The Band’s Day Off

Posted in Uncategorized on June 30, 2012 by oldmandub

The band had a day off. The tour so far had been one of our better ones, but not our best. Some of our most loyal followers in our favorite cities like Reno, Houston, and Columbus were absent. We had some van trouble in Kentucky that made us 3 hours late to the show that night, and set us back $400, a decent chunk of our merch profit. That night we were in a town we’d never been to before and when we got to the venue it was clear no one was coming. The trials of the road are tough on the strongest men and can turn the most optimistic young soul into a crotchety curmudgeon, bitter and broken. We needed a respite. We went to the movies.

The paper said eleven o’ clock, roughly an hour away. Ian, of course, had to call his mother. The rest of us can rarely tolerate listening to him update her with a minute-by-minute account of our day’s events (Yes, he calls her everyday). So we dropped him off at a McDonalds, his little red head inhaling Camel Lights as it moved back and forth across the parking lot. The rest of us conferred regarding the night’s fiasco and decided we needed to get in touch with the promoters of the following nights to make sure everything was in proper order. Two bad nights in a row on tour sucks. Three or more can be catastrophic to a band’s moral. It took less than ten minutes to sort out any loose ends. Eric was hungry, but didn’t want to eat McDonalds. “Fuck that dirty trash.” He had a craving for Taco Bell. “Yeah, dude. It’s got tomatoes and shit.” No emphasis on ‘shit’?

By the time Ian was ready to go we had forty minutes to get some tacos and make it to the theatre. The GPS on my iPhone said a Taco Bell was roughly four blocks north and ten blocks west. “That’s the complete opposite way of the theatre.” Eric persisted. “Dude, it’s Taco Bell. It’s quick as fuck.” Turned out this Taco Bell was closed. “Is there another one around here?” “There’s a Burger King, like, eight blocks back towards the theater.” Ron was driving. “Well, that’s good because we are running out of gas.” We almost hit empty before we got to an AMPM a block past the Burger King. I didn’t like the lack of cars and lights. “Looks like it’s closed, too.” Eric’s vision isn’t the best, but once he has his mind set on something there’s no dissuading him, and he was dead set on Whoppers. I looked at my phone. “Dude, the movie is starting soon. Don’t take too long.” It didn’t take him long to return, but it took him a while to microwave the Big Bite burgers inside the AMPM, longer than it took to fill up the tank. Once he was back to the van, Ron got a whiff and decided it smelled too good to pass up. “How much were those burgers?” I looked at my phone again. Christ. We’ll never make it.

We still had about 10 blocks to go and 15 minutes until the movie started. We immediately found out where everyone in this shadow town of the American Dream were tonight. The line to get into the theatre was at least 45 people deep, and we could see inside that we’d be lucky if we could get any popcorn. Ron shrugged. “Good thing I got those Big Bites.”  We got our tickets with no time to spare. However, when we got into the actual theatre where our movie was playing there were still so many people trying to find seats that the management decided to keep the lights on while the movie started rolling.

I like to sit in the very middle and insisted that’s what we do. The guys didn’t put up much of a fight, but it was hard to figure out where the middle was. We decided to split up. Directly in front of the entrance there was a hump of seats that obscured the view of most of the rest of the theater. The people facing us clearly had the worst seats in the house since the screen was behind them. Those wouldn’t do at all. Ian went left down some stairs that looked like they continued 300 feet or so. Eric went forward to zigzag through the seats up over the backwards hump. Ron and I would go up to the right and try to circumvent it. At the top there was a path going left down towards the center of the theatre and Ron took it. I didn’t want to give up a higher position so I kept ascending to see if I could out flank the seemingly thousands of people also pouring down there from several angles.

I got up so high I couldn’t see the screen anymore. I looked back down and saw that Ian was still descending. From my vantage point I could tell that if he were to find any available seats they would be too low to see the screen even if we stood up on the seats. That area didn’t make any sense, yet people were filling it up so I tried waving at Ian whenever he turned to look down a row to see if there might be four empty adjacent seats, but he never bothered to look up to see where any of us might be.

Eric was lost in a herd. After going over the hump he found his way to another aisle that lead to another section carved into the wall to the left that might have had a good view of the screen, but I could see from my position that due to the volume of people also in there his search would be fruitless. I tried to wave him over to the wall perpendicular to the cavern he was about to endeavor. It was so far away I couldn’t tell for sure whether it had any empty seats, but it’s distance gave me some confidence that if there were an available section of this bizarre labyrinth it would likely be it. Unlike Ian, Eric saw me, but headed straight up the stairs of his gut anyway. I shrugged then continued back up.  Maybe I could see where Ron headed down, and I thought I still could have a decent shot of finding us safe haven.

As I went up I looked across each row. People were standing with their backs to the screen, yakking at their sitting friends as the movie rolled on in the background, for lack of a better word. No one really seemed interested in what was happening in the movie but maybe that was because the screen was almost impossible to see from every seat. I was starting to wonder who designed this place. People from the Midwest are weird. I eventually hit the peak of my stairs that formed an arc with a massive sloping segment of more seats that sank into what looked like oblivion. There were some kids without parents running around, but the vast majority of these seats were empty. And instead of facing the screen they faced literally nothing. A void of excess and loneliness was all there was to see here. Yeah, not these seats either.

I turned back around. From where I was now I could see deep into the center of the theatre. I was so far up it was hard to be certain what was down there, but it looked like the seats began to spiral in on one another.  I could see Ron’s massive blonde hair on top of his Viking frame moving down pass all the civilians as he scoured the rows for our seats. I got a text from Eric: “I can’t find shit.” I couldn’t see Ian anymore and hoped he didn’t fall into another void. I looked back toward the center for Ron. He found a solitary open seat, ripped it out of the ground, smashed it back on the floor, and threw it into the center of the spiral where it spun like a top in a blender for a moment before being sucked into the floor. We needed to get out of this M.C. Escher painting before gravity sucked us all into its eventuality. I had tried desperately to steer us toward an agreeable conclusion, but it seemed like none of us could pull ourselves from the bowels of our individualism to arrive anywhere together. I decided to go back down the stairs from whence I came and hoped to meet the rest on the other side.

As my left foot was about to touch the stair the theatre began to shake violently. I maintained my balance and slowly scanned from left to right to see everyone grabbing at each other’s garments to brace themselves as others tumbled down stairs, over seats beneath them, or clinging to their armrests like epileptics having a bad episode. The ceiling started crumbling around us. The screen folded up on itself and fire shot out from behind it scorching whomever chose the ridiculous upside-down seats in front of it. Then chairs started hurtling up into the air smashing their occupiers into large slabs of falling sky. “I need to get the fuck out of here.” Where are the guys?? I Saw Ian come dashing up the stairs in a crimson streak of survival. Eric bounded down from his cavern over chunks of ceiling and under geysers of moviegoers. I turned towards Ron. He looked up and saw the ceiling starting to cave in above him so he grabbed a kid and threw him up into the air to break the descending boulder, its crumbles falling around him like rain. He then leapt like The Incredible Hulk clear up over the hump, the ground buckling beneath his landing. I thundered down the stairs tossing aside any obstacle with legs and met the other three down at the entrance. We stared wide-eyed at each other, all of us desperate for breath. “RUN!!!” one or some or all of us screamed. We bolted at top speed pushing over anything in our path. The earth was cracking behind us. People unable to match our speed were being sucked into the depths of this hell. There was no time to validate our parking ticket. We broke through the front doors, leapt over bushes and bike racks, and knocked over mothers with their babes, invalids in wheelchairs, and even some retard kid on crutches. We sweated in pain as the muscles in our legs gripped our femurs with the intensity of a steamroller. I reached for the van keys clipped to my belt buckle and hit the button to unlock it. Ian threw open the door and we all dove in. The crack in the earth was still hot on our tail. “Andrew, get us out of here!” I slammed the key into the ignition, throttled the engine, and left exhaust and tire smoke in our wake. I looked back at the band. Everyone was packed into the front bench. Sweat drenched our hair like a scalding shower. We immediately ripped off all leather and denim smothering our torsos. I cranked the AC. In my rearview I could see the crack still growing at our heels, but the width was starting to diminish. “Hold on, boys. We still got a long way to go before we’re safe.”

Starry, Starry Night

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2012 by oldmandub

I think I’ll go out for a smoke. I can’t stand sitting here writing anymore. I just checked the temperature outside. 71 degrees. Another awesome night in LA. Where are my smokes? Ah, yes. Left hoodie pocket. Got my shoes on still from that run I took with the dog. Let’s see, where’s my lighter? Shit. Eh, fuck. I’ll just grab one from the kitchen. No, Ghost. Stay. STAY. Good girl.

Where are you going? I’m going out for a smoke, Dad. Oh, well, be careful. Dude, I’m not going anywhere, but the front. Oh, i know. I’m just, tired of doing all this, fucking work. I’m going to bed.

I’m going to take your lighter.

The front door is locked again. I don’t know why they still always lock this. Anyone who wants to get in isn’t going to go away just because the door doesn’t open when they turn the knob and push. Do i have my smokes? Yes.

Damn, it is nice out tonight. It’s refreshingly cool. I still feel fine in my shorts. Running today was good. The dog kept up at a trot and didn’t just walk fast. It’s been a few days since I’ve done it. Easter weekend at the Packer house is no mere Christian holiday with the family. There is considerable drinking. Not that I get much exercise on the weekends. It’s not like I need to celebrate the actions of Jesus to tie one off at home. I can’t remember the last weekend I didn’t celebrate not having anything to do on  a weekend. Tour, maybe. But I had something else to celebrate then: something to do on a weekend and not being at home. Damn, it is kinda cold out here.

Lighter is in my pocket. Pull it out. Pull out the pack with the other hand. Let’s see if I can pull one out with one hand and not drop it. Nope. I’m thirsty. Should have brought a drink out. Cig’s in mouth. Light. Cough. Exhale. Not as satisfying as after that meal. But, still it’s nice to have an excuse to go outside. Is the wind picking up? Shit. Pull the hoodie up over my head. I hope it doesn’t tangle up my hair too bad. Haven’t washed it in 4 or 5 days. Tomorrow, I take a shower.

Pretty quiet tonight. It’s always quiet here. This is the most boring town around. I’m so sick of being here. There’s no bars around, no one my age, no one even remotely interesting. Just churches, old Asian people, maybe some shitty teenagers, but mostly old Asian people. The grocery store isn’t even open 24 hours anymore. Maybe I should have brought the dog out. She could have seen a squirrel. At least I’d have to restrain her while she pulled and jumped. No matter. I have a smoke.

Hey, what do you know? Someone is walking down the cross street. Kind of a big fellow. Big Buddha looking muther fucker. He stops. Looks like he’s checking out the house to his right. Almost like he’s casing the joint. Weird. Oh, there he goes, continuing down the street, kind of  a waddle to his stride. He’s got a black jacket on and dark pants. Keep walkin, fat boy. This is my neighborhood.

I can’t believe I haven’t showered in 5 days. I know I need to wash my hair. It get’s tangled, it looks like shit, more falls out when I brush it if I don’t maintain. And I probably smell. I wonder how many times I’ve got with a girl while as ripe as this. That’s disgusting. Well, it’s not like some 16 year old Chinese girl is going to walk down the street right now, see me smoking on the stoop, and then love me long time. But I’m so depressed right now I just don’t have the motivation to even shower, let alone work or go to the DMV or ride my bike. If it wasn’t for that orange powder crap from the nutrition shop I wouldn’t have mustered the energy to run today. Fuck, at least I got myself to write a little bit, for about 7 minutes, before I earned a smoke break. I can’t see the stars with this damn tree in the way. I’ll go out to the street.

Fuck, they look nice! Everyone hates on LA for having no star visibility, but on nights like this I can’t imagine there’s one extra burning ball of gas above my head that wouldn’t be superfluous. Such magnificent color and wonder in all that black above my head, bespeckled with pulsating white spaces dwarfed by the darkness that surrounds it, and yet so voluminous and enchanting. All those little spots of white: how many might be home to life? There’s got to be a couple. At least…

Is that dude walking toward me? Ugh, I hate these moments. Should I smile, say hello? He probably won’t say anything back. Having to talk to someone casually like this kills a little piece of me every time. He’s approaching me. Maybe he want’s a smoke. No, mine’s been out for a while.

What are you doing? I’m looking at the stars. Yeah, you live around here? Yeah, i’m just walking around the neighborhood. Same as you. Yeah, right. Let me see your hands. Excuse me? Show me your hands. What’s your problem, dude? Hey, don’t get excited. I don’t know you. I don’t fucking know you either, dude. Let me see your fucking hands. Fuck off.

Who is this asshole? Dude, I live RIGHT HERE. Where the fuck do you live? He steps closer.  I don’t know you. You don’t look like you live around here. You look like you’re up to some shit. He’s in my face now. You got a hoodie on, your hair is sticking out. You look like you’re looking for trouble. He points his finger into my chest. You look like a fucking bum prowling for doors to open up.  Oh, that’s it.

I show him my right hand first. He blocks and hits me in the jaw with his palm.  My left elbow is next. Boom. Hits the right temple. He buckles over. Time to show his balls my foot. My blood is roiling now. But my mind is the clearest it’s been in weeks. I’m so ready to fuck this guy up. I’m so sick of the neighbors, of the soccer moms dropping their turd kids off at day care, of the fucking police driving through looking for an excuse for anything, all these civilian assholes looking at me like I don’t belong here. I don’t, but here I am.

I live here, asshole. Get the fuck off my street. I’m going in. He rolls over and looks at me in the eyes with surprise and disgust. I walk past him and head for the door of my house. I can see Ghost looking at me through my window. She’s been barking and I hadn’t noticed. Muther fucker, he says. Ghost’s barking gets more agitated. I turn quick to look at the dude. I don’t need him getting up and hitting me from behind. He has a phone in his hand. Don’t bother calling the police. You accosted m-. That’s a gun, actually. Ghost. Oh, shit. Dad. Should I kick the gun out of his hand? Mom. I need to run.

I turn and bolt. Before I hear the shot I’m on the ground. Went down like my legs left my body. Did my instincts cause me to fall? No. It hurts. It hurts bad. I can’t breathe. I have to get inside. Ghost needs me. I’m crawling for the window. She jumps out and runs toward me like lightning. She buries her face next to mine. I reach for her head. Her ears are so soft. I try to look back at this guy, but it hurts too much. I told you, I live here. The dog licks my face. Ghostie, go get Daddy. But, she won’t leave. She looks up at the night sky. I can see the stars reflect off her brown eyes. They look bigger than I’ve ever seen. She looks back down at my face, her ears perched, and I can’t see the stars anymore. Ghost. Go get Daddy. She won’t leave me. I pull my hoodie up more over my head. She’s such a good dog. I wonder if she’ll ever leave me.

Good girl.

Slings and Arrows

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2012 by oldmandub

You’ll have to forgive me for the vagaries and ambiguity of this post. I just can’t come clean with the full story yet. My internal attorney does not advise full disclosure at this point. Something about an embarrassment clause. He’s trying to get the case thrown out, but between you, me, and 12 angry men, it’s here to stay. I have been concussed with repercussions comparable to the Soviet bleed out of the Russians. I may yet live, but the former glory, or projected image thereof, will never be remade.

I’m trying and succeeding when it’s not 4 in the morning to be positive. I think of all the other things I’m capapble of, will be free to accomplish, and poised to achieve once I have nothing left to lose. And for real this time, nothing. I try and occupy myself with thoughts on how to polish a turd, a stack of shit overwhelming 3-5 or more years of earnest work and imagination. A micro-era of dedication and promise and dreams that created a stairway to a precipice. It was supposed to be a precipice of success, and instead, because of me, it is  a cliff with an abyss that sinks so low that I’m not sure those I drag with me will be able to use my carcass as a safety mat. The disappointment alone that will follow me down will be so crushingly heavy that I’ll be lucky if I’m buried deep enough to never be seen again.

But, like I said, I’m struggling to be positive. I’ll have my freedom torn free, my dignity disengaged, my financial platform ripped out from beneath my feet, and worse. There’s no telling what kind of real emotional baggage I’ll be carrying after this. And, THIS, is me, trying to remain positive. This is the best I can do right now. Grapple with that final stage of grief, Acceptance, that this is as bad as it is, and it can’t get any worse. Life goes on, man. You can’t be worried about that shit. Except, I am worried. I really fucking am.

So, time to focus on what is good. I DO have a loving family, and I know I have to sit there and take their wrath. I’m lucky enough to know that their love is unconditional. And, if by the slim chance, this truly was the final straw, then I must move on. Which means, finally, at almost 29 years old, I will be forced to be independent and in the worst way possible. I’ll have blown every benefit and opportunity that I got: beautiful, enviable things that literally billions of people around the world would murder me for, if not just to have, then just out of general principle for throwing away. In that case, I probably shouldn’t be writing about it on the interent.

I have friends. Amazing friends. And lots of them. I’ve heard it said about times of outrageous fortune like this that this is when you find out who your true friends are. And I think I may be surprised. I’m going to need them. More than ever. Not to pick up my slack, but help provide me the opportunity to pull myself together. To finally grow up. To stop pretending I’m a man and start being one. Even if I am a bum. I will not fail. Though, I might need to start seeing a psychoanalyst to figure out why have this drive toward self-annihilation.

And I can have no more excuses to not be a writer. I love music, I always want to make music, and yes, if possible I’d love to have a career at music. And that will always be the most painful part about this most likely abhorrent, nightmarish, and yet totally avoidable catastrophe of Old Testament proportions. The Seers foretold what the gods would have in store for me if I proceeded through this shadow of death where I should have feared my own evil. But I love living. I was going to do what I was going to do no matter what. I find it unacceptable that the rules, standards, laws, and values propagated by the majority should interfere with how I want to live. But the reality is there are true, horrible, and miserable consequences for our actions. And though mine caused no damage to anyone, no harm to any people, did not offend anyone nor even hurt any person’s feelings, I am forever doomed.

Am I being hyperbolic? I was told when the situation this piece was predicated on was happening that it wasn’t “life or death”. But this certainly feels like, and undeniably is, for now, total death to a very important and irreplaceable chapter in my life. Maybe it’s not life or death; maybe, somehow, it’s both.

We sat around waiting for Lemmy

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2012 by oldmandub

We sat around waiting for Lemmy to show up. Nicole wanted to see him before she left L.A. for it’s older and more respected sister city San Francisco. If California were the Sopranos, S.F. would be Meadow and L.A. would definitely be Anthony Junior. Constantly fucking up, unfocused, suicidal. But somehow, always manages to score 10s and in the end everything works out because California is a gangster ass state. In case you’re wondering about San Diego, it’s the retarded bastard no one ever talks about.

I was supposed to have said my goodbye to Nicole that morning after I spent the daylight hours freezing to death on the floor. We had slept on the couch together, but when I awoke around 7 AM I had too many body parts rife with discomfort to stay there so i grabbed a pillow and a jacket and made for the ground. Turns out is was a frosty 58 degrees that morning in AJ Soprano. Eventually the exhaustion wore off and I had to beat it. I considered the couch, but Nicole looked too peaceful. She sensed my stirring, gave me a hug and I hit the road. When I woke up in my bed around 1:30 PM I had a text from her. She had left her jacket in my car. She’d be at the Rainbow later, hoping to see Lemmy, and would wait for me to gallantly arrive as well.

Traffic was atrocious. Rush hour. I tried to keep my swearing to a minimum because it was important to me that I show up charming and care free. Not really my style. I spent years hoping girls would find my brooding, cynical attitude mysterious and tortured. A good reason to suck my penis. I don’t think it ever worked. Drunk and boisterous, full of life, love, and revelry always worked way better. No, I was not about to let the Black Sheep’s traffic ruin my prospects of having a great time. I defend great times to the death. I give no quarter to all that may stifle my enjoyment. Say what you will about me, about my family, about my band. But don’t get in my fucking way when it’s time to party.

Nicole is a really special kind of person, special kind of girl. Not only is she knock out beautiful, she has a sweetness to her I rarely come in contact with. There’s almost an innocence to it. Unpretentious but stylish. Confident and sincerely so. No abrasive defensive position. Probably not living up to her highest standards but not cynical about it. Happy to be alive. I really can’t describe what it is I see in her; she’d probably hate everything I just wrote. But whatever this poised-for-life-no-matter-may-come aura she has about her is totally alluring. It’s comfortable and it keeps my cockiness far and away which is where it probably belongs. I just like to be me, too. And I feel like when I’m around Nicole we’re both able to just be like that. The funny thing is, I’m talking about the same girl who a few years earlier was surprised how many people I knew in S.F. “You were such a nobody in L.A.” I guess it’s that kind of boldness and unforgiving commentary that fosters a dichotomy with everything else I had just described that really makes her someone I want to be a lot closer with.

It was a god damn shame that I kept my frustrations with heir apparent’s traffic so well at bay because I had to leave well enough before Nicole. We had laughed, shared secrets, talked about the universe, and were accomplices in a jukebox seek-and-destroy mission. I tried hard not to be sentimental during our goodbye. It’s not that I’m a sentimental person. It’s just that I grew up thinking movies were real so I’ve always tried to live out crucial moments in an Oscar worthy way. “Here’s lookin’ at you, Kid.” That sort of bullshit. (It was so confusing in highschool that I wasn’t Zack Morris.I use not being Italian to explain why I’m not Tony Soprano.) Nicole would be on her plane in an hour. I texted her, asked her if she ended up seeing Lemmy. “No Lemmy : ( . Got to see you, that was good enough.”  To me, that was some real Benny and Joon shit.

The other night…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2012 by oldmandub

The other night at Spaceland I saw lots of gorgeous women I wanted to talk to. Several of them I wanted to do a lot more to than talk. Lately I’ve been feeling pretty confident but I need an in, as all men really do. However, that confidence factor has held steady pretty much at the 7 range. Maybe 8 if I’m really on a roll like at SXSW where I began feeling invincible. But this time I had my sights on the 9s and 10s. I want the best fucking fruit at the market. Damn it, I deserve it. But when it’s loud and my flow never really releases I basically just find excuses why I don’t have to put myself out there with the jaw droppers. I wish I just had the kind of sex appeal that brought girls to me. Like Eric Harris often seems to have.

So i’m standing by the bar cracking wise with some casual dude friends when I notice this very good looking girl lock eyes with me. I pretend not to notice. Seems like something The Cool Guy would do. “I don’t care that you might think I’m attractive. I can just jerk off in the mirror.” She whispers something to her friend. Maybe they’re talking about me? Keep cool. Maybe she’ll just go away and you won’t have to come up with anything clever. She approaches. “Hey remember meeting the other night?” Um, yeah. Sure. “Eric, right?”

Eric Harris and I are often mistaken for brothers. Sometimes twins. I don’t quite see it beyond our shared fashion sense and hair choice. And that we’re both white which may explain why it’s mostly blacks who ask if we’re twins. We’ve even been mistaken for the exact same person which seems to have been the case here. After our set in Oakland a month ago a decent 7 came up to me and asked if I was the singer. I said, no, reasoning that she must think I was equally attractive otherwise she wouldn’t have been confused. Oh, she replied, and then walked away. The lesson I learned is a lot like Ray’s hard lesson in Ghostbusters. If someone asks if you’re a god you say, YES! So, when this good looking girl who just approached me at Spaceland wanted to make sure I was Eric, I said, yes.

“No, I know you’re not Eric. I was just asking if that’s how I met you. Andrew, right?” Uh, yeah. I’m Andrew. So we exchanged phone numbers and we’re supposed to hang out soon. I think it’s strange that she didn’t care that I pretended to be Eric. She didn’t even question it, as though there are long hairs all over Southern California pretending to be Eric Harris in order to score tail. It’s almost expected of the rest of us. The other funny thing is that I really don’t remember meeting her at all. I wonder if it was some rouse like all the hot girls that ask to be my friend on facebook that are more likely Nigerian princes trying to scam something out of me. I’ll have to make our next encounter a future topic here.

Finding Room In The Van

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2012 by oldmandub

On the way home from SXSW this weekend the band discussed the idea of doing our next tour without a trailer which we typically tow behind us. We had just made it all the way to Austin and back for far less than we had anticipated despite the outrageous price of gasoline ubiquitous on Highway 10 and we could come to no better conclusion than it was because this time we had no trailer. The wind drag on a hulking piece of metal must add at least 5-8% transportation cost. In a business where we’re stoked to get $200 to make a 7 hour journey to the next town, you don’t need an MBA to understand  the sound business potential.

The thought first came up the day before. Ron Houser and I were talking (sober, I believe, so technically I was talking to Erik Kluiber) and discussing the idea that we could forgo the necessary sleeping space in order to transport our gear in the van itself. We could use the saved money to get hotels in towns where we don’t know anyone with floorspace for us to crash, and with 5 tours under our belt those towns are few and far between. That’s about as far the conversation went. It must have been time to drink, or house, as we say in the Nest.

Coincidentally, Eric Harris brought up the same ideathe next day under the same set of predications. Only this time we were stuck in a van and not thirsty in the warm Austin sun so the conversation begged to go forward. For some reason it took a decidedly darker route than one might expect. After a somewhat town hall “lay your opinions out” civil rapport between the three of us (four if you count Ian’s inane and often redundant interjections) it basically boiled down to debate of style vs comfort philosophy between Eric and Erik (who now shall be simply Ron for clarification purposes). Eric insisted that we absolutely must bring full stacks for guitars because A) it looks cool, B) it sounds better, and C) he’ll have no feeling for playing whatsoever without them. Knowing Eric as well as I do I know when there’s no winning with him. Not because his logic flows effortlessly and true like a lioness racing across the grass to kill for her young, but because he’s as stubborn as the alpha male of a pride. You will have to fight him to the death to get him to move. He’s the reason people get divorces.

Ron, on the other hand, believed that in order to maximize space in the van we would have to downsize to halfstacks. Not only would that provide the necessary room to tour without a trailer but it would save time setting up, put less wear and tear on our aging backs, and who really gives a fuck that we have full stacks? In his view it’s arrogant and in some ways I agree with him. However, he joined a band that he knew makes full stacks part of their raison d’être and his insistence on anything otherwise can be seen as out of line. For some reason though it seemed like he failed to grasp that having space for even halfstacks would require removing most of the benches that we use as beds.

The debate didn’t end well. It didn’t really end, to be more accurate. Eric was able to make his grand exit in the middle of the desert during a freezing cold storm to go film a music video with his other band, his opposite-of-side project. The last words spoken were that we would reconnoiter in a few days back at the studio and go through the arduos actions necessary to see if we could cram everything in the back of the van. The rest of the drive to LA was a discussion of futility, arrogance, hyperbolae, childishness, frustration, and of the myriad of pejorative circumstances one can face when confronting Eric Harris with an opinion related to being in a band. Ron was upset, I was exhausted, and Ian was shrugging off the minutes of the meeting that were business as usual.

Needless to say the shit didn’t fit. Eric’s first thought was, in a vindictive yet self-debilitating tone that only makes sense in his convoluted head, was to forgo the fullstacks, ala Ron’s preference, and not only that, but his entire bass rig as well so we could potentially fit in the bare minimum amount of gear to still forgo the costly trailer. Once I realized this entailed tetrissing even that meager amount of gear I asked, is it not obvious to everyone else that we’re just going to have to use a trailer? We’ve already sacrificed comfort, no sense also sacrificing the integrity of our stage set up for a few dollars. Everyone nodded their heads in agreement and that was that.

I still can’t help but wonder: why did everyone split with their convictions in order to passive-aggressively dig into the other side? It was Ron who originally wanted to tour without a trailer. Why did he start getting so upset when the discussion of giving up our sleeping benches became a factor in the discusion? Where the fuck did he think the equipment would go? And why did Eric, who so earnestly insisted on fullstacks or no stacks not only switch to, ok, halfstacks, but also to no bass rig? Who are these people? Am I really the reasonable, logical, adult one of the group? This is not a thought I relish. Not because I’m afraid that I’m growing up like, some sort of Nickelodeon primetime epiphany, or that I’m bonded to a group of guys stagnant in some kind of arrested development where such assinine and banal debates are to be the norm. I don’t care for the thought because thinking is boring. Stick with your gut no mater how ridiculous you sound.

Thoughts on Yard Theatre

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2012 by oldmandub

On my walk today I noticed two deer standing tranquil in my neighbors’ yard. Even as I approached they remained still staring towards the street. One was up upright, a buck, and the other, a doe, lay elegantly beside her mate. At about the distance where my dog Ghost would have begun to spook the two deer I realized why they could remain so stoic: They were figurines. Two ceramic mimes portraying a sense of the wild.

At first I thought, get real, people. This is the suburbs and though, yes, I was fooled for a moment into thinking these decorative fauna may have wandered a few miles down from the mountains north of the neighborhood, their reality was nothing but civilian suburban cheese.

My next thought was, well, so what? Deer were once a creature you would see in these parts and there’s something refreshing about this small piece of decor in a landscape of bumptious manicured lawns. Yeah, a little bit of deer is ok.

But then I saw that the one on the ground, the doe, had a chain around her neck. What the fuck? I assume this was a preventive measure for theft, but were these bourgeois assholes totally unaware of the irony of chaining down a would-be wild animal in their front yard to act as pure ornamentation in order to enhance their Mayfieldian garden of Eden? Another suburban siren screaming, look at what I have, where are YOUR jungle friends, bitches!?!

Either way the peaceful scene I assume they were trying to enhance with a fake deer was totally obliterated by their insistence of keeping it locked up there, more of a testament to how out of touch these people really are from their environment. Yet I was happy to have something to reel back at and ponder for the next minute or so of my walk.