Beep Beep, Yeah!

B-Sides explores the van woes of Cars Can Be Blue, talks to Split Lip Rayfield's Kirk Rundstrom about conquering cancer for one last tour and downloads some screaming Sleater-Kinney.

11/22/05, Hayward, California: Injector pump seemingly fixed, they drive straight up to the northwest to play in Seattle and Olympia. On their way back down to the Bay Area, the fuel injector line breaks once again — owing, they believe, to their incompetent mechanic in Jackson. Here they stay with friends in the band Red Pony Clock. Once the van is fixed, they intend to drive straight to St. Louis and entertain us at Frederick's.

11/29/05, Reno, Nevada, and points south: St. Louis doesn't work out. There's inclement weather, and their bus doesn't have chains. Instead they drive through Bakersfield, California, wrangle their way onto a show, and realize the next day that the fuel-transfer pump doesn't work. They make it to Phoenix, stay a few days there, replace their pump and drive through Texas. They require a jump-start in Abilene, and ultimately make it as far as...

12/8/05, Ranger, Texas: Here the starter breaks, and they are still having trouble with the injection pump. They are towed to a garage at a Love's truck stop, where they plan to stay for maybe a day or two. After a series of mishaps (and the fact that they're now broke), they end up having to work at the truck stop long enough to save up money to fix the van. Nate works the cash register, while Becky is stationed at the Subway.

Not even cancer can stop Kirk Rundstrom (third from left).
Not even cancer can stop Kirk Rundstrom (third from left).

Details

9 p.m. Thursday, August 24. $15. 314-727-4444.
Blueberry Hill's Duck Room (6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City)

2/12/06, Ranger, Texas (still): Thanksgiving and Christmas pass. 2005 turns into 2006. Frederick's closes. Meanwhile, Becky and Nate's time in purgatory is finally ending. The problem? A blown fuse that would have cost 30 cents to replace, it turns out; the injection pump was fine. They pull out of Love's and stay with friends back in Abilene. Next morning, they assume they're finally Athens-bound. They stop at Love's for their last paychecks, start their engine, and...the motor dies. Stuck in Ranger for two more months? Nah, just some air in the fuel line. They clear it up and leave the next day, surely to their eternal relief.

2/17/06: Arrive in Athens.

Cars Can Be Blue deserve a medal of valor (or at least a commemorative plaque at the Ranger truck stop) for pulling through that trip and actually remaining a band. You'd forgive them for never wanting to tour again, but this month they hit the road one more time. When they pass the bucket to you at CBGB, give generously. — Mike Appelstein

9 p.m. Monday, August 28. CBGB, 3163 South Grand Boulevard. No phone.

The Download

We were bummed to learn that the riot grrrls of Sleater-Kinney have decided to call it quits. At what seemed to be the peak of their career, the Portland, Oregon, trio played their final show together on August 12. But if you never experienced the group live, you're in luck. Earlier this month, S-K performed in Washington, D.C., for NPR's live music webcast, All Songs Considered. The two-hour set, which is free to download, includes swan song The Woods in its entirety. Or, you can wait for iTunes to post the group's recent, much shorter appearance at Lollapalooza — for a nominal fee, of course. Go to www.npr.org (search: Sleater-Kinney). — Andy Vihstadt

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