2.1.2009 Rochester, NY 0940 Hr.
I’m enjoying the Microtel Complimentary continental breakfast. The coffee is mediocre but hot. We spent the better part of yesterday driving across the frozen countryside of Western Massachusetts and Upstate New York. The soundtrack was Joy Division into the new Cannibal Corpse, Pantera, Khold, the new Wino record and Ripping Corpse along with a bunchof other stuff that I can’t remember. It began to snow as we approached Rochester. The new Wino record is radical. I’ve been a fan of his for quite some time; it began with The Obsessed and then all of the other killer bands like The Hidden Hand, Spirit Caravan, Place of Skulls. I saw him play in Manhattan a few years ago. I stood right in the front and had my mind blown. This new record is a collection of songs that he wrote over the last 20 years. We started this tour two days ago in Boston. These first few shows are with us and Defeatist. We then join up with Dysrhythmia a week worth of dates mostly in the northeast. Now that Justin is out of the band, we can play shows in Boston without people showing up looking to collect money from him. It was cool to work with Jonah Livingston again. His band Ramming Speed played and all in all, it was a good show. Defeatist were sharp as razors. Joel has completely stepped up his drumming over the last few years. It was an odd trip standing close to Joel and Josh and not actually playing them. It made me a little sad to be a spectator during their set; it made me think about the shows we played together and the miles we drove. They were all good times and when it was all over, we were all still tight. The show was at a place called The Papercut Zine Library in Harvard Square. It’s incomprehensible to me that shows like this can still happen in this neighborhood without police interference. Everyone was cool and the show went off pretty smoothly; a lot of people that I hadn’t seen for a really long time came out, as well as the usual. There were some power issues in the beginning; the entire show set-up, PA, amps etc all were fed from one outlet. When I flipped the switch on one of my amps, the fuse blew. Luckily I had my back up with me. Last night was a typical Rochester show: a good turn-out of people that wanted to get loaded and rock out. It was Tombs, Defeatist and Sulaco. Aaron from Defeatist is an original Rochester guy. Once again, a lot of cats that Ii hadn’t seen for a long time were present. The place we played in was basically an apartment above an abandoned storefront on the borderland between the ghetto and the Rochester downtown area. We drove past the place a few times. It didn’t look like anyone was inside. Apparently, it is the epicenter of some sort of drug trade is on the local police radar. I was told that they’ve had about 20 shows and the cops show up sometimes to shut it down. I overheard one of the local guys talking about how a cop was shot in the head so he didn’t think that they would be too interested in shutting down the show that night. I met this guy named Jamie last night. We’d been corresponding over the internet for a couple of weeks. I traded him some records for a huge stack of professionally burned DVD’s. Last night he turned 31. We talked about horror movies and I felt completely humbled by his knowledge of the genre.
Rensselaer, NY 1742 Hr.
We arrived about an hour ago. It was an uneventful drive back east. It’s good to see Jay Krak. His new digs seem cool. It looks like it used to be some kind of store at some point in the past when this area was a little more happening. Food is being prepared. There’s a group of people sitting on a couch watching the Super Bowl. Don Fury, the famous NYHC producer is among them. I find that slightly surreal
2.3.2009 Boston, MA 0959 Hr.
We crashed at Jonah’s practice space last night. It was pretty heavy to me. This is the place where Tombs formed. I remember coming up here on weekends to work on material that eventually would be crafted into the first e.p. “Course of Empire”, “Monuments”, “Fountain of the World 666” were all written in this room. I remember setting up my recording gear to track the first demo. It’s a little sad, but then I remember what a huge disappointment that whole trip turned out to be. Whatever, you either “pass” or “fail” in this life, there is nothing in between. Also, you can never escape your actions; eventually it all catches up to you and you have to deal with the consequences. The show was okay. The soundman asked all of the bands to tunr down. He had a decibel meter and was monitoring us during sound check. It struck me as odd that he had a full professional PA system at his disposal and didn’t bother to mic up the whole drum kit. Apparently there have been noise complaints. I realize that the guy was just doing his job, but it’s a drag when some tells you that you have to restraint yourself. We played well. The set felt really strong. For thes dates we added “Cypress” and “Gossamer” to the set list. The shows with Defeatist were kind of hit-and-run shows so we played short sets with minimal changeover time. Dysrythmia were amazing. I haven’t seen them play in about 3 or 4 years. All three of those guys can play their asses off. The whole set was new material that totally blew my mind. It’s an interesting pairing of bands, I’m stoked. Watching Kevin Hufnagel play guitar makes me feel like a Neanderthal Man. Rensselaer was small but cool. The show was in the basement of this storefront space that these guys took over and made into a show space/living pad. When we got there, a bunch of guys were sitting on the couch watching the Super Bowl Pre-Game Show and drinking beer. It was a Jay Krak show, so that meant a kick-ass vegan meal. I just realized that I’ve known that guy for like 10 years. His shows always have that vaguely European feel where he prepares food and there’s a variety of Food Not Bombs looking people hanging around. I wish defeatist were on the rest of the dates with us. What a great band. Last night while hanging out, we cranked up “Master of Reality” by Sabbath. We were all tripping out on how intense and heavy that record is, which led to the next concept about Tony Iommi. I presented the idea that Iommi probably threw away or forgot at least 5 albums worth of killer riffs over the course of his life. I wondered how much material he wrote while kicking back in his room and either bailed on it or just forgot about.
Albany, NY 1745 Hr.
We’re waiting for the promoter, sitting at the venue checking out the Happy Hour crowd. The place is filled with these business type guys in suits. Happy Hour: that term always makes me laugh. It’s Tuesday night, I bet everyone here aside from the bands are Republicans. We drove through a snow storm to get here. It was slow going, but I was into the snow and ice. We had breakfast at Herrell’s. Some far-out looking guy wearing three pairs of pants was sitting near us. He was mumbling to himself about Vietnam. The owner told him to leave. The guy asked if he could bum a cigarette off of him as he left. I’m sitting here waiting. To my right is a velvet painting of a blonde woman wearing a pink robe. She’s leaning back, her robe is open and one had is caressing one of her breasts and she’s running the other hand through her hair. I thought about you on the drive. It was I-90 all the way. How many people come in and out of our lives? What ever happens to them? It’s easy to think that they just cease to exist when they’re no longer part of your consciousness, but they live on, existing, growing old, getting divorces, having kids. Albany looks like a hard luck town. Whenever I come here, I get depressed. The building the club is in looks like it was built at the beginning of the 20th Century. It looks like generations have lived their lives and died during the lifespan of this building. Right now, snow is falling. I often wondered if you ever liked me or if on occasion, you remember any of the time we spent together. Right now, with the ice collecting on the window and the cold air leaking in through the front door into this room full of desperate shitheels, I find myself thinking about you. Waiting; guys in suits, slightly overweight working on drinking problems. This is the life that all of those kids in Williamsburg are trying to escape. I’m betting that none of these guys ever dreamed about being anything else.
2.04.2009 Brooklyn, NY 2020 Hr.
We’re at the venue all loaded in and waiting to play. Everyone is special in Williamsburg and when I say special, I don’t mean “special” in the way I mean special when I talk about Saccharine Trust’s excellent live record. Albany was pretty cool. I met some really nice peolle at the show. We played pretty well. I broke a string during “Cypress” but stuff like that happens. I had my back-up guitar ready so it didn’t effect the set too much.
2.05.2009 Philadelphia, PA 1952 Hr
Dysrhythmia are getting ready to sound check. We’re all loaded in and ready to stage our gear. It’s cold outside. Earlier on, we recorded a live set at the Drexel campus for a radio broadcast. I’m surprised how massive it sounds, the engineer did a great job. As I get older, it trips me out whenever I have to deal with college age kids. Any one of them could easily be one of my kids. Loading through the legion of listless dullards that go to Drexel made me happy that I don’t have any kids. I would be so disappointed if I had a kid, worked at some job so they could go to school and waste their time hanging out in the student union, eating crappy food and watching cartoons. Of course, there were exceptions, like Kim Kelly, the DJ at the station. Anyway, we loaded in, got sounds and ripped it. My voice was a little gravelly but I suppose that lends the “live” feeling to it. Last night in Brooklyn turned out to be pretty cool. We played really well and the sound was good. The band that went on before us was kind of a bummer. When we got on stage they left a mess of cables, power strips and D.I. boxes behind. After the show, we loaded the gear into Carson’s loft, Andrew went home and Thorns crashed at my place. I was up at 0730 and answered email for a while before heading over to breakfast. We were on the road at 1000. On the way down, we hit Vintage Vinyl where I secured a copy of the new Wino record along with the new Deathspell Omega split LP.
I just woke from a short nap upstairs in the lounge above the venue. Earlier, Steve, the manager, showed me the lounge/kitchen/gallery area. They’ve installed a shower and wash room. It’s like a scaled down version of a European squat. The first band is playing. We go on next. I’m really into that new Wino record. It sounds like it was recorded in the 70’s. The whole trip is cool: the lyrics, the riffs, the production. I hope I can hang in there like Wino. That dude has been part of this forever.
2.06.2009 Upper Darby, PA 1036 hr.
I just woke up. We crashed at Gordon’s place in Upper Darby near the Relapse Office. Thorns used his GPS to navigate and it took us through some really intense neighborhoods. We saw this prostitute check us out as we stopped at a traffic light. It had to be about 5°F last night and this lady was standing alone on this desolate street corner. The show went off well. Dillinger escape Plan was playing nearby and everyone was concerned that no one would come out. A decent amount of people started filtering in. We played hard and the set felt good. I sat to the side of the stage while Dysrhythmia played. What a great band. Watching Kevin play made me want to stop playing guitar.
Baltimore, MD 0830 Hr.
The show starts in about 30 minutes. There are 5 bands on the bill and I’m oddly relieved. The Wayward are playing so if it was just me, Kevin and Nick, I would look like a monkey trying to play the guitar. With 5 bands, it increases the odds that there will be a worse guitar player on the bill. We were at Relapse today. I knocked out a few email interviews and went over some tour stuff with Gordon. There’s a lot to do when I get back and not very much time before we head out again. Once again, we’re up against a Dillinger Escape Plan show. People are starting to trickle in.
2.07.2009 Richmond, VA 1600 Hr.
I’m sitting on the porch at the Parkwood house drinking coffee and enjoying the sun and warm weather. It’s a nice respite from the cold frozen brutality that we’ve been enduring for most of the tour. Dave is in New Jersey working on the new Burnt by the Sun record and Amy is working at the shop. I hiked up to Elwood’s to pick u some supplies. They opened a coffee and sandwich shop across the parking lot. I’m enjoying a nice strong cup of black coffee from there. Last night was a rough one. I got pulled over by the Law about 20 miles outside of Baltimore. I was issued a warning by the 22-year-old state trooper. We arrived at the club and loaded in. When I set up my gear, something has wrong in the chain of effects and both signals were coming out completely dry i.e. there were no effects. I tried to figure it out but the sound man was getting impatient and I just went for it. Later, we followed Cole out of the city. We came to a section of the street that the police had shut down and were diverting traffic. I turned right, stayed in my lane but apparently that wasn’t good enough for the cop on my right. The lights went on and he pulled me over. After being detained for about 30 minutes, he wrote me a $90 ticket for an “Unsafe Turn.” At first I refused to sign it, but he informed me that if I don’t, I would be locked up. It was more important to me that I make the rest of the shows on the tour than prove a point. That was Baltimore. I read the liner notes in the new Wino album “Pertetual equilibrium”. A lot of the material was written in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The lyrics are great. There’s this sense of spirituality without being heavy handed. Apparently, he’s playing tonight in the venue that we’re playing in tomorrow up in DC. I’m reflecting on Baltimore and how, outside of the shows and a few cool people, it’s a pretty sever town We tried to hit up this pizza place with Cole on the way out of town, after we were hassled by the cops. It was in the same part of town that reptilian Records used to be in. The whole street just seemed like a bad time. There was this really heavy mood of potential violence hanging in the air. All of the bars had just dumped a mass of drunk, horny, desperate losers into the streets. We bailed and ate at a Denny’s on the way to Annapolis. On the way down to Richmond, we stopped in some random town to get coffee. There was a Starbuck’s tucked away in this bizarre microcosm of chain stores and restaurants. Everywhere I looked I saw corporate logos and white white people. Ah yes, AMERICA!! Generic muzak was being pumped through tiny speakers mounted on the sidewalk.
2.08.2009 Richmond, VA 1558 Hr.
The show last night was awesome. It’s always a cool time hanging out down here, playing shows. We crashed at Dave’s pad, ate brunch and the others are all at this place drinking expensive beer. It’s too nice of a day to be inside so I hung around on my own and walked.