You’re Getting Paid For This Crap?
While I was supposed to be constructing some well thought article, I found
myself neglecting my deadline and wasting time playing music on tour with
the van. So what we have here is the ravings of an intoxicated bass player.
TOUR DIARY- LAWRENCE, KANSAS EARLY MORNING 12/9/02
This is the early part of the second tour with the new four-piece Wu. There
are new tunes, folks are digging them, and we are really beginning to feel
out the natural path for the jams. To keep it interesting, I’m suffering
from a severe case of "The Early Tour Blisters" on my picking hand. These
are blisters that form under the calluses from the last tour. They blow up
like obscene balloons spewing puss every time I gnaw another chunk of skin
off the pads of my fingers between songs. I know that’s not a pleasant
thought, but the searing pain that comes every time I pluck a string is
unfuckingbearable. To make matters worse, Old Style beer and aspirin doing
their usual magic on the pain. The only precaution I can take is wrapping up
my injured digits with tape to mute the worst of the agony. As far as
medical complications go, this treatment isn’t far removed from the
cardboard megaphone the vet puts a dog’s neck after he humanely removes
I’m trying my best to not let this get to me. But this is painful, and I’m a
TOUR DIARY- BOULDER, COLORADO VERY EARLY MORNING 12/13/02
College-burg towns are a lot alike, in a pleasant, diversity-orientated/
politically corrected way. To call Boulder Colorado a Rocky Mountain Madison
Wisconsin or Berkeley California is both a generalization and yet a
surprisingly accurate six-word Lonely Planet travel guide summary. On any
afternoon in any of these towns you can find oodles of freshly scrubbed pale
youngsters slumming outside the local coffee shop, stopping traffic with an
impromptu disc golf match. You can’t swing a dead cat by the tail without
whacking a hippied-out student who applies the same careful and diligent
work to a Zig Zag paper as he does the term paper he’s writing for his
"Interpreting Modern Dance As A Tool for Understanding Geopolitical
Economics" class. Regular townies are everywhere, going about their
business. Actual professors, of course, are nowhere to be found. I know I’ve
mentioned this before, but where do the academia go when class is over?
(Once I thought I saw a pair of tenures drinking scotch at the hotel bar in
Madison, WI, but I was mistaken. They were just a pair of old boozehounds
with receding gray ponytails and patches on the elbows of their tweed sport
coats yakking about Camus. They looked to me like the Ghost of Christmas
Future; I got frightened and left.)
Being a native of Northfield, MN, the home Carleton "The Harvard of the
Midwest" and St. Olaf "Didn’t We Used to Have a Decent Ranking?" Colleges, I
feel right at home in Boulder. The folks here are pretty much the same as
home, or even Berkeley. But I secretly suspect that Boulder is the one place
among these three that you could find a co-ed wearing a North Face fleece
thong. I don’t think you can recycle fleece in Marin County, and Minnesota
Lutherans are far too modest for such apparel.
But don’t count us Scandinavians out all together. With modesty comes
sensibility. Unlike Boulder and Berkeley, you can smoke cigarettes in the
bars in Northfield. Yes, that’s right, you can puff those delicious coffin
nails without some sanctimonious nitwit crying about the local ordinances.
Feel free to choke on a Camel until your lungs are as dark as the Rum & Coke
in your other hand, nobody is gonna say boo about it. And anybody who
doesn’t like it can go drink their white wine spritzers at home with the
other killjoys. However, that’s not how it works in Boulder. Which is fine,
I mean, when in Rome. wait, if this was Rome I could smoke anywhere, but
this is Boulder, so I just light up on stage and call it "art".
TOUR DIARY- DALLAS, TEXAS 12/21/02
I just got off stage from the last show off the tour. This was too much fun.
Olospo opened the and simply proceeded to kick ass. They’re great, they
rock, they’re chops are insane. I can’t wait until they start making a habit
of touring. I really feel that they will leave whole packs of folks
wondering what the fuck just hit ‘em. The heads in Dallas are familiar with
them, and they are welcome alumni of the Big Wu Family Reunion. I think that
they can grab the kind of attention that Umphree’s McGee has gotten.
Olospo and the Wu split the night at the Redblood club in Deep Ellum, the
fun section of the Big D’s downtown. Deep Ellum was a predominately black
neighborhood of markets, jobs and bars based around the railroad in the
first half of the twentieth century. It has evolved into Dallas’ nightclub
district, with a terrific selection of restaurants: college student dive to
upscale wallet-buster. I believe it’s the sign of a truly great neighborhood
if you can spend five bucks on the fucking best burger or cross the street
and blow a buck-fifty on the sexiest sushi and have both be everything you
could ever ask for.
And I did have both. The menu at Adair’s Saloon was hand-written and taped
on to the mirror behind the bar next to a framed photo of the owner standing
next to Willie Nelson. It featured a whooping four items: a 1/2lb hamburger,
1/2lb burger w/ cheese, grilled cheese, or grilled ham and cheese. Want a
salad? No problem, Tex. Simply order five burgers, peel off the lettuce,
pickles, onions and jalapeno peppers and top with ketchup and mayo for a
great white-trash French dressing. Feel free to donate the meat to the
barfly down the brass rail. He looks like he could use some protein. Just
don’t touch my burger, for I didn’t go to Texas for roughage.
After recovering from my beef-induced food coma, I waddled over to Deep
Sushi on Elm St. I wasn’t in any position to blow my rent money on sashimi,
but I pecked around and found some distinctly southern rolls. The Cajun roll
had crawfish tempura and a dusting of pepper- delicious.
The Redblood is smaller than the other places we’ve played in Dallas, and it
was packed. It’s a good thing the building inspector didn’t stop by for his
monthly "contribution". The tribute paid would have been rather extravagant.
Folks crammed together, packed like sardines, drinking beer, slamming
tequila, stirring cocktails. Everywhere I looked- drinking, drinking,
drinking! I felt right at home, so I got down to business myself. All this
right under the nose of M.A.D.D.‘s national headquarters. Maybe the spirit
of being so naughty moved us all. In fact, we were so inspired we drank the
bar out of beer. Let me repeat: We drank a Texas bar out of beer! I feel as
though we achieved the impossible. Perhaps we could have even saved the
Alamo, but I’m sure we would have run out of beer there as well.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 12/24/02- COFFEE TIME
This morning I woke up with the feeling that I was late with something. As I
was poking around on Jambands.com, looking to knick an idea off of one of
the other columnists, I realized that my own column was tardy. The usual
pangs of fear gripped me: I’ve told you what Jon Schwartz will do to me if I
screw this up. So I finished editing my late night scribbles the best I
could and typed them into my Mac. This is no easy task for me. I’m thirty
and I still employ the same painful "two fingers and a thumb" typing method
made famous by TV cops. So not only is my piece late, but inept. I just hope
Schwartz doesn’t beat me too bad.
Okay. Somehow the piece didn’t make it up on the site so I’m sending again.
But with all things, fortune smiles if we look at it the right way. I
received a call from my good friend Travis who road manages the All Mighty
Senators. He told me that they are opening for the Pretenders on a six-week
tour in February. Fucking-A Right! I hope I get a chance to catch it, and
hope you will too.
This month’s Old Style Poster Chump is Richard Antley. However, Richard
doesn’t even drink beer, let alone Old Style. I believe he was downing some
kind of pear cider concoction. This is what happens when you try to skip
from "Fully Kreausened" to just piss-pants drunk. And just look at him now.