March 26, 2006

4:48 PM in CHICAGO
2:48 PM in SAN JOSE
It's gonna be a long, long, long blog. Are you ready? GO:
Thursday March 23rd, I arrive at Chicago Midway around 4 PM. Picked up by a young man named MIKE. He was a senior at BENSEN HIGH SCHOOL in Bensenville, IL. (About 18 miles from Chicago) I was to perform and do a Q & A at his high school sanctioned event which started at 6 PM. We took city streets to bypass highway traffic and arrived in plenty of time.

Basically, in a small amount of time trying to get to know a complete stranger is always a bit difficult, but I've gotten good at it. Asking him about his favorite music and his goals for college. I'm always interested in the youth and their outlook for the future. Because essentially their future will decide my future and that is why I care about our young people. And Mike is a good kid. He is already a strong young man with goals and a strong sense of what he wants instead of what other people want. I mean...Come on, he invited me to play his high school.. Of course he's a genius.

He told me there were 5 opening bands of high school age that were from the area and that kids at his school liked FALL OUT BOY. I told him, ya know...everyone is going to leave when I play. Optimistic? NO. Realistic?? Yes. You see, after playing for over 20 years you know what is going to happen. I told him, once their friends bands finished, they would leave. The total paid attendance was near 200 people, but I played in front of maybe 15 people. I sold two CDs. One to the vice principal and one to Mike's brother. I definitely made an impact. Regardless, it was nice to play music.

I had asked Mike if any classrooms had a TV and in particular NCAA basketball. I watched for the next 3 hours. Not watching one of the 5 local bands because to be totally honest I just didn't care. Is that bad? Am I bad? Hmmmm....

Afterwards, Mike and his brother were gracious enough to drive me to the city. I was staying at Jenny Choi and Phillip Stone's pad. They have had a rough year as both Jenny's grandfather and Phillip's mom have passed away this year, so their lives have been a rollercoaster of craziness the past few months. But they were in good spirits as we talked and even managed a few games of boggle. I convinced Phillip to call in sick for his 6 AM job, so that we could hang out. Am I a good influence? We played MS. PACMAN before turning in, but I had insomnia and stayed awake til' past 4 AM and then finally ZZZZZZZZZZ

8:00 AM
RRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGGGGG!!! Damn, I forgot to turn my alarm off from the previous morning. 9:18 AM RRRRRRIIIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGGGG!!! My goodness, I was in such a deep sleep. That's rare for me. You know that deep sleep, where someone tries to wake you and you're just out of your mind. That was me. I'm usually up in seconds...But anyways, it's Dan Andriano, AKA Uncle Fester calling to see if I want to go get breakfast. yes, I do.

Dan comes and picks me up and we head to a place called WISHBONE. We meet up with Brendan Kelly and converse about silly happenings in each of our lives. Brendan is pretty funny, so I like hearing his current views on life, but mostly the music industry. I order the breakfast burrito and grits. It's delicious. A quick stop to the music store and then Fester drives me back to Jenny/Phillip's pad.

It's Friday and we have a show in Madison, Wi.. Lots of traffic on a Friday, so we leave early in hopes of beating my arch nemesis. A quick stop in Elgin to pick up a projector screen that I had left at the band Colossal's home and then back on the 90 W to Madison. I had hoped to nap during the drive, but no luck. I was having too much fun in conversation. We arrived in Madison pretty darn early and went straight to the college where we would be playing. The University of Wisconsin Madison to be exact. It's an event called MADISON FEST. 8 bands including Rainer Maria, Maritime, myself, Hanalei, Sanawon, and more. It's totally free and I'm thinking man, this is gonna be pretty amazing. But at no time is there more than 100 people. Really puzzling as I would think Rainer Maria alone would draw that amount in a club with a $15 ticket. Am I crazy? Hmmmmm....

I play 5th out of 8 bands. It's 9:00 PM and I am totally finished, packed, and ready to go. After getting paid, I casually leave with Jenny and Phillip and we head back to Chicago. It's pretty rude to leave early. At least that's how I feel, but since we had a 2.5 hour drive home,we all wanted to get out a little early. On the way home we stop by Taco Bell, eating bad Mexican food whilst dreaming of indie rock kids reading what's cool on pitchfork media.

We make it back to the city just past midnight. Jenny has to pee something fierce, as I can only imagine what their poor dog Jordan is feeling. Being locked up for 11 hours without the ability to pee should be considered a crime punishable by jail time. Don't you think? After loading out the van, we drink tea and play more MS. PACMAN. I grab KILL BILL 2 and watch it on my computer before going to sleep. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ......

Ahhhh... It's around 10 AM Saturday morning and Phillip is off helping his boss move. Jenny is making me breakfast.(Blueberry pancakes and veggie sausage) Why is she so good? But also so bad?? And I am feeling guilty for keeping Jenny around to babysit me. She comes with me to visit my friend Fred. He just had a baby in October. His name is ALVA. Babies are funny. They like to smile and point. Back to Jenny's house I get Chris McCaughn to come pick me up. We plan to see V for VENDETTA. We pick up Neil Hennessey and get some lunch at a great falafel joint that I had actually been to once before. Hmmmm... Neil opts out of the movie and it's just a date for two.

Both Chris and I are fond of Natalie YUMman. I replace last names with YUM in the case of actresses that I see as attractive. So let's take Scarlett Johanson for example. It's now Scarlett Joyumson. It's kind of hard for one syllable last names. Like Lisa Loeb. It doesn't work. Lisa YUMOEB. Well, i guess it still works. V for VENDETTA was great. SCI-FI is the best. Saw the new trailer for X-MEN 3 and the excitement stirs deep in my gut.

The clock is ticking. We go back to Chris' parents house. He still lives with his mom and dad. That's amazing. He is part of the LAHP(LIVE AT HOME POSSE) along with Jason Thinh. I am the president of the LAHP. Though I don't live at home anymore, I did for the most part of 29 years. DAMN!! A quick cup of tea and then me and Chris head out to the show in Chicago. It's at a place called SOUTH UNION ARTS. Up til' 8 months ago it was a functioning southern baptist church since 1928. It had a neon crucifix right above me while I played.

There has been no remodeling done, so it still looks like an old church. There's a bunch of different artists displaying photography inside and in the back there's a silkscreen poster gallery. Pretty cool to be perfectly honest. The whole vibe of the joint was amazing. I hate playing bars, so this place was perfect for me. Only non-traditional venues for now on.

As for the show.......To be perfectly honest, I'd have to say it was one of the most enjoyable times I've ever had in my life playing music. The sound was great and the ambience just added to this memorable experience. I am looking forward to the time I can return and play there again.

The show was done by 10:30 PM. A group of friends met up at a local bar and had some drinks, conversed, and just enjoyed the moment. Some late night food and the next thing you know it's 5 friggin AM. I crash out on Brendan's couch to the barking of his two chihauhaus and it's ZZZZZZZZ's for me. A few hours later, Brendan sleep walks his way to the restroom and then in nothing but his light blue briefs, he comes in and falls asleep on the couch next to me. I say, Brendan you're going to freeze, not knowing he was sleep walking. But he just grabbed a couch cushion and held it to his chest. Later, he informs me that he woke up with the cushion back in bed and that he indeed is a sleepwalker. WOOHOO!! I like people who walk in their sleep.

Breakfast at a place called SALT AND PEPPER, we try an appetizer called macaroni and cheese wedges. They cut up chilled mac and cheese, drop it in batter and deep fry it. DELICIOUS!! I've got to try it at home. A quick shower and then Chris was kind enough to drive me to the airport. And here I am now at 6:03 PM(3 hrs and 15 minutes after I initially started writing this), the pilot has declared that we are starting our final descent to San Jose. WELCOME HOME ME.. WELCOME HOME!!
Mike Park