Back to the U$$A, day 4 in Stump City.

From March 10th to March 25th, Frank is visiting the good old US of A. First a 6 day trip to Portland, to visit ZXZW artist Khris Soden. After that, Frank is visiting the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. He will try and write a blogpost a day on his whereabouts.

Today I woke up pretty early, couldn’t sleep anymore from 8 a.m. on. Got behind my laptop and checked some email and stuff. Just arranged sleepingplaces for the drummer of my band, Peter. He, his wife and kid are coming over to Austin too, in a few days. Good news, Peter is always cool to hang around with. Read some Dutch news and Tilburg news, and decided to go for a walk, again…

This time, I had breakfast at the Hungry Tiger, neer Khris’ place. It was pretty much ok, but nothing special. I walked over to Burnside to check out some gift stores, I wanted to buy a present for my girlfriend, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything. Better luck next time. I also stumbled upon a little store called “Zeno Oddities”. A quick look through the window reveiled records, skulls, little Dia de los Muertos statues, etc., so I went in. The records weren’t that special and I looked around a bit. I noticed a rack full of Wipers shirts, and some Wipers records, CD’s and DVD’s. Got myself a nice Wipers logo shirt, and went to the cash register. Then all of a sudden it struck me. Zeno is the name of the label where a lot of Wipers albums came out on. So I asked the guy behind the counter if he had anything to do with the label. He smiled and said that he owned the label, and used to play drums for the Wipers. COOLNESS!!!!

So we had a little chat about the Wipers (there’s NO reunion coming up), about touring in Holland, the Vera and Effenaar venues, etc. He was a really nice guy, who spends his time making noise and bass-fishing nowadays. I told him about the Pierced Arrows show, so I might meet him tonight for a beer or 2.

I walked up Burnside to Sandy blvd. , because another Everyday Music record store is located there. I noticed that my feet were still killing me, but I went on. This store was even bigger! But, something weird happened. I, spending my last 2 days recordshopping, got a bit saturated by all the vinyl. So after 5 minutes of browsing, I decided to leave, and walk in the direction of Burnside again. The weather was fucking great, no coat needed! I ended up in a place on Stark and 28th, where I had a coke, and finished reading ” Godverdomse dagen op een godverdomse bol”. I sat in the sun for about 1,5 hours, had some hummus with pita, and walked back to Khris’ place again. This weather was fucking unbelievably good! It really lifted my mood, and I even had a sense of being on a holiday! Sweet!

So, I changed shoes at Khris’ place (those damn feet, I need to bring better shoes next time), and went to a vegan store near by to have an organic root beer (shit tastes like cough sirup) and started reading “The Road” by McCarthy. The contrast of the dark, barren atmosphere described in the book, and the conditions where I was reading it in, couldn’t be bigger. The book however, is extremely well written, I got hooked in a second!

After Khris came home, we had to decide where to go for food. It was a hard decision, because we weren’t in a really decisive mood. Cool thing about big US cities is the eating-out culture. If you look at the density of restaurants and diners in most areas, Americans must eat out a lot, otherwise all those restaurants would never last. Another cool thing is that, since America historically lacks an eating tradition (except for hamburgers ofcourse), eateries all have a really distinct identity. It’s eiter Thai or Mexican or Vietnames or Libanese or whatsoever. It’s not just a ” restaurant”, like in the Netherlands. Well, except for the diners, that is.

We decided to eat out of town a bit, to a place called Delta, where they served Cajun food. It was pretty ok, I had catfish for the first time in my life (I caught the bastards, but never ate them), and Khris ordered hushpuppies as a starter. Big, deepfried balls of some sort of cornbread dough. Dry and dense stuff, not unlike our very own Dutch oliebol, but then in a more savory way. Not really my sort of food. The catfish was great though. I had a jambalaya with shrimps, which was pretty good, and above all, really large. So we were completely stuffed after dinner, and took a bus back to Khris’ place, for an hour of digestion on the couch.

Khris and me walked up to the venue where Pierced Arrows played tonight around 9.45. The place is called Dante’s, and I think you can best compare it to the Altstad venue in Eindhoven, only a bit bigger. Nice venue, decent sound. First up were the Rapids, the band of Khris’ band Jake. They were pretty good, not that tight, but their singer was an extremely charismatic character, so it was really fun to see. After them, the Lucky Thirteens came on. No, they weren’t a hipster Rawk & Roll band of 5 handsome greasers endorsed by the clothing brand Lucky Thirteen, as you might expect. They were a band of oldtimer rockers, which apperantly only plays on Friday the 13th (so twice in 4 weeks this year), and depending on the availability has different band members, except for the singer. They were pretty ok, but lacked power. Props to the drummer, who looked like a ’50 Grand Ole Opry type of dude.

At Dante’s, we met Ernie, the drummer of Canadian band Removal (and also of Hanson Brothers, what is it with all these famous musicians in Portland), who is friends with Kevin, a booker from the Netherlands I know pretty well. Ernie send me a message through Myspace a while ago, to hang out if I was in Portland. He was entertaining company, and we had a couple of beers and a nice talk on restaurants and invented the bandname PBRDDT while doing so. Too bad he had to leave early for work.

Next up were Pierced Arrows. There were about 150 people there, waiting for them. Now that’s how I want my Rock and Roll. 3-piece outfit, a young drummer, and the cute old couple from Dead Moon, Fred and Toody Cole. They were really hitting it off from the first note on. No nonsense, kick ass rock and roll. Good songs, good, sometimes sloppy playing, which really added to the performance. And damn, that Toody can sing. How cool is it to see a band of 2 50year olds rocking out twice as hard as most bands that are half their age. That’s rocking out FOUR times harder, you hear me kids? FOUR TIMES!

We had a good amount of beer during the show, those $2,5 cans of PBR are a really good investment, and walked home around 1.30. We just made it to the B-side bar for 2 more beers before last round. Sat down, had a chat some more, and walked home around 2.30. Stump City kicks ass, as far as I’m concerned!


Wisdom from the Rock Bible, part 2:

On Bassplayers:

– A bass should never have more or fewer than four strings. In case you forget, a “six-string bass” is another name for ” guitar”. Someone who plays a six string bass may be shortened to ” overwearing windbag”
– If a bass lacks frets, you lack taste. If a bass lacks a headstock, you’re a douchebag.
-Bass solos have never been a valid form of expression.

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