Preacher with a Boner, Revisited

So I’m pretty sure I once posted these somewhere, I don’t know if it was here or on the MaM site, but…I was going through some stuff and found some notebooks with MaM Tour Diaries scribbled in them. Ah, what a time we had. I may post some other things as I go through them, as kind of a summertime special vacation break, which may or may not interest you. But I am in charge, I make the rules, so that’s that.

This is from the ill-fated “Preacher with a Boner Tour,” circa 2003, where we infamously drove from Chicago through Louisville to Nashville, to North Carolina and back and played only one show the entire tour. (It’s long, but yet, edited for length):

Day One: We pulled into Nashville, parked right on Broadway on the main strip of country and western bars and made a call to S____. Turns out she was a block away, I could see the neon sign of the bar from where I stood at the payphone, so we meet up, S and D, me, Nate and Rick, and the night starts with a nice shot of Makers—boom!—it all seemed to explode, it felt like we had been boozing all night, a rush of excitement, and a country band playing…Lynyrd Skynyrd! Ahhh! Then on to the next bar, more country, a drink a bar, on down the line and lots of laughs. Ended up at the Ramada Inn for some more beers and a rare smoke of the mota for me. Wild bed jumping ensued, and in true rock fashion the bed finally broke…

Day Two: We decide to hit the Springwater and check it out. We walk in, and instantly the meeting and greeting begins. One of the other bands is there already and the booker Kara welcomes us all with some free drafts and we all talk. Talk turns to food and before we know it we are handed a bag of BBQ pork sandwiches for everyone in the two bands—nice! I sit and talk to Kara for a while, turns out she used to work at SST in the old days and was a roommate of D. Boon’s! Wow, I’m way blown away by the stories she has of Watt and Henry Rollins and the whole scene.

Next, we get caught up in a McDonald’s scandal, Kara shows up back at the bar with a truck full of McD benches that were in the garbage out back and wants us to help bring them in. Then the McD folks show up and they’re pissed, she can’t take them! Kind of funny, we help put a few benches back in the truck and go back in the bar. Kara’s funny, she seems like a real impulsive type, like “hey, look at those benches! They’d be great in the bar!�

Time for music, that’s why we’re here, and we’re quite drunk but capable. Not a big crowd, but some dude comes and dances alone in front of us. I’m all for it. A good reception by the folks, lots of great comments and I give away stickers and buttons and a few discs…

Day Three: Wake up to rumbles on the tracks, giant freight trains shaking the house, good morning, conductor, but I feel pretty good and it’s time to hit the road. Goodbye to the girls and we set out for NC. A show in Chattanooga never pans out, calls go unanswered, and we have no choice but to make the big drive to the ocean. I drive for the first time, through most of NC but for the final two hours, a mostly good and easy ride, but as it turns dark I start to lose my nerve, feeling uncomfortable, and I hand over the wheel to Nate.

We pull into Wilmington and go right to the WE Fest, it’s at a bar called Bernie’s, a place we would get to know all too well over the next three days. Bands are rocking, it’s about 11 at night, and Nate greets lots of pals from previous trips here. Rick knows some folks too; I know no one! Beer is cheap and we enjoy what’s left of the night. We’re on standby, ready to play should anyone cancel or break down. Nothing tonight. We go back to the place on the inner coast to stay but end up walking across to the real beach, the Atlantic Ocean, as the full moon lights our way. It’s beautiful and impressive. The waves crash in and the three of us are walking just out of reach of the water; occasionally it catches us by surprise and soaks our feet. I start screaming out Quadrophenia to the waves, “loooooovve! Reign o’er me! Can you see the real me? Can you?!? Can You?!?�

There’s a giant pier and I run up to see if we can go on it—no go, it’s closed off. Then the moon grabs our attention again and we start to watch it intensely. Deep drunken conversation follows. We stare at the moon and we can feel ourselves moving, it’s going so fast! The earth is turning and we stand in one spot until the moon goes under the pier. Wow, truly amazing to be watching the gears of the universe grind and move. The plan is to see the sun come up but we come up just short. Back at the place we try to stay awake, I lie on a swinging bench but it’s real uncomfortable. Rick and I decide to go to the van to sleep; Nate grabs an inflatable raft and sleeps under the stars, surrounded by ducks when we left him. The night is cool and we fall asleep in the van. No sunrise for us.

Day Four: I wake up and it’s scorching hot, the van is a coffin. We’re dying like dogs! I wake Rick up and we head over to get Nate—there’s nothing but ducks there! I try to get to the ocean during the beautiful hot day but other stuff slows things down and soon enough we’re back at the WE Fest, hanging around to see if we’ll get our shot. A blur of bands over the three days we were there, but some that stood out were…the madness known as Jake the Evil Redneck, who performed with a sideshow of bouncing, bountiful, fire-breathing babes and passed out vibrating eggs, anal beads, and butt plugs. It was quite a spectacle. I believe Saturday night was also the night I witnessed the winner of the Greatest Ass in the World contest. Wow. Lots of pretty girls roaming these parts.

At one point I stumble outside, needing some air, and walk to the NY pizza joint where I had eaten earlier that night (Hawaiian pizza!). I look over and see Rick across the street sitting on a ledge so I walk over and join him. Then I decide I want another piece of the pie, so I walk back and go in for another slice. I get back and Rick is talking to a homeless guy. I eat my pizza quickly and don’t say much. Our poor asses can’t help much. We grab Nate and head out to the docks where the USS NC ship sits, take a breather and enjoy the sights.

Day Five: Sunday began as the others had, quite slowly, but another beautiful day greeted us. We headed to a BBQ at a girl’s place where a spoken word reading broke out and we awkwardly shifted around and kept a distance. Met some more cool folks and listened to stories about G.G. Allin and crazy shit from that whole scene, while Rick threw in some of his Wesley Willis tales. Funny and interesting. Then it’s back to this bar, quite tired of this place by now. We were pretty certain that our chances of getting up there and playing were pretty grim and we settled in the attached bar that separates the music space with a closed door, so it was a nice get-away spot.

Nate heads to the van for a rest and Rick and I sit and talk to the bartender, Karen, and it turns out we know her! She used to bartend at the Mutiny in Chicago and was working at our first show there last July. Wow, very weird, so that’s pretty cool. We sit and watch the X-Files movie on t.v. and play occasional games of Galaga and Golden Tee. I meet a guy at the bar through X-Files conversation, which soon turns to a southern/Civil War/history lesson, but not like I feared, this was no redneck freak. Our new friend, Johnny Puke, sits down and we…look for new ways to pass the time, but let’s face it, this trip is over and we finally leave Bernie’s for good.

Day Six: Going home. We drive to somewhere outside Lexington, KY, and find a cheap place to stay. We walk to the local mart to get a six-pack and some snacks, but wait—it’s a dry county! The local behind the counter suggests the next county, 30 miles one way or 60 miles the other! Or, we could find a bootlegger. A what? A bootlegger. Yes, we are in the part of the country where a good bootlegger is still in demand. Whoa. Instead we share the five beers we had in the cooler from the night before. It’s a Law & Order fest on cable and off to sleep.

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