Picture it! Cleveland, October 2015… Beachland Ballroom. A venue that all DG members have played previously in different outfits. Also in different bands. The last time I had played there was 2007, I wore a white tuxedo and was playing guitar for Top Ten – a show that the owner Mark Leddy actually™ remembered when we were chatting at the bar upon load in. Andrew had been playing with Quest for Fire back in 2011, he had been wearing his classic and unique look of: jeans & tee shirt. Allyson’s last outfit she’d worn onstage there was in the year of 2005, while she was playing in the dream catching boogie rock ensemble Parchman Farm. The outfit consisted of a loofah necklace, Native American headdress, crystal encrusted slacks, and a fringe vest worn barefoot on a portable piece of organic grass which she toted from gig to shaman festival to apothecary in-store shows. We were greeted this time with a delicious welcoming meal consisting of a mountain of fried chicken, a platter of mashed potatoes, salad & for me a home made veggie burger. Behaving like we hadn’t eaten food before, we wolfed our meals swiftly. My good friend Carol greeted us post food-annihilation we caught up throroughly. We opened for Cleveland legend Bim’s band Obnox, who were encroyable (that’s French for soooooo great). We stayed with our pal Mark at his killer pad on Lake Erie, ending the night at 4:20 with tequila and some late night gabs. After I failed to steal Allysons sleeping bag and teddy bear stuffed toy (for comfort), we slept. At the fresh faced hour of 8am Andrew was up and at them, waking both Al & I to get ready to hit the road in what can only be described as… Disrupting & irritating.
Once loaded up in the car we were off to the beloved and 7 hour away city of Nashville, TN: yodeling mecca & Moon Pie capital. You may remember it as the iconic filming locale for the Oscar sweeping biopic Country Strong. First stop was the Family Wash, world’s yummiest Shepherd’s Pie specializing restaurant. Our fellow Law & Order loving & great pal Ben Swank made the reservations, joining us was our newly returning-to-tour Mom Renée, as well as Ben & Melissa Blackwell with baby Violet in tow. Each of us devoured our personal sized orders of Shepherd’s Pie, appetizers, beer, tequila & vodka. Since we were all very full and dining next to Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish (post meal yet pre bill paying) Andrew and Renée darted next door for what was warned to them by locals as a dangerous food option. They ordered two fried chicken skewers, one medium and one hot. We had to book it to our show at The End, so en route in the dark van, the two snacksperts dove optimistically into the medium heat skewer of the firespice-dusted chicken. The next sounds we heard were moans, cries, whimpers, hysterical laughter, wailing with a splash of shrieking. When we got out of the van they both realized that they had unknowingly been supplied with the crucial spice extinguishers, bread & ranch dressing, but since they had been eating in the dark they hadn’t noticed. After consuming these and waiting a few minutes they moved on to the hot one. They didn’t get too far on that one as they felt like their facial skin cells were being burned off. Renée accidentally touched her eye before washing her hands post spice dust which left her teared up crying & regretting… Yet still addicted to the chicken so she & Andrew kept going back to the van to eat more while loading into the club. The sad ending to this food risk was that Renée threw the much uneaten hot skewer into two different dumpsters, mob style, to protect both her & Andrew from anymore of it. Both my friend Jemina and Andrew asked repeatedly where the discarded chicken had ended up, strong implication that the dumpster fact didn’t really faze them from still wanting to eat it?!! Our friends & label mates Hans Condor headlined & organized the show fresh off their tour of Japan. Openers Helado Negro opened with a crazy and mesmerizing set which included two Twin Peaks-esque tinsel encased beings dancing slowly on either side of the lead singer, a real treat! We played a fun set to our Nashvillian pals and watched the insanely revved up and debaucherous Hans Condor set. What a fun and fulfilling tour stop! The next day we stopped by to visit our pals The Bens (Swank & Blackwell) & Chet Weise at Third Man Records downtown. Blackwell provided us with an entertaining and Stooges heavy tour of the premises, and hooked us up with a pile of vinyl and shwag… Including my now most prized possession, my Kid Rock VIP laminate for a party later that evening. No visit to any town would be complete without multiple food stops so we went to my fave hot dog joint Hot Diggity Dogs around the corner from Third Man. Chet, Al n I got the veggie dogs (lettuce buns for me & Al… for health), deep fried pickle spears, onion rings (also for health), both Renée & Andrew got the chili cheese fries (health), and meat dog or four. Then we hit up my all time fave coffee joint Crema to jack ourselves up! On our way out of town we peeped local band The Ettes’ store Fond Object – a super kewl store store selling handmade clothes, vintage clothes, records, bric-a-brac and also doubles as a fully functioning venue and out door movie space. But maybe the best part is the petting zoo featuring two goats and Dottie the piggy! Sadly we had to leave Nashville for Memphis, which meant the heartbreaking reality that I wasn’t going to the Kid Rock VIP party I had recently acquired a badge for, but that’s okay cause I just KNEW Memphis would be poppin for our show on a Wednesday night!
Our old comedian friend Nick Flanagan flew in to meet us for a few days, starting in Memphis… Woohoo! We rolled into the venue around 7pm and as we were the only band on the bill and had never played Memphis before we were eager with anticipation to see how this show would pan out, seeing as it is such a musical hotbed. We tripped over a few tumbleweeds while loading our gear into the venue, and since the sound of crickets was deafening we split to nearby Central BBQ for some pigging out BBQ! The band ordered a full rack of ribs, pulled pork, brisket, turkey & some veggie sides (for health). I got the portobello sandwich, which oddly took 20 mins longer than the previously mentioned extensive BBQ meal (assuming because mushroom still needed to be foraged).
Back to the club, the crickets had been joined by five chainsmoking regulars watching a Back to the Future marathon, a festive scene. Since it seemed disruptive to impose our 2015 style of futuristic hoverboard rock on this lively batch of chimneys, we opted to repack our van with the unplayed gear and return to the safe confines of our creepy Elvis themed hotel. After a swift precise strike on our organic cheese and artisanal cracker supply we crashed.
That brings us today… We performed an early morning round up of Stax of Snax™, heartbreakingly said goodbye to our hotel, walked the line out to our van off to New Orleans, where in my opinionation the sun is gonna surely shine. Plus we hear there is a house there. Playin Siberia tonight with friends to be local bands. Iko Iko!!!