(Editor's note: Cincinnati rockers Banderas recently kicked off an extensive tour with local Rockabilly/Psychobilly band Rumble Club. We've asked them to keep notes and they have obliged with some excellent, entertaining journaling. The "West Bound and Down" tour has hit as far west Anaheim and includes stops in Arizona, Texas and Tennessee. Part Two of their adventures is below. Check out Part One here.)—-
Day 3: Not So Precious Moments
April 6th. Joplin, Mo.
Champ's Main Event
"You having some sort of sleep over or something, Dozer?" -Beer Delivery Guy
We wake up on an island of wet gravel in a sea of flat and empty land. Waves and waves of prairie roll around us. Our only sign of habitation is the Quizno's/Conoco whose parking lot we are parked in. The sense of disconnection is kicking in so I'm starting to feel like the lot lizard version of the Little Prince. The early departure last night finds us halfway to our next destination so that gives us plenty of time to kill. We're shooting for roadside attractions. Mermaid women with three nipples and the like.
We see an ad for the world's biggest rocking chair but forget the exit. T.R. loses his shit over an advert for the Precious Moments museum. Apparently there is a monument erected in homage to these grotesquely cute little soldiers of piety. We arrive and it's like the "It's a Small World" ride all jacked up on Jesus juice. Kev (Juice) and T.R. say that they saw polygamists there. I only saw Pentecostals. All backed up on grilled food, I go into a food-baby labor of Octo mom proportions before we take off.
We arrive at the club and are met by our promoter, Dozer. Dozer is a salt-of-the-earth Rock & Roll greaser. Nine years in the military. He smokes and talks with the kinda style you only get from living the life of a Social Distortion song. He works at the bar across the street from the club we're to play. He invites us in to the quaint little dive bar and offers us a pitcher beer. He closes down the bar and we make our way over to the venue. We and Rumble Club set up and meet the locals. Members of the local hearse club take in our sets and offer us well wishings. We close down and Dozer let's us crash at the other bar across the street. He locks the doors, closes the shades and we have a nightcap, speakeasy-style, before crashing on the bar's floors and benches.
Consciousness comes and goes with the sound of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Crocodile Dundee 3 from the bar TV and the sound of the beer delivery guy clanging kegs around. We're having creeping thoughts of the things that are probably on this bar floor.
We wake up, say goodbye to our buddy Dozer and hightail it to KC. Verdict: We should've seen the world's biggest rocking chair.
Day 4: The Adventures of Greasy the Kid and Buffalo Tuck
April 7th Kansas City, Mo.
"I've never seen a Rockabilly band use a Mesa triple Rec before."
"We're not your average Rock-a-doodles" - Czar Bar sound guy and our very own Cu Silvio
We make it to Kansas City. Word has it that it is the better of the twin cities. The Kansas City, Kansas, part is supposed to be the half-developed and half as good version the other. Kinda Danny Devito in the move Twins. We get turned around among the downtown city streets due to a GPS that is constantly changing the destination we programmed
into it. Theories abound — we settle on the conclusion that it demands blood sacrifice. After searching for our location and/or a stray beggar or untended child we stumble upon the Czar Bar, the evening's home to our hot cock-man circus.
We saunter in and greet the two bartenders that proceed to drop on us the usual hard-ass female bartender vibe. Apparently they've seen our types and have our number. We have theirs as well and it leads to one boring fucking game of backgammon. The evening starts off with a a matinee show by a great Jazz/Swing band. I do a little journaling and
wash up in their bathroom to a nice set of Gypsy Jazz and one helluva rendition of "Harlem Nocturne".
They finish up and I give them some pointers for where to play in Cincy. The sax player mentions that he played there once touring with some burlesque dancers at a gay bar. The dancers had the night off so they were replaced by trannies for an evening.
"The trannies in Cincy are huge! I was completely dwarfed by them," he says.
"It's all the beer and german sausage," I tell him.
We set up onstage for our set because our opener is an acoustic trio called Whiskey Breath, a condition I sometimes find myself with. The harmonica player looks like and acts like our friend Beale from back home. And judging by how he spent most of the rest of the night, passed out in a chair, I'm going to say that it's pre-rehab Beale.
They play a great set and we take the stage blowing through our selection of tunes. Not the best set but certainly not the worst. We'll give it a B-. We talk to some hairdressers from a local Rock & Roll salon and some girl that caters for Eagles of Death Metal when they are in town. We meet the owners of the club, who are excellent hosts and treat us to an extra round of drink tickets. It's a beautiful club and city and we hope to be back very soon.
The night concludes at some bar that we are told is owned by the mafia, who also happen to own the adjacent strip club that features an automatic grocery store-style front door. Which is a disorienting feeling. You walk through thinking your gonna hear Muzak and smell fresh fruits and vegetables. Then all of the sudden — BAM! Bad Rap music,
stretch marks and the smell of FDS.
Day 5: The Delicate Art of Not Getting Corn-holed
April 8th. Lincoln, Neb.
Box Awesome, which sounds like a naked cabaret run by Bill and Ted, is the club we are scheduled to play. Originally the show was to be two blocks down at a place called Duffy's but was moved due to renovations. Zeus himself seems to be smiling down upon our very oily asses. Five days without a proper shower. It's been baby wipes on all of the essentials and the occasional shampoo in the sink. Things you could say are going off without a hitch. Now if good 'ol Zuessy would just throw a day spa filled with scantily clad greek women our way everything would be just tits.
We arrive at the club early. Way early due to the fact that we are now working on mountain time and never have a solid place to sleep through draft beer hangovers. We while away our time by grilling out in the club's parking lot under an overpass in Lincoln's arts district. People pass by, rubber-necking us because everything is coming off like a bunch drapes and leather daddies started tailgating early for the next Cornhusker's game.
I almost have Donkey convinced to crank one out at the porn shop, bribing him with quarters for the private viewing booths so I can write about it here. But then a loud bang goes off and the van starts rocking like we're wrangling buffalo in the back. Donkey and T.R. rush out to see what's going on. Some suit leaving happy hour with his secretary had an Appletini too many and backed into our van. He (fearing a DUI) and we (fearing being small kids from
Ohio in a strange town who's residents are monikered "Cornhuskers") decide to call it fair (he dented his car's rear panel and we didn't get beaten and/or raped by policia). He drives away and we wander the city for some time.
We're playing with two locals tonight; O.T. (Officially Terminated) and Order 77. For a change in pace, Rumble Club will be playing before us tonight. Not a problem in our book as that gives people more time to move deeper inside of our spheres of influence i.e. Hot Mess, Time Traveling Drunk, Lust Mad, and, my favorite, Piss the Bed Fucked Up.
All the bands play great sets, especially Rumble Club, who turned it up a couple notches for their best performance of the tour so far. We set up and knock everyone down except a table of Rockabilly purists that hit the door as soon as they saw the keyboard. Probably to go home and listen to their old Wanda Jackson records on their iPods.
We blaze. I mean, we really cook tonight. Leaving everyone wanting more, we spend some time hanging out with everyone after our set. The O.T. chaps offer us a place to stay and to rage along with some liquor. We regrettably decline only because we our looking down the business end of an eight hour drive to Denver. We say our fare-thee-wells and we're back off into the ink.
Day 6: Tools of the Trade
April 9th Denver, Col.
Three Kings Tavern
I sleep through the night in the back of the van. A large coffee in one hand, an energy drink in the other and a skull-full of Adderal, Donkey is piloting the A-train to Denver. The best way to envision this is the end scene of Dr. Strangelove. I wipe the sleep from my eyes and try to keep up with Donkey's twitching, constant lip-licking and erratic speech. He's trying to tell me we're just right outside of Denver. I tell him that after this music racket runs it's course he should look into the trucking business. A total speed freak and a sexual deviant, I think he would fit right in.
Juice's friend, Party Paul, is putting us up for the night. He transplanted from Cincy to Denver a few months ago. He did some work out in Denver and loved the place so much he decided to move there permanently. Paul is soft spoken but incredibly personable, a real gem amongst all the people we've met on our adventures. He lives there with Laura, another Cincy transplant whose hospitality and personality are only rivaled by her awesome rack.
Paul shows us Denver and I can see why he chose to move here. Everything is clean and all of the people are friendly, mostly transplants from other states and an assortment of refugees from the hippie movement. We shower (the first honest one since we left), catch up on e-mail and spend the rest of the day reciting lines to the ’80s action movies we are watching on Paul and Laura's TV.
Three Kings Tavern is located in the art's district of Denver, not five miles from Party Paul's apartment. We load in and meet our local support, Whiskey Throttle. We shoot the shit with these congenial and enthusiastic gentlemen in the green room over a washtub of PBR and High Life. Jesse and Donkey are overjoyed because it's the first time all tour we that encounter High Life, which happens to be their preferred tool of the trade. We play to a very hesitant but receptive crowd of rock and rollers, proceeded by Rumble Club and Whiskey Throttle.
Juice is caught in the throes of celebratory libation and loses sight of the fact that your tolerance takes a kick to the balls because of Denver's high altitude, which causes the air to be much thinner. He ends up shit-house drunk, stumbling around like that video of bigfoot walking through the clearing in the forest, arms swinging in a wide gait, slumped over and communicating in low grunts. I find him out back behind the club by the vans. Some of us and the guys from Rumble Club are gathered around him as he spouts off more of his usual slurred nonsense.
I, feeling the effects of the altitude myself decide to get in the mix. I tell him that I'm taking my career to the next
level and that I'm going to body slam him like Hulk Hogan did Andre the Giant. Before I can get a hold on him he roars like King Kong and picks me up over his head and drops me like a landscaper does that last batch of fertilizer on Friday 4:56 p.m. He loses his balance and goes head over heels in the gravel himself, so I get up and pin him.
Just then a truck comes cruising down the alley. I get up and Juice staggers out of the way. As the truck passes he slams his hands down on its hood and they barrel down the alley double time. The passenger, a middle-aged lady of Mexican decent, looks on in horror as Juice lumbers after them until he falls flat on his face back into the gravel. The alley roars with laughter as he picks himself up and says he pulled a hammy.
I return to the club and meet two of the three kings. They are great people, we exchange info and promise to make plans to return. We go back to Party Paul's and end the night triumphantly with Coors, NY
style pizza and Against Me! CDs.