I am going to save the rapacious wit for my review for my leige lord , but I will tell you a little something about !!!'s show tonight. Some are inclined to call them a jam band, but really they are just a band with long songs. Their horn arrangements are their absolute saving grace, the thing that punctures through Nic Offer's lizard king humpty hump on the lip of the stage. I used to defend his vocal stee, early on, but he really sounds like a bad animal. Overall, they were good. The new issue of XLR8R calls their songs "vagina detonating," which they were not. People were dancing, writhing at times, but from where I stood, all the vaginas in the room seemed intact.
Went to the bar where three !!!'s were djing. The drummer is the only one who can mix, he played some Biggie, I felt fealty towards him for this. The bassist I had seen DJ before and did not care for, yet again, watched as he learned the lesson that the white white kids of Chicago, nothing scares them like dancehall. (Unless it's the Sean Paul cameo in Baby Boy, which despite being un-decodable, Miles knows the words -- phoenetically, mind you -- due to the fact that on his shift at H&M, he has heard it no less than 500 times, he guesses.). I did not dance. Miles and I sat on the zillion dollar couch and talked about self-loathing. I ate filthy candies from the recesses of my purse to avoid smoking. A man in Oprah's clothes and too many rings hit me with his purse after doing a dance for us. I got on my bike and left the disco club.
From my interview with les Georges Leningrad, who are not only Canadian, but French Canadian. Imagine being in a band with these people.
JH: How did you start making music?
Bobo :I finally broke my mother's piano. With no shame. When I saw her devastated face, I felt sick and I cried like a widow. I said that I was not intelligent. I was living like an animal. She bought me a black drum kit. I immediatly started a band called God's Will. After the school, I was doing wrestling in a barn with my friends of that time. I said "Hey, I have a black drum kit. I'll put it in this corner. I'll pound the shit out of my black machine while you guys are fighting". The results were sensationnal. I was learning everything at the same time.
Poney It is a mistake, but I am very proud of it. The first time, I was singing under the table because I was too shy. I was drinking as much as I could. Then, recording my voice into the wardrobe. suddenly I was on the stage, as an unrevelling mummy. Right now, they should do a movie about my story, that really looks pretty much as Flashdance. An American dream posterized.
It was good seeing you at our show other night. I want to apologize if I was
confrontational. I was pumped up for the show and had just downed a couple
drinks and was feeling a bit punchy. I didn't mean to give you shit about
your look or anything else. your look is awesome! hope you're good
I got home from tour and everything exploded up.
Cale and Rjyan and I sat on the curb outside the house at dusk, eating whole mangos, and Rjyan, who is my summer roommate, said "When I was younger, this is always what I dreamed my life would be like."
Like hanging out in the kitchen, mazing tiptoed over the 50 freshly silkscreened t-shirts folded on every surface, drinking lemonade from broken tea cups, dancing to "Maps" on repeat, giggling while Cale smokes out the window and tells us all the too-much-information details of his new "relationship" with a girl reffered to only as "The Pill Princess"?
Like hanging out against the wall of a Sparks™ sponsored college party, where we are the oldest people there, watching a the cutest girl in the room -- leaden footed and sloppy from the alcohol, but scary coke-eyed wild with caffienated animus -- douse the kid with the adventurous hair (thinking "Strokes" but achieving "Robert Smith windtunnel") and his sophomore lady in Sparks™. Wild girl then slugs back the remainder of the drink, takes two steps, fakes out like she's slinking off, and then just swings back and punches the other girl in the side of the head, with the Sparks can still in hand, while Lipps INC.'s "Funkytown" skips in the background?
Like sitting in the bar at the Fireside Bowl, alone, pre-show, in a plaid suit, chewing ice and doing maintenence on yr cell phone (deleting people, downloading "Ante UP" as yr new ringtone), watching with stilted horror and everyone else in the room treats their beer like the last supper. Watching the girls go from excited to sweaty to slack-in-the-face. Watching the boys go from alive to riled to solemn. Wondering who is scared and who is just having fun still...?
Like making best-of-grunge/1994 themed mix tapes? (This is Rjyan's sole domain: Whigs, Weezer, Singles soundtrack hott traxx, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, "Black Hole Sun" -- I hate to relent to the power of grunge - but it's real.)
Like feeling like every creative urge is validated by the universe, feeling like yr hands cannot move fast enough to keep up with the screed in your brain, that all that matters is being in love and transgressing capitalism by making free art about whats going on in the world, being the cloud of witness, and riding bikes across town and only having half a job, and being totally surprised about how free you can get, how little sleep you need and how un-scared you are to be ?
Yes, thats the one.
Fucking Sweet! I wonder how many GOP cantidates have ever told their wives that their crying is a turn off? A rough poll of the occupants of the house (margin of error: 1003%) -- Would you have sex with someone, in public, on a dirty mattress, in an "avante garde nightclub":
Rjyan says: "I would definately do it, if I could keep it up, but I kind of don't think I would be able to."
Colin (no hyperlink available): "Only if it's with Pharrell!"
Me: "Only to ruin someone's campaign."
Tonight, we're silkscreening the new bootleg Challenger shirts I am making ( ours look like they are to commemorate a company picnic). I think they might just say "I'd rather be pregnant" -- which is the worst idea I had, which in keeping with true Muy Romantico ideals, is what should be acted upon immediate. Worst ideas, not pregnancy. Meanwhile, Rjyan is working on his new zine, his first (zines are like blogging, but on paper) - entitled "Actual Fucking" -- but it's about cities and fame. More on fame later. Fame epiphany on the rise.
PS. The new Har Mar sounds like Kylie doing Ice Cream Castles by the Time. Like Morris Day going avante garde on a dirty mattress in Wayzata, MN.
Tonight, we played the ghosttown again. Got in early, wandered through a mall that used to be a mall. Above the food court a sign: "Get a taste of St. Louis" -- the entire floor was abandoned/boarded up save for a cookie and ice cream counter which only sold cookies. I wandered for two hours, alone, through the dead department store aisles, into the streets and out against the press of Cardinals-game pedest. Had a frightening exchange with a scab-covered jogging man on the street, who ran in front of me and turned to face me and started screaming"Smile! SMIIIIILE! COME. ON. SMILE! LIFE IS WONDERFUL!". I didn't. And so he stopped, walked closer, demanded a smile again and I told him to stop yelling at me. I do not know why I said this, but I told him that "yelling at people you do not know is rude." I mean, I really should have taken it as god's grace that a dude who's corpus landscape was decorated with scabs and trackmarks thinks life is wonderful, here on the sad streets of Stank Louis. Three minutes later, I saw him smoking a cigarette in the check out line at Blimpies, yelling at the woman at the register to "Go ahead at get out yr baseball bat again! Stick up your ass, then you'll be like a popsicle." He advised her to call the cops, or 1-800-Indira Ghandi, then gave her the finger and ran.
You can buy Rap Snacks here. I was going to buy an expired bag of Lil Romeo BBQ Spicy Cheez Curls to send to someone special, especially with it's "stay in school" message emblazoned on the front. But it was only funny for about 11 seconds. For 55 cents, I need funny for at least a minute.
Now we go back to Chicago. Tour is over. I smell like I have died.
Julianne and Partymanica started it. Sasha warned me it would over-take me. You can't help but keep looking at it, obsessing.
So, you plug in some code to your site and you can find out what sites are linking to you, how many people read yr blog... but the best feature is "keywords" -- how people are pulling you up on search engines -- matching words from my blog with other peoples search needs. So far, 90% of the time it's people googling my name (I imagine this is my mother and people I knew in high school) -- and the occasional great accidental band name "Unicorn Tattoo" --the fundamentally strange "Anarchy sign screensaver", the curious "Tiny Unicorn Heads + Indianapolis" or "Hillary Duff + lesbian". This morning, according to Statcounter, the hits all took a turn for the carnal. The fact that someone's "Calgary Blowjob" search, searches of pervy generic-techno fans: "suck + fuck + bro + sis + Moby", or the earnest seeking behind a yahoo search on "Why do women give blowjobs?" landed on this here Diabolical Unicorn Blog National Call Center... fills me with a strange joy. The most inadvertantly on the money: "Women obsessed with shit". Dude, I am obsessed with all kinds of shit! Like the new Deerhoof, or the death of emo - for example.
Meanwhile, we are lampin, lampin, stone-cold lampin in hippie mountain high - Boulder. Last nights show in wherever we were was eventful -- after the fact -- we encored with Black Flag "Nervous Breakdown" (it could be worse, we could be doing "Slip it In"), and it turned out Bill Stevenson (drummer for the Descendents and Black Flag, bands I do not foster any fealty for) was in the audience. The boys were all throwing back shots to celebrate being out of the van, so I got to drive thier drunk, slurry azzes to Boulder, which means I got to plug in MY i-pod, which means I avenged the 27 hours of Hot Snakes I have endurred with the new Alicia Keys and some Akufen, which meant Dave threw a muffin at me. We slept in at the home of Dave's dreadlocked friend, who is, notably, a hammock salesman. Word!
I did not want to start on a bad foot today, but I will tell you this: The last two nights - amidst load in -- I have been acosted by bouncers at the clubs, who have assumed both times that despite coming in with the band, NAY! carrying motherfucking amps, that I am in-fact, sneaking in -- I am underage, I am not really in or with the band. Both nights, I was barked at to get my ID, despite having "performer" wrist bands.( The rest of my band is similarly what-the-fuck about this, though Dave pointed out earlier in the tour, that I tender to encounter trouble, provoke ire as I meet authority with authority. ) Being scoffed at by some tatooed bouncer in blue-blockers, like I am 11 years old when, talking to me in the "you are busted" voice -- "Come Here! COME HERE! -- I saw you come in that back stage door!" -- Dave told me later he thought I was going to punch the dude. Being singled out, while the rest of my band trolls free... I think this, in conjunction with other band dudes attempting to lift equipment out of my hands while I carry it, or people telling me I looked good rather than played well -- I know I should be over being furious about it every night, but it's not happening.
My extended remix of rage was met with core-validation and joy, as our entire front row was 14 and 15 y.o. women, who as i found out when I went to talk to them and give them zines -- had constituted our merch sales for the evening. Several of them said they had never seen a woman actually play in a band. Sing maybe. Never play. I hung out with them all until we left, gave them zines, answered every question they had about playing and being in a band, talked to them about their aspirations (one was a year into drum lessons, another switching to bass). Talked and talked. I begged them to email me and let me know once they are playing in bands so we can play with them when we come back to Tempe. I changed clothes before the show, to look as much like them as possible, rather than the great unwashed stowaway on the SS ArtFuck -- I wanted to them look at me incognito in my normalest clean clothes and think "she is like me, I could be her."
And then I got my idea. I called Julianne and we are beginning to hash it out. I need to start a marginal-but-good (read: accessible) new school emo or hardcore band. To tour with From Autumn Ashes, Yellowcard, Atreyu, Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, Warped Tour's Marginalized people stage -- whomever, whereever. Meet them at teen-taste central with some big choruses and a riot girl agenda. Fourteen is impressionable, there is room in the brain pan for radicalization. Coolness is alienating when you are 15, the kids need to be met where they are. Sneak attack, pre-emptive strike, chewable vitamins, infiltrating -- you know? I do not know whether I need to be in the girl emo band, or need to be the Kim Fowler-like svengali behind the curtain, but I think it needs to be done. Sleater Kinney and maje-labe LeTigre can be for the girls who access to cooler record stores, exploring lesbian chic, who have thier agenda worked out. Meanwhile, I need to be working on in-roads to elightening Hot Topic shoppers.
Tonight, we are in Ft. Collins, where the white people look comfy strolling in their yoga-sweats, where you could take your meals in the gutter they are so sanitary.
I know from TV and movies that the desert is where you go when you wanna dissappear, and that whether you like it or not, this is where you go when you go crazy.
Last time I was in the desert, I was 17 years old, I was two weeks out of high school, I was driving an unregistered 82 Econoline, with no drivers liscense; I was moving from Minnesota to Los Angeles. In Texas, we started doing a little trucker speed to counter the drain of 110 degree heat, and stayed spooked for the next three days. We drove all night, listened to Sonic Youth EVOL on cassette on repeat and I cried because I had no idea what I was doing. We got through AZ, and wound up at my friend's uncles in Indio, CA at 4 am, scaled the fence and floated in their pool , fully clothed, for what seemed like hours. There was a dead frog floating with us. I thought it was an omen.
Being a teenager is fucking hard. I just wanted to be free.
Yesterday, watching the desert unroll backwards from the loft, all I thought about the desert is I bet there are a lot of bones out there -- settlers, dinosaurs, hitchhikers, people who knew too much. I made lists of my favorite desert movies -- Paris Texas, Rueben & Ed and Three Amigos. I tried to keep linear thoughts, make little lists, rather than give in to the core-rattling last week of tour crazy think. I did the math: I have only been home 16 days since March 16th. I am on the fray. It's all half sleep and bad dreams, extended digression in my brain over things like, say Despite being the most visible female band going, The Donnas cannot be part of the feminist revolution, because they are willingly part of the machine . I listened to Big Star #1 three times in a row trying to figure out if they were pulling a Van Morrison and trying pass the God songs off as girl songs -- summer hymnals faked out as summer lust, grace and gratitude getting a romantic dust-up. I think I am right, they are secret Christians . I started thinking about if I could not only build, but live in a hay-hut. Started thinking about living in the desert.
Tuscon is sultry, quiet, unassuming. It's creepiness, it's sinister-bent, as a city, is passive. It has to do with the hot wind and the trains and the strip malls. It's the kind of place you get kidnapped.
Last night we played with a great band, maybe best band of the tour, they had a cello, and were like a really angry Calexico. Travis Morrison did middle slot, doing original works and highly spirited covers, my favorites being Christina's "Dirrty" and a song from Fiddler on the Roof. The Spoon song was pretty tight too. He took a call on his cell phone mid-set and it was actually funny. Trav has front person blood in him, makes him able to get away with a lot that us normal people cannot. You need a certain audacity to roll like he does. People love entertainers. I do not know if indie rock is the place for him. What he is doing demands a wider circuit. Like day-long jam band festivals, or outdoor street fairs, or Lollapalooza. I think normal people really will love what Travis is doing. Punk kids, with thier bear trap minds and ironic shunting, this is not for them.
Not sure how much updating will be done for the rest of the tour. Today we go to Phoenix, then 15 hours overnight to Ft.Collins, then to Denver, then overnight 10 hours to St. Louis, then overnight - five hours - we drive home. Any update I have is sure to be scary at best- "Spent 17 hours in fetal ball listening to nothing Dolly Parton's "Jolene" and Deerhoof..." Say a tiny unicorn prayer for me, and I will hit you up soon.
First, an item of business. I had already been stopping my use of the word "retarded" as a perjorative after years of sad use. I used it in a recent blog item and was offered "eight-bazillion dollars" by Texan compatriot Joe Gross to stop-up my deployment of it. Says he: "It goes a long way to sinking lots of your other arguments about equality, fraternity, sisterhood, respect, support and such." -- And so, I offer up to you what solution we've sought in the last few weeks as a replacement word to ween us -- as per my boyfriend, Sean: WHITE. We've been using white for weeks, because, as Al pointed out, no one is going to go "hey man, you know, my cousin is white..."
I am in a living room in San Diego, where we played a house show about an hour back. The house is called "The Moustache House", and the house band is called The Business Lady (best band name ever!). We were the only band, we played at 7 pm and at the door they took donations in a coffee can. The flyer advertised us as "3/4th of milemarker and hit it or quit it editor/staff" -- I love it when I get on the marquee as well. The house-hosts made enough vegan mac & cheese for everyone at the show. Dave and I raided the house's laptop and illegally file-shared and I filled my ipod to the bursting point with hot hot hits like Hawnay Troofs "Who likes ta fuk (I like ta fuk)", and the likes of Deee-Lite, Deerhoof, Dinah Washington and Son House. Every band that they had that i had never heard of, I took two songs. The next six days of this tour, the headphones are not coming off. The curiosity is already killing me.
Our show was fine. I enjoyed looking up and seeing kids rocking out in the kitchen, in the bedroom, on the stairway. I thought of every house show I loved, I felt connected into the larger fabric of punk life young America. Which is strange, surprising, rare -- CONNECTION writ large -- ten days into tour, I have found that I start feeling as if I cannot truly relate to other people unless I have known them for eight-ten years or more. Old Love and history over-rules the van-life imposed core-disconnect. When the disconnect-emotional drift hits, it is rough as it is releiving -- constant motion and tour is overwhelming -- the disconnect hits the lights, mercifully, and locks you on an ungreased axis between lucid and zombie, which lasts until you've been home for about a week.
The downside is that all you can do is nod and smile and have base conversations about the tour, lobotomized by the white lines dividing lanes; there is no crying, there is no elation, sentiment is marginal, there is some memory of Before Tour lingering. Barely. Everything is the same importance and all animal instincts sharpen -- sleep/eat/load/play/unload/sleep/wander around the aisles of Exxon wondering who buys those pork rinds (repeat). This is the verse chorus verse of the day.
Los Angeles PART II:
I spent the day riding around with my friend Cali, running errands, who was driving a car he recently purchased, a tore'd up 72 Cougar in dirty banana color schemes - previous owner: Leonard Cohen. It was hot and my legs stuck to the nogahyde seats and I wondered if my leg sweat was mingling with the ancient smoke and germs and leg sweat of Leonard Cohen. (I tried reading his book last year, but after the seventh chapter about drugs, Canada and blowjobs, I was kind of like "peace out" -- but I also think I was weirdly ashamed, since I was reading it at my grandmas house.)
Our show was with Passage, Restiform Bodies and Broken Spindles. They all had triggered drums and lots of clicking, synth mind meld all night through. We hit the crowd with roughly 120 dBs of midwestern scree. Fill in the blanks on that one. I spent the rest of the eve hanging out with my dad, old friends, my lawyers, high school friends from MN who are gunning for world-wide celebrity in their underwear. Dave and I were having a post-game wrap up after the show on the curb, and someone from one of the other bands came and sat down and said "I hope you do not think any less of me, but do you know where I could get some (whispering) coke." I told him no, I have not done anything harder than asprin since 1995. I have never done cocaine, because I prize my sanity and health. Meanwhile, I am getting the feeling I am the only person on the West Coast who is not doing bumps in the bathrooms at our shows.
The kids who live here just suggested we start a danceparty, which are the magic words. All the windows are open. People are partnered up in corners splaying anecdotal. This is how it is supposed to be.
I used to live here. Ages 18-21, I scratched out the adult start here in Los Angeles. I do not like it here, half due to a harried teenage history of all-wrongs and struggle and what those years look like now, sprawled out and still tender sometimes... the other half of my dislike stems exclusively from the fact that I am from Minneapolis, which steeps me in a certain fuck-you distance at all times because palm trees are not real trees, $1000 for a one bedroom is retarded, being famous is a morally repugnant pursuit .
There lies the crux of my war.
What I liked about LA was a small comfort, something I never had in Minnesota, something I still do not have much of in Chicago. Anonymity. Here in LA, because of it's expanse, it's social fabric which venerates fame and genuflects dutifully to those in close proximity to it, I got to slink quiet and inconsequential for a few years. Chainsmoking in my little Silver Lake apartment, trying to get editors to beleive me that one day the Dismemberment Plan and Promise Ring were going to be important, being alienated by pretty much everything and everyone and life-rafted by Monorchid 7-inches.
I got to be invisible for a few years. It was okay.
I do not miss LA. But, I do not hate it so much anymore.
LAST NIGHT'S SHOW ROUND UP:
Drove 9 hrs from SF. We played in Long Beach, to 17 people in a room that might have been a turn of the century planetarium or a Mason's lodge. Dave and Noah thought more bands were playing before us, left to get burritos and came back 30 minutes late, to Al and I "on stage" (It was 3 inches high) waiting for them. Al took off his shoes, and socked it around the ballroom floor. I advocated for the entire audience to un-shoe themselves too, as I did the same. The shoe-resistors I took on, one-by-one "Don't be shy, everyone's feet are going to stink up this room so bad, no one's going to notice." My favorite part of the night followed shortly when the resistant promoter kids finally took off their shoes and made each other smell them. Fuck shame, man.
When the kids clapped for us, I clapped back. Appreciation is best when it's mutual.
I played horribly, because I was distracted and writing in my head, trying to figure out who all these kids were. The girl with the shaved head, nerdy glasses, big plaid mens suit coat, wearing unmatching socks (One green, one orange with happy faces) who snapped rather than clapped between songs, had her eyes shut the whole time and was alone. The uncomfortable kid in the beard with pants on under his shorts. The kid in the opening band in the Minutemen shirt who was looking at my naked feet the whole show. I wanted to know who they were, why they were here and what this meant to them. I could guess, surely, as I used to be a 20 yr old kid that came to shows here and saw bands play to 14 people, on the regular.
I wanted to figure them out, I wanted all their whys, I had questions and I had a lot of things I wanted to beleive about them. There were things I needed to beleive about them. I got so deep into that, that I forgot so much about my duty to entertain them, I put my hands on wrong notes, I stood still and looked at their faces, at their sweaty socked feet, rather than my bass and I did not do my job right.
Tonight, we try again -- on a bill with some Anticon people and a Faint sideproject. I cannot even fashion a guess how fans or irony, dancing, white non rhyming people - et. al - will deal with us.
I forgot, Seattle, which is all ghosts, gentrified coffee stores and screech-mo haircuts. Also, again with the coked up crews in the ladies room, doing bumps before our set. We played with the Blood Brothers, who's fanbase is exactly 17 and a half, rail thin and has braces, and for teenagers, are fairly adventurous dressers. Again with the girls up front, and when a pit broke out, I was concerned, as a sweaty drunk in a wife beater started doing the raging bull, the pickin' up change, some macho sombrero hat dance for the first three songs, and he kept plowing into a cabal of chicks, and one solo pitting chick who looked like Roosevelt High's production of Cabaret (post-wilding) ( - sparkley unitard and a derby. No word on tap pants, slats or tap shoes, but all signs point to yes. ) . He was later escorted out of the pit and onto the street, and I was elated.
Another girl in the front row texted message through our entire set. Dude, thats fucking awesome. It's so teenage, it's so punk, it's so committed to not caring or feigning it in, I was like "go on, do it, girl."
Blood Brothers sounded like a high speed dog gang, totally orange alert on the m-i-c. That band has some crazy haircuts. Despite being a fan, and even working with them previously, I feel eleventy-dozen years old watching them play.
After we played, I got to meet Andrea Zollo from Pretty Girls. I get the feeling that everyne who has ever met her wants a peice of her. That her nights in clubs are filled with nervous compliments and then compliments that people don;t realize are total bum outs (because she is mass-talented, because most people are moronic and because she looked like a new wave Liz Taylor up close). I get the feeling. She was a darling lady, old fashion charming and as much inchoate star charm as they let women get away with in the PacNW. I wanted to grab her hand and go on a walk for like 2-4 hours and ask her a lot of questions, and tell her that every article I read written by someone who referred to her as Derek's girlfriend , I called the writer and told them what a bummer it was, and that is not cool and not relevent anyhow and why not Derek is her boyfriend, if you gotta be like that. Did anyone ever refer to Debbie Harry as "Chris Stein's girlfriend"...? (ok, yeah, probably.)
Woke up at 8 am s we were driving through the top-tip of California, golden state death bed: every flag half mast flapping, bowed for the dead Prez, omnificent pictorials of Nance making tender blowfish with her raisin-lipps at the casket on the Exxon newsstands. As ever, Nance's look is tight. As far as I am concerned, Reagan cannot rot fast enough. If I ever have to kiss someone's casket on TV, I am going to lick it instead. Just to be gross.
We played with some eem bands tonight with the youth-lady draw, here in Portland, the front rows were all teen women, who both Al and I made sure to be extra friendly to. Al encouraged them to start playing music, switch the paradigm from watching to being watched. At the end of the set, a girl who I had talked to during our set -- she asked for my pick. I asked her if she played -- and she said No. I asked her why not, said I would not give her a pick unless she was going to use it. She said she had a guitar, but her hands were freakishly small, and it would be really hard to play. I made her hold her hand up to mine. They were the exact same size. Same as her sisters, who was with her. She excitedly exclaimed ( yes, EXCLAIMED) "Oh my god, our hands are the same size and you can totally play!!!" ( yes three exclamation points, dog). I told her that my hands have been freakishly small all 11 years I have been playing. The girl next to her blurted out "I want to play the drums!" -- and I ended up talking to a dozen girls in the front row about playing, about making bands, about all of that. I came back and gave away copies of my zine to every girl I talked to and some that I didn't. I shook some hands and made girls promise to update me if they got something going.
I'm just here to minister. I'm just here to try and get the ball rolling. Catalystic converter.
Tomorrow - Weds: SF at Bottom of the Hill. Friday is LA at the Troubadour -- keep in mind that the gay pride parade starts/ends on that block and parking and all that will be hellish.
Thank you and goodnight, Portland!
Good morning and hello!
Admittedly, I'm on some decadent shit right now. Blogging from a real-bed in a hotel room. After the last six days of the harsh tokes of tour: changing from one set of dirty clothes to another inside your sleeping bag in the van loft , club bathrooms so dirty you could get Hep C from looking hard, sustinance and nutrition being garned from Pickle flavored chips, playing a show then spending 13 hours straight in the van on an overnight drive... the tiny Aveda shampoos, the clean sheets and sleeping conditions free of my van-mates... I am lampin' on some presidental/rockstar shit right now, and not taking it for granted.
My deal is sweet -- my boyfriend, Sean, he comes out to visit me on tour, scoops me away from punk tour harsh, hotel and rental car style, and for a few days I get to be a cleaner person and feel the amble psychic legroom in being in charge of the stereo in the vehicle.
Enough about my armpit life , now!, I will tell you what I learned about Canada, about my time there:
There are many variables to being on tour, being in a band. Usually, if even one of the variables "falls in to place" - you are having a champion eve. Good sound, decent merch sales, no broken strings, decent meal, easy load in, receptive crowd, nice club people, staying in tune. Only variable in your own control is your own playing, really. Again, if one thing goes right, you are stoked, the city's luck has bathed you, you will come back, you will discuss it repeatedly amongst the band the next day with wowedness... In Calgary, all the variables, they fell into place. Every one. And it should not have. The club had thought the show was the following week, until they saw the preview in the paper that morning. They were closed for renovations. When we arrived, paint was still fresh and someone was mopping drywall dust off the floor. They opened to do the show, and the staff of the club proceeded to treat us with a doting, grandmotherly reverence all night, baking us more food than we could handle, buying our shirts to wear during the show, calling us by our names, asking after us with genuine interest. It was magic or something, like visiting Atlantis.
Everyone we met at this show was honey-sweet. The club did not have a set up for a liquor licsense yet, only an event permit, so they could not charge for alcohol... so thusly, beer flowed and flowed - no charge to the thirsty, as did rounds of jaege shots and plates of food for whomever was lucky enough to be lingering by the bar. This may have explained the freelove vibe. They even made us do an encore. Our first.
The thirteen hour drive through the rockies, or cascades would have been more notable if I had been awake for more than 3 hours of it. I missed all the Elk-sightings. Sometimes nature is so much, it by bypasses reality, it bypasses the known and the understandable. Noah saw a bear even.
Vancouver proper is a human sewer. My guess at population slice is : 11% tourists, 47% junkies (includes hookers and vets), 9% lady cops, 16% rave djs with frosted hair, the rest are teenage runaways strung out on cough syrup.
The club we played is, by all accounts -- the most destitude, shady area of all the entire country. Someone walked up and pissed on the front of the club while we were loading. Cops saw our NC plates and walked up and told Dave that we should forget whatever we are doing and just leave because we'd get robbed.
Some junkie kid hit me in the head with one of those extending Chinese yo-yos while we were walking. He'd been walking behind me trying to see how close he could get without touching me. Al and Dave and I walked to the port where a cruise ship was in. I wondered about all the tanned divorcees bumpin to the ship band on the aftdeck, who were cooking through all manner of songs we hate, but killed it with a little Sean Paul, unexpectedly.
We played to about 40 kids. Everytime I went in to the bathroom, there were more tiny empty bags that once held drugs in the stalls. While we were playing, I figured out who was high based solely on the shoes I had seen in the stalls together, shoes accompanied by a hoovering inhale and a jingle of keys.
I have never done cocaine, but I do not imagine we're the sort of band that feels good after some key hits in the girls room. I'm not sure if that is to our credit or not.
Played and bailed, hit US Customs at 3:30am. Back in our bad country!
PS. Our young brother in struggling journo arms, Mssr. Trevor Kelly dissects the Braid reunion tour with tactfully understated aplumb - almost Didionesque undertow on this one -- you know where you just let the body hang in the wind. Nice.
Regina is not pronounced like Orangina, it’s pronounced like vagina, or like North Carolina.
Regina is like the rest of Canada. Which is like rural Michigan, but less dense, less people infested and rolling madd deep with cow life. All of Canada, at least all the middle parts, the medium cities we are hitting thus far, it’s very plain. It’s all as new and backwater village fancy as say, a mall in Grand Rapids, or Grand Forks. Squat, square, low to the ground, primary colors, uniformed, no tags, no neon siloutting, and the vibeless sterility of a Days Inn lobby. I get the feeling that oppulence is not the Candian stee.
Right now we are seven hours into and eight – nine hour drive to Calgary, through, what the Candians we’ve met have called "wasteland" but is plains as far as they eye can see. Such a lack of civilization to it that it’s easy to think about Dinosaurs, Calvaries, and Settlers. From my vantage here in the backseat of the Econoline, on the Trans Canada freeway, which slices through two halves of infinite green horizon, I am almost positive I can see the curve of the earth, I can see so far. So much for my theories about the earth being flat. I imagine if you were a dinosaur or a native people inhabiting and stalking these plains, you could see your foes – toothy velociraptors, raccoon-hated white men habouring pox – you could see that shit coming from two hours away. You would not have anywhere to hide, but at least you could rest easy knowing yr 187 killometers ahead of them. You’d have to be really sneaky, perhaps employ tunnelling, to be sneaky around here. I can see the skyline of Calgary from here now, and we are 45 minutes away still.
To note: Our show last night was the smallest audience we have played to. 12, counting bar staff and opening band. I’m not sweating that, since even at our smallest shows, we sell about 5 times as much merch as we did any of the sold-out nights on the Strike Anywhere tour – meaning – the people who are here, they wanted to be here. And if that is only six people, then we are lucky. I barely give a shit about anyone’s band, let alone enough to drive down from Saskatoon.
Set was fine, though I kept being distracted by the videos on MuchMusic, as I do not have Tv, let alone any real access to watching videos, and am immediately sucked in as soon as any TV comes on. The fast editing ang titallation is like a vaccum into a shiny century of well scrubbed women with flowing tresses and, and I cannot resist, sadly.. BTW! I had no idea Hillary Duff had a singing career. What’s with the sapphic/Tatu overtones between her and her sister in the bubbling fountain in the video? Do you think they felt genuinely comfortable grinding and wiping the fountainy-foam all over each other, is that just how they are? Or how about that super quick edit to a shot of Hillary sucking/biting on her sister’s upper arm? I wonder if that was storyboarded? I find things like this curious, considering that Hillary Duff’s fanbase is a Disney Channel watching 13 year old girl, that in the video she is sexually marketed as if she’s Gina Gershon, come hithering with remarkable agency.
The only other distraction during the set was the pool playing dudes upstairs who during a tuning lull yelled "When does the girl get to sing?" to which I replied "The girl does not sing," – to which he responded, over our pre-song din – "Take off yurr top". We finished out the set and I went upstairs, took a seat on his pool table and asked him some questions. I let him know that if a woman looks over the age of 12, you should not address her as girl. He said if I was offended, it was my problem, he also told me I was crazy about five times, that he was just trying to advocate for me to be able to sing, trying to be helpful, so why was I making such a big deal about it? He asked me why I had come to talk to him, if I was so offended. I told him that I came to talk to him because the next time a band with a woman in it plays a show he’s at, I do not want him too be under even the slightest impression that it is funny or acceptable to yell things at her, or for him to diminish or unnerve her while she is on stage. His buddy implored that his friend was just a little drunk, to let it go, that they drove from two hours away because they love Challenger, and they do not want me to be offended or bummed or think they are assholes. He talked to me about the scene in Saskatoon for a few minutes, asked about our tour, and then during a break in the conversation, put his hand firmly on my shoulder, moved up next to me and said "But, you know, you gotta admit, girls in bands are sexy…" I got up, told him to fuck himself and walked away. They mocked me in incredulous tones, loudly, from upstairs until we loaded out. I can handle mocking – that sort of shit it old hat for me – but Gaslighting is my least favorite subtext, I gotta say.
Maybe next time they do the same thing, the next girl will crack em in the jaw, rather than trying to "dialogue" – and they will get it. I am not sure, quite, why I always act like Riot Girl Superhero, so stereotypical brustling-with-issue ballbuster -- avenging in the streets with my shiny cape on, thinking I have some words that could change someone’s mind. I know – I know I know -- that my wild confrontational style ain’t going to sway some dude in a bar at 1:30 am, who’s got his fist on his ninth LaBatt Lite and is talking to me like the mean step-dad on a Lifetime Channel movie. I guess I just don’t really have a better plan, I can’t access anything other than my most visceral fuck you instincts, for whatever it’s worth.
We got through customs in a matter of two hours, snagged only by Al geniunely forgetting he had been arrested in Portland in 1989. Show was a benefit for the promoters recently orphaned nephews. Five bands played before us, and varied from thrashy-Braid to the finnabe Rollins Band type band that played before us and introduced us as "From Chicago, and not nearly as good as us" -- which, so far, was a characteristicly negative moments from the Winnepegians we have encountered. Motherfuckers here are dissastisfied. Sour and ready to tell you for several minutes, while coating your face with a fine mist of Labatt beer'd spittle.
Off to another place in Canada!
This morning I confirmed it. I'm djing the Veteran Feminists of America conference in August. Attendees are "feminists active before 1965". No rap they said for the 60+ audience. Female vocal music, non dance music with a feminist bent. Finally, a party where no one is going to request "House of Jealous Lovers".
I just remembered that 10 years ago Today, yes, this very day, my unicorn-head graduated from High School. Never got my diploma because I never returned my library books. And today, just as then-times, I am about to walk to the same Kinkos at which Hit it or Quit it was birthed via stolen copy counters and favors from disheveled band people ( in exchange for revwing their aweful demos, which, were either - no exception - four-track noise that mixed children speaking in french with guitar squalling or were notable only because someone in the band had played in a band with Grant Hart once ( not Husker Du, natch)) -- and birth a tiny fanzine a new.
My life cycle is only slightly more elaborate than a tadpole's.
I may have mentioned, but Minneapolis is a punk motherfucking town. I am in the coffee shop, where the wireless is, which serves as my office when I am here. I am the person with the least tattoos here, save for the pregnant lady with the yoga mat. I do not remember Minneapolis being this punk, but then again, when I left it had just gotten uncool to like, say Mudhoney, and I was rocking homemade Unwound shirts, and punk was Olympia-fying ("punk can be anything! Not just mohawks!") and no one would talk to me anyways, so what do I know. But Minneapolis-now is rife with face-hand-neck-inking. Someone told me about a study they read once, about how people with hand and neck tattoos have a 80 times the rate of dying via murder or suicide then the general pop., who do not have the Black Flag bars on thier knuckles and discolored and scarred flaming magwheels wrapping their neck. I look at people with hand tattoos and think "It's just a matter of time for you!" -- anticipating the whole town shuddering to a stop in a pool of their own congealing blood by summers end.
I leave for tour again in two hours. Actually I leave for Minneapolis, where I will make a fanzine about tour, visit a dentist, steal furtive glances at my boyf. when he is not looking for a few days. Then, like that - Canada, West Coast, Southwest - in a flash of exhaust.
I am almost used to it. Or at least I am eeking out a routine. The days before tour are filled with equal amounts dread and disregard, excessively huggy goodbyes during bar meet-ups - tagged with yr return date, wanting to avoid the sentimentality and tie-downs of normal life, hop back into the Econoline and study how times passes, how the horizon looks and just how long you can go wearing the same pair of jeans before they rot right off your body.
Left Coast, do not sink. I'm almost there.
Due to a previous, ireverently titled entry on this here blog, "Ronald Reagan is fucking dead" - Tinylucky is getting mass hits off the Google. Here's some elucidating passages about the dead prez for those looking to plow down memory lane in the new dawn of his passing.
For those in Chicago who want to pour one out in fond rememberance of trickle down economics, I think I am DJing with Ben Fasman at Danny's tonight.
Trevor Kelley once made fun of me for having a blog. Now he can milk his narcississsum like the rest of us, and floss about his life as an emo-insider on his blog . And if you have the time, please fight him, or tease him mercilessly about the fact that Automatic For The People is his favorite REM album.
The most consistant comment I hear about Chris Ryan's basketball blog is along the lines of "I have no fucking idea what he's saying, but it's genius." He's like a Bangs amphetamine rage times Mobb Deep album-liner thank yous. He's posting right now, get it while it's hottness.
Julianne is a genius too. I understand exactly what she is saying.
I got the name wrong. Of my new favorites. Nisennenmondai. They play in Chicago August 4th. I think if you live within 8 hours, you should drive and see them. It might be the best idea you have all summer, aside from not downloading those new D12 ringtones.
Yesterday, amidst the jet lag stupor, I started to post, I was trying to come with some real, to maintain, as SFJ calls it my "web presence". It was a bad idea. I may have actually fell asleep while doing so. About halfway through an unfunny anecdote about our dear substitute unicorn-bloggist, the newly shorn Miles Raymer, who's postings while I was away, I truly enjoyed.
Decent anecdote re: Miles: For the first year I knew him I thought his name was Miles Standish, but alas Miles Standish was 'the hero of New England', not this lanky dude in a DIO shirt with Rob Tyner hair that is the Miles we know and love here in Chi-town.
What I can tell you about touring Japan with Challenger is this:
Being in Japan was like being a baby. Base needs are met, sure - but you cannot communicate -- I know only thank you, hello, cat and girl in Japanese. You get fed, but you never get told where you are going until you are there. There is no room for discernment or choice. You just toddle around and wait for someone to pass you the pocky or some squid pancake or take you to your soundcheck.
We would spend hours a day in the van, browsing the country-side, having awkward interactions and base conversations -- it was Jarmuschian. I felt like an asshole for not enjoying it all like I should, until we got to Kyoto. Once we got to Kyoto and went to the major temples, and I wandered off, looking at the baby Buddhas planted in the hillside, bibbed with these little aprons with addresses, wishes, prayers on them -- and got lost amongst the heavy tides of field tripping Japanese fifthgraders, uniformed and tightly mannered. Then I liked Japan. Then I felt the gravitas and value of cultural experience.
Tokyo was like LA x NYC x the air of Mexico City, with a comic book metropolis and epic grey sprawl, smoggy horizons the color of cement. I could only deal with it when I was on stage, or in the sea of tanned and blonded teenage girls sweeping through the mall, sales girls chirping "MOSHI MOOOSH!" in unison at shoppers.
I bought Pumpkin Pudding flavored toothpaste. All of Japan is a snack wonderland, especially at the convience stores. Dried french fries made from peas? Yes. Aloe and grape custard? yes. Mango soda? -- I loved them all. ( Candy with best name, but least true promise: CRUNKY!)
All of our shows, we had female soundpersons, or engineers, except in Nagoya. Only on our final night in Tokyo, did we play with a band with women in it. "Nisennonmondai" -- they do not have an english name. They may have been the best band I have seen in 4 years. They played for 15 minutes and those 15 minutes were biblical. I turned around to my band mate Al, who was making a windtunnel face and replied to my "whoa!" with "what the fuck?!". Thusly, I think we are doing 6 dates with this band in August here in the states. Three women, and it's a revolution in music, in perhaps the same way that This Heat or DNA were. You may mock me now for what you think is gushy overstatement or some feminist-support imparitive, but I saw the best band ever, and you should get jealous now. I'm not fucking around.
I got "recognized" by more kids, at shows, than at home -- this seems to be due entirely to the popularity of the Michigan Fest DVD. This geniunely freaked me out.
I saw Mt. Fuji. It looked like a Hostess Cupcake in the sky.
Maybe more on all of this soon. We leave for the West Coast tour in a tiny handful of days.