A not-so-short synopsis of the Hellride thus far

Friday, April 25, 2003 · 4:19pm


So I been on the road with Tight Ass Willie’s Folk-Punk Hellride for over a week now. Last night we played the Canal Street Tavern here in Dayton, Ohio and it was really awesome. The crowd was super warm and friendly and into the show. It’s always fun playing for a crowd like that. The owner, Mick Montgomery, was super nice and has a really great thing goin on there. Shout outs to Pat and Matt and Sara and Doug and Kim and Amy while I’m at it. All very nice people.

Night before last we played at Bernie’s in Columbus. Oh man what a hole. I was super down after playing that show to almost no one. Thank god for venues like the Canal Street Tavern. Can’t wait to play there again.

Backing up then, let me recap all the shows thusfar. This is mostly for my benefit, so feel free to go play Collapse or something.

The first show was at the Prodigal Son in Chicago, with Antje. The Prodigal Son is a nice place with a pretty good live music room and an excellent menu consisting of several varieties of grilled cheese sangwich. We played there on a Wednesday night which is free bacon nite — little buckets of bacon at every table and they just keep em comin. How very strange. And nummy. I wish there had been more folks at the show but it was an okay show considering I’m pretty new to all this.

Earlier that day we did an on-air interview thing with Dr. (Dustin) Drace at WLUW. He was very nice. We showed him our boobies through the window before we left.

The next night we played at the Club Garibaldi in Milwaukee. Oh man, what a strange place. It’s primarily a bar and grill, but the bulk of the establishment is in this strange rec room behind the bar room. For the most part it looks pretty normal, pool tables, dart boards, but if you spend a little more time there you eventually notice the wall of photographs on the back wall. At first it looks like one of those fraternity alumni photo things, but moving closer you’ll realize these are all pictures of old and presumably now-dead Italian men. I guess the Club Garibaldi is an old Italian businessmen’s club. Insert organized-crime allegations here. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem that anyone told the local kids that the old Italian men’s club is now doing shows, as the turnout out was even worse than Chicago. Oh well.

The next night, Friday, we played Mother Fool’s in Madison and all our friends came out and it was great. Then we went to the Crystal Corner bar and drank and ate hot nuts until bar time. All the other hellriders left but I hung out a bit longer with Jon and Stephanie and a few others. Then we walked out and I was about to go crash on Jon and Steph’s couch when my new friend Jonny walked up from out of nowhere. I met Jonny in February when I was in Madison to play a show. He lives at Nottingham where I used to live and is also a musician. He walked up out of the dark and said, “Are you Pascal?” I was. He was with a girl named Mae and they invited me back to a party they had just been attending. We walked in the light sprinkling rain for a short block and then we danced and hung out with a bunch of strangers, one of my new favorite hobbies. I gave them a couple hellrider shirts and we danced some more. Then I lost them for a while but I found a fellow with a guitar and we went outside and passed it around while a few others listened. I played The King of Carrot Flowers and he played Faith and a Sublime song, I forget which one, I like them all, at least on that one record with the kung fu grip. Then Jonny and Mae showed up and we decided to head to some other party. We started walking down Willy Street in more light sprinkle and then we piled into my truck and drove as the rain started to come down in earnest. The some other party was pretty much done so it was decided we should go to Nottingham and cook up some food. Although I had been in and out of Madison for the past week I somehow had not made it over to Nottingham yet, and it was nice to see the old house again. There I saw Stacy Jo whom I had met at the reunion a couple years back, and I also met Sandy who also lives at Nottingham. While we were cooking Jonny and Mae mentioned that there was a bike sale happening at St. Vinny’s at 9am and being that it was now 4am it was decided that we would not risk sleeping. Of course I had no need for a bike but I was having a grand time and so it was decided that I would stay up with them. We ate and practiced our pretend-intellectualism by speaking in big words and bigger phrases and seeing who could sound more authoritative while in fact spewing complete bullshit. That probably doesn’t make any sense but at any rate that’s what we did for some time. Then Sandy passed out and Jonny and Mae decided to make chocolate which eventually became fudge which eventually became really nummy fudge bars. Then the sun came up and it was decided we would take the canoe down to the lake and go for a row. Then the fudge bars were done and it was decided we would take them in the canoe with us. And so with some lifting and carrying and bumbling we managed to get the canoe in the water and us into it. And so that is how I found myself in a canoe at 6 in the morning, moving slowly along the shores of Lake Mendota, eating fudge bars with 3 near strangers, trying to discern where in the misty distance the misty water became the misty sky. And then a large ball of cheese fell out of the sky and landed not so squarely on top of me.

No actually then Mae started heckling the crew teams that were rowing past us in a very organized and concerted manner, as crew teams are wont to do. Then it started raining again and we made our way out of the canoe and back inside. With a couple more hours to go we started struggling against sleepiness. Me and Jonny did some pushups which helped a little bit, and then we made another pot of coffee. Oh I forgot to mention we had made coffee earlier. Well we did. And then here we were making another one. I started to get the all-niter coffee-crazies, but I managed to keep my cool. We found an old Nottingham scrapbook and a binder full of old Nottingham posters and reminisced over old times that we never actually experienced. That crazy feeling of friendly ghosts returned to me, but it was a nice feeling, of knowing that there were these people I would have liked and who would have liked me.

Eventually 8:30 rolled around and we decided to wake Sandy and another hamster whose name escapes me now. Sandy rose to the call but the other hamster decided to take a pass. We piled in the truck and headed for St. Vinny’s and stood in line, waiting for the bike sale to open. Sandy and Mae and Jonny picked through the large selection of $10 bikes, trying to find the one that would require the least amount of effort to get in working order. I hung out and advised them as best I could, checking seat heights and wheel trues and stuff like that. Mae jumped on a pink Schwinn that was in great condition but needed new tires and tubes. I trucked her and her bike home and then went and crashed on Wendy’s couch.

I slept for most of the ride to Stevens Point, where we played at the Mission Coffeehouse that Saturday night with Greg Klyma. He sang ‘Free Yourself From Programmed Thought’ and ‘The Ballad of the Self-Abusers’. The Mission was a really cool place with Cy and Dan presiding, and Macabre Rod acting as head bailiff and heckler. Considering it was a rainy day-before-Easter-Sunday, the turnout was pretty good and the crowd very receptive. Another place I’d love to play again.

On Sunday we were back in Madison and Wendy had a big barbecue out at Coney Island studios. We set up instruments and played music and drank beers and ate brats all afternoon and into the night. Several waves of friends stopped by including the Cover Girls, Reem and Sarah, who played some great tunes on Casio and Cello, including Time After Time, Here Comes The Rain Again, Skull by the Misfits, and Pink Triangle by Weezer. Greg Klyma showed up and helped us close down the show.

The next day we drove all day to Champaign-Urbana to play to NO ONE at the Iron Post. We were pretty bummed but it was the day after Easter and Spring Break so I guess we weren’t too surprised. The surprise came as we were loading out, I apologized to Paul the owner for not bringing him a bigger crowd, and he apologized back and then handed me $80 out of nowhere but the kindness of his heart. So nice!

On Tuesday we drove even more all day to Kent, Ohio to see where those students got shot and also to play at Brady’s Leap. This used to be Brady’s Cafe down the street and was a great venue for travelling acts such as our owns, but Bonnie lost her lease and was forced to move, and so she relocated to the converted lobby of the Kent Stage, a 600 seat venue with a very Spinal Tap basement. The lobby was now a small cafe with seating for maybe 30 or 40 people, but Bonnie was just gettting things rolling there and turnout was again pretty low, like 3. Again we were dealing with rain and post-spring-break in a small college town, so I was not too surprised. We played a good show and hung out with Bonnie and Andy and their percussionist toddler Helena and good old Uncle Merle. Andy showed us his switchplate art, er Splart, little switched made out of slate tiles which he engraved and cut into different shapes. We loaded up and then headed down the street to the Zephyr pub and got more loaded up and then slept in the van.

The next day we drove to Columbus, home of Ohio State University and the 2002 National Champion Buckeyes. We had breakfastlunch at Jack & Benny’s and slept in the grass on campus. There was a nice review of my record in the Columbus Alive weekly. I read it and then slept on the grass some more. We roamed around town and then went to Wendy’s friend Geoff’s guitar shop, I Buy Guitars, and looked at lots of cool gear. Geoff is super nice and reminds me tons of my friend of a friend Bil Shannon, who is also from Ohio, Youngstown I believe. Maybe that’s where the similarity stems from. Anyway, Geoff gave us the keys to his really nice farm house out in Worthington and we all got showered up and then headed to Bernie’s to set up. Bernie’s was awful like I mentioned but Geoff was kind enough to come with Sarah his girlfriend, and Nate from Guided By Voices (whom Wendy also knows) also came with his girlfriend Sasha. Then I was surprised to find that Jon Hain’s parents Tom and Debbie showed up to see me play. I promised him I would play Mighty Morphin Power Ranger cuz I guess he loves that song but then I totally forgot to do it. Dag. Then I met Tony or Toni or Tonie who did a review of my record for WPTS in Pittsburgh and she had some really nice things to say about my music which was super nice to hear cuz I really thought I played awful, my voice being kinda ragged out from days of hollering and inhalering all that second hand smoke. Then we went to Geoff’s and jammed on some of the most awesome gear I’ve ever laid my hands on. He had a super nice Les Paul hooked up to this crazy custom cabinet that his business partner Pat had made out of Celestian speakers and a Marshall head. Oh man I don’t know shit about guitars but playing that rig was really sweet. Mostly though I played drums which I actually played pretty well cuz I was nice and drunk.

Then we crashed at last and eventually woke up and had barbecue for lunch with Geoff before heading out of town. Then we drove to Dayton and played at the Canal Street Tavern and it was awesome like I mentioned above. After the show we had drunk food at Mom’s Diner with folks from the Tavern and then we slept in the van again. This morning we went to Mendelson’s Liquidation Outlet, this huge warehouse building with three floors and a whole nother building full of the most bizarre collection of crap you could imagine. Then we stopped in the Oregon Emporium coffeehouse which has some great music on, a particularly hilarious person behind the counter, and high-speed internet access. I ordered a large regular and then I typed all this in and now I’m gonna click ‘Add This Entry’.

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