Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Brooklyn of the West?


Quotes: “Hope I don’t get sand in my vagina.” Rene
               "If it does it turns into a pearl.” Lisa

Chuck: “I wish I could dress up like Frankenstein and jump out from behind bushes and scare people. Wes always says Dracula would be scarier though.”
“No way – a grotesque monster will always be scarier. Although if you really want to be scary you should dress up as a Dr. holding a clipboard saying, “I’m sorry, the tests are positive.”
Chuck: “ No, even worse, your girlfriend shows up with box from Ikea saying, “Honey can you put this together?”

Fauna: Seals, Bald Eagles, Cormorants, (I’m not good enough anymore to differentiate between the species so I’ll just say Double Crested with an asterisks.) 
Cassin’s Auks (Again a guess, but there was a huge rock off the coast covered with thousands of this bird. Almost coloring the thing black. They had black heads and backs with white bellies and looked vaguely penguin-like when they were on the rock. I’m going with it until someone has a better idea)

We started off the day in Crescent City. During my morning wait for Lisa walk I got lost in a marsh trying to find my way to the beach, but it was beautiful. Now it’s my job in the band to be the cruise director, a job I happily take on. We were right on the edge of several parks claiming Redwood trees but I couldn’t figure out which was best with the limited time we had. So I did what every seasoned travel does, I went into a Taco Bell and asked. Dude said about two hours south was the Avenue of the Giants; that was where the former tallest tree in the world was, before it fell down in ’91. (damn grunge)  So we set out and within minutes we were driving past some of the most stunning coastline I’ve ever seen, huge house-sized boulders with waves crashing (remember the band Live? I knew a guy who did sound for them; they treated the crew like shit. Overwrought songwriting is one thing but that is unacceptable.) over them. So we stopped at a place where we could go onto the beach. The sand was almost black and much finer than east coast sand. There was driftwood everywhere. On three sides we were surrounded by lush forest with the pines all sculpted and flowing in shapes carved by the wind. I apologize if I sound like I’m in the band Over the Rhine, but if I had been alone I probably would’ve cried. It was overwhelming, beautiful, peaceful, a place out of time. I walked through rocky tide pools and found a starfish and an anemone. I climbed out onto a series of huge rocks until I was surrounded by water and watched all the birds going about their various bird lives. (you know, creating wealth, regretting lost loves, camping out to send their chicks to good pre-schools, shit like that) The whole time we were the only ones on the beach.

Next stop was the Avenue of the Giants- a 25 mile road through the heart of where the tallest trees can be found. After the last paragraph I’ll keep it brief. Of course they stagger the imagination. I’ve seen Redwoods before and had the same reaction. It feels like what we hope a church will feel like. Stillness, with a ceiling so high you can’t see it but feel its shelter nonetheless. An eternal dusk that makes talking superfluous. I found a trio of trees that by happenstance had two fallen branches between them in an X shape. I laid down on them like a hammock and just stared up.

Still, we had a show in Oakland to get to so we had to get back to the job of getting down the highway. I don’t know if it was the morning we had or what but everyone was exhausted. I felt drained. By the time we pulled up to the club we were all short-tempered, Lisa was under the weather, and we were starving. A generous anonymous fan had gotten us a gift certificate for a nearby restaurant and the food was excellent. So thank you kind stranger!  Regardless, we dragged ass to Vitus, the club. Very cool place with Skee Ball and a shit ton of pinball machines. They treated us great. Big room but the system was plagued by sound problems. Lisa’s amp continued to act possessed. They added a fourth band to the bill we didn’t know about so I felt like crap for all the people who had to get up and work the next day. Still, just like in Portland, when it came time to play about 40 people gathered around the stage with these huge smiles on their faces. It continues to blow me away the affection the people who are coming to see us have towards our band and music. So even though it felt very much like a Monday at work, the audience pulled us out of ourselves and we left still feeling very lucky to get to do what we do.


  1. I'm not seeing lots of comments, so just wanted to say thanks for putting these up and keep at it. I feel like I'm road on the road with you guys (from the comfort of home). Keep rockin' and come to Evansville, IN if you can--4hours from Cincy

  2. I was at the show in Oakland and loved every minute of it. It made me miss Cincinnati and all the time I spent at Sudsy's and Top Cats and Boagarts back in the early 90s. I can't believe I've been listening to Chuck sing for 20 years! I hope you come back to the Bay Area (or maybe I can catch you in another city). Like the guy from Portland said, you can play in my yard and I'll get people there. :-) Oh, and yeah, the blog is great.

  3. Sometimes I feel like Im never going to get to go on another vacation for the rest of my life. I am enjoying this blog thuroughly. I look forward to new post...

  4. Gives a whole new meaning to pearl diving. Yes, thanks Mark, for the F-fort of documenting the whole she-bang. I get a kick out of you.