Posts tagged Underground Music Showcase
Some of you stalkers may remember the recent trip Priscilla and I took to Denver Colorado for UMS. After getting in the car at about 10PM, Priscilla and I drove out of Denver, and didn’t stop until we’d reached home, sweet home, St. Paul, MN. I was getting out of the car, and decided we’d better get the guitars before we went inside to collapse and sleep for a day. I opened up the back of the Element and there was only one guitar. “Oh, we don’t have my bass…”
Priscilla broke down crying, which was very sweet of her. My Rickenbacker, 4003 bass is my most prized possession. Aside from the fact that, that’s just an awesome bass, mine was made more awesome by Frank Black when he signed it. He was a complete dick the entire time I interacted with him. I approached him as he was clearing some things off the stage at a small show at The Warehouse in LaCrosse when I was still in high school.
Me: Um, Frank?
Frank: *sighs* Yeees?
Me: Can you sign my bass?
Frank: I’d need a marker
Me: *waves hand already holding out marker*
This was probably the most pleasant of the three brief conversations I had with him that night. Despite him being a jerk, AND his musical downward spiral (I was quite found the the FIRST six solo albums. Now he’s got, like, forty or something- each progressively worse from what I could tell. This was on the ‘Frank Black and the Catholics’ album tour. That was a SWEET album.) it is still my favorite memento. But as Priscilla cried, I was far to delirious from driving 15 hours to care about anything at all, and I stumbled inside.
Grief stricken, but determined, Priscilla went online to try and find what might have happened. As luck would have it, a local Denver band found it and had already sent us an email. When I woke up, we had to figure out how we were going to get this bass back. I couldn’t ship it, because it was just in a gig bag, and I wouldn’t trust shipping it anyway. There was only one thing to do- journey back west.
Our good friend Steph went and got the Rick from the Denver band and took it home for safe keeping. Then, on one fateful morning in September, we both set off, from opposite ends of the Earth, on a mission to reunite me and my bass! Where should a historic reunion like this take place? In the place the Natives believed was the sacred center of the Earth, and the white man marked as his territory with four famous severed heads, like some overly artistic dog peeing on a fence. That’s right, Mount Rushmore!
Actually, that’s a lie. We did go there because Steph brought her friend Brittany along, and she’d never seen Mount Rushmore. But, we actually met beforehand at the hotel where we were staying ten miles away… Which is where I got my bass back. After that though, we did go to Mount Rushmore. And once I had my bass back, what more could I ask for? More bears please. That’s right, back to Bear Country USA!
So, it just so happens that we hit a ton of bugs with our car on the way to South Dakota. It also happens that bears actually like to eat bugs. …I didn’t ask them why. But this combination turned out to be interesting. We might as well have strapped a dead deer to our car as far as one hungry bear was concerned. After he was done picking the grill of our car clean, he got up on his hind legs and plopped himself on top of the hood of the Element and began chewing on our windshield wiper. It was probably the coolest thing that has ever happened to me… THEN, Bear Country USA came to our rescue by sending a scrawny teenage worker to chase the bear away from our car by clapping his hands and saying, “Shew!” They apologized to us, and gave us out money back because there were scratches on our car. …I didn’t tell them I would have paid extra to have a bear chew on my car…
People have asked me if I was afraid after seeing these photos. …seriously? As if! I’m not afraid of this little guy- it’s not like its a maneater like… oh say, a killer whale! *drum roll* But, what happened next scared the crap out of me. After the ride through the park we got out and walked through baby land. (The part of the park with all the baby bears and other little critters) When, out of nowhere I felt something hit my chest hard, like some punk five year old whipped a pebble at me. …but it wasn’t a pebble, it was the scariest bee I’ve ever seen. If you can identify this thing then I owe you a beer. Remember when I was getting attacked by horse flies that I thought were bees? This was like some sick joke by mother nature.
I grabbed my shirt and pulled it away from my frail human body, and out of range of the massive stinger on its butt. Then I worked up the courage to try and flick it off of me. Just when I was about to make my move, Priscilla freaked out and told me not to- clearly afraid of what this thing would do to retaliate. Just when we thought all hope was lost and the bee would have to ride home with us we heard, “Oh for Pete’s sake…” Some small children’s mother walked over and fearlessly shewed the bee away. I was surprised when it didn’t kill her. I went up to the little boy she was with and told him, ‘Your mommy just saved my life, isn’t she brave?’ And he looked at me like I was a freak. After that adrenaline rush it was time to go to Deadwood and ‘heckle’ pedestrians. At least that’s the ‘official’ story of what happened…
Anyway, it was a weekend of triumph and knowledge. I got my base back- that was great, but I also learned some things. Some hotels charge by the person. But when someone asks you why you need three keys when there are only two people staying in the room, keeping a cool head can save the day. …that and using the back door the entire time you’re there. I also learned that you can blow out your rotors really quickly in the black hills. What I haven’t learned is what in the hell landed on my shirt.
All for now!
As some of you devoted blog reader(s) might remember, we have a good friend in Denver, and we like to visit her. We also like playing rock and roll and viewing bear attacks. So, when the oppertunity came for Maudlin (That’s my, quote un-quote -cool band) to play at UMS we said, “yes please, and some bears with that!”
There are two ways for people who haven’t discovered planes yet to get to Denver: the evil, endless farmyard known as “Nebraska” or South Dakota. Now, some people might not like all things to see in South Dakota, but we can all agree that there is nothing to see in Nebraska. (I hate you Nebraska! I hate you more than bad whale analogies!) …Anyway, there’s this place called Bear Country USA in South Dakota, next to Deadwood. There are bears there. You can pay fifteen dollars and the let you drive around in a big back yard with sixty bears- it’s basically like swimming with sharks. …except the sharks are furry. So… we did that.
(There are lots off really bad family videos of Priscilla and I driving around here that rival the Blair Witch Project, but I decided not to include them.)
After Bear Country USA, we headed on to Wyoming! …Not much had changed there since the last time we passed through. We did meet a gas station attendant who had never been pulled over by the man before. Never. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been pulled over. I must just look like trouble- trouble with a burnt out headlight.
So, just when I had made up my mind that the only way I would ever get out of the car was to veer off the road into a tree- when ever I saw one- we reached the mile high city. We showed up at Steph’s several hours late- which surprised no one, and promptly went to sleep. In the morning we presented Steph with a traditional travelers gift: a wolf hat.
The next day we performed the first of our two showcases at UMS. In our haste to get to the bear yard, we forgot Jason back in Minnesota, so our agent, Craig Grossman, was kind enough to sit in with us. Big thanks to all of our new friends in Denver! We had a blast playing!
And then I forgot my bass… my Frank Black autographed Rickenbacker… I am an idiot. But, the good people of Denver didn’t steal it, and arrangements have been made to meet at Bear Country USA again and get it back… Good fun, lots of forgotten things, and lots of bears… That’s about all I’ve got for this blog. FAIL. Le sigh…
In Brief: I hate to keep ragging on Ben Stiller… but did anyone see Greenberg? It’s the dramatic tail of a suicidal washed up musician, who sexually assaults his brothers barely legal housekeeper. It’s ok though, because after he assaults her, then verbally berates her, she realizes that she’s actually in love with him, and he’s not such a bad guy. He finds out that being a douche bag always gets you chicks, even if you’re a complete loser. I hope everyone who routinely takes all of their social cues from poorly dramatized realism is paying careful attention to this film.