Chrome Squatch Concert Tour USA
ADAM narrates concerning our two concerts at the New Daisy Theater --
Adam here, taking a turn at documenting our voyage around the USA. Melly, Liss and Masnia are sleeping, sprawled all over my legs, I'm sitting with them on the big bed in the back of the bus, recording this narration on my smart phone, to be transcribed later. It doesn't seem to be keeping them awake, guess I wore them out this morning, poor girls. Pokey is up front, driving the bus with Maki beside to keep him company. It sounds like Magga and Miguel are trying to get cozy with each other in one of the middle bunk-beds, even though she can barely fit in any of them just by herself. They'll probably end up on the passageway floor. Such is life on our S&F bus.
It's a nice sunny summer day out there, 10:15 am. 9th of July as we're leaving Memphis, Tennessee. Right now we're on Interstate 22 heading towards Birmingham, Alabama, expected to be a 3-4 hour trip (250 miles),
So we'll be rolling into the Southern States now, which I'm a little nervous about; probably due to their history of racism and me being a big hairy Bigfoot. But okay, so far it's just a nice green picture-postcard state, low rolling hills, topography doesn't change much around here.
Two days ago, on our way from Nashville to Memphis, we'd crossed the Tennessee River and the National Wildlife Refuge, which looked so untampered with and unpopulated that we wondered if there might be any Nokhons in that area. We Googled around a bit to see if there had ever been any Bigfoot sightings registered, as we often do, but couldn't find any mentions so we just kept going. Not that we had time to go looking for Sasquatches anyway, it always takes a while to make contact and we had a concert to perform that same evening.
Melly and Liss also Googled Memphis; things to see, knowing we'd have some free time until our next concert, four days away in Birmingham. Memphis looked like it should be fun: home of the blues, birthplace of rock & roll, Graceland, Sun Studios, Beale Street music scene, National Civil Rights Museum, a tourist paradise.
But a further search also revealed that Memphis is one of the most dangerous cities in the USA, rife with crime and murder. So I did a flip-flop of logic and assured myself that we were all perfectly safe because I am a big fucking Bigfoot.
We checked into the New Daisy Theater, downtown Memphis, right on Beale Street, where it's all supposed to be happening all the time. Although the streets were pretty much empty when we arrived at about 4:00 pm, so we had lots of time to unload equipment and set up the stage. They had a very nice Steinway grand piano we could use, with a lovely tone, so Melly wouldn't bother with her Roland electric piano for a change. Lee was sticking to his Yamaha.
It's become obvious that all the media attention concerning the "leaked AooE document" has resulted in a major boost of interest for our shows, whether positive or negative seeming to balance each other. The Thursday concert was sold out and the theater manager asked if we could also do another show on Friday, already potentially sold out too. We had two unscheduled days ahead of us so we agreed. Gotta earn that money to pay for gas!
The New Daisy was another of those refurbished movie theaters built in the 1940s, now quite posh and pretty. It had a capacity of only 1083 seats, which was fine for two concerts with no transport expenses between them. We even had free RV parking with water facilities for our whole convoy just a few blocks away, so we didn't need hotel rooms.
Except for Lee and Bunny; she was tired of having no privacy and getting grumpy about it. They also had a romantic crisis going on, so we got them a room. But the rest of us enjoyed the camping life and the good (hot) weather together. Our traveling friends were noticeably more loving and affectionate after everybody having made ardent love with each other at the kha-rat. Less formal, more inclined to touch one another, hugs happened a lot, probably some sex too, but nothing blatantly exhibitionistic.
Out on the busy Beale Street the theater had an old-fashioned marquee reading: "Chrome Squatch featuring Adam Leroy Forest" which I found a little embarrassing, as if I was claiming all the glory, but everybody knew it was only because of all the pirated AooE PR. Fortunately, we didn't meet a crowd of protesters standing guard in front.
The concert was to be at 7:30 pm, so we had time to eat. Usually the girls make food for everyone, which may seem like sexist exploitation, but they do tend to make better food than the guys and it's certainly better than fast food, which is what we often end up eating when we go into town in flocks. Plus we make vegetarian food for our Nokhons, the idea being to serve lasagnas, chilies, soups and salads that we all can like instead of some harsh vegan discipline.
(Of course, there are always those who sneak off to the Hard Rock Café and grab a cheeseburger later on. I only mention that because there's one just across the street from the theater.)
The concert went smoothly and was well-received. I did my newest song (Limbo) and Scott did his (Horny), both without making much fuss about them, knowing how audiences tended to be more interested in songs they already knew, old favorites. Sometimes it's like we have to sneak the new stuff in.
Once again, we ended the concert with that French "SOS" show-off song, which always gets a marked reaction because of the intensity and extreme octave spread, being basically impossible for most people to sing. Folks are impressed by it, wow'd. But...
MELLY: Not just the audience, but everybody in the band too. Including me.
Anyway, we had a few days to spend here in Memphis and it's an entertaining tourist town, and I had all these girls I had to satisfy...
LISS: Rilly, Freakfoot, and you've done so again. Masterfully. But do go on.
But I thought: "Do we even want to see Graceland? I mean, we've seen it all in videos, know what it is-- just another tourist trap."
MELLY: And I thought: "Uh well...yeah,., but since we're here... why not?"
MASNIA: (bursting into song) Well you can knock me down, step on my face...
ADAM: So I had to take my girls to Graceland. I was tempted to just stay in the bus while they went, but I knew it would be a news event if I did. We were already getting a lot of attention just because we were in town for a concert, so I didn't dare insult Memphis' most famous icon.
We could have arranged a private group tour for the entire band-- for a rather hefty clump of money-- but almost all of the CP folk had been there previously during earlier concert tours and weren't interested in an update, warning us that Graceland was a perfect example of commercial tourism gone mad; big crowds, high prices, bad taste, all the negative aspects of the dead celebrity phenomenon. But we went anyway.
MASNIA: Kha, I liked it.
ADAM: Yeah okay, some things were slightly amusing: the pink '59 Cadillac convertible and all those other rare cars, that actual '58 Convair 880 jet plane, all those platinum records on ostentatious display, the absurdly gaudy furniture, the gold-plated toilets, the ridiculous costumes...
LISS: Yeah, hey Freakfoot, you should wear a glittery costume like Elvis. I mean, rilly.
We spent most of Friday at Graceland, then went around town to sample the ambiance. Tried out Jerry's snow cones, locally famous for all the flavors (even Magga liked them and she's pretty strict about junk food). Our second concert wasn't until 7:30 again, so we had time for some culture beyond pop-culture.
We decided to visit the National Civil Rights Museum, mostly to expose Magga and Masnia to a more nuanced picture of America, for better or worse. It ended up being rather sobering to explain to my innocent Nokhon ladies the intrigues and murderous histories of this country I had brought them to. They were horrified by the stories about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Kennedy Brothers, Malcolm X and Nat Turner. And and and, ad infinitum.
Continuing our way around town, it had been recommended that we peek into the Memphian Hotel, just to see the famous colors and artwork, check out the interesting patterns, so we did. It helped to cheer up the mood again after the awful history lesson. Followed by a casual wandering around some art studios on Broad Avenue and then it was time to go back to work again.
And once again we managed another okay concert at the New Daisy. Just to try something different we began the set with the SOS number, blasting the audience with an onslaught of volume and octaves. It was pretty effective-- they got wound up tight, were then relieved to hear the milder songs they already knew and loved. All the while still keeping them scared that we might just blast them out of their seats again at any moment so they'd best not relax too much. Once again, Scott and I sneaked our two newest songs into the mix and got away with it. We finished with the fully orchestrated "High Priestess", Scott's Tarot song, which is basically high-energy operatic and got us another good reaction.
After the concert we exited the theater directly into the maelstrom of Beale Street by night. It was chaos: music mixed with noise warped into incomprehensible melodies, milling mumbling crowds, people swarming everywhere. A motorcycle gang filled up the entire street; not hard-ass bikers but harmless old-farts on tour together, enjoying being on the road like they'd wished they'd done back when they were young.
The weather is pretty hot in Memphis so people are mostly wearing shorts and t-shirts or bikini tops, which sounds kind of sexy, but the majority of those people were gruesomely overweight and soaked with sweat. Nor did they smell good, and this is a Bigfoot talking. When I first brought Magga and Masnia to the wonders of civilization they both asked me: "Why are there so many fat NokhSos?" That was in Washington State and here on the other side of the American continent it was looking pretty much the same. There's a lot of fat NokhSos in that sandwich. Although back in high school, I was one of them: a junk food junkie just like everybody else. So I can sympathize with their situation, even though I was lucky enough to get out of it.
Last night about midnight, back at our camp Melly and Liss went to bed, turning on the bus's air conditioning so they could sleep, but I prefer the heat to the constant whine of that skesk. We Nokhons can be comfortable in a wider range of temperatures than humans can. Magga and Masnia usually preferred to sleep outside and had found a good spot under some bushes in a nearby park down by the Mississippi River.
So I sat outside alone listening to music on my phone: of the recordings we had made in Nashville and various songs we were considering to include in our repitoire. That's when I saw Bunny coming out of the CP bus by herself. Out for some fresh air, I guessed. Or maybe just to get away from Lee for a while, since they were having problems.
I hadn't really spoken to her since before the kha-rat, nor discussed with her the conflict she and Lee were having about it. Liss and Melly had warned me that Bunny had expressed an intention to "become one of my wives" as a way for her to stay in the convoy if she broke up with Lee.
Of course, I had absolutely no desire to become involved with Bunny. She's quite pretty but that's not enough to tempt me into a messy situation that could damage our band. As Mel put it, I probably "wouldn't mind dicking her" but certainly didn't want her to move into our bus and ruin the cozy multiple-way love dynamic we have going for us.
I hadn't planned on confronting Bunny about that unless she made a move-- why embarrass her?-- and then I'd try to get Lee into the discussion and help them maybe work things out. But she spotted me sitting there with nobody else around to protect me and decided to-- yes --make her move.
She came to me, moist and sweaty in the hot summer night, barefoot, wearing only a half-unbuttoned loose-fitting man's shirt, flaunting pokies. She may be an airhead, but certainly a pretty one.
I hesitate, then shrug and say: "Sure, no point in putting it off. Liss warned me that you want to break up with Lee and be one of my wives instead. I don't mean to be unfriendly, but that's not going to happen."
She goes drama-queen, big O mouth, eyes wide: "Warned? Omygod. I'm not threatening you."
"Maybe you could just bone me now, instead of waiting? I mean, if it's going to happen anyway..."
Just then Lee came out of the CP bus, wearing only white underpants, also glistening with sweat. He was calling for Bunny. "Hey, Babe, are you here? Where'd you go?"
Bunny reluctantly closed her shirt and called without turning toward him. "I'm over here, Lee. Talking to Adam."
"Adam, eh?" Sounding jealous. He came over to us, then paused, uncertain of...well, of anything. He saw his intractable girl friend wearing almost no clothes closely facing me, the two of us alone in the dark, steamy night. It must have looked as if she was encouraging a rival-- a monstrously huge rival whom Lee could never defeat in a physical confrontation. So Lee was looking at me with jealous and fearful eyes, clenching his fists but not daring to threaten anyone my size.
In my Sha-haka training I've learned how to tweak the emotions of problematic persons. I can generate a ssysk, a spell-- or psychosis --to overtake control of a subject's mind and body. But that's usually too overwhelming to inflict upon some poor innocent opponent. Sometimes I hypnotize people without even meaning to, it's just so easy and the modern American culture offers no real defense against shamanism. Naturally, I have to be careful with that stuff, but it's quite handy when I need it.
First I changed the ambience of the situation by slouching down where I sat to lessen my height above Lee, me sitting and him standing, putting our eyes at the same level, Then I turned my relaxed body to face him and not Bunny, to indicate that I was on his side. I smiled my most easy-going friendly-guy smile. Greeted him warmly and respectfully. Made sure that he got positioned next to Bunny, between her and me,
"Hi, Lee, join the conversation, we were just talking about you,"
"Obviously I wouldn't and neither did anyone else in our little musical society, but of course, most mainstream Americans would probably have reacted as you did. A rock 'n' roll band already accustomed to the morality of groupie-culture is obviously operating on another frequency.
"But Lee and Bunny, you two were on the same frequency. So in love. Unless that was just a show, just pretending."
"No, we..." Lee started, "...no, I was crazy about her. Shit, I still am!"
"Say hey hey, aren't you both still the same persons you once loved forever?" It was corny, but these two were neither one sophisticates, I was pretty sure I had their frequency worked out. For they were gawking at each other as if they'd both just discovered peaches and cream, cherry on top.
"I.." "You.." "We.." "Love..." "Sorry..." "Let's..." "Yes!"
They hurriedly excused themselves and went off to their bus together, holding hands and dancing as they went, leaving me all by myself. But not for long, Liss and Mel came from out of our bus to join me, both grinning. They'd obviously been listening in on us.
"Rilly, Freakfoot, you've got that make-a-zombie trick down to an art form now!"
Rolling, rolling, rolling...it's almost 2:00 pm now and Interstate Highwy 22 just keeps on rolling. We should hit Birmingham about 4:30 pm because we look an hour-long pit stop for fuel and food.
I'm still hanging out in the big bed in the back of the bus, recording this chapter. Mel and Liss have gone up front but Magga has taken their place. We fell into a good conversation.
After making love, of course, having the bedroom all to ourselves for a moment. Magga is somewhat greedy for intense sex, a quality I truly appreciate in her. So we love each other passionately, but it's a Nokhon kind of love. Not like the immensly practical and erotic sex-love I get from Melly and Lissandra, nor the creative desire of fellow artists that I share with Masnia. Magga and I are all about politics and sex. Raw politics and raw sex.
She is quite critical about the "civilized" world of humans, with their weapons and their greedy self-destructive ways. But she does try to understand the logic of things, such as that humans simply cannot survive as the Nokhontli do; naked with no possessions, no tools. Humans would perish within days. She considers survival an understandable motivating factor for them.
I asked how she feels about this life we are living here in NokhSo-Land.
"I am here because you are," she told me, "I have chosen you, and wish to share your journey. I do love life with you and our three other wives. But I do not love this skesk-world of machines and weapons, it is dirty and dangerous.
"But I also do love the people in this band of NokhSo myøsik-makers. They may not exist in my Atli-world, so I study them here, see what they do, learn the parts I like. Like pole-dancing to myøsik, which I find meaningful; the play in it, the rhythm of it, the feeling of it.
"I know that all this traveling is only a moment of our journey, what you call an experience, so I shall tolerate these gruesome cities because I believe there is a purpose to all this, as a result of your Spirit Vision. Just as long as I can share it with you, my Dadamet-- along with many prodigious yørammas --I am content."
My other wives are saying similar things, they all feel this experience is destiny running on rails, And now even Magga, the critical one, is happy with what's going on in our lives, finds it "meaningful".
But personally, I feel myself becoming weary of this constant repetition of theaters and towns, as if this endless concert tour is a waste of valuable time that could be spent studying magic in Aket, or finishing my Master's Degree at the UW, or becoming involved with saving the environment, instead of being stuck in this daily grind just because we need to earn money.
But it all hangs together: I need the money to do the actual work-- which is to change the world. I must be patient and steadfast, just like any other acolyte or student or disciple or wage-slave. Besides, what am I grumping about? My songs are being heard. My Nokhon Nation Project is functioning. My love life is incomprehensibly wonderful, I get laid more than any other guy I know (except maybe Miguel). I'm even rich, which is unusual for a Bigfoot.
I mean, what could go wrong?
the Adam out of Eden series