12.2.2011 Revere, MA
We were on the road by 11:30 this morning; it was a pretty smooth ride up here from New York, beat all of the traffic. We stopped roe fuel somewhere in Connecticut and as I was filling up the van, I had a flashback to being on tour with Anodyne in the late 90’s and being appalled that regular unleaded gas had broken the $2.00 a gallon barrier. Those days are long gone. As we pulled back onto I-84 East, I meditated on how much travel expenses had increased over the years and the impact it has made on touring. The already narrow margin that a band has to work with has become a tightrope walk between financial ruin and just breaking even.
I thought about Anodyne’s first US tour and how we had five consecutive days off. If something like that had happened now, it’s doubtful that we would be able to pull it off. I remember driving and driving and driving across the Southwest desert in the van, wandering aimlessly across the American waseland, living on tuna, rice cakes and black coffee. One of the most psychedelic experiences of my life was driving across Utah, listening the Gasp and pulling over in the middle of the night to check out the Great Salt Lake.
Tonight was a long night, six bands. It was great to see Livver, Def Nasty’s excellent, Post-Defcon 4 hardcore band. He’s been doing it for a while, but this is my first time seeing them play. RAWRADARWAR also kicked my ass. Jonah is legitimately one of the best singers in metal; he can do pretty much anything from sing like Chris Cornell to the brutal vocal styling on Obituary’s John Tardy.
Tonight was the first set we’ve played since the CMJ boat show over a month ago. We haven’t been that busy this fall as far as touring goes. After the first song, I was able to sink in and get into the playing. I felt pretty good about the set.
I don’t remember if I’ve ever been to Revere before. On the drive out, some of it seemed vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t remember if I had actually been there before or not. This is definitely the first time I’ve ever played a show out here. The venue was located in the parking lot of a train station. It had a real desolate vibe, like England. As a matter of fact, it reminded me of a venue in the UK we played on the Buried Inside tour from a few years ago. It was grey, depressing and I had the feeling that trouble wasn’t very far off unless you kept moving. After load-in, we set out to find some food and settled on the 99 Restaurant. It was decent; a nice hot meal, coffee and a place to kick back at aside from the venue. Carson’s buddy Dan and his wife Laura met up with us for dinner.
I was pleasantly surprised that Chris L, Thos and Chris M made it out to the show. It’s definitely off the beaten path but it means a lot to me that they made the attempt. I get into the isolation trip easily where I feel on my own and singular; it’s an internal thing because the reality is that I have a lot of really solid people in my life. It’s a residual defense mechanism left over from leaner times.
We’re crashing at Tim’s place. I’m in the basement blackout room. On the way over, we stopped at the 7-11 in Lower Allston to pick up some snacks. I used to live down the street almost two decades ago. I used to be in there every day for about a year. Those were unusual days; I was living in a house with five other people. We had one half of a two family house to ourselves and over the course of a year, we systematically destroyed it and turned it into a ghetto; it was a sweet deal, we had a basement to rehearse in, a place to park the van, a quiet street, it could have been one of those houses that we cold have lived in for many years, but we couldn’t hold it together. When the lease was up, we went on tour and everyone else scattered. When we came back from the road, I moved into our drummer’s basement and slept next to the boiler. Anyway, for about a year straight, I hit that 7-11 pretty much every night. I’d hang out on the curb instead of my room sometimes. Occasionally, I’d hit the Dunkin’ Donuts across the street but that closed at 11. There was this Korean guy that worked the night shift. We were on friendly terms, I used to be in there all the time, usually with Josh. It tripped me out to see that he was still employed by the 7-11 Corporation, still working the night shift. There was a faint glimmer of recognition but neither one of us said anything to each other, I just paid for my stuff and headed out to the van.
Boston is a city of ghosts. I have a lot of history there. When I turn down the lights in this basement room, it will get dark, pitch black.
12.3.2011 Brooklyn, NY
Today was a brutal travel day. We played three shows in less than 24 hours. We were on the move at about 10:30 this morning. We ate a quick breakfast and coffee at Tim’s place and had to bail to make it down to ABC NO RIO for an afternoon show.
The ABC NO RIO Matinee was meaningful in that the bill was made up of friends: Black Anvil, Inhuman, and The Year is One. I’m remembering how Black Anvil, Inhuman and Tombs played a show together a few years ago out on Long Island at this place called Mr. Beery’s. The building that houses ABC NO RIO is going to be demolished so this was one of the last handful of shows. It’s on a month-by-month basis at this point. We played at 1bout 16:30 I wish we could have hung out but we had to get back in the van to make it down to Philly for the nighttime show.
To make things even more ridiculously intense, the show in Philly had to be wrapped up by 22:00 because the venue had some kid of Rock ‘n’ Roll karaoke thing going on after the show. That’s where the money is I suppose. We showed up as the previous band was wrapping up. Radiation Black Body went on first, but being able to see them play was a distant fantasy. We loaded on to the stage, set up and ripped into the set. About halfway into it, the realization hit me that this was Carson’s last show with the band. I was focused on getting from place to place and executing the plan that all of the human elements had been put in the background. It’s a heavy thing; aside from a handful of shows that Domenic did and the recording of the EP, he’s been on board for the entire trip; all of the tours and insane drives, the preparation. A chapter has come to a close.
After the set, Wohlberg took us out to eat at this place called el Camino. It felt like the entire weekend was spent in the van, driving between Massachusetts, New York and Philly punctuated by the playing of sets, the consumption of caffeine and bad road food and very little sleep.