Sunday, June 12, 2011
A collection of travel journal entries I did when Porkchop and I went out on the road in February!
pork chop the sequal
by Bob Reuter on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 3:11am
Pork Chop's car got totaled in Hannibal tuesday night-he's ok but it fucked up one of his guitars (not the National) unbeknownst to him, his license had been revoked for failure to pay a parking ticket he got for a parking ticket he got three years ago when he lived in Nashville so he was cuffed, arrested and brought back to the station where he was written a ticket and released - he called me and asked if i knew anybody who could get him to his next gig in Minneapolis - i was the only one i knew without a regular job so I hit the road in my 94 Geo - a donut tire on the back, twenty five bucks and a half tank of gas - the whole car shaking like a bitch every time I hit 60 - long story short, We're up here in the land of eternal winter right now - we're staying at the home of the guy who stages the Deep Blues Festival in Minniapolis- Large bag o'Barbecue awaited us when we pulled in at midnight! two gigs in two days, here and in St. Cloud - no one will be home here tomorrow so we plan on sleeping till like two in the afternoon
on the road with bob and pork
by Bob Reuter on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 5:13am
Porkchop played a gig at a place called the White Horse tonight in St. Cloud Minn - i played his break - each of us individually had chicks up dancing which was pretty f'n cool but DAMN is this state COLD!!!! People ujp here thought it was warm tonight just cause it wasnt near zero, it was like 38 but the wind just rips right through ya!! Anyway, i sold some pictures so made a little bit of monies!!
We're staying at the home of Chris Johnson who puts on the Deep Blues Fest which is a big fucking deal if you're into sort of gut bucket non polished and punk ass type blues!! The fest ran for like three years but now Chris owns a little Q joint called Bayport BarBQ so he can book individual acts year round and also sell some really fine Q! The joint's multiple tv screens showing all the great acts, Chris has booked - all now personal friends of his!
So Chris and his wife and kids have this great place outside Minneapolis where he lets all these blues cats stay and that's where we are - tomorrow night it'll be us, the band Henry and June, Johnny Walker"s (who's band was the Soledad Brothers) plays bass for them - it's actually a re-union of a band that broke up quite a while ago - the white stripes covered one of their tunes so some interest developed and they're doing this gig to maybe sell some of the original cd's all playin tomorrow night for hte big grand opeing of the joint!!
Anyway, today was a lot less wacky as i think our kind of hard travelin was just generally catchin up with us plus Porkchops having totaled the car and the reality of ii was really startin to settle in - You cant even imagine the road conversations - it's really starting to hit me what a brilliant mind this cat has, I mean considering he's nearly entirely self educated (he was kicked out of high school for pulling a pistol on the school principal) In so many ways we're really beginning to feel like twins separated at birth - the pattens of our madness, the childhood fucked upness we endured... our total obsession with the music that's enabled us to work past it all...
i asked him what his mama said to the news of why he'd been kicked out of school... he said,
"Are you alright sweetheart?
"yes Mam. They say they want me to go into a hospital for a little while"
"and what do you think baby?"
"I guess so mama, i'm just really tired and mixed up right now"
"OK then baby."
I feature keeping this man as a friend for life.
Pulled into a town i was sure was Iowa City - asked a woman on the street how to get to the university area and she said there wasnt one in town - I said, "No university in Iowa City??" she said, This isnt Iowa City , this is Cedar Falls!" then she told us how to get to the highway and on our way to the Highway and it started raining and i didnt have any rubber on my wiper blades though they still functioned some -but they also said "SCREACH- SCREACH SCREACH!!!" very loudly, - like i say, we couldnt see at all without them so I just began screaming, OH I BEEN WORKING ONTHE RAILROAD ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY!!!" and the next thing i knew Porchop was screaming along with me! next thing we knew we were miles down the road and found an auto parts store where Pork bought us some new wiper blades - the local who came out to put'em on took one look at the rubberless wipers and and was like,
"So, drove ya mad Eh?"
We traveled about twenty more miles and saw a sign that said, "Cedar Rapids 35 miles" so who was crazy?!
Later Porkchop said of my singing "I been working on the railroad" - "that it was a fine example of a man with advanced survival skills!"
long last day up north for bob an'chop! OR pork and the professor at the festival of meat!
by Bob Reuter on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 3:42am
jesus, slept in - I scored one of Chris's son's room - members of Henry and June were downstairs where I slept last night and I scored a room of my own! I'm being treated as a hero for getting porkchop up here for this gig! We kinda slept in - round 1pm
Today when we finally left the crib, we headed into Minneapolis looking for film and a tambourine that would fit his foot (he'd lost his somewhere along the way) So we met us some photo and music people - non squares with those "Fargo type accents" - when yer traveling with Mr. Holder, you're like part of the medicine show, I found myself working in tandem with old boy - we'd walk into a joint doin this whole vaudeville routine, i'd lob one to'im and he'd knock it out o'the park! Another thing is that if you have any inkling of a southern accent yourself, close contact with old Doctor P Holder, your drawl's gonna increase exponentially - Pork took to introducin me as "Professor Bob Reuter" and it felt right to me.
Meanwhile back at the bbq joint we were fed like kings again and i set about shootin pictures which continued all night - if ya didnt catch my earlier posts Chris Johnson who's put on the Deep Blues Fest (a celebration of dirty, punk, jook joint and just broken fucked up blues acts by bands heavy on the dirt, grit and ragginess - T-Model Ford was on the bill) for the past three years (a pure labor of love which had to have lost him like 50 grand per year) decided to take another tact by setting up Bayport BBQ - "a Deep Blues Joint" where he could serve some truly fine Q while hosting his friends and favorite deep blues cats from all over the map!
What i always love shootin best is the players shootin the shit, laughin - drinkin - catchin up -getting ready to play and just generally being amongst their own tribe. I LOVE catchin that shit, seeing what only the players and a select few others get to be part of and sharing it with the rest of the world! I shot like three rolls of film in the green room alone - in this case, in the basement with the forty-five dollar a plate revelers moving back and forth cross the hard wood floors over our heads sounding like a hear of cattle bein moved in a very un-orderly fashion towards the slaughter.
Now to be honest I gotta say that an event like this could have been like a million times better had this all taken place back home with a roomful of my unwashed brothers and sisters of the great St. Louis Southside but you take your holy rituals where you find'em and to hear Mark Porchop Holder, the Rue Moor Counts and Henry and June all playing some hot as hell blues rockin sets backed by a glass wall and a backdrop just the other side, of huge shattered hunks of broken ice just slid down off the pitched roof - a truly jarring sortof juxtaposition. The crowd was a bit upscale for my taste but though reserved, they really WERE an appreciative audience and who can ask for anymore than that?!
Anyway, so after the gig and the squares filed out, a little make-shift lo-fi recording session went down and I got a crack at pickin up Pork's beautiful Stella guitar while he wailed on harp by my side! - then more shootin the shit, "coming down" and exchanging recordings I'll be bringing back and playing on the radio show - Bob's Scratchy Records for you to hear!- did a little discussing the possibility of bringing some of these great sbandds back to the Lou at some future date - I'm thinkin it's a match made in heaven so if you dug seeing Porkchop at CBGB's or Kid Congo Powers at either CB's OR Off Brfoadway - wait'll you get aload of THESE cats! It could happen - we're still talking!
Tomorrow - the nine hour plus ride back to heaven including a stop in Hannibal so that Mr Holder can get another look at his hillbilly scrap heap of automobile which being a po boy from Chattanooga he has not YET surrendered to a MO state junkyard grave! He's threatening to mask what's left of the shattered windshield with see through tape - takin' a hack saw to any metal twisted up and in contact with the front wheels and driving the pile of foreign steel, on back home to tennessee under cover of night when it's profile would be less highly visible. More will be revealed- a nine or ten hour ride - Christ i'm ready to go off meat for a good long while!
honey badger dont care!! - end of pork and bob on the road!
by Bob Reuter on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 7:44pm
Where do I even begin?! It's now four in the afternoon on Sunday, I've slept in two hour bursts since I passed out at six this morning. I'm back home safe at the crib and there's seventeen inches of snow headin for Minneapolis.
I woke up at Chris's place yesterday morning on five hours sleep - went to the Q joint to say our good-bye's - by the time we got there it was already late afternoon, a few customers were lingering but he'd already locked the door - there was a woman two tables behind us periodically crying over her brisket and cole slaw and an old man ordering that last slice of pecan pie - Chris brought a tray of assorted meat - pork, halves of chicken, brisket and pulled pork, then another of sides - potato salad, slaw, beans and big mason jars of ice cold water. each of these deliveries came slow as we were getting it for free and came only as he was able to get to it. The man's a giant, a huge viking gentle giant of a large hearted northern american republican deep blues fanatic - Hey, this is america he'd say, you can have whatever you want as long as you can pay for it (my mind flashed to Mark Porkchop Holder wearing shorts that broke just above his two ace bandaged legs, which had been scraped of dead flesh twice a week for eight weeks till they "looked like nothing so much as a couple of fried chicken drumsticks" He stands up with his cane in the front row of a town hall meeting back home in Chattanooga last summer,
"You know..." he says, "If health care was something I could steal, if I could take it from some rich man by force, I'd just pull out my pistol and take it, there's be no problem at all...!!" and the Black folks in the crowd had all jumped up and cheered)
But Chris aint a bad man, aint stupid, mean or lacking compassion, that's clear to see in his face, in the way he deals with strangers and shit - maybe we all just are what we are.
" Johnny Walker", who had taken that name when he dove deep into the blues in his own deep way so many years ago - (he told me what his real name was, or something at least close to it - it was something that started with an "H" and just screamed Russia or eastern europe or Jew) Back when he and Ben formed the Soledad Brothers taking up the name of the fallen seventies Black revolutionaries (George Jackson's family had had given their blessing to the use of the name). Anyway, Johnny's doing music as a more of a hobby now he says- he's gone back to being a doctor - Psychiatry. He works with people who are seriously fucked up and lost now - they wonder out loud whey he dont talk to them like a shrink,
"Cause half my friends are just like you." He tells'em and then he excuses himself saying he's got to answer a text he just got about a particular client back home in Ohio.
So we didnt even leave town till like four in the afternoon - plenty of time for reflection, plenty of time for Mark and I to tell our stories - you know how stories of your life pour out in cars or planes, busses or trains going a long ways from one place to another - like maybe you might die so it dont matter, same as how you think no one can ever see you picking your nose when you're in yhour car alone - safe in your personal space. - and the drill rolls on - Mark lights up a smoke, cracks the window, north wind chills our little chamber, I crank the heat, get overly hot crack my own window, kill the heat, he dowses the tube, wind chills us again, i crank up the heat, start to get hot and then kill it again... mile after mile, frozen fields all stark and white, beautiful in their desolation - hella fat full cartoon, big ol'moon - moving grey clouds cross it and you get peaks of cold black sky - all so beautiful and lonely.Silver pellets of sleet exploding n the road - thousands of'em smashing down in shine of our brights! - grey sky covers the frozen plain like a roof without walls you can see the cloudless black on the horizons. Then it's lightening and thunder - our new wiper blades work like champs - "Next time you're screachingly bladeless" says Johnny Walker later, tie socks on'em, works every time!"
Somewhere into Iowa again we're on the "Avenue of the Saints" which runs "from St. Paul to St.Louis" sounds like we're almost home but fat chance, five more hours minimum and Mark gets a "black rumbling" in his belly - Quick trip toilet - ever notice how safe QT feels, how you can BUY your every possible need, all the comforts of home... pre packaged lovin. I ask a gramma Iowa lady with name tag badge i never read, on her red QT smock.
"How long till Hannibal?" i ask
She almost takes me by the hand, "let's go look at my favorite book!" she says as she cracks open a softbound copy of a road atlas - this is where she tells me about "Avenue of the Saints", this is where she tells me bout driving to her sisters who lives near Hannibal, this is where she asks me if my big friend needs any help and asks about his maybe being sick since he's gone back to the can a a couple of times. "Here" she says, "bring him these saltiness they'll settle his stomach" she says, "or ask him if he'd like some Imodium" she says, "That would always fix me right up!" sxhe says, "That was before I found out I was lactose intollerant." I tell her, yeah I am too. Then I glance at the Chester's Chicken heating bins - I ask how often Chester brings his chicken in - the old bitch behind the food counter dont get that I'm jokin' I go back to gramma. - I point to the pre packaged cheese burgers in their tin foil wrappers, "Would you eat one of these I ask, "Oh no!" she says, "I wouldnt even eat one of those if they were fresh!, I love the chicken sandwiches though!" and here her eyes swell with delight! I buy the dry chicken on a tough bun and grab a mayo packet then go grab one of the chairs flipped on top of the dining tables and sit by myself with a bag of chips - some "farmer looking" young man approaches my table, "Excuse me", he says, "I think you might have dropped out of your pocket" he says extending to me a bent and twisted twenty dollar bill. What the hell??!! Where the hell are we? are we in heaven??? No. Iowa. The Imodium and two Kools settle Pork Chop's belly and we head back out on the road.
OK, see Pock Chop's a country boy - pig sloppin country then raised up in town - them people dont waste a thing so he's bound and determined to head back to Hannibal and drive the wreck back home - he aint like us. I try to pretend he's just talkin shit, like he'll change his mind when we get close, then again half his shit's still in there and we're already looking like the god damn judd family bound for California...!
You ever been to Hannibal?? You know them scoundrels Sam Clemens wrote about - well this is their kin - man, it's this dirty ol'river town, cool as fuck in a lotta ways but dont know that you'd really wanna live there. We pull in round two thirty in the morning down this dirty old industrial drive type road and just as we do, and remember there's no one anywhere around as far as you can see...'cept for this tow truck driver, same one that towed Porkchop three nights before and they talk and cash for storage is exchanged and we hit the road again - hillbilly a rollin! Hell yeah! ol'boy's down the road makin the limit and up into the seventies - totally spiderwebbed shattered windshield, hood smashed up like an accordian - hunk of the body hammered away from where it rubbed on the wheel, deployed air bag all tied back and pulled aside...made it all the way to bout a half hour out past the St. Louis airport - we stopped to'pee and the wreck wouldnt start again Ol'boy went mad, I shot some pics then Mark declared he was just too tired to fight for the night - we'd head back to Saint L get a rest and fight again in the morning and in another three hours we was home - cept then we hadda hit QT to buy Pork some dinner.
Last I saw Mark he was headin out my front door three hours ago, wearin his bibs and holdin a claw hammer in his hand - Ryan from my band Alley Ghost comin to pick him up and go make another run at the wreck - if they get it goin he'll be back and keep the thing runnin while he packs up his shit - dont try and change a hillbilly's mind, i dont feature it'll work.
Off shoots - I got to meet, eat, play, shoot pictures and then left an alley ghost cd with Chris the deep blues connection. Me and my pal Mark Porkchop Holder got plans to do little music makin tours throughout the south and up north like maybe three times a year together - we been baptized in the blood, in the fire and
ice - through chest pains and bein sick in truck stops - through hell screachin wiper blades - hell buddy, the Honey Badger dont give a good God Damn!!!