Richland, Washington. Oh, how we love Richland. Although the last two shows were fun they definitely weren’t anything to write home about. This show was amazing. There were a ton of people lingering out front so we knew it was going to be good. The Ashamed opened up and rocked hard. They sounded like Zeke but a little heavier and more technical. Very good. The Independents actually played second and finally got their due reward … a crowd. I think they caught everyone off guard at first but by the end everyone seemed to dig them. The cover of ‘Mother’ was the clincher as I don’t think anyone saw it coming. Our set was amazing. We stuck to the old stuff and played our asses off. Broken foot tendon be damned, I was intent on jumping around again. Seriously one of the most satisfying shows we’ve ever played. Since we had to bail the last two night, we chose to stay in Richland and hang out with the Indy’s. We headed over to Denny’s and it was insane. Every 10 minutes or so a fit of clapping and cheering would breakout from everyone in the restaurant. I mean everyone. It was beyond nutty. We got to hear some good tour stories as well as the infamous “who threw a ham at me” tale. Totally fun. Afterwards those guys did the coolest thing ever and bought us a room at the hotel they were staying at. Knowing damn well how little money people make on the road I’ve got to say that was an incredibly nice gesture. We hung out for a bit and crashed until the morning where we were greeted by a call from Willy who asked if we wanted a Chinese buffet for breakfast. It sounded strangely appealing so we headed over and chowed down on some surprisingly good food. All in all a very cool weekend and we definitely hope to play with the Independents again. Cool guys, good band, it’s too bad all the bands can’t be like them. Thanks so much to all who attended the show, Dustin and the gang and especially the SC wrecking crew! Thanks for the great weekend!
We’ve been late to shows before but I think this too the cake. We got to Bremerton at 11:20. Load in was 8:00. Doh! We were actually still in Longview waiting for Dustin to finish work at 8:00. Oh man. Amazingly when we arrived we still had a band to go before we played. Wow, this was going to be a late one. Potbelly played before us and totally shredded. Whenever you hear Slayer during tune up and it’s played well you are always in for a treat. Then finished, we loaded up and played on the Independents amps to about eight people. Sometimes it dipped into the 3 or 4 person range, but never exceeded the magic number of 8. In all honesty the show totally sucked ass. We were all pretty bummed after hauling ass to Bremerton only to play seven songs to so few people. After our set the Independents merch guy vomited all over the bar which sadly was the high point of the evening. I felt absolutely horrible for the Independents who are based out of South Carolina and were literally across the country and subjected to the same lackluster crowd. Here’s the amazing thing … they totally rocked and made it a totally fun evening. I can’t think of any other band that could have turned that show around. We’ve been playing a long time, but they’ve got the gift to turn the dismal show into a blast for everyone watching. The night turned out to be so much fun. The songs were great, everyone was smiling, the vibe was fun and I can’t even describe how fun it was seeing Justin being ushered from the room by Evil during every song. Every time he would creep back in he would get somehow violated by the big man. Totally amusing for all of us. The fun was short lived though as we had to drive home after the show. We got into Portland at around 5:30 AM just in time to prepare for work. Had the Independents not played I honestly think this would have been a contender for ‘worst show ever’. Thankfully it was not and we’ll have to save that title for another day.
Never thought I’d get to say this again, but we actually played at the Satyricon tonight. It’s been a long damn time since anyone has but they recently reopened as an all ages venue. Definitely nice to be back. How have things changed? We used to play weeknights to a dozen people. Now almost 9 years later we play weeknights be to two dozen people. Actually all things considered the turnout wasn’t half bad. BXF opened the show which was a surprise. I think I gave poor Joel a heart attack with my greeting of “what the fuck are you doing here?” Hopefully he knows we mean well. They did well as did Eat Your Heart Out who gave us a new move called the skeleton dance. Very nice to see The Civies play again as they have always and will forever rock. The recently added second guitar was a nice touch. We played next and it was pretty good. Thankfully some of our Longview posse was in attendance so the response was pretty good. The Independents were up last and as always they rocked. We’re absolutely stoked to be playing two more shows with them this weekend as they are some of the coolest guys ever. Thanks to King Banana, Shell-O for the cookies, and the Longview crew.
Day 7 – the drive to Reno was grueling. My foot was aching from the night before and I could barely walk. There are only so many ways one can elevate their foot in a van. We left town at about 7:30 and there was insane traffic down I5 for the Ducks game. Justin nearly killed us at one point when all the traffic suddenly stopped for no reason on the interstate. Had the car in front of us not swerved onto the median they would have eaten our grill (our what?) for sure. At some point we busted out the Xbox and noticed the return of the burning plastic smell. We discovered it was actually the crossover to the back speakers so we were able to enjoy video games for many hours to come. Tiki took the wheel for the second half of the trip. Thankfully there was no naked dude at the bathroom in Weed which we experienced last time. After 12 hours we finally got to Reno as dusk was hitting. It was fricking cold there (in the 40’s) and the house we played at backed up to a cemetery. The whole thing was surreal. The house was in between two frat houses, backed up to a gravel parking lot and cemetery and glittery casinos could be seen in the other direction. I gotta be honest, the show sucked ass. There were maybe 12 people in attendance for TOTF and Mourningstar. There were probably 20 or more for us which was cool but it was honestly one of the worst performances we’ve given in a long time. Dustin had 5 beers and played everything way too slow. Justin was annoyed at the drive to playing time (44 minutes in car for 1 minute of playing). I broke an E string in the first song and the spare guitar wouldn’t stay in tune for the life of me. Dave was the most together but I think he was still spacey after walking in on the owner’s girlfriend taking a crap only a few minutes before. It was pretty bad, but people seemed to have fun so I guess it wasn’t a total bust. The Juvinals were last and sounded great with their garage-rock influence. Afterwards we hung out with the other bands as Dave revealed he had actually “fat guyed” everyone and had 3 of the tacos that were given to us while members of the other bands didn’t get any. I’m not sure how much with we bonded with the other bands (since we had so many nights at home) but they were all good guys, had good energy and were great to play with. I definitely wish them all the best of luck. After the show we said our goodbyes and we headed over to Shane’s to crash. Dave, Justin and Dustin headed off for some casino action. I stayed behind with Tiki and managed to put my foot in mouth by questioning the cleanliness of the couch that I slept upon while someone was in the next room. Oops. Serious thanks go out to Shane and Tim for the place to stay and hooking up the show. The next morning we headed out, grabbed a buffet and made the trek back to PDX. I nearly hit a deer and Dustin came within 5 feet of getting t-boned by a car doing 55 MPH. I could have done without this last day but it makes me appreciate the rest of the “tour” so much more. Thanks to Mourningstar, Top Of The Fair, Jeremy and NSR, plus everyone who gave us a place to stay and the took some time to listen to a band they might not have ever heard of.
Day 6 – Another night at home and another short drive on the least tour-like tour ever. Reid’s is always a blast to play and tonight was no exception. A few people had some gas problems tonight. We learned that one member of Mourningstar is known as “a layer and bailer”. You do the math. The Coterie played first and despite a few technical difficulties managed to rock the crowd. Although we had no idea they were even playing until our arrival, BXF was up second. Always nice to see them, especially on their home turf. Top Of The Fair and Mourningstar did well and got a pretty good reaction. Smaller crowd than I would have liked to have seen for ’em, but the people there gave them a chance which is always appreciated. Our set was good with one small hiccup. During the second song I jumped in the air and landed on a cord. Normally when this happens the cords lay there but this time it went rolling sideways taking my ankle along with it. I felt a distinctive pop and just about fell over. Oh man it started to burn and I could barely put any pressure on it the rest of the show. I tried my hardest to “walk it off” during our set but man it was hurting. Aside from that it was a blast with quite a few sing alongs and the witnessing of Brady’s zombie dance. We got out of town late and headed home for one more quick night in bed before the drive to Reno. It was just in time too because the other bands had a fire extinguisher fight and someone was trying to get underage girls to kiss. Always a good time to bail.
Day 5 – This was the easiest day of the tour yet as I slept in my own bed, used my own shower and ate in own kitchen. Nothing rock and roll about that. I’ll take it though. The show tonight was fun. Very poorly attended, but fun. In fact Dave joked we should call this the “Is it still Tuesday tour” due to all of the rotten attendances. Top Of The Fair and Mourningstar both made it to the show which was cool since both had broken vans to contend with over the past two days. The Coterie opened up the show with more hot shredding than you could possibly imagine. Pretty cool if you ask me and more impressive for their third show. TOTF went next and unfortunately a lot of people there to see The Coterie cleared out so it felt pretty empty. They played well though and that’s the sign of a solid band. Mourningstar rocked. I thought it was the best I’ve seen them play so far. They seemed at ease on the big stage and played a little more aggressively than the last two shows. Jason nearly gave himself a concussion with his guitar but that was half the fun. We went last and thankfully a few more people from the bar next door rolled in the door so we had a few people left. Our set was pretty good but I could barely even hold my pick by the last two songs. In retrospect it was probably from wasting my day away on MySpace. My hands had gotten a week long break from messages, gossip and comments and this was their way of punishing me. Thanks to all who stuck around.
Day 4 – Off to Seattle and another 500 mile day. It started off in peculiar fashion as we chose to dine at Fuddrucker’s for our first meal. Bad idea. The drive through Montana was really windy which sucks when your van is 11 feet tall. It was also really hazy due to all the forest fires. Or was it Justin’s feet? Anyway, the day was going well enough until we crossed into Idaho and got a call from the promoter saying the show needed to be moved. What? Huh? Wouldn’t an earlier notice have been helpful? We’re not sure what happened but it sound sketchy all the way around. He said the club cheated him out of some money and he didn’t feel comfortable having us play there. The club said the promoter never confirmed the show and was told never to book there again. I don’t really care who’s fault it was but I knew there were three band all of whom had driven 10 hours each to get there. Meanwhile I have to convey this to two other bands via phone and text message in an area of limited cell coverage. We’re doing this and we find out Mourningstar is broken down and never made it out of Missoula. They are skipping the show and headed to Portland. Ughh. Meanwhile the promoter calls and says he got us a show in Tacoma but it starts at 6:30 which means we will be pulling up, unloading and playing. Still better than nothing right? We start calling our friends saying “it’s not at 9:30 in Seattle, it’s now 6:30 in Tacoma”. Needless to say our friends one by one say thanks but no thanks. Dammit. While this is happening we are trying to contact Top Of The Fair and tell them what’s up and try to talk some friend into updating our MySpace page with the new info. Seemed pointless to do this for a show that was happening in 2 hours. The drive through the Cascades was incredible looking but I barely got to look as I spent the last 3 hours calling and text messaging non stop trying to get everyone co-ordinated. Thank god for Dave calling some people or I would have had an aneurysm. Anyway, we get to the club and there is about 6 drunks at a bar and no bands, no promoters and no sound folks in sight. Great. Eventually Tizzle and 3 of her friends showed up which was cool since at least someone would have wanted to see us. Right as this is happening we get a call from Top Of The Fair who’s alternator just died and their van is DOA on the side of the highway. This night is getting better and better. So now here we are at this lame looking show, neither of the touring bands are going to make it, none of our friends are going to make it (aside from Tizzle and crew), and it’s only 7:00. We looked at each other and just said fuck it. We thanked the promoter for trying to accommodate us, packed up and just drove home. The whole afternoon sucked ass. Do you remember when we drive all the way to LA for a cancelled show? That trip was more fun than today.
Day 3 – For day two in Missoula we headed out to a local restaurant called ‘Food For Thought’ for what we were promised was the best breakfast burrito that we came to discover they were no longer served. We ate and wandered around Missoula eventually winding up in yet another Army surplus store. Sigh. Justin insisted we get a Frisbee and go hang in a park so that’s what we did. Justin nearly split a little dog in half with the disc, but other than that it was fun. We got yet another home cooked meal and we can’t thank Marty and his wife enough for their hospitality. We finally got to play tonight which was nice, since three days had gone by and we had only plated for 25 minutes so far. The show was in an Elks lodge. Turns out the sound guy did our sound last time we played in Missoula back in 1998 and he remembered the band we played with. Weird. They show was pretty good considering it was booked on 3 weeks notice. The local band was great. Very talented for being in high school. Mourning star and TOTF performed admirably and sounded good. There were a few rowdy folks up front that really cleared the room during our set, but I’ll take it. After the show all three bands (14 people) headed to Marty’s to crash. I tried to sleep in the van but slept poorly.
Day 2 – This morning we got up, got breakfast and headed off the Missoula. At some point we got suckered into entering “Idaho’s largest Army surplus store” by Dave. It was kind of boring but we literally didn’t have anything to do until tomorrow night so no one complained. We maximized Justin’s investment into an iPod radio adapter and dug deep into my collection with bad 80’s and questionable hip hop choices. The phrase “try and catch me ridin dirty” has come out of my mouth at least 100 times since this drive. Eventually we arrived in Missoula to stay with our friend Marty whom we’ve known for years. He booked our very first out of town Portland show for us back in 1997 in his garage. He has been friends with Dustin for even longer so it was good to see a familiar face. Their house was rad and they made us some of the best hamburgers I’ve ever had. We ended playing his Xbox until about 2 AM. At this point Dustin got sick of losing and decided to challenge Justing to a Greco-roman wrestling match. That was the sign to call in a night.
Day 1 – I’m reluctant to even call this a tour since we’ll be home in 5 days. The drive started off in typical fashion, bad music with Fat Boys style freestlye thrown in by all. At some point Dustin busted out a Billy Ocean CD and proceeded to rock out behind the wheel. I’m tempted to call him the Caribbean Queen from here on out. Gas prices are insane. Fill up’s are around $90 which isn’t going to be very kind on our wallets. The weather was perfect about 80 degrees and no clouds in the sky. Typically when we drive this way it’s after work in the dark and in rainy conditions so it’s nice to look around. At some point there was a bad smell of burning electronics and plastic but we haven’t located it so far. Eventually we rolled into Twin Falls and stopped to check out the Snake River Canyon. There is a little memorial indicating that this is where Evel Knievel attempted his mile long jump but no success. We did see a bunch of people base jump off the bridge which was way cool. We pulled up to the venue and it had the sketchiest loading area ever. The back dock was full of rusty nails and teetering hand rails. Good thing my tetanus shot is current. This was the first time we got to meet Top Of The Fair and Morningstar and we did our introductions even though I know I won’t possibly get everyone’s name. The opening band was pretty cool. They were call Trinomikon and played a very Tiger Army-ish punk and rockabilly set. Not bad for being so young. We played second and I think we rocked it. The kids started a pit and sang along where they could even through no one had ever seen or heard of us before. Totally fun. Mourningstar was up next and they were great. The guitar player fell through the stage so you know you are rocking when you break the ground upon which you stand. Top Of The Fair was up last and sounded great as well. We’ve got our work cut out for us if we have to follow them this whole week. All four bands wrapped up in under 2 and a half hours so we had lots of time to kill. After the show we would up going to Shari’s and eventually decided to just get a hotel. Normally we just sleep in the van to save money and time, but since there wasn’t a show the next day we heeded the call of the $45 motel.