Raiders of the Lost Rickenbacker

22 09 2010

Ok, take the next left, and then an immediate right and you can't miss it.

Some of you stalkers may remember the recent trip Priscilla and I took to Denver Colorado for UMS.  After getting in the car at about 10PM, Priscilla and I drove out of Denver, and didn’t stop until we’d reached home, sweet home, St.  Paul, MN.  I was getting out of the car, and decided we’d better get the guitars before we went inside to collapse and sleep for a day.   I opened up the back of the Element and there was only one guitar. “Oh, we don’t have my bass…”

My baby! See where Frank ran out of room, and finished his name sideways? ...wait, you can't it's behind the mic stand. ...but that's what it looks like.

Priscilla broke down crying, which was very sweet of her.  My Rickenbacker, 4003 bass is my most prized possession.  Aside from the fact that, that’s just an awesome bass, mine was made more awesome by Frank Black when he signed it.  He was a complete dick the entire time I interacted with him.  I approached him as he was clearing some things off the stage at a small show at The Warehouse in LaCrosse when I was still in high school.

Me: Frank?

Frank: *silence*

Me: Frank?

Frank: *silence*

Me: Um, Frank?

Frank: *sighs* Yeees?

Me: Can you sign my bass?

Frank: I’d need a marker

Me: *waves hand already holding out marker*

This was probably the most pleasant of the three brief conversations I had with him that night.  Despite him being a jerk, AND his musical downward spiral (I was quite found the the FIRST six solo albums.  Now he’s got, like, forty or something- each progressively worse from what I could tell.  This was on the ‘Frank Black and the Catholics’ album tour.  That was a SWEET album.) it is still my favorite memento.  But as Priscilla cried, I was far to delirious from driving 15 hours to care about anything at all, and I stumbled inside.

Grief stricken, but determined, Priscilla went online to try and find what might have happened.  As luck would have it, a local Denver band found it and had already sent us an email.  When I woke up, we had to figure out how we were going to get this bass back.  I couldn’t ship it, because it was just in a gig bag, and I wouldn’t trust shipping it anyway.  There was only one thing to do- journey back west.

Our good friend Stephy, and new pal Brittany stopped somewhere in Wyoming for no reason that I can think of. Stopping in Wyoming is probably the most dangerous thing that happens in this blog...

Our good friend Steph went and got the Rick from the Denver band and took it home for safe keeping.  Then, on one fateful morning in September, we both set off, from opposite ends of the Earth, on a mission to reunite me and my bass!  Where should a historic reunion like this take place?  In the place the Natives believed was the sacred center of the Earth, and the white man marked as his territory with four famous severed heads, like some overly artistic dog peeing on a fence.  That’s right, Mount Rushmore!

Actually, that’s a lie.  We did go there because Steph brought her friend Brittany along, and she’d never seen Mount Rushmore.  But, we actually met beforehand at the hotel where we were staying ten miles away… Which is where I got my bass back. After that though, we did go to Mount Rushmore.  And once I had my bass back, what more could I ask for?  More bears please.  That’s right, back to Bear Country USA!

Bear Country also has Caribou, but they have less add space devoted to them...

So, it just so happens that we hit a ton of bugs with our car on the way to South Dakota.  It also happens that bears actually like to eat bugs.  …I didn’t ask them why.  But this combination turned out to be interesting.  We might as well have strapped a dead deer to our car as far as one hungry bear was concerned.  After he was done picking the grill of our car clean, he got up on his hind legs and plopped himself on top of the hood of the Element and began chewing on our windshield wiper.  It was probably the coolest thing that has ever happened to me… THEN, Bear Country USA came to our rescue by sending a scrawny teenage worker to chase the bear away from our car by clapping his hands and saying, “Shew!”  They apologized to us, and gave us out money back because there were scratches on our car.  …I didn’t tell them I would have paid extra to have a bear chew on my car…

People have asked me if I was afraid after seeing these photos.  …seriously? As if!  I’m not afraid of this little guy- it’s not like its a maneater like… oh say, a killer whale! *drum roll*  But, what happened next scared the crap out of me.  After the ride through the park we got out and walked through baby land.  (The part of the park with all the baby bears and other little critters) When, out of nowhere I felt something hit my chest hard, like some punk five year old whipped a pebble at me.  …but it wasn’t a pebble, it was the scariest bee I’ve ever seen.  If you can identify this thing then I owe you a beer.  Remember when I was getting attacked by horse flies that I thought were bees? This was like some sick joke by mother nature.

 

Evil has a name. It's this guy's name. ...I don't know what that is, specifically... so I'll just call him, 'Evil.'

I grabbed my shirt and pulled it away from my frail human body, and out of range of the massive stinger on its butt.  Then I worked up the courage to try and flick it off of me.  Just when I was about to make my move, Priscilla freaked out and told me not to- clearly afraid of what this thing would do to retaliate.  Just when we thought all hope was lost and the bee would have to ride home with us we heard, “Oh for Pete’s sake…”  Some small children’s mother walked over and fearlessly shewed the bee away.  I was surprised when it didn’t kill her.  I went up to the little boy she was with and told him, ‘Your mommy just saved my life, isn’t she brave?’  And he looked at me like I was a freak.  After that adrenaline rush it was time to go to Deadwood and ‘heckle’ pedestrians.  At least that’s the ‘official’ story of what happened…

Anyway, it was a weekend of triumph and knowledge.  I got my base back- that was great, but I also learned some things.  Some hotels charge by the person.  But when someone asks you why you need three keys when there are only two people staying in the room, keeping a cool head can save the day.  …that and using the back door the entire time you’re there.   I also learned that you can blow out your rotors really quickly in the black hills.  What I haven’t learned is what in the hell landed on my shirt.

 

I was thinking about going back with a screw driver to make the claw marks more badass, but I decided to leave it.

All for now!

 

 

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