Monday, June 30, 2003

Oofda, today wuz not for pooslings. I yumped in da lake, ya betcha I did.

Woke up before 6:00 am so as to help with my cousin Bekah's wedding. Eighteen hours later the work is through and I'm sleepy. Bekah was so beautiful and her husband Josh, a stud. He wore a Scottish kilt during the ceremony and swingdanced Bekah to high-heaven at the reception. I was supposed to be an usher, but didn't do my duties so well.

In the middle of the day I went swimming at Flathead Lake and visited a cowboy bookstore and bought a book called: Sand, (by Will James). Driving home, the dry sky produced, as yet, the finest electrical display I've seen in months. I presume we'll have forest fires soon.

Friday, June 27, 2003

In Montana! Prettier than you might expect. Violet sunsets and garter snakes and lurching, blue mountains and, also, a bad case of hay fever plus mean, swarming mosquitoes. Sort of a hazy, lazy day so far as I peer out at the big fields and quarter-horses. Hungry. Achy. Muddled. Waiting to work harder at something than this.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Alas, my amazing winning streak in poker has ended. It had to happen sooner or later. I have only myself to blame as I broke my three cardinal rules to card-playing (which must remain a secret, for now). This, of course, nullified my secret, luck-enhancer (which also can't be spoken of, at this time). I was up $20 for the first hour, but then the fellas decided to craftily switch the game around to no-limit Texas Hold 'em, and within forty minutes I'd lost everything I'd won including the $20 I'd bought in for. All is ruined; my empire has crashed around me. Hee, hee.

Here's a morale-boosting quote from a woman in Nashville who wrote today:

"Most of the bands/musicians I k'now are so focused on representing themselves the way they want to be seen that they lose track of what they set out to do... I don't get that from you. I think you're real. I, also, don't see many that are willing to traverse musical genres in order to create a well rounded song/album- it's all about the target audience to most folks..."

Okay, I feel better now. What about this for a title for the new cd: A Year in the Life of the Magical, Wonderful, Quite Wealthy, Middle-Aged American Business-man Known to His Servants and Mistresses as... Slippery Goodstuff!

Monday, June 23, 2003

Ahhh, finally poker has returned but oh, so brief. After missing out on the last four or five nights we played again and now I leave. In fact, I won't be playing again until late July. I had another night of victory and domination at the tables. In the first hour I was up $50, only to foolishly start lending it out to the players who were bankrupt, who lost to other sharks, so that in the end I was left with only $38.25. That will pay the gas to Montana, though, and put my tally, since returning two weeks ago, at $115.00. I'm making minimum wage, more or less, when you total up all the hours spent playing. In other words, I need to go to Gambler's Anonymous.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Today has been filled with frustrations which started yesterday. I have a lot of work to do which involves a computer and it has taken a full day to secure one. Even now I'm without a printer which I also need, and I'm sitting on the floor of Goose's apartment with a sore back. But beggars ought not to complain, as they say. Catching up with Goose has been good as he just returned from a few weeks in Bogota, Colombia. He shaved his head and it suits him. For all out there who remember my muttonchops, they too, have been sheared. I'm now just a normal, clean-cut, 32-yr-old, starving artist without a girlfriend or recording contract which seems less romantic than the handsome, mustachioed, age-ambiguous rappin' cowboy of yestermonth.

My mom used to say this phrase in reference to my dad: "Cowboy, thy name is vanity". I must admit it, though, I'm older today than I was, say, last February. Also, slightly depressed for some reason. I made up a song yesterday about heartbreak, and such, but there's nothin' new, there, except that in this song my request is for the lover to "break me open to the moon and stars/ to the Big Sky and the Silver Dollar bars/ to the beautiful women, and men who play guitars/ and to the whole world, baby, hit me harder..." In other words, I want her to break my heart so that I might feel something/ free something.

Is this masochism or an advanced emotional response to a looming, painful abandonment restimulation experience? Feel me? (insert smily face ; ).

...I'm unsure.
I think I want to leave Olympia.

Tomorrow I actually do leave, for Montana, for a couple weeks to help my mom move to the prairies of North Dakota from her Charlo, Montana casita. I'll also watch my cousin, Bekah, get married later in the week. On the 4th of July, or thereabouts, I'll perform in Charlo's all-school reunion. On July 9th, I'll return West via Spokane where I'll play a show with Little Wings and Bobby Birdman. Now I must find some food to devour.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Oh journal, I've missed you. I've been recording my latest cd and hangin' out with my cousin, Kirby. As for the new cd, it's almost complete! Shawn's been working overtime to help me produce it and it sounds amazing. I haven't come up with a title for it yet, but the contenders are: 1) Spermalicious: A Year in the Life of Slippery G. 2) The Revolution Will Be Sexualized and 3) Another Side of Bob Dylan. I'm not jokin'. The only song that's not finished (or started) is one where I try to seduce Cindy Wonderful and get rejected. You're all gonna love this thing.

My pops sent me this article my Grandpa wrote last week about horses and I copied a couple paragraphs that I found interesting:

"Freedom is fundamental for me in assessing my own devotion to horsemanship. Even to this day when my years have added up to four score and more, I can ride to the top of the highest butte, race across the flats, jump washouts, and even swim some rivers if I wanted to. This kind of freedom, I cherish greatly, and I owe to my horses."

"We claim we are Cowboy Country. At the last two 4th of July parades in Killdeer, there were not enough horses entered to
wrangle the milk cows. Good horseman, and, most unfortunately comely and very capable horsewomen and girls - all in street clothes, watching the parade go on without them. Lots of good horses had to stay at home and not be seen and appreciated."

Bob Sand, guest writer for this month's Dunn Center Herald (North Dakota)

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Restlessness. I mowed the lawn today which is an epic project as my house's property takes up 1/2 a city block and hasn't been mowed since last Fall. Sadly, no poker tonight nor tomorrow. I skipped last night's game to go to my friend Reva's graduation/ hot-tub party. The previous night, however, I won $11, which for the third night running made me the night's big winner. Now I'm up $77 post-tour and up $177 post-2002.

I'm lonely for women, tonight. And gambling. I'll read a book or maybe watch t.v. with my house-mates. Ice cream is said to have healing qualities.

Here's a friendly review from Performer Magazine:

"The Sandman has long been associated with mystery and legend. From the comic book character, to the guy who puts gunk in your eyes while you sleep, to Metallica songs, he is a strange character of uncertain origins. Olympia, Washington's Sandman, a.k.a., Chris Sand, is an equally mysterious character. A white guy raised on a Montana Indian reservation and as a musician in part of the Nashville and Olympia scenes, it's difficult to pin Sand down. This mixture is evident in Sandman's unusual take on the singer/songwriter genre, in which he successfully winds folk, rap, country-western, and R&B beats into one tidy bundle. This eclectic mix is pretty standard for the Olympia diaspora of which Sand is a part. He has several connections to the K Records/Calvin Johnson scene (although who doesn't in Olympia?) and shares its spartan, D.I.Y ethic by doing his own publicity and selling tapes and CDs directly from his home. His fourth full-length album The Long Ride Home takes a more folk-driven singer/songwriter turn from 2000's hip-hop collaboration with fellow Olympian Camo Davi, Until the End of Time. Several themes are explored over the course of the LP's fifteen songs, including carpentry, September 11th, sick pets, and bearded ladies. Sand's clever, insightful and sometimes-hilarious lyrics keep the jig running throughout, but the strongest songs come when the instrumentation is expanded beyond spare vocals and guitar. Opener "Radio Works Fine" weaves intricate acoustic guitars with LL Cool J samples and a galloping drum beat. "Hammer and Screw" tugs some genuine heartstrings, with its musings on self-confidence and loneliness. "Imaginary World" layers several string tracks along with a banjo and Sand's decidedly Dylan-like vocals. The album closes out in grand fashion, with a tribute to Martin Luther King called, "Folk Legend (MLK)". The Gospel-style back up vocals make it an appropriate conclusion for an album with influences that fall all over the textured, musical landscape. Like most men of mystery, Sandman's motivations and origins may be obscured, but his stories are well worth a listen." Rob Thomson

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Last night I broke my own record by netting $61. I'm up $66 since returning... Now everyone's out to get me. They'll seek revenge; they'll try to pick my bones clean... tonight... but I'll leap around nakedly and snarl and drool and win again... and again... forever! It's mine, my precious, all mine... MINE!!!

On a less disturbing, note, Olympia is cool and grey today. I met my new 5-day-old house-mate, Fiona, earlier. She's exquisitely beautiful, but sharp-tongued. She insulted me twice; once for my provincial vocabulary, and another time for my funny-shaped head. Oddly she didn't complain when I tried to nurse her mom's left breast. (Joking, again, for those who don't know).

I'll shut my trap now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Here's an article, about yours truly, that some people might enjoy.
Oh boy, the fortune has changed! I broke our small-stakes record tonight, I think, by winning $43. That means I erased my $37 debt which had accrued since returning. The cards just kept a-comin' and I wasn't as foolish as I have been lately. Luck o' the Irish, perhaps...

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

I skipped poker tonight and I'm probably richer for it. My luck seems to run better during the Winter months; I was up a hundred for January and February as I recall. Today I finished an amazing book called-- Cowboy. It's about a young cowpuncher learning the ropes of buckarooing in Arizona and Ron Santee is the author and illustrator of it. He wrote it in 1911. I stole it from my grandpa last month and now I'm thinking of sending it back to him as a Father's Day gift.

Yesterday I attended my 2nd ex-fiance's 29th birthday party. Her name's Nina and she has a lot of friends who love her potlucks and bar-b-ques. I brought a watermelon that didn't turn out too sweet and lacked seeds and didn't get eaten as fast as everything else. The burger I grilled was so big, it took two-and-a-half buns to contain it! A surreal moment occurred when Rebecca Potasnik handed out various, xeroxed Nina masks to the fifty or so revelers while she was inside. When she emerged we sang the birthday song behind our cut-outs. I couldn't tell if she was traumatized or just embarrassed, but she laughed a lot. I was in the front section and when I turned around and saw all those ghosty, paper-faces of Nina I understood her shrieking laughter. Everybody wanted me to stay and hot-tub but I had a rap concert to see.

At the Capitol Theater I wasted four hours wading through mediocre underground hip-hip bands 'til 2 a.m. when the rapper, Busdriver, got onstage. He made the wait worth it, for he is a lyrical titan and the best underground prophet I've seen. Actually, the fellow before him was excellent, too-- an hispanic rhymer named Sleep. His partner, Josh Martinez, was good too, but I couldn't feel it as well.

Have I mentioned that my house-mates, Jen and Pat, gave birth to a little girl named Fiona this morning? Well, they did or at least one of them did. Jen's belly probably isn't so big anymore. Now I have to figure out how to be supportive and useful. I spent the afternoon playing with my 3-yr-old friend, Hollis. He can't get enough of me, which feels good for the first hour but then I get my fill soon afterwards. Parents deserve medals for what they do!

Now I'll briefly recount the last show of the tour in Spokane. Jeremy Hadley greeted me in style by treating me to a delicious meal at the Elk. Then we went to the Tryst coffee house and Larron Wolford opened up the show. He is unique. Then I played for an hour or more and it was over. The crowd was small but generous and I sold many cds and zines. A journalist named Melissa Amos, for the Local Planet, wrote a dandy article. The staff art-director even put my picture on the front of the weekly, in the bottom left corner. The whole Spokane package raised my morale considerably and I'm excited to return in mid-July for another show in that ragged metropolis.

The next morning I drove to my friend Aaron Galloway's house in Cle Elum and spent the day hiking and throwing rocks at railroad signs with him. We laugh hard together and I was pleased to get some tensions off my shoulders before finally arriving back home last Tuesday. The night before I left, he and I enjoyed a hearty meal of pasta and deer meat, which my folks had canned for me. I'd dropped the jar of venison earlier and so we had to pick the shards out, but we both agreed it was well worth our time (and the risk of stomach lacerations). Nothing is better than good venison.

Monday, June 09, 2003

(continued): So the show with Chris Cunningham was swell. He harmonized and played harmonica on "Radio Works Fine". Jen harmonized on a couple too. After the show I drove to Basin, MT where I stayed with my aunt (and mom).

Now, gentle reader, we will pass through the wormhole and revisit my last days in the town of Indiana, Pennsylvania and afterwards... The three days there went like a blur and every night was filled with festivity. I made many friends, ate sushi, became reaquainted with my cousins, and even performed a little. One highlight was befriending a Palestinian fellow named Ahmad (pronounced Ahmed). He is a neighbor to my cousins and happened to see my impromptu show at their house. He ended up buying three shirts and a CD or two. The shirts he liked partly because of the word "Sand" buried in the name Sandman. He's been receiving racist jabs from people about being Arabic, like getting called 'sandn*gger', and finally he decided to reclaim the word. He appreciated my lyrics a lot, too. A day or two after that my 17-yr-old cousin, Karel, and I went to his restaurant which he calls "Habashi" and ate some great middle-eastern food. While there we wrote a rap about it and Karel recorded it on his computer. Ahmad loves it and apparently still plays it often in the cafe. The day I left, Ahmad and his wife gave me a 50-pc. box of baklava to take on my road trip. Ummm.

The next town I played was only three or four hours away-- Canton, Ohio, which is home to both the Football and Christian hall of fames. My wondrous friend Rhonda Baughman set up a house concert for me. I stayed there two nights and a lot happened. Rhonda is a prolific poet and novelist, and a horror movie buff. She manages a XXX video store. She has a boyfriend named Joe who manufactures credit cards for various companies. She has a writer-friend, whose pen-name is Martha, who read erotica to us and spoke of a passion for espionage. Rhonda's 85-yr-old Grandma, Mrs. Beaver, has a picture of me in her bedroom from the last time I rolled through two years ago. All in all Canton is a trip and I look forward to returning. Rhonda's mom packed me a humongous lunch of peanut butter, bread, cookies, spaghetti, popcorn, and six hardboiled eggs and these lasted me all the way to Madison, Wisconsin. Before that though I played scandalous Chitown-- home of Sammy Sosa and R. Kelly. I spoke of this a little in an earlier entry, but never got around to describing the shows.

The first Chicago show took place in a punk rock bowling alley called the Fireside Bowl. In the rush to get to the second show that night I neglected to get paid, but did make a lot of new fans and sold several cds and shirts. I can't remember the name of the second place, but I did get paid there and had fun singing more of my mellow countryesque numbers.

The drive to Madison the next morning was uneventful. The show was memorable. I finally met the legendary Ivan Okay who performed with a fake beard and called himself "Ghosty Rhodes". He's a true talent and we'd make a good touring combo if it ever happens. I stalled the show for over an hour so we could all watch the lunar eclipse outside. During the middle of my set I decided to carry out a ceremony with the remaining five hardboiled eggs that Rhonda's mom made for me. I promised someone in the crowd a free shirt and cd if they would eat all five eggs in five minutes; eclipse them so to speak. The guy who submitted asked for an assistant to feed him and I supplied the music and got the crowd chanting: "moon, moon... egg, egg..." By the fourth one he was gagging and during number five he puked all his hard-won glory into an upside down drum. I gave him his rewards anyway. After the show he and his girlfriend and her friend and my friend, Ben, went to a bar and got drunk and passed out in their living room.

The next day I leisurely drove to Prairie du Chien which is on the western border of Wisconsin. I spent at least three hours in some farming town which was having a garage sale weekend. I visited thirty or forty houses and bought dozens of cheap, vintage shirts and other items. I found a Michael Jackson belt-buckle, a tiny, antique, porcelain mermaid, a Don Quixote book, and other chotchkas. The shirts are a real treasure and I need to now silk-screen the whole batch while I have the time.

Once in Prairie du Chien I set up shop and rocked. The venue was a blues joint called the Main Entrance and was literally a stone's throw from the Mississippi River. Magic did ensue that night perhaps due to the cleansing effect of the eclipse the night before and the extremely high-rising tide of the enormous Mississippi. Two or three shows ended up getting cancelled in Iowa and Minnesota and I ended up loitering in Prairie du Chien during that time. I fell in love with a young bartender named Shelly Ann. C'est l'amour, c'est la guerre, c'est la tour, c'est la vie! Shit happens. Good shit. The rest is private for now.

Eventually I ambled to Winona, Minnesota for a coupla shows during a long afternoon outside, and inside, a bar called the Hei n' Low. Jack Norton, who set up my midwest mini-tour, also played along with Brian Ebbinger. My pal Alex Stevens has been priming this community for my arrival for years and it was a real treat to know that half of the drunken audience members were familiar with my songs. I got plenty o' requests and didn't have to work hard to have their rapt attention. The bar still owes me $50 though, but who's keeping track?

The next show was in Minneapolis at the Bryant Lake Bowl theatre. I played between Jack Norton's Wizard Oil Vaudeville and puppet show extravaganza. I sang six songs during my fifteen-minute slot and ended up selling fourteen cds after the show! This show was classy and I was proud to be part of it. Alex and I crashed at his friend's Elle and Kari's house that night. They made us fresh-squeezed, organic orange juice for breakfast and sent us south with smiles.

South of Minneapolis is the town of Le Seur where my friend Lisa and her husband Marty reside. They set Jack and I up with a dandy yard concert. Beforehand people played croquet and bocci ball and drank mint juleps. Tiki torches lit the stage and Jack played a beautiful set before handing it off to me. If y'all haven't heard of Jack Norton before, search him on the internet. He's a phenomenally gifted and well-studied troubadour for his twenty-four years. He's a throwback to the minstrels of yesteryear and a helluva songwriter, too. Most exquisite, though, is his voice and guitar work. He and I plan to tour in October.

I played on the radio in Mankato, MN earlier in the day which I forgot to mention. The next venue was in Winona again at the Green Lantern coffee house with folk legend Larry Penn and Jack. We sang round-robin style and did two shows. Larry's 75-yrs-old and a former hobo and truckdriver. He penned the classic children's song, "I'm a Little Cookie" as well as plenty more humdingers. He's a close friend of Utah Phillips. He invited Jack and I to perform at the annual Memorial Day hobo hootenanny in Bangor, Wisconsin the next day. I don't want to go into it because it is now 2:10 am but these old hobos and tramps loved us and invited us both to play each and every year we can. I met the current king of the hobos, "Redbird Express" and former ones such as "Preacher Steve" and "Songbird". Alex was there and Shelly, too. It was a glorious moment for me as I realized that I, too, have been tramping for a fair amount of my life and could sort of consider myself one of them. All my songs about hitchhiking and being poor and travelling in general resonated keenly with this crew and they let me know it. Larry Penn called me a "rubber tramp" which is the new version of a saddle bum, I suppose: minus the bridle and plus a greasy steering wheel. After me came a roughneck who sang a karaoke version of "Proud to Be an American" which seemed odd but charming, somehow. The food they dished up was cheese-injected hot dogs and beer. Shelly and I soaked up our last hours together and she spent the night with me at Alex's mom's house in Winona.

Shelly left early to give me space to clear out of Alex's and head west to Fargo, but Alex talked me into taking my time and having lunch with he and Jack. By 12:45 or so I was on the road, after auspiciously bumping into an old Olympian buddy Samuel in a health food store. My horse could smell the green pastures of Montana and I drove fourteen hours, ignoring Fargo, to the western border of North Dakota before waking my folks up in Dunn Center and falling asleep in the guest bedroom... Maybe I'd better take a hint from myself and catch some z's now. I'll fill you in on the Spokane show tomorrow, and then I'll be caught up.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

I recently received an email requesting a summary of the show I played with Chris Cunningham and Jen Grady at the Gallatin Gateway Inn, near Bozeman, Montana. I plan to recount all of the shows, but I might as well start with that one. I began the day in my grandparent's bunkhouse located in the beautiful Killdeer Mountains of western North Dakota. My Dad currently lives there and my mum is in the process of moving there. She joined my westward ride (and fed me and paid for gas!). We arrived at the show and I collapsed on the grass for ten minutes before going in to meet Chris. It was a long, hot drive. Mr. Cunningham greeted us warmly and I joined him and his friends for dinner. Soon after Jen Grady arrived with her wonderful aunt, uncle and cousins who live in Big Sky. Jen and I have had a stormy, scary, passionate, on-again/off-again relationship for the last fourteen months and it was good and challenging to see and hear her again. Our farewell that evening didn't turn out too friendly but I think that deep down we still care for and admire each other. At least I do her. She sure can sing and play guitar, too! Her bevy of new songs, by the way, are her best yet.

As for Chris Cunningham, he's a master musician as well as a gentleman. He pulled in a great local audience and then gave us most the money! (to be continued)-- poker time! (poker update: I lost $2.00 which is actually a huge leap from the negative $34.00 from Thursday's game. I figure at this rate I'll be out of credit card debt by October.)

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Hello World, how's it hangin'? The tour is over, and Olympia is sweltering. First, though, before I say anything more, let's give a hand to 319 JOE: The little Suburu that could. After 10,000 miles, more or less, s/he sounds and runs better than ever. I must also give thanks to the Virgin Mother Mary on her Birthbed for guiding me all the way home without any fender benders or even a speeding ticket. This latter detail is actually crucial as I lost my driver's license during the first show of the tour in Vancouver, B.C. The miracles were daily and this odyssey was not unlke the great Ulysee's (sp.?) or perhaps, Don Quixote's or even Frodo Baggins'. Dragons, maidens, innkeepers, hobbits, wizards, naked mermaids, horned goat-people, angel dust... (kidding.)

Oh, it's good to be back though... and not. Olympia's much more temperate than when I left. I cleared the cobwebs out of the Jack Shack and moved in four days ago. Squirrels frolic on the mossy roof and ferns lick my ample windows. Fat flies die daily. Most welcomlingly of all I received a two-page write-up in the Olympian with a big picture of my pale, sad face w/ firecracker danglingly limply from lip. This followed a previous full-page write-up with same image in the rad Spokane weekly; The Local Planet, promoting a show I did there. My press-kit is not so sparse now. Both interviews shown a flattering light unlike a review I came across in an online rag called The Nerve (March issue) which claimed I had no vocal range and that some of my songs were embarrasingly dorky. The final sentence went something like, "Not an exceptionally terrible release." I still don't know how to take that. They also called me "a little white kid" or something like that which I actually don't mind so much.

Yesterday, my pal Christian took me boating. We motored around Squaxin Island, got yelled at by some tribal members for peeing on their island (damn), pulled into Boston Harbor for a lunch of smoked salmon, and then cruised home. The water was so clear and the Olympic mountains loomed high: paradise for sure. I sunburned my shins, though, of all places. Shin cancer?

Speaking of cancer, last night I played a benefit show at the Capitol Theatre for breast cancer research. Other acts included Jim Page, Scream Club, Betsy Holt, and Andras Jones. I sold over $200 in CDs! In fact, it's a shame I didn't bring any more because I basically sold out. Carl Dexter joined me on the stage and we ripped through some rarities like, "Out of Place" and "Olympia's the Capitol (of Rock and Roll)". He played bass, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar on "Love's Hangover Sale". Right now my house mate, Kristina, has invited me to go swimming. I'd better go, I suppose. Life is hard here in Olytown during the Summer. To be honest, though, I am looking for a job-- and soon! I've lost $35 from atrophied poker skills since I've returned to the tables. The shame... my tour profits have been annihilated.

p.s. Stay closely tuned. I plan to recount the last three weeks of tour in detail (as suits the myth-building process).