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Part Two-Mucho Bloody Paralytico Tour diary part 2 by Travis

pictures of some of these events can be found on the images page.


Aug 9th
Day Off in Chicago
I can see Sears Tower by the light of the city at night; the upper stories
obscured by a vapor of part fog, part sweat, and for our pal, Dan, part alcohol.
He's sitting in his living room drinking cheap canned beer with Caree, just waiting
for us to arrive. He's been up all night, and has had the foresight to save a few
beers for us. Johnny is there to, with his fine ass grlfren, Gina. They are all
three sheets to the proverbial wind. Note: Gina plays upright bass in a band called
the Blacks, mui badass. Dan is whipping himself into a frenzy (what's new?) at our
less than grandiose entrance. He threatens to take his pants off. Its the hairy
asscrack of dawn in Chicago, Ill, on what is to be a sultry Wednesday. He takes his
pants off, and wags his dick in the cool-as-its-gonna-get air there on California
St. We unload equipment doggedly (the neighborhood is rough and Dan has had stereos
stolen twice). 'Don't leave your gym socks in the van if you don't want em to get
swiped.' Dan says. Alas sleep is impossible. We drink, and hang with our homies.
Tomorrow we get the single. The morning sun finds us still conscious, and zombified.
Next morning (actually late afternoon of the same day) we eat at Leo's, right
down the street. Dan informs us that we will be on a radio show interview at 8:00 pm
tonight, on 88.7 WLUW Radio Free Chicago, thanks to The South of No North. These
sweeties, to whom we are practically related, will be our tourmates for the next
four shows. They set up this leg of the tour, and boy am I glad because I couldn't
pry a show out of anyone in this area if I used a king sized crowbar. We still have
no show in Cleveland, and so far, no show in Chicago, but I have received a
confirmation in Milwaukee on the twelfth, and we do have Minneapollis, Madison, and
Columbus. So far so good. Possible lead for St. Louis on the sixteenth. Dan says
they won't be able to play that show because of Jack's crappy job. He works at this
kitschy rock-n-roll store with Danny's grlfren Jamie. Its the kindof place where you
spend all your money on crap, and then get busted trying to steal even more crap on
your way out. Its a perfect front for Jack Sparacino's escort service; 'Well-hung
Gigolo Inc.'
We didn't do anything today but drink. Walked around the Borican neighborhoods
(at least to the beer stores and back), and just laid around. The one constructive
thing we did do was put a new battery in the van. It turns out this is what kept
making the van fail to start. Small expense considering we had to replace the engine
after our first tour. Liam came by to squeeze us, and titillate us with the gritty
city stories such as; 'man shot on the doorstep last week'. "The guy shot this dude
on our doorstep, and then hung around for about forty five minutes making fun of the
guy bleeding all over until finally the cops showed up, and carted him off.
Meanwhile we're all crawling around with our heads down afraid to leave the house."
Nick Kraska brought over copies of the split single we did with TSONN. I colored and
stuffed a few, thinking, 'We are officially on vinyl'. Listened to it, and it sounds
pretty damn good. First time I've heard the entire TSONN song, and it rocks. The
song is called, 'This Band is a Bunch of Babies', and the three way vocals are
dedicated to each member's bitch session. Brilliant. We ended up tanked by the time
we went down to the radio show, and the whole thing was kindof a blur. Someone
recorded it, and told us we sounded pretty together during the whole interview part,
but we were substantially blotto. We went next door, and had pizza while it rained
like gangbusters outside. Jack was throwing some rap to the bartender about just
getting off the radio, and going on tour and stuff. I mentioned that we dated the
same girl in Albuquerque, and that Jack managed a comic book store. 'Don't tell her
I'm into comics!' Jack wailed after she took off. For the duration of the tour, and
for reasons unknown to me, Jack would be addressed only as 'Cupcake' by the memebers
of his band. We ended up over at the TSONN practice space; a huge installation with
dozens of rooms for rent. TSONN split a room with Duane Denison's band. Denison is
practically Dan's boss. Big drum hero of mine. Big influence. We tried to play on
TSONN's shit, but it was dismal. All our attempts to have Liam and Dan sit in on a
song were double dismal. We were just too played out from the post interview high.
We went home thinking that the cameo thing was bad idea, duh. Tomorrow night begins
the TSONN/P2B tour proper. Dubbed Mucho Bloody Paralytico Tour '01, thanks to
Johnny, who has been spending a lot of time in that state. A few more folks like
Kara and Chrissy, and Jamie came by. We were not very entertaining.

Aug 10th
Dan stayed at Jamie's house last night so I got good sleep on a real bed.
Looking out his window you are afforded a picturesque view of a brick wall about ten
inches away. It keeps the light out well. Got a shower and breakfast. There are few
sensations both as wholesome and as pleasant as donning a new pair of socks right
out of the bag. They must spray something on them. After struggling through last
nights attempt at practice, we are a little nervous. The guys from TSONN have been
boning up, and we are still a little rusty. The stuff they're playing is a really
awesome amalgamation of their varied influences. They seem to be dedicated to
keeping everything mututally representative. What I mean is there's no obvious
frontman, or single aspect that defines these guys, but a tasty pie split equally
among the lot. Or maybe four tasty fruits that combine to make a yummy tart. You
kindof have to know these boys and what they like to get that much out of it, but I
was really impressed by their...what do you call it, bypartisanship. Fuck you know
what I mean. This is where we (Pilot) begin pondering that handy fourth member
thing. Of course there's the fact that all our recordings have extras added in
overdubbing, and that would certainly promote the idea that we could use another
instrument. On the other hand, I believe that replication is secondary to just
having a good show. Who cares if your set sounds like the album, as long as they're
both good, respectively. Another member introduces a whole new set of possible
contingents. Its also painfully clear that if your going to be stuck in a van for
any amount of time, three is better than four.
Caree is along for this leg of the tour, and its so good to see her. The funny
thing about seeing all these kids from NM in Chicago, is that they all have said
that they miss New Mexico. People who were dying to get out, and now they miss it!
Absence makes the heart get all sappy. We left pretty late because Madison isn't
really that far. Following TSONN on the highway is like chasing a greased pig
through the woods. I noticed something strange as we drove along. It seems that
trees and grass and weeds, etc. grow completely on their own in the midwest without
any human assistance. Remarkable. This is not the case in our beloved desert where
we squeeze every drop out of the river just to squeak by, and the farmers still pray
for rain. When you're driving across America, one thing that's cool is when you have
merchandise, because it gives you something to do in the van besides get on each
other's nerves. Assembling singles, cutting covers for cd's, trimming stickers. Sean
and I got about fifty copies done while Migs drove the van. Ah the life. It takes a
fantastic amount of time to do that shit, especially in a moving vehicle. By this
point of the tour, everybody has taken the opportunity to piss one another off, but
now we must unite to prove our worth. Four shows; Madison, Minneapolis, Milwaukee,
Columbus. A kid called us from Madison, and told us that Ernie from Ft. Collins had
told him to go to the show. He said he'd let some friends in Milwaukee know about
it. My pal from ABQ, Bill, should be at the Milwaukee show as well.

Madison, WI
The breakneck speed got us to Madison in no time. Madison is the capitol of
Wisco, and hometown to one Nick Kraska, drummer for TSONN. Oh yeah, by the way, the
entire world is upside down in Wisco, and you cannot buy packaged beer after 8:00 p.
As soon as we got there (about 8:15) we headed across the street to the bar. The
whole gaggle of us sitting at the bar, and of course their had to be local
interaction. Enter local whitey; tipsy girl playing ye olde
darts-for-the-danger-prone game comes over and says, 'You guys aren't from around
here are you? You should try some cheesecurds.' This is about the third time I've
been alerted to the fact that cheesecurds are mandatory. Nick told us. Kraska is
Yiddish for Cheesehead. She told us her name, and it was like Sandy, or Randy, or
some such. We all introduced ourselves. Travis, Sean, Nick, Cupcake, Liam... "Liam.
Is that a Jewish name?" she says. Seriously. Yeah right, Gospels of Liam. 'Its
Irish, or maybe Scot.' Liam says barely able to contain his giggle. 'Nuh uh, I'm
Irish, and I've never heard of it.' Hooray for curd girl. And Isaac begat
Angus...and Angus begat Sean, and Sean begat Liam, and Liam begat an ulcer named...
Back over at the house we meet Dave. Dave's is a scene dad, meaning that he has a
house of his own, and is dedicated to keeping things in his town going at great
expense to himself. He's a granddad, and its cool to see that not everyone gets
bored with it all. Dave plays in Three Bags Full who were the third band of four
scheduled that night. TSONN has played here before, and they are headlining. Before
we even played we realized we weren't going to get paid. There were two kegs in the
basement, and they would be paid for first. Another cool thing about granddads is
that they always have kegs. Still, I would have liked to have gotten paid. Migs made
some flippant remark about the upcoming Fever Hot Reunion Tour, and Liam and Jack
went off to argue for an hour about whether or not it was funny. Of course the ABQ
locals know that Sean, Jack, Liam, and Migs used to be in Fever Hot. That whole
thing is still sensitive for these guys. The first band had a really long name that
I can't remember. They were light on the technical ability, but the singer sang
about a lot of interesting things like Viagra abuse, and dominatrices. The sort of
stuff Biafra would like. Stealing mail and that sort of thing. The second band was
two guys. Electric Automatic; one guy on guitar, and one guy on drums. I'm pretty
sure they both sang, but there were too many people in the way for me to see. They
closed with '...Peace Love, and Understanding', by Costello. Dave's basement is
really cramped, with the whole band set up more or less behind the water heater. Its
pretty crazy.
This show should be dedicated entirely to Otto the aging nudist rockabilly
dude. This kindof goes with the whole let you hair down (and you pants) vibe at
Dave's house. I've never met a less inhibited rocker, ever. Also he had no body
hair, which is not to imply that he waxed or shaved it, just that he did not have
any. He could not grow it. Whole body smooth as a babys bottom, except for his quaff
which was well lubed. Dan tried to admonish him for being naked, but the crusty
punks who tagged our car were very serious about defending his right to bare all.
Boss people at your own house Qualley. At Dave's in Madison, nude is not rude. Dan
used to be called 'Quality' Dan, but now it has changed to 'Security' Dan. "Dave
doesn't believe in promoting the ego." one of the krusties told me.
To further fit into the dominant 'there's no place like home...except wherever
we are right now' theme, we ran into Milk and Jenn, who put us up for the night.
More Albuquerque folks living in foreign lands. Anyway, they were familiar faces for
us, and it was once again very surreal how consistently we had run into such
acquaintences. Thank god for that or we would have been screwed.
We played somewhere in between the first and last bands, and had a much better
time of it, than earlier at the practice pad. I dropped a stick I think, but at a
very opportune time, so what the hey. The way Dave's is set up, only about six or
seven people can see the band at any one time. Unfortunately for anyone from
Wisconsin, these were all friends of ours from Chitown who had not seen us in about
eight months, up to a year and a half. It was every bit the great moment you wait
patiently for when you're a musician. We tore down quick, and I think Three Bags
Full went on next. I love the Butthole Surfers older stuff with the two drummers,
and King Coffee, and this was very reminiscent of that for me, having grown up in
Texas back in the days when disenfranchised hippies out of their minds on acid were
regulars at so called 'punk' shows. I thought they were pretty cool. Dave has then
supremely humble kindof ethic that I totally appreciate. The kindof ethic that
promotes goodwill naturally and not through some sort of contrived value system. He
sang for these guys in some red underwear. His band mates were considerably younger
and talked a lot about 'making it', and 'getting signed', and the kindof crap which
makes you eventually hate playing music at all. These guys were cool, but Dave had
all the presence. They finished a long set, and TSONN went on. They blistered
everyone. Nick Kraska is the only drummer I know who could gel with all three of
these guys, he's the perfect musical complement to their style. You might think,
'coincidence', but I think 'fate'. Whether curse or providence, these guys work
together like a well made firecracker. The fuse, the powder, the bang, the flash.
After the show we all drank too much, and talked a lot about going to some nearby
lake. Alas, there was to be no pilgrimage. There was too much spilt beer on the
floor of Dave's house for it to constitute sleeping quarters, and Milk and Jenn were
headed out. Jack was galavanting around with two bleach blondes under each arm. One
of them showed us her breasts too many times. Apparently the trio were going to
start the next 'big thing' type band. Of course the girls would both play drums.

Aug 11th
We hit the hay and woke up (way too) early the next morning. We got back over
to Dave's and after a short wait, hooked up with our homies and got on the road. We
left some singles at the record store right across the street from the house, and
got a copy of the flier for the show which is on the images page right now. The lot
of us had coffee down on State St. by the capitol right before we left, and I was
utterly flabbergasted at the obscene amount of beautiful women concentrated in this
area. I combat as many of my chauvinist tendencies as I can, but this was truly
unreal. I was possessed with all three girls working the counter at the coffee shop.
Devilish temptresses, mesmerizing sirens; bewitching, each more than the other, in
her own way. Conversely, every single guy I saw looked like the hugest dork ever. I
know what an attractive man looks like, and Sean, Migs, and I (still stinking of
beer) were at the top of the list. Weird. It must be the cheesecurds.

Minneapolis, MN
We got into St. Paul, and found out where Migs' friend, Robin, lived. Migs and
Robin went to grade school together or something like that. She's got this art space
downtown in a huge ten story building entirely dedicated to rehearsal spaces, and
art studios, and stuff. Massive. All different kinds of art stuff. Pyrotechnics,
painting, sculpture, video...mass multi media. Whatever, it was there. Robin makes
jewelry and bead art. We secretly threw a bunch of paper airplanes out of her
seventh story window. We wanted to throw the coconut, but we decided there was too
much liability. Apparently the entire place is unzoned, and although it had been
operating under this same premise for years, it is still all completely illegal, and
depedant on a low profile. Renegade art space for lease. We all got more or less
cleaned up and went out and ate. The fellas went with Robin, and had Thai that was
so hot as to be unedible, even for a seasoned New Mexican, while I ate at a quaint
roadhouse diner bar around the corner named Mickey's. It looked like a traincar, and
had jukebox menus at the tables, and a soda fountain, and all that awesome
meorabilia stuff. Afterwards we hooked up with TSONN and headed to the show.
I feel very comfortable (but not very happy) saying that this show sucked. The
Crush getting cancelled was part of it. The girl having the show getting upset that
the whole thing hadn't ended by ten was most if not all of it. Again, if I had taken
time to call ahead to each town we could've probably avoided the mess, but I
relinquished all responsibilities for the second leg to TSONN. The whole thing was
sketchy from the get go, and we had to hurry on, and then hurry off, and so forth,
because the girl who was throwing the show was also throwing a tantrum. So anyway,
it turns out the Crush didn't get to play at all, which bummed us out, because Danny
had talked them up quite a bit, and aside from that they were all genuinely nice
guys. I believe TSONN's second split will be with them, so watch for it. After both
bands played (marvelously) and started tearing down, the lady of the house (trans.-
the grinch that stole the Crush-mas) accused us of trying to steal her friggin PA.
On one hand she's giving Jack Sparacino (Italian for Lead is in My Pencil) the horny
eye, and on the other hand she's bitching Liam out for tring to carry out his own
PA! Poor Liam catches all the shit. At this time it should be noted that tour quote
number one was; "My nuts take it all". Danny said this, but I think it might apply
more to Liam. One nice surprise was seeing Emily there. She is another friend of
ours from Albuquerque who is very tall and pretty, and damned if this doesn't fit
some sort of themeatic coincidence wherein we kept seeing people from Albuquerque
everywhere else. Not to mention the people we knew we would see like Caree, and
Kristy and the fellas from TSONN for godsake. Later the Crush directed us to a huge
college party which eventually started to make me feel very lonely. Seeing a bunch
of drunken party animals dancing to live DJ's, and drinking keg after keg of beer
just got me thinking about friends at home. I fell down the stairs to the basement.
The keg was in the basement. You can see the painful cycle developing here. I fell
three or four times during the evening. A lot of pretty girls dancing to house and
laughing at the posturing of young men bringing to mind one beautiful woman (who
likes to dance to house) too far away to hear me. I fell in the bushes, and scraped
my hip up. There's a relationship between mental and physical falling. Besides the
obvious ones I mean. At some point very late into the evening it became a topic of
interest that we had not yet gone swimming. We were supposed to go while we were in
Madison, as the house we played at was only a mile or so from the lake, but we had
failed miserably at the task. We were determined this time. We possied up in our two
vans, after convincing Emily she should come and get naked with us in the lake. A
secret lake in the heart of the city no less, or so Dan claimed. It seemed like we
had to drive forever, but when we pulled over we found out it was just so Danny
could get some fucking Gatorade at this gas staion which had to
the best lit convenience store ever. Fucking busy too at three
thirty in the morning. Cars crammed willnilly into a diminutive parking
lot. A limosine packed with vomiting debutantes, and bangers rapping by the ice
machine. The lot of them tanning under the mega wattage of high pressure sodium, and
metal halide lights. Then we drove all the way back to nearly the same place we had
started. Not five miles from the party we stopped in a desolate parking lot in an
industrialized neighborhood. Offices and wharehouses and such. Took a jog over to
some train tracks, walked about a half mile down the tracks, and then plummeted into
the blackness of the woods. Careening drunkenly through the vegetaion, down a nice
trail, and bursting out of the brush onto a pebble beach populated by serenely
lounging campers too amorphous to describe. Shed clothing, and hurtle into the
water. Glorious. Magnificent. Of course I can't swim very well, but I'm getting more
buoyant on a daily basis. I nearly drowned three or four times anyway, just trying
to get out as far as every body else. All of the sudden, its like stormy, with
lightning, so we start to get out. This is where it gets funny. I decide to get all
dressed and race to the car to avoid getting too wet (impossible and pointless),
thinking this the logical thing, and that everyone ele will surely follow suit.
About half an hour later I realize I'm totally lost in the middle of nowhere. Sure
there's tracks, but not the right tracks, and I'm wandering aimlessly down them
looking for landmarks I didn't bother to notice when I went by them the first time.
Surrounded by mournful trees and shadowed vegetaion, I tried not to think of dead
bodies and ghost trains full of unsettled souls, but I couldn't help it. I love that
shit. And then of course, it was pitch black. I walked for several minutes until I
came to a huge ominous trellis looming above and under which countless trainhopping
vagabonds had been stabbed or choked or possibly frozen to death. It was totally
unfamiliar, and obviously a place of lurking evil. I turned back. I walked the other
way for awhile, and found another set of tracks, and walked the wrong way down those
ones for awhile, before turning back again. I started wondering if the others had
even seen me run off, and began to imagine them searching vainly for my bobbing
cadaver in the turgid waters of the secret lake. After what ended up being an hour
or two of stumbling (much too) silently down haunted deathtrain tracks, I thought I
heard voices yelling. I started wailing things like 'I'm lost!', and 'I'm scared',
as loud as I could. Remember I'm the singer. So anyway, after a minute or two, and
falling down a few more times, I was found and brought to safety, which happened to
be about a hundred feet from where I had burst out of the gloom onto a second
(misleading) set of tracks. We all had a good laugh. Actually everyone was mighty
annoyed, but I thought it was pretty funny. Funnier than ghost train devils. I faded
away into the much friendlier gloom of intoxicated sleep.

Aug 12th
The next day we went and got coffee, and took off. Fuck if I can remember where
we stayed. I think I might have slept in the van. Passed out in the van was more
like it. First thing I can remember being aware of was Dan's freaking dog jumping on
me at his exgirlfriends house. Right off the bat I thought I'd lost my pad and my
wallet at the lake, and was freaking out, and telling everyone we would have to go
back. Sean found them almost immediately, and gave me a look. Sean is really good at
projecting exactly what he's thinking without saying anything. Its a gift. We were
on the road pretty early, I think. I really got fucked up the night before, and most
of my notes from that night were smeared by...rain...beer? Possibly lake water? Very
hard to tell what really went down. Totally uneventful drive. Jack claimed to have
thrown a wet sock at us, but I missed the whole thing, and he might have made it up.
TSONN's advice for the road weary; 'Eat a peach!' Migs is in a great mood, but we
are foul. Sean spent the whole night talking to Sarah, again. I was hoping to have
Emily to talk to, but she spent the whole night running around the party looking for
Migs, who was running around getting into trouble. Emily's friend was very cute, and
I wanted to kiss her. Much like Milk and Jenn's friend the night before, and
Cupcakes blonde friend that didn't show us her tits. No such luck. No kisses for
Travis. Sean's making out with his phone, and Migs is beating them off with sticks,
and I can't win for losing. Getting lost on the train tracks will not get you
kisses. There were so many adorable girls on the dance floor; each one attached by
an invisible umbilical cord to some equally adorable boy. Meanwhile I'm falling down
the stairs on my way to the keg. I'm glad I didn't die, Blair Witch style, or
drowned, or lose all my shit on the beach, but still I want kisses. Speaking from
candid experience its hard to be a bumbling idiot without a sense of humor. Maybe if
I could stay sober, I could get kisses. But being drunk makes everything so easy.
The fear of failure is washed away by the certainty of it. I thought of something
brilliant in the van, but I forgot it into thin air. Impedance mismatch on the
synaptic circuit. It was brilliant and poetic, and I let it go rather than tax my
swollen melon. People don't love me for my mind. But why do they? Do they? I think
it was a brilliant thought, but I'll never be sure. Sometimes a thought, brilliant
in the spontaneous moment, turns out to be mundane in the light of examination. I'll
have to ask Liam later. He misses my mundane spontaneity. He might remember one of
my good thoughts for me. He gave me some advice about girls; charming first, then
lude. I've been getting that backwards. Sometimes I don't know what people see in
me. All the criticisms seem more applicable. But my friends love me. I'll have a big
funeral. There'll be kegs. Morbid, yes, but I remember talking to this very sweet
girl, and she said she was obsessed with death, and I wanted to blurt out, "Me too!"
but I didn't think she would believe me. Do you ever fantasize about your own
untimely funeral? Cause of death, etc. Usually something gruesome like stabbing or
shooting, or car crash, struck by car, etc. Something like that. There are healthy
and unhealthy manifestations of morbidity. Its another way to relate to people. As
if to say, "If nothing else, love me because I won't last forever." Life is short,
love one another.
On a lighter note Migs shows his dedication by pissbottling his own flavor of
Gatorade. Sean informs me that Jack shaves his pubes. I'm thinking 'The shaft
itself, or what, like the whole bush? Does he have a hairy asscrack, and if so, how
far is far enough? Speaking of hairy asscrack, Dan's hairy ass put a crack in our
windshield while he was crawling all over the roof of the van. Grain silos look like
shiny techno mosques. Mosque on a stick. Can you say 'phallus in the heartland'? Now
that there is a three phallus farm. Three massive towers surrounded by cudchewing
bovines. Holsteins, Herefords, Angus, Black Angus, Brahma, Jersey, Gurnsey,
Champaigns, Belles. That's all the cows I can think of. Nothing else for miles
around the installations save for delapidated farmhouses, and rusting fences.
"Daddy, what were trees like?", asks ever querisome youth. "They were terrible rough
prickly things that ooze stickyness, and attract bugs and rodents. Terrible messy
things altogether, and quite dangerous threats to property. Very flammable." answers
weary corn fed father. I noticed they are actually trying to reforest some acreage
around the highways. The trees are all gridded out in perfect rows and columns like
the worlds largest shag carpet.

Milwaukee, WI
This show was pretty cool right off the bat. Kids were already there, hanging
out playing badmitton. There's a cool PA, and the ceiling was high enough to afford
leapage. There's a kid there with a camera to take pics. We didn't really connect
with the kids enough, but they all seemed to be nice enough. Most everyone was
pretty young, and I guess I was pretty preoccupied with just the trappings of being
on tour. There was food (thank little baby jesus for that), and we went to the beer
store which sold beer at a reasonable hour. I realized later that all the kids were
straight, but they never hassled us, or even seemed to notice. It was a nice show.
Pierce street house, nice folks. Kris, and Chris were the two girls we met who lived
there. Another great big legacy house. We played with this band called Fed by
Fiction. I thought they were great. They had seven members, two of which were girls
(not trophy players but integral to the group). There was three guitars, bass,
drums, and two singers. A tall lanky blonde kid named James, and a sweet looking
midwest girl, Tammy, you might have recognized them from next door or somewhere else
in your neighborhood. Anyway, the three guitarists (one of them Tammy's fiance,
Mike), layered all these hellacious metal licks over one another while the two
singers erupted respectively on the crowd. Interspersed with some emo breakdowns.
Honestly the girl had the kindof power in her voice one associates with berserk
Scandanavian wargods. Gutwrenching. The blondie was a fountain of manifestos, and
confrontational 'dancing', for lack of a better term. Very energetic. The wierd
thing was that they could've been two completely interesting bands with the same
rythm section, and that would almost have been cooler. They were all very sweet
there in Milwaukee, and the show ended way too soon. I met a kid named Adam that
videoed some of each band, and gave me a contact to get a copy. That was pretty
cool.
We swilled a few beers down and decided to drive on to Chicago that night. It
turned out not to matter because right around the corner from the Pierce St House
TSONN's van went kaput. It was a belt or something minor, but essential. Sean, Jack,
Nick, and I went on a quest for some kindof remedy for the van. We ended up driving
in circles trying to locate some mythical truckstop where there was either, 'a good
chance..', or 'absolutley no chance whatsoever', that we could get help. We actually
got directions at a convenience store, got lost trying to follow them, and then
stopped at another convenience store only to realize it was the backdoor of the same
store. The belt would not be fixed until morning. We passed about ten autoparts
stores and talked of smashing into one and stealing a belt. We passed a drive in, which I
thought was cool. I haven't seen one in forever. We all ended up at this Packer bar
with a bunch of topheavy tools, drinking until about two fourtyfive. It was like
four bucks for a decent pitcher of whatever it was, extremely domestic. Is there a
beer called Blatz? I think it was that. Nick pissed in the intersection, and we
slept in the van.

Aug 13th
Day Off In Chicago
Next day it was a small effort to fix the van and get back on the road. Migs
stepped in as resident mechanic and had it all wrapped up posthaste. There's like
ten cars in the backyard at Migs mom's house in the valley, and they must have
served as lab specimens at some point. We were back in Chicago in no time, as
Milwaukee is just a hop skip and jump. If it weren't for the short drives through
this part of the trip we would've been fucked. Each night had us seeking more and
more dubious depths. Each day our spirits would slowly rise to a tense crescendo at
the moment of performance, and then collapse with abandon into the drunken abyss of
night, only to wake up swollen and weary and begin anew. I have to admit that all of
us emerging from the vans in front of some vets house in some retirement
neighborhood in the middle of Milwaukee was pretty sketchy. It wasn't some bad
neighborhood, but in a way that would've been better. Waking up covered in mucus in
front of a house with our country's flag flying out front, and a manicured lawn, and
a concrete statue of a jockey painted to look like an AfroAmercian is highly
unsettling.
We got back to Chicago and unloaded everyting into a storage closet at the
TSONN space. Went home and slept for awhile longer which seemed throughout the tour
to have a miraculous effect on the swing of things. The days were spent in misery
and penitence, and the nights seemed to bring some relief through selfgratification.
The afternoon nap was like purgatory, which is not so bad when you're climbing out
of hell.
Sean and Migs and I walked through the Borican neighborhoods to the trainstop.
The light train runs above the city, and the subway lines below. The massive
trellises are wooden, and its bizarre to see public transportaion older than some of
the buildings. Sean tells us that there are often problems with the trains, and even
derailments on occaision. This as were getting on the fucking thing itself. Death on
the L-Train; I can't help thinking, 'what a cosmopolitan demise', or having another
bout of morbid thoughts while staring at the infamous third rail. Rode the redline
downtown to...The Chicago Art Institute. Art, my freinds and neighbors, and lots of
it. More specifically, we saw paintings by the likes of Serat, Matisse, Cezanne,
Degas, Latrec, Monet, Renoit, Van Gogh, Picasso, Miro, Dali, Pollock, Lichtenstein,
Warhol, Katz, Richter, McLaughlin, and many others. I saw Picasso's 'Guitarist', Van
Gogh's 'Self-portrait', Serat's pointilist beach. That was just two rooms. Dali's
hallucinatory horses. A sequin painting by Warhol. Sean said that 'American Gothic'
was hanging in the other room, but I missed it. How many times have you seen these
one-of-a-kinds reproduced in campus print sales, and hung on (...she giggled
delightedly, 'these are my...') first apartment walls; still entombed in the cheap
plastic with cardboard backing. There was so much art. Too much. Not just paintings,
but everythng from architectural drawings, to mobiles, to marble sculptures, to
pilfered relics from all over the world. We saw the Weston photography show
downstairs. Again I must say, or remark on, the strange link between beauty and
wealth, and culture, or style or whatever. What I mean to say is the place was
pretty highbrow and lousy with hot chicks. I've oft times touted the relationship
between fat scabby bastards and opulent fortunes. Perhaps this is the reverse side
of that gilded coin. It should be explained that any beauty I remark of here is
purely of the outer and superficial sort with no indication of substance, whereas
any ugliness alluded to is total and uncontestable. These things alone are of the sort which
impress the Uber Tourist. On the other hand, it was free Tuesday at the Institute,
so maybe there is no link after all. I'll bet seeing expensive paintings makes
everyone seem more well to do, and I must admit I felt pretty priveleged. Blame it
all on the Impressionists. After a few awefilled moments, I couldn't help but
disregard all these hanging masterpieces in lieu of the people themselves
circulating throughout the museum. The vast majority seemed to be young, with
thoughtful scholastic expressions; full of consideration and appreciation, pasted
on their cherubic faces. Beautific
looks cultivated in study halls and cozy dorm rooms. I felt the same respect that I
would have in a fine china shop or at a funeral. Nobody is allowed to move too fast,
or raise their voices above a murmur. I'm like 'OK, now I've seen a Van Gogh. What's
next?' But, seriously, it was somehow astounding to be face to face with some of
those images. I followed a few beautiful girls around to see what they liked. I
think they liked being followed around. Outside the museum, a couple of kids were
doing the whole beat-on-the-top-of-a-five-gallon-bucket routine we've all seen, and
I still can't help but love. They had an Afrocuban marching band thing going; total
bombastic funk rythms, and twirls and finger spins that you see in marching drum
sections. It made me want to dance, it made me want to do a dance as if I were a
shamen, or something vaguely spiritual like that. It was almost as much fun as
watching girls look at art by people who had been dead for awhile, if not a long
while. There were dozens of onlookers parked on the steps of the Institute like a
makeshift amphitheatre watching these two adolescent geniuses battle each other with
improved rolls and diddles. Dead geniuses hung poorly on yellowed walls with
prodigal geniuses sweating their art out on the stoop for donations. You could hear
them all over the place in that intersection with all those people, and traffic.
Fuck yeah, Chicago, love that shit.
We got on the train to Wrigley Field; a baseball field named for a candy tycoon,
who guessed? You know Danny wouldn't be far from this sort of unadulterated
Americana. He lives for grand achievements, even if somewhat superfluous. He's like
a bass playing Paul Bunyan. 'John Henry was a steel drivin' man.' It was about quitting time
and the trains were packing people home to their domiciles in droves. There is
something so fantastically erotic to me about every glance, or incidental eye
contact on a train. Maybe because of the movies, or that song by Sonic Youth,'...met
a stranger on a train, [he/she] was looking right back at me, I swear I didn't mean
it, swear it wasn't meant to be...' I made a terrible sketch of a beautiful girl
while she snoozed doggedly across from me. Prussian, perhaps Serb, or so I convinced
myself. Adjacent to her a woman so beautiful she must have been a princess escaped
from the cloistered walls of the Forbidden City. Her long lithe body farely reeked
of dynatsties passed. The train pitched us like babies in a cradle.
Dan works at a bar down the street from Miller's Field, and Jack and Jamie
work at 'Hot Pink' across the street. Its a front for his gigolo operation as I
mentioned earlier. We stopped in, but shopping is bad for your pocketbook. Jamie
gave us free gymbags. Danny picked up some red, white, and blue sweatbands to rock
out with; Boyscout style. We headed over to the bar and proceded to get drunk. Dan
working in a bar, scary. We got toasted for free.
I spent the next day hanging out with Caree and Kristy in their loft apartment,
which was awesome. Above a storefront, vaulted ceilings, wood floors. Too bad
they're moving out. Mae Mae, Caree's pitbull, is about ten goddamn years old now,
but still imposing enough to scare all her neighbors. I think she's sweet and pink
nosed. I walked to Bubbles and did laundry. By the time I got back over to Johnny
and Dan's, Sean had learned on the internet of a party where Planes Mistaken for
Stars (from Denver) would be playing. These guys had come through Albuquerque not
too long before, and tried to throw a show that ended up cancelled. We followed them
from house to house, waiting to see if they would get a chance to play. No such luck
in 'Burque, so we were all looking forward to seeing them in Chitown. Sean noted
that they'd be playing at the Fireside Bowl the next night with three other bands.
We got to the party right as they were starting, and fucking 'A', they were awesome.
Their drummer, Mike, plays with the kindof consistent intensity I wish I had. They
had a pretty metal sound, but way more charismatic than any metal band I've seen
lately. One minute they're quiet kids in grey hoodies and baseball caps, the next
they're seething black demons with hair and sweat careening everywhere. Rawken. I
talked to Mike after the show, and more or less tried to pry a show out of him for
the next night. He was totally open to the idea but gave no guarantees. We talked
about the botched show in ABQ where their tourmates Peralta had been the only ones
to play, and a gaggle of folks (including yours truly) had followed in a precession
from somewhere downtown to the Last Day Parade house, and then finally to Chris and
Rob's wharehouse (I actually didn't make it that far, as I got lost, metaphorically
speaking). I told him we were on tour, and kindof whined self piteously about how
hard it was for bands like ours, etc. I was hoping to sound pathetic enough to get
his sympathy. It seemed to work, thanks to the fact that these guys were a vanload
of heroes, and the fact that I am pathetic, and self piteous. We ran into another
kid from Albuquerque named Sean, and he told me to say hi to Brandi. Hi Brandi. As
soon as Planes got done, the cops showed up. Since the music was over, they just
kindof circulated through and then took off. Chicago cops seem much more thuggish
than any other cops I've ever encountered. While we were walking down the street
earlier, we'd seen this lady cut this cop off from making a left turn with her
hoopty. Right as she passed by the cop leaned out of his window and yelled 'Get the
fuck out of my fucking way!', which put a big grin on her face, and mine too. I just
laughed, and laughed. Fuckin' Thuggish. Cops with their uniform sleeves cutoff to
fully reveal their burly thuggish arms and bad marine tattoos.The whole day off had
been a blast, except we had missed Gina Black playing a solo set at some place
called Quenchers, which was a drag, but I loved Planes, so...

The South Of No North
(for any info concerning these shows call TSONN at www.thesouthofnonorth.com)

Madison, WI
Dave's House Blount St.
Three Bags Full
The South of No North
Electric Automatic

Minneapolis
Cancellation
the Crush

Milwaukee
2427 Pierce St. House
Kris 414 372 1090
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