April 27, 2004

Sleeping Bag Records

1:37 am, spare room w. hardwood floor, Somerville MA

Huzzah for the wi-fi.
Huzzah for van humour and new bass strings and "Dark End of the Street" on the ipod. Huzzah for the puzzled looks in South Amboy New Jersey of the kids doing the standing still. Huzzah for the kids who AL goaded into getting right up to the lip of the 11 inch tall stage, where I greeted the entirely male, entirely highschool-aged watchers by standing as close as I could without impeding my own bass playing and making unstinting direct eye contact all the while. Huzzah for them for being so seriously freaked out that they all either looked at the floor, my shoes or the space between the two. Al put his feet up on the monitors, and then somewhat acrobaticly, on the shoulder of the drummer of From Ashes standing in the front row. He knows how to engage a crowd with both his wit and his solos. He asked questions between songs and took a show of hands. Most of the audience had driven their parents Celicas down solely to get in the pit for Strike.

New Jersey is all lapdances, sweatpant'd Sunday casuals, strip malls and meticulously trimmed median foliage. I imagine one day it will all be washed away by some freak Toffee Latte explosion that empties from a Barnes and Noble book cafe, towing all the denizens and their children into the sea in a sweet, muddy splash. Huzzah for that day.

The place we played, the punk nexus of South Amboy, had leopard print carpet that was aproximately 1066 years old. The place smelled like it's staffed by a league of feral cats in the off days. After about 4 hours and half dozen cigarettes, I barely noticed the fetid stench of animal death and the urine of 100 summer New York streets.

The last few nights I learned this: From Ashes Rise are the game to beat on tour. They tune to C SHARP. Their moves are spidery but they are ferocious. Brad wears black leather fingerless driving gloves, a bullett belt serious enough that he looks like he's stocking for the Jihad, plays on his knees at least 4 times a set, says fuck/fukkin up 11 times between songs, has multiple songs about the threat of nuclear war, wears only black and is 100% northern Tennesee manners and pick slides and spends hours a day text messaging his girl back home. I think this may be the most legit/club tour Frp, Ashes have ever done. They draw like, 400 people a night in barns and Elks Lodges. Punk is real and right now they are my favorite band.

Today, after leaving NY, we passed Cursive, who were playing in the venue above us tonight in Boston ( we = hotel bar/tropical themed dance club in the basement / them= hotel ballroom with vaulted ceilings and 700 more people, bananas on the rider ), on the freeway. I flipped them off, thinking they would remember me from the other night when we played with them. They didn't... until we ran into them, Darkest Hour, Decahedron and multiple other bands, all our friends, all heading for/from the town at the same time, syncronicitously (yes!) all stopped at the same CT truck stop. We could of had a hell of a show in the parking lot, or at least done an unplugged set in the men's room.

I met Tim Kasher in line at the "Coffee Express", and immediately wondered if a} anyone had told him my last name (I prefer annonymity) and b} if he read that sentence from a couple Punk Planet columns ago about (bad) records about his divorce ( or... something... I was more generous than that). He looks a little like Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse before Isaac Brock started looking like he swallowed a toddler. Cursive are a good band.

Greta, who plays the git-fiddle, in the Cursive, said to me "Playing that show in Chicago and then meeting up with you at this truck stop is the closest I have ever been to being on tour with another band with a girl in it ." It was kind of like "oh ha ha, the bitter reality" chuckles for about the first 12 seconds before I think the stain of depressed reckoning branded us and we walked silently to the parking lot. This is the part where you shake your first at the sky and wonder what you are doing, wonder what everyone is doing, why are there not girls in bands? is it because this is totally pointless, uninteresting? stupid? not cool? too hard? too easy? too many rules? What?! Is it a matter of the right inspiration being ciphened in? Do we need a bussing program and like 9,000 copies of the first Team Dresch album to reach out properly? Am I totally idiotic for trying? Does it bother you as much as it does me that this is like.... the only fucking topic I write about?

Anyhow. The hardwood is calling my name, and Dave says that tomorrow, I might get to drive the van as we head to Albany. I am still earning the brother-trust of the band... I had my van keys taken away the first day I had them, due to leaving them in the door of the van. In New York. While we played.

Highlights for tomorrow: "How I manged to make the German film crew hate me in one day" - STAY TUNED!

JH

Posted by Jessica at April 27, 2004 01:33 AM | TrackBack