please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Thursday, August 27, 2009

You, Your Fucking Life, and the Flaming Lips

I think we could all tell it was going to be a good day when we saw the orange. Every crew member that greeted us that morning was wearing bright safety orange, with bits of pink and red mixed into their ensemble.

It was also an immediate good sign when we noted that Shane and Sam were part of the crew. Shane spent years at the Crystal, where I and many others toiled, and Sam was a soundman supreme. They've both been touring with the Flaming Lips for three or so years now.

Yet another great sign was that the bass player for the band is also a full-time roadie. He worked onstage all day long, played a show that night, and did load-out too. Wayne Coyne was onstage for most of the day too, which is to say; a lead singer that not only didn't just stay on the bus all day, but came out and oversaw the technical aspects of the show. This is -frankly- unheard of.

It was pointed out to me early in the day by Shane that the tour is scaled down to bare bones, and that all the band members are techs, while all the techs have a role in the performance. He was wearing a shirt that had a hammer and sickle on it.
I think Sam said it even more clearly: "We're commies!" -unless that wasn't Sam. I do know that Shane wore his commie shirt into a Lowe's a few days before this, and was more or less refused service by some old asshole who worked in the tool department.

Tools were very important to them, because the set -which "changes every forty days" according to Shane- is still sort of in the process of being figured out. The fact that I had a leverage tool (a spud wrench, actually) was of great interest to them.
I soon had a small crowd of orange-clad people around me, as was Wayne, who wore the same suit all day. "What is that?" ran the question, and I pointed out that every working tour should have at least one drift pin, malleck or spud wrench for making holes align in truss.

Especially when said truss is in a giant half-arc with lots of Versatube attached for video. There was lots and lots of little holes, all of which needed aligning.

They had a ton of staging, all orange. Truss, monitors, road boxes, instruments; all of it. Fortunately, lots of things can be bought that are already orange. For everything else, there's spray paint.

This led to an interesting contrast between locals and tour staff: the people in orange, and the people in black.

Not that those of us in black aren't any fun, of course, but one might look at it that way. I had this impression of a rolling circus, and it made me want to join. Later, when we were checking vocals at the beginning of a very long sound check, Wayne was saying something I couldn't quite make out along the lines of "you, your fucking life, and the Flaming Lips..."
For whatever it's worth, my life has changed a lot in the last several years, in ways I never would have envisioned, and most of which I can't quite quantify. There was something odd going on here; music always drives me deep inside my head, but this time even more so.

What all their money seemed to be spent on was a shit ton of confetti, and a whole bunch of large balloons. I've tried to give some sort of scale here (for instance, that dimmer over to the left comes almost up to my chin), and lets just say that this undertaking was a bit more involved than one might think.
It was done with another example of Lips improvisation; the device with which we inflated all those balloons was a leaf blower with the top of a two-liter bottle duct taped to it. I noticed lots of home made fixes like this throughout the day.

These balloons would be thrown by myself and others like me out at the crowd, later that night. I know that I was smiling my everlovin' ass off while doing so.

Ah. More on this later. Publish.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cars with Girls, and Wrestling

I was talking about this one yesterday; was unsure whether or not it actually existed. I last saw it while watching World Wide Wrestling. And smoking pot. It stands as a perfect example of both perhaps the most generic rock n' roll song ever written, and the terrible, terrible video editing style of the '80's. Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy "Girls In Cars", by Robbie Dupree.

It's kind of like someone took every song ever written, and every video ever put with a song for marketing purposes, put it in a blender and then ran it through a centrifuge. The results? Awesome.

Apparently this song was on "Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II", and was used -for some reason- as entrance music by Tito Santana and Rick Martel, The Strike Force.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

These Are Your Guys

So...As we know, the dumbest among us have again seized the reins of public discourse. They are never far away, they are generally kowtowed to by the media, who wish always to be seen as sympathetic to the average guy in the street.

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa wants to take credit for a completely sane and needed provision in a health care bill that hasn't passed yet being tossed, since its backers are currently afraid of being lynched when they go home. Good for you, Chuck. Let's see to it that Chuck doesn't go home without actually being lynched, eh? Oh! Just parody! Don't arrest me for threatening the life of a senator, as this is protected speech, just like these assholes suggesting that Obama should be killed is.

Now mind you; these people are just inept enough that they may very well be Democratic party operatives themselves, as I've often said about Fred Phelps.

But I don't really care. These are people who so love the insurance industry, they're willing to see to it that the people they live next door to can't talk, can't interact with their elected representatives. They so love the rich that they will gladly die from not being able to afford health care, lest someone somewhere think they might be a damned socialist.

So let 'em die! They want death so damn much, let 'em have it! But stop covering them! And hey; my Republican friends? These are your guys. This is what you have manipulated and grown in every election cycle since 1968 at least. Now it is all you are, and I can be forgiven for not feeling sorry for you.

Let's make a society in which Dick Morris doesn't get to speak in public without one of us directly in his face, screaming "LIAR!" and "INSURANCE INDUSTRY SHILL!". Where the stupid don't get the mike, just 'cuz they're somebody's gramma.

Tomorrow night, David Wu will be trying to talk to the people he works for in the town of St. Helens. I believe I shall be there to stare down any fucking crybaby that doesn't want people behaving like civilized apes. Who's with me?

August 14, 4:00-5:00

Columbia Learning Center; 375 South 18th Street, St. Helens