We played in Los Angeles on June 22, and the opportunity to play in that confusing and sprawling mess of a town was also an opportunity to hang with some friends. We got to see our friend Wayne, who just moved to L.A. from Florida with nothing but a suitcase and a screenplay he'd spent the past two years crafting and perfecting. Within days of moving to the city he was told he'd never make it, and now he's penniless and looking for any job he can find. We dipped our feet in the Pacific, got stuck in traffic for three hours, and ate heaping plates of Armenian-style roasted chicken at the excellent Zankou Chicken.
Our show at the Smell with the Narrator sucked. That place is weird. It's way too big and it's in a back alley of a creepy neighborhood. After the show we had a satisfying L.A. night, hanging on a deck in Silver Lake before going to a party at 4 a.m. with many beautiful and shallow people and Steve Aoki of Dim Mak Records. The night ended with us driving around Hollywood totally lost at 7 in the morning listening to "Rocket Queen" and trying to find our way back to our friend's house using a crude map drawn by our new friend Jackie.
Because the previous two shows had been lackluster, both we and the guys in the Narrator were probably going to kill ourselves if the San Diego show wasn't at least decent. Turned out the show was a good time, in a tiny room somewhere on the University of California at San Diego campus. There was a ballet recital going on nearby and a lot of skanky pre-teen girls hanging around wondering what was going on. We were craving Buffalo wings when we rolled into town, and the local vegan kids begrudgingly sent us to KFC. The skin and flesh was falling off the bones way too easily.
Our Tucson show was canceled at the eleventh hour due to flaky promoters, but we managed to book a last-minute show in Albuquerque. We caravanned with the boys from the Narrator on an impressive thirteen-hour drive after the show in San Diego, driving through the striking red hills of Arizona and the barren wastelands this side of the Rio Grande. We arrived in town around 2 p.m. on Saturday, and amazingly some friends had set up a sweet little barbecue for us. Our friend Owen molded us enormous beef patties and grilled up some classic New Mexican green chilies whilst we chilled in his swank pad and eventually watched some of Back to the Future before we had to go the club. The show was sort of an afterthought at that point, but the Narrator particularly slayed that night.
Those guys are sweethearts through and through. James plays bass, N8 bangs the drums, Sam lazily sings and plays guitar, and Jesse spits cigarettes into the microphone and jumps around and bangs his guitar. We spent Friday afternoon at White Sands National Monument frolicking in the striking mounds of shockingly white gypsum, getting naked and jumping off cliffs. Assholes all.
We headed to El Paso for the June 25 show, but our sole goal was to go to Juarez, Mexico, literally a walk across a bridge. We played a fun show at T's Lounge and then seriously partied on the mean streets of El Paso into the wee hours. We were totally ready to go watch the sun rise in Mexico but were talked out of it. Then we were absolutely going to eat brunch in Juarez, but we realized that we didn't have time because of the confusing subtleties of daylight savings and mountain time, one of the sources of many arguments between myself and Sam from the Narrator. Mexico can wait.
Odessa, Texas was pretty much a shit-hole in the middle of nowhere. We played at some frightening bar called Earls II. First thing I saw when I walked in was a very pregnant young woman drinking a beer, smoking a cigarette, and playing keno. And this was an all-ages show. The girl who played before us covered a Live song on her guitar. After the show we were looking for something to do, so we found ourselves in Midland, Texas, home of some asshole who now lives in D.C. We thought we saw a lively bar down the street, but what we found were the streets littered with belligerent thugs lifting their shirts and showing the guns tucked in their pants. No joke. We got the fuck out of there, ponied up for a hotel and watched Pornucopia on TV.
Since meeting the Narrator boys seeing Batman Begins was at the top our list, and after a tire blow-out and a self-repair job, we caught a twilight showing in Fort Worth. The excited theater manager let us in for free for some reason. Mike and I hated the movie, but the rest of the boys enjoyed it. Denton, Texas on June 27 was the last show with the Narrator, so we went all out and had a great time singing each other's songs. I think the Narrator was on stage with us the entire time we played, shaking tambourines, banging cowbells and causing concussions all around.