The band got into San Diego in the wee hours of the morning and I took off for a walk through Presidio Park. I navigated the sleeping homeless scattered around the grass and all the while saw the historical Presidio looming high over the land. It's preserved from the mid 1700's when Spanish missionaries and soldiers built it to help gently persuade the indigenous people to become serfs to the Spanish crown. There's even a bronze statue simply titled, "The Indian" that stands on the grounds as some kind of tribute to those who were utterly obliterated. It's a large native man sitting on the dead body of a cougar and staring contemplatively toward the sky. Near the statue is a preserved wine press from 1770, used by the missionaries. I stood there and wondered what it must have been like to make and drink that wine in those strange and violent times.
That night we found some very cool, unexpected sounds and grooves in the new songs. The comfort level with a lot of the new album material felt like it totally clicked in and the band really enjoyed a lot of improvisational journeys we didn't see coming. I just kept being invaded by that place and time from the Presidio and felt it pulsing through me.
After the show we head for our hotel and Don, our sound guy, says he feels like he might just "ride the funk." I have never heard this phrase and let me tell you, it's as awful as it sounds. This is apparently what you call it when you decide to just skip showering and let your funk run its own natural course. It takes almost 11 hours for us to make the voyage to Phoenix through the desert. The single thing that spares our lives is that only one in our traveling band has decided to ride the funk and the rest of us are just cramped and hot. At one roadside gas station I see the strangest statue of Jesus playing with his own nipples. I had to take a picture because I don't think anyone would believe me.
Somewhere during our drive there is a sucking feeling like the air leaving our lungs. We realize all at once that we have crossed over into Arizona and that feeling is our protection from illegal search and seizure being ripped away. Nervous jokes about Arizona laws ensue and continue through our drive. When we reached Phoenix the staff was exceptional and the people were great, though there weren't very many of them and it made the place feel weirdly empty. After the show we decided to start driving through the night to get a little closer to Albuquerque. And away we go!
Images courtesy of Floater's Rob Wynia