Monday, March 31, 2003

I'm here... Nashville. 319 JOE is running sublimely! Asher and Camo are playing video games right now. Today their band, Baby Stout, won a "Got Milk" battle-of-the-bands competition at the Opry Mills Mall; they got $200.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Southbound again... I'm about to roll out of Missouri and pay a visit to my old home: Music City, USA (aka Nashville)! My stay in Columbia was good. The show at Central Tap went really well as lots of people came and let themselves be captivated and bought my merch. I traded sets with a New York folk-singer named Greg Klymer-- we swapped road stories and found out we knew some of the same people. The owners at Central Pat were enthusiastic about bringing me back. Columbia is filled with great potential venues and is a funky, progressive town in a myriad of ways. I wouldn't even mind living there for a while. Elise, Ben, and River treated me kindly and I met many of their wonderful friends. This morning I got a much-needed massage from a healer named Ana Duff and last night had pizza with a fellow named Terry who plans to come to Olympia in June and play a show. He's just out of high-school and is in love with the K records scene.

What else? I'm a little under the weather, perhaps because the weather has been cold. It snowed a little yesterday, but today the sun came out I feel ready to drive.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Greetings from Columbia, Missouri. It's a good thing I came a day early because it turns out my show at Central Tap is tonight and not tomorrow. My stay in Lawrence, KS last night was semi-painful. First, I couldn't track any of my old friends down and secondly, the hotel walls were paper-thin and the couple next door were alternately fighting and having sex until 5 am; sometimes I couldn't distinguish which. Twice I put on my clothes, went outside and knocked on their door and asked them to tone it down.

I'm sleepy, and happy to be here; public libraries are doing me good on this tour! My friend, Elise, set this show up and I just paid her and her partner, Ben, and son, River, a visit. River's 18 months old. The library is closing now-- bye.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

I'm in Wichita, Kansas; pretty much smack dab in the center of the USA. As I was driving from Oklahoma City to here it was hard to read the US map as I-35 is in the crack of the Rand-McNally atlas between pages two and three. The wind blew so hard along that stretch that it actually corrected my steering problem and at times I was able to let go of the wheel-- (cheap thrills)! I liked Oklahoma-- still lots of poverty... friendly people, $1.2499 unleaded gas! The 70-yr-old toothless maid, busted into my $25 hotel room this morning as I was watching Iraqi war-coverage and gave me her unsolicited opinion about it-- something about how George Bush, Sr. was maybe alright but how his son is an idiot putting poor people's lives at risk for the sake of making some money. The hotel advertised with a big, red banner that the owner is a war veteran. Woody Guthrie and Will Rogers' (and even Merle Haggard's) ghosts remain.

Once in Kansas I had to pay a toll-fee to use the highway. I think I'll mosey to Lawrence tonight and try to find a friend or two. (Oh, by the way-- my time in Santa Fe was titillating. I played 4 hours and made $285 at the Cowgirl Cafe, hiked and re-befriended Rachael, philosophized and had visions with J.R. and Kristina (and met her mom), slept in a lot, ate good food, and generally had a blast! What more can I say?) Thanks for everything J.R., Rachael, Randy, and Wendy!

Sunday, March 23, 2003

To recount: On March 19th I played Lestat's Coffee House in San Diego with Bunky, Jen Grady, and Red Pony Clock. Due to the start of war the mood of the musicians and audience was sad. A good-sized crowd came out, though, anyway-- perhaps to avoid the idiotic media reports. (Thanks, Liz, for setting it up!!) I stayed with Jen and her sister, Erin, who lives in San Diego. Jen and I (who really do love each other) spent the next day walking around various beaches and she showed me the hostel where she used to work. That night I played on the UCSD radio station with The Blow, Angela Correa, and Anna Oxygen. There was a crowd of 20 or so who came to watch and it went well. I was especially impressed with Anna and the Dr. Groove beats she programmed!! You'd have to see it to believe it.

On the 20th I left Jen and cruised east on Hiway 10 towards Tucson. I arrived with 30 minutes to spare at the warehouse/ housing co-op called The Captain's Table. I could go on and on about this place and its inhabitants, but won't. I'll just say that most Olympia anarchists, punks, and artists would love it here. Dawn and Kee, who set the show up, are twin sisters who also play in the band, Sugarbush. Once again, you'll have to see it to believe it. They played and after them, I sang and rapped to an audience of about fifty. After me was Liberty School, also terrific. I made about $100 in merch and $86 from passing a hat. I spent the night at Maggie and Mike's 150-year-old house in the heart of "old" Tucson. They treated me to breakfast in the morning and by noon I was off to Corrales where I am still. Tonight J.R. and I will drive to Santa Fe and party with my Olympia room-mate, Kristina, who is visiting a Chinese medicine school.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

New Mexico, ahhh yes... I'm in a town near Albuquerque (Corrales) in Wendy and Randy's big, beautiful adobe abode and it bodes well for my bod after 9 hours drivin' from Tucson. Rather than try to sum up the last three excellent days, I'll wait until tomorrow and now go hang out with my great, great friend J.R. Morgan. G'night o' blogspot.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I don't have a links page, but if I did-- one website I'd recommend is: My genius friend, Chris "Goose" Kirk, has created it in the last couple weeks and it's funny, pleasing to the eye, and insightful. Please drop him a line if you get the chance give him feedback. He updates it daily so it's a good one to add to your favorites.l
Here's a quote from an old German...

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

Herman Goering,
Nazi Reichmarshal and Luftwaffe chief at the Nuremberg trials.
Today was like any other day except for the chocolate-barf-contest. I awoke late and had my first meal at noon in West Hollywood with my ol' pal Andras Jones. We had yummy, cheap sushi and then drove to his movie-/rock-star comedian, ex-roommate Andy Dick's house. Andy is perhaps the most famous person I've spent time with until this date-- good guy, too. I helped him and Andras begin writing a song called "I Suck". I'm sure a web-search would come up with something on him if you haven't heard of him yet; probably Tonight I spent a little time with my former Olympia friend, Yolanda, at a bar called Akbar.

I'll now catch you up on the last few days, so listen closely with your eyes...

The San Luis Obispo show was pretty lame because I didn't have a p.a. system and thus no one could really hear me. I did sell three shirts for a total of $20, but no CDs. I slept in my car that night on a cliff overlooking a field. All night the rain pissed and the wind rocked Joe while I tried to sleep. In the morning cows were practically swimming through the pasture below-- a surreal scene. I drove back to Linnae's Cafe for my promised, free breakfast and then headed south to L.A. Once in Hollywood I was forced to get drenched to the bone in an attempt to unload my car at my friend's Andy and Sarah's house. Apparently that rainstorm was the second wettest 24-hr. downpour in L.A.'s recorded history. That night Andy and Sarah took me to two house parties. Both were small but I ended up selling over $200 worth of CDs which helped make up for the previous two shows. My friend Sharzhad came out for the second show! I love seeing old pals as I ramble 'round the World. It's especially good to hang out with Andy and Sarah as they are so loving and welcoming to me each time we reconnect. Yesterday Andy and I climbed the Hollywood hills. Later Sarah joined us and we drove to Venice Beach for clam chowder and waves and sand...

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Wow, I just lost another journal entry... I hate when that happens.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

San Luis Obispo is abysmal and dismal today. I'll tell more later! On my way to L.A.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Arrrghh... I just spent half an hour or more crafting a great journal entry of my last two days in Santa Cruz, ant the show and my stay with Kim and Daniella and I somehow deleted it!!!! I was inspired and had the time but now I don't. Damnnnnnnnnnnn. I'm sweating I'm so mad.

Well, check out Rjyan Kidwell's (aka Cex's) journal entry of today. He mentions a little of our Tuesday night San Fran show together. It's

About the last night's show though, it went great and I finally sold my red longjohns.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Tonight I channelled the ghost of an old, scared cowboy who just stumbled into a lesbian whorehouse. I shyly shared 15 or 20 songs knowing full well that I would not sell a single CD by night's end. Upon reflection, though, it wouldn't have been right if I had. The show which featured four great bands was free and Cex, who just had a full-page write-up in Rolling Stone this month played to an audience of only forty or so people and hawked CDs in a corner of the hostel's cafe. I did sell two of my $2 shirts and one $1 zine which paid for the chicken teryaki I ate before the show, but better than that I traded Cex three of his CDs for three of mine and we swapped shirts. His has a picture of Eminem and Kurt Cobain shaking hands on the front. He chose one of my $2 ones-- a tight yellow cut-off with "i know sandman" across the front. Rapatron kicked off the set in style, but I unfortunately missed most of it 'cause I was preparing the merch. Next came the Gross Gang who were loud and loose and... loud, (but good). Cex followed and swiftly disarmed the audience by telling stories and doing call and response stuff and stage diving though there wasn't one. His presence is large and I was glad to see him before he's playing rock arenas. After him, I fumbled forth with "All the Things I Done Wrong". What I really felt like playing at that point were the rest of my acapella cowboy dirges, but I felt obligated to pull out my "tricks" which might have been a mistake. Being billed as a "rapping cowboy" sometimes pressures me into alternating between honky tonk and rap when all I really want to do is just moan like a coyote. I made the audience uncomfortable with my obvious nervousness, but they stuck in there 'til the end. Cex was graciously exuberant about my set and said he'd contact me. Jessica and Danilo and Annessa all said they, too, liked it. Why then, I ask myself, did so many others avoid eye contact and leave me feeling like an 64-year-old, perverted rodeo announcer w/ testicular cancer and seven months to live? I'll tell you why: they were nervous, too. Next time I will try to love them better... (either that or I will slaughter and disembowel them with a shovel).

Monday, March 10, 2003

The Universe is kind. So is the Bay Area! This tour has been surprisingly magic and it's only getting better; the two shows I just played were both so different and good. Last night was the house party. Annessa and Jolene fixed their place up and bought lots of food and drink and Troy Byker supplied the dee jay element. At 10:00 pm I began my lengthy set in front of 35 or so guests and they were clearly entertained. A fellow named Octavio beatboxed during some of the raps and a chap named Darrin played a sweet harmonica along with "I Guess I Can't Be Used". The audience kicked down $40 or so into the hat and I made another $100 in merchandise sales which is good enough. My stay at A and J's house was just what the doctor ordered as I slept a lot and took some nice walks. I visited a huge flea market and quietly admired the city of Oakland and all it's people. The house party ended at 1:30 in the morning with about five devoted listeners (all men) hanging on for one more song. It felt tribal as we talked about what we must do to make the world and our country safe again. We avoided attacking our President and chose to re-view him with new, compassionate eyes. Then I drove Troy and Darrin home and the night was over.

Upon awaking this a.m. I packed my goodies, ate breakfast with Annessa and Jolene, replied to 16 emails and drove straight to the BART subway station on 24th and Mission in San Francisco. I ate some Salvadorean pupusas and arrived a little late to my show. The first band, Two Gallants, kicked out the jams with drums and electric guitar-- they are really fine: poetic, melodic, and aggressive. They played three songs, then I did, and then another excellent band, The Fleas, did the same. We made it through only two or three rounds of this before an officer shut us down, but the timing felt okay as the sky looked ominous anyway. The Fleas were also drums/guitar but had a differen vibe than Two Gallants. They played a mixture of perfect punk and old-school country. I think they hail from Chicago. A steady crowd of at least 100 people gathered around for the whole show and many dropped dollar bills into a tip jar which ended up going to me for some fortunate reason. The crowd appeared captivated while I played and I sold 30 or 40 dollars worth of merch afterwards-- mostly the $5 sampler packs. Danilo, who set up the show and tomorrow night's too, deserves massive props. The audience and performers alike came together in such a rare, exuberant fashion because of his efforts/activism. I loved the Hispanic boy who hip hop danced throughout "Radio Works Fine" and the homeless (I think) Native American man who howled throughout "M for Montana" and gave me the warmest handshake afterwards and a hearty, "Welcome to San Francisco my Montana friend", and the tall, middle-aged African American man who asked me if I needed a flute player to travel with. (If I only had room!) I connected with a soul-singing white woman named Ivy who I will help to set up a show in Olympia in the Summer. Troy, too, was there on his way home from work. I'll tell more later.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Alright, I might just have a moment to write. I'm wound up about some stuff, but don't want to go into it... grrrrrrr. Anyways, the sun is out and it's so beautiful in Oakland right now. I'm in an old boat-hangar next to the water which has been converted into the quaintest little abode. I hear a train and a plane and some birds. Tonight I'll be playing a house-party in this exact little space with the woodstove as my prop. Last night I played on KALX in Berkely and, although I was nervous, I think the interview part went over great; the DJ Jason asked insightful questions. Now I'll recap the last few days on the road...

On the 6th I awoke early and drove to the land of $2.19/gallon gas, i.e. California! I made it to Nevada City around 6:00 pm and began my search for Jaime and Abbey who my friends at the Department of Safety had told me about. Five hours later Jaime called me back while I awaited my turn at an open mic at The Wall Street Cafe in Grass Valley. Those five hours were perfect as I had time to relaxedly explore both of those little historic, gold rush towns. Nevada City is crawling with personality; in fact many of my heroes have lived or still live there, for instance Jonathan Richman, Utah Phillips, and Neil Young. Even better, though, were my new heroes who I met that night: Jaime, Abbey, Matt, and Aaron. We crashed an all-girls party at midnight until we all got too sleepy and returned to Jaime's house. The next morning we drove a winding, dirt road to a semi-secret section of the Yuba River, which matches any of Montana's most beautiful waterways. Aaron did a back-flip off a 30' high rock into it, but no one else felt like braving the cold. I plan to return to Nevada City very soon. I was so happy to have a crew to be with for a day!

At 5:00 pm I drove three hours to the agricultural center called Modesto to play my show at the Mustang. I arrived early and almost left early, but I'm glad I stuck around. The Mustang is a gay bar, and when I walked in with my cowboy hat and mustache and saw the crowd, I felt that "fear of self" that so many fellow Montanans have been known to feel. This experience, though, liberated me from the stereotype I've associated with gay bars. By 10:00 pm the crowd became equally lesbian with another third being punk rock kids who just wanted to hear good music. I used two wireless, karoake mics and commenced. The sound was kind of tinny, but they all seemed entertained and I sold a few shirts and CDs afterwards. A real surprise came when a woman named Madigan introduced herself and gave me one of her CDs. Her band is called Bonfire Madigan and I've known of her for years, since she used to record on Kill Rock Stars, which is an Olympia label. She knew of me, too, and we instantly hit it off. She was there with her partner, Sean, who played in one of the bands after me. (Interruption: my friend Troy's here and we're going to go eat now); to wrap up, Madigan and Sean asked their friend Ian if I could stay at his pad who said yes. The next morning I met Ian's friends who were super friendly, albeit still drunk, and we relaxed on the lawn in the sun and I sold a couple more shirts and then split. Now I'm here. Bye...

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Here's a note to say I'm still alive, but alas have no time to expound upon my last 3 fun-packed days. I have to go play on the radio now (in Berkely-- KALX). I think that soooon you will have the rest of the story...

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Ashland, OR smells good; cherry trees are blossoming. Driving from Corvallis I saw lots of daffodils and lambs. I used to raise lambs. I used to pick cherries and daffodils, too-- one for a job and one for a girl. I'm at my friends Dan and Jen's house late at night. They're sleeping. I'm pondering the $400 phone bill that Verizon appears to want from me this month... hmmm.

Dan and I dumpster-dived a loaf of bread tonight and he fed me a salad straight from their garden. Maybe I should sleep a little as I'm getting up at 8:00 a.m. to drive to Nevada City, California.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

For the last two weeks my right jaw has steadily been getting tighter and tighter. It's to the point where I can't eat what I used to be able to. I can't fit sandwhiches in, nor can I chew anything like steak or snickers bars (probably for the better). At this rate I'll be eating through a straw by the time I get to Phoenix. If anyone has any ideas, let me know via email. Tomorrow I'll get checked for tetnus. It's possible that I'm just super tense due to tour stress, but I can't be sure...

Today I've been dinking around on the computer at Megan and Kirby's. Yesterday they both wore their "Sandman" t-shirts to school. That's pretty good advertisement for me, I'd say. Thanks K & M!

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Hello there. I'm at my cousin Kirby and Megan's apartment in Corvallis, Oregon. The show in Eugene at Sam Bond's Garage went great; my friend Rosannah did a superb job flyering the town and a lot of people came just because of that! They gave me $57 from the door and I sold $75 in merchandise. The Wax Fire opened the show to much crowd appreciation. Before returning to Olympia, after her set, Jen joined me on a handful of songs. I'll miss her...

Overall, the audience was very supportive and I have a page of new people who signed onto my mailing list!! One fellow wants to pay me $150 in July to play a party for his dog who went into a six-month state of paralysis after being bit by a raccoon; he figures that the dog will be ready to party again by then. I hope so.

Monday, March 03, 2003

I don't know what to prioritize in my brief windows of computer opportunity: update journal, update tour itinerary, or email for new shows? Well, since I only have a few minutes here I'll just say that I'm in Euguene at the U of O library. The last two shows have been small, and somewhat disappointing. No money to show for 'em, really. I did get a free salmon dinner at the Rabbit Hole in Portland and $15. In Seattle, at The Coffee Messiah, I sold 3 or 4 CDs and gave away a shirt. In other news, the Wax Fire are heading back to Olympia after the show tonight. No longer will I have Jen to play cello with me or to harmonize. C'est la tour.

Before I attempt to update my itinerary, I should make note of the Anacortes show at Department of Safety: It was amazing!! Two-hundred or so people turned out and listened with rapt attention. The Wax Fire were the perfect opening band, then I played for an hour. During my set a couple four-year-olds danced and vogued behind me on the big stage. My first nine songs were all requests! Then I spontaneously called up musicians from the crowd to start jamming with me. Karl Blau got on bass and Steve on Trombone and keyboard, Wesley played bongo and the two kids started smashing the hell out of the cymbals. It was very cacaphonous, yet inspired fun. I sold over $200 worth of merchandise and Department of Safety paid another $100 on top of that. After me came Laura Veirs and the Tortured Souls. They rocked the house to be sure-- I was honored to share the bill! Laura tears up the guitar and the band is the best around as far as I can tell. My friend's Paula, Chad, Simon and Dylan came down from Bellingham much to my delight. After the show I went to a donut shop with Laura, Tucker, Karl, Steve, and some others and drank coffee. Then Karl and I stayed up late into the evening talking about the Moon and sleep...

The next morning I had breakfast with Bret, Denise, Maddy, and Louisa Lunsford. They fed me farm fresh eggs and one from their duck! Lousia and I played Crazy 8's afterwards and Maddy showed me her impressive r & b CD collection. Then I drove to Seattle. Autumn brought some friends to the show as did the Jesus Chords. The next day I stopped in to Olympia to check my mail and repack before heading to Portland. I won't be returning for 3 months, but when I do it will be warm and beautiful again.