Archive for March, 2002

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Jean�s New Orleans LA - Circle Bar

We were so happy to leave Texas. I started making jewelry for everyone. “You’re the last crazy fuck inside of me” for Jenny, “his car is not a joke/fed up with the force fed” for me, and “or I will eat your souls” for Amy. Later I started making some for Kristin (Cran you Trake me Higher), Jay (Frall onta Mray), and Franklin (He doesn’t beat you he doesn’t treat you as cruel as the people that you dated in school - Jenny suggested it). (Kristin and Jay’s are a reference to an article about yarling everyone apparently read in Portland while I was away.

(Editor�s note�do a google search for Jack Endino and Yarling�this article is so funny it will make you pee!)

Since I rejoined the band in Portland, they’d been singing the Creed/Stone Temple Pilots style, and I think it was in Texas that we started singing Jenny’s songs in the van in this way. At some point Franklin and Jay decided that “F(r)all onto Me” could be a great metal song. I think this was a little after Franklin’s conclusion that there could be direct correlations made between the Jenny Toomey band and the Scooby gang.)

Anyway, back in New Orleans, there was a tiger truck stop where people could go buy gas and stare at four full grown caged tigers and one baby cub. It was so weird. We stayed at a nice bed and breakfast in the French quarter. Andrew (the tour documentarian) met us there. Once we were all assembled, we headed out to Circle Bar. Map quest sent us to the wrong address and in finding our way back we drove past this great crowded cemetery twice. Anthony the promoter made us dinner - Cajun red beans and rice and peas. And he had a toy piano. We had some more Quiet Time at his house, then went over to the club with his toy piano and got ready for our set. change without notice.


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Jean�s Houston TX - Rudyards

We had Quiet Time during breakfast. I looked out the window at the clouds and the sky and ate my sandwich. Franklin and I shared corn pancakes. We went out shopping a little. I got to look at the fancy expensive antique shops, and a really big costume store. Then I headed back to the van for a nap. It’s hot outside, but breezy. It’s nice to be out of the sun. I think it’s on the way to Houston that we stop at a gas station and I scare Jenny by sneaking up on her. She hits me with her hat hard, and it drops on the floor. Everyone in the store stares at us.


jenny with weapon

At the club they have Photo Hunt, a brand new one. We managed 7 high scores, including the top one. Upstairs, where the music is, there are two pool tables and a large screen TV. The bathroom has a funny poster for our show. I wish I remembered what it said. The bartenders are super nice and gave everyone lots of tequila. During our set someone walked in with a Chihuahua and Jenny forgot the words to “Decoy”. Since it was Kristin’s last show with us for a while we sang her happy birthday.

Loading out, we dodged the darts players downstairs. It was past two, but the patrons didn’t leave the club. Jenny and Jay stayed inside and played pinball. We stayed at the stinky dirty bloodstained beds hotel in Houston. Kristin left us in the middle of the night to go back to Philly.

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Jean�s Austin TX - Emo’s

Jay got to watch the basketball game at the place he and Amy and I ate dinner. I forget whom the Wizards were playing, but he was happy. I bought some stuff at a shop across the street from the club, and paid with a guitar pick instead of 28 cents change I owed the guy (Editor�s note� hmmm was that Jenny�s guitar pick!!!!).

Jenny and Kristin were coming down separate because they had a speech that afternoon. Back at the club, we settle down and play about 20 rounds of photo hunt and get some high scores. The Yankees were still playing the Diamondbacks. The TVs above the bar were broadcasting the game and there were just as many people watching the game as were watching the band. We went on after the game was over, and Kristin brought out hand. Jenny made people dance with hand during our set, which they were pleased to do. Apparently later, Kristin was moshing as hamburger helper during Those Peabodys, who rocked.

During load in and load out we had an obscene Tenacious D song stuck in our head. We sang it all night, and then we listened to it in the van after the show on the way to bed. This was the start of the Tenacious D obsession, at least for me.

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Jean�s Denton TX - Rubber Glove

It’s Halloween.

We have breakfast at the family restaurant recommended by the waitress at the fast food Mexican place last night. It had people in clown suits and other festive wear already at 11 in the morning. Odessa’s NPR/classical station was cool. They let me request the Schubert double cello quintet, which I stayed in the van to listen to when we stopped in the Odessa thrift store parking lot.

We went to Hobby Lobby to get more stuff for our costumes. We get oversized safety pins, fake leaves, lots of foam, glue, exploding confetti poppers. During the drive to Denton we stop at a gas station and I finally find some no nonsense pantyhose. I think this is also the same gas station where we run into the lady with the big white truck. All over the truck are red and blue signatures and words of support
from people she’s run into on her cross-country trip. They’re addressed to the people of New York, their eventual destination. There’s a big sign on her grill too, but I don’t remember what it said. Something patriotic. I didn’t sign the truck.

After load in at the Rubber Glove we made Kristin’s Hamburger Helper Hand. I helped Jenny with her autumn costume. Amy was a flamenco dancer, Franklin wore his choir robe, and Jay was a Latino chick magnet. I put my stocking over my head and wore Jenny’s cowboy hat (I was a bank robber). I met a guy at the show who was dressed as a HAZMAT guy. He even had cornstarch in a bag he was going to pretend was anthrax. Jay put pennies on the train tracks, and a train parked on it during our show. We went out to look for them. They were a lot curvier and smashed than mine (from Tucson). During the set Franklin sang a Halloween song, then later took off his choir robe to reveal a sequined cowboy shirt underneath. Amy played castanets. Kristin danced the hamburger helper dance.


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Jean�s Odessa

Halfway to Odessa we stop at a gas station off the highway, and I wake up. Jenny and Jay are walking over this crazy rotted bridge and down a desert type path and videotaping the scenery and the sun. Besides the highway and truck stop, there isn’t anything but desert as far as you can see. It’s a pretty sunset, and the camera doesn’t catch it very well. A truck drives by and all this dust blows up around us back in the parking lot.

At the convenience store, all they have is rickety shelves of junk food and an ice machine - no stockings. We’ve only been driving for a few hours and it’s starting to get dark and we’re cranky, so we decide not to go all the way to Abilene. Franklin was driving the van when we get pulled over for speeding. Kristin tells the cop we’re staying at a super 8 off of some other highway in Midland or something. But we don’t go there. We drive past a whole lot of cheap and crazy motels that Jenny thinks might be fun and charming, but we end up at a Comfort Inn.

Supposedly Odessa has the world’s largest jackrabbit, which we didn’t get to see. They also have this place called Central Station, with like eight nightclubs rolled into one large roller rink looking warehouse building. It was closed. After driving down an intimidating fast food strip, we end up eating at a fast food Mexican place, the best alternative to Whattaburger and Taco Bell. My tamale is lukewarm and soggy. Behind us is a crowd of locals listening to a guy tell a story about punching out a hitchhiker and stealing his money.

Back at the hotel we watched the Craft while Jenny washes and dyes her hair, and then some crazy Hollywood movie comes on about a girl who is in LA with her best friend and all the parties they go to and how she’s actually supposed to be at a wedding with her true love. Claudia Schiffer’s in it. It was very bad. Jenny and Amy kicked me out of their room, so I had to finish watching it with Kristin and Jay, who were trying to sleep.

Jenny’s Odessa.

When we regained conciousness�we were in Odessa. After checking in at the Odessa Comfort Inn�the stir-crazy members of the group met at the front desk for some advice about Odessa hot spots. The woman tending the desk put aside her Halloween decorating duties, pulled out a Xeroxed map and made elaborate notes� �When you get to this intersection you�ll see a Chili�s on the left�and that�s Mexican food�go down another block and you see What-a-Burger�that�s a burger joint…� Oh really? She also mentioned something called �Graham Central Station. We thanked her for her expert cartography and went adventuring.

First stop�drive through liquor store�how exotic�overpriced tequila straight into the window of the car. Then a short trip down the main strip past a dozen recognizable fast-food chains. We trek on in search of Graham Central Station and end up at an enormous theme-park looking bar. It�s closed on Monday night but it looks incredible. What could possibly go on in there?

We back-track a ways eventually choosing a Mexican chain restaurant but one with a name that we don�t recognize from local malls. Our waitress brings us 99-cent margaritas and explains that Graham Central Station isn�t her scene� she hasn�t been there but later, along with the chips and water she brings another waitress out of the kitchen who blandly describes the equivalent of a rock-club food court. We ask her about cool things to do downtown and she doesn�t seem to know if there is a downtown.

The restaurant was empty but for us until a strange group came in during our meal. In the expanse of the vacant restaurant of course they choose a booth just one away. Three guys in cowboy hats and two young women with frosted shags and tiny engagement rings. All were drunk and paying a lot of attention to our table. The clear asshole of the bunch loudly told a story about stealing 40 dollars from a drunken migrant worker. When one of the other dudes called him on it there was almost a fistfight right there over the endless bowls of Technicolor tortilla chips (purple, red and green for some reason). Like good drunks however, they were easily distracted and eventually fell into some other belligerent conversation. I believe it was asshole�s birthday and he had the kind of trigger personality that led him to cut his friends off mid sentence to complain they weren�t giving him proper attention or respect. He held the hand of the young girl sitting next to him and winked at me.

We paid the check�I put on my Poncho and left.


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Jean�s El Paso

First Stop in Texas was El Paso. Back at the hotel I watched Angel while Amy watched Rushmore in the other room. There was a basketball hoop there and Jay played a game against two kids who must have been 8 and 10. He almost let them win, but then he beat them at the last minute. Apparently losers at Horse are supposed to stand against a wall while the winner beams the basketball as hard as he can at them. But Jay’s too nice for that. I understand he just let them stand against the wall and sweat for a while before he let them off the hook. They were really little kids. We drove around looking for dinner and found a bar with a pool table in the middle of what looked like downtown El Paso. Franklin and I played a bit, and then we ate cheesy enchiladas and called Heather, who was in NM not far from us celebrating day of the dead. Angel started later where she was, even though she was only 40 minutes away. The next morning we had really good chicken fajitas right on the border of Mexico at El Hacienda. After breakfast we walked around in the parking lot and looked across the canal through the barbed wire. It was sunny and we squinted a lot.

Jenny’s El Paso

On the way out of town we high-tailed it to Pico De Gallo a tiny family restaurant, which prepares maybe the most delicious Mexican food I�ve ever eaten. (During the Tempting recording session we ate at this restaurant 8 times in 10 days). Once you�ve had the handmade corn tortilla�s wrapped around the lightly breaded and fried fish tacos with garlic slaw, vinegar and cream sauce you�ll find yourselves ruined, as I am, to even the most delicious bean, cheese and rice combinations that masquerade under the generous definitions of �Mexican Food�. I also had a �Pico De Gallo� i.e.� �The beak of the chicken� which is a cup of sharply cut (beak) slices of
fruit and coconut slathered in lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper. Not the most delicious dessert but when in Tucson�

Warning, from here on out the tour diary loses 90% of its glorious mundane details. I have completely forgotten the drive between Tucson and Odessa TX� The handwritten signs taped to the windows of the rest stops stating �No Shirts, No Shoes, No Hitchhikers, No Service.� (Or was that in Alabama?) The thousands of black birds that eclipse the trees at a TX gas station (Or was that Dallas?). The clear Tequila lolly pops complete with embalmed (amber-ified? Petrified? tequillified) worms�No, they are all fading from memory and being replaced by a scene from the R. Crumb documentary where he shows the interviewer a photo album filled with snapshots of telephone poles and utility wires. The minutia that frames every modern city scene is too boring to be remembered so he keeps the album handy to pencil in street signs and traffic lights after he�s drawn the narrative. Maybe next tour I�ll carry a little notebook.

I do remember at one rest stop I lobbied that we drive an extra couple of hours through to some city (forget where now) that had an art-house theatre showing the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in celebration of Halloween. Everyone else was anxious to stop earlier. I believe it might have been a Monday and Jean wanted to see Buffy. Either way, we ended up in El Paso.

There was a swimming pool. Amy made good use of it while Jay whipped the asses of two 10 year olds in basketball in the Hotel parking lot. Eventually we went into the old city to find dinner. The restaurant we found was just closing though it was surrounded by 24-hour bail bonds offices. The cook opened up the grill for us and while we drank margaritas and waited for quesadillas we played pool under a Xeroxed sign that warned that it was illegal to carry concealed weapons.

In the morning we went to the La Hacienda��The oldest Mexican Restaurant in El Paso� right across the dirty sliver of water from Mexico. (Ahhh, concealed weapons�) It was nice to see the Haciendas maintaining the rich Mexican tradition of heat lamps, rib buffets and brown paper table clothes to color on with crayons.

Fatally competitive, Jay quickly created a game, which involved using only 4 lines to make the �best drawing�. While half the band fought over colors and debated the definition of �best� and clarified how many curves were allowed in each line without disqualification, Jay filled in his carefully drawn lines with salt and pepper to wow the (as yet, undetermined) judges. I took a phone interview outside and missed the awards ceremony. I was glad to be in the sun and away from the restaurant�s oppressive stench of disinfectant. I mean hooray! The place was clean�but the smell couldn�t have been stronger had I been snorting lines of liquid Clorox.

After lunch we got in the van and completely lost about 8 hours of time. Kristin hallucinated some NPR interview with Pacific Northwest Senator Patty Murray who suggested removing sales tax between Thanksgiving and X-mas to both jump-start the economy and help us get over our �bad feelings about the war.� Kristin swears she remembers the representative saying something about how when she feels bad� �She just likes to go out and buy a sweater!� Like anyone would say something that stupid. Yeah right, while we�re at it let�s airlift some of those Afghan ladies sweaters to cheer them up now that their county has been bombed to shit.

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Jean Takes the Reins!

Disclaimer: I’m not particularly good at writing tour diaries the way you’ve been reading them here - being introspective and able to explain all the changes that happen in your head when you constantly travel from city to city. Being witty and wry and detached and stylish is doesn’t come as easily to us non-lyricists, which is probably why you’ve been hearing mostly from Jenny and Franklin. Below is a typical diary for me - a list of unclever notes of events, places, facts - things I will want help remembering someday when I decide I want to relive being on tour. I’m sharing it because I figure some of you will be curious what happened to us after Arizona. (I tried to fill in some of the blanks where things may not make sense. Maybe Jenny will help me with that, since she has that great non-Jean perspective going on.) -Jean

(Editor�s Note� Jean wrote this before she knew that I had already butchered Tucson, El Paso, and Odessa. The good news for you, gentle reader, is that it�s more tour diary for you and despite common knowledge to the contrary quantity sometimes makes up for quality (or expediency for that matter). Furthermore you will have the luck of comparing and appreciating our different voices immediately. Particularly what Jean has called the �unclever� versus the �introspective�. As far as �unclever� is concerned� I don�t agree. I love the economy in Jean�s writing and speaking style (Our little Hemingway!)� What a contrast to the psychedelic Jean on record. Just
listen to her ending on Charm City and you get a sense that �language-wise� she may be saving up all the nuance and flourish for her violin. Clearly, this is fine with me.)


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The Kevin Cordt Trio.
Kevin plays trumpet with me and with Spotiswood and with Last Train Home…but on top of all that he still finds time to swing out with a sweet little revolving jazz combo at Mr Henry’s in Capital Hill. He’s there almost every Friday night doing standards to a sometimes noisy sometimes rapt crowd. Definately my favorite place to spend a Friday night.

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