Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Meet my Granddad. Just kidding.
Ratz! Hotmail won't let me add any more contacts to my mailing list which stinks because that's what I want to do right now. I'm guessing I'll have to start paying for more storage starting immediately.

I spent the first part of the day working on the August "Slippery Goodstuff" tour. So far I've got three gigs (not including the Minneapolis shows): Wolf Point, MT on Aug. 2nd, Chicago on Aug. 7th, and Spokane, WA on Aug. 20th. Winona, Madison, Billings, Missoula, Kennewick, Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Milwaukee are being chiseled away at.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Now, I'll expound upon yesterday's story... The reason the bald man jumped me was because he had apparently told the organizers of the event that we had to all be quiet by 10 p.m. Well, after midnight a bunch of anarchist hooligans lit a big fire and started drinking excessively and shouting and singing loudly into the night sky. I was mostly just lounging around in the shadows and packing up merchandise, but at 2 a.m. I decided it was time to drive to Winona and sleep at Alex's parent's house. Alex suggested that I sing a lullabye to the crusty crew before departing as a sort of ceremonious last song of tour, and to help calm these rowdy, lovely youths. So when the old fellow finally made his way to the camp he was hot-under-the-collar about the drunken revelries from the four hours leading up to this moment which were keeping him awake. When he yelled at me "People are trying to sleep!" I truly thought he was joking since my song was so gentle and quiet. Thus, I just sort of looked blankly at him while attempting to elegantly finish the song and BLAMMO! his button got pushed. Word to the wise: some people don't like to be looked at blankly. Now I know. Fortunately I didn't smash the guitar across his face in my startled moment of mild assault! Instead I apologized (we all apologized) and that was the end of the "Sandman and Ivan 2004 Springtastic US/Canada Tour." The end.
The Fall tour is starting to come together (see home-page). It will be relatively brief but I'll be playing to much bigger houses and probably be getting paid well. For much of it I'll be with a fellow named Stephan Smith, whom I've mentioned before and who is already making waves in the folk-circuit. I haven't met him yet but his booker seems to think we'll go well together and recently talked to Andras about us doing another power-packed tour in November, on the West Coast.

I met with Andras today and we decided to self-release my next cd on Pop Ghetto. He'll fund-raise for recording and pressing expenses (we need $3000) and I'll supply the songs. My friend Willie Wisely will record it next month, and hopefully we'll have it ready to sell by October.

Here's the song order: (but note that a couple of these songs have been released before, albeit not to the standards they deserve for a potentially "bigger" release like this.)

1. Bruised Fruits (full-production pop song)
2. Shell-Shocked Man (a capella)
3. Scapegoat Song (hip hop/full production)
4. White Line Highway (country w/ hip hop loops)
5. Suspicious (produced hip hop)
6. Message From the Senator (minimal casio production)
7. Go Easy on Me Boss [My Heart is Breakin'] (pure country)
8. Virgin Louise (minimal casio production)
9. 319 JOE (weird hip hop/country production)
10. Shenanigans (hip hop production or maybe live)
11. Beauty Myth (acoustic folk/hip hop)

I'm excited!

Monday, June 28, 2004

Ok, where was I? Ah, the tour. Yes. Well the official last show of the tour with Ivan took place in Winona, MN which is where it had started 52 shows and 52 days prior. During the last minute of the last song of this last show I got assaulted by an old man who looked a fair bit like, perhaps, a balder, toothless Pete Seeger. It was ironic that after all my randy, rowdy, button-pushing Spring 2004 antics not one person had threatened me (let alone grabbed and shook me!) Add to this that the show occurred on a very peaceful and beautiful commune in the country. And also let it be known that this last song was the prettiest, softest, and least controversial ballad I play: "It's Good to be Awake When She Arrives". And guess what my offense was. Being too loud! (Tomorrow when I continue, this story may make more sense.)

I must go now and meet with the Slippery Goodstuff crew. The lazy, extremely busy days of Summer have arrived.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Hello. I don't know what to say... Maybe I'll work my way backwards in time by recounting the tour starting with the last show (for me): Williston, ND.

The best thing about Williston was the fact that it took place only one-hundred miles from my parent's house in Killdeer, ND. This is amazing because they are so isolated from "punk rock" culture there in western North Dakota, yet lo and behold this oil-rig town of Williston has a thriving population of rockers! The second coolest thing is that it turns out my nineteen-year-old 2nd-cousin-once-removed, Brandon Mickilio, plays lead guitar in a band there called Red Hour. I felt at home, kind of. Most of the audience were teen-agers but they liked me and a couple expressed amazement that anyone remotely affiliated with North Dakota (me) could be so politically radical and hip-hop savvy (it's all relative of course). The third best thing was when I throat-sang the North Dakota state song and all these fourteen-year-old girls started singing along! That was surreal.

"Ya oughta go ta, North Dakota
See the cattle and the wheat,
and the folks that can't be beat
Ya oughta go ta, North Dakota
And you just can't say goodbye

"The sky is bluer than blue
The sun is sunnier, too
And if you don't believe me
There's only one thing to do..."

Anyhow, I am becoming so proud of both Montana and North Dakota. The shows I played in those states were great. The audiences were huge and enthusiastic. It's been a long time coming, so big shout outs to my cowpunks in Missoula, Billings, Bismarck,and Williston! You all rawk and I'm proud of you for being music appreciators!! Fargo, Helena, Greatfalls, Wolf Point, Alberta, and Wyoming-- you're on my mind.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

I am back in Olympia... financially ruined in all aspects. I just did a web-search for this guy "Naked Cowboy" who people sporadically confused me for on this tour. It wasn't the buff physique that disoriented them (my bow-legs are like tooth-picks if you didn't know). It was merely the name. I bring him up because my friend Trisha told me he makes over $100,000 a year from busking in New York. He looks like a dork but it would be excellent to play a show with him some day.

Here's another entertaining tidbit: A burlesque troupe called Lucky Devil Girly Show has contacted me to perform my song "Persian Den of Sin" with them when I can. They tell me that they already use it and it's been one of their big show-stoppers. All or some of them may join me for my What-the-Heck-Fest show in Anacortes in July. My ego has a chubby now. I must send off a Slippery Goodstuff cd for them to peruse for other possible dance numbers.

What I must do this next week is organize all the scraps of papers (people's addresses, stray lyrics, press-clippings) that I've collected over the course of the tour and set my mind to rest. I also deeply desire to write volumes about tour adventures with Ivan but alas that may have to wait and wait. Every day I'll write something, though, so stay tuned!

Monday, June 21, 2004

It's hard to believe the tour is over. I'm in Missoula, Montana about to visit my Grandma up in Polson. Today is the longest day of the 2004. I'm sleepy.

The last two nights I spent with Earl and Susan in Livingston, MT. This morning as I drove west I came upon an R.V. pulling a horse-trailer that had "Miss Rodeo Montana" written on the back doors. I decided to follow it until it pulled over for gas (which took longer than I'd hoped for) and meet Miss Rodeo Montana and sing for her my song--"Miss Rodeo Montana Says She Loves Me", which is the sweet tale of a seven-year old boy and his crush on his uncle's twenty-three-year-old girlfriend. When the unit finally pulled into a Butte Cenex, it turned out that the driver was a funky old mule-skinner who had merely purchased the trailer from her a few years back. He introduced me to his new mule which he'd bought earlier in the day in Wyoming. I never got around to singing for him.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I drove twelve hours yesterday: from Winona, Minnesota to Killdeer, North Dakota, where my parents live. I skipped the potential Fargo show, but am about to head north for an outdoor hootenanny in Williston, ND. My mom washed my clothes and I'm feeling pretty good. Tomorrow it's to the ranch for some horse-back shenanigans... North Dakota is a beautiful state-- especially in late Spring.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Tonight is our last show-- in the same town where we started almost eight weeks ago. That would be Winona, Minnesota. Our gig in Prairie du Chien was wild with more drunkeness on a Sunday than on all Fridays and Saturdays combined. The Main Entrance is always a work-out, but it pays well and the patrons are enthusiastic. My shirts are drenched in cigarette smoke. The end.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Howdy from Viroqua, Wisconsin. I'm sort of in the wilderness as far as I can tell. We played our 51st show last night in a lovely hollow far from any town. There were mosquitos, lightning bugs, thunder clouds, and at least thirty earthy children running through the grass that surrounded the straw bale house which supported the 100+ person potluck and hootenanny. Ivan and I followed a jug band and a wonderful touring bike circus and played unplugged in front of a humongous blazing bonfire. The young ones ran in herds and yelled proclamations to the brown sky and occasionally I heard stray yelps coming from the nettle patches. We didn't make much for money but the food and company made up for that. This morning we were fed the juiciest blueberry pancakes ever-- with blueberry smoothies included in the deal. Now we swim... hopefully.

p.s. Tonight it's Prairie du Chien.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Now that I've sat with my feelings pertaining to Ronald Reagan's legacy I've decided that I want to try to appreciate him a little. This is for me since I'd like to let go of any lingering bitterness. Here are some cool things about Reagan:

1. He grew up poor but found a creative way to flourish by acting.
2. He had experience as a union leader.
3. He had a nice smile.
4. He had a lot of life experience before running for president.

That's all I can think up at the moment, but I'll keep trying to remember. I can't help noticing how different these traits are from Dubya, though.

Anyhow, I don't know why I'm wasting my precious computer time doing this, but I guess I just need to fully acknowledge the passing of someone who had a big (albeit negative) impact on me during my teenage years.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Uh oh... back to the busy touring again. No time to write! We must cross the big Mississippi River now and re-enter Wisconsin.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

The tour's not quite over but one circle is complete; Ivan and I have just arrived back in Winona, Minnesota which was the site of our first show forty-six days (and forty-eight shows) ago! We have snuck into my friend Alex's parent's home and are taking our first night off in over six weeks. It's almost midnight but the temperature is warm and muggy. By the way-- to much elation I have been reunited with my car tonight, 319 JOE!! I can't wait to start him up in the morning and drive him around the block. "Li'l Joe: the steel-horse that could."

We left Aberdeen, South Dakota approximately ten hours ago. I have so much to write about, but alas my back needs a rest so I'll keep this brief tonight. Ronald Reagan is dead at age 93... many Americans are sad. He was a horrible president who used fear and forgetfulness as tools to forward an environmentally horrendous and imperialist agenda but he's human, and he sorta looked like my beloved Grandpa Herak, and so, I guess, I, too, feel sad.

Thursday, June 03, 2004