Nov. 26, 1991
I got all of those tapes distributed! Those copies of “Signals” came in useful after all; I just taped up the write protect tabs and recorded over that Canadian nonsense. Of course, our recording session didn’t quite fill up the whole tape, so there’s probably still some of the original album left on the end. I was thinking about filling in that time by looping “Backwards Song” in reverse to see if it sounded like anything intelligible like that. I couldn’t figure out how to make my boombox play in reverse and record at the same time, so I abandoned the plan.
Of course, missing another day’s work combined with Carlos demanding I rent a carpet steamer for him to use now meant that I was going to be running a bit thin on my finances this month. Not to mention the van was running on fumes and I had hopes of making it down to White Water to stir up some support at the University of Wisconsin. The fuel mileage on the van hasn’t been the same since I had to get it dredged up out of Gilbert Bay last summer after that incident at the dairy farm. Those 10 miles down US Highway 12 were looking pretty daunting, believe me.
I even called up Keith to see if he wanted to cut school and ride down there with me and maybe lend me a few bucks for gas, but his mom picked up the phone and yelled at me. I think he probably would have wanted to go if I had been able to get him on the horn, but it didn’t look like that was happening. I thought about riding down to the high school and hanging around out front until I spotted Keith but that seemed like it might take all day. No, I had to figure out something else.
Eventually I had a great idea – I took some of the Orange Julius signs down from in front of my apartment and used the last of my duct tape to stick them to the side of the van. I mixed up some of my knock off drinks in the kitchen, poured them into a big thermos jug and took a short drive down the road to the 7-11. I threw open the back door of the van and opened shop.
Even with it being cold, I was still able to move some Juliuses. I was doing pretty brisk business with some Canadian motorists that had pulled over to load up on gas and Funyuns but I saw a cop car pull by really slowly a couple of times and decided to close up shop. I cleared a little over fifteen bucks, not counting expenses, which was more than enough to get the van down to White Water. Plus, I still had like half a thermos full of Julius to drink on the way.
I gunned it down Highway 12, hoping to catch the record shop before the lunch rush, but I got turned around once I got into town and ended up circling some old empty K-Mart building for two hours before I found the right road.
Once I found the place, I was finally able to unload some of the tapes. The guy said they had a section for local bands, but seemed a little confused by the “Signals” cover art. I asked the guy to borrow a marker and I scratched out the old band name and title and wrote in our own.
After I had them all marked out, I realized I didn’t have an album name yet. I was feeling a little light headed from all the Orange Juliuses I drank on the way in and couldn’t think of a good name, so I just rewrote “Signals” back in.
The guy at the store said I could leave five copies with him and they’d “try to keep track of how many they sold”. The store gets an 80% cut on the merchandise sales, which I thought was pretty fair. We set the price for five dollars a tape so the band will basically get one dollar per sale. Carlos wrangled me into giving him a 50% cut up front on all merchandise sold, plus his regular share on the back end.
Still, not too shabby.
I went and tried to pass out a few copies on the college campus, but no one was particularly interested. I dumped the lion’s share of what I had left in the library’s return slot, so I hope they’ll just reshelf them with the rest of the audio/visual stuff and we’ll get some listens that way.
I coasted back into Fort Atkinson with the needle on “E” and the van actually ran out of gas about eight blocks from my house. I managed to roll the van into a fire lane before it stopped completely; it should be pretty safe there until I can come back for it in a couple of days when I get paid. For a little advertising, I threw a copy of the album into the tape deck and cranked it up as loud as it would go. It should loop until the battery dies. I left the remaining copies in a pile on the hood so people can take one if they like what they hear. Besides, I had to lug my Orange Julius signs and the thermos back by hand. I did not want to have to deal with carrying those tapes too.
Nov. 27, 1991
I called Keith over to tell him the good news about all the tapes being distributed. I also hoped we could practice a bit without Carlos since I couldn’t afford to pay him to come over this week.
I guess Carlos got to Keith, though, and Keith said he wanted to get paid too. This was bad, because I was broke after buying gas and that case of Funyuns. I probably shouldn’t have bought the chips, but after seeing those Canadians chowing down the other day, I had a wicked craving for them. Anyway, I didn’t have the money to pay Keith so I reimbursed him with some buy one get one free Orange Julius coupons I printed up on the old dot matrix printer at work.
This seemed to satisfy him, especially after I told him he could use the coupons at the actual Orange Julius at the mall. He really can’t, but by the time he figures that out, I hope we’ll have a new album close to being done and be pulling in some profits from “Signals” as well. Then I expect he’ll change his tune.
The practice session went pretty well, but Keith had to stop playing after two songs because he said he stomach was hurting. I’m a little worried that the Sunny D I’ve been using for the Orange Juliuses has went bad, but I’m hoping that’s not what made him sick. To save cash I usually buy a whole bunch of Sunny D when it’s on sale and pour all the jugs into this big ten gallon bucket I have to save space in the fridge. It works pretty well most of the time but I accidently left the bucket sitting out when I went driving around and it may have spoiled. That would be bad – I’ve probably got like 3 gallons of D left in there. I’m not sure I can absorb that kind of financial loss at this point.
Nov. 29, 1991
Carlos showed up today, completely unannounced. I hadn’t called for him, but he shouldered his way in and started cleaning the floors. When I asked him to stop because I couldn’t pay him, he just pretended like he couldn’t hear me over the vacuum.
I acted like I needed to use the bathroom and slipped out through the window in there. I thought I’d just stay gone for the rest of the day, and hope he would get bored of waiting on me to come back and pay him.
I decided to use the time to walk down the road and check how the freebies on the van hood were doing. It was a bit of a hike, but it was worth it – I think somebody had taken one! The van was gone too, probably towed, but they left the tapes in a pile on the sidewalk. I counted through them and I’m pretty sure one was missing. I didn’t remember how many I had left really, but I’m pretty sure the pile looked a tiny bit smaller. That’s a big win in my book!
Anyway, I waited a while and went back to the apartment. I was hoping Carlos was gone but it looked like he was still there and sounded like he had invited more people over. I listened outside the door for a while and heard voices and music, so I went back downstairs. It didn’t seem like he was going anywhere soon, so I went to a payphone and called the cops and told him that the guy in my apartment was running an unlicensed Orange Julius joint with rotten Sunny D.
The cops and the health department showed up fast and busted the party up. They took my Orange Julius signs when they left, and when I finally got back into the apartment I found that someone had re-kicked in my drums. I’ll probably have to go back to work if I’m going to afford more duct tape to patch them up.
We’re probably going to have to find a new lead singer since I bet Carlos is pretty mad at me now. I’ve kind of gotten used to having a really clean floor though so I may call up some of the maid services in town tomorrow and see if they have anybody that can pull double duty. It’ll just be easier that way.