Friday, February 27, 2009

Yesterday I casually mentioned to Tim at the Marfa Book Company that I wanted to silk-screen pillow cases. Turns out he had a fancy silk-screening operation in his basement I could use. And I did.

Marfa is magic, I'm thinking.

Attended the 23rd Annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine today. My friend Andy Hedges happened to be performing. I had supper with him, Andy Wilkinson, Billy Faier, and a few other Texas troubadours. They invited me to swap songs around a campfire tomorrow night. I will.

Synchronicity, again!

Which reminds me . . . Andras Jones has just launched his new Radio8Ball website. If you have a burning question, ask his online oracle. Your question will be answered by one of 78 songs, each of which corresponds with a card from the tarot. Three of the songs he chose are mine.

Now for a little house concert at Buck and Camp's camp.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Marfa, TX, is a tumbleweed revelation. The post office, laundromat, radio station, coffee house, library, and thrift store are all within a two-block radius. That's all a rappin' drifter needs, really, except for a meal now and then.

Here's where people eat: Food Shark. Best sandwiches ever, no lie.

I'm staying in Buck and Camp's old church (photo). They're the ones throwing tomorrow's house concert. Camp is a professional woodworking artist. His fantastic images of truckers, cowboys, wrestlers, beer cans, and guns take me on an excellent adventure. For Americana folk-art at its finest, see here.

This morning I was interviewed by Marfa Public Radio (KRTS). Deejay Tom asked some thought-provoking questions regarding cowboy cred. Auspiciously, the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering is happening this weekend just down the road in Alpine.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

To see pics from Sunday's show at St. Elmo's, check out Charlene's blog. You'll see a couple pictures of my wild friend Emily there.

This is Emily's amazing fortress, which Shawnee helped build!

This is Shawnee: Producer/Carpenter/Model.

As Charlene says, regarding Bisbee: "Different doesn't begin to describe it."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Grandpa Sand has just been diagnosed with cancer in his liver. He's confident that chemo treatment will fix it, though.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Still in Bisbee. Gretchen and Shawnee set me up with a fab show today at St. Elmo's Tavern. Sold many shirts and CDs.

Been recording some, too! Shawnee recruited Dylan, Stuart, and Sam to back me up on "The Ballad of Pee Wee Herman."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sunburn. My first of 2009. It's what I get for walking around shirtless in the desert for three hours.

Tonight I was treated to one of the fanciest suppers of my life by the owners of Bisbee's Cafe Roka. Six appetizers, quail, and then three gourmet desserts.

I was thinking about leaving tomorrow for Marfa, Texas, but I might kick around Bisbee a couple more days. I'm starting to sense action.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

When I arrived back in Bisbee yesterday, I bumped into Gretchen and Charlene at the health food store. They recruited me to be "Sir Cheese Puff." To see what I mean, visit their respective blogs: HILLARY CLINTON ARMY & BISBEE.

Gretchen is Madame Secretary's unofficial Art Ambassador. Gretchen's car, her water tank, and even her pantsuit bear the face of the Hill. In some ways, she handles Clinton like Warhol handled Marilyn, but with a more folksy, feminist edge. Kate Pearson, in whose straw bale house I'm staying, has a similar folk-pop aesthetic.

Speaking of the house: it's a trip. A spacious, circular space with a dusty loft for my sleeping bag. Uneven bricks for the floor. Stars shine bright out here, and silhouettes of arid mountains loom tall. This morning I hiked up a road so steep and rutty it made the Billings County badlands seem paved.

I felt lonely this afternoon, though. A fly landed on my arm and I didn't want him to go. So now I'm at the Bisbee Grand, listenin' to the rustic sounds of Pat Gahn. I played a show with Pat once in San Francisco at a punk rock barber shop. Neither of us got paid, but he at least sold a CD to a girl with a downy beard.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm sitting in the lobby of a fancy old hotel in Douglas, AZ, using the free wi-fi. A guide is pointing to some scratches on the white marble stairs, up which Pancho Villa once rode his horse. I stayed in Silver City, NM, last night--home of Billy the Kid. Pat Garrett, Cochise, Wyatt Earp, and others lived here. Geronimo roamed all over this country.

I think I might live here for a spell, too.

Gregg and Kate in Bisbee have a round straw-bale hut they say I can inhabit. No electricity, no running water, and thirteen miles in the desert.

Sounds good.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Having left I-25 South yesterday morning at Socorro, I meandered west until I found myself in the Gila National Forest. I've been missing, I think. Left valuables in a cabin in Glenwood, then backtracked three miles to Alma, where I traversed a canyon laced with red rock arches and the chipped tombstones of 19th-century soldiers and miners. As dusk descended, I imagined the presence of cougars and Mogollon spirits, so I rock-hopped briskly back to Glenwood. Awoke this morning at 4, jazzed to be driftless. After browsing through tourist brochures, I motored south to the San Francisco Hot Springs trailhead. The pre-dawn hike was dreamlike--crystal fossils, spiny plants, and a star-skulled roadrunner lit the path. A mile or so in, I waded pantless in the sandy-bottomed S.F. River, to get to three steaming springs excavated from the bank. In each, boulders and mud held off the river's flow. I sank into deepest and warmest, to my chin. Two ravens circled: Blissful & Devout. Surrounded by earth, wind, fire, and hot water, I greeted Madame Sun. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Another beautiful day in the ABQ: morning bike ride with Shadid, supper at John and Gail's (oysters, crab, champagne), beat-box session with three-day-old Xavier T. Thayer.

Southbound tomorrow. Silver City, perhaps. I can't stomach goin' another mile north, not even to Santa Fe.

Mexico whispers: Venga, Sandino, venga . . .

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Strolled the streets of Burque like a derelict tonight, drunk off kombucha and the vintage neon lights of Nob Hill along Route 66. Passed a thousand hookah shops, tattoo parlors, adult video stores, artsy theaters, and romance-laden restaurants. Ate a solitary shawarma at The Sahara, and then returned to Graceland Avenue for a second night.

Desires pull me seventeen directions. Round-trip flights to Dublin are $561, and to London it's less than half that. This kind of freedom taunts my consciousness.

I feel like a pigeon on the threshold of an open box. He sits there, briefly, ill at ease, as if options were shotguns pointed at his heart.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

'Tis a beautiful Valentine's Day in The Land of Enchantment.

My Albuquerque Sandmanistas did me right once again. Mark and Nancy D. organized a first rate house concert last night and packed it. Definitely one of the top five shows of tour! Thanks, Nancy and Mark, for hosting, and thanks to everyone who dropped ten bucks in the boot.

Now I am a free bird. Where to fly to ahora?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Truth or Consequences, NM, is where saddle bums and wagon tramps like me hang out. Tonight I'm staying at Riverbend Hot Springs. Warm, clean pools overlook the comely Rio Grande. I fell into conversation with a Montana couple from Willow Creek regarding mutual acquaintances.

Couple in photo seem content, yes?
The pink Prince of NoDak wishes you . . .

Happy early Valentine's Day.

(Greetings from Bisbee, Arizona!)

Last night's house concert, hosted by Kate (she took the above pic) and Greg, was excellent. Did magic tricks and sold shirts.

Off to Truth or Consequences now. Albuquerque tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Meandered east from Phoenix for about four hours this morning, to a hot springs hostel near Safford, AZ. Checked into a sweet, spacious tipi ($20). Soaked in various tubs, including a funky heart-shaped one. The mountains around Safford are snow-white, the sky is blue. Apache blue.

More hot pottin' tomorrow, en route to Bisbee.

<-------- Home, tonight.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Stayed another day in Flag. Played a few froggy songs last night at my buddy Owen's punk house, aka "Snake Pit." He and his many roommates were served an eviction notice for failure to pay rent and must leave tomorrow. Bad timing--the region's in the midst of a nasty ice storm. I barely escaped.

Flagstaff is always an adventure, it seems. Last time I got into a bar fight, and it blizzarded that night, too.

Now I'm in rainy Phoenix at cousin Annie and Ellery's. Jalen's a year old now, and incredibly cute.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Two songs into last night's Flagstaff show, I began feeling light-headed, and an hour later I was vomiting. Thai food poisoning? Typhoid fever? Hard to know, but I was and still am ill.

The show as a whole went fine. The audience seemed well entertained. Larry and His Flask played two incredible high-energy sets. I, after resting in my room, found the energy to return and play a final set from 12:30 'til closing.

I'm supposed to be in Bisbee, AZ, right now, performing at the Grand Hotel, but due to my queasy stomach and this morning's blizzard, I canceled.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Hello from Flagstaff. Traded in a coastal metropolis for some cold, high desert. Peaks are powdered and the moon is almost full.

I'm waitin' my turn to rock Hotel Monte Vista. Larry and his Flask go first.

Had a great time at the HM157 show last night. Lovely house and people.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Worked with the film crew today. Saw eighteen minutes of edited footage. To celebrate the documentary's progress we patronized a lavish Italian restaurant in Silver Lake. Warner and Elizabeth treated. (I'm riding a benevolent grub line this week.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Reggae riddims emanate from cousin Jeff's pickup. Sidewalk blossoms fill my senses. Greetings from Fullerton, CA, where the weather is sublime, no doubt.*

Today is my first day of rest and recreation since January 18th. In review:

Jan. 29

Left Ashland and crossed into Cali. Drank directly from the headwaters of the Sacramento. Rolled to Chico for a smokin' five-band gig at Monstro's Pizza. The four other acts were all good (Louis T. Wermann, Mykee Ramen, Aubrey Debauchery and the Puke Boots, and Ol' Yeller).

Jan. 30
Instead of staying in Chico, I decided to drive nine hours to L.A. I pulled off I-5 near Merced and took an hour-long nap. Assumed an awkward position sleeping across the console and against the stick shift, and threw my back out. I couldn't move at all for forty minutes. I feared I would have to call 911 for help, but eventually, somehow, I was able to continue south.

At 4:30 p.m., I received a buzz cut from a barber named Orlando G. Gomez. In ten minutes I changed from whiskey-bent Bocephus into pill-poppin' Hank, Sr.--no more beard, no more 'stache, and no more shag mullet.

At 9 p.m. I performed with Calvin Johnson at Pitzer College. A fresh band called Moses Campbell played first.

Jan. 31
Slept two hours at Pitzer College. Drove to the LAX Airport with Calvin. Left Calvin with car. Flew to Elko, Nevada. Joined my parents there at the Thunderbird Hotel. Napped. Ate Mexican food. Watched the legendary Ian Tyson perform. Waited around 'til midnight . . .

Feb. 1
Shortly after midnight, I took the stage at the G Three Bar Theater and opened up for Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans. The audience consisted of hard-drinking north Nevada cow people and curious tourists. The buckaroos may or may not have enjoyed my progressive stylings, but they listened and applauded. Only a few walked out. I think they mostly wanted to two-step, and that's what Corb was there for. The Western Folklife Center staff appreciated me, so there's a chance I'll be invited to the 26th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering next year.

Fell asleep at 3:30 a.m. and awoke four hours later. Dad and I had hot springs on our minds, and there was no time to waste. To our good fortune, we stumbled across an obscure concrete basin filled with clean, 102-degree water on the outskirts of Elko next to the river. The air temp was crisp, the sky was blue, the tub was deep. From time to time a train would blow by. A hobo's paradise.

At 1 p.m. I had a date with the lovely Tamara K., Programs Coordinator for the Western Folklife Center. She took me to a surprisingly good Chinese restaurant, then we ventured into the country for an after-Cowboy Poetry Gathering powwow. We hiked, snacked, and watched Super Bowl XLIII. Then she drove me to the Elko airport, and I flew back to Los Angeles via Salt Lake City.

Feb. 2
From the LA airport I took a bus and then train downtown to find my car and Calvin. He was playing a show at The Smell. After the show we stayed at his friend Dave's house.

In the morning, I dropped Calvin off somewhere (can't remember where). He was heading north on a train bound for Santa Cruz.

Now, I'm purt' near caught up. I guess the only thing left to mention is that last night's gig at Gypsy Lounge and the one before that at Dipiazza's were two of the weakest shows of my life. I'm suffering from a mysterious case of the missing mojo.

What it comes down to is this: I need rest.

Today I got some. Thanks, cousin Jeff, for the Japanese lunch, and Brad and Jo for the Italian supper. Love you guys.

*Sublime is Long Beach's most famous band, and No Doubt is Fullerton/Anaheim's most famous band.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Greetings from Long Beach, CA. I'm loving the beach and heat, yet I feel it's time to split.

Tonight: Lake Forest, CA, @ Gypsy Lounge (23600 Rockfield Blvd. #3A) w/ Sas, A.J. Degrasse, and Brett Bixby. 8:30 p.m. $5.

Sas, by the way, is a rad Long Beach babe with a sweet voice. I slept on her cat-hair couch last night. She's turned her house into a gothic brothel and her car into a haunted coffin. Creep chic.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Someday I'll have a spare minute to write a proper blog.

Until then, comedy:

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Mercy. In sum--three more fab shows and one of the most challenging odyssey's of my life.

The tsunami should retreat in a few days, and then I will catch you up.

Right now I'm in Elko, Nevada. Last night I performed as part of the 25th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.