Tag Archives: the plurals

Movin’ To Montana – JUJU Summer Tour 2013 Entry Number Three!

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After months of doing things other than finish writing about my Summer 2013 tour, I am determined to finish these posts. They may be quick, and I may forget some names, and there will be typographical errors. Deal with it.

Now, here is part three, in which I discuss the Jam Unit’s entire first stay in the Big Sky Country:

After waking up and having a delightful breakfast at a vegetarian place in downtown Spokane, we hit the road to get to our next show, which was to take place at the VFW in Missoula, Montana. This was an exciting show for me because my good friends from Lansing, Michigan, the Plurals, were kind enough to get us a spot on their bill that night. I love sharing shows with them, because every show they play is a party. When we arrived, the guy who put the show together, Marty, greeted us with veggie dogs and a relaxing patio cookout. The Jam Unit and the Plurals hung out for a bit, talking about the past, the future, and pre-history, then we packed a PA system in their van (somehow) and took off to the venue. We had a few moments to spare before we needed to set up, so we took a walk around the great city of Missoula. We went to an ice cream shop, but the line was so long that ice cream suddenly lost its importance for everyone. On our way back, I found a copy of the free local Missoula entertainment magazine, in which there was an article about my album, that sounded like a bad review, but at least admitted that the album was listenable. Don’t worry about me, I’m happy anytime someone actually takes the time to listen to my album and say something about it. And it was clear this reviewer had actually listened to it. When we got back to the VFW, the show began. It was a raucous night of fun with local bands Needlecraft and the Hounds bookending the show and the Plurals and JU in the middle. The crowd was great and hung out the entire time, and everyone enjoyed themselves. A successful show. Later that night we ate more veggie dogs and talked ourselves to sleep. The following day, the Jam Unit drove up a long, dusty trail to a campsite with almost nobody nearby. There, by a beautiful flowing river, we ate slept and ate sandwiches and never got bothered by a bear.

Next:

Then it was off to the wonderful city of Bozeman. Thanks to the fantastic efforts of Ron Gompertz, we got a write up in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and a live session on the Coffee Show with Keith Suta. We also played at Cactus records to a handful of people and on the street to the hundreds of people that were walking by during Music On Main. We met a baton twirler named Poppy, who loved our music so much I decided to use her name in a song title. This was all leading up to our final show at Wild Joe’s coffee house. A bunch of people who saw us on the street showed up to the show, and we sold a surprising number of shirts that night. It was a great evening, and a great few days of music, and we couldn’t wait to come back (which we eventually did).

Stay tuned for tales from North Dakota.

The Unforgettable Johnny Unicorn Interview 2010

Michigan, U.S.A.

A menacing figure. Johnny Unicorn at Mac's in Lansing. Courtesy of Lansingmusic.tv

A silent drive from Holland, MI to Lansing, MI. Still hung over from the previous night’s nachos and soda, along with some apocalypse television (Neil deGrasse Tyson, thank you for your important work showing us how futile and short-lived our whole existence is, and how there will be nothing to do once a gamma ray burst is inevitably pointed in our direction), I float along the expressway in a haze. The trees, the green grass, the religious billboards, while all welcome memories from my former home, pass through my field of vision like blurry, unimportant, hard-to-notice objects…perhaps like motes of dust, or old crumpled-up pieces of paper that might be magazines or newspapers, but I can’t be bothered to find out.

I think I will have time to relax before the interview, but I was late getting going. I have to drive straight to Mac’s bar, where I get out of my car and stand in the parking lot across the street, wondering what to expect. I can see the film crew a few cars over, preparing their equipment. I’m still in too much of a daze to talk to anyone, so I just stand there, knowing they don’t recognize me and letting the knowledge of that fact give me some sort of feeling of empowerment. After I see them go into the large square building to prepare for my arrival, I set to the task of putting on interesting clothing. For I do not allow myself to be seen on camera or on stage or by anyone in media unless I have on a ridiculous outfit. Today, I chose a yellow suit coat and red button up shirt; an outfit I call “hot dog cart.”

I enter the bar and am immediately hit in the face with an undeniable and unavoidable cloud of thick, fresh air. That’s right, since I last left the great Pleasant Peninsula (I’m referring to the lower peninsula. The upper peninsula is a dangerous land overrun with bandits and marauders), the state government banned smoking in business establishments. Finally, I can perform a show in a club without my equipment being damaged. Smart thinking.

The daylight through the thin cracks of the windows would normally cast dull beams of light that do not illuminate their surroundings, on account of the smoke of the daytime patrons. Those usual people, on account of the new smoking laws, are out in the street, standing in the gutter, thinking about different things they can smoke and different ways to smoke them. One man, with half a beard, dressed only in burlap sacks and pants made of pieces of reusable grocery bags, discusses the possibilities that could be opened up by holding a cigarette with the middle and ring finger, palm-out, upside-down. Another man argues about the feasibility of a personal smoke-filled tank and other ways to survive in fresh air environments. With them gone, there is no one in the bar except for the most prudish of Lansing citizens. People with glasses and sweater vests. Unobstructed by smoke, the yellow sunlight shines freely and brightly on the floor and walls of the room. While at night, the club is a fun, happening place, during the day we can see the dirt and scum from years of tar and shoe dirt. Human bones litter the entry way to the bathroom. A spider the size of a Buick (Skylark) with glowing red eyes waits hungrily, licking its enormous lips with its surprisingly bovine tongue, in a crevice by the pool table. The green of the pool table, it turns out, is actually moss. A slime mold behind the bar mixes drinks for a couple of people who must have gotten out of work early.

I see the crew fiddling about with some electronic equipment in the corner. I approach them menacingly, positioning myself in just such a way as to allow my shadow to look many times larger than my actual body. As I approach them, the intensity of the background music heightens, their knees knock together, and their teeth chatter, as they stutter, in search of something in the English language to make sense of this approaching monster. I hear such passing phrases as “dog man,” “man ghost,” and “hot dog.” Upon realizing I am in fact a flesh and blood man just like the three of them (and only partially like the fourth of them, who is a woman), their knees relax, their teeth stop, and the tense looks of fear on their faces melt away into looks of relief. Once again, their lives would be spared and they would receive the gift of another day of life. But what horrible fates await them tomorrow?!

A man named Sean asks me innumerable questions about such varying topics as my likes and dislikes, my political stance, my religion, what kind of underwear I wear, who do I think I am, and an uncountable many more. He drills me on topics I am not prepared for. He takes me to task on my unfulfilled promises. Unafraid of me (now that it is clear I am not a man ghost), he reveals to me the dark heart of true journalism; the saliva-soaked jowls of the insatiable hunger of the journalistic journey for truth. I present to you here now, for your enjoyment, the fruits of his informational crusade. For what man is afraid of a mandog who himself is a dog of a man?

You can quote me on that.

Watch the video by clicking here.