Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Wizard Rifle, part 13: Las Cruces

May 21, 2012

We awoke early to catch the continental breakfast that was supposed to end at 9:00 in the morning.  I don’t know what the emotional consensus was, but the breakfast was literally made up of Hostess cakes and Sunny Delite.  We grabbed a bunch and took them to the car.  Max had an idea – I think he’d gotten it from Andrea – to hit up a Holiday Inn’s continental breakfast.  I’d also done the same with one in Portland when working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car.  We did this; it was not very good.

After passing the Alamo, which was relatively nearby, we set our GPS for Las Cruces.  We got on I-10 and it told us to keep going for 500 miles.  So we drove out into the great wide open, and into a rain storm.  And there, about where I-10 meets 290, we ran out of gas.  We pulled off onto 290, thinking it was Fredricksburg, but we found out Fredricksburg was 49 miles off.

We waited on the side of the road in the rain for Triple A, and in that time we shat and pissed, and felt prudish and laffy.  The man came and gassed us up with nine dollars worth, enough to get us to Junction, Texas.  Sam informed us that we had one more free Triple A call.  We would need it.

We got back on the road with Sam driving, Max sleeping, and I riding in the back.  The weather cleared up.  We hit Junction and refueled, I bought a comb at a general store, and we went through a thrift store.  Back on the rode, Sam and I put on Rust Never Sleeps and I had some kind of life epiphany about myself and my life since 2005.  That was a good feeling.

Eventually Sam got tired so I took over driving.  Driving through the beautiful Texas countryside, parallelling the border of Mexico, with deep, heavy clouds off to one side or straight ahead, I put on In The Aeroplane Over The Sea and had another sort of epiphone about sex and its meaning. Part of the revelations came out of a rush of clarity – I’d been sad and anxious the night before, and I felt in that moment that everything was going to be alright.  I just needed to focus.  It meant a lot to me, except one other thing dragged me down a bit, and would prove to drag me down further in the coming days: Jeff Mangum is a worryer.

A toppled semi to further my meditative transcendance.  It was blurry in real life too.

We drove through El Paso in a colossal thunder and lightning storm during rush hour.  Visibility was only a few feet and I was stressed, but we pulled on through.  Not long after, we crossed over into New Mexico and I believe into Rocky Mountain Time.  It wasn’t long after that before we rolled into Las Cruces, AKA Hell (only sort of).

We couldn’t find the venue.  The address we got was a dojo.  There was some kind of art space nearby, but they didn’t know where the venue we needed was.  We sat around in that area of Las Crucus, which was far from beautiful aside from the tremendous rolling clouds in the sky and several rainbows.  Nate was telling us it was some practice space.

Somehow, after asking someone, somewhere, we found out that it was a door on the side of one of the warehouses marked only with an ‘X’.  We found it, but no one was there.  After waiting a little longer, patience running thin, sure we probably weren’t getting free meals or making our guarantee, someone pulled up.  It was another band, Vampirates.  We talked with them for awhile, then went to find food.

It all hit me at once.  The hunger, the lack of nutrition (all that junk food), being upset about this venue, lack of alone time, and weird anxieties all came in at once.  I was on the phone with Sarah after doing some grocery shopping for a simple meal, and I realized it.  I had to cut the call off and eat something.  I felt awful for ending the call so soon.  She’d just gotten to Los Angeles and had had a great day.

Dinner was hummus and shit in the front seat of the car.  Then we drove back to the venue and loaded in.  I was surprised that it was just one room that might fit 100 people in it, but it still smelled like every other practice space I’d ever had.  I was crawling out of my skin, just like the night before.  All the clarity of the drive, and my commitment to focus, had burned off.  I tried to talk to Sam, but he had to call his girlfriend.  I tried to talk to Max, but I found I could only speak in vague abstractions.  So I told him I was going to take a nap, and did on a couch while the bands played.

Wizard Rifle played and I sat behind their merch table post nap, and I sold nothing.  A girl that was traveling with Vampirates sat next to me drinking vodka from a big gulp.  I wanted to kill myself, after poking the big gulp with a  pen.  We found a place to sleep – at the first band’s house, where the second band was also staying.

I called Sarah again and smoothed things out, apologizing from cutting the conversation off.  It was a nice, tender conversation.  I followed it up with a kitchen shower and a bed with Max.

-for Tuesday May 8th, 2012

Wizard Rifle, part 12: San Antonio

May 20, 2012

I awoke in the Omni hotel by a text from Sam saying he was in the café.  I wandered down while Max slept, and there Sam and I talked about how sometimes we felt like the world is ending when we put our minds into a state of vulnerability and then things go to shit.  True then, very true now.

Eventually the three of us checked out, and grabbed a bottle full of Agua Fresca (muy fruit-tastic) from the lobby.  We took the van to a Firestone to get the bad tire patched and put back on.  We then traveled into East Austin and had the greatest tacos on Earth from a cart on E 6th Street.

 

 

After an iced coffee, we went to Barton Springs and had a swim.  We felt like chumps for paying because we saw a free spot right near the pay-to-swim pool.  But we can’t unring a bell, so we swam – poorly.  The whole place really was more populated than these sexy pictures might lead on:

 

 

After a little basking in the sun, we sallied forth to a post office, a few shops on South Congress (which I thought sucked, check out the pictures, and if you see Max, guess what he’s doing in exhibit A):

 

 

Then the we headed to San Antonio.  It was only a little over an hour.  The city looked fairly decent heading in.  Down on the street, it was a little less flattering.  We showed up at the venue – Night Rockers Live.  The man at the venue seemed utterly perplexed at there being any show at all there that night.  But, weirdly enough, he seemed down for it.  He just wanted to talk to our booker after he went and got some “supplies” (i.e. cigarettes; car took a shit that morning).  We got a hold of Nate and found out that the show had een moved.  Apparently I’d been sent something about this (I found it later while digging through texts).  The Night Rockers Live guy was humored and relieved.

The new venue was Korova and we headed over there.  It was a big empty room right near downtown; basically in downtown; and the people there had the band soundcheck.  We had a hotel and they gave us directions (which proved to be confusing).  We checked in and the guy at the desk mentioned that Rammstein was coming through soon.  I almost felt a pang of sadness to be missing it.  He also mentioned a good Mexican restaurant being in the middle of downtown, which wasn’t too far away.

We drove there, and I’m pretty sure it was closed.  But we found another Mexican place nearby called El Mariachi.  It was like something out of a dream.  The food was pricey, and I should have gotten what they got, but I was too cowardly to conform, so mole it was.

 

 

We returned to the venue and watched the two opening bands of metal Monday in San Antonio.  The crowd was made up of about seven people – either band members or band girlfriends – in a room that could have fit maybe 600 people (and had probably never been filled before).  I didn’t understand why one of them rammed home the fact that Pantera was from Texas before they covered Pantera.  Whatever.  There was one guy who’d driven from Austin to see the show.  I asked if he’d caught the Austin show too and he said he hadn’t, which I thought was strange; he had a reason I can’t remember.

 

 

It was a lonely, lonely night, and in that space, I lost a little piece of my mind.  The despair wasn’t lost on the boys either, as Max demonstrated when he rapped his way through “Organ Donor Song.”  He would not have done it unless he was staring deeply into the abyss.  The show was over, and two enthusiastic fans sidled their wobbling asses to the door with nary a glance towards my money making machine.  The house speakers blasted Alice In Chains as we loaded out, and, done with our wretched night, we finally hit the hotel.  We had but a few hours before our long drive to New Mexico just ahead.  I slept on the floor… Sam was bedded.

 

-for part of Monday May 7th, 2012

Wizard Rifle, part 11: Austin

May 20, 2012

 

A necessary backstory is that the right-rear tire of the van was continually losing air.  That morning, we found it was a bit too flat to go anywhere.  So we called Triple-A hoping they would patch it up and pump it up.  Instead the guy that came just put the spare on.  It was a whole ordeal of taking the gear out of the back and putting it on the street.  He didn’t really do anything.  He was covered in confederate flags, so he was clearly a wife-beating piece of shit.  Sam might have called in asking for a flat change, which isn’t what we needed.  A Triple-A call wasted.

Josh saw us off with donuts and breakfast burrito in our hands.  He was one of the most standup hosts we had the whole tour, I believe – or at least what I saw of it.  We tried to get out of town but the GPS kept taking us in circles.  And as we drove in circles, another dour conversation about the future was had.  They were stressful affairs, full of a potential of misunderstanding and stringing-along.  But we rode on, and found the Texas between Texarkana and Austin held some pretty grassy landscapes, some pretty weird towns, and a whole lot of nothing.

 

 

We drove into Austin drenched in sweat and listening to Louis C.K. and laughing hard.  It was about 5 or 6:00, with the evening approaching.  We found no one at the venue, Red 7, so we took a walk.  We went to 6th Street where some kind of street fair was going on.  It was annoying – we wanted a downtown unencumbered by people and bullshit.  Some stupid bar had water and a broke-ass pinball machine.

 

 

We walked towards the river but never made it.  We were by the creek that runs through downtown, and found a nice park with an amazing tree for climbing, and a bathroom that was a castle.  I nodded as my own opinion formed – I’m not much for Austin.  It’s like Portland, with all its virtues and misfortunes.  The key misfortune being once it gets old, any town like it gets old also.  An anxiety, similar to one I felt in Memphis, set in.  I didn’t want to be there.  I wanted to get on the road again.

 

 

We went back to Red 7 and waited around a little while for some venue workers to show up.  They eventually did, and we loaded in.  We traded our drink tickets for buy out money and went two doors down to Koriana.  It was delicious.

 

 

The show was fine.  I think there was a decent amount of people and it sounded good from the outside.  My problem was that I was outside – the merch table was in some weird annex where people were smoking.  There was a big vibe of people not giving a shit about music either; there were a ton of people out there at all times.  I sold some merch to a very enthusiastic fan though – a young lady that talked the boys’ balls off after the set.  I was able to break up the monotony a bit with a call home.

I was feeling alright, but we didn’t have a place to stay.  For the first time, we Pricelined a hotel and found a cheap room at the Omni in the southside of town.  We loaded up and made our way there.  There was trouble in the lobby when Max tried to check in.  Since it was 2:00 in the morning, we’d made the reservation for that night; meaning the night to come.

While we waited, I went and looked in on a salsa dance in the ballroom, and stole a knife from the closed restaurant and made swandiwches of cashew butter and bananas and bread right in the lobby.  It worked out eventually, though Max was on the phone for awhile and Sam fell asleep right in the lobby by the frontdesk.  Our room was a three star hotel, nine stories up.

-for part of Sunday May 6th, 2012

Wizard Rifle, part 10: Texarkana

May 11, 2012

 

I awoke at the co-op with a slight pain from sleeping on a hard floor.  Sam gave Andrea and Amelia a ride to the highway.  Sam later said it’d taken “longer than expected,” and that he’d had to “take a few entrances and exits.”  Or something; I translated this as they twisted his arm into driving them up the road a bit.  I took the idle time to shower.

We left the co-op and hit a grocery store for some produce, went to a post office, and went back to get some coffee at the same place as the day before.  They had been planning on going to Graceland, and I was looking forward to it also.  Until Max told me it was $32 to get in.  I politely let them know I probably wasn’t going in.  They drove me to Sun Studios instead – they’d been last year.  I got in free by giving a CD of a band that I wasn’t in, that wasn’t Wizard Rifle, but rather was a really shitty band from earlier in the tour.  I think they were called Versa.

 

 

Sun Studios was interesting, obviously.  The actually recording area was kept as it was.  I didn’t know Ike Turner created rock n roll.  The music they allowed us to hear was beautiful.  The downside is that the only song they played in its entirety was some U2 & B.B. King piece of Shit.  There was another part that was a museum, which, in my opinion, was a little touristy.  Just being priggish.

 

 

When they picked me up from Sun Studios, they were bummed out about Graceland.  It was “underwhelming” said Sam.  It was a very strictly guided tour.  They’d heard that all his suits and guns were hung up on the walls.  Apparently those exhibits had been taken out just days before.  I felt slightly fortunate.

It was a long drive to Texarkana.  First things first – we crossed the Mississippi and immediately passed into Arkansas. I thought we were going to Texas, but Texarkana – funnily enough – is a town that has an Arkansas side and a Texas side, and our show was on the Texas side.  Our drive was long and relatively dull and consisted of the entire state of Arkansas (Little Rock pictured immediately below).

 

 

We pulled in after nightfall to The Road Map, which actually seemed to be on the outskirts of town.  At first we thought there must be some mistake.  It didn’t look open, much less like a venue.  But sure enough, it was the spot.  It was a huge biker bar, and we found three people in it – just three people – and the place was somehow so filled with cigarette smoke that I could hardly breathe.  And it was only to get worse.

 

 

The promoter Josh showed up with our food and supplied the beer.  He said the place was very generous, and it was true – apparently the fellas were getting two pitchers each.  Josh explained that one of the band had dropped off the bill because someone had broken their hand, which sounds incredibly painful!  The remaining band was… something else.  A group called the Mutha Load who had been around in some form or other for about 20 years, and had been playing the same set of songs for about that long, although they’d gone through some variations.  And they were fronted by someone who we had to see to believe – a man named Gator.

 

 

Gator entered and everything I’d heard was true.  Super southern, super immitatable.  I was also pretty sure he was retarded, either by birth or by birth or some sort of self-abuse (maybe chemicals, maybe blunt-force trauma).  Anyway, I won’t soon forget him, and his interesting inbred drawl of southern whitey-bonics.  And the Mutha Load’s music is something else.

 

 

I had a nice long talk with Sarah, which couldn’t be beat.  Then I had to go sling merch while Wizard Rifle played.  As the evening had unfolded, it turned out that they had to go first – Mutha Load’s drummer was running late.  He worked at a Mexican restaurant.  And it was Cinco de Mayo.

Wizard Rifle’s set was fairly slipshod, with something going bad with the guitar in the first song, and some very noticeable flubs throughout.  And yet, I sold almost $100 of merch, maybe more.  People just kept coming up almost nonchalantly, and yet with genuine enthusiasm.  And I realized something interesting; something that makes me a totally priggish, stereotyping, culture-shocked Union soldier.  What I realized is that although these folks were easily the epitome of southern stereotypes – almost every last one of them – they were also some of the most genuine people, and generous with their money.  None, save one or two, had seen or heard of Wizard Rifle before, and yet they shelled out more than any other stop on the tour.  It just goes to show you.

 

 

It took awhile for the Mutha Load to start.  Gator kept walking up and yelling at me in a near-incomprehensible slur about how I was dressed for success, and look at this mothafucka right here, and something to the tune of: “I’m all into equality n shit.  So why do they get black history month, and they get Cinco de Mayo…?  I mean…” to which I responded: “You want a white history month?” as he simultaneously said: “Hey, I ain’t a racist or nuthin!!”  Yip yip!

So Mutha Load played and it was Gator screaming like a little child or a grouchy ogre while his one-legged guitarist (with a camo prosthetic;; who I think was Gator’s brother) played incredibly good guitar, along with the rhythm section who I don’t remember as being remarkable.  The genre was southern metal, with a lot of Down in it.

 

 

We loaded out during part of their set, but caught the end of it.  The Road Map was so full of cigarettes that I couldn’t even take it anymore.  Gator bowed his head into my shoulder and said, “I’m sorrryyyyy.”  I asked for what.  “For goin on soo late.”  I said it wasn’t a problem, and he smiled big.  That was the last I saw of Gator.

 

 

We followed Josh to his place.  I found out the next day that we’d crossed over to the Texas side of Texarkana.  Josh’s townhouse was very nice, and there were people there drinking and smoking and talking as drunks are want to do.  Josh proved himself the salt of the earth (for the first of a few times) by being a cine expeditionary – namely by seeking out controversial films.  I hadn’t come across a cinephile in awhile.

And he made up a damn fine sleeping situation, right there in the living room.  Damn fine shower too.  And ultimately, this is one of the finest shows that I was around to witness.

-for Saturday May 5th, 2012

Austin, Texas, final part

April 4, 2012

I spent my final day on my Texas trip attending Gaybigaygay (Gay Bi Gay Gay).  It was fine, a good experience, if relatively unremarkable.  I was more beaten than I thought I’d been by ten varied days beforehand, even though some were nothing but rustic tranquility.  Sometimes too much of nothing can do it to you, to paraphrase Bob Dylan.

Gaybigaygay was on a pig farm outside of Austin.  When I walked from the grounds to the parking lot, I could see downtown Austin shimmering in the distance.  It was in the flight path of Austin-Bergstrom Airport, so flights were constantly taking off right over our heads, which was rather poetic since I was about to be on one.  And sometimes I yearned to just hop on and get the hell out.

But all was fine, I just rode it out.  I had good company in John, PJ, Paul, and their friend Danny who lives a pretty interesting life, and was very generous with his food.  The event lasted so long, but I retreated to the car where I wrote (mostly some of the previous blog entries; and writing them without internet is probably part of the reason why “Part 9” is lost.  And it is both out of laziness and because I take a foolish pride in order that I’m not going to repost it.  I’ll just mention here that it was a good, fruitful, meaningful day.

There were other things on my mind at this final day.  It was like an epilogue, and I was just ready to be gone – to go home (“home“) and wrap my arms around destiny.  So I stuck it out, and got dropped off at the airport around 1am, waited and wrote and posted what I could, then got on my flight where I finally got a little sleep.  But the final day was extracurricular, very gay, and, despite my pangs and my distant mind, well worth it.

 

–for Sunday March 18th, 2012

SXSW – Austin, Texas, part 10

March 21, 2012

This was the final day of South By Southwest.  As far as official events were concerned.

 

 

I woke up at the Villa around noon, I think.  I wandered around on the quiet morning, killing time well enough.  That had been my last night there, and this was the real farewell morning after.  Paul gave me an English muffin, and I had a bagel.  I gathered any food I had left laying around and I packed all my bags.  John had invited me to stay with him that night, and since I was to be connected to him the next day, that seemed the most practical.

Typhoon had two shows that day.  We drove into town listening to Mitch Hedberg and laughing heartily stuck in traffic.  We arrived in the shit storm of the final day, with all the streets around 6th St bustling with bodies.  The traffic thick as shit, and we were half an hour late to Dirty Dog.

After loading in – and being berated by a cop who said we’d been told not to pull into the back alley – Kyle instructed Matt Ross and I to find a place to park the van.  I figured that parking anywhere near downtown Austin was going to be impossible, so we headed out East and just ended up circling a bit.  We were looking, but the spots were residentially zoned.  So we sat in one spot, ready to drive off at a moment’s notice if we were caught.  We talked about directing and music videos and John and New York City.  It was pretty swell.  And eventually it was time to go back.

I was sad that I missed a Typhoon show, but in perspective, it was one show out of six, so it wasn’t really a crippling defeat.  After a real pain of waiting and Matt Ross having to loop around in the shit traffic, and talking to that fucking cop again, we finally pulled the van in where it needed to be and got loaded up.

Some of Typhoon were sitting around getting drinks at Dirty Dog, but Paul said there were free massages in the Convention Center, which was right over on 4th St.  So he, Devin, Matt, Shannon, Ryan (I think?), and I went in there looking.  We found that the service stopped at 4:00 and, somehow, it was almost 5:00.  In hindsight, that much of the day slipping away blows my mind a little.  We ran into this girl Gina on our trip, and she returned to the van with us.

Some folks were talking about heading back to the Villa, since the next show wasn’t until midnight.  They were first going to go to Home Slice for more free pizza.  Devin, Norah, Gina, and I stayed downtown.  We went to Carrob’s Cafe on Sabine St, but the venue looked too boring (and disgusting) for me to drop $7 into.  Luckily and coincidentally, I had a banana from the Villa and an apple from Four Seasons in my bag.  So I ate that with them.

Norah went off to her truck, Devin and Gina went over to Cheer Up Charlie’s, and I stayed in the area because John, PJ, and Paul were to be arriving at Barbarella’s imminently.  And so it was.  They had Jeremy and his boyfriend Nick with them, and it was very nice to see them.  I had a lovely reunion with John, and it was great to see PJ and Paul again.  And I found out that Barbarella was right next door to where Typhoon was playing that night – Swan Dive.

After some sitting in the venue bemoaning the lack of cell phone reception, I wandered out front around 8:30 or so to find Typhoon’s van parked out front.  They were about three hours earlier than I expected.  I hung around and heard Paul exclaim to me loudly how much he fucking hated South By Southwest and what a fucking idiot everyone was.  He asked why the hell anyone would want to come to this, to which I responded by looking deeply into my own soul.

Kyle came around and Shannon was there too, though I don’t know if she came with him.  I took them both into Barbarella and introduced them to John, which was very sweet.  Back outside, Jen came by.  We talked about encounters with crazy people (mine involved one eating off of me at South By Southwest – ooh la la).  Mike and Eric from Y La Bamba came upon us and hung out for a bit.  Everyone I knew was just coming and going.

Liana and her roommate Michael, along with Sarah Mayfield showed up and said they were going to go get something to eat.  Devin joined us and we got some Boca Burgers about a block away.  I went back speedily to catch some of Dark Dark Dark’s set.  But I ended up talking to Matt Ross and Alex in the shitter about what exactly Matt did to his arm.  It was in a cast.  He said he punched a thing that measured your strength.  Or something?

 

 

After sitting around with them for a bit, I helped Typhoon load in.  I met the other Matt outside while standing guard around the gear.  We talked about this and that, then went in to see Typhoon play.

It was their final set, and was appropriately climactic.  It was cathartic, and I had a moment of summing up the value of this entire trip in my mind, and how I wouldn’t have reason to be there if not for them.  After their set, I helped them load out.  That was the last time for that.  Kyle and I sat by the trailer watching the throng and lasers and commerce and heard the din.  We talked about Typhoon being a part of that – a recurring discussion over the past 10 or so days.

 

 

Then it was time to go.  I put my head in the van and told everyone I wasn’t joining them to the Villa so this was the end.  I said I loved them all and was happy to spend the time with them.  And I hugged them all.  And they drove off.

I walked around town and called my brother AJ and found some food.  Then I met up with John back at Barbarella.  The night was basically over.  I met up with PJ and Paul, and the “groupie” Danny, and Nick and Jeremy, who was wasted.  We gathered our things and I drove everyone back to the house they were renting just west of downtown.  As everyone geared for bed, Paul and I had some berries and I had this vegan yoghurt that couldn’t be beat, along with some almond butter and some chocolate.

 

 

There was a pig pile.  Then the day was over, and so was the festival; at least, in an official capacity.

–for Saturday March 17th, 2012

SXSW – Austin, Texas, part 8

March 20, 2012

The dividing line between Wednesday and Thursday wasn’t bold at all.  I only got one hour of conflicted sleep – two at most.  It was mostly upon this park bench right near the Colorado River.  Rain was falling and I was holding an umbrella over me.  My back was hurting.  The only reason I’m sure I got any sleep at all is because I kept nodding off during Nighthawks At The Diner.

I rolled off the bunch under cloudy morning light and walked along the river a ways trying to think of a game plan.  I came upon the Four Seasons, where Kyle and Shannon and I had passed during our stop on the river the previous week.  I walked up a hill to it, and wandered in through the front door.  I shat in their toilet, brushed my teeth, and lounged for an hour or two in their lounge.  I had a nice telephone conversation with Sarah in New York.  It felt like a minute, but it was one hour.  After that, I took two apples.

I walked towards Trinity, passed the Convention Center and quickly ran into Bed and Jon from AAN.  They said they were going to some free brunch; that it was RSVP only, but I was welcome to tag along and see if I could get in.  We got there eventually and to my surprise, they let me in.  It was pure sin in there.  And there was a rapper named G-Eazy.  He was a great brunchtime rapper!

 

 

Bud and Jon had to run – they were playing a show at 1:00.  I said I’d be there.  I went to find this parking garage with a show on top – I’d seen it advertised on a poster; a bill with The Gossip, Cults, Best Coast, and more.  I came upon the parking garage on Trinity and 10th or something.  I walked up to an entrance and showed the SXSW staff my artist wristband.  They said artists enter through the other side.

I walked around the block and found another entrance… and they let me in.  There was a weird confusion, as if I had to enter my information somewhere (into a computer?) but a lady shrugged and said I didn’t need to.  A minute later, the guy at the door ran up to me and slapped a wristband on me, saying that’s all I needed.  So I was set.  I wandered around, top and bottom, but nothing was really happening yet.

So I wandered off to see AAN at Domy Books, which was very sparsely attended.  But they played well.  Except the sound was bad.  I was happy to have seen it though, because they’re real good.

 

 

I walked back to the parking garage.  Best Coast was playing on the top (4th) level to a disinterested crowd.  She thanked them for their enthusiasm.  After they finished, I returned to the “green room” where there was food, massages, an air conditioned tent full of interactive things and bean bag chairs.  The event was put on by Google and Youtube, so there were all these new things to try.  I was reticent to get too involved because I wasn’t sure I belonged there.

 

 

Eventually, Cults played and they were good.  I walked into the real “green room” (on the 3rd story of the parking garage; not ground floor) with the artist wristband and saw everyone’s little tent.  I didn’t talk, I just walked through and looked.  I hung around a bit.  Frankie Rose started playing, but I just lounged in the large air conditioned tent on ground floor.  I finally felt like I was done with the experience of being somewhere I maybe shouldn’t have been, and even though The Gossip would be on in an hour or two, I decided to shove off.

 

Google and Youtube’s finest pairs of tits.  Thank the sponsors.

 

I texted Matt to see where he was.  He said he was going to a Stumptown cart by the Fader Fort.  He gave me bad directions, but I finally figured it out.  It was a really obnoxious area.  And when I got there, I got a text from him saying he’d moved to the Spotify House.  I was going to follow, but I felt myself fading.

I’d hardly slept the night before, and I’d almost forgotten, but my senses were beginning to slow.  So I laid down on some grass by the Stumptown cart and took a half hour nap – just a gentle doze.  Gentle enough to feel things hitting my body.  I opened my eyes and saw some hipsters nearby with big bags of popcorn, all looking at me.  They walked away quickly.  I sat up slowly and found that they had been throwing popcorn in me, I was covered in it.

I finally went to the Spotify House, which wasn’t that far away.  A man was at the front gate and said I needed to create a Spotify account to get in.  “Fuck that…” I said, still groggy.  I left, but decided to at least touch base with Matt.  I tried to get in again, but the guy said, “We’re closed.”  I thought I was now excluded because of my attitude.  So I stood around and called Matt, who came out.  He said that the party was in fact getting shut down – so I owe the Spotify guardian an apology.

 

 

I met Matt’s friend Travis, who used to work at Mississippi.  We walked to the Omni Hotel where a booking agent was throwing a pool party on the rooftops.  We made our way up there and found The Magnetic Fields were up there also.  I only met their sound engineer Dave, who was a nice guy.  Holcolme Waller and his friend came up too, and I had a nice chat with them.

Eventually everyone trickled out, and the sun was going down.  Matt had actually won the contest to get into Bruce Springsteen, who earlier that day had delivered the SXSW Keynote Address.  The two of us walked from the Omni to The Moody Theatre, where Austin City Limits is usually filmed.  I saw Jim from Mississippi standing in a stand-by line.  The three of us talked for a bit, then Matt headed inside.

Jim seemed zombie-like like me; he’d hardly slept either.  We talked for only two minutes, and I was planning to head out.  But then they started handing out stand-by tickets and wristbands.  After only a moment’s hesitation, I asked Jim if I could jump the barrier and get in line with him.  He told me to ask the person behind him, and I did, and he said yes.  I hopped the barrier, and as I did, the person behind that guy said, “I would have said ‘NO’.”  But it was too late.  I got the wristband and ticket, and Jim and I went in.

 

 

The concert was thoroughly enjoyable, very energetic, and three hours long.  To hell with it.  The audience loved it and felt very good.  A significant portion of them were industry types.  Which is fine – the folks onstage were too.  To hell with them – everyone in the room.

 

 

Jim and I exited at the end, after the volley of guests singing their hearts out,  My feet and back were in terrible, horrible pain.  I felt like I’d just been through a fight.  We met up with two of his friends right outside the Moody, after a little sit down.  One of them tried to litely berate me for not knowing Brooklyn from Queens. I repressed my rage.  We found out Matt had left before the end of the concert, which is a pretty amazing move.  And by amazing, I mean – I have no idea why anyone would do that.  So Jim, and I, and his pals tried to find Matt.  Until they decided to make their own plan, so I went to meet Matt alone.

I got to the Driskill Bar & Grill where Matt and Sarah were enjoying a drink.  I told Matt I was going to sleep on a park bench again and he insisted that I could stay with him (Jim had actually told me before that there was no room).  As he tried to get ahold of the person housing him, Kevin and Jeff of Talkdemonic rolled around and sat with us.  Matt had a difficult time with phone reception and walked out.  In the few moments he was gone, Kevin took his seat.  Matt came back and demanded Kevin relinquish his seat.  Kevin refused – cuz it was a joke – so Matt stormed out again.  He then called me and told me I had to come with him.  So I did.

We went and met up with Chrissy, whose house Matt and Jim were staying at.  She gave us a ride into South Austin with her friend Cree in the front passenger seat (she said – while driving – that she was drunk, which saddened me).  But her house was so nice.  And so was she.  She supplied me with several kinds of hummus and chips, and made me a green salad with blueberries and homemade vinaigrette.  I got to take a shower, which hit the spot after the night previous on the park bench.

And all was well.

–for Thursday March 15th, 2012

SXSW – Austin, Texas, part 7

March 16, 2012

There was finally more music to be played – a Paste Party and a Portland Party.  915 austin highlands austin 78745

 

 

We woke at 10:00 – about two hours before normal – and ate a quick but large breakfast.  The drive out to Austin was fairly nice, with the weather being cloudy but warm.  We arrived at Stage On 6th and loaded in.  There was some issue with the venue staff being rushed and stressed, but I didn’t feel much of it.  I sat and read as the band set up.  It was a quick set that went over well.

 

 

Some interviews and photos were done, and the receiving of a gift bag from Paste.  Soon the van was loaded back up.  There was talk about going to Barton Springs for a swim.  We all piled in the van and made our way, or so I thought.  We pulled up near the Convention Center and everyone started hopping out.  Turned out we were getting out wristbands first.

And we did – I filled out my little card with everyone then got in line.  Without any questions, they connected the Artist Wristband to me with pliers.  I thanked Kyle very much.

Kyle, Tyler, and I went to the fourth floor looking for free food, which had been reported to us.  We only found pop corn.  The “Artist Lounges” were like places to drink the cool-aid.  After more wandering around the place, we found the rest of the band was just wandering as we were.  Finally there was a rendezvous outside.  Jim and Matt from Mississippi showed up – they’d gotten into down at midnight.  It was great seeing them both.

 

 

Finally, we headed for the van.  When we got there, I think we discovered (or some among us had found out long ago?) that Barton Springs was closed during South By Southwest.  After a little more loitering by the van, at the end of a cul de sac near the river, we decided we were going to make our way to the Grackle – the location of the day’s second show – the Unofficial SXSW Portland Showcase.

After a protracted job at parking the van and trailer, we arrived at the venue.  It was good, and yet I was apprehensive that it was just going to be a Portland reunion that I wasn’t fully ready in my heart to have.  Fortunately I guess, it wasn’t quite that.  Some faces sprinkled in the crowd, with more to show up, but the audience was primarily Austinian, as far as I could tell.

The “green room” was the backyard of the house next door, with a pool and a little place inside for food and drinking and bathroom.  It was rather utopian.  And despite that, or because of it, I got a little bored.  The boredom was broken somewhat by a walk with Pieter, Toby, and Norah to get tacos and hit a thrift store nearby.

Back at the pool party, more sitting around chatting was done.  Radiation City and AAN were around, as well as the dog who was in heat and fucked the shit out of my leg.  Matt and Liana showed up.  The beer ran out.  I passed the time reading until the sun went down and it was too dark out.

 

 

Part of the reason I was rooted at the pool was because the venue was at capacity and they were doing one-in one-out.  I ran into Kevin of Talkdemonic and asked if I could help him load his drums in and thusly sneak in the backdoor.  He was into it, so we did it.  I help him set up speedily then watched their set, which was quite good.

I helped Talkdemonic load out and helped load Typhoon into the venue.  It was tiny and there was a question of if it was logistically possible.  It was.  And it was perhaps the best show I’d seen them play at the festival yet.  We loaded the gear out and left it sitting in the alley way where we hung out and where Matt congratulated me on being a stand-up human being.  It was sweet.  I happily saw Y La Bamba close the evening out.

In the back alley afterwards, I showed Kevin phrenology with the lump on the back of my head – my “parental love.”  Kyle and I had a nice heart-to-heart.  Some other folks came and went.  Eventually, I made the command decision over my time and my body – I told them all to head back to the Villa without me.  I was going to have a night on the town, whatever that entailed.  I felt it’d been a great day of music.

 

 

I headed towards downtown, sinning the entire way, and sinning more when I got there.  The streets were filled with people, all of them drunk, I presume.  All the clubs and bars were closing, so people poured into the streets.  I met a homeless lady that began following me asking if I had a hotel room.  I told her I didn’t, and that seemed to piss her off, but I think she wasn’t quite right.

I had a long conversation with Sam about the Wizard Rifle tour and Sarah and whatnot.  I walked around the waterfront and 6th St while the people dispersed and the street sweepers came out.  Eventually, I came upon an IHOP near the freeway.  At this point it was close to 4:00 in the morning.  I was hoping I would be able to stay until dawn.  I only stayed until 6:15 or so.

I had a nice server named Lindsey who I saw was having some trouble with this and that.  I asked if she needed help, but she declined; I have no idea what helping a server at IHOP early in the morning really entails so it was stupid to ask.  I was very tired though, almost falling asleep at the booth.  I wonder if that pissed her off.  She said she was having a bad night; that the work was actually okay, but the personal was not.  One of her co-workers said he was talking dirty to another co-worker of theirs; he said she just laughed it off.  “Isn’t she a mother?” asked Lindsey.  She had a slight laugh, but it went away when she turned her back on him.

The reason I even left was because she asked if I’d like to pay because her shift was ending.  I paid and went, wandering towards the river listening to Nighthawks At The Diner.  Eventually, I found a park bench.  I had to try a few out – some were too visible, and sometimes, rain drops starting hitting me. I finally settled on one, and held the umbrella over myself as I slept.  I assume it looked odd to passer-bys.

 

–for Wednesday March 14th, 2012

Austin, Texas, part 6

March 16, 2012

 

See part 5.  Today was more of the same – more Villa, Steppenwolf, hammock, alcohol, no Austin.  Except instead of immaculate weather, it was cloudy and with a cool breeze. Sometimes too cold.

There was a moment where the sun broke through the clouds as I laid in the hammock, and I had to stop reading and admire the perfection.  But for some reason, this is a faint and fleeting memory.  Also good was that the evening involved dancing outside by the van’s headlamps to Bruce Springsteen.  And there was band practice..

 

–for Tuesday March 13th, 2012

Austin, Texas, part 5

March 16, 2012

There really was no Austin in this day, all San Marcos or Kyle, TX or where ever.  At the Villa.  I woke up around noon.  I discovered hammocks had been put up (won at CTC Garden several days prior).  I lounged in one reading Steppenwolf for hours and hours.  And then I went exploring.

 

 

There was some barbecuing that got done, a brisket began to be smoked.  All was well until the propane ran out.  Luckily there were two grills, so the brisket smoked and smoked.  Some of the guys decided to make a slip n slide, and succeeded for the most part.  The only downside was that it really roughed up their abdomens as they went down the hill.  It was a good idea though; highly commendable.

 

 

Eventually, it was decided a trip “into town” (for now, that means San Marcos) to get some supplies, like food and some running shoes, and some other shit.  We went to an HEB and loaded up food.  Then we went to Academy Sports & Outdoors.  One unplanned purchase out there was a BB gun.

Upon returning, we saw several boy’s asses waiting for us up on the hillside.  More barbecuing was done and eventually a drinking game commenced, at which point we returned to college.  And not a one regretted a thing, except Dave Hall. He’d been having the greatest day of his life, and now his team kept losing 7-0.  I’d have felt the same.

Kyle and Shannon and I retreated into a back room (with Ingrid also coming along to listen peacefully) to play music on two guitars and violin.  I think a Wurlitzer was supposed to happen, but something was weird about it, so it was abandoned.  It was a thing because I hadn’t played with anyone since… perhaps May or June of 2011?  It was a very placid hour or two.

Around 1:30, I made a two hour call to New York, made possible by my free nights and weekends – every night and every weekend, I am free.

–for Monday March 12th, 2012