08-05-1998
Portland, Oregon, EJ's
 
I found out today that Andy joined the hack cover band and played "Said it Too Late" and "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" at his high school reunion the other day. He says the crowd went wild. We drove for about an hour behind a shiny steel oil tanker truck because the curve of the backside of the tank makes for such a surreal scene, it's like being in a hall of mirrors, with all these grotesquely stretched cars moving by on the side, and the sky bright blue and the clouds all twisted.

I'm actually writing this from home, and I'm tired as hell, so I expect most of these entries will be totally nonsensical. I just hope I'm able to finish them all. I never found a single computer, all the way down and back up the coast! Not one! I'm gonna get a laptop for the next trip, I swear it.

The Portland show started under the worst circumstances I've seen in quite some time. We got to the club early enough, loaded our crap in, set up on the stage (assuming we'd get to soundcheck), and waited for the soundman, who was supposed to show up at 8:00. I don't want to go into just how annoying it was while we waited for him to show. It wasn't until about 9:05 that James and Tim finally started setting up everything on their own. Vicky kept trying to get someone at the club to find a soundman, but everyone's response was to widen their eyes and lift their hands palm-outward in an expression of, "There is nothing I can do to help." It was frustrating but apparently true: the soundman had simply vanished.

When we'd established that James would run sound for all the bands (and get paid for it), and actually started our soundcheck, the bartender immediately ran up to James, told him to make us stop, and "promised" that the police would shut down the club if we didn't turn way, way, way down. Tim and Andy were playing through their small amps, and I think we played "Ready to Pour," a fucking ballad, to soundcheck, so at this point we were seriously thinking of calling the whole thing off. Eventually the bartender relented, we tried a couple quick songs, and I went to my Dad's for dinner.

I expected to see all our gear packed into the van and everyone saying "It's a wash, let's go to San Francisco," but instead there was a fairly large crowd of Silkworm fans listening to the Joel-Phelps inspired opening act whose name escapes me (I'll add it here when I remember, or when someone reminds me).* Vicky figured it was because the papers had made it sound like this was our last tour ever. Anyhow, there were lots of folks there (by my standards), and everyone was very excited when we got up to play our rock songs. At that point we were all fired up, having gone from shit to shinola in just a few hours, and we had great fun. It made the misery of the Seattle show seem a distant memory. I think we even played a couple encores, but I can't remember. Shit! Why are computers so hard to find on the road? And why didn't I take notes? I am a fool.

After all that we loaded up our crud and drove, drove, drove to... I dunno, Grant's Pass? Something like that. It's awful, getting to sleep at 4:30 AM in Motel 6 in God Knows Where, but it's a long way from San Francisco to Portland, so what can you do?


*The band was called Kind Of Like Spitting. Don't blame me, man!


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