Archive for the 'The Last Road Trip' Category

‘THE LAST ROAD TRIP’ WRAP UP: 14 THINGS I LEARNED ON TOUR

1. You get used to the smell.

2. OCD neat freaks need not apply. I was broken in the first week. You can only wash your hands so many times a day when there’s no fresh running water to be found.

3. It’s all about the little things: sheets, fresh socks, underwear, vegetables, bottled water, a decent slice of turkey, hummus, ice and Swiss cheese.

4. Hide your drugs and your clean socks. There are thieves among you and they’re not looking for money. They’re artists.

5. Starbucks consistently has the cleanest bathrooms and best service of any chain business in this twisted country, hands down. Use to loathe its domination of the American coffee shop industry until I began to depend upon it. Awakened in the worst of psychological and/or physiological states, I could dial it into the GPS and inevitably find that a smile replaced my sleepless grimace by the time the first blast of Starbucks’s sub zero air conditioning caressed my face.

6. This country really is fat and eating healthy in most places is nearly impossible.

7. Most luxury hotel chains have sinks big enough to shower in.

8. Jerking off in the bathroom of moving tour bus is more work than it’s worth.

9. Taking Ambien to sleep after drinking is not encouraged. Side effects include sleep walking, which can also lead to sleep peeing, and if you’re sleeping in the bunk next to the bathroom, beware.

10. Those sleeping in the top bunks will most likely be the first to die when your hillbilly bus driver, high on speed and cheap whiskey, careens off the road somewhere between Spokane and Boise.

11. In some cities you can walk for miles and not find a drug store or a place to buy shampoo or toothpaste. This is true in Salt Lake City, Denver and Kansas City.

12. The war on drugs is not working, has never worked, and will never work.

13. When asking locals for directions, the lower the population, the closer the inhabitants think everything is to where you are. When you ask a guy at Waffle House how far Walmart is, he’ll inevitably tell you it’s half the distance of what it is in reality. As a rule use, this simple equation 2 x everything. 4 blocks = 8 blocks, 1 mile = 2 miles and so on.

14. Even people who’ve never made it past their city limits, hate LA or love LA and seem to know everything about it. Everybody has an opinion on it. In a world of uncertainty, it seems at times, that this is the one thing people are certain about. I blame it all on ‘The Hills.’

‘THE LAST ROAD TRIP’: SLEEP NEVER CITY BREAKDOWN

These are my opinions, based on generalizations and stereotypes I have, in some cases, formed immediately when visiting the following cities and in other cases, formed over many years of repeated visits to said city.

If you want ‘fair and balanced,’ tune in to Fox News.

San Diego is a big suburb. It’s boring and it sucks. San Diego people love tell people from LA about how much they hate LA as if the LA people are going to look past the fact that these cheese balls live in the giant sea world strip mall that is San Diego, and actually take their opinion on anything, besides the daily wave report, seriously.

Every time I’m there I have run-ins with assholes of all kinds: extreme surfer dudes, racist skinheads, extreme racist skinhead surfer dudes, racist housewives, shady scuba rental pervs, douchebag lifeguards and retarded store clerks. San Diegans if you want to prove me wrong, book me in your club and show me a good time, email: chrisk@sleepnever.com.

Pomona. Not sure. When I got there on a Friday afternoon, everything was closed except for a single BBQ joint. I ate brisket. It was good, but where did all the people go? It looked as though a dirty bomb had just gone off.

San Francisco, was all about crazy hippies, cool peeps and crazy girls as usual. The skyline’s intoxicating, the food is tasty, the air seems relatively clean, and people actually have conversations there. Between pull in to bus call, I was offered weed, oysters, man sex, free booze, a three way and some pretty interesting life stories. San Francisco would probably be a great place to raise kids. I need to get up there more often.

Portland smells good, feels like college town, but still has enough of an underbelly to thrill you like a real city. The music scene is still thriving (depending on how jaded the record store clerk you ask is) and they have the best barcade I’ve ever been to.

Seattle. Within a few hours of being there, I felt like I could live there: clean air, many nice, smart people, great restaurants and architecture. During my interviews on the street I seemed to find a sort of collective, progressive consciousness amongst the citizens.

And then night fell.

There was a street fair: music, booze, churros and lots of super crazy wasted people. Our posse arrived at the tail end and stopped in a club one of the Spank Rock dudes was spinning at and the place was at fever pitch. Undulating bodies surrounded the DJ. Couples were dry humping on the dance floor. Lots of shirtless sneering dudes pounded beers in the shadows, barely camouflaged by the out-of-date, splatter-painted, fanny-packed hipster masses. Very Phi Kappa Cobrasnake Rape.

I must’ve been knocked into by sloppy drunk fucks about 7 times in 5 minutes. Not my kind of fun. And then this handful of beefcake douchebags standing at the back of the room started shoving each other into innocent dancers and passers by, slamming into them and taking them off their feet.

Finally one of the cocksuckers smashed into this girl. She went down and cracked her skull on the pavement and I watched as the sole female bodyguard in the room watched the shit and did nothing. Not a fucking thing! And when I explained to the security guard that she may have just been witness to, not only the end of her job, but the beginning of a big lawsuit from the barely conscious girl on the floor, she looked at me like I was speaking Aramaic.

So I rolled out and grabbed the professional hit men at the door to take them out and they did. And that was the end of my night Seattle, but hopefully not the end.

Granted we arrived at the end of a street fair. It would be interesting to see how similar the inhabitants of most American cities appear after they’ve spent 14 hours drinking in the sun and eating elephant ears.

Spokane. I think a t-shirt hanging in the bar of the venue we played said it best: ‘Life’s Lie. Spokane, WA.’

There are children playing everywhere and trees and bridges and bountiful gardens of flowers and fruit trees and white water rapids carving their way through craggy rock faces and working carnival rides, one of the most beautiful old hotels I’ve ever set foot in stateside and a Godiva stand at the food court of the mall.

And then there are aggressive speed freak beggars, homeless drunkards, gangbanger wanna-be’s, muggings in broad daylight and crazy drunk bitches in bars at closing time who want to start some shit. My end saw me ducking out of a ‘friendly fire’ brawl: navy vs. marines. No shit. They’re fighting each other now.

Salt Lake City is full of Mormons. In the first coffee shop I went into, I found a stack of business cards and flyers in front of the register promoting a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints-sponsored teen suicide prevention group. When I asked the college-age female workers if there had been a rash of teen suicides in SLC, they asked me if I knew ‘what they say about Mormon boys.’ I told them no, but that I was aware of what they said about Mormon girls (They’re diiiiiiiirty). The latter, from what I know, is true, but the barista team informed me that the standard SLC Mormon-on-Mormon youth rap about the boys is that they’re all gay and end up killing themselves because their lifestyle is condemned by the church.

I was hoping to contact the prevention group to see about how they plan to curb suicides with further condemnation, but ran out of time. Between holding my own ‘American Idol’ tryouts and interviewing crackheads I had a pretty busy day.

And then I met a remote viewer who looked like Anna Nicole Smith. She further explained about the filthiness of Mormon girls and then offered to remotely view what was in the back lounge of the tour bus at that very moment. I accepted her offer. She looked into my eyes and mentioned an electric guitar and a blue duffel bag. Imagine that! A guitar and a bag on a tour bus! How could she know?! Is remote viewing real?!

No. Even dishing me a 16 inch softball, she was wrong. It was an acoustic bass and a blue and yellow duffel bag. Anyway, I challenged her to a contest. I promised to take a photograph of some obscure image once a week on tour and send it to her, and she promised to she would attempt to ‘remotely view’ what was happening in the picture and report back to me.

I was totally excited about the idea. We exchanged info and then I accidentally threw her email out thinking it was just a napkin. I returned to the coffee shop to find her, but she was gone. Anna, if you’re out there, hit me up. I’ve got some pictures for you.

Boise is slow and quiet and clean and Christian and yet somehow, I don’t hate it. Office buildings leave the front doors unlocked making it possible to easily access private bathrooms for unsavory purposes.

It gets lonely on the road. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Denver is packed with pretty girls who will take your head off in the pit, yet the beggars are some of the most polite and gracious of anywhere I’ve been.

Kansas City. Looking out the Days Inn laundry room window at the flat plain dotted with oaks and willows and strip malls before me I started to actually feel homesick for the sticky midwest summers of my youth. But that was before I went out to Angel’s Rock Bar, a ‘rock bar’ whose music and décor pays homage to rock n’ roll legends and whose patrons are decidedly white, jock cowboys. I was called a ‘bitch’ to my face in record time, in less than 30 seconds of entering the club (as a ‘guest of honor’), by a beefy redneck in a white polo, for politely waiting outside the bathroom door for a couple of guys to finish taking a leak.

Atlanta is hot and slow and sweet. The women are beautiful, the dance floors buck wild and most of the people I met were black and loved my sunglasses.

Orlando. I met as many assholes as I met cool people. They close of the streets downtown every Saturday night, so again I was subject to this ‘street fair syndrome’ of sorts. Who knows, could be fun on a Thursday, but I doubt it because Orlando’s in Florida.

Ft. Lauderdale’s skin is starting to look like a saddlebag and I was forced to create my own fun here: a ‘spring break’ hula hoop and dance competition. I did have the luck of meeting a fabulous lesbian couple who took me to a strip club where I had the lap dance of a lifetime. For $100 you get all the booze you can swallow, all the blue balls you can handle and the place serves all night long. Problem is only 1 out of 100 in the half-time stripper parade was a looker.

St. Petersburg sucks all the way around. What was a thriving Florida vacation spot for middle class tourists and a home to snowbird retirees is now a ‘once thriving’ Florida vacation spot for poor tourists and a home to once-retired geriatrics who now have to join the workforce again. Spent half of my night there wandering the streets with my homies, looking for ice pick to dig my eyes out with while a black car full of muscle heads followed us around and called us ‘faggots.’

Jacksonville is shit. It’s hot and sticky and is in Florida.

Charlotte. Had a great black cow at this dope old fashioned malt shop, but the ‘best burrito in Charlotte’ is definitely not the best I’ve ever had. Made the mistake of trusting somebody else with the nightlife duties and ended up in a gigantic sports bar full of jumbotrons and beer signs. There were about five people in there and nobody was talking. This crazy she-male John Madden was at the bar and she kept asking the bartender to hide her Sharp’s when her girlfriend came in. The bartender was like, ‘it’s non-alcoholic,’ and the John Madden was like ‘Linda doesn’t care if it’s non-alcoholic, she’ll freak out! Hide it and give me a Sprite!’

Depressing to say the least. But more depressing was when I looked through the window of the bar next door to see if anything was happening and found 35 blue collar dudes, forties to sixties, drinking, and staring up in a shared sad silence at the sports broadcast on the TV.

But even MORE DEPRESSING THAN THAT, MORE THAN WORDS can possibly explain, was the black and white photocopied flyer advertising the upcoming Extreme show was happening there.
Yes, THAT Extreme.

Loved Lancaster, though I’m not counting the nightlife. It’s tiny and clean. There’s a cool gallery scene, museums, cool shops and they kill a burrito without bragging about it (See Senorita Burrita Café. The architecture is dope: Lots of awesome 19th century homes with fresh flower boxes lining the streets. Every single person I met was nice, and helpful, though I was disappointed I didn’t get to hang with the Amish.

Poughkeepsie is a shithole. I don’t care about the cool mansions on the outskirts or the people who live in them. The one cool thing I learned in Poughkeepsie is that there’s a thriving Jamaican community, though I didn’t really see it with my own eyes. Actually found out about it in a convenience store, when I asked the Jamaican clerk about the shelves stocked with Jamaican convenience store items.

Philadelphia. It was raining most of the time I was there. Spent the night hanging out with mob guys and they were great fuckin’ guys, you know. Not impressed with the cheese steaks though. Geno’s wasn’t bad, but not what I expected. I was severely fucked up though, so who knows. Also bummed I didn’t get to run up the ‘Rocky’ steps.

Towson. The girls at Hooter’s were nice, but the proprietors of Catholic Corner were less than Christian. Moxley’s has some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life.

NYC is NYC. Whenever I roll into town, I feel relieved, like I’m coming home. I think one of the reasons I don’t move there is so that at least I have something to look forward to in visiting. Living there, in some weird way, might signify the end for me.

Toronto is pretty cool. Great skyline. Good falafel. Everybody’s nice and the streets are alive at night. And it feels crazy safe, even the worst parts. In the states, I think I automatically taper my comfort level and prepare for the possibility that anything can happen when walking through crime-ridden areas at night, but in Toronto I never felt an inkling of fear no matter who was walking toward me, or where I was. I Maybe it was just some sort of innate American machismo I unconsciously carry around. It’s interesting to walk through the slums though and have crackheads and hoodlums step out of your way. Very Canadian. Saw a homeless man on a laptop. That was interesting. I can see the Parlimentary pitch now: ‘Laptops for the Homeless.’ Just because your homeless doesn’t mean you don’t have a home… on the web.

Millvale is a ghost town. The owner of Mr. Smalls, a giant 19th century church and adjoining multi-family apartment complex bought the entire place for 80 grand. A bartender at Mr. Smalls bought her house for $10,000. Economically speaking, in a positive sense, right now Millvale is the perfect place for an art/music scene to bloom out of.

Economically speaking on the doomsday tip, Millvale is what America’s going to look like if we don’t get our shit together. Don’t blame it on the banks. Quit buying shit you can’t afford. Stop finding comfort in being a consumer and start creating your own happiness in life.

Cleveland.

What started as the worst night of the tour, ended as…

the worst night of the tour.

This has nothing to do with the people I met. Cleveland may be broke as far as the dough goes, but it’s rich in hope for the future. The people I met, especially in the most poverty-stricken areas of Cleveland, were actually a ray of sunshine in the bleak, black hole that is urban Cleveland. My problem was that I drank too much. It was Sunday night and the only bar we could find open was full of eastern European call girls and Russian mob types. So I drank tequila and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

Chicago is still home, in a way. Sometimes you miss the shit out of it, you get there and you feel like you could live there again: the people are friendly, the food is delicious, the skyline is enchanting and the nights long and wild. And then the temperature drops below freezing and it starts to rain, and instead of being stuck in the house, you go to a bar to drown your ‘season affective disorder’ sorrows and you realize that half the people you know are high on cocaine and talking mad shit about each other and not because they don’t truly love each other, but because they’re high and depressed and it’s cold and they hate their life, even if only for tonight.

Morning comes and it hurts. You’re late for your flight and the sun comes out. All of the sudden it’s 80 degrees and every girl on the street is wearing tiny shorts. Your peeps are going to some rooftop jam downtown and you’re looking forward to being molested by security guards and having your laptop swept for C4 residue. You grab a slice at Pizza Metro on your way to O’Hare, take one bite, cancel your flight and stay another day, knowing it can only get better, again.

LA. Easy to hate. A thrill to love. I’m going blind staring at this computer, so I’ll tell you why next week.

Cleveland: This Man Lives in an Abandoned Bank Teller Machine and Probably Has A Better Attitude Towards Life Than You Do

I want to introduce you to Keith. I met Keith at around 3 a.m. while wandering what was unanimously voted in my day there, by area residents, the worst part of Cleveland. The most poverty stricken parts of which could easily pass for the South Bronx circa ‘75.

Keith lives in an abandoned drive-through bank teller machine. And it was there that we sat drinking beers, talking music and life, love and death and watching the Olympics until dawn.

In the end I got fairly drunk, and chose to focus more on the moment than on its coverage. A specific detail I opted not to shoot was the candlelit shrine Keith had made to his daughter. I happened to meet Keith on the anniversary of her death.

Keith’s daughter was killed by a drunk driver a few years ago and from what I understand, Keith had a hard time recovering and was living on the streets until recently.

Like me, Keith has every reason to think this world is shit.

But Keith still leaves his door open at night. And as crazy as that may sound to you, I understand why.

People like Keith are the reason I do Sleep Never.

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