how many freaks does it take to screw in a bathroom?

sorry, where was i? right. reggie watts. singing in gibberish on a lake in perth. we were tired. then we drove to geraldton…..oh…GERLADTON.
the gig in geraldton happened because i still wanted to add some weird, fucked up shows – in weird fucked-up towns – and out of the blue, got an email from a lovely woman named clare at a bar in gerladton who offered us a guarantee for a free-to-the-public show.

and she soudned nice.

and she was nice. REALLY nice. kim boekbonder decided to come on the adventure with us (why not) and hopped in our rental car. we got to the bar just in time for the show, with no soundcheck, which was a FIVE HOUR DRIVE FROM PERTH. i do not stop in these moments to ask why i am doing what i am doing. i just go. i just went. there we were.

the five hour drive was actually very beautiful, even though the highway views of australia tend to look similar….hour after hour when you’re simply driving through the desert.
i sewed:
and we listened to a ton of random-gift music…we had piles of “LISTEN TO OUR BAND!!” CDs people had given me & kim from various cities….our FAVORITE was this:


i forget where this chick gave us her CD, but if you’re out there, WE LOVE YOU.
her song “lesbians are awesome” was listened to on repeat, but a google search reveals only porn.
please, if you know her – send the message out – we love you. twitter us. ok?
we saw a windmill and some emus, and ate strange australian candy and popsicles.
eric always points at things in pictures. it’s what he does…
we went into a roadside gas station, and i saw this sticky note taped to the counter.

apparently, they had “pinapple things” for sale:

upon closer inspection, it turned out they actually had PINEAPPLE THINGS FOR SALE.

that was just weird.

about an hour outside geraldton i checked my twitter and we followed the drama of one single teenage girl who was heartbroken because she couldn’t get into the bar (which was 18+) for the show.
given that there were probably only go to be about 20 people there to actually see us, and given that we didn’t have anything better to do, we decided that it would be best to twitter her back that kim and i would give her a personal ninja gig outside the club. we imagined we might steal her away and even do it in a shed. she freaked out, showed up at the door with her sister and met us as we pulled up in our car, and ruined our plans to steal her away by telling us that the bar had decided to let them in. but justice was served later…on a platter.
when we arrived in geraldton, we were shown to our dressing room, which was the wine-cellar of the bar:

…and we basically got changed and went upstairs to hit stage.
the bar was full of bogans (which – as you will remember from yesterday’s blog – is not a good thing).
the bar was also full of 20 people to see us play. but those 20 people were not as loud as the 80 bogans who were drinking.
it was War.
i used to hate these gigs. the dolls did TONS of gigs back in the day – TONS AND TONS OF THEM. gigs where you aren’t really welcome.
gigs where you’re getting paid but nobody really wants to hear music. gigs where your fans are there, but at war with the locals.
we once played a gig in st. louis – i’ll never forget this one – that brian’s pal had set up for us as a last-minute-play-after-an-official-show day.
we were like: eh, we’re here in town, know any places we can play? the friend said: my friend knows a bar! this was pre-twitter (and before people really tapped into a lot of social networking, in general) – so we couldn’t spread the word in 24 hours.
nobody was in this sports bar except 25 people watching the st. louis baseball team play in the world series.
they set us up….under the giant TV screen. everyone watched the game 20 inches above our head while we tuned and set up a mic. we decided to leave the piano and drums in the car and just play guitar and sing.
i said to brian, ”i can’t.”
brian said, ”you must.”
…and so we did. brian was always a little braver than me with gigs like that.
we played 3 acoustic songs and nobody listened – i think i might have actually started to cry during “two-headed boy”, which i stated to brian would be Our Last Fucking Song Then We Were Out Of This Fucking Sports Bar.
at the very end of the song, as brian strummed his last, triumphant, don’t-give-a-fuck-if-you-people-have-never-heard-of-neutral-milk-hotel-i’m-still-playing-my-heart-out-chord, the entire crowd burst into a huge roaring applause.
st. louis had scored a home run.
anyway – geraldton wasn’t quite that bad. although i did have to mention to the (very nice) sound guy at the mixing desk that maybe he should turn off the 5-foot TV above the make-shift stage. he looked at me strangely and then said “yeah…um, sure. i can do that. i’ll go do that”. and i sat there, shaking my head in sorrow.
i’ve also played about….i dunno…1,500 rock shows since then. in parks, in bars, in arenas, in living rooms, to adoring fans, to bored industry people…i just don’t get shaken when a bar full of bogans isn’t interested in what i have to say. i actually started my set by standing up on one of the bogan tables on the outside bar porch and playing “creep” – and the fans inside followed me out….the drunken bogans yelled at us, the fans cheered….
the battle of geraldton was ON.
kim was supposed to come up on stage and guest with me to do a quiet ukulele cover of “such great heights” but the bogan noise was SO loud we could barely hear ourselves talk.
it became instantly clear that we couldn’t really do the song and be heard. the bogans were winning.
kim started introducing the song with this funny anecdote about how the very first time we played in we were practicing it in a men’s bathroom at a german club, because there was nowhere else to go (note: the punchline of the anecdote is that a nice german boy came out of a stall at the end of our practice and said: “Zat wass ze nicest pee i haff effer hat!”)
i suggested we all simply go to the men’s bathroom instead of trying to play this song instage against the noise of the bogans. how hard can it be to fit 20 freaks in a bathroom?
we mostly managed. some people had to wait out in the hall, but damed if we didn’t fit about 16 folks into that joint. and this was a one-stall men’s room. pride.

the video of the whole clip is here….it’s pretty fucking funny:
the acoustics were SUPERIOR.
there is something about having the kinds of musician friends, like kim (and tom, and mikaelangelo), who will simply – when you say “let’s go play in the bathroom” –  say “duh, obviously.”
bring these friends with you on tour.
don’t bring the other kind. ever.
if you can’t enjoy playing a gig in a men’s bathroom to 16 sweaty people, you probably won’t enjoy small-to-mid-level rock and roll touring.
the venue were just sort of charmed yet nervous and by the time we’d played “such great heights” and “map of tasmania” and they were about to completely eject us, we left of our own accord, wrapped up the show, and called it a victory.

in all seriousness, the show was truly a blast – and the venue was fantastically kind to us and made it possible for us to pull of a crazy show.
mad thanks to them, and for feeding us superior foods and wines, and additional huge thanks to sarah, who gave us provisions for our entire drive home.
so. much. love.
we snuck into the queen’s park theater, geraldton’s only big joint, since nobody was looking, and decided it was awesome.
after lore of our Great Bathroom Gig spreads all across towns – and they’re erecting statues of me & kim boekbinder (and eric, why the hell not) in the town square, standing bravely atop a urinal, ukuleles erect – we shall return triumphant to a great parade, where they will throw lemon candy and golden coins at our feet, and play this joint:

then we hit the geraldton library and used their amazing free wireless. that shit was HOT, man.
remember that blog i posted about lexington high school? i was just about to press send on it when this picture was taken:

we’re in a postmodern blog-warp, my friends.
we drove 5 hours back to perth.
and on the way back to perth, we made a short movie in the desert….which i will post tomorrow.
it was epic….and involved nakedness.
i’m so behind….i haven’t talked at all about brisbane. all in good time…..
too much good content, not enough brain.

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