Thursday, July 27, 2006

Notes from two soggy Wet Spots

Am I Dreaming? / Helping Hands

I've been pinching myself a lot. Sometimes I do this for recreation, but lately it's because I really cannot believe what is happening on this tour. We are playing to sold out houses. They are turning people away at the door. We are running out of CDs to sell, and frantically ordering more. The press is paying attention.

I can be a bit dour & conservative by nature, but I'm being forced to admit that this Wet Spots thing is actually taking off. And it's happening largely outside of the standard entertainment industry channels. We have no manager. We have no publicity agent. We have no booking agent. We have no record label. What we have are fans and advocates.

Several months ago we emailed our west coast list and asked people if they had any tips on venues or events or promoters we should look into. The response was staggering, and this tour never would have been possible without the help we've been blessed with.  Some people help by dragging ten of their closest friends out to see us. Some help by taking us into their homes as total strangers, and giving us a place to sleep. And some of them help by putting on a promoter hat and producing a Wet Spots event in their community because they believe in what we're doing. A woman named Melissa Dase from Santa Barbara was so adamant that we would play there that when every bar in town turned us down, she arranged to have the show in the local Unitarian Church. Which made for one of the most diverse crowds we've ever played to and one hell of a road story.

This sort of grassroots support cannot be bought, and it cannot be manufactured through slick media saturation. It's something real and it's something that I've seen & envied in the Ska, Rockabilly, Folk and Hardcore Punk scenes over the years. To be on the receiving end of this sort of thing is really a blessing. I love being on the receiving end!


Cool Venues

We've played a number of interesting venues on this tour - a sex club in Seattle called The Wet Spot, a Unitarian Church hall, a darker-than-Hades Los Angeles den of iniquity & bar... but I'm sitting in our coolest venue yet. It's called Mission Control.

Some of you folks know us from Vancouver & first got to see us at a place called The Babalong Mansion. This place hosted the best parties I've ever attended anywhere on earth. The venue was an old boudoir, done up in red velvet & iron with a cramped dance floor, a cozy chill-out area, and lots of make out pits.There was always a dress-up theme. No streetwear allowed, but no strict fetish dress code either. Sometimes it was hot pants night. Sometimes you had to come dressed as royalty from a real or imaginary country. The DJs were hot, the burlesquers were hot, the costumes were hot, the conversations were fascinating, and never once did I meet a boring person or an asshole. BDSM play & public sexual displays were not the main focus of the night, but they were never frowned upon. basically it was a place to meet & make out with your community.

We've been searching in vain for this kind of scene ever since we left Vancouver, and we've finally found it down here in San Francisco. Over the past two weeks we've done several shows at costume theme nights in some of the wildest off-the radar venues. Mission Control, where we're playing tonight, is a labyrinth of crazy theme rooms - from the pink cuddle closet to the dark tiki bar to the raging red hall to the violet hookah hut. There are Voudou and buddhist shrines all over the damn place, and the main guy in charge has the coolest silent movie villain waxed moustache I've ever seen. These people know how to live. And for a night, we get to be a part of this world. I LOVE touring!

-- John

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