Thursday, October 29, 2009


We've been doing shows at 7th Street Entry for a couple years now and it's always a good time. Tonight we played with a reformed Beatifics and the legendary Grant Hart, formerly of Husker Du. Grant was celebrating the release of his new CD, Hot Wax, and did a mostly solo set of songs from his long solo career and some old Du stuff as well. Grant is a gifted performer and songwriter and it was a joy to watch his set. It was strange seeing him do songs like "Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill" after having seen Bob Mould do them with No Age at ATP a few months earlier. Both performers were amazing in their own right but there was of course a sharp contrast in the surroundings we saw the two of them in. Between our set and Grant's this friend of his set up a "light sculpture". This consisted of several light bulbs affixed to a bicycle wheel which she sprayed with a super soaker until they burst. It was surreal. Rock shows need more stuff like this. Still I think my favorite moment of the night was when a journalist was bothering Grant about a guest list spot and Grant hummed a full beer bottle at him. He missed, on purpose (i think) and it exploded against the dressing room wall. Excitement!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Des Moines, Iowa

Well, then there was Des Moines. Slipknot is from Des Moines. Nuff said? Ahhh, I won't lie to you people, there weren't a lot of folks in attendance at this one here. In fact there were exactly four. However, those four people did come specifically to see and hear us so that was somewhat comforting. In spite of the numbers (i think everyone was at the high on fire, mastodan, deathklok shredfest across town. i know I would have been.) we put our best psychedelic foot forward and ate a bunch of mushrooms. Nah, not really but we did decide to improvise a space jam here and there. And I think we can all pat ourselves on the back and say jorb well done.

The other cool thing about this show is that we played with a good band. The were called Church of the Snake. Worth looking into.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

De Kalb IL

Our first time in De Kalb. We played Otto's club, a nice sized venue with good sound in this old timey saloon type place- looks as though it had once been some sort of theatre. The opening band was a free jazz improv group that set up stations around the club with instruments so the audience could participate in the jam. For some reason i spent most of their set in the basement playing megatouch, 11 ball to be exact. I'm addicted, have been for years. There's something about being repeatedly forced to add to 11 that appeals to me.

The middle act was a New Orleans sort of thing, scratchy vocals, waltz tempos and a small horn section. I think they even covered a Squirrel Nut Zippers song They were really good. Unfortunately, the two bands we played with were called The Information Delivery Service and the Great Influence Machine and I have no earthly idea which was which.

One additional note- some girls from a local "hoop troop" came to this show and hula hooped throughout our set. It was slightly distracting but I do kind of wish it would happen every night. Maybe we could take them on tour with us sometime. Girls?


I've been slacking big time here so lemme sum up real quick. Played at a very cool bar called Northside Cafe. Great bartender. Our good friend Brian from the recently resurrected garage punk torch bearers the Long Gones was our hospitable host. We stayed at his crib. CK got chili from Skyline which was reaaaaally fucking good. Also ate at the Blue Jay diner. Also really good.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

DAYTON OH 10/11/09

DAYTON, CITY OF THE TIRE. The original settlers camp, Daytone, was founded in the late fifteenth century as a fur trading station. The area did not see any true growth until the late 1700's, when a group of enterprising Portuguese explorers, the so called rubber barons, bought large parcels of land from the native tribes (for several gallons of lamp oil and a block of field chalk, so the legend goes) to harvest the vast groves of rubber trees blanketing the area. Soon a booming industry developed as the demand for rubber musket clips exploded. Several years later the invention of the combustion engine and, subsequently the rubber auto tire ushered in a new era of prosperity, productivity and widespread latifundia during which scores of former field hands rose to become powerful robber barons.It was during this "golden age" that Dayton came to be known as "The City of the Tire". As the worldwide "hub" of the Tire industry, Each voyage of the Goodyear blimp began and ended in Dayton.
This growth and prosperity came to an abrupt end in the late 1990's, when a series of microbursts uprooted 97% of the rubber trees in the region. Many of the city's elite migrated South to Florida, establishing the expat colony of Daytona Beach. What remained of the city was a smoking husk of crime drugs and corruption. This scourge of misery and wasted lives has only recently abated due to a new cottage industry springing up in the region, The Pizza Venue. In these establishments, a seemingly innocuous Pizza Parlor, providing Neapolitan nourishment throughout the day, transforms into a cutting edge venue by evening, wherein musical explorers of every description ply their trade. We were lucky enough to experience one such an institution and let me tell you: the transition was seamless. You couldn't even tell.

See? Pizzas. Tubes. Circles. It is as though the spirit of the Tire has spun off into the Daytonian subconscious. Or even that the concept of an unending tire has resided here since time immemorial. Pancakes. We ate at this pancake place. I had Biscuits and gravy. It was delicious.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Athens, Ohio

Well we took 6 days off to recharge our batteries and give our pets some love before heading out on this second little tour of the North. Luckily we kicked things off with our favorite Athenians of all time, the Makebelieves! We go way back with these cats and there is a lot I can tell you about them. Dirty Johnny is the very funny "frontman" and guy-about-town. I think you probably all know Johnny. Then there's Matt, the guitarist who has been our sleepover host probably 50+ times. He shreds in the best possible way there is to shred. The bassist, Jeff plays in a style that recalls Cliff Burton and Steve Harris - I have know idea what his hands are doing but he literally punches the bass with his fist often and somehow it works. He also happens to be an incredible illustrator. Then there's Al, who looks like he's going fishing later but not before he blazes some tastey fretwork. Finally there's Chris, who BQ agrees is simply one of the best drummers out there. The dude is just mind numbingly talented. In the words of MC Greenweeds "Dey handlin' dey buisness." I hate that we already used up this token at the beginning of this tour.


We also ate at Burrito Buggy (see above) which is one of those places I can not believe isn't in every single town. They serve burritos for 5 dollars on the street until 3am. What is so complicated about this Towns of America That I Play in Every Night?

The show was at the Union, where we play most times and I just like to give a shout out to the bartenders there who are cute, friendly and generous with dey pour.

ATL, Star Community Bar

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Well played, David, well played. The morning after our Memphis gig technically started at Tommy Teardrop's new house where he showed off his tremendous Star Wars collection. You read that right. Please David tell me you have pictures. We then retired to the back yard to listen to some tunes and finish off that bottle of Canadian Club that had been kicking around the van. It's always good to see Tommy. He's a dude's dude and plays bass in a bunch of killer Memphis bands. Most notably the Squirrels and the Jackmonkeys. Look 'em up.

The next morning I split off with Zac, Justice and Tom to get some breakfastlunch at Soul Fish which is a great place down on Cooper near the Memphis Drum Shop. The Memphis drum shop is pretty nice mostly because they have a "museum" of rare drums including one of Al Jackson's old kits. He played in the MGs and kept better time than about 99% of all drummers.

Al Jackson Jr.

We spent most of the rest of our time in Memphis at Goner Records which is co-owned by Zac and Eric Friedl. Eric was in my all-time favorite garage revival band the Oblivians. Between those two, they pretty much are a one-stop resource when it comes to Memphis, records, bands or where to get the very best food in town.

OK, on to Nashville. We played that night with Hans Condor and Church of the Good Hustle at 5 Spot. Good crowd although I confess that I only saw COTGH because after our set I went honky tonkin' downtown with some friends. I will say this about our show: never ever set up the drums behind them amplifiers ever never again.

Downtown Nashville traffic was jammed up pretty good so my buddy Rick and I got out to walk. The mile long traffic in both ways was caused by a Cadillac and an SUV pulled up next to one another with all the passengers from both vehicles outside doing something I can only describe as car humping. Like 10 dudes making love to the top, front and sides of the vehicles, music blaring, while traffic was at a perfect stand-still. Pretty sure Young Jeezy was on the radio. It was by far the greatest thing I saw all tour. No pictures, sadly.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I don't remember most of the drive from KC to Memphis as my brain had become a charred lump from overexposure to Gilmore Girls that I downloaded to my Itouch. Before you say anything allow me to note that i only did this to drown out the sound of Scott watching snuff films in the loft. He only paused briefly to regale us with tales of the time he saw Phish in Memphis at that pyramid thing ( i think he followed them around the country for most of his 20's or something).

Upon arriving at the Hi Tone the sound guy told us we had better have brought our "A game" because the opening band was hot shit, even implying that a third band had cancelled so as not to have to follow them. I was thoroughly inundated with existential dread. He was right, they were hot shit. Luckily we brought our "A game". In fact it's the only game we have anymore since we left our B and C games in Sandusky a few years back, along with two guitar stands a rack mount tuner and an S- video cable. We never even bothered to pack our D game for tour and I hardly think this is the proper forum to discuss our "F Game".

Lots of friendly folks a this show and an exemplary barkeep to boot. Our buddy Tommy Teardrop put us up for the night. The next day some of us had a delicious soul food lunch at The Cupboard. Go for the eggplant casserole if you ever make it down that way.

Kansas City

I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come
I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come
They got a crazy way of loving there
And I'm gonna get me some.

- as sung by Wilbert Harrison, who is from my hometown of Charlotte, NC booooy! I always liked the Beatles version because of the "hey hey hey" part but you know nothing beats the original. Which is usually the case, 100% of the time? Give me an example of a better remake if you do not concur.

So we played at the Record Bar
which is where all our good shows in KC have always been. The people at this place are very nice and get you beers super fast. Plus they feed you, which is rarely not a good thing. I'm in construction now because I built my own pizza and It was the best thing I have ever eaten.

We got there kind of early and the music that was warming up the way older crowd was some shit, man. I don't know. I just don't even feel like explaining it. All I know is that it forced 3/5 of the band to go get in the van and that Paul took video of people dancing. I won't say anymore about that. Hollar, Paul.

The band we played with were called the Architects which I thought was a funny name given that it wasn't math rock. Boom bah! They were fresh off the Warped tour and you could tell. The singer said that all of their songs were about "two things: drugs and going to jail." He didn't say they were his favorite things. I was hoping for "falconry and Russian MIGs" but alas he must have different hobbies than this kid. Or is it "then this kid." David?

After we finished our blazing set we were happy to see our pal Doug from Chicago. This has been quite the rockstar tour as Doug plays in a band that is starting to garner a little attention as well. His band had played earlier and he was kind enough to drop by to bid us a cordial "how-do."
It should be noted that as we were leaving, the guy who pulled a gun on Craig while Craig was asleep in his kitchen (see tour '07) was also one of the friendly bartenders. He introduced himself to us and explained that he may have been drunk that night. Apparently he made it up to "us?" by buying Craig a round and almost all of our merch (see tour '08).

The next day was a 3278 mile drive to Memphis and it was freaking amazing. David was busy downloading Gilmore Girls on his iTouch the whole time so I don't know if he saw much of the drive.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lawrence KS, The Replay

Lawrence is always one of our favorite stops- we generally have good shows at the Replay, they have one of the best record stores in the country (Love Garden) and we get to hang out with our buddy Kliph. Kliph plays drums in this band and they're getting kind of big.
The drive from Norman was shorter than it seems. Having grown up on he east coast, traveling across the plains is always a surreal experience for me. The landscape seems so vast and featureless. I'm used to trees and hills obscuring the view. All the gas stations we stop at seem so isolated, so far from anything. It feels like stopping into some far flung galactic (or post-apoctalyptic) outpost. The people don't look like space aliens but they look at us like we are. Hello sir, I am from a distant planet. I am only here to purchase White Cheddar Cheezits as they contain compounds that can be converted into fuel for my spaceship which has crashed in a nearby field, just east of the roadside abortion graveyard. I mean you no harm. I do not enjoy the "heartland" music blaring from your intercom system. It frightens me.
Our show at the Replay was the best so far. The Old Black warmed things up with some cannabis jams. I was relieved that the two shit-housed guys doing the weird squatting dance in front of the stage during their set left before we started. Not before one of them inexplicably gave Craig a healthy smack on the ass, though. The Replay is one of those clubs that has a nice outside patio behind the bar. So nice that it can be tough getting people inside to watch the band. When we started playing there only a handful of people in the room. It was great to look up after the second song and see the place had filled up. We had a great time playing. the crowd was responsive. We sold stuff. This is how these things are supposed to go. Thank you, Lawrence.
The next day we said goodbye to Kliph as he had to leave early to go to OKC, where the Lips are working on a special new project. It sounds like its going to be amazing but I'm not sure how much of a secret it is at this point so sorry, no details. With only a 40 mile drive to our show that night in Kansas City we had plenty of time to kill. I went down to Lovegarden's fancy new location and picked up a record I've been trying to find for years. "Smokey Room" is my jam.

And with that I'll pass the blog baton to Scott. Make sure to ask him about the guy who pulled a gun on Craig in Kansas City that one time. It's cool, we're bros.


Monday 28 Norman, Oklahoma – The Opolis w/ Junebug Spade

We awoke from a big night out with Crow, Blythe and Alex after a rousing Grand Champeen/BOA reunion show. Crow and Blythe and I drove to Torchy’s to grab everyone tacos while PS, DM and CK went to our favorite store, Guitar Center because CK’s amp had fried the night before and needed to be replaced. The tacos at Torchy’s are really good, my man. My pork taco was the best thing I have ever eaten in my life. Next to my fried avocado taco. Jesus.

The Opolis is owned by a guy named Andy Nunez and he is in a band called the Starlight Mints. This is cool for a number of reasons but mostly because he is super nice and very accommodating. We played with the Junebug Spade who seemed like a pretty young band but very good. Kind of shoegazer-y at times, kinda rockin’. I dug it.

Steven and George drove down from N. Oklahoma City to see us and brought us a very nice bottle of Bulliet Bourbon. The show went pretty well except that I broke my kick pedal during the second to last song. Luckily the drummer from JS, Matt, stepped in to help me out. Thanks, Matt.

Another nice stay, this time at La Quinta. Continental breakfast was a failure but the stay was very pleasant and the decorations were fucking rad.


We were excited to get to Austin and see our friends (and co-rockers) Grand Champeen. Aside from being dear friends, they're also one of the best live bands we've ever played with and a frequent feature on our van's soundsystem. We stopped by Jenny and Alex's house on the way into town. They just got a choice new place up the street from Blythe and Micheal's home/ studio, our perennial guest quarters in Austin.
We headed downtown to load in for our show at The Beauty Bar. We had to take a long detour because, guess what? Sixth street was closed off for a festival. Really? A festival you say? In Austin? Weird.
After load in we split up for dinner and I walked over to the street fair, like an idiot. Wandering aimlessly, starving. Or maybe I wasn't even hungry. Couldn't tell. I bought a giant turkey leg from a dead eyed street vendor. As soon as I saw her morosely shake her puffy head when I asked for hot sauce I knew I was doomed to be food bummed. No hot sauce? Aren't we in Texas? Maybe this is why Texas Pete is made in Holly Springs. Anyway, I doused the slimy, sinewy thing with powdered cayenne and gnawed on it dejectedly, like a dying animal.
I missed most of the first band (sorry guys, everybody said it was great) because I was over at Lovejoys with some old friends. Grand Champeen player a killer set. There is theoretically some good video of it but I'll let Scott tell you about that. I felt great about our set, best crowd so far. The only hitch was during soundcheck when Cheetie's fender combo started smoking and made a sound like someone shooting an automatic rifle at a tree trunk. Unfortunately i know what that sounds like but that's a story for another time. Luckily, somebody from GC came to the rescue and lent her an amp.

All the Beauty Bar staff were so helpful and friendly, go see them for a drink next time you're in town. Better yet, hunt them down and corner them and buy them drinks next time your in town. We went back to Crow's after the show and stayed up way way too late. This is what always happens when we're in Austin and I love it.

Dallas Y'all!

September 26 Dallas, Texas – Lounge on Elm w/ Yam, Maleveller

Buc ‘ees: A colossal gas station we somehow managed to stumble upon along the route from Houston to Dallas. I’m here to tell you, it may be the best gas station experience I’ve ever had on tour. The place was like wal-mart sized and super clean. Probably brand new. Their mascot is a cartoonish beaver and his mug is plastered everywhere. It reminded me of Wally the moose from Vacation. The bathrooms were immaculate - every stall had it’s own hand sanitizer! The loot inside this place varied from corny to bizarre to amazing. In front of the store they had all these custom built iron smokers, grills and fryers in all sorts of sizes and varieties. They looked like works of art I tell ya. Some lady gave CK a sample of their own candied jalepeno dip. After hundreds of shitty, mundane, banal, carbon copy gas stations this place was like heaven. Plus they had Topo Chico for next to nothing. I got a leather wolf wallet.

I’d like to mention at this point that I had pictures of all this amazing goodness but after our show in Austin I somehow managed to lose the memory card from my camera. It makes no sense and I’m super pissed so leave me alone about it. No, I have no idea how the card could have fallen out. Yes, I had fucking video of Grand Champeen. And Buc’ees. And like a billion other cool shots. Fuck.

Anyway we drove to Dallas on this day. Other then the aforementioned stop it was fairly uneventful. Oh I did meet up with my good buddy Holden earlier that morning for tacos. And we did stay at Eric and Virginia’s house, which is always super special. They treat bands that travel through to fine cheeses, fruit, excellent booze and some delicious egg and soy chorizo breakfast. Not to mention wonderfully comfortable bunk beds. Eric owns and operates Uncle Booking. It’s people like them that make touring a lot of fun. They also have great pets and know a lot about music.

OK, Dallas. CK worked her magic and pricelined us our finest hotel stay yet, the Doubletree. We was on the sixth floor with a lovely skyline view of Dallas, homie. I couldn’t get that fucking theme song out of my head. You know the one. Seriously this room was really nice. Also visible: the Hawaii Spa across the street. Shady rub and tug within walking distance. I used to have pictures…

What is it with Dallas and tattoo parlors? I ask because while we were walking around looking for something to eat I think we passed like 10 tattoo parlors in 3 square blocks. Take it easy with the ink, Dallas. We ended up eating at a place called Texas Tacos, which wasn’t really bad but kind of expensive. Everybody sort of ended up getting sides of stuff because the portions were fucking TEXAS SIZED!!!! Sorry. DM wins here because he got some sort of mashed potato concoction that came in a glass bowl jar. It was something. I took pictures but of course you will never see them. I’ll say this, he looked like he was crying the whole time he was eating. And not a happy cry, it was more like a scary, tears of a clown cry.

The club was hurting a bit. Mostly because the place had lost it’s liquor license a couple nights earlier. So the show was BYOB. It worked out fine though. The sound guy was super friendly as were the people that worked there. The show was made great by a number of good people who drove 45 minutes down from Denton to see us. Some nice people put video on youtube for you to check out.

Later that night we returned to the hotel and I witnessed some crazy domestic weirdness going on in the parking lot of ye old whack palace. Basically it was drunk rednecks fighting.


Houston, Houston

We rolled into Houston about suppertime for our show (with Fired for Walking & Hell City Kings) at Rudyard's, which has become a regular stop for us over the past few years. Rudyard's is one of those wonderful (and increasingly rare) bars that provide you with a nice hot meal prior to your set. This goes a long way, especially since it's one less thing to worry about amid the load in/set up confusion. The show was great and I think everybody had a blast.
But really the best thing about coming to Houston is hanging out with our friends Virginia and Eric (from Uncle Booking). They have been kind enough to open their home to us on numerous occasions. It's sort of an oasis we all look forward to on tour. We stayed up late after the show talking and snacking and drinking while some James Spader movie played on the TV with the sound muted. The next morning E & V made us a rad breakfast and we played LP's from Eric's massive collection, like this one. Really, these people are saints. Did I mention Eric books a bunch of killer bands?