The day started on a funny note as Gordon and I had to drive to Bowling Green to pick Pete and Jordan up. Not so funny you say? Well, it is funny in context, jerk. You see, when youíre on the road, you often just stay with whoever offers, so Pete and Jordan spent the night at the apartment of a girl we met at the show. The only catch to that situation was that she had to report to work at Bobís Big Boy at 6:30 in the morning the next day. No problem, right? Wrong. She didnít trust them to be in her apartment alone (good call...Pete Galea=kleptomaniac/undie sniffer), and so they too reported to Bobís at that ungodly hour. All this wouldnít be so bad if Gordon and I hadnít ourselves stayed up until 6:00 AM drinking beer in Toledo with Heide. And so it was around 11:00 when we finally got up and 11:45 by the time we picked them up. Now people, if you do the math, like I have, thatís about five hours at a Bobís Big Boy in the middle of Bible belt, looking like two unshowered gay hustlers still in last nightís clothes. Rock.
Anyway, we make our way to Cleveland and are pretty sad. The last day of a tour is always a huge letdown. Real life looms ominously and you have to start easing yourself back from your delusions of rock grandeur. But we put those things aside and played really well. To paraphrase O-townís Ashley Angel - "I listened to myself for a minute and thought Ďhey, Iím kicking assí I looked over at Pete, and he was kicking ass. Then I looked at Gordon, and he was kicking ass. Finally I looked back at Jordan, and people you know he was kicking ass!" Our friends in rock Dakota Floyd and Racer Mason played fantastically and, without getting too sentimental here, I think we all felt like we had made some good friends (sniffle sniffle). Drinks were drunk, hugs were hugged and we all went our separate ways.
And so thatís it. That was the tour that was, in all its gory detail. Thank you to everyone who let us stay with them, let us eat their food, let us use their showers, let us use their toothbrushes (kidding) and let us drink their beer. You wonít be forgotten. Finally, thanks especially to everyone who came to the shows and let us rock you, and, hopefully, let us into your hearts.
After the events of Champaign, I was pretty worried about Toledo. Add to that that the last time we played there the night literally ended in fistfights and tears and you can imagine the anxiety I was feeling.
Anyway, we rolled into town uneventfully and started unloading. Heide, the club owner, was there to meet us and she is so nice (and offers so much free beer!) that much of my anxiety subsided right away. The only troubling thing now was that we were scheduled as part of the early show, which we thought meant "play for nobody, losers." Luckily, the show was also a record release for a really cool band called the Break-Up and there were actually a TON of people there. We rocked and it felt really good to play for a large, appreciative crowd. Toledo rules.
Ok, enough boring show stuff already, whereís the funny story?
So after the show we were in such good moods and the beer was so far from costing anything that we went, as the natives call it, buck wild. The unfortunate truth was, I probably should have only gone "doe wild" because two hours later I was certain that I was going to throw up something fierce. I would have killed for a bed at this point but Heide was putting us up so we were stuck at the club until the bitter end. In a really weird twist, the late show band was the Demolition Doll Rods, a very cool and actually very successful band from Detroit who play crazy punk songs in g-strings and bondage gear. Despite my state they were awesome. However, there was this one dude who looked like he had drunk a keg and a half and then topped it off with a kilo of meth who just wouldnít leave the singer alone. Every time she turned around he would grab her mic stand and hit her in the butt with the mic, as if to say "do you get it? This could be my dick. Do you get it?" Yeah, dude, we get it, youíre amazing.
Anyway, a little later Iím in the bathroom. This same guy and a friend of his come in together and are talking pretty loudly. I have earplugs in so I canít hear what theyíre saying, but Iím pretty sure theyíre talking about me. Suddenly, this guy claps me on the shoulder really hard and wonít let go. I, of course, freak out, shreik and run out of the bathroom without even finishing. I'm a very brave man. And as if that werenít enough, later in the night Gordon and I are talking when this very same guy comes up behind Gordon and whacks him in the head for no reason. He then turns and walks away without saying anything at all. Now, I donít use the word crazy very often, but people, that guy was CRA-ZEE.
It was a wacky night to say the least. I also did not vomit so yay me.
The day started on a somewhat trying note for me. I had had enough to drink in Chicago that I forgot about my BROKEN FOOT!!!! and still jumped around like an idiot at the show. This was mistake number one. Mistake number two was walking my ass all over the city in search of food and thrift store bargains. I was not a happy man, or as my girlfriend says, man-child. I did, however, find an issue of Guitar magazine that was all about the making of Appetite for Destruction so all was not lost.
Anyway, we headed out for Champaign with the promoter promising a large turnout of comely college ladies for Jordan and Pete, and discount beer for me and Gordon. This was not to be. It turns out that Vanilla Ice was playing that night (yes, that Vanilla Ice) and he stole all of Mike and Mollyís regulars. The result of this was that the beer was not all that discounted, there was no one at the show, and the most comely of all the ladies was this three toothed woman named "Pattie" who slurred into my ear that she wanted to take me home and buy me cigarettes. I told her no thanks but that she should go talk to Jordan. She said "Sorry, honey, I donít like the skinny ones." Jordan 1, Joe 0.
Unsurprisingly, the show bit some serious ass, mostly on account of me. I was all distracted and anxious and just couldnít loosen up. The rest of the fellers persevered and we slogged through the set, but I was pretty upset. Luckily, after we retired to our borrowed digs, Jordan made some fantastic pasta to keep me in shape for the ladies or any surpise marathons we might encounter. We ate like Italian kings and then hit the sack.
This day will forever be known as "Medical Emergency Day" in Fooled By April touring folklore. Strangely enough, the day began well. We woke up in Cleveland on a beautiful sunny morning and got ready for the long drive ahead of us but.....as I was packing I accidentally slammed my foot into a couch and broke a toe. (Dumbest question Iíve gotten in response to this story - "Why would you want to do that?" Answer: "Hmmm. I donít know. It was between breaking my foot, punching myself in the face or crushing my testicles with a tire iron and I guess the foot thing just made the most sense. Thanks for asking though.") Anyway, my toe turned a real nasty shade of purple and started to swell. To make matters worse, I ended up driving that day, so I rigged up a system where I had the good foot on the pedals and the broken one in a bag of ice. Itís a very safe practice that I advocate highly.
But I was not the only FXA soldier to fall on this day. Shortly into the drive, Gordon turns to me and says that he canít hear at all. This actually would be OK if it were Pete, who we pay for his sex appeal, not his musicianship, but Gordon needs to hear to sing. Luckily, his deafness was brought on only by the disgusting amounts of compacted earwax heís been building up for god knows how long. So we got him a bulb and some wax loosener and he went to work, eventually making what can only be described as a HIDEOUS mess in some baby changing station in Indiana. Sorry, Indiana, it wonít happen again.
Anywho, the show rocked despite all these maladies. We played well and were even joined by Big Bill Watterson of Dakota Floyd for our rendition of Glad Girls. In a true show of affection, Bill dumped beer all over me, then crushed and threw the empty can at me, ironically causing no further injuries.
Monday, and I'm back at work. Bad for me, good for you, as it means the next installment of the tour diary. Enjoy!
April 23rd - Akron - The Lime Spider
The Lime Spider is located in downtown Akron right next to a porno store. And so of course we went in to check it out. Now, I donít know how many porn stores youíve been to, but usually the magazines are out on the rack and you can peruse them to see what you want to buy. Not so in Akron. EVERYTHING was in shrink wrap, including regular magazines like Rolling Stone, Details...etc. I was confused and brought this up to Sorca (lead singer of rock outfit Dakota Floyd) who pointed to the video preview rooms in back and said "thatís why." Right after she said this, the store clerk looked at me and nodded that yes, that is why. I headed out to the van and am pretty sure I used about a half bottle of Purell. Nasty.
The show itself was great. Dakota rocked, as did our friends in the Perfect Guy, who played, as the name suggests, flawlessly. We also had a rocking good time, even though we took the stage at about 1:00 am for a crowd of about -30. The people who did stay were great though and weíre definitely heading back soon for a Friday or Saturday rockfest.
This stop was also where we learned that Gordon looks very similar to a young Steve Marriott of Small Faces fame. Look it up.
The day started badly as Pete and I were in some rough shape. All was forgiven at Wendyís though. This Wendyís was across the street from a high school with a huge glassed in lobby. For some reason a male sports team was practicing in the lobby as we were getting fat on our Classic Combos, numbered 2, 4, 7 and 10 respectively. Anyway, one of the teamís drills was to run very vigorously almost in place (with full arm and leg extensions), while slowly making their way across the lobby. Upon seeing this, and with no conscious thought, I sang at the top of my lungs "Heís a maniac, maniac on the floor!" We laughed for a LONG time while a bunch of high-schoolers fixed us with their "why are you so old and stupid?" stares. Rock.
Also rock was the rock show, which, if I do say so myself, rocked. We definitely got on the same page and gave it all to the four people in the bar. Dakota Floyd also rocked like rockstars, as did Racer Mason, who, if I can say it, rocked.
The only other event of note was that we played a video game in a Subway restaurant that physically requires you to dance in rhythm to win. Pete was EERILY good at this game. It was creepy. Pictures will be coming soon.
A day off this early in a tour can be a blessing or a curse. In our case it was a blessing. We needed a day to get focused, centered and ready for the rest of the tour. Big Bill Watterson of Dakota Floyd fame very generously lent us the use of his familyís summer house on Lake Erie and we headed out to get our heads on straight.
Unfortunately, the day was spent drinking, barbecueing and annoying the hell out of each other with the Hammond organ in Billís family room. To top it off Pete and I took some Yellowjackets, caffeine pills that promise an increase in energy, performance and a general sense of well being. I found that the label should have promised an increase in jitters, anxiety and diarrhea. We subsequently stayed up until 7 am playing scrabble and wishing we werenít so dumb. Oh well.
Part II - April 20th - Washington D.C. - The Velvet Lounge
The day started with me nearly in tears about my amp. Iím not lying when I say I love that little bastard like an electronic, noise producing son who I never have to feed. But worrying had to put aside as we drove to a very sexy barbecue courtesy of the Rags to Records record label, home to our tour mates, and good buddies, Dakota Floyd (www.dakotafloyd.com).
Much beer and sausage was had by all on a gorgeous afternoon in our nationís seat of democracy. And just when things couldnít get better I tested my amp and it worked like a dream (a good one, like when you fly, not a bad one, like when you get killed by a wolf). The relief was sweet and salty at the same time....oh, wait, that was the chorizo.
The show itself was....how do I put it? It was....eh? We played ok but got screwed by an overbooking and thus a lot of our friends missed us. I also broke my guitar (noticing a trend, anyone?) but eased that pain with many a Pabst Blue Ribbon. It was all made up for by Dakota Floyd, who rocked like it was their last day to rock on earth before they had to pack it up and rock other planets, not to return for years. Do check them out.
After the show, Gordon, Jordan and I went to Virginia with our great friend Justin and ended up staying up for 3 uncomfortable hours being forced to debate the merits and disadvantages of the bisexual lifestyle with his roommate, before ultimately crashing on the floor. Pete, on the other hand, took off with an old friend and got a good nightís sleep. Advantage: Pete.