend Jenn, and my three other ladyfriends (Grandma, and great aunts Lillian and Essie) in Las Vegas to relax for a few days and win a spin or two on the nickel slot machines. My friend Joseph, who I had not seen for almost two years until a few weeks ago is going to accompany me for the first week of the trip, and another friend, Mike, will be along for the ride for the first two days of the trip. I hope to update this tour diary everyday with pictures. Thanks for reading!
Thursday February 13th
PICTURES (L to R):Joseph and Atom; Joseph posing with Atom's fancy sleeping bag.
My friend Joseph, who I had not seen for almost two years until a few weeks ago is going to accompany me for the first week of the trip, and another friend, Mike, will be along for the ride for the first two days of the trip. I hope to update this tour diary everyday with pictures. Thanks for reading!
Thursday February 13th
Friday February 14th
Joseph and I woke up early and met my friend David and took off for Richmond. David is a friend of mine whose house I've played a few times in Columbia, MO. He temporarily relocated to Washington D.C. to help produce an original Opera. We had a nice, short ride and caught up, and talked about everything from the opera to the recent, scary state of the world while listening to Guided By Voices, Neutral Milk Hotel and Public Image Limited. We arrived at University of Richmond, where I was to do a guest DJ, interview thing with a woman named Lauren on the college station. She was super nice, and afterwards we ate some lunch at the school dining place, which had a few see saws apparently for willing sorority girls to see saw for really long periods of time to raise money for something nice. Of course, David and I see sawed and I won. After the late lunch, we headed to the club where the show was to be. The show was really fun, with an enthusiastic audience. Afterwards, Joseph, David and I got some milkshakes and headed back to my friend Tim's house to go to sleep. Tim's poor dog had an infected anal gland, and has to wear one of those creepy cones on its head to prevent licking/irritation of said anal gland. Poor thing.
PICTURES (L to R):David, Joseph & Lauren at the radio station; Atom winning against David in the Seesaw event.;
Joseph holding up a sign that says, "Happy Valentines Day Alicia" Awww.; Tim's poor anal gland infected dog... awww.
Saturday February 15th
We took advantage of the relatively short drive and slept in, then went out to a vegetarian cafe for brunch. Then, Tim and Michelle (our gracious hosts) took us to a cool record store where I bought tons of used CDs (The Pupils, Ministry, and a Peter Gabriel era Genesis Cd(?!)). We dropped David off at the bus station on our way out of Richmond. It's too bad he couldn't join us for more of the trip. He's a great fellow. Joseph and I arrived in Carrboro, NC in standard Atom time (4 hours before needing to be at the show), so we went to a burrito place that was recommended and then hung out at the club (Go!) for a bit before the show. It was a bit too gloomy and drizzly to walk around town. The weather is supposed to be crappy later tonight (sleet and rain). The show was fun, and the folks present were appreciative, though it was really very very awkwardly silent between songs that I played. After the show, Joseph and I went back to my friend Annie's house, and checked the weather report on the interweb. The Carrboro area was supposed to get a big ice storm... worse than the one that earlier in the season knocked out power for a week, so Joseph and I drove a few hours south, to avoid the mess. Hopefully we drove far enough south. I went to sleep and dreampt that the car got broken into and I was very sad and grumpy.
Sunday February 16th
We woke up late, and left the cheap hotel that we found early that morning just north of Charlotte. We thought we would have driven far enough south, the previous evening to have missed the storm, but we went out to the car, and found the car covered with a half an inch of ice and it was still sleeting pretty hard. We chipped a lot of it off, and were on our way VERY slowly. We averaged about 7 miles an hour (not metric) for quite some time, and a little bit into South Carolina, the sleet turned to icy rain and that into rain. Eventually, we arrived in Columbia. It had taken us 3 and a half hours to do what usually takes 90 minutes. No food places appeared to be open except for Damon's, so that's where we ended up eating. Damon's is a ridiculous sports bar/restaurant that had a big, dingy room with five gigantic television screens showing different televised sporting events. At each table, there was a speaker, and a selector knob that allowed the table sitter to select which giant television she or he wanted to hear the sound for. We selected volume off. There were even TVs (YES, plural) in the fucking bathroom. Joseph took over the CD player in the car, so we listened to Yes, and an early Bee Gees record and something else that I forget right now. We left after the show to try and cut down on the long drive tomorrow, stopping at Waffle House for some coffee. The show was in a really gigantic hall with the highlight being the watch-age of Guyana Punch Line, who were hilarious, and wonderful. There was a nude circle pit for 3.7 seconds. The pictures of Guyana Punch Line and Piedmont Charisma from the night before came out crappy, so no pictures.
Monday February 17th
Joseph and I arrived in Gainesville in the late afternoon and stopped at the No Idea Records office to say hello to my old friends who work there. I browsed through their records and found a few things and bought them. We eventually left to run a few errands, and met the No Idea folks at a Japanese restaurant (eventually… Var and Jennifer's car's alternator ate the poop so I went to give them a jump at a gas station down the street from the restaurant) for some sushi. It was tasty and the show was one of the most fun on the trip thus far. Afterwards, Joseph and I went back to my friend Dave's house to sleep. Dave had a really nice kitty that kneaded my blubbery belly until I went to sleep.
Tuesday February 18th
Joseph, Dave and I headed over to the No Idea Records office (Dave works there). Joseph and I did a few errands (taped up some shirts that had been shipped to me, care of No Idea), bought vitamins, books and lunch. Afterwards we split for Tampa. We left, as usual, at a ridiculously early time as to arrive at the show way before it's necessary. However, we ended up arriving on time (still, there was no one at the club for another half an hour, yay compulsivity!) because on I-75, the interstate between Gainesville and Tampa, there was a traffic standstill for about 45 minutes due to a 'hostage crisis'. Apparently someone with a bunch of weaponry in his van took a few hostages after killing someone, somewhere between Gainesville and Tampa. Not sure how the standoff ended, but it did, and surprisingly quickly. My friends Chris, Dan and Jeff met me at the show and it was nice to see them... The show was a bit awkward. It's pretty hard to tell when people you don't know are joking, so there were a few comments that people had made while I was playing which made that kinda rubbed me the wrong way, and I'm not sure if I handled it right. I know I'm not being specific… too tired. So, show good, but weird. Apparently, Philadelphia received 20 inches of snow. Insane. While it's certainly nice to be in warm, balmy Florida and hear about that, part of me wishes I could be home, trapped in the house with the dog and the friends and family with lots of coffee and movies. waaah. Baby noises.
PICTURES: 2 Photographs of me playing taken by Matt Gordon
Wednesday February 19th
Joseph and I stayed at my friend Chris's house. We slept late, and got up and met up with another friend Dan, and drank coffee, ate breakfast, went to a record store, and drank more coffe. We got to find out about the 'hostage situation' that dealyed us the day before from the Tampa newspaper. Apparently, it was a domestic dispute, which turned into a hit and run, so the cops surrounded this fellow and his wife, and to prove that they were 'close' the couple stripped to being nude and ran to the cops. I shit you not. Tampa rules. After a great day with Dan, Joseph and Chris, I took off for Orlando and left Joseph in Tampa where he was to take the train back to Philadelphia later in the evening. So begins a different part of the tour where it's just me driving around. I arrived in Orlando and my a few friends to eat some Sushi near the club where I was to play. Camp Kill Yourself was playing at the club next door and a few of them came over the the show after they were done. A particularly drunk member of CKY heckled me a for a while about cheesesteaks and amoroso hoagie rolls, which in part made the show particularly fun. After the show, I went back to my friends Brian and Karen's house and took a much needed shower and went to sleep.
PICTURES (L to R): Me, Dan and Chris outside Chris's house; Me, Joseph & Chris in front of the Parthenon.
Thursday February 20th
I had stayed at my friend Brian's house. We woke up and went out for burritos, and then I was off to Tallahasee. I arrived at the show, as usual, way too early and found a coffee place nearby where I sat and answered email and called friends and family from home. The show was cool and then sleepy sleep.
Friday February 21st
New Orleans, LA
I woke up early to make the six hour drive to New Orleans. I was invited to co-host a radio show by two nice folks at Tulane University at 4pm. It poured for a lot of the drive, and there was a ton of traffic once I got near New Orleans (I'm told that this is Mardi Gras traffic.... even though Mardi Gras isn't until NEXT weekend. Insane.), but I arrived at the station on time and had fun with the super nice hosts Rochelle, Julie and Karen. The most remarkable thing about the long ride is that apparently the car radio is possessed. For some reason, about 15 times an hour, the balance setting of the radio automatically shifts to the right so that the sound is only coming out of the speakers on the right side of the car. This of course, is driving me fucking crazy. After the radio show, Julie was nice enough to let me follow her to where the show was to be, all the way across town. The show was a house show and really fun. Afterwards, I headed back to my friend Bryan's house and went to sleep. Zzzzzzzz.
Saturday February 22nd
The car radio has stepped up its evil plan to drive me insane. Now, not only does the radio spontaneously shift the balance of whatever is playing so that it only plays out of the rightside of the car, 10-15 times an hour, but when I try and switch the balance back to the center, it doesn't change the balance, but 'bass' setting... at which point it sounds like a transistor radio. Nevertheless, the Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society and Queensryche's Operation : Mindcrime are still enjoyable CDs on the way to Houston from New Orleans. I got to the place I was to play in Houston at 5 but no one was there, so I ate some good Mexican food next door, and went to get some food with the band Mae (they're playing a few shows with me, and are really nice). The show was fun though I feel like I have a sort throat (I'm sure, yelling everyday for 45 minutes in smokey clubs will do that).
Sunday February 23rd
I had stayed in Houston with a friend of a friend named Stephanie. My throat was hoarse, so we went out for Chinese food and I got some soup. I drove to Austin, and arrived at the club Emo's where I was to play, on time, but there was an earlier show going on with the Juliana Theory, so I walked around, saw Insane Clown Posse fans(?!) waiting in line for their show down the street. The fans were dressed up with makeup and stuff, and looked pretty neat/funny. I got myself some sushi, as to try and eat as healthily as possible because I could feel a cold coming on. Afterwards, I walked to Starbucks, and drunk a ton of hot tea, and peed about every 15 minutes for the rest of the evening. The show was at a cool place, called Emo's and was good. There were lots of friendly people there, and lots of playful heckling during the show. Afterwards, I went back to my friend Doug's apartment and slept for almost 11 hours, trying to fight off the cold.
Monday February 24th
I was supposed to pick up my friend Ben at the Austin airport (he was returning from a vacation in Las Vegas, but I had asked a friend of his to pick him up because he was supposed to come in really early, and I didn't get back from the show until really late, and I wanted to get some sleep to fight off my cold. I, by accident slept until 1:30, so I wasn't even able to meet Ben for lunch or anything. A big bummer, actually. Ben's a good friend who I don't get to see too often. I took off for Dallas, and arrived to a dark Gypsy Tea Room (the club where I was to play (in theory)). I rang the bell and got let in. On the way up to Dallas, it was sleeting, and got worse as I approached the city. I hung around the Gypsy Tea room for a bit, and read, until the fellow who was in charge of the club decided that the show would be cancelled. By this time there was a sheet of ice all across northern Texas. It's too bad that the show was cancelled, though on the positive side, my throat and cold could stand a night not yelling, and not inhaling lots of secondhand smoke. I drove VERY slowly to a hotel (I don't know anyone in Dallas, and obviously wasn't able to meet any hospitable, kind folks at the show), checked in, ate dinner at the Denny's next door and went back to the room and took a nice hot bath, watched a bit of the Golden Child, and right now, I'm typing this, and waiting for Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel as my friend, who does Har Mar Superstar is going to be on it!
PHOTO: View of ice surrounded swimming pool from my fancy hotel room where I was iced in.
Tuesday February 25th
Oklahoma City, OK
I woke up and the entire city of Dallas was covered with 2 inches of ice (4.4 cm, really). I called up to make sure that Oklahoma City wasn't under any ice. It wasn't, so it took five and a half hours (it normally takes three) to reach OK City, but I made it. I got to the club way too early (surprise), and got a sandwich for dinner, passing up the tempting sushi place near the club. Something told me that it may not be a good idea to eat sushi in Oklahoma. The show was cool, and there was a record store right next door, run by friendly folks, so I picked up used copies of Nonesuch by XTC, Boys Don't Cry by the Cure, and a Hanoi Rocks CD that I had when I was little and remember liking a song off of. Car radio update: Now, the radio doesn't eject the CDs that are in it. They get jammed in there. So, now it's impossible, for all intents and purposes to listen to CDs in the car, because getting them out takes about 20 minutes of nudging the stuck CD out with another CD. I thought the car radio would be my best friend on a trip that involves driving zillions of hours by myself. I will win. The coolest thing about driving in the ciy weather has been that this weird spiked like ice thing formed on the wheel of the car I'm driving. It looks like the cheating weapon from the drag race in Grease on the bad dood's car.... or the tire weapon from Spy Hunter.
PHOTO: Wheel and tire of my momma's car that I'm driving.
Wednesday February 26th
I woke up, and for some reason had completely underestimated the time it would take to drive to Lubbock, and found that I didn't even have directions for the show... so I was a bit grumpy early in the day. But that all changed when I arrived in Lubbock. The folks who run the college radio station of Texas Tech (KTXT) invited me on the air to do an interview and chat. They were all SO nice and friendly, and funny and fun. Rarely do I meet a bunch of people with whom I feel instantly comfortable. They even had a really nice dog named Poet that hung out at the station. After the interview, a bunch of us went out for Indian Food. The show was in a bar that let us do an all ages show there. The Needies played, a one person band from Lubbock made up of another really funny, nice person from Lubbock and then Sixty Stories. Sixty Stories (Paul, Sara(h?), Jo, and Jo(h?)n the merch fellow) are some friends of mine from Winnipeg, who I met while we played a few weeks worth of shows in Europe a year and half ago. We'll be playing the next two and half weeks worth of shows together. After I played, the manager of the bar was annoyed that the show was done and it was only 12:30 AM. He was afraid that everyone would leave and he wouldn't make any money selling alcohol. This seemed silly to me, as most of the kids who were at the show were underage, so they weren't buying any drinks anyway. The over 21 folks, a few of which were there to see the show, seemed content with CDs playing over the P.A. Anyway, the manager threatened that he wouldn't pay the radio station folks (who had set up the show, and were to pay the bands) the full amount that they had agreed on, unless we continued to make music until 2am (this was not the agreement that the radio station folks had with the club, nice!). Sixty Stories were really good sports about it, and played lots of cover songs, and older songs for a while, and a few folks stuck around, though I doubt it made a major impact on the bar sales. After that, sleep.
PHOTO: Some of the awesome KTXT folks and dog.
Thursday February 27th
I woke up and went out for breakfast with Nina, one of the folks from WTXT, and then went to a record stores, and bought a few cheap used CDs. I drove the six hours to Albuquerque and played to the smallest audience of the tour, so far, but the people present were appreciative, and cool, so it was a whole lot of fun. Afterwards, me and Sixty Stories went to a hotel that had a marquee that said "$17.99 Sngl". What can beat a $17.99 motel room? I suppose an $18.00 motel room not lined with other people's pubic hair.
Friday February 28th
Me and Sixty Stories left the scary hotel and got breakfast and then we parted ways as they had to do some errands. I drove to Phoenix, through some very strange weather. At points along the drive there was snow, and it was below freezing, and it was even raining as I arrived in Phoenix. Weird. I also drove past a particularly hideous car wreck. I arrived at the cool art space where the show was to be, and was early so I went to the coffee/sandwich shop down the street and got some coffee and some hommous that I didn't really like. Luckily the Sixty Stories folks showed up and don't have as many problems with chunks in food, so they ate it. The show was really fun. It was one of the few five band shows that didn't take forever and was really enjoyable. It poured tonight during the show.... in Phoenix. I expect it to be 500 degrees in Minneapolis. We stayed with my friend Matt, who had actually set up the show in Phoenix for my old band Fracture on our first tour in 1994(!).
Saturday March 1st
San Diego, CA
I woke up at my friend Matt's and Sixty Stories had already left to do some errands and Matt had left for work. His cats stared at me as I gathered my things and left. I drove through the beautiful desert to San Diego and met Sixty Stories at the cool, leftist cafe where the show was to be. We were super early, so Sixty Stories went to get their oil changed, and I kidnapped John from them and took him to get some coffee with me. I brought back a burrito and the Sixty Stories folks cooked some dinner on their camping stove. The show was really fun, and to an very enthusiastic crowd. Among the opening acts was a fellow named Nate who was a one person band who did what he called 'brutal folk music'. Among songs about demons, he also probably was the only one person band to do a competant cover of Deicide's 'Lunatic of God's Creation'.
Sunday March 2nd
San Luis Obispo, CA
Driving driving driving. Even on a sunday, it was a pain in the ass to drive through Los Angeles because of traffic. I drove the six hour drive up to San Luis Obispo, much of which was very beautiful coastline. I arrived and met two nice folks, Matt and Liz, who had emailed me a few weeks ago and offered to show me around town. We saw what I mainly wanted to see in San Luis Obispo, which was 'Bubble Gum Alley'. I had read about it in a book about bubble gum that someone got me once. It's a small alley that people have traditionally stuck chewed bubble gum on the walls of it. Braving the smell of barf (I'm not sure if that's the smell of used bubble gum en masse, or the remnants of the day's Mardi Gras celebration), we visited Bubble Gum Alley. Pretty gross, but neat. We also tried to visit the auto parts store because my mom's car that I'm driving has a burned out left turn signal, but we were too late and it was closed. Matt and Liz were super nice and we went out for dinner. The show was fun, though the place (a gourmet pot pie restaurant, featuring some really nice folks who ran it, and worked there) had a small official capacity so there were a bunch of people who wanted to get into the show, but couldn't get in. That kinda stunk, especially because the room wasn't anywhere near full. For the second straight night, a band made a joke-y comment about the Great White show disaster in Rhode Island. I guess people get desensitzed to terrible events when they only see them on TV, or perhaps there's just so much terrible shit that happens all the time, that it doesn't really seem real. I guess I don't think it's so funny, and I don't think I'm someone who is particularly uptight, but jeez... those were real people with real families that were killed. I wonder if any of the folks making jokes about the event in Rhode Island considered that there may be some people present who knew people who were injured or killed... After the show, I drove a few hours east to knock out some of the long drive to Las Vegas, NV, where tomorrow I will be meeting my ladyfriend Jenn, my Grandma and two great aunts (Essie and Lillian).
PHOTOS(L to R):Me in Bubble Gum Alley; Matt and Liz in Bubble Gum Alley
Monday March 3rd
Las Vegas, NV
I drove another 6 hours to meet Jenn, Grandma, Lillian and Essie at the hotel that we'll be staying. They flew in from Newark, NJ and took a cab to the hotel. I found my ladies sitting, by the pool with their coats on eating sandwiches with what my grandma likes to call 'miscellaneous' on them... that is, anything edible (arguably) from my grandmother's refrigerator in northern New Jersey. We sat for a bit, and drank some coffee, and played the nickel slot machines in the hotel lobby for a bit. I won $8.70, which really is a fuck of a lot of nickels. It's wonderful to see them. They're all wonderful people and a whole lot of fun. It'll be a great week with them, and I could use a few nights off from yelling. After dinner I won $100 playing roulette.
PHOTOS(L to R):My ladies:Lillian, Jenn, Essie and Grandma raising a glass; Me and Jenn just before we become really rich in Las Vegas
Tuesday March 4th
Las Vegas, NV
We woke up and went to Autozone because the left rear blinker burnt out in the car I'm driving. I felt handy changing the light bulb (I can unscrew two screws and put in a light bulb!). After that, we got an oil change, and concluded the car maintainance of the day. After breakfast, we went to the Caesar's Palace hotel and casino and saw the talking statue show. The talking statue show is at a big fountain in the hotel. It's four robotic statues (a la Roman marble statues) that talk and have laser lights shot around them (with smoke machines!). The robots 'talk', that is, they move their mouths while some noises are made from the p.a. speakers. The sound from the p.a. speakers, while unintelligible to me was not Latin, I'm pretty sure. It beared more resemblance to the 'womp womp' speaking of the adults in the Charlie Brown cartoons. It truly was one of the worst things ever. I think tomorrow, Lillian wants us to go see the 'Atlantis' talking statue presentation, which I'm sure is the same presentation with different plaster slopped on the same robots doing the same movements. Needless to say, we all had a wonderful time laughing at the robot/statues and the other audience members (most of who applauded the robots at the conclusion!!!!!). Afterwards we went back to our hotel. I lost $100 on roulette while the ladies rested upstairs. For dinner we went to a buffet at a big fancy hotel/casino (ours is comfortable but not quite fancy), which was really good, and after that, we went back to our hotel and the ladies played slot machines while I won $120 playing roulette! Las Vegas is truly an amazing town. At night, it's really like no other place I've ever been. All the casinos are lit up with beautiful/ugly lights. I wonder what it's like for people who live here. I'm playing here tomorrow night and can't wait to talk to the kids about what it's like growing up in a town like this.
Wednesday March 5th
Las Vegas, NV
We woke up and went to a $4.95 all you can eat breakfast buffet at one of the fancier hotels, and met my uncle Josh (my grandma's youngest son) at our hotel. Josh had flown in from where he lives in San Francisco because he has spring break at the university that he teaches. We drove to Circus Circus, a casino that sports a 24 hour circus in it. We watched some trapeeze artists soar through the air above hundreds of slot machines. I really can't describe how insane/interesting/neato/overwhelming this city is. After that we went to a casino called Excalibur, whose theme is knights and dragons and stuff. We watched a puppet show and walked to the Luxor casino/hotel which is ancient Egyptian themed and is shaped like a big pyramid. It's sort of like a pyramid-skyscraper hybrid. After that, we were all pretty beat, so we went back to the hotel to rest for a bit. Jenn drove me to where I was playing that night. The show was at this really huge theatre... They had blocked off the theatre, and set up a a small p.a. in the lobby, and that's where me and two other bands played. It was a small show, but pretty fun. I went to the show, hoping to meet lots of kids who grew up in Las Vegas and had weird stories, and family members who were card dealers etc, but most of the Las Vegas kids I talked to didn't have any good stories, and didn't seem too interested in talking to me about Las Vegas. Luckily, I met three people who grew up in Anchorage, Alaska so I got to bug them with lots of questions about that. FYI, they had seen igloos, had weathered really dark winters, and Juneau really has no roads leading out of it or connecting it with other cities. After the show, Jenn picked me up, and we stopped at a 24 hour record store that was huge in area, but crappy in selection, and then to an equally huge souvenir shop where Jenn bought a patch that says 'I have been to Las Vegas'. I'm sure everyone will congratulate her when she gets home.
Thursday March 6th
Las Vegas, NV
We again, ate breakfast at the $4.95 buffet and again ate too much. Afterwards we went to a REALLY fancy casino/hotel that I can't spell the name of. It was really ornate. I talked to a Baccarak (spelled wrong I'm sure) dealer for a while, and she was totally cool and willing to answer my questions. The maximum bet that she had ever taken was $50,000. The house won. She had received a $15,000 tip once. We then made our way over to the Liberace museum and saw his bright outfits and sequin covered cars. After that, we dropped the ladies (Lillian, Grandma, and Essie) at the hotel to rest, and Josh, Jenn and I walked around for a bit. Before we did that though, the three of us stopped at the front desk of our hotel inquiring about brothels. In asking about directions to the brothels, Josh asked if it was okay if he took his kids there (pointing to me and Jenn). Josh also asked if there was an age limit. The clerk answered, "You have to be 18." Josh explained that he meant if there was an age maximum and explained that his aunt Essie is 88 years old and he was wondering if it would be okay if he brought her too. The clerk explained that it was okay for Essie to come along too. Note that the clerk did not flinch at all when Josh asked him theses questions. I suppose he must get weirder stuff than that.
PHOTOS(L to R):Us, minus Jenn outside the Liberace (iberace) museum; Grandma and Josh in front of an Ibex.
Friday March 7th
It was kind of a bummer of a day. I left my ladies and my uncle Josh in Las Vegas and drove to Anaheim. I had a great time in Las Vegas with all of them and will surely miss them. I arrived in Anaheim early and got a burrito and some coffee. I went over to Chain Reaction, where the show was to be. Chain Reaction is a cool all ages punk club that's been able to remain open for a number of years. It's nice to see it still open and thriving, and it was also great to resume the tour with the Sixty Stories folks. A band of three women from Japan named Megababe opened the show. They spoke little English but were very friendly. The show for me wasn't a whole lot of fun. There were a lot of really nice folks that I met before the show, but while I was playing, a few crusty-ish looking punks were being a pain in the ass. They kept yelling at me to play my cover of 'Where Eagles Dare'. I thanked them, and explained that I wasn't going to play that song because I had others which I had wanted to play. I believe I did this in a respectful manner, but they replied by giving me the finger and yelling 'fuck you' many many times. This is all fine because it was really fun to make fun of them for this. Then those same kids started fights with a few people so the folks at Chain Reaction had to kick them out. While it was sort of funny how ridiculous they were acting, it was a bummer too, and made my set feel REALLY long and boring. There were a few other bratty people there who added to the annoying atmostphere. One fellow was nice enough to ask me if I wanted to go to Denny's after the show. I thanked him for the invitation but explained that I still had to clean up my stuff from the show and had to figure out a place to sleep etc. The fellow walked away while I was in mid-sentence… pretty rude I thought. So, overall… it was not one of the more enjoyable shows.
Saturday March 8th
Los Angeles, CA
I headed to the radio station KUIC and played on a radio show hosted by some really nice folks. We ate some pizza and I headed up to Los Angeles to the Troubadour, where I was to play with Ted Leo and Erase Errata later that night. The show was great, and it was nice to see some friends who came to the show, even though as soon as I was done playing, I realized that my fly had been down. oops. Afterwards, the Sixty Stories folks and I went back to my friend Louis's place, who runs Hopeless Records. We watched an episode of South Park and went to sleep.
Sunday March 9th
We woke up and went out for brunch with friends Louis, Darren, Michelle and their friend Jay. After brunch we went over to the Hopeless Records warehouse, and I picked up some boxes that I had had shipped there. Then… malted milkshakes from Johnny Rockets! We arrived early in Ventura, so the Sixty Stories folks and I played some miniature golf. The show was quiet, but at a really cool theatre put on by some really friendly eagle scouts. The highlight of the night was a fellow at the show who offered to do backflips off of a wall near where I was sitting, and selling records.
PHOTOS(L to R):Sarah's chin, Jo, John and me squinting; A fellow at the show in Ventura doing a backflip.
Monday March 10th
I drove to Prunedale, got some good Mexican food and received a phone call from the Sixty Stories folks saying that they had broken something on their van and had to get it fixed. It turned out to not take a long time, so they made it to the show with plenty of time to spare. The show was at a weird/neat non-alcohol all ages place that acted as a venue/truck rental place. Oddly enough, it was the first time Sixty Stories or I had played at a venue/truck rental place. There were 5 bands scdheduled to play which i think it s way too much, especially on a monday night, but there were a fair number of really friendly people there, so it was bearable. The P.A. system was awful, so I had to play really quietly but somehow it was still really fun to play. Afterwards me and Sixty Stories went back to some really nice peoples' house.
Tuesday March 11th
San Francisco, CA
We went to the supermarket to get some lunch with the really nice folks Corey, and Lindsey who had put us up the night before and then drove to San Francisco. We located Amoeba records, a gigantic new and used record store and I spent way too much money on used CDs. Lowlights include a Yes CD. The show was really fun, and I saw some old, good friends, including my next door neighbor from when I was growing up who I hadn't seen in about 15 years.
Wednesday March 12th
I spent most of the afternoon record shopping at two excellent, huge, used and new record stores in Berkeley and bought a bunch of stuff that was pretty cheap. I finally found the Bee Gees 'First' record, and the Yes record 'Drama' that I was looking for. I also got some good Indian food with my friends Martha and Ramsey and then took off for Sacramento. The show was really small, but it was really fun even though the soundman made me sound check for an hour.
Thursday March 13th
Sixty Stories and I arrived in Reno in the early afternoon and went to the casino Circus Circus and gambled a few dollars, and watched a Chineese woman juggle tables and other bulky heavy objects with her feet. I met up with my friend David, who I know from 1999 when he set up my first show in Reno. He's an excellent fellow who I wish I saw more often than each time I get to visit Reno (once every 18 months or so). We ate some dinner, and I headed to the show which was to be at a place called Ark-a-ik. Ark-a-ik is made up of a front room, which is small and houses a record store, and a back room which is large and is used as a venue for live bands. Apparently, as a result of the tragedies of the Rhode Island great White concert, and the Chicago nightclub in the last few weeks, fire marshalls all across the U.S. are slashing capacities, and in the case of this Reno club, closing the large room. So, the show was held in the front, small record store part of the space. The capacity of the room was decided to be 50, by the fire marshall, so the show was 'sold out' even though the room was really only half full. The sound was really bad for some reason that I can't really understand, but the folks at the show were good sports, and it was fun to play anyway. After the show, Sixty Stories and I went back to David's house and hung around, and chatted and slept.
Friday March 14th
I woke up and played David in another installment of our Madden 2002 series on the Playstation, this time ending in a 20-17 overtime defeat for my Philadelphia Eagles. Apparently, there had been a snowstorm in the Sierra mountain range (just west of Reno), and they were requiring chains to be on cars to be allowed to pass. I waited it out, until it warmed up a bit, and headed back to Berkeley where I was to play later on at excellent punk club 924 Gilman Street. The show was great, and it's excellent that punk mainstay 924 Gilman Street is still alive and thriving. After the show, Sixty Stories and I drove a few hours to try and knock out a few hours of the 11 hour drive to Portland. I drove 3 and 1/2 hours and then stopped at a rest stop, put the car seat back and slept for a few hours.
Saturday March 15th
From the rest stop, I drove for 8 hours or so and arrived in Portland, and met some nice folks at the venue who showed us where to get good burritos and coffee, which I needed at this point desperately. The car is starting to smell pretty bad, due mostly to having boy breath sleep smell in it from me sleeping in it the night before, but also probably due to the increasingly large mesh bag of my dirty laundry that lives in the back of the car. The show was really fun and at a revamped place that I had actually played at with my friends' band Franklin in 1997. In 1997, no one showed up to the show, and the opening band (the only folks who watched me play who were not Franklin, or the fellow who set up the show) threw hard candy at me while I played. It struck me as odd, as they were the ones who had just been embarrassed playing to almost no one, so they certainly knew what it felt like, and they were actively trying to make it more embarrassing for me. Fortunately, this time the show was much better attended and wasn't painful to play. Afterwards, Sixty Stories and I went to a nice fellow named Jesse's house and I slept quite hard. Of course, it rained, which makes me a little more comfortable with the strange weather in other cities I've visited on this trip.
Sunday March 16th
We slept in, recovering from the crappy night's sleep in our automobiles the previous evening. I drove up to Olympia, while the Sixty Stories folks checked out a skate park in Portland. The show was fun and in the back room of a cool restaurant bar. Afterwards, Sixty Stories and I went back to the fellow who had set up the show, Justin's house and ate pizza and watched a few episodes of South Park.
Monday March 17th
We had a short drive to Redmond, WA for the show today, so we went out for breakfast in Olympia and tried to go see a movie, but the selection was awful, so we ended up driving up to Redmond, only stopping for green milkshakes. The show in Redmond was at a wonderful youth center called the Old Fire House. It was supposed to be with my friends' Ean and Rebecca's band called Tales from the Birdbath, but Rebecca was sick, so they couldn't play. We arrived very early and played a bunch of games with a football, and then a few with a basketball. Playing basketball with a football is not easy. The show was fun. Word.
PHOTO:Me and Sixty Stories eating green milkshakes.
Tuesday March 18th
For the next few days, I have a bunch of long drives to do. I drove 8 hours to Boise, met my friend Bug and his girlfriend Siobhan for dinner, and played the show. Then! Zzzzzzzz. I have a feeling that the next few days are going to have similiar schedules of driving lots, playing a littler, and sleeping a little.
Wednesday March 19th
Salt Lake City, UT
I got up early and drove to Salt Lake City only stopping for gas and an oil change. I arrived at around 4pm and heard that apparently there's been so much snow in the Denver area (where I'm supposed to play tomorrow) that the show is cancelled. So, the next show I'm supposed to play is in Kansas City on friday. The only snag is that Kansas City is about a 22 hour drive from where I am now, and I'm not sure the highways between here and there will be open due to the insane amount of snow in the area just east of here. Hmm.
Thursday March 20th
Boulder, CO (in theory, because show was cancelled, so I'm actually in Lexington, Nebraska)
Woke up. Drove 12 hours while listening to NPR war reports, Abba, Magnetic Fields, Franklin and Boston. Went to bed.
Friday March 21st
Kansas City, MO
I said goodbye to the Sixty Stories folks, as they were off to play a show in Des Moines, IA and then head home to Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was a bummer to say goodbye. I had a great time hanging out with them. I'm looking forward to spending more time with them as we tour a lot of Europe together. I drove six hours to the show in KC, alternating between depressing war coverage and the rock n' roll. The show in Kansas City was really great, probably giving me the best response of the tour which is strange as I'd never played there before. I chatted with a few nice people and took off after the show and drove three hours to just north of Des Moines, IA.
Saturday March 22nd
Drove, played, drove and slept. Actually, it was more interesting than that. After the show in Minneapolis, I drove for a few hours to knock out some of the long drive to Chicago and found a cheap hotel. I sat in my room, and to my surprised heard the folks in the room next door having some really loud sex. The bedboard wasn't exactly knocking against the wall, but it certainly reminded me of some movie scene (The Secret of My Success?).
Sunday March 23rd
I arrived in Chicago and had a great show at the Fireside Bowl, a bowling alley that's been converted into a show space. The show was with Grand Buffet (a favorite of mine), Brazil, and Sole, an Anticon hip hop-ish band. After the show, I went back to sweetheart friends David and Pamela's house, and we stayed up late chatting about all sorts of stuff.
Monday March 24th
David, Pamela and I went out for breakfast at a non-breakfast serving place, so we ended up with crab cake sandwiches for breakfast. I split after breakfast for Detroit. The show was fun, especially keeping in mind that it was a monday. Lots of enthusiasm and chatter back and forth, and friendly folks there were.
Tuesday March 25th
I drove to Cleveland and arrived way too early so I went to a couple of lousy record stores and then sat in a coffee shop and answered some email for a while. The show was fun and I ended up eating burritos for lunch AND dinner. Victory! After the show, I talked to a fellow who thought that I was being a jerk when I was playing because I answered him and others who had been shouting requests, some of which I played, and some of which I responded to by saying, 'Thanks for wanting to hear songs that I have played but I'm going to play this (another) one." He thought that I was saying this in a mocking 'it's 2003 dood, get with the program!' fashion. It's really nice when people want to hear particular songs of mine, whether they're old or new, and it's flattering to me and I'm grateful. I certainly hope it comes across that way. I know that I tend to be a sarcastic person, but I do mean it.
Wednesday March 26th
The show in Syracuse had me worried a bit because it was in a huge (800 person capacity) hall, and usually the stuff I do is more fun to play on a less than mammoth stage. A decent number of people showed up and it turned out to be an excellent show. Perhaps I'm being swayed by the presence of a super fast Ms. Pac Man machine in the back of the hall, and a high scoring game that I played on it. Afterwards, I stayed at my friend Dan's apartment and watched old hip hop videos on TV. It was almost like the rap equivalent of Muppet Babies. I forgot that N.W.A. and 2 Live Crew were such little cuties when they were little.
PHOTO:Me playing in Syracuse.
Thursday March 27th
An excellent day. I'm playing the final three shows with my friends' band the Zambonis, who play excellent pop rock songs, only about hockey. Strangely enough, I coincidentally almost ran into them at a diner that I was sitting after finding an oil change in Albany. It was excellent to see them and we immediately had a catch with the football that I brought along on tour. It was a good way to meet the new guitarist and drummer of the Zambonis. The new drummer, Matt can throw a KNUCKLEBALL with a football. It's amazing and for some reason, giggle inspiring. He also was a second string punter at SMU while Eric Dickerson was there, so tomorrow, I will nudge him for stories. The show was cool, and I beat my friend Dave from the Zambonis in bubble hockey 4 games to 3. It's great to be getting close to being home after being away for 6 weeks. It certainly feels strange knowing that an EZ Pass sign makes me smile.
Friday March 28th
The Zambonis and I went for breakfast, a music store, and a hobby shop and then drove to Cambridge, MA where we walked around for a while. The show was at a great venue called the Middle East, which is a one third, good middle eastern food, and 2/3 show venue. The show was great, and a bunch of old friends from the overnight summer camp that I attended for many years when I was a little fellow attended, and of course it was excellent to see them. The only down part of the evening was the fact that I was filthy from being on the road for 6 weeks, and a drunken fellow spilled his beer all over my already gross, but not sticky arm, and my notebooks to make them sticky and gross. I stayed with my old friend Jed after the show just outside of Boston.
Saturday March 29th
New York, NY
I went out for breakfast with Jed and drove to New York City for the final show on the tour. My ladyfriend Jenn and friend Mike surprised me by taking the train up to NYC to meet me at the show. The show was great, but I was ready to get home. I drove the 2 hours home and unloaded the car, danced with the dog and went the fuck to bed. Thanks for reading this far.
PHOTO:Me and the Zambonis collaborating on rock music.