December 12, 2006

Best Photo Blog Yet: Live Chicken in the Van

Well the photo blog starts here this time. Thanksgiving Dinner, Waffle and Steak somewhere in Arkansas.

This is King Coffee, drummer for the Butthole Surfers. I was so glad he came out to our show in Austin, TX. We owed him a GIANT thank you for making us so many friends in that town and at SXSW.

This fine couple made us some great BBQ inside the Continental Club in Houston, TX. That show was a highlight of the tour for sure, and this man seemed almost like a shaman to us. He blessed our van and the tour, and I think it is working.

Peyton Brothers remembering the Alamo.

This is Ward Johnson a street preacher singing in San Antonio, TX.

A Tumbleweed blows past a Lincoln Continental with a Kinky Friedman bumper sticker – Van Horn, TX

The sun sets over Mexico just east of El, Paso.

Jayme is feeding deer somewhere between Tucson and Phoenix, AZ.

Jayme is feeding an Ostrich somewhere between Tucson and Phoenix, AZ. (Same Farm)

Onstage at Club Congress in Tucson, AZ. This show was so much fun, and the people at the Hotel Congress really took care of us.

More at Club Congress in Hotel Congress.

Onstage in Phoenix, AZ. The Hillgrass Bluebilly boys promoted this one, and it was fantastic. Their shows always are. They have a special thing happening in Phoenix.

Our show in LA was huge. We played on Sunset at Safari Sam’s. Big Sandy of Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys came to the show. What an honor. I am a huge fan of his.

We opened for Wanye the Train Hancock, and he was great on-stage and off.

The real hero of the night was Sam himself. His heart is huge, and he is a legend among real music fans in LA. Safari Sam’s is back with a vengeance.

In LA we picked up our friend Chris Francis. You want to talk about a legend, this guys has done it all. His artwork can be seen on the covers of albums by Otis Gibbs and Utah Phillips, etc., he lived on Freight Trains for 6 years, he has been a tree topper, a sword fisherman, you name it. He is hitching a ride back to Kokomo, Indiana (his place of birth), and acting as our merch guy/stage manager. A little over qualified… yes.

When we got to Frisco I took this picture, which made these people in Chinatown really mad. Upon closer review of this pic, I was able to read that sign and we knew why.

China town in San Francisco is an interesting place. Here clothes hang out to dry in an alley.

While walking around in Chinatown, we ran into a store that sold live chickens, pigeons, quail, and other live birds for eating. I eat chicken, but the small confinement of the chickens really made us upset, so we decided to buy one and rescue it.

We fell in love with it, and it travelled around with us in SF while we had three shows there. Originally we planned on trading the chicken to some nice hippy kids we met, who raised chickens for eggs in Oakland. However they flaked out and never made it to the shows. We were stuck with caring for the chicken on our own.

The Chicken went to the gigs, and we kept it outside on a leash,

We named it SUM YUNG HEN since we purchased her in Chinatown.

The chicken rode the trolley with us as we travelled around Frisco.

The chicken got to go to the beach for the first time, and really seemed to enjoy it.

When it was time to head to Vegas for the show at the Double Down Saloon, we knew the chicken just couldn’t come. It was heart breaking.

These nice kids we met at Haight and Ashbury said they would see to it that the chicken would be safe.

So we hit the road and took the long way to Vegas via Route 66. Here you can see the steer horns on the front of the Big Damn Van.

Chris Francis wanted us to see Oatman, AZ.

Oatman, AZ is famous for having wild donkeys that roam the streets. They were abandoned when the silver mines closed.

The Donkeys thrived though, and the people in Oatman look after them now.

These donkeys are amazing and friendly. We hung out with them, hugging them and petting them. They love people. The Big Damn Band loved them right back.

We had good times in Vegas. I think gambling is for suckers, but be that as it may… we won 40 bucks, and had Vegas Buffet food!.

The folks at the Double Down saloon were awesome, but it was time to head out toward Joshua Tree. Here the Big Damn Van can be seen travelling down a dirt road somewhere in Joshua Tree National Park.

Here I am walking in Joshua Tree.

This guy was busking outside the Wal-Mart in Yucca Valley, CA. He was pretty good, and really friendly.

This is us onstage at the world famous Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown, CA in Joshua Tree.

I had to get my picture with the horns onstage at Pappy and Harriet’s.

Joshua Tree is a beautiful place, and the trees are really something to see.

On the way toward El Centro, CA we stopped off at the Salton Sea. These birds attacked Jayme.

Here Jayme and I are on the beach at the Salton Sea.

A volunteer at the Salton Sea state park told us about Salvation Mountain in Slab City, CA. It is the largest piece of folk art in the world.

This is Leonard Knight. He built Salvation Mountain, and not only is he a kind hearted and wonderful human being, but we got to hang out with him, and he showed us how he built it, and then we sang songs.

Washboard Breezy stands on top of Salvation Mountain.

Breezy snapped this photo of Jayme, Chris Francis, and myself.

This is how the mountain looks inside made entirely out of adobe, hay, and sticks and items found in the desert.

Here I stand inside Salvation Mountain.

I snapped this one of Breezy and me at the mountain.

Chris Francis stands proud.

This is more inside the mountain.

Another view of Salvation Mountain.

Leonard let me play his guitar, and we sang gospel songs.

Here we are picking and singing together an old spiritual song.

Leonard and Rev. Peyton at Salvation Mountain.

This woman and her friend came to see the mountain and stayed to watch us sing. She began to cry and then wanted to hug me. I am not religious, and I especially don’t like organized religion, but art and blues and music and old spiritual songs are very dear to me. There was something powerful there that day, and we all felt it. My eyes watered up a little bit. The women didn’t say their name or why they were there, but somehow I felt like maybe we all were there for them.

The face of Chris Francis pretty much sums it up here.

When the sun went down it was time to head to El Centro.

El Centro is right on the border, and the place was electric. People danced on the bar. I didn’t see any fights this time, and I think everyone danced. It was a special night for sure.

This was the view from the stage. The faces have been removed to protect the innocent. All in all it was a hell of a day.

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