• Oct 15 -- Drive To LA
  • Oct 16 -- UCSB
  • Oct 17 -- Warner Offices/ROBBERY in INDIO!!!

October 15, 1995 - Drive To Los Angeles

Now We Have Clean Clothes

I love Tucson. I love how incredibly hot it is out here, and how you don't even sweat because the moisture gets soaked up in the dry air. Plus, there are cactus everywhere. We did our laundry and drove off for Southern California, through beautiful desert. Red, huge mountains everywhere.

You Have To Watch Out When You Drive Through The Desert

This drive was unbelievable, on I-10, west to California. We drove through Blythe, Ca, on the border of Arizona, and it was past 7pm and pitch black night outside and still 93 degrees. While I drove today, I had to turn on the fan and keep the windows open; there was no question of running the air conditioner; the car was almost overheating with the fan running! And out of the fan came blistering hot air - this is going to sound crazy but it was nice to feel the actual work that the car was doing.

We stopped in Blythe for a nice Taco Bell - they have Quesadillas out here! - and a breather. This must be a pretty fun town, out in the absolute middle of nowhere, but with a Denny's, a Taco Bell, a Del Taco, a KFC, a MacDonalds and Wendys and Motel 6 and a couple of blindingly lit-up gas stations.

As Jim drove on the I-10 obstacle course through more than 100 miles of Southern California mall and suburbs, he had to dodge a couple of couches and huge bags laying in the middle of the lane in the middle of the highway. I seem to remember this happening the last time we drove on this road; we'd see a speck ahead and then a second later, we'd have to maneuver at top speed around what looked like a huge bag. A mile later the same thing happened. A couple of miles later, we saw some more bags and realized they were pillows, and then, set up right across the lane (4 or 5 lane superhighway) was the matching couch. Right on the highway. I am not kidding.

October 16, 1995 - UCSB

West of LA

University of California in Santa Barbera has another beautiful campus. Driving out west on 101 from LA, I have to wonder what makes people in LA want to kill each other so badly. I mean, a half-hour away from their houses is the Pacific Ocean. It's beautiful warm weather, and if you don't like how warm it is, you just drive over a mountain and the climate changes instantly. In New York City, you are surrounded by buildings, you look up and there's no sky, but in Los Angeles, all around you are incredible, huge mountains. But if you drive northwest, the mountains turn green, and you can watch the sun set red on them. In the midwest, you can see for miles; it's completely flat. I feel priviledged to be surrounded by these huge land masses, like they're watching over me. Of course if there was an earthquake, I think I'd scream my lungs out and scratch holes in the floor.

But my question remains; I drive a half-hour out of LA and it's like we're on the moon. You don't get scenery like this in the midwest. If people are so trapped in the LA valley, with the smog, shooting each other for fun, why don't they just drive a half-hour away where there are completely bare mountains and lots of space? Tons of surface area. They all have cars. Why can't they see what's around them? Maybe they should all move to Illinois for a couple of years, amongst the corn, so they could learn what life is all about.

Croaking Rick

Rick had been croaking around the whole day today but it seemed like he'd be able to at least hit the notes he wanted to hit down low in his range. Heck, there's plenty of hoarse singers out there. I just felt sort of weird singing in a clear voice along with his croaking. At least he seems ok still and not sick.

Unfortunately, we had a terrible clunker of a show. During the first song, "New Boyfriend," you could see whatever had grown back of Rick's vocal chords spew out at the audience, hopefully hitting the guy who was yelling, "Sponge Sucks. I can't believe I paid $15 dollars for this" (during OUR set.) Absolutely TERRIBLE. Worse yet, there were people there to see us, and we all just felt crappy on the stage.

Afterwards I raced off the stage because I didn't want to talk to anyone, and I felt it was one of our worst shows ever, so I didn't want to hear otherwise. This would be the show that guys from KROQ, "The World's Most Important Radio Station" would end up at. It's impossible to explain to someone how crappy you thought you played once you went past your crap-tolerance. Even our manager agrees it was terrible. It's actually sort of nice to know we can still play abysmally once in a while; it gives new meaning to the Good Shows.

ML's House

We are staying at our manager's house, right across the street from the famous Sherman Oaks Galleria. ML has an incredible collection of comic books, CDs, and neato- collector things - you name it, he has it or will get it soon. A lot of his neat things broke in the last earthquake though. He's got tons of movies on videotapes, and any book you'd ever want to read. He told us that every morning, another kid wanders out of its own neighborhood and gets shot and is found dead the next morning. He told us that this is the new thing. He told us this, yesterday, and this morning when we woke up, he informed us that a 13-year old girl had wandered into the wrong neighborhood and had gotten shot. His neighborhood doesn't seem scary at all to me, surrounded by brightly lit stores and nice apartments across the street, but during the last riots, I remember he was talking to us on the phone and said that Tanks were driving down his street.

October 17, 1995 - Reprise Offices In Burbank

Duh!! Of course I forgot to take pictures of this place! It looks like a ski lodge. Usually how it works when we go to the Warner Brothers Building in Burbank is, we go meet with people in charge of us, like our um... "something development" (I forgot the technical name) who is Eric who is in charge of telling people at the label and in the world that we exist. He is doing a very, very good job; he just got hired a couple of months ago, and since then, we have been getting things like the promo cassettes and the Public Service Announcement.

Reprise/Warner is such a huge company that you need as many people there to mouth off for you, because they have lots of bands that can get lost in the shuffle, and more than can bowl you over. (like Filter.)

Today we met so many people that I sort of forgot the names of all of them. The test will be to try to get them to come out and see our Troubadour show in LA next month with Archers Of Loaf. They can listen to our record all they want, but if they want to understand us, they really have to see us live.
The business of the day today was that we were going to meet with the new Head Of A&R at Reprise who is Jo, who wants to be our new A&R person. Unfortunately (or fortunately) our old A&R person who is also named Joe is the Head of A&R at Warner Brothers, but he wants to keep working with us. But the two labels are sort of separating now, and though both people want to work with us, (a terrific honor!), somehow we have to make sure that neither get offended. We were really worried about choosing one over the other, because they are both incredible people andwe love them both, but it seems like they have worked out an agreement so that we don't have to worry about either of their feelings, and can just go about our business of making a record. It's great, isn't it?! Now maybe we'll have two A&R people!

Then we got to go downstairs for a second and pump one of the computer guys for INFO. You remember that our next CD is going to be a CD+, and we are going to do it ourselves. The Barenaked Ladies have a CD+ now, a single which plays in your CD-player and you can pop it into EITHER an IBM OR A MAC and play interactive niceties. It's great - we also saw the Cranberries one which is more decorative but kinda dumber. I want to know HOW, HOW, HOW!!! you get both types of info, mac and IBM on a CD-ROM but then downstairs I realize it's just a program that I will use and I will push a button and it will work. I am still used to where Rick and I used to work at a Flight Simulator company in Champaign, where if you wanted to do something new, you had to write the software yourself. I'm not used to being a "user," I still think I'm a programmer. Hrmph!

Drive East

I am noticing a really scary trend; all the Phillips 76 bright orange balls above the gas stations all have huge pumpkin faces on them. We must be getting close to Halloween. We're stopping right now in Indio, halfway towards our destination of Blythe, CA, for some food at a Jerry's Restaurant, right beside a Comfort Inn.


I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS! I am repeating this over and over again. We are tearing away from Indio, CA, through the desert now, after the most amazingly different moment I've had in my life in a couple of years. We were sitting, finishing up our food in this empty "Jerry's Restaurant" (it's 9pm) when we heard a sound like a lot of silverware falling, except it kept on going for too long and we looked over to see if the waitress was ok and then glanced over at the door and there were two huge kids seeming to be fighting with each other, one in front of the door and one on our side, shoving each other. It seemed like a fight until we noticed that one of the guys was carrying the cash register!

We were the only ones in the restaurant besides a cook and the waitress and we all just watched as the 2 guys wrestled the cash register through the door with a horrible jangling noise and then a crash! Then we all looked at each other in amazement! Then Howie said something about wanting to leave right then, and Rick said something about how that might be dumb. All I could think of was that I wanted to be very, very close to the floor right then, under the table and away from the windows. I have never, ever seen a robbery before. I was sure I was going to hear gunshots. I think we may have all just stared at each other for the next half hour and then I looked over and noticed the waitress calling the police.

We went up to the counter to pay our bill and heard the cook saying something like "When the police come, don't hassle them" to the waitress. Everyone seemed scared. It seemed like the cook was worried about getting into trouble, for some reason. The waitress and the cook both talked about how this was the 3rd time this had happened in this restaurant. I looked and in the little hallway between the outside and inside door of the restaurant was a bunch of change and the cash register receipt roll of paper, unwound outside.

We paid our bill in correct change just by accident and the waitress thanked us (we hadn't even realized that it would be hard to make change now with a broken cash register.) The register was laying broken on the ground outside. Rick ran out to see if the van was ok, which it was.

We are now miles from Indio, crossing the desert. I am still shaken up, and no one is talking; they are all listening to their headsets. Howie reminds me that he mentioned something about being scared when we walked into the restaurant. I thought he was just scared about what the food would be like.

I watch the signs whiz past; the next exit after the robbed Jerry's has a Casino lit up like an amusement park; straight out of Las Vegas. I wonder if our robbers went straight there. After that exit the desert starts again. We pass a sign that says "Sea Level." It's dark out so I can't see my mountains. When we go over the mountain pass, there's a sign that says, "Turn Off Air-Conditioner To Prevent Overheating." There are also signs for "Water" and "Slow Trucks." I'm still shaken; I keep wondering why no one had a gun. Why are we so lucky?

And as we speed over the mountains and through the desert, and as I still have a terrible queasy feeling in my stomach, I can only console myself with the knowledge that we are leaving the state of California.

And then I realize where we're headed.