Saloonatics Gone Wild (Part I)
Horrorscope, January 24.
You need some time to be by yourself today. There are some things you need to sort out. You're trying to get a better handle on your finances. It's been said that the price we pay for money is liberty. (It's hard to have both time and money)
MOON ALERT! Avoid shopping or making important decisions until 1:45 today. After that the moon is in Sagittarius.
Jeeze there's nothing like a lack of time, an imminent border crossing, and lunar activity to make us ladies start acting like spooked horses. I longed forHumphrey Bogart to walk in wearing that tan trenchcoat and slap us all saying, "Shut up will ya? I'm trying to think."
Me, Amy Honey, and Lily Fawn. The Three Faces of Evil Tour. Corsets and crinolines. Two guitars, drums, and trumpet. Saloon girls lost in America was the angle this time. Halfway through the tour we will change our name to The Saloonatics. But let's start back in Victoria.
Amy Honey was freaking out because her mother had checked out our web site and saw us all dressed like saloon girls on the poster with the words "evil", "sinners", and "whore-ific" under our faces. She was worried that her daughter was going straight to Hell, or worse, to drive around America dressed like a whore, which to a mother is probably the same thing.
Bogie failed to materialize during our one and only band practice so I attempted to play both his and my roles, which was, of course, a disaster. Oh, and as if to symbolically manifest our collective doubts, a giant rat ran across the basement floor roused no doubt by one of Ms. Fawn's high notes. This did nothing for our already waning morale.
Ladies again. What was I thinking? I should know better. I am one. The worst part is having to admit it. We should have hired a band.
All together now: "This is the first day of our holiday! Ya-a-a-y day one!"
Well after the moon passed into Sagittarius and we all started bleeding and made it over the border and the sun came out, things were looking up. I had my dear sweet Mother run my guitar and me stateside in the blue Camry of Stealth. ("How do we know each other? Mother and Daughter!") Apparently I teach at the conservatory.
Filled with tales of horror from all they encountered, (Loony birds, don't you know that TALKING about it only JINXES everything?!), the ladies decided to rent gear on the Other Side so they could cross with clean hearts. I didn't know this then so when the bartender leaned over and said, "Canada? Oh you're friends aren't gonna make it. They've closed the border!" My heart sank. Then I thought about my poor Mother heading back across.
It turns out that two guys murdered someone in California and made a run for the border. The Americans started shooting and the Canadians squealed like girls and hid in the bushes until it was all over. The best part is that the runaway vehicle actually SMASHED INTO the Peace Arch!
Found out later that the girls had taken a different crossing and my mother made it home safely, albeit four hours late. I've never been so relieved to see a minivan pull up in my life. We had an excited reunion and met up with our Bellingham show-host Robert Blake- not the actor that killed his wife, the Washington singer/songwriter- who petted our hair and told us everything was gonna be all right.
He made us dinner and we got all whored up and had a great show at the Green Frog Acoustic Tavern. Despite the name and its strip mall location (just next door to the Wing Dome!), it's a pretty cool bar. Guitars on the wall, good wine, and they let us bring the dog in. Oh yeah, Lily brought her dog Korma. He was the star of the show and looked fabulous in his stage outfit. It's so great to play with ladies again!
Breakfast at the Old Town Cafe in Bellingham where you can sing for your breakfast. Since we were pretty hungry and they insist that you sing for an hour, we just ate and paid like civilians and then a vintage shopping frenzy broke out with our new best friend Anna. (Uh, traveling with ladies? Finding ceramic vegetables with faces on them for 25 cents? Holy crap what YEAR is this?)
Then on to Seattle for more shopping and then over to The Tractor Tavern in Ballard for our show with Donna the Buffalo. (Awesome band from New York State, been together seventeen years, well oiled machine, pure class.) Ballard always has the kindest audiences. A man bought us a bottle of wine and luckily my old pal Dre showed up and took us home with her to Capitol Hill.
Drove the boring old I-V to Portland into the awaiting arms of Melissa Dyne and her Flashdance warehouse in the vegetable packing district. Since Portland has become the new L.A., we were unable to bag a show and were faced with a night off.
Lily made us snacks and we tackled all the major topics at the ensuing square table discussion. Melissa told us about collapsing at the airport and then waking up in the hospital in Hong Kong surrounded by beautiful lady attendants all in white thinking, "Am I in Heaven? Oh. They kept pain. Interesting." The Po'Girls came by for a while after their show before driving off into the night which seemed like a bad idea to me, but a guy can't say nothing when a lady has set her mind to do something.
San Francisco is between 9 and 14 hours from Portland. Ask anybody.
Here is a typical van conversation:
Lily: Last night I had this horrible dream. One of my chickens dove head first into a sandbox but the sand was really hard so my chicken got brain freeze and then the paramedics came and put him under the covers and took him to the hospital and he was in a coma and they said that for my chicken to come out of the coma, he would have to decide if life was worth living and then he turned rainbow coloured and never came back.
Amy: Why didn't I bring my slippers?! I always have my slippers. If you see a place to buy sheep skin slippers, you pull over!"
Carolyn: One time on tour, blah blah blah blah...
Three ladies. Three running monologues that only interweave occasionally. Three people talking, just not to each other.
Horrorscope, January 30.
At the banquet of life, the food is terrific and the portions are ample. So when someone tries to fight you for crumbs on the floor, it's best to be big about it and let him win.
Day 5 and 6
San Francisco. Ah the much needed sanctuary of the Wig and Ad Pad. Wig and Ad are my friends and host family Cynthia and Adam. They live in The Mission and we always end uphaving many heart-to-hearts on their patio.
My friend Camille who plays in Pickin' Trix and The Widows with Wig, organized two shows for us and made me realize that I had totally lost the plot when she confessed that it was more important to her to be funny than a "good musician". Shit, how could I have forgotten my main man the Comedy God! I had just come from The Calgarian experience of getting to play grand piano in a theatre with the orchestra and I think the temporary opulence deluded me into thinking I was a 'real musician' for a second there. On the outside, it had made me a smug uptight pain in the ass. Here's the thing: You learn something from each trip; it just never applies to the next one. O life! Thank God Camille set me straight. I had totally forgotten about the Pure Joy.
We played with two other lady bands at The Stork Club, which is in a formerly shitty part of Oakland that is now starting to become 'happening'. It was interesting to talk to Amy about her views on gentrification. I always dread the idea of change in my neighbourhood because I have no money and view the hipster art gallery as a death knell, and the organic breakfast place as a nail in my coffin, never seeing myself as part of it. I have, in my time, been accused of decreasing property value and felt red-eared pride.
But Amy thinks big and seems to embrace all of it. She's like, "Well you just keep moving!" She's also five years younger than me. I guess that's the conundrum. If you're older you remember how things USED TO BE and resent the change. If you're young you ARE THE CHANGE and wonder why everyone resents you. I thought about maybe standing still in the shittiest spot I could find with open gunfire and boarded up windows and babies in the gutter and just waiting it out for the day it would become worth something. Hmm... New Orleans perhaps? I still wanna BE the change but the energy depletes, which is how they get you.
I took the day off and was conscious for only a moment. Pyjamas until 7pm working on the Calgary story, and then Amy rolled me a special and poured me some wine. In my stoner brain, every conversation I had that night tied in nicely with the theory we had come up with the day before in the van: If you are driving too slow in the fast lane, pullover! Somewhere in there Wig told us a calming mantra: "There are no emergencies." I haven't got to try it out yet while in The Throes but it seems solid and inoffensive. I'll let you know how it goes. All that and we wrote a song too. The chorus goes, "Get it up, get it in, get it out, don't mess my hairdo!" Amy's mother's gonna love it!
Packed up the gowns and the dog and the ladies into the van and waved good-bye to Host family who were spectacularly gracious as ever. How can people be so sweet?
Long drive to San Diego. We were gonna meet the Po'Girls in Los Angeles but they fled South due to stifling disinterest and found beach cabins for all and sent word for us to find them when we were losing it at the Lost Hills Love's.
Funny to be back in the van after three stationary days. Much comedy and many head exploding moments. Lily had promised the folks back home that she'd practice the trumpet every day we were away but of course time sped up so now, racked with guilt, she brought the mouthpiece up front and was letting out almighty blasts every few seconds in an attempt to improve her embouchure. Korma had found himself a new squeaky toy and was going to town on it right by my head. Amy was talking about how glad she was to have found sheepskin slippers in San Francisco. And we were playing this game where you rename the flavours of stale jellybeans ("Oh I know. Movie popcorn mixed with ass!" "No Wait. Wait. I've got it! LINT!")
The sugar was making us even more crazy than usual. At one point, Lily asked Amy if she could have a tissue and Amy, revealing her true Oldest Sister colours, said, "Well normally I'd lend you one but I only have four", which made us laugh til we cried. And then there was The Pistachio Incident: Lily asked Amy if she had any left and Amy passed up the bag and was silent for a while but then, when she could no longer ignore the guilt, confessed that the nuts left in the bag were the ones that wouldn't open and that she MAY have had some of them in her mouth which was so fucking funny we almost had to pull over.
Ten hours later lost in the dark with the sugar wearing off, the whole thing didn't seem so funny anymore, especially when I almost ran over Diona who had stepped out to look for us. But oh, the beach cabins and the pounding surf, the ladies had made us soup, and there was wine. Long drives are always worth it when the destination exceeds expectation.
Met a speed-freak on the boardwalk named Ben-o who recorded us on his laptop so now we have our new album- The Saloonatics-Live on Pacific Beach- complete with crashing waves and interjections from freaky passersby. Ended the night with a spectacular tumble from Ben-o's long skateboard and came home with the bruises to prove it.
I think California is where all the people with broken brains go. Or maybe it just appears that way if you're just passing through. So many California Moments. I was playing guitar outside and this old man stops and says, "Do you appreciate yourself?" And then at the wrap and smoothie place, just I was putting the key in the public bathroom, a man came out. I apologized and he said, "Why are you sorry? It's as much your bathroom as it is mine." Maybe it's just that particular area. Pacific Beach it's called, just north of downtown San Diego.
That night we went to go play our show and as Lily was putting the van in reverse these dudes tried to hop in with us. Luckily Korma started barking like crazy and showing his fangs so they went away. Later when I called Home, The Maintenance Man said, "Well you're driving around America dressed like whores, what did you expect?" I really hadn't given much thought to what we looked like from the outside. But you know, what other people think of me is none of my business.
The show was great despite a serious lack of crowd. Best one yet. We just played for each other and the opening act was this guy named Tom Heinl from Eugene, Oregon who totally rules! So funny and great on stage. Sherrilynn from The Meat Purveyors was there too as a sweet surprise. And Po'girl sounded great from the smoking patio. I tried to chat up Tom Heinl but he kept asking where Lily was.
After the show we headed back to our beach chalet and mingled with some more boardwalk crazies. Met a mumbling shopping cart man and tried to help him with his diction, and a Frisbee man who was big into the spinning theory: "Things just wanna spin and when there's resistance that's when weird shit happens. Like a Frisbee or a hula hoop and that's why there shouldn't be skyscrapers on the earth because it impedes the momentum man!" I was into it but when he told us that he'd invented a "designer drug in his mind" and that cops came into his house and beat him up for no reason, we decided to call it a night.