From the tour journals
We're marooned in L.A. rush hour traffic on Rt. 5 South. On a Friday. This is our punishment for leaving late. Ray graciously offered his floor to us for a few nights. We'll spend the next week and a half in California. I can think of worse states in the union to spend 10 days. The weather is stereotypically mild and wonderful. Last night's show was unremarkable. A guy in one of the other bands somehow fell off a pick-up truck and broke the fall with his skull. An ambulance was called.
As I stare at the stalled motorists surrounding me like a scene out of an impending apocalypse film wherein every resident of the city under siege attempts to flee in one long motorcade of belching horns and frantic drivers, I recall two episodes while stranded in such traffic involving me, my bandmates and restroom needs.
When the band last traveled to California, we found ourselves idle in a similar roadway juggernaut. If you will recall, we utilized Greg's minivan. Since it sat four, one of us always had to join the Lickgoldensky van. On this particular drive, Greg took one for the team, forsook his automobile and drove with LGS.
One member of our team who shall remain nameless was stricken with a terrible pang to pee. Our van did not budge. Any hope of reaching a restroom was dim for hours. The victim- a connoisseur of gadgets and toys (he brought a bag full of goods, including a portable stove to heat tea and canned goods)- had nothing on hand to help his problem. Of course we made fun of him until all of us were in tears from laughter.
"Alright," he concluded. "I have to go. I can't wait."
Sitting beside him in the back bucket seats, I glanced over to discover his solution. He pulled his trusty Nalgene bottle from beside the seat.
"No fucking way are you using that!" I exclaimed.
The front seat passengers shot shocked looks back and exploded in guffaws and roars. Our fearless bladder-hurting bandmate coolly remarked, grinning, "I have to go." He reassured us, "Don't worry, I'll clean it."
“ARRRGGGGUUUGGGAAAAHHHH,” went the van in a symphony of grunts of disgust.
He rose from the seat and shuffled to his knees. It looked like he was kneeling at the pew, supplicant towards the urine god. The zipper went down and he held the Nalgene bottle below himself, facing the sliding door. The driver swerved the van maniacally.
"Cut it out! I'm going to get it all over the van!" "
"Wait til we tell Greg you pissed in his van!"
He tried with all his might to force the golden stream. I watched as his face clenched like he lifted weights or biked a marathon. He made straining sounds like a porno actor.
"I can't do it," he finally conceded. With that, traffic eased up.
The first time we played LA in October of 2003, we obviously sat in stifling traffic. We left Sunset Boulevard, where we enjoyed a fulfilling meal at California Vegan. As we inched along the “freeway” (highway in California-ese), I began to experience the wrath of the freshly devoured feast. I felt the incredible need to relieve myself- and not in a way that involved standing.
Every second seemed to bring the act closer and closer to requiring prompt resolution. Billy had the van rolling with his impressions from Silence of the Lambs. “Put the fucking lotion in the basket!” And I was giggling and almost crying because I knew I would lose myself to the horror of soiling my pants.
I tried to focus on the gritty environment of whatever not-so hot neighborhood we crawled past. I fixated on the Non-prophets CD Greg put in the player. Then “Can you help me with this couch?” and I was laughing and gripping the seat until my fingers went white.
Somehow I managed to persevere until we reached our destination, Koo’s Café. Everyone jumped out and I sped towards the entrance. I approached the first kid in sight: “Where’s the bathroom?” He seemed startled. Perhaps it was my look of total despair: “Next door,” he said. “But you have to wait, they’re finishing up an art show.” I disregarded this and ran into the adjoining room. I found the bathroom, grabbed the knob and it didn’t budge- some motherfucker occupied it in my time of need! They came out, I rushed into what was a surprisingly clean restroom for an art/punk venue, all was then well with the world and we played a fantastic show.