Sunday, July 19, 2009

West Texas

From the tour journals

25 September 04
10:16 AM

Rt. 10. Desert. West Texas. We slept barely four hours and we’re headed back east to Austin. Last night saw us in Odessa. It’d be tough for the best sci-fi writers throughout the history of the form to dream up a more barren, wasted, Road Warrior-esque place. The show was by far the craziest we’ve ever played- not in terms of kids moshing each others’ faces into walls- but in regards to bizarre episodes all night long.

The show happened in Earl’s Two, some hole in the wall roadside bar. We rolled up, parked in the dirt driveway, and moaned at the prospect of playing a west Texas bar. The usual discussion ensued: should we say fuck it and drive to a hotel somewhere? Would any kids dare peak their faces in a den of sin such as this? But alas, we are here for business, not pleasure. We entered. A game of some sort played on the TV above the long bar. The bulk of the room consisted of several pool tables, a few stationed with scraggly players. This was bound to be a show to remember.

As the evening wore on, the promoter showed up. He at least seemed to know what he was doing. Other bands arrived, a few kids waited to pay to get in, and all seemed like it wouldn’t be the standard disaster. We set up the merch on a table against the far wall adjacent to the floor space where the bands would perform and proceeded to observe. A lot of local bands played, all very young, all not very good. One band, clearly inspired by current chart-toppers Yellowcard, played “emo” with a violin player. The bespectacled fellow had a lass in the audience, but much to the electric violinist’s chagrin, she seemed more interested in a more quarter back-looking bloke. Dude, no matter how you cut the deck, you are playing the violin. I don’t care if Yellowcard rocks a violin- you do not look cool getting into it out of rhythm with your band while wielding a violin.

Quite a mélange of humanity filled out the room, mostly teenagers. Most of them never heard of us, yet they purchased lots of our records and shirts. I’ve never signed so many posters. This wound up becoming one of if not the best merch sales nights of the tour. And I must say that since Baton Rouge, kids have been overwhelmingly appreciative, talkative, and fan-atic.

Several prostitutes milled about the show. Some locals informed us they came from an alleged brothel trailer park nearby. One of them was named Taz. She ended the night by cruising off with a withered customer in a cowboy hat. A younger associate stayed throughout the show. She wore a nose ring and seemed high, crazy, or both. I believe she was the one who showed off her wares- and I mean all of them- to a group of excitable hardcore boys filming the show. They reportedly filmed the wares as well. Someone told me how one of the professionals dabbled in the smoking of potentially illicit substances outside the bar during the show. Evidently a member of our crew grew disconsolate about her sharing in the precious, finite materials, and openly laughed and mocked her when she dropped said materials.

I also saw a large, side of beef kind of guy proudly donning a Bush/Cheney shirt. I’m excited to flee this state. We’ve been here far too long.

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