Sand Section Road Notes: Here We Go Again (July 2011 Part 1 of 4)

Sand Section Embarks on First National Tour

Well we did it again. We are back on the road with Fortunate Youth barreling through some of the hottest states in the country during the hottest months of the entire year. So much has happened in the past seven days that it will be a bit of a challenge describing all of the crazy events that have taken place in a manner that is easily digestible. Here goes nothing…

As many of you recall, this same time last year we left in a Winnebago for a similar journey through the Southwest United States and made it just under 300 miles before breaking down in Baker, California. We left our Winnie in Vegas and finished off the tour in a rental minivan. This year I am proud to announce that we finally sold our Winnebago literally the day that we left for tour! The Winnie, however, still had a couple more tricks left up her sleeve to make sure that our journey would not be as smooth as projected.

This tour, in order to assure that we would have no car problems, we decided to take Stefan's Jeep across country. Being a 2003 Jeep Liberty Sport with fresh tires, we were confident that we would avoid any major car fiascos and just focus on our music. Unfortunately things didn't go so smoothly. We got a flat tire less than five minutes into our trip in Manhattan Beach, California on Sunday July 17th. Being a Sunday, the tire place where the new tires were purchased was naturally closed. After finally finding a place that could repair the valve leak in the tire, we were able to leave town by about 12pm en route to The Green Room in Flagstaff, Arizona. By about 2pm when it started to get extremely hot out in the desert, we lost our air conditioning which made everything pretty uncomfortable for the duration of the drive. If we were not on such a tight budget we probably would have fixed the AC, but unfortunately it was not high on our priority list so we were forced to deal with the blistering heat.

The show that night in Flagstaff was actually the perfect start to our tour. It was a mellow crowd, we played great, and a had a lot of fun re-uniting with Fortunate Youth. We stayed above The Green Room in a little lounge that they save for traveling bands to crash for the night. Some time around 4am there was a sleep walking incident that resulted in a completely destroyed bedside table and a broken lamp, which was hilarious. It probably wasn't that hilarious for The Green Room management team, but if they provide free housing for bands they probably have a warehouse full of replacement furniture.

The next day we were off to beautiful El Paso, Texas (sarcasm implied). Pardon my pun, but this is where the tour really started to go south. We were originally supposed to be playing a place called the Percolator with some other reggae bands, but when we got there we found out that the show had been switched to a place called Lips, which is a gay bar about nine establishments down from the Percolator, and nestled next door to another gay bar known as The Tool Box.

The Percolator that night was hosting about five metal bands, and then the crowd was supposed to walk down the street to Lips after the bands had finished. Once at Lips, three additional metal bands were to perform followed by Sand Section, then Fortunate Youth some time around 1am. Once we were hit with all of this information, we debated whether or not this show was worth waiting around in El Paso to play or not. We all finally decided to abandon the gig because while we have absolutely no problem with the homosexual metal community whatsoever, it really isn't either of our key demographics especially considering we would be playing after eight metal bands on a Sunday night. Plus, we had an 11 hour drive to Dallas ahead of us, so we bailed. It was at that point that we started to hear some really strange noises under the hood of the Jeep, which we knew was going to be an issue at some point in the near future…

That night we drove about 5 hours to Odessa, Texas which is the mid-point between El Paso and Dallas. We used hotwire.com to book a hotel in Odessa, and almost booked the cheapest hotel we could find until we read the first three reviews that read "RUN, RUN, RUN!", "Terrible", and "BED BUGS!". We decided to step it up a notch and settle for the next cheapest hotel that ended up only having dirty towels and some blood-stained sheets… But hey, no bed bugs at least. The next day we drove to Dallas and met up with our old friends Dan and Lisa Morgan who were amazingly hospitable to us last year. We had some cocktails and swam in their glorious pool to escape the heat until it was time to head to our gig at 2826 in downtown Dallas. The gig was a really fun one and that night we stayed with Tony's buddy Oren who coincidentally lived across the street from the venue.

When we started the car the next day, the strange noises under the hood got extremely loud and you could tell that something was really wrong. We immediately drove to an auto-repair place to diagnose the problem and the mechanic quickly told us that we needed a new air compressor and evaporator because the spindle on the compressor was locked up and was preventing the belt from properly running its course. He said it would cost about $1,000 with parts and labor. We thanked him for his time and prepared to drive to another mechanic that might be less expensive, but of course then the car wouldn't start. Seen as how we were broken down in his parking lot we were left with no choice but to ask the mechanic how soon he could begin working on the Jeep. Three hours and $750 later, we were back on the road headed for San Antonio with a functional vehicle complete once again with air conditioning which was a nice plus.

Now it was (un)Fortunate Youth's turn for some serious car trouble and they had a full on freeway breakdown on their way to San Antonio which rendered them unable to make it to the gig. We, on the other hand, did make it to the gig only to find that the bar owner was going to close the bar because it was not worth it for him to stay open if the headlining band was not going to make it. After some frustrated groans and grunts, we reluctantly found a hotel in San Antonio for the night and decided to go hit the town. We actually ended up having a really fun bar hop that night along the river walk in downtown San Antonio so we were able to make the best out of a less than favorable situation.

The next morning we were informed that the bar that we were supposed to play that night in Corpus Christi had been closed down because they lost their liquor license after being raided by ABC. So at this point three out of six shows had been cancelled on our tour and we were beginning to get slightly worried about what would happen on the remainder of our journey. Fortunate Youth was still broken down up near Austin with a fried computer diagnostic system in their van, so they were waiting for a new computer system to arrive from Fed-Ex before they could even figure out what was wrong. At this point we just switched from work mode to vacation mode and we headed to Corpus Christi even though we weren't playing that night. Luckily it was on the way to Brownsville where we would be playing the following night so it was worth checking out a new city located right on the gulf coast.

We arrived in Corpus Christi and, after checking into our hotel, jumped in the extremely warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico. While it wasn't all that refreshing, it was still a pretty cool thing to do for the first time. The swim was cut short once we were surrounded by 20+ jellyfish within a matter of minutes. After lounging by the pool for an hour or so, we did what any 24-year-olds would do when vacationing in a new city, we hit the town. After hitting several local spots, we ended up at a place called the Blues Bar and we actually talked the house band into letting us get up and play a few songs because we are a touring band after all. We played really well and even made some new fans which was great. Some how I managed to make friends with an enormous rugby player, probably about 300+ pounds and no shorter than 6'5" wearing a shirt that said "If Rugby was easy, it would be your mom"… He was actually an extremely nice guy who ended up taking us under his enormous wing and showed us another great bar where we all got destroyed on $1 Jack n' Cokes. The next morning was very painful to say the least.

Finally, we were off to Brownsville, Texas which is the most southern tip of the state where we were to play a bar called Shenanigans. Fortunate Youth was able to borrow a car from a friend and they were finally able to make it down to join up with us again. Both bands played great that night and the bar was packed full of people.

So here we are on day 7. We just left Brownsville and we are headed to Austin for our show tonight at Ruta Maya with high hopes that this show will be a huge success. Life on the road is always an adventure, and we have been able to maintain a positive morale by taking everything with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, we are a group of friends traveling to uncharted waters together and whether we play a gig or not, there are tons of great places to see and lots of fun stuff to do everywhere we go. In fact, one personal goal that I had for Texas was to see an armadillo, and I accomplished half of that goal on the way to Dallas in the form of road kill. It was kinda gross, but I am strangely satisfied. Anyways, hopefully we will have no further setbacks and my next blog will bring more positive news. Thanks for reading, I will try to post more frequently!

-Jeff

Sand Section Blog: The Rockin Roots Festival (June 2011)

I want to start off by saying that our CD release show on Friday kicked proverbial ass. We had a great turnout, we played great, and our efforts secured us a coveted opening spot on the beach for the Summer Concert Series in Hermosa Beach. Basically we could not be happier. As an added bonus, our new EP has been getting nothing but great reviews from everyone who has heard it, so at the moment we are doing stellar.

Enough about all that though, let me share with you a tale that is much more consistent with a usual Sand Section outing. So kick back and enjoy our Saturday adventure out to Bakersfield where we played the Rockin Roots Festival and quickly discovered that the word "Roots" was far from an accurate description of the day's events.

I apologize in advance if I offend anyone from Bakersfield throughout the course of this post, I am merely sharing my personal experience with the city. Maybe there are some nice parts of the place I just didn't see any. Having said that, we arrived in crappy Bakersfield some time around 2:00pm sharp. From the moment we pulled up, we were greeted by dust, a manure fragrance, poverty, a threatening sky, and amateur hardcore death metal echoing throughout the air. All of these factors culminated into what some could describe as a horrific nightmare.

The first person we ran into was a homeless man wielding a sign that said "I'm hungry, please help." He pointed to the "hungry" part and said to me "Please sir I really mean it." I unfortunately had no cash on me because I am in a rock band, but before I could tell him that he said "And I could also really use a beer." Then he started cackling like a demon and proceeded to repeat the words "Hungry, Hungry, Hungry" in a really creepy voice. I should probably also mention that he had three teeth total. Welcome to Bakersfield.

As we approached the entrance to the festival, all we could hear were the cacophonous screams created by eight death metal bands all playing at the same time on different stages. Perhaps Tony said it best, "Dude, it sounds like we are walking into hell." For a second there I thought he was right. The sound created by this festival sounded like tormented souls desperately crying out for freedom from eternal torture.

As we entered the front gate, we all took a deep breath as we watched an obese metal-head with significantly more ink than bare skin on his body walk by us wearing a shirt that said "Kill Your Local Drug Dealer." He was followed by a slough of other psychotics wearing shirts like: Killafornia, Hopeless in Paradise, and my personal favorite Crowbar Massage.

We finally settled near a stage where a band was setting up. We basically settled there because it was the only quiet place in the whole festival. Then of course, the band started. Lucky for us they opened up with their smash hit, "Jesus Christ was a Prostitute," and all these crazy people crawled out from whatever rock they live under and started swinging their fists everywhere. Imagine a mosh pit, now imagine a mosh pit where all the members are violently swinging their fists in attempt to severely injure anyone that gets in their pathetic path of distraction. It was probably one of the more mature rituals I have ever witnessed (sarcasm intended). Tony got some footage of the bizarre occurrence and has posted it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkCZnetQnI0
Be sure to check that out. You can hear at the end where the singer screams his famous line about Jesus Christ, and then it pans to me in the back laughing hysterically about how ridiculous I felt to be around such utter madness.

That was obviously more than enough for us, and yet our set wasn't for another three and a half hours. We decided to go wait in the car, and we even contemplated going home for fear that we would be sacrificed for playing music that tries to make people feel good. As we got to the car, someone next to us was ironically listening to Mariah Carey over their car stereo, and it was literally a breath of fresh air. It was like a gulp of ice cold stream water after summiting a mountain in the bowels of hell.

Next stop was the liquor store where we grabbed some much needed tall cans. There were of course many more homeless people laying outside the store which made the day just a little more depressing. I feel like the only thing worse than being homeless is being homeless in Bakersfield. You definitely know there is poverty afoot when you accidentally punch your debit card pin code into a food stamp machine like I did at that liquor store. Whoops.

After our beer run, we tailgated in the parking lot until it was time to play our set. As we carried our gear over to the stage we finally saw some friendlies setting up to play before us. The band was called Dread Daze, which I had only assumed to mean "days full of terror", but the name was actually referring to dreadlocks. Alas there was a reggae band playing amongst the metalfest, and they were even a good reggae band. We immediately felt much more comfortable, and got excited about playing our set.

One minor setback that we had to deal with was that we found ourselves without a bass or a bass amp, Fortunately we were helped by some more friendlies. The bass player for the band Zuhg, another non-metal group, was extremely kind enough to allow Tony to use both his bass and his amp which was an absolute lifesaver.

Although we had some sound problems during our first couple songs, I would consider our set to be a success. It was late enough in the day that I think people were tired of listening to six straight hours of hardcore music and were delighted to hear a band play that wasn't trying to melt their faces into a thick viscous goo. We still weren't sure if anyone was going to be interested at all in our sound so we decided to give out free CD's, which were all snagged in less than ten seconds. That was probably a bad idea thinking back, but we were just happy that people were interested in our music.

All in all I would call the day a small victory for Sand Section. We learned more about the death metal scene than we really cared to know, but that is part of this unbelievable business. It is still amazing to me that there is so much anger out there, and all of these death metal-heads have so much hate in their hearts. Some people after a hard day at the office like to put on their favorite rock song and throw their fist in the air which is understandable. A lot of these people, however, want to take that fist and beat the hell out of anyone within arms reach, and then go burn down their parents house. It's pretty tragic.

On a lighter note, thank you everyone for your continued love and support of our band and for following along with all of our wacky little adventures. If you haven't already, please go download the new EP from the music part of our website, I think you will really enjoy it. Rock on.

-Jeff

Sand Section Road Notes: Winnie's Revenge (January 2011)

It's not until you buy a crappy Winnebago that you realize how much you take a reliable vehicle for granted. Minor obstacles such as hills are never cause for concern in any contemporary motor bearing vessel, but for the 1978 Sand Section RV, hills are not ever to be taken lightly. Although we have always known this to be true, our latest adventure hit us smack in the face with some terrifying reality.

For those of you who are reading your first Sand Section blog, or those of you that just skimmed the old ones, I should probably first say that we have a band Winnebago that is less than reliable. In fact, roughly 75 percent of the time that we take our Winnie out on an adventure, something extraordinary happens one way or another, and yet for reasons I cannot explain or comprehend, we still take the huge risk of letting the beast out on the open road. Maybe it's denial, possibly stubbornness, could be shear stupidity or a number of other character flaws, but at the end of the day we continue to hammer the proverbial square peg into the round hole and refuse to throw in the dirty Winnie towel. Plus, the addition of some new belts and a new fuel pump gave us a strange confidence that this trip was going to be different for the old Winnie. After a brief test drive on Thursday afternoon, the genius mechanics here at Sand Section Auto Repair decided she could make it 400 miles with out any problems.   

We left from the Alamo (Jeff's new place of residence, dubbed as such for a number of reasons that I might get into in a future blog, but for now don't worry about it) at roughly 12:47pm on an overcast Friday afternoon en route for a gig at Frog and Peach, a bar in the beautiful central coast city of San Luis Obispo. Our crew consisted of a few new faces that had no idea what they were getting themselves into when they signed up for a Winnie adventure. Of course Tony and I were well aware of the inevitable danger looming on the open road, but this was a first major expedition for members Pete Mackinnon who has been filling in for us on the drum kit, Stefan Partelow who is our second newest member and rocks the keys, rhythm guitar, and percussion (separately of course, he is an awesome utility man and musician, not a circus performer), and Kevin Halcomb who is Jeff's roommate and long time friend of the band who was simply looking for a wild night outside the South Bay bubble.  

In a nutshell, here is the basic recipe we were working with: five grown male bodies, three amps, five guitars, an entire drum kit, an average sized cooler full of beer and ice, bedding for five, clothing bags, and a waste tank that should have been emptied three trips prior… Needless to say, the Winnie was driving heavy.

We were convinced that we could safely make it up the coast with minimal hills if we took Highway 1 all the way to Ventura, and we did so successfully all the way up through Pacific Palisades and almost all the way through Malibu. The Winnie was running stronger than ever and we were all having an amazing time enjoying the beautiful ocean view and good company. Our worst nightmare occurred however, when we quickly discovered that the rains that have pounded California the last few weeks had forced the beautiful sun-soaked highway to be closed right at Malibu canyon.

Here is where we made our first mistake. Tony looked me square in the eyes and said, "What do you think, should we turn around or just risk it?" It pains me to recapture this moment, but I looked right back at Tony and said "F*** it dude, lets just risk it," and off we went up the 13-mile uphill detour through Malibu canyon.

To our great surprise, the Winnie tackled the first ten miles with relatively no grunts or groans, and we were all geared up for our first celebration of the trip... Thats when we heard the click of death. When you hear a loud popping noise explode near the engine area, you know you have roughly 30 seconds to stop before you lose Winnie. Tony, being the expert captain that he is, immediately pulled off to the side of the road to let the poor vehicle take a breath. Spirits will still high and jokes were still being told.

After about five minutes, we all saddled up and got ready to tackle the remainder of the treacherous Malibu canyon. Tony fired up the engine, put her in drive, and made it about 20 yards before losing power. The engine shut off and along with it went the power brakes which caused the enormous RV to start rolling backward down a steep stretch of highway. I was the first one out the door before Tony could even finish yelling "WE LOST BRAKES! BAIL!"

With his driver door open and everyone in the cabin scrambling to unlock the back door, Tony was finally able to slam down the emergency brake and jockey the temperamental gear shifter to the park position and stop the Winnie before it was potentially crushed like a tin can. The good news at that point was that we were only blocking one lane, the bad news was that it was at a turn on a highway that has a 55 mile-an-hour speed limit. Tony called the Autoclub while Pete and Stefan directed traffic, and I pretty much did nothing except fall silent and try to figure out the best way to go about the remainder of our day. Tony was convinced that we call up a donation company and just donate the Winnie on the spot for the cost of the tow truck, while Kevin was confident that we could get the injured bucket of bolts all the way to SLO if we just got towed the remaining three miles to the 101 freeway.

After about 45 minutes, the tow-truck arrived to help our sorry asses out of our less than favorable debacle. For honestly nothing more than the sake of adventure, we decided to take the two mile tow and give the Winnie another shot on the more level 101 freeway. Another huge risk.

After the brief tow we fired up the old hag, and sure enough she felt as strong as ever. The tow truck driver followed us for a couple exits to ensure that we didn't prematurely slow to a halt, and after about five miles he pulled off the freeway and we were left alone to continue our journey to SLO.

I think the best way to really sum up the remainder of the drive to SLO is to quote verbatim what I wrote in my iphone notebook about an two hours after our Malibu blow out: "My heart is literally in my throat as I write this while our Winnebago climbs another monster incline about 26 miles north of Santa Barbara on the 101 freeway. As the speedometer drops near the ten o'clock position, all our Winnie passengers go silent presumably praying to our respective deities in hope that we can summit this last rough hill and have smooth sailing for the remaining 70 miles to San Luis Obispo. This is pretty much the standard of any Winnie expedition-one minute we are laughing and telling stories, and the next we fall silent and look like terrified wide-eyed gazelles waiting to be pounced by a blood thirsty predator."

Sure enough we made it to San Luis Obispo with no more breakdowns! It took us seven hours to go 200 miles on traffic-free highway, but who's counting. We met up with our long time friend Max up in SLO and eventually made our way over to Frog and Peach because after all, we still had a show to play.

The gig was awesome. The entire bar was filled to capacity for our entire three hour set and everyone in attendance was loving Sand Section! We even had a crazy girl on stage taking turns humping all our band members for about two hours. I really don't need to elaborate much more because after all, this blog is about Winnie.

Her final parting shot was hilarious and took place on Saturday morning at a Chevron station. You may or may not recall, but just moments into our first tour the Winnie got her bumper caught on a protective post at an ARCO station and it got ripped clean off. Well in San Luis Obispo, we got attacked by another rogue post which pulled off a few feet of metal siding along the right side of the Winnie. After a quick reverse we were headed back for home with said metal siding flapping in the breeze.

Naturally on the way home the crew stopped off in Isla Vista where Stefan and I resided while we attended UC Santa Barbara. We stickered the town, hit the local watering hole, picked up more beer, and before we knew it no one was sober enough to drive the remainder of the way home. We were forced to stay the night and party UCSB style. I won't go into much detail here, lets just say it was good to be back in the old stomping grounds.

After some much needed breakfast burritos on Sunday morning, the crew was headed for home, and I am proud to report that we made it all the way with absolutely no Winnie breakdowns. For now we are all home safe and sound, including Miss Winnie who is enjoying a peaceful slumber in the Alamo driveway. We head up to Tahoe on Wednesday, but this time we are not taking the Winnie because adding snow to the equation is just plain insanity. Hope all our Sand Section fans are enjoying the new year as much as we are, and we look forward to seeing everyone in the not to distant future. Thanks for reading.

-Jeff and the Sand Section Crew

Road Notes: Sand Section Goes Death Metal (January 2011)

Here is a quick traveling lesson to anyone planning to go out on the road. If you know you are leaving early in the morning, and you know that you have a gig and a party to attend the night prior to departure, do not wait until after you play the gig and go to the party to pack your bag or you will forget a lot of essentials. I forgot a pillow, a sleeping bag, a blanket, a towel, and I walked out the door without even glancing at my snow jacket that was hanging there. I pretty much forgot everything that you need to survive and be a polite house guest when you are couch surfing in the mountains.

All of that aside, our trip up to Tahoe went off with minimal hitches. I say "hitch" because we had a hell of a time trying to get a trailer figured out for the trip. There is only one truck on the planet that U-Haul will not rent a trailer to, and it is a Ford Explorer. We borrowed my girlfriend Alex's car because she has the only car that is large enough to hold five passengers comfortably and still have towing capability. The only problem is, you guessed it, she drives a Ford Explorer. We took it in to three different U-Haul distributers and none of them would even speak the word Explorer for fear they would be fired and/or beaten on site. Apparently there was some major lawsuit due to a few occurrences involving U-Haul trailers that fishtailed and caused Explorers to flip.

Our ultimate plan at that point was to borrow my parents' Expedition to pick up the U-Haul, take it back to our house, and then attach the U-Haul to the Explorer. It wasn't until Tony pulled out his iPhone to do some research that we figured out that we might not be making a wise decision. Lets just say, we took the term "Explorer flipping over" a little too lightly, and we decided against getting a U-Haul. We left in two cars at 8:03am on Wednesday morning en route to beautiful South Lake Tahoe.

Stefan was kind enough to take the first driving shift in our car to allow me to sleep off the previous night's festivities, and I would later take the wheel around the Mammoth area. There is really very little to discuss about the drive because we were split up into a Ford Explorer and and a Chevy Blazer, not all piled in a 1978 Dodge Winnebago. We arrived in snow-covered Tahoe just after nightfall and were introduced to not only the house we would be staying at for the next three days, but also death metal.

For those of you who are unaware with the music genre of death metal, perhaps I can describe it for you. The music can be summed up with lightening-fast drumming, deep and thunderous guitar playing, and a singer that is screaming vocals about death, destruction, blood, and everything evil that our dull human powers can possibly conjure. This is not just any kind of scream, this is the kind of scream you would let out if the power went out in your house and you saw Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) tapping on your living room window with a blood-soaked machete. Needless to say it was quite an interesting experience staying in a house full of death metal fanatics. Just look at some of these band names: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_death_metal_bands

In spite of this music dynamic with which we were both unfamiliar and frightened of, the guys in the house were some of the nicest and coolest people you could ever meet. I would like to give a HUGE shout out to Josh for letting us crash in his living room for three nights! He was above and beyond hospitable, and again one of the coolest people you could ever meet. It is amazing how you can go from stepping into a living room where you fear you might be sacrificed in your sleep, to one that feels like home in just a matter of hours. It took us three whole days, but we were finally able to even listen to death metal without fearing that the earth would shake, the ground would open, and we would be face to face with a snarling demon from the underworld. I'll even admit that a couple of the songs were pretty cool.

Our first gig was at Fallen Angel in South Lake Tahoe, which is a fairly new venue to the music scene. We were teamed up with a band from Minneapolis known as John Wayne and the Payne, who were awesome guys with a pretty cool reggae sound. The only problem with the venue was that the stage was absolutely tiny and could barely fit our whole band. As far as the crowd was concerned, poor Stefan barely even existed as he and his keys were hidden behind a speaker for the majority of our performance. There was however a solid turnout, and even though it was not our greatest performance, we made some good money and the night was ultimately a success. It was especially cool to see a few returning faces who had seen us play up there over Summer and came back for more Sand Section!

The following morning we were introduced the Red Hut, a little diner in Tahoe that has some of the best breakfast you could eat. In fact, we ate there for breakfast three days in a row because it was so delicious. Be sure to look that place up if you are ever in Tahoe! After breakfast we pretty much just had a lazy day in front of the TV escaping the rain and freezing temperatures. We left in the early evening for Sparks, Nevada where we would play our gig that night at the Alley.

The positive side of our show at the Alley was that we played the best we played the entire trip, the negative side was there was essentially nobody there (sorry KT). This has happened to us a couple times before in the past when we have played new areas, so we were not too unfamiliar with the feeling. When you are out on the road playing new states for the first time, it is naive to think that you will have great turnouts at every gig. It is a humbling experience to say the least, and we just look at it as a night to have fun, perfect our set, and try out some new jokes. After we played, we said goodbye to John Wayne and the Payne as they headed back to Los Angeles for a gig. We wish them all the best.

We drove back to our comfort zone in Tahoe after the show and went to sleep. The next morning after eating Red Hut, we all took our first shower of the trip (except Tony who did not shower or change for six days for reasons that were never really explained), and I was forced to dry off with a pair of sweatpants and a jacket because as you recall I forgot to bring a towel with me. Luckily the jacket dried off before bed that night because it was also functioning as my pillow…

After we all showered we realized that we had an entire day to kill before playing in Tahoe again that night, so naturally we hit the casinos. Everyone lost money except myself who raked in $40 thanks to a 4-of-a-kind hand in video poker. After the casinos we headed back to Josh's house and then over to Whiskey Dick's Saloon where we would play our gig that night. The gig went great and the sound was awesome, which was a major relief from the night before. Thanks again to Josh for coming in clutch and allowing us to use his PA and bass rig! We played both acoustic and electric sets, and people really dug our sound.

The following morning after eating Red Hut again, we headed over to Sacramento to play at the Zuhg Life Store in a mall. There was a stage set up in front of the store where we played acoustic music for about an hour in the early afternoon. It was a pretty unique experience to have your music echoing down a mall corridor as shoppers would periodically stop in to listen and grab a CD or two. If you are even in Sacramento be sure to look up the Zuhg Life Store, and you can even grab a copy of our album in there!

After the show we headed to Santa Cruz to stay the night and drive home refreshed on Sunday morning. We stayed with Tony's friend Zane who lives in a Jewish Co-op, where we assumed we might take it easy and not frustrate the other residents of the Co-op. We were definitely wrong to assume because everyone that lives there was just heading out to go party right as we were getting there. Without hesitation we picked up about sixty beers and brought them back over to celebrate the end of our mini Northern California adventure. It is funny how quickly it can go from relaxing evening to raging party in a matter of seconds when you are out on the road. The party at the Jewish Co-op was literally raging when someone ignited a dresser in the backyard to serve as a bonfire for the remainder of the evening. We all passed out sometime around whenever, and woke up in serious pain to drive down to Long Beach for our final gig. Big thank you to Zane and everyone at the co-op for letting us crash!

The drive home was entirely uneventful and consisted of one person driving while everyone else slept. Unfortunately, as a result of our long week, we played like a bunch of zombies at our gig in Long Beach that night. The set wasn't bad, but you could tell the fire wasn't really there. We definitely need to work on conserving energy next time around so we do not repeat a performance such as that one.

For now once again we are home safe and sound, and we will be back out on the road next week. I will certainly continue to keep everyone posted on our future endeavors, thanks for reading!

-Jeff and the Sand Section Crew