Saturday, July 14 - Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA
Lake Merritt was steaming. Half of it was a beach party and the other half was under construction. Mounds of dirt, barricades and yellow caution tape blocked the way right out the gate. 10 minutes in I got lost down a detour. Where? What? I followed a honking gaggle back to the lake. Taking off again down dusty trails and broken sidewalks I zigzagged around pooping dogs and people popping out of the bushes. Kids smoking trees, “Will you play for weed?” Beards with coolers, “Who’s that cray cray?” And hoverboarders with mobile speakers, “Daaaaamn.” I finished the tour an hour late which enraged some fans but won over others. When the screeching horn died and the kazoo cut out, I rode off. Then it hit me… I didn't play a single piece of music from my set list. The whole tour stop had been improvised. I blame the weed.
Like the unibrow, the Scream for Help! Park Tour was a hairy evolution. Instead of a circus music manhunt—Come find me at the park!—I decided to start and end each tour stop at the same location. If fans wanted to experience the whole whiz bang doom of the performance they could follow me like a procession for the dead. And we’d grow into a giant wake. I also got louder. Instead of buzzing around like a bee, I sprinkled viagra on my kazoo. Now I could tear around like a tornado. Fremont Central Park was next.
Saturday, July 21 - Central Park, Fremont, CA
Central Park in Fremont was a brain fry. Teens requested cartwheels in the grass, a 10-kid chorus of kazoos filled the playground with cacophony—thanks to free Samson Y Hiss kazoos—and screams for help from parents filled the background. Park rangers were also close to everyone's pockets. Burning the hours on chewable candy and circling bouncy houses in their Ford Rangers. The park was overrun to a deafening degree. But the call and response with large gaggles was addicting. When the last goose waddled off and my sweat began to pool around my feet it hit me, I was all out of kazoos. However, I did squeeze in two pieces of music from my set list. And I played a set at the boat launch; funeral marches on melodica. More than once I dreamed up depressed people walking down the boat ramp to a watery grave.
Pushing the Scream for Help! Park Tour to new heights was deadlier than a clothesline to the neck. The week before the final tour stop was spent priming something sinister and loud, a surprise unseen. Under cover of night I took to the street, to test ride the surprise. It tried to choke me, and throw me into the bushes. Later I wished it was asphyxiaphilia. It wasn’t. I tried again the next night. No. I reworked the rig and tried again. No. This something sinister would either balloon or break the final tour stop. Was it worth the risk? San Francisco was next.
Saturday, July 28 - Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
Golden Gate Park in San Francisco was a gloomy hit or miss, depending on your location—over the unicycle wheel or under. Crowded pathways left little room to snake around people and less time to think who needed to be rolled over. Decisions were fired off like Roman Candles. Hit the beat and hit a kid? Sacrifice the beat and save a kid? And the surprise new addition to the ensemble (bass drum) made every close encounter that more dangerous. More than one kid came close to losing an eyelash, and multiple big people came close to bruising. Winding down around the carousel it hit me… my new bass drum didn’t kill anyone. Maybe it caused me to focus, I played my whole set list, or maybe it cut off air to my brain forcing my limbs in to submission.
The Scream for Help! Park Tour started mad and ended malformed. Yes, it hit three different parks across the Bay over a three week period, but the state of each tour stop grew and seethed into something bigger, louder and deadlier each stop.
For those too busy peeping each other or burning sage to come out and scream for help, the one-man band tour will come around again. In another form, another mutation, with new levels of insanity.
All the chilling circus music heard during the Scream for Help! Park Tour is for sale and can be purchased by hitting the button below.
If you wish to support this tour postmortem or future tours, go here.
Thanks for your support and death wishes.