Last night I had a rough time sleeping. Finished my Ambien and the Trazadone as well as some OTC. My blood pressure after work was skyrocketing as I forgot to take my Lisinopril in the morning before leaving for the office. Before I went to bed I was remembering how I used to scare Maggie with the Lester Ventriloquist puppet my brother gave for for Xmas several years ago. One morning she woke up to it staring her right in the face from the pillow next to her. It was a comforting thought. That may have been what kicked off my long strange dream about Maggie and her mother.
Thinking back about the Sunday morning that I was told she had been taken away from us and how it affected the rest of my day and the rest of summer hit me hard again. I really miss her and the spirit she brought into what time we got to spend together.
This young guy passed away Tuesday. When I came home from the show Sunday evening Kaleb was not feeling so well. Monday he was a former shell of himself as he was last Memorial Day weekend. He died Tuesday afternoon sleeping in my bedroom. Katrina is already feeling our homes loss. He was a great cat and will be missed.
When I got home from an amazing trip into the backwash of Indiana my cat Kaleb was sick again. It was depressing and he expired yesterday afternoon. Needless to say I’m running on no sleep today and worked this morning from home starting at 5AM
What to do?
I left work early Friday for a doctor’s appointment, checkup, refills etc. and was in and out quicker than ever with a clean bill of health. I wouldn’t put suffering chronic insomnia up there with a clean bill of health since I can’t tell you that there’s anything so frustrating and torturous. But I got meds for that and it’s better than nothing. I took the train home, bought a bag of ice and cat litter and got to heating up some Udon Noodles and packing my bags for my overnight getaway. I packed light than ever and wore the same shoes and jeans for both days. For some reason I brought along 8 shirts.
It was still a couple of hours before I was able to relax. A cocktai
l would have served its purpose but since I can’t just have one out that idea on my head and dialed up season 2 of Stranger Things on the box. I was quick to realize I would need a quick refresher so I watched the final episode of season 1 so I could recall where the story picks up. I was unable to get through the entire hours in one sit because my mobile would not stop ringing or receiving text messages.
Finally I got to the new season with one cat on my lap and the other at my side and even though had planned to watch two episodes as it was pushing bedtime scratched that idea and went to sleep.
At 830AM on Saturday I dragged my bags out with me, went to Walgreens, Subway and to the bank. My train was originally schedule to depart at 1015AM and I came very close to hailing a taxi but took the red line instead. I got to Millennium Station, bought my tickets and began to wait. 10AM no boarding call, 1015 no boarding call and finally at 1030AM the attendant called all aboard and I would learn that just the day before there were some service cuts and the 1015AM was now a 1045AM departure. I printed the schedule 2 days prior to my trip.
As we approached Hammond I posted the following on social media: “OMMFG! That long forgotten scent of incest.” A comment that humored me as I recalled the shows that Chainsaw Johnny (the best worst punk band on earth) and when they opened the Alc O Holiday show for me back in 97 in Muncie IN at Ball State University they thanked the attendees for coming out of their trailers for the show, and remarked how Indiana smelled of incest.
I arrived at the Portage-Ogden Dunes Station at 1215PM. I called Jason who was my ride and sharing the room with me who have left Pendleton IN over 3 hours before for a 34 hour drive if he was near. He was stuck in traffic over 2 hours away. I was stranded but am resourceful. It was bitterly cold and I walked to the gas station and asked about taxi service. There is one called Crazy Cab but takes about 90 min arrive. There was no shelter. I made a c
all and then called Dave Ganz who was about an hour away driving from Lockport. I explained my dilemma and worst case scenario was that I wait an hour for him or the taxi which ever came first. I called Newbomb Turk to vent as a freight train rolled by and thanked him for taking my call. It was then that two gents walked my way and with their thick German accents asked me about the train schedule as their train from the city was supposed to arrive at 1224PM. I inquired where they had driven from and they replied Grand Rapids Michigan and I explained that they had just crossed into Central Time Zone and it’d be 124PM on their time. As they walked away I asked, “Do you want to make $20? I’ll pay you if you can take me to this address.” and showed them the address to Quaker Steak & Lube where I was set to meet up with Jason (running late) Steve and his twin sons, Dave, Bryant, Scott and Kari. The place was literally 2 miles. Had I known where I was in relation could have walked it but my duffel, backpack and laptop bag might have been a bit of a bitch. My new friends asked me where in Chicago they should eat and I asked what they were in the market for and they told me MEAT. I then gave them my 10% dis
count card to Kuma’s Too and was on my way. As soon as I walked in with my bags I was greeted by Berta and made a beeline to the men’s room to take a much needed pee. (The train had no restrooms) I walked to the bar and was greeted by Britney the waitress who went far out of her way to accommodate my party and I seated at the bar and was served by Lyndsey who would be incredible for the weekend. I hadn’t planned on liquor but since i had a wait and was a tinge bit stressed ordered a Jameson on the rocks.
So there I was alone at the bar. Britney had set up a table and chairs and pour waters which showed me her dedication. I made small talk with Lyndsey at the bar in between sending and receiving text messages. Then like clockwork and right on time in walked Dave and Big Daddy Bohne who is infamous by now for his ability to devour or in his words “destroy” an entire bucket of wings. We took seats and then Scott and Kari walked in followed by Steve and his twin boys, Becky and her daughter who I call Becky Jr. We all took seats as Jason who is in a wheelchair and I made space for at the front of the table had yet to arrive. I would put in his order.
The layout of the menu is diffe
rent now and doesn’t have the heat scale/thermometer so the list of sauces are at the bottom of the menu listed by heat horizontally. So I walked out to view the scale displayed in the front of the house by the hostess
Berta who told me would could sample some especially since I saw this newer sauce Dusted Ghost Pepper (11,700 SHU) which is the 3rd hottest they have on the menu. I made the mistake years ago when Cathy Wrona took me to the flagship QS&L in PA of ordering the Triple Atomic (500,000 SHU) which I was only able to take one bite of and could not send back as I signed a waiver. So we asked Britney so we could sample a few and I decided that I loved the taste of the Dusted Ghost Pepper. We put in our orders and I had a bucket of the Dusted and their Hot (3,000 SHU) Classic buffalo-style taste, nice’n hot. We had buckets all around.
Now this is where I have to give major props to our impressive waitress who was working a double. Britney was beyond great. She was attentive, accurate, and friendly; especially considering the amount of people she single handedly served and should set the standard of excellence in waitressing. She showed no signs of being stressed out by permitting us to pay in separate checks and she was tipped accordingly. I made sure she was.
We all chatted and strangers became friends and we talked music and movies and Gotham and music. It was unbelievable that we got out of there by 330PM.
Jason and I got to his car and put the address of the hotel, Country Inn & Suites By Carlson only to discover it was located right next to the parking lot. This alone would prove to be very convenient. I checked us in, checked out the pool which is the biggest reason I booked their hotel and asked the lady at the counter where I could find liquor store. She told me the Liquor Store was very close by. It was about 1 mile away and was literally called The Liquor Store. I went in, made a few choices, was told it was cash only and we were off to the room where we’d chill, I’d shower before the show and we’d meet up at QS&L again for pre concert cocktails, or ales and nachos.
Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Portage, IN
As we approached the venue Big Shots 808 County Rd 400 W, Valparaiso, IN 46385 I got a text to come on the Budderside bus, the band that has been opening for LA GUNS on the reunion tour. I did, and was handed a steel speculum from my good friend Eden Lake who was sitting next to Patrick Stone the singer of the band. I was thrilled and after some chit chat walked over to Jason’s car and threw the tool in and he asked “What the fuck is that?”
from my YELP Review
I was skeptical going in after reading some of the reviews here but we had tickets and hotel rooms booked and there was no way I was missing LA GUNS no matter what. All I can say is that I was pleasantly surprised. From the parking lot attendant, to security, to the bartenders everyone was as accommodating as could be. I had actually contacted my buddy Nick Huffman of the Looney Bin to inquire about the place and he recommended it actually and as it turns out his friend Ed owns the joint. Right then I knew we’d be alright. My biggest concern was my friend is in a wheelchair and I was worried that since they didn’t know s there that based on these reviews there might be issues. There weren’t.
I went to the upstairs bar to introduce myself and crew to the owner but he was out that evening. No matter, the staff at this place couldn’t be nicer.
As far as the layout I can report that there is ample parking, the venue itself is laid out nicely, the sound is good and the stage is a decent size. The drinks are affordable and overall it’s a really good place to see a show.
There was a good size group of us from all over the region so we had hotel rooms and there are a lot nearby. There are a lot of places to eat around Big Shots.
I would be happy to go back.
After another energetic hard rock set from California based Budderside who are on the Motorhead Music label LA GUNS came out to an energetic crowd. Just one night after selling out The Open Chord, Knoxville, TN with Charlie Bonnete III and the Folkin’ Gasholes, the legendary quintet ripped open their set with “The Devil Made Me Do It” a new song from their brand new album “The Missing Peace” which was written by guitarist Michael Grant. It was nice to see the band add new material to their set after seeing them twice over the summer. Other than new cuts “Speed” and “The Flood’s the Fault of the Rain” the band entertained us with old favorites the likes of “Over The Edge” “Kiss My Love Goodbye” “Never Enough” and of course “The Ballad of Jayne”. The 90 minute set still leaves me starving for more. Maybe its the chemistry of this fresh line up of talent. Tracii and Phil being joined by Johnny Martin – bass guitar, Shane Fitzgibbon – drums, Michael Grant – guitar they still seem like their having a fun time onstage. They give new meaning to the term rejuvenated.
The next day 10/29 they had a gig in Pekin IL and then amazingly 3 days later were in the UK kicking off another exhausting stretch of shows.
Well I’m sorry darling, I must confess
And as much as I need your caress
You’ll keep taking till your very last breath
So put your arms around me
Leave me with your kiss of death
Well, I guess that’s just the way that it goes
Why love dies no one knows
But I’ll love you till my very last breath
Don’t say a word
Just leave me with your kiss of death
As usual after the show we were quite hungry so we stopped at a Denny’s and were seated next to a lady who is big LA GUNS fan sporting one of the bands shirts that I had never seen. So we ordered our food and I started chatting her up about Budderside. Like clockwork the band walked in and were seated next to us. Talk about coming full circle.
We got back to the hotel late, around 4 AM. The pool opened at 7A and I asked Jason to set his alarm for 645A because no matter what anyone had said I was going down that frog slide. The alarm went off and we got up and as we were doing so Jason asked, “Do you smell that?” It was awful. The overwhelming stench of bacon and maple syrup two of my least favorite foods of all time. Our room was directly across from the dining area and buffet. So I did the pool thing and Jason took pix and went back to bed as I soaked in the Jacuzzi for a while.
I asked if we could get late check out and they extended it till 1P. I walked over to QS&L and purchased some sauces and Ghost pepper dust and had a drink while talking with the bartender. I decided to take a later train home and we chilled out for a bit longer. I opted for the 410P departure as opposed the 124P train back to the city. It was crowded and I took a seat and made some calls. When we arrived I dragged my bags out to Michigan Ave and took a taxi toward home. I didn’t go directly back. I went into Tac Quick for a couple of drinks.
As usual when I take a trip where I return home Sunday I take Monday off to unwind. It was a great time and I had a week till I’d face the single biggest challenge of my life. But to make matters even worse my cat Kaleb died.
Supreme Skillet (Grilled sausage, fresh spinach, fire-roasted bell peppers and onions, mushrooms, grape tomatoes and red-skinned potatoes topped with Cheddar cheese and eggs)
The speculum and a adouble shot of Jamo on the rocks at Tac Quick
Just discovered a fantastic use for my Quaker Steak & Lube Dusted Ghost Pepper (11,700 SHU) Blend of spices & India’s Ghost Chili Pepper
“I feel it’s time right now where a lot of young bands are so introspective… and young rock bands seem to lack a sense of outlaw. Rock bands should always be outlaws. That was the whole idea behind being in a rock band, was being the outlaw, not fitting in, whereas I see a lot of young bands trying their hardest to fit in. It’s either in you or not in you to have that rebellion in you, to be a rebel. Your music should have a certain amount of anti-establishment in it. It should be clever; it should be hard rock; and you’ve got to walk on stage with swagger.”
- Alice Cooper Oct 2017
In no particular order these are my favorite releases of 2017 thus far.
L.A. Guns The Missing Peace
The Jesus And Mary Chain Damage And Joy
Prong Zero Days
Cheap Trick We’re All Alright! (Deluxe Edition)
Danzig Black Laden Crown
Rammstein In Paris DVD
Society 1 Rise From The Dead
Gene Loves Jezebel ‘Dance Underwater’
Damn Gotham just keeps getting better and better. What a (k)night!
Solomon Grundy, Born on a Monday, Christened on Tuesday, Married on Wednesday,Took ill on Thursday, Grew worse on Friday, Died on Saturday, Buried on Sunday, That was the end,Of Solomon Grundy
Sunday, October 22