What a week…

This past weekend was my reintroduction to “the road” after almost two years. Fracas went down to Orange County, Los Angeles and a little town outside of Fresno to play some shows. All the usual acutrements were on hand – a van that smelled like five year old beer and man-sweat, more bodies than there was enough space to hold and more full-on, absolute belly-laughs than I’d had in ages.

I really don’t know how we managed it. We stuffed 7 guys (5 band members and 2 road crew) into a Ford van, along with all of our gear and still somehow managed to be mostly comfortable, not get on each others’ nerves and manage not to get caught committing any moving violations.

I even survived subjecting the guys to a full CD’s worth of Electric Six. Now I’m partial to disco to begin with, so a little disco-tinged, slightly silly rock is something I’m always more than ready for. But the rest of the Fracas lads… well, I didn’t get hit, although I think I got threatened at least once, and one of the road crew claims I now owe him big time. Jeez, come on guys. That stuff’s funny. No? Fine. Harrumph.

In all seriousness this has not been the best month for me. Nope. I’ve felt as bad, within the last two weeks, as I think I’m emotionally capable of feeling. Just look back a couple of posts and see what I’m talking about. And jumping into a van to toodle down the road to play punk rock in unfamiliar clubs for mostly unfamiliar people, while fun as hell, isn’t something I expected to wipe out my fears and sorrows of the last six or seven months, and it didn’t. But it sure as heck didn’t hurt none. I didn’t even really mind being subjected to multiple Metallica CDs by my bandmates.

One of the Fracas rules of the road is that when we’re in broadcast range of the Bay Area we have to listen to the local New Country station. Now that might seem utterly appalling to some of you. It did to me when I first heard about it and experienced it. But the thing is, when I climb down off’n my high horse, some of that stuff isn’t so bad. Jeff, one of the roadcrew for last weekend’s trip, actually brought an entire CD case filled with the stuff. At some point on the drive back someone put in a Brooks & Dunn CD while I was driving. For the most part there was nothing particularly remarkable about the music. But one song really affected me. It was about as generic of a country ballad as you’re ever likely to hear. And a lot of it was corny as hell. But the thing was, as cornpone as the lyrics were and predictable as the melody was, the danged thing made me cry.

That’s right. I’m admitting, online, where this is likely to be reposted at some later date to humiliate me, that a corny Brooks & Dunn ballad made me tear up. I was driving, so I really couldn’t let loose, nor did I want to make my bandmates have to try to deal uncomfortably with trying to console me, so I sucked it up and managed not to lose it, but damn, that song actually got to me.

Some highlights from the trip:

– Joe flinging himself off of the padded walls behind the stage at Zen Sushi while we played.

– Joe twirling his mic around over his head, fully intending to clock Dan, missing and nailing Jesse, standing behind him, twice.

– Joe dumping a full beer on some random guy’s head while we played at Jimmie’s in Fullerton.

– Alisha (former Bay Area resident) joining Joe in a full-on floor writhing session towards the end of our Zen Sushi set.

– James being a sport about us constantly calling him a “flappy-headed Canadian.”

– Jesse’s family for providing us with way more hospitality than we deserved.

– The toothless drummer in the born again Christian Death Metal band (yes, you read that right) who went on before us in Madera.

– Dan and Joe shooting at each other with bb guns in Jesse’s dad’s backyard. You really just had to see it.

Anyway, we had a blast and we made it home in one piece. What more could you ask for.

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