Originally Posted 11/18/09 on Myspace
Nick here and we’re back from our tour minus a van and a part of my tooth – but more on that later. Thought I’d give a recap of our trip out east, a run down of what we’ve got planned for 2010 and how we plan on spending the icy Minneapolis months that are soon to be upon us – so here we go….
Wednesday Oct. 21 – Minneapolis
Having gotten the van back the day before with a clean bill of health (questionable), we were all set to head out of Mpls at noon. Danny and Nate had picked up a bunch of new t-shirts from our friend Jeremy. I kissed my dogs goodbye and we headed out into the rain, landing just inside Ohio at day end. I remember the last two toll takers we met look virtually identical, and we got a kick out of the idea that a family of twin sisters were working the tolls 20 miles apart. Part of the reason to push across the Ohio border was to be able to score some brews, which played out perfectly. We downed Corona and taped up t-shirts at a Bates-style motel and got stoked for the upcoming tour.
Thursday Oct. 22 – Endicott, NY
We got up early and hauled ass to Endicott, NY (a little south of Binghamton) for a show at a converted Music-Go-Round. Apparently it was a functional store, but all they had in stock were out-dated Popular Science magazines upstairs and no one was buying. We played with Nancy who apologized for their band name but were really rad. Met some people from the Pop Punk Message Board (yah we’re nerds) and tried to kick out the cobwebs after not having done a show in awhile. While trying to determine a plan for getting Nate to Sirius the next day for an interview, a few Endicott natives were adamant we’d be able to easily park a van in Manhattan. This would prove to be false.
Friday, Oct. 23 – New York City
Parking a van in Manhattan is fucking impossible. We were trying to get Nate to Rockafeller Center at 1PM to do an interview on Faction along with Ray from Teenage Bottlerocket and Joey Cape of Lagwagon fame. Every ramp said “NO VANS” and when we finally thought we had found a spot it turned out to be for deliveries only and Nate’s witicisms did not count. We dropped him off amidst the Manhattan lunch crowd and headed to Brooklyn where we would be playing later that night.
Danny, Corey and I parked found a parking spot (hurray!) in Brooklyn near the show and wandered around looking for a bar. We landed at our friend Josh’s bar, which turned out not to be open for business but had an unlocked door. Danny made a mad dash for the bathroom regardless and then apologized to the bartender for having the runs – “I’ve been eating a lot of greasy food”. We found this hilarious. We played some video bowling at another bar and then headed to Club Europa to load in.
The show turned out to be really fun. It was great to see Brandon from TBR again (he had set up a show for us in 2008 in Laramie) and meet the Ray, Kody, Miguel, and Cobra Skulls dudes. We also finally met Vanessa from Fat who has been so great to work with and has done so much stuff for our band. As far as our set, it felt ok. The opening band played way too long and as a result were kinda rushed to keep on schedule. My amp head sounded weird out of Ray’s cabinet (we were sharing gear) and we had some monitor issues, but I think we played alright. Got to see people from the PPMB like Chris and Carla so that was cool. Danny and Nate headed out after the show to see Pretty Boy Thorson at the aforementioned diarihea bar while Corey and I headed to Caroline’s Comedy Club in Manhattan where we saw Donnell Rawlings (Ashy Larry from Chappelle Show) as well as some hiliarious openers. One guy had a great bit about how pissed off bees have to be to sting you because they know they’ll die after it. They have to really want that potato salad.
We regrouped in Brooklyn and tried to make our way out of town until a curb and a fence got in our way at a rainy intersection. The van seemed unscathed luckily and we made some progress toward Tom Hank’s favorite city.
Saturday, Oct. 24 – Philadephia
We got to Philly with lots of time to spare, so we decided to check out some of the sites. Brief recap: the liberty bell has a big crack in it; it was not renamed the Taco Bell contrary to popular belief; if you’re desperate for some change you can find some on Ben Franklin’s grave, but beware of his resume posted on the gate – it will make you feel like a lazy shit.
The show was at a house called “The Terradome” and turned out to be an amazingly good time. We had succeeded in finding some alcohol after searching for no less than one hour (weird laws in PA). People seemed really into the show, we played decent, and got to crash at the house. What more can you ask for?
Sunday, Oct. 25 – Cambridge, MA
This show turned out to be rad. When we got to the venue there was a huge line outside and I was stoked. Then I heard that Anal Cunt and Goat Whore were playing in the lower level, dis. Fear not, lots of people showed up to see TBR and Cobra Skulls and a good time was had. I got to talk to Kody and opened with “you remember that show the Lillingtons playing in Minneapolis in the Extreme Noise basement when the power went out?” His reponse: “How old are you?” Ha! I felt dumb being near Harvard and MIT which continued to the vibe started at Ben’s grave. I finished a Suduko and felt better.
Monday, Oct. 26 – Howard Stern Studio Tour and Albany
Monday was exciting. I am a super fan of Howard Stern and today we had a studio tour scheduled. Fuck yea! When we’re on tour we listen to a lot of Howard Stern in the van – it can make a drive across nowhere Wisconsin pass by like that. So how did this tour happen you ask? Well my wife happens to work with Howard Stern’s program director’s sister – weeks before the tour I realized this was the perfect opportunity to exploit this connection and voila! Tim Sabean came through in spades. We got our security badges and waited in the Sirius lobby for our tour guide. Nate noticed the wall behind us showed every song currently being played on every channel – Faction was playing the Dead Kennedy’s. Nearby was a sign that read “Welcome James Taylor!” who must have passed through the doors sometime before us. We finally got ushered in and moments later met Sal Governale, the phony phone call master. No joke, he dropped his knuckles and starting acting like an ape, asking our guide if he was “giving us a tour of the zoo”. Pretty fucking cool. We also got to meet Scott the Engineer, see the studio where the action happens, and pass by all the other Sirius channels including the “Martha Stewart Channel” where Nate had done his Faction interview days before. Pretty sweet.
We went back to Brooklyn to get the van and started out for Albany for our last show with TBR and Cobra Skulls. I started feeling really sick and had swine flu paranoia. Back in May when we did a week after the Windy City Sound Clash we all got wicked sick and had thought we had gotten an early strain and were therefore immune now. Don’t know if that’s what I ended up getting, but the next two days sucked. I rebounded right before we played however and it ended up being a fun show. Brandon regailed us with tales of his swimming with sharks in Thailand and I ran into Sergei from Long Island (we had played his house in 2006) and it was good talking to him. We stayed at a super ghetto hotel and I got my own room so I could enjoy my flu dreams in peace, and boy did I get ’em.
Tuesday, Oct. 27 – Richmond, VA
We had our GPS going and thought we were in the right place but couldn’t find the venue - we just kept getting stuck in this strip mall. Turns out the venue was in the strip mall, and was a duckpin bowling alley to boot. I still felt like shit but had a good time nonetheless. The opening band was Drunk Hugs and they were pretty rad. Bomb the Music Industry! played and I ducked out to take some Advil. I crashed at a super shitty Econolodge for more flu dreams while the rest of the guys crashed at a guy’s house. I don’t know about you but when I have the flu I take baths to try to regulate my body temperature. Only problem was this fucking hotel didn’t have a plug. After much thought I figured out I could use the ashtray as stopper if I was just careful not to kick it. The next day I proudly told the guys I had pulled some MacGuyver moves to which Nate said “that’d be some pretty weak MacGuyver”
Wednesday, Oct. 28 – day off in Savannah, GA
We did some laundry in the Garden of Good and Evil. Savannah seems like a rad place and I’d like to get back there sometime.
Thursday, Oct. 29 – Tampa, FLA
Pre-Fest! We had played Transitions Skate Park in 2006 and 2007 but for some reason didn’t in 2008 and that was a mistake. This show was fucking great! So many friends, so many good bands. We played early too which was a bonus (when we left at 3AM there were still bands that hadn’t played). Some excitement went down when a guy tried to jump between the roofs of two vans and couldn’t quite close the distance. An ambulance arrived and from what I hear it was just a few stiches and a broken toe, but it coulda been a disaster. We sold a shit ton of merch here which was awesome because we were out of cash at this point. I got to see the Monikers which was super fun.
Friday, Oct. 30 – Fest!
We were pumped for Gainesville. The line at the Holiday Inn was insane to get passes. While we were sitting in the lobby waiting to check in we saw the Dopamines fresh off their European Tour and it was fun to talk to them. Through some logistical fuckups we ended up with one bed for four of us which was kinda a bummer since we had the room for three days, but some Corona/PBR quickly changed our outlook. Some bands I saw: Cheeky (sweet), Jonesin’ (awesome) and the Menzingers (fucking crazy awesome). I had really wanted to see American Steel but the line was uber-ridiculous.
Saturday, Oct. 31 – Fest!
We were supposed to play at 2:30 at Common Grounds so I set out early in the morning to try to fix my amp (I had blown a fuse in Tampa). Outside Radio Shack I ran into Barker of Ringers/Witches with Dicks fame and we bullshitted for a bit. Inside as the clerk was ringing my fuse up he asked something like “do you want to donate $2 to (name a Nascar driver)’s cancer research foundation?” I replied “nahh man” and all of a sudden from across the store Barker yells “C’mon man! It’s for cancer!!” Shamed into contributing I headed back to the hotel with a fixed amp.
The show at Common Grounds was fucking awesome. It was packed to shit. Midway though the second song I saw a dude flip up out of the crowd and head right towards me. His leg connected perfectly with the mic stand forcing the mic to connect perfectly with my teeth. A piece of my front upper left tooth went flying flustering me so much that I spaced the 2nd verse to Greenwood. Fortunately it turned out to be only the back of my tooth that fell apart leaving my good looks intact.
The whole slew of bands after us was amazing and I got to see bands like Dear Landlord and the Copyrights from right on the side of the stage. Sweet. I ran into Barker again on the patio and asked him if he also had contributed to the cancer fund – he hadn’t. That’s bullshit.
Somehow we got added to the Failsafe Warehouse bill and were scheduled to play about 5 miles from town around 2AM with lots of cool bands including Dead to Me, who we had never met but were going to be playing some shows with post-Gainesville. This show was fucking crazy awesome. The energy was palpable. We played Skeleton Key for the first time live and I barely sang any of the words as the people in front took over (and I was a little gun-shy given my tooth situation). Dead to Me killed and sounded so rad even as a three piece. Got to meet those dudes and they were super cool and made us really stoked for the next leg of the tour. Also met Chad from Fat and that was really cool. We also missed out on the cop-bashing hijinks going on at a house back in the city so that was a bonus.
Sunday, Nov. 1 – Fest!
Sunday was sweet because all we had to do was check out cool bands. I remember seeing Off With Their Heads (insanely awesome), Broadway Calls (radical), and the Thumbs (nostaligic from when I saw them in a Mpls basement circa 2000). We got some Alligator tacos at the drummer from Against Me’s restaurant, Boca Fiesta – review: bland food, shitty service. Wish I had a better report but hey I’m just being real witcha. Danny and I called it an early night to watch the World Series and root against the Yankees.
Monday, Nov. 2 – New Orleans (day off)
What a perfect spot for a day off!! It was a helluva drive but we crossed the swamp around 8PM and landed in the French Quarter ready for fun. I had visited a month before for a week so knew the lay of the land and acted as the defacto tour guide. While we waited for Nate to check into the hotel Danny realized he could drink on the street without fear of arrest, so he hit up the stash of PBRs we had from Tampa and smiled. We headed down Bourbon St. which was pretty dead as everyone was at the Superdome watching the undefeated Saints in Monday night football. We got some great chargrilled oysters at Acme Oyster House, walked the waterfront and ended up at Harrah’s casino where Danny and I won a couple hundred bucks at blackjack, sweet. We bet $20 of band money on roulette and won (thank you Wesley Snipes) and headed back to a now packed Bourbon St. since the game had gotten out – fortunately the Saints had proved victorious so the mood was festive. We got overly bombed on Corona and hurricanes and stumbled back across Canal St. around 2AM to get some Zs.
Tuesday, Nov. 3 – New Orleans and Baton Rouge
Everyone woke up feeling pretty decent given the prior night’s activities. We hopped the St. Charles streetcar to the Garden District and got breakfast and checked out an old above-ground cemetary. After that we checked out of the hotel and drove to the Lower Ninth Ward to see some of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. As the Copyrights would say, Shit’s Fucked. Lots of people outside painting and rebuilding, lots of empty lots, lots of buildings crumbling. We were all struck by the fact that were this a affluent white neighborhood things would be different. We headed out to Baton Rouge – New Orleans is a rad city, I love it.
We got to the Fat Cat Saloon early and had a few drinks. This was essentially a aluminum sided building on the side of the interstate. People wearing ten gallon hats and shit. The bartended asked us what kind of music we play and punk meant nothing to her. “Is it kinda like metal?” she asked. Green Day drew blank stares so I dug deep – “Kinda like…uh… Nirvana?” ”Never heard of them. I listen to country and Creed.” So the show look sketchy but turned out to be great. It was super fun meeting/hanging out with Dead to Me and we got to hear the singer from the opening band refer to “the dang ol’ bugs from the dang ol’ swamp” which isn’t something you hear very often. They had a guitar on the wall strung with barbed wire too which was kinda cool. Danny and I got raw oysters before the show that we told a local about. He said he only has those once a month “cause of the bacteria”. People were rad and my love of Louisiana (and DTM) grew.
Wednesday, Nov. 4 – San Antonio, TX
Ok this venue was ridiculously huge. Like think of a highschool gym or something. Chicken from DTM had the great idea of inviting the entire crowd (20+ people) up on stage for the show and it made the night. We got to hear Nathan play ”Little Brother” on acoustic guitar outside the back of the club after the show and then all went out to a fake-Denny’s diner. Someone said a joke that cracked me up so hard I almost choked, but Nathan slapped me on the back and I recovered. Thanks man!
Thursday, Nov. 5 – Austin, TX
We got here really early and decided to splurge on a new CD played for the van. Up to this point we had been rocking just a tape deck and a radio-transmitter for an Ipod – we had some $ from Gainesville and the new DTM CD so decided what the fuck. Once installed it made our van dash look super modern and we rocked African Elephants and Supporting Caste all the way to Red 7.
Red 7 is a really cool venue. We battled DTM in foosball (they won) and Danny and I impressed each other with our Ms. Pacman skillz. Got to meet Mike from Riverboat Gamblers who was a super nice guy. He got on stage with DTM and did Don’t Lie and/or By the Throat which was cool to see. Fun night.
Friday, Nov. 6 – Dallas
I’m happy to report we didn’t get assassinated here. We played at a place called ”the Prophet Bar.” No red flags. The bartender had a shirt on that referenced “your own god” or something to that effect. No red flags. Then Nate or Danny after talking to the sound guy said “you realize this is a Chrisitan Bar?” Ding Ding Ding! So, awkward. After Chicken had let loose on some banter referring to Xianity as bullshit I heard a girl near the door say to her friend “…to come here, it’s so disrespectful!” The show was fun regardless and it was sad to be parting ways with DTM. Chicken reminded us that it wasn’t a breakup but merely a separation, which eased our minds. We headed north to St. Louis.
Saturday, Nov. 7 – St. Louis
Fucking long drive. We decided to stop around 5 for some drive-thru Thai (interesting) in Springfield, MO, and our van crapped out on the off ramp. Long story short, the transmission was shot and we couldn’t go in reverse or over 25 MPH. We put in a full $75 tank of gas in hopes that it would fix the problem (bad move) and ended up ditching the van (and our new CD player) at a closed transmission shop and renting a U-haul for the gear and a station wagon (not much is available for one-way out of Springfield) and hauling ass to St. Louis for a house show with the Humanoids. We finally got there at 11PM and played shortly thereafter – those guys are amazing and the show was incredible. We always have a great time in STL. Corey and I headed out in the U-haul right after the show while Danny and Nate headed north in the wagon. We pulled into a rest area around 5am when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and amazingly Nate and Danny were already parked there. I slept in their trunk for two cramped hours and we made it back to Mpls the next day by 5pm.
This blog went way longer than I anticipated and since the I have to work in a few hours and the Maker’s Mark/Diet Coke runneth dry I’ll keep this brief:
2010: We’ve got a European tour almost completely booked for April/May and we’re stoked. Most of us have never been over there so it’s pretty exciting. We’re also going to be playing SXSW in March so that should be cool. If Fest 9 happens I hope we’ll be there, and we may** try to do Japan in the fall.
Now: Working on a new record! Winter is soon to be upon us and that means hunkering down in the practice space and writing songs about how cold it is. We only have one show (New Year’s Eve) booked for the next 4 months so hope to get a lot of writing done. Our first non-getting-a-set-together practice is tomorrow, cool!
Alright, that’s it – can’t believe I had that much to say. If you made it all the way though you’re a trooper – send me your address and I’ll send you some stickers or some shit.