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Tuesday 3 June 2003

More Gigs, Tatoos, etc

Thursday, Peter, the guitarist in the flute band, called to say that we couldn't use his SO's SUV after all. So Friday morning, I rushed out to get an oil change for the pickup truck and then we loaded all our equipment into the back and the three of us squished in and drove all the way to Eugene. We bonded. Talked about all sorts of things. I drove the whole way.

On the way up, I had shared Christi's shark story. When Christi's grandpa was a boy, his family drove to Florida and he caught a shark. He was so prous of this accomplishment, that the family was persauded to tie the shark to the roof of the car and drive back to California. Persumably, they planned to get the shark mounted or something. But it was summer and someplace right in the middle of the country, the smell of rotting shark became unbarable and the shark body was dumped in a stream. This story intrigues me. What happened then? Did someone find the hark? Were children henceforth disallowed from swimming in the stream?

Polly got excited about Black Butte, a small cinder cone next to Mount Shasta. There will be a song about this soon, I think. We got to Eugene and met Polly's friend KC, with whom we were to stay. He explained that he just purchased a rental property and took us over there, where he stocked the fridge and said we could stay. Nifty. Then he took us to dinner at a good Thai place and give us an advance on the door for the Saturday gig.

KC and Peter stayed up talking into the night, while Polly and I slept. I woke up the next morning around 8:00, which is early for me, and went walking with Polly, trying to find the venue. We walked a long time and finally, I got some breakfast and she asked where we were going. We had passed it and so doubled back. And founf the bookstore Foolscap Books, our venue for the evening. It's next door to KC's new age shop. It was still too early for either place to be open, so we crossed the street to a Just Desserts-style bakery. Half of the things they sold were vegan. They had vegan muffins, vegan german chocolate cake, vegan parfait, vegan ecclairs, vegan cheese cake tortes, vegan everythign you could think of. The clouds parted overhead and angels sang and blew trumpets. I got a pumkin muffin. It was the best muffin I've ever encountered, vegan or non vegan. It was awesome.

finally, the bookstore opned up and we looked around and saw the PA. Peter finally woke up and came to look at the PA too. then KC's shop opned, so we looked at that. Peter was full of questions about everything. The shop co-owner showed him all the ritual knives and explaine dhteir meanings and showed us a replica of the Sting prop from Lord of The Rings. Apparently, some neo-pagans want to rituals with short swords pictured in movies. The shop people showed us some stuff about cleansing rituals and a huge, heavy, shap sword that was for sale. Then Peter and I went with KC to Guitar Center while Polly went out to lunch with her friends from Portland.

I Peter needed strings. I just wanted to see if I could get a sales-tax free minidisc. No dice. I realized that I forgot my instrument cable, so I purchased one. Then we left so that Peter could string his acoustic guitar. We went back to our house and he unwound the lowest string and pulled it out of the groove in the nut. The nut broke. (The nut is the grooved piece of bone or plastic at the top of the neck that holds the strings over the finger board (and frets).) He and KC went back to guitar center to buy a new nut. I stayed behind and stared at charts, trying to memorize them better until I fell asleep in the living room. Polly returned and I told her about the nut and she looked highly alarmed. She had been getting progressively more nervouse about the gig through the day. So she went to meditate. Peter came back and started trying to pry the old nut out of the guitar. He spent maybe an hour. It wasn't budging, so he and I went to a pro-level repair shop with his wounded guitar and the new nut.

The repair guy took out a tool and had the old nut out in two seconds. He looked at the new nut and declared that it wouldn't fit. He went to a box of old nits and started fishing around for one that would fit and explained that he was doing Peter a favor, since they never fit, you always had to make a new one for the guitar. Nut sizes vary from brand to brand, from model to model and even from individual guitar to individual guitar. Apparently guitars have not yet experienced the industrial revolution innovation of interchangable parts. The repair guy said that he needed to make a new nut. It was approaching 5:00, the shop didn't rent guitars and we didn't know anyone to borrow one from. The repair guy had no leads on rentals. doom. the repair guy took pity and kept looking through his nut box until he found one that kind of fit. It was too short. He super-glued some stuff to it, shimming it up until it was almost tall enough. It was still too shot and too wide, but it was playable. Peter promised to send some repair work his way and we went back to the house.

I was trying to remember how to play one of the songs and it wasn't coming to me. Polly was more mellow from meditating, but I was getting to be highly concerned. We wet up some speakers and did a run though. It was ok, so I felt better. I think we prolly all felt better. We loaded our gear into the truck and went ot the bookstore and set up. I was hungry, so while everyone else was sound checking, I went next door to get vegan tacos. Eugene is more vegan-friendly than Berkeley, I think. the Mexican place was selling big, one kilogram bags of Mate, just like the one Tiffany bought me several weeks ago. But they didn't sell individual cups. I was still nervous. I knew mate would help. Should I buy a kilogram?

I went back Mate-less to sound check. We finished checking ten minutes after it was suppossed to start. The place was desolately empty. The openning act, a poet, was on her cell phone, calling up her friends, trying to get them come listen to her poetry. The organizers decided to wait half an hour in case more people showed up. A couple did.

The poet was awesome. I forget her name. She mostly talked about scoring chicks.

Then we were on. It went mostly without incident. I got off in the set list and had a refrain of panic where I didn't know what song we were playing, but managed to get back on track. Polly introduced Peter and I. She said that I was a mills alum and that Peter had many other projects. We played songs. Polly did some solo stuff. By the time we finished, there were three audience members: Polly's two freinds and one stranger. I made a resolution a few weeks ago to go to at least one concert a week. I've been falling behind on it, but I think I need to renew that resolution. People need audiences. The bookstore owner was apparently pissed to have made $8 on the show.

The sound guy, Sleeve, was excited that I went to Mills because he's into noise music. Cool, a contact in Eugene. We broke down and went over to the dessert place and then went to a bar with just is three and KC's neice, who was into Peter. After one round of drinks, we went back to our house and slept. It was around 1:00.

I woke up at 7:30 the next morning. I heard Peter and Polly talking to each other. Peter is not a morning person. I sprung out of bed, since it must be time to leave. It was 7:30. Peter crawled back to sleep, but I was up, so I had breakfast at a greasy spoon with Polly's Portland friends. The woman was a wesleyan alum. She gave me her email address. She's going to try to get her frat (it's a co-ed frat) to host us in September at Wesleyan, so we could play a gig (or a few) after I left. Pretty cool. She gave me her email address She seems nifty.

And so we went back to pack up. While we were putting things in the truck, a barefoot guy with a banjo was walking down the street. I said I loved the banjo and he played a song for us and then went on. Eugene is a weird place. We left a nice note for KC and piled into the pickup truck and drove and drove and drove. It was much warmer on the trip down. we passed a thermometer that said it was 91 degrees F. No airconditioning. No radio. No room to move. We talked less on the way down.

Peter suggested we get off the freeway and drive though historic Dunsmuir, because he was curious and it would be a nice change of scene. We drove past the muffler man from Zippy the Pinhead. The one that Zippy goes to have talks with. There he was larger than life! My bandmates were not as excited as I was.

Finally, we got back to the bay area. We came over a crest and saw the twinkling of lights below and cool breeze washed over the car. Home! The only place with decent weather outside of the Mediterranean. We dropped off Peter at his home in Richmond with his stuff. Then went to Berkeley, where Polly dumped her stuff into her car. And there was christi, who I had been pining for all weekend. I told he that I saw the Muffler man. She said, "Really?? That's awesome!" I definitely married the right woman. She had a cold and I was exhuasted, so we went to bed.

I slept past noon. Got up, ate some food, check my mountain of email, then went over to Precision to get a tatoo of a bass clef on my arm. It took around two hours. It's black and blue and shaded. Now I look like a real bass player. It matched a tatoos of a peace symbol, that Christi got on her arm in the same spot, during my absence. Peace through music. Or something. I came back for Tennis Roberts rehersal. We waited around for Ed to show up and then called him and went for Pizza. We called him back after Pizza and he said he was too tired to practice, so we played as a trio for maybe an hour. the mics were still set up from flute back practice, so I tried singing and playing bass for a while. "New tatoo. Black and blue." Not good at making up words on the fly and really not good at multitasking singing and playing at the same time, but I think I could get it with practice.

Tiffany came home and was tired, so we quit playing. Everyone left. Christi and Tiffany went to bed. I posted in my blog. I was instructed by the tatoo artist to take a hot shower, so I will go do that now. Then bed.

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