Thursday, November 15, 2012
We've been home for a few days now, our first tour has come and gone, but the experience will last forever.
Last Tuesday morning, Pat, Jason, Myself and our good friend/merch dude Adam Jacino left San Luis Obispo at 6:30 AM. With 14 hours of driving to cover, we slowly crept our way up the east coast toward Portland where we would be staying the night with our friend Andrew. As soon as we entered Oregon, this car started tailgating us...then getting in front of us and driving really slow...then getting behind us and flashing their brights...then not allowing us to pass. I decided to give them a good ole dose of California retaliation and rode behind them with the brights on for a few minutes and bombarded their windshield with wiper fluid when they were behind. Eventually they sped off and we forgot about them...until...we stop for gas a few miles ahead. We all got out of the car save for Adam who stayed with the gas attendant. I guess there were two girls that drove buy in the offending vehicle and yelled some indecipherable mumbo jumbo at him. Their problem? We'll never fucking know, but other than those two imbeciles everyone we met in Oregon was really nice and friendly. If I remember correctly we made a total of three stops on this leg just for various necessities: gas, snacks, drinks, bladder relief.
Upon our arrival in Portland at around 9:30, we headed to a bar down the street from our friends house. Was greeted by a friendly bartender in a Lord Dying shirt so we immediately felt like we were supposed to be there. Being that the rest of the tour would be a lot of driving, setting up and tearing down I decided that tonight would be my one chance to get hammered on this tour...so I did. Six shots of whiskey, 4 beers and a few hours of sleep later Im up at 9am feeling great as ever! Took a quick shower, ready to go run some errands before heading off to Seattle for our show that night. Jason is a fiend for the fresh pots so we headed down to the nearest purveyor of the precious black caffeinated liquid and grabbed a quick cup. Upon finishing this cup is when I begin to feel the hangover rush in. Pounding headache, nausea, sweating rivers. Stuck it out while we went to a guitar shop, and then a drum shop in town for supplies...but once we got back to Andrew's to pack up and head to Seattle, I lost the entire cup of coffee. At this point I just feel like shit, with a show to play in 8 hours and still a 3 hour drive to get there I had no idea how I was going to pull it off. Force fed myself some muffins my girlfriend made us for the trip, drank a bottle of water and we headed out. I spent the next two hours of the drive half asleep, half fighting all the pain in my body. Was finally pulled out of the wretched hangover by a green naked juice, excedrine migraine, and a sandwich.
We arrived in Seattle at about 5:45, load in was at 7:30. Walked around for a little while, got some teriyaki down the street and went back to the venue to wait for the action to start. There was a comedy night going on before our show, while they managed to draw a few laughs out of us...it was pretty...grueling. Soon after our buds Adam, Will and Justin from Serial Hawk showed up for support, was really great hanging with those dudes in their hometown instead of vice versa! We started backlining our gear, we were on second. The sound guy there(i forget his name) but he was really nice, kept it fun and spirits up even in the face of technical difficulties, and most importantly got us a great live mix. At one point during our set, one of the dudes from Pharoahs of the Sun(the headlining band) decided it would be a great idea to toss a box on stage while we played...now I don't wan't to get too heated...but seriously dudes, next time just wait until later. It ended up hitting the power switch on the power strip our bassist pat was using, turning it off. As a 3-piece we really rely on the bass to come through and hold it down so this was just frustrating. Next time just stop and think, I can guarantee you wouldn't have been as cool about it as we were. Anyway, despite that bullshit we played what we felt like was an awesome set, and the people in attendance seemed to think so as well...actually everyone except Pharoahs of the Sun and their entourage(coincidence? hmm...). Big thanks to Dylan Desmond for communicating so well with us making sure we were all set, and Brian Kim from Gladiators Eat Fire for getting together the other bands for the show. We packed up, watched our buds in Gladiators Eat Fire tear it up, then headed over to Adam from Serial Hawk's pad to crash for the night. This place. Was a stoner doom haven. We walk in, Ahab's Call of the Wretched Sea is blasting, we are offered beer and shots, walk into the living room and Häxan(Witchcraft Through The Ages) is on muted with the subtitles. Id never even heard of the movie before...but Ahab was the perfect soundtrack for it...I was sucked in immediately. This place also had psychedelic prints and show posters to the dopest of shows all over the walls. An esoteric library with a good amount of the books contained in my own, even finally had someone recognize the name Clark Ashton Smith when we were discussing literature and I saw his eyes light up immediately. "YOU know of Clark Ashton Smith? I don't think ive ever met ANYONE who knows of him" We went on an on, it was obvious we were among good, genuine, honest people, when you live in California for awhile...you start to get the feeling that these people don't exist. They do. Break your bubble and seek. Pat was looking mighty wasted at this juncture, we decided we should all probably get some sleep and grab our shit from the Jeep. As we are grabbing stuff I noticed pat wasn't around anymore...shrugged it off and SPLATTT! Look over to my left and there he is spewing in the street. Puke #2. Luckily this was the last of extra curricular fluid expulsions for the tour.
Woke up at around 10am, drove into Tacoma for breakfast at the Silver Spoon diner. If you are one for biscuits and gravy you should definitely take note of this place if you are ever in the area. Arrived back in Portland and took some time to relax at Andrew's before the show that night at The Know. A bit before we went to an amazing pizza place called Apizza Scholls then promptly headed to the venue and unloaded our gear. This was the first time that I realized..."Wow, the northwest really loves pinball!" which is awesome because I do too! There were 5 awesome machines in the back corner of the bar, I feel at least 1 should be mandatory in every bar. Had a good group of people out at the show, met the man behind Tornflesh Netlabel and it was more than a pleasure to meet someone who took an early interest in us and sent the album to everyone he knew. Lamprey fucking crushed, was looking forward to seeing them and they did anything but disappoint. Our set went great, the room at the Know is really good for heavy tone, was amazing how everyone at the show was actually watching! And seemed interested! As much as people hate on Portland the people are good and have good intentions, it was a Thursday night and the amount of people who came really humbled us and gave me a lot more hope for what we are doing. Order of the Gash slayed as well, was very reminiscient of Scream Bloody Gore era Death, drummer had lots of energy and his personality reminded me a lot of how Dave Grohl seems in interviews and such. Stayed the night at Andrew's again this night. Pat was having issues with his custom bass Rat pedal so we went to a local hardware store to find parts...unfortunately it was an antique hardware store...so while pat and the others wasted their time there, Adam and I headed to the guitar shop a block away, asked for the parts and had them within a few minutes...this visit was meant to be as i have been in search of an EQ pedal for a very long time...just couldn't find the right model at a price that made sense for me...but lo and behold, there was a used Boss Bass EQ for just 50 bucks(still haven't integrated into my rig, stoked to play around with it though!) Said our farewells to Andrew and Portland and we started making the short skip over to Eugene.
First thing I noticed about Eugene. They LOVE gaming. Whether its arcade games, card games, video games, or pinball...within one block of the venue that night you could do it all...in multiple places! Adam and I got pitas and checked out one of these arcades while Jason led Pat along the golden path to a fresh pot. The deal there was $5 bucks for all night gaming...but noone was around to pay so we just played a few levels of the Simpson's game and ditched out before they figured out we didn't pay. Back to the venue. We were opening tonight so we decided to set our stuff up early in case of any problems...which was a good thing, because pat's custom rat totally crapped out. Made the decision to just stick with the Big Muff fuzz for this show, and while it wasn't exactly the same, it still sounded really good(to me at least). Played for a handful of people, but the stokedness each of them wore on their faces upon completion of our set more than validated this stop for us. Antique Scream was up next. Here is an insanely commendable band. Based in Seattle, they spend only 2 months a year at home preparing for tour, the other 10 are on tour playing anywhere between 200 and 300 shows a year. This is no easy task...in fact im not even sure if many larger acts could handle a schedule as rigorous as this, but these 2 dudes truck on based on pure love and passion for the music they play. First band ive seen in a loooooong long time that even deserves to call themselves Rock. Explod-a-tron was a special treat. I can't put a finger on their style, its way too sporadic and off the cuff...but they were more of a comedy/music act. The guitarist looked EXACTLY like Zach Galifianakis, and was about as funny. The banter between him and the drummer was either painfully embarrassing, or wildly hilarious...just the way I like it! These guys were cool enough to offer us a place to stay for the night, I heard the words futon and fireplace and was immediately sold. The other dudes wanted to get some much needed sleep and just get a hotel for the night, after a bit of my apprehension to spend money on a hotel when we didn't need too...I finally gave in and was grateful in the end, we had an 8 hour drive to Oakland the next day and it probably would have been much more grueling without a comfortable bed and other people afoot handling their business.
I had been looking forward to the show in Oakland the whole trip. Not only is this a stage that Sleep has played on multiple occassions, but I finally was able to witness the beast that is Hellbeard my buddies Paul from Chiefs and Adrean from Idol's Plague have told me so much about. I can see why, good music and good people, a combination that instantly earns my respect. Was able to see a lot of familiar faces at this show, thanks to Cameron, Adam, Paul and Colton for making it out and bringing some friends. Jason's vocal processor wasn't working with the house mixer so it was a bit of a bummer not having that element in the set that night, its like if a band that had a synth player played without a synth...but we rolled with the punches and already have a system figured out to avoid this on the next tour. Joe from Therapeutic noise really did good for us this night, he's an amazing promoter and an all-around stand-up dude thats a fan before anything, if you can bring the heavy he will bring the people. Stayed at Cameron Cairney's house this night and just had a short drive to monterey the next day which was nice after being pressed for time pretty much every other day of tour. We discussed the ridiculousness of being PC in this day and age, and decided the best way to describe a person based on their color is the tan scale. 1 is albino, 10 is Black as night. So the next time you aren't sure what to say when someone asks you what someone looks like, just say "He was about an 8 on the tan scale".
Left in the morning and got a cup of coffee from Blue Bottle which I had been anticipating the entire trip. Got on the freeway, went 75 with a trailer in the carpool lane...and yes you guessed it...got pulled over! I was driving so when he questioned us I just acted like I had no idea what I did wrong, he asked us where we were going so we told him we were a band from SLO on our way to Monterey for a show. He goes back to the cruiser, comes back a few minutes later: "Well the Central Coast Gods are smiling on you today! You know I actually used to live in SLO, went to Cal Poly and Cuesta so I was feeling a little bad about the ticket but wouldn't you know...im all out of tickets! Go on your way, keep your speed down and have a safe trip!" HUGE RELIEF. We made our way closer to Monterey, stopped at a guitar center so pat could buy a rat to replace his custom for the time being, one of the employees smartly scoffed in jealousy at the wicked feedback I was creating with one of their 120 watt display amps. Jason manualled the whole length of the parking lot on a long board which was pretty cool. Returned on our way, arrived in Monterey and checked in at the venue which was a mexican restaurant with an underground lounge. The owner informed us that we got a 25% discount on food all night SWEET! We got a hotel and revitalized our hygiene and spirit levels before heading back to load in. Got back, ate some food at the venue. Antikythera showed up and started loading in, if I wasn't already stoked to see them play, they pull out a vintage Orange Bass head, and the equivalent Electric guitar head, then came the 6x12 fender reverb amp, and a slew of beautiful cabs. I could tell we were in for some awesome tonight. Magoozler was quite impressive and very nice dudes to hang out with. This was another two piece. They are from Santa Cruz by way of Seattle by way of Brooklyn, if you ever get a chance to see them please do, they really have their own unique brand of music and truly put their heart and soul into it. And then there was Antikythera. Oh Antikythera. I really hope these guys stick together and write some more music because the demos I have in my possession will definitely not be enough to suffice throughout my life. They are the real deal. Awesome visuals, HUGE tone, great utilization of loops and effects. An overrall journey in itself, anyone who is into Yob, Agalloch, Neurosis, Electric Wizard or All of the Above will definitely be able to appreciate this band. A couple of the usual suspects from the SC area made it out, and we are eternally grateful for their continual support...you dudes know who you are. Went back to the hotel where we took turns overdubbing sports casters until we finally turned in for the night.
Last day of tour. With only about an hour drive to SC from Monterey we took our time this day. Pat tried asking if we could check out of the hotel a half hour later...well actually told the office as he does, this tactic usually works...but id be lying if I said it wasn't funny watching his face as they told him no. So we checked out and drove to SC. From the second we arrived in SC...a great chain of events was unfurling, it probably isn't as funny now as it was then...but I will do my best. We go to Pizza My Heart for a slice of pizza, they give you a frisbee as a plate, after pizza Adam wanted to check out the bookstore Logos, he and Jason went in, Pat and I stayed out and learned you could play frisbee with yourself across the awnings of the store, that excalated into throwing it over the awning to each other, so pat set down his water cup. Jason comes out, pat goes inside. Jason and I sit there and just watch the madness that is Santa Cruz, we hear a grunt and a loud pop which was a homeless woman not too pleased with pats cup being in her walking path so she kicked it a good 20 yards. Down the street a couple is walking with a yet to be trained puppy that they seem to be having difficulty with, the puppy shits in the middle of the sidewalk. Owner doesn't have anything to pick it up with so she covers half of it with a plastic cup and goes to find something to scoop it up with. This is where the magic happened as Jason and I watched as people approached the collection of turds just barely missing them, or getting very close and stumbling in surprise at the last minute. The laughter was endless howling...apparently Adam heard it all throughout the bookstore, but it was a much needed bout of comedic relief for Jason and I. We arrived at the venue, fanagled our way into opening instead of headlining(we were so close to home at this point) played our set, packed up and headed home. As always Jesse did right by us and we are continually grateful for his support of our band. Jason drove the home stretch, everyone made it to their beds safely and the rest is either history, or purposely omitted...after all it wouldn't be much fun if you knew absolutely everything now...would it?