Saturday, May 24, 2008

tour 10

walden pond... what can i say? thoreau had a great influence on me in younger days... and i re-read his "civil disobedience" earlier this year, so it felt perfect to end up there...

arrived at the pond, took long walk around and hopped in.. so cold but so amazing... nobody else in the whole pond... the water all to myself... ants crawling all over my clothing when i swam back. took some photos, some video, kept walking. took long walk in the trees, headed off into mass commonwealth nature preserve behind the pond... found a leafy field and laid in the sun for two hours, soaking warmth and refilling my tank... kept walking and circled two other ponds, non-degraded... their flora growing to the pond's edge and even beyond that... walked back across railroad tracks and back over to walden pond. kept moving around lake, hopped in water again, visited excavated site of thoreau's cabin, dropped a stone on the memorial pile, headed back to van, feeling entirely refreshed and new and ready for another nightclub.

back into town, saw the "minutemen" trail and the tall trees and dreamed of the american revolution and got caught in traffic and thought of that new truck ad that says "the new american revolution" or somethign and shows a truck slamming through some mud and, well, i bet paul revere would've preferred driving a hybrid-SUV with plastic molded truckbed... beats the shit out of a horse... much less rash, fo sho. besides, what would the british be driving? a bentley or some other such fussy nonsense? i'd like to see that sucker off-roading. bet the mud would swallow those silly british things. i mean, is a bentlet even 4 X 4 ?

so headed back into town, chowed large falafel and amazing fries from middle east (meal ticket said "sound team"... hmmm... ) and loaded in and sound-checked and all felt great and proper, so we walked down mass ave aways and stopped by a few shops on the way... urban outfitters a disturbing experience, especially... as if somebody had taken my wardrobe from a few years back, clothes and other items discovered at a thrift shop and treasured because they were difficult to obtain... and they took those items and mass-produced them and took everything special and cool about a tshirt with a clever saying on it. i mean, how many people have tshirts with clever slogans now? i know i know, old news, that shit died years ago, but this is the last nail in the coffin and the dirt on the casket and funeral altogether... hip books in stacks and "retro" shoes and all this mess. i walked out and back up the street... talked with some 15-year old from the suburbs, snuck them into the club... watched bands before us and felt strange...

1st band had total shredding maniac on lead guitar, just ripping into that damn thing... bluesy style, definitely not to my taste, but very technically accomplished... with all the requisite orgasm faces and scrunched-up gross lead-guitar poses... turns out the dude is guitar player on saTURDay night live, so i'll cut him a break. television probably forces you to exaggerate everything, just to get yourself across to millions of people.

as for next band, not my cup of tea either... just a different style of music... smooth and crooning. singer was almost a little too handsome and i swear he flexed his arms while playing. not to say i wouldn't do the same if i was really ripped. but if you're gonna do that, fuck, why not get right to the point and just take off your shirt and lift weights on stage... i'd actually be pretty impressed with somebody doing that...

but anyhow, we played and it sounded pretty sweet... we bought a nice live recording of the gig from the club... i will post that to this blog soon, along with all tour journals, photos, video, and live recordings... it will be a .zip file you can download.... maybe release it as a dvd-r, too......

anyhow, back to boston....

so we packed up quick after the gig... i said farewell in iman, dude i met in NYC who drove up to boston just to see us play. nice dude... we talked about the difference between arabs and persians. he was apparently persian and told me that persians are descended from aryans, same folks as who settled india... cool stuff, i didn't know.

so, we packed up and headed out to willis' family cabin at cape cod. i drank several energy drinks and had to smoke a cigarette to stay awake... arrived late, started a fire and drank whiskey and dug the awesome silence and towering trees. i woke up in the middle of the night, face to the fire, warm and happy, and the glowing red lit up the room.

the whole cape is this fantastic sprouting of pine forest from sand dunes that somehow have stayed in place and not eroded away. the next morning, ribs, michael b, pasta and i drove into provincetown and bought some groceries, drove back out to truro (village where we were based) and cooked massive breakfast of eggs and potatoes and tortillas, the old stand-bys of south texas. laid back, groaning stomachs full of happy and satisfaction... will and co loaded in our equipment and we jammed for two days straight... some very spacey jams, their spaciness perhaps enhanced by the massive amount of marijuana hanging about the ceilings... it went on for hours and hours and hard to say if any actual melodies were ever played... the ultimate stoner jam sesh... freedom from structure and melody felt fantastic. i don't think leonard bernstein would've approved, nor my parents, but hell, it felt right so we pressed forward on our aimless droning nonsensical journey.

we hit the beach for a break, the ice cold water shivering me back from stoned aimlessness... a jolt wide awake. which is when i noticed a tick half-burrowed into my armpit... a tick that had apprently eaten itself to death... swollen, half-hanging out my skin, the area around the bite bright red and stinging to the touch. nobody could quite recall the proper method for tick removal... ribs held a lighter to its bloated corpse and it seemed to squirm in a little further... headed back to the van and grabbed some tweezers. dug in there, grabbed it all but the head remained under the skin. well, i didn't want to cut myself, so i just left the head in there, pretty sure that after a few days my body would expel it someway or another...

headed back to the house, cooked some taco and jammed until the wee hours. started watching this movie, a mind-blower of a film... "cop and a half," starring burt reynolds and a very very cute afro-american youth.

that's the cover. pretty much says it all. burt reynolds turns in a riveting performance as detective nick. mm hmmm. we watched that until we'd had enough, and hit "pause" to pick up the action after the next day's breakfast.

that day, we headed over to rent some boats, but weather had turned foul, so we decided to drive out to the point and we hung on the beach. headed back to willis' cabin, jammed some more, michael willis and i made a short horror film centered aroudn the graveyard just up the hill from the cabin. did i mention the graveyard? oh yes, graveyard with many a stone.... truro, mass was the home of many a tragedy back in the whaling and heavy fishing days... many serious storm made widows of the town's ladies... in fact, the older building on willis' property, called the "grey house," is haunted and willis related some of his supernatural experiences. we pulled out a oija board and lit some candle but nothing strange happened.

that evening, more whiskey and a fire and we watched an old VHS tape of "jurassic park." god, what a collosal piece of shit. jeff goldblum is pretty sweet, though... always kind of mumbling and grinding his teeth... a serious serious over-actor, probably on par with nicholas cage.

next day, hit the road again for our show that eve in philly. hit serious traffic all along the route and hit philly less than an hour before our show that evening. show had been set up by mark of yvynyl at this amazing music shop called The Marvelous. They had some fantastic records, including this interesting looking japanese pressing of "Meddle."

i was parking the van while hunter gatherer played but i hear tell form several other bandmates that it was way sweet and i saw a big harp in hte store when i finally made it in there... looks like i missed out.

next up was enumclaw and it sounded like terry riley, which is a good thing. live projections ink movements added to the flavor.

then we played and played much louder than anybody else and closed the set with another rousing rendition of "this land is your land." mark and audrey gathered some money from the crowd which was awesome, and we talked about the pitchfork review... makr was bummed i got panned and i guess i was too... he knows the difficulty of playing the road and making a go of it when nobody comes to shows and nobody buys records and all that modern baloney. we drank some beers and parted ways... i gave him the new record.

outside, twas graduation day at drexel university... complete insanity. a supposed law student was sitting outside the marvelous, drink in hand, sitting on a picnic blanket, and hitting on lots of guys and the crowds were enormous and strange... many of the people were high school age or younger... and some old old folks. no figuring it out for me.

met up with matt, who runs the marvelous with a friend... he gave me the new c.d. by his band called the soft people and from what i've heard, sounds pretty good. he took us back to his place here we'd stay... huge west philly house he shares with 6 people and he also records bands in the basement, an enormous basement, whoa yes very large. the rest of the band went to a west philly bar, where ribs got some shit for being a "fucking college student" and for wearing "those fucking white shoes." the person yelling at him was a mohawked punk girl with a bag of chips on her shoulder and maybe she needed some chill time. i mean... ribs is super cool and why the hell would anybody want to fuck with ribs? i wasn't there, so i can't say. i wandered baltimore avenue for a bit, talking with some random people... i myself met some very nice folks that evening. mostly homeless fellows.

next morning, hit some suepr rad coffee shop at baltimore and 50th, can't recall the name... then drove to pat's steaks. line wrapped around the building for some mediocre looking sandwiches. ok ok, i'm biased... i'm a vegetarian and don't eat that stuff. the fries were amazing, though... and the atmosphere was pretty o.k. too: dozens of framed photos on the wall of an older fellow, who i can only assume to be "pat," posing with all manner of nicely dressed people. i'm sure they were famous in their day but i recognized none of them. oh wait, i take that back... jay leno appeared a couple of times in the framed photos. the frames, screwed into the wall, gave the place an appealing old-time feel, much more appealing than the large pyramid of industrial-sized "cheez whiz" cans stacked in the window. anyplace that brags about using "cheez whiz..." welll.... i don't wanna sound *unamerican* here, but that shit is fucking GROSS.

across the street, a vacant lot looked up to framed murals of philly's pop stars of the 50's and early 60's... frankie valli, etc. and when i say framed, i do mean framed... there were huge huge picture frames built around the murals, 20 by 30 feet maybe. it felt like an amusement park, in the best possible way.

across the street, gino's steaks (the main competition) glittered like red meat vomit, signs flashing all outside the building, a line around the block... those things kill my appetite, fo sho. gino's had a sign atop the building, a giant billboard of a cheesesteak sandwich, but not a rectangle like your average billboard, oh no. this billboard was cut around the image of the sandwich, so it looked like a massive cheesesteak steaming on top of the building. neon lights ringed the sandwich several times around; the total image looked like a massive cosmic cheesesteak sandwich beamed from another dimension to guide us towards greater gluttony and diminished consciousness. i think it was probably my favorite image of the whole tour and i left without taking a photo. ahhhh! but here's one from the internet:

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