we were on tour. so we went to McDonalds.
it was at an oasis. the name is misleading as it gives you the picture of some sort of salvation hidden in the desert, but i will explain what an oasis is to you if you have never embarked on a journey into nowhere: an oasis is some fucking dumpster off a toll road so you don’t have to pay an additional toll by getting off the road, technically. an oasis has nothing but bad gifts and if you are lucky, a Panda Express. that of course, depends on your definition of luck.
on the way into the oasis some dude stared at me as i stared at him. he was wearing a spiderman shirt. Pat told me when we entered the bathroom that he overheard the guy say to his female companion, “hey, that dude was wearing a Wipers shirt. they must be in a band.”
anyway, we went to this mcdonalds with this poor girl with rosacea working behind the counter. i only call her a “poor girl” because it was obvious that she had this attitude where she did not want to be working at mcdonalds when the five dudes somewhat close to her age happened to cross her path. going into extreme detail about the food, what the best values were, etc, whatever. i got a Big Mac mostly for novelty’s sake. it tasted like i remembered it – like the styrofoam they used to pack them in.
i went over to this counter that sold chocolate and coffee and grabbed a hot tea. the gal filled it up way too fucking high so as i walked over to the station to stir in my Kraft honey, i tried to take a sip out of the cup so it wouldn’t spill so much. the water was boiling hot so i immediately spit it all over the floor in front of everyone. then i tried to set it on the counter but it was still way too full so hot water just spilled all over the counter. i laughed as people watched me try to clean up my mess using nothing but a receipt and then someone gave me a napkin.
by this time we had acquired the fuses and Perfect Pat had repaired andy’s cigarette lighter so now we had the ability to use my fucking iphone. so we used my fucking iphone and we listened to the johnjoseph audiobook, which is incredible on multiple levels. real or not, it definitely made me feel pretty goddamned stupid for making fun of the dude for trying to get free t-shirts off of bands when i was in New York working merch for a band at the Knitting Factory once. i won’t spoil the story for you, but i’ll say that most of Brain Tumors now talks in an exaggerated New York accent now. but notice how i wrote johnjoseph because i know that dude googles himself and will totally kick my ass. or someone else will.
we stopped at another oasis. joel stepped in a pile of puke when we got out of the cramped sedan. upon entering the entryway, immediately some kid who looked like a crooked chubby version of alfred e neuman greeted me,
“hey pal, how’s it going?”
“uhhhh fine man, how about you,” i replied
“oh you know, another day, another penny!”
i paused for a moment, reflecting on the fact that i did not expect anything remotely clever to come out of that mutant. then i noticed he was wearing two different shoes and had a device for salting the parking lot. a working man, even. people wandered around, pissed and bought snacks while i watched a guy use a payphone and thought of that “Cleveland Tourism” youtube video. we were close.
i saw a kid that i saw at the last oasis walk by me – some dork wearing all Detroit Redwings clothes. a walking advertisement that paid to wear that shit. always reminds me of someone Joel claimed to have known in Raleigh who got paid to have the Sprite logo tattooed on his head in temporary ink. then i got distracted and wandered into the “convenience store” area of hell where i watched two satanic looking little girls in plaid skirts. one cacodemon was known as “zoey” while their horde leader, “mom”, listened to her kids read gas station plastic bullshit before it ends up being discarded into the kiosk center of some mall.
“Hugs N Kisses”
“I Love You, Dad”
“Look, girls! “Best Mom Ever,” exclaimed mom,
i pulled my burning eyes away and placed them on a fat guy in a red baseball cap reading license plate covers about bassett hounds or something and started to get upset, thinking, “if i knew anything i ever said would end up on some shit like this, i’d remove my tongue.”
maybe some day we can be like CIV and sell one of our songs to a car commercial. that’d go over well as long as the commercial was about running over your ex-girlfriends or something.
i bought some water and made small talk with the woman at the counter.
“how’s your day going,” i asked.
“well, so far so good.”
“so far, so good, so what – it’s a megadeth album.”
she stared at me and we all left in a hurry while the pudgy monster with the salting machine stared at us, no doubt longing for our friendship or maybe to eat our scabs or whatever lonely freaks in ohio are into.
i drank some nyquil and woke up hearing about how next to Now That’s Class was some “super gay” bar next door and about how someone in a band that played there was blacked out and ended up getting dragged into an alleyway with some random dude. we hoped to recreate that picture for andy.
we got into town and swung by a record store where andy knew some dude. it had a CD section and everything. made small talk with a guy buying a Scrotum Poles record about Desperate Bicycles and looked at a Screamers shirt. all while listening to The Scorpions. or maybe Nazareth. ah whatever, i’ve mentioned enough bands in this paragraph to prove i’m cool. i went next door to some pizza place and took a shit.
“i just saw a double picture disc of A Perfect Circle”
“you’re going to have to wash your eyes out with a knife, andy.”
we dropped our shit off at Steve from Homostupid’s house which i found out later used to be a mortuary. totally decent place – kinda made me wish i didn’t have some weird aversion to leases or paying security deposits. we drank a few beers and ate some pizza that steve was nice enough to purchase. some other dude showed up and immediately give me some look that scared the fuck out of me – i later realized the guy sang for Homostupids.
now look, i really like that band. i’d say 50% of doing this jaunt was because we were playing with them. and for good reason – homostupids are fantastic. but trying to explain to any member of homostupids about what a great band they are was like trying to explain to the most beautiful girl and intellectually attractive girl you know how enamored you are with them.
and that’s all you can really expect. i tried telling them when i was drunk how much i liked them but it didn’t matter. shrug and drink another beer, i suppose.
“weren’t you in Nine Shocks Terror?”
“yeah, Andy told me once how you listened to our EP and said it awful.”
“hah, he told you that?”
“yeah, it’s okay, we don’t like ourselves either.”
we got to Now That’s Class and even entering through the back i was already enthralled by the place. a big fucking mural of a wrestler saying something about “pencil-necked geeks” (a media reference i’ve only heard my father make) leads into a dimly lit freakshow with a huge basement, second room, killer jukebox, and a free arcade game machine in the corner that Joel played Bubble Bobble on.
i met some dude who looked similar to me after pointing out to him that we were wearing the same jacket. he had tattoos on the back of his neck and he had a job making soup. he had been in the military, too. i don’t remember his name despite swearing i would remember his name. fuck. he bought me a drink, too, and introduced me to everyone he seemed to know as well. i met some other guy when i went outside watching him smoke.
“you’re from Minneapolis?”
“do you know St. Patrick?”
“you don’t know St. Patrick?”
“i don’t think so.”
“From Dillinger Four?”
“St. Patrick? You mean Paddy, right?”
apparently dude is a saint in other states.
prostitutes played first which was a one-man noise thing. parts were extremely loud. some girl i had been talking to complained about noise music being boring. i cant remember if i was bored or not. then we played out of Homostupids gear, ensuring we would sound great. we didn’t.
people stood pretty far away from us which was good as by then, most of us were pretty screwed up except for shithead johnson, the unstoppable drumming force. i hit beers out of hands and threw a couple and smashed myself all around. between songs i yelled, “this band sucks,” and some girl yelled back, “i was just saying that!”
we kept playing. towards the back i saw a kid who i had already knocked a beer out of the hand of, so i went for the second one and managed to get it. his reaction was similar to the first time i knocked one out of his hand: he lunged at me. only this time he started throwing punches at my head. i don’t think he connected very well or i was too drunk to notice, maybe, but the immediate ten seconds after that i only had one thought:
“you must keep fucking with this guy.”
but i didn’t. some rare endowment of good judgment floated from above and i left the kid alone. we ended our set and the kid came up and apologized.
“i dunno why i did that, man. i do the same shit when we play.”
“it’s cool – what band are you in?”
“we’re called Bad Noids.”
“oh man, i love you guys.”
through the rest of the night, whenever i would meet some screwball kid who looked like they were 22, they would also tell me they were in Bad Noids. i am convinced that band has 8 members and 4 of them wear backwards hats.
i went back upstairs and continued drinking and talked to Paul, the owner of the place about general life bullshit. stand up dude which is all someone could be that has pictures of Rodney Dangerfield up at their bar. went back down and caught Homostupids who were predictably excellent. somehow i ended up throwing most of my pocket change at Joel which caused him to walk over to me and spit a ton of whiskey in my face and all over this girl i had been talking to.
then he walked by and did it again which caused her to leave. i don’t remember a whole lot else other than some girl inviting us to go drink whiskey at her place and noticing that Pat had “FAT DICK” written on his forehead in sharpie. we got paid and ended up at Steve’s again where i passed out on a couch.
according to my notes, i woke up feeling like a million bucks. i went upstairs to take a piss and when i came out, that kid from Bad Noids was standing there and we kinda chuckled at seeing each other. he apologized again and fed me some bread.
then everyone woke up. andy wrapped his feet in saran wrap because i guess all he brought on tour were some slip on shoes. i looked in the mirror and noticed my skull was torn up either from punches or the microphone. dan started chugging beers.
“yeah, when we were here last, Lars got into a fight with that kid, too,” said Andy. Bad Noids get around.
Andy also told me some brilliant story that i don’t care if i’m not supposed to repeat but basically, someone asked the singer of Bad Noids to write his lyrics down so they could “sing along”. he complied and was then asked to draw a picture of a toaster. he did. months later, he was at work and his boss told him to take out the trash. when he brought the trash out to the dumpster, he saw 50 copies of a Bad Noids record that was pressed without his knowledge, sitting in there with the cover art being the dumb picture he drew.
we left when Dan started singing “I Can’t Dance” by Genesis with the lyrics re-worked as “I Can’t Poop”. we recounted the evening to each other on the way to a restaurant Andy had read about called Melt which supposedly had a billion kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches. while re-living the evening someone mentioned a punked out black dude at the show last night – something fairly rare in Minneapolis (very sad). Pat mentioned he had the following conversation with him,
“hey man, do you write?”
“yeah sometimes i write in my journal to keep the tears at bay, you know,” Pat responded.
“…I was talking about graffiti.”
we got to Melt and got seated at the bar. the menu was about as close to an oasis in cleveland as you can get. tons of food and a beer list as long as your arm. we all order some local organic cider and look down the bar and see Dan Shithead Johnson drinking a Miller Lite. Andy mentioned Mr. California, a man i only know from Andy’s shirts and various youtube videos and how he was at the show last night (sidenote: Mr. California also used to cut fries at Melt all day). i guess him and Andy were talking and some attractive girl ran up to the two of them, crying and worried that she had lost her purse. after shrugging their shoulders for a few minutes the girl walked away and Andy noticed a purse behind the bar, which he asked the bartender for.
Mr. California then tore the purse out of Andy’s hands.
“hey, gimme that back! i’m single, god damn it!”
“i’ve been single for twenty years!”
Andy left Mr. California have the purse who then bounded after the girl to present her with her recovered item. she took a look at it and then burst into tears. it was not her purse and she now thought that Mr. California was just being a motherfucker. he walked back over to andy.
“see what i saved you from, man”
we talked to the bartender about a collective hatred for John Cougar Melloncamp, finished our food, and left for Chicago.
“lets hang out with Culo and do heroin.”
“lets hang out with heroin and do Culo.”
“i call the guy with the hat.”
fuck john cougar melloncamp