Our first trip out west, in 1988, does not bring us as far north as Oregon or Washington, but we are racking up the miles on I-5. Since last we visited this tour we’ve traveled to Berkeley, and now on February 19, we’re back in L.A. for a doubleheader: an acoustic set at the late, great Rhino Records followed by a sold-out show at the Club Lingerie, opening for House of Freaks and the Pontiac Brothers. It’s no fun at all. We play early to an empty room and rather than return to the communal dressing room, Georgia and I decide to go for a walk. The doorman bids us adieu in that unmistakable all-exits-final way, so we tell him that we’re band members and will be returning. He replies that it doesn’t matter who we are, once we leave, we’re not getting back in. Positive that at least one of us is not understanding the other, I reiterate that we’re on the bill, and just want some fresh air. Turns out that miscommunication is not our problem, and he indicates the long line of people whose attendance depends on someone leaving, and asks us what he’s supposed to tell them. Looking for Allen Funt or (demonstrating great prognostication) Asthton Kutcher, I suggest he tell them we’re part of the show. To no avail. We are undaunted: “Sell our equipment. We’re going for a walk.” And sure, I nearly got beaten to a pulp when we got back, but a bit of groveling later and we were back inside, miserable.
Things are going only slightly better 22 years later in Adelaide. The backline that’s been provided for us is disintegrating before our eyes. When the bass amp dies during the fifth song (to be fair, that’s three songs longer than the organ amp), we take an unscheduled intermission to reflect. On our return, we play a couple of songs with me at the piano, with the bass in the monitors and p.a. only. Not to get too technical, but it sounds like crap. The set list gets thrown in the trash with the amps, and we play an hour of acoustic songs.