|Summer 2003. "The Great Scotch Race"|
* Tour 2003: The Great Scotch Race
30th: Rubber Gloves, Denton, Texas
They said it shouldn't be done, but they were most certainly probably mistaken, whoever the hell those guys were. After shitting the idea of touring back and forth for nearly two years, The Boyfriends finally mustered up the energy to scam celebrity sympathizers Steven Vaughn Kray (of Texas) and Joe Millitzer (of St. Louis) into finding them shows in their respective regions, and then, remarkably, went ahead and played them.
The show whipped out on the south was the aforementioned 'Great Scotch Race', and its presentation in triplicate (with an additional fourth showing planned for September in Chicago) was only allowed (keeping in mind The Boyfriends' sacred rule of never performing a show twice, at least until they can get away with it) given that each version was digitally recorded, in accordance with plans to edit them all into one seamless, uber-ugly work to be released on DVD. Sometime. In someone's future.
With the hovercraft fund still sorely underfed, The Boyfriends scrapped together the six hundred dollars two years of dancing around like assholes had earned them and used it to rent a Buick, which they drove sixteen hours to Denton. Unlike most bands who must weigh down their carriages with such trivialities as amplifiers and instruments, these right-thinkers had merely two boxes of stupid costumes and a couple qualified noisemakers of bent brass and plastic to accompany them. Plus many, many hats, of varying breadths and pedigree.
The first half of the week-long expedition was spent learning the true meaning of Texas, which had something to do with buying pinkie rings (at the incredible blue-light special price of $6.88) and cowboy hats at Wal-Mart with Steven Kray's personal handler Mike Holland, something to do with drinking in the dark on velvet cushions in downtown Dallas with Steven Kray's much better half Jen, something to do with finding out that the bathrooms in Steven Kray's place of employment actually play Cleopatra on video-screens mounted above the urinals twenty-four hours a day, and something to do with eating foot-long chicken-fried steak and finding, first with pleasure and then with rising horror, that the "free queso" law applies to everything. Not to mention the fact that no one will card you for anything.
The show itself, at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Space, was directed chiefly to those attracted by Steven Kray's phone-tree, but this at least assured the performers an intensely dedicated, if not particularly gigantic, crowd. After the life-affirming lessons gleaned from the Republic (which included, but were not limited to, the proper execution of the "spider-arm", an important maneuver to know when negotiating heavily-webbed areas while viciously intoxicated), the lessons doled out by St. Louis- possibly the most self-loathing town any of the performers had ever seen- were a bitter plate indeed.
An area that resembled in its general attitude and, in part, aesthetic, nothing less than the forbidden zone from Planet of the Apes, with little but a giant steel groin to recommend it from a distance, the salvation of this second half of the tour were certainly the several kind and interesting people whom Joe introduced The Boyfriends to, including pirate-band 'The Whole Sick Crew' leader Brian (whose moustache, incredibly, was Big Better Boyfriends-style, vintage 2002; and who could vomit in the middle of a sentence, not miss a beat, and then go on to lead a circle of drunkards in several non-dirty verses, and even a few choruses, of 'Blow the Man Down'), a guy who liked to dress up like a unicorn, and the leader of the Gadabout film festival, who everyone should go see and say 'Hi!' to, from The Better Boyfriends.
Tragically, it seems whoever booked Gadabout in the vacant, white-barren-walled "community space" of the certified hipster condo dungeon only ironically called "the art loft" didn't bother to inform anyone in the whole fucking city that an event was taking place there, because no one showed up. No one. Not a single person. Those who came left before anything happened. Nevertheless, The Boyfriends played an abbreviated Scotch Race for the fascinated and fascinating coupla kids who rode in the van with the film festival and, of course, Joe and his immediate ellipse of loved ones.Though the comically cave-like echo of the room destroyed any hope whatsoever of anyone having any idea what the hell was going on, it was a helluva fun little time and the readily bizarre nature of it went well with the wine, the cheese, the triscuits, and the storm.
The next day saw The Boyfriends- full of circus food from the fortuitously scheduled St. Louis German fest- playing on top of Joe's roof for an invitation-only crowd, against a lavish, tree-stoked background that rendered St. Louis more misleadingly pleasant-appearing than you will ever experience it.
There are fucking stray dogs everywhere. That's no way to run a city.
Total cost of the tour: approximately fifteen hundred dollars. Total value of Erik Burns' bald-as-a-baby's-bottom period in pictures: no man ought to say.
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