RICHARD BUCKNER TOUR DIARY ("Incoherencies") - Entry #5

9/12 – Tuesday – The Road A growing summer cold and 700 miles ended up in a Jamestown, ND overpriced Days Inn; the building apparently had recently suffered a stroke.9/12 – Tuesday – The Road

A growing summer cold and 700 miles ended up in a Jamestown, ND overpriced Days Inn; the building apparently had recently suffered a stroke. Dinner was Arby’s from a Goth girl who wanted to go home early, but couldn’t because we came in. She let us know this through kitchen conversation and rolling eyes as we ordered.

9/13 – Wednesday – Minneapolis, MN

Made it to St. Paul, MN for an early afternoon live public radio performance (photos of Garrison K abound), Jiffy Lubed, then got to the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis for a polite folded chair crowd, and later, for a, thankfully, non-descript Red Roof Inn.

9/14 – Thursday – Chicago, IL

Got to Chicago in time to do laundry before sound check. It was a two-show night at Schuba’s. The lovely Sally Timms made an appearance, and then rode off into the night on a mountain bike. 3:30 am, after getting lost briefly, made it to an outskirt-downtrodden inn surrounded by all-night Check-Cashing services doing a brisk business for such a late hour.

9/15 – Friday – Kalamazoo, MI

Oh Michigan: Your gifts are appreciated and possibly even deserved. After a 2-year absence via boycott ala pointlessius pathetico, I landed, running.

As soon as we pulled outta the Lisle, IL Hotel, a rock-spitting semi gave the green bitch a black eye: a cracked, but still working headlight, held together w/ a paste of humidity-dew and insect carcasses...

(CONTINUED: click on jump to permalink below for more tales from the road)


I’d Map Quested directions to a studio for an interview on Acoustic Cafe in Ann Arbor. It led us past schools, to a wooded neighborhood. We pulled into the driveway of a cute secluded house. We didn’t get outta the truck, but watched as a dog inside the house went nuts barking, and a small boy came out, looked at us (“us” meaning 4 hours of sleep per night for two weeks, unshaven, sunglasses, looking lost), then ran back inside. Something wasn’t right. I called the interviewer, Rob.


He asked where we were. I gave him the address. "You’re at my house."

Somehow, I’d gotten it wrong. He gave us another address and directions to the real location. We got there late, but it went off fine. I apologized for probably creeping out his child and pet & offered to pay for therapy during his teenage years, should the memory persist.

As a child in Marysville, CA, there was a neighborhood window peeper whose figure I saw one night outside the window above my bed. I rolled outta the sheets slowly, crawled to my closet and got out my junior 410 shotgun and slept in the hallway. I hope my image, to Rob’s boy, doesn’t stay in the same. I didn’t see the child grab for a gun.

After the taped interview, we turned around for Kalamazoo. Detoured through Jackson (home of the Nuge, his bow-hunting world headquarters - hunting gear, deer jerky, Nuge cassettes and fashion wear - and fitness center). We thought we’d hit our room on the way to the Kraftbrau Brewery show, check in quick and keep going. This was not to be.

Evidently, the first thing 62 year-old men do upon the first day of retirement is purchase a ZZ Top Car Kit. This particular weekend at the Battle Creek, MI, Motel 6, they, in new beards, descended for a gathering of cars in various stages of completion -- evidently part of the newly retired uniform, making bad u-turns in the parking lot and telling me to just drive around them.

Checked in, brought the bags up to the room, opened the door. I heard Doug say "Oh no". I saw empty food containers and used beds. Went downstairs and came back w/ the key to the next room over. Beds were made, so we brought the bags in.

The first thing I always do when I get in any hotel room is pull the bedspread and blanket down so that I and any of my possessions only touch the sheets. This particular bed-pull, though, exposed first, the blanket which held something close to dried cookie dough formations. The maid and manager, now familiar with me, were outside the first room, looking in. I brought the blanket to them.

"I think there’s something human on this…" They looked at me. "...Not mine."

"We’ll bring you another one."

"Okay."

I went back inside and decided to pull back the top sheet. It was a vast field of various length hairs and meal remnant designs.

After another trip to the front desk, we got our last room key of the day. Everything checked out with a physical inspection. In fact, we were so pleased with how clean the room was, we decided to ignore the how-do-you-say...room aroma: imagine truck stop aftershave, mixed w/ post-asparagus urine, and a hint of burned butter. At this particular Motel 6, at this point in the tour, this is an exceptional outcome.

9/16 – Saturday – Toronto, ON

In Toronto tonight, my summer cold slapped me in the face. Had to cut the set a little short when my body began rejecting me. Drove outside of town to the hotel amidst night flies driving through their drunken Indy 500.

9/17 – Sunday – Montreal, PQ

Got to Montreal. Found the promoter, Phillipe. Went to the car to start loading in and discovered that during the 5 minutes between finding Phillipe and going back to the car, someone had broken out my back window and taken my cell phone and passport. But this thrilled me: they hadn’t taken, only inches away, mucho tour cash & instruments. My cell phone was ready to die and my passport had my photo, which held me looking like a greasy, long-haired death valley terrorist w/ something evil/republican on his mind: imagine a repressed Bush appointee with a tan, on a shoe polish bender. I actually felt like I'd been given a chance to start over. Some stupid Montreal junkie doesn’t know what he/she missed. After filing a Canadian police report, and canceling the show, we headed back toward the States for repairs and a celebration of what didn’t get ripped, but easily could’ve. Crossing the border, back into the States, the immigration officer was completely unsympathetic. Told us to just keep going. On the way to a hotel in Plattsburg NY, Doug mentioned that bad things come in threes:

1. Flat tire in New Mexico.

2. Lost prescription sunglasses in San Diego.

3. Summer Cold

4. My final Canadian rip-off trip:

*1999 - Vancouver, BC club, post-show, non-payment.
*2000 - Vancouver, BC daytime truck break-in, where my all-time favorite nylon string guitar (1950’s Gibson w/ inlaid mother of pearl crosses on the bridge) and a cheap, but great, Danelectro were snagged.
*Brain cells lost at the Black Dog in the fog of Edmonton, Alberta (actually lost over a period of 4 1/2 years).
*2006 - Montréal break in

This actually puts me one ahead. I think I’m owed one.

Secretly, I have a feeling payback may be in the form of Merge Records crowning me artist of the month and awarding me a trophy, formed from BBQ and topped w/ slaw, in the shape of an e-bow smoking a cigarette.

Normally, I think that awards are for suckers, but I feel like I have this one coming.

9/18 – Day Off

My first day off without having to drive all day was spent tying up loose ends in a post office, a bank, and a Kinko’s in upstate New York.

-buckner