Posting today to make sure you all didn’t think that we fell off the face of the Earth!
Lately we have been very focused on writing new material for the album, coming out early next year. Noses to the grindstone, if you will. We will keep you all posted on any shows that might be coming up (there are some killer things in the works…watch this space!), and some photos and updates on the writing/recording process. I miss the road immensely right now. Is it wrong to try to live at home like I am on tour?
Day 31 – Homeward bound
Today we head home, after being on the road for a month. We’ve driven over 10,000 miles, played some really great shows, met tons of new people and had some really good times. I’m still too over saturated with the whole experience to really summarize it well. I will probably need a week or so to let it all soak in and register. It’s also going to take some time to put together a comprehensive list of people to thank for their hard work, diligence, support, kind words, hospitality and friendship. I’ve tried to thank as many as I could along the way, but the reality is, we couldn’t have done this without every one that we worked with, played with or interacted with on this trip.
I think a special thank you needs to go to Kyle Smith. Thank you from the bottom of my road burnt heart for coming on this tour with us, and playing the living hell out of the bass. We could not have done it without you. I hope that the tour was as fulfilling and fun for you as humanly possible (even when things sucked – and let’s face it, sometimes touring brings the pain). You rule.
Of course we didn’t make it home without another taqueria run and a trip to Amoeba Records in LA – vinyl itch officially scratched for the time being. The trip home was long, and a little bittersweet. Many great memories, but a lot of sadness that it had to come to an end. It feels like it was only yesterday that we were stuffing the test press 7″ into their sleeves, and now they are all sold out. A mere moment ago when we were loading the bus for the first time, and now (late Sunday night) we are unloading everything for the last time on this trip.
Oh, and in case you were curious – my cats have forgiven me, the mountain of mail totally sucked, and the garden survived just fine. I’ve already harvested zucchini and beets for dinners this week. Back to the “normal” grind.
Thanks for following my blog entries this month. Now that I have the hang of planning the blog entries (I’m giving myself a D for staying on top of the projected schedule), I’ll be penning updates a little more regularly for the band. Mostly around shows, other significant events and amusing anecdotes worth sharing. I am sure that there will be more adventures soon!
Day 30 – Last dance.
City: Corona, CA
Venue: Maya’s Cafe
Lineup: None of the Living Remain, Blaster Master, Angustia, Green Terror
Before we got to the show we needed to make a few record store stops. At least 3. Kyle gets MVP for finding something like 40 records in the dollar bins and scoring a mountain of music. I don’t know how he is going to fit them all in his luggage, but that man is a monster in the record store! Ryan and I (as usual) had a race to see who could find the coolest split/7″/you name it, and do the “in your face” dance at the other’s misfortune. Granted, all of these end up in the same room with either of us able to listen to them at will, but there is something about waving a fistful of Spazz splits in the other person’s face whilst being every inch the 5 year old (yep, that was me in Baltimore, and I’d do it again – neener neener neener).
Vinyl itch scratched (for today…), we snagged some more of that fabulous SoCal taqueria goodness and headed to the venue.
So, we embark upon our last show of this month on the road. I can’t think of a better way to finish this off than a bill that holds two bands that we have played with before and been very impressed with – Angustia and Blaster Master. Tonight, the ladies were going to bring the fury.
We were running the PA for the show, so it was a busy night. I was bouncing from manning the merch table, to running PA/sound, to prepping for our set. Being busy at a show suits me, though, so it was a fun night. Blaster Master was even better than the last time we played with them and Angustia was pure, raging insanity. I ran the PA during Green Terror’s set (thanks for the beer, guys!), and enjoyed watching their set from my special vantage point (seriously, who gets to sit IN the band area and watch – too fun). Super huge thanks to Jorge for running the door, and to Renee and Jared for making sure that everything ran super smooth all night.
Our set was a special treat for me, as I had an awesome crew running mosh pit blockage for me (thank you, ladies you are the best!) so that I didn’t get another microphone in the face as the crowd went crazy and mayhem ensued. It was a great chance to catch up with old friends, make some new ones, and really play an all around great show! Sorry, I am getting sentimental, its the last show!
Late night spaghetti and tour stories with Renee was super rad, as always – talk about the best hospitality ever. Renee, I hope I get to return the favor someday!
Tomorrow we make our way home – back to reality, where I have to make friends with my two (possibly angry?) cats, go through a month of mail, and find out if my garden weathered the August heat…
Day 29 – Blue Moon
City: San Diego, CA
Venue: The Yard
Lineup: Holy Tyrant, Crime Desire, Waco Fuck, Pig Life
The Yard is a completely badass venue tucked away in San Diego. The last time we were down here playing Steinhaus we stopped by and caught part of a ska show in the afternoon. It’s a perfect back yard stage, complete with light strung trees, an astroturf lawn, and on this particular night a great view of the blue moon rising over the tree line (yep, sentimental, deal with it).
Side note — if you think that a Blue Moon is actually blue, please read this article (here) and then kindly, shoo.
The drive from Phoenix to San Diego was harsh, to say the least. Ryan wins band member of the year for driving the whole way, through the mountain pass that I was sure would mean the end of the bus transmission. It took waaaaay longer than planned, which meant that we got there after the first band was done, but did manage to see most of the rest of the show. We had a whole crew of folks that helped us load in the gear in record time, which really helped with our ability to see the rest of the bands play. Pig Life was amazing, it was a total treat to share the bill with them for sure. Yet again, another great show put together by Danny and the PP crew down here!
The evening was over too soon for sure, especially since the end of this journey is looming large. We headed back to crash at Danny’s place and then out for a mid night run to a 24 hour taqueria. This began my education into the “Berto’s” phenomenon in Southern California…my mind still reels at the concept of an Analberto’s that managed to operate under the radar until someone realized that perhaps that name might not translate well. The burritos in SoCal put everywhere else to shame, so of course we gorged ourselves while walking through town. There was some outrageously glam action going on outside of a “dance” club/bar, but we didn’t stop to partake, so infatuated with our taqueria spoils and in need of some rest. We have a big day of record stores ahead of us as we make our way up to Corona for our very last show of the tour.
Day 28 – The sweat of many…
City: Phoenix, AZ
Venue: the Zoo
Lineup: Mange, Dusted, Biocidio
While Texas is hot and muggy, Arizona is just HOT. But desert hot is so much more bearable to me. At this point in the trip I am so used to sweating and swatting (frigging mosquitoes, seriously WHY DO YOU LIKE MY BLOOD SO MUCH?!?!?), it’s a routine and I can’t remember life without it. I have gotten more than my money’s worth on the bite remedies that I brought, and I am relieved that we committed to having a regular laundry day on the trip. The little things. This is also when I realize that when I arrive home, my entire view of normal is changed for the foreseeable future, and anything other than eat, sleep, wash i.e. “the basics” is seeming frivolous.
But let’s get back to the trip. I love Phoenix. Everyone here is so friendly, the shows are ALWAYS fun, something ridiculous always happens (ask me later about the time that donkeys sneezed on me – true story). We spent the day hanging with Ryan’s aunt and uncle, managed to sneak in a dip in a swimming pool (totally frivolous and such a welcome treat!), and I think Jerry bought out the hot sauce store that the guys visited.
The show was a house show/birthday celebration (Happy Birthday again, Brynt!), and did not disappoint. Mange and Dusted (both bands I had never seen play) crushed it, getting the crowd good and excited. Biocidio played an absolutely blistering crust/grind set – I love it when I remember playing with a band before, expect good things, and they play even BETTER than I remember. Honestly, so good! I was more than thrilled to get ready and play!
Bodies were flying, beer was spraying (or was that sweat, I really hope that it was beer), the pit was all over the place and I did land in the drums at least once. Super kudos to Uncle Sam for braving the pit with his camera!
We had an absolute blast at this show! Special thanks to all of the bands (you guys were fantastic!), Brynt for being a great host, Adam for hooking us up with the show, Sam for hanging in there for the entire show with us, and to every single person that came out and made this show so much fun! We hope to see all of you again soon when we play in Mesa at Within These Walls!
Day 26 – Finishing off TX with a bang!
City: El Paso, TX
Venue: Love Sprout
Lineup: RaulxPalomo, Nuclear Scorn and Resin Cum
We finished our 4 day run in Texas in El Paso, so we were really looking to leave on a super high note. House shows are often our favorites, and Love Sprout didn’t disappoint!
After another long, hot drive (yeesh, the heat in this state!), we met up with Luis at his place for some dinner and to cool off a bit before the show. Luis, another incredible host, had made dinner for us, including some awesome homemade salsa! I want the recipe – seriously, so good!
I knew we were in for a good evening, when we arrived at the venue and there were already quite a few folks there hanging out before the show. We got to chat with a bunch of people – all of whom left me with the impression that the scene in El Paso is very cooperative and committed to preserving their music scene and supporting both local and touring bands. I was really impressed with the way that they work together on shows, with different promoters often combining shows and working together to make sure that they always have a good showing!
As I had hoped, the bill was great and the crowd was energized when we set up to play. I am pretty sure someone got some killer video footage of the pit (please send it my way?), and a good time was had by all. I’ll play LoveSprout again, anytime!
Day 25 – Rambozo
City: Austin, TX
Venue: Club 1808
Lineup: New Hope
Since we set off in the middle of the night to drive to Austin, we got in pretty early with plenty of time to wander around. The one record store that was highly recommended to us was closed – with a sign that read “we are closed today while we adjust to school being in session – go ahead and write a Yelp review if you want”. Hmmm. Ok, then. Guess we aren’t buying any records, and yay for customer service?
Figuring that parking the behemoth bus was going to be a hassle, we set off for downtown to find somewhere to establish as “base camp” for the afternoon. The show wasn’t scheduled to start until 9pm, so there was plenty of time to see a little bit of the city.
Downtown Austin is pretty saturated with places to eat, hang out, walk around, etc. So once we found a suitable spot for the bus, we were free to wander around, check out the neat architecture around the city and find somewhere interesting to eat. We ended up at “Frank” a hot dog and beer place that also serves a wild variety of old school fountain drinks (I am pretty sure I drank a trough of cream soda). They also had veggie hot dogs, so we were set.
Base camp turned out being a coffee shop with free WiFi and an intersection with some of the best people watching I have seen this entire trip. A guy doing gymnastics on a park bench in a stellar attempt to get a ride somewhere leapt around like a crazed Tasmanian devil. A woman of impressive stature quizzed every passerby as to whether they had a cigarette she could buy for a dollar (and criticized every person without one mercilessly). No less than four different guys walked out the front of a building, stripped off their shirt, and launched into an afternoon run (for the life of me, I have no idea if that was an apartment building, or an underground gym or something really unusual…). And this guy paced back and forth in front of us, sometimes with a guitar on his back, sometimes carrying other random objects, sometimes without anything…what was he doing?
Ryan’s brother Matt paid us a surprise visit, and showed up at the venue totally unannounced (this is super random since he lives in San Jose…yes you read that correctly). Thanks, Matt for coming out and for letting us crash your hotel room for a short visit!
Originally this was supposed to be a 5 band bill, but two of the locals dropped off that afternoon (this always baffles me when it happens especially when more than one band drops the day of). So we load into the club, play the show, and load out in a relatively short period of time. Early night? I don’t think so…there is driving to be done!
Thank you to Rich for putting on the show and taking care of us!
Day 24 – Tip your sound guy, please.
City: Houston, TX
Venue: White Swan
Lineup: Turbokrieg and IBV
We rolled into Houston in the early afternoon, breaking up the drive into two parts with a nap in the middle. Even though the air conditioning is working, it has to work far too hard during the day to keep the bus at a bearable temperature, so night drives (or at least covering half of the distance at night) has become the norm for us. I am pretty sure we have seen enough truck stops to be considered fairly reliable authorities on which ones to stop at while driving around the country.
Just as I remember from previous visits, Houston is as hot and humid as ever. Also the mosquitoes are HUGE and have voracious appetites for my California blood. I finally broke down and started spraying myself with DEET. I have an impressive collection of bites, and I really don’t want to add to it…
We hung out for a bit with Frank, who graciously helped us out by putting together the show and having his band, Turbokrieg play on the bill. Then we ventured out to a list of record shops that he kindly directed us toward. Thanks again, Frank!
We found some pretty great vinyl shops in Houston, Vinal Edge and Sound Exchange being the source of quite a few neat records. I found a couple of copies of the Dancing French Liberals of ’48 7″ (ex Gits members) for a mere $2! We also discovered a pretty great Chinese restaurant, and many sources of air conditioning to enjoy during the afternoon.
After a thunderous and fun 3 band bill, we were back on the road and headed to Austin, hoping to beat the heat again by driving as far as possible at night.
Day 22 – Clean bill of Health for the bus…but not for me.
City: Memphis, TN
We woke up at 5:30, as planned, and hauled ourselves to the mechanic’s shop for the last ditch effort on the AC, the oil change that we so desperately needed, and to get a new tire (can’t very well be running around with no spare).
We decided to check out the local Cracker Barrel restaurant and wait for a while, versus spend another 5-6 hours lurking around the mechanic’s shop. Incidentally, I think we may have had the nicest wait staff I have ever experienced while we were there. Southern hospitality?
The repairs were finally completed, and we were well on our way to Memphis. Things were looking up and we were planning on playing the Buccaneer after some dinner. No other bands on the bill, just us, but that’s ok. Suddenly, I am experiencing intense stabbing stomach pains. Ugh, really?
After hours of tea, toast, medicine, it’s no better, and it’s clear I am in no shape for a show tonight. So with great regret, we have to cancel the show so that I can recover as quickly as possible. Let’s hope I recover fast. We have shows to do!
Day 21 – “No pinching, only punching.”
City: Louisville, KY
Venue: Nelligan Hall
Lineup: They Yearn For What They Fear, Stabler, Pleasant Nightmare
Oh this day…
We noticed on the way to Memphis that the Air Conditioning was acting up. By acting up, I mean not working. This is going to be sub-optimal once we hit Texas and Arizona. Not impossible, as we have been down this road before, but it really gets toasty in that bus.
We also need an oil change, since we have put well over 5000 miles on the bus at this point, and we want to avoid bus issues if at all possible. So we start calling shops to see who can work on the bus, and Ryan takes the AC apart in the parking lot of the Pilot truck stop. At this stage, it’s looking like the issue is more than a small leak, and that we might have some other potential problems forming. We don’t have all of the specialty tools with us to fix this, so we are going to need to get to a mechanic.
We spent the afternoon at the shop, as they took apart the AC twice, thinking it was fixed the first terms, only to find out that the part used seemed faulty. We need to be in Louisville by 7, so we are a little nervous that we are cutting it close as the fix is beginning to take a long time. After much deliberation the mechanics come back in with the final prognosis. And it isn’t good. Apparently there is a blockage somewhere, and there isn’t enough time to figure out where it is located. We have to make a quick decision on what to do next and get on the road, if we are going to make it to the show. Do we just call it, and go with no AC through TX/AZ? Or do we scrap our original plans for Louisville (we had been planning to hit up the skate park, and the cemetery), and come back to try to get the blockage cleared and *maybe* have air conditioning for the hottest part of the trip. Obviously, no guarantees that it can be fixed.
We quickly weigh our options and the costs, and decide that we will hit the skate park after the show, skip the cemetery,and get up at 5:30 am to get back to the shop and try to get the AC fixed.
By the time we get on the road we know we are going to cut this close, in terms of arrival at the show, but we are still going to get there in time to see the other bands. We just need to get some fuel. As we pull into the filling station, Ben points out that we appear to have a flat tire. Seriously. A. Flat. Tire.
We proceed to change the tire as quickly as we possibly can. Moments ticking away.
We finally get the tire changed, filled, and get back on the road. We are starting to get frustrated, but still counting ourselves lucky that the tire didn’t disintegrate while we were on the highway. The reality is that it could have been so much worse.
Despite driving the bus as hard as can be expected, we still get to the show late. Luckily, some folks stuck around, and we still got to play. After the day that we had, it was nice to get all of that frustration out through the music. We played some extra songs that we hadn’t been doing on the trip, just for fun.
Special thanks to Colin for your patience and all of the folks at Nelligan that stuck around to watch us play. We really appreciate it!
Post show, we loaded back into the bus and floored it to the skate park. Ryan, Ben and Kyle skated the park. I watched for a while and then decided that Jerry had the right idea and went to sleep in the bus. We will be getting up at 5:30 am so that we can get the next stage of bus repairs underway. Wish us luck!Next Page »