Woke up around 7:30 with boo already dressed, coffee by the bedside; they drape themselves on me in a feeble attempt to pin me down as to not leave. They still feel pretty crummy over last night, but have to get their act together before work. The work they do is a thousand times more meaningful than I’ll ever do. “Don’t go.” “I don’t want to go, but I have to go.” You know, the standard rap one has when they leave their heart somewhere else before hitting the road.
Stars have finally aligned and the plan this morning is to have breakfast with Steve Albini; Shellac played in San Francisco last night, and with a free morning, SA took a lyft to Oakland. I grab my bags, and drop boo off at a BART station. I don’t move…I stare at them as they walk into the station, trying not to cry. I think about all the tears I’ve shed saying goodbye to them over these many years. I hate this part the most. Drop the jazz wagon off at the crib, grab my bags, and lyft over to Aunt Mary’s. I arrive about 20 minutes early. Just as I get there, Steve shows up. Big hugs are exchanged. Last time I saw him, was right before I moved to California; we had a big Korean bbq dinner, and it felt nice to leave on a good note with him. After three years of being away from the studio, I’m comfortable being a fan of Shellac again, and I occasionally will listen to/read an interview with him. As brash as he can be, he’s very smart and informed. Sure, I’ve seen him pick a retainer out of the garbage and put it back in his mouth without washing it, but I’ve also heard him talk circles around a bunch of eggheads over recording techniques. He gets us some coffee, and we sit outside. Apparently sitting outside with him is an attraction because a car whipped around and parked illegally; it’s Noah from Neurosis, shocked and befuddled as to what the heck Steve’s doing in town. Good to see the dude, I haven’t seen him in like six years, back when Neurosis played Shellac’s last All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in England.
Street Eaters, Kitten Forever, and Screamales all show up, and soon coffee and food is flowing. I had huevos rancheros; it was delicious. It’s really good to see Steve.
“I’m recording this band, [Name redacted]”
“Oh they’re great. Bass player is ridiculously talented.”
“Yeah? Who else do you have a crush on?”
To be fair, bass player is attractive, but last time I saw him he was growing a shitty goatee, and had some equally attractive lass on his arm, so my chances are slim here.
We gotta get to the airport so T. can catch their flight, and we stop off at the local grocery store for snacks before leaving. Sucks to say goodbye to T, but we gotta. They’re such a good egg and really know how to cut us all up. True blue, right there.
The drive to Santa Cruz is beautiful and with minimal incident. There’s a a strange sound coming from one of the wheel wells, so we pull off and find a branch jammed in it. Strange. Maybe a rival band is trying to torpedo the rock action the band has loaded up for the evening, but no dice. Rock will win in the end. We stop off at the beach. For days, the band has been talking roller coasters, but unfortunately the fun land is shut down for the season. We walk around the midway looking at all the closed rides, and crummy food options. I would eat the hell out of a funnel cake right now. There’s the tilt a whirl “rock n roll” ride where the operator sits in a booth, and spins people around while blasting rock and disco and yelling into a busted PA. Man, what a dream gig.
My dream gigs are as follows.
—Postpartum Doula for LGBTQ families
—Ice Cream Truck mogul
—Mail carrier (just to drive those funky mail trucks)
—vibe control for the impending boom of marijuana dens that will soon pop up everywhere.
—roller rink dj/tilt a whirl dj
I generally keep to myself. I don’t have much to say, and really no one needs to hear anything from me. Every time I open my mouth, I think “WHY? why the fuck am I still talking?” Plus I’m still a lil smart from last nights interactions with awful people, that I have no interest in even having a conversation. We sneak over a bridge, and find a separate path to the shore. I find a small spot on a sand cliff and watch the waves under the glistening sun. I’m plenty high, thanks. Its gorgeous out, it’s so peaceful, sea lions are honking away and my heart just glows from that sound.
Back to the boardwalk for a cute soft serve sundae. My outfit for the day is super cute: it’s my colors for sure—black boots, black denims, a faded yellow Throbbing Gristle tee (chopped and knotted for true slut vibes) and a maroon hoodie. “Those are your colors! You look like a hot art teacher” suggests Marissa. Plus my hair is very nice today. There’s a drum kit simulator game; at first it feels like it might be one of those “guitar hero” games, but its literally just a drum kit where you play along to a song from their catalog. Marissa chose some song by Powerman 5000, a total fucking stunod band from the ‘90s that probably had ties to Rob Zombie. Turns out Marissa is a pretty sick drummer, despite her objection to such praise.
Roll into town, and we’re mad early (princesses of punctuality) so we walk around the block of the venue. One antique shop that was overpriced, one costume shop that looked amazing but smelled like a thick and dusty attic, and a skateshop where Mike could get some new sneakers. Thank god, his current shoes were being held together by duct tape. It seems he finds himself in this position every tour. Boy just loves to thrash his shoes apart.
At the Crepe Place, we meet up with Kitten Forever and have a big lounge scene before dinner and load in. Again, I generally keep to myself. Not much to say, and there’s nothing to report on my end. We load in, and have a generally poor dinner. It’s my fault, I picked the wrong thing. Night chill has come through, the merch is all set up, and now we wait. The room fills up quickly as it is a compact scene. There’s no way I’ll use the bathroom tonight, hell I can barely get into my merch area without upsetting someone. I make no great claims to having claustrophobia (I slept in a closet once in Joshua Tree, I don’t care) but the lack of space and my size and the towering amount of people that look like they might yell at me if I get in their way is too much.
Eve’s Peach kick the night off with some frantic but breezy indie post-punk. There sound would not sound so out of place on Teenbeat or Slumberland. Great sounds. Kitten Forever are jam packed into the corner and the entire room jumps uncontrollably at their wild sound. I forget if they’ve been to Santa Cruz before, but the crowd eats it up. Screamales follow through with a wild wild burner of a set. I have better luck watching from outside than I do my post, but alas I will just stay glued to my space, save for the two minutes I take to run in more shirts. There’s a guy who’s insisting that Marissa has sung the theme to the tv show “Shameless.” I know nothing about this show other than it might take place in Chicago, but certainly wasn’t filmed in Chicago. I also know nothing of his assertion that Marissa sung it.
“She might have, but I’ve also known her for years and this has never been brought up.”
Show rolls down with ease, and we pack it all into a small small compact floor space of a one bedroom apartment, belonging to a relative of Laura from Kitten Forever. My pad is definitely done for, but I’ll tough it out until the next morning.