seeing as how we got linked from TOTAL FEST, i guess i’d better write.
and i’ve got plenty of shit to write about. i can write about how i sit at work and have panic attacks, sometimes the entire day, yet still refuse to stop drinking so much coffee. i can write about how i look at jobs all fucking day and how they do nothing but spell total doom for our current notion of society. i can write about how being lonely and crazed gave me some sort of purpose – a mission to impress someone – anyone. i can write about how using two fucking dashes in a paragraph bothers my better sensibilities.
ive got plenty of shit to write about. i haven’t been writing in my “real life” because i’ve entered into one of those quiet modes where i pace around in my head and eat the cuticles out of my fingernails. and no one ever looks at my hands, or even my fingers, because i’m too busy flailing around telling you how fucked everything is, but never telling you how fucked i is.
but im not going to write about that. i just want you to know that i’m fucked and that i think about spending most of my days face down in the dirt. on a farm. or sleeping in my van. my beautiful van that carried me and four other morons down, across, across, and up a selected part of the united states again. that is what i am going to write about. oh and there’s pictures, too, you cretins. so don’t stop reading just yet.
the day started off fucking annoying and ended just fucking fine, with too much pizza. i woke up around 9 or something, expecting to be late. i threw some shit in a bag because i’m at the point in my life where i can pack for the rest of my life in ten minutes. did you know you don’t even need a toothbrush? you can actually grumple up a piece of paper and just smash it against your teeth and gums until it’s soggy. then you throw it away.
i have these bullshit notes like “i am the moonstar sticker” that i have to dig through. i dont know what most of them mean. but here’s how it went:
i go to pick up joel. he is ready.
pat, who lives two houses down, cannot be reached. i am already pissed at him for bailing on me to go see YAMANTAKA//SONIC TITAN, a fucked up group that i know the drummer from through trolling LIVEJOURNAL nearly ten years ago.
we call pat. he answers and it is obvious he is just waking up. he asks if we can bring our friend Angela to Kansas City, where she is from. Angela is cool and one time she watched a set of ours at 5AM after we drank for nine hours and still has a scar on her face from it. if you ever receive a scar from Brain Tumors, you can ride around with us and we will give you a free shirt.
pat comes out after 20 minutes or so. pat apologizes, not for waking up late, not for being a dick and bailing out on the show last night, but because now we have to drive to his job to get pat’s money and angela’s house to get her stuff. its close, but that sucks because we also have to pick up Rory, the man who is driving us over on the other side of town.
so pat’s a fuckin asshole. but i’m a fuckin asshole to so on the way i stop at some garage sales and buy some “chinaman” hats. i call them “chinaman” hats because the prick at the garage sale called them that. i pulled the Big Lebowski nomenclature bit on the dude but it was lost on him.
“fine! china guy hats!”
we also got a safari hat made out of plastic to solidify that we are morons who waste money.
we get pat’s money and angie’s shit, then we go to Rory’s, where there’s about 20 garage sales around. we pull up to Rory’s place and i get a text from him saying he’s not there and is out buying doughnuts with his girlfriend. so i go to other garage sales and buy some dumb wooden masks from thailand for $10 and make Rory’s girlfriend hold on to them for when we get back.
the plan is to head to Bloomington, 30 minutes away, and eat a bunch of Chinaman food that my father got for us to eat the night before. so we get there, i start heating food up while everyone hangs out in my parents’ yard, smoking cigarettes, and Joel walks in and begins talking to my dad.
“hey Bob, will you watch your son? he’s about to have a fucking heart attack. hey, Drew. Pat forgot all the merch at his apartment.”
i launched a fork across the room and started punching shit. stomping a bit until i remembered just how many things i’ve destroyed that my parents owned and felt slightly guilty, slightly self-conscious.
“dude, its cool man, we’ll just go without it. i think we have some records., joel continued.
so of course, everyone sat behind eating a bunch of old chinese food while me, Rory, and Dan drove to Pat’s fucking apartment to get all off our bullshit, the entire time me grimacing, only to stop to yell as i gunned it through traffic, listening to our drummer Dan talk to me about Charlie Chaplin movies and how they “still hold up”.
our 9AM take-off time had turned into 12PM. but we left.
and i drove for a while, despite hating driving. despite being a nervous driver. and we stopped at our first gas station. baby’s first gas station.
we went in and i bottled a gigantic array of beverages that i don’t drink. i’m one of those shitheads that only drinks cane sugar sodas but sometimes, like in times of being a mutant, i’ll indulge myself and buy something. so i looked for this Bob Marley Relaxing Beverage until someone told me that they dont have it in Minnesota. so instead i walked over to a counter where an old douchebag was hitting on a young girl behind a AT&T cell phone sales booth and started ripping the sleeves off of my Wild Child shirt while the two gas station dwellers stared at me with slight confusion.
i also saw a dude walk out of the bathroom wearing a Red Green Show shirt and heard a young kid emit a terrified scream at the hand dryer. it was also during this first stop that Joel calculated the estimated MPG of the 1983 GMC Rally STX Van we were driving.
the same van that has blown speakers which are capable of rendering any Buzzcocks song into sounding like Nerveskade. it is truly a punk van to behold.
i chatted with a dude wearing a Vietnam veteran hat, ringing the Salvation Army bell. i gave the guy money anyway, despite having seen things posted on the internet about how the Salvation Army wants to kill all the gays or something.
Rory, who had previously been reading a book, had been transferred to his official driver’s status. Joel sat doing math equations, Dan played video games, Pat looked around cluelessly and whistling, and Angela sunken in her seat, relaxing. determined not to use the AC, we had the windows open and the wind roared through the van, making verbal communication nearly impossible.
“if it is like this the entire time, it might be nice,” i thought, still riding the waves of fury incited by Perfect Patrick and not yet dulled by some sort of Rasta Reverse Energy Drink.
after trying to plan our August tour out and figure out if i should quit my job or what, the mood cooled off as i found my electric razor and we transformed Joel into his true 15 year old punk self.
shockingly we stopped at another gas station on our way to Omaha where i microwaved a bunch of leftover chinese food and complimented one of the workers, calling him “expedient”.
“If we weren’t, we’d be Casey’s or Kum and Go, not Qwiktrip! Ha!”
“Servicemember since 1994” his nametag read.
so we drove, and we drove. dan made shitty jokes, a bug smashed into Joel’s eye. and eventually we got to Omaha and it was still daylight. and reasonably warm.
we pulled up to Alex’s house, where we would be playing, and hung out a bit. he told us his Magic Johnson story that the band Relentless Approach/Diamondz R 4Eva told us about and then we somehow got on the topic of how we are angry at the band Deep Shit, from Madison, for making us play the 5AM show that scarred Angie’s face. then i retracted some of my anger thinking some day they would actually beat me up for all the shit talking.
the story, real quick, is they stole our set time in this really haphazardly booked show. some long haired fuck from the band challenged me to armwrestle him for the set time, LOST HARD, and they still loaded up on the stage and played for like, 200 people while we all rolled around on the ground, too drunk to do anything.
Alex also informed me that Shaman Exiles and the other band whose name I’ve already forgotten and who will probably never record anything more than a demo or leave the city of Omaha to play a show also dropped off. so, it would just be us and Alex’s band, Feral Hands.
Alex’s pointed us to a bar to get some food while he met up with his band to practice before a show, a concept we here at Brain Tumors Associates are not familiar with. we walked, as we do often, through the city of Omaha which looked like a cross between a college campus and a city that people simply forgot to move into.
Omaha: We’re Workin’ On It
is the slogan we settled on.
we got to this bar called Barrett’s. sports bar, 10 TVs around fucking everywhere. pretty typical. but what was weird was the fucking CORNER of the bar which looked like a kitchen had been extracted out of someone’s home and thrown back there, with one pissed off dude cooking food for the entire bar. i was transfixed by his work, flipping burgers and pulling baskets of fries. i tuned back into the people i was with just in time to hear Joel say
“he was eating dirt and shoving dirt in his eyes”
we drank some beer called McSurly’s and ate a decent bleu cheese burger. i felt ok and watched a lizardman named Dr. Oz on the television.
we walked back to Alex’s where a friend of Dan and mine was already there, hanging out. The great Dirk of Omaha, a true rock hero. not because he’s been in some sort of life altering band, but because he’s a fucking bad dude who does what he feels is right regardless of what the consequences are. and he went to fucking art school. Dirk is the kind of dude that you will tell a story to about how someone fucked you over, and then Dirk will message you out of the blue a few months later and tell you how he fucked that person over for you, just for the sake of righteousness.
it got dark and people showed up. all sorts of people. including some goofball thug who literally said to Alex
“hey, give me a cigarette”
“no, get out of here”
“what, then fine, give me a drag of that one”
“no, get the fuck out of here”
“well do you have five dollars then?”
“are you fucking kidding?”
“or do you have any change?”
then after Alex told him to get the fuck out again, i think Dan gave him a cigarette to get him to leave and he went to give Alex a high five and pulled it back at the last minute, saying,
“naw man, i ain’t givin you no high five”.
we set up merch and Feral Hands played through gigantic Sunn 0))()()9()0i stacks and killed everyone with some really bleak and awesome rock. if High On Fire had stayed good, really. or Buzzoven. shit. my notes say “holy shit! loud as fuck! why isnt all rock in basements!” Pat called them “The Condominium of Metal” but i have no idea what that means at all.
more people showed up, like Joey from Relentless Approach (err Diamondz R 4Eva?) and we hung out outside for a while. people talked about Conor Oberst, the dork from Bright Eyes. i guess he is to Omaha what Atmosphere and Slug are to Minneapolis. some fucking local crap. someone told us once that The Faint played at the house we were playing at. that meant something in 2003.
we played and i dont remember much. i remember people running away, i remember people cowering in fear. i remember Talon from Feral Hands holding the microphone in place the entire time for me because immediately we knocked everything over and became unplugged. no idea if it sounded good. no idea if it looked good. it seemed like people were having fun and apparently they were because a bunch of people bought a bunch of shit.
a total fucking rarity outside of minneapolis.
we played in chicago for like, 300 people and sold two seven inches or some shit. buncha ingrates. i wandered around outside while some girl asked to touch my head and wanted me to touch hers (what) and eventually spent $30 on pizza. more people kept showing up but they were all like, 18 year old girls. at some point, some dude there shoved a bike pump up his ass and pumped it and then farted.
“yeah, one time we made this dude smell it and he was like, “oh man, it smells like shit”, hahahahah!
i passed out on a couch while Dan and Rory slept in the van.
i woke up the next day with gremlins running around in my brain, playing the theme from Blossom. my hand also hurt from punching something.
i woke up Dan and Rory and we embarked on a journey to find beverages and food. walking around, Dan revealed to me that he bought a Hostess Chocolate Pie last night and it, unlike the Charlie Chaplin movies, did not hold up as he remembered. we walked and eventually found some hip grocery store with bikes that we could not figure out how to get into and had to ask a nearby hotel clerk for help. i bought fruit.
we also found art on the way to the grocery store.
we also found a PRO-LIFE THRIFT STORE across the street from a vegan cafe that kept playing this song that was like, “AWESOME, SO AWESOME, SO AWESOME, SO AWESOME,” in a Rob Thomas type voice.
good god, this post is so long. i’m going to hurry it up so i can get to bed.
everyone woke up. i ate strawberries. we unloaded gear. we cleaned some shit up. i drew a face on a tree stump. we went to breakfast at this place called Lisa’s Radial Cafe, where they have huge slabs of chicken fried steak available everywhere with some really good gravy. we met up with Dirk who told us a story about how he had to clean shark tanks for community service after beating the shit out of a rapist. the story inspired us to try to go to the zoo.
we got to the zoo. we looked for parking. there was no parking. the van started making a fucked up noise. the van started making really fucked up noises. we all got scared. rory thought that he broke the van. everyone thought the van broke the van, because its fucking thirty years old.
we drove it to a gas station. people looked at the van while Dan and I went to an antique store. i bought a home alone poster for 25 cents. dan bought plastic nun-chucks. joel shaved his head in the parking lot and eventually we were asked to leave the gas station parking lot.
i called Talon from Feral Hands to help fix our shitty van. we had no idea what was going on with it and were very bummed. then this car pulled up at the gas pump.
i flagged the dude down who was done filling and offered to pay him to diagnose our problem. he got in the van and we drove around and i spoke to him,
“thanks for doing this, man. just to let you know we dont have any drugs in here so you’re not going to get pu – “
“no drugs? well why the fuck not?!”
we came back and dude looked underneath the van and told us our U-joint was broken. we jumped in his fucking insane off-road vehicle (which had an altimeter and a meter to tell him if his car was upside-down or not) and he drove us to a parts store where we bought one for $30. then he drove us to a shop and asked if they could fix it. they said they could fix it monday.
“fuck it, i’ll fix the damn thing myself. let me go get my tools.”
AND HE DID. HE FIXED OUR VAN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET. we tried giving him $100. he would not take it. we forced him to take $20 but he got extremely stoked about getting a free t-shirt and a record.
“holy shit, man. you know, i actually still play vinyl.”
his name was Michael and he built that monster truck to go mudding in. the vehicle has an exhaust coming out of the top in the even that he is TOTALLY SUBMERGED in mud. he also has a job at a hospital as an engineer.
“what do you do as an engineer?”
“well, if it fuckin’ breaks, i fix it.”
i went and got everyone from the bowling alley, where they had started drinking and playing big buck hunter. we left the bowling alley with Steve Winwood playing on the overhead system. and Pat made up new lyrics to the chorus for “Higher Love”
“Steve Winwood’s Higher Love!”
“Steve Winwood’s Higher Love! Whoa-oh!”
“Steeeeeeeeeeeve Winwood’s Higher Love!”
then we left Omaha and started towards Kansas City after stopping at the same auto parts store to fix a brake light and throw some seafoam in the gas tank.