Fall Tour 7 Four Days On The Moon Tour
view outside our motel6 door this morning
We woke up this morning to the sound of people yelling, a loud beeping, and a lot of construction. I opened the door in my sleeping clothes, rubbed my eyes and saw a huge yellow construction crane about 4 feet from me, fully extended, hoisting a huge box directly over our van. I shut the door and went back to bed. There's no way I'm going to go swimming in front of a bunch of workmen. My goal this tour is to go swimming before we get home, just once damnit.
Touring in Florida is like touring on the moon. It's like no other place in the world. And we're going to be here for 4 days.
I guess I take it back, maybe it's a little like playing in Indianapolis. You just get the feeling that punk rock never really hit there. Death Metal made it to Florida and parents were scared that their kids were worshipping Satan. No one really gave a hoot about punk rock; it never took on. Maybe it just wasn't alarming enough to the parents.
I guess I feel more like home, driving around bayous, swamps, and dead armadilloes. Flat, grassy and woody areas are more like Illinois than the dry rocky mountains and cactii of the southwest.
I am confident now that if anyone dropped me plop onto any major highway in the US I'd know what highway we were on. They all look totally different. I-10 in the southeast has grassy medians and huge airy deciduous and pine trees along the sides almost manicured to stand flatly as green walls. The air has a bluish tint in the southeast. I-10 in the southwest is reddish, brown rocks and green cactii. On the east side of Texas, there are brownish-greenish grasses. Montana is tan. I-90 in Idaho is dark green heavy pine trees with streams running through rocks along the side of the road. Then when you get into Eastern Washington State, you're in desert again. And I-5 running down the west side of California desert - dried out brown, no plants at all. Just industry. Actually, parts of that road might look a bit like parts of New Jersey.
Last night I found a cheap motel room for us right on Pensacola Beach, this being off-season and it being a Monday night! So this morning I was able to go to the beach, probably my most favorite place to go, a gulf beach. They have the whitest sand, it looks like snow! The gulf water was actually 79 degrees, it is almost bath-tub like, and the waves were really tall, almost enough to make me think I shouldn't go out too far. I love standing out in the middle of the gulf, waiting for each wave to come and either jumping over them or swimming in to shore with them. I was just sad I was the only one in the band who enjoys this sort of thing, but it was nice to be all alone for once, even if it was on a gorgeous white, empty beach.
Pensacola Beach is just full of surfers! Kids walking around everywhere with ratted hair, tans, and surfboards. Think about that kind of life, all you do is wake up, find a pack of smokes and a beer and grab your board and go surfing. That could make you insane!
We played at a school today, and at least people looked happy when we played! I guess Floridians expect there to be some sort of ton of people at our shows, and when there isn't, they feel they have to apologize. Actually, we get that everywhere. Don't apologize for the audience, you guys. That drives me crazy. It's nobody's fault; some nights are good and others are bad! It doesn't matter to us, it's just nice when anyone comes! And it doesn't make your town look bad, I promise.
I spent most of the entire night at Kinko's tonight, cutting new bookmarks out, my idea of fun. The whole night was filled with a steady procession of weirdos; I must have met 100 people tonight! I remember hanging out at the Kinko's in Champaign, making fliers or record covers late at night, and I'd meet every musician in town there. Kinko's is a great place to meet people. So tonight I met an architect-to-be whose favorite architect was Frank Gehry who I had never heard of but who turned up on the cover of USA Today, who had designed the new Guggenheim Museum in Spain! I asked what his style looked like and the architect major crumbles up a piece of paper and shows it to me. "This," he says. And he's right, that's what it looks like! It's weird!
After that I met a rapper named True Pockets, who was in the middle of recording a record. I talked to him for a while about the rap scene, you know you can easily have a hit record on an independant label in the rap scene. You can be very DIY over there and it can work for you.
Later on the promoter for another show in this town came by and introduced himself, and I met a member of a local SKA band. All the musicians come out late at night to Kinko's, just like at home.
Most of the students who talked to me this evening at Kinko's were African-American, and now that I think about it, I realize that there are racial problems at University Of Illinois where I come from. I don't really ever remember different races of people just coming up to others just to chat at Kinko's up in Champaign. That makes me angry. But at least there doesn't seem to be problems down here in Florida, at least not at 3am at Kinko's.
The Covered Dish - we played again with the Swingin' Neckbreakers, a retro ROCK band from New Jersey. We encountered them on the west coast somewhere and also in Minneapolis, back weeks ago. They are SO NewYork/NewJersey, too, they have the accent and everything. They are funny, funny guys. We asked them how their tour had gone so far and it sounded like it was kind of like ours.
I asked them what they talked about in the van, and their t-shirt/tour manager guy said they had a fight in the van about which would win in a fight, an alligator or a gorilla. Can you imagine a bunch of NewYorkers sitting in a van screaming at each other about whether or not a gorilla would maul an alligator? The last interesting discussion we had that I remember was we talked about why it was good to eat dirt and whether or not anti-bacterial soap was going to destroy our race as we know it by creating new strains of immune bacteria. Both our bands found common ground though, of course, in the one topic that every band discusses thoroughly each day, and that is Crapping. "Oh Yeeah," says Westy Neckbreaker, "Where to do it, how it looked, the shape, smell, and what was in there before you did it..."
hi, this is howie with a tour report for thursday, october 9. the band is in jacksonvlle, fla. at the moment, waiting for our soundcheck to begin. we're at the end of the florida leg of our tour, which has been going on for the last 4 days: pensacola, tallahasse, gainesville, and now jacksonville. it's been really hot; that's what makes florida florida, i suppose. a lot's happened since last i wrote. let's see... we had a great show in baton rouge, la. last saturday. the people there really seem to know how to have a good time. and how to cook--lousiana's the home state of emeril lagasse, the world's greatest (tv) chef. and after the show in baton rouge, we were invited to our first post-show party of the tour. so myself, jim and jimmy, our soundman, went. it was really crazy--so crazy that i can't talk about it. then the next day in lafayette, we played at a skate park called buck nutty's. believe it or not, that was not our first ever skate park show--we played one last year in leipzig, germany.
last night, we played again with the swinging neckbreakers who we had a couple of shows with earlier in the tour. their roadie got us involved in a discussion about who would win a fight between a gorilla and an alligator. let us know what you think.
we got to watch the movie 'killing zoe' last week at someone's house where we were staying. ever see that? it's about a safecracker played by eric stoltz who gets involved with these crazy french bank robbers. highly recommended.
ok, from here we go to atlanta and then up the east coast. start spreading the news...
Rose's Report For Tonight!
Geeking, Pansy Division, and Chipped Teeth
Well, we were playing next door to Man Or Astro-Man? and Pansy Division tonight! I have been waiting for years to finally see Pansy Division; one of the guys in the band, John, although I've never seen him admit it, is from Champaign!! He was in a great band called "The Outnumbered," one of the only "older" bands in the scene who was nice to us when we were starting out! They played jangly pop, and in fact, there's an Outnumbered album coming out on Parasol later this year, I believe.
Pansy Division made me so happy! They were great on the stage, the instruments were covered with strands of flowers, and they had a big inflatable penis to throw out into the crowd. There were some huge guys standing next to me in the crowd going, in sort of real tough guy, New York voices, "You like dese guys? I like 'em! And duh funny thing is, dey're queerer den a tree-dollah bill! If duh rest of duh audience, dese people here knew dat, boy would dey be floored! [laughter from companions]" By the end of Pansy Division's show though, if you didn't know they were, as they say, "homo-core", you'd have to be really out-of-it. It really worked though. Some songs had really funny lyrics and others were very poignant. I was just so happy to see John up there singing. He's got such a great voice.
I still had to run back and forth between our venue to see The Ray Burns, a great local band who was opening for us, and then Man Or Astro-Man, doors away. MOA has so many new toys, I wanted to be their roadie. They don't have the TV sets anymore. I spoke to their Sound Engineer about this - it seems some other bands like especially that BobGoblin band have copped the TVs and even the space suits; I guess MOA decided to scrap all that. They have a projectionist and a sound guy now. Their CD and single display is in a glass box equipped with little tubes you can stick your hand in so you can manipulate and look at the items in the display but you can't steal anything out of it. When it was time for Curtis, t-shirt seller, to become Sound Engineer, he says to me, "watch this -" and presses a special button inside the case and the lights inside the display turn bright red. "Now no one can get anything out of here, but they can still look inside it." It was the coolest thing in the world.
Coco from MOA has another band called "ORI" now, it stands for Operation Re-Information. There are 4 people and they all play MACINTOSH LAPTOPS. That's it. Someone has written a sampler program for laptops (which is something I'd been meaning to do for so long!!) and they use it to play their laptops. I guess they wear business suits, carry briefcases, and wear Macintosh keyboards on guitar straps around their necks. Salaryman is going to have to play with these guys. After our mutual shows, out in the Florida rain underneath what appeared to be a deserted monorail track, with a renagade street sweeper screaming down the street like The Apocalypse, dueling laptops, I traded Coco an Oreo cookie and a realAudio file of a crazy Art Bell caller for the sampler software. I think it's available on their webpage.
And at the end of the night, (we went on at 1am) I wasn't too happy with our show. It sounded incredibly weird on the stage. The tall singer from Pansy Division kissed my hand - I swooned. What better compliment for a girl than to have her hand kissed by a gay guy? =)
Want to hear something really, really weird? Rick chipped his tooth tonight while playing. And so did a guy from Man Or Astro-Man?, and so did the guy from Pansy Division. And our shows were not even in the same venue.
The store actually says "Chinee Takee Outee", Gainesville, FL
Apology to Florida: I know the Floridians were upset that I referred to Touring Florida as Touring The Moon. And I said "punk never made it there" which is untrue, I'm told. (Of course it's untrue. Punk made it everywhere.) Please don't be offended. It's just that bands don't usually tour there because it's really bigger and more out-of-the-way than any other state. I love Florida; it's where I vacationed with my family when I was young. I really think bands just skip it because it's easy to skip. Hell, it's like 12 hours between Pensacola and Miami, isn't it. You have to spend a week in Florida to hit all the cities.
The Rhythm Of The Words
Today I finally made it past the baseball game in the new Don DeLillo book. Don DeLillo I think is my favorite author, and his new book, Underworld, just came out. It's another huge long book, as seems to be the trend this year. My only problem with the book is the beginning takes place at a baseball game. I hate baseball games. I have no interest in it at all, and I know it's a metaphor for something else and I can't get myself studying it as a metaphor, I can't identify with it at all. Howie would say, "That's why you're reading the book, to learn about something you don't know about."
We heard an NPR interview a couple of days ago with Don DeLillo though that had me almost jumping up anddown in my seat. The reason I love this author so much (besides fact he tends to write about ads pop culture nukes lot) is way uses language. thing dancing van seat was mentioned really does pay attention rhythm his words each consonant! even pays how LOOK! Its somethingve always noticed writingbut wondered if just being paranoid. am such paranoid reader back when little used collect all beginning letters paragraphs put them together see there were messages them.t do anymore course enjoy good lilt now then. >
Wow, this was a fun show. I think it's been a while since we've had a day off, and tomorrow is one. Also, this is the first time we've ever played South Carolina!! Yeah!! Now we've only got 5 states left, Delaware, Wyoming, Mississippi, Alabama, and Nevada. Like I said before, if someone can get us a show at one of these states, email us.
Tonight we terrorized part of the audience. There were two guys totally heckling us as we played, and a nice sized chunk of people enjoying the band. I couldn't help but try to get at these guys a bit from the stage. One guy kept yelling, "CRAZY TRAIN!! PLAY CRAZY TRAIN!!!" at us for the first 5 songs and I tried to get him back but finally Rick said, "The next song is dedicated to that lovely couple over there." Meaning the two body-builder guys who were heckling us. Then we started the next song which we all realized was "New Boyfriend." I was sure Rick was going to get his ass kicked, but one of the guys slunk out and the other I guess went around the room trying to get a girl to dance with him and finally left when he couldn't find any. It was "Ladies Night" at the venue tonight, ladies got in free, but most of them left when we started playing. The one that was left I heard say, "Oh, it WAS a girl, wasn't it?" after I walked out the door. And we were the only band tonight! Not even an opener!! It was fun.
Stuff I forgot
I forgot to say that when we walked into the venue, there were police in there, dusting off the cash register for finger-prints; someone had stolen a lot of money from the venue earlier in the day.
I forgot to talk about "South Of The Border" which we saw signs for for about 75 miles away. We had to stop. This was a little area full of shops with little plastic toys and cowboy hats, hot-dogs, velvet elvis paintings, talking jesus toilet-seats, etc. It was sick!