Notes from the Rock ‘n Roll Expressway Volume I

Asthmatic Giant! Tour Diary
By Darren Delmore

4/15/08 – Morro Bay, California
Hail pelted the dark sheen of the stony Element as we made our way along Highway One to the gig. Jet black and invisible to Babylon, our tour vehicle maneuvered off onto Quintana Road and into a rear parking lot area.There’d been a lot of confusion and finagling over which of the two bands would be the headliner. While told that our set would go unpaid by the house, our manager Jason Schlunus assured us that Asthmatic Giant! playing live would earn us our gold from the endangered bodyboarder population on hand (who were renown to ‘shroom regularly and smoke constantly) when the Double Disc debut album graces the online databanks of iTunes. Heinous Chanus, Schlunedawg, and yours truly Hellmore had a band meeting outside of the venue in Morro Bay, California. What to open with. Where I come in at and where Chanus takes a drum solo. We had new material on our hands here, from many blustery, heavy psychedelic evenings, but we weren’t sure that the beachtown crowd was ready to be exposed to it. The wicked knowledge proffered in songs like “Ballad of the Overmedicated Housewife”, “The Wrecking Machine”, and “Can You See It There, Right There?” would expand the collective consciousness to a dangerous haunted dimension. Most of the crowd on hand would’ve preferred some Brushfire Fairytales with their Coronas.

Aside from a secret midnight ramble at the famed Del’s Pizzeria, in which a feverish Red Dog Roldy joined in for a rare and Donovan Frankenreiteresque bongo contribution to the jam “Slippin’ and a’ Slidin'”, this would be the first show of our 2008 tour across America. Chaney hadn’t seen Red Dog’s beardy chicks that merrily lit up since the legendary post-TGIF bash in Carlsbad. Pretty sure the Alma Rosa Pinot Blanc and 16% alcohol Brochelle Zinfandel had a lot to do with it.

At soundcheck, the mustached venue owner came in and looked up at us on the loft belting out the jams. He scowled and demanded some Loggins and Messina covers tonight. Chanus told him to pay us, and that if he’s not paying us he’d give him some Loggins Linguica up his asshole if he kept fucking with us during our sacred soundcheck. With the Morro Bay Cannabis Club being long closed, I was hoping my bandmate would make it through the night, without gouging anyone’s eye out again.

After being brought on by promoter Marcos at 8 PM, we blew their minds with “The Wrecking Machine”. The crowd drank it up like my wine stash in the backstage area. Men romantically embraced their females from behind and did the rocking, connected pelvises thing like they do at Dave Matthews Band concerts. I’m pretty sure loot was being expedited back to what once was The Den in Grover Beach during “Can You See it There, Right There?”, but this was ultimately a punk show. Chanus and I had a band huddle after a riveting cover of “Dire Wolf” that electrified a random fat cell in accountant Pat Patten’s love handle and sent him flashing back to a kaleidoscope-colored 1984 Reggae on the River trip when the mane was naturally jet black and the ladies were mulleted and topless. They carried him out on a stretcher.

Roaring into “Hot Tokyo Nights” (with me coming in on the electric drum machine’s first gong, which worked well on the eponymous tour across Asia last fall), some last minute food orders were texted down to Harada sushi on the Embarcadero. The crowd just eats up Chanus and his oriental headband. Our costume designer suggested that at the Chateau Marmont in Beverly Hills while we drank Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé, had small plates, and wrote the music to “Block 4 Cellular” last winter.

They called us on for an encore. We had to get in the Element if we’d be getting into San Francisco in time for Dim Sum and Sauternes, but they would’ve eaten us alive on our way out had we not given ’em something more to chew on. So we did an extended version of “1985: Year of the Giant”, “Fishstick Fridays”, and then Merle Haggard’s “Branded Man” to close it. An inebriated engine, surely drunk on excess and Chumash Casino familial paychecks, screamed for “Branded Man” over and over, so we gave him it two more times then bid farewell. We’ll see ya in another five years, Morro Bay, and you drunken Eskimo you.