Notes from the Rock ‘n Roll Expressway Volume V

Asthmatic Giant! Tour Diary
By Darren Delmore

Death to the Giant
-Applebee’s Bar and Grill, Clovis, California

It didn’t look good.

Just inside Clovis city limits and not enough cash left for band manager Shlune Calodo to pick up the final tab in his legacy with Asthmatic Giant! Five years he’d kept us psych-rockers on the road, funded his own brow raising gambling and starfish addictions along the way, and now not even a Guacamole Burger to show for it. We’d played hard over half a decade’s time, from spit-sprinkled Gilman Street in Berkeley to sipping Screagle onstage at Hollywood Bowl backed by the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra. And now it was all coming to an end.

Shlune was wanted by the Filipino mafia in Lompoc, he mentioned in all out seriousness, and two chiefs in particular at the Chumash Reservation in Santa Ynez. Through mirrored shades, Heinous Chanus snatched up the meal ticket, shouted “fuck!” and gave it a once over. Two 64 ounce drafts of Fat Tire to now ex manager, a glass of milk for my acidic interiors, plus a $7.50 corkage fee on a JF Coche-Dury Bourgogne from 2002: a gift from President Nicolas Sarkozy after a perspiration a’plenty show at Le Cavern in Paris with Daft Punk.

There comes a time in a successful band’s life when you knows it’s the end. When you know the spotlights are pointing elsewhere. When that white dragon glob you notice in your nasal tuft on Sunday after a two day downhill skiing nose-first mish doesn’t seem like a bonus from Jesus Christ anymore. When you know it’s time to part ways and focus on your solo career. After all, I’d been appearing in commercials for a successful line of Cabernet Grape-seed conditioners for male hairline rejuvenation to much late night acclaim, and I sold the “Fishstick Fridays” rights to Mrs. Fridays Frozen Food Company on a late night purple lipped phone call of sheer drunken DRC-craving desperation.

You could say I saw it coming. Well before opening for 311 at Pozo Saloon earlier that day. Hollywood director Michael Mann had optioned H.C.’s new collection of dark, tense, action film anthems for a Mark Wahlberg and Robert DeNiro project, Rockstar Games picked up his all synth Hip-Hop jam “Grange all in my Range” feat. Hilltop Hoods from Adelaide, and Shlune Calodo was bleeding from a bullet wound in his left love handle. He was panting at Applebee’s with a glistening face, there in the booth, texting in a few remaining sit and go’s with absolutely no remorse for anyone but himself. He was claiming the band was bankrupt, he was flat out, insufficient fund city, yet a basket of buffalo wings with extra red chili flakes materialized for him alone at the table.

There was one single room at the Motel 6 down the road, courtesy of Twigs working the merch booth, and more specifically by the last few Inhaler keyrings, 24 karat etched prescription pill bottles (like the one on the cover of our second album), and signed Hot Tokyo Nights! posters that went. Shlune slid the key across the table and stuffed another napkin up into the blood. He was a goner. He was scanning the parking lot now, looking for Filipinos or Engines. Pushing himself up, grabbing his briefcase, and coughing with the assertion, he concluded in an odd high pitched tone what we believed to mean “Yea yea yea yea dude,” and dripped his way out the front door.

Check back next month for the full review of DJ BY THE GLASS feat. DA THREE CASE DROP and their hit single “Whatcha Pourin’ Beyatch?!”