Rogue radio and onward to Sacramento, 4-18-09
We drove red-eyed and white-knuckled through the night to southern Oregon so we could be at the radio station by 9 am. When we got there, we were supposed to play "some acoustic songs," but the road block was that we only had electric guitars. Models of preparedness we are not.
There was a gallery of bright-eyed, shockingly awake people gathered in the radio station studio. The DJ told us that they had all won a contest and were there waiting to hear us play. They were very kind, very patient and very ready for some songs. We had the wrong instruments, the wrong cables and we had no way to hear what we were playing. There was a moment of searching looks exchanged between the three of us in the band, and the feeling of resolve. We just couldn't walk out, so we figured we would give it a shot and hope for understanding.
After performing what had to have been the worst version of the song "Hollywood" ever, live and on-the-air, we knew we were doomed. But well, we had to try, right?
The DJ was amazingly sympathetic, and when our segment was over and we'd packed up to move on to Sacramento, she told us how well she thought it went. Fortunately that night we'd get to play in Sacramento—full volume, fully prepared and for another full house. So our comfort was that we got to hit the sack that night feeling redeemed. Now we get to move on to San Francisco and hope not for redemption, but for just the good stuff.
Chico, Ca., El Rey Theater, 5-08-09
Okay, I admit that sleeping in the van on the side of the road is not a great way to get prepped for a show. I admit that the best prescription for a racking cough is not vodka with cranberry juice. I admit that we could have readied ourselves better for the acoustic show that we knew was coming with a rehearsal. But we didn't have any money for a hotel room, so we slept in our van. I couldn't help getting some sickening gunk in my lungs, so I hoped to find a way around it, namely a cocktail with citrus in it. We had no place to rehearse and a lot of miles to drive, so there we were.
But when we got there, the line of people outside the hall put some steel in our spines. We sound checked, took one last look at the set list and hit the stage on a mission. We shook off the sleepless roadside night we had spent, the miles we had traveled and the air in that hall seemed vivid and charged. Normally acoustic shows are a pretty mellow, relaxing experience, but yesterday's show felt like a genuine rock concert. Tonight is the full blown, plugged-in electric extravaganza, and my greatest hope is that it can hold up to last night.
Pete just got a new camera and is snapping shots like a tourist. We'll try to get some pics from the road to you as soon as we can.
[Here's one now! -Ed.]