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Pete's   Shotwell   Hell   Tour   File   !

In the spring of 1997 the gentlemen's punkrawk franchise club known as SHOTWELL went on a coast to coast tour for no apparent reason. the following file will document the varying exploits of this astrologically doomed enterprise from start to bloody conclusion. Follow along the way as egos are bruised, bottles are downed, fists were flying, strings were breaking and the trusty R.V kept lurching on through the night, mile after mile... read on if you really wanna know what life in a freakin'unknown punk rock band can be like...


Jim gets ripped.
This isn't necessarily something out of the unusual, nor is it something that the rest of us would frown upon. We were on tour, and the inherent faculty of such an endeavour is easily defined through debauchery and a few ribald weeks on the road. After all, what is touring,really? It's simply an excuse to travel, to fall into town, play music, hopefully get paid, and then travel on to the next town under conditions which may or may not be entirely suitable to everyday things. There is no boss, there are no common rules to which one might ordinarily adhere while in a day to day grind. You live on a whim, and the only organized elements involved are a map and- according to our itenerary- an arbitrary sense of when and where you are expected to play. Of course whether you decide to show up or not is completely based on the above-mentioned "criteria." The beauty of this tour, undoubtedly, was our collective acquisition of the RV-the Leprechaun. None of us had the desire to drive around the country in an overly cramped vehicle- that had already been done too often. Not only that, we're old, and the idea of trying to get some sleep while contorted into a questionably comfortable position was in no way a desire either.

So, as I've mentioned, Jim took the intial oppurtunity to acquaint himself as quickly as possible. We'd been blessed with quite a care package, and if alcohol doesn't maintain the cuirous sensation of abstracting time, then the comfort and convenience our five-and-ahalf-ton transport surely adds the same type of experience. A ride in a Winnebago shortens the time inherent in travel in relation to the increase in both space and privacy. The problem was Jim decided the extra room was open game. Repeatedly, I had to tell Jim to "calm down", or the overly simple "relax." As his exploits steadily increased-at one point pulling a BB gun from one of the drawers and randomly taking shots- I had to assert an even headier "cut that shit out, Jim, someone's gonna get hurt." It was all futile of course. Our only solid fear had been realized. Jim's puerile capacity was in full bloom, his 30 year old body careening about the cabin, huffin weed, swillin whiskey and beer, and, to make matters worse, topped off with a hostile offensive against a relatively defenseless Lil' Mike (the guy who wrote the stupid heading to this). You could it was the true turning point in Jim's behaviour. As Lil Mike sat dozing in the passenger seat, Jim simply walked up and smacked Lil' Mike right upside the head with an evil right hook. " I just wanted to ask him a question," Jim said.
Lil' Mike turned, retaliating with his own sudden series of bitch slaps, eyes furiously agog, and hailing upon Jim a string of invective to which Jim, in his foundered state, in no way could respond with any clarity.
The car grew silent, Jim and Lil' Mike refusing to look at one another. Meanwhile, Tony's driving, oblivious to it all. He's given up listening to Jim. Which wasn't something that took too long in coming. Jim had spent about an hour up in the passenger seat with Tony, talking incessantly about ways we should shoot the "tour film". Eyes clearly glazed, voice skewed by his characteristic habit of talking out of the side of his mouth when ripped, Jim suggested "we" rig a mount on the dash, onto which "we'd" place our camera to enable the perfect road shot!!!!!
Tony could only take so much, and had abruptly kicked Jim out of the passenger seat with his own brand of invective. We were only three hours out of San Francisco and Jim had already thoroughly pissed off two of us, and had yet to start working on Greg, who, aside from periodic outbursts, had retired behind the newspaper and stayed there. It should be mentioned that Tony's staunch three-meal-a-day dietary regimen should never be affected if you are to converse or engage in any activity whatsoever with him. You're asking for trouble if you actually attempt to communicate in any rational way. He just won't have it. And since we had no propane as yet, and no real road food on hand for that matter, Tony was in a very grave mood. No two ways about it: his strict regimen was firmly in the red. No breakfast to speak of, perhaps a few tidbits, and virtually nothing else, Tony, after summarily eschewing Jimmy from the passenger seat, had grown very quiet. And then, as mentioned above, Jimmy struck. And then it was done. The Leprechaun meditated at 65, and everyone settled quietly into the passing drudgery of I-5, southbound, 3pm, March 7, 1997.

We managed to power through the better half of the trip to L>A> before our hunger got the best of us. We pulled into some uber gas station just before the Grapevine which provided ample food and some valuable time to break off from one another for a few minutes of peace. Which proved absolutely essential because, you see, Jim struck once again and almost killed us all. . For reasons that will never be fathomable to anyone (culprit included), Tony decided to hand the wheel over to Jim. What is equally incomprehensible is how it had been accomplished. Apparently, it was an amazingly smooth exchange, because no one noticed a thing. The rest of us had been so occupied doing whatever it was we were doing that we never noticed Tony rise from the driver seat, still maintaining speed, thereby allowing Jim to slide in beneath him and take over. This is no easy task. What with the bulk of the engine cover and the lack of sufficient room to maneuver over and around this specific object, it's hard to believe why Tony would do it- with Jim no less. I guess his hunger depletes not only his likeable personality, but his fucking sense of reason as well. Nonetheless, it had done flawlessly. And as a matter of course, no one saw it coming. I, for one, had been sitting on the couch (yeah, the couch) reading when I felt a slight pull forward. That slight pull turned into a large veer to our right. I looked up to find the RV completely out of the slow lane and heading for some fairly uncertain roadside. All I could really make out, other than dirt, was a vague swathe of weeds, tire tracks, and various forms of debris. Fear set in immediately. It wasn't so much the obvious danger of our vehicle swerving out of control as it was the sight of Jim- of all fucking people!!!- at the wheel attempting to steady the beast as it wavered precariously from side to side. He was all elbows, swinging the RV from left to right, while the rest of us sat and listened to our assholes pucker. I don't remember anyone making a sound. I think we all expected to go down. Luckily, we didn't. Jim eventually straightened us out, pulling over on the side of the highway in order that we got some semblance of a steady heartbeat. You could say the verbal onslaught began here. Lil' Mike instantly tore into Jim sparing no use of his mighty cussing ability, and Greg, rightly so, just as quickly tore into Tony. It was a mess. Cars were hurtling past, their collective gusts waving the RV, and we sat in there yelling and asking why. Without a doubt, it was one of the funniest, most absurd situations ever to transpire in my lifetime. Especially once Jimmy started to argur his case. Slurring, he said he was merely trying to get acquainted with the use of the mirrors and a general handle on the vehicle, but, "...this line became that one, and the one I thought was there became the one that was here, and...and..and..." Such an explanation would not do for Greg. He quickly took over and took us in the vast parking lot, full of trucks and innocuous tourists and travellers who knew nothing of our recent escapade. I couldn't help it- I had to laugh. " Shit! Almost died!!" Tony, however, saw no humor at all, and began to berate my joking about it. But the truth of the matter is this is merely the way I react to certain levels of stimuli; certain influxes, whether they be brought on by fear, joy, whatever, things over which my body shows no control or defense, become adrenalated bursts of emotion. On this particular occasion, I happened to laugh. I very well could've cried, but I laughed instead, according to some arcane function of my visceral instinct. " That's just the way it is, man. I can't help it." Both Lil' Mike and Tony argued that my laughing was a sort of acquittal for Jim, a defense. Which, in hindsight, could very well be true; I've driven many times with Jim, shitfaced or otherwise, and there've been many occasions in which he has pulled off things that I thought, under the given circumstances, were unmanageable. But to be a part of it in an RV, an unusual and unconventional vehicle to be sure, was too much.

Once we returned to the RV with our food, Jim had already crawled up to the loft to begin what Greg and I figured to be sleeping it off. We were were talking about it all, when Jim suddenly piped up for a minute, further elucidating his case but it was pretty futile at this point. And since there really wasn't one, he curled up, possibly formulating a verbal strategy to ward off the opprobrious shithouse that was the dark space of the loft.

In a couple of hours we were at AL's on a bill with Pop Defect- a great band. We went on second, following some tattoo-crazed glam boys who seemed sincerely pissed off at the end of their set. A crowd of two can do that, though. The drummer slammed his sticks around, shoved his set around as if it were a step-child, and stormed off to the bar. He'd get to dismantling his set later. The singer/Guitarist seemed in no better a mood, but he had a highly consoling girly there for him, so he cooled off after a spell. Only the bass player seemed unfazed. And isn't this the way of most bass players? Always a level-headed, almost lolling sort of cat that alawys comes to play. This guy took his gear off the stage and even stuck around for our set. We had maybe five folks in the crowd, but that didn't make it any less fun. Most people stood at the bar, on the other side of an open-ended partition, and occasionally I'd see some recognition, but it was mostly an assortment of hipster cool and blase billiards. Much hang-dog dispositon, fleshbath eyes, and mundane bar behaviour, anywhere, USA. The set went fine, no better or worse than any other. Toast, as always, was in true form, whoopin it up from the behind the knobs. Always good to see Toast. And I musn't forget Patita, a gracious bartender ready and willing to pour for the poor. It was our second time through here in as maamny years, and it felt like we picked it back up where we last left it. Which is to say that the night was indeed wet, and Patita kindly dodged my advances without any rancor. She, nonetheless, kept the pint full as Pop Defect, a most deft and tight band, tore out a quick set for,say, seven folks before wrapping it up at the bar. We closed the joint, thanks to Toast, and by bed time had a visitor in the RV offering, among other things, patchouli, which we thoroughly declined. Embarrassed, the guy pitched in a fiver for gas (which is good for about a half mile, but it's the thought blah blah) and gave us a tip on a "great breakfast joint" that was "just up the street." If one knows anything about L.A., it's the peoples' assumption that there is no other form of travel but driving; which stands to reason when you think about how far and wide the land mass actually is. He eventually got the hell out, though, offering to party and still rarin to go. . .

I remember one thing once the lights were out:

Tony: Fuck you!

Me: Nah, man! Fuck YOU!!

Apparently, and for no particular reason, this highly challenging battle of wits lasted afew more go-rounds before Greg intervened on behalf of the rest of the crew and kindly told us we would have stop now, boys. Fair enough. It had been a long day.

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