SoCal July 2006

Southern California, June 30- July 1, 2006

The way we act

it's like we're hoping

all this new experience

these new hardships

time spent beside a freeway

with cars whipping by so close we can't even open the bus door,

all these knots in our stomach coming out calm and collected,

scrambling under the bus to whack the starter with a kitchen knife when it dies

and coolly directing traffic while we push our bus out of a Los Angeles intersection,

all this will somehow make us profound.

And well, we had new experiences this time, for sure.

The California Highway Patrol damned the traffic on I-5 in downtown L.A. for us,

the road suddenly clearing, empty like a vein snipped off,

just so a tow truck could jump start us and we could stagger our way to the exit,

where we stalled again,

and then again

further down the road, when we felt invincible, like we could make it 150 or so more miles

to San Diego and make the gig on time because well,

that's show business.

Instead we barely made it to a dingy dead end by an auto repair shop,

too late to get a ride to the airport, rent vans, drive back to the bus, load up

and squeeze the gas pedal like a trigger and shoot down the freeway to San Diego

arriving onstage triumphant and flushed,

the humans have won

machines are just bolts and and steel and oil and wires and can't stop this, this art.

Yes- triumphant like rock stars

but rock stars don't do this,

they fly, get driven

snort cocaine.

We can't afford cocaine.


Q: All right, all right, but how was Friday?

A : Friday was great, San Luis Obispo, lots of people, a benefit for the Bicycle Coalition. It felt great to be supporting alternative transportation, like we were part of the movement, we're actually accomplishing something. Of course, in retrospect, we should have just taken some of the bicycles and headed to San Diego, we might have made the gig.

Q: So what happened? You broke down?

A: Yeah, we were using our old green bus, the Votemobile from the Just Vote Tour, because our bus was in the shop and we need to give a biodiesel workshop in SLO, so we rented it from Bat Makumba.

Q: And it broke down?

A: Yeah, a few times, the worst on the left lane of I-5 going through downtown L.A.

Q: And they really stopped traffic for you?

A: Yup. I've never had that happen before. The bus says Bat Makumba all over it, so there are a lot of L.A. commuters pissed off at Bat Makumba right now.

Q: And you had to cancel in San Diego that night? How does that work?

A: It sucks. The club is pissed, we're pissed, people showing up to the show are pissed, everybody loses.

Q: And how many times has that happened for Aphrodesia?

A: Twice, in three years, believe it or not. Once in Albequerque, when the Son of Votemobile blew up in the Utah desert, and now once in San Diego.

Q: You mean all these times you guys have broken down you always make it to the next gig?

A: We're good at it. Everybody's good at something, you know.


There's not much left to do, turn the bus off, call Bat Makumba, get rides from LA friends to the airport, rent vans. The homeless lady on this dead end gives us the auto shop's number, we leave a message and abandon ship- what else can we do? Most of us head north back to San Francisco, but Lara and I head to San Diego, she to visit a friend, me to record Al Howard on a song of ours the next day.

Except that my laptop isn't expensive enough to handle the recording, so after fits and starts we give up and sit in the San Diego sun outside Al's house and talk about other bands. Al says he told a friend to go see us last night, and when his friend called and said we cancelled he said, "Oh no, their bus broke down?" His friend said, "How did you know?"

We both laugh. Al laughs a little bit longer than I do.