ALSO WRITTEN BY FRANKLIN
There was some logistical shuffling at this juncture in the tour, so I�ll start with the morning after our San Francisco show, which we spent in a Ramada Limited (of the same no-frills ilk as the Holiday Inn Express) in Santa Clara. After what I recall as a long disorganized discussion about who was going where when the night before, it was decided that everyone else would go down to the L.A. area the day before our show, with Jenny and Kristin staying behind to do two speaking gigs in one day. (I assume someone who was there has written that up elsewhere.)
Heather was a bit panicky and rushed because she had decided to catch a 7:30 train to San Diego at Union Station (one of the few important architectural landmarks that hasn�t been cheesed up or demolished in L.A., by the way), giving us roughly six hours to get down the 5. Plenty of time, as it turned out�we got her to the train station well over an hour early. Tearful goodbyes for our erstwhile classic-rock lovin� driver? That overstates it a bit�we were probably all a bit exhausted for heavy sentiment�but genuine regret at seeing her go.
During the drive down, Amy made arrangements to meet her brother, who lives off Melrose, and we found a hotel for Jean and Jay: The Farmer�s Daughter on Fairfax, oddly enough�a place I�ve passed probably every other day for the last 7 years, but have never had occasion to visit. (I�ve noticed before that hotels are invisible in one�s own home base.) The only thing that merits mention here is that it turns out this is the hotel in which The Price Is Right puts up the contestants it flies out, hence the lobby wall full of Polaroids of midwesterners wearing �Come On Down� tees and smiling in proportion to their winnings, which were scrawled under each photo.
For my part, I drove out to my parents� in Upland, about 40 miles east. Very strange, of course, coming home in the middle of a tour�seeing the place you live as others see it, or so one imagines. (If this tour had been a month earlier, I�d have invited everyone to sleep in my apartment, but I moved out of it immediately�I mean, two days�before leaving for D.C.. Long story for another occasion.) Anyway, great to see my parents, and good, I imagine, for them to see me safe�I don�t mind mentioning that my mother (and my girlfriend�s) worries were what led to me taking a train to D.C. at the start of the tour rather than flying. Bree (that�s my girlfriend) wasn�t even in L.A. while we were there�she drove to Utah to see her sister a few days after I left town, largely out of concern about possible biological attacks. I have to admit that I dismissed this, but after the postal anthrax incidents of the last several days, I can�t do so quite as lightly. (She was worried about the cropdusters, actually.)
At my parents: Laundered, ate, chatted, slept.
What I did on my own time in Upland couldn�t possible be of interest to the general surfership, so all I�ll say about the afternoon is that since the whole group is staying here tonight, my mom spent most of today worrying if we had enough blankets for everybody and making up a shopping list for breakfast tomorrow. (I helped when asked, opened my mail, paid bills, and wrote emails in the meantime.) I got out of the house a bit later than I should have�with late afternoon traffic edging into actual rush hour on my way into the city at about 4 p.m., it actually took 3 full hours for me to get from Upland to Santa Monica (to pick up Jay and Jean, who obviously weren�t going to stay at the Farmer�s Daughter all day) and back to Silver Lake (where Spaceland is). For emphasis: I�m talking about covering roughly 70 miles in 3 hours. Did I mention that I�d rather live elsewhere?
Side note: I wasn�t there, but in the course of visiting friends, Jean apparently bumped the head of a small child on a moving ceiling fan, causing an uncomfortable scene with the father, who was, of all people, a member of the defunct D.C. hardcore band Government Issue. I�m happy to let Jean describe �her side� of this incident herself at some point�all I know is, one day you�re a punk, the next day all you care about is your baby�s skull. Sellout!
As for the show itself, it was the most dispiriting and pointless date of the tour thus far, bar none. We didn�t play especially badly (or especially well, though I�m not inclined to fault the soundguy for unclear stage sound�he told me it was his second day at Spaceland). And technically, the show wasn�t poorly attended�there were some bodies in the same room as us, but I wouldn�t go so far as to call most of them an audience. Highlight: J & K stopped at the infamous Madonna Inn, a monument to bad taste near San Luis Obispo, on their way down Highway 101, and came away with a large pink cake, which sat on stage for most of our set.
(every good simple machines fan deserves cake)
Lowlight: The other bands. Before us, a band called AM/FM, who had that uniquely L.A. quality of looking less like a band than some people auditioning for the part of the band in a movie. Cheap, obvious shot, but true. Can we quit with sideburns soon? Singer held a fighting-a-windstorm position at the mic for most of the set, and I�ve thankfully forgotten the hideous lyrics, though I do recall a non-ironic �This one�s for the ladies� song intro. After us: Gwenmars, who I would have to describe as Weezer without the wit. It�s a profound shame that, given the integrity and innovation of these artists, that the broken major label system which Jenny�s speech criticizes will serve them so poorly. Did I mention that I�d rather live elsewhere? (Ah, I see I did.) Musically and ideologically, this was the most inappropriate bill imaginable�I won�t say this only happens in L.A., just more often.
Worst part for me personally�my parents, and an aunt and uncle, came to the show. The last time I remember my parents going to see live music of any kind was a Les Brown and His Band Of Renown concert that came to a local
college when I was in high school (actually we saw Ella Fitzgerald once toward the end of her life as well), so this wasn�t exactly their milieu in the first place. I�m sad that they weren�t able to see us in a place�Portland, S.F., Chicago�where people were friendly and liked us and where it might seem like there�s any point or even pleasure in engaging in this activity at all. As my aunt Beverly put it: �So this is where you spend your life?� Well, sort of. (In fairness, I should mention that there were a few nice folks at the show, though I didn�t know several old friends
of Jenny�s who were present.)
Drove out to my parents, with Jenny, Kristin, and Jay arritve a bit later, as they�d made a side trip to give Rocket From The Crypt the rest of our pink cake at another club. My dad (in his usual robe) and mom waited up for us, and my mom put everyone to bed very maternally and solicitously, but it�s probably for someone else to record their impressions of my parents, so I�ll stop here.