Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tour Notes #2 (Nobody has was Tate has -NO SIR! - Nobody has was Tate has.)

Dateline - August 30th, 1:29 p.m., somewhere outside Louisville, KY

I'm lying in the bed of a man named Donald McDonald (for real). His daughter let us stay here while he's out of town and Zalamia and I - after marveling at the crucifixes everywhere and then discovering his sizeable VHS porn collection - stumbled across a magazine with his name on the mailing label. Sometimes life throws you a comedy bone.

Tour is picking up speed. I routed this one is a big counter-clockwise circle so that we'd hit our less solid markets (the Northeast and Midwest) early on, and then make our way down to our Southern wheelhouse. Thus far, it's looking a great idea. Chicago on Monday was good, although due to a fuck-up by the club booking agent, we went on an hour before he told us we'd go on and all the press our PR guy brought out to the show missed our set. But the crowd loved it and we got some banging-ass free vegetarian chili mac out of the deal. Then we played Columbus, OH on Tuesday to a mess of 17-year-old emo Christians who weren't much game for what we were selling, but the locals - Wing and Tusk - kicked major ass. Very Pedro the Lion-ish but much more fun...check 'em out of if you can find 'em.

But Thursday and last night were where things finally ramped up. We played a dive bar in Lexington, KY called Al's, after city planners saw fit to demolish our all-time favorite club (The Dame) last month to make room for a monster convention hotel. We crammed 90-some people into a Talking Head-sized club and things were crazed all night long...Zach played without his shirt on, Rod collapsed at the piano and had to be helped up, the crowd turned "Go Malachi" into a massive sing-along, and we closed with "Baby Jesus" for the first time in about a year. At this point, it's almost impossible for us to tell one show apart from another aside from crowd reaction, and this felt totally triumphant.

Last night was Louisville and a mess of people made the hour-long drive over from Lexington. Things played out like a slightly less-wild version of the night before, but the crowd was awesome and we got to do an encore again. Then we came back here and ate moonshine cherries and drank aged bourbon til 6:30 a.m. (Everyone's in remakable shape this morning, given those circumstances.)

Tonight we've got Cincinnati, and that'll be the last show with Junior Revolution, who have been with us since Tuesday. It should be pretty bangin' and I'm hoping the hot sauce salesman we met at our Cincy show in May comes out and hits me up with another free bottle. Then we've head back to Chicago to do a live taping for on Monday, and then finally return to our ancestral homeland in Fayettevile, AR on Wednesday and then spend the remaining two weeks criss-crossing the South. I got a chubby just typing that.

I probably can't do this story justice without the video that I shot, but we got to hang out at Bam Margera's place in West Chester, PA last Sunday. We stayed with Ryan Dunn after our show in Philly the night before and Bam came out to lunch with us the next day and invited us back to his place to see his collection of murals painted when his art director lived him. One features a zombie Reagan that says "Fuck Reagan - He's a Fuck Ass"; another has Lance Bass in an astronaut outfit with a rainbow over him as a space shuttle leaves him behind; a third has a bald Brittany Spears swinging an umbrella at the viewer while Osama Bin Laden peels out on her in a dune buggy; while the last has Osama in a Sixer's uniform spinning a basketball on his finger. And his driveway is a gigantic rainbow. And he has two skateparks. And he and Dunn are both cat people.

Alright...time for breakfast.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tour notes #1

We're on a brief pit stop in Baltimore on our three-week tour that started on Thursday, when we played Mercury Lounge in NYC. I found out the day before that we were playing the same night as Jennifer O'Connor, who's drummer is a friend of mine from Boston. Then they had John Agnello fill in backing vocals for a song, which almost floored me, since Agnello recorded more albums in my Top 20 than anyone not named George Martin or Brian Wilson. (Namely, the self-entitled Jawbox album and Shudder to Think's "50,000 B.C.", along with Girls Against Boys' "House of GVSB" which made a nice run with me in the he's recorded the Lemonheads, the Hold Steady, Dinosaur Jr., etc. etc.) I didn't have the nerve to chat him up afterwards but I watched him from afar, picturing him and Zach Barocas building that weird-ass drum sound that starts "Livid." (And somehow not getting a boner.) Then the next day in Brooklyn we saw the bearded black dude from TV On The Radio, and the guitarist from The Mars Volta (separately). NEW YAWK!

I always mean to write this shit down for when Random House comes calling after we make it to the MTV Beach House and Zach manages to set himself on fire on the hibachi or something, but - until I get a better title - here's my first Nugget of Road Wisdom:

1) Celebrate the Small Victories - Yesterday our air mattress pump died around 3:30 a.m., just about the time when everyone was ready to lay down and die after a long day dealing with New York. So instead of shut-eye, we slept on hardwood floors and everyone was tired and sore all day long...a real kick in the fucking knickers. To make matters worse, we found upon leaving the city that the mechanic who replaced our shocks last month didn't properly hook the driver's side one up so it's been flopping and banging in our wheel well to the point that it looks like it needs to be replaced again. (There is a special place in hell for you, sir.)

So last night, after loading in at the club in Asbury Park (and finding out we were opening for a band called Jazz Pollution), we hustled to Target before they closed to buy a new pump and found that they were sold out of everything but the battery-operated kind, which never completely fill the mattresses. In a moment of sheer panic and frustration that can only come from three-and-a-half hours of fitful sleep, I asked a guy restocking shelves if they had any more of the plug-in kind in stock. Expecting Baltimore-style customer service, I was fully prepared to be told to fuck off; instead he walked five whole aisles over, scanned the item number into his handheld device, gave a seriously dramatic pause and said "Lemme grab some out of the back." I literally walked through the sporting goods section punching the air...I think I even spiked a football. Twenty minutes later, we had a new pump, a new outlook on life, and we even made it to Baja Fresh ten minutes before they closed.

Last night was a good night.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

When I think back on it, what upset me most about the Clinton-Lewinsky affair wasn't so much the gross abuse of elected power, or the obstruction of justice that followed, but that the most powerful man in the world settled for that. I mean, it's not like he admitted to finger-banging Rosie O'Donnell in a Shoney's bathroom (at least publicly), but the Kennedy's passed around Marilyn Monroe - the least he could have done was get caught getting an H.J. from Jenny McCarthy.

John Edwards, same thing. Sure, in a few photos his mistress looks comely (editor's note: Am I Henry James?), but you're trying to tell me Kim Catrall or Jennifer Love Hewitt haven't been waiting by their phones for this very scenario for years? STEP IT UP! You've got the "world's most powerful aphrodesiac" as Kissinger so memorably put it, and your career is careening over the cliff because of a run-of-the-mill MILF? I don't get it.

Take note of Nicolas Sarkozy. The French President gets dumped by his wife for a billionaire financier, and what does he do? Go down to Rite Aid and try to take home the pharmacy tech? Check the Craigslist personals? Nope. He picks up Carla Bruni and calls it a career. THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!