Monday, May 31, 1999

Counting Flowers On The Wall, That Don't Bother Me At All

Today was another day in the misadventures of the ZanZee Band. Yup, this trip has yet to pay off. I woke up this afternoon, looked at my watch which said 12:00 noon, but it took a second for me to realize that I was in a different time zone, and it was actually two hours later. Maybe it was time for me to drag my myself out of bed -- anyway, we were supposed to set up our gear in the club during the afternoon.

I found Dave in his housecoat downstairs, eating "breakfast"; he must have just awoken as well. Right away he told be the bad news: We weren't going to play tonight, and we weren't going to move our equipment into the club until the next day. I was just praying that I could get my hotel room today. If I had to spend another day with a geriatric who had lost his marbles, I would probably end up losing mine as well. It turned out that I didn't have to stay there much longer.

I got into my hotel room by 3:30. Damn nice place -- far, far nicer than the other hotels we've stayed at. I breathed a sigh of relief as I walked into my own room, and I no longer had to be a burden to anyone for the rest of the week.

The next task was to check out Scuttlebutt's, the club we're playing at this week. It's a fairly large room, a mid-sized club, with approximately a capacity of 300. First impressions lead me to believe that this looked like a Hudson's Bay Co. trading post. The heads of all kinds of ungulates are mounted on the walls, vintage skis, beaver pelts, snowshoes, and other artifacts from colonial times complete the theme. Then, if you turned your head to the stage, and the place resembled a rock concert. The stage stands 3.5 feet off the floor -- and is the largest stage I have ever played on. The speakers are suspended from the ceiling, and a huge contingent of lighting will illuminate us tomorrow. 7 QSC amplifiers sit on stage left to power the house system, which, by my estimations is about 12 000 watts. It's gonna be loud.

I drank a few beers while I admired the place, and then left to find some dinner. I went to the lounge beside the pool and had Cajun chicken and Alfredo. It was the best meal I've had in some time. It cost me an arm and a leg, but I wanted to treat myself to something other than my steady diet of hamburgers. Contently stuffed, I returned to the hotel room which I called home, and turned on the Discovery channel. I passed out, and didn't awake until midnight.

I returned to Scuttlebutt's -- why, I don't know since it was empty. I think I stayed for 20 minutes, and promptly returned to my room to watch TV, read, write, and drink coffee. It's now 3:45 am, and I'm still wired, though I've only had 2 cups of java. But, if I don't go to bed soon, I'm going to be just bagged tomorrow, and I have much to do.

Springer's Final Thought: Though I've spent most of today alone, it hasn't bothered me, and I still love my job.

Sunday, May 30, 1999

24 Hours in a Vehicle -- Without Stopping

Define: Hell.
  1. Void in the spiritual plane where souls are banished due to ungodly deeds they committed while alive.
  2. Symbolic manifestation of the above; situation may be referred to as "hell", given the circumstances.
  3. What I have had to endure the last 24 hours.
Nothing like hitting the road at 10:00 pm to go to your job which is halfway across the Country. Everything started on a bad note. We left Medicine Hat with only 1/4 tank of gas. The rationale was to fill up when we got to Walsh, where gas is cheaper.

So we hit the highway in style -- in as much style that a bar band could be. We were traveling in a burgundy Cadillac pulling a trailer. It sure as hell is not a classic car. Given its size, it resembles a Hummer with low suspension.

"Tearing up the highway like a big old dinosaur," and the beast guzzles gas like it was going out of fashion. We arrived at Walsh to a ghastly sight: The 2 gas stations -- the only ones in the area -- closed. We didn't have enough fuel to get back home, let alone to the next town.

Since Walsh consists of 2 gas stations and about 2 houses, the powers of deduction told us that the families who operate those businesses must live in those houses. Since it was only 10:30 at night, and the lights were still on at the nearby house, Dave proceeded to knock on the door and kindly ask them if someone could turn on the pumps and help us out.

Moments passed with Dave standing at their door. Though it never opened, it appeared that he might be talking to someone through the screen. He returned just fuming. The people who owned the station where we were parked (apparently an immigrant family who are still learning the Canadian culture), didn't want to help us out in our little predicament. "Oh, we no have key" , "No get gas" , "Wait 7:30, then get gas" were their responses. It sounded to us like they were making up excuses in what little English they could speak.

Well, making a long story short, we couldn't find any help at the other fuel station either. We were not going to stay overnight, 30 minutes away from home, just to give our money to these unsympathetic boobs. We were stuck between a rock and a hard place, and we couldn't sit here and wait for the Gods to shine upon us. We had driving to do.

So we dropped the trailer, full of all our gear, and left it, right in the gas lane where we first parked, brightly illuminated, in the middle of nowhere. If this isn't a situation for someone to come and steal it, I don't know what is.

Our only option was to barrel down the highway back home, and just pray that the fumes can get us safely to an open gas station.

Now, Dave wasn't driving like a bat out of Hell, in fact, I think he was driving the speed limit. Regardless, an RCMP felt it was in his divine right to pull us over on the outskirts of Medicine Hat -- 2 minutes away from a refill.

I've dealt with this officer before. He isn't who you would consider someone you'd want to have a few drinks and a few laughs with. This particular cop made me take a sobriety test after I "allegedly failed" to come to a "complete stop" at a stop sign. Smelling alcohol fumes emanating from the friends whom I was escorting, he decided that it was I who had been drinking, and threw me in the back of the patrol car. Of course, I passed the test, and then he decided to be a nice guy and not write me a ticket for my traffic infraction. I think I was more insulted than relieved. Enough about that story; it happened ages ago.

This time, he decided to be nice again (he pulled Dave over because he was "allegedly speeding"). We managed to get back into town where we could fill the Cadillac with gas. We were back on the road in fifteen minutes.

On our way back to Walsh, we spent the time praying that some crook didn't make it off with a trailer full of our expensive equipment. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw the black trailer parked solitarily in front of the deserted gas station. We had wasted an entire hour because of that mishap, and we hadn't even made it out of Alberta yet. I jokingly said to Dave, "well, it can't get any worse, it can only get better".

We all took turns driving and sleeping. Arleen drove until 2:00 am, then Dave took over, where he drove until 7:00 am, somewhere near the Manitoba border. I took over, and drove to Winnipeg while the rest of the band slept.

We hit Winnipeg at 11:00 am CST, and we were starved. We found a Humpty's and Dave tried to wake Arleen up. She didn't even stir. It appeared that the two men would be eating breakfast alone.

By noon, we were back on the road. Maybe I was traveling well since I had been sleeping quite a bit on the road, but if we stopped to fill up every 3 hours, maybe I had a chance to sleep from 1-2 hours. I passed out pretty hard when we left Winnipeg. I didn't wake up until we were in Ontario. The views were spectacular -- compared to the prairies, but the highway is only single lane. To make things worse, it was pouring rain, and visibility was close to nil.

Another time change and several hours later, we found ourselves in Thunder Bay at 9:00 pm EST. The trip only took 20 hours, though it sure appeared to be a 24-hour trek. I was cramped, sore and miserable from traveling for so long. All I wanted was my hotel room, a hot shower, and a beer.

I didn't get any of the three -- which pissed me off. The hotel didn't book our rooms until Monday night. The thought crossed our minds that we could pay for the extra night, and settle with the manager later (if he's willing, and we haven't been getting much help since we left Medicine Hat) plus, I hardly have 100 bucks to keep myself fed this week.

There was one other solution, although I didn't like the idea, I had no other choice. Dave's father lives in Thunder Bay, and we could stay with him for the night. All I could hear was my mind telling me: "Staying at a stranger's house, hmm... Why don't I just sleep in the car?"

So Dave tells me that his father is 86 years old, and is not "playing with a full deck of cards" -- he even told me last week that his father would probably drive me batty. What else could happen to make things worse?

We pulled up to Dave's fathers' house. Now, from all the stories I've heard of this guy losing his mind, I was sure that I would not be welcome there -- and if he didn't recognize Dave and Arleen, neither would they.

Well, maybe he didn't lose all his marbles, but he did lose all of his teeth sometime in his life. When I first saw him, the first thing that popped into my head was that he looked like the grandfather in "Grumpy Old Men". I was sure he would approach Arleen, where he would say "Come here, and I'll show you my man-sized manicotti," or some sick line like that.

This is an old person's house. You can tell by the crocheted doilies everywhere, the old gaudy clocks from the fifties, and that smell... You know that smell -- of rotten mothballs, stale sweat, and Metamucil. If the situation I have been in the last day didn't kill me, the smell of this house surely would.

And Dave's dad -- he talks more than Dave does! And you can't understand him. All his stories predate both World Wars, and they go nowhere. Not one of us listened to him. We just let him talk, we nodded, and kept our eyes glued on the television set. Even getting out of the living room to go to bed was a challenge. He was still talking. And he's not your typical geezer who goes to bed at 9:00 at night, more like 3:00 in the morning. Still, I feel sorry for the guy. He lives in this house alone; the rest of his family lives elsewhere. I guess when you're as lonely as he, you'll talk to anyone about anything.

Gem of the Day: I did get a really good laugh at a picture Dave's dad showed me. It was a picture of Dave and Arleen some sixteen years ago. Arleen looked like herself, but Dave -- he had this spiky haircut that was all over the place, these huge tinted glasses, a thin mustache, and wearing this clashing God-awful suit. He resembled a pimp. It had to be the funniest thing I've seen since the sign that read: "Medicine Hat Lodge Casino: Sluts open at 10:00 am".

Thursday, May 27, 1999

The MM Incident

I woke up Wednesday morning with my head in the toilet. I was suffering from the mother of all hangovers, plus a cold hit me from out of nowhere. I felt like dying. Of course, the Lord wasn't so merciful and he let me learn my lesson the hard way. How was I going to move my equipment, let alone play loud music all night?

I somehow managed to drag my ass out of bed in the afternoon. Setting up was rather painful. I don't know mow many times I whined to whoever might give me the time of day. Nobody seemed to be too sympathetic. A couple Advil and a 2 hour nap had me feeling a bit better by 9:00, though my stomach was still irate with me. At least my headache was numbed. One thing for sure: I was not even going to dare drink tonight. We played well tonight -- for nearly nobody. It was dead in the Alamo. I wished for a crowd of 50 people to walk in. If there's anything Dave hates most, it would be playing to an empty room. Sure, it's depressing, but to me it felt more like a rehearsal. Judging by tonight's crowd, tomorrow could only get better. We played until 1:45, called it a night, and left in record time.

I woke up Thursday morning feeling 100% better. Though I still had a sore throat, anything was better than how I felt the previous morning. I ran various errands during the day, and met a few friends for coffee. Though catching up with old friends is all good in nature, there was still something -- somebody I hadn't spoken to in a few months, whom I had been dying to see again. MM. It's been a small secret, but I have been seriously crushing over her for at least 5 years... We have been going to the same school for a number of years, I haven't seen her since I left University, and since it seems that I can never find her, maybe it could be possible for her to find me. But that required 2 things: A phone call, and a lot of guts.

Surprisingly, both came quite easily. I called, and when she was put on the line, she was extremely happy to hear from me. "I thought you were on tour!" was the first thing she said to me. I explained to her that though we traveled quite a bit, we returned to the Hat for a couple days each week. I told her we were in town for this week and that we were playing in the Alamo that night. She freaked. I didn't have to invite her to come & watch. "I'll be there!" she said, though I had a gut feeling she was trying to blow me off in the nicest way possible. We spoke on the phone for about another 10 minutes, when we let each other go. Regardless of whether she shows up tonight or not, I am happy that I called her.

A few hours passed, and I found myself back at the Alamo for evening number two. No liquor tonight either. I played so well last night that I didn't want to ruin tonight by getting drunk. There were more people at the bar by the time we played our first song, compared to last night. The crowd was generally younger as well. We won the ears and hearts of a few tables right from the beginning. They were these two cute girls who were shooting pool and continually throwing requests in our direction. The blonde was really smiling at me.

I really didn't know what was going through my head at the time, but I think I was pretty sure I was saying to myself, "Here we go again." The Blonde came up to Arleen and said "I'm breaking up with my boyfriend, so could you please play 'Any Man of Mine?'" Arleen thought the better choice of song would be "I'm Outta Here". Regardless, to appease our blonde beauty, we played "Any Man of Mine". We had a few dancers on the floor, and there was one girl who whom I thought I recognized. MM! She made it! My heart was pounding, and I was grinning from ear to ear. We played the remainder of our set, and once we were finished, I immediately started walking in the direction of MM's table. I began walking from the stage, and I noticed the blonde batting her eyelashes at me. I smiled and walked past her. I had more important matters to attend to. I nearly spent the entirety of the break with MM and her friends. We mostly had a casual conversation -- that is, flirting was down to a minimum. But then, she was always a tough flirt. It was a good catching-up-with-old-buddies kind of session. And that really didn't bother me.

Then the conversation changed moods. The blonde walked past us -- likely trying to grab my attention, and I said to MM: "That girl has been batting her eyes at me." Now, MM's response was peculiar. She said: "I don't really know why anyone would want to date someone in a band." I felt a little dejected, like I was shot down in flames.

Now, this reminded me of the proverb: "Always make your words extra sweet, because you'll never know when you'll have to eat them." And that's exactly what MM did. She realized what she had said, stopped dead in her tracks, and her face turned a little red in embarrassment. Now, although she didn't say much in response to that, what she did say spoke volumes. "Well, except for you... You're different. You're a Rez Babe." I replied: "Rez Babe; I like the sound of that." It wasn't until after she left the bar that I discovered what she did say to me -- unbeknownst to myself and to her. The powers of deduction clearly told me that she does consider me as dateable material. The woman whom I have hopelessly chased for five years told me -- with what she didn't say -- that she has either liked me in the past, still likes me, or would at least get to know me better! At least, my efforts have not been in vain.

Of course, knowing my luck, I realized this only a little too late. I am confident that we will cross paths again. Maybe not this week, and maybe not next, but we will see each other again before the summer ends, and we will pick up where we left off.

The rest of the night was uneventful. MM left soon after we began our second set. The crowd dwindled and died. Even the cute blonde left. The bar was vacant as a ghost town, and we still had to play. We finished again at 1:45 am. We managed one of the quickest breakdowns I could ever remember, and was home at 3:00. I have a day to rest before we hit the road again. I am curious to see if tomorrow's festivities will involve alcohol.

Saturday, May 22, 1999

Three More Days of Non-Stop Drunkenness and Stupidity

There have been a few dates I haven't written about. My apologies, but I figured I'd rather give you a condensed version rather than a boring day-to-day anthology. You see, Thursday night was really boring; the only thing that was amusing were the two girls who danced all night who happened to be "living an alternative lifestyle", and the group of inebriated, horny men who swarmed around them like bees, hoping that they could entice the queens for mating. Some of us were laughing at the poor fellows, who were following the trail to the hive, only to find no nectar. Other than that, Thursday was quiet and boring.

Friday was more eventful. I managed to catch a matinee of The Phantom Menace, and I emerged completely wired. I felt that the movie was worth waiting some sixteen years for. Yes, there were a lot of people who felt that the movie didn't live up to the Star Wars franchise or hype, but this isn't the place to discuss science fiction, or popular culture.

Friday evening began with KH coming to the bar and taking photographs of me on the stage. We decided to get the pictures done early -- so we wouldn't aggravate the drunkards with flashes of light. Some of the better photographs are attached.

The bar was busier that night, and even though I knew only a few of the patrons, I knew most of the bar staff quite well. I also met "Magenta" -- the shooter bar girl. She was quite a lovely woman. Red hair, tongue, nose and eyebrow rings; qualitites of which I have an inexplicable attraction to. We talked extensively that night, joked around, and flirted a little bit. Of course, I ended up being drunk for the third straight night.

I woke up Saturday feeling the effects of my drinking. I wasn't hung over, but I sure felt sluggish. The details of the afternoon were a blur, but I had to be at the Royal by 4:00 to play our first set. We opened the jam session, and then we could sit down and relax. It ended up that Arleen and Dave took off and left me to host the jam myself. LC was one of the first people to show up. He was one of the first people on the stage, and once he got up, it was impossible to get him away from the keyboard! While making my rounds about the bar, many local jammers were impressed by his performance.

The first few hours of the jam were quite slow -- maybe because it was a long weekend. Slowly, jammers trickled in. I began drinking beer, much to the dismay of my innards, and soon I lost track of time.

Magenta returned, and I made regular appearances to talk to her. Either she likes me, thinks I like her, or both. Sometimes you can see those things in their eyes, and she definitely showed me that sparkle in hers. I really didn't want to play a game of hardball, since I didn't know if she was involved with someone else -- or if I really wanted to get to know her myself.

After an afternoon of drinking, I was feeling no pain. It was 9:30 when my parents walked in with some friends, and they could clearly tell that I had plenty to drink today.

We managed to begin playing around 10:30, and we ended up playing quite well, though my playing abilities were somewhat compromised. When we finished playing the first set, I sat down with my parents and met their friends. AP was be one of my mothers' piano students. Her husband, BP, was a chemistry professor at the local College. Ironically, he's the exact same professor who failed me in my first year Chemistry class. What a world. Maybe I'm glad I never lipped him off, even though the thought had crossed my mind before. His big joke that evening, was that out of all the past students that he had -- who were present at the bar -- there was only one who had passed his course. I have a real problem with those people who have a lack of faith in our youth.

My parents left late; close to 1:00 AM if I recall. My mom was pretty drunk, and Dad managed to sober so he could drive her home. Of course, they weren't going to stick around to drive me home -- I was going to be there until 4:00 in the morning.

We finished playing somewhere around 2:00 AM, the three of us exhausted. Of course, I had already spent 10 1/2 hours in the bar that day. Arleen didn't look well at all. She had been sick all week and her asthma was acting up.

Dave suggested that we leave the equipment, and take it down the next day. I didn't argue. That left me more time to party and see if I could make something out of the Magenta situation, who had just finished her shift. She had a beer in hand.

Magenta disappeared for a few minutes, and I wasn't about to follow her around like a lost puppy. I decided to be cool, casual, and relaxed, standing against the now-vacated shooter bar. Magenta returned moments later and asked "Do you want to come with me?" There appeared to be a bit of duplicity in the way she worded the question. I think it was my drunkenness which made me think about all the possibilities of what her question meant. Sit by ourselves? Go somewhere and 'talk'? My mind raced and my heart skipped. My response was a simple, an unassuming "where to?", to which she replied: "to sit down". We ended up sitting down with another few people at the table and one of the bouncers. Maybe I did jump the gun, but then she could have left me at the shooter bar -- and I could have found someone else to mingle with.

The bar closed and people slowly drifted out. All that remained was the bar staff and myself. I had quit drinking for at least 2 hours, and I didn't feel too bad, but I was still debating whether I should drive home or not. Truth be known, I was secretly hoping that Magenta would offer me a ride home. She didn't -- though she asked me if I was okay to drive. I assured her that I would find a safe means of getting home -- even though I was unsure. One of the bouncers escorted her to her car, and I was left in the bar, felling somewhat like I really shouldn't be there, even though they did not ask or tell me to leave. I waited a few extra minutes, and left the bar -- headed in the direction of my car -- still unsure if I was going to drive, or just drop off my phone and my recently-developed photographs.

Call it fate or coincidence, but Magenta was parked beside my car -- and still speaking with the bouncer who escorted her out.

I opened the car door, threw my stuff in, and the conversation between the 3 of us began. "MC, are you okay to drive?" Magenta asked. I honestly didn't know. I felt okay, but in the course of the last 10 hours I did put down at least 6 beers and 2 Rye & Cokes. I coun't even recall how mauch I had to drink since I had lost count by my third beer.

I thought I was okay to drive, but I really wanted a second opinion -- preferably, a sober one. The bouncer said "I know you're over the limit, although you might feel okay, I know you'll blow over," and that was all I needed to hear. I said: "Then I won't drive", and I locked my car. As I was about to walk to the cab station, Magenta offered me a ride home. Of course, I graciously accepted. We had a good conversation on the way, mainly about music, the Royal, and life as a touring musician. As a means to get to see her again, I invited her the Alamo, where we would be playing. She told me that she probably wouldn't make it. With all the piercings, she didn't appear like Alamo material anyway.

By this time, she had pulled in front of my house, and it began to feel like I was stalling. I thanked her again for the ride, and I stepped out of the car. She drove away as I was walking to the front door, and I realized (a little too late) that I should have asked her out for coffee. Though I've only known her for a couple of days, I can tell she is the kind of person that you'd want for a friend -- regardless if it would develop into something more.

Now I'm shrugging things off. I know where she works, and I'm sure we'll meet up again soon. There are still possibilities, and there are still gigs to happen -- and more women to meet. Anyway, do you think that my parents would like it if I brought home a woman who had more piercings in her face than I can count on one hand? I would hope to think that they wouldn't -- no matter how respectable a person she might be. (That, and much like 20 million other male Star Wars fans, I am now completely infatuated with Natalie Portman). *sigh*

P.S. As I write this, Arleen is in the Hospital in Calgary. She was flown up early Sunday morning. I do not know what they are doing with her, but Arleen had difficulty breathing at the bar Saturday night (In fact, so did I). Dave is optimistic that she will be released in time for us to play in the Alamo Wednesday -- and so am I.

Wednesday, May 19, 1999

Rockin' at the Royal

Happy Phantom Menace Day! It looks like I won't be seeing the new Star Wars film until sometime next week; the first three or four days are completely sold-out. Being a big Star Wars fan, I can't wait to see it. With five cinemas in town playing the show, I'm sure it won't be long until I have my chance.

The good old Royal Hotel. This is one of the scummiest bars in town, but you always end up having the best time there. The tables appear like they are as old as the bar itself (~100 years), which are covered with these ugly yellow tablecloths that resemble bath towels from your great aunt's closet. The bar is dilapidated, but if it were ever renovated, it just wouldn't be "the Royal", and all the atmosphere would be gone. [ed. Note: I hope to have photos of the Royal Hotel interior by May Long Weekend.]

This place has a lot of character -- and a lot of characters in it too. This was the Hell's Angels bar in town, but things have mellowed down, and if you have the gall to talk to any of the bar patrons, you would realize they all have hearts of gold.

Dave and I set up the bands' equipment in the afternoon. The assembly of our PA system is getting mundane, except that I almost had a rack of par-64 lights fall on top of my head. We caught it just in time before it injured either of us. Regardless, I saw my life flash before my eyes: All two seconds' worth.

I returned to the bar at 9:00, a full hour before we were to begin playing. I purchased a beer, and waited patiently. Dave and Arleen arrived shortly before 10:00, and so did my friend LC, who also happens to be making a career in music. He stayed to listen to the first set, and left shortly thereafter.

AF and SG showed up shortly thereafter. They are two females I worked with for a number of years. They showed their support, visited with me during my break, and left shortly before we were to play our third set of the night.

A few other people came and went, and we had a few dancers -- which was pleasing as there was only about 20 people in the bar. During this set I was surprised to find two other local drummers intently watching my drumming. Of course, when I noticed this, it happened to the time where I started screwing up. Poetic justice.

Our final set consisted of a couple Fleetwood Mac tunes, and we didn't play an encore. It wasn't such a big deal, the bar was dead, Arleen was ill, and she wanted to get out of the smoky bar as soon as possible. I finished what remained of my beer, and I went home.

Saturday, May 08, 1999

Strike Three

I woke up sometime around 3:00 in the afternoon, feeling a little groggy, which was likely due to last nights' festivities. I went downstairs to the restaurant, and found myself having breakfast with Dave and Arleen. As the afternoon wore on, I ended up walking to Radio Shack looking for cable adapters. I managed to find what I needed, and I was soon back at the Classic Rock Bar to implement my new purchase.

There was a fellow at the bar who didn't look a day over 19 took a liking to me; he watched us play the other night. First impressions told me he was a massive geek, but it turned out that he was a little bit on the "slow" side. I didn't tell him to get lost, but I did have some work on my drums I needed to do, which required that I be free from distractions.

It wasn't long until I met "Gary". He offered to buy me a beer, so soon I was sitting at the 51 year-old's table with a few of his inebriated buddies. A couple hours and a few beers later, I felt like I should leave the table, since Gary, being as drunk as he was, was really starting to get on my nerves. I excused myself, and left to find dinner.

This happened to be the first inclination that perhaps I didn't want to stay in Neepawa for the week. Honestly, I only wanted to stay in this town to see what I could make out of the Roxy Roller situation.

After a hamburger and a few hours of relaxation, it was showtime. I was still drained from last night's party. I wanted to perform, but I had no energy to do so. I began to feel burned-out, and the bar wasn't very busy, which made it even more difficult to get the adrenaline going. It seemed that the crowd wasn't very perceptive to us being there either. I was gulping down many glasses of cola in order to keep myself awake.

The first set came and went. Gary was still there, drunk like there was no tomorrow (and I'll bet that he'll be wishing exactly that tomorrow morning). Was he ever obnoxious. The bar wasn't very busy, and there was no sign of anyone under the age of 25.

Amidst my apparent lack of energy, the band ended up playing quite well. Dave spoke to the management about the possibility of us playing next week. He returned saying: "We're packing up; we're going home". He explained that the bar only wanted us to play Friday and Saturday next week, and it didn't pay for us to make the long trip for that kind of money. Instead, the band took a "rain check", and we would play here again in the future.

We finished our third and final set of the night by 1:00. This show was a far cry from the previous two nights. We began to pack our equipment until the unexpected happened. At exactly 1:30 AM, the bar became swamped with people aged 18-25, all drunk and attractive. Karen and Roxy were not there. I was somewhat disappointed, but I expected as much. The dance floor was packed, which made it extremely difficult for us to move our equipment. Instead, our cases became coasters for everyone's drinks. By this time, I was really looking forward to leaving this town. I had quite enough of the place by this time.

It was about 3:00 in the morning by the time we had everything packed up and loaded into the trailer. Only one thing remained: all our articles upstairs. The three of us agreed to get out of town as soon as possible, so by 3:30 we were on our way home. We stopped in Brandon at 4:00, grabbed some food, and into the blackness we sped. I think I managed to keep my eyes open for 45 minutes, but as the sun began to rise, I finally ran out of steam.

I stirred slightly as we reached Regina at 7:00 AM. We stopped briefly, but I stayed comfortably curled up in the back seat. We hit the road shortly thereafter.

The next thing I knew, Dave pulled into a 7-11, and walked inside. I stirred, and got out of the vehicle to stretch. I had the feeling we were in Swift Current. Dave walked out of the store, stood beside me, and looked at me. He resembled the living dead. "You look pretty wasted," I said to him. "I'm just baffed," he replied. I was feeling rather awake, so I took the wheel, while Dave layed down and took a power nap. I thought I was well-rested, but 30 minutes later I was fighting to keep my eyelids from closing. I may have dozed a couple of times -- just for a few seconds, only to scare myself awake. The adrenaline would pump fiercely for a minute or two, and then I'd feel exhausted again.

I have no idea how Dave can play all evening and drive all night. We made a gas stop at the hamlet of Walsh. Dave felt better, and he took the wheel for the last leg of the trip. We made it home by 12:30, and I was spending Mother's Day with my mother by 1:00. A hot bath and a long nap completed the weekend.

Friday, May 07, 1999

Roxy Roller

I slept in until 2:00 pm CST, and after a quick shower, I went down to the restaurant for some "free" breakfast. It seems that Dave had forgotten to mention to me that one meal per day is paid for by the bar.

The afternoon was fairly uneventful, though I walked down the street to Radio Shack to pick up some cable adapters, spent some time reading, and took a nap.

I woke up a few hours later, and walked down the street for some pizza, I warmed up my cold muscles, and soon I found myself playing the first set of the evening. The band was tight, and I think it was the best we had ever played to date.

The local television station came by and recorded our performance. The television staff were really personable as well. They asked us if we would like to be interviewed after the show. The band was receptive to the idea, so we agreed to the interview. I haven't been interviewed since my tenure in the Anglers (1993-1994), so I was pretty excited about the situation.

We played our second set of the night, and the music felt really good. I jumped off the stage to get myself a beverage, and two young ladies pulled me off the stage and "told" me to dance with them. The blonde's name was Karen, and her friend was introduced to me as "Roxy Roller" - likely a nickname coined after the Sweeney Todd song. They were both very friendly people, but I think I would consider Roxy as wife material. I found her very attractive. My rock-star ego was beginning to surface, as I was positive that both of them wanted a piece of me, but I learned some time later that they didn't even know I was in the band! I danced and flirted with Roxy and Karen for the rest of the break, and then time came for us to play our final set of the night.

By this time, the bar was packed, and the crowd response to our music got louder and more supportive with each passing song. Some of the crowd began dancing on the stage, right in front of us! The atmosphere was becoming very intense. It wasn't until our third last song that Karen and Roxy noticed me behind the drums -- I might as well have been a Beatle. They screamed "MC! Oh, my god! You're in the band!" and nearly fainted. I was convinced that I was going to have my way with either one of them this evening.

We finished playing for the night, and I was immediately pulled from the stage to the dance floor by Roxy and Karen. We danced for the remainder of the night, and I began drinking some liquid courage hoping that I might make something out of the rest of the evening. I put down three beers in 90 minutes, and I was looking for more, even though bar sales were suspended. It was difficult to tell whether the two girls wanted anything else to happen over the course of the evening, but nothing further happened in that department -- and don't tell me I didn't try. All the patrons were kicked out of the bar, but Roxy and Karen promised that they would be back the next night. I sure hope they do, as I couldn't keep my eyes off Roxy.

The bar closed, and the band found ourselves conducting our interview with the television staff. The interview only took about 5 minutes, but it was nonetheless exciting. After the interview, I found myself drinking with the bar staff until 4:30 in the morning. It was a great ending to a successful night, though I admit, if the conditions were different, the night could have ended a lot better.

While having drinks with Donald (the bar manager) this evening, it was brought to my attention that we might be playing here again next weekend. If that's the case, I might just ask Dave and Arleen if I could stay here over the course of the week. I have only been here two days, but I love this town. The people here are so laid-back and friendly, and the bar staff are great as well. I am thinking that I really don't want to spend 20 hours in a vehicle only to return here next Wednesday and do this all over again. We will know by tomorrow night if we are playing here again next week, or if we are going home.