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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

Texas!

Originally Posted November 2009 on Tumblr

After Prairieville we had three shows in Texas with Dead to Me, all of which were great. Those dudes are all super nice and fun to hang out with, and put on a great show. It was kind of a bummer we only got to play a total of five shows with them.

A brief rundown:

San Antonio: This was the semi-weird one out of the Texas shows. Located in a strip mall, the venue had recently opened and was clearly catering to the metal scene. Called Zombies, a blood-and-guts theme dominated the painting in the various rooms, every single ‘upcoming show’ on the calendar was a metal show (I’m assuming; maybe Cannibal Slaughter is a folk band, who knows) and the majority of the songs on the jukebox featured the use of double kick drum pedals.

Not a huge deal; the staff was friendly and the handful of kids hanging out seem stoked for the show. But there was one problem: the place was huge! Like, absurdly huge! It reminded me not of any venues I’ve played at before, but of a used video game warehouse I used to work at in high school. Just insanely big.

It would certainly have a weird vibe to play for 20 people in a room that could plausibly fit 1500, especially from a large stage that was about five feet off the ground. But then Chicken had a genius idea: have the entire crowd come on stage with us! This instantly made it feel like we were playing in a packed, tiny basement that had been plopped down in the middle of an empty meatpacking warehouse. And basement-inside-of-an-empty-meatpacking-warehouse shows are some of the best.

Austin: Only an hour drive to Austin! Up to that point the tour had had surprisingly long drives, so this was a welcome change. We got stuff done with all this extra time: burritos for breakfast, car wash, laundry, and the installation of a new CD player with a line-in for iPods! This was far superior to the 1991-era tape deck we had been using up to that point. One of my favorite things to do in a van on tour is listen to the comp CDs people give you at shows, grade each song as you go, and then chuck it out the window when you’re done if it’s bad (which, usually, it is!) Previously Banner Pilot has been unable to do this, but now we’ve catapulted our way into modern times with this acquisition of CD player technology!

The show was at this cool club called Red 7 where the stage is located back in an outdoor patio area. Super fun show. Dead to Me were great and had a couple of the guys from Riverboat Gamblers join them for the last two songs.

Dallas: I have to admit, I didn’t think Dallas would be a very good show (at least three people in Austin, when I asked them what Dallas was like, responded with some variation of “It sucks!” The guy who installed our CD player thought for a second and said, “Well, there’s a lot of murders there.” Ringing endorsements!). But, it ended up actually being pretty awesome— more people than I would have guessed, enthusiastic crowd (that sounds cheezy but i don’t know how else to put it), pretty good openers. Sweet.

All in all, I had a blast in Texas.

-Nate

So Long, Tape Deck

Originally Posted November 2009 on Tumblr

We will miss your DNR feature. And the Auto Reverse was awesome. Sniff…

-Nate