Sunday, August 30, 2009

Desert Thoughts

From the tour journals

Sept. 28
11:49 AM
Everyone but the driver and I is asleep. You sleep a lot in the van. What else are we going to do, engage one another in philosophical discussions? We're like cats- we spend most of our time asleep. We played at a great youth space last night called Warehouse 21. Maybe 20 kids came to the show. I wonder if many kids attend any shows there. Josh suffered unending technical snafus. That marred the set somewhat. Both of us have had our share of amp problems. Maybe on the west coast we can find a reliable dude to solve our issues. Tonight's show will probably be lightly attended as well. It's Tuesday, who wants to go to a show on a Tuesday? The unwritten rule is that Mondays through Wednesdays are bad nights for shows. You have to eliminate your expectations. Nothing goes the way you think it will. Greg is good at this. He can be rather negative, assuming every show will be a colossal failure. Yet there is merit in this steely outlook because you can never be disappointed.

12:37 PM
Driving through New Mexico is like cruising the moon. This is alien landscape. The yellow-rock hills hiding pueblos and pick-up trucks. The long stretches of green grasslands with shrubs, campers, mobile homes and more pick-up trucks. Everything here is Mexican. Our forefathers stole this land from them, but it's still Mexican. You can take the land from Mexico, but you can't take Mexico from the land. We hide our secrets out here in the southwest: our bombs, our nuclear testing, our UFOs, our bloodstained legacy of genocide and imperialism. This is the closet full of skeletons and their bones creak against the hills and their moans swim in these winds. They can try but we can't silence the ghost stories of ancient crimes. Ours is a nation eternally haunted by the poltergeists of the past.

Sept. 29
11:38 AM
As much as I could never fathom living here, there's no denying the beauty of Arizona, with its lush evergreen trees in the north of Flagstaff and Sedona down to the bare, brown hills and craggy cactus-lined sand outside Phoenix. We played in a bar last night. Previously, we've always played the space Modified Arts, but another show prevented us from playing there. I hate playing bars and clubs. Maybe it's my antipathy to smoke and alcohol. I'm just never comfortable in those settings. We'll be playing a rock club in L.A., in contrast to the usual kid-run DIY space. Apparently some kids intend to boycott our show at the rock club. It's rather absurd. While I'd rather play the DIY venue, it's amusing that kids become so riled up about the type of venue we perform within. I usually have more fun playing the DIY venue with the bad sound than the rock joint with the pro-sound system (more times than not, the sound guys at such places make us sound even worse through their top-of-the-line equipment).

12:35 PM
Wherever we are looks like Mars. Strange, gnarled trees with spiny green tips jut out from the red dirt. Are these Joshua trees? There is nothing here but these and hills and rocks. I am so far away from home.

12:43 PM
Everything out here is surrounded by fences. Fences enclose mountains, desert, lakes, farms, forests. I want to run outside and climb these desert hills. I want to spend days wandering in the blinding unknown waiting just beyond the van window. But we cannot trespass.

2:13 PM
Food ravages my brain. It's the lack thereof- the malnutrition hijacking standard cognitive function. I remember dining out with the family when I was young: Pizza Hut, McDonalds, diners. I grew up on fast food, Spaghettios, Beef-a-roni, Mac n Cheese, Kool Aid. Maybe this is why veganism appealed to me later on down the line. I grew up in the tall shadows of New York City. I was obsessed with the city as a kid. I drew pictures of its skylines, daydreamed of scaling the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building or the Twin Towers. My mom never wanted to take me, though this was the 80s and NYC was a far different place then than it is now.

Sept. 30
1:26 PM
Now we drive towards that cultural holy ground known as Bakersfield. Why we plan to arrive three hours early is a mystery to me. Last night's show occurred at Balcony Lights, the same record store we played in not even six months ago. I enjoyed myself. Kids seemed to enjoy themselves. Yet the rest of the band felt is was a sub-par show. We never agree on the quality of a show. Everyone experiences the set in their own unique way. The slightest thing can throw me off. It is extraordinarily rare thing for us to agree unanimously on how we played, though we tend to concur when a set is a disaster. So we continue our drive through the eye-squinting bright desert with the heat blasting full bore due to the van being on the verge of overheating.