Alright, I should discuss some earlier occurrences in the tour. First day saw us finding out the wonderful news that we could not use our newly purchased van. We expected to receive the title in the incipient stages of tour, and assumed we’d just use our various vehicles to get to nearby shows. Our first was in a basement in Connecticut. It took us three times as long to get there from Jersey since a truck carrying fuel oil exploded on I-95. That effectively shut the major artery down for weeks to come.
We played to a couple dozen kids and stayed in some girl’s dorm at UCONN. I slept on a tiny couch. I learned a valuable lesson: it is better to sleep on the floor and stretch out than it is to sleep on the comfy sofa and curl up. From there we went to Boston for a radio interview and played a raucous show at Boston University. I found myself rather disconcerted by the bevy of huge, hulking tough dudes up front going nuts, but I guess they enjoyed us.
We stayed at Brad’s house, and hung out with him, Nat and Ben. We walked amidst the hordes of ornery college students to some pizza place, itself infected with inebriated college cretins. Nat took to hurling insults at them, which made me extremely concerned for our safety. But no one responded. I fell asleep at Brad’s on a long couch around 4:30 AM, amidst Nat talking about music gear.
Next morning saw us in the Watertown Diner, me devouring vegan flapjacks and grinning like a mook. Then we cruised to Amherst. Played at Smith College to a small crew of kids. We ate at the school cafeteria, collecting nasty looks, since we were a group of strange looking boys in an all girls school. They offered vegan food too, what the fuck! Is New England as progressive as ZInn or Chomsky would have us think? We stayed at Will and Meghan’s house. I fell asleep after 5 AM on a big couch next to Josh. I left my hat there, a wool cap my girlfriend knit for me. She is not fucking happy about that for various reasons.
From there we went to NYC and played a great show at CBGBs. Various stoic members of our party used the restrooms. Promoter Rich wrapped his hands around Eric’s throat and hoisted him heavenwards when Eric foolishly made fun of Rich. I watched a drunken concertgoer pour beer all over straight edge Alexander. We stayed at Billy’s place in Whitestone Queens and found out the title wouldn’t arrive for at least 30 days. Greg generously offered the use of his minivan for the tour. The cost of renting a van was as high as the sun. So we embarked on the tour, hitting Reading, Newark, Blacksburg, Asheville and Harrisonburg, all dreary, rain-soaked days. The 14+ hour drive to New Orleans really kick-started the tour. I think we’re reasonably caught up now. HOORAY HOORAY FUCKERS!!!
It occurs to me all of the sudden that I’ve grown jaded and bitter in my old age. Maybe that’s not it. When this began three years ago, I felt much more engaged politically. I cared and felt guilty for not involving myself more deeply in activism. Now I feel little desire to get involved in that way. I am deeply disturbed by the current political and social climate, given the Bush junta and all they’ve done to cause grief at home and abroad. The anarchist/activist set in Philly rubbed me wrong. I didn’t fit in, and indeed, I tried. I don’t fit in anywhere. And I don’t need people wearing all black with patches sewn onto their clothes, calling me bourgie because I like a little heat in the winter and a little air-conditioning in the summer. Yet I am not normal and I don’t want to be. Maybe I am not as radical or as leftist as I once was. I am not hopeful that an anarchist reign (I know, that phrase is a misnomer) could ever exist in this country. I think there are a few fundamental changes that could go a long way towards creating a better way of life for most people. Maybe this is a compromise with capitalism. Yet I see no other feasible alternatives at the present time. Here goes:
1) Livable wage. C’mon, this is common sense. A person cannot live on $7.50 an hour and then have the government take a third. That amount is above minimum wage too. I make $7.50 an hour, and it barely covers the bills. How is a family able to survive on less? We need a mandatory minimum livable wage. How about $12 or $14? I could live like a goddamn king on such amounts, though I do not have children. If you pay workers better, they may feel more inclined to work better. I might not loathe my job if I was paid a reasonable wage.
2) Universal health care. Fuck man, this is a no brainer. Compare the standard of living here with other comparable industrialized nations and the U.S. falls far behind, like down in fucking Dark Ages. Let’s liquidate the insurance companies. They keep us stuck in this mess, them, and the politicians they subsidize, as well as the rich people who don’t feel a need for universal health care coverage since they can afford health care.
3) Free childcare. How can a parent making minimum wage hope to go to work and then care for the kids? And afford to take care of them? Do it for the kids.
4) Tons more. This is the beginning. We can move on to paying teachers more, reducing the defense budget and redirecting those funds towards worthwhile endeavors. You get my drift.
I should run for political office.
Just spoke with the girlfriend. She wants me to come home. Now. She says this every time we speak. I understand, I miss her. I left her alone with various housemates back in the cold and rain of Philadelphia. This is the longest we’ve been apart. But then she starts in with her jealousy and insecurities, accusing me of not loving her and me fucking other girls out here in the middle of fucking nowhere and it gets to be a bit much. Being out here is fun, sometimes. Mostly it’s figuring out the optimum way to situate your body through a long drive to prevent back aches and neck pains (yes, we are old men). In addition, holding a serious conversation via cell phone is difficult to do when you are surrounded by dudes and a blaring stereo.
Back in Philly the rain falls hard. It is still cold, winter not relenting its tenacious bite. She accused, “You want to leave me,” after I quipped that we should move away from Philly for a sunnier, warmer destination. Uggg. It is sunny and warm with clouds to the east.
What would I do if I joined the “real world”? Become an academic? A journalist? The manager of my department at the bookstore? There are several career options available to me thanks to the piece of paper hanging up in a frame across from my old bedroom in my parent’s house that says I graduated college.
Quick aside: we’re passing hills and mountains dotted with windmills used to generate wind power. Yes! Less oil and more wind and solar energy. I’d love to live in a house run entirely on renewable energy. Leave the oil in the ground clowns!
Back to my story…I almost took two graduate level Political Science courses last September. They were awful. Yet I love learning, debating, writing, researching and growing intellectually. If I have to have a normal job, why not a professor? Well, there is the downside of that means of employment: barely any PhD grad finds gainful employment as a professor. The competition is fiercer than gladiator battles in Roman times. The sycophants run rampant and I don’t know if I have the strength in my lips and the clothespins for my nose to kiss so much ass. I am a weirdo. I am 28. I think the grad school window is just about closed for me. Look, I don’t want to be just a guitar player in some dumb rock band. Yawn. Eat shit. Get fucked. Fuck face. Eat my fuck. I need to read more, love, learn, live. Fuck complacency.
I just remembered last night how Cisco Nabisco’s owner mentioned seeing Suicidal Tendencies in 1986. He said he loved Metallica and Megadeth. But he added, “That wasn’t the heavy stuff. What you guys play is the heavy stuff.”
We just stopped by and left where we’re performing this evening: Munoz Gym. It’s a tiny building with a boxing ring taking up most of the space. That means, you guessed it, the bands doing their thing inside the motherfucking ring. Should be quite a night. This is touring. Hello Bakersfield!
Here in the dirt and pebble backyard to the gym. Two local kids hang out behind us. One dude said, “I’m gonna get so drunk. I’m gonna get crunked.” Go you dude. This place is a true, ripe shit hole. Bakersfield is the asshole of California. Perhaps I should refrain from such a hateful depiction of this place. We walked around “downtown” and ate at Quiznos. The soft-drink dispenser kept dispensing lemonade long after I pulled my cup away. The employees laughed at me. HA HA HA HA HA! Now I feel sick. But it is as warm and humid as the Amazon here and the sun sets gloriously behind me.