Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saturday, Nov. 13. Grand Forks, ND. The Hub Bar.

The final show of the tour was in Grand Forks, North Dakota, at the Hub Bar with good friends June Panic and his wife Amanda, who calls her band June Panic’s Wife.

It was really good to see these folks!

It also amused me to drive all the way to North Dakota for the final show of the tour. It was my first visit to the state. Happily, Gary joined us again to play the drums with me for this last show of the trip. He came with me the first six weeks, along with some other players, but I played the West Coast leg as a solo act. Good to have everybody back together in the van--which we have put 22,000 miles onto in about two months!

For some reason, I have lots of photos of Gary posing with his food during this trip. Here’s another of him enjoying the classic highway diner dinner salad, a bowl of shredded lettuce.

This was at a café in South Dakota on the way up to Grand Forks.

The kids had a great time playing the drums and tussling the next day.

We went to see an exhibit of work by Lena McGrath Welker at the University art museum. There was a young woman at the gallery dressed up in an elaborate pirate costume, having her picture taken with the art. Senior photos? We checked out the local record shop, Budget Music (or something like that), which has diversified its product to survive in recent times.

Grand Forks is almost to Canada, and it was pretty cold there. Nobody seemed to us to be dressed warmly enough, and nearly everyone we met in the town mentioned that there was a flu or cold going around. But it was to Omaha that the snow came while we were gone.

The show at the Hub Bar was a good time.

June played some of my favorite songs of his. His songs are brilliant. Amanda’s band had a lot of new songs I hadn’t heard before. They rocked. I used to play her music on my radio show back in Lincoln all the time.

Having Gary back on the drums felt great.

Here’s Bryan with one of the Hub's pitcher-sized beer mugs.

So that’s it, the tour’s over. From August 21 to Nov. 13, we drove through nearly the whole country with three our four different versions of the band. We played 63 shows and three live radio spots. Impromptu performances also took place at an artist open studio, a karaoke contest, a handful of open mic nights and a dog groomer's. Philip Gayle joined the tour for the East Coast, and lots of other live collaborations along the way with other artists like Kath Bloom, The Black Twigs, The AMA Trio, The Chiara Quartet, Low Hums. We met about a million people and saw some extremely good music. Quite a trip.

8/21 : Seattle, WA. Cafe Solstice. With AMA.
8/22: Seattle, WA. Garden party at Amy Denio's house. With AMA.
8/27 : Lincoln, NE. Clawfoot House. With Ed Gray, Ron Wax, Jeff Thompson and Angeles Cossio, and Loud Kitchen.
8/28 : Omaha, NE. Noah Sterba's House. With Ed Gray, Simon Joyner, Noah Sterba & the Cocktails.
8/30 : Omaha, NE. Bemis Center for the Arts. With Daniel Higgs, The Chiara String Quartet.
9/1 : Ames, IA. The Ames Progressive. With Ron Wax, Pennyhawk.
9/2 : Iowa City, IA. The Mill. With Ed Gray, Ron Wax.
9/3 : Dubuque, IA. Monk’s Kaffee Pub.
9/4 : Minneapolis, MN. 331 Club. With Andy Elwell, Adam Svec.
9/5 : Madison, WI. The Gates of Heaven. With Meteorade, El-Tin Fun.
9/6 : Milwaukee, WI. The Sugar Maple.
9/7 : Chicago, IL. Uncommon Ground. With Barnfires.
9/8 : Detroit, MI. Burton Theater. With Windy Weber & Hitoko Sakai, Eloine + Gabriel Beam, Black Flea.
9/9 : Columbus, OH. Spore Infoshop. With Time and Temperature, Crawfishes.
9/10 : Bloomington, IN. Bryan Park Tot Lot. With Vollmar, Normanoak, Hanz Bronze, Bobby Bils, Polaroid, Sir Deja Doog.
9/11 : Normal, IL. Never Forget Fest.
9/12 : Urbana, IL. Mike ‘n’ Molly’s. With You & Yourn, Kayla Brown.
9/13 : St. Louis, MO. Pig Slop. With Eloine, Ron Wax, Teaadora, Derrick Hart..
9/14 : Columbia, MO. The Hairhole. With Ron Wax, Heater.
9/15 : Kansas City. The Brick. With The Chiara Quartet.
9/16 : Lawrence, KS. 8th St. Taproom. With CJ Calhoun, Katlyn Conroy, Sam Billen.
9/17 : Omaha, NE. The Slowdown. With The Chiara Quartet, Noah Sterba & the Cocktails.
9/18 : Lincoln, NE. The Zoo Bar. With World History, Zoe Boekbinder.
9/19 : Fairfield, IA. Thug Estates. With Eloine, The Horror the Horror.
9/20 : Louisville, KY. Derby City Espresso. With Eloine, R. Keenan Lawler.
9/21 : Pittsburgh, PA. Helter Shelter. With Eloine, Wife Beater, Critter.
9/22 : New Haven, CT. Cafe Nine. With Kath Bloom.
9/23 : Hudson, NY. The Spotty Dog. With Kath Bloom, Bunnybrains + Eloine.
9/24 : Burlington, VT. The Radio Bean.
9/25 : Portland, ME. Mayo St. Arts. With Dan Knudsen, Jeff Platz Percussion String Trio + Junko Simons.
9/26 : Boston, MA. Whitehaus. With Kath Bloom, Glenn Jones, Jaggery.
9/27 : Brooklyn, NY. Goodbye Blue Monday. With Eloine + Philip Gayle, Mal Madrigal, Guitars.
9/28 : New York, NY. Googie’s Lounge above the Living Room. With P.G. Six, Mal Madrigal.
9/29 : Philadelphia, PA. Castle Gay. With The Snow Caps, Charlotte Littlehales, Kate Ferencz, Buffalo Stance.
9/30 : Baltimore, MD. 2640. With Rosemary Krust, Other Colors, Holy Ghost Party.
10/1 : Washington, DC. Pyramid Atlantic. With Eloine + Gary Rouzer, Rosemary Krust.
10/2 : Blacksburg, Virginia. Gillie’s. With The Black Twigs.
10/3 : Boone, NC. BeansTalk. With Eloine, Arte Povera, Andrew Weathers, Carly Taich.
10/4 : Johnson City, TN. The Acoustic Coffeehouse.
10/5 : Chapel Hill, NC. Nightlight. With Eloine + Slicnaton, Inspector 22.
10/6 : Athens, GA. Flicker Bar. With Emily Armond, Tiny Distance.
10/10 : New Orleans, LA. The Saint.
10/11 : Houston, TX. Notsuoh’s. With The Chiara Quartet, Bell Tran, Papaya.
10/13 : Austin, TX. United States Art Authority. With Christina Carter, Ralph White, Eloine + Josh Ronsen.
10/14 : Wichita, KS. Vertical Violet. With Ghostbeard, Mike Adams.
10/ 17 : Chicago, IL. Schwag City. With Eloine.
10/18 : Chicago, IL. Derp Haus. With Brune-Juice and the Jigsaws.
10/20 : Norman, OK. Opolis. With Eloine, Ex Oblivione.
10/21 : Amarillo, TX. The 806.
10/22 : Phoenix, AZ. The Dressing Room. With Hell-Kite, Michelle Blades.
10/23 : Los Angeles, CA. Human Resources. With Monstruo, Moses Campbell, So Many Wizards.
10/24 : San Francisco, CA. Amnesia.
10/25 : Davis, CA. Robot Residence.
10/26 : Oakland, CA. The Cakebread Castle. With Eloine, Dax Tran-Caffee.
10/27 : San Francisco, CA. Red and White Fleet.
10/28 : Eugene, OR. The Jazz Station. With Eloine + Sabrina Siegel.
10/29 : The Waypost. Portland, OR. With Ohioan, Hearsay and Hyperbole.
10/30 : Olympia, WA. Le Voyeur. With Autococoon, Making Love, Dan Avery.
11/1 : Seattle, WA. The Can-Can. With Low Hums, Bill Patton.
11/2 : Caldwell, ID. Scott's House. With Eloine.
11/3 : Salt Lake City, UT. The Underground. With Eloine, Diandra Ryan-Mas.
11/10 : North Platte, NE. Da Buzz.
11/13. Grand Forks, ND. The Hub. With June Panic.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, Nov. 10. North Platte, NE. Da Buzz.

I played a show in North Platte, Nebraska, at Da Buzz coffee shop. A lot of people came out and it was a good time. Bryan didn’t play this one. There was a write up in the North Platte Telegraph, which resulted in my getting a phone call asking if I’d be a “celebrity judge” for something called Flatrock Idol at the Shooters bar. I figured what the hell, and headed down there after the coffee shop show. That's me on the left, drinking a beer.

It turned out to be a multi-week karaoke contest where the final winner would be flown to an American Idol audition city to try out for that. So that was interesting. And they asked me to play a few of my songs after the singing and judging, so I did.

Mic stand improvisation

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


We drove through Wyoming. Windmills in the sunset, and then it was so dark that we could only guess about the landscape outside the van. It felt like there could be mountains, or we could just as well be driving on a high road past flat fields, or buttes, or a reservoir. But all we could see was the road, and above it all the stars. Once we drove through a tunnel. When the blackness finally made driving seem too much like playing Pac Man with the dotted center line, we pulled off into the Wagonhound Road rest area sixty miles outside of Laramie. We spent the night in the car. It was freezing and I had dozens of crazy dreams.

Our show in Denver, unfortunately, was canceled, but I did have family in town. We had some more car trouble. And here are photos from a hike in Roxborough State Park.

It was about 75 degrees, in November. Maybe Colorado was making it up to me after all those times I’ve been snowed in during layovers at DIA.

We also went to see my friend John Kite play the piano at the Ship’s Tavern bar in the Brown Palace hotel downtown. He’s been playing the piano there for, I believe, around thirty years.

I also got to meet a few more self-proclaimed “shirttail relatives,” wonderful people.

We met up at a place called the Breakfast King. The upholstery there was very orange. So were these pumpkin fields.

We took a wrong turn and so got to explore two tiny highways on our way back to I-80 as we left Colorado.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, Nov. 3. Salt Lake City. The Underground.

My first time in Salt Lake City. We walked around downtown a bit before heading to the show. Here’s the huge Mormon corporate tower at the center of town.
Salt Lake uses a grid system for the street names where each street is numbered based on how far it is from the LDS temple at the center of the city. This caused some confusion for us until we figured it out.

Our show was in Midvale at a space called the Underground. We didn’t know much about the place ahead of time. It turned out to be a rented space above a sort of garage where a guy named Conrad has a small screen-print shop.

The crowd was mostly kids in their late teens and early twenties who were fans of ska and pop-punk bands. A girl wearing a black-and-white checked scarf in her blue hair told me it’s tough for their scene Salt Lake because a lot of bands break up when band members have to leave for their two-year "mission" for the LDS church at age 19. A singer-songwriter sang a song about how his girlfriend was mad at him when the movie he took her to had too much sex and cussing in it. The people there were obviously a tight-knit group of friends, singing along with the local artists’ songs. There were also three guests at the show who were quite a bit older than everyone else; I think they were relatives of one of the performers. They sat toward the back of the room on the only available seating, a couple of bench seats from a van along one wall.

I’m not sure what the crowd thought of Bryan’s performance, but there was one guy lying on the floor on his back about two feet in front of the “stage,” sending text messages. That was too bad.

I did have the chance to meet another relative for the first time, Kristin and her two kids Shannon and Calvin. Very sweet people who put us up for the night at their place in Farmington.
They are all musicians. Kristin left us some jalapeno jelly she made when she left for work in the morning. The town was surrounded by huge mountains, like the city. I found a trail next to a lagoon and went for a run. All the trees had turned.

We left for Denver, but realized shortly along the way that we were in dire need of new tires. The mesh was actually becoming visible through a long gouge (bottom left corner of this photo).
So we turned back to Salt Lake and got two new tires.

While we were waiting for the new tires to be installed, we decided to see what could be done with the copious amounts of change that has gathered in the ashtray and cup-holders during this lengthy road trip. As it turned out, we had $11.38, enough for us to hit the bowling alley next door to the discount tire place, where we paid for one of us to bowl one game and split a tiny cheese pizza.

Bryan was enthused about the old score-keeping computers.

I bowled a 57. We checked out all the chintzy arcade games and explored the place.

Sometimes your throw goes sour and you’ve got to express your disappointment.

Amazing scenery on the way to Colorado.

Echo Lake

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, Nov. 2. Caldwell, ID. Scott's House.

Finished the West Coast leg of the tour yesterday with the Seattle show, and now we’re making our way back. Beautiful drive today through mountains and pine forests, small waterfalls coming out of rock walls along the interstate.

The show tonight was in Caldwell, Idaho, a tiny town a ways north of Boise. I’d never been to Idaho before. I guess it’s a joke with a lot of touring bands that the state doesn’t actually exist. We played at Scott’s house.


He owns the place, but a bunch of friends and he have been working on remodeling it together. Since March they’ve set up a number of house shows there for touring bands. They’ve put in a parking lot in the front yard and a skate ramp in the enormous back yard.

A guy named Angel has been living in the basement in exchange for doing some granite work: over every available surface in the kitchen, bathroom, and the entryway from the back yard. Scott was an uber-host, got a bunch of his friends to play the show with us and provided all kinds of snacks for the guests, like champagne grapes, popcorn, fried chicken and pizza rolls. Oh and there were two birthdays and a big birthday brownie.

There were somewhere around seven acts playing tonight, as evidenced by this wall of guitars.

This young crowd in Caldwell, ID, was such a nice, attentive audience. They gave us a card that they all signed to say thank you for coming to their town. They were really into Bryan’s set.

We fell asleep in a spare room to the sound of a cheerful jam session that wound late into the night.