The Special Goodness tour diary - Fall 1999
...Anyway, for the first, uh, "feature", here are my recollections from the Special Goodness tour that took place a short time ago, on which I was tour manager, a role that involved some driving, some accounting, and a lot of music.
Mon, Oct 25: Leave Buffalo, where rehearsals were going on at a non-operational bar. settle into the VAN, which has recently been painted green. We speed towards New Jersey, passing through such places as Binghamton, Scranton, and the "Delaware Water Gap". finally hit the New Brunswick/Piscataway/Rutgers area and promptly get horribly lost. soon learn that you are not allowed to turn around or retrace your 'steps in new jersey. eventually find an overpriced motel 6 to throw money at for the next 2 nights. and a TGI Fridays to get overpriced food. yum.
Tue, Oct 26: walk to nearby Staples the office superstore , and the Big K, for supplies, such as a Vanity Fair for Mikey. Also Taco Bell. learn that pedestrians are forbidden in new jersey, subject to cruel punishments and no sidewalks. Finally we get back n the van and attempt to find Rutgers U...get caught in a massive rush hour traffic jam while on idyllic foresty 2 lane roads. see rutgers signs. after several false leads we find the (very) hidden city of the "busch campus center". all goes well right up to the time when the guys play the show. apparently the sound man blew out some of the PA speakers as the opening act played, and also completely sabotaged the monitors. so, everyone in the room, including the band, is hearing very bad sound, no matter what the band does. sound guy is beyond reason. band makes a tough decision to call the show off early, to save everyones ears and not present the songs in so bad a manner. bummer. much nonsense ensues regarding getting paid. sorry kids, we'll be back, and it will sound much better.
Wed, Oct. 27: wake up and get the hell outta dodge. drive up the mellow, relaxing I-95 to Providence RI. Get a little lost, but then locate the AS 220 club, which is really this cool artist's co-op/restaurant/performance space. All goes pretty well. a nice little crowd of people who clap and smile. Opening the show is "Plymouth Rock", who don't. That night stay at Mikey's friend Mickey's (i know, i know) house, in Providence. mickey works for the M.M.Bosstones, so, much music-biz talk.
Thurs, Oct 28: tonights show is in NYC. so, back down our favorite roadway, the I-95 thru connecticut. we make a (very ) ambitious plan to return to mickeys after the show, hoping that we wont be pulling up at his house at 5 AM. So, to Brownies. Ah, the east village. not a bad bar, really, but 21+. at first parking is terrible but then we score a place right in front! suddenly brownies is cool. fairly big crowd, with a few bummed youth forced to stay outside. the sound is phenomenal. later, mikey climbs on top of the van singing "kiss" by prince at the top of his lungs. more later, he serenades a homeless person who approached the van for spare change, by singing the RHCP song w/ the lyrics:"i know, i know , for sure...(vietnamese sounding syllables)". ive never witnessed this way of giving someone a quarter before. i drive us to Providence after the show, and sure enough we get to Mickey's at... 5 AM.
Fri Oct 29: a short drive to Boston for the Middle east show in cambridge. as we approach cambridge, we are identified on the off ramp by Linda, a louisiana girl who is schooling in Mass. a brief and confusing conversation follows, and we tell her to follow us. this doesnt work. linda makes it to the show. (i think.) TONS of people show up early to catch the SG. an excellent show! a young man from georgia flew up to see the rock. wow. We then proceed to pat and lee's old friend steve's place, up north of the city, for a sweet day off.
Sat Oct 30: day off, go on a cool hike up a little mountain w/the steve clan. also go to some famous roast beef/fish fry place. at night we go to harvard square for fun and frolic.
Sun Oct 31: drive to washington DC. go to mikeys brothers place and settle in. dominoes pizza, Kubrick movies.
Mon Nov 1:The Garage in DC. what a rock palace! muscle car insignia everywhere and a ridiculously loud sound system. rock delivered well. sketchy parking, but no incidents.
Tues Nov 2: wake up and drive to pittsburgh. en route, we discover the "truckerbucks" phone card system, which we later learn charges you a minimum of 6 minutes per call no matter how short your call was. Now thats quality. It starts raining like a wailing herd of wild monkey bull pig goat cattle. this continues until late that night, when it decides to become snow. We are helped at the freezing rainy load-in by justin and his crew, who we get in for soundcheck so they all dont freeze and die. To my delight the interior of Club Laga (well, our floor), is ideal for lots of skateboarding. to our dismay , the promoter has put on the fliers for the show that the special goodness will be "playing all the weezer hits". uh-oh. a fine show is played, but the crowd has been misled, and demands more at the end. the band does a sort of weez karaoke, (barely) playing the music to "undone" and "tired of sex", as about 40 insane frat guys surround the mics and scream out the lyrics. this seems to satisfy them, and the SG escapes unharmed. that night stay at justins suburban castle.
Justin:"who are you guys?" Pat:"I just broke your TV"
Wed Nov 3: drive to cleveland. blowing snow on the highway. the van prevails. we go to a hotel near the airport, where somehow we stay for free. many buffalo lee n' pat cronies come down for the show. me pat and mikey go up to the lakewood region first, to locate a guitar shop that can fix mikeys bass which he busted last night at the crazy pittsburgh show. this takes a long time, but the Blind Lemon club turns out to be a fairly relaxed bar scene. several under 21's get in with the old handstamp. hooray! the rock is good.
Thurs Nov 4: we drive to dayton, OH. the Club Safari is apparently also a Ethiopian restauraunt. a canadian punk band is about to play an early show. we go to locate a laundromat. later return for food, warm air, and skateboard fun in the rear parking lot. the show sells out and rocks super hard. tons of kids are packed into this tiny little storefront. we are told chicago is 9 hours away so we decide to drive after the show. but chicago is 5 hours away. oh well, we slept well at the Indianapolis super 8.
Fri Nov 5: to chicago, locate the Empty Bottle club w/ no incident. were pretty early having unknowingly gained an hour by getting to the central time zone. Anuj and his chi-town posse come. the rock rocks as it should. also on the bill: a 3 piece instrumental band in tuxedos, stylistically playing somewhere between the ventures and fugazi. exhausted, and full of late nite burritos, we crawl to anuj's for appreciated floor space. zzz.
Sat Nov 6: minneapolis is far, far away, so we are up and running early. drive forever. get there in time to load in. steve c., who also drove 9 hours, and a sizable posse of fellow SG-curious are there. after i try in vain to find a parking spot, in the process tearing the vent off the roof of the van in a parking garage (well, NOW its well ventilated!), a kind soul hooks me up with a secret spot only 10 blocks away. The show is awesome, but the crowd a bit thin. we attribute this to the fact that within 4 blocks , Cibo Matto, Live, the Lunachicks, the Buzzcocks and Elton john are playing. competition a bit rough. opening is locals Manplanet, and LA's the Negro Problem, who are currently employing an old LA freind, Adam M. of Cockeyed Ghost. small world. mikey nearly collapses onstage, has contracted illness. that night stay at more old buddies of pat and lee. they have a huge dog, but thats cool.
Sun Nov 7: mikey (barely) wakes, calls for a milwaukee cancellation. oops. sorry milwaukee. we'll be back. rest of us go on a walk down to the mississippi, where zillions are walking their dogs on the shore. pretty cool. toss football. order out pizza. chill.
Mon Nov 8: drive to lovely Ames, Iowa, to the University. locate the Maintenance Shop club/bar/restaurant on campus. nearby is the wonderful multipurpose cafeteria bookstore zone, where foods and supplies are gathered w/ minimal stress. the show sells out, i think. the kids are stoked! also, the university hooks us up w/ 2 on-campus free hotel rooms. wow! i walk into the college town for late nite Subway food. ahh.
Tues Nov 9: drive to Lincoln NE. locate Knickerbockers, a bar that is super strict about not letting in people under 21. bah. also theyre just kinda lame. but the sound guy was cool, and it sounded really good. before the show we had a lot of time to kill so we went to some killer vintage guitar shops, a neat old record shop, and a pawn shop. we eat at this trendy italian place. not bad. a good show that could have been better with more underage access.
Wed Nov 10: drive to kansas city, set up shop in a motel 6. many forays out to locate food, goods, and fun. most fail, but its fun to try.
Thurs Nov 11: business day, locate companies to make us more cd's and tshirts, which we keep running out of. KC hooks us up with the services.
Fri Nov 12: pick up the stuff, go to the show, at the Hurricane. a fine sound system, but the big crowd is definitely there to drink, and pay little attention to the rock. the boys play well w/ little reward, save our $ guarantee. 21+ is bad. but we knew that.
Sat Nov 13: drive down the missisippi, far from the interstates, to locate fayetteville AR. see many cool little towns. and some scary ones. fayetteville turns out to be home of the Arkansas Razorbacks, and it seems they just won a very important game. several major rural traffic jams later, we're at the Clunk music hall, an odd indie record shop/club, thats run by a cool guy who looks like Drew Carey, sort of. Tonight we're opening for Wesley Willis, the mentally ill 300 pound homeless black man from Chicago whose albums have delighted thousands with so many weird repetitive vulgar songs. how would this go over in fayetteville? astonishingly well! nearly 400 showed up and rocked out. several kids asked if there was any profanity or obscene parts to the show, and i told them no. however, as it turns out, there were several cuss words and lewd concepts bandied about. another guy needed to know if mikeys artwork was "occult" (while it certainly has that look , i had to explain that mikey was not a satan-worshipper, merely a provocative artist.) about 250 kids left after the SG, missing the most freaky show (willis) that ive ever seen. see this guy once so you can say you did.
wesley: "are you a weezer man?"
mikey: "well yeah, but were doing the special goodness here"wesley: "wanna buy my cd?"
Sun Nov 14: down to little rock, after catching the bills/dolphins game at a fayeteville sportsbar (the bills won, of course. even mikey likes the bills now). Vino's is a neat place with great pizza, lots of youngsters came out for the rock. "ashtray babyhead", a nice bunch of guys with a terrible band name, open up. they come and open up in houston and austin too.
Mon Nov 15: we stay in some little town in the middle of nowhere, that has every possible gas station, fast food place and store a traveler could need. warm warm air of the bayou inspires a lot of parking lot skateboarding.
Tues Nov 16: into the big easy, new orleans. we get there early, so we go to accomplish errands (during which a killer set of loading dock embankments was discovered and skated), and finally fool around in the french quarter. i introduce the guys to the famous french bistro joint with the fresh made donuts and amazing coffee. plus we hit tower records and various markets/voodoo shops, etc. finally back to the Mermaid Lounge where only a small crowd will show tonight. 21+ of course. two fans are both underage and in the middle of their mormon missions, so they cant see the rock. however, others with less restrictions on their behavior savor the rock. Mikey walks on and falls off the bar during the set. starpoint electric from chapel hill open up.
Wed Nov 17: drive to baton rouge, we have the whole afternoon to kill in this odd little college city. many errands plus a long football tossing visit to the lake-ridden university park eat up our time. Baton Rouges downtown has the best skateboard spot of the tour, hands down. two massive brick curved things at some government building. finally the show starts at The Spanish Moon, a large multilevel bar that also hosts bikers night and was once a goth place. an inebriated sound guy provides sonic challenges to the band, who power through in style. Opening up was Robo-Sam, a one man Devo-ish "band" that was my fave opening act of the tour. the SG does an interview with the local college/alt. station.
Thurs Nov 18: longish drive to houston. laundromat and music store magically found without trying. we watch local news in the 'mat, learn of the big log disaster at A+M, which has turned into an all day live local broadcast. Rudyard's Pub is sadly 21+, but the crowd is still big. but people relax in their chairs. mikeys taunts do not roust them, but they cheer and clap. a certain dave M. decides to be a SG-deadhead and follow the band to all 3 texas shows. a cool band called Sad Like Crazy opens the show. i thought 'Pavement w/a girl', sort of. We score a nice hotel for cheap, via an employee who liked the show (and Mikey).
Fri Nov 19: no less than 3 vehicles travel to Austin. mikey and his new freind in red sportscar, the van, and 'SGhead' dave. we veer off course a bit in rural texas, but the friendly locals tell us where to go. In austin we meet pats wife jen, who absconds with pat till show time. mikey is awol. me and lee go eat and look for various items. Lee's quest for new airwalks fails, but I find old records so im happy. we return to Emo's where we go to kinkos and starbucks, with our guide, ex-local (SGhead) dave. Then showtime, and its a 4 band bill. Ashtray babyhead, the Stereo, Eureka farm (who with this show join us for the rest of the tour), and finally the SG at 1:30 am. The guys rocked hard for the nearly 500 people who showed up. Back at the merch booth i took it all in and concluded that the guys are into something good. Then we had to contend with the crazy R+B club next door whose pro football player patrons had blocked in our van with their gold 500 SEL's. Lots of beepers, and drunken hooligans yelling "whussup?!?!" and asking for our guitars in a rude manner as we loaded out. Ah, austin on a friday night.
Sat Nov 20: now its 4 vehicles, me and lee in the van, pat and jen, solo dave, and mikey and new freind. like an army we storm dallas, arriving in the deep ellum area, and soon locating the sprawling club clearview, which is 4, 4, 4 clubs in one. You could rave. or drink. or drink and rave. or see the SG, with openers Eureka Farm and Chomsky, who rocked out. The show went fine, but being 21+ was a tad mellow in the audience department. Everyone had fun, and then we emerged to a wild party scene on the street, much like austin. drunk idiots in cameros roaring the wrong way through full parking lots as frazzled debutantes screamed obscenities out their window. yay. we all stayed at the house of yet another old buddies of pat and lee's, way way out in the brand new suburbs.
Sun Nov 21: the next door neighbors kids buy a SG cd as we pack up the van. today we must drive like fools. Monday night is a show in Phoenix, over 1000 miles away. Mikey busts out his open highway skills, and all 4 of us use the speed limit only as a guide. i pull into some motel in new mexico at about 3 AM.
Mon Nov 22: we keep driving. we hit phoenix whilst its still light out, but are misinformed as to the clubs locale. a policeman in the Circle K tells us where to go, and to go there before it gets dark, because we are in the ghetto, it seems. Unwanted extra driving around after our 1000 mile quest inspires impromptu wrestling matches in the van. Mikey challenges all comers to Greco-Roman style, but Lee and Pat subscribe to obscure ju-jitsu variations. Finally we pull up to the Green Room in Tempe. Our new freinds Eureka Farm are there too. this club has a chain link fence dividing the room between drinkers and non drinkers. over the course of the evening the fence had to be moved many times to accommodate the youth of today, who crowded the "adults" into a corner. this show rocks hard, as have most of them for a long time now. its cold in phoenix, and we are forced to sell the merchandise outside. odd. afterwards, we hit the road again, intending to get to the Californian border before sleep. I get us there around 4 AM, and to yet another Super 8.
Tues Nov 23: before i wake up, pat and lee eat, get the van serviced and washed, and manage to leave my skateboard somewhere, which makes some unknown kid in Blythe, CA very happy. Fortunately we are zooming toward LA, home of more skateboard companies than any place in the world. later we get to an apartment in santa monica where Jen Wilson's niece lives. we all relax. also joining us now (besides jen) is Lees wife Michelle, who will go with us up the west coast. We go to Costa Mesa, and find Club Mesa. A large sign on the door barring underage patrons completely contradicts everything we were told (and told the world) about this show. NOT all ages? uh-oh. an angry crowd of fans are shut out, i go out and sell the last of our Tour-edition CD's to them, feeling terrible. also, it is dumb because without these kids , only about 40 people came. On the good side, this is the first of what will turn out to be 3 shows with the Space twins. So we got to chill with Brian. Eueka farm was forced to play before some really bad local band, which was just idiotic. brian rocked in his own special way, then the SG did their thing. It was excellent to see the LA ~W~ fan club girls in attendance. I hadnt been in the LA area for 2 years! we go back to santa monica to crash.
Wed Nov 24: chill out in santa monica, walk around and buy a few cd's, eat some thai food. finally get the troops together and go to hollywood, and go inside the viper room, a club i hadnt been inside since it was "the central", with thursday nights as "club dump" which weezer would play a lot in 1992-1993. now this place is all dolled up, most importantly with the sound system, which was world class. Eureka Farm, Space Twins , and The SG all sounded amazing, and the sold out house was testimony to this. It was awesome seeing some old faces from the Amherst house days and even before then. Even one of the bartenders (handsome Jack) was a next door neighbor and weez-cronie back in '93. The main bummer was that several people under 21 tried to get in , but there was no way to circumvent the Viper rooms strict policies. Johnny Depp wasnt there to argue with either. However, a crazed New Zealander got wild and did quite possibly the first Viper room stage dive, nearly wrecking Mikeys rig and definately wrecking many persons' drinks in the process. An extremely large, well dressed bald black man immediately threw this person out the door, into Eureka Farm's van. wow.
Thurs Nov 25 (thanksgiving): we sleep in a bit, assuming that this show couldnt possibly get underway as early as they claimed. 6 hours later were in the seedy North Beach area of SF, locating the Club Cocodrie amongst the neon boobs in the store windows. Despite the holiday, many people showed up and the show rocked! also, i ollied on to the tall stage, a personal skateboard triumph. Thanksgiving dinner consisted of over fried foods at the local Carl's Jr, with Ian from Eureka Farm and Tim of the "W.H.A.T." rentals website. another solid show with the ST, the EF, and the SG. after we drive 2 hours to the middle of nowhere, and hit another super 8.
Fri Nov 26: today was supposed to be the portland show at la luna, but it was canceled. this actually was a big help, because driving 12 hours and then playing a show is bad for ones health. It was supposed to get moved to the day after the seattle show, but this failed to happen. sorry portland. well, portland is now "local" for the SG, so youll get your show soon enough... much chilling out and resting that night at pan n jens. one more show!
Sat Nov 27: cold and rainy, we drive up to seattle, and locate the OK Hotel. in a few days there would be riots, but all was quiet now. we had an excellent skateboard session in the ok hotels show room, as the soundchecks progressed. i figured out backside ollies going up a big step. pat polished his new-found ollie abilities. the room sounded great, but the sound man liked it REAL loud. I guess thats the seattle way. Two long time fanclubbers showed up, and did so knowing they wouldnt get into to this 21+ place. so we talked out on the side walk for a long time, in the rain. my bestest buddy john showed up, and i was able to prove to all how closely he resembled Eureka Farms' drummer, jason. the rock was delivered in force, and pats voice gave out during the second last song. so no "its all here in this book" for seattle (yet).
the next few days involved meeting with and hanging out with people from Loosegroove Records, who are very cool. Monday night we returned to portland, SG Tour #1 under our collective belts. thanks to everyone who came to the shows, and/or bought a cd/shirt/cap. Your support was awesome, and essential to the promotion of good rock and roll music.
Originally posted on Weezer.net