ON TOUR FOEVER – DAY 8, 9 & 10

    Whoa. What just happened? Oh yeah, three days of life just happened. And rather quick, too. Our last show with Dark Earth was in San Jose at Johnny V’s. It was one of the best crowds we’ve had thus far. Those guys played last and I don’t know why I hadn’t realized it earlier, but they fucking slay! I was seriously impressed, and considering their age, the potential they have is awesome. James, who mans the axe and vocals, broke his high E string half way through their set. Then he broke his B string. Two incredibly valuable strings if you’re soloing. But unless you actually saw the dangling strings, you would have never known. He just kept on ripping. What a badass! I would have cowered in the corner, looking for strings or at least a back up guitar. I asked him later why he didn’t grab another guitar. “I didn’t have one.” Those dudes rule, keep an eye out.
    Apparently San Jose has a large homeless population. Now, not that I can confirm their housing status, but a game of craps erupted in between our van and trailer with black dudes shooting dice, gettin’ paid, hustlin’. We were keeping an eye out while we weren’t onstage and the door dude told us he’d watch while we played. We came out to the vehicle fully intact, so right on brothas! Play on playa!
    More Motel 6’s, more awesomely patterned cover blankets, more plastic cups wrapped in plastic. We opted against the Motel Burrito and made corn and clam chowder and passed out watching Louie. Thank God Aaron still has his laptop otherwise we’d be screwed on visual entertainment. We woke up not far from Santa Cruz where we’d be having lunch with Aaron’s Dad.
    We pulled up close to the wharf and fed 5 dollars or more into the meters to park. We only got 2 hours. Fucking Santa Cruz. But it was beautiful out. The night before it rained so to get a clear day was great. Everyone was hungry for deep fried freshly caught fish. When in Rome. We sat next to giant windows along the sea, basking in the blue glory of the sparkling ocean, watching various winged and water dwelling animals go about their daily routines and we all plowed through the delicious aquatic protein. Aaron’s Dad graciously picked up the tab and right before we were about to leave his Uncle Stan came by to say hello. The word on the street is he’s a badass bass player. Aaron told me he dodged the draft by touring Europe playing bass in blues bands. That’s rock ‘n roll!
    I had mentioned to Peter that Carmel was really close to Monterey, our gig for the night, and that we should try to go but didn’t really think we would. So much to my surprise I woke up in the van a block away from Pebble Beach. We rolled a joint and walked down to the sand, taking it all in. The sun was close to setting so the scene was even more surreal. We watched a couple surfers try to grab some waves, but the dolphins really showed them who was boss. One wave in particular we saw five or six of them. It’s hard to have any negative emotions in such an awesome place. Standing there, bearing witness to the moment, you feel the vibrations of serenity moving up your spine. The flux of energy dancing in the water, creating swells, pushing and pulling. Everything was in it’s right place.
    We got to Jose’s Underground after 6, loaded downstairs and I wandered off towards the water. Monterey is not very ethnically diverse. It reminded me of a coastal version of the Pearl District back in Portland. I imagined their police department trying to find entertaining things to do to pass the time like maple syrup chugging contests. I found a spot to watch the ocean, letting my mind wander some more. Just breathing in the air was like therapy. We all met up at the Mexican restaurant above the venue and ate. Dustin bought a round of what he thought were relatively cheap pints of Pacifico. I guess nothing is cheap in that town.They were about double what you’d pay in Portland. Always learning lessons out here. It was a 4 band bill and we were headlining so we had some time to kill. Chief found a liquor store and bought some Jager. Good and bad idea. I don’t think he got much. The band killed most of it, both on and off stage.
    Our next show was in Bakersfield, so after we loaded the trailer up The Dean drove the 4+ hours to his Mom’s house. Most of us were pretty drunk when we left and I woke up when we were backing into her driveway at 7 AM. Awesome! It felt like time travel. Kay always puts us up when we’re in town. It’s literally a home away from home. I found some OJ in the fridge and passed out again in a bed.
    We had the whole day to kill before the show so we all slept in. I think I got up close to 2 and made my way to kitchen. The smell of breakfast had woken me up earlier but I tried to sleep as long as possible. It’s one of the most valuable commodities out on the road. Everyone ate and showered, some did laundry. I mean, hey, we’re at Mom’s house.
     Dean’s cousin Lauren was involved in a head on collision three blocks away from her house the night before. I think the 911 call was placed at 11:59 PM. She turned 21 one minute after that. She had been planning on coming out to our show, legally this time, and then partying with us afterwords but the universe had decided otherwise. So Dean, Peter, Kay, and myself went to the hospital where she was being treated to say hi and give her some love. Last time we were in town we went and ate Mexican food with her and her family before our show. This time she would only be drinking fluids and broth. She was sleeping when we got to the room. There were already a lot of people in the room with her. Her mom woke her up and she seemed happy to see everyone. She was in a morphine haze but was cracking jokes and her spirit seemed well. She didn’t really have any memories from the accident, but a drunk driver about her age hit her head on, then pulled her out of the car because she was screaming and he thought the car might blow. The paramedics found her kneecap on the sidewalk when they arrived. That was the worst injury, her right leg. She already had emergency surgery on her knee and was awaiting another for her broken leg. Some more family came to visit, including Dean’s feisty-as-hell grandma. I would love to get drunk with that woman. Pure entertainment. Anyway, we talked with her some more and then said goodbye. She threw up the rock horns when we left. Get better soon, Lauren!
    We got the van and headed to Sandrini’s. When we arrived and were getting the details one of the guys asked us, “Did you bring a door guy?” Huh? Did we bring a door guy? I’ve never been asked that question before. So I manned up and sat at the door, taking 5 bucks a head while the first band played. Peter stayed with merch and Dean made the rounds with all the people who came to see him. When we went on stage Kay sat at the door. You can always trust Mom.
    Bakersfield is a strange place. There’s a grittiness to it. It’s almost a tiny universe in and of itself. While Chief and Aaron were driving the van around the block for load out they heard gunshots ricocheting from around the block. I was inside at the time and a whole slew of people who were outside smoking came rushing into the safety of downstairs. Within minutes there were three or more cop cars outside questioning people and collecting evidence. No one that we knew was hurt but it’s always a little unnerving. Gotta love Bako!

‘Till next time!

- ryan | No Comments