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"The Live Band Deap Poet" TOUR JOURNAL
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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"The Live Band Deap Poet" TOUR JOURNAL  Reply with quote  


*the following journal was written by the members of Gruvis Malt (Gavin in particular) and was stolen from their site
I am posting it on this site because it made me laugh out loud when I read it. Maybe I will work up the energy to type out my own journals some day.*

Monday, February 3rd , 2003
Tour Journal Entry #1
The kickoff show at Lupo’s in Providence was widely attended. It was a great lineup: friends Grand Buffet played, as did the very talented MC Squared. We were introduced to tour mate CR Avery (from Vancouver, Canada) shortly after his set (between Grüvis Malt’s and Sage’s). We had the pleasure of hosting Grand Buffet with their hit children’s song Let’s Go Find the Cat to segue their set into our set. Sage joined us on stage for a dual falsetto backup vocal extravaganza. Grunge and Grape-A-Don’t brought the house down as usual.
We had a few days to prepare for tour, and then drove a long day to our first real road date which was at the Ottobar in Baltimore. We arrived a bit early, so we went to order food at this weird rat-infested diner. Good times. MC Squared played that date too, and the audience was very cool. The first real interaction between GM and Sage’s fan base was warm (much to our relief). We played very hard for 30 minutes. First tour date shows are always the loudest. We sweat a bunch and talked to friends (one of which had the bad judgment to put her hand in direct contact with one of our sweaty buttocks).
North Carolina was strange and fun. The show was moved to an art gallery a week or two before it happened because the club pulled some crap. The sound was shaky at best, but the crowd was cool. The promoters’ hip hop group opened up, then there was some weird MC that rapped to a CD and kept talking about all the producers and labels he’s talking to or has talked to in the past. Our set went well… CR asked Erik to sit in on sax for a tune, and then asked Justin, Skot, and Gavin to play the blues with him (but neglected to specify the key) – it was interesting to see how much more applause the blues got than our half hour of originals. Sage’s set was fun. We discovered the next day that Gavin lost his wallet in Charlotte with his last remaining $250. No one has found it yet.
Atlanta wasn’t as fresh, but not an utter failure. Grüvis’ set went over alright, and Sage’s was cool. The soundguy was of the metalesque variety, consequently Sage was convinced that his vocals were too low. This is going to become a recurring theme on the tour. The highlight of the evening, though, was when CR asked Skot, Justin and Gavin to join him on the mighty blues, but then began playing the “rock tune” he had alluded to earlier that day. Gavin and Justin hid behind stacks of amps while Skot desperately tried to hold it down under CR’s “liberal” tempo interpretations. Things came to crashing halt when CR motioned a cut out for four beats. He lept into the air to land on what was his “one,” Skot’s “three,” and the audiences’ “2 ½” with a mighty whack of his Keytar. No one hit with him - he realized that his big re-entrance was somewhat impotent (and perhaps that he was playing the wrong chord) and he spun around to face Skot, red-faced and drenched with sweat. He uncharacteristically swore at Skot who was stone-faced (though probably as embarrassed as CR). He angrily commanded Skot to bring the beat back, but Skot just put his sticks down and shook his head, mouthing over and over again “Blues. Blues. Go to the Blues,” while CR looped the one chord progression so everything would appear to be going as planned. Sage was at the merchandise table doubled over with laughter. The audience just stared. After the show road manager Dena told CR that we couldn’t jam with him anymore, he was going to burn us out (we think she mistook the Great Miss Hit to be a result of exhaustion).
That night the promoter put us up in the ritziest of hotels, so we donned bathrobes, ate the pillow mints, and filled the complementary wine glasses with ginger ale to toast on the terrace. Without ladies or other rockstars to shmooze with, we realized that the whole situation was a little awkward, so we put our clothes back on and went to bed.
We’re in Tallahassee tonight loading in at the Beta Lounge. The club has a cool layout and decent sound system. Besides DJs set up near the sound booth, we’re the only acts on the bill, so we have a leisurely load-in/setup/soundcheck. GM is excited to be in FL again… it’s the closest thing to a “hometown” so far on this tour. We’ll be seeing friends from One Drop and 9 Miles tomorrow. We’ve been killing every night with Sage – after our own music as a warm-up, his is a breeze. Interestingly enough, the audience doesn’t seem to notice us much when we play with Sage… they really focus on him which is cool because that means we’re doing our job right. Weird though, feels like we’re the vehicle for Sage’s message but some nights people haven’t recognized us as even being on stage (either set).

Wednesday, February 5th , 2003
Tour Journal Entry #2
We’re in a hotel in New Orleans. Drove all day to try and get here in time for the nightlife. It’s 2 am and half of us are out in the French Quarter while the rest lounge in our rooms. Last night we killed at the Backbooth in Orlando. Grüvis Malt’s set was pretty crappy, though we felt the crowd was excited to see us again. Everyone is getting sick with the one-day Eugonda (spelling?) virus that Gavin had before we left. Sage’s set was very cool – the audience was very responsive. Justin had to leave in the middle of Climb trees to throw up. After it ended, Sage filled in with a spoken word until he returned.
We hung out with Mor and Bleubird (who opened the show) all night, then left at 12 noon for New Orleans. All our coffee stops (and subsequent bathroom stops) had us on the road until 1:30 am.

Saturday, February 8th, 2003
Tour Journal Entry #3
We’ve just loaded in and set up at Emo’s in Austin Texas. It’s a nice reputable club with a small stage in the corner. The New Orleans show was pretty wack. Not a huge crowd, and they were pretty quiet. The sound guy ruined the whole show by arriving a few hours late (and being a rather slow human in general). Grüvis’ set was a little flustered. The sound made us sound even more incoherent than usual. There was this kid who claimed to be “MC-ing” the evening who sort of murmered out introductions. As expected, he decided to showcase his own “spoken word” talents (this is a Sage Francis show right?! Everyone, get out your inner thoughts, lace them with anti-war allusions, and blurt them out with dramatic pauses and hand motions!) at the end of the night. He ended up “freestyling” a lengthy “rap” to the already uninterested show-goers. What really caught our ear was when, in his neat rhymes, he mentioned that 311 had opened up for Sage Francis. When Gavin asked him if he thought we sounded like 311 he answered diligently (halfway between compliment and condemnation), “yes, very much. The first couple songs were kind of cool, but then the rest all just sounded like 311.” All the most scalding retorts weren’t thought up until later (in the bus), so Gavin just started packing up, consoled by the fact that the audience had paid less attention to him than we had.
The real highlight of the evening, however, was when, after the show, Drunk Hippy Hopper decided to host a drum circle on Skot’s kit. Brendan and Gavin calmly asked him to get off the kit, but Skot was a little more brisk with him. When he teetered into the high hat stand and almost took the whole kit down, Skot flipped and started screaming at him. He bungled apologies while trying to pick himself up, but we hauled him off stage and continued to blurt obscenities at him. When he returned five minutes later to apologize, Gavin told him he had ruined the cosmic balance of the stage. He asked what he could do to make it up, and Gavin told him to ask Skot. “SPOT! SPOT!! I’m SORRY MAN…” he shouted to Skot, who just shook his head and tried to remain pissed. Gavin told him $40 would make up for it but, sensing a scam, the guy eyed Gavin for a few minutes and then left. So we made a few fans, drank, hit the hotel, and got up early for Denton.
Denton was good. The ride to Denton was not. We left at 7 am. Around 12, we lost a whole tire on the trailer. Steve, who was driving, just heard a little sound, looked into the review mirror, and pulled over immediately. The rim was the only thing left. Everything else, including the covering, was ripped off. Though some debated going home and giving up on tour all together, we persevered. By 2 the tired was fixed. By 3 we were calling AAA again to bring us gas – Steve misjudged the mileage to the next station, and we puttered to a halt 100 yards from a paper mill. The paper mill smelled very bad. We talked ourselves into a frenzy, convinced somehow that it was a terrorist plot to kill American Malt.
We eventually arrived at the club just in time for a quick soundcheck. We ordered Chinese food and hit the stage to a full crowd at Rubber Gloves. Gavin’s keyboard line crackled for the first two songs, getting us off to a bad start. By the third song we were shredding, and had made some new friends. We were delighted to see people there that knew our lyrics. Sage’s set was very good – entertaining because he harassed two drunken college kids determined to be a big part of the show.
Austin TX was one of the best shows for Grüvis Malt so far. Emo’s sold out and we rocked them. The show was opened by a DJ duo that was much more interesting than the almost cookie-cutter openers on the tour so far. They mixed cool stuff together - Bjork, American Hero, DJ Shadow...

Tuesday, February 11th, 2003
Tour Journal Entry #4
We played Albuquerque last night for a large room full of people. They were more hip-hop than usual, but I think we did well. The Sunshine Theatre (where we played) treated us well.
Steve has flown home to be with his wife and father-in-law in the hospital. Tonight we play Tempe, AZ without guitar. It’ll be the first time GM has ever played without guitar. Sage’s set should go well, but we’re nervous about ours. Steve says he’ll be back for the following show, but whether that goes according to plan remains to be seen.
We’ve been draining ourselves, driving for long periods of time between shows. Gavin’s wallet is still missing.

Saturday February 15th, 2003
Tour Journal Entry # 5
We’re in Sacramento tonight at an old movie theatre called The Colonial. After much hesitation, Steve returned for the Newport Beach show as planned. The Newport Beach show was insane - line around the block. We played hard and well and were well-received. Sage's show was on fire. We had a crappy show at The Gallery (an art warehouse with high ceilings and cement everything) in San Jose last night. We stayed with Gavin’s sister and brother in law at their nice house a few blocks away and cooked a large breakfast with video games as a soundtrack. Our restocking of CDs didn’t arrive as scheduled today, so we’re still selling old crap. They will no doubt arrive on Monday, just as we pull in to Portland, OR. It’s depressingly ironic, because last time we were in San Jose, our Lakeshore shipment took the exact same route.
Tempe turned out to be pretty cool. We just played the songs that didn’t completely suck without guitar and pushed through the set. Sage sat in with a cigar, wig, and headband, looking very intently at Justin’s fingers or me for direction, and tuning as often as he could (not with a tuner or anything, just twisting a peg and cocking his head). We decided to get him back for all the horrific things he’d been saying about Erik’s genitalia on stage, so we paused in Low Concept for a guitar solo. When we all came to a quick stop and Brendan shouted, “Miss Geuting on guitar! GUITAR SOLO!!!” he handled it rather well… he just walked up to mic and mumbled calmly, “I can’t hear myself. I need more guitar in the monitors.” We ended the song and shortly after that the sound guy (who’d done a fair amount of pot-smoking before the show) started scouring the stage, trying to figure out where Sage was plugged in. “I’m not,” said Miss Geuting.

Wednesday, February 19th, 2003
Tour Journal Entry #6
We’re on our way to Montana half asleep. Morale is low. Half-hour sets are taking their toll on us. We don’t have time or audience tolerance to mix it up… we keep playing the same crap. To top it off, it seems like many people aren’t making the connection (this could be due to vision disorders or alcohol or both) between Grüvis Malt - as seen playing their own music, and the band that’s backing up Sage. People will tell us they really liked our set, then act surprised when we tell them that we have our own CDs. They act even more surprised when they find out we were the ones that played that obnoxious music earlier in the evening.
To add to the fun, we got in a car wreck this morning in Seattle. Brendan was driving slowly down the hill (voice already a bit high with anticipation) in traffic when the light at the bottom turned red. He slammed on the breaks, but the excess weight in the trailer (all the merchandise was back there with the equipment) made it impossible to stop. We slid into a woman’s car at 5 miles an hour and crumpled the back of it. The accident happened slowly enough that we were all able to shout suggestions while Brendan flailed his limbs desperately, a caught fish in the front seat. After the accident, he explained to Dena (still in a high voice) that he had been trying to hand her his coffee. We asked him where the coffee was now. He then explained that he threw the coffee straight up in the panic. We all marveled at the strange survival instincts of the GM vocalist. How many people, about to plow into a line of cars, throw their cup of hot coffee straight UP?
We also discovered that the 300 CDs that were sent to (but never arrived at) Gavin’s sister’s were stolen off the front porch in her suburban neighborhood. We have sold out of Backout Smiling, so the only thing left is Sound Soldiers. We have worse luck than the musicians on the Titanic.
Incidentally, the last few shows have been great. San Francisco was off the hook. The show was sold out before doors, and we were happy to see a large turnout for Grüvis Malt. The club was so kind to us – very accommodating. We played a very strong 40-minute set to a very cool audience. Sage’s set was more surreal. At some point in the night, someone started throwing things up on stage. They seemed small and not dangerous, but Sage called the assailant out anyway. “Alright, I want to know who threw something at me!” After he asked again, a kid in the middle raised his hands. When Sage asked why he did it, he responded, “I felt obligated.” “Come here!” said papa Francis, egged on by the oohs and ahhs of a school ground showdown. Surprisingly, the kid made his way to the front of the stage, where Sage first held the mic up to his face, and then bitch slapped him so hard that the people in the kitchen came out to see what was up. A sudden “did he just--?” filled the room while everyone tried to figure out where their morals situated them. Thankfully, the mic amplified the slap so that everyone in the back could consider the ramifications of throwing things at papa Francis. All of us just stood there wide-eyed. Was this objectionable behavior? The kid was stunned, backing away while the audience began cheering. “wait, no… come back here… Come here!” Sage called. And the kid actually started coming back. Sage grabbed his sleeve, reeled him in, and slapped him again. The crowd went nuts. The band couldn’t believe it (right after the show, when we asked Sage why he had hit him again, he couldn’t remember. But later in the bus, he recalled the kid spitting on his neck after he slapped him the first time). He signaled us into the next song.
Two songs later, a guy started yelling and throwing CDs at us from the crowd. He eventually made his way to front of the stage, where he was drunkenly refuting all of Sage’s lyrics. It was very obvious that he was no longer a Sage Francis fan. We soon deduced that he was friends with the slapped kid, and was doing the chivalrous thing. Sage taunted him for a song and half from the stage. Key lyrics from those songs all fell into line with Sage’s message: “You ain’t a fairy, you’re just a bitch! You’re just a bitch!” It seemed very staged, even to us. Eventually the guy tried to get on stage, but Sage grabbed him by the forehead and shoved him down into the audience. This was funny.
We ended Can I Kick It? and went straight into a freestyle in which he began to tease the guy even more. Sage invited him to battle and let him up on stage. To everyone’s surprise, the kid very intelligently freestyled his distaste for what Sage had done. Though there were references of growing up in the ghettos of Virginia (which was daunting because this was a white frat guy), his general message was actually very cool. He rhymed about how Sage is supposed to be about nonviolence and people come to his shows for a positive experience, but Sage had turned out to be an a-hole. Sage took the mic back, apologized in couplets, and explained that he had gotten all worked up and shouldn’t have. In a very statesmen-like manner, he ended the session by telling the audience that this guy (with arm around the guy’s shoulder) was obviously about positivity and respect, and that Sage was sorry. The crowd, roars, we finish the set. Most entertaining night on the whole tour.
Portland was fun because we got to see Creamy Brandon C and Reed. We played very well and felt good about the audience response. Sage’s set was cool – he ended up attacking some drunk kid in the front row who wanted to be a big part of the show. Seattle was even better. Great room, and the audience was very cool. Made a lot of new friends

Monday, February 24th, 2003
Tour Journal Entry #7
Montana was sort of cool – a bunch of hippies that tried to dance to the Groovis Malt. Hippies don’t support you at the merchandise table, though. But it was nice to have a responsive audience for our set.
Boulder sucked, as usual. The crowd is always too cool to check us out in Boulder. Not surprisingly, it was one of the best Sage Francis sets to date. We stayed with our good friends Marc and Marcie.
Fort Collins was a nightmare. After loading in, Steve realized his guitar was left in the alley behind Club Tulagi in Boulder. When we called, they couldn’t find it anywhere. Steve drove there the next day but had no luck either. For that night, we borrowed a Strat that had been left at the Starlight (in Ft. Collins), and then Steve bought a new guitar the next day. Also that night, Justin went to the hospital and missed the show. He was severely dehydrated from a flu and incessant vomiting. Steve filled in on bass for most of Sage’s set, with Gavin playing keyboard bass here and there. For Grüvis’ set, Brendan played an amplified Gameboy and vocal synthesizer while Erik and Gavin improvised on flute and keyboards respectively. Gavin opened the set with a spoken word composed for the tour, which received a good response. The ½ Malt had a good time, and (of course) the crowd was, at times, more responsive than usual.
We’re in Iowa City now, where some of us have come down with head colds and coughs.

Thursday, February 27th, 2003
Tour Journal Entry #8
Iowa City was sort of dumb. There were plenty of kids there, but they were only mildly attentive for our set. Sage’s set went ok. We hit up Milwaukee in a weird way. We played at the Rave, this HUGE multiple-venue Venue. We played in the smallest of five rooms. After sound check, some of us explored the upstairs rooms... stood in the middle of a 5000-capacity room in the dark.
The kids were blank that night. They loved Sage, but didn’t seem familiar with his material. The soundguy loved Grüvis Malt and hated Sage (once again, the metal sound guy not interested in being told how to prioritize the instruments by a rapper). We met a few kids down with what we were doing, but barely sold anything.
We did receive the best three compliments of any on the whole tour! And they were all from the same kid.
1. "You guys are totally inspiring me... because I watch you play and I'm like, 'here's a group of guys that don't belong on stage at all, but they work hard at it, and they got up there anyway!'"
2. "You're music blows my mind. It's like [long pause to wax poetic] you mix regular music... with hip-hop... and I've NEVER heard ANYONE do that! Seriously, it's like I hear elements of all these bands, and it's completely original!"
3. "My friends are all starting to DJ... and that's cool... but I'm trying to blaze my own trail. I'm starting to MC a lot." (this last one wasn't a compliment to GM, but we just loved it)
We developed a game in Sage’s song Bounce where he gets an audience member to touch his head, then says, “I’ll F you up!” with a middle finger to the kid. We noticed that the victim usually responded with a Tony Danza Smile and two middle fingers up, in turn. So every time Sage does that part now, we wait for the kid to do it. If he doesn’t, we all start flipping him off and wait until he does it. Inevitably, the kid gets really uncomfortable and smiley. When he gives us both fingers and the TDS, we rejoice. When he doesn’t, he gets a really upset look from Sage and we declare the show a failure. These sort of experiments are becoming commonplace and enjoyable for us. We’re becoming meaner people.
Last night we played the biggest show on the whole tour. We rocked with Atmosphere and Brother Ali at 1st Ave / 2nd Entry in Minneapolis, MN. The show sold out in presales and the club was beautiful. Steve didn’t enjoy the show as much as the rest of us because he had to deal with The Buzz. Despite relocating his amp and/or his power supply, we were unable to find him a clean sound. The sound guys said that there’s no way around it - it’s always like that. Seemed very odd. Like guitarists just never play there or something.
People were very still when we played, but very attentive. We felt good about the show. Sage’s set was a bit of work. The crowd wasn’t nearly as loud as usual when we hit the stage with him, but we pushed furiously through the 1-hour set. Sage worked them over frantically and eventually had every hand in the air.
Slug/Atmosphere was cool – he played with the live band Heiruspecs who did a good job. Sage and Slug did a 15-minute freestyle session that dissipated into desperate references to well known pop choruses. When Sage began to sing RHCP’s Under the Bridge, everybody filtered back into the dressing room.

Monday, March 3rd, 2003
Tour Journal Entry #9
We rocked Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Madison (highlight: Sage grabs an I’m-so-drunk-I-can’t-stand-up by his face and pushes him back a few rows… kid gets the idea to jump on stage and sit in Sage’s chair. Sage grabs him by the shirt and hurls him into the audience. Kid continues to push to front row and yell indiscernible things during the spoken word segments). We started playing really rock-y sets (read: Gavin doesn’t rap) which sort of seems to be working. We hypothesize that perhaps the most “real” hip-hoppers are more forgiving if they don’t have to worry about whether or not we’re fronting. Very interesting. Chicago crowd was very promising. Ann Arbor was also very accepting.
We played just outside of Cleveland last night and are starting to draw more people for our sets, so we know we’re getting closer to home. Gavin’s come down with a plaguing cough. Most of us haven’t been sleeping well or wearing clean clothes, eating cold pizza for breakfast to save money.
We’re learning a lot from this tour. It’s weird to be the National Act. You can get pissed when the chips and dip aren’t out upon arrival. You start to expect hotel rooms and food buyouts from the club. Wouldn't you know it - opening acts are usually unbearable for you fragile constitution.

Wednesday, March 5th, 2003
Tour Journal Entry #10
We played a Unitarian Church in Philadelphia tonight for our 2nd to last show. Seemed like a whole different Philly from the one we usually play. It’s noticeably healthier. Crowd was cool. They love hand drums. We had a dumb show in Pittsburgh last night. We played very poorly for GM’s set, but Sage’s was cool (the moment we'd all been waiting for, when Sage allowed Erik to take center stage and tell his Steppin' on Toes joke, finally came. The band reveled in it - the audience lost a lot of faith in Sage that night). Lots of freestyling lately… probably a result of playing the same songs every night. We do it as a joke though, over the Top Gun Take My Breath Away song, or the GM Birthday song, or something equally dumb. Freestyling is so worthless for the most part. But Sage is very skilled and keeps us laughing. Often times it’s him shredding an audience member for almost no reason or talking about the crap that happened to us that day. Those are the best.

Friday, March 7th, 2003
Tour Journal Entry #11
We’re home. Northampton was ok. The club was stupid rude. They decided it was fair to take a cut of our merchandise sales. This is preposterous because they don't help you sell it. We never opt to take a cut of the bar sales, but it's our fans that are buying drinks. It's supposed to be a sort of unspoken agreement that you meet in the middle. Some clubs are down to cut into bands however possible. Sound engineers were cool. Show wasn’t as packed as we’d hoped, but it was a snowstorm outside. We played hard for our set, and Sage put on the strangest show. We had these long awkward silences, then these outbursts about how much MA sucks or pieces of lyrics from songs we already played. Then he freestyled at some girl who was giving him eyes. He humiliated her. We got him to flip off this guy who’d been yawning during GM’s set (in the front row, too) for Bounce – but he didn’t do his part back, so we got bored (at the end of the night, the kid shook our hands and told us how much he enjoyed the Grüvis set). All in all, it was a very funny show for the sadists that we’ve become.
Post Tue Apr 08, 2003 10:35 pm
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Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 66
Location: North of the Bay, CA
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LMAO at the entry for the san fran show...After I went to the show, the thought did cross my mind that the thing was planned. Well mainly cause the guy's freestyle seemed rehearsed. god i loved that show....
Post Thu Apr 10, 2003 5:07 pm
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Joined: 05 Sep 2002
Posts: 1040
Location: The Netherlands
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Are you the "sick of waiting tables, best of the undergroundkid battle" underground kid??????

If so: I wanna laugh in your face!!!!

Peace, Max
Post Fri Apr 11, 2003 7:34 am
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Joined: 09 Apr 2003
Posts: 310
Location: Brighton,MI
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What's up Sage?,I went to the Ann Arbor show and there was some guy in the crowd yelling "I didn't pay to see Dave Attell",then ofcourse you ripped on him and it was great.Does every show have it's assholes or just certain ones?

Post Fri Apr 11, 2003 9:07 am
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Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 66
Location: North of the Bay, CA
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maxamillion wrote:
Are you the "sick of waiting tables, best of the undergroundkid battle" underground kid??????

If so: I wanna laugh in your face!!!!

Peace, Max its a joke, but i knew someone would think i was the legend himself.
Post Fri Apr 11, 2003 5:23 pm
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Joined: 19 Mar 2003
Posts: 140
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What is Sage's relation to this"Kid"? He sure does give him alot of it all a joke..How sad.
Post Mon Apr 14, 2003 6:05 am
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