November 05, 2005

9:20 AM
I'm sitting in downtown Reno, NV. in a loft. Sitting here in my boxers, a t-shirt that is two small for me and a pair of creepers, untied as to keep my feet warm from the concrete floor. My experience here the last 34 hours has been interesting. I have been pessimistic about playing a show in RENO. Basically, I knew that it would most likely suck. Playing a bar show is probably my worst night mare. Bar shows are for rock n' roll. What I do is not quite condusive to this atmosphere, but a friend had asked me several times to come down for a show and I felt it was rude to keep saying no. I alerted all my senses that it would probably suck, but to treat this experience as a time to spend with an old friend. So that's what I did. I'll back track to THURSDAY:

My flight was a bit delayed, leaving San Jose at around 10:15 PM. A short 43 minute trip to RENO, but my heart was racing as turbulance shook us wildly as I breathed through my nose clutching the my arm rest. As you know I survived, but my mind started playing tricks thinking "Is this it??" As soon as the plane landed I called JT to come pick me up, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. We taxied through the runway, to the gate, doors opened, I waited patiently, grabbed my guitar, headed for the exits, and JT was right there. We embraced and smiled. We looked at each other and couldn't be believe how long it had been since we saw each other. He looked exactly the same. Jamaal Tarkington, a large African American man stading about 6 ft tall, originally from STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA.

His roomate was singing at a local bar, so he asked if I wanted to go. I said yes and we headed over to the Green Room which is where I was going to be playing. It was kind of a cool little bar. Definitely not a WOOP WOOP club, which is good. A nice atmosphere and I thought DAMN, maybe the show tomorrow will be ok?? Hmmm... DEEP THOUGHTS. JT'S roomate's name is Gracie and she had a beautiful voice and was very kind. We caught her last two songs and then JT turned to me and said "You hungry"...? F$ck yeah, so we head out the door, a couple turns in the alley and then we are at the AWFUL AWFUL. Shooootzzz... That's not the name of the restaurant, but that's the name of the BURGER. AWFUL BIG, AWFUL GOOD. That's their slogan. The last time I had one was January 2nd, 1993. I remember the date clearly because it was the last time I was in RENO. Skankin' Pickle had just played on New Years and then a blizzard hit and we were stuck there for three days as the highways were closed. But it turned out to be one helluva a vacation. That's where I learned the beauty of JT as a person. I also remember that was the time a couple people died from Ecoli poisoning at Jack In The Box. Why do I remember this?? Well, we tried to eat at every Jack In The Box after we heard that basically because I was young and thought it was funny. But we reminisced about doing that. Oh, what nutty guys we were.

I'm getting off track.. Where am I?? Oh yes, the awful/awful. Damn, that was some greasy diner food. The burger sat on top of a basket of huge fries. Fries, upon fries. Not the best, but for a old times and a good laugh we did it up AWFUL AWFUL style. Back to JT'S house we go for the night. He lives in a loft in Downtown Reno. A beautiful friggin space for only $700 a month. Two bedrooms, two bath, huge kitchen, living space. All utilities included.. Are you kidding me?? Holy shmoly. WOW... Good deal JT. Maybe I'll move to RENO for a bit. Anyways, he has no TV which is a good thing cause I'd be flipping through the channels all night. JT is a vinyl lover and we listed to some roots REGGAE/DUB, and then starts DJing some wicked 80's tunes. He's so funny. I found myself smiling bigger than usual. JT is a huge stoner, taking BONG rips after BONG rips. The next thing you know I cave in and I take a hit of the 3 ft bong. It's probably 2 AM at this point and we listen to music til' 4 AM. Nodding our heads to the beat smiling periodically and making comments.

Not quite sure exactly when I passed out, but I woke up at 10:40 AM. Damn... We head out for some breakfast. Walking through the brisk air, the realization that winter is coming soon hits me and for those who reside in RENO, that means SNOW. Lots of snow. We stop for some coffee/tea and head out to a cafe that JT loves. They all know him, in fact everyone seems to know JT as we walk the streets people stop to say hi from every which way. JT crosses streets whether the light is green or red. He just says, they'll stop for me. Damn..

We've got plans to see a movie at 1:15 PM, but our meal puts us a little behind schedule. We get there at 1:35 and I ask the woman how far into the movie is it and she says 10 minutes. UGGHH!! I opt not to go and we wait for the 2:10 showing of SHOWGIRL. They have an arcade with an old school DONKEY KONG JR.. We both were champs 20 years ago, so we take a stab at it again hoping the skills would come back. They did not and in 40 minutes we manage to sink 3 dollars into the machine. As for the movie.. GOOD. Not great, but Claire Danes looked beautiful. Wow...

We relax up til' 8 PM and then head over to the club to set up. My pessimism came back as I looked as the clientele in the bar consisted of random old people and some hipsters. Nobody is here to see me, I'm just gonna be background music to these fuckers. I just reminded myself the reason I was there in the first place and that was to hang out with JT. I told myself to just play and not worry about anything, so that's what I did. Luckily JT's acoustic band played after me, so I got to go on earlier and get it over with. I played a short set of 9 songs, which probably was no more than 20 minutes. After I was done, I didn't know what to do? I felt so naked at this club, so I just started doing JAGER shots. And then the next thing you know people are offering me drinks and herb and geeeez... I'm staggering a bit. I don't drink, I don't smoke, but I guess I do sometimes. This year alone I've probably gotten high at leaset 10 times which surpasses the total for the last 5 years. Maybe I've got an addiction?? HA!! JT finishes up and mingles with his legion of fans. He slips me a wad of cash and the fucker gives me $200 dollars. This I was not expecting. I thought I would get like $50 bucks.. But geeeez... $200.

We wrap things up, say our goodbyes and head back home. It's around 2 AM at this point and we just go back and listen to more REGGAE. By the way, JT's roomate has a Chihuahua that's become quite fond of me. She climbs on my lap every time I sit down. From the first time I arrived. They say they've never seen anything like it. She usually barks at strangers. WOW!! I'm a real catch for the dogs. I woke up and the damn dog was sleeping on my chest. And now I'm here back writing about my experience. JT is up now. He doesn't sleep much. We're listening to vinyl and will head out for food in a bit. I fly back home in 5 hours. Be well.. Have a great weekend.
Peace always,
Mike Park