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Updates & Stuff

Hey there! It’s been awhile since we’ve posted an update. Here’s some news:

-We’ve been working on a new album, on and off, mostly off. It’s slow going but we have a bunch of songs now and I think a lot of them are pretty great. We just need to flesh them out some more and hopefully we’ll have a new record for ya’ll before too long

-I started another band called Partial Traces awhile back. It’s a lot mellower, more indie pop/rock than Banner Pilot, so you might not dig it. Or, you might! You can check out our first album Glass Beach over at our Bandcamp page

-Fest and Pre-Fest a few months ago were our first shows in quite a long time and they ruled. Was super fun being back there and seeing a ton of friends

-We are playing Chicago at the Metro with The Lawrence Arms in April, definitely excited about that one. Tickets on sale this Friday. I bet you can figure out how to find them using Google or whatever.

That’s about it, I think? New shows and new tunes soon*, check back! – Nate

(* “soon” being defined, you know, loosely)

 

Two Videos

Hey, Nick made a couple of super cool videos for songs off of Souvenir. Modern Shakes and Dead Tracks, check ’em out! – Nate

 

 

Tattoos

Have seen a few of these tattoos now— super cool! If you were thinking about getting a tattoo, but weren’t sure what to get, just get one of these. Easy! Thanks to Geffen Refaeli for the rad album art. Check out her other stuff, too; hell, you could tattoo your entire body! It’ll rule! – Nate

 

Europe Tour Recap

We are back from Europe– it was a great time as always, although it got slightly hairy a few days in. I posted a handful of quick things on Facebook while we were over there; they are collected here for your reading pleasure. – Nate

 

April 21
First day in Paris was a blast. Lots of walking around, vaguely jet-lagged, in perfect weather, up along the seine and through the neighborhoods. Kind of a cliche but hanging out under the Eiffel Tower drinking cheap beers we bought from some guy walking around with a bucket was pretty awesome. I think if we had another round we probably would have purchased one of the laser pointer toys he was also encouraging us to pick up. We also spent a stupid amount of time at a random Irish bar next to our AirBNB, where we learned a great game called Guinness Percision. You take a single sip/gulp and try to get the beer line (not the foam line) to rest exactly between the harp and the Guinness text. See attached photo. Took some practice! But Joe got it twice, Jeff once, and Danny once. I was pretty bad at it. On to Lyon! Playing at Ayers Rock Boat, hope to see you there!

April 23
Our first show ever in Italy ruled. Really fun time. I slipped on a lemon peel after the show (really) and totally messed up my knee, so that’s lame. Definitely the worst thing a lemon has ever done to me; usually I like them. But besides that, it’s been awesome here! Had some excellent Pizza and beers next to a lake, and then checked out a castle. Two more shows here, and then on to Slovenia

April 25
Man, Italy was so much fun. Had another great show last night. Such a friendly, enthusiastic crowd. Hung out on the patio until 3am drinking beers and discussing metal records, and I realized the “duh-nuh-nuh-nuh, nuh-nuh-nuh” system of expressing metal riffage is truly universal and transcends language. We were also trying to recall Megadeth lyrics and I only came up with one, “You take a mortal man / and put him in control” (followed by the aforementioned duh nuh nuns) How many can you remember, top of your head, no cheating? The Megadeth Lyric Challenge. Maybe it’s easy and I’m simply not a metalhead. Anyway: Great times! Slovenia is up next – Nate

April 26
In case you weren’t sure, let me confirm it: Slovenia knows how to party! Also a rad looking country; you can almost see the venue from this photo

April 27
Thanks, Budapest! Another great show in another beautiful city. Special shout out to our new friend who drove all the way from Serbia to see us. Walked around for 5+ hours today and it was great. And at the end of the walk, I was able to eat my first taco since leaving home. It wasn’t a bad taco, either. Day off today. Going to check out Off With Their Heads in Vienna. See you there? After that, three shows in Germany. Looking forward to it.

April 29
Yesterday, traffic was at a standstill and a truck bumped into us as we nudged into their lane. Not a big deal, their fault, but minor, and then… These two screaming truckers are running up to the van, ripping open both the driver and passenger doors and waving around wildly like they’re going to start punching us. Lots and lots of screaming in rapid fire German. We shut the doors. They opened them again. Repeat. One of them then ripped the driver mirror down. Broken. Finally we pulled away, assuming they were going to follow us off the exit, but there was a cop car there so they just continued on. We talked to the cop but didn’t get their license so we gotta eat the cost of the mirror repair I guess.

And THEN — after being stuck in standstill traffic for a couple hours — the van started making weird noises, died, and suddenly we’re stranded on the side of the damn autobahn! Sun’s going down, cold out, and there are cars zipping by inches from the van at 100+ miles an hour.

Kind of crazy day! But then we called a tow truck, got towed to a mechanic, got picked up by OWTH, got to the venue and played possibly the best show of the tour. Thanks, Nurnberg! Now we’re hanging out waiting to hear from the mechanic. Hope we can make the show tonight, wish us luck! Oh yeah, also breakfast in Vienna was really good yesterday. So that was cool. First guacamole of the tour, nice

April 29 Part Two
Update: the van will not be fixed today. Secured a one-day van rental here in Nurnberg. While we picked it up, the other guys started bringing all our stuff down from the apartment we were staying at to the street. Idea being, we’ll pull up and take off right away for Weisbaden. We show up, and find out that somehow the door closed behind them while taking a load downstairs. The guy’s only key is locked inside. So now we are driving to his grandparents’ house to get the spare key. 40 minutes round trip.

Once we get the key, and get back to his apartment, and get the rest of the stuff, and get on the road, and get to Wiesbaden, and then get back to Nurnberg after the show, and then (hopefully) get our own van fixed tomorrow morning, we will be back on track!

April 30
So, two days later and the mechanic still has not fixed the van. Stranded in Nurnberg again. Looking like we are going to have to rent two mini vans to get to Uncle M Fest tonight, and the hopefully Groezrock from there. I don’t suppose anyone is sitting on an awesome solution here? Like, you live in Nurnberg and have a new touring van you were hoping to break in? You’re the inventor of a tour-by-helicopter system and would like to test it on someone? Let us know!

May 1st
In a 48 hour stretch we had three rental vans, one tow truck ride, three cab rides, three shows that we barely got to, one near fist fight on the highway with some angry truckers, one hour on the side of the autobahn, one stranded box of vinyl records, six or so hours of standstill traffic, one van engine that turns out to be completely destroyed, one key accidentally locked in an apartment, one half-drunk late night conversation about 1970s snare sounds versus 1980s snare sounds, one viewing of Terminator 2, and so much more.

And after all that….. we’re on the road about one hour from Groezrock. Boom. Let’s party!! We play tomorrow but will also be selling merch today. Stop by!

May 4th
Man, Groezrock was so much fun. Had a great show and it was a blast checking out other bands and just wandering around running into people. Never really checked out Refused before, to be honest, but watching them from onstage was pretty unreal. Special shout out to Kate and Alexander for bringing us our missing box of vinyl all the way from outside Nurnberg. Totally saved us.

Eindhoven was also great, despite the fact that all of us felt like we had been awake for 11 years in a row. Nick, the promoter, was an excellent host– showed us around Rotterdam and schooled me in FIFA on XBox 6-0. I was pretty proud of myself for keeping him to single digits.

Now we’re in Paris for the final show of the tour. Despite all the van chaos in the middle, this has been a really really fun tour. Lots of fun shows and great sights and incredibly friendly people.

Oh, also we just paid a parking meter a little bit ago and couldn’t tell if the printed receipt was saying it was successful, or that the transaction failed. So I tried to speak the French into Google Translate and it returned, “It brings ancient beasts. Fear watch is kept on the bird.” Ruh-oh. I pictured placing it on our dash and having a parking attendant start screaming, “N-no! NO! You don’t realize what you have done!” So anyway, apologies if we just unleashed the apocalypse but stoked for the show tonight!

Merch Sale, European Tour, & More

I’m not sure how to double check, but it wouldn’t surprise me if December is National T-Shirt Month. Just in case it is, we’d like to celebrate with a limited time shirt sale over at our Storevny Page! In fact it’s not just shirts– ALL merch is 25% off if you use the code “BP2014.” If that wasn’t enough, we also have two copies of the Fat Music For Fest People comp and 10 koozies that we’ll throw in to random orders. Nice! What do you have to lose, other than money you may have worked hard to accumulate? Nothing! Go check it out now— it’s for a limited time only.

In other news, we are heading back to Europe in the spring of 2015 and we couldn’t be more excited. We’ve already announced Groezrock and Uncle M Fest, and will be announcing the rest of the tour soon. It’ll have some of our favorite spots as well as some countries we haven’t played in before. Check our website and/or Facebook page for additional show announcements.

We’re also stoked that Jeff Matika will be joining us on guitar for this tour! Jeff’s a great dude and is currently the touring guitarist for Green Day. Pretty sure he’ll be able to handle a Banner Pilot show. Welcome aboard, Jeff!

Look for more show announcements and other stuff soon!

Pre-Fest / Guitar “Jams”

Thanks a ton to everyone who contacted us about playing guitar. The response was great; way more people than we expected. If we’re interested in doing an “audition” (I can’t think of a better way to put that…. “Jam Session”? There, that’s better) with you, expect to hear from us soon (if you haven’t already). For everyone else, thanks a bunch for expressing interest, and best of luck with your own musical projects! (Some of them sounded super cool!)

We actually had our first two auditions/tryouts/jamz earlier this week, and have a few more coming up soon. Cool!

Unrelated (well, kind of related as I suppose we need to find a guitar player in order to do this), we are playing Pre Fest again this year! (As well as “normal” Fest) It was really, really fun last year. I mean, I knew it would fall somewhere under the umbrella of being “fun” but it was a lot cooler than I expected. So don’t sleep on it this year! More info at their site.

-Nate

Yo, Guitarists

Note: this is old news (well, 3 weeks old or so) and I just forgot to post it here when I posted it on Facebook. So, here it is!

——-

We have some crummy news to share— Corey has decided to leave Banner Pilot, and played his final show with us last weekend. It’s been awesome to have him as part of the band for the last few years, and we’re bummed to see him go. Luckily, it’s just because he has other cool stuff going on in his life right now, and not for a bad reason like him being adamant about moving the band in a ska direction.

Luckily for all of you, you can still check him out in his other band, The Manix, and we recommend you do so.

So, what does this mean for the other three sad sacks in Banner Pilot? Well, it means we need a new guitar player! If you’re interested, shoot an email over to bannerpilot@gmail.com. Here is the criteria:

1. You need to be good enough at guitar to play our songs (this is not necessarily the same thing as being “good at guitar”)
2. You need to be able to sing backups and occasional lead vocal parts live
3. You need to not be a piece of shit

Being down for touring, driving a van, etc are also important, but those are the three big ones. Beyond those things, we’re open— for example, don’t feel like you have to have a gruff voice or whatever.

We’re kinda just looking for a live / touring guitarist for now, but if it really works out (and you want to, obviously) it could become a songwriting / recording thing, too.

So wish Corey well on his next adventures and drop us a line if you feel like trying to fill his big shoes

Local Shows Coming Up!

wrestlepalooza_bwexnoiseflyerJUNEwebThanks for everyone who checked out our recent Midwest and East Coast tours; the shows were fun and it was nice being back in a few cities we hadn’t been to in a long time. In some cases it had been so long I really had no idea how the show would go — for example, one of my previous memories about Boston was playing to six people, four of whom were in the other band, one of whom was dressed as a pirate — but they were consistently solid. Best Host award goes to Firehouse Pizza in Normal, IL, hands down.

Now we’re back home and we have a couple of local shows later this month. First up is Wrestlepalooza IV at First Avenue, this Saturday the 14th. I’ve never been but have heard great things. They’re going to bring a wrestling ring into the main room and then we’ll play between matches and possibly throw around some folding chairs and stuff.

One week after that, on June 21st, we’re playing the Extreme Noise 20th anniversary, outdoors at Memory Lanes. With… Cleveland Bound Death Sentence!! And a bunch of other cool bands.

Check out both shows if you can, I hereby predict they will be excellent and well worth your time

-Nate

 

Jawbreaker Lyrics & Shows & Things

I know you probably can’t tell from our music, but believe it or not, we’re big fans of Jawbreaker. So much so that you can read an in-depth discussion of our favorite lyrics by them over at Noisey. Go check it out!

Also: our album Souvenir is now officially out! You can pick it up at iTunes or Spotify, or buy a physical copy from Fat Wreck or Interpunk or a bunch of other different places. Hope you dig it.

On the fence? I encourage you to be more decisive and just buy the damn thing. But maybe some reviews will help. Alternative Press. Already Heard. Kill Your Stereo…. Just to name a few.

Finally, don’t forget that we’re hitting up a bunch of places in the Midwest and East Coast in May; click on Tour up there.

-Nate

Shirts, and stuff

Don’t forget– our new album Souvenir comes out this Tuesday on Fat Wreck! You still have time to pre-order it from Fat or from iTunes. Wouldn’t that be a nice way to start your Tuesday, with a link to some MP3s in your inbox? Come on, it would be awesome.

You can check out an interview I did with Absolute Punk as well.

And we have three new t-shirt designs you can grab– click on Store up there.

Finally– 2nd single comes out tomorrow. Check back!

-Nate

Our New Album

COVER PICHello! There is a bunch of new and exciting news in Banner Pilot Land so let’s get right down to it and not bother with any goofy and pointless run-on introductory sentences like the one you’re reading right now: We have a new album called Souvenir! It comes out April 15th on Fat Wreck and we are very stoked about it. If we were bummed about it, I would still lie and tell you we were stoked. But I assure you, we are actually stoked! You can go check out the first single, Modern Shakes, at Noisey. And you can preorder the record over at Fat or iTunes (just click on the iTunes logo on this page).

We’re playing a few shows in the Midwest and East Coast; check out the Tour link on the top of the page.

We are playing the greatest festival in America, The Fest, again!

We have a freshly revamped website, which you are looking at right now. Thanks to Erica Ruch for all the help in making it work and look great.

And there’s going to be a lot of other cool news in the next few days, so check back. Talking about t-shirts, videos, 2nd singles, you name it.

-Nate

Recording a New Album!

In Exciting News, we’re recording our 4th full length album this Friday! I mean, not the whole thing. That’s just when we’re starting. Here’s what Fat posted about it:

—–

Banner Pilot are gearing up to hit the studio this October with producer Jacques Wait (Prince, Off With Their Heads, Soul Asylum) over at The Terrarium. Check out what Nate from BP had to say below!

“In early October, we will be heading into the studio to record our 4th full length record. We couldn’t be more excited to work with Jacques Wait, at The Terrarium in Minneapolis, just as we did on Collapser and Heart Beats Pacific. (OK, technically, yes, we could be “more excited”—- if the studio had a trampoline or something, we would probably be slightly more excited, but suffice to say we are VERY excited as-is).

We have 12 new songs and I think/hope we’ve struck the right balance between the extremes of “Do exactly what you did on your other albums” and “Completely re-invent yourselves”. I think the new songs are a little different. but in a good, natural way. One example is that on previous records, the rhythm guitars were doing power chords probably 95% of the time. This time around, it’s more like 70%. But it’s not like the other 30% is ska, or polka, or whatever—the changes should be noticeable, but not jarring. Hopefully, the average listener will think, “You know, this sounds a little different, but I can still tell it’s Banner Pilot”, as opposed to, “Oh my god, what are these idiots trying to do?” We’ll see, but I think people will dig it.

Once the album comes out, we’re hoping to hit up some of our favorite spots in the US, maybe get back to Europe, maybe get over to somewhere new like Japan. We all can’t wait to get some new music out there, and then go and play it for all of you (or at least those of you who happen to be within a reasonable proximity to the geographic areas we perform said music in).”

—–

Check back here, and/or our Facebook page for sporadic updates from the studio. Looking back, it looks like I did exactly one studio diary for our last album and it was a real gem, so get stoked. Actually I guess I technically did a 2nd studio diary when we were almost done. Either way, I’ll try to keep up that pace this time around!

-Nate

Next Shows, Next Album

The annual D4th of July here in Minneapolis is always a good time, and this year has morphed into a festival of sorts with three straight days of shows. We’re playing on the 4th itself, w/ our buds The Flatliners, A Wilhelm Scream, and many more. If you’re thinking about taking a vacation in Minneapolis, and can’t decide between January or July, GO IN JULY you big dummy and check these shows out. More info here. Tickets for our show here.

Later in the summer, we’ll be playing Awesome Fest for the first time, which should be…. I feel like there’s a funny and appropriate adjective I could use here but let’s go with “enjoyable”. On top of that, we’ll be heading down the west coast for a series of shows leading up to it. More info soon.

Finally, we’ll also be playing the greatest Fest, The Fest, like we do every year.

So, plenty of chances to see us this year.

Any new music, you ask? Well, we have 13 new songs written, and I’m working on the music for #14 right now. We’ll keep plugging away at them, making them better, and then record the best 11 or 12 as soon as we’re ready. I think they’re sounding pretty sweet.

What will it sound like? Here’s one preview: On previous albums, the rhythm guitars were doing power chords for I’d say 97% of the time (occasionally breaking away for the stray octave or ‘journey chord’). On this next album, I think that’s dropped to 75-80%. That’s right: WEIRD CHORDS. Tons of them. I’m talking, ‘stretch your pinky finger up four frets’ levels of strangeness. Inverted chords. Lots of “drone notes”– a major increase in them. Like, so many that there might be a senate hearing on these drones.

To be clear, the songs themselves don’t sound weird, it’s just that some of the chords are weird. Don’t get scared; I think it works. Hell, when it comes out everyone will probably just be like, “What the hell are you talking about? This sounds like every other Banner Pilot song. Drones, my ass.” Either way, I’m stoked on how it’s sounding and hopefully ya’ll will like it.

Cool!

-Nate

PS – I totally flaked on the Europe diary, huh? Jeez. I actually wrote most of it out but never got around to finishing it. I’ll wrap it up and post it (nine months after the fact, but whatever) at some point here

Europe 2012 Part 2

Here is installment #2 of a multi-part blog/diary of our 2012 European tour. This covers day three. – Nate

Day Three: First Show, Green Shots

There are many differences between traveling and touring, but the biggest one for me is how you experience a city. When you’re traveling, the entire purpose of being where you are is to go check things out, and that’s what you do: you wake up early and walk around, wandering through different neighborhoods, popping into cafes or restaurants or bars, peering or at least glancing at local architecture, seeking out anything unique the city has to offer.

When you’re touring, though, more often than not you wake up late and spend a sizable portion of your day in a van, occasionally trudging outside (perhaps observing, “Ah, my legs hurt!” as you take the first few zombie-like steps) and into a gas station to use the bathroom and get an energy bar or something, but for the most part you’re in that van and then around 4 or 5pm you get to the club you’re playing at, where you load equipment in, sound check, set-up merch, figure out what to do for dinner, and now holy crap it’s 7pm and the bands are already starting. At this point, maybe you’ll walk ten blocks around the club and back, but that’s about it–sometimes, you just stay at the club and you don’t go anywhere. You can fool yourself and think, after a six minute walk from the club and back, “Cool, I got to check out Sacramento. It has streets, and also buildings, neat,” but compared to traveling, you really don’t get to soak in cities the same way when you’re on tour.

I want to be very clear here: I’m not complaining. I’m just pointing out the differences. There are clear positives to touring too. When you’re traveling, you don’t get to play music for people every night, and you probably don’t get to meet as many strangers. When you’re playing a show, there is definitely a sense of, “Every person in this building has something in common”, and that can lead to great interactions. That doesn’t happen as often when you’re traveling, unless you’re like, “Whoa. Every person in this room has something in common. We all felt like eating vietnamese food right now.” (And then you stand up, go interrupt a couple eating and ask them, “So when did you guys get into Pho?”)

To sum up this long-winded rant in a more efficient way than the previous three paragraphs: touring and traveling are both great; they just have their own advantages and disadvantages and general differences. And usually, one of those differences is that you don’t experience a city as deeply when you’re on tour.

But: not always! The main reason it happens that way is the whole spending-hours-driving-from-city-to-city-every-day deal, but every now and then you wake up and you’re already in the city you’re playing in, so you can spend the day doing whatever you want, basically the same as if you were a traveler/tourist.

On paper, that was the case in Monchengladbach. Weeks earlier, we had realized this. “We’ll be waking up earlier, because we’ll be taking it easy and going to bed early on purpose the night before. We can take a train into Dusseldorf, walk around for a few hours, and then head back for the show. Sweet.”

When I opened my eyes at 3:30pm and saw that no one else was up yet, I realized we would not be taking any trains to Dusseldorf. Oh well. Next time.

I got up and I felt reasonably good, I guess, but in a bizarre way I had no idea what time it felt like. I knew what time it was, and I knew it didn’t feel right, but that was about it. It certainly didn’t feel like 4pm, but it also didn’t feel like 9am, which is what my body was supposedly still used to. It was some weird time that didn’t make any sense. F PM, or something. This was a bit discombobulating. Maybe food would help.

Marius set out a nice, simple breakfast and we dug in. I felt a little better. As we ate, someone called and informed us that Joe’s wallet had been found, and it would be at the club, and also that his mom said Hi. This was all good news.

—–

We headed to the club, which was about 3 minutes away. Nice; none of us felt like walking too much further than that. We set up merch and then Heike, our driver for the tour, showed up with the van and all our equipment. (A few people asked me this when we got back: did you guys drive yourselves? Did you bring all your amps with you? No and no; we hired a driver and rented equipment. Both things were super awesome! It would have been absurdly sucky to fly with a bunch of amps; I can’t even imagine trying to negotiate that with a Delta employee or whatever; “Trust me, this cabinet will fit in the overhead bin, just let me on!” And Heike was an excellent driver, but more importantly she was just super rad and fun to hang out with. Hopefully I didn’t spoil too much by telling you all of this. I guess maybe it would have been cooler and more suspenseful to reveal that Heike is super rad later in the blog, but too late now.)

The equipment all appeared to be good. Last time we toured Europe I had a monstrous 8×10 bass cabinet inside a heavy, awkward case and it was kind of a drag to haul out every show. This time, I had requested to NOT get that again, and now had, instead, a much smaller and nicer bass amp that would still be able to keep up with the guitar amps. This was a relief to see.

A ThroneThe only other specific equipment request had been by Danny, regarding his drum throne. First off, for those who don’t know, the drum throne simply refers to the thing the drummer sits on. Why do they call it a throne? I don’t know. It seems pretty weird/laughable: not only do they never look like a real throne (the kind you picture a drunk, leering king sitting on while they gnaw on a turkey leg and glare at their subjects, or court jester, or whatever), but it feels like an almost, I don’t know, pretentious word to use. It’d be like me referring to my bass guitar as a “scepter”.

At any rate, Danny’s one request was to NOT get a “banana seat” version of the throne, like he did last time. As we brought the gear in, I saw the throne.
A throne
“That’s cool, looks like you didn’t get a banana seat this time, right?”

“Well, not really. That’s sort of a banana seat.”

Can’t win them all, I suppose. I just tried to find a picture of a banana seat, and found this description of “thrones” from the website Modern Drummer: “The throne is the foundation of any player’s groove.” Throne, Player, and Groove, all in one sentence! I love it.

After some excellent vegetarian chili and bread, we set up, sound checked, and people started spilling in. A lot of people from the bar the night before showed up. Almost all of them, on both nights, kept telling us this would be our best show of the entire tour. “So and so was here last month, and they said the same thing: Monchengladbach was their best show, by far. Nothing else compared.” On one hand, this was exciting; the show was apparently going to be very good– I like things that are very good! But it was also like hearing, “It’s all going to be downhill after this, guys!”

The show itself WAS great. We were definitely shaking off a little rust, but it wasn’t too bad and the crowd seemed into it. This helped to offset any first-show-sloppiness; if people are dancing and singing along and having fun (as opposed to staring at you with stony eyes and crossed arms), it’s a better vibe and a bit of looseness isn’t that big of a deal. We had a great time. Would it be the best show of the entire tour? That remained to be seen (no spoilers, don’t worry).

After the show people started feeding us green shots. They weren’t great, but they weren’t bad, and they seemed to be relatively efficient. They were a local speciality, apparently. I think they were called “Flim”. In other cities in Germany, I would ask people if they had these shots, but I always said it wrong, like “Flem”. Essentially, I’d end up asking a complete stranger at a bar, “So, do you guys do shots of phlegm here? No? Phlegm? We did them in this other city in Germany, and they were pretty good. Shots of phlegm. All green and stuff. No?”, oblivious to the blend of befuddlement/disgust/horror seeping into their faces.

——–

After a couple rounds of flim/phlegm/whatever, we went back to Marius’s place where, among other things:

1. We passed around a few acoustic guitars and played songs. I played an MDC song, very poorly.

2. We, for some reason, ordered 7 pizzas even though only 4 or 5 people wanted any. It wasn’t terrible pizza or anything but afterwards I vowed to eat no more pizza for the rest of the tour, a pledge I’m happy to say I kept. It’s just too hard to tell if you’re getting crappy pizza ahead of time, you know?

3. We had a generally fun time hanging out listening to music, playing the aforementioned guitars, eating the aforementioned pizza, and went to bed extremely late again. Monchengladbach, a city I had never even heard of two weeks earlier, and proven itself to be one of the funnest spots in Europe we had been to thus far on either tour.

-Nate

Next up: an outdoor festival in Germany!

Europe 2012 Part 1

Here is installment #1 of a multi-part blog/diary of our 2012 European tour. This covers days one and two. – Nate

 

Day One: Volcano-Free Flying 

In the spring of 2010 a volcano with the catchy name Eyjafjallajokull erupted in Iceland, spewing a gigantic ash cloud across Europe and disrupting the travel plans of countless people, including us, hoping to fly from Minneapolis to Paris to begin a tour. The entire tour was in doubt right up until the day of our flight, when officials in charge shrugged and said, “Well, the cloud is still here, and is possibly dangerous, but since we’re losing money… eh, screw it” (in so many words). Our Minneapolis to London flight was OK’d that afternoon, but I still remember pacing around an airport bar, drinking (distressingly expensive) coronas and frantically calling representatives at Air France to make sure our connecting flight from London to Paris was not cancelled. Our flight to Europe in August 2012, for our second European tour, had no similarities other than the ‘drinking coronas at an airport bar’ part. No volcanos, no iffy flights, no confusion. It was nice. We had a few beers and one $17 gin and tonic and boarded our plane, excited to return to the land where you can get flaky, delicious croissants at random gas stations. (There are other cool things about Europe, too)

The flight itself was uneventful. Earlier in the week I had read an article about jet lag that said wearing sunglasses the night you leave — at the airport and on the plane — and through the day you arrive, helped to diminish the effects. I wasn’t sure if this theory had any merit or if it bore a closer resemblance to sketchy internet pop-up ads (‘Doctors HATE him… learn his weight loss secret’), but jet lag can suck and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. The downside was that wearing shades indoors at night probably made me look like a bit of a prick, but the upside was that it was easier to pass out. I got weird, scattered sleep (twenty minutes here, five there, totaling to a couple hours), but it was better than zero sleep. Along with it came bizarre dreams: I was in the Triple Rock with Joe (our roadie for the tour) and he pointed up at a chalkboard and said, “Dude, Brorrosion of Conformity is playing soon, it’s going to rule. It’s bros playing Corrosion of Conformity covers.” Brilliant idea. Someone should do that, stat.

 

Day Two: Rest & Relaxation in Monchengladbach After a couple of hazy hours in the Amsterdam airport, mostly spent sleeping on the floor, we boarded another quick flight. The only thing I remember about it is that Danny said, “Water is awesome”, in some context, and one of the flight attendants overheard him, laughed, and said, “Water is awesome? You’re going to love this flight, then!” But the thing was, their water wasn’t anything special.  Well, it was OK, I suppose. Anyway, soon enough were at the Dusseldorf airport, ready to start the tour. First guy I saw was the fellow in the photo there. Awesome.

Knowing that we would be at least somewhat jet lagged, we had wisely set up the tour so we did NOT have a show on the first day. On the 2010 tour, this worked great. We got to Paris, had dinner, Nick and Corey crashed, Danny and I walked around to a few bars, and all of us were asleep by 11pm, refreshed and ready to start playing shows the next day. It didn’t quite work out that way in Germany. Our host, Marius (we would learn later his friends call him Warius after a certain level of drinking gets met; I never really saw this, but it’s a great nickname. Go look up the Wario wiki page if you don’t get it) got us at the airport and brought us directly to a liquor store. If you are a fan of beer, and are a giddy person, this was the kind of building that would cause you to run around, occasionally leaping into the air and clicking your heels. Like so:

I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I could appreciate the options stacked up around us. So many! So unique, compared to America at least! All of us picked an assortment of beers more or less randomly, based on how cool the bottle looked and how badass the name sounded. “This is called KrakenBasher and looks like like the kind of beer an old-timey king would drink!”; that sort of thing. Outside, Marius appraised our choices. Some were good, others caused him to grin and shake his head: “That’s shitty.” I realized this whole scene was probably similar to bringing a European to Minneapolis and watching them emerge from a liquor store asking, “Is this good? This is good, right?” as they hold up a 12 pack of Natural Ice. The difference between America and Germany, though, was that here in Germany we were able to hang out and drink in the liquor store parking lot and no one shooed us away or tried to handcuff us or what not. We were politely enjoying a couple beers, and it wasn’t a big deal; society wasn’t shattering around us. Why can’t we do this in America? (I don’t mean, like, “God, it is SO hard not to crack open a beer immediately upon purchasing it, this is so unfair, blah blah”, I just mean that it doesn’t seem like allowing it harms anything). I suppose, though, that the reason is because no sane politician is going to assume this issue as a rallying cry. Can you picture some guy in a suit climbing on top of a soapbox and yelling to a crowd, “The path ahead is not short, it is not smooth, and it is not easy, but it will be lit by the fires of our desire to come together and accomplish what we have dreamed of for so long: the ability to drink beer in parking lots!”? Not so much.

 

At any rate, it was super fun. It was early enough in the tour where the, “Man, we’re in Europe right now!” realization would hit you, plus given that we were all a bit sleep deprived and stoked to be off the plane, the beers had a stronger effect. My rough calculation (which I came up with years ago when I arrived in New Orleans at 7am after sitting in a van all night, and then going straight to a bar) is: 1 beer = Missed hours of sleep x .5. mathtchrSo I normally get 6 hours of sleep, but I missed 4 hours of sleep, that multiplied by .5 equals 2. Each 1 beer is like 2 beers. This is a rough calculation and is missing many elements. Mainly, this is not necessarily a good thing. It’s not, “Well, I missed all 8 hours of sleep, so drinking one beer is like four… I’m saving money and there are absolutely no side effects!” But it was still noticeable. Actually, now that I look at it, there are deeper problems with the equation. If you only missed 1 hour of sleep, it’s as if the beer is less effective, which isn’t true. Heck, if you missed zero hours of sleep, it indicates that beer simply doesn’t effect you, which is ludicrous. So, uh, consider it a work in progress.

 

After one beer, which truly did feel like two, we headed to Marius’s house in Monchangladbach (where the show would be the next day). We had some truly awesome homemade lasagna and then, resisting the temptation to take it easy and go to bed early as we did in 2010, went across the street to his friends’ apartment. There were a bunch of people hanging out, including some kids from America who were in the army and stationed in Germany. We had a few drinks and talked while the Lawrence Arms DVD played in the background and then we made our way to a local bar. German beer can be — what’s the word? — strong, and even stronger when you haven’t been sleeping (see the flawed equation above), a situation which lead to Joe having what looked remarkably like a beer stain tie within an hour of arriving at the bar, and losing his wallet on the first night of tour. (He got it back the next day, luckily, but it still had to be weird for his mom, who got a call from the person who found it…. your kid goes to Europe and about twenty hours later you’re getting calls from German strangers who have his wallet!)

All Hail!
Overall, we weren’t getting that bombed or anything, just enjoying the feeling of being in Europe and hanging out with new friends without the “We have to play a show in a couple hours” restriction hanging over our heads. I learned a little about Monchengladbach, and we all learned a few German phrases, chief among them, “Prost!”, which is basically “cheers!”. I kept getting it wrong and saying, “Probst!”, as if I was in some weird cult that required me to raise my glass in honor of Survivor host Jeff Probst at random intervals. I was a bit stunned we stayed up past 4am, given that last time we came to Europe we had all been crashed out before midnight. But this was a good thing! We had a great, fun night and were pumped to get to play what was clearly an excellent city the next day. -Nate

Back from Europe / BBC Stream

Hey! We’re back from Europe. It was amazing as expected. I’ll start posting a multi-part tour blog shortly. In the meantime, for the next six days, you can stream the set of us playing at BBC studios when we were in London. Right here. It’s nice to be back, but man…. I already miss Europe! We hope to be back soon.

In other news, it’s getting cold out so we’re getting ready to hunker down and work extra hard on our next album. We’ve got 5 or 6 half-written songs so far, and I think it’s coming along pretty nicely. Stay tuned for more about that.

Later!

-Nate

Europe! New Songs! So on and so forth!

europe 2012Alright, we fly out to Europe in 11 days! Very excited. Find the exact dates/venues, and buy tickets, over at Klownhouse Tours. Last time we went to Europe, it was right about now — a week and a half out or so — that a volcano erupted in Iceland, spewing ash across Europe and throwing the entire tour into doubt until about 4 hours before our plane took off. So, uh, let’s hope that doesn’t happen again!

In other news, we’re plugging away at a new record. 6 new songs so far. Can’t say they’ll all make it on the eventual record, but it’s sounding really good. So far they sound, like, well, Banner Pilot songs I guess. We’ll probably try some new stuff, but as always, we’re not going to take a shaky stab at some goofy reinvention of our sound just to do something different. Why make a risky leap that might land you on your face when you can just, you know, hang out and party?

All that said, it won’t be a clone of the older records. If Heart Beats Pacific was Collapser on steroids (bigger/stronger, no side effects, etc) then maybe this new record will be Heart Beats Pacific on a completely safe and legal hallucinogen of some sort. In other words, hopefully you, the listener, will say “Whoa, I didn’t expect THAT thing that just happened, but it was pleasant, and really, it wasn’t that weird or crazy at all. Doot doo doo”

I’m definitely going to do a tour diary of Europe, although I don’t know if it’ll be while we’re there or when we get back. Either way, keep checking back.

Hope to see you in Europe!

-Nate

 

On Cassettes / Midwest Show Recap

Thanks to everyone who came out to Chicago and Madison last month, and Fargo last weekend. All of the shows were a good time. Viva midwest, etc.

Speaking of Fargo, you know what I learned this weekend? Fargo really likes cassettes! I think we sold a total of 7 Pass the Poison tapes between the entire west coast tour in January, and the Chicago/Madison shows last month. We brought five to Fargo… and they were gone in 10 minutes! More people wanted them, too, which resulted in me uttering the bizarre phrase, “Sorry, we’re sold out of cassettes.” Nobody bought any CDs! I think it’s awesome; just unexpected. Bands: load up on tapes next time you play Fargo.

It makes me…. well, not nostalgic for cassettes, but it makes me remember things about them. I would actually listen to entire albums back then; you barely had a choice unless you wanted to try your luck with fast forwarding. I think some fancy cassette decks had sweet technology where they could recognize silence and automatically stop at those points; in other words, you could skip forward by exactly one song rather than having to wing it. And then sometimes you’d be like, “No, stupid tape player, that’s not a new song, that’s just Fugazi doing a weird stop part!”

Also some tape decks had “Auto Reverse” where you could just click a button to go from side a to side b; you didn’t even need to eject the tape and manually turn it around with your hands. Damn. I wish the internet was around back then so we could read archived articles by tech nerds geeking out over that stuff. “Move over, Samsung, because Auto Reverse is a game changer. I want to give the Sony CEO a hi-five, and now I can because my hand isn’t busy flipping tapes over.” Or, “It’s amazing to think that we now have a portable stereo system that can hold up to sixty minutes of music and be held in two hands.”

Anyway, tapes—objectively speaking—are pretty crappy, but they’re a…. unique music format. I’ll give them that.

Oh, and speaking of Chicago, did you not make it, but would like to deceive your friends and pretend that you did? We can help! Just buy one of the limited edition posters we had made for the show. Years from now you can point at the wall in your basement and tell your buddies, “Yeah, I saw Banner Pilot before they turned into a ska band,” and watch them gape in amazement. These are sweet, high quality silkscreened posters. And — I’m not just saying this — we barely have any left, so grab one now if you want one. “Act now!”, in other words.

-Nate

UK / Western Europe / Russia – Fall Tour!

The image to the right is one of the top Google Image results for ‘totally stoked free clip art’. Why would I be searching for such an image? Because we’re Totally Stoked to be heading back to Europe later this year!

That’s right, with the help of Klownhouse Tours, we’re going to be playing shows in the UK, Western Europe, and Russia this August and September! We had a blast last time, so it’s going to be great to see some of our favorite spots from last time again AND check out some new cities/countries.

If you have any song requests, or suggestions for things we should do/check out in a certain city, pass ’em along. For example, when we play Boston Arms in London, should we play nothing but mashups of Boston and Lawrence Arms songs? Let us know.

I’ll update the ‘shows’ page once all the venues etc are finalized, but for now check out the Klownhouse website for details. You can even buy tickets for a few of the dates, so get on that pronto. If you’re one of those people who are too lazy to click on links, I will post the dates below:

31.08.2012 GER-Mönchengladbach, Roots Club
01.09.2012 GER-Holzerath, Roeds-Rock Festival
02.09.2012 FRA-Hazebrouck, Le Shaka-Laka
03.09.2012 GBR-Cardiff, The Moon w/ Bangers
04.09.2012 GBR-Manchester, Star and Garter
05.09.2012 GBR-London, Boston Arms Music Room
06.09.2012 NED-Haarlem, Patronaat w/ Accelerators
07.09.2012 GER-Berlin, Cassiopeia
08.09.2012 GER-Nuremberg, Zentralcafe
10.09.2012 GER-Hannover, Chez Heinz
11.09.2012 UKR-Kiev, Club Kiev
12.09.2012 RUS-Belgorod, Club Party Hard
13.09.2012 RUS-Moscow, tba
14.09.2012 GER-Münster, Cafe Lorenz Süd
15.09.2012 BEL-Vorselaar, Veuseleir Calling
16.09.2012 Wiesbaden, Schlachthof

Hope to see you there!

-Nate

Interview w/ Across the Board

Trying to catch up on stuff I meant to post before tour…. so, this is a bit old, but whatever. It’s an interview I did with Across the Board. It was fun and they asked good questions (which is not always the case, believe it or not!). Check it out  right here if you are so inclined

-Nate

Back From the West Coast

Hey, thanks for everyone who came out to our west coast tour earlier this month. We had a bunch of great shows, and it was fun to see a lot of old friends, and play with excellent bands like Broadway Calls (sorry guys, I think I accidentally stole your patch cord), The Bombpops, Dan Padilla, Bastards of Young, Dun Bin Had, Madison Bloodbath, and tons more. Plus, you may not know this, but we live in a geographical area that gets cold during the winter. So, it was nice getting out to sunny California for a couple of weeks. Note: the image to the right is the first Google Image result for ‘california surfer dude.’

So my Gallien Krueger bass amp AND my Gallien Krueger bass cab busted at the same time, at the same show, in Portland. Bummer. Typically this would mean I’d have no choice but to borrow stuff for the rest of the tour and wait until I got home to look at fixing it; a mixed bag where I have to bug other bands but also don’t need to carry an amp in every night. But, because the internet rules, it actually worked out—I posted a message saying my amp was broken, and because I’m an idiot I wasn’t sure why it broke or if there was anything I could do, and eight minutes later someone wrote to say that they knew someone who worked at Gallien Krueger who could take a look. And guess what? We were twenty miles from Gallien Krueger headquarters at that exact moment! What are the odds of that? Well, there are approximately 57.5 million square miles of land on earth, twenty divided by 57.5 million is 2,875,000…. so one in 2.8 million odds! Well, actually, wait. I think I did that wrong. Let’s call it one in a hundred.

Anyway, it was great—they were super friendly and helpful, they gave us a tour of their rad warehouse, and they fixed up my stuff in no time. As it turns out, the Guitar Center employee who sold me the setup was full of crap and I never should have been using that combo in the first place. Damn you, Guitar Center employee. I bet he was also lying when he said my bass case was wicked. But now the cab is outfitted with a new, superior speaker and I’m good to go. Sounds better, too. So: blessing in disguise!

Up next: three Midwest shows in March. Chicago, Madison, and Fargo. And then this fall, we’re heading back to Europe! We’ll also be touring Russia for the first time ever. Very excited about all of that; look for official dates and info soon. Between of all of that, we’ll be writing the first few songs for our fourth album. I already have 10 or 15 rough ideas on my laptop. Most of them are pretty bad. But not all of them!

OK, I think that’s it for now! Oh yeah, and the Bike and Breaking Banner shirts won that t-shirt contest, if you were wondering. We still have a few left after tour—click on ‘store’ up there if you want to grab one!

-Nate

Choose or Lose 2012: Banner Pilot Shirts

We’re leaving for tour in a couple weeks and are planning on having two new shirt designs with us, meaning you’ll be able to purchase snazzy things that you can use to clothe yourself, or clean up oil spills, or whatever you like. We have seven designs, though, and can’t decide on which ones we should use. At first, the solution seemed obvious: skip the whole thing; too much to figure out. But then we thought, let’s put it to a vote!

So, please look at the seven designs below and pick which two you like best. If you don’t like any  of them, go find some other website to be a jerk on, you big jerk.

Please select carefully as I can’t think of a more important vote you will cast all year.

Thank you!

-Nate

——-

The Nominees!

“Tiger”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Girl”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Bike”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Watch Man”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Snow Crest”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Retro Rockers”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Breaking Banner”

Set List 2012: You Choose, We Decide

So, one thing I noticed on our last tour was that some songs got a better reaction than others. Interesting! It would seem as if everyone does not like every song exactly the same.

I thought it’d be fun to let you, the listener, help us pick our set for the next tour—this way, there’s a better chance that we’ll play the songs people are most excited to hear. Right now, we have no idea (well, we have some idea with the older songs, but not with the new album). Go ahead and vote for your ideal set list below. You can pick up to 14 songs, because, come on, we’re not going to play more than that. Could you theoretically game the results by entering the poll answers over and over and over again? Sure, but that would make you kind of a loser.

Anyway, let’s just stick to the honor system here. Pick your ideal set, one time. This is a great way for YOU to decide what YOU want to hear! It’s democracy at its best*

*note: if you pick stupid songs, we reserve the right to ignore the results of this poll and play whatever we damn well feel like

OK, let’s do this!

-Nate

November Updates

Greetings! Time for a quick update. This particular update is all about NEW things.

NEW shows– check out the, you guessed it, Shows page for that. West Coast, we’re heading your way for the first time since 2010. Seattle and Portland? Haven’t seen you since 2008. Vegas? We’ve gambled (on—get this—baseball games) in your fine city, but have never played there… until now. So go check it out and get stoked, ‘cuz we are. Let’s spread the stokage (stokageness?) around.

NEW t-shirts. Check out the Store page. Why not celebrate Cyber Monday by purchasing some new clothing? You get to warm your body, we get to dupe you into being a walking billboard for us. Win win!

NEW photos! Yeah, that’s pretty exciting, right? I’m going to let you guess which link you have to click on to find them.

So there’s the NEW stuff. As for OLD stuff: our tour last month with Dead to Me was a blast; thanks to all the great bands we got to play with and to all the people who came out. And Fest was the best weekend of the year, as always!

-Nate

New Song and New Shows

As you should already know (unless you haven’t been keeping up with Banner Pilot news, in which case, shame on you; start becoming an informed citizen), our third full length album Heart Beats Pacific is being released by Fat Wreck Chords this October 25th. You can preorder it now at various places like Interpunk, Shopradiocast, Amazon, hell, even Best Buy’s “Classical Music” Store. So please, go order it from one of those places.

You’re probably asking, “Waitaminute, slick. What if it sucks? Then I’ll have wasted my money and have an album I hate. Are you trying to pull a fast one?” Of course not! And tell you what, you can even check out the first song on the record right here at Alternative Press to see if you like it. See? No risk.

Cool. In other news, Riot Fest (Red Bull Riot Fest, to be exact) was a great time. We had a fun show and it was really cool too see All play and meet those guys afterwards. I got a cut on my index finger right before we played and had to utilize my middle finger for the majority of the bass lines. It felt a little like I was flicking the crowd off, but I assure you that was not my intent.

Later this week is our first Minneapolis show in awhile. It’s at the 331 Club as part of the premiere for a new film called The Other F Word. It sounds pretty interesting and you can read more about it here. The show is this Saturday— the film is at 7pm at the Ritz; the show starts at 10pm at the 331.

After that is our tour with Dead to Me to Fest 10; see the Shows page for more info. And once we’re back, we’ll be doing an album release show November 5th at the Turf Club.

Basically, the next month is jam-packed with awesomeness.

-Nate

 

This Autumn (free emo song title right there)

Hey, how’s your summer been? Not good? That’s awful; sorry to hear that. But I’ve got good news: fall is on the way! And with it we’ll have three cool things going on here in Banner Pilot World (as we call it).

#1: A new album. Our third full length, it’s called Heart Beats Pacific and it comes out October 25th on Fat Wreck Chords. We’re stoked. Read more about it here.

#2. We already announced that we’re doing Riot Fest in early October, and The Fest 10 in late October, and now we can announce (“announce”; that sounds so goofy) that we’ll also be touring the east coast with our pals Dead to Me that month. THEY have a new album coming out on October 25th too, so it’ll be extra awesome. On top of that, October also has us playing shows with great bands like The Flatliners, The Menzingers, Broadway Calls, Off With Their Heads, Nothington, and more.

#3. We’ll be playing our record release show in town at the Turf Club when we get back. November 5th. Our new album will be there, it’ll be our first local show in a long time, and we’ll be “tour tight”, as we call it. So you gotta come check it out.

That’s all for now!

-Nate

Useful Information About The New Album

Hey-
Our new full length album is now complete! That’s pretty cool, huh? It’s not “done done”; we mix it this monday through wednesday, and then master it later in the week. But as far as the actual music goes, it’s all wrapped up.

Here, while you wait for it to come out, are some Factoids about the new record:

Number of songs: 11

Number of songs longer than 4 minutes: 1

Number of songs in drop d tuning: 2

Number of songs with piano: 1

(I’m probably freaking some people already, but don’t worry)

Number of minutes the full album is: click here

Number of songs that, in my opinion, sound like Jawbreaker: 1

Number of songs a random person in a suit and tie you stopped on the street would think sound like Jawbreaker if you played them Jawbreaker and then this album back to back: 11

Number of songs ideas written in the first 12 months or so after Collapser wrapped up: 50+, although many of these are just riffs i stitched together, not “songs”

Number of people who would think “This album is…. kinda not so good” if we had used nothing but those songs: everyone

Number of songs written in the last 10 or 11 months that ended up on the record: 9

Number of lessons we can learn from the last 3 factoids: At least one, “It’s a good thing we didn’t rush this album”

Number of days we spent in the studio: 21, once mixing and mastering are done

Number of days Jacques, the engineer, worked from noon to 6AM or later: at least four

Number of songs Zack from Dear Landlord sings backups on: three

Number of times I ate a Con Uovo pizza, which is a pizza with egg, cheese, and black pepper on it, from a nearby restaurant for dinner: some crazy number

Number of times someone made the boneheaded decision to purchase White Castle despite the plethora of outstanding food establishments within a short walk from the studio: Only 1, I think!

Number of days I biked to the studio: 17 so far, with 4 days left

Number of days I was stoked to be biking to the studio, and not shivering my way home in sub-zero stupidity, staring at the ice beneath my feet, like I did last January when recording In Desolation at the same studio: Every Single Day

Number of album covers I designed before we finally found one everyone liked: 15+

Number of album titles we had before settling on one everyone liked: 1

So there you have it! Now you have a pretty good understanding of this album. Look for more info — the album cover, tracklisting, some MP3s, a release date, etc etc — in the weeks and months to come. For now, i’m stoked to get this mixed/mastered!

-Nate

Studio Blog #3: Pianos, Saxophones & Guitar Leads

One song left! That’s right, we’ve recorded 10 songs and are hitting the last one later tonight. Very excited. Now, it’s not like those ten songs are “done”; in fact, not even close. We still have to fix a few things, add vocals, I gotta record guitar leads, we need to figure out and add backup vocals, gotta record a piano part (don’t worry, it’s a four note part in one song. That’s it. We might make it rad and have each of us play one of the four notes) (not joking), sweet saxophone part must be added (is saxophone the worst instrument ever? I think it might be. It’s always goofy and it ruins otherwise good songs. Go check out that one Green Day song on Warning; I think it’s Jackass. Decent song and then, suddenly…. the sax kicks in and it sounds like the theme song from a court room comedy out of the 80s. Not Night Court specifically, just that kind of show. The only cool thing involving a saxophone, ever, is the image included in this post. Is it a clip art-looking dude playing a sax…. or is it a woman’s face? OH DAMN!), etc etc etc. But it’s still a nice landmark because after we track the 11th song, the fun part begins and these start to actually sound like songs. The good thing is, we’re already pretty stoked on how these are sounding, even in their exceedingly raw and stripped down current form.

Right now I’m at home sifting through the original demos on my computer, making sure nothing was forgotten. I’ve already found one missing lead! I don’t think we’ve used it since this original Garageband demo (looks like I wrote it way back in November 2009), so maybe it sucks; i have no idea. But i’m glad I found it now rather than after the album is done.

After going through all the practice space demos I’ve discovered there are 68 guitar leads I need to record. That sounds kind of crazy/ridiculous but I guess it’s accurate. Don’t worry, these aren’t wanky shred fests, just dopey little leads that, in some cases, you won’t even notice.

OK, back to it!

-Nate

Studio Blog #2: The Reverse Crunch Wrap

Well it’s day three and we have five songs tracked; probably will get one more done before the end of the day. A little slower than expected, but it’s sounding pretty great. We listened to Collapser for a second to double check a snare sound and these new songs already sound better as-is than that record. So, we might just call it a day and have a rad 5 song instrumental record. Or maybe not.

One thing demo-ing and recoding songs has reminded me about is the awesome names we have for various drum parts. You definitely know what a roll is, and you might know what a Taco is (snare/bass drum, snare/drum drum… this intro is an example). But do you know what a Burrito is? A Reverse Crunch Wrap? A Fruit Rollup? Those are all legitimate drum parts we have. Maybe for the next studio blog we’ll do a video where we play each part, and you try to guess what each part is. First person to get it right, and explain why, gets a free t-shirt (or maybe nothing if we’re low on shirts.) Look for it later this week!

Ok, back to recording/Super Mario Brothers now!

-Nate

Studio Blog #1 : Deadly Towers

Here’s an interesting thing about being in the studio: the first couple days of being in a studio aren’t very interesting. I’m not sure how I can convey any intriguing updates; “Hey, guys, quick update: we nailed that one fill!” or “After trying a few different options we decided the ping cymbal works best because of the outro section”…… not really that mind-blowing. So I guess I’ll just talk about what we’re doing between songs for now.

We brought back in the same hacked X-Box we used for Collapser and have started revisiting some truly awful NES games. As of right now we’re playing the game Deadly Towers while waiting to record the next song, which has the dummy title ‘Neon’. Perhaps some of the game will slightly influence our playing of the song, and months from now you’ll be like, “That one drum fill reminds me of a guy trying to kill a weird blue slime.”

Yesterday we ordered pizza from this place that specializes in weird toppings (Mac and Cheese Pizza, Burrito Pizza, etc), and came up with a great idea: Gum Pizza! Instead of sauce and cheese, it’s all gum. Your pizza would last forever.

OK, you must be getting pretty stoked to hear this album by now. I’ll keep the updates coming. Within a couple days they’ll be sounding more like actual songs and I’ll have more relevant info to report!

-Nate

A Brief History of Banner Pilot and the Internet

First, in 2005, there was Banner-Pilot.com:

It was a pretty lousy website, but it did the trick. The message board proved to be awesome. It soon became nothing but spam bots talking to each other. Literally. Check out an archive.

Soon enough something called MySpace came along. “Finally, we can add blinking lights and glitter and glitches to our website!” we, along with thousands (millions?) of other bands thought. Actually, as awful as Myspace is — it is just a pile of garbage at this point — it was pretty slick at first. An easy way to post songs… people could communicate with you directly (“OMG FREE iPOD MINI CLICK HERE TAKE SURVEY!” and so on), you could post upcoming shows…. and with that, Banner-Pilot.com had no reason to exist and died of neglect, before finally getting an awesome facelift under new ownership. “What you need, when you need it”…. at least they kept our slogan.

Myspace worked OK for awhile, say, 2005-2009 (damn, that’s actually a pretty long time!) but its inner core of crap become more and more apparent over the years. So, since that time we have (like most bands nowadays) had a mixture of different sites: Facebook (for short updates that disappear one week later), Twitter (I think Twitter is awesome but it’s obviously limited), Bandcamp (for tunes), Tumblr (for longer posts), Storenvy (to sell stuff), and probably more I’m forgetting. Some of those, particularly Bandcamp and Twitter, are really really awesome sites. But it still feels kind of disjointed. Thus: BannerPilot.net. A way to centralize some of this stuff. That’s the slogan of this website!

-Nate

New Album (well, sort of) This Fall on Fat!

Originally Posted 7/29/10 on Myspace

Big news! Our album Resignation Day has been remixed and remastered and is coming out on Fat Wreck Chords September 14th! This isn’t some mild “We boosted the gigawatts on the 128kbs range blah blah” or whatever– this is a dramatic improvement. It sounds sorta like Collapser now. Plus we added two out of print songs, changed the layout, and even re-sequenced it a little. Get stoked, people.

Here’s some background info I wrote for Fatwreck.com:

When we originally recorded Resignation Day back in 2007, issues came up during the recording that left us with little time for mixing. As a result, the record didn’t sound too hot. This was kind of a drag ‘cuz we didn’t feel like we did the songs justice. But! Sometimes you get a second chance; sometimes you can take something that was subpar and make it right, like when that Jason Mraz guy covered Blitzkrieg Bop. In our case, we were able to get Jacques Wait (who we worked with on our last album Collapser) to take a look at the original tracks and take a stab at remixing them. What he came up with was awesome, sounding like a new album. Usually something billed as a ‘remix’ will cause you to say “Uh, I guess the guitars are…. warmer now?” or “Oh, that’s cool that the ride cymbal has more zing in that one part now. Glad I bought this again”, but in this case we’re talking about a dramatic difference. Plus we added two more songs that are out of print, re-did the layout, and even changed around the sequencing. It’s like a whole new experience, maaan.

So if you checked out the album the first time around and didn’t dig it, give it another chance. We think you’ll like it. It’s like that one fairy tale where the first bowl of porridge kind of sucks but the second one is perfect.

– Nate

LP3 Update #3: Trimming the Fat, Increasing the Phat

Originally Posted January 2011 on Tumblr

Well, it’s some random day of the month, so you know what that means: a Banner Pilot Album Three Songwriting Update!

Let’s recap. When I posted the last update we had 6 or 7 songs. We’ve scrapped a couple of those since then and added a few more. Most of these new ones have been in the last three weeks; in other words, you could say that we’re on fire. Well, maybe not “fire”. Maybe “a roll”. Or “a tentatively encouraging pace.” Yeah. Nice.

Granted, most of these new ones aren’t sure things, and in some cases we don’t even have vocal melodies sorted out yet. But they *feel* like they have a good chance of working out, unlike the vast majority of Rough Ideas we have, where the feeling is closer to, “Eh, well maybe this might be OK at some point, possibly.” You can just tell sometimes. The sketchy ones are similar to a Bad Job Interview…. halfway into it you have a bad feeling, and while there’s a tiny chance you could turn things around, it’s pretty clear you’re screwed. At a certain point, further investment of time is pointless and it’s better to stand up and say, “You and your battery charger factory can go shove it, mister.” And then you walk up the street and start fresh somewhere else. Like a Jamba Juice.

That’s what we did recently: abandoned song ideas that were, upon further inspection, probably futile. And there were a LOT of these. I mean, as recently as two weeks ago we had tons and tons of rough ideas and random riffs and stitched together chord progressions, most of which were sad and unfinished and directionless. Looking now in my iTunes folder, I count 203 demo files. Granted, there are duplicates, but still: it’s SEVEN POINT TWO HOURS of mostly crappy demos. Most of them are just rough ideas I came up with in Garage Band, some are recordings of the live band at the practice space, some have vocals, some don’t. Most of it is no good, and again: 203 files, SEVEN HOURS.

Having this crushing volume of ideas floating around turned out to be counterproductive. “What should I work on? Something in the “LP3 – September Best” folder, or maybe ‘LP3 – Older Crap Heap’? Didn’t ‘Spanish Reds – Alt Vocals Sept 2’ have a cool part? Wait, was ‘Wimpy Riff’ the track I wanted, or was it ‘Chorus Idea – Track 7 (2)”?”

Total confusion. So we went through basically every file we had a couple weeks ago and ruthlessly discarded 99% of them. Now it’s way easier to tell where we’re at, and to focus on the songs that actually have a chance of seeing the light of day. Before it was “7 pretty good songs and 40+ ideas that have cool parts here and there that maybe we can combine stuff from and blah blah”; now it’s “these 10 songs have the best chance of working out, and these other 4 have some cool parts. The end.” WAY easier. The end result will be an album that’s much better than if we were just like, “Screw it, the 12 songs that are closest to being done, boom, there’s our album.”

So there you go. There’s the update. Next time: a discussion on song tempos! Whoo hoo!

-Nate

 

Rock Metal Punk Interview 2010

Here’s an interview with a Belgian fanzine called Rock Metal Punk. Check it out at their site, or below.

—–

‘We actually don’t have a tour bus. Maybe if someone out there gives us a tour bus, we’ll tour more. If anyone has a tour bus they don’t want, shoot us an email’, says Nate from Banner Pilot as he answers our related Groezrock questions.

Banner pilot celebrates his 5th birthday this year. How do you look back on the previous years?
Nate: ‘It’s been really fun! I feel like we’ve gotten better as we’ve gone along, too, which is better than the opposite trajectory. And we will last as long as it’s still fun, and we don’t suck, or at least aren’t aware that we suck. Hopefully that’ll be awhile!’

The volcano made it hard for a lot of bands to get here. But you made it. I heard you’ve made a song about it. Do you intend to put it out on your next record?
Nate: ‘Heh, that was just a joke I made before we left. But yeah, maybe we should do that, now that we’re back. I don’t think there’s enough songs where the band taunts a volcano. I mean, probably a couple dozen, but the world could use more.’

You first studio album came out in 2008. The second was already there in 2009. Can we expect a third one later this year, or are you planning on taking more time for it?
Nate: ‘Well, that’s sort of misleading because Resignation Day got delayed for a long time. It was recorded in September 2007 and Collapser in April 2009. So, at that rate we’ll hopefully record a new album early in 2011. That seems about right. We already have a handful of new songs that I think are pretty good.’

Collapser was released on September first, 2009. It’s your first record on Fat Wreck Chords. A label that houses lots of great punk rock bands. Do feel like real punk rockers?
Nate: ‘Hmm, I guess I’m not sure what a ‘real punk rocker’ is. When I hear that phrase I think of Mohawks and bullet belts and stuff, and we don’t really fit into that. I’ve been meaning to get a bullet belt, but nothing yet. So, I guess I’m not sure. I think the two bands I grew up on as a kid that stuck with me were Jawbreaker andScreeching Weasel. I mean, I also listened to Dead Kennedys and what not but in the long run I don’t think that had as much of an effect on me. But aside from that, I can say that Fat Wreck Chords is a fucking great label and it’s really cool to be on the same label as so many awesome bands.’

Belgian fans of Banner Pilot will be really happy to see the band perform on the biggest Punk festival of the country. As this is your first visit to this festival, what are your expectations?’
Nate: ‘I didn’t know what to expect exactly, but I had an amazing time. Huge field, tons of wasted people stumbling around, and great bands! What would you want more?’

You’ll be in Europe through April and May, and then fly back to America to have some concerts on the west coast. Are you ever home? Or did home change in your tourbus?
Nate: ‘Oh yeah, we’re home more often than we’re not. We tour maybe, i dunno, 4-6 weeks a year? A lot less than a lot of bands. And we actually don’t have a tour bus. Maybe if someone out there gives us a tour bus, we’ll tour more. If anyone has a tour bus they don’t want, shoot us an email.’

LP3 Update 2: Droppin’ Ds

Originally Posted October 2010 on Tumblr

What do you folks think about Drop D? It’s a phrase that causes me to cringe, or at least gulp, at first but then with further reflection my hesitation eases a little. See, first impression I think of something in the Korn / Limp Bizkit vein, a vein that is no good. But there’s also a few good indie and punk songs that pull it off. (‘Chinatown’ by Jets to Brazil comes to mind. Also… Ok, I’m drawing a blank, but other examples do exist!)

I guess I should explain: Drop D means you drop the tuning of the lowest string on the guitar. Usually E, it goes down – or drops, get it? – to D. What happens after that depends on what you do with it. It makes power chords easier to play, and you can do a lot of goofy sounding stuff on the lower frets (this is what falls under the Korn camp).

But there are also a few neat tricks you can do, things that don’t make it sound like you have dreadlocks and are about to yell, “Step the fuck back!” or “Ruahkakaka!” or something. For one, you can play octaves on the A string but also hit the open dropped D, which makes a nice Jawbreaker-y effect on the right frets. And just playing a ‘normal’ punk progression suddenly has a cool, darker sound to it.

I’ve written two song ideas in Drop D for the new album. Obviously, they are not in the Korn camp. Dummy titles are “Blinders” and “Lightsleep”. The initial demos were a little shaky, but we’ve done some cool stuff to them as a full band and i’m now pretty confident both songs will end up on the final album. TWO drop d songs— who would have guessed?

The other weird/different thing I wanted to try on this record was a song in 6/8. But what I came up with sucked. So, screw 6/8 songs! Drop D is where it’s at.

In fact, do you think “Stop, Drop D, and Roll” would be a good album title? Like, all of us adjusting our tunings in the middle of a fire….. could be awesome.

-Nate

LP3 Update #1: It Begins

Originally Posted August 2010 on Tumblr

(Look for a few dozen of these in the months to come. They will probably be boring and inane one-by-one, but could be cool as a whole months from now when the record is almost done. Maybe? Maybe!)

Starting to make decent progress on things. Right now, here is where we are at: I have about 40 song ideas on my computer. The vast majority of these are garbage; stitched together chord progressions and random guitar noodling that tries, unsuccessfully, to hit on a good vocal melody idea. But! About 8 or 9 of them seem potentially good enough to end up as keeper songs. Of these, we’ve tackled 4 or 5 as a full band, recording demo versions at the practice space.

Just in the last week, we’ve recorded two of them. ‘Spanish Reds’ and ‘Sleep it Off’. As with all of these, they’re just dummy song titles I make up on the spot when forced to name the drum-machine file. Sometimes, they stick (“Drains to the Mississippi”, “Skeleton Key”, etc), but usually not. (“Spit Out” was originally called “TV Ears Saved Our Marriage”, because that was the text of a magazine ad that happened to be opened up on the table when I named the file).

I think these two tunes will both end up on the album. Sometimes you can tell. On the last album, there were songs that immediately felt like keepers, and others (like a song we named “Blue Ribbon” because… well, take a guess at what might have been in the room when we wrote the song) are more like “I think this might be OK? I mean, maybe?”, which is a sign they’ll get scrapped later. These two, though, seem to fall in the former camp. Good sign!

Danny said the prechorus to Spanish Reds reminds him of an Andrew WK part. That seems good to me.

– Nate

New Strap

Originally Posted April 2010 on Tumblr

Left my bass strap in the states. In Northern France I had to make the following choice. I have no regrets.

-Nate

News Update!

Originally Posted 2/3/10 on Myspace

Current mood: voluminous (awesome Myspace emoticon unavailable)

Kind of quiet in ye olde Banner Pilot land for the last few months, so I figured an update is in order. Hooray!

Haven’t played a ton of shows lately cuz we’ve been working on new songs. It’s going well, I think. I came up with 15 or 16 rough song ideas (just basic chord progressions and melodies) and now we’re kicking them around with the full band, adding vocal melodies, fine tuning stuff, etc. I think 7 or 8 of them will end up working out. Hopefully, that means we’ll be able to record a new album at some point towards the end of the year, but it’s kind of early to say for sure. I’m digging what we’re coming up with so far.

Pretty soon we’re switching back to playing old songs to get ready for shows we have coming up. A couple local shows with our friends The Flatliners and The Dopamines (both at the Triple Rock), then SXSW, and then a bunch of shows in Europe. Should be a blast– check the myspace page for details.

In non-Banner Pilot news, we just wrapped up the new Off With Their Heads album and I’m really, really stoked with how it turned out. Look for that later this year. And then in a couple weeks we’re doing a new Gateway District album, which should also be out later in the year. So yeah, check both of those out when they come out!

That’s all for now; look for more frequent updates once we’re back on the road, and once we’re getting closer to finishing up the songs we’re writing

-Nate

Transmissions From the Show Me State

Originally Posted November 2009 on Tumblr

Last day of the tour was in St. Louis. A bit of a hike from Dallas, so we left early and tried to keep the stops to a minimum. We finally pulled off in Springfield Missouri for gas and grub, and as we did so the van began making weird noises and chugging along, having difficulty going faster than about 30. It also ceased being able to go in reverse, meaning we had to be verrrry strategic about our parking.

Given all of this, we knew the problem was the transmission. Hopefully it was just the same problem as earlier in the tour, when the van was just a little low on transmission fluid and adding some fixed the rattling/chugging problem we were running into on the highway.

But this seemed a little more serious, and alas it was. The mechanic stuck a dipstick in my face. “Smell this,” he said.

“…OK.”

“Well?” he asked.

“Uh, well I guess it doesn’t smell good or anything…”

“It’s burnt. Burnt transmission fluid. You’ve got a problem with the transmission. Sorry, but we can’t do anything for you here.”

All of the transmission places in town were closed until Monday. Presumably, it would be an expensive repair. So, we decided to ditch the van at a transmission shop (leaving a note for them) and rent our way out of town. The car rental places at the airport had one — one! — vehicle between the five of them that would be able to go one-way to Minneapolis. So we had to take that AND a U-Haul for the gear. Bummer. At least we got to enjoy the CD player for a full 22 hours!

However, we were lucky in one sense— had we chosen to take some random, small exit rather than the one for Springfield, there’s no way we would have found a car shop, a U-haul, or a car rental place, and would have almost certainly been stuck in some small town for days.

We hauled ass, still made it the show — which despite being pretty zonked from a full day on the road plus all the van crap ended up being pretty fun.

We drove straight home at 2am when the show got done, stopping for 3 hours of sleep at a rest stop. Except for having to ditch the van, it was an all-around blast of a tour!

-Nate