There must be something special about this patch of desert, my compass is spinning wildly. Some sort of ore in the ground, perhaps. At any rate, I won't be wandering far from camp, it's monotonous brown for the next hundred miles in any direction.
I don't know why the Monkeys are recording here. I asked G'rote about it on the drive, but he stonewalled me. "You can't ask me that. Read the contract." The other Monkeys won't tell me either. They're taking this very seriously, I don't even think they want me here. They were probably pressured into doing this, by their label. It's a crappy arrangement all around, but it's not the first time I've done this. If they resent me, it just means I have to be extra polite, because this opportunity is rare. I'll have to do some serious sleuthing this month.
We spent the night setting up the main tents. While I was eating breakfast, the last three trucks were unloaded and drove away, leaving us in isolation. These guys have an absolutely HUGE collection of instruments, I counted 120 guitars in the pile before I gave up. All of the workers were wearing orange haz-mat suits when they handled the equipment though, which makes me a bit uncomfortable. Chaz has a gigantic sword, and he's mincing the scrub bushes with it, and Android is leveling the ground with a pick and a shovel. Skot is digging a deep, narrow trench -- a latrine? G'rote is walking around with a huge set of headphones on, taking readings with some instrument. Every once in a while he pounds a small stake into the ground. I can't tell what he's marking out.
Everything is very business-like. These are consummate artists at work.
The funny thing about this band is, they will pull these incredible 14 hour jam stints, covering every conceivable type of music and arrangement, with each player switching instruments a dozen times an hour or more. They're obviously all incredibly talented WHEN THEY WANT TO BE; some of the jams were so beautiful, I found myself crying involuntarily. Or maybe it was the dust. But they always seem to throw those bits away and only keep the outtakes, and then they keep farting into the mic and obscuring anything sonorous by detuning and distorting it with one of the fancy computer set ups. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if their generator failed, or they ran out of diesel, and the cooling system for their computers went down, and fried all their work. It's not like they're very careful with any of their stuff, either. The only object they show any respect for is Skot's violin, which lives in an actual BOX, and Skot actually PUTS IT IN THE BOX at the end of each day.
A delivery van was here when I woke in the morning. It was overturned and the side ripped apart in huge ragged gashes, like a rabid T-Rex had attacked it. The logo on the back door was still intact, it read "Goats-R-Us", a delivery company I had never heard of. Sodden boxes of -- something -- were strewn around the wreckage. I couldn't tell where the driver of the van had gotten off to. This is the strangest band I've ever seen. They argue all the time, and very violently. That's not strange, but sometimes they just stop, and go back to their instruments and consoles like nothing happened. Things actually came to blows when Arex insisted that the accordion line be doubled on mouth harp. G'rote held him down while Skot kicked him in the nuts over and over screaming about harmonic dissonance and "E 9th" chords.
Then there's the smell. I don't know who it is, but one of these "musicians" reeks of rotting offal, like he's been sleeping in a slaughter house for the last twenty years and hasn't discovered soap. Nobody else seems to notice it, so I haven't said anything. Yet.
This afternoon Chaz had a bad case of diarrhea. Which they recorded, of course. G'rote even got down INTO THE LATRINE with a portable DAT to record it.
Well it doesn't appear to be infected. I had no idea Chaz would get so angry. Today Arex and G'rote took the jeep out into the desert, with some of the big metal boxes from the supply tent. I noticed that my headache went away as they were driving off.
All afternoon Skot argued with Android about the mixdown of "Track 9." He must have been talking about that cacophony from yesterday, which is strange because yesterday he was calling it "The first track." Chaz hasn't come out of his tank.
What the fuck is going on. A while ago the ground heaved, and I heard the loudest noise in creation. The generator fell over into the latrine. I was knocked flat on my face, and when I got up I saw a mushroom cloud blooming over the desert, off the road to the north. Chaz was standing there, naked, pointing a mic toward the sky. Then an incredible rain of particles from the sky tore over the campsite. I thought it was dirt until the smell hit me. It's burning meat. Burning meat falling down from the sun. I don't understand this at all. I think the explosion messed up my hearing.
Can't tell what they were recording today. My hearing still hasn't come back, all I can hear is a tinny roar. I know the contract said "absolutely no liability" for personal injury, but I am seriously considering suing. This is permanent hearing loss! Even with the earplugs taped in my head!
A rash has developed on my left hand. It's itchy but not too bothersome. Today Chaz was hitting Android with a hammer, very very hard, right in the forehead, and G'rote held up his hand and said "Level check!", and Chaz stopped mid-swing. Then a few seconds later G'rote said "OK", and Chaz brought his arm the rest of the way down, and then kept going. THEY WEREN'T EVEN RECORDING.
I've only gotten four hours of sleep this week, Chaz keeps blowing up cacti with the huge pile of munitions from the truck, trying to get some sort of dispersal pattern into a giant string of "sensors" he built from all the kitchenware strung around the blast zone. They're all geniuses, but they're all crazy. Chaz built the explosive timers and the microphones himself, yesterday in the tent, and G'rote has a half-dozen custom pressure mics buried in the sand. He walks from place to place with a flat-panel touchscreen, adjusting the levels wirelessly.
Hearing has returned, a sort of low roar persists through everything but I can hear them screaming, and the chainsaw.
These guys are macabre, but also hilarious. Today, in the middle of a fist-fight, Android actually PICKED UP Skot and swung him like a baseball bat, knocking Chaz into the fire pit. Then Arex came running out of his tent with a crossbow and shot Chaz in the face. Chaz got up, yanked the arrow out of his nose, and bit it in half. Then he took the blunt end and chased Arex all around the campsite -- and G'rote ran behind them, recording the whole thing! Eventually Chaz stopped running, and caught his breath, and the FIRST THING he said was, to G'rote, "Did you get that OK?" It's like Android says in Pavel's interview. It's all about the rock'n'roll. What the hell ever.
The rash is getting worse and is on both hands now. it's getting painful to write. I have cramps and I'm passing a large amount of blood. I don't like this.
Android unveiled some new kind of instrument last night, and I've just gotten over the nausea. It's like a giant church organ and a steam shovel have collided with a catapult. It must have some kind of animals inside it, because horrible shrieks pierce the air with each keypress, and it keeps leaking fluid into a pan under the corner. This is sick. First it was raining meat, and now I have to hear this.
The rash is gone. I asked Chaz about it and he spit onto my hands and told me to rub them together.
Nobody here seems to eat breakfast. So I usually eat mine, by myself, a few yards outside the campsite. Today after I put down my folding chair, I saw Android walk out of the badlands, in the distance. He must have gone there last night. I thought, okay, so he likes late-night hiking. No problem there. When he was closer, the heat distortion wasn't so bad, and I noticed he had someone with him. It's a naked chick. Except for a pair of hiking boots and a huge sombrero. She went into Skot's tent and I haven't seen her all day. Who the hell is this?
Android's "organ" broke down again. It stopped making noise around 4am this morning, after a particularly thunderous fugue session. I don't know what to think about that. He's been inside it all day. Chaz keeps handing him the wrong tools and pissing him off. I asked Android what he calls the thing. "The Burninator."
G'rote has immersed himself in a most peculiar mutilation ritual since the death of the organ. He keeps setting parts of his own body on fire, then scribbling text all over a clipboard, in some language I've never seen in my life. Arex is chanting.
Okay, so the woman is some guest artist I haven't heard of. She's got some Aztec-sounding name. Today in the main tent, Arex recorded her saying single words, like, "Obey," "Destroy," and "Communist." That seemed to go really well, except Arex wanted an incredible number of takes for the word "Monkey." Finally the woman got up on the table and did a headstand. Her voice must have been different, because Arex was satisfied with that take. Whatever. Also, the woman still hasn't put on any more clothing. I'm not complaining, just taking note of it. She's probably got the best outfit for this heat. The thermometer in my tent reads 118 degrees, and it's in the shade! I asked Arex if he was going to credit the woman as a guest artist. I laughed at his reply. "No, we don't credit guest artists, because we EAT THEM ALL!" But now I'm not feeling so good.
They must have decided to blow the organ-thing up, because I can't see it any more.
When I got up, the camp was abandoned. All five of the Monkeys had gone out somewhere. Except for the explosions and the raining meat, which happened twice in the afternoon, it was a really nice day.
WAS. A nice day. At dusk they came back, and they were all totally covered with rusty bits of dried blood. Chaz had awful lumps of something in his hair. None of them are injured. I can't figure out where the blood came from. They hosed off, all except for Chaz, who just licked himself. I went north about an hour ago, with a flashlight. I had to see what they'd been doing. My curiosity was in overdrive. At the end of their tracks, all I found was a large, scarred crater, STICKY with drying blood. Some metal boxes, and a DAT recorder, were smashed to pieces at the edge. I have more questions now than ever.
Just when I thought things couldn't get any weirder, I got up this morning and all five of the BDM were sitting at the worktable by the fire pit, totally clean, and dressed in SUITS. Shiny shoes. Perfect neckties. Black fedoras. Black sunglasses. Nobody was yelling, nobody was throwing toast. About 10:00am, I heard a noise in the east, and two helicopters grew on the horizon. They touched down just outside of camp, but only long enough for all the Monkeys to clamber onboard. A second later they took off, back to the east.
The helicopters came back around 9pm, while I was cooking dinner. They landed so close to the site they almost blew the fire out of the fire pit. When the Monkeys got off I asked Skot where they went. He said "We had to see our people." When I pressed him for more information he gave me this look like he was going to smack me, so I backed off. Why did I agree to this stupid thing? No commission is worth this disrespect. They treat me like a criminal. Even the ridiculous cruise with the Nubby Tubbies was better than this, and they couldn't even play. Why do I always get the crackpot bands? This has to stop.
Back to normal, I guess. Huge farting noises ruined my sleep this morning. As I write this, I'm sitting on a folding chair outside my tent. Chaz is about ten feet away, writhing around in the fire pit, wearing overalls, and biting pieces off a seat cushion from the jeep. Skot is playing a keyboard solo over this racket, and Arex is wearing headphones and jamming on a horribly mangled electric guitar. G'rote and Android have the back off a mixer and are poking it with screwdrivers. I'm not sure, but I think there's puke all over the DAT by the propane tanks. Fuck this, and fuck these "musicians." I'm going for a walk.
I found half the Aztec woman's sombrero in the campfire this morning.
THE SUN WON'T SET
I'M ON FIRE
I can't take this any more. Chaz and Arex have been practicing some strange form of screaming. G'rote tells me it's "Eskimo throat warbling." They've been screaming for the last three days. I tried to tape rocks over my ears last night, but I can still hear them two dunes away. The rash is coming back.
They won't let me leave. Chaz ate the tires off the van and may be crapping the radial treads out at this very moment.
I am stuck in a Hieronymus Bosch hellscape cartoon.
The music won't stop. They're not doing anything. Chaz is loading the truck. The music is so loud and it doesn't stop. They're not playing. The generator is off. I still hear the music.
The dunes are moving
I can see through time
Day 31(whole page filled with "monkeys" repeated over and over)