North American Tour Journal
November 16, 2011
We arrived to the venue in Oakland early. The New Parish club was near downtown Oakland in the same vicinity of the epicenter of the Wall Street protest. It was also across from a homeless shelter. The homeless problem is a sad reality, but can also become a nuisance after being asked for things over and over again. I had to stop giving spare funds away, because, after all, our band had to eat as well. San Francisco had a much bigger problem with the homeless and it seemed to create a very dirty landscape. It is definitely an issue the government needs to tackle with care and thoughtfulness.
The staff and sound engineer at New Parish in Oakland were some of the nicest I’ve encountered so far and the club Owner invited us back because the night was such a success. The fans received us well in Oakland and I enjoyed meeting people that I only previously met online. The big surprise of the night was having my son, Joshua, show up and attend the concert in Oakland. He is my oldest son and resides in Santa Rosa, about an hour away. I met his girlfriend, Sara, who was exquisite and seemed very sweet. I made Joshua a temporary roadie and gave him an all access pass, which he found to be fun. I wasn’t sure, when I arrived in California, if he was going to be able to come out to the show or not. It was a great reunion when he arrived and we even arranged for him to travel to San Francisco with us and attend the next show before he returned to his job in Santa Rosa.
November 17, 2011
San Francisco, CA
Oakland to San Francisco is a quick twenty-five minute drive across the Bay Bridge. I drove behind the tour bus in my son’s new truck, which he turned into an extremely loud and obnoxious vehicle by removing the muffler. I explained to him that it was simply annoying and rattling and did not have the cool factor he intended. Upon entering San Fran, we stopped at the hotel we had a reservation at for the driver. The reservation was not set up correctly and this started a chain of events that continued long into the morning. We finally settled on a hotel by 5:30 am, right before I just about dropped. It is pretty difficult to navigate in a muffler-less truck through the hills of San Francisco on just a few hours of sleep. I got about two hours of sleep before our merchandising guy, Dean, sprayed deodorant next to my bunk. Awesome… I opened the bus door to grab some fresh, ocean air and was greeted by a nice, Asian fellow who had a large backpack full of marijuana. Before he even knew who I was, he was organizing it on the sidewalk in separate bags and trying to ensure a sale to Tony, the tour manager, and me. We declined. The gang went sight seeing and I stayed behind to do some banking and fill the parking meters with coins all day. The venue for the night, Café Du Nord, is a historic speak-easy, originally built in 1907. Although we did not completely fill this one, the fans were as enthusiastic as ever. I was happy to run into an old acquaintance from Georgia and an old mate from high school in New Mexico. I’m always grateful for people I know to make the effort to come see our shows. It subsides the feelings of isolation and loneliness for a little while.
The two day, snowy, mountainous journey to Chicago begins…