In 1992 my then main band Adulterous Woman went on a short tour (our second) to the Northwest, mostly to play in Portland and Seattle where we had booked two shows each. Travelling with us (us being Heather, Natalie and myself) were my girlfriend Kelly (now my wife, she is also Heather's sister), and our friends Aimee and Mike. Mike used to let us practice at his house in South Phoenix and on the tour he decided he would act as our manager, which we all agreed might help smooth over any problems we encountered.We had rented a minivan for this tour. On the previous tour we had taken two cars, and on the way back one of them broke down. This was before the affordable cell phone so logistics were difficult. When we got to Portland we had arranged to stay with a friend whose band i was in briefly back in Phoenix a few years before. He had a gorgeous old house pretty close to downtown Portland. He was also really in to drugs, which our "manager" Mike appreciated. In fact he appreciated it so much that he decided he'd stay behind while we went on to Seattle to play at the OK Hotel. They actually had scored something really good right outside our Satyricon gig the night before.
The OK Hotel show went really well. We headlined, i believe, being the out of town band on a weeknight. It wasn't because anyone had heard of us necessarily, although Kevin (Love Battery) and Chris and Carla (The Walkabouts) did come to see us. We had met them in travels before, both ours and theirs. The opening band was called John The Baptist, and after we performed it became clear that they were quite impressed with us. Their drummer was very complimentary, and when we were just about to go ask Kevin about possible accomodations, the drummer invited us to stay at his place. He said he'd be glad to let us stay there and he'd go sleep at his girlfriend's place to make more room. We thought this was nice so we accepted his offer.
After loading out in the wee hours, the drummer-guy brought a biker guy over to us and said that his friend would ride with us in our van, because the directions to their place were a bit confusing. This should have been red flag number one. But we were young and probably a little naive. Kevin said, upon hearing about this arrangement, "if things don't work out, call me", and he raised his eyebrows in an all-wise manner. This should have been red flag number two.
The drive to the house we were to stay in was indeed very confusing and even the biker guy got lost a little. This should be red flag number three. After about a 45 minute drive, we finally we got to the house. I recall that it was north of Seattle's downtown, so yeah it was the suburbs edging towards being the sticks. The house sat on a corner and had a fairly high cement stair climb to get to the front door. After biker guy went up to the house we all sat wondering if perhaps we should make up an excuse to leave. But we were tired so we plodded in, each with a light load of gear, just to get the lay of the land.
And what did we see as we entered? A small living room with a guy, who i call video zombie, sitting on an ottoman, so lost in the game that he didn't even look at any of the 5 people entering the house carrying band equipment. Well, ok maybe he didn't even live there, so big deal. But as we walked around the corner in to the kitchen there were two guys playing a different kind of game. One of them had a gun and seemed to be showing the other one a particular kind of choke hold that is suitable for a mugging, or perhaps an armed robbery. I remember feeling my stomach drop but just continuing to follow our biker guide, who had met us at the door, down in to the basement to where drummer guy apparently lived.
Now i was thinking, "basement apartment: must be more than large enough to accomodate us", right? Well, not really. The entire basement was perhaps 12 feet by 12 feet with a huge bed taking up most of the room. We all stood looking at this small room and for a few seconds tried to figure out how we could work out a tetris diagram of where we'd all sack out. I recall someone, probably Heather, saying, "well Kelly, you and Todd can have the bed".
After a minute sanity hit and i suggested that we just find an excuse to leave. I figured if we made it past the gunman, we were home free. The interesting thing about the gunman, too, was that to my memory neither he nor his student, just like the video zombie, said anything to us or even seemed to acknowledge that we were there. It only just occured to me at the time of this writing that perhaps they were ghosts, and that maybe even biker guy didn't see them, although all 5 of us definitely did. My wife and I both had seen what i could only explain as being a ghost on our previous tour, but that's another post.
When we called Kevin at about 3:30am, he was incredibly understanding and listened to our freaked out adventure before heading back to bed, leaving us his wonderfully huge (by comparison) living room in which to crash. His wife had to be up early for class, or a job, i can't remember which, but we were able to sleep in until mid-morning before heading out for Portland to pick up our "manager".