The bacon overload omelette.
Real corned beef hash.
Sweet potato hash.
These five items and two people warmed our cold, cranky bones.
Cincinnati, I love your hill-topping floppy flats.
Your souped-up muscle cars and candy painted donks.
Your dynamic, hand drawn paintings of fast food adorning your ruby-tinted, six-cornered intersections.
Your large union of old school goons and hepcats watching the days go by behind endless cigarettes.
And your kindness to touring musicians.
But enough with the handjob, it was imperative that we go to Cleveland.
Somewhere around Columbus, Jim and I got into a yelling match.
It seems as if Jim hates driving.
And it seems I hate Jim’s driving.
And that’s where it sat for a few hours.
Unfortunately I had to piss during those hours.
But I refused to speak.
I’m awesome that way.
So I emptied a large bag of tea biscuits from John’s care package and knelt awkwardly in the backseat.
I’ve pissed in a moving van before.
The Bitter Tears got stuck in London traffic once, already late for a show in Shepherd’s Bush.
So I had to piss in a bottle.
I got the idea from Mike Watt.
Anyway, I couldn’t do it this time.
Jim’s driving was too erratic.
I would have pissed all over the merch.
Besides there was a lady in the van.
So I held my bladder and tongue all the way to Cleveland.
Wilbert’s is right next to whatever they’re calling Jacobs Field these days.
I think it’s Faceless Conglomerate Park now.
Couldn’t there be a stadium named after Screamin’ Jay Hawkins or Harvey Pekar?
Not my world I guess.
Must share terrible earth.
And tonight’s bill reflected that.
I do, I try to keep an open mind.
But these bands, man.
Tonight we got lumped onto a bill with teenage emo pop again.
But unlike Nebraska’s emo morons, these kids were decidedly not DIY.
They had roadies and stenciled cases.
And chaperones for their underage groupies.
They were sponsored by Orange, a once reputable amplifier company.
Maybe they won a letter writing contest.
But these kids can’t write letters.
So man I dunno.
Both merch tables were filled with their swag.
We asked if we could have some room for our merch.
They said no.
To make matter worse, they blocked the Ms. Pac-man machine.
I played it anyway, brushed up against a T-shirt mannequin.
They were bad.
How could they be good?
Their reference level was confined to a suburban Guitar Center.
Junior high girl poetry sung by a tone deaf eunuch.
And that’s being gracious.
We found ways to get away from it.
Jim and Nicole smoked for a long time.
I considered going to the Indians game.
Some baseball fans lingered about.
Dudes in purple velour suits and velvet cheetah cowboy hats.
Who were the Indians playing?
The Fire Island Ranch Hands?
Turns out there wasn’t a ballgame.
Parliament/Funkadelic was doing a free concert.
As in P-Funk, uncut funk, The Bomb, better known as We-Funk, or deeper still the Mothership Connection.
By the time I had a chance to put my sunglasses on (so I could feel cool), the emo kids had finished their laborious sets to no one- unless you count the tween hangers-on and their moms.
Their female drummer was nice but she seemed surprised that P-Funk had outdrawn them.
She was cool…
But can imagine emo in your funk?
Gary the owner, a character with a ribby sense of humor, told us to wait for P-Funk to let out before starting our set. Earlier he had monitored the decibel levels of the other bands.
“Don’t use your cymbals,” he joked..?
I told him I knew a band that played with leafblowers so…
Meanwhile on the patio, one of the emo guys serenaded a gaggle of teen admirers with an acoustic guitar and his earnest vocalizings.
Let’s make love online tonight
I wanna connect and touch you right
I wanna be bad tonight
Where the hell were the chaperones?
Having cybersex with underage boys?
By the time I found a virtual reality helmet (Cleveland still sells those) it was time to play.
The post-P-Funk crowd tolerated us but mostly remained at the bar.
A normal guy made out with a gal in light-up bunny ears.
During “Failure” a sudsy girl danced solo in the middle of the bar, immortalizing the line:
In the middle of the room dancing all alone
Jim did most of his “Wow Wave” guitar solo outside with the smokers.
Then it ended and we found a motel and watched The Three Stooges.
Oh but not before dropping my wife’s camera on the pavement, rendering it useless.
A couple of years ago she gave me my own camera as a birthday gift.
But I lost it in Spain on a Bitter Tears tour.
I am #1.
So no pictures today.
I didn’t take any pictures.
No offense, Cleveland.