10.15.18—Characters, Pomona, CA (Screaming Females, Kitten Forever, Clown Sounds)

I woke up in the kitchen. It’s not like that wasn’t planned, that was definitely part of the plan. The space is definitely a cramped one for a party of eight. I had enough room to lay my pad down in the kitchen so everyone else had ample sleeping room. I managed to wash my hair before going to bed, and it’s just a big ball of frizz. I tamper it down with pins, and pack my stuff up while everyone sleeps. Running the stuff down the street (Jarrett had to park about seven blocks away from our pad) and the wind is blowing hard. So hard people are standing with their garbage cans while waiting for trash pick up, so as not to lose the cans to the wind (Which is happening a lot—there are a lot of trashcans and garbage flying in the streets.) I throw my baggage in the whip, and get a change of clothes. Walking back to the pad is like a Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd routine; wind pushing back hard, at some point I nearly fall over. This is really going to mess up with my mission to burn through the rest of my grass before we leave California. As a moving unit, we keep the whip crisp, never ride dirty, and given that we are about to head into a state where its a felony for possession, this jazz has to disappear before tomorrow morning.

I’m playing “Bags & Cans” by Spray Paint and Protomartyr on repeat in the wind, while searching for coffee and donuts. My heart is slightly sinking over the inevitable reality that tomorrow we will drive further from my newly minted “home” state and I won’t be back in the creature comforts of my bed/my bike/my wagon/my bathtub for three weeks. Really what is home though? Home can be so many places. There are a dozen apartments and houses in Chicago that are home. There are at least two in Oakland. There’s one in Philadelphia, one in New Jersey. For a while, there was one in upstate NY, but that disappeared when the willow tree got chopped down. There’s this metal box on four wheels that we keep turning to over this time, that’s definitely home. Each “home” has a meaning, a comfort and an item that isn’t at the other home, but they are all safe. They are a safe place for me to stretch my legs, and open the fridge without asking, and walk around in my underwear (although I do do that in strangers homes. Sorry strangers.) and I can be loud or quiet and I can stay up until 4am watching SCTV or reading a wikipedia entry on pro wrestling slang. Options are endless when you’re safe.

Back at the beach house, Kitten Forever are about to bounce for a radio interview. Again, an answer to the question “are they taking calls” is being evaded. Marissa and I lounge on a bed and watch “Botched.” I’m putting my hair up, and Marissa is pressing her feet against my back…for some reason, she finds this amusing and sends me a video of it. We switch to “American Pickers,” which inspires a new bit between us. Down home hoarders whom—instead of having antiques—possess collections of of indie rock ephemera.

“I tell ya, ‘bout three counties over, a buddy of mine got a barn full of baseball hats from that band Snail Mail. I’ll get rid of em for bout fifteen hundred.”

“Tell you what, you know this band Modern Baseball? I got ‘bout three crates of promo posters from their last album. Pitchfork gave it a good review…I’ll give em to ya for seven hundred.”

“I know a barn part way up the road, got a whole box of them mix cd’s—you know that band Yo La Tango?—he got a box of them cd’s from them Chaunukkah shows they do….”

This goes on for an excruciatingly long time and it’s only amusing to two people.

Band has to go to LA for a meeting, so we mosey back into the city before heading to Pomona. I’m hoping against hope theres something I could do aside from sit in a waiting room—maybe go to a coffee shop, or a record store, or try to get into a fist fight with Marc Maron—but I have no idea where we are, so I’ll just sit in this office and listen to Alice Coltrane and type type type into this here journal for you, gentle reader. After the meeting, Mike has to go to the post office ship out a bunch of State Champion records to the people, while the rest of us crave coffee. I myself would love a smoothie, as I suspect my lack of fruits and veggies over the last day is affecting this cold. As we walk in, there’s a woman out front sitting with her dog. Marissa asks if she can pet the dog. All is fine in this interaction. Mike, and Jarrett get their drinks; before Marissa and I can place our orders, we hear a dog yelp and horrifying scream, followed by another horrifying scream. We step outside, and there’s the woman sitting with her dog, apologizing to another woman, who’s clutching her leg, crying and screaming. Cafe owner looks horrified and turns back inside. Now, the woman with the dog is doing absolutely nothing; she’s saying “okay, this is a service animal” (there’s no tag or collar or coat that confirms this) “and he’s had all of his shots.”

“YOU NEED TO TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL!!”

“Okay, I’m working right now? I’m a nanny and I can’t leave.”

There’s no one else around so I have to wonder who she’s nannying. Now, the woman who was bit by the dog, is holding her leg and crying and understandably traumatized. The woman with the dog, is still sitting down with her coffee and her dog and not lifting a finger. Finally, Marissa steps in.

“Okay, can you take a breathe? Can you sit down? Let me get you some wat—“

“I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS! I NEED TO GET TO THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE BOOKSTORE!!”

“Alright, but we should bandage you up, or at least wash yr wound.”

“I DON’T HAVE A CAR!!! SOMEONE—YOU!—YOU NEED TO DRIVE ME TO THE HOSPITAL!!!”

“Like I said, I’m nannying?” Lady with the dog pulls some adhesive bandages out of her purse.

“Okay” Marissa says “If you want to leave, leave but we should at least get that wound cleaned up.”

It was a puncture, but thankfully it wasn’t bleeding.

“I NEED TO GO! I NEED TO PICK SOMETHING UP AT THE BOOKSTORE!!!”

“Okay, but can we at least do this before you leave?”

“FINE!”

“okay, I’m going to get you some water and a towel and some anti bacterial soap, okay?”

“NO JUST BRING ME A WET RAG!”

Woman with the dog still hasn’t done anything—hasn’t apologized for her dogs behavior, let alone stood up, or even offered to exchange information. At the same time, woman who got bit isn’t really adhering to the suggestion that she should get her wound cleaned or bandaged (But this is’t about blaming a victim.) Marissa comes out with a wet rag, and helps the lady clean her wound up. She’s crying, and quickly leaves—we just turn and look at the lady with the dog and she looks at us with this “some people huh?” look. It was a bizarre experience, and we left as quickly as possible, no coffee or smoothie.

“lets get the fuck out of here” I say, as we bid adieu to the shitty heaven that is Los Angeles. I love you, Los Angeles, even though you’re wild brayzzy and problematic.

We reach Characters—a sports bar—well before load in time, so we venture out to a vegan mexican spot for some delicious burritos. Top notch stuff. I was slightly hesitant a vegan burrito wouldn’t cut it for me, but it was rich, spicy and fulfilling. Anyway, back at Characters, we get it in and gather around a giant TV while the last inning of this Dodgers/Brewers play off. Apparently we are a sports band now. We are gathered around watching this bottom of the 9th/bases loaded inning with baited breath. Dodgers lose, but wow what an intense last inning.

Load in and get set up. The night is chill, and we are posted up outside in a giant courtyard, where we are encouraged to drink beer out of pitchers and smoke “whatever we want” out back. Tight. Clown Sounds kick the night off with some righteous hooky punk fury. So many sing alongs, so many anthems. Just spectacular. Kitten Forever follow through with their aggro dance party. The universal tour cold has now caught Corrie and her voice is shredded, leading the band changing their setlist just a smidge so she only has to sing two songs. Doesn’t seem to show a bit of weakness in their set as they rage right along, and throw an older number in the mix to take the pressure off Corrie’s voice. There’s an air of casualness to the evening, and with not too many people buying up Merch, I’m hanging side stage while Screaming Females are setting up and Marissa is busting my balls NJ style about my supposed “love” for the the Presidents Of The United States (not the band.) I’m making jokes right back, and it’s a good time. Feels chill. I check back at the merch area when all of the sudden a guy is moving our stuff around and laying out bags of bread and condiments. “I’m gonna fire this grill up here!” I turn to the promoter “Hey man, are we doing this right now? Do I have to move everything?” “Uhhhh, yeah you probably should.”

We’re back sidestage dancing it up Kitten Forever, and I’m running beers to JD before they blast into Lights Out (after a searing “Buried In The Nude”) and the “Lights Out,” “Agnes Martin” and “Ripe.” Barnburner set and everyone is high spirits. Even the promoter grabs the mic after to give an impassioned speech about scene unity while people queue up for hotdogs and hamburgers (to be fair, the burger this guy grilled up was ultra mint deluxe) and the bar is handing us more pitchers, while “Happy Feeling” by Frankie Beverly and Maze blares over the PA. Happy Feeling indeed.

Back to Newport Beach for one more beach house sleep over. We grab some beers and some grass and head to the beach. The stars are out, it’s so pretty. The waves are massive and the sand is extremely cold.

“Hold my beer” says JD, and next thing we know, ol boy strips down to his birthday suit and runs into the water. PLEASE BE CAREFUL JD!!! Like skateboarding, both Marissa and I are yelling “COME BACK JARRETT!” before a wave takes him out at the knees. He’s back up, and running around like a kid in a candy store. Cheyenne, Mike, Laura and I commandeer a lifeguard station and gaze at the sky. It’s so pretty out here. I don’t want to leave. I don’t know if I ever want to leave California. Have I sold out? Probably.

Back at the house we take our respective positions, as I curl up in the kitchen. What a wonderful, bizarre, complicated nine days we had here.