Los Angeles, California
MONDAY 12 October
A day in LA.
Surprised again at how nice it is to be here. I remember my way around town pretty well. Visit my LA agents for the first time--their first impression of me is as this rock and roll freak. Well, I like to be a challenge. None of them takes up my offer of tickets for the gig. Well, not many acting world people really into the rock. In spite of that, they seem cool and I'm glad I got to meet them. Hope we can work together soon.
The rest of the day I revisit my old haunts, old apartments, guitar row and club land on Sunset, Aaron's Records on Highland (buy the new Juliana Hatfield and Snowpony records), eating on Melrose. All very nicely familiar. Things don't change all that much out here. Sad to see the Source vegetarian restaurant gone. Glad the Farmer's Market has survived. Sadly don't make it to Cantor's Deli late night--a rock tradition.
Then, The Palace. Never liked the sound in this place, but it's a nice room. So cool to be playing here. Next to no advertising or support from the press--not trendy enough music for this town. Still, an ok turnout considering, and very enthusiastic for an LA crowd.
Very hot and sweaty on stage. Feels good. We turn in a very good show, swinging, lots of room to run on stage, Bob and I take advantage of it. It's Hollywood and we give them a show.
So good to have my friends and family there, too. Makes it that much more special. Even Mom stuck it out for most of the show--volume won in the end. It was pretty loud tonight.
Afterwards, a not so short drive to Buttonwillow, CA. Reminiscent of the drive to London, Ontario--flat straight roads and fog in the wee hours. An endurance test for Bob, fueled by Taco Bell (yes, it's come to that).
Deep sleep at the Super 8.
San Francisco, California
TUESDAY 13 October
Bob breaking the landspeed record
to SF. Napablur.
We stop at Anderson's Scandanavian roadside restauarant for a great lunch with delicious split pea soup. Best highway food of the tour. Buy some truly disgusting Halloween kitsch--brain in a ball and the blood squirting eyeball. I take over the wheel and pick up where Bob left off on the speedometer. Too bad this isn't the autobahn. Arrive in SF a bit late for soundcheck--tough in-town traffic.
Walk into the Fillmore which is sort of the Temple of Rock. Maybe my favorite venue so far, partly for the place itself, partly for the history. Everything really done right. Beautiful room, good sound, good sightlines, great decor, full of amazing posters and photos. Dressing room stocked with all kinds of goodies. Even the bathroom has Jesus candles, incense, Thayer's throat losenges, and cassis hand soap. Very, very groovy.
They feed us, too--Mahi-mahi with bannanas and coconut, sweet potatos and marinated pears. The staff are all very cool and together, older on average. Bill Graham knew how to present music, and the Fillmore still testifies to that. Before we go on, there's a photographer to take our photo. We become a part of Fillmore history. How cool is that?
Then, we get to play for a totally full room of really enthusiastic people. After the first few songs, I take out the earlugs. I'll be paying for that the next few days, but it's worth it tonight. It doesn't actually make it any easier to sing, oddly (or to sing oddly). We do Hear Me Calling for the first time in ages. The noise intro to E.Fried gets longer and cooler all the time. Stand Guard and Art Crisis start to run almost out of control. The energy in the room is hard to contain and some of our control suffers, but we don't lose it altogether. Some parts of the show are highlights of the whole tour. Anymore Time is beautifully sung by Bob, Hanging Tree is so awesome, Bob almost doesn't want to go back out again. How do you follow that? By doing a radiant See A Little Light. The lights--which have been truly perfect all night--turn on the crowd in the final choruses and it's so great. This crowd has been really super: non-meat-head pogoing and moshing half the night.
Bob tells me to sing Man On the Moon myself (he joins mid song), and it's one of the coolest moments on tour for me--singing a Sugar song with Bob at the Fillmore. Just the best.
Afterwards, nice time hanging with my cousin, friends and Ken Stringfellow, who's in town to play with REM at Neil Young's Bridge shows. It's always so good to hang out with Ken--doesn't happen enough. Glad to be able to introduce him to Bob. Wish it could have worked out for him to be on the tour, too. Ken says it was very surreal to see me up there with Bob, doing the rock stylings. Guess my thing is all about confusing people's expectations of me. I feel like it all makes sense organically that I'm here now doing this, but if I step out of myself for a second, I remember how odd it is from the outside. Titanic to the Fillmore in three months. Who am I? What is it I do? Long talk with Ken about the future and where one's life takes one when one lets it. And whether there's room for two when so much of your life becomes about one. Feel like there must be a way, but when and how? And who? Of course, there is Gibson who I miss terribly. Feel like, in yielding to the wanderer in my soul, I'm going to get at some truths eventually. No answers yet, but trying to leave the doors open so opprtunity won't have to knock.
Sharing a room with Typhoid Mike tonight. Hope I don't end up getting sick, too. Changing climates so much takes its toll. And soon it's the bus incubator. Echinacea and C......