Friday, September 26, 2003

out of the blue, into the slipstream
(some notes from the walkmen/kaito west coast tour)
(from the dramatic persona of bassist Peter Bauer)

Derek: "Hey, Adrian! What's up?"
other end of phone: [unintelligible]
Derek: "Are you doing anything tomorrow?"
other end of phone: [unintelligible]
Derek: "Cool. I need a favor. Any chance you could swing by a club in the next hour, pick up a suitcase, and either drive or hop on a commuter plane to san francisco within the next 24 hours, like an organ courier? I'd make it worth your time."
other end of phone: [unintelligible]
Derek: "This is Derek."

[it's 3 a.m. in canada in a backroom speakeasy where they serve pilsner in glass mugs, there are 9 customers, 1 piano, and 2 mics.]
"I awoke last night to the sound of thunder
How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain’t it funny how the night moves
When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose
Strange how the night moves
With autumn closing in."
[this ends pete's set, but kicks off a long night of piano bar tunes. it is the warmest moment of the tour.]

(remember, folks, dramatic persona of pete bauer)
It's sometime between ten and eleven o'clock at night. We're barelling through the mountains near the Oregon/California border, around 70 mph. I'd be bored out of my skull, but we're watching movies on Ham's computer. After the complete failure of the big chill and a sort of sucess in swept away, we're watching the big budget thriller con air. the movie sound is coming through the speakers, and the car is jumping around like the plane is. this is scary. this is great. oh, wow... here comes buschemi's character. he makes a face. Derek laughs. I look up. we're speeding 'round another corner. my eyes are on the road. Derek's the driver, and his eyes are on the movie. we are absolutely, positively, going to die.

We're driving back up to seattle after the last show of the tour, in portland. Walt's riding shotgun. We're stopped at a light right before the bridge that will take us to the 5 freeway. Someone on the sidewalk screams into Walt's window:
"Where are you guys going?"
Walt: "We're going to hell."
Walt rolls the window up. That was the last moment of fun on the tour.

(dramatic persona of Derek)
I had a fruit-eating contest with Dee, the drummer for Kaito, backstage at graceland. He beat me with a banana, but I schooled him with an orange. Gemma, Kaito's bassist (pictured below), had a different sharpie tatoo every night.

more pictures from the tour can be found here. I was going to offer two rounds of pictures, winners and "Psych Out!" but there weren't too many winners and the ones that were alright were all pretty psychedelic anyway, so there you go.

next week we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming. thanks again to everyone on the tour, and everyone I met along the way. i had a great time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003


ok. I'm home, and I'm healing. the tour was great. now i have to put on the breaks. i traveled 3520 miles in 10 days, and for a few days i'm going to have trouble getting used to waking up in the same bed two mornings in a row and not selling a single t-shirt.

to the walkies: thanks for coming out. i had a great time and the west coast thanks you.

to kaito (uk): you guys were awesome.

to anyone else who's reading this: I'll have pictures from the tour up here in the next day or two, along with a narrative of some of the more interesting goings on. until then, i recommend you read this article from the LA Weekly's Jay Babcock about how today's "retro-rock" is driven by and made possible by modern information technology, not the 10-20 year cycle of pop-culture reminiscence that brought about cheap trick covering "don't be cruel" or hair-metal's glam re-tread.