Our buddy Pete Schreiner (Thousand Arrows, The Coke Dares, Magnolia Electric Company, Sam Lowry & The Circumstance) is adding a new gig to his resume as he plays sideman to Scout Niblett on her current tour. Pete is keeping us in the loop of the ups and downs of the road with this tour diary.
Woke up on the couch. It hurt my back a little. Next time I’ll sleep on the floor—it’s carpeted—and after sleeping on many hard floors over the years, a decent wall-to-wall with padding feels plush. I brought a sleeping bag and a travel pillow because I don’t like the idea of my regular-size pillow sitting out in dirty places on the ground and on club-tainted gear and then putting my face on it. And sometimes I don’t feel like carrying a big pillow. It’s nice to have one in the van though. The travel pillow is too small but I put my folded towel under it and it’s OK. Sometimes I’ll use a towel wrapped around my shoes as a pillow if I don’t bring one and a spare isn’t available. My wife likes the story of me using a concrete block as a pillow once—it was a half-width one with a folded sweatshirt on top though; I’m not a purist.
I want to go running but we don’t have a key to the front door to the apartment building. We’ve been slightly propping it open for quick runs to the van but it’s always risky to venture out solo and not know if the door will be locked later. Have to try it, otherwise as an early riser, I start to go stir-crazy if I’m up and idle too long. I head out for 40 minutes or so around some long LA blocks of car repair shops, chains-a-million, and traffic traffic traffic. Weather’s sunny and clear with a substantial wind. The run was killing me after the beer and pizza from last night. But the pizza and beer were gonna kill me too. Might as well die from something healthy. Back around to Bob’s block and the door was still open! Nice. Went in for a shower.
Did some internet. Bob was gone, others were asleep. eventually they got up, we had coffee and planned the day. Scout was going swimming. We couldn’t all leave at the same time, due to the key issue, and have return access. I walked down a few blocks and got us some tacos. Good but greasy; came with a plastic baggy of pico de gallo. All met up couple hours later and rolled to San Diego. Hit some nasty traffic leaving LA and wished we had planned a little better. Oh well. Got to the club on time, loaded in. We were playing at the Soda Bar. First time for me. It was a nice place; kinda awkward set-up with the stage off center in a corner and the bar bifurcating the room. Good beers on tap, nice folks all around. sound check was awesome because the sound man Tony was pro as hell. Super efficient and the system was top-notch. Doing-it-right should be the standard, but it’s a rare occurrence.
We have time to get dinner since the check was so slick. Considered tacos; someone recommended a new sandwich shop. We were on the way when we spied an old-school 24 hour diner called Rudford’s. Looked super cool and we hadn’t hit a diner even for breakfast yet so were hooked. Sat at the counter. Most of the place seemed original 1960’s. The menu has a picture of a JFK motorcade passing in front of Rudford’s. History! I think we all ordered breakfast food. My eggs and pancakes were good. Scout’s food was good. The house salsa was great. So it was weird that Dan’s huevos rancheros were just average eggs suffocating under terrible piles of beans blanketed in horrible cheddar cheese. Otherwise we were happy. Back at the club people laughed when we said where we’d gone. “That’s the worst restaurant in town!” Seemed average at least plus some vibe. I’d go back. Order strategically. Coffee was reported as brown water.
Nothingfuls were first up. The promoter Sasha’s band. Others said they were good and they were. He plays an acoustic bass in a slappy strummy way that brings out a rock guitar/acoustic tenor tone that is pretty unique and a cool accompaniment for the vocals. Tasteful technical drumming and ripping sax/trumpet fill out the act. Good set
Ditto for Picastro. Tight set and the proper sound system brought out the tonal nuances. I enjoyed it. Hung with friends Jesse and Chris from SD. Had a good time talking over beers.
We played a good set. Maybe did some requests. Dude up front dancing like crazy whilst holding an SM57 microphone recording the show. Probably sounds good but I keep thinking that the motion of the mic would make the sound inconsistent. Talk to him later and he was recording onto tape—an older walkman-sized recorder. I’m excited about that fact ’cause I just got one at Goodwill for a couple bucks.
Show’s over, load out, trade numbers, say good-byes. We’re staying at Sasha’s place. He has a room in a house with a baby so we need to all sleep in his room for some reason. There’s (barely) room but it’s fine. Three adults on the college-style room’s floor. He’s definitely a big time music fan. Played some cool psych stuff before sleep. Records, posters on ceiling, space heater plugged into a power strip. I mentally note the escape route and the window I can break for a back-up plan as I think of my friend Evan who died in a fire in an unknown house.
Pete, Scout and Dan return home to Portland to wrap up the tour tonight at Mississippi Studios.