When The Road Hits Back

Anyone can hit the road. But what to do when the road hits back? Maybe it's true. We did kind of peak somewhere back there in Indiana followed by a slow digression into I-don't-know-what.


Somewhere along the line, might have been Cleveland to be exact. Cleveland. Yeah Cleveland. We had a lack luster gig up there.

People came out and all but I was plagued by enough bad sound to irritate me past the point of no return. And a general malaise welled up inside of me. You see, there's always more going on up there on stage than music. It can't all be boiled down into something tangible. Distilled into notes and cymbal crashes and monitor levels. I stomped the boxes. I turned up. I squeezed a little harder. A little harder still. But I couldn't choke the monkey.

It was was all over my face. Anyone could see I was there but I wasn't really there. We hunkered down and got through the gig. It hurts. People FEEL it but don't ARTICULATE it. Not out loud at least. Microphone stands might get knocked over, or drinks spilled...

Was it really the gig? It was more than the challenged sound, or was it? A sit down crowd. I couldn't see their faces. Tuesday night zombies.

Next day I took two pills and ate a tuna fish Sandwich and waited. I know this will pass. Meanwhile, I'm wedged in the back of the van between a bag of wrinkled shirts and dirty socks and one clean pair of undies in reserve. Somebody says something funny and I forget to laugh...

Dear god, would you mind coming down here with me for one minute? Have I lost something? Where can I find it? I know enough to know that life is about the maintenance. And for goodness sake, if you think about it, that's the pleasant part. So change those strings, take the vitamins and know that this too shall pass. And it does pass.

Lexington looked dreary on first look. But the waterman showed up. And those spread out around the parameter of the room with theirs backs to the walls soon crowded the stage. I took John Murrys advice. Pulled out the big guns; got silly with it. Broke things up. Threw out the set list. What was there to lose? I was ready and willing to "embrace the absurd and unexpected". And so we did. And so it passed.

You gotta buy ice cream for everybody and not let `em know; just have it backstage. You gotta break things up. Do something no one in the band will expect during the show. I'll work on that. I can come up with something. That's what it's all about really. Gotta John

Meanwhile, we're still awaiting the background check on one "Jimmy the Peach" Deprato AKA James Deprato.

Nick Cave Never Did This

I'm off to do some "promo" for my latest opus Soap and Water.

First stop Hamburg. Cooking Vinyl sweetheart Colete booked me into the Europpaisdcher Hotel directly across from the train station. Think: totally urban. You recovering addicts out there know how train stations are. 

It was a stupid hot night at the end of a stupid hot day. Everyone is in the sidewalk cafes until 2, 3 in the AM sucking up every last minute of it.

On first glance the Hotel struck me as the kind of place Fidel Castro might feel comfortable. But it displayed more than two stars and it certainly didn't smell like piss.

After a not so long day of answering questions about the new record and what it all means, I was relaxing in the bar all by my lonesome, where I enjoyed the great service and hospitality along with more than one cappuccino, and the thought that this is perhaps one of the last places- if not THE last place on earth someone might come up to your table and offer to twist some balloons into the shape of a poodle for you and your date.

Oh yes, I was chilling alright, (note to self: this might have been a good time to take up a Cuban cigar habit). Still, I couldn't help thinking there was something unsettling, something ulterior, something JUST NOT RIGHT about the joint. The Lite-Brite room numbers were one thing, the 70's era Lego-like color scheme another. (Dig the inset photo of the booth with the red Bat Phone). What really messed my mind up were the photo's in the lobby. You see, upon checking in I thought I noticed a photo of what looked a like a replica of the Manteca Waterslides. And for that brief second before I put it out of my mind, I was like, what's THAT? 

I got bored. I got restless. It was late. I was wide awake. I wandered around. I found an indoor pool on 2/3 floor with a little pool that had a circular light at one end. Turns out that light is the opening of this tube contraption. In a 10th of a second the night can turn around on you. What I just stumbled upon, was an indoor water-slide that starts on the 6th floor and winds around between the corridor of the hotel and dumps into a baby pool just off the main pool. 

There's a kind of reception area with a woman at the counter. After I plop down 19 Euro's of my hard earned merch cash and purchased a swimsuit in the conveniently located gift shop, she gives me my own robe, a towel and a locker key and points toward the locker room as if it's all perfectly normal.

There was no one around.

Rocked that slide too many times to count. Back and forth. You shoot through the thing like a canon. Then you get right back on an elevator. Dripping. Back up to the 6th floor and climb feet first into a tube. 


And coulnd't help but thinking this must be illegal. 

Topped the slide off with a sauna. Thank god I was alone in there or I might have gotten some odd looks. Germans love to get naked and I'm like, no thanks I'll keep my suit on. I just bought it an hour ago, I'll probably never wear it again.

I'll tell you one thing: Nick Cave never did this.

Vanderslice in 08


Aug 7 Berlin Guitars Berlin (sold out)

Aug 12 De Montfort Hall - Summer Sundae Leicester


UK: *(w/Bob Frank and John Murry supporting)

*Sep 25 St Bonaventures Bristol

*Sep 26 New Roscoe Leeds

*Sep 27 King Tuts Wah Wah Hut Glasgow

*Sep 28 Esquires Club Bedford

*Sep 29 Norwich Arts Centre Norwich

*Sep 30 Club Academy Manchester

*Oct 1 The American Music Festival Kilburn, London

*Oct 2 The American Music Festival Kilburn, London

*Oct 3 Talking Heads Southampton 

*Oct 4 The Musician Leicester

How did this happen honey? How'd Bob Frank and John Murry end up on tour with us? Well, John Murry moved into the recording studio we all share. He slept on the couch. He LIVED on the couch. He wouldn't go home. He wouldn't bathe. It became a problem. He got on my computer, hacked his way into my web site posing as me and posted random self aggrandizing messages about himself. He stole my pin numbers and ordered out for pizza. Then he didn't touch it. When the pizza was cold I confronted him about it, he shrugged and said he was depressed. 

So I attempted to pull him out of his funk. We talked shop. I asked him if he thought the record he made with Bob Frank (World Without End) condemns or glorify's murder. He didn't say anything for a while and then he said he wasn't sure and asked me if I really cared and I said well I guess not. I asked him if he thought a class A Neve console could save a record from it's own mediocrity and he said he didn't think so and that I should ask John Vanderslice. We both agreed that we didn't think much of his music but that John Vanderslice sure seems like a nice guy. And Neve or not, ultimately there are more important things in the world than obtuse indie rock or whatever, like a properly cooked hamburger for example, or a sense of humor.

We did arts and crafts together, we built new pedal-boards, we walked around the SOMA district and bought bike messenger backpacks for no good reason. We crashed the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign headquarters across the street from the studio, where we shouted "breasts not bombs" a few times and got bored. Then we got really bored and ducked into a Kinko's and printed up "JOHN `hey buddy' VANDERSLICE in 08" bumper stickers and stuck them on random car bumpers. (If you can't laugh at yourself, make fun of other people someone once said). It didn't really make us feel any better about ourselves. So off to the food court we went and ate ice cream. Major helpings of ice cream. Somewhere along the line, over a third scoop of mint and chip to be exact, in an effort to close a deal that involved John going home, I agreed to take he and Bob on tour.

And finally John Murry went home. Went home to brood. He's still there. To both our credit, neither of us ever came out and said anything corny like "you can never go home" or quoted any well known writers of the 21st century. Now the question remains: will John turn out to be a blood sucker or an earner? Will he prove once and for all that "tuning is a decadent European tradition bordering on the homosexual" as Jim Dickinson once claimed? Or will he just take up space in the van? Will taking John and Bob on tour be just another big mistake in a long line of misjudgments? Another bad sitcom of a van tour?

I guess we'll see. Pray for us if you can.

I Don’t Think Frank Done it this Way

For the last night of our all too brief run with Mofro we find ourselves working the room at the Crystal Palace. A gig adjacent to the world famous Cal Neva Lodge. 

We're booked overnight into the Cal Neva. Single rooms! Yee haw! The Cal Neva has survived Joseph Kennedy, Frank Sinatra and his raving ratters, Marilyn, a fire, and now Chuck Prophet and band.

Not sure what Frank would have thought of the piped in 80's music. Although I thought Tainted Love was right on the money spilling out onto the casino floor in all it's homo erotic glory. I also enjoyed hearing Million Miles Away by the Plimsouls. Hep-cats, all around. 

Not much has changed since Frank Sinatra became owner and shelled out for the renovations back in 1960. He built the Indian Room (see Moosehead) and installed a helicopter pad on the roof. I tried to get up there to scope it out but I'm told it hasn't been used since the Chairman pulled up stakes after some shenanigans with big name entertainers and questionable gambling brought him to the attention of "the commission".

The Nevada Gaming Control Board revoked Sinatra's license on October 22, 1963. On Labor Day, September 1963 Frank Sinatra closed the Cal Neva Lodge signaling the end of his colorful reign there.

Stephie tells me that there are more bodies at the bottom of the lake than any other body of water on earth. The legend is that this is where the Mafia killers dumped bodies after executions. Some fishermen even call Lake Tahoe "The Grave". Okay, but why?

I did a little research and yeah, I guess it all makes perfect sense. Tahoe is a lake that does not give up its dead. That is because the lake is so deep, with an average depth of 989 feet, and so cold, with the temperature hovering just above freezing. You'll need some heat to get those gassy bodies to rise up. Bullet holes in the forehead or not. I file this little bit of info away.

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