Are you supposed to give your van a tip when it bends you over and screws you so well? Thanks to a starter that broke 30 miles from the venue we missed our show in Olympia this weekend. It also led to the sketchiest tow truck ride ever as shown below. Apologies to anyone who attended or cared.
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.
We were looking up our Zombie Prom photos online and thought we’d share the whole link with everyone. Check out the photos here to see what you missed.
It’s the morning after and we must say the zombie prom was a success. Never thought we would see 400 people in a room dressed as zombies dancing to ‘Thriller’. As for the recording we’re done and have final mixes in hand. Next week it’s off to mastering and then we start the artwork and production. We’re still shooting for a September release!
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!
Our label just unearthed another box of ‘The Return’ CD’s. If you want a copy you can get them directly from us for $8. See the merch page for more info.
Session #2 is a wrap on the new album. Next week we head back up for vocal touchups and mixing. After that it’s off to mastering. It’s been 4 years in the making and we’re stoked with the songs thus far.
May 10th is the 1st annual Portland Zombie Prom and we’re playing it. There will be bands, DJ’s, costumes, zombies and hopefully enough brains and blood to go around. Tickets are available in advance through TicketsWest. Dig out your Sunday worst, add a splash of dirt and decay and head on out. (It’s a 21+ show … sorry!)
Studio session 1 is officially a wrap. Drums, bass, both rhythm guitars and even a few vocals are in the bag. So far we’ve got 20 songs and we can tell already it’s going to be hard to select which ones won’t make the album. We got back for a few days next weekend and then finish up the first weekend of May. Hopefully a late summer release?