Sunday, October 22, 2006

In which Birdmonster plays KCRW too early, gambles at Whiskey Pete's till too late, and drives, drives, drives

After a day bookended by a 6:30 wake-up call from
a robed, bearded host and a 1:30 double-down on an
11 against a 6 at Whiskey Pete's in Primm Nevada,
today is shaping up to be a bit of a letdown. All
we've got going this Saturday is a long roll through
a beerless Utah. We're ten miles from Sulphurdale
right now, which, really: Sulphurdale? Why allude
to the fact your town smells vaguely worse than
fecal matter? Maybe it's like that legend about
Iceland. Maybe it's gorgeous and the unappealing
name is just too keep foreigners from
overpopulating their own private little slice of
heaven. Of course, maybe it's in Utah. Actually,
I'm pretty sure about that last part. Utah: not
exactly Iceland. Just for the record.

But it is rather pretty here. It's like an upgraded
Arizona. Arizona 2.0. Now under religious law. Take
that, Tucson.

At any rate, in contrast to today (which is shaping
up to store no surprises beyond a far more horrific
than expected casino buffett brunch), yesterday
was a red letter day. As I mentioned, we were
awoken by John, our booking agent and one-night
flophouse, who was brandishing coffee, bedhead,
and a far too chipper attitude. Four hours of couch
sleep tend to make morning cheeriness unbearable,
but the early rise-and-shine proved necessary as
we spent almost an hour languishing on the parking
lot that was the 405 as Los Angeles continued
proving that there is no traffic but L.A. traffic.
Everything else is a dream.

So we were late to KCRW. Not "sir, you'll have to
stay outside until intermission" late, but late
enough that breakfast became an impossibility.
That always makes me sad. I have a clinical
addiction to flaky breakfast things so the whole
coffee-as-a-meal thing makes me die a little inside.
The low-grade seizures: also a downside.

And not that there was ever really any question,
but Morning Becomes Eclectic was a total joy.
The staff is professional and pleasant, the
soundman's skills are nearly magical, and Nic
Harcourt is far cooler than I am. Until I can reach
a real computer, kcrw.com should suffice for a
link. Listen and watch: we had a great time and
think it sounds pretty damn good. Plus I look like a
buffoon on the webcam (I'm nearly positive that
the hat-earphones-headband ensemble will be in all
this season's major fashion shows, including that
fashion show on TV where Heidi Klum pretends
we're listening to her, not staring at her. Added
bonus: it keeps the earphones from falling off.)

After a slow load out, a lunch with our lawyer (oh
so L.A., I know), and another hour on the freeway
spent going slower than a turtle with a blown
ACL, we began our two and a half day roll to
Denver. Lack of proper sleep and a dinner at Panda
Express shattered our resolve and sanity in mere
minutes. We ended up in Primm, Nevada, which is
the first town on the 15 where gambling and
whores are legal and regulated. Dave and I partook
in the former.

Now, I can't explain the reason why. Running on
four hours sleep, two terrible in-van horror
movies, and some particularly depressing Chinese
food, staying up and wagering money we don't
have isn't just ill-advised, it's downright fun.* We
saddled up to an empty blackjack table where a
woman who may or may not have understood any
English, let alone the incoherent, exhausted
ramblings we were spouting, was waiting to deal.
And deal she did. A cover band who looked like
reject extras from Back to the Future II
serenaded us with "Footloose," an Aerosmith song
I happily disremembered, and some sort of Nu
Metal I happily never knew in the first place. A
tall Eastern European woman brought beers too
slowly. And we gambled. An old excitable Asian guy
with a combover of epic proportions joined us as
we won a few, lost a few, and waited for the
Ukrainian cocktail waitress to come back. She
never did.

At that point, Dave & I stood up and should've
walked back to the room. I was up thirty bucks
and he was breaking even and, like I said, we were
tired enough to qualify for mental disability. But
no. That would've been intelligent. What we did
was play Craps. What Dave did was lose
feverishly. What I did was bet like someone who
didn't want to lose much more than ten bucks.
What I did was lose fifteen and fall asleep.

Now? It's 29 degrees outside & we're looking for
gas in the middle of Utah. I miss Primm, Nevada.
Especially the earthy cigarette, B.O., stale beer
aroma. Until soon.

* You thought I was going to say "stupid," didn't
you? It's okay. I forgive you. And to Webb: forgive
us. We didn't think we could make the drive. Hope
you did better than Klein.

2 comments:

Sindre Pedersen Bjørdal said...

After some effort to get real player installed and working I'm now enjoying a good portion of Birdmonster, live in Studio. Sounds great, looks great and I really do think the hat-hearphones-headband combo will be the next big thing, I'm going out looking for pink headbands tomorrow to stay ahead of the curve.

elvette said...

John Lee Booker couldn't get you a donut with your coffee? Keep him away from your riders.