9.17.2009 Richmond, VA 0951 hr
I’m sitting on the porch of 3438 Parkwood. Dave’s still in Europe with Municipal Waste. We got here last night at around midnight, kicked back and hit the rack. The drive down was uneventful once we got out of NYC. You get on I-95 and drive south and that’s pretty much it; I can’t even remember how many times I’ve driven up and down that highway over the years. The side door of the van is stuck closed so everyone has to enter and exit through the front passenger side; in addition to that, the one of the latches on the back loading door is broken so I have it rigged up to open it up from the inside. The van is like rolling Ghetto on wheels, everything is barely holding together.
I woke up around 0800 hr hiked over to Ellwood’s and deployed the first cup of coffee for the day. It’s overcast and cool down here. Summer is definitely over.
I’ve got Hendrix “Electric Lady Land” playing. Last night, I had the first Sabbath album on. Some of this music is 40 years old and it still totally crushes most stuff I hear. I wonder is Korn is going to be a band that some kid, 40 years from now, refers back to as a defining musical statement. Only time will tell I suppose.
I can’t wait to get into the shows.
We played well. I’m sitting in the green room with Andrew, listening to Kylesa play. There’s a huge picture of a poorly rendered penis shooting cum. Someone drew an eye on the head of the penis. No matter where you stand in the room, it seems like the eye is looking at you. What is it with dressing rooms and cock drawings. This is “Cape Fear”, North Carolina. It looks like a college town, sleepy with a lot of groovy dudes and chicks walking around. I’ve decided that college towns aren’t very good for the kind of thing that we do. College towns are big for Phish and jam bands, bands that sound good after toking weed and cracking an ice cold Budweiser. This kid I talked to after our set apologized for people not digging “real music.” It’s flattering to think that someone considers Tombs “real music.”
There were a handful of people up front when we played. It was a small show but I’ll take it. The first show of the tour is down. We drive to Asheville tomorrow for Planet Caravan Fest. I’m stoked to see Wino play and hopefully hang out.
It’s good to see the Bison guys. They drove five days straight to get here from Vancouver. Their van broke down on the way so now they’re rolling in a white suburban with a trailer.
9.19.209 1048 hr Somewhere, NC
The Planet Caravan Fest was cool but kind of a mess. There were two venues; The Orange Peel, this really nice, pro theater and this Mexican restaurant down the street called Mo Daddies. That’s where we played, at the Mexican place. If I paid $80.00 to see a show and had to watch half of the bands in a Mexican restaurant with a really low rent PA, I’d be bummed. The schedule was set up so the bands were staggered but, as expected, things started off late and bands got added etc.
Despite the fact that we had a contract with clearly spelled out details about production, none of it was provided. I don’t want to sound like a rock star, but why bother sending me a document to sign if you’re not intending to hold up your end of the agreement. Nonetheless, we held up our end of the bargain and played hard. Surprisingly people actually seemed to make an effort to catch us and I feel like we played well.
Probably the most profound thing for me, aside from playing out set, was seeing Wino on a big stage. It was mind-blowing, like seeing the Hendrix Experience. He sampled generously from his catalog of material and played St. Vitus and Obsessed songs as well as stuff from latest record. He just has that style, it’s hard to explain. When you watch him play it seems so effortless. I envy that. I imagine if you watch me play, you can see every ounce of effort I put into my meager display of “creativity”. I struggle so hard with doing such simple things. Unfortunately Bison played pretty much during Wino’s set, so I missed them.
Asheville was cool. I’ve only been there once before but it was the kind of scenario where we rolled in late, played the set and bailed and didn’t get a chance to check out the city. It’s a small, hippy town up in the mountains. There was a small organic co op across from where the van was parked so I was able to secure some good food.
After the show, we checked into a Motel 6 and hit a Waffle House across the street. It was only my second experience in one of those establishments. I’m a strict Denny’s man. I tried to keep it simple with an egg sandwich in an attempt to avoid the potential gastronomical issues that the “Scattered, Smothered and Covered” trip would probably bring on. Next to us, about 20 feet away, was a table full of teenage girls. From what I could gather it was some kind of post birthday celebration feeding. The “Birthday Girl” was completely wasted; she had food smeared on her face. She ended up pissing herself and was led outside and I didn’t see her again. People all around us were smoking and eating at the same time.
Charlotte, NC 1811 Hr
I’m sitting in a Starbucks with Thorns and Carson. We rolled by the venue earlier, but nobody was there. The neighborhood was really, really beat so we bailed before something negative happened. There were groups of people just kind of regarding us. We drove off to a better neighborhood and found a shopping center to waste some time. I updated the tour accounting and the others hit a Borders Books. We’ll probably head over to the venue soon.
The Bison dudes are radical. They’re easy going and professional as well as being a kickass heavy rock outfit. Mark, their manager and Thorns have an uncanny similarity in appearance and personality. They both kind of dress the same and more or less do the same job on the tour. It’s a trip seeing them side-by-side at the merch table.
I’m sitting in the van outside of the venue listening to “Desire in Uneasiness” by Nadja. Apparently, this venue, The Milestone, has been around since the early 80’s. I was told that Black Flag, Minor Threat and the Bad Brains have all played here.
Disappointment implies expectations and I suppose that the best practice sometimes is to avoid expecting someone to operate on a level that they’re not capable of because they don’t have the history or background to see that things are a certain way. All I can do is provide an opportunity and hopefully that person is open to learning. Likely, that person will just succumb to weakness and fall off.
Tomorrow is a long haul to Nashville. After the show I want to get out of here as fast as possible, hit the motel and get as many hours of sleep as I can for the drive.
It was hot on stage tonight with very little fresh air. All of the miles I ran in the weeks leading up to tour paid off. I feel we played well tonight; it felt like the first night of tour even though we’ve already played two shows. Wilmington was a weird night and the Fest in Asheville was kind of a stressful, unorganized mess. From here on out, it’s lock and load, search and destroy.
9.21.2009 Nashville, TN 0845 hr
We’re kicking back at Omid’s place, the others are still asleep. It seems quiet here but according to Omid, it’s one of the rougher neighborhoods in Nashville. I’m sitting on his porch; I can hear birds and the far away sounds of the interstate. I dig his place, it has that austere, living alone vibe to it: not a lot of furniture, a minimal amount of gear in the kitchen etc.
This young kid named Justin came to the show with Omid last night. I spent about an hour talking to him about music that we both enjoyed. It tripped me out that he was into bands like Starkweather, Bloodlet, Deadguy and other bands from the 90’s. He must have still been in high school. I guess to him, those were the formative bands the same way that Black Flag and Husker Du were the formative bands for me. I’m going to send him a bunch of stuff when we get back from this run of shows.
We woke up early and drove all day to Nashville. We were told that the load-in was at 1700 hr and the doors were at 1930 hr. Of course that’s not how it went down. We arrived on time, loaded in, but the show didn’t actually kick off until close to 2200 hr. Details. We played well despite some minor issues like broken strings and lack of monitors.
Ivan, Tyler and some of the kids that helped put together our show during the tour with ASRA were there. It was cool to see some familiar faces.
Today is a relatively short run out to Memphis.
9.22.2009 Birmingham, AL 1738 hr
We arrived at the club and loaded in about an hour ago. The Bottle Tree is a cool venue; we played here on the Isis tour a few months ago. I had a really hard night the last time I was here but tonight there is nothing to get in the way of me focusing 100 %. At this point that’s all there is for me to do. Play shows and drive.
Last night was cool; we played to a handful of people and I feel it was probably the best we’ve played so far. Gordon forwarded me an email from Kylesa booking agent telling us to cut our set shorter because the shows are going too late and the band is bummed out. I think, it would have been a lot easier if someone from the band had just asked us instead of involving all of these people. We dropped two songs and I must say, the set actually flows a lot better.
I’m getting devoured buy mosquitoes right now. We sitting in the backstage area; according to one of the dudes that work here, the mosquitoes live under the porch.
We cranked GG Allin, Mayhem, David Allen Coe and Manson on the way in.
9.23.2009 Birmingham, AL 1044 hr
Small turnout last night but hey, times are tough Right?
We played well. It was oddly comfortable on the stage, like it wasn’t a struggle to hear everything and there was enough room to set up and do our thing. The shorter set is cool, more impact and better flow.
I had a really hard time during the last time I was at that venue and the vestiges of that night were effecting me. Memories, all bad, were creeping into my head and put me in a negative mood. Some of those feelings still cling to me like a leech. It’s hard to shake the bad times.
Today is New Orleans. I haven’t been there since before Hurricane Katrina. We played Baton Rouge last time and on the way, we saw some of the damage. It should be an interesting trip today. I almost killed everybody with my reckless driving last time we rolled through.
9.24.2009 Austin, TX 1942 hr
The last two days have been a blur due to the overnight drive from New Orleans. The show last night was cool. It was in one of the worse neighborhoods in the city; on the way in we saw blocks of destroyed homes and desolation from the Katrina disaster. Of course, the poor neighborhoods are the ones that get improved last.
It would have been cool to have more time to hang out in New Orleans, but we were running late to the show and once we rolled up to the venue, we just wanted to hang around and do our thing. There’s a lot to see and I’m eager to see what’s left after the city was flooded, looted and torn apart. I’ve always felt a really dark vibe in New Orleans and the blocks of destruction make it heavier.
The program was laid back at the club and everyone was really cool. John, the owner made a huge pot of jambalaya for the bands. When he found out that Thorns was vegetarian, he went back to his house and cooked him up some veggie food. Everything was delicious.
The show got under way late and we didn’t get out of there until around 0300 hr. We just saddled up and rolled out of town. I took the first shift until about 0500 hr and Carson took the second shift. I tried to sleep in the back but never actually succeeded. At some point in Texas, we were pulled over at a fuel station and I just got in the driver’s seat. We made it to Austin by the early afternoon, hit Whole Foods and now we’re at Red 7 waiting for the show to start. We played here earlier this year with Wolves in the Throne Room and Pelican. Austin is a good town for music, it seems like the whole city is set up for live bands to come through and kick it.
9.25.2009 Austin, TX 0953 hr
The show last night was good. Playing at Red 7 is cool; the monitors are loud and the stage is laid out really well, there’s enough room to do your thing and the people at the club are all totally accommodating. I felt we played really well with a few minor exceptions in “Waiting for the Death Note” and the new Untitled song we play at the end of the set.
I’m kicking back at Rachel’s. Thorns is still asleep. We’ll be heading out to meet Bison at Serrano’s, our usual lunch in Austin. Our drive today is short so everyone is looking forward to relaxing today. Austin is a good town for chilling out.
The big news today is that Susan Adkins died in jail.
I’ve got Pentagram playing on my iPod. It’s a lot cooler than I thought it would be down here which is really nice after being in the inferno of humidity that Alabama and Louisiana were. I’m enjoying the first cup of coffee out of my new combination coffee press/travel mug. It’s one of mankind’s greatest inventions. You put the coffee in the mug, add water, let it steep and then plunge it. Radical.
The tour is trudging onward. Last night was probably the best attended; Austin is a music town and kids down here really dig metal and heavy rock. We only have a few days left then its back to New York but luckily it’ll only be for a few weeks then it’s off to Europe. Gordon has been in touch about possible touring plans for the early part of 2010. That works for me; long tour, short tour, I’ll take it. At this point, it’s about all I really have going for me.
This is the only life you get and when I’m on my death bed, I’m not going to look back on my life and wish I spent more time working at an office or at some job. I’m going to look back on the times I spent doing the things I want to do and the time with people that I wanted to spend time with. Freedom is a thing that most people wouldn’t know how to handle. This society makes us feel like we’re free but how many of us can actually say that we’re free. In the middle of the night when you wake up with anxiety over money and the dwindling ability to maintain the life that you want to live with all of the excesses and extra baggage, you know that you’re not truly free.
9.26.2009 Denton, TX 2057 hr
I’m sitting outside, in this courtyard behind the venue. The local opening band is sound checking. I think doors are open. We just ate some really mediocre Mexican food at this place up the street; on the drive in from San Antonio, we hit a Taco Cabana which was surprisingly impressive for a fast food chain, it completely outshined the place we just ate at. We’re playing this place called Rubber Gloves that’s an attached to a rehearsal studio and what looks like a skate shop. It’s on the outskirts of town in an industrial area. The sky is huge right now and the air smells clean and dry. I can hear crickets.
I hit this coffee place earlier for an outstanding cup of coffee. Apparently, it’s open 24 hours a day so I’ll be heading back there tonight at some point.
Last night in San Antonio was cool. When we arrived, there was an early show going on with a bunch of bands that sounded like that generic shit that kids listen to these days. We bailed and tried to find the Alamo on foot, but aborted the mission due to economy of time.
For the most part we played well. There were a few rough spots but the energy was there. I met some really cool people after the show and hung out. These two really intense metal guys talked to me about the Swans and Jarboe. One guy asked me if we considered ourselves a black metal band and I responded by saying that we don’t. I think that in order to say that you’re a black metal band you have to have more going on that “The Sound.” You have to be down with the whole trip and have some kind of ideology behind your music. I told him that we are influenced by black metal but aren’t on the same trip.
After the show we drove back to Austin and crashed with Morgan Kill the Client. It was only 70 miles but I couldn’t keep myself focused. Carson took over and I feel asleep in the back on the van. When we got to Morgan’s pad, I took his spare bedroom. I put my headphones on and dialed in the new 1349 record to fall asleep to. I didn’t even make it past the intro.
I woke up thinking that I was at my parent’s house. I’ve been dragging my ass all day and it’s not until now that I actually feel okay. I’ve been wrestling with a low level depression for most of the day. The miles went by quietly and without much eventfulness. I sunk deeper into this heavy vibe. I had Gun Club “Las Vegas Story” playing into “Fire of Love”; both of those records have been with me a long time and have helped me get through a lot of low times but none of that seems to be helping today.
It seems dead tonight. Some nights are like that. There’s only one show left with Kylesa and Bison. I’ll miss the Bison guys, but I had almost no interaction with Kylesa. It was a weird impersonal tour.
9.28.2009 Indianapolis, IN 1952 hr
I don’t remember much about the show last night in Oklahoma City. I remember the set and saying goodbye to the Bison BC and Kylesa people then getting in the van and driving. Bison BC are a great live band. You can tell that they spend a lot of time touring when they play because the whole thing is so natural and dialed in. On top of that, they’re seriously cool people. I feel like I made some really good friends.
The drive was relentless. At some point, I got pulled over in the middle of night at a toll booth. The cop just wanted to check us out, but claimed that I didn’t signal when I changed lanes. He almost smiled when he told me. Whatever, I don’t even trip out anymore. H probably thought that we were an easy drug bust or something. The interaction was kind of weird because he ordered me to get out of the van and meet him at the rear of the vehicle. I was out of his visual sight line for about 15 seconds. I could have grabbed a shotgun out of the van and blew him away in the time that I was out of his sight. I don’t know what the police procedures are in Oklahoma but this struck me as odd because he clearly put himself in a vulnerable position. When I met him at the rear of the van, he told me to get in the front seat of the police cruiser while he ran my license. Again, this struck me as odd. Ultimately he let me go with a written warning. It was one of the strangest interactions with the police that I’ve ever had.
One of the cooler things about OKC was this record store next to the venue. I traded the owner some of the stuff out of my distro towers some stuff out of his store. I scored a couple of issues of SOD, Black Raven Choir records and a long sleeve SOD t shirt. I didn’t even know that the magazine was still published.
We’re in Indianapolis waiting to play. A handful of people are here. It’s a Monday night. I’m beat but I will be ready to kick it when it’s time for the set.
9.29.2009 Detroit, MI 2136 hr
We arrived at the venue about and hour ago, loaded in and now we’re waiting. I have a feeling tonight will be dead; one of those money-losing nights that are bound to happen on a tour. The upside is that this guy is set up in the courtyard outside of the venue with a grill and is cooking these awesome burgers with fresh corn and killer fresh veggies. I just ate a half-pound burger with cheese and fresh chopped jalapenos wit a roasted corn on the cob. It hit the spot.
We were having a discussion about what wi-fi means. Apparently it means wireless fidelity.
Michigan is serious about porno. The Midwest in general is pretty intense when it comes to adult entertainment, but on the way up I couldn’t help but notice how many huge porno shops I saw advertised on billboards. One boasted 40 plus channels in their private booths. I also spotted three billboards in a row advertising “Adult Health Spas”.
Last night was cool. We played the same spot that I saw Ice Nine do their reunion at back in July. It was good to see all of my Indy friends; I feel fortunate to know people like Jared Southwick, Dave Lawson and the rest of the crew. I’ve been coming to that town for a lot of years at this point. Dave told me that Ice Nine has recorded some new material; I can’t wait to here it. How radical would it be if they did some more shows?
Dream is Dead played and totally destroyed as usual. They sound killer with two guitars and Carl is the perfect compliment to Jared. The show was cool.
I totally blew the end of the last song in the set. The lack of sleep and brutal drives beat me I suppose.
I’m sitting outside. It’s a relief to be out of the south and into some true autumn weather. This is my favorite time of the year. I feel heavy today. Maybe it’s the fatigue. Tomorrow is a day off and then we’re in Richmond. The tour is almost over and then it’s back in New York for a few weeks before we ship out to Europe. I just want to stay on the road at this point. Home is not home anymore, it’s just a place where I keep my stuff. I can’t say that I miss anything or anyone at this point.
9.30.2009 Somewhere, Ohio 1123 hr
I woke up about 30 minutes ago. We played the show and drove about 2 hours to the hotel so we wouldn’t have to spend the night in Detroit. It’s a heavy place. One of the dudes at the show was telling me that the population of the city has been on a steady decline and that some neighborhoods are being reclaimed by nature. What a concept, I imagine locks of empty building with tree roots cracking the sidewalk and ivy growing over ghetto walls.
The show was surprisingly cool. Two really good bands played: Beast of Fields and Year of the Pig. A handful of people showed up and were into it. You can’t really ask for more.
Today is a day off. We drive to Richmond.
10.01.2009 Richmond, VA 1345 hr
We drove all day yesterday and rolled into town at around 2200 hr. I stayed up later than I should have and woke up at noon and ran the RVA drill: coffee and food at Elwoods and now we’re kicking back. It’s cool of Amy to let us chill here. We’re looking forward to the show tonight.
10.02.2009 New York, NY 1630 hr
We Left Richmond early this morning, I don’t recall exactly what time it was, but it felt really early. The show last night was cool despite the bad vibe at the club. I’ve played there before and it’s always this real downer because the staff is kind of hostile. The sound man obviously didn’t want to be there judging by the interactions I overheard between him and the other bands. I made sure I was clear with him about our needs on stage. We’re flexible: if the PA is just a simple vocal system then we’re cool, but if there is a fully professional sound system available, I expect the engineer to be professional and do his job. This guy was lazy and needed some persuasion. We still probably sounded like shit in the front of house, but at least I tried to motivate the guy to do his job. I mean, after all, he’s not a volunteer is he?
We played and went back to Amy’s. The goal was to get as much sleep as possible and bail early. Unfortunately, we ended up watching “Superbad” on of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time and I didn’t rack out until about 0300 hr.
The ride back to New York was long and uneventful. Traffic was manageable and we even had enough time to hit Brooklyn Label for a late lunch before loading in. I’ve been stressing out about this show discovered that it’s at the Cake Shop, a venue on the Lower East Side who’s maximum capacity is about 100 people. This is Burnt by the Sun’s only North American Show. To add to the stress, there are five bands on the bill.
The show went well. I think we played well, but it was hard to determine. I know that I tried to play hard and even if the sound was less than optimal, I hope people were able to get off as hard as I did.
Tour is over. We leave for Europe in a fewer short weeks.