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Portland

The drive to Portland was piss rain and dark skies. We got there late. It never ceases to amaze me the transformation of that city. Ten years ago we sat in a van outside the locked Satyr icon watching slow motion druggies score heroin (or in one case instant coffee) it was a scene straight out of Streetwise. Tonight we play in a clean little club that begins the evening with a quiet local film group showing short films. Six years ago at the X-ray cafe a woman with an enormous and swollen tongue ring made us disgusting �burritos� with uncooked rice and raw onions while asking us questions we couldn’t understand because of her self-imposed speech impediment. Today we choose from a full menu of what turns out to be excellently prepared veggie offerings on a smart little menu. I can’t really remember whom we played with many of the past times we came through Portland but tonight we headline what will probably be the most interesting bill of the tour. There was a cabaret singer, an indie rock band and then a hip hop band with an incredible 16-year-old woman who played stand up bass and blew the roof off the house.

Our set was late but fun. The audience called out songs and some even attempted dances. We slept at the hotel next door where we caught our second rocker concierge listening to music and dancing when he thought no one was looking. The same thing happened in Montana. Dancing?


(jenny and the poncho, jenny and amy with boa)


(larry crane of tape op magazine, jean with boa)

The next morning half the band sped towards Chico while Kristin and Franklin and I took a slower route stopping first, at a poncho-friendly vintage store, then again in a small town that had a huge book barn that was closed but also had an old-timey health food store with a giant peace sign. I bought 16 cents of soy nuts. After that we stopped at Heaven on Earth, which is a religious restaurant that Franklin remembered from his greyhound bus journey to the International Pop Underground festival. Apparently Heaven on Earth used to have a deal with Greyhound. The busses would stop there in the middle of the night and everyone who had already been sitting together on the bus for hours would have to sit together again at one big table and eat a big meal. The restaurant is known for it�s incredible baked goods and home made jams. Every meal comes with fluffy slices of bread to drench with jars of homemade apple butter, Marion berry jam and peanut butter. They also sell huge cinnamon rolls. Seriously�they are gigantic�much bigger than a human head and several pounds heavy. We brought one back for the rest of the band. On the way out Kristin broke a jar of Jelly but considering the fact that it was Heaven on Earth they let us leave without making us pay. Apparently the �you break it you bought it� motto is not in effect on the other side.

Jay called us from the bed and breakfast where we were staying and described it as an orphanage.

When we arrived later we were confronted with the second floor of a barn that had been converted to look like the peach and white Walton�s. The room was enormous with a variety of white wicker and iron beds of all different sizes facing one another in rows along the walls. A �cow-themed� wallpaper border skirted the walls and fluffy white curtains billowed in the windows There were a dozen king-size beds, twins, bunk beds and couches all covered in the same odd �bee hive themed� comforters. Amy and Jean were dead to the world in a twin and a full. Jay was watching TV from the king, Heather was keeping it real on her queen. I asked Jay to put a nipple on the last bottle of wine and climbed up to the top bunk to go to sleep.

Seattle (written by Jenny)

Sit and Spin was a treat as was seeing the unexpected opportunity to see Mudhoney blast the paint off the walls of the local electric workers union hall before I set. The folks who run Sit and Spin were super nice. The bartender had that lovely quality where he laughs incredibly genuinely and incredibly hard at anything anyone says. You feel like a hero comedian around folks like that. It�s good to have them in the world. And on the bartender tip�he was super accomplished. He made me Mexican Mules (Tequila and Ginger Beer) with fresh ginger�mmmmmm.

The show was quiet and somnambulant. There were a bunch of old Tsunami T-shirts (the ones Kristin and I remember screening in the Positive Force house kitchen) but 70% of the audience were, poker-face silent, holding hands and sitting down. Tsunami used to have a rule that it was OK to sit down at our shows but only if you were making out�I thought about reviving the rule but remembered how rawkus and distracted previous Seattle audiences were and instead opted to appreciate the calm politeness on it�s own terms. By the time the set was over I was exhausted and happy to avoid the opportunity to get a couple extra songs in as an encore. After all we�d already driven 7 hours that day, seen Mudhoney, and I�d done a bunch of interviews, which, though entertaining, often drain far more than anything else that falls within my list of rockin� responsibilities. I�d hoped to get to spend a bunch of time with my new friend Nicole Vandenberg who is an activist dynamo but she was in the middle of coordinating 6 benefit shows under the title Ground Works that were raising millions and millions of dollars to end world hunger. How�s that for a daily agenda item� �Hmmm, what will I do today? Oh I know, I�ll end world hunger.�

It�s always rewarding to speak with her about the work she does because she is so smart and patient and responsible even in the shit-storm of money and egos and chaos that come with stadium size events and super famous rockers. She seems remarkably practical and immune to the activist infighting that cannibalizes so many well intentioned causes. Kristin and I hooked up with Nicole later that night and tried to talk for about a half an hour before we crashed. In the morning Kristin and I found the friendliest coffee shop in Seattle. One employee almost knocked us down with the intensity of his good morning and with the strength of the delicious coffees he made us. We settled in two huge armchairs that faced a roaring fire�enjoyed the rustic antler and snoe-shoe themed furniture and imagined for a half an hour that it wasn�t piss-rain and cold outside. I gave Kristin the 5 sample Mensa questions published in the Seattle paper and (of course) she got 3 of them without a wick of effort.

Next we swung back to Nicole�s house to pick her up for breakfast where we had good talks about organizing and documentaries and work and rock. We dropped her off to prepare for a walk through at the local Amphitheater where
Pearl Jam and REM would be playing the next day and made a beeline to Left Bank books the collectively owned Anarchist bookstore where we spent too much money on jazz and feminism and media consolidation before picking up Amy and heading off to Portland.

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