June 21 our van left my house at 5am. Along for the ride is Carl "Hard" Cordova who will be filming this tour with the intention of making an Another State Of Mind-type documentary. The five of us had a combined total of 8 hours sleep last night. Robert sets the standard by driving the entire way to Flagstaff, Arizona in under 13 hours.
We played the Ruinacre basement/cave with CHAOTIC DISORDER and DEAD AND GONE. Rocky from D&G got struck by lightening earlier today but didn’t seem to show any obvious mal-effects from the episode. There was no sign of LIFES HALT by showtime. They eventually showed up just as we were setting up, citing van problems. Devon did a backflip off the bassdrum thinking he was going to land on some people but instead landed awkwardly on the rocky ground. Complaints of a wrenched back and sore neck started soon after the set and would continue well into July.
June 22 apparently the HALT van did have serious problems. Enough so that Robert and Jon and Nick drove to Phoenix to buy a new van after calling every number in the Arizona Car Trader magazine. The rest of us skate around town and take in the lovely desert town of Flagstaff. Until it started to thunder and rain. Flagstaff is beautiful.
June 23 missed our Albuquerque show while the HALT van was replaced by an old church lady’s van. It is quickly dubbed the Latin Limousine and it’s quality is quickly summed up by band member’s enthusiasm over the working cigarette lighter (where they can plug in their TV/VCR).
Drove 22 hours straight from Flagstaff, Arizona to Austin, Texas. We left at 2am and arrived at midnight. Hoping to shake off intense van fever we went to a party where bands were playing on the roof. While I was waiting in line for the bathroom a woman started talking real flirty-like to me. Regardless of her obvious inebriation and my co-ed disinterest the attention was still flattering. But as if it were some sort of compliment she said I looked just like Shane MacGowen, arguably the ugliest guy in pop music. That seemed like a good enough time and reason as any to leave the party. As we were walking back to the van another nice, young, drunk lady started peeing off the roof and onto everyone standing below.
June 24 a little back story on Austin. Austin is home to Joey and his record label Little Deputy Records. Little Deputy has a long history of bad business decisions and bad luck. All Joey wants to do is release music by bands he likes. And he’s had a host of good bands on his label: Plaid Retina, Good Riddance, HICKEY, etc, but he must have bad karma or bad timing or something because even with those bands the label has had more than it’s fair share of trauma. The most common example of his bad fortune is that bands tend to break up simultaneously with the release of their record. (Robert’s band FUCKFACE, for one.) The worst example though is his dealings with Band-who-will-not-named-here. He funded many of their records and tours and when the band later sold the rights to their name to a newly-signed major label act the huge amount of money Band-who-will-not-named-here received never trickled down to Little Deputy. And then of course the band broke up anyway leaving no chance of Joey re-couping his costs. But despite his misfortunes Joey continues to release records from his friend’s bands.
Fast forward a couple years and I am sending Joey some new Your Mother songs with a note asking if he’d be willing to release them. On a whim I also asked if he’d be willing to release the first 7" from my new band, What Happens Next? Between the two bands he chose to release the Your Mother record saying, "Maybe after the Your Mother record sells out I’ll have some money to put out your ‘other’ band."
The joke, of course, was that the WHN? 7" – which we ended up releasing ourselves – went through 3 (maybe 4?) pressings and was seen on eBay for upwards of $80 while the Your Mother record was released by Joey within months of the band breaking up.
As a side note, Joey also released an ALL YOU CAN EAT record (another of Devon and I’s bands) and we haven’t broken up yet, so not all Joey’s endeavors have ended in misery. Never mind that ALL YOU CAN EAT has only played one show since 1996…
In lieu of our missed show at Emos last night we arranged for an afternoon show the Sound Exchange record store, across the street from the quad where many students were gunned down by a lone student in the clock tower back in the 60’s. Just as we were heading to the store it was noticed the HALT van was leaking fuel. Pump replaced, make it to show, play fast and hard, start to leave and notice new fuel pump is faulty. While van is getting looked at by many would-be mechanics I hang out with Lance J-Church and Rich from Betty’s Love Child, both recently relocated from the Bay Area. Rich said he was at a party last night and, though he was incredibly drunk, swears he saw Shane MacGowen (arguably the ugliest guy in pop music) waiting in line for the bathroom. I asked if this party took place on a roof and, yeah, it did. I asked if he thought I looked like Shane MacGowen (arguably the ugliest guy in pop music). He thought for a second and said No and tried to give me a hug, probably because he felt guilty for having pondered the question so long. As he moved in to hug me something on his right arm caught his eye. In Sharpie was written a girl’s name and a phone number. He looked at it for a little while and finally said, "I’m right-handed so I know I didn’t write that…" He then fished through his pockets and pulled out some coins and a steel guitar pick and said, "But I woke up on a hardwood floor and found these stuck to my face!"
In Denver last year I traded the SCOTT BAIO ARMY guys a record, a t-shirt and $30 for an old tele-type guitar that was rusting in the corner of their living room. Since then I put in a Lil ‘59 pickup, added a 6th string, later removed the 6th string, adjusted the truss rod, broke the truss rod (and subsequently learned to play with enough space between the strings and the frets that I could fit a phone book), and more or less got my 30 bucks worth out of the guitar. However, the bridge saddles are rusted stationary and are now ripping the skin off the heal of my right hand and probably giving me tetanus. To compensate I have been strumming further from the bridge at the expense of my clumsy thumb, which now gets caught on the almighty Lo E string every few strums and is slowly ripping my nail off. I suppose I could go out and get a decent guitar but then the last time I played a nice guitar at a WHN? show Devon launched me off the stage and the first thing to hit the floor was the headstock of said guitar. No, this band was meant to play on 2nd rate (my guitar) and/or anvil-strength (Robert's bass) equipment or it was not meant to play at all.
After the show the HALT van broke down AGAIN and we made the difficult decision to forge on without them, lest another show get canceled. Plus, with all the van problems the tour needed all the incoming funds it could muster. We left HALT at an auto parts store under the assumption the store was transferring a part from a neighboring location and then we drove to Fort Worth.
Cory from Haltum City and his band LEAGUE OF STRUGGLE rocked the start of the show and during the middle of our set HALT showed up. Two hours later we’re all in Cory and Missy’s backyard skating their halfpipe surrounded by tiki torches and thinking All Is Good.
Interestingly, Haltum City, Texas is a self-described ‘white trash beacon.’ When we pulled up to his house at 2am his neighbors were drinking Busch or some such beer on their lawns, which Cory says is about the most common activity he and his neighbors participate in. Be that as it may, both of Cory’s kids are vegetarian because he and Missy want them "to grow up knowing they have never killed an animal." Interesting contrast of lifestyles. Fantastic juxtaposition of Americana. On the way out of Texas their family led us to Dallas and before we could protest they bought THIRTEEN of us a sit down faux-meat Chinese food lunch.
June 25 Norman, OK – the closest ‘big city’ to where Robert grew up. If I’m not mistaken this may also be where Robert got his face bashed in by skinheads when he was a wee lad. The last time he was here was on the FUCKF*CE/HICKEY tour when our current promoter set up their show. Unbeknownst to either FUCKF*CE or HICKEY the promoter broke into the venue after having been denied permission to hold the show there and did it anyway. Later than night, after everyone was good and passed out the owner of the venue, not knowing who to blame, woke everyone up with a baseball bat. We didn’t have quite as exciting of a time but the show did feature the Fucktards which I’m sure made Robert’s visiting mother happy…
a few days because there has been nothing exceptionally exciting to share.
For instance, here is June 28:
I’ve had a headache for 3 days now. I tried to sleep it off on the long drive today but I had the Loft Chub bench (where everyone inexplicably get a woody within minutes of lying down on it) and found myself needing to pee every 30 minutes. Played a fun show that ended in a pillow fight and Ernesto scaling a fiberglass wall which must probably itch like crazy now. Showered in a prison bathroom and then skated some half pipe before falling asleep on a drum rug that left me picking drumstick shavings out of my hair all morning.
So from now on I’ll just stick to more interesting stuff…
HALT van breaks down in Memphis.
HALT van breaks down outside Atlanta.
Word around the east coast is Richmond has a strong drag scene. After the show we were directed to a drag bar that got shut down by the fire marshal just as we were showing up. Devon didn’t come with us but I’m sure he would have been disappointed to miss it had we actually gotten inside.
Carl, who admits his new Start Something tattoo was done purely out of peer pressure, was rambling on about how awesome tonight’s show was gonna be since it was taking place at the Wilson Center in DC. Carl is big on nostalgia and the Wilson Center is like a Mecca to him. The rest of us in the van were of the opinion that it’s just a place and the DC scene and it’s participants were much more deserving of attention than some big room. Just as Max says "Fuck the Wilson Center" the directions literally fly out the window and into highway traffic. Thanks to someone else’s nostalgia for the DC scene a book titled Dance of Days existed. And since Robert has brought along AKPress booktable and happened to be selling that very book, we were able to look inside it and find a 20 year old flyer with the directions to the venue on it. So maybe nostaligia ain't so bad. I did feel a little guilty though for giving Carl such a hard time, but then in his moment to shine he never cashed in on it. Pretty stand-up guy, that Bend Ova Cordova.
been a couple weeks and most of us haven't shaved. Today we decided to
start a Mosh-tache Crew.
Robert and Ernesto slept in the vans last night. This morning when they woke up they tried waking everybody else up by knocking on the windows of the house. We all slept through it. Actually, the people that lived there heard the knocking but they dismissed it as the neighborhood kids who every morning in the summer knock on their windows saying, "Come out and play with us, white people!"
A guy in the pit tonight danced around to every band singing into his own microphone. No cable, no PA, just a microphone.
Devon practiced up for his upcoming bout with Erba by getting into a 10-minute wrestling match with Andy It Up. Devon won but neither walked away unscathed.
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