For those of you who don't know about driving from Fort Worth to Austin, here's the gist: it takes around three hours, give or take thirty minutes, depending on the weekend, the vehicle and passenger bladder capacity.
For Darth Vato, it's more like six.
On Friday, we left the Fort at six o'clock to play a midnight slot at a place called Headhunters. We stopped for Whataburgers in Waco, probably for twenty-five minutes. We should have been able to cruise into our motel, pounds some beers, and roll into the club for a longer-than-normal show.
Of course, the Texas Department of Transportation had other plans. It seems that between a place called Temple (which, based upon prior experience is not in Texas but the Twilight Zone) and Killeen, TXDOT decided to resurface I-35 and completely close it. As if that weren't enough, it also closed the frontage road at around the same point, shunting FOUR LANES of traffic into a four-way intersection. If anyone knows a chimp who is looking for work, I hear this office is hiring.
Thus, as a result of someone's terrible idea, traffic backed up for about twenty miles. Traversing this expanse took THREE FUCKING HOURS. You know that part in Independence Day when everyone's trying to leave D.C. because UFOs have blown the White House all to shit? Well that's sort of what this was like. Quoth Kerry, "There'd better be something up ahead that's pretty amazing. Like a bunch of dinosaurs. Having a picnic. Or breakdancing."
As the three of us typically manifest the maturity of an 8th grade health class, you can imagine that the boredom and frustration of such a hassle yielded predictably immature results.
We took pictures of me, sitting on the front of the Grampus, pretending to be a hood ornament.*
We took pictures of Eric and Kerry hanging, Singing in the Rain style, from the door-latch of the semi's trailer in front of us.
We took pictures of Ernie and Vanilla Jesus on said trailer.
We fashioned a urinal out of a plastic gallon jug, a cut-up Dasani bottle, gum and clear packing tape. Eric and I both used it, and Eric got pee on his leg. I blame it on the tape. The reason why packing tape is so named is because it is not good for anything else.
Darth Vato gleaned a few lessons from all of this. The first was that we, as a band, can never adequately prepare for anything. You'd think that allotting double the amount of time to arrive at a gig would be sufficient, but this is obviously not the case.
The second lesson learned was that you shouldn't fuck with semis. Especially when open containers are involved.
The final lesson is a matter of engineering. Regardless of what you've seen on television, chewing gum is not a viable sealant. I would expect that it isn't good for piecing together bombs, dikes, or crumbling marriages either, which are all lies perpetuated by the glass tit.
Miraculously, we made it to Austin by 12:45. Apparently, the soundguy or whatever role "Kenny" fulfilled pushed the bands back a bit, so we still got to play a set to a small, but enthusiastic crowd. From the jaws of defeat, ad nauseum.
After the show, we headed to Motel 6, where I'm pretty sure we witnessed the pre-production stages of a gang-bang movie, as we saw four shady dudes affectionately escorting a single female into an upstairs "suite." Kerry checked us in. "We're in room 213," he said. The tone in his voice suggested that Room 213 housed some ominous connotation; I truly don't pay attention to too many details in life, because apparently, 213 was the number of the apartment inhabited by Jeffrey Dahmer.
This really didn't bother me until Kerry turned on the TV, which was tuned to some channel running a documentary about modern cannibals. And of course, he had turned it on during the Jeffrey Dahmer segment.
I didn't really listen to the show, though if you judged that statement by the doodles I made on our beer cooler, you'd think I'd watched with rapt attention. The truth is, I always doodle creepy shit like that. It's what happens when you spend middle school learning to draw from comic books and then later discovering White Zombie album liners.
Anyway, that was Austin. It turned out pretty good, despite all of I-35's attempts to spoil our evening.
Houston was an easier trip. We took 290 to Kerry's dad's house, as he lives five minutes away from Fitzgerald's. It was a pretty drive, though we did run into some more construction. In Killing Yourself to Live, Chuck Klosterman makes this comment about how there will always be road construction and how this fact depresses him. I pretty much feel the same way.
The show at Fitzgerald's could have been a hassle, but it wasn't. Los Skarnales (the headliner upstairs) cancelled, which meant that five bands were crammed onto our downstairs bill. We had to go on 15 minutes earlier, but a bunch of our friends showed up in time, and we had a decent crowd. Better yet, the club asked us back, which makes the whole trip worthwhile. Later, Eric and I some friends went to Onion Creek, which is a bar that serves beer and Frito Pie. I ate half of Eric's, and then ordered my own. Needless to say, the pyrotechnics in my pants exceeded those of Cinco de Mayo and The Fourth of July combined. Later, I had to share a bed with Kerry (which is sort of like bunking with the San Andreas fault, since he causes the bed to quake by continuously jiggling his legs). He claims to have been awakened by the smell of one of my farts, but I think he's a just big fucking baby.
This coming weekend is Galveston. It's already starting out as a gong show, because the opening band cancelled and the Drew, the promoter asked me to find another one. I suggested The Burning Hotels, some friends from Fort Worth with whom I like to drink and talk shit.
"What do they sound like?" he said.
"Oh you know, kinda like the Strokes, you know like indie rock kind of," I said.
"Yeah...." he said. "I'm not really feeling that indie rock, bro."
In other words, the next time the proverbial emperor announces he has new clothes, I'm going to ask Drew if can see them or not. I probably don't need to tell you what his answer will be.
*Except that hood ornaments aren't sweaty, usually.