retrospective tour report.  june 2001

friday 1. l.a. to chicago
find kevin, kirk in starbucks lax terminal 2. fly low-rent ata, brusque stews and 0 frills. turbulence. sit next to german chicagoan thomas who saw cream in hamburg and owns paul kossoff's guitar. get to chicago alive. cab to days inn, clark & diversey, stayed there w/ steve in '92. here comes cvs. get settled go out, taxicabbin to wicker park, the double door, where kelly hogan is starting to sing just as we walk in post quick burrito. mark stevens in the basement bar. dug in like badger. here's wes he gave out an award somewhere else for best zine. it's a big book conference that's why we're here we're to play party, publishers group west party. prize went to mcsweeney's which seemed wrong somehow. no staples. that guy eggers he wrote about laura my sister in law in his book. cynthia wood who made it all possible. kelly in three piece thrift store suit singing her big ol heart out. bethann. sheila. mike. deanna. kelly worship.
saturday 2. chicago
the sweet sound of jackhammers at 8 a.m. and when i say they are right outside the window i mean the jackhammer man could kick it in. out of there. out to find the coffee, kirk, kevin, me,walking up clark to belmont (choice between starbucks/not starbucks, choose the latter) then w. on belmont (past ann sather, peeking in) to sheffield where m. stevens is to do sound for band at street fair. dispose of fair quickly not hearing mark's band hearing some other band briefly, pass schuba's, up southport to near where sheila used to live and the viennese coffee house used to be, then back west on roscoe which is also the name of a street in the sfv and finally to penny's noodle house a favorite of mr. jarvis just beating the lunch rush. i have something spicy w/ chicken in it. then walk to hotel to drive w/ mark to green dolphin street that's a club not a street, a restaurant really with a big big barroom ballroom for playing in, not so far from the hideout, by the chicago river with a big strange perhaps disused railroad drawbridge out back. rented stuff arrives. set up. here comes the eric burdon band (but not eric). go to peet's for more coffee. go back to green dolphin st. eat buffet. here come partiers. here is dag here is sheila, personal private partiers. play set one. lotsa people by finish time. mingle network but do not schmooze while eric burdon plays, manage to see last half of house of the rising sun, first half of you got me floating. from far away he looks good for 60 and i never see him close up. saw eric close up back in the 70s but that is an old story i won't tell you here. has kevin told you aynsley dunbar was his hero in high school? t. christie from other weekly life in the house or bar as case may be. meet some people, introduce others. quadrant jumpers. hello! we play again set 2 they're dancing down front. it's a party it's a convention, people drunk and away from home that's what they do. no badges or funny hats though. they keep dancing even after we stop. oh this goes on and on. eric forgets his cowbell but we do not.
sunday 3. chicago.
step one is starbucks. kevin calling cv on cell as we go to say where we go, amusingly does not notice cv across intersection in plain sight. have a good laugh over that. wes/I to small but supermarket for bbq supplies, we're going to sheila's. call sarah on wes cell for drink suggestion, she says vodka, soda, mint, lime, sugar vont tres bien ensemble tres bien ensemble. and they do. purchase grillables. decamp to camp sheila. in ravenswood manor where the river grows wild. well who is here. radical gentlemen in toto. here is mills who is the new jim. is charles kim here now or is that later? lissa but not my sister lissa and her big dog too. oh kirk's friend faye. and allie or ally. maybe others. bethann not here bethann with family. okay! kevin at the grill, myself the sort of first mate. cold out, everyone inside but us but over the fire it's nice. skewers and brats. inside 3 salads: the green, the potato, the fruit. and how about those drinks. learning 2 handsome family songs to play w/ kelly hogan, listening on sheila's hello kitty boombox. there is a lot of kitty here. hello. then to the hideout for the handsome family going away surprise party. anastasia making mint juleps. thank you. many people. hideout tim sings offkey but affecting versions of some handsome family song and neil young's albuquerque because that's where they're going, makes long speech as is his wont but this also very moving. say hello to jon langford i worked on kelly's record last summer remember and he does and is very nice he has to go home though. with kelly and andy hopkins i play "cathedral" and "weightless again" and neko sings on one, "cathedral" i think. many bands, singers, banding, singing. mills closes show portion of show, then brett handsome sings 2 new songs. chicago looks like such a family at least from the outside. though it feels like family when i'm inside. might be an illusion but no i don't think so.go home to sheila's sitting in back of mills's van (seatless). heat up frozen waffles. eat.
monday 4. chicago.
breakfast w/ a.d., 3rd time a charm in the restaurant search (monday closures). here we are at svea in the scandinavian uptown neighborhood. this is new to me. have the swedish pancakes -- what else. hang around sheila's/sheila. wes and mills w/ guitars out. then cab to neko's, cv there already and recording in kitchen. mandolin, accordion, one apiece on neko songs, plus both on a cvs tune, neko manning or womanning i suppose the kingsize adat. rip van winkle is a bourbon. coffee is coffee. neko has much tile. this is fun.

hazy conclusion, written many months afterward:
monday 4/tuesday 5.

somewhat confused .... schuba's could not have been the 4th if we were at neko's on the 4th.... in any case left neko's in a cab whatever day that was and went downtown i am fairly certain of this to meet sheila, wes, cynthia for sushi there was a food related incident i will not elaborate. i remember well standing outside on the street afterward but i don't know why i remember this. no kevin or kirk so this must have been after schuba's (i can remember nothing at all about that show) because after schuba's they went home. so this is tuesday schuba's was monday. and could we have gone to the green mill after? the popular former al capone hangout. we did and i was still carrying my instruments from neko's, piled them in the corner in view of the booth we scored. and bethann came there or had been with us already. and mark and susan came i remember susan (i'm pretty sure it was susan) with her violin. that was the night somebody saw robert plant who was playing over across the street. but not me.
wednesday 6. ann arbor.
ah the blind pig. we have come just the three of us now. in a minivan. more mini than the econoline which isn't mini it's just a van. dinner at some normal place. chris opened the show. nobody much there. they were fans though i'm pretty sure. did we have fun? I can't recall. possibly. probably.
thursday 7. toronto.
drove to toronto; expected some foofarah at the border, had had some the last time we crossed (but of course w/ more people and a trailer full of equipment). we had relevant paperwork in any case but finally they only asked me (driver) to take off my sunglasses. this reminds me of my first tour how the years have flown with russ out in texas in the middle of the night some border or drug cop asked jeff kane his citizenship and jeff said "california" and they made us all stand in a field while dogs sniffed the van. toronto bright and sunny and not cold. NXNE is why we came the canadian SXSE and run by the same crowd. canada loves its canadians. convention hotel full of music types right in the downtown. fantastical upper floor view for me and cv but little time to enjoy. relevant neighborhoods a walk away. went to a party on a roof. saw pete jenner I think coming in but then he was gone. that rock grande dame woman who ran the club we played once here (the raver was there and that was when he said "snack bracket" and also something about chopping wood) was there i forget her name maybe it will come back to me. people lined up for the beer. some candy or something i kept eating -- red vines? i draw a blank. splendid views of the lake the lake ontario. conversed but could not say who with. sorry whom with. on street downstairs outside ran into one of the blue rodeo guys the dark more talkative one. i'm sorry i can't remember his name now (and he quite possibly never knew mine). nice feller and responsible in part i think i am not mistaken about this for our presence there. helpful in any case. i'm not doing so well on the names. i could just make them up. Digby. and that woman was Chrysanthemum. but not. now at some point we rendezvoused with cynthia. we went to a french restaurant which was turnaway crowded but she schmoozed the maitre d' with her solid well-accented french. she ordered us pastis while we waited in the bar i didn't like it. the clever thing in this place was that the breadbaskets hung from the ceiling we couldn't find them at first. played show. a big bar. noisy, convention noisy. (here are 2 links to reviews: link one and link 2, the latter featuring amusingly miscaptioned photo not of wes.) did our thing. whatever. was good apparently. sat outside for a long time in a terracey area until they closed up shop and made us go. was probably drinking scotch i can make one of those last a day. distinct memory of someone going to the bar could it have been cv? beatle bob came along. we were sitting with other people who were they? went to sleep sometime. wes stayed, cvs and i drove back to chicago that's a long drive. then flew away.

later we went on tour with david

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