Ranking Cheese Doodle: No Doodles. So what am I to do? Try a random snack from the Hispanic section that’s what. Specifically Tiritas con Chile. Imagine a strawberry licorice rope covered in paprika, citric acid, and cayenne in decreasing order of flavor. Chuck was the first to try and started making a nyuh nyuh sounds like a stooge and then spit it out. I went next and it wasn’t that bad. Much like the stages of grief it started out bitter, moved to sour, then to hot, and finished up sickly sweet. You regret having eaten it and vow never to do so again. I haven’t translated but I think the bag might describe them as divorce sticks.
Idiocy from the Van: To the tune of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”
“Let’s go lay some pipe, Squat, grunt, and then we wipe.”
This will likely be an ongoing piece of work.
With six hours left to drive until we reached L.A. my gibbet was starting to flibber. Three days solid in the van with no real breaks was starting to wear through the thin veneer that separates us from the illusion of fitting in to a non teeth-gritting, skin-twitching, spittle-spraying, rage-filled society and not. The unvarying terrain didn’t help by settling into an unbroken desert indistinguishable from Mars if one were to put on actual rose-colored glasses.
We arrived at the Silver Lake Lounge slightly early. We had played here before and knew the drill. I’d direct you to the Yelp reviews if you want to get a fuller sense of the experience. The sound guy was nice, the monitors underpowered, the stage set up so that Joe was in a cave in the back of the stage, separated from us more than just emotionally this time. There was no green room so we did a lot of standing around the parking lot waiting for the broth to ripen to the point where soundcheck could happen. Then some pretty good Indian food, and then some more standing around the parking lot. The last time here I had desperately hiked the stretch of Sunset the club is on, looking for Los Angeles, but only found a heterogeneous* mix of shops and restaurants. No matter, by the time we got back from dinner our pal Chris Brokaw had started. Chris has been in a shit-ton of cool bands as well as plying the solo trade for years. We have been playing shows with Chris going back to our first tour. It had been awhile though and we were thrilled to see him. And here’s where it gets exciting. He’s traveling with us for the next five shows as well. In case you’re doing the math and have use of only one hand for some reason, that brings the grand total of people in the van to seven. If we could just somehow cram Pauley Shore in here we would be funnier than the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.**
When we had pulled up there had already been people waiting. We had a crowd bigger than we’d had in Tulsa just for our soundcheck. Some nights take on an energy of their own. The place was packed by the time we took the stage. We’re playing a good portion of the new record this time out, but whenever we played the older songs they sang along so loud they drowned out Lisa on my side of the stage. For a town that does not have a reputation for being warm and fuzzy it was a very sweet and giving crowd we were blessed with this night.
Another bit of sweetness added to the evening was that our dear friend Brooklyn Steve was in attendance. We met him at one of our early shows in NYC where he regaled us with stories of going to see punk shows in the ‘70’s, like the Clash at the Palladium, and a delightful evening shouting out “Peanuts” over and over again at that first Police show. They kept shouting it even after the band played the song until Sting was properly annoyed. Steve would come to every show and we were always delighted to catch up. And when he moved to California a few years back we missed him and his spirit at our shows. I tend to say it ad nauseum but the human need for community and connection is so profound it comes in right after food, shelter, and safety in the heirarchy of needs. Being in a band for a long time these little adopted families occasionally come into existence. This is ultimately what I get from playing music live. Sometimes the connection is just the five of us, but the best nights are when we and the audience become our own little world of misfits. Rocknroll at its best can encapsulate joy, frustration, anger, sex, and solidarity better than any art form. Well, for me at least.
On the way to the hotel we gave Olie a driving tour of Hollywood and Vine, the Chinese Theater, all the landmarks we could manage after a long day. His observation, “It looks a little dodgy” as we drove up Hollywood seemed apt.
Tomorrow is San Francisco.
*The pretension alert went off. Sorry.
**Again my apologies. A colostomy is funnier than the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.