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US Odyssey Part 10: Mt Shasta

Where is Mt Shasta, exactly? It’s in Northern California, and while we thought the weather would be comparable to southern California, Jesus, were we in for a shock. That day, 10 ft of snow had landed upon the mountain. Yep. 10 feet. Seriously, what’s the deal with this trip and adverse weather conditions? I was supposed to play a snowboard festival ‘Rail Jam’ but 10 feet was too much even for the ski hill. They moved the show indoors and switched the Rail Jam to the following week so I still had a gig, but nothing to watch while it happened!

Ryan Marchand in The Lottery - photo by Shannon Lepere (www.shannonlepere.com)

Regardless, both Shannon and I were there to visit with our old TBay friend Ryan Marchand, who now plays in an awesome band called The Lottery. We shared a few shows together during our Shasta visit, and it was cool to start to get to really know a town for once, instead of only staying somewhere for a few hours.

photo by Shannon Lepere (www.shannonlepere.com)

After the ski hill show, we played at the Legion, which blew my mind as it would take me about 7 minutes to get across to the other side of the bar simply because of how busy it was. It was a ‘moustache’ party, and they were also giving away free hot dogs all night, so it was a popular spot! After playing my set, I joined The Lottery on stage and did some improv vocalizations on top of their set.

Billy Corgan and Djin Aquarian - photo by Carl Johnson

We crashed at the place where Ryan was living, and met his housemate, Djin. Djin is important for three reasons; he was in an underground (yet influential) psychedelic band in the 70’s, he’s quite good friends with Billy Corgan (yes, that Billy Corgan), and he introduced me to White Flower, a strong chinese herbal essential oil that helps clear your sinuses in a ridiculously effective way.

US Odyssey Part 7: Flagstaff

photo by Shannon Lepere (www.shannonlepere.com)

Waking up in Albuquerque, we knew we had to hit the road fairly quick. We left the hotel and motored on down to Flagstaff, taking a few moments here and there to take some photos and videos. Part of the appeal of this part of the trip was to explore a little bit of the old Route 66.

Remnants of Route 66 - photos by Jean-Paul De Roover + Shannon Lepere (www.shannonlepere.com)

We managed to find pieces of it littering the desert here and there, and even went on some off-road adventures looking for more, particularly parts that we could drive on. It took us a little while, and we definitely wound up under the existing interstate, almost stuck in a very small tunnel, but we got onto a stretch of Route 66 that was nice and weathered. With grass tufts growing out of it and a chunk broken off falling into an abyss, we drove over it (I’d say illegally, but there were no signs saying no…), and then carried on our way.

photos by Shannon Lepere (www.shannonlepere.com)

We made a detour to check out some ice caves, which took us longer than expected because of the damn Garmin again. When we got there, it was a little less exciting than we imagined, but still pretty neat. We climbed down to a small cave that we might be able to actually explore, but sadly we had to observe it from the railing.

photos by Shannon Lepere (www.shannonlepere.com)

We eventually got to Flagstaff, where we signed up for an open mic. After I got off stage, I had an interesting meeting with Vaughn. Vaughn came up and introduced himself as an assistant of a well known producer. Who? He didn’t say. Regardless, our interaction went like this as I was packing up my equipment.

Vaughn: “Hey, your set started off pretty weak, but it got pretty good by the end”

Me: “Thanks man, sweet!”

V: “I’m a producer and I think we should make a deal.”

M: “You’re a producer?”

V: “Well, I assist a producer.”

M: “Right on, cool.”

V: “I want you to talk to him. I’ll get him on the phone right now, just come with me outside and we’ll call him”

**No way was I going outside with this guy**

M: “Aw, I would, maybe after I’m done packing stuff up?”

V: “No man, this is a one-time deal.”

M: “Ok, well then you should grab my card so we can get in touch after.”

V: “No man, I don’t do email.”

**He leaves, talks to Shannon, then comes back a few minutes later. Not only did he not do email, but he also questioned if the number on my business card was ‘actually my number’, and if I was lying to him**

V: “Man, you missed your shot, I had him on the phone and everything, but you didn’t’ come outside”

M: “Aw, too bad. We’ll work something out next time instead.”

V: “I’ll try get him on the phone again now.”

M: “Ok, sweet.”

**Holds phone up to his ear**

V: “Hey, yeah it’s me again. Yeah, he’s standing in front of me. I don’t know. He’s scared or something. Here I’ll put him on the phone. [to me] Here he is again…”

**As he hands me the phone he exclaims**

V: “Aw, he hung up! You weren’t fast enough, you missed it.”

**This is extra funny because he held up the phone to me, and it showed an incoming call list with only two numbers, and they hadn’t been for a few days**

Looks like I missed my big break eh? Too bad, Vaughn could’ve made me huge!

It got really awkward after that because the bar started asking if I was ok, if he was bothering me, which he wasn’t really. He was just trying to pretend and impress somebody. He was aboriginal though, and the staff at the bar was about to kick him out for bothering the clientele, so I had to step in and get them to leave him be. Racial profiling towards aboriginals in the far south, felt somewhat similar to many parts of Canada. Besides some of the other local performers, there was also another touring act from NY called Click Clack Boom. Their high energy rock and rock made themselves a bunch of fans that evening, and they were definitely on top of their marketing.

That night we ended up staying with some nice people that let us crash in their living room beside their fireplace, which was perfect, because it started to snow that night. What the hell?! Are we not in Arizona? Apparently Flagstaff had the 2nd highest amount of snow in the US besides Anchorage, Alaska. Shannon was bitter because we were supposed to enjoying the sun and desert, and then I became extra bitter and sore the next day when I slipped on some icy steps and landed on my wrist, twisting it quite badly (I thought I even broke it).