9/17 audition!

so i’m about to leave for the airport, to fly to san fransisco, to AUDITION FOR THE PLUS ONES!

They are in need of a guitar player for a 5 week national tour, and are apparently desperate enough to give a guy they barely know (who also lives a thousand miles away) a chance… If all goes well, I’ll be playing all over the country with them in october and november.

9/18 tour!

so… the audition went great. I am now going on tour with the Plus Ones!

I have to be back in san fransisco next week, and my first show will most likely be September 28… We’ll be playing almost everywhere, check the plus ones myspace page (linked in my last blog, or on my friends page) to see when we’ll be in your town.

fucking awesome.

9/20 airborne creepiness!

so on my flight back from san fransisco, i was stuck in a middle seat. we take off, and i’m sort of making small talk with the woman on my left, about nothing in particular (she eventually gave me a pamphlet on buddhism), when our conversation is interrupted by the announcement that our in-flight movie would be The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Lame. I finally get to fly on an airline that actually shows in-flight movies, and i get that crap?

anyway, following the announcement, i make a comment along the lines of “you’d think they’d show something with a little broader appeal… though maybe there’s a bunch of fourteen year-old girls on board.”

To which the until-now silent guy to my right responds “or a bunch of pedophiles.”

and then doesn’t say another word for the rest of the flight. But he did watch the movie. without sound.

10/4 gambling always pays off!

Some of you have been to casinos with me. Others have not. For those of you that fall into the latter category: I have some diffficulty walking away from slot machines and tables, whether I’m up or down. And by some, I mean a lot.

That said, I specifically booked my flight to oakland through los angeles, and not las vegas, because i knew that if i had time to kill in the vegas airport, i would no doubt lose most of, if not all of my money. But fate is a cruel mistress, and she decided to delay the first leg of my trip so much that I would miss my connection in LA. (on an interesting side note, my airline – southwest – actually called me to tell me this before I got to the airport.) At first, they wanted to reschedule my trip for the following day, but I would have no part of this, as I was only going to get to have two rehearsals with the band before tour, and the first was to be that same day. So they made some phone calls, and consulted whoever it is they consult in these sort of situations, and they found me a space on a new flight.

That flight had a connection in vegas. Having quit my job and joined a touring rock band not likely to make much money on tour, gambling wasn’t really in my budget – I had only been able to bring about $100 with me for 5 weeks (though we do get a daily allowance for food). But, already exhausted from a long day packing and running errands, 3 hours of sitting in the Tucson airport, and the usual tiring-effect air travel tends to have on me, my resolve wasn’t at its strongest.

The bells and whistles got the best of me, and I piled my luggage in front of a quarter poker machine. Thinking “I’ll just play $5,” I was somewhat dismayed to discover that the smallest bill in my possession was a ten. Knowing that I’m not capable of cashing out when I get down to $5, I considered my options. Should I a) go get change somewhere, b) forget gambling and go read a book or something, or c) just play the $10. A reasonable person would probably have gone with a, but I am not generally a reasonable person when it comes to gambling.

So, in went my $10, and after about ten minutes, out came nothing.

As is my habit when out of credits, I searched my pockets for stray quarters. None there, but the bottom of my messenger bag would yeild four! “More gambling, here I come,” I thought.

Slot machines no longer acccept coins. This may be the stupidest thing (excluding politics, popular culture, and most of the rest of the world…) I have ever heard. The machines have a big sign on them that says $.25, often times accompanied by a picture of a quarter, and they don’t take coins…

Disheartened, but $1 richer (or “not-poorer” if you prefer) I put the quarters in my pocket and gathered my things. As is also my habit, while walking away from the slot machines I surveyed the trays where the coins would fall, if the machines still dispensed coins instead of tickets or vouchers or whatever you’d like to call them. Lo and behold, in one of the trays I spied a discarded voucher for… 25 cents. (the best I can figure is that someone accidentally cashed out, and was too lazy to put it back in the machine…)

My first thought was to go play poker again – maybe I could put together a straight or something else that would yeild more than one coin, and then I’d be back in business, at least for a minute or two more. But then I thought maybe I ought to put it back into the machine that it came from, like it was some sort of sign that it was in that machine’s tray specifically. So I went for the second option.

After some difficulty getting it to take the somewhat crumpled voucher, I finally pulled the lever.

7…

7…

7

Different colors, but enough to net 50 credits! ($12.50, for the mathematically challenged). Not enough to finance the trip, but more than I started with. I immediately cashed out (even I’m not that addicted…) and went to wait for my flight.

10/14 best blog EEEEEVVVVVV-EEEERRRRRRRRRRRR

So if you sat and looked at the title of this blog for a while, and you knew that I was currently on the road with the plus ones, and you know my friend, Mr Given, you may be able to guess where I am right now…

That said, I don’t actually have anything all that exciting to report, but I do like making jokes that only a few of my friends will get. Especially since some people who won’t get it might read this, and be confused.

Anyway, the tour is going pretty well… we played in Texas last night, and are in the process of trying to get on another bill tonight. Tommorow we play in Denton, and then my first visit to Texas comes to an end (sorry joe – no show in midland), and we’re off to the south, where I also have never been.

We have played with a few bands of note – The Foxx, which as some of you may know, is the band Juliet from the Rondelles is playing with these days; and Satisfaction, who were formerly known as Smile, and are fucking awesome. We have shows coming up with the Sibbling Project (who I strongly recommend checking out, if you like music that is awesome. they are on my front page in my “friends”), the briefs, and limbeck.

I have gotten a lot of reading done in the van, and lately, I’ve spent an innordinate amount of time playing game boy. The newest Zelda, “the minish cap,” is fantastic. One of the best zelda games so far – very similar to link to the past, which is my favorite zelda game evvvvv-errrrrrr (sorry, couldn’t resist making another austin joke).

Also, I met two of the donnas – we were out to dinner, and halfway through the meal, I realized who I was sitting next to (donna r, for those of you keeping score at home). Then donna f came to our show in LA.

So to recap, I’m having a great time, and I’m gonna move to california when I get home (though I haven’t decided for sure which part).

10/20 longest day EEEEEVVVVVV-EEEERRRRRRRRR!

We left Atlanta, having played to the other band, their girlfriends, the soundguy, and two, count ’em, two paying customers the night before, at about 1 pm. Our hosts, having been kind enough to let four complete strangers stay in their home, and having been trusting enough to leave us there unaccompanied while they went to work, were not home when we left. So as soon as we set the alarm, and closed up the house, it was discovered that one of us (not to name names…) had left their cell phone in the house. Unfortunately, we did not have keys, and our hosts, as previously mentioned, were at work for the day. And as we had a show to get to in Raleigh, North Carolina, we couldn’t wait around for them to come home and let us back in. But luckily, our hosts are going to be in boston the same time we are, and will be able to deliver the phone to us this weekend…

So we hit the road, down one phone, and after a quick stop, full of shitty fast food (and, it should be noted, the van full of gas). About 30 miles later, we notice that the van is acting a little funny, struggling a little to keep up on the highway. So we exit at the first opportunity, pull up to an auto parts store, and get dirrections to the nearest garage (across the street, but hidden behind some old railroad cars). We pull up, and when we go to start the van to demonstrate the problem, of course it won’t even start.

So the Dodge dealership had to be called (it should be noted that this wasn’t a regular garage, it was just a muffler shop), and they brought over the diagnostic machine, which told them that our fuel pump was shot. But don’t worry, they said – they could get a new one in by friday.

A two day delay was not something that sounded appealing to us, as we would have missed two shows, and been stuck in Covington, Georgia, where we, of course, know absolutely no one. But then the mechanic from the muffler shop had an idea – we could get a new fuel pump from the auto parts store across the street (the dodge guys don’t install aftermarket parts, and don’t keep fuel pumps for ’93 rams on hand), and he’d install it for us. This sounded like a much better plan… it was early enough that we still had a pretty good chance to make it to raleigh in time to play.

So we get the part, and the mechanic gets to work. Of course, changing a fuel pump involves taking the gas tank off, and ours contained a full tank of gas, less 30 miles.So the gas had to be removed, before the gas tank could be removed. The toughest man I’ve ever met, an old Haitian guy from the body shop next to the muffler shop, smoked a cigarette while draining the gas into paint buckets, a mop bucket, and anything else they could find to put about 25 gallons of gasoline in. It should go without saying that we watched this ordeal from far, far away. However, it’s not easy to stop the flow of gas once it’s started, while your co-worker goes to look for another bucket, so both guys got absolutely covered in gas, as did the floor of the garage. One of them remarked “we’ll save as much as we can – shit’s expensive…”, and they managed to get about three quarters of it back in the tank when they were done.

We hung around the shop, reading, making phone calls, and eventually going to eat at a nearby waffle house, and finally, around 630, it was done. When we went to pay, another band member realized they had lost their credit card at some point. The day just kept getting better…

After payment was made, we gave the shop guy our cd (he had a guitar in his office), and he gave us all shirts advertising his shop. Finally, we hit the road again. If we made good time, we’d still make it to Raleigh by midnight, leaving us plenty of time to play our set…

A hundred miles later, a blowout.

Seeing as a fully loaded van was going to be extremely difficult to jack up with the tiny jack we had, we decided to call AAA to change the tire. Within half an hour or so, we were moving again (we had a full size spare, so we just kept going. besides, it was getting late).

Then, in Columbia, South Carolina, we encountered a massive traffic jam. The cause? Absolutely fucking nothing. Now we were really going to have to hustle to make it to the club in time to play. However, a phone call to the promoter assured us that we’d get to play, whenever we got there.

At 1:27 am, we got off the freeway in Raleigh. There was still a slight chance we could play when we got to the venue. But our directions were no good, and we couldn’t find the venue.

Finally, at 1:45, 12 hours after we left for what should have been a 6 hour drive, we had no choice but to admit defeat. There would be no Plus Ones show in Raleigh, at least not on this tour.

10/20 the saddest thing i’ve ever seen!

I’m a man who enjoys his fair share of vices – gambling, as noted in a previous blog; and booze, among others. However, one thing I’ve just never been all that interested in is Strip Clubs.

That said, after our show in Atlanta, we decided to go to a strip club. But not just any strip club – the Claremont Lounge, which apparently has a reputation as “where strippers go to die.” We had been told we “had to go” while we were in Atlanta, and it happened to be across the street from where we played.

As it turns out, the claremont lounge is a combination strip club and karaoke bar, which in itself is pretty hillarious. There was just one stripper at a time dancing on a stage by the bar, and then the other half of the place was devoted to karaoke (and tables for watching said karaoke). So Joel and Luis sign up for songs, and one of the least attractive women I’ve ever seen strips while people sing ACDC and some song from a musical.

Then Joel’s turn comes, and he rocks the hell out of Livin La Vida Loca, which everyone goes crazy for. Meanwhile, another girl, this one younger, and reasonably attractive, does her thing on the other stage.

Luis gets his turn with the mic, and then they call some girls name. Up to the stage comes the girl who had just been stripping.

You’d think if you were a stripper, and you worked in a strip club / karaoke bar, and you were going to participate in both activities, you’d pick a song that would liven things up, get people in the mood to give you money to take off your clothes.

Or, maybe, if you were this girl, you’d pick “angel” by sarah mclaughlin. Which, for those of you with good taste in music who may not know that song, is a very slow, quiet, depressing song. Certainly not the kind of song that gets you in the mood to watch a stripper. She actually does a pretty decent job on the song, and while she’s singing, she sets her sketch book on the railing in front of the karaoke stage with her purse. I can only figure she was trying to get us to pity her, this sensitive artist type, reduced to stripping to make ends meet…

I always assumed that going to a strip club would be a depressing experience, but never would I have guessed it would be like that.

11/7 a tale of two concerts!

So we played in Denver on saturday night, with the briefs, clit 45 (possibly the worst band name ever), and a local band called blun. I’d been looking forward to playing with the briefs for a while, and it didn’t seem like too much of a stretch for us to share a bill – we’re a loud power-pop band, and the briefs are snotty pop-punk. I own several records by both bands, and I’m probably not the only one. Unfortunately for us, the other two bands on the bill were both gutter punk bands, so the show mostly brought in the mohawk and spiked-and-spray-painted leather jacket crowd. And they hated us. we got heckled (first time all tour!), and someone threatened to punch joel in the face (they said “i wanna see teeth on the floor”). Suffice to say, we were a little worried. But by the end of our set, the heckling had died down, a bunch of the punks were sarcastically slow dancing in the front, and when joel jumped out into the crowd during our last song, no one punched him. Some of the punks even helped us carry our gear out of the club.

Sunday, however, was a different story. We played in Ft. Collins, opening for Limbeck (good friends of Joel’s), Apollo Sunshine (the best live band i’ve seen in ages, let alone on this tour), and Drag the River. We played at a huge venue called the Aggie Theater, which holds about 600 people. And while there were only 30 or 40 people there when we played (only 50 or so ever showed up), they were all very friendly and supportive. One of the most fun shows of the tour – the sound was great, the other bands were amazing, and there was an actual “backstage” with food and beverages and the like. The only downside of the show was that when Joel jumped off the stage during our last song (he does that every night, during “stutter”), it turned out that the stage was a lot taller than he thought it was, and he may have broken a couple toes – they’re purple this morning. But we’ve got a couple days off, so hopefully he’ll be better in time for our last show of the tour, wednesday in salt lake city.

See you thursday, people in tucson.

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