Halloween. We have a long history of dressing up for Halloween. Zombies, skeletons, bloody priests and other bloody delights. This year we figured we’d throw everyone a curve ball and dress as the Blue Man Group. We all had solid black outfits, appropriate bald caps, spirit gum and gobs and gobs of blue makeup. We were stoked because it was 1) totally unexpected for us and 2) should be pretty amusing. On the ride up we meticulously trimmed our bald caps (except for Dave of course who has been prepared for this moment for a few years) and formulated a plan on how and when to complete the transformation upon arrival. We arrived to the club, walked in the door and guess what the drummer for the first band is dressed as? An f-ing blue man. Seriously. Our hearts sank. No bald caps, no blue makeup, no “blukkake” jokes and a waste of $50. The guy was nice enough but he single handedly sank our big plan and we chose to resort to plan B which was to predictably just douse ourselves in fake blood. I guess we could have gone through with it, but we didn’t want to be those guys who were second on stage to be blue. The show itself was pretty solid. Aside from being a Halloween show it was also the wedding reception for our friends Jay and Jolene who were nice enough to invite us to play. Honestly we didn’t see a whole lot of the first few bands as we had a congratulatory bombshell dropped on us by Kevin and Sam who revealed that their decision to dress as Bleeker and Juno had a special meaning behind it! Our long time friend and old drummer Bryan made it out as well as well as Chris, Al, Todd and a few others. Another highlight of the evening was playing “I’ll give up a dollar if you stand in the bathroom for 30 seconds”. Everyone failed. Some things at that club never change. We went on pretty late and after three months off it was nice to play again. Real nice. In fact I’d go so far as to say this was one of the best shows we’ve ever played in the past year or two. If you were in attendance you may or may not agree with that assessment but with all the drama of the last few months, including finishing up the CD artwork, production, van problems, the show cancellations, Justin’s knee problems and the late nights of practice this show felt extra good for us. We opened with a cover of ‘Halloween’ and kept it to a full set of monster songs which we can now finally do. We thought we got everyone moving but were quickly shown up by The Schmidfits who treated everyone to a full set of Misfits covers plus a few extras. I was a little bummed they opened with ‘Halloween’ but they quickly redeemed themselves by played some of the faster Misfits songs off of Earth A.D. Very cool set. Anyway, if you need to be thanked for this evening pat yourself on the back. Congrats to Jay and Jolene as well as Kevin and Sam!
I had no idea what to expect the crowd tonight to be like. On one hand Wednesday 13 is a kind of punk-ish band with songs about zombies and b-movies. On the other hand they are ex-Murderdolls and their album is pretty metal. The answer was just about every type of music person. Goth, metalhead, punk, and just curious “regular” music fans were all in abundance. True to form we arrived annoyingly late and had to load straight up the 5 foot high stage. Ouch. Regiment 26 was up first and was super metal. We watched the headbanging and circle pits and knew we had our work cut out for us. Our solution was humor. We got on stage, sound checked and just before we started to play Dave says in his monster truck announcer voice “Do you all want to hear some crazy fucking metal?” Crowd: “Yeahhh!” Dave: “Ok, give us like 25 minutes and then they’ll be another metal band later.” Too funny. Our set seemed pretty solid. Not really our typical audience but no one seemed to dislike it too much. We played lots of new songs so again it was extra fun for us. Still Dead was up 3rd and played a very eclectic and energetic blend of metal and rock. Pretty good stuff and the guys we met seemed super cool. Wednesday 13 was the main event and I gotta admit they were pretty great live. Their sound was amazing, the songs were catchy and they even quoted Ric Flair within 5 minutes of starting their set. We were all seriously impressed. Thanks to Endeavor Productions and Rock N Roll Pizza for having us.
Ok, so that was a fun show. Two killer bands, lots of friends and most importantly for me is we finally got to play a batch of new songs. Nine of them in fact. Man, it felt good to finally bust out some more new material. Playing old songs is fun, but playing these new songs that we’re so stoked on is a feeling that’s a bit hard to describe. Accidental Gun Death was pretty great tonight. It was their usual blend of amusing stage banter coupled with raw aggression delivered in 30-90 second bursts. I think their whole set took less than 15 minutes. The risk of on stage defecation added to the excitement, but thankfully there was none. As mentioned previously our set was pretty fun. It was hard to move around on such a small stage but it didn’t really matter too much. The Crawlers were up last. We had heard great things about them and the descriptions were dead on. They totally rocked. I only watched the first few songs from the main room, but listened to most of their set from the bar while catching up with some friends and holy smokes those dudes can rock it. Fast, aggressive, and just totally raw. I would gladly play with either of these two bands again. What else can I say? It was a good night. Thanks to Kelly’s, AGD and The Crawlers.
Tonight’s show was sort of a whirlwind. Since our van is still DOA Justin and I had to drive out to Dave’s house to load up his truck. I don’t know why but I always feel so amateur loading out of a pick up truck. Might as well be mom’s station wagon. At some point on the trip Justin uttered what I found to be the funniest thing I’ve heard all week. The discussion leading up to this is a bit too long to describe, but at some point Justin said the following: “I think Pele died of cancer. Or did he got shot? Wait, was that Bob Marley? I don’t know, I always get Pele and Bob Marley mixed up.” I literally had to write that one down so I could remember to mention it here. Justin, I’m sorry. Everyone else, you’re welcome. It took forever to get to the venue and when we arrived we were informed we were not only first but furthermore we were supposed to start 15 minutes ago. Oops. We setup fast and were playing within 15 minutes. Despite the quick turnaround the set was pretty fun. We tried a bunch of new songs for the first time ever, so if you were at the show consider yourself lucky to have seen 6 song debuts. It’s always fun to play new stuff and they all went pretty well. 3 Inch Max was next and I gotta say they were pretty awesome. Very catchy, very tight and very loud. We were all impressed. Since Neversleep cancelled The Altarboys were up last and they through us all for a curve by playing acoustic. It was pretty stripped down and raw and for the most part pretty entertaining. It was a little strange because when I think of them, I imagine rock, but all in all given the laid back feel of the night it was pretty cool. Thanks to all who arrived early and were nice enough to stand up front.
We were pretty stoked for the show tonight as it was two bands we had played with before and liked as was taking place in a bar located in a town we like playing. Sounds like a good night, but our van had other plans for us this evening. We met up early (around 5:30) to run through some of the new songs. We were planning on playing mostly new songs which is always fun for us. We stopped in Longview for some Burger King and later decided to pull over in Chehalis to get some gas. We fueled up, got some junk food and when we tried to start the van we got nothing. When we turned the key all you’d hear is a loud click. We tried and tried with no avail. We called a mechanic friend for advice which didn’t help. We tried to get a jump from someone which did absolutely no good either. We took off the engine cover and Dave managed to make a giant spark fly off of the starter which in retrospect was not a good move at a gas station. Ryan from Stupid In Stereo offered to come pick us up but there were a few logistical issues. Namely, how do we get back to Chehalis at 1 AM and where does the van (with all our gear) wind up? Accepting defeat, we called for a tow and managed to find someone who could haul us back to Dave’s house. 90 minutes later they finally showed up. If you are watching a movie, 90 minutes isn’t too long. If you are at a Shell station in Chehalis it’s an eternity. They finally showed up with a small flat bed truck with a 2 person cab. That means two people had to ride in the van. Our van is big. In fact the truck towing us really wasn’t too much bigger than we were. The driver opted to back us onto the truck bed, which thanks to our extended length meant the front of the van was facing backwards and almost hanging over the back edge of the truck. The front tires had to have been within a foot of the edge of the bed. One small slip or one loose chain meant the van and at least two of our band members would go plummeting to their demise on I-5. Additionally our van is taller than normal and heavier than normal which was going to make for one terrifying ride for whoever wound up in the cab. It was totally sketchy but I was sure the van wasn’t really going to fall off. I was so sure in fact, that I was more than happy to take a seat in the cab with Dustin and let Justin and Dave ride in the back. They strapped into the driver seats facing backwards, driving 70 mph with the van one foot from sure death on any side of it. I think we made it about 60 seconds before the phone rang with Dave and Dave saying it was absolutely terrifying. Our driver found this amusing and kept chuckling every time we come to a rut in the road or a series of bumps. It was pretty funny but then I came to the realization that almost everyone and everything I care about was on that truck and we stopped encouraging the driver. Eventually we made it back in one piece. Overall the evening pretty much sucked. I got home at 2:00 AM and never even got to play a note. Fucking van. Many apologies to Sledgeback and Stupid In Stereo.
So when we got asked to play the Zombie Prom many months ago we were imagining a small 50-100 person crowd with maybe half the people dressed up. What we got was so much more than we could have ever possibly expected. The Mt Tabor actually sold out and from what we heard had over 400 people in there and I would about 98% were in costume. Most of the costumes were actually good costumes which was amazing. I heard the phrase “brains” uttered so many times it jus became background noise after a while. As for the prom theme they really did everything right. Balloons and ribbons lined the hallways and main room, and off in the side bar they had a full “prom photo” booth setup with gravestones and trees. It really was pretty spectacular. Written In Ashes was the first band and for their set they played all covers. I must confess their selection of covers was damn near perfect. Simple Minds, The Eurythmics and even some Billy Idol for good measure. We were all impressed with their effort to learn so many covers. After their set there was more DJ’s which climaxed with my personal highlight of the evening, the playing of Thriller. The song has been a bit overplayed in recent months with everything from that Korean prison video (look it up on youtube if you haven’t seen it) to the appearance of the song in a Geico commercial. I will go on record to say seeing a room full of bloody zombies scream and cheer at the opening notes to the song actually made me cry a little bit. Perfect timing! After that song it was time for the costume contest which we used as our chance to get a fresh coat of blood. This was important because we had been skirting the fine between bum and undead all night. Blood = zombie. No blood = derelict. We got our introduction and tore through our set as fast as we could. Although it was fun to see so a wild looking crowd we had all sorts of problems on stage. The worst offender was Justin’s guitar amp which squealed the entire show. Every pause, every break in the music and even while playing there was a constant squeal that was obnoxious even on stage. About half way through my amp started to go out and the volume dropped down from the normal deafening roar down to a half assed nearly jangly guitar tone. Not having any other option I played through and hoped the sound guy would adjust. It eventually came back but two half powered amps is not good. The Justin aerial show was also grounded tonight due to a sprained ankle he suffered yesterday. I suppose it was the one show where slow moving is acceptable, but we all missed his energy. Speaking of energy, Dustin was suffering as he had already played a set that night with another band in Longview, drove to Portland and played this one. He started off strong but by the end was barely hanging on. I know we could have done better, but all in all it still was ok and given the fact it was a zombie prom, no complaints here. We’d definitely like to thank Michelle for hanging out and to the organizers and all on the prom committee for having us!
First off, congratulations to Sam on his marriage! For our gift we were asked to come play a set at the reception. We should have just mailed him a backup hard drive for his gift since he lost all of our 20 demo tracks last year but that’s another story. Due to real world issues (i.e. – jobs) we had to split up on the drive down there. Justin and Dave took the van and arrived around 3:30, unloaded and got setup. Dustin and I arrived at 4:45, walked in and literally picked up a guitar and played. If you’ve never played in a band before, it’s hard to appreciate this, but when you walk in and play you never really feel like you are at a show. Normally there is a ritual to the whole thing. You ride together, you load in, you meet other bands and sound person, you watch someone sound check, you hang out, you watch opening bands and eventually you get to play. For this one we walked in the door and were making noise within 5 minutes. It’s always odd and really makes you respect bands who can play well anytime and anywhere. As for the set, it was uhmm, interesting. The people to square footage ratio was drastically in favor of the square footage. Thankfully we recognized and knew the bulk of people there. I don’t really think we played very well. It felt like Dustin was dripped in molasses before starting as everything was dreadfully slow, especially having been in the studio recording some of the fastest songs we’ve ever written. Dave kept defaulting to his typical “last band of the evening” banter between songs. My favorite was “thanks to everyone who stayed late”. First off it’s only 4:15 and second of all they were coming to the wedding anyway. Definitely not an earth shattering performance. Getting a hug from Sam at the end made it all worthwhile because we’ve known him and his bandmates for a long ass time. He told us many many, many years ago, “stay together so you can play my wedding” and it sort of became a joke over the years. Now we can finally break up. Highlight of the show? About two songs in, the room was dreadfully dark and was only being illuminated by some christmas lights on the ceiling. I’m not really paying attention and all the sudden it gets brighter. I look forward and everyone is laughing and clapping. I look back and there is a 4 foot tall cross positioned behind Dustin illuminating the room. Never thought I’d be able to say we were illuminated by the light of the lord while we played. After the show we went to Elmer’s where Dave displayed his german pancake eating style. For those in the NW, go there order one and see if you can consume it in 4 bites. We dare you. Anyway, in all seriousness congratulations to Sam and we really are happy you made us a part of the wedding!
Here we are at our third consecutive year of Chaospalooza. The first one we played was pretty fun. The second one was not as much fun as it was very long and somewhat poorly attended. This one was however was a total blast. I’m not sure how they got Agent Orange and MDC on the bill but we are pleasantly surprised when they announced their addition to the lineup. In total there were 12 acts and we arrived during the 3rd band. We might have gotten there earlier but we must have spent a good 20 minutes watching Dave park and re-park in the no parking zone. Frankly I’m just glad the van ran ok. By “ok”, I mean it moves but with a broken turn signal, sketchy brakes and a new addition to the van’s charm which is actual mold around the windows. Nice. We caught a song or two of the Blanx and before we knew it we were on stage. I’m glad it went quickly because we hadn’t played a show in 3 months and I was feeling quite rusty and even a bit nervous. Not much of a reaction from the crowd but no real anger or hostility either. The biggest surprise of the evening was about two songs into our set when I looked over and saw our old drummer Bryan standing beside the stage. Bryan was in the band from our inception up until 1999 and recorded the first two albums with us. For about 60 seconds I was totally energized by seeing Bryan again and promptly got quite a bit more into the show. At about the two minute mark I became self conscious and realized I weigh about 20 more pounds than last time he saw me, I’ve got some gray hair, my guitar is going out of tune and worst off I’m having a hard time playing because we took three months off from shows. Man, I never thought seeing an old friend would cause so much pressure. Despite my mind games we finished off our set strong and loaded into the cold night. We caught a little bit of CLR (because they rock) and then headed off to a bar to catch up with Bryan, Kelvis, Sam and Chris. We reminisced for a bit and headed back over where they were finally 6 bands into the show. After a blistering set by Embrace The Kill, MDC took the stage. They were definitely not what I expected, but this is mainly to the fact that half the set was acoustic. The unplugged aspect was pretty cool though and I never thought I could so sincerely enjoy a song about chickens. Agent Orange was the reason we were stoked and they did not disappoint. We’ve been playing for 13 years. Those guys have been playing twice as long as us and were still energetic, tight as hell and totally entertaining. Most significantly I can finally say I saw “Bloodstains” performed live. After the show we headed back to Disgraceland and rocked some guitar hero until the wee hours of the morning. Pretty fun evening to say the least. Bri and Greg get honorable mentions but main thanks to the one and only Boss man.
So last night was the feel good show of the year. I kept hearing everyone call it the family reunion all night which seemed pretty accurate. I saw people I hadn’t seen in years last night and I must admit it was pretty fun. The reason for the reunion was a show by The Secludes, who stopped playing back in 2003. I recall first meeting them outside of EJ’s and were impressed because they had played with a bunch of really big bands like Strung Out and I think even Bad Religion. They were always a great live band and totally nice dudes so we were stoked when they asked if we’d play this show. We were up first and I think it was easily the most people we’ve ever played to at the Ash Street. I thought we played well but no one moved, no one really clapped and only a few people even registered a facial expression. No one left though and that is the ultimate sign you are sucking so I guess we were ok. Nothing too spectacular to report from our performance other than Dave’s voice sounding like he had rinsed with some sort of battery acid. The Secludes were up second and I was stoked to see them again. The songs all came back to me as they started them and I can’t even describe it other than to say it was such a good time. Adam is still an amazing drummer and I still wish I could play as well as Jason. It really was the feel good night of the year and whether we had played or not I would have enjoyed it. The last band of the night was Bitchin’ Summer. As much as I love The Secludes I’m pretty sure Bitchin’ Summer is my new favorite Portland band. They were amazing. I don’t even really know how to describe them. They took some rock, some punk, some metal and merged it one amazingly energetic and enticing package. They were seriously awesome live and I will definitely check them out again. Thanks to Heather, Bitchin’ Summer and super huge thanks to The Secludes for asking us to hang out and play this show.
Wow, what a long night. We started off on the wrong foot with Dave arriving an hour and a half late. Thankfully the van is running again, however the smell that has accumulated during the months of limited use was practically unbearable. At every stop handfuls of trash were extracted. Some loads were in bags and some just fell out on their own. Had a homeless person discovered the van they could had lived for a year off all the cans and bottles. Dustin and I played a five minute round of “find the duke” as we thought for sure there must be feces somewhere in the vehicle. No excrement to be found though. The worst offender was the McFlurry cap and spoon that was stuck to the floor. Another mixed blessing of being in the van was it’s size. On the way to show the winds in the gorge were so strong I honestly thought the van would flip over. We got gas and food in The Dalles. I got a milkshake and corndog because I am disgusting. At this point it also started snowing which would come back to haunt us later. At some point during the drive we sat and listened to ‘The Return’. It was kind of charming hearing it again and thinking back about the record and release of the album and songs. However the moment was short lived as by the 5th song we had decided that making fart noises was the best way to accent the music. It’s hard to believe I am technically an adult when the most humorous part of my day was watching three of my friends make elementary school noises repeatedly. Sadly that flatulent accompaniment continued for well over 30 minutes. Due to Dave lateness we arrived at Ray’s just after 10:00. We were annoyed because we were so late but the first band had just started. They were good for such a young band. The drummer couldn’t have been out of middle school and was rocking a mohawk that would make Rancid envious. Cab was second and sounded pretty good. Dreadful Children was third and holy crap they rocked it. We had seem them once before but they killed it tonight. Serious props and admiration from our end. We were last and started at about 12:45 (remember this was an all ages show). The set was pretty good. Dustin and I liked it, Dave and Justin did not. Dave was just embarrassed because he forgot how to play Radio after practicing it weekly for nearly 8 years. Justin didn’t like it because he preferred the fart noise version we had created in the van mere hours before. In all seriousness the show was a very good time. We left at 2 and made good time until we hit The Dalles. In the course of those few hours the snow had accumulated to a few inches and we had a mildly treacherous drive for about an hour. The last 15 minutes was a freakish downpour and finally by 5:45 we arrived at Justin’s. Longest night ever. Thanks for Dustin and crew, Dreadful Children, Kiah and everyone who chose to stay up late with us!