there seems to be a time on any tour, long or short, where things suddenly get weird. our Seattle show marked the beginning of the weird. when mentioning this show to people, I say,
“it was great. someone punched joel in the face. have you heard of Totes Brute before?”
we drove from Missoula, MT with a stern warning that we would possibly die. but more importantly, we drove away from the pieces of shit that issued this warning to us. fuck you, Midas. fuck you, forever.
we drove and the van coughed. the brakes were grinding. we stopped at some mom & pop gas station convenience stores where everything was expired. we also stopped in Coeur D’Alene, ID to get tacos. Coeur D’Alene is beautiful and the tacos are cheap and good. the drive was not bad and we were looking forward to playing another show with The Funeral and the Twilight as their show in Spokane fell through when one of the bands on the bill discovered that some of them are Satanists.
i also discovered that western Washington looks like a damned desert. interesting for me as my family spent some time in Puyallup. and now i will tie this together with two somewhat relevant stories.
i stayed in Dublin, Ireland for a few weeks at my godfather’s house. i spent a lot of the time with food poisoning/sea-sickness, but i also spent a long time just wandering up and down Dublin in a straight line. at some point, i decided i was going to try to catch a “rock show”. the best thing i could find was The Blood Brothers were playing in the Temple Bar district. i went to the show and talked to some dude about Cult of Luna and got drunk.
when The Blood Brothers played to a fairly small and sparse crowd, the sassy singer pointed at me and asked:
“hey, you! are you from Seattle?”
“um, Puyallup actually,” i replied, confused.
“oh. we love your fair.”
and then they kept playing. after the show, i think i yelled at them for playing out of Orange amplifiers and asked them what they were doing. the singer made it very clear that he was going back to the hotel to talk to his GIRLFRIEND because he needs to talk to his GIRLFRIEND so they will not be hanging out. i don’t remember how i got home that night but i remember realizing that it was not a good idea to learn how the Dublin bus system worked when you’re drunk at midnight.
in this picture above, you can see some of the members of Sandrider, a band comprised of members of Akimbo. i ended up talking to a few of the guys as i had seen Akimbo many years back in Minneapolis. they toured with and opened up for The Blood Brothers. the band that opened up for them was The Plain White T’s, the shitty Chicago band that wrote that “Hey there, Delilah” song.
“i kept making fun of the singer after every song and yelling at him that he looked like John Cusack,” i proudly exclaimed, expecting an award or something.
“yeah, i threw all of their merch in that fountain in the middle of the room,” he countered.
i bought a peach from a creepy family near the gas station and got a cup of water from a nice lady in the gas station. it was at this gas station where the rage of Dan Johnson took shape as he suddenly realized he was broke. Dan has always been, and still is, considered to be the “stable” member of the band. however, Dan is not invincible either.
we kept driving. Max slammed on the brakes for some road construction crap. Pat’s guitar flew from the back and clocked me in the head. we yelled “get a job,” at the workers and kept going, passing an “Apple Maggot Quarantine Zone”.
we drove through some frightening mountains and did not die. we got to Seattle where Max had to use the emergency brake a few times while driving downtown. we almost ran over a jogger. we owe Max more money.
i texted West and let him know we were in town. he suggested we meet him at this place that serves hot dogs and has arcade games which is right near The Rendezvous. i also texted my best friend from childhood, Brandon, and had him meet us there as well. West’s special lady, Elizabeth, also showed up. we sat around and drank. i ate a hotdog that was prepared at the bar and lukewarm with too many toppings – which is not some shit i’d ever care or complain about. but here i am, caring and complaining about it. so take what you will.
i called a few other people in Seattle, including my friend, Mary, who recently relocated to Seattle to work for Nordstrom’s or some shit. And my friend Samantha, who i found out works across the damn street from The Rendezvous.
the Rendezvous is a small little theatre with a bar attached. i dont remember anything about the bar other than that there werent many people there except there looked to be a group of toxic avenger-looking nerds sitting at a table, peering into the room to watch The Funeral and the Twilight. we set our merch up on the side of the stage and met the sound technician. her name was Bridgette.
when i was booking this tour and talked to West, i received probably 200 fucking Emails from The Rendezvous, confirming bands and wanting all sorts of horseshit preplanning nonsense. while i deleted most of the Emails, i noticed that the sound tech had a guarantee of $100. maybe $150.
“shit, maybe shows in Seattle are huge,” i wondered, fully aware that we may end up walking away with $50 even on a large show.
The Botherations, West’s band, played next. i got to find out that West is a killer drummer and his band sounds like The Wipers. or something.
periodically, Bridgette, the sound tech from the Rendezvous, would come down from her little goblin sound-booth/lair after the bands started to play. we’d talk about who gives a shit while i’d be noting, casually, that she was going to receive somewhere around $100 from our show that roughly 20 people had attended. $100 for, i don’t know, maybe turning on a fucking sound board or something. plugging a microphone in and putting it on a stand. and smoking outside while the bands played.
i’m all for people getting paid for doing work. but, as in the case of the Bozeman sound tech who got $100, it doesn’t sit well with me when some local fuck makes their living doing local gigs in the “arts industry” while a touring band of smelly dudes with holes in their shoes carries around a cooler full of oft-brand American cheese singles and stale bread. or one member of the band lives off of granola bars for a whole week.
sometime after The Botherations played, Joel came up to me, livid.
i giggled and agreed. i didn’t really care and was having fun getting drunk and talking to people i knew and watching some decent bands. but there was one band i did not watch.
i first met Totes Brute in Minneapolis when they were playing a show. i stopped up to try and catch them but missed their set, settling to just talk to them in the parking lot. they were weird. they also had this dude, George, from Minneapolis, touring with them. the first time i met George, he showed me a gigantic self-inflicted burn on his back that he made with a spatula. then he told me a bunch of crazy fucked up stories.
George is an intense dude, but probably one of my favorite “real-ass motherfuckers” out there.
so i had to think, what kind of band would bring George on tour with them? Totes Brute, a bunch of “real-ass motherfuckers”.
i did not watch them because they sounded fucking horrible. i may have glanced inside to see the singer standing in the front of the stage making the same bat-shriek sound, over and over again. but i admired their dedication to playing painfully shitty, anger-inspiring grindcore. maybe the same way i admire modern art and how it pisses people off.
we played next, me still not knowing why Joel was so pissed off. we played for probably ten people. joel hit me in the head with the headstock of his bass, so i kicked his left leg as hard as i could a few times and punched him in the chest.
i kicked a table over (maybe?) and broke a glass or two and smashed a candle. sound gremlin, from her ivory perch, began yelling at us in between songs, threatening to shut us off. truthfully, i was just flattered that she was actually up in her booth, “doing sound”, not outside smoking.
i don’t remember what i yelled back but i know i told her i would take her to Dollar Tree to buy new candles and that in Minneapolis, i am a lawyer so i will pay for everything i break.
according to Max, i also said something to the tune of, “see, we’re all having fun. this dude likes it,” while pointing to Totes Brute’s female drummer. she became furious and Max, sensing he should hurt me before she could, punched me. after the next block of songs, Bridgette came down from her booth and gathered all the glasses and candles.
we finished our set feeling like adults who had just made responsible decisions in the real world.
then Bridgette handed me a broom and a dustpan and forced me to walk around the room, sweeping up glass. there wasn’t that much but that wasn’t the issue. she yelled at me more and then we unloaded gear.
we talked to Totes Brute in the back of the club and told them to get in touch with us when they were in Minneapolis again. they were extremely cool. talking to them also revealed that the drummer also knew the bartender at the Filling Station in Bozeman, MT, giving us a shred of hope that we might be able to recover all of our cables again.
we also realized we almost left without West’s money box. Dan and I ran back to The Rendezvous and ran into Bridgette, standing by the box. she explained to us that the money box was actually her’s, which is probably why it had all those shitty band stickers on it. she also informed us that she was taking all of the money from the show. we laughed and left.
we went back to West’s house. while we were there, Joel explained that the reason he was so pissed is that the singer of Totes Brute came up to him and called him a “hipster poser”, sending Joel into an inconsolable rage.
after we played, the singer went up to Joel and apologized, saying,
“i’m sorry, man. i didn’t know you played in Brain Tumors. you guys were awesome.”
Joel gave him a kiss on the forehead and told him that everything was okay. then continued to try to make amends by giving him another kiss. Totes Brute‘s singer responded by punching Joel in the face.
“SEE! This is why people don’t like you!” Joel responded.
he also wanted to make sure i let everyone know that he hits “like a pussy”. and judging by Joel’s face, he was right. there was not a scratch or a mark. and Joel gets hurt pretty easily, as evidenced by him limping for the next two or three days after me kicking him.
while sitting around West’s backyard, West kept trying to give everyone some pear brandy that his deceased grandmother had given him.
“naw, man. i don’t wanna facebottle your grandma’s death brandy,” said Joel.