After a steady month of zig-zagging across North America, the compass is finally pointing west and home is less than a week away. All that stands between Birdmonster and the comfortable confines of the Bay Area are Kansas, Denver, Las Vegas, 3,000 miles, and a few ill-advised a.m. visits to Taco Bell, Taco John's, Taco Mayo, Taco Tico, Taco Casa, or the illusive Del Taco, a list of restaurants which requires the following footnote: yes, we're taking vitamins. I've officially entered the Jeopardy demographic. Two years until we're playing shows in matching Rascals. I'm excited.
Since we're heading west to California, like so many toothless gold-rushers and Indian-killers before us, that means we've left the Carolinas, which is my awkward segue into talking about Wadesboro and Charlotte. Those two cities are the dual homes of the Sammies, the former being where they grew up, the latter being where the live. I asked Gymmy Thunderbird what there was to do in Wadesboro and he deadpanned "Whip-its" before adding, also, you can shoot guns. Turns out you can also rent a country club, hire a soundman and a few stoned out security guards, and have a Rock 'N' Roll show.
Apparently, the last show to travel through Wadesboro was...the last time the Sammies came through and rented out the country club. In fact, beyond the pro shop adjacent to the stage, the only bar in town is a Chinese restaurant, so it follows there wouldn't be too many bands stopping in. (When you get right down to it, your typical band is, in the view of the clubs they play, just a vehicle to get people drunk). At any rate, Wadesboro was quite the scene: we got to meet a slew of the Sammies' friends and family and play to a crowd who never sees live music. In fact, during the last song of the Sammies' set, there was a guy next to me who was spinning around like a woodland creature, hooting while throwing wadded up twenties at their singer. Later, that same man would be found on a toilet, pants on, with upchuck on his tennis shoes. And neither of those things surprised me. Such was the evening.
We skeedaddled the next afternoon to Charlotte and our show was one of the better ones in recent memory but not one that lends itself to story-time. The Sammies' set was a little more interesting as, during their last song, their drummer's (Don Yale) bass pedal broke, so I picked it up and played the kick like I was in a marching band. In retrospect, I wish I would've had one of those funny hats or something. We spent the following hour backstage ad-libbing a song about doing nefarious things to a whale in a pleasant major key.
I also had my first introduction to the Nintendo Wii during the last few days and, if I may, I'm going to add my voice to the salivating mob of addicts and say: "Holy shit." When I step back and remember I grew up shooting 8-bit mallards on a 14 inch TV and, a mere decade and a half later, was standing in front of a big screen, gesticulating madly, forcing a little man who looked like Ted Danson, via infrared, to swing a tennis racket, I get pretty happy about technology. In fact, in my lifetime, the only part of society that's improved remarkably is in fact technology. Sure, maybe we're creating an America where fatties of all genders and all races communicate, unwind, work, and date on the couch, but at least its a generation of fatties who won't start ridiculous wars. After all, we'll have really cool war video games. We can all be tyrants. The Yalies won't get to hog all the fun.
I'm going to quit while I'm behind and write some emails to temp agencies, blood banks, sperm depositories, medical studies---essentially anyone who'll pay me anything when I get back. Bring on the glamor.