April 30, 2004

CLEVELAND / BUFFALO

11:02 am EST, floor of Jonah's office at Alt. Press, Cleveland OH.
I think it's Thursday today.

(I freestyled the following entry, pardon the incoherence, I have a time crunch here.)

Best news! Best news! First email of the morning says "Your essay "Emo: Where the Girls Aren't" has been selected for inclusion in DaCapo's Best Music Writing 04. I FEEL MOTHERFUCKING LEGIT, KIDDOS! Look for me running through the AP parking lot, clicking my heels like a leprachaun.

Yesterday was a tumult. We listened to the mini dv board recordings from the night before (see below) and discovered I had learned some parts wrong, and that after the boy yelled the shit at me (see below) I fumbled, and mistuned to D twice, harshing our last two songs. Humility I do well with usually (no, really), critique - not so good.

Relearned the songs during soundcheck, was frustrated with myself, wound up angry and crying in the van by myself after soundcheck. The eeemo inner tumult and desperation to actually be playing the songs seamlessly made for the best show we've played. Three goofy kids with x's on their hands danced special goofball kid dances and screamed along with the set. I put my foot on the monitor. Cliche rock n' roll catharsis is now a real, actualized part of my world, thank you

After opur set I went to my aunt's house and she made me a nutritous meal. Mid meal her neighboor came over, red-eyed, holding an ancient snaggletooth poodle, and said she had a favor "My mother just had last rites administered, I am wondering if you could pray for her."

Nothing like mortality to put your dumb van-life problems in perspective.

Also, an addendumb to the Buffalo bit before: Buffalo is fucking amazing. At about 9 am, I was walking back from the tea store, and happened upon two dorky-ish looking guys with a big antenna on a toast brown mini-van, head phones, portable soundboard and head phones, ciphoning municipal power from a light pole. And one of them was holding a trombone. I stopped and said "are you guys about to pirate broadcast?". Turns out they are part of some esoteric arts consortium/clubhouse/squad that buys up airtime on the local am airwaves and randomly broadcasts. They are going to be using their time that morning to do some trombone riffing and discuss synestisia ( synthesizing of the senses) and " what makes a good why questions? what makes a bad why question? ". The said if I wanted to go get my bass and "solo for a bit", I could. I told them I would just sit and watch and if they needed me, let me know. The dude solo'd on the trombone, unspectacularly, for about 6 minutes. I felt like I was witnessing an outtake from Slackers, and it made me love the alternate reality vortex that is Buffalo.

So, I assumed it was like, low watt broadcast on some signal otherwise unoccupied... until the dude becksons me over to the mic and puts a headset on me and the lady on the other end in a radiocaster silkiness goes "Good morning Jessica, welcome to the blah blah morning show AM1270". Apparently the consortium buys airtime, like one would commercial time, on the morning am drive time show in Buffalo. The lady interviewed me for about 4 minutes about being on tour, and what I loved about Buffalo ("It's a magical place. Very clean.") and then thanked me. "Sports and Weather next" she said.
My life is so fucking amazing. I love this.

This morning, slightly less amazing, but Dave and I got up 2 hours early and raid Jonah's itunes. Dude, we got On the Beach on the ipod -- which is really all we need. period.

Also, in other news, I got to drive the van for about two hours yesterday. Dave says I may be allowed van keys sometime after Chicago. I feel like I am 15.

Off to Detroit.


BUFFALO SOLDIERS / BUFFALO GALS
4/29/7:49am EST, inside sleeping bag, amy's living room, Buffalo NY

Last night was the best night of tour thus far. We - all 4 bands - turned from labelmates to microcosm in arms. We became a we . Everyone played great sets, and the kids were out en masse. Everyone watched everyone elses set, pitched in on vocals on Strike's circle pit anthems, stage dove, all took turns helping Brad fr. From Ashes hobble around with his newly casted foot. There are now gimps and cripples in both our band and From Ashes, so everyone is helping each other bands load in/out, which is sweet. I get the it now. We are orbiting in the tour bubble. We are mini-universe. We are heavily tattooed familia.

Family felt important last night, as 15 minutes into our set, (me feeling excited because there were A LOT of girls in the audience, up front and bolstered by that) -- from stage right, during a silence while Dave tuned and Al harangued the audience about voter apathy, some boy yells "I WANT TO FUCK YOUR BASS PLAYER!" I was shook, but I played it off, I shielded my eyes and saw out into the crowd -- the boy was covering his head with his hoodie, all his friends has moved away from him to isolate him. I gave him the finger and blew him a kiss. Al asked him if he would like to come up on stage and work out some issues.
I was shook and I tried to play it off, but was so distracted, I mistuned to D - not once, but twice -- and made my parts sound off for the rest of the set. I did not want to show this fucking idiot that he had effectively eviscerated me, but I kept my head down for the rest of the set, just trying to concentrate.

After our set, I was so mad, I was shaking. Despite being on stage every night in front of a room of people, I had forgotten I was being watched. Despite being a small, outwardly peaceful lady, I was ready to deliver a NYHXC-style beat down in the club parking lot with a cueball in a tubesock.

All the guys in my band were furious as I was, made apology to me for it, Al was mad he did not say something better, address it more specifically. The rest of the bands that night did - From Ashes closed their set by reminding the men in the room that this was a punk show - "Not some strip club out by the airport", and Brad called the guy a retard and suggested he leave the show, as well as read a book and enlighten himself. Dan from Paint it Black went off after one of their songs which is of a feminist/anti-patriarchal bent -- that he's bothered every day by the gender imbalance in the bands, at the shows, etc and that when I play on stage every night he is always hoping it will inspire girls to start bands, and when some asshole objectifies me, it leaves a whole room of women feeling unsafe -- and why would any woman want to get on stage if she's going to get sexist shit yelled at her. Thomas from Strike gave a more esoteric once over about how the hardcore community is so built up around "respect", but that it needs to be extended to "our sisters" and as men we need to build communities that honor womens lives, respect women's choices rather than suppresses them. Then they played Refusal, which is an pledge of allegiance to feminist struggle, which makes me cry every time I hear it. 90% of the kids in the room screamed along, and I hoped they were really hearing the words.

What was important for me here was not what they said or that they even had my back, but that we are touring and associating with people for whom the quality of women's lives, the feminist struggle, is important to them, is something they have an eye on, something they have acute awareness of. That is rare.

Some really cool girls who had been in the front row during our set came and talked to me after the show, told me about the burgeoning Buffalo-area basement fem-scene and that there are a lot of women active IN the music scene there, and a lot of them are kind of working outside the legit channels, more DIY. I got some links for Buffalo area DIY girl bands, and will post them soon.

Today we head to Cleveland. From Ashes said we could borrow their Steely Dan mix tape. Today will be great for that reason alone.

Posted by Jessica at April 30, 2004 10:49 AM | TrackBack