If you hate crowds…..

Photo by Ilijc Albanese
Photo by Ilijc Albanese

Alrighty. Let’s just do this live off the floor.

Yeah.

Baby.

Hola from The Mission in San Francisco. Everyone’s saying it’s getting so gentrified (and constantly lit on fire!) but there’s still lots of hobos. It’s been a bit of a rough tour. Personally, I blame our booking agent. We went from Seattle to LA with five days off and no shows in between.

After the Seattle show — at the Blue Moon Tavern where Tom Robbins allegedly wrote all his books — we came up with a new ad campaign for our band:

“If you hate crowds we are YOUR band!”

Naturally, we ran out of money and the band mutinied. It’s hard to get people out in LA because the whole place is a giant network of freeways, and drunk driving is so maligned these days. We stayed with our friend Chantale in Highland Park, which is off the 110 freeway. It was designed when cars didn’t go over 70 miles an hour, so the on ramps are stumpy and terrifying. After completely flattening the cushion of hospitality, we went up up up to Lake Arrowhead — 5,000 feet to be precise, in the San Bernardino forest. It’s an old mountain resort. Very cute cottages. We were there to be the musical guests on our friends JP and Julie’s radio show, The American Parlour Songbook. They do a live show at The Tudor House Theatre and we stayed across the road in an old whore house. Just to be clear — it is a FORMER whore house, not a house for old whores. We found out that it used to be Bugsy Siegel’s old haunt. There are underground tunnels and rooms with meat hooks below the theatre. Everyone told us the whore house was haunted, but I didn’t feel anything (although several times unidentified moans were heard through the walls).

Also on the show was a comedian named Matt Knudsen. Very funny and surprisingly undamaged. The show was live and scary and I tried it sober which at this point is like free acid.

We got paid by check which sucks if you’re in a foreign country.

Got up at 6am after drinking 2 gooners of Liberty Creek ($4.99, bottom shelf) and headed eight hours north to our afternoon show in San Francisco at Thee Parkside. Had a $2.50 gas station breakfast at Del Taco and half Hershey’s hot chocolate, half coffee. With the hot sauce it made kind of a poor man’s mole.

When we got to SF, we followed a route that took us under a lot of overpasses and we saw a lot of tweaked-out homeless people. I told the band I had the GPS on “hobo setting” so they’d feel more grateful about having a place to stay.

We came out of that van like rabid animals. Got changed in the can and put on lipstick under a red light between the punk rock stickers on the mirror. Yeah baby, just like the old days! Our friends Feral (The Burner, The Biker, and the Babe) opened the show — they do a version of “Walking after Midnight” in octave harmonies that is very interesting. I decided to drink tequila on the rocks. We hit the stage like pent-up motherfuckers. I had also been very inspired by the comedian, and was feeling crazy. Joel and Dennis sounded great and helped frame my crazy with hot licks. When we finished, people literally threw money at us, which was nice because it had been a while since we’d touched any. I had TRANSFORMED from a butter-guzzling Netflix addict to a lean, mean, touring machine!

Went home with Cindy from Feral to Oakland and had a BBQ and petted all the animals and passed out on a very dodgy inflatable mattress. Dennis smoked some pot with Norman that kept making him fall over. You should have seen him trying to take off his pants. He was like a regular Jack the Tripper.

Woke up and had fancy breakfast with our hosts. Scrambled eggs with salmon and pecorino, chicken sausages, and tiny blueberry waffles. After eating, Cindy took us to a wine tasting in Alameda, an abandoned naval base neighbourhood with a clear view of San Francisco across the bay. Notes of oak, cherry, and leather. And free! Cindy told us a story about inadvertently getting hired to play a gig at a sex club.

Last night we played at The Make Out Room — part of Sad Bastard Night. Very mellow. The host left after his set to play another gig. Very strong margaritas, red velvet curtains, a million disco balls. I love this bar. It’s kind of like a bigger version of our place in Chinatown. There was a heckler. His best moment was right after we finished our set. Joel yelled out, “Let’s go to that sex club!”

Cindy replied, “It’s only open on Saturdays.”

“THIS TOWN HAS CHANGED!” yelled the heckler.

Made no money, but came home to fresh-squeezed orange juice and $3 wine and I think some people from last night are going to come to tonight’s show. Apparently, If we don’t bring 40 people they get to kill us. Or something. I just skimmed the email. Currently staying at our sweet friends Wig and Ad’s. Planning a mission in the Mission today. Maybe pick up some stripey socks. All of mine have holes in them.

More later. Love you, miss you,

xo cm

Words: Carolyn Mark

Photo: Ilijc Albanese

originally published in analogue magazine’s June/July 2015 issue