I’m back from my live show and weekend in Phoenix, Arizona. I performed for a old friend who I went to College with Bill Kraemer. I went to SUNY Purchase which at the time was mostly an art school. The campus was 85% freaks. Bill and his friend Marcel had a techno act called Technosphere. I remember visiting their room across campus. Marcel was a really skinny tall guy from Belgium with a heavy accent. They had mini studio featuring a Rogue Moog and some ART rack efftect processors. They had dayglow shirts, toys and stickers and were properly ravetarded. In my elephant sized box of cassettes waiting in my mother’s basement sit a few Technosphere compilations. Maybe someday someone born a decade later than yours truly will obsess over them as I do with early 80s electronic demo tapes. I had not seen Bill in more than 15 years so I was looking forward to seeing him.
I’ve been working hard at my day job recently so when I received my Silver Medalian upgrade card from Delta my frown started to relax a bit. You get such a card for racking up a zillion frequent flier miles in a short time. The big deal is with the card I get automatically upgraded to business class. Not only to I get my own armrest but I can use all the fast check-in lanes and in general feel superior to everyone else. On my way to Phoenix I went.
I watched three movies on the flight. First was “Trust” staring Clive Owen. Even though Trust is rated well on Rotten Tomatoes skip it. It’s just a kiddie porn fantasy rape movie. Hollywood should be ashamed of producing this kind of thing. Next, I watched Strange Powers the documentary about Stephan Merritt and The Magnetic Fields. If your a regular reader here you know MF is one of my favs so I knew I’d love this film (and I did). Stephan explains his songwriting process which consists of him sitting in gay bars for eight hours listening to bad disco. Dark mood indeed. I was thrilled when they showed his apartment and there in the corner was an Electrocomp-101. These are rare synthesizers and I too am a proud owner of one (serial number 521 to be exact). Lastly, I saw True Grit which I thought didn’t live up to the hype with the exception of the end sequence. I won’t spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet but it’s properly sad as all movie endings should be.
I land in Phoenix, meet Bill and it’s hot. In the sun it’s much much hotter than you think. I had to get a few things at CVS so I took a walk. CVS was only a few blocks from my hotel. Somehow I got lost, disoriented and had to ask for help getting back. It’s that kind of hot. I realized anyone who lives in Phoenix is surrounded by something that could easily kill them.
I arrived a day early and spent the afternoon in the Hotel’s pool. The San Carlos is a famous place built on the site of an early American Indian school house. That’s where this hotel’s bad karma started. In the 1920s a woman jumped to her death from the roof. Later, Bogart and Marilyn Monroe made the Carlos there home for short stints. It’s a properly haunted place and before I even knew the history I was taking photos of it’s creepy Kubrikesque hallways.
For dinner Chris Randall was kind to pick me up and take me to the Gallo Blanco Cafe at The Clarendon Hotel. Here I believe I probably had the first good mexican food in my entire life. A simple fish Torte that’s still on my mind five days later. If you read this blog you obviously know who Chris is. He creates the Audio Damage plug-ins, makes music and has a blog called Audio Industries. All his efforts are unique and above par interesting. The conversation was good and it’s always nice to validate your own life a little by meeting people with similar interests.
Later Friday evening I met with Bill, his friends and Ralph aka Kung Fu grip. Bill’s 1987 Toyota Camry looks like it was lost in the dessert a few years. Fully covered in pink dessert dust and full of disorganization. Flyers, containers and well just a bunch of unidentifiable stuff. Bill couldn’t drive for what ever reason so his friend Matt took over. Matt was wearing a NY Yankees cap tilted to the side. So here we are four guys in this car and Matt in his hat. Yes of course we get pulled over. Yes of course Bill doesn’t have insurance. Let’s just leave the rest of this night unspoken about ok?
The next day there was more swimming then the live show. The venue was inappropriately huge but soon after arriving I was able to meet a few new friends who flew from surrounding states to catch me. The show starts and as with every time I perform in a new place I have to work hard to prove I’m there to have fun with the crowd. In a good mood I manage to get everyone from frozen in fear to yes let’s dance like we are Germans.
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