Saturday, October 18, 2008

Home stretch.

We're almost done with this tour. I'm glad, and I'm kinda not. I won't miss shit going wrong with the RV, like the battery dying in the middle of nowhere this morning. It will always be fun to travel and party in a different city every night, though.

I'm 26 tomorrow. I haven't been a "birthday" person in a long time, so other than getting some free drinks out of everyone, it's not that big a deal.

The best part about tomorrow is being in Asheville. We were there in April, and despite all the hippies it's cool. The venue has amazing food, and the show's promoter runs a great record shop in town. We have a day off the next day too, so there's some nice recovery/downtime before the final run of shows.

Looking forward to sleeping for 2 days straight and watching all the shows I DVR'd.

Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Muskogee: way too exciting.

We're staying in a Motel 6 down the street from here. Pray for the sanctity of our cornholes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's been a fun week.

It's a long story. Here are some highlights:

- L.A., like I've said before, is fun to visit...but I would never, ever live here. People are on an other planet.

- Got to hang out with the dudes in Spindrift for a few days, which was cool. Check those dudes out.

- Went to get tires in the Valley, where our RV promptly stopped going into gear. This was fixed later, but wait, it's gets better.

- APTBS played some great shows in LA.

- Somewhere in the middle of the Arizona desert our engine caught fire, we waited 3 hours for a $550 tow to Phoenix, and the show in Tucson got canceled.

Rock and roll.

We're now holed up in a hotel room in Glendale, the Grand Ol' Traveling Party Palace a few miles away, awaiting repair. I think it's the transmission. But at this point...I'm ready to blow the bitch up.

Stay tuned! I'm sure it gets better. More whiskey, anyone?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

MONTANA: F'IN BIG.


DO NOT drive across this state the long way all at once. It is way too big and way too unnerving. And it all looks like that. All 800-whatever miles of it.

The only thing worse than driving across Montana during the day was crossing Idaho at night. Holy shit, it was like driving a turd through the septic system. Pitch black, up, down, curve this way, curve that way...it also didn't help matters that I was wired on ginseng pills and ludicrously-named energy drinks. (Amp? NoS? COCAINE!? Marketing genius.)

But we made it. Rather, I made it and the band managed to take some very good naps. Sleep is a precious commodity on these tours; I don't get much of it.

We're in Seattle right now, and the turnout for the show was pretty minimal. It seems the music scene in this depressing-ass, whiny-liberal town isn't what it used to be. Portland, Oregon is tomorrow, and while it's still as "blue" as it is here, at least it's a nicer town and a better scene. California is coming up very soon too, which will be lots of fun. I don't recommend staying there for more than a few days, though. It'll rub off on you, and pretty soon you'll think that shitty movie you were in gives your political opinions more importance than other people. You'll also decide Botox is a great idea and vote for Obama. Don't do it.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bettter late than never

Yes, I'm late to the party. We've been on the road a week and I've had very little in the way of downtime. I'm driving, doing merchandise AND tour managing on this tour, so it's a lot of stress for little reward.

Right now we're in Chicago at The Empty Bottle, which is a welcome change from the bottomless pit of despair that is Detroit. We were there yesterday, and holy shit is it the most depressing place I've ever been. There are several brand-new casinos, but the streets downtown on a sunny Saturday afternoon were empty. I mean empty; no people, no cars, nada. Actually, scratch that. I did see a bunch of crackheads and hobos camped out on a burn-out patch of grass, having some kind of camp-out. That wasn't disheartening or anything.

We spent a few days in Canada, with shows in Montreal and Toronto. APTBS really pulls the crowd up in the Great White North, people come out in droves to see them live and buy up all their swag. In between those shows the guys recorded 2 new songs at a studio in rural Ontario with Graham from Holy Fuck, which came out pretty great. They've been playing them live at the last few shows and the crowd response has been positive. Then again. at least half of the band's set is songs that haven't been officially recorded yet, so it's a good fit.

Tomorrow is a long drive to Minneapolis to do a radio session and a show that night, then comes the long haul: Minneapolis to Vancouver in two and a half days. Yeah, think you've driven some long hours? Try 26 in 48. Good times.

Still don't have a functional camera, otherwise I'd be taking pictures of dumb shit like last time.

One more thing: check out the band that's opening most of the APTBS shows, the Sian Alice Group. They're...nice.

See you on the road, suckas.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

OVERCAST: 8/30/08, Bobby Allen's, Waterbury CT

There are a lot of different ways we wish our pasts had played out. Sometimes, we will ourselves to think back on events, people or other things with a certain reverence, despite the shortcomings of said things. Music falls into this category quite a bit. Some of us like to remember certain songs, or bands, in a rosy light because of what they meant to us at the time.

Seeing as how most of my peers grew up in the Eighties and Nineties, this is mostly bullshit. If I'm at a party with people other than my metal friends, and someone puts their mix of "back in the day" songs on the stereo, all of a sudden I'm not in a party mood. I'm not going to hear Life Of Agony, Pantera or The Jesus & Mary Chain, am I? No, I'll be subjected to god-awful shit like the Barenaked Ladies. Or Eminem, or that one Notorious B.I.G. song that never goes away and everyone sings along to and laughs when they get to say "nigga".

OK, I have a point. It's that sometimes, that thing from our past that we wish was really good actually is. I'm talking about Overcast, the seminal Massacusetts band that pioneered, and dare I say perfected, the 'metalcore' genre. If you grew up in New England during the 90s and liked heavy music, you liked Overcast. They played a million shows with everyone from Hatebreed to 25 Ta Life, at every VFW or American Legion hall within a 100-mile radius of central Mass. The band went their separate ways in 1998, with the members going on to even bigger success in bands like Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage and Seemless.

The band reunited for a few shows last year, and went back into the studio to re-record some of their old material and come up with some new tracks. The fruit of those efforts can be found in the newly released Reborn To Kill Again, and although I love the original albums I gotta say these songs sound a hundred times better now. Take note, one-man basement black metal bands; production value doesn't hurt.

Overcast lined up a string of dates for this month, and the last one happened to be in the (relative) neighborhood, a quick half-hour away in Waterbury CT at Bobby Allen's. This is a venue I previously didn't even know existed, but it's definitely the perfect setting for an underground metal show. Cheap booze, low ceilings and an all-around sketchy vibe.
There were four opening bands, and it broke down into one good, one OK and two lame. I try not to dwell on bands that don't impress me, but I will give some internet props to Thy Will Be Done (the good band). I saw these guys open for Dying Fetus a few months back, and was definitely digging it. They don't break the mold, but they do slam the shit out of it.

Overcast's set was near perfect, the only complaint being the usual: "ONE MORE SONG!!" They ripped through classics like Apocalypse Upon Us, Grifter and the awesome instrumental track Styrofoam Death Machine. The new songs are 100% bona fide, and sounded like they could have been recorded during the Fight Ambition To Kill sessions. There was no danger of anybody being rusty; every band member's current outfit are notorious touring fiends, so no worries there. The crowd was a collection of most every CT hardcore kid from over the last 15 years, which means many of them aren't kids any more. I did see some gray hair in the pit, which is always amusing, but it proves that this music meant something to many of us, and still does.


Monday, August 25, 2008

End of the line...temporarily.

Today's the last day of the Nine Inch Nails tour. It's been real, it's been fun...but it hasn't been real fun. A good experience, I'll be prepared if it ever happens again, but I'm hoping it doesn't for a long time.

Last night we did an off-night show in Covington, Kentucky. DO NOT GO TO THIS PLACE. It is scary, and I think wolves prowl the streets after dusk. There was an awesome fast-food fried chicken joint next door to the venue though, so not all was lost.

The drive home from Toledo is about 10 hours, so after the drive, unloading in Brooklyn, and returning to Connecticut, I should thoroughly exhausted. We have a scant 2 weeks off before the big national headlining tour begins. No rest for the wicked, though; I get to spend those weeks doing the accounting for this tour, and budgeting the next one. After all these years, I'm sure some people are shaking their heads in bewilderment, thinking about me doing accounting-type activities.

So as I sit in this makeshift dressing room in Toledo, writing online with stolen wireless internet, I think back on the last 2 weeks and realize: what the hell am I doing here?

Rowella out.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Vacation.

So I've had a few days off. Bass player Jono is getting married today, so the rest of the band and the manager returned to New York for the wedding. It's just been me and the sound guy for the last two days.

After dropping the other guys off at the St. Louis airport Thursday morning, I parked at a rest stop. I get woken up by some yahoo outside the RV, rambling something about this driver who has some crazy rig that I gotta see, or something like that. It's hard to understand someone with five teeth.

So I'm still half-asleep, and I'm following this guy across the parking lot thinking he's gonna show me some big-ass trailer or something. I round the corner, see a couple guys hunched over a piece of cardboard, and I'm pissed. This asshole woke me up to try and sucker me into a 3-card monte hustle. Oh, it was classic. One guy pretending to not know them, playing and winning. One other guy who was "scamming" the guy with the cards. Times like this, I wish I had a badge. I "respectfully declined" and went back to the RV.

We stopped last night in some lakeside town in Michigan, which looked like every other town in the middle of the country. Wal-Mart, Applebee's, McDonald's, Home Depot, a bunch of others, all in a giant complex down some access road off the highway. Thankfully, there was a movie theater. The sound guy hadn't seen The Dark Knight yet, which I thought was impossible, so he went and saw that. I saw Tropic Thunder, and it was great. Funnier than I thought it was going to be, and I thought it was gonna be pretty damn funny. Downey Jr. stole the movie, far and away. I'm glad he's making a comeback, always liked him as an actor.

We're staying in a hotel tonight, a few exits from the venue for the next show in Auburn Hills. It's nice to have a room that doesn't sit on wheels once in a while.

I'm almost home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This shit is Groudhog Day.

I know we're in St. Louis, but I have no idea what the weather is, or if it's day or night. Backstage at all these arenas is like being in the bunker from Day Of The Dead.

I'm still adjusting to driving the RV with a trailer on the back. That shit is not easy. When you want the trailer to go left, you have to turn right, and vice versa. Those of you who know me know how much patience I have with these kinds of things, so it's a lot of cursing on my part. But I'm getting the hang of it.

The band and the manager are flying back to New York tomorrow morning for the bass player's wedding, which means the sound guy and I are on our own for the next two days. The trip to Detroit only takes 9 hours, so we'll have some time to kill. I'd like to find a theater playing Hell Ride somewhere.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We are the ones to make a brighter day, so let's start giving.

Dallas, kiss my ass. This room has 4 chairs and a couch for, I don't know, 10 people. I know, we're the support band from New York and you gobbled weiners in the divisional playoffs, but seriously: where am I supposed to sit??

Last night was in Austin, and it was great to be back in a regular club environment where we could sell our own merchandise. It was rainy, but plenty of people showed. Plus, we saw a shitload of bats.

We also got a bit of Southern hospitality from the dudes in The Black Angels. We cranked 13th Floor Elevators until the wee hours of the morning, and had some interesting conversations. Thanks for letting us crash at your pad, guys.

The drive from Austin to Dallas is normally a quick 3-hour jaunt. But apparently Texans don't know what rain is, or how to drive in it. So 3 hours became 4.5, due to no less than three accidents on the highway.

Got to talk to the dude today; he's pretty nice. I was surprised he took the time to talk to a lowly road crew guy, but I guess he figured out I do the equivalent of 15 of the guys he has. So maybe he felt bad. We actually like some of the same bands, notably Kylesa. I thought that was pretty cool.

I'm debating whether I like Pilot or Love's more. I think Pilot is winning.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Now I REALLY wish my camera worked.

I'm writing while sitting in the locker room of the Houston Rockets. These arena tours are INSANE. Catering, VIP passes, the whole nine yards. It doesn't come without a price, though. Trying to stay on top of things with six thousand people running around isn't easy. Last night's show in Oklahoma City was an eye-opening experience. Chasing after stage crew, keeping track of merchandise (which we can't sell ourselves), driving a 34-foot RV with a trailer on it into precarious parking spots...stress can be high.

There have been people on line for tonight's show since 1PM. Doors are at 7. I didn't think people liked Nine Inch Nails that much anymore; I've been mistaken. It is a really cool show, though. I'll give Trent that.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The exciting Midwest.



BALLS.

Driving through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri sucks. Really, really sucks. Aside from the occasional Jack In The Box or Jesse James hideout, all there is are fields and the occasional stop at the totally awesome Flying J. Seriously, where else can you buy a TV, a tank of gas and a sweet flannel shirt with the sleeves pre-ripped?

The first show of the tour was in Columbus, Ohio last night at Skully's Diner. The venue was cool, the crowd was a bit...sparse. Sweet record shop next door, though. Magnolia Thunderpussy Records. Hmm, wonder where they got the idea for that name...

Right now we're in a skeevy Super 8 somewhere off I-44 in Missouri. Tomorrow night is the first NIN show, in Oklahoma City. Hopefully everything will go smoothly. It better, consisering Nine Inch Nails has 52 people on their touring staff. 52! We have a sound guy, the manager and me. If anything, I'll be raiding Trent's catering table and chasing goth groupies around backstage.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Turn the page...

I hit the road again tomorrow. APTBS will be opening a slew of dates for Nine Inch Nails, as well as a few off-date shows. We'll be in the Midwest mostly, so as long as we don't get wiped off the face of the earth we'll be OK.

My camera isn't working at the moment, but hopefully I'll have it fixed before anything worth capturing happens. The NIN shows should be pretty incredible to witness. Check this out.

Tour dates:


Wednesday 8/13/08 at Skully’s Music Diner in Columbus, OH
Friday 8/15/08 at Ford Center, Oklahoma City, OK with Nine Inch Nails
Saturday 8/16/08 at Toyota Center, Houston, TX with Nine Inch Nails
Sunday 8/17/08 at Emo’s, Austin, TX with Ume & The Boxing Lesson
Monday 8/18/08 at American Airlines Arena, Dallas, TX with Nine Inch Nails
Tuesday 8/19/08 at Opolis in Norman, OK with El Paso Hot Button
Wednesday 8/20/08 at Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO with Nine Inch Nails
Saturday 8/23/08 at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI with Nine Inch Nails
Sunday 8/24/08 at the Mad Hatter in Covington, KY (Cincinnati)
Monday 8/25/08 at Seagate Convention Center, Toledo, OH with Nine Inch Nails




Monday, June 23, 2008

Dudefest concluded



Yeah, it was that kinda weekend. That's a chick's hair, by the way.

Sunday rolled around, and it despite the intense music on tap there was a more laid-back vibe to the day. The crowd was small, but there was still a lot of spirit. I overslept and arrived just in time to catch the first band I wanted to see, Demiricous. I've been a fan of theirs since first hearing them a few years back. Their new material has taken their Slayer worship sound, mixed in a healthy dose of Motorhead, Celtic Frost and mid-era Entombed, and cranked it to 11. I'm always excited to see these guys.

A perfect follow-up to Demiricous was Ohio blackened thrashers Skeletonwitch. I first saw these guys in '06 as a 4-piece, but they have evolved into a whole new metal beast. Their new(ish) singer totally completes their live show, and it is metal defined. Their sound has definitely moved further towards the "thrash" part of black/thrash, and it's a vast improvement. Tunes about evil, witchcraft and, to quote tonight's set, "Betraaaayyerrrr!!!". They had the best set of the night, hands down. They're touring nonstop these days, so catch them when you can.

Graf Orlock were next on the agenda. This was the mosh/stage-dive high point for Sunday. By this point the dudecore/moshdown/funny-grind thing was getting a bit tired, but these guys were refreshing. The samples alone sold me; Terminator, Congo, some other random shit I couldn't place but enjoyed nonetheless.

Backstabbers Inc. had an interesting set. I had neither heard nor heard of the band, and at this point in the weekend I was ready to ignore any band I didn't know. But these guys kept me watching. They played an interesting mish-mash of Isis, Mouth Of The Architect and random mid-tempo thrash bits. The last song dragged way too long, but overall I dug it.

Washington metal grinders Iron Lung were another great highlight of the day. This two-piece play a perfect blend of thrashing intensity and crushing slow grooves. The set was on the shorter side, but for a band like this small doses works best. This band deserves much more recognition than they get, that's for sure.

Kungfu Rick was pretty decent Chicago hardcore, they got the crowd moving again. Again, at this point I was running on empty and I had already seen plenty of bands like this over the last 72 hours for it to make much of an impact on me.

So it was onto Kylesa's second set of the weekend, and the last set of the festival. I have to say it was stronger than the one they did on Friday night, whether it was the songs or the fact it was a culmination of 3 days of awesome, I couldn't say. They encored with a brand new song, and if it's any indication of what to expect with their next release than it's a very good sign.



And so here I sit, in my boxers, in a seedy Knights Inn motel room, drinking the rest of my Bailey's and watching that shitty Miami Vice movie, reflecting on Dudefest '08. I met some great people, saw some awesome bands, a had a raging good time. Hopefully I'll be able to do it all over again next year.

Who's coming with me!?


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dudefest, Day 1 and 2

Intense.

So I left off at the station in Chicago. I had the pleasure of taking a 4-hour Greyhound ride to Indianapolis. Where a drunk belligerent black guy tried to steal my camera. He took a picture of me sleeping:




And I almost kicked his ass. Needless to say, fuck public transportation, I'm driving everywhere from now on.

I arrived in downtown Indy around 9, where I met up with my friend Val, i.e. shy little wine on the Decibel board. We had dinner, got drunk, and had a ball. From there I checked into my suitably skeevy roadside motel by the highway. Something was going down next door, for sure:



FRIDAY

After an uneasy rest, I was ready for the first day of Dudefest. I got there right as the doors opened, the familiar sight of black t-shirts, bad haircuts and unwashed bodies greeting me. I set myself by the Decibel merch table, hanging out with Val and Mark, customer service guru and all-around stand-up dude at the magazine.

The first two bands, You Will Die and The Wayward, were somewhat blah, but that might have had to do with the fact I was eagerly anticipating the mighty Plague Bringer! Holy shit, did these guys live up to expectations. Bands that use drum machines these days tend to be total hit or total miss. Plague Bringer are sledgehammers. It was a great start to the weekend.

Next up on my agenda was Nachtmystium. People have been talking shit about this band's new direction, and I say shut the hell up. The new material was blazing live, and I like these guys for some of the same reasons I like Satyricon and Lifelover; it's black metal that doesn't sound tired and played out. Blake Judd is the man.

Coliseum immediately followed, and they had the best set of the night, period. Anyone who has seen their shows know that they are a formidable force in the live setting. Pure vitriol and energy. A great blend of hardcore, crust-punk and metal that many bands attempt but few get right.

The Red Chord had to drop out of the fest due to a faulty tour van, which was upsetting because they are a fun live band. But word came that Kylesa, who is headlining Sunday night, would be filling their slot. Everyone agreed this was an optimal replacement. This is a band I have just started listening to within the last year or so, and they have grown on me quite a bit. These days they've incorporated two drummers into their live show, which to be honest doesn't sound so much different 80% of the time...but it looks pretty fuckin' cool. It also helps that they bring their brand of southern swamp sludge raging out of the gate. Following Coliseum is no easy task, but they pulled it off. Kylesa is hitting their stride right about now; don't be surprised if their next album is a top 10 regular on a lot of lists. Also, Laura Pleasants has moved up to #4 on my list. You know what I mean.

Torche headlined the night, but I bounced before their set so I could make the mile-long trek to Zanies Too (Dudefest had an after-show here Friday and Saturday night) in time to see The Gates Of Slumber. I like Torche well enough, but I didn't want to miss out on some heavy, lumbering, worship-at-the-Trouble-altar DOOOOOMMM. And that's exactly what The G of S brought. Any band that sounds like Wino might have a guest spot somewhere on the album is my kind of band.

Next up was Fight Amp, who have been generating quite a bit of buzz lately. I was wary about them, for the simple fact that most bands don't live up the hype. Especially when these guys were getting all kids of comparisons to the glory days of AmRep. The verdict is in: Fight Amp are the real deal. Grimy, loud as all hell, the guys who split from Helmet should be listening to this and get their heads out of their asses. I bought the new album and it rages.

I had heard of The_Network before, but for whatever reason I thought they sucked. I gotta say, it's a shitty band name. But my opinion was changed after the first song of their set. I heard from other people that at last year's Dudefest one of the guys in the band had been kicked out of the bar BEFORE they played. So they had the off-kilter crazy thing down, which is a good start. But the tunes were killer, and they were a close second to Coliseum for best set of the day/night.

By this point I was dead tired; 26 hours of straight traveling and an entire day and night of extreme metal will do that. I listened to Minsk from outside while I waited for a ridiculously overpriced cab.


SATURDAY



Oh yeah, it's delicious.

Saturday started off a few hours earlier, and the crowd had definitely grown. The first band I saw was Weekend Nachos, and HOLY SHIT, they might have been the best band of the day! They had an incredible amount of energy, and just didn't give a flying fuck about anybody. Their drummer stage dived at one point, so the singer got behind the kit and started jamming, and the drummer got back and started singing. It was brilliant.

Shitstorm and Get Rad played next, but I was in and out during their sets. The Emerson Theater is all ages, so anyone who wanted a drink had to go around the corner to J Clyde's Bar. The next band I wanted to see was The Dream Is Dead, some great local hardcore political punk. I couldn't be further away from their political leanings, but the songs are great and their set was intense.

The first can't miss band of the day for me was Gaza. Everyone was talking them up. I had heard a few songs before but weren't very familiar with them. They blew the stage up. I was totally bowled over by their live show, I could have watched them all day. I bought a CD and shirt off of their singer afterwards, and he through in a Bird Eater CD for free. Can't beat that.

I skipped out on Lords but came back for the one-two naked guy punch that is Phoenix Bodies and Hewhocorrupts. I gotta say, the music was fun and perfect for moshing and stage-diving, but I can't say it was very memorable. Guys in both bands got naked on stage, hence the tendency to call this thing Dudefest. I looked away most of the time. When there wasn't schlongs hanging around, they had good sets.

Then came the bittersweet moment of the weekend. The ultimate grindcore band, Insect Warfare, was playing their last show. I will be forever grateful to have seen this band live. I don't know the details of the band splitting up, but it is a damn dirty shame. I can't think of a better grind band. Period. Some video footage is down below on the right. The crowd showed their appreciation with full force, that's for sure.


The highlight of my night, even more than Insect Warfare, even more than male nudity everywhere, was a headlining set from Pig Destroyer. I have become a huge fan of theirs over the last few years, and this show sealed the deal for me. I truly believe they are one of, if not the best, extreme metal band on the planet.


There were some unfortunate sound problems, so Blake Harrison couldn't fulfill his duties as noise/sample/electronics guy, but the set still raged relentlessly. In front of a giant poster of Rick Astley with a Hitler mustache, no less:




I was totally enraptured. J.R. Hayes was just as intense and menacing, if not more so, front and center bellowing the words to Loathsome and Trojan Whore like a demon straight outta hell. Someone, somehow got a giant stuffed dinosaur into the crowd and it surfed it during the entire set, which prompted J.R. to declare "I fucking hate dinosaurs". (Footage down on the left.) Pig Destroyer playing live is a very rare occurrence, so once again I became one of a relative lucky few to witness greatness.



video video



The after-show at Zanie's was a lot of fun. Howl played first, and why they aren't signed yet I don't know. Great sludge-metal from Providence. New England represent! Next up was Suicide Note and Sweet Cobra back to back, as they share a member or two. Suicide Note was abrasive off-time noise-ish metal, they were decent. Sweet Cobra was the shit, they have an awesome hardcore punk groove, and though the crowd had been up and getting blasted by metal for almost 12 hours straight, everyone was still into it.

Mouth Of The Architect finished out the night, and I can't say it was a great idea. Now don't get me wrong - this band is incredible - but their brand of slow, crushing sludge metalgaze kind of zoned everyone out. It's too bad, people were heading out the door while they played but those who stuck around heard a great set from these guys.

All in all, one of the most enjoyable days I've had in a long, long time. Got to hang out with some great people, met some of the guys from Pig Destroyer and Plague Bringer, cheap beer...can't beat that. These kind of festivals are great because there are almost as many band members around as fans. Everyone mingles together, there is no disparity between musicians and those who came to see them. The camaraderie is one of the best parts of the whole thing.

Coming up: Sunday and the conclusion of the Festival of Dudes.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hurry up and wait!

Screw the train.

I'm not a complainer, but SCREW AMTRAK. I just spent 20 hours on a train from New York to Chicago. This goddamn thing broke down THREE TIMES! THREE!! I had a window seat, which wasn't too bad, but I was also stuck next to a creepy German guy. This dude never spoke one word to me, but I know for sure he spoke English because he ordered beer at the snack car. All he did the whole time was read The Firm in German and snicker to himself. What the fudge!?

So now I sit in a random bar in Union Station Chicago, awaiting my 4-hour bus ride to Indy. Have a look:



video



I love being creepy in the corner.

That's all for now, kiddies. The next time you hear from me should be late, drunk, in a dingy motel room in East Indy. Let the games begin!

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's time to get...Dude-tastic.

I ignore this thing way too often.

But what better event to revive your favorite random traveling music blog than for...

DUDEFEST 2008!!

I know what you're thinking. You're making that look that I see every time I tell people where I'm going. Here's a little FAQ:

Q: What the hell is Dudefest?
A: It's a 3-day music festival taking place at the Emerson Theater in Indianapolis, IN, from June 20-22.

Q: Who's playing?
A: If the bands listed in that link I provided above don't ring any bells, I'll just say it's a collection of some of the best underground metal, hardcore, and grindcore bands from around the country.

Q: Are girls allowed at Dudefest? (Yes, people have actually asked me this.)
A: No.

Just kidding.

My journey to the pearl of the Midwest starts this Wednesday at 4PM, where I hop a train at Penn Station and enjoy a lovely 17 hour train ride...to Chicago. From there's it's a pleasant 6 hour layover until my 4 hour bus ride to Indianapolis, where my lovely accommodations await. Huzzah.

There will be videos, there will be pictures, and there will be dudes. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Roanoke...you bore me.

Apparently we are down the street from the largest mall in southwestern Virgina. In bigger news, I don't care.

We're not too far from Virginia Tech, and today is the one-year anniversary of the massacre there. There's definitely a somber mood around here, so we'll be checking out of this Best Western in a minute and moving on to the last show of this mini-tour, which is at Messiah College in Grantham, PA.

There's also some potential HUGE CRAZY news coming up regarding the band...but you'll have to wait and see.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Don't call it a comeback!




It is a comeback, I guess...either way, I am back on the road with A Place To Bury Strangers. We're currently in Asheville, North Carolina. What's here? Some bars, some stores, and A WHOLE LOT OF SMELLY HIPPIES. Jesus H. Christ, this place is teeming with them. Well, look at the restaurants here, what would you expect?





But it's all good, no hippie beatdowns today...yet. The show is at The Grey Eagle, a pretty cool spot, and there's a Cajun restaurant here that serves gator so my day is made. Tomorrow we head to Athens, Georgia, the town that Stipe built.

Damn, I hate hippies.

Monday, March 3, 2008

On the Pacific Rim.

So I've spent the last 5 days in California. I don't have a solid grip on what I think of it yet. It's definitely a nice change of pace, weather-wise. The views are amazing. I got a really cool tour of L.A. from APTBS's old bassist Tim. Saw Merv Griffin's house, and yeah, it's as big as you think it might be. No camera this time, so pictures will have to wait till the next tour.

I'm in San Diego now, and the sunset is crazy. The women here are something else, too. Back home, you know exactly what you're getting into, because within 5 minutes they'll tell you exactly what they want, what's wrong with you and everything you've ever done. Here, it's a little more mystery. A little more spacey too, but it's interesting.

Overall, California is a good time. Next time I'll have some more time here in SoCal, but so far it's been good. But I know I could never live here.

Next stop: Tucson, Arizona.

It's my jack in a box!

Who does this? We do.


video

Friday, February 29, 2008

Califor-ny-aye.






We're in the sunshine state, at last. We drove down yesterday morning/afternoon, and it was quite enjoyable. Northern California is like nowhere I've ever been. The vegetation, the landscape, it's like another planet. We stopped in the town of Mount Shasta, next to the mountain of the same name (pictured above). It's crazy seeing snow-topped hills when the temperature around you is a pleasant 65. Oh, did I mention that? Yeah, I'm in San Francisco and it's about 70 degrees out. Sorry to rub it in. Actually, no I'm not.

Right now APTBS is doing a session at Daytrotter studios, and are performing as part of the Noise Pop Festival tonight here in SF.

I've never seen the Pacific before, and I gotta say it's pretty cool. We've gone over 4,000 miles at this point, coast to coast. I don't know what to make of this place yet - everyone has a different opinion on California, and I always figured I wouldn't like it - but we'll see how it is after the San Diego show.

Coming down the mountain.






Descending from the highlands at the California/Oregon border looked something like this. The drive was pretty incredible, not Rockies incredible, but close.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You can still rock in America.





It's good to be home. I learned a few things in Canada:

1. The girls there are like American girls, except for the fact that they're unassuming and nice.
2. It's 40 dollars for a 24-pack of Budweiser. It's an import there.
3. Their currency SUCKS. Why they haven't come up with a 1 dollar bill yet, I do not know. Screw that change!
4. There's an A&W in every town.
5. I will never complain about the weather again.

Going there also reaffirmed my love for the USA. The first thing I did after we crossed the border (after playing The Star-Spangled Banner) was order a giant chicken sandwich and potato salad. No gravy on that!

We're in Seattle at the moment, as you can ascertain from the pictures above. How ironic, then, that today is the day there isn't an open Starbucks in the country. It was almost 60 degrees today, a far cry from the frozen blasts we encountered in Wisconsin and the Dakotas. I probably shouldn't have been reading this book while we drove through frozen wastelands, but it was good for a scare. And it's an awesome read anyway.

I've never been this far west; I'm looking forward to seeing the Pacific for the first time. The desert too. And maybe, just maybe, some Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers. We'll see.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Canadia, you're crazy.













Road trips are fun. Tours are even more fun. Touring from Minneapolis to Winnipeg in late February? Not. Fun.

Let's tell the tale of the last 4 days in pictures, shall we? The band did an in-studio at a college radio station in Minneapolis, which was cool. Apparently people up there love salty nuts.
video The next stop was Fargo. Yeah, that's right. Fargo, North Dakota. Where ice forms on the INSIDE of your window. The clip above was from towards the end of the set. The sound is bad, but you can get an idea of what A Place To Bury Strangers do live. I also discovered other things. Like attractive girls exist that far out in the middle of nowhere. Also, they love SPAM. And people actually go to shows in -30 degree temperatures. And bands unload in sketchy back alleys too, apparently.

Then it was on to Canada. Land of cheese fries with gravy, mounties and badass biker gangs. In Regina, Bobby Orr's legacy is immortalized in falling over. There are giant ice mountains. And I heart this place. At least we're not dead yet!

We'll be up in the Great Whit North for a few more days, then be smuggling- I mean crossing back into the good ol' U.S. of A. on Tuesday. You might not hear from me until then, but don't be scared. I might just be snuggling with those cute polar bears from the Coke commercials. They love to hug! And by hug I mean this.