I can't remember if it was Iggy Pop or John Belushi that ate this every night before they went on stage...
GREEN BAY We pick up Jed from the airport and ten seconds later he gets a phone call from his agent offering him good T.V. gig that he can't take because he is now in Wisconsin and on tour for a month but he does get to eat a FREE PIZZA from the club. Me and Susanna decide we don't want to fill up on pizza before the show so we go next door to our fave (and only one we know) restaurant in Green Bay and get a salad and a basket of fried cheese curds. Whups.
Lars Cheese Castle, WI.
CHICAGO We played Chicago once and there was a big printed out sign on the "dressing room" door that said:
First Band -
(big dramatic white space here)
Well 10 years later we're playing third, baybee! When I tell Pete about our free dinner and and mention the spaghetti is good, he asks if it's all you can eat. No, it's more like "all you can TAKE." Wait, I mean "all you can STAND"? "All they can give"? I dunno.
Two months ago I got a message from some guy I met once, literally one time, asking to get on the guest list tonight. I have to admit I am impressed with the CERTAINTY that ol' whatshisname will not be able to scrounge 8 measly dollars in TWO MONTHS.
Since the rim of my snare drum is bent and it sounds like a cross between a child's sand pail and a 18th-century church bell, we head to the drum shop to replace it. When I go inside after parking the employees are staring into the case with their faces aglow like it's the brief case in Pulp Fiction. Turns out our crappy snare I've been standing on for years is worth a lot of money. So much so that the the super friendly heavy metal guy we've been talking to, who turns out to be the drummer of Marylin Manson, wants to trade and entire Ludwig drum kit for it. We buy a new rim and when we are too cheap to buy a new head ($12) the drum shop guy's eyes well up with tears of confusion.
We play with Party Bat tonight, who are silly and fun, and our awesome buds Coffin Pricks. We have a great turnout and the show is a blast. We play every song we know (ALL 13!) and when people are yelling for an encore we can't do one and some kids look so sad it sends a little dagger through my heart. But, better a little "leave them wanting more" dagger in the heart than a "these few want even less" dagger in my BRAIN we usually get.
We stay with Pete's pal and after trying to sleep on a sectional couch with very lubricated wheels and trying to keep the pieces attached like an inchworm I decide to give up and sleep in the van. After moving "coat mountain" and record boxes to clear the seat to sleep on, I shut the door and start to fall asleep. Then I hear a "click" sound followed by "two little wheels" sound and realize someone is wheeling my suitcase I didn't realize I left outside the van down the sidewalk. I frantically jump of the van in my underwear and yell "STOP, THAT'S MINE! I JUST ALWAYS LEAVE IT OUTSIDE THE VAN WHEN I'M IN A SAFE LITTLE CITY LIKE CHICAGO!" and the guy kindly gives it back saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought someone had lost it, good thing I'm returning it." Then I go to sleep feeling super crappy realizing that with all my rock and roll honky complaining that in this warm sleeping bag in this van with a suitcase full of boat shoes I basically live in Beverly Hills.
Detroit's worst glory hole
DETROIT Tonight we become the opening act for the mighty King Tuff for the rest of the tour.
(This song will be in my head from the moment I open eyes in the morning until I am begging it to stop when I try to go to sleep).
We load into the club and head down the street for the world famous Slow's BBQ, but there is an hour wait so we go the burger joint across the street. When we get back our passenger window is smashed out and the glove box is hanging open (with an iPod sitting on top), so luckily all that's been stolen is our 3-year-old GPS and Susanna's garbage bag full of vitamins (estimated street value of $2,356). We were dumb enough not to leave a person wrapped in barbed wire with a loaded shotgun in the van at all times but smart enough to put all our money into our anuses with 30 miles of the Detroit city limits.
You wooden eat this wood you?
TORONTO Waiting for the window to get fixed at the glass place the guy at the counter is smoking under a giant no smoking sign. Welcome to the "D"! He is also hilarious and when I compliment the wooden marlin on the wall he says, "I caught that baby in the petrified forest." While standing outside our van while the Canadian border guards search it we hear a loud plastic "thunk/crunch." When they are finished the a guard says, "This fell out of your bag" and holds up my laptop.
MONTREAL It's a long rainy drive to Montreal and the club is very nice with a fancy restaurant attached. Last time we were here, a festival flew us in in the middle of our U.S. tour in Austin. Our flight left at 4:00 am, had 11 layovers, we got in to Montreal at 5:00 pm. The festival mistakenly did not get us a hotel room (like the other 600 bands playing) and our set time was 1:00 am. We went to see the movie "Julia and Julia" and just watched it twice in a row since it was so cold outside. At the terrible show the festival hadn't bothered to bring the extensive backline and input request I had to fill out and fax and notarize, so just before we played we were informed we had to just mooch gear off of all the other bands we didn't even watch because we were in a depression spiral in a movie theater. Our drummer ended up playing on a phone book on a fold-up chair a good foot below the drum set. After the show we laid on the gracious chain smoking sound guy's floor while we waited for our 5:00 am flight home. Tonight is the opposite, though; they feed us well and and are super friendly. About 10 people are there when we play but I'm so full of eggplant, who cares?
King Tuff bassist "Magic Jake" borrows our bass cabinet and accidentally yoinks the plug out of the wall by the cord and leaves a sparking plug dangling out of the socket. While M.J. and the sound guy argue over who's going to pull it out cowboy Jed strolls up, rolls his eyes, and pops it out of the wall no problem. Of course this shoots an undetected arch of electricity through him that singes his testicles and sterilizes him, but the move is still cool looking.
We get a hotel room and Susanna and I order an awful pizza while Jed and Pete hit the streets. They come back soaking wet and wide eyed saying 'that suuuuucccked." Turns out they went out for beers and a Rage Against the Machine cover band and got lost for hours in the rain (our phones don't work in Canada and we forgot to bring compasses). That's why it's always good to do a "breadcrumb trail" of puke wherever you go.