//oakland, calif.
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:: 9.14.2001 ::

Day: 12
Location: Indianapolis, IN
State Count: 12

Woke up in the "crack motel" in Lansing, MI this morning and hit downtown for horrible coffee and a walk around to loosen up the legs. Hit the van and blasted The Pixies on the drive down route 69 to Indianapolis, I drove for the first time since we hit Duluth, so it felt good to be in control and behind the wheel again.

9/12 @ Fireside Bowl, Chicago, IL: Thankfully, the second show in Chicago was much better than the first. The Fireside is an old/famous in the indie/punk scene venue directly across the street from the house we were staying in. We loaded in and played some more Golden Tee the unofficial sponsor of the Amscray tour and milled around for awhile. The room is an old bowling alley, but the lanes were roped off and the crowd (a pretty sizeable one) was kept to the hallway in front. We went on second and played a pretty inspired set, although I don't think many people there liked the show. The other band were alot noisier and somewhat sceney, three bands played on the floor in front of the stage as some sort of "I'm no rock-star" statement, and their sound suffered because of it. Oxes headlined and played last, and were really disappointing. Their schtick is this: two guys with wireless guitar sets, a drummer with a sampler, and two crates up on stage. The guys run around the room with their guitars, down the bowling lanes, in the bathroom, stand on top of the video games, all while playing thier mediocre indie/metal songs. Pretty blah, and altogether disappointing, but the night just got better.

After I helped load up the van I was offered a ride downtown to The Signature Room a fancy-schmancy bar on the 96th floor of The Hancock Building. We cruised down and picked up a couple of my ride's friends, found some hard-to-get downtown Chicago parking, and road up to the top of the building. I drank a manhattan and checked out the city from high up, it looked bigger than it does on the ground. Chatted about the suburbs and friends of friends and headed back down the building, satisfied that I had done at least something like a tourist. Finished up the night at Club Foot, talking rapidly and listening to the DJ spin The Smiths and Weezer back to back. Out the door at 2:00, back at the house and quickly asleep.

I spent the first part of yesterday checking out Chicago from the "El" train, cruising to Belmont and walking around for a bit, got some great pizza and had a quite solo lunch, a much needed break from all the people who were around all the time. The pizza actually *was* great, it's not this weird rumor. Watched the people walk by, the cars, the buses, looked in a couple record stores, took in the city. Stood on the corner and waited for the van to pick me up, and we headed towards Indiana.

I had a dinner last night in Mattawan, MI that consisted of a 20 ounce cold glass of Molson's Canadien, and a basket of fried pickles. Yes, they were good, mostly with the tangy barbecue sauce. Fell asleep and woke up outside the venue in Lansing.

9/13 @ Mac's Bar, Lansing, MI: We were the first band there, and each band member got three drink tickets for a huge glass of Miller High Life, or Budweiser. Drink tickets always make a show turn out well. Played some pool with Mike and Ted, lost every single game, put some songs on the juke (Including Elvis Costello's Radio Radio for Miss Rodeo America). Sat down to watch some music. The opening bands were both very good, but neither stayed around to catch any of our set. Therefore, I won't mention their names, I won't ask them for their CDs, and I won't help them out if they tour. I'm just slightly bitter. We played a spirited set, mostly fast stuff last night, and Mike had so much room that he kept running out into the audience, or more correctly the space where the audience would be in there had indeed been more than 7 people there. After the show I met a couple kids who loved the set, and although they were quite intoxicated, did tell me that "they keyboards were the best part." I took their picture to post here at a later date, climbed in the van, drove around looking for a motel room, fell asleep right when my head hit the pillow.

(3:20 PM) :: (link)

:: 9.12.2001 ::

Day: 10
Location: Chicago, IL
State Count: 10

Cruised on over to Chicago on Tuesday afternoon, all curled up in the back of the van, finished reading White Jazz and then got bored, nothing else really to do except look out the window at Wisconsin wisking by. Got into Chicago a bit after 7:00, got dropped off somewhere, and then boom! We're on the L train heading towards Wrigley Field to catch a Cubs game. Two stops and them boom! We're buying tickets from some kids in the station, get inside, Old Style and a couple hot dogs in hand, in our seats, sitting there watching the game. It seemed like 5 minutes before we were cruising through Milwaukee trying to find something on the radio, everything just happened to quickly. After the game we hit the cool kid spot: Diversey Bowl to drink some High Life and bowl a few frames, alot of fun with the Chicago kids. Later we went to Colin's brother's place and chatted, I looked out the window at Chicago and got a little homesick, pushed myself to enjoy the time.

Woke up in the morning to the phone ringing over and over again, TV on, carnage in NYC and Washington, stared horrified at the TV for hours. I needed to get out, so I walked down and got some breakfast, everyone was fixed on the TV, a reporter girl came in and took a picture of me drinking coffee and watching a tiny black and white TV in the corner, I didn't know what to think. She scrawled down in a notebook in fancy girl lettering "Today the world changed." A bit overwrought and emotioinal, but nothing else to do. Got Mike and walked around a big, everything was closed, the city was dead and silent and eerie. Got an Oatmeal milkshake and headed back to the apartment, nothing else to do but watch the TV and crash and sleep until the show.

9/11 @ Phyllis' Musical Inn, Chicago, IL: Probably the worst show we've ever played. It was hard to perform and sound earnest and meaningful, hard to play the fast upbeat cheerful songs, hard to sound good on a tiny stage, impossible to impress an audience of stunned observers with anything *but* checking out a band on their minds. Pissed, Mike and I walked around the block and tried to forget the show, went back inside and took a spot at the bar. Check Engine played last, and were completely awesome, perfect Chi-town math rock stuff, a veritable supergroups of band members from Sweep The Leg Johnny and Lustre King among others. Chatted out back with a guy from 90 Day Men and found out that we had a common friend in Oakland, which was good conversation. Loaded up the van and drove around the city, dead quiet and empty. Cruised up the shores of Lake Michigan at 1:00 AM with my hand out the window, feeling the breeze from the water, looking at the lit up and empty beaches, got a late style burrito, went back to the apartment, put my headphones on and a live Low Minidisc, and had a full nights sleep.

Feeling better about things this morning, looking forward to the show tonight, not sure if the New York shows are still happening, but not caring either. Nothing left to do but keep driving.

(11:39 AM) :: (link)

:: 9.10.2001 ::

Day: 8
Location: Minneapolis, MN
State Count: 10

Got into Minneapolis yesterday afternoon, hit our hosts house near Uptown and went down to Nicollet Ave. and had some great Vietnamese food. It felt good to see ethnic people again, the whole area is so white-bred, but here in the city we could get some decent food that wasn't greasy or a burger. I did get daring on the drive down here from Duluth and ate a truck stop hot dog, and I'm ashamed to say that, it was fucking good.

Went out last night to the Loring Bar and sat in huge couches and drank coctails and talked about old San Francisco stories, took off at 1:00 AM and got some pizza, wolfed it down and crawled into a big bed with two cats who purr and meow everywhere, feels good to be comfortable and out of the van.

Taking off for Chicago in a few, hitting the city and going straight to Wrigley Field to catch a Cubs game. Excited and well rested, ready to play some music again, ready for Lake Michigan.

(9:29 AM) :: (link)

:: 9.09.2001 ::

Day: 7
Location: Duluth, MN
State Count: 10

9/8 @ The NorShor Theater, Duluth, MN: Duluth kids rule. We played last night to an empty room, but we were playing by ourselves so we did two sets, every song we knew, the place started to fill up, people dug the songs. It made me happy. Al Sparhawk from Low played the same stage the night before, it was a great vibe in there that gave me a bit of inspiration. All in all, it just felt good. After the show we did the local thing and took off to Superior, Wisc. across the bridge where the bars close at 2:30 AM instead of 1:00 AM in Duluth. Took down some shots, some bottels of Pabst, hopped in someone's car and cruised. Ended up at some trashy diner in the lobby of a hotel where everyone funnels in after the bars close, everyone in the room drunk, the wait staff used to it and cool with it all, they get bigger tips that way. I bought the band dinner and hung out for awhile longer, hitched a ride across the bridge with the bar manager at the theater, window down, 3:30 AM, loud drum & bass in the car, talking excitedly to these Minnesotta kids. That's what road trips are about.

Woke up scared of a hangover, but it's not here and the coffee is taking away its chances of getting me. The cold air off Lake Superior feels great, boats off in the distance, blue water, the clouds have disappeared, gonna find some breakfast and then take off for Minneapolis, we might get a last minute show, but all the band kids except me have friends down there, so we're gonna hit the Twin Cities on our day off instead of Chicago early. Rock.

(7:26 AM) :: (link)