6/5/2006- After a hectic morning of grabbing everything I can think of on my way out the door, I pour myself onto the plane. “Whew!” AirTran has a hub in Atlanta and it is cheaper for me to fly south to the ATL and THEN to NYC to meet the boys for the next “Hammer” run. The flights aren’t that bad, just time consuming. When I get to LaGuardia my Dominican cabbie is chatty, but cool. He informs me all about the Cirque d’ Sole which has set up shop just acroos the east river. We have to take the FDR (highway) because the BQE (Brooklyn Queens EXPRESSWAY) is at a standstill..and the clock is running. I drag my shit which includes a heavy bag of clothes, a cymbal /snare bag and another smaller bag (that I throw over my shoulder to take incidentals to the club with) up the 3 flights of spiral madness to Roscoe’s apartment. After a few deep breaths I talk to Dan, who has just flown in (along with Keith) the day before from Europe, on the phone.
We decided to meet up over at Tompkins Square Park just see each other and say “Hey”.
We met over by the dog area where this one dog had us in stitches cuz while all the other dogs we’re playin’ together, fightin’, humpin’, whatever. This one dog was in training for the marathon or something. He was just running around the perimeter of the fencing with all of the energy he had and after about 20 times around he stops right in front of us (well me actually) and takes a huge dump! “Nice”, I say. His owner comes over and says, “It’s a sign of respect” and I’m thinking “Well, shit on you too then!”.
Dan and I part and everyone makes an early night of it cuz we know we have a long way to go tomorrow.6/6/2006- Roscoe and I pick up Keith and Dan in front of the 11th St. Bar around 8:30 am and all of the gear is situated for the 2 day trip to St. Louis. Everybody gets in and I start yelling like a 3rd grade Hillbilly “Weeez on tour! Weeez on tour!” Dan says, “Uh, not so fast there pal, the car hasn’t moved yet.” “Oh!” I say. Roscoe lightly puts his foot on the pedal and we start to roll, “Weeez on tour! Weeez on tour!”
We stop along the way in Pennsylvania and I pick up a real nice pair of sunglasses. Right about that time Greg Rice from the Ass-Kickin’ Team calls and says, “I just heard you guys doing “Love Train” on Sirius. Cool, I’m on the radio and I gots me a new pair of shades with un-scratched lens.
We stop again later just out of Columbus, OH at Outback Steakhouse where we can have us one of them “sit down meals” (and Keith and I can have drinks!). You see, the seating arrangements are pretty set in the Suburban that we roll in. Roscoe and Dan take turns driving and the rhythm section sits in the back taking turns driving them crazy! It’s like Mommy and Daddy up front and the kids in the back.
We finally stop in Richmond, IN, just across the state line and spend the night in a beautiful Motel 6.
6/7/2006- After a shitty breakfast at Bob Evans (“I’ll have your rubber cheese omelet!” must have been what they thought I said!) it was on to STL. The one good thing that happened at Mr. Evans’ joint though was the purchase of two small instruments. Keith and I decided that we would secretly buy a harmonica and a kazoo and give a surprise concert in the back a few miles down the road. About 40 miles later I looked over to Keith and counted on my fingers “one, two, three..” BWAAAAHHHH! Bzzzzzzz! WeeeHaaahhh!!Bzzzzzzzz!Bwahhhh!!Bzzzzzzzzzz!...as we swung into 2 different melodies. Dan and ‘Scoe didn’t know what hit’m! But I think they liked it cuz they spent a long time laughin’ about it.
We got to the “You can’t there from here” Hotel out by the airport around 2:30 or so. After a brief rest, a conjugal visit from Dan’s wife, we headed over to the club. We got the gear in the club with help from volunteers and set up. In the process I sit my new shades in the window sill never to be seen or heard from again.
First on the Twangfest bill for this evening was Walter Clevenger and the Dairy Kings (who, to this day will not let me forget about the time they were in Raleigh and had to drive me to the hotel as I puked out the window down the side of my BMW!). They did half of their set before asking me up to sing “You Got the Look” from the Nick Lowe tribute, LOWE PROFILE. They did it a half a step lower than the Ass-Kickin’ team does but I quickly adjusted..like the pro that I am! ( he! he!) Our set was after the Screamo Bluegrass experiment known as The Avette Bros. and the people seemed to like’m pretty good. In the words of Frank Zappa though, “I for one, cared less for them”. We played purty and everything, well everybody but Keith, he sucked! Said so himself! We fought through it though. It wasn’t his fault actually. The stage nor the P.A.had ANY low end except for when he hit B flat and then this roar took over the stage. Very weird!..and a bit disconcerting for our hero. We made it though, again like the pros we are!
We stayed up a bit late at the after-party back at the hotel but didn’t hurt too bad the next day.
6/8/2006- Bad directions the next morning sent us on a wild goose chase for the radio station in St. Louis, WDHX. We ended up in front of the Fox Theater downtown and we just KNEW that was not where we were supposed to go. So we asked a nice older gentleman wearing one of them POLICE outfits where the road was. He very nicely pointed us in the opposite direction. So Roscoe, seizing the opportunity to turn around makes a U-Turn right then and there. A very not-so-nice plump black lady wearing the same outfit starts blowing her whistle and screaming her head off. “What are YOU doing?” She has steam shooting straight out of her ears when she walks over to the passenger window where Dan is sitting. She starts a tirade that begins, “Before you put your foot on that gas pedal….” I didn’t hear much after that but Roscoe in the drivers seat over there..”Thank you”, She was all “Blah blah blah at full volume and he was like “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you” This lasted about a minute then Roscoe continued his U-Turn and sped off. Good thing he did too or we would have had to tape our segment. We got there in time to play live though and it was really great. 4 songs, 20 minutes rockin’ like hell!Quick lunch and on to the In-Store. The people there got a treat as we didn’t play together, we just handed the guitar off to the next guy as the others sang along in black girl fashion. When Keith started it off I jumped up there with the harmonica. In no time, he changed keys and started writing a song on the spot. It was really great and I was taking the solos on harp! It was hilarious.
Dan and I had an unbelievable Indian dinner upstairs at the hotel. Some of the best Indian food I think I’ve ever had and it was great because it was on the 11th floor looking out over the blue runway lights of the airport. It was nice in a very non-“Brokeback” kind of way.
6/9/2006- On to Chicago, it was about 86 degrees when we left St. Louis. We could see ’57 Chevys occasionally when we ran beside the old Route 66. Pulled into the lot over at Fitzgerald’s and got out. Brrrr!!! It was freezing! Probably 60 degrees or lower and starting to rain.
Oh! It was so nice to have a really good sounding stage and a good soundman and it made all the difference for the show. After Healthy White Baby played a really great set the crowd was just drunk enough to receive the ass whoopin’ they had been waiting for.
When all was said and done it was the first really great show with the new songs and set.
A sense of achievement, finally. It was a great crowd, friends and E-mailers made it feel like we were just jammin’ over at a buddy’s house!
6/10/2006- Stopped at Quizno’s (my fav!) on the way to Marshall, MI not having ANY clue what to expect. When we got to the Dark Horse Brewery it was surprisingly organized. The stage was cool and there were a LOT of people there! I think over 800 paid for the rock and the Crawfish Boil. Keith and I tried to eat crawfish but they kept telling us that you had to suck out the head and all this gross ass shit and I was like..”Has this town got a Quizno’s?” Kevin (the manager) and the boys there were great though and again the set felt a little tighter so the night was really a lot of fun and we hope to go back soon. AND!! I also got a surprise visit from my old guitar! BUT! The coolest thing about the gig in Marshall was the Bed and Breakfast that we stayed at! Everybody had NAMED rooms…Dan was in the GORDON room, Keith was in the (appropriately named) DICKLE room, Roscoe was in the COMSTOCK room and I was in the CRARY room…really sweet people worked there too! They had the parking lot blocked off for our “bus”! Then we pull up in the Suburban…
6/11/2006- Breakfast (quiche, self-made waffles and fruit) was downstairs at 9am. Roscoe’s Aunt Joan had come from Montreal to witness the rock and she and her friends came over for a cool morning hang before we hit the road back towards NYC. The rest of the day it was pedal to the metal and if we made across Pennsylvania at a descent hour we were going for it. All the way from middle MI to NYC in 12 and a half hours and the answer was “hell yeah!” Especially since Roscoe knew the “back way” into town.
6/12/2006- Two radio shows were the order of the day. The first was by far the easiest, made that way by the completely adept assistants both audio and hospitality-wise. The show was recorded for airing THIS Saturday night on WFUV and it went REALLY well. (I’ll put up a link in the next day or so! You gotta check it out!)
We finished up there about 2pm and tried to solve the Rubik’s cube that is getting across NYC at mid-day. Starving, we had Dan call the studio and order pizza. The guy that got the message, Chris, said that he could tell in Dan’s voice that we were on death’s doorsteps so he ordered 3 cheeses. They were devoured in no time flat by the hungry piranhas.
The interview to follow was filled with one frustration after another to NO fault of our interviewer, Pete who was an elegant, charming and quite likeable (but not in that “Brokeback” kind of way mind you…..not that there’s anything wrong with that!)
It was just one technical difficulty after another, mostly concerning the microphone chord to Roscoe’s mic. But we toughed it out being the pros that we are and after all was said and done on this day we were REALLY glad that we cancelled the photo shoot with Mary Ellen from Saturday Night Live. There should be upcoming weblink info from this interview also.
I was completely beat after this day and went for a long walk up to Union Square and picked up a catfish burrito and a bottle of wine.
6/13/2006- With time to kill before the 2:30p load-in at the Mercury Lounge I did some more sightseeing and window shopping and then met up with the boys back over at Roscoe’s at 2. The soundcheck was a breeze due to people knowing their shit, us included…pros that we are.
We all had a quick nap and when Dan arrived back over to Roscoe’s to do the setlist thing he was over an hour late. I made him some coffee in ‘Scoe’s French press and we came up with this…(you gotta decipher the code!)
B&B (I’ll give this one..Bottle and a Bible)
Aside from the loudmouth up front who kept singing louder than us the crowd was pretty well behaved. I wanted say “Hey Bitch! You wanna get up here and sing everything for us?”) Damn dude! Give us a break, it’s hard enough to remember the lyrics without you shouting some other shit at us! Anyway, a GREAT GREAT GREAT!! time was had by all. People came from near and VERY far, Glen and Wendy from England and were not in the least bit disappointed.
We loaded the shit out and took it to Brooklyn, to Roscoe studio. I had a few more drinks before cutting the lights out when the clock read 2:00.
6/14/2006- 8 o’clock hurt my feelings cuz I knew what I had to do. Git in a car at 9am and ride to LaGuardia, git in a plane and fly BACK to the ATL and THEN back home.
I plugged into the XM radio on the plane a realized why The Yayhoos haven’t hit it big yet. We just don’t suck bad enough to be big. I ain’t saying everything on XM sucks, I’m just saying that most of what I heard on that thing didn’t quite measure up to the 4 misfits that get together every once in a while just to change the world 3 and a half minutes at a time!
My wife and kids were a very welcome sight.