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Thursday
May092013

Day 2

At sunrise we stop in Grants Pass, OR and a seemingly normal gas station attendant excitedly greets us and fills up the van. I get out to stretch my legs and watch the sun come up over what looks like an extremely beautiful city. I think that I am tempted to move there just so I could wake up and watch the sun rise over this place on a regular basis.

The sunrise proves to be a fitting gateway for a sunny and beautiful morning. I engage the gas station attendant in a conversation which turns weird when he starts  enthusiastically telling a story about running around with a gun and shooting bears. No detail is spared and the mental image of bears being shot contrasts with my feelings about the pleasant morning. The story extends far past the time it takes him to fill the van.  His eyes widen to an uncomfortable diameter as he relives the tale. I am overwhelmed with the urge to flee Grants Pass and never return.

I am very tired but notice DRIVER X also seems very fatigued. In an effort to prevent DRIVER X from falling asleep, crashing and killing everyone in the van I decide I will refrain from napping and engage him in conversation to ensure his consciousness. I start day 2 with absolutely no sleep.

We drive for an eternity and eventually get gas again at a strange gas station in the hills of Northern California where there are cute cats milling about the entrance. We take a break from driving and pet the cats while consuming Pringles. I believe at this point we switch drivers and Patrick takes the wheel.

I found Patrick from a craigslist ad about 5 weeks before the tour began. Patrick is
originally from San Antonio Texas and seems to be a pretty calm and even-tempered kind of guy. He has a pretty positive attitude and seems like a good person to spend some time with on the road. He was conveniently renting out a rehearsal studio in Seattle which we used to rehearse for the tour.

Patrick drives the van through some steep terrain which apparently causes great stress for DRIVER X. Upon DRIVER X's request we stop again and drivers are exchanged.  DRIVER X takes us all the way to San Francisco refusing to split up any driving time with myself or the others.

Eventually we are making our way across the Bay Bridge. During this particular stretch I start noticing that DRIVER X seems agitated/unhappy and is complaining about anything he can. The range of his complaints are vast but he keeps coming back to complaining about the traffic we are experiencing while getting in to San Francisco. As we approach the toll booths he seems frightened and keeps swerving from lane to lane, not sure which one he should be in. Driver X nervously merges from lane to lane to lane and promptly slams the brakes before hitting another car each time. We eventually reach one of the many correct toll booths and I shakily hand him some cash while my heart heavily beats from the adrenaline rush caused by nearly crashing into at least a dozen cars.

After an unnecessarily tumultuous entrance we eventually get into the city and I contact Nick Katich (Nick appears on many Uglyhead songs/albums and has toured with Uglyhead before as a bass player) and we park near Nick's place in Lower Haight. I am pretty tired and moody so I suggest that we split up for a bit. Patrick, Brian and DRIVER X head towards Amoeba records and I walk to a cafe where Nick works on Divisadero. Nick supplies me with a complimentary caffeinated beverage and ice water and we discuss various things. Nick informs me that he will be off work in a about an hour and he will meet up with me later to let us in to his place (Nick is awesome and agreed to let us stay the night there). I walk to Duboce Park and chill out for a while. Eventually Brian, Patrick and DRIVER X meet me at the park and we wait to hear from Nick.

The SF show was originally booked at a club in a good location but ended up being double booked and I had to find a replacement club (Retox Lounge) which ended up being in the rarely travelled Dogpatch area of San Francisco.

We eventually get into Nick's place, drop off our luggage and sleeping bags and then head out to go to the Retox Lounge. We get completely lost and then magically end up right in front of the place. The Retox has an Uglyhead tour poster in window. When I walk in I notice that there is no stage. I introduce myself to the bartender and find out that the venue is behind a door on the other side of the bar. I open the door to see a long set of stairs leading down that are dimly lit by a red light. I hesitantly move down the stairs in to a pitch black room where I use my lighter to navigate. I eventually find a power strip with some lights plugged into it and turn it on which reveals a really really bizarre venue that looks like it was modeled to give the attendees the feeling that they are on an airplane.

There are airplane seats and airplane walls with airplane windows. There is a chained strobe outside of the airplane windows which flash one after the other to make it look like the plane is in motion. The stage is small and weird but the sound system looks decent and the sound guy booth has ample equipment. Eventually the other band "VTG" shows up and they are pretty friendly. We joke about
the weirdness of the club.

The sound man and the third band Filthmilk are nowhere to be found. It starts getting late and we are worried that a sound guy is not showing up at all. I engage some locals in a conversation and learn that the bartender is the sound guy's girlfriend and they have witnessed him beat her at the bar before and also learn about a strange history of the Retox's violent past involving various shootings.
The sound guy shows up but Filthmilk does not. VTG plays a decent set but the sound guy fucks up their sound so bad it makes me filled with sadness and frustration. We play and the sound guy fucks up my vocals really bad and doesn't pay attention to the ridiculous mic feedback that is blaring out of the sound system.  This makes me angry and distracted. People stuck around to listen but I saw some people literally plugging their ears because there was so much feedback on my vocals. I get in a bad mood but begin to even out by engaging in conversation with Nick after the set. We load the gear up the stairs and out to the van. The night has turned bone-chillingly cold and I am literally shivering as the bite of the bay wind is amplified by the sweat on my clothes.

While driving back to Nick's place we realize DRIVER X is behind the wheel intoxicated when he starts asking everyone in the van for breath mints. He asks in a way that suggests that he is proud of the fact that he is driving drunk.  I am filled with terror as he ignores directions and we end up in places I have never seen before. I remain optimistic that this is a once only experience and he will not have to be confronted about driving drunk again.

We have an extremely stressful drive through the hilly terrain of San Francisco and finally arrive at Nick's and park on the street a few blocks away. "Someone" (me) will have to get up and move the van at 8:00 AM due to some sort of parking restriction.

We watch Poltergeist 2 solely to witness the tequila worm scene.  Nick's roommates bustle about the apartment and I see one of them run down the hallway wearing only a towel. I wonder if our presence is an inconvenience. I fall asleep by myself on the floor of a strange back room riddled with dead plants and vines growing in through the windows some time after 3:30 am while wondering what the fuck happened to Filthmilk.

Day 3
to be continued...

Reader Comments (1)

Dat soundguy.

May 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterTaylor

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