Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Sometimes blogger can't find my own blog. What's up with that?
No one's asked me recently about the blog, and maybe that's because the action here hasn't been so heavy lately.
After being on tour, and pretty much away from politics for over a month, I have found it hard to get back in the saddle of outrage. Maybe it's because I'm pre-occupied with impending baby day, maybe it's because I'm more concerned with finding work right now, but quite frankly, I think it's something far worse: I don't care anymore. If anything, I pray that the Bush administration succeeds in its evil plans, because I fucking hate the United State, and if the Bush people succeed there could be another civil war, and perhaps the whole joint will crumble. I have dreams about Mexico marching in and taking back Texas and Arizona (Aztlan, y'all). Dreams in which a tidal wave wipes out DC, including all of Congress. I'll tell you what fellow citizens, the best thing about having a kid with a Canadian is that I have every right to get out of my own gay-ass backwards fucking country.
I opened the homepage of the New York Times today to read that "most states are choosing to crimp the health-care safety net for their poorest and most politically defenseless residents. An ominous new study shows that up to 1.6 million impoverished and working-poor Americans — at least a third of them children — have been deliberately knocked from publicly financed health care programs in the last two years." Well, yeah that pisses me off, but you know what? Arlen Specter is well-fed and doesn't give a fuck. Neither does Rick Santorum, who is also a well-fed little piggie. if they cared they'd say something or do something. And the unfortunate fact of politics is that to get involved at a level that's truly effective, you have to have lots of money, and I don't have that. Worse, you have to whore yourself out worse than a low-budget Czech porn-star, and I have too much self-respect for that.
By the way, it's nice to see that Dan Savage's "santorum" page is now #4 on google. Pretty soon, it's gonna be beating out the Senator whose name it bears.
So yeah sorry if I can't get outraged about Halliburton or John Ashcroft anymore. I mean, I'm still outraged about them, but what the fuck can i do? And what the fuck do I care? Life goes on and someday they'll be dead and then I'll celebrate, like I do when ANY politician dies, and that includes Paul Wellstone. Just die, the lot of you. Get cancer, get AIDS, have a heart attack, I don't give a shit. Anarchy is preferable to any of these selfish assholes.
At least up here in Canada, you get something in return for your taxes: proper public transportation. Cheap day care for your kids (Quebec is angry because it got raised to gasp $7.00 a day, and that's $7.00 canadian, up from $5.00 Canadian. You know how much day care is in the US, oh my child-free friends? UPenn, when I was employed there, offered me a special deal for employees, only $280 a week.) Universal health care.
So yeah, happy fucking new year, and fuck you too.

Friday, December 19, 2003

For the two previous installments of "How We Got Kicked off Tour", please visit this link and this link.

Finally, there was the sexual harassment.
Tub Ring had two of the cutest girls I've ever seen running their merchandise, Sabrina and Donna Scott. The Korean American sisters were in their early 20s, hip, and curvy. I don't think either of 'em could walk into a room and NOT have a line of guys following them. I may not be the most politically correct people out there, but if there is one thing I AM sensitive to, it's harassment. Years ago, I worked in the same health food store kitchen as a young woman named Mary who broke up with me. Who knew I was supposed to get mad or break down and cry? My failure to do either sent Mary into a vindictive passive aggressive rage, and she began to tell the rest of the cooks (all women) that I was sexually harassing her. We had gone out of our way to keep our relationship on the l.d., because the guy who owned the place was something of a freak, so no one knew of our extra-curricular relationship. I nearly lost my job until one of the other women found out that Mary and I had dated, and then she put two and two together. It was a harrowing experience, and left me forever extra-sensitive with regard to my behavior toward women I work with. On the other hand, Jamie was a bit... less sensitive.
This isn't to say that I'm some sort of prude or that I don't make passes. Once Donna and Sabrina knew I had a girlfriend, and a kid on the way, I was labeled "safe" and the three of us talked a LOT of shit. How horny we were. How we desperately needed to get laid. How we liked to get laid. Other things we're into in bed.
Jamie, by a couple of reports, had made "uninvited remarks" at Donna, to the tune of "So hey Donna... when do you wanna go bone?" I don't think it helped that Jamie looks a bit like a young version of Rocky's Cousin Paulie, complete with rumpled hat, stubble, and workout suit. It got to the point where Donna took me aside, told me she'd made up a story about having a boyfriend, and asked me to play along, which I gladly did.
So there are the three foundations of getting kicked off tour: drunken antics, war with Tub Ring, and sexual harassment. Next week: the catalyst and aftermath...

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Note: I still have trouble figuring out the chronological order shit on Blogger, and I really don't wanty everyone to have to scroll through posts from day one in order to find this one at the bottom. So if you haven't read Chapter One of "How UncleFucker Got Kicked Off Tour" you should click here to avoid scrolling. Hugs and kisses!

Chapter 2: Undeclared War with Tub Ring

The second pillar in our demise (and this will be a bit shorter than the first chapter) was the undeclared, low-level war that Boogie was carrying out against Tub Ring. I think all of us were involved to a degree, at first, in badmouthing the band, at least among ourselves and in the confines of the van. And at first, they were a bit snotty and standoffish. None of the guys from Tub Ring went out of their way to be friendly toward us in the way we had gone out of our way to be friendly towards them, but in a much larger sense, whether I was friends with the other band or not was immaterial. When I go on tour, I am there to to ROOOOOOOCK!!!!!!!!! and any friends I make along the way are just gravy. That said, I am the kind of person who makes friends quickly and easily, and although some of my bandmates may disagree, I became very fond of a number of the guys in Tub Ring, who I think were perfectly nice. Jason, their bass player, was a little quiet and standoffish at first, but once we got to talking he was charming, funny, and down-to-earth. Their drummer Dave and I broke the ice finally in Louisville Kentucky, downing beers at the bar and babbling about girls and football. Rob the keyboard player was one of the most mellow people I have ever met: when he wasn't onstage, he was completely dormant, sleeping on the sofa or the floor or wherever he could find a spot to sack out. I wasn't exactly surprised when we got into a conversation on Buddhism, Zen, and philosophy in general toward the end of the trip. Their guitar player Sean was always happy to loan me a cable when I needed it or a tuner or what-have-you. In short, there was no need for the constant backbiting and bitching I was hearing from my bandmates.

Yet there it was. In the van on the way to a gig. "Tub Ring this, Tub Ring that." Boogie tagged their cases with his name. Jamie ond Boog got into a fistfight (with each other) in Tub Ring's van, giving Donna their merchandise girl a nasty lump on her head in the melee. Who was it acting like Spider-Man and leaping on the roof of the van? Who was drinking all their beer and stealing cases of water? Who was it getting drunk and getting in the band's faces? Who was bitching that there wasn't enough room for Uncle Fucker's goods at the merchandise table? Again and again and again and again. It boggles the mind. I came home from tour with a dozen new names in my cellphone because when I go out on the road, I make friends.

What is the point of making enemies? To this day, I have no idea whether this was professional jealousy or just plain old obnoxious behavior that grew into something more malicious. My bandmates can call Tub Ring a bunch of dicks all they like, but you know, when you treat people like their dicks, they tend to be dicks right back.
So anyway, that's chapter 2.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Perhaps I should go into a little detail about tour now that it's been a couple of weeks and the dust has settled.

First of all, we got kicked off tour in Grand Rapids. Basically, one of our roadies, Jason "Boogie" Roman, and to a lesser degree our drummer Jamie, had a difficult time distinguishing between rock-n-roll as lifestyle and rock-n-roll as business (this may well be a LONG piece). Basically, there were three reasons that I believe were the foundations that got us booted from the Mindless Self Indulgence tour. The actual incident that was the catalyst was relatively minor.
The first pillar of our self-destruction was the drunken antics of Boogie, abeted by Jamie. Boogie's gotta be one of the funniest and charismatic guys I've ever met, a 25 year-old, Bronx-born Puerto Rican tattoo-covered skinhead who by his own admission has never left New York. "I think I been to Staten Island once and Queens maybe twice," was about the first thing he told me, as well as the fact that he'd been a Calvin Klein model when he was in his teens (that's him in the lower picture on the left in the pink "Angel" boxers, no he's not gay) and had been hit by cars twice ("Dat's why I'm not so smaht"). Boogie brought along dozens of cds of 80s metal and hard 70s country. One minute we were screaming along to Dio's "Shame on the Night", the next we had the David Alan Coe cranked up (my long hair can't cover up my redneck, motherfucker). Whenever the guy got bored, he'd get naked in the back of the van. Boogie slept with one eye open, when he slept at all (i have photographs of this). One night at a hotel in Minnesota, he got a hotel room full of drunks to jump in the pool, and when the punker with the green hair got naked and thought he was being a badfass, it was Boogie who laughed, pointed and yelled "Dude, you're hung like a Tic-tac." If someone needed a wingman, Boogie was there, right there. It was Boogie who got us free porn for the van.
On the other hand, Boog is living testimony to the bumper sticker, "Instant Asshole: Just Add Alcohol." Because with a few cans of the stuff (and Boog was never satsified with a few cans, typically polishing off more than a 12-pack each night) the charmer turned into a raging, frightening nuclear explosion. Screaming, belligerent, thinking he's funny, vomiting, passing out drunk. We played Sauget Illinois, a shitty ass slum across the river from east St. Louis, an even shittier-ass slum, at an entertainment complex called Pop's. Outside was a convenience store and two strip joints. There was no food, just Budweiser/Miller/Coors, some pretzels, and tits next door. We had an upstairs dressing room, where Boogie drank all of our beer, then drank all of the supporting band's beer (they were a band called Tub Ring, more on them later), then puked in a the ice bucket which he then across the room.

This was hot on the heels of the Utah incident. We played in Salt Lake City, as boring a fucking place as I have ever been. I think the SLC crosswalks said it all. Every day, people dash across the teeming streets and avenues of New York City, and a surprisingly small number of people actually get run over. Now, Salt Lake City's a burg with a population that is a fraction of Manhattan's, yet at every crosswalk are umbrella stands filled with orange flags like you put on the back of a third grader's bicycle. Pedestrians are encouraged to carry these flags as they cross the street to avoid getting hit by a car. I can't attribute this to anything other than vast stupidity in the population. It sure as hell isn't drunkenness: all the beer in Utah is half-strength, and the state makes it so hard to go to a regular bar that there's hardly any point in going out anyway.
Ah yes, that low alcohol beer.... We were done with our part of the show when we heard the news about the beer. To make up for the low alcohol content, Boogie began to drink twice as much beer as anyone else, following it with hard liquor, which is sold at full-strength in Utah. The result was that he hit Defcon 5, and was helped out the the van where he passed out in the front seat. It had begun to rain, and we had a long drive ahead of us: there is no straight shot from Salt Lake City to Denver, and it's a LONG drive that cuts through Utah's mountains northeast into Wyoming, crosses that flat state and then heads south through the Rickies into Colorado. "With this rain you better get a move on," said one of the guys helping us to load out. "If it's raining here, you can bet it's snow squalls in the mountains." I crawled into the back seat of the van to get some sleep. Jack was driving.
I guess it was about 1:00 AM when we pulled over to get gas and I heard Jack and Jamie yelling. "Jesus fucking Christ, what's wrong with you... put that away, put that away..." and something about pee. Great, I thought. Boogie fucking wet himself. With this thought in mind, I fell back asleep. Around 3:00 AM, Jamie gave me a poke. "Dude, get up. It's my turn to get some sleep." Reluctantly I traded places with him. Boogie was still passed out in the front seat, so I sat behind Jack, talking periodically to keep him awake. I peered out the window into the black, and all I could see was flatland. I smoked some more pot, dipping into a $60 bag of Mexican dirtweed my friend Phil had gotten me in Arizona. Jack pulled over and napped for twenty minutes or so, then began driving again. After an hour or two, the sky began to grow pale in the east. Watching a sunrise is a lot different than watching a sunset. Both are beautiful in their own way, but I usually prefer sunset. Usually when I'm seeing a sunrise, it's because I never went to bed to begin with, and there's something rock-bottom about that. I was able to see more out the windows: western Wyoming is flat and empty, great brown fields that stretch far and wide.

It must have been about 5:00 or 6:00 AM when the sun began to rise over the hills, and the sky changed from light purple to baby-blue, streaked with clouds that reflected the earliest of early morning light. I had developed a nice hemorrhoid on tour, and my asshole was itching like crazy. I was shifting in my seat when I noticed in this twilight hour that one of my CDs was sitting on the dashboard, out of its case. "Motherfucker," I muttered. "It's not enough that you fuckers broke the cd player I brought on tour, now you can't put my goddamn cd back in the case? What the fuckin' fuck?" I reached for the disk, "You fucking assh--- what's THAT?"
Both of the dashboard cupholders were filled with liquid.
"You didn't hear?" asked Jack.
All of a sudden, things clicked into place. "Ummm... did Boogie.. uhh?"
"Oh yes," Jack replied. "All over everything."
"Oh my God," I moaned. "I heard something but I tried to sleep through it. I thought he had just wet himself."
"No, not exactly," said Jack. What had happened, he related, was that Boogie had sort of awoken from his stupor at the gas station. "No that's not right... he AROSE," said Jack. In a complete blackout, Boogie had unzipped his pants, taken out his penis, and peed on the dashboard, in the cupholders, on the floor of the van, on Jamie's hats, and on Jack himself. The only reason the van didn't smell like piss was that Boog had drunk SO much beer that his urine was largely water. I dropped back in my seat, stunned and disgusted. The sun still hadn't quite crept over the horizon. We drove in silence for another 20 minutes before Jack pulled over behind a dozen tractor trailers along the highway and shut his eyes for a nap. Two crows perched themselves on a dumpster next to us and began eating garbage. I was the only one awake. I had to pee so I got out of the van, and hopped over the barbed wire fence into a field partially covered in snow. I'm a little on the modest side, so I walked out of view of the highway beginning to fill up with morning traffic. As I stood in the still, frigid air draining my bladder on the frozen dirt, I watched the first golden rays light up the east.
That's pillar one of our demise. Chapter 2 is on the way.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Off tour and back on the warpath.
Check out this editorial from the washington post about the photo-op turkey (meaning the roasted fowl, not the foul fowl our Mr. Bush is, as in "distasteful chickenhawk").
It is low that the post is defending the indefensible, writing, "IT COMES AS NO SURPRISE that the roast turkey President Bush hoisted during his visit to the troops in Iraq on Thanksgiving Day was strictly for show, not eating. The perfect golden brown turkey is one of the great fictions of American life. In reality, a turkey seldom comes out of your oven looking that way, and if it did, it probably wouldn't be fit to eat; in fact it might be made of papier-mache.
Still, the artifice has to be maintained, whether in public life or in the home."

You know what? FUCK THAT. First of all, those men and women in Iraq are fighting a long hard war of choice, that more and more of the country is learning was predicated on lies. This is also true among many of the soldiers fighting, if one can believe this week's cover story in the Philadelphia Weekly. Using them as some political photo op, which Operation Turkey certainly was to some extent, is offensive enough. But for God's sake, if you're gonna manipulate them, at least give the poor motherfuckers some real turkey for their trouble.
Second of all, given the millions of dollars it costs to ship that fucking asshole aroudn the world in Air Firce One, motorcade whatever blah blah blah blah, given the fact that this baboon-faced garbage head sent these fine young Americans off to the desert for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained, how fucking cheap-ass is it that they can't load up a cargo plane with some frozen fucking turkeys? How much more would that have cost? More than the Medicare bill? More than the war? You already saved a bundle by cutting veteran's benefits, right? Come one, Bushies, don't be such cheap motherfuckers. Show some goddamn appreciation. I mean, who the fuck are you, Mr. Burns??? )Actually, take off a little weight, and Cheney actually DOES... oh never mind.)

I have never heard a friend in the military compliment military food. On this one day, couldn't kindheartedness have taken precedent over cynicism? Who's the real turkey here?