Throwback Thursday, going back, back, back to '01!
I have been quite lax on my tour scribbles for the past few months. Life has been so fast-paced that I haven't been able to figure which end is up.
Those of you who have been to recent shows have most undoubtedly heard something about the nightmare with my 'new' RV, so I am not going to bore you with the further details, but suffice to say that 'new' is a relative term and RVs are stupid expensive and fall apart faster than J-Lo under a stiff breeze. After so many events that have gotten me recognized in the record books for worst lemon purchase ever, I think (knock on wood) that I have most of the RV's issues repaired. From the huge hole in the roof that developed within 8 hours of purchase, $1500 worth of new tires that blew hither and thither, miscellaneous appliance repairs, etc, it is now liveable. 'Course, I will never see the other side of the debt. Oh, well. I am not bitching (yeah, right), it has just been all-consuming.
On a brighter note, I am gearing up right now for a little West Coast bout and to help and participate in the 2002 Indiegrrl Tour. I am really looking forward to seeing my West Coast friends again and getting in some of that healthy LA air, which will be my new home for the winter while I am not touring.
Here's the past tour blurb:
"Is That A Chocolate Biscuit?" Tour
July and August 2001
Official Tour Phrase: "Oh, %*@&$#*!!! What is that noise? Is that thing
supposed to be hanging off the RV like that?"
Official Tour Food: Anything in a can, and cold
Official Tour Weather: Anything extreme that we didn't pack for
Official Tour CD Sales Pitch: "Please buy a CD! We are starving! Seriously!"
Let's just say that the tour started out, ummm... 'rough'.
Not 40min out of Tucson, one of my brand new tires blew, and the tire company refused to help us out. 115 in the shade and trying to find an unusual RV tire size in the middle of the desert, and the generator goes out so the A/C quits, the cell dies, and we're stuck for hours.
Lucky us, we find a new tire at a store 10 minutes down the road, buy it and have it put on, and have to leave our blown tire there so we can pick it up later and bring it back to Tucson for the warranty.
Unfortunately, we ended up having to cancel our first show.
So we spent the night in Phoenix (which is infinitely silly because it is so close to Tucson) with some friends who made us dinner (how sweet!)
Next day we were on to Las Vegas with no A/C, a problem that continued for the rest of the trip. Let's just chat about how much fun it is to drive a big RV in the summer with no A/C in the desert! Blech!
We ended up not playing in Vegas, which was just fine with us, and we stayed with friends who showed us a great time. Thank God for all you lovely people!
LA was fun with great friends who turned out at Canter's Kibbutz Room, where I had the distinct pleasure of singing to the door all night because of the room's configuration, but Stuart Smith sat in on guitar (whom I just adore!) and the wonderful people made it a night to remember.
Also, there were a couple of fans who had a bit of a toe fetish, and noting my bare feet as I played, and having consumed a good deal of alcohol, they wished to, let's see, how do I say this nicely, kiss my feet? Weird, I know, but I couldn't exactly run away. I have never had someone licking my feet before and I can say that I have now had quite enough of it! Very scary! Let us not go there again!
Berkeley and the Rose Street House of Music was incredible! I highly recommend this venue to everyone! Colleen and I participated in one of the best concerts I have ever seen, let alone performed in. The Indiegrrls Liz Pisco, Christy McCarthy, and Antara and Delilah were beautiful and amazing. If only every show could be like that one!
Old Millhouse Deli in Redding is one of our favorite spots, and home of the infamous 'Spider House' where Colleen and I braved taking a shower a few years ago in the scariest building known to man. There were so many spiders in that house (it was basically abandoned) that if one stood still, one could hear them moving.
The event was lovely, the food was great (as always), the place was packed, the grounds were soooooo pretty, and I have nothing but good things to say about our stay and the show. Yay!
Breitenbush Hot Springs is nestled back in the Oregon woods on a slope fringed with bowing pines and hemmed by a rushing white river. Another one of our favorite haunts, our stay was magical and the highlight was a wonderful show where we were surprised to meet our old friend Cedar, a phenomenal percussionist who played with Scott Huckabey a few years back. We traded much-needed massages for CDs and left feeling refreshed, despite managing somehow to lose my stage tuner (a guitar effect).
Skipping our Seattle show which I will cover later, we spent a few days in Vancouver, B.C., our favorite northern city. We rented bicycles and rode all over town in the rain, which persisted for days. The city was hosting a battle of the countries fireworks show out in the bay, and we got a waterside view of the greatest fireworks show we have ever seen. It was incredible!
We went to the island and Colleen bought the scented spray that she had been waiting a year to purchase since finding it last year on our tour.
Through the trip, the RV had been a constant nuisance, with parts falling off as we drove, appliances breaking and costing an arm and a leg in gas, which was about $2/gallon. After an ATM machine ate my credit card and we were unsuccessful in getting it back, we headed out and tried to keep our spirits high, though the many misfortunes of our trip were beginning to toll on us.
The high point of Seattle was meeting and playing with Jean Mann, an Indiegrrl with voice so sweet it could give you a toothache and a personality to match. Check her out at www.blueflowerfriday.com. We found a great amount of supportive Seattle-ites and had a great time. It was a bright point we desperately needed, and gave us the oomph to push on.
The Garage show in LA is one I will never forget. I was particularly struck by Stacey Golden, a supremely sweet Indiegrrl who was backed up by a killer band, Kimberly White, whose honest vibe I found very refreshing, and the enigmatic Shredmistress Rynata, who puts on a show the likes of which you have never seen! All the ladies were very talented and wonderful people, and we enjoyed them immensely. I managed to get the RV stuck in the alley behind the club, as parking was precarious, especially for a 24foot vehicle. Getting it out took nearly 10 minutes! I promised myself I would never drive the RV in downtown LA again! (now I'm moving to LA for the winter, and guess what I am driving? Yup. Typical.)
Hallenbecks proved another great Indiegrrl show, with some amazing harmonizing as the gals backed each other up and formed a jam session. Cindy Alter was extra-great, with her
bluesy-smoky-tender voice that I found incredibly inspiring.
Twiggs Coffee is a cool little listening room. After such a trial, Colleen and I got a little out of hand on stage as the long days had gotten to us. We could hardly sing we were laughing so much, and I almost had to tackle Colleen to keep her from taking over the mic and ranting on and on about her missing shaker egg (a percussion instrument).
We spent the days wandering Ocean Beach and letting the dog go swimming. The dog had a great time!
All hell broke loose on my way from LA to Joshua Tree, where I dropped Colleen off to prepare for a show with her talent agent. The plan was that I would play in Joshua Tree and then go back to LA to watch Colleen perform in a showcase, and also to perform myself as a special guest. I had gotten very little sleep for about a week, and the RV overheated on a hillside in the middle of nowhere where I was stranded with my dog and no cell phone for
hours until the police came. It must have been about 130 degrees or more at that location, and I began to feel very ill from the heat.
The officer that found me drove me 45 minutes into town (Joshua Tree is not much more than a few stops along a long highway) after pushing my RV over the hill and leaving it by a Circle K. He dropped me at the Crossroads Café where I borrowed a truck from an employee and drove back to the RV to get my equipment. There was no A/C in the truck, and after hours in the searing heat, no sleep, and great physical exertion and stress, I was feeling at the end of my rope.
By the time I got back to the café, I was becoming very disoriented and weak and feared I might have to cancel. But Angel Short arrived with her band and we split the night into four small sets (she was sick with a flu as well) and managed to make it through.
A good deal of my ability to pull it off was due to Angel and her inspiring music. She is a real talent. It was almost 2 in the morning before I got back to the RV. I tried the engine and it started. I was so thrilled that I decided to start back to LA for my sister right then, lest I should turn it off and it not start again. I slept in a rest stop in the 90 degree heat for 3 hours, the only sleep I had had in the past 60 hours, when I became to sleepy to drive. (Oh, the illustrious life of a musician!)
I got back into LA and met up with my sister and my parents who had come to see her perform at Universal City. A real hotel was such a welcome sight!
I got a few more hours of sleep, and then Colleen and I donned gowns for the formal event. Colleen won an award for her performance (of course!) and she backed me up in my guest appearance.
The next day, tired and burned-out as we were, my parents suggested that we sleep in and then visit Universal Studios before returning to Tucson, their treat. We thankfully accepted and spent the next day in the theme park (where a good deal of the attractions
were broken, which had been the theme of the whole trip) and left LA at night, a strategy formed to avoid the afternoon traffic and catch the best temperature, being that we were still without A/C.
The ride home was one of the most eerie experiences of my life, with 3 accidents out on the highway, one of which was a horrible fatality that had us stopped for 3 hours. I found them to be very disturbing and saddening. I was glad that Colleen slept through most of the accidents. After the last accident involving a cow which I nearly ran over again as it lay invisible on the side of the road, I decided to pull off the highway and rest until daylight. It was all too weird.
We sweat and tossed and turned for a few hours in the heat, and arrived in Tucson the next mid-morning.
After reciting the events of this tour to my singer-songwriter friend Kristy Kruger (most of the bad events I have left out of this for the sake of my sanity), she marveled that we could continue to tour. She said she had never heard of such a horrible tour in her life, and was sure that she would quit if ever it happened to her. In a way, that made me feel better. It wasn't just me! This tour really did suck!
Still, Colleen and I always have fun together and the people we meet make it all worthwhile. That is why we continue in the face of adversity. We love you guys!
Love and light, Amber Jade
Amber Jade - Clicking my heels and irreverently tripping the light fantastic all the way to nirvana, with a 50lb bag of cheese puffs in tow.