4th of July this year was supposed to be HALT, us and Agnostic Front in NYC but for whatever reason we ended up going to Rhode Island instead to play an afternoon BBQ. I dunno what we missed in NYC (though I can guess) but I gotta say this party really well encapsulated why we do this. Ch-ch-check it: bunch of people from the neighborhood bring vegan pot-luck and spend the day hanging out and watching bands play in a basement. Everyone has a good time, everyone is fed well, and even the bands make a decent amount of money. No shitty clubs to deal with, no shitty bands to deal with, no shitty shit. My favorite dish was called ‘diarrhea’ and was a failed attempt at cookies. The chef felt the batter tasted better than the cooked cookies so he added some banana to them and left it. It was so good I pulled up a chair next to it.
Three vans in a caravan en route to Boston: #1-us, average age 29, #2-HALT, average age 23, #3-DOWN IN FLAMES, average age 16. This ensemble of course degraded into a road war involving squirt guns, smoothies, assorted junk food, wet tissues and even some fart spray.
We finally arrived at the venue which was a storage basement for some sort of afro-gel. The basement was so thick with dust everyone who had a bandana wore them over their face outlaw-style. After the first band I had to go outisde for fresh air and I saw the part of my bandana that was over my mouth was covered in mud – a mixture of my breath and all the stirred up dirt. After we played the neck of my guitar was so gummy with dirt I had to use a pocket knife to get most of it off.
It should be known that Adrienne from SPITBOY also grew up in Pleasanton. We discussed our experiences growing up in such a place while she made us a huge vegan breakfast. Whoda thunk a guy from Pleasanton would be on tour with his punk band and end up eating vegan omelets made by a notable punker also from Pleasanton – and in a loft in NYC?
We headed to the Lower East Side for ABCNORIO. The club in akin to 924 Gilman St in Berkeley – an art space for extreme leftists that mainly deals in punk shows. The last time I played there someone shoved a microphone in my mouth not knowing it was completing an ungrounded circuit between me, my amp, and the 120 volts passing between them. For days everything I ate tastedlike a rusty nail. The last time Robert played there the stage had turds floating in standing water. Now bands play upstairs and it’s much nicer.
Robert’s union boss from back home was on vacation in NY and came to see us play. He’s a 60-something year old ex-porn star. He asked us to play "I Wanna Be Sedated" so he could sing it. We learned it in the van outside and opened with it. Just before going onstage he warned us that if he should go down with another heart attack we need only push the little button next to his left testicle.
before and during:
After the show we went to a vegan diner where I ordered "Sandwich" which turned out to not be worth the $10. However I knew every single one of the fifty patrons of the diner.
After dinner we all headed to Long Island for a show in a record store. Four bands in one hour, including MCD 182’s last show. One of the singers did a flip off the register counter while Nick got banana-peeled, stripped and thrown into some bushes. Fuck Up Nick, indeed.
We turned in one of the best performances of the tour in Springfield, Massachusetts. One might thank the New Bedford Mosh Crew, as well as some of the Mosh-tache crew, for giving us the energy. But later I overheard some dudes talking about us being ‘disappointing.’ I love it. I’ve been hearing that a lot on the east coast. I think we are expected to be some clean-cut youth crew band who play tight and mean, when in reality we are a dirty California band who play sloppy and goofily. "Goofily," I’ll be sure to add that to my spell-checker when I get home.
a new headlight when we saw one of ours had burnt out. It was raining
so we couldn’t replace it so it was not surprising that we got pulled
over. After getting Robert’s driver’s license the officer said, "Okay
Robert, what’s going on here?"
Stayed at a guy’s house whose dog never, not once stopped biting or scratching itself. Naturally, it liked sleeping on the foot of my sleeping bag. Our host explained that the dog died four times when it was a puppy. Each time the father somehow resuscitated it but the fifth time he just threw it in the garbage can. Our host found it in the can and brought it to a neighboring farmer who held it in his hand like a softball and swung it in grand windmills until a huge glob of mucus launched from the puppy’s throat.
Despite what any tourist maps/signs/agencies tell you it is possible to just drive up to Niagara Falls and park and look at things without their assistance or tour packages or toll tickets.
I rode in the HALT van today and it was very over/under-stimulating. In the front the driver and passenger play the radio at full blast. In back there are no seats so everyone piles on top of each other and gets in everyone’s stuff and watches TV, also at full blast. Meanwhile, the great expanse of America is blurring out the windows only you can’t see it because you’re sitting on the floor trying to differentiate the radio noise form the TV noise from the people trying to talk with the windows down. It was the first and last time I will ride in that vehicle.
On the HALT side of the Start Something record is a song calling out Bridge Nine Records for making unnecessary limited versions of records for the sole purpose of making collectibles. This is fine if you’re producing Cabbage Patch Dolls but not exactly in line with our version of punk politics. I say whatever, don’t buy Bridge Nine records. I also say collecting records is a huge waste of time and money that could be much better spent but then again I have every record I want except for the first Weird Al single "Another One Rides The Bus" put out on Placebo records so I should just shut up. Anyway, a lot of folks have been bagging on Ernie for making his own limited releases but really, who has the time or energy to glue broken glass to more than 300 record covers like Ernie? In my eyes I see what Ernie does art whereas I see what Bridge Nine does as commodifying. In my brain I think "Who gives a fuck? Really…"
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