Monthly Archives: July 2007

07.24.07 – MN Zoo

We just finished a two night stand at an amphitheater inside the Minneapolis Zoo. There are advantages to playing two nights in a place that holds 1500 people rather than one night at a venue that can fit 3000. For starters, it’s a more intimate show, and the zoo amphitheater has a certain it’s-just-us-and-the-lemurs vibe that’s spooky and fun and makes you want to think about what your spirit animal is. One of the nicest perks is that you can leave your stuff set up between Night 1 and Night 2, giving your crew a rest and cutting down on union costs, etc…

Except that in the afternoons at the Minneapolis Zoo they put on a bird show in the amphitheater. So we had to strike every last piece of equipment and load it onto a truck after the first show, only to take it all back out and set it up again the next day. Because of the bird show. Because of the love for me.

Also because of the bird show, your truck isn’t allowed into the area until like 3pm. So we spent Day 1 parked next to a big dung heap somewhere in a remote forested area of the zoo.

Goldfly, Goldfly, Where does it go?

That night during the show there were about twenty bugs helplessly stuck to the little gel tabs I put on my snare to mute the ring of it. Moongel = Flypaper. Somewhere out there a drummer almost knows what I’m talking about.

The next day we learned our lesson. Don’t soundcheck at the zoo! Don’t even show up during the afternoon. Me and Ben Kweller took a canoe out on Lemay Lake near Eagan, MN and caught some fish. Here’s the bass I caught as soon as I switched from a fake worm to a spinner:

Ben thinks I look Borat in this photo because of my “body language” and my “general resemblance to Sacha Baron Cohen” and my “one piece bright green bathing suit that runs from my testes around the tops of my shoulders” (not visible). Ben caught a bass too:

It’s a large mouth!

As this is not a particularly funny road journal, I will shift gears here and say something even less funny: Me and our guitar tech Andy are very excited to be seeing Toad the Wet Sprocket tonight when they open up our show at the Costa Mesa Amphitheater in Orange County. I played the shit out of “Bread & Circus” and “Pale” when I was in high school, and apparently so did Andy. We just went through all the 30 second clips of early Toad songs at amazon dot com using Windows Media Player. Hadn’t listened to those songs since like 1990, but I still knew every word. I just met them and requested “Always Changing Probably” and they reacted the way I react when someone requests “Scars and Stitches” — they looked at me like they had no idea what song I was talking about.

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07.07.07 – Summerfest

I just spent the last twenty minutes zooming in on the scab on my arm with iPhoto. I was hoping to crop it so it looked like something else entirely, and I stopped when I thought it looked like a bird’s eye view of a picturesque rocky red beach in a canyon. Next to a couple of arm hairs.

Here’s a look at the photo in its original splendor. This is from a little bike spill I took during our June break:

(note to self. and to worldwide web. gross-but-sympathy-inducing injury photos might help distract my few remaining readers from the fact that i left the road diary here to die over the last two months while we were touring sparingly. my apologies. i am back with a vengeance. i am back with a scab that looks like beef jerky.)

I’ve reached the stage where these scabs are itching to come off — they fall off when I take a shower, or roll over in my bunk at night, or when I scratch one until I can get a fingernail under the edge of it to peel it off. I lost a few on stage last night in Interlochen Michigan and I’m sure I’ll lose the rest tonight at Summerfest in Milwaukee on the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Sponsored by Miller High Life Stage.

Dave Schneider of the Zambonis / LeeVees is in Milwaukee, helping to lend perspective to the phenomenon that is Summerfest. When we greeted him early this afternoon he said “I’ve already heard two different bands play I’m a Believer!” — this was before 2pm. Then Dave got to shit-stirring. During a set by latin band “Cerfus Project,” Adam was on the side of the stage packing up his guitar and trumpet. Just to review, Adam played trumpet in junior high school and we made him learn and memorize some licks for Ruby Falls and Brazil so now he plays trumpet again.

Dave caught the lead singer’s attention while Adam was oiling his trumpet and made a gesture where he pointed to Adam, charaded like he was playing a trumpet, and then nodded his head up and down. If it’s not clear, he was asking the guy in the salsa band if Adam could jump in. The singer sized up the situation, and then nodded his head approvingly. Dave tapped Adam on the shoulder and said “they want you out there with your trumpet.” Adam looked up and the guy, mid-song, beckoned him out.

As I understand it, Adam said “shit” and tried to shrug his way out of it. That just made the singer apply more pressure. The crowd noticed something was up. There was no turning back. Dave took control and suggested he find a note in the key of the song before he went out. Adam found one that worked. Dave suggested he find one more note. Adam found one more note. “Just play those two,” said Dave.

So Adam walked on stage and some Guster fans up front, who would later unsuspectingly be showered with scabs, went crazy. The crowd waited for Adam to rip it up latin-style on his horn. Adam played his two notes — back and forth, back and forth — and then the *actual* trumpet player in the Cerfus Project went up to another mic and played a blistering jazzy solo, only to stop and look in Adam’s direction a few measures later. He was trading licks with Adam! Adam played his two notes again — the first one, followed by the second one, then back to the first one again — and the song came to a merciful end soon thereafter.

The singer in the Cerfus Project at least told the crowd afterwards “I think that guys name was Adam — and I don’t think he really plays trumpet.”

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