Just Vote Tour Part IV- Boulder, CO

Friday, August 20, Boulder, CO-

Wednesday Albequerque, Peace and Justice, Low-key meeting hall set, half the crowd registers to vote (don't get excited, there were only 20 people).
All night drive to Boulder, rain, fog and mountains slow down Mully. Arrive in Denver, Maya's mom makes us coffee, we try to keep sleeping on the bus.
Day 7 begins, we wander around the Boulder Mall while normal people shop and drink coffee, wondering what time zone we're in.
Boulder reporter calls, she saw the bus on the street, why are we in Boulder? Because San Francisco is a bubble and doesn't matter, so here we are. Does that thing really run on vegetable oil? Yes (No, we just write that on the side to make you nervous).
Someone on the street pops their head in, wait, there's ten of you in here? Holy shit, there are.
Rock Me Pony is here, but Son of Votemobile is stuck in Albequerque, getting fixed again.
Show at Trilogy is amazing, we wear American flag underwear and capes to a packed house, Lenny the poet from Denver spins a hard core political improv from the stage before we start.
Now it's the next day and we hang around, mostly sleeping and walking around before we get back on the bus to head to Denver, and then the Drive From Hell afterwards- 750 miles to Columbia, Missouri.
Things are getting more and more surreal, the bus now seems normal and the world outside is bizarre. Someone buys a newspapaper, the first we've seen in days.
Marines dead in Najaf.
John McCain says John Kerry did too save someone in Vietnam.
NBC mad at the Greeks for all those empty seats.

Just Vote Tour Part III- Flagstaff to Albuquerque

Wednesday, August 18, (Aboard the Votemobile on I-40, Flagstaff to Albequerque)-

Last night in Flagstaff was the unofficial official start of the Just Vote Tour. After the tranquility and beauty of Arcosanti and Sedona the Votemobile rolled into Flagstaff and set up shop at heritage Square, where we pumped vegetable oil donated from the Mogollon Brewery while members of the Flagstaff Democracy Network registered voters on the sidewalk. After a drop-in at the local Republican headquarters we headed to the Brewery and set up shop, where we learned that Paul Babbitt, democratic candidate for congress from Arizona's second district, would be stopping by the show to address the crowd. Babbitt cancelled at the last minute because he had to go open another sporting goods store. Or something. Still, we had Chris Bower, the 21-year old field director of the Babbitt campaign, address the crowd, as did Gretchen Adelson, the local director of the John Kerry campaign, and John Echols, the Flagstaff field director for the Arizona Republican Party, who earned huge points for taking us up on our invitiation to speak even though for a Republican the heavily Democratic crowd at the Mogollon probably made a hornets nest seem tame by comparison (not to mention endearing himself to Aphrodesia by showing up with a gallon of veggie oil!). After that, it was Aphro Beat blastoff time, with a surprisingly big crowd that danced their ass off until the club called last call. Now we're cruising east in the Votemobile, which has been running on straight vegetable oil (we filled up at a Flagstaff Thai restaurant before leaving town) since getting on I-40. Which means about 1300 miles travelled on vegetable oil so far, or San Francisco to Albequerque on 40 bucks of diesel, if you're keeping score. Which we are.

Just Vote Tour Pt. II: Arizona

Sunday, August 15, (Aboard the Votemobile on the furnace known as Interstate 8, southern Arizona)-

With the tour prologue safely behind us, we've headed east into Arizona. Add rule #4 to the list of things not to do on your tour- 'Never drive through Arizona in August.' Unless, of course, you like sweat pooling off your chin as you squat and change a vegetable oil filter on your bus in air that would make your health club turn the thermostat down in the sauna. We never said we were exactly 'smart' about this whole adventure.
Friday night in Long Beach was fantastic, except for Son of Votemobile overheating climbing the Grapevine north of L.A. meant the Aphrodesia guitar section of David and Mully had to catch a ride from David's old bass player's dad (got all that?) to get to Long Beach just in time for our set. Which was fine, except that the box with voter registration forms and leaflets was on Son of Votemobile, so the two volunteers who showed up from Music For America had nothing to do except hang out and watch us play a good set opening for the incredible Delta Nove, who invited the Aphro horn section up for a New Orleans-style second line number.

The Aphro Nove Horns
Political rabble-rousing was limited to some choice comments from the stage and and an irate Republican who crumpled one of our MoveOn stickers and threw it at my cousin Carlos at the merch table while yelling he was a Bush supporter. Ah, the thrill of political discourse.
The next day, with Son of Votemobile expertly fixed by Ryan, we refueled with veggie, played a wonderful wedding at the Hilton, took a last dip in the Pacific Ocean, and headed into the desert for a couple hours before sleeping for a few hours by the side of the road. Since the Votemobile's top speed is around 65 and Son of Votemobile tops out at around 60, Aphrodesia is now packed aboard the big green machine heading to Arcosanti, where the caravan will reconvene at the show.

Just Vote Tour Part I: Leaving SF

Friday, August 13, (80 miles north of Los Angeles on Interstate 5)-

Somewhere in the vast literature of band advice are doubtless the following tried and true admonitions- Never take too many people with you. Don't do anything tha will alienate part of your audience. Don't venture too far into places you've never played before.
So we're o-for-3 (0-for-4 if you count not starting your tour on Friday the 13th). Incredibly, The Just Vote Tour has grown into not one but two vegetable oil-powered buses after the last minute addition of a converted city transit bus from Santa Clara, outiftted with couches, mattresses, 300 gallons of vegetable oil tanks, three documentary filmmakers (Pepe Ozan and his wife and daughter), and two mechanic/veggie oil whizzes who welded, pounded and pleaded nonstop for the last week to get the thing into shape.

Friday, August 13, (80 miles north of Los Angeles on Interstate 5)-

Son Of Votemobile
Spray-painted by a local graffitti artist last night with the requisite 'Runs on vegetable oil', 'Just Vote Tour', 'Aphrodesia' and 'Rock Me Pony' in bright bubble letters more common to the late 80's NYC subway than a big white bus motoring across the California Central Valley, it makes quite a pair with our bright green converted airport shuttle bus, carrying all ten of us, with big white and orange lettering plastered all over that still gets us honks of approval from people who saw us in USA Today last week or just think it's plain cool.
Add to that the fact that we're striking out across the entire country for the first time, leaving the comfortable liberal bubble of San Francisco behind to take our poorly-disguised message of regime change out to the states that aren't always drenched in blue on NBC's election night special, and it's pretty clear this is either the dumbest or most inspired undertaking we've ever done, or both.
Either way, we won't really find out until we cross over into Arizona on Sunday and leave California behind. For now, this is a tour like the others Aphrodesia has done to Southern California- we spray ourselves with water to try and cool down, fret about the bus overheating, and wonder when to call the club in Long Beach to tell them we'll be late for soundcheck.