Tell you what, we didn't die trying to see WOLFMOTHER, but we almost did trying to get home. Maybe a few times. Let's just call it six times as a fair estimate.Elders and I loaded up Boggs the Honda at roughly 11:43 the night of the show with a 6:30 dinner and 8:30 meet-n-greet with the greatest band on the face of the Earth--WOLFMOTHER. Not an unachievable mark at all, but with freezing weather on our heels like the lawman on a drug bust, we knew we needed to make exceptional time on the early portion of the trip and get as far down the road as possible before stopping for craps, cokes or steak finger baskets. You know, we're road dawgs. With two iPods between us, we left the Yellow at 12:00 and not a minute after.
I remember listening to Dr. Dre, Cage and a little WOLFMOTHER, you know, just to get the blood running a little bit. There were some really frightening sightings of deer carcasses along the way. Actually, there was an abnormal amount of dead deer on the side of the highway. I was wondering if we were driving to Dallas or a much darker place. Nonetheless, we pushed onward unphased by a headless deer on the side of the road. The head was about three feet away completely detached.
What's that in the road ahead?
What's that in the road? A head?
Speaking of wildlife, I was unfamiliar with a camel farm about three hours out of the Yellow. There was a flock of camels (if someone would mind providing me for the proper description of a gathering of camels--I don't believe it's a "flock"). I estimate there was almost 30 of them. Bizarre and actually a little sad. I'm not sure what purpose camels serve in Texas apart from transportation and not even reliable and efficient transport. Perhaps they'll be slaughtered and served at your local Wal Mart as "beef parts." They looked lonely and confused. That's all I'm gonna say. Poor guys didn't even see it coming.
We hit rain just south of Wichita Falls and it drenched us the whole way in from there. I could hear the kid at Jiffy Lube asking just the night before, "Did you want us to replace your wipers and refill your windshield fluid?" I declined politely. Regretted it.
We arrived in Dallas at about 5:48 thanks to the ever-trusty HOV lane. Sheryl was kind and gave us a tour of the new UMGD offices and loaded down Elders with more promos than he could carry comfortably. It's the music business and Sheryl's a vet and takes care of her peeps. We then headed to Firewater for a quick bite before heading downtown to meet WOLFMOTHER. Jacko and Matt would meet us down there.
After being hasselled for $10/each on parking, we parked in the street right in front of his lot for $.75/each. Whatta punk. If I wasn't such a stingy cat, I would've paid for it to avoid confrontation. If I wasn't such a nice guy, I would've punched that dude in the gut. Mama didn't raise no sucka.
After making our way to the venue, Greg (now the coolest guy in Dallas) handed out the tickets, lined us up and ushered us into the Tea Room where WOLFMOTHER would soon be arriving and, like zoo animals, would pose for pictures and sign various items then be taken to their dressing room to prepare for the assault of music, mayhem and madness they would unleash on an otherwise unsuspecting Dallas audience. With no more than a five minute delay, WOLFMOTHER arrived quietly and rather uneventfully.
Thanks to Sheryl, I was walking cooly about with the standard glossy that you're given at these events and a copy of the WOLFMOTHER album on vinyl. Oh yeah. I hopped in line like a good kid and awaited my chance to meet the band. They seemed to be quite good spirits--shaking hands, nodding to the praises of the fans present, grinning boyishly. The Tea Room was playing the new Jay-Z record and Andrew, who was bobbing his head and even flexing some rap hands playfully, jumped into a mumbled freestyle saying something about WOLFMOTHER and "throw your hands in the air and say 'ho!'" Funny stuff.
They autographed both of my items and, being such good sports, they offered the following photo. I threw up the "W" claiming it was "'W' for Wolfmother," at which point Andrew and Myles were more than happy to oblige. Priceless. Great guys. Great meet-and-greet. Everything went smooth.
WOLFMOTHERWe then retreated to the hotel to check in, enjoy a couple of ice cold Lone Star tallboys then grab a cab back down Deep Ellum for the 10:30 set of WOLFMOTHER. The show was sold out which was good to see. Despite the murderish weather that was potentially zeroing in on the Metroplex, it could deter the faithful fans from packing into the sweaty Ballroom. Duke, Elders and I, with Matt and Jacko following, pushed our way front and center with about thirty feet of living, breathing flesh between us and the mic at centerstage. Perfect.
The house speakers were playing Sly and Family Stone and James Brown which was perfect for the lovefest that was about to occur. Put me in the right mood which is difficult to do when my tail is packed in amongst about 500 fratdaddies and their girlfriends.
The band took stage shortly and the place went ablaze. Ready to go. They dashed off headlong into "Apple Tree" and it didn't stop until the band said so. Tight band. Rocked hard. I got elbowed in the side which made me need to pee badly. I watched the encore from near the back which was unfortunate because I missed the close and studious account of WOLFMOTHER covering Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown" which I had seen in its rousing premier in a tribute to Zeppelin at the UK Music Hall of Fame Awards. The encore also featured "Collosal"--one of my personal favorites. Highlight of the show for me, aside from the Zeppelin, was their fueled performance of "Tales."
After the show, David, who had joined us at the venue after flight delays all evening, craved food at Cafe Brazil which was just down the block. Although the sign on the front said they were open and the doors were unlocked with patrons sitting at tables eating, we were told that they were "closed right now." Awfully peculiar thing to say. "Right now"?
I mentioned there's a fine establishment near our hotel called Denny's that actually serve breakfast (which I was particularly in the mood for) all day long. We all agreed on Denny's. Denny wasn't working last night, but our gifted waiter was such a gracious host. He was a fairly tall black man with a gentle grin and almost Vandrossian delivery. It was actually part Vandross and part Sammy Davis. Duke ordered something which graduated him to an exclusive menu they kept behind the counter. Duke declined.
After I took down my Meat Lovers Scramble, we then headed up to the room to bed down at which point we ended up watching the same Criss Angel episode that was playing before we left for the show. Pretty lame. But I found Carrie on USA. That definitely took the edge off the lameness of Criss Angel. Sissy Spacek killed it in Carrie.
We knew the next morning wouldn't be easy because the thunder and cold blasts of wind indicated the weather had caught up with us and now half of the state, if not more, was under the strain of the first arctic blast of the season.
That next morning, we awoke to, well, about the conditions I was expecting. Cold, rainy and getting worse. We had really two options: start moving or spend another day. I, being the beneficiary of the "stubbornly restless" gene, I told Elders to get 'er moving. We were going to take on this storm by driving right down its throat which was by way of Highway 287.
We heard that the Yellow had received anwhere between six to twelve inches of snow. Fort Worth was getting sleet turning to snow and the amounts between here and there were completely unknown. But with about three hours of Ice Cube in tow and Duke already on the road down to Austin, we headed out.
We knew that we needed to make it home before sundown because as bad as the weather is, it's three times as at night. We left at 9:15.
The roads were as bad as we had believed them to be. Ice to snow packed to chunks of ice and snow. Sucked. It was horrible. Elders had Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" as his ringtone which ringed the appropriate lyrics:
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying "Valhalla, I am coming!"
We dared the ice and were received warmly at home to exactly 7.2" of snow. WOLFMOTHER absolutely destroyed the Gypsy last night. And this road dawg is about to put my head down for some much-needed shuteye. Slow down on bridges and overpasses. They might be icy and if you see that jerkoff in the black Tahoe who almost ran me off the road, tell him I died as a result of his reckless driving on hazardous road conditions and I'm survived by a lovely wife and seven children who will now have to go hungry and without gifts this holiday season. We'll send him the bill.