MAY 1999

May 13 – Somewhere in South Dakota

On the road again, tumbling along against pastures which tumble also and sway.

What a beautiful sunny day South Dakota wears; like a bib of green. I’ve never been this far west before and the Black Crows are singing to us and we along with them. The windows are down.

But we only work up here. We unintentionally fell into this landscape and so we maybe don’t realize how lucky we are to be so alive and here.

A billboard we just passed said: “DON’T MAKE ME COME DOWN THERE” – GOD. Everything is making us laugh. It’s as if our very thoughts were ticklish and I’m pleasantly buzzed already on cheap hotel, continental breakfast coffee. It makes me laugh harder and longer than the rest of the guys.

I’m so jazzed about being out here in the middle of our nowheres with my boys.

I’m looking out the window through the fuzzy spot Brian is famous for propping his head against. We all laugh ‘cus his hair product, “Bed Head,” always leaves it’s residual film on the glass, making everything blurry outside. Oh our dear Bri Bri.

Chris is pressing up his daily morning brew. Protocol:

Chris grinds and puts the coffee in his sky blue plastic french press (“The french press” we’ve voted in as a new term for a sexual position), we go to a gas station, fill up and borrow some hot H2O for the press and some paper cups. Then it’s a 5-10 minute wait. Those minutes last longer than the minutes belonging to the rest of the day. Then we’re styled by Chris who doctors the coffee to each of our likings. FAMOUS!!!!

Now, I see, mine is just about done.

May 14 – The Cabooze – Minneapolis, MN

What a fun night we had last night!!!!!

The Cabooze is a great place to play and our monitor man “Jason” made the stage sound extra extra fat. I must admit I had my doubts when approaching the spot early evening (5:00 ish), where in front of the joint there were a deck of motorcycles lined up and a bunch of hairy looking Harley men standing guard around them. What is this place gona be like? I wondered. I tried to envision them swaying in unison to Tomboy Bride, beer in hand, their bodies surrounded by leather.

Inside was Hairier! Pinball machines, bar bar bar, dark, flourescent lights blinking “beer,” “beer,” “beer.” I must say I felt out of my element. But I misjudged the place.

The opener (a soulful local Linda Robert’s band) finished up at 11 and we got up at 11:30. I guess it’s just when you think something is going to fall apart that it surprises you to lift up and fly. The audience danced, the listened, they clapped and whistled, they talked to me up there and they stayed…..Now that’s what I call a good audience!!!!!

We’re running low on CDs. We reordered just before we left but it’ll be about 2 weeks until we get more and right now were down to about 100, which concerns us.

We got back to the Hotel at 3:00 and watched the tail end of “Car Wash.” Wake up call set for 9:00 and now a 6 hour drive ahead of us.

Can’t wait!

May 14 – The Mango Grill, Madison, WI

The Mango Grill is a family style kitchen/bar/night club,just a stone’s throw from the U. of Wisconsin (where commencement is presently taking place). At first glance you could miss the magic of the place but once inside it’s unmistakeable. The place glows and the reason is it’s owner, Kathy. The woman automatically becomes your mother. She opens up her doors as though they were to her own house (in fact the place does feel like her dining room) and she just pours love all over you with her smile and her grace. The first thing she did was sit us all down for a home cooked meal which we needed badly and it made me miss my own mom.

We had a pretty tough day. We discovered, upon arrival in Madison, that we’d forgotten my monitor system back in Minniapolis at the Cabooze. That meant that one of us had to drive back after the show. Now that’s a 10 hour drive round trip and if we left at 1:00 after load up that would get us into Milwaukee at approx. 3:00pm the next afternoon, just in time for sound check at Thai Joe’s. Ouch!!!! Chris Delluchi volunteered to do the drive alone but Kenny insisted he have company and an alternate driver so later that night, he’d go too.

After sound check, the present arrived. “It’s called a Porch Board and it’s yours if you want it.” Explained the nicest woman in the world (Nadine). Everyone in the band took turns trying it out. It’s an electrically amplified solid pine board with a heart beat and we are entirely grateful. (thank you Nadine).

The Mango Grill was pretty full. Most people sat in the front. There was no green room so I made my grand entrance from the bathroom (sometimes you’ve got to improvise). The first set went really well except that I thought that the people in the front looked really disinterested. I was pleasantly surprised when at set break those same seemingly unenthusiastic characters all raved to me about how much they were loving the show and bought CDs (by the way there are only 80 more … uhho).

The crowd loosened up during the second set and people even moved the chairs out of the way to make room for a dance floor. We made up a new song “get up and dance” to get everyone out there dancing. The lights tangled up with the energy and Wisconsin got soulful like the late night mornings of New Orleans (well almost).

After the show, Kenny and Chris headed out like brave caffeinated heros at 1am to recover our tracks and my monitors. I’m so lucky to be blessed with these guys and with these audiences that keep on showing up and staying and pushing us to go farther and farther. They remind me again and again that this stuff, this music stuff, it isn’t about candy coating art with glitter to feed to your ego. It’s about sharing time and space and giving it up to the audience, those friends you’ve never met but have always known because you see yourself in them. It’s about letting go of the ownership of your art and your fear and your heart because love is the only thing that makes complete sense.

(well most of the time any way)

May 15 – Thai Joe’s, Milwaukee

I must appologize again, but this time for sending those of you away from the venue under the understanding that the show was cancelled, because the show actually did end up going down and it ended up being huge fun.

Le’ me ‘splain. When we arrived at 3:00pm, Joe, the owner, told us he’d been shut down and that, unfortunately he’d have to cancel our show. I stood outside the doors for an hour turning people away as one of the bartenders scraped the “Thai Joe’s” logo and name off the windows. I must have turned 30 people away before Joe approached me to inform me that he’d just talked to the chief of police and he had givin us the green light to go ahead and play. “One catch,” he said “you can’t play plugged in. It’s got to be a completely acoustic performance.” We consented though up til then we’d never been faced with that challenge. But it sounded to us like an adventure. “Let’s see what we can do.” I proposed to the guys and they were game.

They turned some lights on us and everyone gathered closely around the wood slab they’d set up for us as a stage. Soucy played my acoustic guitar sitting on a red cushioned stool next to mine and Brian Mcrae sat on the floor slapping and banging on everything from my empty guitar case to the leg of my stool. I sang my lungs out to the intimate crowd, explaining lyrics in mid-song and making some up right there on the spot. We got to try out a bunch of new tunes too. Ones we’ve just written like “40 years,” and “Nisa.” Songs we’d never even played all the way through in their entirety before.

After the show Joe showed his appreciation by buying us all dinner in his restaurant. I must say Thai Joe’s was the most opened shut down bar I’ve ever been to.

We trotted upstairs into Milwalkee night. It was raining and we walked hunchbacked around the corner for a beer. We stumbled upon a bowling ally with blue swinging spot lights and silver stirring stars and decided we’d bowl a game. We ran into an old friend of mine from college, Josh and his buddy Scott who joined us in silly slippery multi-colored flippers and we boeled and boeled and caught up. It was great to see him and I lost. Well I came in 2nd to Delucchi who was gutterball boy all night.

May 16 – Shuba’s, Chicago

We woke up into a hurricane which came off the lake, near the suburbs off Chicago. I groggily dragged my ass down stairs, dodging the winds, wearing only my orange oversized John Forte T-shirt (it was my turn to take the roll-away couch). I went to fetch the guy’s coffee, my mascara bleaching my undereyes like tribal war paint. The woman at the front desk was very suprised to see me in my state.

It was 11:30 by the time we got up and the boys wanted to do yoga which meant moving most of the unglued down furniture onto the bed and then navigating around the air conditioner and the TV.

Last night was a late one despite our early gig. We opened up for Richard Buckly who was great (but I was already a fan). We had an hour set. My voice hurt from the night before, screaming at an un-plugged show at Thai Joe’s, but I managed to belt out a couple of notes for an attentive 3/4 full room.

Shuba’s is a cool place. The staff is especially cool and the ones responsible for keeping us up so late. We basically closed the place, laughing, listening to tunes on the juke box and taking silly pictures in their photo booth.

1. Natural
2. Funny
3. Sexy
4. Authentic

Fun……..

May 18 – Newby’s, Memphis, TN

WDIA is on the stereo driving east toward Nashville, a program entitled “COPS, SAVIORS OR SATANISTS?”

We got to go to Graceland yesterday which was my idea of wonderland. It’s like a child’s day dream house, preserved, shiny and candy like but kind of creepy too. I mean Elvis’s grave is out in the yard along side his parents and his grandmother and one gets the feeling that Elvis’s home was a memorial museum before he was even dead. Nonetheless, our field trip to Graceland was really fun. Elbow to elbow we were led, room to room, directed to look at certain details by a strap on audio recorder handing around our necks. And through the cracks between peoples arms and over their shoulders we peeked out into rock-n-roll history.

We got a full day in. We even stopped off for a tour at the famous Sun Studio where Elvis, Howlin’ Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis and other greats got their starts. I was in mid-phone interview on my cell phone so I took the interviewer on the tour with me, since he’d never been to the historic studio before.

In and out of air-conditioned rooms all day and then into sun which etched into our skin, it’s beige uneven tattoos.

Newby’s is a bar. It’s very much a bar. But it didn’t worry us too much because behind the show there was Todd (who I immediately nicknamed Big Hand Todd). He is tall and beautiful and quite possibly the nicest man in all of Memphis. He just kept on giving to us all night. He fed us, housed us, he set up a beautiful stage with a new oriental rug on it that he insisted he bought just for me. He set up lights and a green room and when we played, he listened with every ear that didn’t hear, in the joint. His staff was also amazing!!!! (especially Mimi who smiled and was just so kind).

The first set was worse than Chinese water torture for us, with people talking so loudly we could bearly hear ourselves up on stage. But when the songs would end, they would clap and cheer as though they were moved by every word I uttered. Now I don’t consider myself a particularly sensitive artist. I mean I’ve played directly underneath a TV at a sports bar with the NBA finals going on. Once I even played in front of a juke box that was going. I think I can fairly say that this was a difficult audience to play to. Man I felt almost invisible up there that first set.

Fortunately people really got into the second set with it’s up beat tunes and bigger groves. Some even danced, which is a rarity at Newby’s insisted MImi who bought a CD, refusing to take the employee discount.

A very wonderful woman from stage left kept my spirits afloat all night by singing along with the songs off the album and Mike, a bass player from stage right beamed at me too, keeping me strong. Thank you my angels.

May 20 – 12th & Porter, Nashville, TN

Emotions were tropical last night. Troubling news from home and little sleep combined like oil and water and for what seemed like no reason I found my self spontaneously bursting into tears, then hysterical laughter and then once again reclaiming my sadness, my irrational sadness.

This morning we are all feeling fine again. Listening to some funk and headed back towards Memphis and then on to Arkansas to the President’s birth place. We woke up early to have breakfast in Nashville with one of my best friends from Boulder, Kate, who has just permanently moved to TN. We’ll miss her so so much. We tried, with brute force, to put her in the van, into the already over crowded equipment cage after we were done sitting out on the sunny porch deliriously sipping on coffee. She would have none of it.

Nashville turned out to be a really cordial place to play. I guess I hadn’t expected it, because of the huge “Music Business” present in Nashville. I’d imagined that people wore their prejudgements out to shows here, the way they wear boots, not taking them off until they got back home. It would seem I was wrong, though when I told people they could dance if they wanted to I was informed that “people in Nashville don’t dance.” But a few braves got up and shook it (they must have been from out of town).

When I introduced the band last night, I introduced Chris Soucy as “.. Otherwise known as Bowling Ball Baby.” About 3 days ago he received a curious e-mail from an unidentified mailer which said approximately: “Where were you at the show? Every one missed you and were asking about you. I got naked. We all got naked. I miss you. Love you Bowling Ball Baby,” and no name. The letter has consumed Chris’s mind for days. Who could this mad stalker be? And now we can’t stop calling him “bowling ball baby,” and it’s off shoots (B.B.B. King, etc.). Quite fun.

A sunflower I’ve named “daisy” sits patiently in a glass of water in a cup holder beside me. It’s the last living flower from a bouquet a friend, Jason sent to the show after Chicago. It makes me happy to have flowers in the bus though the boys make fun of me for wrapping them up like babies in hotel towels.

I guess I just can’t help myself.

The heat is oppressive and makes it hard to stop shaking behind the wheel. As I eat peanut m & m’s I tell the boys how much I love them, each of their hands reach out cupped and with their cutest little boy voices they ask “How much?” I can’t resist them and pass out the candy.

May 21 – Juanita’s, Little Rock, Arkansas

As the thunder storm rolled over Arkansas, we sat and signed the colorful laminated menus at “The Waffle House” for our waitresses, Melba and Mary. We laughed to tears, video taped and I whistled and scribbled out my breakfast order. (I’m on vocal rest today). Last night after we locked ourselves out of the van, Brian met Todd, a nice guy who runs “The Waffle House” chain and who offered to hook us up with breakfast in the morning. When we told Delucchi I swear I’ve never seen his face light up so bright, “Waffle House?!” he uttered staring off into the horizon. I got excited just looking at the excitement in his eyes.

I had to get up early for a radio interview. 7:45, well 7:50, the wakeup call people always manage to call 5 minutes late! We were at the Waffle House by 9:30. I had runny cheese eggs and toast and the guys had double dose waffles. We drank coffee and oj and when we were done and stuffed, our lovely waitress Melba came over all glowing southern like, to our brown and yellow counter and said: “Now, on the voucher Todd gave me, you all’ve got forty dollars and twelve cents left so WHAT CAN I GET YOU TO EAT? Y’all want some pie honey? or some more grits?” We all laughed because none of us could imagine how you’d spend $40 more at the waffle house. Melba was great and Mary made our day.

Now we’re on our way to Mobile, Alabama. New flowers are propped up between the back of the back seat and the cage so I can see them.

Rain

Funk

Sudden bursts of laughter, the residue from last night.

The sound of thunder and the brights of lightning.

Last night at Juanita’s was a benefit gig to fight breast cancer, an event really, ‘cus it wasn’t just me. It was a “Poetry Slam” which I’d never been witness to before. I’d get up and sing for like a 1/2 hour and then some radio characters would get up and introduce some poets and then when the radio guys left, I became the MC, and then I’d sing again. During one of my sets, a woman in white who appeared to be on LSD, came up and sat on the stage right at my feet and stayed there insisting that she talk to me about something! Now! She was mellow but the bouncers removed her.

Some of the poets were good, some were not so good and some propositioned Soucy and Brian to accompany them in their readings which they gladly did. My guys are the greatest. They did a great job!

Peggy, who booked the event, was glorious, and stunning, and sweet and bought us all a drink after we had loaded out and locked 4 of the 5 existing keys, in the van. The fifth key belonged to Kenny and was back in the hotel room, #805.

As we drank our mochatinis, Brian made breakfast plans for us, Chris drooled over Peggy and Delucchi, our hero X2, drove back to the hotel, in a borrowed car, to get Kenny’s Moby key.

Fantastic!!!!!

May 21 – South Side Music Hall, Mobile, Alabama

The boys make fun of me calling me R2D2 because I’m on vocal rest and have to whistle in an exaggerated manner to get my meanings across. The show was smoky and went late (3:00am). Apparently there is no curfew in Mobile and college students tossed each other glances and pick-up lines in the open air bars, Bourbon Street style, as we drove past them slowly, like ghosts at 4am.

A HUGE LAUGH: My favorite thing happened last night, I couldn’t finish one of my songs “Red Room.” You may think I’m joking, I mean what kind of screwy favorite thing is that to have, right? But I couldn’t finish because I was laughing so hard. And laughter is priceless, especially this particular type of laughter. It’s the bottle rocket kind. The type that bubbles inside and bubbles as though you were being shakein like a soda can and then the top just blows right off and you explode. The laughter splits your tightly pursed lips and a sound that you’d expect to come from an elephant’s trunk comes out of your mouth and the sound in itself is so embarrassing that you might for an instant just forget what had made you laugh in the first place and start laughing at your self for the noise that was just emitted from your body. It’s that elephant noise that kills you man, every time, because if you’d just let yourself chuckle in the first place everything would have dispersed, the way you can let air slowly out of a shaken soda can to avoid a catastrophe. But not after the elephant sound….no no no…Because then you are doomed for the rest of your life to laugh not only at the funny thing, not only at the embarrassing elephant squeal you allowed to squeeze from your lips, but at the fact that you shouldn’t even have been laughing at the funny thing in the first place.

THE FUNNY THING

This kid, Eric, opened up for us, this charismatic, talented, fun lovin’ guy. He had a bubble maker full of ivory liquid soap that he’d creatively hooked up to his pedal board so that he could just step on one of the buttons with his foot to turn the bubble blower and as he told us before we went on: “A good performer makes for a good show, but a good performer with bubbles has the makings for a GREAT show.” And I was inclined to agree. Remembering blowing bubbles off the top floor of our house with my little brother, Ben, made me happy and when Eric suggested I use the bubbles in my own act I jumped at the opportunity.

The machine was just this black box with a rotating wheel and a little fan on it sitting there innocently stage left in front of Kenny. But the rotating wheel had like at least 20 bubble wands on it so I could see that it had the potential to blow some BUBBLE. I didn’t think to use it until we were about to play “Red Room.” I was thinkin’ ‘I’ll just turn on some bubbles to create a sexy red room vibe.’ So I crunch the bubble blowing button on the multi buttoned petal board and the bubble started flowing.

Now there happened to be this biker guy, wearing this black Harley Davidson t- shirt, graying hair, kind of liquored up, who was making eyes at me all night and he was standing not 3 feet in front of the bubble fan, leaning in that “I’m the shit” way, up against a wooden pillar.

When the bubbles started they came out furiously and in such a huge mass his first reaction was to fight them off and he did so with waving arms, head bent into them looking like he was trying to swim up an avalanche as the song started.

I guess he realized how ridiculous he must have looked trying to fight against the bubbles but he also was too cool to abandon his pillar post position so he just let the soapy bubbles attack him and resumed his composure. Now the nature of these soapy bubbles was such that they didn’t seem to burst….Ever, and even after the show was over and done we were still finding unpopped bubbled sitting a top amplifiers and instruments.

These unpoppable bubbles simply flew from the mouth of the black box and found a surface to attach to. Now because I didn’t know that you had to hit the button twice to turn the translucence off they just kept coming out and in such great quantity that from the back of the room you couldn’t see Kenny through them! And they came out for the whole song.

All those unpopping bubbles simply flew out and attached themselves to the Harley man who didn’t know they weren’t just hitting him and bursting. I could see him standing there, stoically, staring at me, listening intensely to me sing. He had the look of a sex starved bull getting ready to mate and he was covered, and I mean covered (his whole beard and hair and shoulders) in irridescent glowing bubbles. And since he was standing in the front, most of the others in the audience saw too and pointed laughingly at him, which only made keeping the laughter in, harder and when my tightly clenched lips cracked to sing the third verse I lost it. I had to turn around. I tried to go back for the chorus but catching him, unchanged, out of the corner of my eye, no knowing I was laughing at him, I blew it and couldn’t even attempt the end lyrics.

Man, it’s awful but I’ll cherish that memory the rest of my days.

Thank you Mobile, GOODNIGHT.

May 22 – Howlin Wolf, New Orleans, LA

We were all exhausted as we rolled into NOLA but excited too. In fact it was all we talked about and looked forward to for the past two weeks. I teased the boys saying “Wouldn’t it be awful if we drove to New Orleans to find that it wasn’t there any more?” They didn’t think it was very funny. New Orleans was there when we arrived and sunny too. We checked in and showered before heading over to the Wolf, thinking that maybe we’d be just late enough to be on time for N.O style sound check. But to our dismay we were still early. 2 hours early, but that’s how things work here in the South. We ate Mexican right around the corner. Huge burritos and huge tacos and HUGE waters.

We were opening for The Continental Drifters, who are a local and absolutely Great band. Not to mention that they are family style nice and now I’ll have to miss them.

The room was relatively full when we played. It was a pretty uneventful set except that during “For Kim,” Kenny was wriggling around. He was trying to hint at me that he had to pee but I just thought he was dancing. Finally he couldn’t wait any longer, the poor guy, and he dropped his bass mid-song and flew off stage left toward the control room only to discover that the rest rooms were located on the opposite side of the stage……Lets just say that the cup wasn’t quite large enough. It happens to all of us at some time. Poor Kenny.

After the Continental Drifters set we packed up and drove out to The Bitter End, a bar up town where George Porter, Jr., Brint Anderson were playing. But when we got there at 1:30, to our dismay, they had finished and were just hanging out on the street corner. We all went in and had a drink together. Brint offered to cook us a home made meal at his house the next day which tasted sooooooo good. I tell you, the generosity of the musicians down here!!!!! Brint is our hero: beer battered asparagus, pecan pie, crab cakes and pesto bread….MMMMMuMMMMM.

Eric, who’d opened up for us in Mobile…..You know the boy with the bubbles…..Well he ended up coming down to New Orleans the next day and has been hanging with us on these luxurious 3 days off. We’ve grown very attached to him and tomorrow it’ll be sad to say good-bye. It’s one of the hardest part of being on the road…meeting such great people and having to leave them.

May 26 – The Booth, Tuscaloosa, AL

WED. SALLY TAYLOR, 25 cent BEER, read the marquee outside and the boys and I gathered beneath it with our cameras, laughing hysterically and taking turns snapping pictures of it. But it was worrisome. I mean it was the opposite of a guaranteed quiet, listening audience.

We left New Orleans more exhausted than we had arrived, listening to Brint Anderson’s CD, which is very excellent. Brian and I went rollerblading upon arrival at our motel just outside of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Back and forth past the IHOP, past the Lonestar Steak House past the Kmart as the sun got closer to the earth as Kenny slept and Soucy tracked down his running shoes. He found them. He’d left them back in a snack basket in Arkansas.

Beside the marquee, which was enough to frighten any singer-songwriter straight out of their minds, the stage was a mutilated, beer laden, plywood slab nailed into a couple 2X4s that bounced like a diving board when you walked. The bar was quiet except for the Miss Universe pageant which was on the TV above the bar. Women in huge feathered outfits moved with seeming ease across waxy floors with sucked in bellies and smiles which looked harder to get into than some of the costumes.

We were surprised when the sound in the place wasn’t too bad and even more surprised when the bar filled up to capacity for our show (or maybe for the 25 cent beer). Tuscaloosa is a college town and so it’s somewhat dead around this time of year but as I was told, summer school had just started up.

I couldn’t really dance without being in danger of chipping a tooth, what with the stage’s trampoline resemblance. But we had a really nice show. The boys even got to talk to some really nice girls. (But the boys know, they’ve got to pass Sally approval before they’re allowed to come back to the hotel with us, and even then, they have to take the rollaway {ha ha}).

Just another example of “‘can’t judge a book…..” The Booth is a cool little spot.

May 27 – The Variety Playhouse and Smith’s Old Bar, Atlanta, Georgia.

For a two shows night, we had a surprisingly uneventful time in Georgia.

Atlanta’s sky line was welcoming, bright and because it was night, we were late for sound check, if there is such a thing. It’s just that sound check is hardly ever held on time, especially when you’re the opener, and last night was no exception

 

.

I was supposed to sound check at 6:30, get picked up and raced to Smith’s Old Bar for a half hour acoustic show and then escorted back to The Variety Playhouse, a half hour drive, to get on stage with my band at 8:00 to open up for Beth Nielsen Chapman. We all wondered, doubtingly, how that was going to happen and as it turned out we did the show’s in reverse order.

The Variety Playhouse shwung us with a beautiful upstairs green room, stocked with everything on our rider plus some, while we waited for Beth’s sound check to end.

I took my guitar out and started strumming GCD GCD GCD GCD. We sang all the songs that were cooked out of that potion; “Louie Louie,” “Hang on Sloopy,” “Wild Thing,” and all of them at the same time so that the songs sounded like speaking in outrageous tongues with forks.

Down stairs Beth said she’d liked what she’d heard coming from our dressing room, and I wondered how hard she’d actually listened. Beth has got an amazingly strong and angelic voice and it was a joy to open up for her, and what an attentive audience she has. So much the opposite of the crowd at Smith’s Old Bar.

Jesse, a charismatic, generous, unpresumptious cat came and picked me and took me in his midnight black truck to the bar right after our Playhouse set. Their joint was packed. I started playing solo acoustic as the curtains swept out around me. The people in the crowd paid me some of their attention but for the most part people seemed really drunk and more interested in scoping chicks than listening to music. It seemed to me as though I was staring out from a juke box on to a movie screen showing the 90’s version of Beach Blanket Bingo. It was so too loud and alcoholic to compete with so I played as loudly as I could, gaining the attention of about 75% of the room about 60% of the time I was up there and I wasn’t up there that long.

I didn’t feel insulted or anything but Jesse kept on apologizing and insisting that they do get a listening crowd there. I thought it was a pretty cool place and the people who listened all really seemed to dig it. That’s all that matters.

We played pool. I was awful but Jesse was on my team and we won again and again. The boys picked me up in Moby at 12:00 and took me out of the bar soaked from the heat and the exhaustion and the Georgia which hangs out stagnant in the air like liquid neon.

Flash flash flash flash flash.

May 28 – Harbor Docks, Destin, FL. (Memorial day weekend)

BOILED PEANUTS SUCK!!!! They have the consistency of worms and they taste like the ends of old dirty pens. But we had to try them, they were advertised everywhere!!!!! I haven’t seen so many blinking lights since Vegas. The venders are all lined up, one after the other along the road sides with neon lights flashing “Boiled Peanuts, Fried Peanuts, Green Peanuts….Get ‘um now! Taste them! MMMM!” We pulled off the side of the road somewhere near Dothan, Alabama. The woman selling the nuts informed us that we were in the Peanut capital of the U.S. Soucy wanted to Memorex everyone’s first experience with the boiled peanuts and handed each of us a shelled nut. The skin was all soggy and slimy and reminded me of the things my mother use to rescue from my baby fingers before they met their doom in my mouth. Maybe I knew better not to eat it but everyone else was doing it and so it seemed like it might be all right. You’ve got to try everything once. Kenny went first, not that we were going in any specific order, he just got to the nut before the rest of us. His face scowled and you could tell, he’d wished he hadn’t been so quick to swallow it. Maybe we should have heeded his reaction, but like anything disgusting, you need to try it first hand. The slug like substance in my mouth seemed almost tolerable at first but then the taste, that rotted shell taste that smells like oil refinery and dirt, I just swallowed, as Kenny had, to get it out of my mouth, and followed it by guzzles of orange soda. Everyone in the band had the same reaction and I wondered how these peanut galleries had enough boiled peanut fans to survive? Or did they only make their livings off ignorant, but curious tourists driving through their nutty capital?

We had to stop at a grocery shop to find some food to get the slug taste out of our mouths. My cell phone rang. It’s always embarrassing to have that alarm like ring go off in a public place. It was my friend Jason from Chicago who said he might come to the show in St. Louis. I talked as I perused the 20, or some odd, ghost town like, empty aisles, finally deciding on some organic carrots and honey mustard. We bought a dull bladed carrot peeler and I diligently scraped off the carrot skin into an empty coffee mug, thinking about how I wished I had gone on vocal rest. My voice is starting to get krevelly.

A chintzy, gold inlayed, pastel painting on a gas station wall reminded me of home back in Boulder and I felt homesick for a second. It started to rain, that Florida style rain, where the drops are indistinguishable from the temperature and the viscosity of the air itself and I sat in the passenger side seat doing vocal exercises hoping my voice would de-krevel.

We worried that the rain would conflict with the outsidedness of the Harbor Dock’s stage. But by the time we showed up in Destin the weather had cleared and I went on a little jog, passing by groomed lawns that reminded me of Lee Press-On Nails and confetti and the sorrow of morning hangovers. I felt like if I ran far enough down this mirage I would run right into a huge magnified melanoma. Sorry to be so disgusting.

Charles styled us full force. He’s the fine young man who booked us into “Harbor Docks,” (well, with the help of Pat Boone, a friend). He fed us sushi, all we could eat style, wine, fresh smoked tuna, and hooked us up with his office space to hang out in.

Eric came down from Mobile to see us. We’d missed him and he’d written and recorded this brilliant song which was a recollection and tribute to the time we all spent together in NOLA.

A bunch of our beautiful friends from Memphis (Newby’s) showed up unexpectedly which completely overjoyed us and made us feel much more soulful. Nonetheless we were worried about how this huge, extremely drunk, youthful, Memorial Day crowd would react to our music. The first set was difficult. There aren’t a lot of dance tunes in it and so there were the people in the front who were diligently listening, and seemingly annoyed with the drunken bantering the rest of the crowd was doing. A very drunk male duo were dancing and heckling so I grabbed one of them up on stage and told the audience he was going to do a modern dance interpretation of the next song. We started playing Actress and this guy was hysterical. He was dancing completely off the beat and flapping his arms and we loved him. We loved him so much that we allowed him and his friend to come up and sing Johnny Cash while we accompanied him. They forgot all the words. That was funny too. The harbor was directly behind us and a crowd of pelicans watched, flapped and dried their feathers atop the barnacled pilings. Chris Soucy (“birdman,” “bowling ball baby.”) turned around a couple of times to sing directly to them so as not to neglect the birds.

Eric pulled together a set on the spot and played during set break.

“All southerners aren’t rednecks,” they all said apologetically. I never thought they were. People here seem to have a complex about being prejudged as rednecks. They all seemed really nice to me.

We started the second half of the night by singing “If I had a Million Dollars” by The Bare Naked Ladies along with Eric and then we jammed a funky madeup song that got people on the dance floor. Since we were making it up we didn’t know exactly how to end it and it went on for approx 15 minutes after which I explained that we were from Colorado.

It ended up being a really fun night!!! I like an outdoor venue. Charles shwinged us with 3, not 2 but 3, rooms at the Best Rest Inn and I got my own room!!! I love these guys but man it was nice to just be lonely for one night.

Pink Flamingos!!!

May 29 – The Landing, Jacksonville, FL

The day was ominous. Huge black thunder heads threatened to crack and spill and the Landing is out side.

The promoter, however looked optimistic. “This’ll clear. It’s not supposed to rain.” He said, looking doubtingly up at the threatening sky. But where I come from you don’t tell those kind of clouds not to open up so we discretely tucked our instruments away and covered the electronics under jackets. But he was correct in forecasting the weather. It didn’t rain and although wisps of clouds came teasingly close to touching our heads up there on stage, they never let go on us.

The stage was directly in front of a white capped river and boats passed up and down behind us. In the center of the circular square were jugglers, balloonists, and clowns for the children who were there intermixed with the grown-ups. My hair was down, a bad fashion decision because it all ended up in my throat when I’d go to take a breath and into my face so that I looked like “cousin IT.” A sweet and tiny girl, Jacqueline, approached the stage. We’d met earlier, she’d come up to me after sound check and told me: “You have…uh..uh a pretty voice.” The man who I was in conversation with asked me if she was my daughter? “No,” I said, “but I wish she were.” She promised to help me get people to dance during our set and when she approached the stage she was covered in face paint. Someone had made her face into a beautiful butterfly and her hand extended upward and in her tiny fist she had a balloon hat for me in the shape of a flower. I put it on immediately and wore it for the rest of the show. We still have it in the van, though it’s somewhat smaller and deflated, I love it because sweet little Jacqueline gave it to me….. She made me realize just how much I want a baby someday.

We were just the opening band. We opened up for a band called “Big Sky,” who were talented, and funny, and sweet, and handsome and openers for a Jacksonville radio station DJ who was supposed to be the “finale”; but he flopped, he was way too loud, and everyone left.

After checking into the inn, Chris S. and Chris D went back out into the night following some leads some girls had dropped but what they found was 1. A warehouse stuffed with everything but the women they had gone to look for; 2. Jacksonville is the break dancing capital of the world; 3. Men who are on steroids are mostly angry. I couldn’t sleep but I didn’t want to go out so I stayed in and up with my horse voice and wrote a new song about not being able to sleep.

We’re in Savanna, Georgia, on our day off and I’m not speaking. It’s beautiful here. All the trees have long, flowing, gray beards and the air feels sexy when you walk through it. Our hotel has a pool and noisy children in it who are permanent background music. We watch the Discovery channel, a special on rollercoasters and the Chris’s try to figure out which route to take on the map.

May 31 – The Windjammer

There comes a time when you get tired of looking at the map. I think if this music stuff doesn’t work, we could all become Professional National Cab Drivers: “Uh excuse me Mr. Delucchi, could you please take me to 71 W. Rumbucks St. It’s on the North west corner…. And, oh yes, that’s in Wichita.” I mean there’s a period of time in the beginning of a tour, when the map is the only exciting thing to do. But now, well lets just say “the thrill is gone.” I think if I look at the map one more time I’ll explode and how many Oak streets are there any how? And another thing. I keep going to the hotel door, trying the key and then knocking and knocking until some unfamiliar face comes to the door and tells me to go away “this is our room,” they say and then I realize I’m not in Kansas any more and that I’m actually on the 5th floor….Some where. But …..where?

The boy’s can’t stop talking about Vonda, the bartender at the Windjammer, but there where hundreds of beautiful sunbathing beauties everywhere yesterday, traipsing past the stage from the beach into the changing room and back again, wearing glittery suits, and glistening from the ocean’s pearlings beading off their oiled suntans. Brian did some double takes that even Jack Ritter (3’s Company) would have been proud of. But all of our guys were pretty bad, in that sweet single guy way.

That’s right, the Windjammer is right on the ocean. We hadn’t seen an actual beach in maybe over….6 months and so while the buffed bodies distracted me I was more mesmerized by the waves and soft sand.

Buoys, fishing nets, surf boards, and posters of waves with tiny people in them, hung about the colorful bar which ran opposite the stage. A mirror hung behind the bar so that we could watch our legs dance and bend from on stage which seemed tall and made me feel like I was singing from on top of a building.

We arrived at 1:30 and seeing as the show was on for 3:00 we didn’t have much time for a sound check. I rushed into the bathroom to change quickly. The floor was wet and sandy and pretty cementy and grubby, and I had to balance on one flip flop while trying to put my legs through a skirt. Women accidentally entered and apoligeticly exited the stall I was occupying, due to a broken latch. Two girls argued outside about whether or not to use a fake I.D. they had obtained, and I tried to use the mirror over the sink. It was so warped and gray I could hardly see my face and so I squinted and moved closer to my image, accidentally bumping up against the counter and giving myself a huge wet mark across the front of my skirt. I had to laugh at myself as I rushed up to get on stage in time as the boys started to play and I looked like I had…. well you know.

The first set is always hard to play in a bar. It’s just that it’s slower and so you can always hear people trying to talk or order beer or pick up a date. But people were enthusiastic despite the noise.

After our set there was a bikini contest going on and we all rushed outside to see. The boys had been waiting for this moment since Casey, our booking agent, had asked me if I would be offended if there would be a bikini contest at our show. I told him that I would play the show under one condition, that I be allowed to perform in a bikini also (of course I was joking!!!!!). The boys wanted to be judges but it turned out to be one of those ‘dignified yelling for the prettiest girl’ awards. I yelled for all the girls equally loud and I thought they all should have won just for having the guts to get up on a runway in front of a Memorial Day crowd with tiny dental floss bathing suits on. I still had a sharpie in hand and obliged people by staining their chests, arms and backs with my signature. In fact I signed so many greasy bodies that my pen stopped working.

The second set was great!!! Except for the tens of millions of requests that were yelled up to play “Carolina in my Mind.” I explained that we didn’t know how to play it, which was the truth. Also we like to keep it separate, not because we don’t absolutely love it, but well because we’re trying to do our thing up here.

When the final song had been sung and we had loaded up the van, we got to go swimming, accompanied by Travis, a new friend, and his crowd. The ocean felt like the sky, so warm and freeing, and I felt as though I would just swim to heaven through the waves.

A great crew from 96 The Wave (Miles, Mike, Ray, and Johnathan) introduced themselves. They had been graciously plugging our show all day. They are an independent radio station (YEAH YEAH YEAH) and said they’d play “Tomboy Bride.” For those of you out there who don’t know, the radio waves are mostly owned by conglomorate business men who probably don’t even listen to music. These stations (Dependents..Not independents) depend on BIG record labels to give them HUGE money in order to get their signed bands on the radios. The D.J’s are NOT alowed to play what they like. The only music that gets onto the radio is music that the Record Companies pay to get onto the air. For this reason you will not hear “Tomboy Bride” on the radio cus I have better things to spend my money on like uh….. making more music (plus I don’t even have the political pull with radio to get play). So what am I asking: “Be conscious of what you’re listening to.” I mean listen to high powered radio if that’s what you like but also support Independent radio stations. There are hardly any left and they represent the freedom of speech and the love of music. Listen to what you think is good! Not what people on the radio say is good…they only say it’s good cus they’re getting paid to say it. Look for great music cus God knows it’s out there in abundance and it’s not always on the Big Labels.