Tour Diary: Kansas City (US / Day 16)

“I don’t care if they use a BB gun and it takes two hours, it’ll still be better than a drum circle..”

Ranking Cheese Doodle:

Moon Cheese – Cheddar – An audience member brought a bag of these to our Denver show. You can find them at Starbucks but they are not puffed cheese doodles. No, they are nuggets of dehydrated cheese. That’s it.
They’re pretty crunchy and a little greasy so all good there. It’s the flavor that’s troubling.
Flavor: There is the taste of cheese rolling around, albeit that nub of the cheese that escaped the plastic wrap and was exposed to the air. No, it’s another hard to pin down flavor that defines the experience. I described it as earthy or musty, but Chuck used the word barnyard. He described it as tasting like the 4H barn, sort of a dirty straw flavor.

Idiocy from the Van: “Do the drapes match the curtains?” and/or “Does the couch match the davenport?”


Today was guaranteed to be a long day. The upside to staying at a hotel 40 minutes west of downtown Denver was we got to have a taste* of the Rockies as we followed a whitewater stream down to beginning of the end of things worth looking at out the window. People who travel this way mostly complain about Kansas, but eastern Colorado can break your spirit before you even get there. There are moments when you get an unbroken vista of golden grasses spreading out to the horizon, and you find yourself humming “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” with the strangers around you, chest proudly raised, face facing the sun, wind rippling the hair in your ears. But mostly it’s a grind. To make things more awful Chuck and Lisa had succumbed to the stomach bug or road gut, whatever it was, and were hating life.

Since there is no way to make the drive interesting I will relay a few stories that were told to me later or didn’t fit at the time.

“A baguette is a small piece of bread.”  – Panera employee to Olie 

IMG_3235In Portland the sound guy was named Count something or other. Honestly, as soon as you hear the word Count being used as a name your brain freezes as you try to process if he really just said that was his name. When he introduced himself to Lisa he said, “Hi! I’m your sound guy Count.” Lisa heard, “Hi! I’m your sound guy. Count!” She responded, “1, 2, 3, 4.”

At another time Lisa and John were being talked at by a man who insisted on telling them his life story. The gist was that he had recently informed his wife that he thought he might want a divorce. Apparently she responded something along the lines of, “Yeah, that sounds good.” He had gone from being sad and concerned to being pissed that she apparently wanted one too. John and Lisa said the guy had been talking to them unbroken for at least five minutes by this time. Lisa, attempting to be kind said, “Well maybe this means someday you can be friends again,” He looked right at her and said, “To be honest I have no interest in anything you have to say.” John and Lisa just broke out laughing, turned and walked away.

In Boise, as I was trying to coax the crowd a little closer by comparing them to wild raccoons, the conversation eventually led to someone in the audience yelling that there was going to be a drum circle at someone’s farm after the show and that we could come. Chuck responded, “I’d rather someone shoot me in the head than go to one of those.” He looked thoughtful for a second and followed up with, “I don’t care if they use a BB gun and it takes two hours, it’ll still be better than a drum circle.” The audience member later assured us he had been joking. Chuck did not.

IMG_3234Tales from selling merch:

“What’s your smallest size?”
“Well..small is our smallest size.”

Anonymous quote: “I used to play poker with a schizophrenic in the psych ward. He… they cheated so bad.”

And then when we got to Kansas City a weird thing happened. I was in a good mood. I have no idea where it came from but it was a good night for it. There was an Ethiopian place across the street and some lentil samosas and plantains revived me. The venue, Davey’s Uptown Rambler’s Club, was exactly the kind of place where I would hang out if I lived here. It was run by a cheerful old guy and equally cheerful not so old woman. He ran the bar by himself and she did everything else. I wondered later if it was because I was subconsciously happy to be back in the Midwest, or if the building was just a peaceful place.

IMG_3230Also contributing to the goodness was getting a chance to play with our old friends Schwervon. They are a duo, Nan on drums and Matt on guitar. They are the kind of nice that doesn’t make you want to punch them in the face for exposing your own failings, but rather the kind that makes you want to be nice too. Their songs are smart, interesting, and thoroughly enjoyable. The first act of the night was a trio called the Cave Girls and their music again made me happy. I watched their whole set, which is rare because I’m usually too squirrely before playing (or after playing) (or ever) to sit still. I was trying to figure out how to describe their music and was leaning towards ‘70’s American punk with that 1950’s influence that was present then, but Chuck said it was more like the 1960’s Girls in the Garage compilation. It was a lovely show. We’ve a ways to go before we pack the house in KC but it felt like a good start.

Tomorrow is Chicago.

*damp wool and pemmican