As I type this, Kyle's asleep a few feet away in a bed. We were bed buddies for the evening, and I must say, he is a good one (since he is the next smallest guy in the van besides me). Having a small bed buddy is important, 'cos you don't want to wake up in the middle of the night with some dude's arm digging into your back. Trust me, that is a crappy reminder of how far away you are from your girlfriend. Speaking of, it's this stretch home and being so close that makes me miss Maria and want to get home badly.
We leave California behind (and therefore In-N-Out Burger) and push on to Bend, Oregon for the next Tenacious D gig. We load-in a few hours early, and I credit that to Shades. You see, I am not used to this. Typical Sights protocol is to barely make the load-in time, grovel your way to the food, and kinda slither around like zombies. Not this tour. Shades has been great at getting us there early.
The Bend gig is at an outdoor amphitheater, and the backstage dressing rooms are box cars from a train. We take up some badminton for awhile, and the weather is noticeably colder than the previous week. It is mid-afternoon, and I figure the sun will come out and warm us up. It never does. But warmth does come in the form of the wonderful ladies working catering. Liz (head of Bleu Bite Catering) and ladies were so accommodating and I learn that Liz is from Roseville, MI-- my girlfriend's hometown. Pretty sweet. The ladies love us, we love them, and it was a fun time.
We hop onstage and play a 35-minute set with some new tunes thrown into the mix. It was cold, my hands weren't warming up, and I had a hard time getting it going. My strumming hand starting bleeding early in the set, and someone in the crowd gave me a Band-Aid. The crowd was warm, and they were chanting for me to "put it on" (the Band-Aid) and so I stuck it on my forehead and not on my cut. I don't know why I did that, but it felt like the right thing to do at the time. The crowd loved it. It's funny, you do the dumbest shit onstage and people eat it up. It's like the dumber you are sound-wise, or stage-wise, the more (sometimes) people dig it. So stupid and strange to me. Anyway, the stage manager told Shades we should play longer, so Shades is yelling at me to give them more.
We give them more, and afterward the stage manager (who you can tell is an old gig vet) comes up and personally shakes my hand to say we did a great job. We always get love from the older stage hands, crew guys who "get it." Why can't they all be pretty girls? Nope, instead they are big, older, black t-shirt wearing dudes. You can't pick your fans.
After the gig in Bend we stay in a hotel nearby and press onto Portland the next day. It's early in the morning, and we take a piss stop at at government rest area in Shitsville, OR. I come out of the bathroom and the dudes are surrounded by about 10 chicks and guys in hoodies and assorted black t-shirts. One barefoot guy named Potato Chip offered us some hash to smoke. Anyway, they were all at the show last night and they loved us.
They bought $42 in shirts and CDs from us, and that is a tour first: I've never sold merch at a truck stop after peeing. Pretty weird but funny. We get recognized (more like, people point and sorta giggle) a few more times along the way (grocery store, on Hawthorne in Portland).
We arrive in Portland the next day and load-in to our gig at Langano Lounge. My old friend RJ hooked this up, and I enjoy playing the club gigs on the off days from the D gigs 'cos it's where I feel at home. RJ is an old friend in the sense that back in the early '00s he (and a bunch of his friends) was 17 years old and hanging out seeing us on the east coast -- the Maxwell's kids. Maxwell's is one of my favorite places to play, it's in Hoboken, NJ... I digress.
I haven't seen RJ in years, but he has the Fusco thing going on: east coast/midwest guy moves out west and lets it all out. The dude has gotten older, and his hair! Jesus! He looks like Jesus, it's great. He's kind and sweet like I think Jesus is too, and he treats us very well. It's great to see RJ.
I leave the circus/clown car and Mark Leahey and his wife pick me up for dinner in Portland. Mark is the original Sights bass player and oooooold friend of mine. We drink and eat on the streets of Portland and catch up on old times.
It's a great breather from the touring and it is cool to hear them doing so well. We talk about the pedals he builds and I buy one over dinner -- I hope it's sweet, I'll find out this Saturday as he is mailing it to Mike Walker's joint in Marquette, MI.
We play the gig at Langano and it is a cramped sweatfest. Leahey joins us on "That Ain't Right Little Girl" and everyone goes home happy. The power on the PA cut out a few times, so I had to shout my way threw a verse or two. I love when that shit happens. As I've said before, it's those little accidents that make life interesting. If everything goes well onstage and is perfect, I get a little irked. It needs a little grime, a little off-kilterness, for it to be perfect for me. If everything runs smooth-- that's when I get scared. I think that is where self sabotage comes in for me. I can recall getting freaked out with big gigs or whatever and probably sabotaging it to some degree. Over time I have gotten more comfortable with "success" (whatever the hell that word means) and can live with goodness a lot easier now.
All the best,
Current tour weight: I'll weigh myself when I get home, how's that? I'll give an honest answer, I swear!
Photos by Shades