Friday, September 30, 2005

Grassy Butte's final steak fry was tonight. Mom treated. Grassy Butte is one of my favorite North Dakota small towns.
Here are some pictures from the Montana trip:

The High Note, in Basin, MT, where I played music.

Me, Grandma, and my cousin Bekah.

This is the land I grew up on. You can see the house my dad built in the distance, slightly to the left of center.


A cafe in the town of Lincoln, MT.

Eastern Montana.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

So, yes . . . the show in Basin, Montana, was a blast. I love tiny towns where all sorts of people come out of the mountain crevices and old mining camps to congregate for live music. There were back-to-the-landers in their mid-twenties, older cowhands who knew the cowboy poems better than I did, and lesbian artists who liked my songs in spite of a few sexist overtones. I left the show with a couple hundred bucks in my pocket and a kerosene lamp that my aunt/godmom Bryher gave me as a house-warming present. Bryher owns the High Note Espresso & Art Gallery where I played. She's a coffee-bean-grinding saint who makes killer plum cobbler.

Yesterday the folks and I traversed 750 miles of Montana on Highway 200. I fell in love with my home state all over again.

A Nashville paper somehow picked up on the Country Music & Cowboy Poetry Gathering that I've organized for this Saturday and put it on their website. (They got the date wrong, though.) They included a picture of one of Saturday's performers, Quintana Biffert. Check out her songs if you get a chance. She's got a loud voice for a 13-year-old.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My parents and I just drove in from Montana. It was great to have some quality time with Grandma Herak. I played a short show at her assisted living home yesterday. I did a regular show Sunday evening at my Aunt Bryher's coffee house in Basin, MT. More on that tomorrow.

My good friend Trisha visited me from Washington while I was in Montana. It was fun showing her the Mission Valley and Flathead Lake.

Now it feels good to be back in North Dakota! I can start shipping out the new CD, Love's Hangover Sale II. Here's the address for ordering:

Chris Sand
PO Box 265
Killdeer, ND 58640

The cost is $15. There's no charge for postage if ordered before December 1st. After that postage will be added, because the CD has unique cloth packaging that costs extra to make. If you order more than one of any of my CDs, you can subtract $5 for each additional CD.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The show last night was really fun. Love's Hangover Sale II is available for purchase. Let me know if you want to order it.

Trisha's here. I just rubbed Grandma's feet. The mountains are huge. Time to drive to Flathead Lake for a picnic.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Thievery Corporation is playing in the background. Burgers are on the grill. Vinnie, the blind border collie, is sleeping next to the fire place.

I made it to Livingston. I'm at Earl & Susan's ranch house. Earl is a farrier (he shoes horses, mules, etc.). Susan works at the local farrier supply shop.

Friday, September 23, 2005

I just got lucky. While picking up mail at the post office, I mentioned to the postmistress, Mary, that I was about to hitchhike to Montana to play a show. She told me that she'd spoken to a fellow earlier in the day who was driving there early tomorrow morning. She gave me his phone number and I called him. He'll pick me up at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow!

Tomorrow night I'll stay in Livingston with my friends Earl & Susan. Then Earl will drive me to Basin on Sunday morning. Basin is where the show is. We'll probably hit up a hotspring or two along the way.

Then Monday I'll ride with my folks to see Grandma. Not only that, but my old girlfriend, Trisha, is driving out from Shelton, WA, to visit me while I'm in western Montana.

This will be an action-packed and welcomed adventure. Time to shake the hay out of my cape. . . .

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I totally just got sucked into the internet vacuum. I started watching crazy motocross videos, and Paris Hilton commercials, and Chris Rock comedy sound bytes, and Dick Cheney outtakes. I forgot to eat dinner, even.

Hopefully you can't relate.

Now I'm planning my exodus out of North Dakota. Only for a few days, though. I have a show in Basin, MT. Then I'll visit my dear Grandma Viola in Charlo. Her nursing home is actually in Pablo, but it's all Charlo to me. A priest gave her her "last rites" a couple days ago, but that doesn't mean anything. I've said it before-- she's the scrappiest woman west of the Divide. I just want to rub her feet some more. She's got nice Irish feet. Both her parents were Irish immigrants with the last name of Sullivan (there are LOTS of Sullivans in County Cork, so many they had different clan names). Grandma had nine children and three miscarriages in fourteen years. She also raised cattle and wheat with Grandpa Herak, who died in 1987. She's a tough liberal Catholic Democrat. She met John and Jackie Kennedy once.

Click on photo for close-up. Grandma's the pretty middle-aged woman in the middle.

My mom, Mary, is her oldest daughter (back row, center, cat-rimmed glasses).

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Margi invited me down to the Buckskin to meet her friend, Ryan, from Bismarck. Shawn was there and bought me a beer. Then me and the cook, Ron, took on Shawn and Margi at foosball and lost. Then we took on Lacey and her cousin, whose name I didn't catch, and lost again.

Now I'll watch Conan O'Brien. Ice T's on tonight. Ice T's Original Gangster album was what really brought me back into the rap game in 1989. After my initial romance with Run-DMC & Grandmaster Melle Mel in the early 80's, I faded out of hip hop and detoured into reggae and rock. Mostly Bob Dylan, Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin. Ice T, though, was different. He was pure humor, rebellion and raunch that I devoured at age 18. He challenged the System in the way the Bobs did, but more ruthlessly. I'm still influenced by the Iceberg.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dad, Gramps, and I had planned to ride horses in the badlands with a group of folks today, but Gramps wasn't feeling up to it. So instead, we drove out to their camp along the Mah Da Hey Trail and ate supper where they were camping. Grandma came along, too. It was a beautiful and warm night with a big harvest moon and lots of mule deer. I spun off ten or so songs, poems, and raps to the group. Grandpa did some, too. He sang "Barbara Allen," "Frankie & Johnny," and "The Old Chisholm Trail."

Grandpa singing "Barbara Allen."

Swede Nelson & Judy Goldsberry waltzin' to "The Goodnight-Loving Trail."

Me singing "Saddle Bum."

Monday, September 19, 2005

A Florida company called Frosty J Publishing owns the publishing to my song "Mr. Small," and somehow got it placed on a Metal compilation. I just received five copies of it in the mail. It's called: The Very Best of Millennium Metal Volume 1 & 2. The record label is Nu-Metal Records. There are 39 songs total, and it's pretty good. I have a feeling, though, that a lot of Metal fans will be scratchin' their heads when they get to track 38.

Other bands included on the comp are Stimulator, Rezin, Symphony of Sickness, Crimson Altar, Flesh Gordon, Black Widow, Cory Craven and many more.

I have four copies for sale. Anyone?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Watership Down. My new home.

My bed. She looks nice, no?

Meanwhile, 20 miles west on my grandparents' Lazy E 4 spread. . . .

Fall is in the air.

Dad's straw bale house which he stuccoed this week.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005

Just got back from a talent show in Halliday. Halliday is 14 miles east of Dunn Center. I liked it--very small town hootenanny community high school auditorium style. Most of the performers used karoake backing tracks and/or casio beats. Lots of Patsy Cline and nationalism. I was secretly impressed by everyone's talent.
Today, at the museum, I created a new exhibit documenting the three tribes that currently share Fort Berthold Reservation: the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (aka Sahnish). The southern part of the Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara Nation (Fort Berthold Res.) is in Dunn County.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

After work I drove to G & G's to eat pot roast and potatoes. Then I motored to Dickinson to learn about this grant program they have to help out artists. I can't apply 'til next year, but that will allow me time to plot out a solid game plan. If chosen I'd receive $48,000.

Right now I'm at the student lounge at Dickinson State University. Jon Stewart's Daily Show is on in the background. Crazy 18-yr-olds are runnin' all over the place, and I'm trying to write the Great American Blog entry.

What would Larval do?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Just watched Napoleon Dynamite for the sixth time--this time with narration.

Jonah and Amanda leave tomorrow morning. Yesterday we hiked in the north section of Teddy Roosevelt Park. The leaves are beginning to turn color. Jonah says he smells snow coming.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I have a pet mouse in my house. I named her sleekit (inspired by an e.e. cummings poem). I also acquired a pet spider named Onan. Dad and I worked on my home today.

Two days ago I drove to Bismarck with Grandma. We visited Evelyn Neuens. Evelyn is 93, and she's both smarter and stronger than me. I mentioned last month that she was just elected into North Dakota's Cowboy Hall of Fame with Chief Sitting Bull and a couple others.

My friends Jonah and Amanda, from Washington, are arriving here tonight! Tomorrow we'll hike in the badlands. Jonah is also known as Blandow Charismium. He's the turntablist on both A Year in the Life of Slippery Goodstuff and (return to) the blackhole (...of outerspace).

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Four years ago I toured and recorded, over the course of a year, with a 22-yr-old rapper named Terrance Turner, aka "C.A.U.T.I.O.N." We performed together as part of Todd Denny's "Men's Violence Prevention" project. Todd just sent me Caution's new CD: Anti-Industry. I wish you could hear what I hear.
Caution commanded so much attention during his performancess that whole auditoriums would give him standing ovations. Many of his lyrics came from experience--six years in juvenile prison for attempted murder. You could, and still can, feel the urgency for human liberation in his voice. After shows students would line up to talk to him or thank him or hug him or buy his CDs. Although I envied the response he got (they mostly ignored me), I was proud to be his side-kick. After our stint with MVP phased out, we tried to keep touring together, but couldn't figure out how to market our unlikely musical combination.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Part 3:

I overheard the following conversation in a local cafe. I absorbed their dialogue out of context, and imagined them both to be high on psychadelic mushrooms.

Rancher #1: Who was that feller you were jawin' with?
Rancher #2: That was the man who makes pool cues for the King of Scotland. He just moved to Rugby with his water-color wife.

(Rugby, by the way, is a town in North Dakota. It's considered the geographical center of North America. I guess a pool cue artisan now lives there with his wife who water-colors. What else could it mean?)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Part 2: Another picture to distract me from feeling bad about the tragedies in New Orleans and Iraq and Sudan. . . .

Remember: Click on photos to enlarge.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Yesterday, my 75-yr-old neighbor, Emogene, stopped by to see how the place was coming along. She noticed that my mattress was in need of sheets. I had a pile of Nick's old ones I'd been planning to use, and so I hauled them out. They looked clean to me, but she insisted on taking them over to her house to wash. She returned a few hours later with clean, warm sheets, a pillow, and a bedspread she'd acquired from a Killdeer motel. I was still hungover, so, after she left, I took my first nap at Watership Down. And slept well.

Prepare yourselves for a litany of "firsts" during these next weeks. For instance, I brought my guitar over there, for the first time, during lunch break today. The first song I played in my new house was Dylan's "Paths of Victory":

"The gravel road is bumpy,
It's a hard old road to ride,
But there's a clearer road a-waitin'
With the cinders on the side. . . ."

. . . and then the chorus:

"Trails of trouble,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory
We shall walk."

That was all I could remember, so I repeated those lyrics a few times, and then went back to work.

Monday, September 05, 2005

My homepage (click upper left corner) says: ". . . (Sandman) stays strong by shunning all strong drink and tobacco." Well, that's not exactly true. A fellow named Todd wrote that whole blurb. I liked his flow and decided to keep it intact in spite of some inaccuracy. I don't drink that often, though, except maybe when I'm touring and receive free drink tickets. Last night I got drunk, however.

Alejandro, the Chilean horse whisperer, married his girlfriend Jen, a nursing assistant, a couple weeks ago. Last night they threw a party at the Two & Seven-Eighths Bar. Beni Paulson, the bullrider, and his band supplied the tunes. I was there with Margi, the eagle biologist. We met up with Shawn, the trucker, and Lacey, the barmaid. All of them love to dance. Dancing for me is difficult unless I'm inebriated, and that's what happened. We danced until 1:30 a.m., and then drove out to Shawn's huge tractor-trailer garage. We partied 'til 5 a.m. From 2-4 a.m. Margi and I alternated playing songs to a crowd of about fifteen. I kept forgetting words, but I think folks liked it all right.

This morning I feel nauseated.

Anyway, Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Fog shrouded my sweet little home this morning. By afternoon a double rainbow arc'd o'er it. Watership Down is starting to come along. Most of the dead trees and overgrown shrubs have been removed and/or pruned. The sink, toilet, and shower work great. The filthy carpets have been carpeted away. And the majority of the windows are now see-through.

Today I took everything out of the bedroom and scrubbed the floor, walls, and ledges. I then re-placed the bed and dresser, and added the Victrola for good luck--romantically speaking. Electricity, in all the rooms, is still a problem, though, since I have none. The ancient wiring needs an electrical overhaul. I just paid $257 for some of the parts I'll need to do that job. . . . Here come those nibbly house expenditures. I received my first utility bill yesterday for $30. I forgot about those li'l buggers, too. Oh, well. It's worth it. I love this house! This house of fog and sand. . . . and suicide.

What a macabre ridiculous segue that was! Sorry. But I just learned some more Poe-etic (urk) trivia regarding the gruesome history of my tiny death cottage. As you may recall, the reason I may have acquired the house so cheaply was partially due to the fact that many locals were spooked, knowing that the previous owner had taken his life there, on the porch, with a .22 calibre pistol. Well, it turns out that the owner before him lost her husband by hanging, while she and he both lived in this same slaughter chamber. Damn, I'd better up my Zoloft intake immediately! Bad joke--I don't take anti-depressants (yet). Nor do I ever plan to complete any sort of suicidal trilogy. I just love to create morbid ghost stories to thrill and delight the wee people.

Truth be told, my little house wouldn't hurt a bug. It's a breath of fresh air, and a den of good vibrations. A loaf of honey-sweetened bread, and a patch of fresh rhubarb. Safe, cozy, & kind-hearted. My well-insulated friend.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Coming Soon!

Sandman & Jen Grady: Love's Hangover Sale, pt. 2

Friday, September 02, 2005

The last time I visited New Orleans was in 2001. I was on tour with Andras Jones and we had a five-day layover there. We stayed in the Ninth Ward of East New Orleans at his friend Mike West's pad. Mike's house was directly underneath the levee. I killed time by walking along the levee, and wrote a song called "Nothin' to Say" there. Now the Ninth Ward and all of East New Orleans is under water.

Two things I remember about the Ninth Ward were the poverty and that almost everyone except Mike was African American, or so it seemed. I also was struck by the cordiality. Lots of folks waved from their porches as I strolled along their dilapidated sidewalks. The paint-starved houses still retained enough color to give the area a festive Mardis Gras feel. I was reminded of Dangriga, Belize. Third World, to be sure, and then some. I liked it there. I liked the people. Their accents had a deep southern black flavor, peppered liberally with Cajun spice.

I fear some of those same people died this week.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Speaking of numbers. . . . I now have new North Dakota plates. What rhymes with license plate?

Yep: 918!

As for the letters: North Dakota is a friendly state--perhaps the friendliest I've been to, and I've been to most of them. (New York comes in a close second--I'm serious!--but that's another topic.) Now, what could be more friendly than waving "hi" or, let's say, "hiya" to everyone you pass while driving to and from the Lake Ilo Bar? Or perhaps something in between. . . . like, say: "HIY!"

What I'm getting at here is that 319 JOE's new brand is HIY 918. He's still "Li'l Joe" to me, though, re-branded for legal reasons.

These North Dakota plates are much more handsome, in my opinion, than my previous Washington plates. In the lower left corner a stoic brown bison ruminates on a golden prairie. In the distance you can see the unmistakable outline of the Killdeer Mountains. A small bouquet of wheat is tacked to the right of the state name, in honor of agriculture. The motto reads "The Peace Garden State." Simple, elegant, and bugless (so far).
How many people read this journal on a daily basis, do you suppose? My guess is five: Kirby, Ivee, Mom, Dad, and a mischievously mysterious local resident (from Killdeer or Dunn Center, ND). Unconfirmed others may include: Jawcey, Trisha, Giles, Nervous, Blandow, Goose, Frosty J., Cousin Jenny, Rhein, Jack N., and Lorax. Then I suppose there are dozens of others who stumble upon it and, perhaps, read an entry or two.

Who's to know?

Maybe there's an FBI employee paid to keep track of my anarchist tendencies. Many of my friends never read it. I'd bet that only a select few (friends or otherwise) find my ramblings worthy of a regular gander.

The same goes for my songs. Musicians like Ani DiFranco or Conor Oberst or Chan Marshall or Aesop Rock demand huge followings. I demand 11 hardcore Sandfans. Eleven Sandfriends.

Ok, possibly 22. Twenty-two Seinfields. Sandsteins. Feingolds. Something Jewish: the 12 tribes of Israel plus the sacred Hebrew numbers 7 & 3. The One God plus the Ten Comandments times two for the lovely Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara (not Jewish, but sexy nevertheless). These numbers control me: 11 & 22. I live off of Highway 22. There are 11 letters in my first name, and 22 in my stage name. I tell you this trivia not to prove any points, but to hint at something less interesting: compulsive numerical psychosis.

Back to you. Why do you find this journal worthy of a regular scan? I expect at least two comments by Friday. Include your lucky number.