Tour Story: Frank Quits Smoking Tour - Spring 2001

What a tour this was:

5/5/01 Saturday - We were supposed to play LA tonight, but the gig got cancelled too late in the game to try to book another one. I didn't mind so much since Of Montreal was in town. I planned to catch their show but when Jenya and I arrived in SF there was nary a parking spot to be had. We literally looked for parking for close to an hour. Meanwhile I was starting to feel like shit - I still haven't recovered from the last tour and here I was, about to embark on another semi-national. We already missed the opening act so we just bailed and headed home so I could myself some sleep. Fuck San Francisco.

5/6/01 Sunday - I had a relatively good night's sleep in lieu of seeing a really cool band the previous night. Nevertheless, Frank overslept and called me around 9:00 - he still hadn't gotten to SF and gotten the van and picked up Jai Young, etc. So I puttered around until noon when he finally did show up in the gold minivan. It had air conditioning and a CD player. Cool.

Frank quit smoking a couple days ago. He was still on the patch, but that would soon be unnecessary. Every day to follow in this story would contain a moment when Frank would announce how many days its been since his last cigarette.

We got on the road pretty quickly. A nice hot drive through the central valley. Stopped at In n' Out burger near Coalinga, and got gas near the Grapevine. The way Frank was driving (at insane speeds) we made it to LA by 5:00pm, and we blew through and made it to San Diego by 6:50pm. I called Jenya at this point outside the club (the Casbah) and left a message, myself in disbelief at the speed at which we arrived in SoCal.

With unexpected time to kill, the three of us hung out in Pacific Beach. Walked up and down the strip, enjoying to twilight and the beach air. Ate some nondescript Thai food. Back at the club we loaded in.

Panic! Frank's cymbals were nowhere to be found! After a few calming deep breaths Frank called back at the Nursery and they informed him that yes, he left his cymbal bag in the hallway. Whoops. So he had to be the dick and ask the opening band's drummer if he could borrow some.

We killed more time playing pool and Donkey Kong. Jai Young demonstrated astounding prowess at both, especially the latter. Talked with the nice crew outside, taking breaks as landing planes passed 100 yards over our heads en route to the airport. One of them saw the Idiot Flesh show four years ago at Brick by Brick where I was doing lights. The opening band, VIII Fraud went on. Nice people - hard rock. Both the drummer and bassist were in recent accidents of sorts and were on crutches. They recently played with our pal Brian Kenney-Fresno. All this small world shit, but then again we're still in California.

The last minute replacement band, Soul Junk, went on second. Turns out they're a Christian rock/rap band. Crazy dreadlocked singer played guitar/sax. The others were a DJ and three dudes, each playing Apple laptops. Despite their religious leanings, which I almost found offensive, they were pretty whacked-out in a good way, and drew a few people who actually stuck around for us. After the set, Jai Young asked the DJ guy, "So, did you guys meet in Church?"

We set up, Frank on the left, me in the middle, and Jai Young on the right with his Titanium laptop proudly displayed on the edge of the stage. This would end up being our lucky stage setup for the remainder of the tour. Musically we were on fire - one of the best Species Being shows yet, I would say. I performed mostly with my eyes closed and curly locks bouncing around my bobbing head, so at set's end I was shocked to look up and see a crowd still lingering and largely attentive to what we were doing.

We chatted with the VIII Fraud gang for a while as we broke down and sold some CDs and packed the van. With nowhere to really stay tonight and Frank's folks' nice pad awaiting us in Phoenix we hit the road right then. Jai Young took the first shift and I stayed awake, mesmerized by the full moon glowing on the sandy mounds as we skirted eastward right above the Mexican border. The lunar glow was so bright the ground almost looked as if it was covered in snow.

5/7/01 Monday - Our only day off. We hit a Denny's in Yuma. The only Denny's I would hit during all these tours of the past 8 months. Pretty amazing when you consider what the middle of this country has to offer as far as food. Frank drove the rest of the way to Phoenix.

We arrived at the gated community. It was about 8:00am and 172 degrees outside. I already met Frank's step dad, Artie, on the last national tour, but only now met his mom. After quick greets and pleasantries Frank crashed in the big guestroom as Jai Young and I had our two smaller beds in the second guest room. Big ol' snooze under the ceiling fan going full blast.

Got up around 2:00pm, hanging out all day around the house. Frank and I had a bagel lunch and a swim at the community pool before Jai Young got his tired ass outta bed. At this time the folks were preparing a steak and potatoes dinner for us. We ate up outside as the sun set over the majestic desert hills. The we waded in the jacuzzi which was not very hot but who cares when you're in freaking Phoenix.

I called my old pal Lehho who now lives in the area, and informed him that Mark Growden was in town and we made plans to meet at the Emerald Lounge where he was playing. Jai Young lingered behind working on his laptop as Frank and I headed out to go hang with the homies.

Frank and I drove all the way out to the club and immediately noticed Mark's brand new bus wasn't around. Last time he toured this area with his band (including Jenya) his van broke down. And wouldn't you know it, his bus had broken down in California before making it to the first gig in LA a couple days ago! The bartender filled us in with this scoop.

Lehho was inside unaware that Mark was going to be a no show, so I dragged him out to the parking lot where I gave him the poop. We shot the shit, caught up on the past half a year since he's left the Bay Area, and then we parted ways. I called Jenya to fill her in on this news, as she was worried she passed up a fun opportunity to tour with Mark this time around. Poor Mark.

Back at home we spent the rest of the night watching a Celebrity Deathmatch marathon until insanity set in.

5/8/01 Tuesday - Slow morning putzing around - shower, laundry, playing piano, watching satellite television, snacking, waiting for the FedEx truck to arrive with Frank's cymbals (they cost $76 to ship - thanks to Dan who shipped them). We split at 3:00 - Tucson was a mere 2 hours south.

We found the Solar Cult Gallery which was the only cool place to put on a show in this town. An art gallery/art space/performance space. Met the amazingly nice crew - Steve, Raoul, Hydro, and Matt the sound guy. They prepared tasty food which we ate up off the kitchen. Then we climbed up on the roof to watch the sun set. A train would regularly pass behind the club, the tracks about 10 yards away.

Desperate for coffee and adventure, Frank and I walked into town - It was incredibly difficult to find coffee. First we had to find the people which was impossible - what a dead town! We stopped in what seemed like a funky cafe but it was just a bunch of dudes hanging out waiting to play some music for nobody. A trio of women following us in there as if we knew this was the hip place to hang out. No such luck, ladies.

Our best bet was buying some coffee to go at a restaurant, however absurd that was. Got slightly lost on the way back. The opening band, Prepping Finger Salad, were setting up. Friendly bunch. So far everybody we met on this tour has been great.

It seemed like this would be a lame show, but a healthy gathering eventually appeared, including the trio of women we ran into earlier. This was the place to be, I guess. And despite the first band played a long set of local improv, the crowd stuck around for us, ready for a whole second set of out-of-town improv.

A second good show. I actually played some upright piano during the set. The train roared passed at opportune moments. Great response. Wow. The tour was seeming to be both musically rewarding and fun! Imagine that!

However, this was the first show of nine nightly shows in a row. And the next was in Austin. Pull out a map, people - that's a long ass drive to make between two nightly shows.

Bye and thanks to everyone - we loaded out and hit the road. I drove the first shift listening to 80 straight minutes of National Health. Frank took over and I feigned sleep in the rather uncomfortable back seat all the way to El Paso.

5/9/01 Wednesday - Jai Young drove the early morning shift as we entered the infinite and ugly I-10 drive through Texas. I rode shotgun, miserably unrested. I became alert as Jai Young passed a cop going over 90 MPH. The police's lights were on before we even passed him.

We pulled over and everything was cordial regarding the paperwork exchange. At the last minute Jai Young remembered to mention to the officer that he hails from Houston, but it was too late - the $93 ticket was already written. Now that careful velocities were in order, this made this long, boring trip even longer. We broke it up with some terribly prepared food at some nowheresville Texas Mexican diner. Frank had to send his fries back because they were undercooked.

We arrived in Austin at 5:00pm and headed right to the record store - 33 Degrees. My very first ever "in store" performance. We quickly set up, Frank and I went to get coffee at Mojo's (I've been there many times before over the years), and then we played a musically lame set. It was low energy because we were so damn tired from driving all night without a break. But who cares? This wasn't the great promotional gig we thought it would be.

In the small assembly of listeners was Scott and Dave from ST-37, along with Scott's son, Elijah. We'll be playing with those guys tomorrow, and staying at Scott's place the next couple of nights. As it turns out, Dave is an occasional drummer for Three Day Stubble, whenever he happens to be in the Bay Area, and Mumble & Peg played a gig with them at the Bottom of the Hill some time ago.

Anyway, it was now about 7:00pm and we were done for the evening. On the way to Scott's pad we hit the market and got some vittles to cook. At Scott's pad Frank did most of the food prep as the rest of the gang watched baseball. Zucchini, pasta, and chicken, oh my.

We loaded the equipment out of the van and headed downtown. Went straight to Lovejoy's - I've always come here when it's packed, but this time around we got a table. Drank a couple shots of Jager and shot the breeze.

Out of nowhere this girl approaches Frank, whispers in his ear, and I find myself being led back to a table with her and her two lady friends. I guess they wanted us three studs to join them. Me, I can tell this is going to be torturous small chat right off the bat, and I'm too tired to deal with meeting new people so I play the guy who doesn't say anything. Frank tried to get me involved by announcing I work for SETI, but this painfully goes nowhere. Jai Young is alienated when he realizes one of them is also from Houston, and she actually liked that town.

In no mood for these reindeer games, me and Jai Young stayed behind as Frank and the three women headed over to the Ritz. It is only a few minutes later that I remember that Frank has the van keys. So we had to trudge on over there. I volunteer to go on recon, paying $3 to get in. I found Frank instantly and he followed me back out. He wasn't sure what his plans were, but he was hoping to have a place to sleep tonight other than Scott's if only since Scott's two dogs were aggravating his allergies.

So me and Jai Young headed back to the pad - getting lost on the way home and losing all sense of direction. We crashed hard in Elijah's room (I should point out Elijah wasn't there). An hour later Frank called Jai Young's cell phone pleading for a ride back home. So much for those plans. Jai Young got his allergic ass.

5/10/01 Thursday - We slept good and late. Got up around noonish and showered. One of the few showers of the tour. Frank and I left the sleeping Jai Young to get coffee. Another cafe I've been to plenty back in the day. We played chess over our hot drinks and bagels. I actually beat him. That means Frank screwed up big time because I suck at chess.

Back to the pad, we got Jai Young and got cheap breakfast burritos at the Tamale House seconds before they closed. Went to Mojo's for more coffee and a game of chess between Jai Young and Frank. A long, boring stalemate that took over an hour to deal with. Hung around at Toy Joy. Frank bought a ball and nearly died chasing it as it bounced into traffic. Went to the main strip near campus, stopping in Tower Records and being quite stunned to find an actual Species Being J-card.

We headed back to the house to get our equipment and went to the club - Red Eyed Fly. The first of many clubs which I just played last tour with Mumble & Peg, and I had a real shitty show here last month. Not so this time.

We loaded in. Met this nice guy, Bill, from Boston with the total Bawston accent. He was just plain friendly and chatted up a storm, asking us where we're from and where we're going, etc. He stuck around for our set and everything, even after we abandoned him at the bar to go get some pizza on 6th street.

It was improv/space rock night at Red Eyed Fly. Starting off the evening was the local Curse of Blufuscu. They rocked, and during their set we got amped up playing air hockey in the front room. As we set up for our set, I got approached by Dave, a friend of Gary & Aubrey's and a fan of Mumble & Peg. He missed our show here last month, and sent me e-mail this morning - I wrote him back saying I was back in town with another band and sure enough he came. Wotta guy.

We played what was becoming a typical great set. Sold CDs. Got many names on the mailing list. ST-37 finished the night with some cool droning. Used up the drink tickets, loaded up the van, got some snack foods at the Whataburger drive-thru, and headed back to Scott's.

Mellowed out talking to Scott for a while, eventually collapsing to sleep. Oh, yeah.

5/11/01 Friday - Long sleep. Woke up feeling coated in dog hair. Frank went off to the gym. Little did he know he was about to have a day testing his ability to stave off cigarettes.

When he returned, we went back out to a cafe. I beat him again in chess. Came back as Jai Young woke/showered. To kill time Frank checked his e-mail, and quickly after seeing he had about 10 new messages, many dealing with booking upcoming gigs for the Sleepytime tour, he accidentally erased all of them before reading. This was followed by a half hour of stress as Frank called tech support and I failed to figure out why they got deleted. Nothing helped. Oh, well.

Bye and thanks to Scott, who really hooked us up during our Austin stay, and we hit the road towards Denton. Once on the highway and far enough away, Frank remembered he left his driver's license at the gym this morning. He tried calling information on his cell phone, but every number they gave him for the gym failed to work.

Then he got a call from St. Louis - supposedly his upcoming Saturday night show there with Sleepytime fell through due to complete miscommunication, with one booker accusing Frank of lying about playing there before (he never said anything of the sort). So he had more harried cell phone calls made to St. Louis, leaving messages on many machines trying to sort out that mess. Oy, oy, oy.

On Scott's advice we stopped in West, Texas, at the Czech stop to get some kolaches to snack upon. Good move. Yummy snacks. That sated us until we reached Denton, which seemed, upon first glance, to be a cool little hippie college town. Bands playing outside to some hackysack playing types in a field of grass.

We got lost trying to find the club, nearly going into somebody's backyard. Found our way to the real club - Rubber Gloves - and loaded our equipment into the shed around back. Shot hoops for a while in the back lot with Chris the booker. Talked with this music student, Mwanza, who was going to perform the opening set tonight, which would actually be a final project for his multimedia class.

Then we went out to dinner. The Jamaican place that was highly recommended was closed, but the proprietor of that place recommended a Chinese food joint down the street. Turns out Chris the booker was already there, so we joined him. Had a great meal - mostly vegetarian cuisine, discussing filmmaking, booking, and the like. I asked him if he worked with Kork and he gave me his frank opinions about dealing with Erik vs. dealing with Christian.

Back at the club, the opening multimedia project already started, featuring saxophone improv, slide shows, butoh-esque dancing, laptop electronica, and more. Jai Young's father and brother (who live in Houston) came up to see this show, so he went off to deal with the family. Meanwhile, I grew suddenly aware there was a sudden burst of rain falling from the sky outside.

I ran out the front door, watching the storm get quickly worse and worse to the point of horizontal, gusting winds carrying buckets of hard, hot water into the flooding streets. At this point Frank and I realized we had all our equipment in the shed, and there was no door on said shed. We needed to get back there - we got a bartender to run us back there. Frank and the bartender ran ahead of me - I waited a second to stay dry before the back fence was unlocked.

I darted in the rain. Within seconds I was completely drenched. And by the time I got to the fence, it was locked again. There I was, outside, in the open, rain dissolving me. I screamed for help but over the crashing thunder and loud music nobody heard me for a good 30 seconds. Eventually Frank came to get my sorry ass.

When I ran to the shed I found all our equipment getting rained on. This was fine for all the shit that was in hard cases, but my bass cabinet speaker was right out in front. The only blessing was it was facing inward, away from the rain, so the speaker cone was still dry. In the dark, we pushed all the equipment further into the shed. Frank grabbed a broom and began the interminable chore of sweeping incoming rain away from our stuff. I gathered tarps and towels in the shed in preparation to carry it outside and in the back door onto the stage.

The final project ended, and the rain let up a little but not enough to make this easy. Frank and I carried most of the equipment inside. As we loaded onto stage we found there were leaks in the ceiling, the biggest of which was dripping right onto the front, center of the stage. Because of this, I made Frank set up in the middle and I played off to the side.

I was drenched, making set up a nightmare. I took off my socks (eventually throwing them away). I changed my shirt with the shirt currently protecting my bass head. I took a couple deep breaths, focused, and calmed down. Though I was still tensing up due to stress, I was able to relax enough to eventually have a great time playing this show.

A pack of kids bobbed their heads during yet another great 40 minute romp. After the set, on kid admitted to crying during the final few melodic minutes of the set (Jai Young pulls out that Robert Fripp sample and it kills them every time). Lots of accolades. One dude was even wearing a Matching Mole t-shirt. This town rocks!

Really, it was the final band, Yeti, who brought out all the cool people. They played an amazing and loud set of Magma-like rock. Great playing all around - the keyboardist had nothing but racks of vintage synth/electric piano/bass pedal gear. It was awesome, and they have a cult following around these parts.

And they were all incredibly nice guys. Chatted as we all packed up. The rains have completely stopped by this point, leaving Denton with a pleasantly humid, breezy night for which the students to celebrate their last day of finals. We loaded out, and while pulling out, the guys from Yeti stopped our van since Frank forgot to pack a whole cymbal and cymbal stand.

Jai Young split to go sleep that night in a hotel with his dad and brother. Frank and I, however, went to party. I wasn't really in the mood for this, but whatever. We hit frat row, following some girl he met at the bar. She was with some guy, but that doesn't stop Frank. One party was hopping, but people were already splitting (I can't remember why - maybe the beer supply has been depleted). News of another party spread and we caravanned down the street. But nothing was going on. A third party right next to the first party was the new destination.

At this point I let Frank and company go on ahead without me. The van was parked right by a long line of frat houses. I had to walk a good block or two through a parking lot to find a collection of trees to conceal my act of public urination. Then I set up the two air mattresses on the back seat of the van, took off most of my wet clothes, and tried to get some shut-eye.

Frank returned at some point in the night and I vaguely remember some driving around but then he stopped and slept in the front seat.

5/12/01 Saturday - I woke up to more driving around. I got up and found Frank driving us to the cafe. It wasn't open yet, so more snoozing in the car until 8:00am. Then we went inside to drink coffee, read the sports pages, and played Frogger. We saw Mwanza in there, sleeping with his head down on a table.

Called Jai Young and made plans to meet at the hotel. We enjoyed a breakfast buffet with the Kim family, and then grabbed the baby of the family away and got on the road to Norman.

Got into town early, hanging out at that same old cafe near campus, playing Palace and eating pastries. Around this time I was reducing my coffee intake as the nausea wasn't really letting up after those nice cups of morning joe.

Killed time at the batting cages. Last time it was me, Frank, and Mitch. Now it was me, Frank and Jai Young, swinging at many buckets' worth of fastballs. I kept it to a minimum as last time I was sore for a week. So I took a break and took care of some laundry we had going on in a nearby laundromat.

After eating dinner at some sports bar kind of place and gathering our clean duds, we went back to the cafe corner to make phone calls and hang out. Eventually headed to the Medicine Hall.

The stage had been moved since I was here a few weeks ago. We loaded in, meeting Gabe who I met before. The only other person working there who I recognized was the dude who made Mumble & Peg some salads. Not this time, since my stomach was shredded, so no dinner for me and no more coffee this tour.

Gabe opened with a solo set. Crazy shit. Then we played to more than a few people. It was too early, really, as more people showed up after we played, including Vaccination Records fan, Adrian, and some friends he dragged along. So a bunch of people missed our set, including David, who we hung out with back in October.

Frank and Jai Young ate some late dinner from nearby food spots. I drank some Sprite. Two more bands were playing, the catchy indie-pop of Pistol Arrows and the purposely hellish 40 Minutes of Hell. I hung out outside for the most part, chatting with the cool people. I also took a long walk down long, quiet, dark, residential streets since I needed a moment of not dealing with being social. Word got around about a party at Earnest's house. I should mention that today was graduation day in town.

So we head to this party. Not very happening Earnest was trying to keep people outside as to not mess up his place. And the cops came within minutes to shut it down because of all the outdoor noise. So we gave up on partying and went right to David's pad, there with his girlfriend, Sonia, and we were set up with comfy places to sleep. Very welcome after last night in the van.

5/13/01 Sunday - Slept late. Showered. Frank made apple pancakes for everybody. We showed David how to play Palace and left at 2:30pm. Norman's a cool town. Onward to Kansas City, MO!

When we got on the highway and checked out the maps we realized how much we underestimated the distance. So Frank went into insane speeder mode (as opposed to caffeine speeder). We made it into town by 8:15pm because we stopped only once for gas.

Back at the Hurricane! I had a second chance to buy that Motorpsycho CD which I regretted not buying last time in town at the record store a block away, but due to the late hour the store was closed! Aaa! So I lost my second chance. As well, the tasty Mediterranean food joint around the corner closed within seconds of our arrival. Oh well. We loaded in, walked around to find some grub, settling on expensive burritos.

The opening band was the table-core ambient groove band TJ Dovebellyens, and they were taking forever to set up. This was upsetting, but the crowd was growing and growing ever so slowly. The Season to Risk guys were hanging out well, Steven was DJ-ing in between acts. They were trying to convince us tonight would be a good turnout, but it was a Sunday and shit.

But Frank and I both noticed that many couples were coming into the club, and not really hanging out with their partners. Was this swinger's night or something? Most evidence pointed to yes. Couples hanging out at the bar, some man approaches, introduces himself, he scans the woman up and down, then he leaves with the woman. Weird.

Anyway, the opening band begins and it was really cool shit but was going on for a really long time. This was freaking us out as it was approaching midnight on a Sunday night, but nevertheless the crowd kept getting larger.

Finally we set up and played. We played yet another rocking set not quite the romantic music intended for this setting, but the people who cared really dug it.

After the set, Frank made the promotional rounds selling CDs and getting people to sign the mailing list. I chatted up a storm with Aaron and Mark from the first band. Jai Young was a dancing fool. Turns out the gal he was dancing with was the subject of a sudden brawl between two other men. Took like five guys to keep the fists from flying and escort these two testosterone-addled freakazoids out of the club. Sheesh.

It was such a hoppin' scene that it got late fast, and we loaded out around 3:00am. Bye to all as we decided to head out of town right away. Before that we stopped at a nearby diner Chubby's. Got to chatting with the extroverted waitress and immediately discovered she was from Oakland. She used to live near where I live now, but split around 3 years ago to move to KC since she couldn't afford Oakland anymore. How depressing.

5/14/01 Monday - I was actually sleeping shotgun and woke up to the sounds of Frank cursing he just got nailed for speeding. I gathered my wits and unkempt hair as he pulled over. Another cordial exchange, this time with a Kansas cop, and this time Frank wins the $90 speeding ticket. What a fucking annoyance. I guess it could have been worse Frank had an expired license (he left the current one in Austin, remember?).

So we got to Denver early. Way early. Took the wrong exit in and drove all the way through town to get to downtown. Loaded into the club. Now we had all afternoon to kill I didn't get a great impression about this town last time, and now I had all day to get even less of an impression. Milled about at the dreadful pedestrian mall. It started to rain. Hung around as many phone calls were made at that place with the salads.

Went back to the club. Still nothing doing. I suggested we go bowling, and we went miles to the outskirts of town to find an alley. Expensive, but we played two games. Jai Young, once again shocking us with unexpected prowess, kicked our asses. I came in second thanks to occasional lucky strikes. That meant Frank was in third for those keeping score. When we left the rains have minimized.

Though we were freaking tired, Frank wanted to go work out. He drove around, finding a gym downtown. Jai Young and I actually slept like rocks in the van in the nearby parking garage. Took me forever to collect myself when Frank returned two hours later.

Back at the club, now that parking was legal we parked out front, and walked to the strip mall, getting some dinner at some coked-out tourist sports diner. You know, like TGI Fridays with pool tables and twenty televisions showing different games or action flicks and $8 chicken strips as appetizers. The waiter was totally wired on some drug.

So the opening local band never showed. I guessed they figured they had better things to do on a Monday evening. We set up and played to seemingly nobody. The only real bummer show of the tour, but we've been so lucky up to this point with respectable if not great crowds. And as it happens, one dude, Zag, was there and really into it and he actually came out to see us having heard the CD. Trip out.

We were wrapped up and packed up by midnight. Jai Young took the first shift and I rode shotgun. We listened to U.K. and Tortoise and then I tried to drift to sleep somehow in that uncomfortable bucket seat.

5/15/01 Tuesday - Jai Young was still driving, having never stopped, as the sun rose. I guess he was locked in a groove. Because of that we made much better time than we thought possible. Frank took over after getting gas and we made it into SLC by 8:30am. And as always, our first stop was the coffee garden. I feel like I know the staff personally at this point. And I always get the same thing - an almond croissant.

I called our pal Hope and woke her up. She gave us directions to her and Dean's pad, and we quickly headed on over. She had already set up some air mattresses and such, and we crashed hard until about 1:00pm.

Ate some breakfast, sat around the house shooting the shit. Watched a rented movie, "Croupier," and then Hope and Frank headed out to go hang at the University. Watched TV and nearly fell back to sleep.

When they returned we headed on out to the club good old Ya'buts. I was familiar with the load-in procedure here, so that was relatively painless. Saw Paul from the Red Bennies inside and other recognizable faces. The evil owner which wanted to kill me and my band last time through wasn't around. He never appeared all night. Phew. But the 50 gallon drum he threw at us was still out back a harrowing reminder of nights past.

We went out to eat. Found a good Indian place kind of expensive but we owed it to ourselves considering this difficult but very fun tour was coming to a close. Some of us needed coffee, so we hung out at some cafe/skater accessory shop. Kids were crowding around a dance floor and busted into the latest and hippest breakdancing moves. I would venture to say that none of these kids were alive when breakdancing started. At this point I realized I was hanging out at some establishment with grown people who were approximately half my age. And I was sad.

Back to the club, we met J-Bot, who is the mastermind and sole human member of the spectacle that is Captured by Robots. Each of us had mutual friends with J, and we're all from the Bay Area it's funny that I'm finally catching his act in Salt Lake City of all places.

At complete random insane saxophonist and friend of Jai Young, 99 Hooker, showed up. He was on his way driving to the west coast and his stopover in SLC coincided with our show. How about that? Some friend of Frank's also showed up that he didn't expect. Lots of happy vibes.

The third band never showed up, so we set up and started the music portion of the evening with another blast of rock and roll improv goodness. The crowd was huge. I just don't get how Species Being has been able to pull more of a crowd on off-nights at these clubs than Mumble & Peg on weekend nights. So be it.

Great response from the crowd, and I chatted with some very psyched people thanking us for playing their little neck of the woods. Also talked with some of the guys from Alchemy who I connected via e-mail a couple days ago and I told them I was coming back through that way and they came. God bless e-mail.

Captured by Robots set up and played. He used my bass amp. Schmoozed and packed up and loaded out after the music ended. It was raining. I've been so careful for the longest time to protect my bass speaker in the event of rain, and of course Frank brought it out and let the speaker get all wet he meant well, and I'm just being paranoid since it was harmless, but it made me upset nevertheless.

Back to Hope's. Stayed up talking with Hope and Dean. Since talked started getting real geeky, Hope and Frank crashed to sleep. That didn't stop me, Jai Young, and Dean from staying up till like 4:30am chewing the fat and computers, academia, and piano conservatory snobbery.

5/16/01 Wednesday - Up at 10:00. One more long day ahead of me. Showered. Packed up, said bye to Hope, and hit the long road to Reno. It was actually a quick ride through Utah and Nevada, mostly due to this insanely long and heated three-way debate about music and the internet. We pulled into Reno at 5:30.

Found the club, Zephyr, and loaded in and onto the tiny stage. They were playing "Orgone Therapy" which made both Frank and Jai Young emit full belly laughs. It was still early yet, so we hit the casinos.

I hate casinos because I'm a bad gambler. We kept it focused. Frank hopped from craps to blackjack. I actually sat at a blackjack table as well. I put in $10 and it hovered for about twenty minutes between $6 and $14. Once back at $10 I left the table. Good boy. Jai Young sat down at one slot machine and made $12 pretty quickly. Enough of this bullshit. We headed back to the club.

We ate some amazing Chinese food at a restaurant next door. Unbelievably good food, actually. In the outdoor area behind the club we played our last game of Palace. Since we were the only band there was no rush to get started. But on the flip side, we were heading home tonight and I was very much into getting going already.

Eventually started at 11:00. The moderately sized crowd were quite attentive. Some danced, including this bubbly British dude who showed us card tricks earlier. In fact, the crowd grew as people were so into us they ran out and got their friends to come on down. This made for a very energetic last set. And then Frank announced we were going to take a short break and come back for another set. Oh..

I wasn't into doing another set, and so I sulked as I was bored out of my skull as Frank schmoozed. He's good at schmoozing that's how he sells CDs and gets people to sign the mailing list. I just wasn't in the mood. I wanted to go home. The second set finally started to even my own amazement it was our most rocking set yet, but maybe that's because me and Jai Young threw in some old Fourth Generation Copy licks.

While still on stage I felt an amazing mental blow of some kind most likely from being completely physically exhausted, off caffeine, sleep deprived, and fully aware that the long string of touring during the first 5 months of this year is finally, finally coming to an end. This made me totally depressed and I couldn't deal with anything.

Frank schmoozed some more and Jai Young managed to meet some girl so I personally packed up all my shit, then all of Frank's shit, and then some of Jai Young's shit, and we were still far from leaving, so I took a walk around the block. We didn't get outta there until 1:45am. I got an ice cream sandwich at the gas station and felt a little better about life.

Despite all previous claims otherwise, Frank was unable to stay awake for the ride home. So I took over for an hour through Sacramento. It made most sense to drop Jai Young off first, so we went into SF and to his house. Got there around 5:20am. Loaded him out, exchanged goodbye hugs. Then to the nursery to load Frank's shit out and put the seats back in the van. Then finally, finally, I got home at 6:00am. Crawled into bed with Jenya and disappeared into space.

5/17/01 Thursday - I can't believe I got up three hours later and went to work.

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