We ordered Philly cheesesteaks from a breakfast delivery place.
Casey laughed at me for ordering Philly cheesesteaks.
Not because it was a terrible breakfast decision, but because I specified “Philly” cheesesteaks when ordering.
We were in Philly.
They just call them cheesesteaks here.
Fishtown was hacking-coughing itself awake to classic rock and Flyers sweaters, cleaning its cars and walking its pit bulls. The chicks all look so tough here, in that challengingly sexy kind of way. Worth a black eye if you ask me.
I was such a good house guest I broke two of Casey’s coffee mugs while washing them. That would cost me two black eyes. That’s all the eyes I’ve got!
The drive to Pittsburgh was long, windy, and treacherously wet.
Nicole serenaded us as Nico, with versions of “Light My Fire” and “Buddy Holly” by Weezer. If only we knew the words to “We Didn’t Start The Fire”.
Vee yet noammm, tee vee dinnerrrs…
I in turn gave them a crash course in Pittsburghese.
It was slippy out an’ at.
Which was fine, the van needed washed.
Yinz goin’ dahn-tahn?
I love Pittsburgh.
If it were up to me, I’d live here.
I don’t know what I’d do.
Then again, I don’t know what I’m doing in Chicago either.
I like the hills.
I like the people.
I like its uniqueness.
I like its gloomy weather.
I like The Stillers.
I like Jerry’s Records.
I like Frank Gorsham.
I like B&L Dip.
I like chipped ham.
I like frownie brownies.
I like Peppi’s and Primanti Bros. sandwiches.
And I married a girl from here.
It’s the Paris of Appalachia.
And who else is moving here?
Which is why I like it the most.
We pulled up the DIY venue.
Nobody answered our knocks.
Famished, we grabbed some Vietnamese food down the street.
When we returned to the venue, a small man in a white billy goat beard and a yellow Steelers cap spoke the word hello at us.
I’ll call him Charmy.
Jim explained that we had just eaten.
“Ate? I just bought food for fifteen people!” he underlined.
This was news to us.
“Don’t sit on that table! It’s already broken!” he scolded the headlining band.
Soundcheck was grindy.
It became clear that Charmy had eccentricities.
A contrarian’s contrarian, you could be in agreement with him but the script read like an argument that you let him win.
“Sing more emphatically,” he instructed Jim.
“???” said Jim.
Charmy continued to try to fix our vocal problems and issues.
“It sounds like My Bloody Valentine,” he criticized.
But that’s what we want.
The bathroom also had its problems and issues.
Housed in a dank Silence of the Lambs basement, the commode sat at the end of a long, narrow hallway, far away from the door – a door which had no lock and not even a doorknob.
Before Nicole could attempt to use it, Charmy jumped in carrying a taped up show poster. He noticed two large cockroaches had gotten stuck to the tape.
“Hey look! There’s two cockroaches stuck on there!”
Their antennae spun and their legs flailed.
“I’m just going to put them up there!”
He smooshed the roach-laiden poster on the wall.
“Yeah, I think they’re dead.”
And then Nicole was supposed to use the bathroom.
That Vietnamese food was giving me problems and issues, too.
But I just couldn’t bring myself to use that bathroom.
So I got another beer from the fridge.
“Don’t open the fridge!” Charmy chided.
It was the 31st show on the 44th day of the Failure Tour.
And our most polite.
We even obeyed the sign posted on the stage.
ONLY ORIGINAL MATERIAL. ABSOLUTELY NO COVERS. PERIOD.
So no Beefheart and no Goo.
Aside from an unfortunate sip of water – it went down the wrong pipe, and my coughing convulsion rendered me a teary-eyed invalid after “Garbage Dump” – the set went smoothly and goodly and godly and golly we’re almost home!
While loading my drums back into their cases, a groovy gal named Jackie made conversation with me. We bonded about Jerry’s Records in Squirrel Hill and Columbia College in Chicago. She asked us if we had a place to stay for the night, which we didn’t.
While (the second band) brought updated UFO Club Farf ‘n flute space rock to The Burgh, I caught up with my brother-in-law Jim. Charmy reprimanded us for standing within twelve inches of the phone.
“Don’t knock over the phone!”
We brainstormed new business solutions with (the second band) while (the headliners) headlined.
(the second band) = GGGB
Good Guys Good Band
Jackie proved true to her word and offered up her happenin’ Lawrenceville pad for us to crash. Her artist neighbor Kyle joined us for a nightcap and real life ghost stories about Pierre, the methed-out thief that lives between them. I laughed so much I spun.
Good people that Jackie and Kyle.
I love Pittsburgh.
So much so I went down to the Strip District the next morning and bought a $4 shirt expressing these sentiments.