Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Keep Christ out of Xmas.

Here's our little holiday gift to everyone... just us doing our part for the war on Christmas. Live recordings of 2 new songs: "Conniver", and "West". We're going into the studio at the beginning of the year to lay down these tracks for a split that we will be announcing very very soon. Big thanks to our buddy Sir for recording this for us; it was recorded at our tour kick-off show in September on a small Tascam handheld 2-track recorder, so it obviously can't be the greatest quality, but we were all pretty surprised with it. Crank your volume.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tour blog, part 3

Day 15, Chicago, IL:
We got up fairly early, eager to get to Chicago to hangout and sightsee – last time we came through Chicago we couldn’t get a show, so it was just a day off for driving there and crashing at a friend’s apartment. We didn’t check out a damn thing except the hipsters in Wicker Park, and if you’ve seen one you’ve seen ‘em all. Thanks Vice. So we got into the city and drove immediately to Wrigley Field so I could scope out the gregariously creepy statue of Harry Caray they’ve got out front. It’s fucking awesome; it looks like Wrigley Field is on fire, the smoke is made of the laughing faces of children, and Harry Caray is growing out of the maelstrom. My prediction is that this will actually happen on December 21st, 2012.

The sun is the king of planets.
After crossing that shit off my bucket list, we went up to the waterfront park, checked out that angry lake (the waves were crashing up at about 10 ft, on a damn lake! Pretty impressive), tossed a football for a minute, but we had to bounce pretty fast because it was pay parking, and we took up 5 parking spaces and didn’t pay. Not trying to get a $600 parking ticket. We cruised over to where the venue was in order to orient ourselves, parked, and wandered around the neighborhood trying to find cheap eats. Mostly just got tossed around by the wind – I’m sure it was an exceptionally windy day, but no offense Chicago: your weather sucks 8 times out of 10. We found a cheap Middle Eastern restaurant, I got some falafel, and the owner thought Morgan was Arab because of his moustache. Hey, even middle-eastern dudes racially profile people.

The show was at a house venue called Albion House. I’d heard of this house a lot, and was stoked when Adam from Thieves told me we were going to play there – I’d been trying to get a show at said house for a few months last time around, but with no luck. It was a stacked bill, and I was doubly excited because we were supposed to play with both Thieves and HATE. Both of these local Chicago bands tear shit up. We got there, chilled with Adam, some of the housemates and their friends, and then found out that both Thieves and HATE had to cancel. I was gutted. The rest of the acts on the bill were noise artists. 5 of 'em.

Almost all of the acts were eardrum shattering treble-bombs, so I hung out outside in the rain for the majority of the night. Gotta try to save my ears as much as I can. Some people came out for the noise bands, some people came out to see us, so it was a cool mix of people. All the noise dudes were cool – I dunno how much they dug us, but nonetheless everyone was cool with each other, which is how things should be.

After we loaded out, I took some shots with one of the dudes who lived there (whose name I forget and it's killing me because I liked the dude a lot and he also thought Morgan was middle-eastern which is hilarious), listened to some random old creep tell me about how doing coke was better in the 80’s and it’s just not the same anymore, then we took off to crash with Adam. Adam is a fucking righteous dude, he set up the show for us, and felt real bad about the bands having to cancel. No worries dude, the show was still fun. He gave me a spare bedroom and made the rest of the dudes sleep in Thieves’ practice space, so he’s always cool in my book.

Day 16, Detroit, MI:
To be honest, we were kinda unsure about playing Detroit. Detroit has a reputation. Other bands said to us, “You don’t wanna play in Detroit. Bands that live in Detroit don’t wanna play in Detroit.” As we left Chicago, Adam told us to be careful and to always have someone watching the gear and the merch table. His parting words were, “Don’t pull out a weapon unless you’re 100% certain that you’re going to use it.” Nasty! But we wanted to play; the show was booked by a guy named Brian that had reached out to us, which is always cool. He saw we had tour dates and had never heard of us before, and offered to put on a show on a Sunday night. That’s real altruism, and a sign of a good guy.

We rolled into The Motor City right as it got dark, up to a place called Comet Bar, which was a small, lone building surrounded by empty lots, abandoned high-rise buildings, and bums and pushers scurrying around under streetlights like moths in the summertime. We parked out front, got out of the van, and not 10 seconds later a bum was up in our shit asking questions. After trying to change my shoes without ever having my back to the bum or being in a vulnerable position (this was almost as difficult as taking off your underwear without removing your pants, or trying to fight someone and take a shit at the same time), I decided to go check out the bar. The front door had bars on it, and a sign that said “Armed Guard with Attack Dog Inside”. GNARLY!

Inside the place was pretty cool. A small little stage in the corner, stickers all over everything, you could tell this was the local punk bar. The bartender told us we could pull the van around back, they had a fence around the place with a locking gate. Fucking awesome, anything that eliminates having to worry about your gear so much is a good thing. We hung out for quite a bit before the show got moving, but the crowd seemed to grow and grow. Way cool for a Sunday night. Interesting mix of people too. Talked for awhile with this skinhead dude who told me he carries a gun with him all the time except when he goes to the bar because he doesn’t have the right kind of license. Some drunk crusty with shit tattooed on his chin and a hole in the ass of his Carhartt overalls (SURPRISE, he’d ridden there on a train from Portland) kept bothering me all night and insisting on showing me his picture ID. He thought it was hilarious, I thought he bumped his head when he was little.

The show went off well, except the local band who was initially supposed to play last had a guitar player throw a fit right as we started to load in, he had to go to work in the morning and couldn’t be out late. So we got bumped to playing last so this guy could go home to his own bed, eat a hot meal, and fuck his girlfriend. Playing last in a city you’ve never been to before tends to hurt you, nobody knows who you are and aren’t likely to stick around after their friends bands are done playing. This is what happened, for the most part. If the bar had 50 heads in it at one point during the night, we played last for 10 of them. Local bands: please understand this and try to help the touring band out! Let ‘em play next to last, it’d be cool of ya. You can go home to your bed and eat a hot meal and fuck your significant other as a celebration.

After the show, I went out back and found the bum that initially hovered all around our van when we first arrived. We actually ended up talking about shit for awhile, and he shared some of his plastic bottle vodka with me. I don’t know what possessed me to drink it, but fuck it, I’m on tour. Brian had us follow him to a friend’s house so we could crash, as he didn’t have any room at his pad. 2 of us slept in the van, the rest of us slept in a squat house. The shitface crusty who bumped his head was there, and he never shut up. I eventually fell asleep, with all our band-money stuffed in the bottom of my sleeping bag, and on top of the rest of my belongings because I didn’t trust the guy. I don’t think the people who were living there did either.

Day 17, Day Off:
Our show in Pittsburgh got canceled 3 or 4 days before, so we had nowhere to go. We drove all day to Buffalo, NY, and went to Niagara Falls. Very beautiful at night, even if it was pouring rain. Morgan and Kasey and I had our passports, so we went across the bridge to Canada so Morgan could take a shit in another country. Then we walked back across the bridge, soaking in the rain, and got in the van. I then found out our show in Burlington, VT had gotten canceled. More good news. With nowhere to go, we found a $40 motel room and got drunk. I know all this rain got me and Patrick sick.

Day 18, Syracuse, NY and Troy, NY:
I had the most difficult time in the world getting shows in upstate NY booked. I ended up hearing about a show going on the same day we were looking for a show in Syracuse that Tom, who used to be in the band Forfeit, was putting on in his basement for another tour. Some L.A. hardcore bands called Rotting Out and Soul Search. He said we could play for extra donations and merch sales, which was fine by us. About a week before a guy named David had gotten in touch with us about playing his radio show that night in Troy, which is outside Albany and about 2.5 hours east of Syracuse. I figured we could do both, the radio show started at 11, and we could make it there by midnight if we left the show at 9:30. We’d have to scramble and bust our asses, but it was doable.

I think at this point in had been raining in New York for 10 days. Everything was a puddle. My feet were soaked all day long. We got to the show, and checked out the basement. The floor was all wet too. We found a dry enough area and ran an extension cord from the one ungrounded plug over to where there was the least amount of water. Safe as fuck.

The only local band on the show played first, and they were really good. They reminded me of Jawbreaker, Hot Water Music, etc. Good stuff. I can’t remember their name. They were awesome though. We were scheduled to play next; we moved everything forward to get away from the water that kept inching towards all the gear, set everything up in a hurry, then I find out I can’t touch my bass without getting shocked, and the shock is strong enough that I can’t ignore it. I scramble around, find another hidden outlet, steal an extension cord, and hope that the plug is well-grounded. It’s grounded well enough, the shock is mild enough now, so we start to play. Our set starts with Morgan yelling – the 1st scream he lets out blows the PA up. No time or ability to run and get our PA. Don’t wanna stop the set after one song to take 15 minutes to set up another PA – we quickly try to figure it out, but it’s useless. So we play without a singer. Patrick is full-blown sick at this point. We get done playing and he goes outside and pukes. I feel like our set could have been better, but it was shit we couldn’t control. Soul search plays next, and borrows my bass cab, Rotting Out brings in their bass cab and they use that as a replacement for the PA speakers. Apparently the amplifier itself is fine, just not powerful enough. Both bands shared their gear, so they played fairly quickly back-to-back. As soon as they’re done we start loading everything up and simultaneously try to hustle some merch. Nobody really cared – seems like Rotting Out and Soul Search fans don’t really like us. 
Setting up at WRPI radio.
We load everything up and leave as soon as we can back out of the driveway, run to the gas station to fill up, and scream down the interstate to get to Troy as soon as possible. We get in around midnight, meet David at a pizza place across the street from the college campus where the radio station is at. He guides us in, and we jump out and run all the gear into the studio and set up as fast as possible. Morgan helps set up the drums because Patrick has to keep going to the bathroom to puke. We do a quick level check with the audio engineer, then David gives us the signal that we’re live, after reminding us that we can’t swear on the radio. The show is running somewhat late, so we just decide to play 2 new songs that we haven’t gotten recorded yet. Things went well, for having to play with our amps facing the wall and not as loud as we’ve grown accustomed to. Afterwards, we did a short interview and then David ended the show. We loaded up, and followed David back to his dorm room and crashed out after a long and tiresome day.

Day 19, Day Off:
This was yet another day in New York that I couldn’t book. We were originally going to go up to Vermont and hang out with Jacob for the day before our show in Burlington, but since that was also canceled, we decided to go to New York City and hang out for a few days before our show in Brooklyn. Merch Guy Mike has a cousin that lives in Brooklyn, and she said it was cool for her to take up all the floorspace in her apartment for 2 days, so we did just that. First we went across the river to Jersey and hung out with some of Patrick’s family for awhile. His uncle bought us beer, grilled burgers, and we sat and hung out on the porch for several hours, talked, laughed, got drunk, and had a good time. Patrick’s grandmother thought I was him. This put the nail in the coffin of the debate on whether or not we look alike. I still don’t see it. We get asked every day of tour if we’re brothers or twins. I’m Swedish/English. He’s Cuban.

After saying our goodbyes, we head into New York City, sit in traffic forever, and finally find a parking spot in Brooklyn. We go up to Mike’s cousins apartment, say hello, and head out for a night on the town. As it turns out, our good friend and old tourmate Mike from Jument is stuck in NYC after a botched trip to Europe left him stuck in customs for 2 days and sent back to America. Mike’s cousin takes us to some secret gentleman’s club type space that she bartends at, and we hang out and drink whiskey and shoot the shit with her and Mike. A day off isn’t ever the greatest thing on tour, but this was a pretty damn good day off.

Day 20, Day Off again:
Since we’re in NYC, we spend the day sightseeing and walking around Manhattan. I saw the most beautiful girl in the world and I told her that I love her; she wasn’t interested, which figures. We went to Chinatown, Times Square (it’s just like being inside a giant TV commercial), hung out in Central Park, and met up with friends Barrie and Marianna at The Dakota Building, right where John Lennon got capped. We walked to the Natural History Museum, and then went on a seemingly endless walk northward to NYU, and where the Seinfeld CafĂ© is. What a lame thing to go see, which is precisely why I wanted to do it. Some random dude called us The Mothafuckin’ Doom Squad, and the name stuck. We took the subway back to Brooklyn, and decided that tomorrow we were going to go to The Natural History Museum until we had to be at the show.

Day 21, Brooklyn, NY:
I wake up, and I now know that I am for sure sick. My throat is killing me. After spending probably 3 or 4 hours at the museum, and paying a nickel to get in, we head back to Brooklyn and pack up our belongings and head to Party Xpo, a spot that Barrie from Generic Insight Radio books shows at.

They had Adam and Eve at the museum!

I was excited for this show, the lineup was rad – Divider, The Saddest Landscape, and a rad band called Naptakers was supposed to play, but they had to cancel at the last minute, which was a big bummer. We then found one of the dudes from The Saddest Landscape was stuck in traffic coming from Connecticut, so there was a possibility that they might not play. We met up with the Divider dudes, and everybody introduced themselves – I was excited about playing with these guys for the next few days, they’re amazing. The Saddest Landscape ended up playing the show anyhow, even though a member couldn't make it through the traffic. Good band! 

The show went pretty well, minus some weird security dude being a tightass about us going in and out of the building, and me feeling like a double-helping of horseshit after we got done playing. My throat felt almost swollen shut. After the show we said our goodbyes to Marianna and Barrie, and Kasey, Mike, and I went with Anthony, Matt, and Vic to some cool vegetarian restaurant, and Anthony bought me some vegetarian buffalo wings. I haven’t had buffalo wings in years, so this was a real treat, even though at this point I was feeling like total shit. We laughed a shitload about “nice pubes”, and I could tell the next few days would be fun. Anthony dropped us back off at the van, and Matt rode with us back to his place in Queens. Everyone stayed up late hangin’ out, but I curled up in my sleeping bag and tried to sweat out my fever. Being sick on the road sucks.