Friday, May 30, 2008

Karma DEPENDS On Adult Diapers

For the second time in its history as a touring steed Palestinian Bluetooth is wounded in battle, down but not quite out. The Black Hollies stop at a convenient store in an unknown small town in New Mexico in order for Nick to use the facilities. Wiley is behind the wheel. We notice a creepy elderly gentleman who resembles the Quaker Oats guy from This Old House begin to approach Bluetooth. The old creeper eventually makes his way to Wiley's driver side window and sticks his head in.

"Do you know me?" This Old House interrogates Wiley.
Wiley firmly responds, "No. We don't know who you are. We're from Jersey."
At this point, me and Morey straighten up and stand guard.
The old creeper then asks Wiley for change so that he can go to a store and buy a pair of Depends, adult diapers, without a doubt the weirdest pan handle I've ever witnessed first hand in my entire life.
"I'm sorry. We're on the road and we're broke. We don't have any change," says Wiley.
This Old House responds, "Well, I'm gonna go home and see if I can't get some money together to get someone to go out and buy them for me."

Ferrante is still inside the store. Me, Morey, and Wiley are stunned as we question each other asking if we're dead. I feel comfort in knowing that my friends hear the exact same words as me. This confirms the fact that I am indeed not dead but alive, not dreaming but awake, and not crazy but sane. The adult diaper pan handle attempt is extremely off-putting. We recount it immediately to Ferrante who is skeptical at first but then accepts it as truth when he ascertains the conviction in my voice as I explain the odd encounter. Wiley attempts to back out of the convenient store to get back on the road and Palestinian Bluetooth bizarrely stalls. It starts up again and we get back on the highway harboring an eerie feeling.

About ten minutes later the overdrive button on the gear shifter starts blinking, something that's never happened before. A loud grinding noise accompanies the loss of Wiley's power to accelerate. He immediately pulls Bluetooth over to the right shoulder. The band exits the van as our first inclination is that the engine is on fire. Smoke bellows. I open the hood to investigate, no fire. Wiley's initial explanation for the van's malfunction is karmic retribution for not contributing to the Depends adult diaper fund. The band thinks it over. The Black Hollie agrees that Karma doesn't boomerang that quickly and Bluetooth's fall is attributed to some other previously outstanding karmic debt. We wait patiently on the side of the road under a star spattered New Mexican sky.

Wiley confides in me that previous to the Depends incident while driving he notices a raven fly across Bluetooth's path. He silently ponders the symbolism of the black raven and makes it a point to look it up as soon as he gets the chance. He thinks about it a second time and then notices two black ravens cross the path of Bluetooth. Wiley ponders the symbolism a third time and shortly thereafter a group of three black ravens swoop across his field of vision. Wiley's fourth silent inquiry echos his spotting of a group of four black ravens crossing the path of Palestinian Bluetooth. Wiley wonders whether the first raven he sees is part of the final quartet he perceives.

The Black Hollies sit in darkness awaiting the arrival of a tow truck. The gentleman who shows up is named Lloyd, an incredibly personable and helpful father of three. The band squeezes into the cab of his tow truck. We share stories of being on the road. Lloyd listens as we explain the principles upon which the Black Hollies are founded, musicianship first and foremost, using the song as a grass roots way to communicate and reach out to all walks of life with the hope of bringing people together to forget about their everyday worries in order to have a good time. Lloyd mentions that the exact spot on Highway 10 where he retrieves us is somewhat of a cursed location. Without fail Lloyd always picks up the broken down from the very same location where Bluetooth falls. Lloyd transports Palestinian Bluetooth to his family's recovery yard on the outskirts of Las Cruces, New Mexico, where the band has the chance to meet Walter, a half Bull Mastiff junk yard dog in the traditional sense, meaning that if Walter's not on a leash and one crosses his path one's ass gets torn the fuck up. Lloyd then drops us off at the nearest Hampton Inn in Las Cruces which is ironic because in our minds we picture ourselves being dropped off from a hard night of giggin' in a limousine. Pulling up to a hotel in a gigantic tow truck snaps the reality brackets of each Black Hollies member back into place with a sobering definitiveness.

Palestinian Bluetooth is on life support, under close watch, and suffers from a sever case of transmissionitis. The medical bill will run The Black Hollies somewhere upwards of $2500, a small price to pay in exchange for making it home safely. With the insane prices of gas and our sometimes guarantee of $200 we should be dug out of this hole by around 2010. By this time music will be administered to children through a cable that comes out of the wall and is fastened to the back of a child's neck, a musical straw so to speak. Touring in a van will be a lost art and far too expensive for any normal blue collar band with out the backing of General Electric.

"Oh that's really cool. You guys sell calendars!"
"Actually, those are LP records, vinyl."

The Black Hollies extend our sincerest apologies to anyone who is planning to come to the shows in Austin and Dallas, Texas. We are hoping to get out of Las Cruces by tomorrow night if we're lucky. We may be here until Monday. We promise to come back to Austin and Dallas as soon as possible. Please understand.

Three Stages Of A Face Melt

It is now imperative to distinguish between the yarnix and the face melter/close talker for the sake of deepening The Black Hollies' lexicon. As mentioned previously, the yarnix is always a malignant fun smasher while the face melter/close talker is often times benign, unaware of the temperatures emitting from their mouths as a result of the proximity to one's face from which they are speaking. The close proximity is usually a result of the close talker's good intentions in reaching out but can take a detour, as if to say, "Great job up there. I enjoyed the show. Now here are some intricately detailed facts about me you may or may not wish to learn. And to boot, I'm pretty much going to french kiss these facts into your ears." A benign face melter gets in and gets out but still talks close. A malignant close talker can go on for a long time holding the victim's face in place with the hot fire bear claw that is the face melter's breath.

The Black Hollies are highly skilled in detecting if a band member is being melted from across a crowded room. There are certain hand signals The Black Hollies use to communicate with each other to gauge whether a save is in order. A simple walk over to the band mate caught in a cross fire asking the question, "Is this person melting you?" is usually all it takes to administer a save. However, in my two attempts to help my band mates and thwart face melters on this tour I notice that The Black Hollies in distress are too nice to admit that they are being melted. In this case, I leave them to absorb the final heat blast on their own and offer a benign diagnosis to the situation. I have been in several situations during this tour when I have been in need of a save from a face melter. My hand signals fall on blind eyes and I'm left to save myself. I find that talking even closer and louder to a face melter who is close talking me often works to diffuse the situation. Remember, it is important to take control of your own destiny. It's a jungle out there so if you wind up in a situation where you feel uncomfortable don't feel obligated to suffer from fear of thinking that a complete stranger is going think you're an unfriendly person. Just extend your right hand, offer a firm shake and a shoulder pat, and say, "It is a pleasure talking with you but I have to go do stuff." Honesty is always the best policy.

I am lucky enough to have specific documentation of the three stages of a face melt which occur at The Replay Lounge in Lawrence, Kansas, after a Black Hollies set there a few weeks back. It shall be noted that after the photo documentation I immediately fly in to offer Ferrante an out. He waves me off claiming the melt is benign. At this point it is every man for himself.

Phase 1: The Approach

Notice the angle of Ferrante's neck. His head seems to be parallel to his shoulder. This is a sign that Ferrante's ear is extremely hot. Too nice of a guy to say, "Look I need to pack my drums up, my tech has the night off, can we talk in a minute?" Ferrante willingly takes the plunge.

Phase 2: Taking The Bait

Notice Nick's expression. Benign close talkers often have interesting stories to tell. The particular FM under observation here is actually a great guy, a Lawrence local who owns the bar across the street from The Replay Lounge. Ferrante feels his flow and goes the distance until....

Phase 3: The Melt

Luckily eyebrows grow back. How fucking hot is Ferrante's face at this point? Immediately after snapping this photo I intervene but Ferrante assures me the conflagration is benign.

The Wind Beneath My Weed

I suffer from a severe syndrome known around The Black Hollies’ camp as “Jumping The Gun,” or simply JTG. JTG is a combination of reacting first then thinking rationally after the fact. The side effects of JTG include an accelerated deterioration of one’s short term memory which often times results in the misplacing of important personal belongings as well as the flat out loss of valuables. Luckily, most times what is deemed lost is shortly recovered, met with any of three other Black Hollies’ response, “JTGG, Jump The Gun Gonnelli.” Anyone who jumps the gun is punished by adding their last initial to the acronym, JTGW, Jump The Gun Wiley, JTGM, Jump The Gun Morey, JTGF, Jump The Gun Ferrante, and so on and so forth. It is a great feeling to realize that what one believes to be lost is really not. However, it is crushing and difficult to accept the moment when one must move forward knowing that a personal item of irreplaceable value is gone forever. The grueling time frame of a low budget rock and roll tour often forces one to forgo vital search missions in the interest of making it to the next gig within the optimal arrival window. Why have a day off when you can play Jimmy's Crab Shack in Baton Rouge? There's no guarantee at the door but maybe you'll sell some merch. You get all the shellfish you can eat. And you can wash down that crawdaddy with a free round of Pabst Blue Ribbon from Jimmy the owner. Where do we sign up?

The Black Holllies celebrate the birthday of Nicholas Albert Ferrante in Denver, Colorado to a crowd rife with Ferrante enthusiasts, aka Nick’s old friends. The Black Hollies play to an appreciative crowd at 3 Kings Tavern, a dynamite venue. Colder Than Fargo, the openers, are a great bunch of fellows, extremely friendly. The Black Hollies’ performance culminates when three buxom women step on stage during Hold Tight Go Out Of Your Mind to shake it. The dancing women, no strangers to the stage, are known around town as the OO LA LA Girls, a burlesque dance troupe. Ferrante’s birthday bash is a success. The Black Hollies are entrusted with a parting gift from one of Nick’s friends, an eighth of homegrown Denver chronic. Two hits are enough. Anything beyond that, one risks a trip to Vietnam. The gift takes the heat off the following day’s spirit crushing eight hour drive to Salt Lake City, UT, dreaded because of its length but more so because of its final destination. Driving eight hours only to arrive in Salt Lake City is like behaving all year long only to have Santa Claus give you a huge pile of donkey turds on Christmas day. It is worth digressing here to note that in 1982 Herbert Joseph Wiley V’s baby sitter tells him that Santa Claus isn’t real. Young Wiley V is five years old. He, in turn, shares this information with his entire Kindergarten class the following day, only to be punished by his mother for telling the truth.

The Black Hollies prepare for their trek to Salt Lake by immediately purchasing a 5L mini-keg of Heineken in order to put it on ice for eight hours to ensure maximum refreshment upon arrival at the evening’s venue, Burt’s Tiki Lounge. Passed experiences in Salt Lake City dictate this fortifying of provisions as essential. Even though the Mormans renounce polygamy in 1890 it is still easier to legally marry eleven women in Utah than it is to find strong drink. There’s no way The Black Hollies are going into the trenches without back-up. I return to the Hampton Inn in Littleton, Colorado with the mini-keg on ice. In my excitement over the previous evening’s parting gift I ask Wiley for the bag. Severe winds pick up outside of the hotel which according to the weather report are at times in excess of 20MPH. I take the bag of natural medicine from Wiley and in the true JTG fashion of attempting to do four things at once I place the bag in the front passenger seat of Palestinian Bluetooth. I turn my back for less than a split second. Much to my dismay the bag seems to be misplaced. This is extremely odd as I don’t leave the front seat of the van where I place the bag. I desperately ask Wiley if he takes the bag back to which he replies, “Stop JTGing. Serioulsy, where the fuck is it?”

Sustaining the loss of valuable weed is a difficult blow to recover from. At first, I refuse to accept this outcome and rack my brain for possible explanations of how something could disappear into thin air. Is it deus ex machina, the hand of God intervening to let us know that the particular bag in question just isn’t meant for our enjoyment? Did I jump the gun and throw it in the trash by accident? The Black Hollies scour the entire hotel parking lot, pick through all the garbage cans, and tear apart the van for at least an hour before departure. A new acronym is born, JB, short for Junkie Behavior, which ties in nicely with the previously mentioned excavation wherein Justin Angelo Morey actually digs in the desert with a sliver of a blown radial tire in search of Dead Meadow’s natural medicine. The expression on Wiley’s face during the Denver search mission is what I imagine his expression to be in 1982 when his baby sitter tells him Santa Claus isn’t real, an expression of utter dismay. After going as far as to investigate a construction site about three hundred yards from the hotel parking lot I accept full responsibility for the band’s loss, a sad case of JTG at its absolute worst. I couldn’t just wait to get out on the highway right? The only explanation The Black Hollies agree on is that the angle of the van’s doors being open along with the severe gusts of wind cause the weed to be whisked away by the powers that be, perhaps a blessing in disguise.

Most of the ride to Salt Lake City is completed in dead silence. Acceptance slowly creeps in around the sixth hour. The Black Hollies arrive at Burt’s Tiki Lounge with enough time to tap into Bluetooth’s mini bar. Traveling without weed is a double-edged sword. It’s smart because in states like Utah where Mormanism flows like wine police do not generally look kindly upon the sweet leaf. Ganja’s absence though is a good way to reach out to new people. However, not having a personal stash places one at the mercy of the blend of the newly acquainted. In situations such as these proper discretion is essential. One needs to be wary of local lacings with angel dust, meth, crack, roach killer, embalming fluid, etc. The Black Hollies keep this in mind at Burt’s Tiki Lounge but take the plunge regardless considering the dire circumstances of the early afternoon. A few friendly folks turn us on before the show. When asked if it’s mellow or Vietnam they ensure the band that it’s good saying, “You’ll be able to function on it.” I wind up not be able to sleep until about five in the morning as I roam the streets around our hotel. I literally come within a pussy hair’s length of getting hit by a car. I witness police clean up a drunk driving accident. I’m wearing a pale yellow t-shirt and white jeans. My night concludes with a crackhead asking me, “Are you an impressionist because you look like mustard and mayonnaise?” I make my own conclusion regarding the local lacing.

The Black Hollies’ performance at Burt’s Tiki Lounge is noteworthy because it marks the second time during the tour that Justin Angelo Morey vomits in his own mouth as a result of the odor emanating from inside the bathroom. The first incident occurs at The Replay Lounge in Lawrence, Kansas. I witness both incidents. During the second incident I am in the middle of taking an aerial dump pretending that I’m camping ignoring the shooting pains in my knees. Anyone who believes that putting a toilet paper nest on a toilet seat in a disgusting punk rock bathroom is going to prevent one from contracting whatever disgrace is festering on the seat is gravely mistaken. Such logic is akin to believing that Nyquil cures AIDS. During the first incident in Lawrence, Kansas, I’m about to exit the bathroom as I hear Morey’s first dry heave. I turn around and ask if he’s alright to which he replies, “Please don’t leave me in here.” Morey then promptly vomits in his own mouth. In a mock wild man southern drawl, “But dude, WE PLAAAAYED!”

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Am Not Afraid Of Kokomo But I Am Aware Of Kosovo

Advice to the Beauty Bar: Stop franchising. The Black Hollies paid the owner's fucking rent in San Diego on Memorial Day. Two drink tickets a piece is laughable if not disgraceful. Spend twenty dollars on three beers at the bar or gamble with your life crossing the street to buy a couple of 22's at the 7-11, a hotbed for crackish activity in San Diego's El Centro district under watch by continual police presence. Morey opts for the former while I choose the latter. Who wins?

The bartender at The Beauty Bar is friendly but getting a buy back from him is much like milking an utterless cow. Promoter Sarah is personable as is soundman Marshall, truly genuine people. The crowd is amazing except for two yarnixes who perform the aggressive and always ill-fated two man crowd surfing routine, two hits of total bummer. The other bands on the bill, A Beautiful Noise and The Physics of Meaning, are great as they exhibit proper musicianship. Not getting paid a single dollar from the five dollar cover at the door is simply FUCKED UP, the equivalent of showing up to work after a long hard week and your boss saying, "Yeah, about that paycheck... We don't have it for you this week."

The irony is that The Black Hollies agree to these shows, fully aware of what to expect, nothing short of implicit financial masochism, a consensual monetary whipping, or, if you will, a fiduciary caning. Douche indeed. For what? The answer is pure; to remain true to the principle that it is never right to punish those who come out to see the band whether few or many. To pamper the aural cavities of all who listen with sonorum glorium is the task at hand. The Black Hollies are yet to receive any complaints and pride themselves on honoring their end of the deal night after night.

As a result, the price of drinkable beer should not be directly proportional to the price of gas for a band like The Black Hollies. When this occurs the work relationship deteriorates to the status of an “extended drinking vacation.” The Black Hollies arrive to perform not to patronize. Alcohol is a component, what we like to call “part of the works kit,” not unlike a stapler or a fax machine in an office work environment. It helps to put things together, facilitate transmission, get organized, get tight, and eventually unwind. Don’t make us pay through the nose for it especially if we’re not getting paid a god damn dollar at the end of the night.

As we bring bitter hour to an end it is worth mentioning a thing or two about the dilemma of pay to play versus cheapening the name of a solid band trying to spread its music via old time grass roots methods. The Black Hollies learn a valuble lesson from friends Dead Meadow during a chance encounter opening for them at Iowa City’s Picador a couple of weeks ago.
After talk of shakedowns and the obvious choice between a Koa wooden five string bass and headstockless four string Steinberger, let it be known that Steve Kille opts for the Steinberger, Jason Simon shares a great story about a bygone Dead Meadow show in Iowa City. Apparently the promoter for the evening comes up short with the band’s guarantee. The promoter is promptly driven to the nearest ATM by the band and advised to withdraw the evening’s financial short fall from his bank account.

Hats off to Dead Meadow for providing bands across the land with hope and proving the importance of holding people to their word. Aside from turning in a stellar set, both Kille and Simon play effortlessly while McCarty’s drum tones evoke those of Zeppelin I, Dead Meadow also divulge priceless information regarding specific coordinates for obtaining one of mother earth’s medicinal treasures. Two weeks later, The Black Hollies are currently enroute to unearthing an ounce of unnamed goods buried at a certain mile marker across the Arizona state border. Dead Meadow receives word a while back from friends passing through that the Arizona police are letting the doggies loose. As a result, Dead Meadow bury the hatchet so to speak. The Black Hollies plan to dig up the jar, take a hit, and re-bury it as a timepiece symbolizing solidarity and friendship.

The excavation is more difficult than expected. The Black Hollies spend at least an hour attempting to gauge the correct burial site. Several mile markers are pilfered but in the end Black Hollies fail to exhume Dead Meadow's holy relic.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Optimal Arrival Windows, Defining Yarnix, and How Not To Say Thank You

The only way to combat a morale breaking long drive is to draw it out as long as possible, especially if the band is unskilled in early departures. When you know you're going to be late don't just be 10 minutes late. Take it to the limit. However, in order to prevent anger on the part of venue and promoter use the tour itinerary/day sheet to strategically determine the optimal arrival window. For example, The Black Hollies know that driving from Chicago to St. Paul takes roughly six and a half hours. Already too late to get an early jump, a 2PM departure is agreed upon. Coaxing certain Black Hollies to leave the comfort of a hotel room is akin to pulling a cat with unclipped nails away from a cat post laced with kitty heroin. This is phase one in combating a long drive and will subsequently be referred to as The Smashing of The Nest Phase.

Once in the van, the band determines what time load in, doors opening, sound check, and set time are scheduled to be by looking at the tour itinerary. So begins the art of crafting an Optimal Arrival Window. If load in is 6PM, sound check 7PM, doors 8PM, and set time 11PM The Black Hollies plug this information into a GPS-like device called an Optimal Calculator Simulator, OCS. The aforementioned information when plugged in produces a 9:30PM result as the optimal arrival time. One may ask, "How does the OCS arrive at such a conclusion?" Fair enough. The Black Hollies forgo all sound checks as a result of "knowing how we sound" which makes a check of it moot. A 6PM load in and a 7PM sound check are then redundancies.

In defense of early birds everywhere, and out of respect for those gracious enough to take a chance on booking you, it is always best to arrive before doors open. A failure to do so can rightfully result in serious attitude from particular promoters. However, sometimes one is left with no choice but to risk this which can be a small price to pay if the performance goes over well. Have fun or eat worms? The Black Hollies choose fun. The 8PM show time and 11PM set time tip the band off to the fact that there are several local openers on the bill. Toby heard The Black Hollies are playing so he has to get his band on the bill. And then Toby's cousin from across town hears that Toby's band is playing. He then does everything possible to secure the opening slot because his band is alt rock so it wouldn't be right to play after Toby's band which employs the quiet, loud, scream, quiet, loud, scream, double power chorus, rap-rock middle eighth, double power chorus, outro dynamic. A 9:30PM arrival serves to preserve one's ears and overall stamina which is of utmost importance on bills that are over stacked. Furthermore, a 9:30 arrival for an 11PM set time, leaves an appropriate amount of time for the right amount of drinking to occur without resulting in sloppiness. Many times a too early arrival results in over-consumption.

One may fairly interject here. A 2PM departure for a six and a half hour drive should produce an 8:30PM arrival putting The Black Hollies only a half hour late. Herein lies the rub and secret to The Black Hollies art of calculating an Optimal Arrival Window. The end of a morale crushing long drive, especially one against the clock, deserves a reward, just as one would wind down after a hard day at the office, slip on some isotoners, and have little snackski. Usually if the band hustles to get to a show, one hour away from the destination becomes the perfect time to sit down and enjoy a hearty dinner. The OCS puts The Black Hollies an hour outside of St. Paul at 7PM. This means that dinner follows from 7PM to 8:30PM, the absolute latest. If there are no boutique wine shops or exotic cheese houses in the vicinity, The Black Hollies are forced settle for some kind of reputable chain restaurant. Denny's has recently been crossed off the list of viable options on account of recent severe bouts with the crab apple splatters experienced by certain Black Hollies. Eating on the run is no fun. Proper digestion allows for the band to recap the previous evening's highlights, make some last minute transitional set adjustments to the evening's performance that lies ahead, and offer predictions for the current night. Most importantly, sitting down to collect each other's thoughts allows The Black Hollies to remain in tune with that which it values most, the present moment and enjoying each other's company. The dinner usually lasts about an hour leaving a half hour for miscellaneous dealings. Hence, the Optimal Calculator's 9:30PM arrival time.

The Turf Club in St. Paul is a top notch venue with a superb basement bar. Ryan, our promoter for the evening, treats The Black Hollies like family. Ryan is incredibly professional, hooks the band up with some pizza, books a solid DJ as an addition to the bill, and proves that he truly values staging "happenings" with the intention of expanding minds and promoting an overall good time vibe. The Black Hollies share the stage with St. Paul stalwarts, The Conquerors, who perform a brilliant version of Joe South's Hush. Justin Angelo thanks the DJ, Jennie, for spinning The Flirtations Northern Soul classic, "Nothing But A Heartache" per his request.

Minneapolis is a stone's throw away from St. Paul. The following evening The Black Hollies perform at The Hexagon Bar, established in 1934. Rose, the show runner/ultimate bad ass woman in charge gathers all four Black Hollies in order to explain to the band the way in which the evening will commence. Rose is a colorful character who cut her teeth in the mid-Sixties as a waitress at Minneapolis country bar, The Flame, where she fed the likes of Johnny Cash, Waylin Jennings, and Charlie Pride. When asked to share some of her fondest memories of performances witnessed she cites Lil Jimmy Dickens, Farren Young, Buck Owens, and Loretta Lynn as some of those that moved her back in the day. Rose exudes confidence while her experience and history are both a testament to the fact the she knows well how to treat a traveling band. Rose sums it up in saying, "Bands fight to come to see me and play here."

The Black Hollies meet bartender and talent buyer Tattoo Bob who refers to St. Paul as Shelbyville, a reference to the friendly rivalry between Springfield and Shelbyville in The Simpsons. Tattoo Bob assures the band that The Hexagon is a primo old school venue that is worth playing because there's no cover charge, plenty of parking, and The Hexagon boasts the cheapest drinks in town. Bartender Angela is more than welcoming to The Black Hollies as is sound guy Gabe. Annie from The Awesome Snakes performs in The God Damn Doo Wop band who headline. It's always a pleasure to hang with Annie.

A noteworthy incident occurs during the end of The Black Hollies set. The audience at The Hexagon Bar is the most enthusiastic of the tour, dancing and appreciative while facilitating a good flow which is met by The Black Hollies with a ground shaking performance. When alcohol is involved and human beings are excited into a trance-like frenzy via music and dancing the Dionysian urge can often times overpower the individual inevitably leading to destructive situations. The Black Hollies are all for sex, drugs, and rock and roll but there are certain boundaries that must never be crossed especially when pain is involved.

The particular example in question concerns the psychic pain of beloved Black Hollies drummer, Nicholas Albert Ferrante. A certain audience member, who will remain nameless as The Black Hollies admittedly don't know the guy well enough to forgo giving him a second chance if a personal apology is administered to Ferrante, gets on stage while The Black Hollies are performing (Hold Tight) Go Out Of Your Mind. The problem arises when said dude, the epitome of a Yarnix, starts putting his arms around Ferrante which in turn severely hinders his ability to perform. At first, no problem. However, the Yarnix is unrelenting.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a Yarnix is that crazy wildman who's so drunk that he's gotta piss in the sink because there's only one urinal in the bathroom but he aint gonna wait. GG Allen didn't wait, man. The Yarnix aint gonna wait. A Yarnix knows no boundaries. Trying to talk sense or reason with a Yarnix is the equivalent of driving a smart car down a narrow one way street until colliding head on with the ever approaching Mack truck. A Yarnix is a human cyclone not to be confused with close talkers/face melters whom are usually benign in their unknowing invasion of one's personal space. Like a face melter though, A Yarnix can have good intentions but they inevitably come out all wrong on account of ossification. The Minneapolis Yarnix in question painfully illustrates this notion and crowns himself The Ultimate Yarnix when he simultaneous bear hugs and screams in Ferrante's ear while the poor guy is playing drums mind you, not during a song break, as The Black Hollies are only offered breaks while Ferrante drums unaccompanied, that he loves Ferrante so much that he has to fart in his face. Ferrante tolerates the Minneapolis Yarnix like a true gentleman, keeping his cool the entire time , and finishing the set like a bona fide professional.

I am unaware as to the extent of The Yarnixing during The Black Hollies set as I focus on playing. I believe Rose diffuses the situation by eventually getting The Yarnix off the stage allowing for The Black Hollies to finish their set unmolested. Had I been aware of The Yarnix's psychically damaging statements while they were occurring I would have been more than happy to donkey kick the Yarnix in the back of his Yarnixie skull. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't because, truth be told, the only way to diffuse a Yarnix is to immediately walk away. However, this option is unavailable if you're in the middle of performing. Essentially, you become the Yarnix's prisoner and tonight Ferrante is sentenced to three to five minutes in Yarnix jail, an eternity. Absurdly, after the performance that the crowd severely shakes one down to, a few people apologize for Yarnix assuring us that he meant well and really likes us and that was just his way of showing it. Trust The Black Hollies, there are countless ways to show your appreciation for the music. Buy us a drink. Buy our record. Simply compliment one of us after the performance. Smile. Enhance the vibe so people of all denominations feel welcome and are encouraged to dance. Have fun.

Thank the lord for Rose. Without her regulating it could have gotten ugly. And many thanks to the wonderful Minneapolis audience. Nothing makes The Black Hollies happier than feeling the crowd diggin' it. In the end, The Black Hollies get out of The Hexagon Bar in one piece. Yarnix, thanks for painting a poignant picture of how not to thank a good band. Palestinian Bluetooth urges you to tighten up and offer Ferrante a personal apology, fucking hammerhead.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Empty Bottles

The Black Hollies roll into Chicago. The Empty Bottle is a classic venue, not snobby, just aware that it's a great venue and that most band's suck. They have high standards. This is a good thing. However, the Black Hollies, no strangers to the hierarchy of roadhouse politics proceed immediately to the liquor store down the block once they learn The Empty Bottle offers only half priced drinks to the band for the night. Being on a tight budget is no fun but drinking inside your van as if it's the green room at The LA Forum is. Justin Angelo returns from the liquor store with half a dozen 22 ounce imported beers. Palestinian Bluetooth posts up on the residential block perpendicular to Western Avenue where The Empty Bottle is located. Wiley joins us "backstage." Minds are bent as well as spirits consumed.

Just as the band gets in the pocket, a vehicle with a blinding search light approaches the van going the wrong way down a one way street. The Black Hollies realize the search light is attached to a cop car headed toward the van at a slow and steady creeping pace. At this point, it becomes every man for himself. Wiley turns into a vapor trail quicker than one can utter, "Two eggs over easy." Morey exits the side door expertly concealing his empty bottles in his boots. I exit the driver side door finishing my beer quicker than a sorority girl at a collegiate basketball victory party hiding the empty bottle underneath the van. The cop car stops and the officer in the shot gun seat interrogates Morey and myself without getting out of his car. He notices that Bluetooth is without proper residential parking credentials and advises that we move the van ASAP otherwise it may be eligible for a summons, to which I reply, "You mean you're going to write us a ticket?" The cop responds, "Yeah, a ticket. People on this street call us all the time about cars parked without permits." Morey and myself thank the cop too many times for the information. We move the van without incident and park it on Western Ave adroitly following the officer's suggestion. Upon doing so we run into Sean Towey, an old friend of ours from Jersey City, and Glass Trees band leader, who now lives in Chicago. The Towey encounter immediately raises spirits. The band and Towey proceed downstairs to the actual green room of The Empty Bottle for some last minute tweaking before show time. The band's performance to about 30 goes over well.

After the show a black cat from the headlining act gives Ferrante guff about The Black Hollies leaving their guitarists' pedal and cord cases in the middle of the floor hindering the cat's ability to get her drum set on stage. The cat says, "Yo, buddy, what's the deal with these fruity cases in my way? Whatta ya got make-up in there? Do me a favor. Pick 'em up and scram!" Ferrante, who usually confronts aggression with aggression, is speechless. He picks up the two cases and clears a path so the cat can set up her US Mercury kick drum. Ferrante later attributes the cat's harsh forthrightness to a natural competitive streak that lies deep within every drummer, whether human or feline.

I settle up with the extremely hospitable and friendly Kara, a bartender at The Empty Bottle. We get on the subject of her hometown, Richmond, VA. Immediately we discuss the origins and present whereabouts of infamous Richmond painting, Necktan, which Kara refers to as simply, Neck. Necktan is a found painting which exhibits an incredibly disproportionate face to neck color ratio, hence the moniker, Necktan. It's original curator, Martin Key aka Marty Violence brought this amazing work of art to prominence in the mid-90's by staging punk shows around viewings of Necktan, which gains a cult-following as a result. Kara claims to not know the current whereabouts of Necktan. I question whether the painting is at some point stolen only to resurface back in Richmond. Anyone with information regarding Necktan is encouraged to contact Palestinian Bluetooth.

The Black Hollies return to their hotel room to a find a special surprise of only one bed inside. Four Dudes In A Room is taken to new heights tonight.

Non-Ironic Vibe Assessment Of Peter DeLuise's Present Situation In 2008

The original show in Columbus at Cafe Bourbon Street falls through on account of the owner's eviction. Luckily, The Black Hollies succeed in last minute bill-swapping over to Carabar, an excellent venue across town. The band arrives early. Co-owners Cara and Ron roll out the red carpet. Justin Angelo is treated to a sampling of the venue's hottest hot sauces; akin to dying and going to heaven for a man who can't sleep in a room unless the temperature is well below 60 degrees on account of all the hot sauce percolating through his veins. In defense of his freeze-out tactics, Morey attests, "When you have four dudes in a room, the COLDER it is, the CLEANER it is. Heat incubates germs. The freeze-out is the anti-incubator." The rest of the band treats each night of lodging under the "ice curtain" as an outdoor late fall/early winter camping trip and comes equipped with thermal pajamas and at least two layers of blankets which at times may be pulled over one's entire head on account of the nose becoming cold enough to turn mucus to ice. A genuine Black Hollies freeze out is incomplete without a severe "opium factor." The Black Hollies fortify the frozen room against all sources of light that may pierce through the window's curtain come morning. This permanent darkness creates an atmosphere not unlike that of a Chinese opium den and facilitates band rest throughout the early afternoon. This, in turn, contributes to a better performance come midnight. The band is well-received at Carabar this evening. Ron and Cara make it very easy for The Black Hollies to tie one on. Hospitality like this never goes unappreciated by the band.

The most important event of the evening occurs during The Black Hollies' load in. Ron and band begin a serious discussion regarding the seminal late 1980's hit show, 21 Jump Street. Ron makes a valid point in attributing the show's downfall to the cast addition of Richard Grieco. The band and Ron agree that Grieco is the ultimate frown-burger. Landing the coveted Jump Street gig is not enough. Grieco's logic is, "If Depp can do it then so can I." Grieco perceives his inclusion in MTV's 1990 Rock And Jock softball game as the beginning of his rise to the top. In 1990, Rolling Stone magazine quotes Grieco as saying, "Yeah, whatever, me and Johnny never had any beef, I guess. And I know that him leaving Jump Street really hurt Peter DeLuise alot. I mean, I was there late at night on set picking up the pieces. If Depp wants to be a big shot and get all method, become a serious actor and shit, then I'd like to remind him not forget his roots. I challenge him to face me on the mound of this year's Rock And Jock softball game alongside such greats as Mark Slaughter and Kip Winger." Needless to say Grieco's challenge is unanswered as Depp turns his back on the entire cast of Jump Street. Griecos's attempt to emulate Depps rise to prominence on the silver screen is a hideous failure that doesn't transcend B-status. Also, Booker, the 21 Jump Street spin-off, which revolves around Grieco's character, Detective Dennis Booker, a young loose cannon with a bad attitude, inevitably dissolves. In Grieco's defense, I encounter Johnny Depp about 10 years ago in LA's Black Market Music, a store that deals used vintage musical gear. I silently observe as Depp tests out a plethora of expensive vintage guitars through a Roland Jazz Chorus amplifier. My ears bleed as it sounds as if Edward Scissorhands himself is stumbling through a few bars of Johnny B. Good.

In the end, when all the dust is settled, who suffers the most? The short answer is Peter DeLuise aka The Man In Many Shadows. Peter Deluise spends his childhood in father Dom's shadow. Being the son of a famous Italian cut-up does indeed have it benefits though, seemingly making it easier for Peter to get his foot in the show-biz door as early as 1975 later followed by a couple of appearances on Different Strokes and The Facts of Life. Landing the Jump Street gig is a dream come true for Peter Deluise. He truly feels that he comes into his own independent of his father Dominic's influence. With meeting two new actors, namely Johnny Depp and the Vietnamese born Dustin Nguyen, Peter feels to be part of something bigger than himself.
All this changes during the wrap party for the infamous "Fraternity Hazing" episode of 21 Jump Street wherein Depp carries a drunken fraternity pledge over his shoulder up a ladder taking a shot of alcohol at each rung. During the wrap party, Depp drops the bomb on Deluise that he is hitting the high road and heading for the green pastures of the silver screen, something about a guy named Burton wanting to put him in a picture about an autistic kid named Eddie who has scissors for hands. DeLuise thinks Depps news is some kind of a drunken joke poking fun at kids with autism. DeLuise swings at Depp and lands a right hook. Before Depp can counter, Dustin Nguyen gets between the two actors begging them to drop it on account of them being best of friends. Before DeLuise can muster a word, Depp pushes himself away from Nguyen and yells, "I'm gonna be big DeLuise. You'll see! I'm outta here man. I'm sick of this 21 Chumps Street which really aint nothing but nursery school nap time. Have fun with your new co-star, Grieco. I hear you guys worked on the Facts of Life together. Lose my number, DeLuise. And tell your dopey father, saying something in an Italian accent does not constitute a punch line. You need an actual joke to have a punch line." This fateful moment marks the last time Depp and DeLuise speak as Depp immediately resigns hitchhiking to Hollywood with a twig and a red handkerchief, a considerably long distance being that Jump Street is filmed in Canada. All things considerd, Peter DeLuise is alive and well in 2008. However, the quesions begs, "Has Peter DeLuise come to terms with his past, being in his father Dom's shadow, and his bitterness toward Johnny Depp and Richard Grieco?"

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Beachland Tavern Cleveland, OH

Beachland Tavern in Cleveland, OH, is a dynamite venue. Although, Ken, our hospitable promoter this evening, immediately debunks any myths about Monday night at Beachland being a Grand Marquee event. The band appreciates Ken's candor, takes the news in stride, and proceeds with the evening's festivities by staging a cooking expose via Diary of a Foodman involving Beachland's talented and friendly in-house cook/classically trained flutist, Leia. Ken passes out drink tickets as if they're Kool-Aid rebates for the Jonestown Massacre. In hindsight, The Black Hollies note that in lieu of the on going Zagat-esque survey there are instances where an overabundance of free drinks can impede the band from a hasty exit once the, "LAAAST CAAWL...IF YOU 'AINT FUCKIN' THE BARTENDER GET THE HELL OUTTA MY BAR," death knell is rung.

The Black Hollies perform to an audience of three, not including Ken, Leia, and soundman, Clint, who late in the evening after the band is caught smoking in the basement long passed any paying patrons are left in the bar, says, "I wish I got paid to stand here and do nothing but I gotta go man." The Black Hollies oblige, apologize to Clint for frown-burgering the situation, sing a quick chorus of "Four Dudes In A Room," and call it a night. The band inadvertently makes the terrible Jackson Browne song about giggin' and packing up a reality. The surplus of drink tickets still in existence at the end of the night contributes to this as does the band's performance in front of a three person audience which comes off as a performance before a three thousand person audience. One of The Black Hollies' favorite past-times is treating performances in nearly vacant clubs as if they're performances in expansive theaters packed to the rafters with excited fans. In other words, every note counts. Following the show into the evening and continuing into the next day, The Black Hollies always make it a point to preserve this past-time and treat themselves as if they've recently sold out The Fillmore West. Activities which commemorate self-appreciation amount to taking long drawn "Calgon Take Me Away" style baths, ordering imported cheese plates accompanied by expensive French wine, paying for high end new age holistic massages, and booking four separate hotel rooms only on nights where the band takes in less than $30 at the gate. The Black Hollies are paid $27.00 for their Cleveland performance, $27.05 if one includes the envelope that Ken presents the band's money in. So, four rooms it is.

The following morning the Black Hollies celebrate the previous evening's till with a trip to Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Black Hollies receive free admission on account of presenting the Rock Hall with a copy of Casting Shadows and one recent press clipping from Rolling Stone Magazine wherein the band receives print, not in the form of a review or as one of a dozen bands to watch, but rather as a one-fifth ingredient to Rolling Stone's Top 5 Least Grossing Tours Of 2008 recipe, right behind Boston and Harold Faltermeyer. The magazine cites the signature Black Hollies guarantee of "refusing to perform for more than ten people while concurrently refusing to be paid more than thirty dollars" as reason enough for the inclusion. The listing which appears in the magazine's 'Smoking Section,' a random document of celebrity canoodlings, impresses Cleveland's Rock Hall which, in turn, accepts the band's cd and press clipping as a dual tribute granting The Black Hollies unfettered access to Stephen Stills' poncho which is normally kept behind a glass encasement. The Black Hollies extend their sincerest gratitude to everyone at The Beachland Tavern, especially Ken, Leia, and Clint for treating the band well and making it a memorable night for all.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bohemian National Home, ?Love, and The Talking Donkey

After succeeding in spending Canadian money as quickly as possible, The Black Hollies cross the US border at Windsor and get back on American soil in Detroit, Michigan, home of The MC5. Palestinian Bluetooth spans the Ambassador Bridge which is one of the only privately owned international crossings in the world. Owned by billionaire suburban Detroiter, Manuel J. Moroun, The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest commercial border crossing in North America. This information as well as a great restaurant recommendation are passed along by the friendly and informative, Jennie Carol, a musician/bar tender at Detroit's Bohemian National Home. The band arrives at the venue a bit early and rings what seems to be a bell as the doors are firmly locked. Upon pressing the bell a real live loud dog barking sound is heard. At this point the band deems it necessary to head over to the hotel in order to let the dog cool down and to let the Bo-Natty Home get tight.

After checking in at the hotel, The Black Hollies notice ?Love exiting the elevator sporting his signature pick-in-'fro hair style, fresh to death. Too quick on the move for PBT to secure an interview there is speculation as to whether ?Love is headed to the corner of McComb and Brush which is located a few blocks from the hotel. The band learns that ?Love is in fact in town to DJ this evening but not at the corner of the aforementioned intersection.

The Black Hollies return to The Bohemian National Home where Joel, the owner, treats the band amazingly. Joel shares information as to the history of the venue and welcomes the band into his personal living space, a distressed work of art itself which displays his father's personal art work. There is a 600 capacity space upstairs. The smaller room down stairs feels like a spacious living room with couches, a beautiful old billiards table, and two sturdy pianos. The vibe is great as the band happily supports the cause forgoing the free cans of Miller to pay top dollar for New Castle Ale. The crowd this evening is few in numbers but deep in soul. The openers, The Dial Tones, are a fine group of young musicians. The Black Hollies meet and greet each person in attendance, connecting with The Muldoons, a great familial rock and roll trio out of Detroit. The Black Hollies extend their sincerest gratitude to all who attend the show at Bohemian National Home.

Before retiring I perform one aggressive walk through a casino close to the hotel. With hands shaking I deliberate over whether or not to let The Black Hollies' $60 net from the evening's performance ride on black. I gain my senses, exit the casino without betting, and eventually cross paths with a donkey. I ask the donkey if he'll give me a ride back to the hotel for a penny. My inquiry is met with the donkey's startling reply, "What are you kidding me? It costs the United States 1.4 cents in copper just to make a penny these days. If you think I'm giving this ass away for anything less than that you're outta you're fuckin' mind brother!" The conversation ensues into a discussion about our country's current gas price crisis. Mental note: Detroit, lots of midnight creepers as well as talking donkeys.

The Black Hollies cross paths with ?Love one more time during evening's end as they notice a brand new Mercedes Benz parked outside of the hotel lobby. The Mercedes is flanked by two beautiful women anticipating someone's return. As ?Love is spotted sporting a speedy gait across the lobby floor it is apparent that these gorgeous women are waiting on him. At this point Justin Angelo poignantly observes, "?Love rolls deep while The Black Hollies weep." The statement is made in conjunction with the singing of the final song of the night, "Four Dudes In A Room," usually the encore performed after the night's official closer, "Techin' and Giggin.'

Monday, May 5, 2008

Marble Sack Shuffle Causes Toronto Blackout

It is no secret that the hair of Justin Angelo Morey has its own zipcode, 1-Double-0-1-STR8. While Wiley's secret is in his diet, Morey's secret is in his hair. How does he do it? The answer lies in what The Black Hollies refer to as Morey's Black Marble Sack Shuffle. The Marble Sack Shuffle is a daily ritual wherein Morey showers, blow-dries, and then straightens his hair with surgigcal precision. The MSS usually clocks in at about an hour but can sometimes last up to an hour and twenty minutes, never less than fifty minutes. First, Morey lies down on the shower floor. Then, much like a baptismal rite, the water rains o'er him from above, cleansing the previous evening's impurities. How much time is spent on the shower floor is directly proportional to how many pints Morey consumes the night before and whether or not he attains a proper "soak-up" which usually amounts to a couple of burgers from Jack-In-The-Box or a frozen "Bomb" burrito from 7-11. Neither delicacy is ingested without exorbitant amounts of hot sauce which Morey deems a necessary deterrent to all impurities. Justin Angelo Morey bleeds hot sauce. The band refers to the first segment of Morey's Marble Sack Shuffle ritual as the "Elizabeth Shue Phase," derived from a scene in Leaving Las Vegas wherein Shue takes a similar kind of shower.

Upon shower's end, Morey dries himself, applies some kind of unidentified talc, and slips into a pair of "titey-blackies," aka the black marble sack. Morey performs the blow-drying phase of the MSS upright in front of the mirror in the hotel bathroom. Towards the end of Phase II the other band members either need to use the bathroom or shower themselves. At this point, Morey relinquishes his stronghold over the bathroom as a king abdicates his throne.

Morey performs the third and final phase of his MSS sitting cross-legged on the floor. Morey switches from blow-dryer to heated straightener and usually needs to power it off of an extension cord so as to reach the power outlet in the bathroom. Just as a painter puts a finishing touch on a painting, Morey tweaks his straightening work with strategic combing and product placement. It is at this point that Morey rises and slaps on some pants henceforth bringing the Marble Sack Shuffle to an end. When asked to comment on the necessity for such intricate attention to detail Morey states, "Even though I firmly believe that 'Oh What A Night' is one of the top five most heinous songs ever written or performed in the entire history of music, I really can't take anything away from Vali. When it was time for him to step on stage he dresses to the nines. That's what got him as far as he went. Yeah, Vali was a ma-moni but he built an entire career on bryl creme." (Contrarily, Morey cites Vali's Northern Soul monster, "You're Ready Now," to be a great song. He also cites Vali's, "Let's Hang On," to be one of the greatest songs ever written.)

On May 3, 2008, Morey's Marble Sack shuffle goes too far. Me, Ferrante, and Wiley decide to dine at the hotel bar before the evening's show at The Silver Dollar in Toronto, Ontario. This gives Morey the window of time he needs to shuffle, about an hour. As we bite into our entrees the power in the entire hotel suddenly goes out. People are confused. A Canadian woman seated at the table next to ours offers the classic joke, "OOH. That's my leg, ay." I get up to survey the situation. As I come back to our table I notice Wiley sipping his French Onion soup in utter darkness as if nothing is awry. Barely able to see each other, Ferrante raises an eyebrow while I shrug my shoulders as if to say to each other, "What did you think he was going to do, let the soup get cold?"

After fifteen minutes elapse the dining room is illuminated to lukewarm applause. I inquire with the concierge, "Sir, do you know what happened?" The concierge replies in a French accent, "It seems there was an electrical short which emanated from room 7209 that, in turn, caused a momentary glich in our mainframe." My eyes widen as I keep to myself the fact that 7209 is The Black Hollies' hotel room. The band attributes the exact cause of the hotel's electrical short to be a direct result of Morey not utilizing the proper adaptors necessary for performing a Marble Sack Shuffle on Canadian circuitry.

To Morey's credit he does forsee a possible Canadian circuitry mismatch and attempts to transport a power converter across the Canadian border. Immigration officers confiscate the converter deeming it "hazardous materials." Morey baffled, presses the issue asking the officer in charge, "If we really wanted to blow up Canada with a hair dryer," pointing to Ferrante, "do you think he'd be wearing a vintage Rush 2112 concert t-shirt?" The immigration officer, now less than impressed, makes it his mission to scour our records for any inkling of a spotted past. At this point Ferrante realizes that he supplants his US passport with an old head shot from his audition as Silvio for the original Sopranos pilot. The band laments that crossing the Canadian border is akin to visiting a priest in a Catholic confessional. In both cases dudes behind glass attempt to make you feel guilty. After the immigration officer finally relents, on account of admiring the Sopranos for its accuracy in decpicting Italian-American life in NJ, he issues the band a penance of two hail marys, an our father, and a special request that The Black Hollies promise to only dine at Tim Horton's, referred to by some Canadians as Timmy's, for the entire duration of our trip. We oblige and are granted admission into Canada.

With the border and Marble Sack Shuffle incidents the band arrives at The Silver Dollar in Toronto considerably behind schedule. Dan, the show's promoter, seems a bit perturbed about this. The band worries but then realizes Dan is not at all angry. He's an ex-journalist with a low tolerance for crap and an appetite for the mind-blowing, a hardcore lifer and a great guy. Colin and Cameron from The Disraelis quell any anxiety the band harbors as they reach out to The Black Hollies with open arms. Tthe Disraelis make the band feel more than welcome and assure that the night will be fun. This kind of outreach goes a long way especially when you're in a town where you don't know anyone. The Black Hollies not only gain new friends in the Disraelis and Dan, who after our set is entirely blown away and in spirits higher than an entire housing project, but also manage to turn on every single person in The Silver Dollar this evening. Women dance. Dan Dances. After their set the band converses with most members of the audience riding the high of being well-received.

Not to belabor the point because I know that he's been getting alot of ink in Palestinian Bluetooth as of late, but The Black Hollies realize that mentioning Dave Coulier is hands down the best ice-breaker in any Canadian bar. Most Canadians are blown away by an Amaerican's appreciation for one of Canada's forgotten comedic heroes. The Black Hollies would like to thank everyone who came out to The Silver Dollar in Toronto, especially Dan and The Disraelis.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Why Coulier?

How does a guy like Dave Coulier keep it fresh in 2008? I don't know but The Black Hollies receive word today that Coulier is alive and well and can be found cutting it up at The Laugh Factory in Montreal on a bi-monthly basis. Is Coulier Canada's hidden treasure? You would think so. I talked to a few Canadians tonight about this and they are well aware that Coulier is gold and openly admit they are not trying to hide him from anyone.
On the other hand, Tim Horton's is to Canada as The Olive Garden is to Italy, except that Tim Horton's isn't some bastardization of proper Canadian food. Time Horton's IS Canadian cuisine. Happy families go in there and eat donuts together while discussing the episode of Degarssi The Next Generation where Emma gets gonorreah in her throat from giving blow jobs and consequently has to miss her big school recital because she can't sing on account of the bum throat. I overhear a mother, father, and two kids in their early teens hashing this infamous episode out over a couple of Glaze Au Chocolats. It's been a while since I've brushed up on my French. So the family may have been talking about something else that I botched in translating to myself. Degrassi the Next Generation is pure Canadian television, not afraid to tackle real issues and not afraid to leave a little length in the back while doing it. You can actually walk into a Canadian hair salon with a head shot of Dave Coulier, sit in a chair, and the barber just lets the scissors do the walking. Montreal, the center of it all, is not just a France cover band but a France tribute band, real French but not really France.

On their way there The Black Hollies encounter a sun beam on an otherwise rainy day. Liz, the district manager at The Stewart's chain in Schoon Lake, NY, lost a bet about a month ago during the last freeze of the season. Liz bet the members of her staff that they couldn't sell 100 milkshakes in one day. If she loses she dresses up like an ice cream cone and pumps gas for the patrons. Surprisingly The Stewart's chain turns out an astounding number of shakes and malts on the day of the bet proving that sub-zero temperatures are no deterrent to the people of Schoon Lake wanting to suck down vanilla shakes. Even though Liz loses the bet she still loves it. She pumps our gas with an ear to ear grin which proves contagious as the members of the band feel her flow and carry it across the Canadian border. The Stewart gas station also offers a "Milkshake Mention" sale/give away. If the staff doesn't tell you shakes are $2.25 between the hours of 2PM and 4PM you get one free. Lucky for the band we arrive to gas up around 3:45PM. Lo and behold the staff forgets to mention the milkshake sale to none other than HJWV. Wiley promptly collects his reward. See Diary of a Foodman for further details.

The show tonight is at Casa Del Popol. It goes over well as the band performs to a warm and welcoming crowd. Great venue, great staff. The band is fed and properly soaked. Evan and Dominique go out of their way to make it a special night. I'd highly recommend washing down the delicous Samosas with a pint of MacAulison's Creamy Ale. Not a bad do.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

George Clooney v.s. Chris Burke

The night begins with a band meal certainly worth mentioning. The Black Hollies venture to Frank Pepe's in New Haven; great pizza, que fack sucker staff. Kirsten Dunst walks in. The first words that leave my mouth are S-S-Suddio. I reach out and invite her and her friends to the performance. Dunst politely accepts the invitation. I set up what I believe will be an exclusive interview for Palestinian Bluetooth taking place later in the evening at Cafe 9. Our old school italian waiter, aka Allen Town era Billy Joel with Lenny Dykstra's helmet for a haricut takes notice and proceeds to treat us less than civil... He gets all Frank Stallone on us but with a dry venomous undertone promoting an odd vibe. The band does not appreciate this. Perhaps we should have paralytically gawked at Dunst as if the Twin Towers were crumbling before our eyes precisely mimicking the wait staff. Had it been Montel Williams we would have extended the invitation as well. We're friendly human beings. Had it been George Clooney or Chris Burke we'd reach out. Who would Dykstra trust in the emergency room, Clooney. We'd take Burke based on his Dryfire Walkoff performance alone. We'd love to one night anticipate Blair and Joe from The Facts of Life arriving at our show after being put on the guest list. Dykstra and his waitstaff/cohorts, especially Kieth Hernandez, successfully smash our fun. Especially when Dykstra refers to our band as The Black Olives probably on account of my mumbling not fully recovered from the S-S-Suddio encounter. Lenny Douche then attempts to convince us that Montreal is a twelve hour drive from New Haven. The band exits Frank Pepe's with a bitter taste and predicts a Dunst no-show.

The show itself is a success. The entire staff at Cafe 9 in New Haven are solid folk. Paul, Dan, Uber, and Warren are amazing 5 out 5 Zagat-esque treatment. The band plays to an enthusiastic crowd of 35, gets paid, and commences merriment.

Morey converses with the woman who performed the Poconos Mount Airy Lodge jingle back in the day. Ferrante relaxes coming off a hectic red eye flight from Vienna to JFK then on the puddle jumper out of Teterboro into Hartford. Wiley finishes out the night illuminating subjects such as Merkabas, the theft of Geronimo's bones, the Skull and Bones Society, MK Ultra, and worm holes through Time. Kirsten Dunst's absence from the show is felt as it marks the last chance for a Palestinian Bluetooth exclusive. We're holding Lenny Dykstra accountable and teaming up with Tony from Lombardi's in NYC to buy out Frank Pepe's and fill it not with pizza but with head shots of fogotten stars from the 1980's, specifically Dave Coulier, the parapalegic actress from Different Strokes, Bronson Pinchot, Nell Carter, Blossom and Joey Lawrence's father, Valerie Burtinelli, Craig T. Nelson, Paul Resier, the kid that played Winny Cooper, and Judge Rienhold.