The owls are not what they seem. Posted on Friday 5 March 2010

Oh California. I’m never happier than when I get to wander around in sunglasses, surviving solely on avocado, surrounded by palm trees. Should I miss the British sea side towns, there’s always the beaches of San Diego, filled with the same tourist crap and arcades. Should I miss Sweden… well, there’s a lot of raw fish at least.

California – our name in the lights

San Diego: we seem to be going places – last time we played here, it was at the Casbah, a dive bar that is so close to the Lindbergh airport that the planes almost touch the roof of the venue when they’re landing. This time, we are playing at a luxury spa and golf hotel. Trying to leave after the show, we literally get lost in the maze of perfectly manicured shrubbery lining the endless, eerily quaint paths between the luxury chalets. Playing in a ballroom through a rehearsal space sized PA makes me feel I’m in something like a cross between Twin Peaks and the Shining.

We’re playing the next night at the same spa hotel, and again lost in the maze afterwards, we come across an outdoor jacuzzi overlooking the golf course. Naturally, we get in and end up hanging out the rest of the night there. I reiterate my wishes to move to California. Our manager is with us for this particular stretch of the tour, and wonders what all the fuss was about on the last tour – life on the road is easy!

Of course all this is about change. The night after our LA show I wake up sick as a dog, throwing up every half hour, cursing the fact that this is the first day of the tour we have a substantial drive to do. The drive to San Francisco is the journey from hell, and I spend it curled up in the back seat, like a vomiting clockwork promptly getting out my empty Amoeba Records plastic bag every half hour, while the rest of the band merrily spend the drive playing word games.

It luckily turns out to be a 24-hour stomach bug, and I’m fine in time for the next show. But over the next days the virus jumps first to Amos, then Cathy, who bookends our show in Seattle with a frantic dash to the bathroom. At this moment, we are still waiting to see where the killer will strike next, hoping we will somehow get through the rest of the shows without cancelling. Ride that luck dragon!

Us by the Twin Peaks falls

On the way out from Seattle we can’t resist stopping off for a visit to the Twin Peaks shooting location. It’s not the first visit for some of the others, but the falls are as mesmerising as ever. I’ve never seen waterfalls before, and could have happily spent a few hours just staring at them had we not had a soundcheck to go to in Spokane. At the diner, I sadly had to give the cherry pie a miss to give way for actual food, but that mushroom burger was damn fine. Unlike the coffee, which like at every American diner is just brown water. I think agent Cooper’s only flaw is possibly his taste in coffee.


By a highway in Montana