Unicycle Loves You • Replay Lounge, Lawrence KS

I was pretty tough on Lincoln.
That town in Nebraska.
I attribute it to being exhausted, old, and undersexed.
There’s a woman climbing out of a motel window.
Our motel by the 24 hour lingerie shop.
It smells like shit out here.
Oh yeah, and all that screamo crabcore haircut crap last night.
I was right.
Let’s get out of this…terrible sandwich shop.

We met Greg Wheeler, his wife Jill, and Artie, their kookydoodle maltese.
They have a fab Help! pad in Kansas City.
Was that a sunken living room or an elevated kitchen?
Either way it was like living in James Bond’s summer loft.
I stashed my sleeping bag up a ladder in a comfy cubby.

In the City Market copious mounds of Vietnamese food were heaped onto our plates by a woman with a feathery mane of black straw.  Her hair resembled the burnt hood of a ’78 Firebird.
Dinner would prove delicious with a catch…

The Replay Lounge in Lawrence, Kansas is a happenin’ pinball bar.  Big flippers towered over a row of movie themed pinball machines.  I tested my skills at Batman, and wracked up 15,000,000 points.  It was like I was Tommy, only I could see, feel, hear, and touch.  The game ended when I spaced out on a mental image of Ann Margret writhing around in baked beans.

I took a break from drinking tonight.
I’m tired of waking up tired.
That made hanging out for hours at the bar completely pointless.
There had to be more to all this than just beer and the club.
Besides I had to walk off all this Vietnamese gas.
So I wandered around Lawrence.

Battered, cobblestone sidewalks.
Unkempt, dandelion strewn lawns.
Bed sheet curtains.
Girls in denim short shorts giggling.
Big pick up trucks revving.
Oh yeah, college.
That thing I didn’t go to.
Some of these dilapidated animal houses looked downright spooky.
But then again they left their bikes unlocked and unattended.
It made me want to teach these Jayhawks a life lesson.
Then again, I’m glad it’s not (INSERT MAJOR CITY) everywhere.

I made my way to the main drag.
A lone teetotaler, I stood out in the pickled town.
People shot me looks like I was a creepy freak.
For taking a walk.
A carload of heybros heckled.
Yes, bros?
Their adolescence soon expiring, they focused instead on a clean cut man entering a golden woman’s apartment.
I’m glad it’s not here everywhere either.

I caught the tail of end of Tangent Arc’s refreshingly non-emo set.  Their drummer played with pizazz, and a vibraphone made its debut on this tour.  Wade the lead singer hung out up front and center for our set.

Playing rock music sober in a bar at midnight is almost an act of defiance.
I was nervous going into the set for the first time in a long while, and my playing sometimes bore the brunt of overthinking.  “In my head” as we say in the improvs.

Greg and Jill stood up front as well, egging on Jim’s noise heroics in “Garbage Dump” and “Wow Wave”.  The rest of the small crowd lingered near Nicole.  It was a good set.

However, my soberness led to a characteristic flaw I have as a performer, one which has become my ultimate downfall in the world of entertainment, and the reason you haven’t seen me in anything except a cable-only Long John Silver commercial seven years ago.
I can’t fake it.

We close the set every night with “Sun Comes Out”.
It’s a great song, one of the catchiest on the record.
Live, we whirl it up at the end into a crescendo of accelerating tempo and forte.
It gives me a chance to go bananas on the kit and make a few grandmothers proud.
I did it last night like I do every night.
Only I started judging myself at the height of it.
I felt like I was turning the band into an insincere carnival.
Like we would try to sell you a timeshare after the show.
Or something.
It’s hard to remember specifically what I was thinking during those two seconds.
So instead of pounding out a 4-count roll into the crash cymbal, the roll fell weakly apart in my own hands, and crumbled into an ironic comedy rimshot.
Luckily, Jim and Nicole sold their parts convincingly, so nobody really took notice.
But I was pissed at myself immediately for the self-sabotage.
I thought I had outgrown that horse shit.
I expressed my self-hate by kicking a glass of water into the wall.
I thought I had outgrown that, too.

I hid in a back patio booth with my water in an anti-social Peart pout.
“Don’t tell me how good I am, I might start believing it.”
I was still wearing my little white shorts.
Oh brother.

Meanwhile Nicole sold a CD to a blotto biker guy.
He talked in drunken circles about his son, his bar, his son and his bar.
Then he whipped out his biker penis and pissed into a garbage can.
This didn’t sit well with the doorman.

It was after 2am when we got paid.
By that time Lawrence had turned into a barf ‘n fuck shit show.
Hooting piggy back chases.
More pick up trucks blasting hip hop.
Sloppy floppies trying to escape horrible blouses.
For a dead night the streets were alive with debauchery.
They said we would have made more money on a busy night.
That’s a shame.
I could have used that money to put a bullet in my head.


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