Oct. 22, 2007

Friends and fans of TCB may know that we just played our first show in Monterey. For those not familiar with the town and surround, it is one of the loveliest spots known to Homo Californicus. After the traditional loading up ceremony and traditional late start, we laughed in the face of Mapquest and headed North by heading West, which is how people do it on the 101. We saw some teasers of oceanic splendour along the way and eventually met up with our host Tim and hostess Yvonne at the extremely hip and cordial East Village Coffee Lounge. The Lounge serves swell hot and cold food and a variety of wines and microbrews as well as coffee, tea and the like. We were treated to a bit of Monterey hospitality and then directed to our accommodations. I should pause here for an explanatory footnote for those of you who have not been on the road with a rock band lower on the food chain than Led Zeppelin. Suffice to say that the rule is, your band will stay at anything better than a Superfund site and worse than the Newark Motel 6. It is generally not considered ettiquette to treat the band better than one treats the neighbourhood sex offender. Now that we have that straight, I must assume that Yvonne & Co. did not get the memo. We found ourselves at Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch Inn at Carmel. There are no words for the spectacular view from our gorgeous room. Juan of the Inn made a point of letting us know that anything not to our liking would not be tolerated. Clearly, these people thought we were someone else. I personally was happy to be that person, whover he was.

After a night of the dreamless, as Bertie Wooster would say, we said good morning to the sheep outside our window and had a lovely breakfast outdoors at a cafe. There we were regaled with the following True Story as told by Ryan Brown (only the names have been changed to protect the hapless:

A bloke we will henceforth know as “John”, called his friend (here and henceforth known as “Sean”) in Rome, to say that he would be arriving in Rome by train next day. The two friends arranged to meet at the train station. As it happens, it was John’s birthday and as preamble to the trip to Rome he proceeded to get well and fully trashed, not to say pickled, snockered and blasted, well into the wee hours. The result of which was that he was feeling less than well when he awoke to the brass section in his alarm clock playing FORTE, with the message that it was high time (no pun intended) to depart for the train station. Due to the effects of the prior evening’s proceedings, John experienced what we who attended kindergarten, however briefly, would term “an accident in his pants”. Not to be deterred from making the trip to Rome, John forged ahead and purchased his ticket. Fortunately, he spied a clothing store in the station and found a pair of jeans. Holding them up to his ample frame, he realised that they were a shade small, so he reached up to the next shelf and purchased the next size up. Hurrying onto the train, he found a public lavatory and as the train pulled out of the station, John pulled out of his soiled pants and undergarments. He then did what any of us would have done. He threw the soiled articles out of window. Having done so and having cleaned his smelly bottom, he pulled the newly-purchased jeans out of the bag and noticed that they had two sleeves and a collar. Yes, our hero had purchased a jean jacket. The question that no doubt comes to my readers’ minds is likely to be that that came to John’s polluted mind: What to do? It is in such stirring straights that genius often strikes. That however is another story, because in our story, John put one leg into one sleeve and the other leg into the other sleeve before departing the lavatory. I don’t know whether you have ever tried to wear a jean jacket in place of pantalons. It is not as easy as one surmises. It often involves ripping the cuffs to allow for the circumference of the legs, usually somewhat larger than one’s arms. This was regrettably the case with John. He managed it and proceeded to button what under other and better circs would have been his fly.

When the train pulled into the station, John gingerly stepped onto the platform, where he was spotted by Sean. It may have been a help to Sean that John’s appearance was announced by a chorus of wolf whistles, considered a compliment in Rome. Not to say that it lessened his surprise at an unknown side of John’s fashion sense. We see the last of our Roman adventurers as they depart the station on Sean’s moped, with John necessarily riding side-saddle.

We could have stayed at that cafe all day and listened to young Ryan’s robust tales, but duty called. We piled into a metaphorical phone booth (the only kind left in California) and changed into our Superroadie costumes. Tim had spent the morning setting up to film our show. As far as we know, this did not involve sheep. It did involve a fair amount of lighting, camera and audio gear, a nice compliment to the equivilent of a mobile music Big Box store we take to every gig. After a mere 13 hour load-in and sound check (do I exaggerate?), we took the stage, or at least we took the small percentage of real estate that the gear generously allowed us to inhabit. I am free to report that the shows were well attended and well appreciated. We continued to spin our mysterious web of magic, causing all who entered through the portals of the East Village Coffee Lounge to believe we were whoever it was who was supposed to be staying at the Mission Ranch Inn. We signed a fair amount of CDs and did our share of smiling and waving.

It was then time to load out and return to Deb & Glen’s room for a sumptuous late supper of champagne and Denny’s club sandwiches by the fireplace. A good time was had by all, with the exception of Friend Scott, who cannot spend an evening in Glen’s company without getting himself arrested. Well, if you’re going to spend the weekend in jail, it doesn’t get better than the Monterey jail.

Next day, we could be spotted breakfasting at the Tuck Box, a wonderful English style eaterie in Carmel and filming a promo spot for the Lounge between witty barbs by the wait staff. Then we were escorted to the Monterey pier for a bit of local colour. We briefly said our good-byes to the Lounge on the way out of town and detoured through the 17 Mile Drive, a truly beautiful ocean scenic drive, familiar to those who golf at the adjacent Pebble Beach. Then it was on the road again.

A very hearty thanks to our host and hostess, the staff at the Lounge, Sir Juan of The Inn, our friend Bryan Lamb and all the wonderful people of Monterey who rocked out at our behest. We hope they never figure out that we aren’t the guy who was really supposed to stay at the Inn.

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