All Dogs Go On Tour, Part 5: Where we get pelted with animal parts, feel at home in Cali, get the cops called on us at college, and get some peace of mind in the southwest.
It’s almost over. Just a matter of weeks. March has been a clusterfuck of exciting shows and hard work and we had zero days off. I wondered if I’d ever get a chance to sit down and finish writing this. Our one scheduled day off in the month of March was unfortunately spent in the van driving back to a theater where we left a box of merchandise. There is no rest for the absentminded.
Now, backwards to the past where we were driving down the west coast.
Apparently when someone throws duck innards at me, I yell at them. I never expected to find that out about myself. Everything Is Terrible rarely has opening acts, but in Sacramento the venue decided to schedule us one, the band Mom, a G.G. Allen type chick that kept flashing her junk and dismembering a dead duck on stage to her brand of noise/pop. Shock rock isn’t really all that shocking to me anymore and Mom’s music didn’t do much for me, and I don’t really care for duck until it’s slow cooked, but though it’s not my thing, I respect Mom and the guts (get it…guts) it takes to be abhorrent on stage. The problems began in the form of a drunken heckler who in my opinion enjoyed the nudity plus duck insides a bit too much. There were still duck parts on the stage by the time I took it, and the guy was throwing gross shit at me when I stepped out to introduce the show. I made fun of him until he yelled, “fuck you!” and stormed out (right, I’m the bad guy here) and then went on with my intro.
Hecklers think they are making the show better. I found our duck man on the patio outside, while our movie was playing and I yelled at him. But he just didn’t seem to understand. I was very angry and apparently called him a nerd, which is maybe the nerdiest thing I could have said. It was a particularly low point for me. But then it was down to San Francisco, my home, my oasis, my girlfriend, my friends, my favorite bars and restaurants and parks and a beautiful door to close.
The show in Oakland was a DIY art space which was also home to several bohemians, which is quite common in Oakland. We projected the movie outside and inside at the same time, so people could go outside to get high and smoke cigarettes without missing a beat. Despite a few artist commune electricity problems (we blew a fuse here and there) the show was fun and well attended.
Then came the San Francisco show at the Roxy where they were in the middle of an Indie Film Festival. We had to wait a little while for a very boring question and answer session (I happen to hate artist question answer sessions more than most things in the world, in fact I would prefer to go back to my childhood orthodontist and have him fuck with my teeth for six hours, rather than listening to the cast of FP talk about making their shitty movie and cracking racist inside jokes in front of a bored audience while we waited to set up our sold out show) before we could go on, and outside, a giant line of friends and fans were waiting to get in. While they stood in line patiently, we walked up and down the line, lighting joints and passing them out to the audience (a friend in Oakland gave us way too much weed so we figured what the hell). Smoking out 200 people was the right thing to do, because they were an incredible audience and I welled up with pride, knowing that I’d picked the right city to make my home for the past three years.
In LA two of us were home, and we had three days in their apartment. We did two shows at the Cinefamily (the coolest movie theater in America) and had a great time partying way too hard with lots of friends and fans. The couple days in LA were spent driving to various colleges and doing shows then driving back to the apartment in Los Feliz. College shows are kind of funny, because we were playing in classrooms and launching incredibly fun dance parties in a place that calculus was taught earlier in the day. We even set off the fire alarm a few times with our fog machine, in one of the classrooms. This was after the show, when we decided to fog out the place and crank the party lights and dance on stage for an hour. The fire department and the police walked in and found giant dogs dancing to blasting soul music with a crowd of bouncing giddy college kids. We did not skip a beat, and continued to dance until the police shut down the alarm and left. The kids who set up the show did not get in trouble, and were simply scolded and made to promise, “No more fog machines in the classroom!”
San Diego was another college show, but not in a classroom. It was on campus among the class buildings, but it was a little punk rock vegan café. The place promised us eats, but perhaps was a little too punk rock and hadn’t thought to have any precious vegans making precious vegan food in the beautiful kitchen. So after we set up, we asked one of the girls working the show where we could go to get some food, and she replied, “I’m vegan.” Apparently, the ultimate hardcore vegan lifestyle is one without any food whatsoever. So, we found a grocery store on our own and got some groceries and made sandwiches in their kitchen (The sign outside the kitchen demanded that we not bring in ANY NON-VEGAN FOOD. But we ignored that noise and made our sandwiches with cheese! Take that vegans! Perhaps the kitchen should have worked harder at being active and having food and cooks before trying to enforce an elaborate ethical system). Despite my babyish whining about food (not to keep going on about this because I have good vegan friends and no problems with the hardcore anarchy vegan lifestyle, I only ask that a vegan answer questions asked to him or her before or at least after informing the world that he or she is proudly vegan) the show was fun, and the people who helped with the show worked hard and we drove back to LA one last time that night, because we had a day off. I spent my time off drinking in the sun and writing one of these pieces. In the words of Randy Newman, “I love LA.”
We made the first Phoenix show by a matter of minutes. The theater was a converted car garage and we played two shows in one night which is exhausting after a long drive. The whole day and night is still sort of a blur, and before I knew it we were in Tucson putting on another show in the very laid back southwest. We stayed with our friends and I tried to imagine making my home in the desert with all of the adorable cacti and adobe homes. The gun laws were new to me and a man in the parking lot with a handgun on his belt right out in the open kind of scared us. In San Francisco a civilian walking around with a gun that way would clear the streets, but then I’m all about freedom. I suppose people should have the right to intimidate me with the prospect of mass murder.
Then we headed out to Albuquerque where along the way, we ran into the New Mexico border patrol. I happened to be driving and we were without drugs or weapons or illegal immigrants so I wasn’t worried, just slightly nervous. I can’t seem to engage with that kind of authority without breaking a bit of a sweat. The guy asked the normal questions about where we were going and where we’d been, and then he noticed we had about ten copies of Jerry Maguire resting on the dash board. He paused for a moment and asked, “You like this movie?”
And I responded, “Yes, well…actually, no. No I don’t.”
The cop said, “Why do you have so many?”
And I said, “It’s kind of a long a story. This movie is everywhere.”
And the cop sort of smiled to himself and said, “Alright, have a good one guys.”
Albuquerque is beautiful and quiet. The elevation and space creates a sort of ghost like pensive mellow. Fittingly we stayed with a group of philosophers. They asked us questions about our movie and we asked them about the academic lifestyle. Two of them cooked us breakfast in the morning and we ate in the sun and talked quietly and I kind of didn’t want to leave, but we had two long days of driving to get into Texas. The deep thinkers sent us off with smiles and one of them even gave me a Camus book I was looking at. I felt like maybe in a different world I could have lived there and studied and hopefully learned (or at least ate a bunch of acid in the desert), but in this world I had to climb back into a smelly van and keep living the noisy life, where my calm would be replaced with Texas and then the alien south.