Archive for Punk Rock

Transmission 7.23.2012 EverythingWentBlack Podcast Gavin Van Vlack

Posted in Everything Went Black Media, Podcast, The Trip with tags , , , , , , , on July 23, 2012 by everythingwentblack

Late last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with Gavin Van Vlack to discuss a wide variety of subjects such as martial arts, fitness and staying on course with your life. Gavin Van Vlack is a long-time player in the New York Hardcore Scene and has been in such notable bands as Burn, Absolution and Die 116.

You can check out the podcast thru iTunes (please subscribe if you dig it, leave comments):
or stream it:


Transmission 4.25.2012 Adventures in the Great Outdoors – Roadburn, Wasser mit Gas, European Tour

Posted in Everything Went Black Media, The Trip with tags , , , , on April 25, 2012 by everythingwentblack

4.12.2012 JFK Delta Terminal 15:47

We’re sitting at the terminal, waiting to board. I like to get to the airport early, I’ll sit at the gate all day rather than be late. There’s always that nagging anxiety that somehow we won’t be able to get on the plane, even though everything is on the up-and-up with us these days.

We drove out to Ozone Park in the van, parked in front of the Delaney family’s house and took a car service to the airport; it was the same procedure that we used to fly out to L.A. a couple of months ago for the Scion Show. I woke up around 07:30 going over the items on my to-do list in my head, before we shipped out. I had to swing by the Shirts and Destroy shop to pick up a box of merch before heading over to the practice space to meet the rest of the guys.

Soon we’ll be in the air, inside of a metal tank that somehow flies through the air over the Atlantic Ocean. It’ll be a short run, shows every night, bread, cheese and bubbly water.

21:03 EST
I’m somewhere over the Atlantic. We had some turbulence so the fasten seatbelts sign was on for a while and they suspended service until things cooled. I have the dreaded middle seat, as a matter of fact all four of us are in the middle position. The lady next to me wasn’t going to let me out to the bathroom because the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign was on.

I blasted through the interview I did with Will for the War on 45 site. I haven’t been able to get the time to sit down and do the transcription. Will is a good friend so there’s a personal component to this.

The curtain between “Business Class” and Coach are drawn. We’re heathens back here in Coach. It’s a long flight, maybe we will wage a war for territory against Business Class and take their extra leg room and higher-quality, complimentary pillows.

4.13.2012 Saarbrucken, Germany 19:47

We’re at the venue waiting to play. I didn’t sleep at all last night on the plane; I can never get to sleep on these overnights. We met up with Ben and the Hierophant guys at the airport and drove 6 hours to get here. I faded in and out during the ride. I drank some coffee, ate and now I feel pretty good.

We got a chance to run through the gear; I’m always stressed out until I can sort out my gear. We’re using Hierophant’s backline so there’s a bit of a learning curve. Everything seems in order so I can settle down..

We’re checked-in at the hotel. My hours are all turned upside down and I feel delirious, there is a sense of unreality that I’m working with. Then goal is to get as much rest as possible tonight.

European tour syndrome was in full effect tonight. The van pulled up behind the venue, we loaded in and I hung out backstage for the whole night. As we drove away, I saw that this really cool town square was about a block away; pretty much all I saw of Saarbruken was the venue, the alley and the hotel. We’re shipping out tomorrow at around 11:00 for Roadburn.

We played well tonight; I was able to more or less pull off singing “Passageways” and “Silent World”. It was the first time we played them live, ever. It was a small turnout but I’ll take it. I talked to some kids that had seen Anodyne back in 2004. One of them was Taibe the lighting guy for Llynch, the band we toured with on our only European tour. Was it really 8 years ago? Time flies on broken wings. We’re all going to die out here someday.

I’m thinking back to how fucked things were for me on the last European tour. I was going through a pretty intense upheaval and I felt distracted. It made me focus on the playing more because that was the only solace I had. The long drives in the van, the hours spent inside of my head were like walking through Hell. We’re only here for a handful of days; I feel better, I can focus on doing my job this time around and enjoy the trip.

4.15.2012 Tilburg, Netherlands 08:27

I’m sitting in the breakfast room of the hotel, I just finished off a plate of food, now I’m drinking the bitter, Dutch coffee. We got in about 02:30, I sat up and read a few more pages of “A Fighter’s Mind” by Dan Sheridan before falling asleep. I just finished reading “A Fighter’s Heart”, his first book, on the morning that we shipped out. It some of the best writing on combat sports that I’ve ever read.

The Netherlands is such a relaxed, chilled-out place, it’s almost ironic that some of the top kick-boxers are based out of here. Everyone seems high all the time in this country.

Playing Roadburn was probably the coolest experience we’ve ever had. The whole thing ran like clockwork, everyone was polite and totally cool. Walter, the point man behind the whole operation, made sure to stop by and say hello to everyone, which added a nice personal touch. I ran into a lot of friends: Ralph Schmidt, his fiancé Dani, Josh Graham, The Pelican guys, Dave Clark, Jamie Thomson and the Process guys. Pip, Relapse, Joeren and Juggalo Bob, English Matt just to name few. Tom G. Warrior was hanging out in the backstage; I approached him and asked for a photo, which is something that I never do, but I have to admit that I was in awe. He’s such a larger-than-life icon in the metal world; Celtic Frost and Hellhammer have been such huge influences on what we do in Tombs. He was cool and didn’t mind how awkward I felt asking. It made the whole voyage to Europe worthwhile in my book. Fan moment number 2 happened hours later at the end of the night. We were getting ready to load our gear out and I saw Away from Voivod walk by; I said to Dan, “that’s Away from Voivod”, he must have heard me because he turned around, smiled and said, “you’re the guys from Tombs!” He then went into saying how he dug our set. I was floored! Voivod has been one of my favorite bands for most of my life. I started listening to them shortly after I discovered metal back when I was in high school.

In addition to all of this, we played a set in this venue that used to be a church; there were stained glass windows, a high, vaulted ceiling, very gothic; the room was deep and mostly constructed of wood and plaster so it had a really warm sound. We were playing during the same time slot as Sleep and Necros Christos so I didn’t expect much of a turn out. I was pleasantly surprised to see the room pretty much full when we started the set. We played well; aside from “Silent World” and “Passageways”, we’ve been playing these songs for over a year, so at this point there shouldn’t be any surprises. Orion is holding it down, this is only about his 6th show with us, so I imagine playing a set at Roadburn with us must be a trip for him.

Today, It’s back to Germany. I’m not sure how far of a drive it is. We’re driving around in Ben’s van. It’s the same vehicle we used on the tour with The Secret last summer. Sitting in the van brings back all of heavy memories of the brutal drives, exhaustion and the turmoil that I was in during that last run. That’s part of the past now, I’m over it and I’m doing everything I can do to make sure I never go through something like that again.

Coffee Cup Number 3, I’m settling in. One of the only downside of being on the road is not being able to train. There are different people in music, sometimes the ego aspect of this trip gets to me, not to say that there aren’t egos in Jiu Jitsu, but the intensity of the physical commitment seems to keep a lot of that in check. It’s a different set of rules out here; I’m trying to roll with the positive vibe that I picked up with training.

My favorite set of the day was Oranssi Pazuzu, the tripped-out black metal band from Finland. They went on right before us and I was mesmerized by their set. I only have mp3 files of their music. At least in the states, it’s hard to find physical copies of their material.

Onward to Bremen today.

Bremen, Germany 16:45We just finished sound-checking; Hierophant is doing their thing on stage, getting sounds. Morser is playing tonight; my mind is totally blown; I never thought that I would have a chance to see them, let alone play a show with them. I didn’t even realize that they were still active.

I dozed off in the van listening to the new Blut Aus Nord record; it somehow seemed appropriate for the bleak Germany countryside. One thing that I’ll never get used to is the requirement to pay for use of the rest rooms on the road through most of Europe.

17:44I took a cruise around the neighborhood; we’re across from the bus station, there’s a large cobblestone square lined with kebab joints, porno books shops and newsstands. I’m instantly reminded of the German film Christiane F featuring Natja Brunckhorst and that killer David Bowie sound track. There’s a version of the song “Heroes” called “Helden” where Bowie sings in German. I saw that movie on VHS when I was in high school and it blew my mind. I know that film was shot in Berlin, but there’s a stark vibe here that makes me thing of drug addicts, hookers and male hustlers. At night, when the businesses shut down, I bet it gets seedy around here. I make these observations and I wonder how much of it is influenced by my state of mind, how much of perception is colored by mood and emotional state.

It’s cold in the backstage room; I’m wearing my jacket. I bought a falafel at one of the myriad of Middle Eastern eateries in the area. I can hear Morser downstairs sound-checking. I’m really looking forward to seeing them play.

4.16.2012 Bremen, Germany 00:24We’re at the hostel; I’m staying in a room with Dan and some of the other Hierophant guys. We have at least a six hour drive tomorrow to get to the next stop; I can’t remember where it is, I just know that we have a six hour drive.

Tonight was cool; it was a small show but everyone we met was really nice. I felt like we played well. Riggs told me that a girl cried because we were out of small shirts.

Morser did not let me down; I never thought that I would get the chance to see them…ever. They were cool guys and we traded shirts with them; I picked up their latest record; I can’t wait to get back to my room at home to listen to it.

I should hit the rack. It’s cold, I’m wearing a hoody and I have a blanket pulled up over me.

Karlsruhe, Germany 18:08We arrived at the venue about an hour ago. It was a long, cold ride south from Bremen. At times, it was sleeting; I slept on and off. Pelican is sound-checking. It’s great seeing those guys; Roadburn was so chaotic that I didn’t get much of an opportunity to hang out with them. Also Brother Ralph Schmidt is scheduled to make an appearance tonight as well.

It costs 0.75 Euro. You buy a ticket, you enter a turnstile do your thing in the Men’s room and then you get a credit to buy something in the shop. I’ll never get used to this. Dan hopped the turnstile today; I know that if I tried that, I would get caught.

Black Shape of Nexus is also playing tonight. This tour has been cool for seeing bands that I never thought I would see: Black Shape of Nexus, Oranssi Pazuzu and Morser.

4.17.2912 Schweinfurt, Germany 17:48I feel drained today. We didn’t have a very long drive from Karlsruhe to Schweinfurt, but I feel empty. We played here on our first European tour; I remember it being a drag so maybe I’m anticipating a bad time tonight. It’s just us and Hierophant tonight, alone in this big, cold building. I’m sitting in the upstairs sleeping quarters. There’s band graffiti all over the walls; it seems like every available space is covered with band names, declaration of sexual prowess or poorly rendered penises.

It was great hanging out with the Pelican guys last night; we have two more shows with them at the end of the week. This tour feels like it has gone on for too long already, but I don’t really have that much going on at home except for training. It feels like a grind right now; there is no specific goal except to play shows, make some money to pay off our various expenses and fly home.

Last night was cool; Dallas is filling in for Laurent. Damn, what a great player he is! Black Shape of Nexus were awesome. I picked up their new double LP. I had been in touch with Malte, their singer over the past few months, it was nice to meet him in person. I have been into their music for the past few years. I spoke with Ralf, the guitarist/recordist of the band. He told me that he’s a DIY devotee, that if he doesn’t know how to do something, he does whatever it takes to learn it. I’ve been thinking about that statement all day.

Germans: distant, reticent and opinionated. They will tell you exactly what they don’t like about you, your music or your choice of songs for the set list. Every tour has too many dates in Germany. It’s a heavy place; even when the sun shines here, it seems like the clouds are doing everything they can to suppress the light. A German told Dan that I look like a criminal.

I finished reading Dan Sheridan’s book, “The Fighter’s Mind.” It gave me a lot to think about. When I get back, I’m going to apply some of the things I learned from the book into my training. There were awesome sections with Renzo Gracie and Marcelo Garcia. In Marcelo’s chapter, he addressed the concept of being the best. Jiu Jitsu people want to put the spotlight on him and his response is that he’s love Jiu Jitsu more than anyone else and that’s why he is successful. That can be applied to pretty much anything; you have to love it more than anyone that may be a potential competitor if you want to be successful.
I’m thinking about bands, people that play music and all of the lightweight trips they are on. I’m thinking about people that you’ve known for years that look at you pretend that they have no idea who you are. People like that should try some kind of intense physical training, something that will break down their ego and make them realize that they are not the best, that there is always another level to go to. True humbleness is such a relief and the only place I really experience that is in Jiu Jitsu and other martial arts.

We should draw a good 6 or 7 people tonight.

4.18.2012 Schweinfurt, Germany 02:35I was pretty much on the money with tonight’s attendance. I don’t care, I played as hard as I did at Roadburn. I’m a machine, I turn on the switch and you get the same thing every time. I don’t have the program to go half way. However showed up got a good show and that’s all that matters to me.

We hung out in the upstairs crash pad. I ate some of the leftovers from dinner. I took a shower; some dude from another band wrote about how many loads he shot in the shower. There’s a mind-numbing sameness to all of this. Loneliness, sexual frustration, boredom, these are the things that mutate us on the road.

There’s a long drive to Prague tomorrow.

4.18.2012 Prague, Czech Republic 18:35I had difficulty sleeping last night, couldn’t wind down. I saw that the sun was coming up and decided that getting sleep was not going to happen. We were on the road at 09:00 and I slept for most of the drive cranking a bunch of early Metallica that I had on my iPod; mostly “Ride the Lightining” and “…And Justice for All.”

We got to the club in the afternoon and checked out some of the city. I’ve been to Prague in the past, but there is a lot of the city I haven’t seen. I have a feeling that tonight will be one of those nights. I haven’t seen any promotion for the show anywhere and the venue seems more like place where people would drink Absinthe and listen to house music.The show is in this dungeon-like room below a bar. It’s just us and Hierophant tonight. It could go either way.

Some of the most beautiful women in the world live in Eastern Europe. It was like admiring rare flowers in a garden today. As I get older, it’s enough for me to just admire a woman’s beauty and not try to creep up on them. It comes with maturity I suppose.

I feel exhausted. I want to play the set and get on with it.

4.19.2012 Munich, Germany 19:12I’m sitting in the sleeping quarters above the venue. The last time I was here, my whole life got turned upside down. I made sure that I got the same bunk that I was in on that night.. I remember the fruitless attempts at sleep that night, the feeling that I had just stepped into a dark hole.

Tonight will be different.

I can’t remember much about the show in Prague. I remember waking up this morning and driving back into Germany.

Junius is on the bill tonight. It’s cool seeing those guys.

I just had dinner with Larry and the other Pelican guys. I was in a really bad mood until I had some food and took a shower now I feel relaxed and ready to kick it. We’ll see about the crowd. I don’t think the average Pelican fan really feels what we’re doing. I don’t care: I play as hard as I can and drive away to the next show. I love the dudes in Pelican so it’s enough to be here and hang with them, watch them play and. Did I mention how much ass Dallas is kicking? I have to see his band Swan King play next time they’re in New York. Their record is great, but the word is that it pales next to the live show.

We had a nice chicken curry and rice dish; Trevor said the vegetarian version was better. Maybe I’ll try it later.

21:11The set is over, I’m ready to pack up and get the fuck out of here. I’m in that mindset tonight. This place feels bad to me, there are ghosts haunting me. I think about how I felt last time I was here and I want to get off the boat. I feel like such a failure.

Do the soundguys get paid here? The front-of-house man did all he could to ignore all of my requests for the vocal monitor. I can roll with pretty much any situation, but in a professional venue like this, with professional gear, they should be able to get it right. Maybe he was doing that German thing; I don’t know. It borderline ruined my performance, I feel like I pushed my voice too hard and didn’t have any control. Stuff like that matters in a place where people can actual hear what you’re trying to do.

I wish I could pull my head out of my ass and loosen up. It was such a heavy trip when I was here a few months ago. I’m kicking back in the same bunk, trying to meditate on the emotions I had. I can feel it manifest, hanging over me like a black cloud. I will do battle with it; I will make war on it and by morning it will be broken.

Loneliness and hard times are nothing to me. I will eviscerate loneliness. I’ll take it down into the pit where I live and choke it out. My life is made up of brief moments of light but in reality I know that these depths are where I belong because I destroy every relationship that I’ve ever been in. I’m the depression machine tonight. My soul is a drain; depression rides on my back forever. I want to go to nowhere. I want to walk until I disappear; life seems like a secret wrapped in a secret to me sometimes.

Tonight there will be the party-thing after the show. I want to be alone in this bunk, walking down the corridors of memory and hard times, swinging on a hinge.

By the way, I tried the vegetarian curry; Trevor was right.

4.20.2012 Berlin, Germany 17:57We got in about an hour ago. I slept pretty much the entire ride. When I woke up I played “Come Reap” by Devil’s Blood as we sat in traffic. It’s Friday night. This is the first time that I’ve been in Berlin without it being cold and raining. It’s sunny and pleasant out, there are people wandering around and I may take a walk before things kick off. Pelican are sound checking now.

I’m trying to shake the negative feelings, the heavy thoughts. The Munich / Berlin run carries a lot of baggage for me from the last time I was here. I was dealing with a lot of issues back home. The last few days have been hard, but I have to remember that a lot has changed in my life. The last time was so heavy; I felt like my life had bottomed out. I remember playing the set, loading up and driving all night to catch a ferry up to Scandinavia.

The tour is almost over; one more date after tonight and then we fly back home.

It’s odd playing with Pelican without Laurent. Dallas is killing it so there hasn’t been any compromises as far as the band’s performance goes. It would have been awesome to be out on the road again with Laurent.

We did a podcast after the show last night. It started out with total chaos but toward the end, we got some good conversation in as the drunk people began to fall out. It was down to me, Joe Martinez, Trevor and Mike. We were up until after 05:00 talking. Joe suggested some reading material for me:

Michael Cremo – Forbidden Archeology

Jim Mars – Alien Agenda

Jill Bolty Taylor – The Ted Conference

22:27Pelican is playing. Our set was a little sloppy, but I felt like we had good energy. We played hard, it sounded bad on stage; threw me off a little. Tonight is the last show with Pelican, they fly up to Finland and we continue on with Hierophant to Brussels. Tomorrow is the last day. The tour was short but I’ll take it. The Hierophant guys were cool; great road partners. Today, in the van, we were listening to a recording of their new material. It sounded heavy, sort of His Hero is Gone-esque; I’d like to get a copy of it.

We have a long ride tomorrow. The show will be over early so we can get some sleep before we get into the long haul across Germany. I’ll be glad to get out of these places. It won’t be so hard for me next time around.

4.21.2012 Brussels, Germany 19:41Tonight’s the last show. We’re playing in this place that holds 600; the promoter says presales have been slow, so I’m expecting a big empty room. They have a great sound system and the room looks as if it was designed for real bands to play in; this place has probably seen better days. The neighborhood looks rundown and sketchy.

We drove all day. I had my iPod on, playing various podcasts, “Black coffee Blues 1 and 2” and dozing off. At one point, we passed a sign for Hannover and I remembered that the Scorpions formed there. It wouldn’t be a proper European tour for us without at least one brutal drive. At least this time around, we didn’t have any ferries.

I find touring in Europe to be more draining than in the states. Maybe it’s the isolation, the detachment. No matter how many times I come over here, I will always feel like an alien. I spend the days wrapped up in my jacket, sitting in the back of the van with my headphones on until we stop at a fuel station to get diesel, piss and get coffee. The time we spend in each city is fleeting; it’s rare that I have time to wander around the city at all. That’s the number, one day at a time, one kilometer at a time.

Tomorrow night, I’ll be home again.

4.22.2012 Amsterdam, Netherlands Airport 14:28We’re waiting at the gate; the flight doesn’t leave until 17:45.

The show was cool last night; I met a bunch of really nice people. This amazing band called Daggers opened the show; I picked up their LP after the show. They had that sort of European sound similar to Amen Ra, Breach and Celeste. There’s a hardcore element tempered with this kind of artsy vibe. You can tell these dudes probably have Neurosis records along with His Hero is Gone.

We checked into the hostel and hung out in Hierophant’s room; it was the last night of tour and the vibe was loose. There must have been some kind of high school class trip because the floor that the Italians were on was filled with rowdy youngsters, yelling and raising hell in the hallways. The question I had was where was the supervision?

We all hit the rack around 01:00; it was a short run from Brussels to the airport but everyone was tired; I know we were all looking forward to getting on the plane. At about 02:30, I noticed that I wasn’t asleep anymore and that there was this alarm sounding off. It could only be one thing, but we were all trying to convince ourselves that it was something else. Logic ultimately prevailed and we exited down the emergency stairs.

We met up with the Italians; Ben looked furious. The high school trip was also assembled outside. Apparently, someone had discharged a fire extinguisher on first floor, the same floor that the high school kids were located on. We spotted this one kid looking nervous, kind of shuffling around, looking guilty. He was the reason why none of us were asleep.

Orion braced the kid up and asked him why he set off the fire extinguisher. Apparently, the kid challenged him to a fight in the morning. Kids these days are growing up without the fear of getting an ass-kicking and I feel that this is a negative thing. Getting your ass kicked when you’re coming up is a positive thing, but the weakness of parents is turning a whole generation into douchebags.

After a while, we went back into the lobby. Some dude was going off, yelling in French. I think he was on to the concept that one of the high school kids was behind the whole fire extinguisher situation, and he was going to get to the bottom of it. We made our way over to the elevators; suddenly words were being exchanged between us and a group of 14-year-old males. This kid was stepping up to the elevator, speaking French and taking an aggressive posture, making eye contact with me. Yeah, a 14-year-old kid was moving on me to fight! Of course nothing happened, an adult stepped in to cool everything off. Why did he let it get to that point? Didn’t he realize that a 14-year old kid was moving on a grown man?

We’re kicking it, bored but all checked in. Dealing with international travel always stresses me out. We always have extra bags and it seems almost arbitrary how much they charge us. That’s all behind us now; the only thing left is to get on the plane, post up for the 7 plus hour flight and go home.

Transmission 3.14.2012 Malcolm Tent Video Piece

Posted in Everything Went Black Media with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by everythingwentblack

I’ve been working on this concept of expanding the Everything Went Black idea beyond just a platform for me to rant about touring and other personal pursuits into an actual “journalistic” outlet. Step one was the podcast and now, with this piece on Malcolm Tent, half of the team that founded the great Trash American Style, I’m launching Everything Went Black Media. This is the first piece, but we’ve got a bunch of other cool ideas that we’ll be rolling out over the coming months. Thanks go out to Curro Rodriguez Villalba for photography and Jaclyn Sheer for editing and searching the internet for some of the cool images tha you will see in the piece.

I also started a Facebook site for this new venture, so feel free to check it out, “like” it, leave comments and get in touch. You can find it through my personal page

Or just hit this link:

You can also subscribe to out channels below

Transmission 1.30.2012 Sunday Nights

Posted in Everything Went Black Media, The Trip, Tombs with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2012 by everythingwentblack

1.29.2012 23:50
I hung with Dave for a while last night; I don’t get many opportunities to see him, so when he’s in town, I make time for him. It was Sunday night, so nothing was going on for me, just a shower, some chow and preparation for the upcoming week.

It’s always great seeing Dave; I haven’t seen him the Argonauts played this house show in New Brunswick during last year’s fall. I remember following the GPS directions and pulling up in front of the house and realizing that it was down the street from where Chris Pierce used to live. Anodyne recorded the “Red was her Favorite Color” and “Berkowitz” 7-in’s there. Memories; time flies on broken wings sometimes. .This time there was some added charm because he played e the new Argonauts demo and a few songs off of the new, recently recorded and mastered Municipal Waste. We sat in his car and kicked the hard jams. The Argonauts stuff was recorded in a practice space by Phil and crushed! John writes such memorable, catchy riffs; they’re brutal, intense, get inside your head, fuck you up and bounce. I’ve been a fan of his since the Times Up days. Listening to the demo made me feel nostalgic for the late-90’s, playing shows together, Stalag 13, the Black Army Jacket days, the early Burnt by the Sun shows and getting to know those guys. I find myself becoming more and more sentimental as the years go by. I remember those days and it feels like another lifetime ago; the years move quickly, like moving targets, one moment they’re in front of you and then become memories.

Next up was a few tracks from the new Municipal Waste record. A Steve Moore, Italian zombie-movie flavored intro counted off the thrash mayhem that everyone expects from a Municipal waste record. What differentiates these guys from the other bands from this ilk, and the same can be said about Toxic Holocaust, is that the songs are memorable and well-executed. It doesn’t just feel like a study in late-80’s thrash, it’s a listening experience. I don’t want to be a hater, but a lot of the newer thrash bands don’t hit that stride that The Waste and Toxic hit. Maybe it’s because The Waste have been around since before playing retro metal was cool. Anyway, all the components are there, ripping guitar solos, Suicidal-esque riffage and probably Tony’s best vocal performance to date.

Man, I always want to feel this way; I always want to do this: sitting in a car with one of my best friends, listening to new jams and getting stoked.

It’s still early, I’m not tired at all. The month is almost over. I hate time of year; January is always such a slow desolate month. I’m looking forward to getting out on the road again, pushing it hard and not looking back. 2011 was a hard year and I want to put it behind me.

Transmission 8.30.2011 Blues Jam

Posted in The Trip, Tombs with tags , , , , , on August 31, 2011 by everythingwentblack

“When the night lasts forever and time stands still” Playlist

Transmission 7.5.2011 EWB Podcast Episode 6

Posted in Podcast, The Trip with tags , , on July 5, 2011 by everythingwentblack

I just posted the latest EWB Podcast. Mike Repasch-Nieves from Junius stopped by to talk about the new record, futurism, The Singularity and man transcending his instincts

Transmission 7.4.2011 Tour Journal

Posted in The Trip with tags , , , on July 4, 2011 by everythingwentblack

6.8.2011 Allston, MA 18:45
We left NY this morning at 11:30 and as the city receded in my rearview mirror I felt myself slowly unclench. I always get uptight during the days leading up to a tour, the night before is especially bad. I always feel like I’m leaving something behind. Preparation: I run down all of my checklists and things rigorously but that doesn’t seem to help.

We arrived in Allston before 15:00 and went directly to Le’s, one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants to get some chow and kill some time. I used to hit this place regularly when I lived in Boston, back then it was called Pho Pasteur. It’s pretty much identical except for the name; the interior, the menu, the quality of the food is all the same. There’s even a lot of the same lifer waitstaff working there. It was somehow comforting, so many things change at such and accelerating rate that the familiar things sort of smooth out the rough edges.

We’re all loaded in now and I’m sitting at a Starbucks two blocks from Great Scott, the venue we’re playing at tonight. The AC is cranked and I’m sitting alone at a table. The heat is brutal outside, the air is thick to the point where you can almost taste it. A few college aged kids are hanging around in small groups, working on their laptops. Some completely middle-of-the-road music is being played over the sound system, I can’t quite make out what song it is, but it sound so familiar…

Starbucks is a funny place. It’s one of the few places, along with Denny’s and Ruby Tuesday, that I seek out on the road. Familiarity is the constant. The days pass so quickly when you’re out here that places like this are calming.

Tonight should be cool. Blacktail is playing as well and I’m looking forward to seeing them. They don’t play very often so this is a real event for me. I’ve known most of the members of the band for nearly two decades of my life. Mike and Thos were part of the first full Anodyne lineup. There are two other bands playing that I don’t know anything about.

“Path of Totality”, our new record came out yesterday. I’m stoked that people can actually pick up a copy but for me the record seems like history. We recorded it back in December, mastered it in January and it’s been on ice until yesterday.

I have the lid off of my cup of coffee so it will cool down to a reasonable temperature. A thin, oily film has developed on the surface; you can see a subtle rainbow pattern against the blackness. It’s making me think about the Rainbow song “Man on the Silver Mountain.”

6.9.2011 New York, NY 20:40
I’ve been doing a lot of press. Interviews and conversations with people all blur together. The heat is unbearable today; summer is like a hammer. Outside, it feels like I can’t get enough oxygen into my body. The heat is inescapable. Maybe I should have trained harder before this tour. I have a cold; what kind of an asshole gets a cold in the summer? It’s fucking with my voice. I can take the discomfort, but I’m bummed out that it might compromise my ability to play as hard as I want.

A Storm of Light is playing. I’m sitting in the little room next to the stage waiting to play. Last night in Boston was cool; the best part of the night aside from playing was seeing Blacktail kick it. What a great band. It’s always great watching Thos play drums; I thought about how we used to play together back in the late 90’s writing material that would become the songs on the Anodyne record “Silent Wars.” I was working at the Newbury Comics warehouse, had just been dumped by my girlfriend and wanted to spend long hours away from the apartment I shared with 5 other guys. Time flies on broken wings; we remember things, even times that might not have been such great times, and the amber filters come on line and the past becomes subjective, an interpretation.

I’m glad last night’s set is behind us. We played well, but we haven’t clicked into tour mode. It won’t be until the third of fourth show that the set becomes ingrained into our subconscious. That’s the greatest feeling ever, when you get on stage, plug in and execute, the playing is part of an extinct. We rehearse a lot, so we’re always in shape, but there’s that certain, intangible thing that happens from driving ling hours all day and launching into the set.

I want to play and hit the road. We’re leaving after load out tonight to eat up some of the miles on the trek up to Montreal.

6.10.2011 Montreal, QC 21:30
We made it into the country without any problems. The whole border crossing thing only took about 15 minutes, it was a no stress situation which hasn’t always been the case. Back when Anodyne used to cross into Canada, before all of the terrorism paranoia we would do what most other bands did: we’d show up armed with a fake letter saying that we were going to record at some studio in Montreal. Looking back, I don’t know how it worked, but somehow it did. These days, all of your paperwork has to be in order and you need a passport. It’s a lot harder to get into the country, I’ve heard of a lot of people being denied due to old misdemeanors and other technicalities.

Earlier on, I observed a supreme example of cunty-ness. This kid rolled up to the merch table wanting to haggle over the price of an LP and a shirt. He offered Carson $35.00 for something that cost $40.00. For the record, we aren’t opposed to cutting deals if someone says something like,”I only have $35.00 on me can you work with me.” Once he agreed to sell him the shirt and the record for the reduced price, the kid gave him $40.00 and asked for change. That’s cunty. It’s insulting. I wanted to tell the kid if he wanted his change he’d have to take it off of me. There’s always someone out there who wants to somehow get one over on you.

It’s only 5 bucks. I should grow up and get over it.

There’s a lot happening on in the city tonight; there’s a big Formula 1 event going on, some of the streets around the venue are closed down and there are droves of drunk people wandering around. We’re close to the famed red light area of town. Some of the more dedicated sex workers were out. I walked by a woman wearing next to nothing standing at the entrance of a dark stairway leading upstairs. She had these hard, vacant eyes. There was a sinister vibe. She was an expert on the male savage, the relentless need to shoot loads and avoid responsibility.

Earlier on, we met up with our long-time friend Mark Holmes. He’s been living up here for a few months and knew where to get decent chow. We hit up this vegetarian spot and kicked back for a while. It was a long journey getting here so it was great to unwind with some good food.

Montreal is the closest thing to a European city that you can get in North America, except for maybe Quebec. People are speaking French all around us and unlike most parts of Canada, you truly feel like a stranger here.

6.11.2011 Toronto, ON 19:20
The show last night in Montreal was killer. We played well and everyone was really cool. The stage had a strange layout, it seemed like it was an afterthought. Later on I learned that the venue was formerly a Goth Dance Club; much of the décor remained. It’s the third show of the tour and we feel locked in. It was the first time that I had a chance to watch A Storm of Light play. It’s good being out on the road with Domenic, he’s got a monstrous bass sound. In general they sounded pretty massive last night.

The venue is above a Mexican restaurant. I don’t think I’ve ever had Mexican Food in Canada. I’m about to find out if it’s any good because we just got our meal buy-outs and will be heading down to eat dinner in a while.

6.12.2011 Hamtramck, MI 21:35
McCash called me while we were en route from Toronto to tell me that a good friend of ours is basically on his death bed. He didn’t have all of the details, but the whole thing was grave and there wasn’t much hope. About 2 weeks ago he was taken into the ICU and has been slowly deteriorating. I was told that his kidneys were in the process of failing. McCash is on tour with Gates of Slumber and they’re heading back to Indiana to see him. My understanding of the situation is that he isn’t expected to live.

He had been on a downward spiral for quite a while. Months would pass and I’d only see him when he was rolling through town on tour or when I would be in Indianapolis with the band. Each time, he seemed to be slipping away. At the time, I suppose I was blind or in denial. I didn’t want to believe that something was wrong.

I feel a little sick thinking about this. What a waste. What’s truly pathetic is the whole romantic bullshit trip that people build around drug use. There’s nothing cool or romantic about wasting your life with drugs, you don’t go out like some dark, misunderstood anti-hero, you just die and break the hearts of everyone that loves you.

I’m sitting in the van. It’s cool outside, it’s like summer decided to skip this part of the country. It makes me wish for Autumn, the greatest season. It won’t last: in a few days we’ll be in Texas where it’s averaging 100̊ F and then we’ll feel the pain. I want to challenge of delivering the set under those conditions.

After the show in Toronto, we drove out of the city looking for a motel. We must have hit up at least 4 places before we found a vacancy. We were exhausted, I just wanted to shut my eyes and slip away; the room one of the more Spartan places that we’d stayed in. There were two beds, a sink and a microwave oven. The room smelled like cigarettes. Ironically, the bathroom was in great condition.

When I woke up this morning, I checked my blackberry and saw that Seth Putnam had died of a heart attack. I can’t say that I was surprised to hear of him dying at such a young age, he was someone who made no qualms about his drug use over the years. Nonetheless, he was a human being and I’m sure he had family and friends that are heart-broken over his death. I’m sure the internet is alive with shit-talking today, but I don’t have the stomach to check any of it out.

Ah yes, the internet and all of the cowards who post bullshit and leave clever comments. Technology has given rise to generation of bored weaklings. I’m not one of Putnam’s friends, I don’t particularly like Anal Cunt, but I just hope that people can have a little discipline and refrain from bashing the guy, even if it’s for the sake of his family. It’weak

We crossed the border back into the states. The border guard was a bored shitheel with a bad attitude. The last time we crossed at that particular entry point, the guard was totally cool. He was trying to find any reason to give us a hard time. In light of the news I got earlier, I wasn’t in the mood. I know he was doing his job, but I find it hard to believe that these guys don’t make it personal sometimes. Maybe his boring, completely unfulfilling existence motivates him to ramp up the cop-vibe.

Tonight is going to be a long night. I can’t stop thinking about the news I got earlier. There are five bands on the bill. I want to play hard and bail, get some sleep in a motel room bed and get an early start tomorrow.

There was a modest turnout last night but everyone that showed up was cool. The whole thing had to be over early because of a retro-DJ night that they had scheduled. It was still light out when we played. The house sound engineer was awesome, took her job seriously and did a great job mixing us.

A highpoint of the night was meeting Chris Gramlich in person and watching his band Vilipend play. We had been acquainted for several years via email and phone conversations but had never actually met. We did an interview during the Anodyne years. I feel fortunate that I’m still out here doing this stuff. It’s hard out here, grinding it out on the road playing small shows and not making a lot of money but it’s the only way to roll for me. I don’t want to live a life where I don’t have any good stories to tell.

The venue is in a rough area. There are a lot of unfriendly faces around.

6.13.2011 Chicago, IL 18:40
The show last night was small but I’ll take it and move on to the next one. It’s a straight line, a relentless forward-moving machine. I can’t let nights like that get me down because even though the show was small, people showed up and wanted to see bands play. Nonetheless, it’s rough but we did our best. Why the Hell else would I be in Hamtramck, MI but to blast out a set. Beast in the Field and Year of the Pig both played. We shared the stage with them on our last show in Detroit that we did on the way back from the Kylesa tour. It was good seeing those guys again, they’re both solid bands.

We hit Kuma’s Corner, the famous Heavy Metal Burger Joint and waiting about 45 minutes for a table. I have to admit that it was worth the wait. We sat outside and kicked back. I got the Neurosis burger vegetarian-style. I’m not a vegetarian, but I didn’t want to be too brutal on my stomach. We’d been talking about going to this place for nearly two years.

This is our first time playing in Chicago. All of our other shows have been canceled due either to entire tours being canceled (Mayhem, Enslaved), white-out blizzards (Pelican) or the absurd radius clauses that some larger tour inflict on the support bands. Chicago is such a great city, with a lot of great bands, it’s a travesty that until now, we haven’t successfully done any shows here.

We’re early, sitting in the van, parked outside of the venue. The place is locked up. I checked out this bookstore / record store called The Bucket of Blood. There was an interesting selection of mainly science fiction, fantasy, serial killer books and a few random records and CDs. I scored “Almuric” by Robert E. Howard and “Abarat” by Clive Barker. Both titles were $3 a piece!!

A Storm of Light are parked around the corner. We’re all dug in, waiting to load in.

6.14.2011 St. Louis, MO 20:15
We’re back at the Fubar tonight. We’re doing the familiar St. Louis, OKC, Denton, Austin run that we seem to do on every tour. We loaded in and I’m kicking back with a cup of coffee, waiting. I can see why band guys do drugs: to deal with the boredom. I guess that’s why there’s a 34 year old guy on his death bed now. Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Andrew and I drove out to a coffee place a few miles away from the venue. We both commented on how we haven’t ever ventured out past the The Fubar. Someone had chipped away sections of the sidewalk and planted mint. The whole area was permeated by this pleasant, fresh mint smell.

Last night in Chicago was great. We played hard and the vibe at the show was cool. I’m relieved that we successfully played out first Chicago date. It was cool to catch up with some friends. I’m glad that wer were able to hang out with the half of Pelican that still lives in Chicago. We ended up crashing with Will. It brought me back to the tour we did a couple of years ago with Pelican and Wolves in the Throne Room. That was a great tour. We were fortunate that year, shortly after that tour wrapped up we were on the road with Isis and Pelican. I always think fondly about that time. It was probably the easiest, no-attitude touring situations that I’ve ever been part of where everyone was cool to each other and we all hung out and helped each other.

6.15.2011 Oklahoma City, OK 19:48

It was a long haul today; about 8 hours on the road. This is the familiar route for us: St. Louis, OKC, Denton and Austin. This is the part of the country where you start seeing the signs about Jesus and all the Christian propaganda.

Last night was small, but I’ll take it over not playing. St. Louis is a hard-won town but I feel like we’re making progress there; you have to keep coming back. The one cool thing is the sound man is always on point; I don’t remember his name, but he’s the singer in Everything Went Black. I just got news that their guitarist died a couple of months ago. They’re such young guys and it’s heavy to deal with death at an age where you should feel indestructible.

I got an update from McCash. It doesn’t look good. Our friend is still alive but no one is expecting him to pull out of it. I wish I could be there with those guys. I keep thinking about the last time I saw him out in Indy; I wish I had a chance to talk to him. It’s likely that I will never see him alive again. It’s such a hard trip. I keep thinking that this will turn around.

Chris, Pelican’s soundman, was at the show last night. We were hanging outside of the venue when this confrontation broke out with some of the guys working at the venue and this lone, drunk dude. I don’t know all of the details but it was basically just a shoving match, no one really wanted to fight. The drunk guy agreed to chill out and everyone dispersed. He spotted us and came over. He was probably about 25 years old, short haired and drunk. He said that he’s living in a homeless shelter until his disability kicks in. He’s a vet. He kept talking about how he wanted to fight and get beat up. At one point he was talking about “letting the blackness in.”

It made me think how lightweight most of our experiences are and how none of us have really dealt with anything as intense as being in combat. This is what the government does for kids who put their bodies on the line. They get discharged into the great nowhere, back to their hometowns. I’d like to think things will turn out okay for him but I know that most likely he’ll continue to drink himself into numbness and probably end up on the street or dead.

Doors are opening shortly. Carson and I hit Size Records next door. That’s the drill when we’re in OKC. Unfortunately, Jim, the owner wasn’t there.. Hopefully he shows up later, I was looking forward to hanging out. He usually works the door at the shows, but he wasn’t there during load-out. For the last year or so, we’ve been seeing that guy every four months or so, so I feel like we’re friends at this point. The last few times, we played here, he re-opened the store when the show cleared out for a late-night record buying session. This time around I picked up an original copy of the first St.Vitus record, Scorpions “Tokyo Tapes” and the AC/DC box set “Bonfire”, all reasonably priced.

6.16.2011 Denton, TX 19:30
It was a quick run down here from OKC. We did a live recording for this site called Violitionist. It went well. We loaded into this dude’s house, set up our gear and went for it. Afterward, we did a short interview. When we loaded in, one of his neighbors rolled up and asked how long we’re be playing because the last time, it was really loud. These kind of “live in the studio” situations always feel a little stale to me, but usually we get a decent recording out of it. We’ve been on tour for a while so I think we’re tight.

The show last night was pretty much what all of our OKC shows are like. A small but cool group of people that have seen us play several times. At this point, we’re getting to know everyone by sight, if not by name. I dig that. Unfortunately, there was no Jim last night. I had been looking forward to kicking it with him, but he was M.I.A.

6.17.2011 Denton, TX 09:21

I just hit the complimentary breakfast downstairs. They had a waffle iron shaped like the state of Texas, the coffee was serviceable.

A Storm of Light drops off after tonight. We continue on our own for a few more days and then we’re home for a while before heading out to Europe with The Secret. It was a short tour, but I’ll take it any day over staying home. There were definitely some good shows on this tour, but there were also some less than great shows. I don’t want to say that they were bad because, even at the worst, kids showed up to see the bands. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to booking a tour that the bands don’t see; maybe it’s because I’ve spent years booking my own bands that I can empathize with the obstacles that booking agents run into when setting up a tour. Some nights are just nights to get from place to place without a day off.

Last night was kind of slow, but Bryan at Rubber Gloves is cool and he digs the band. A few kids showed up and we played for them. Brent and Mike from Violitionist were there. Either way, we were in Denton to play a show and we played the show.

It’ 100̊ F today in Austin.

Austin, TX 20:40
We did an in-store at Waterloo records earlier today. It’s hot, like a blast furnace. The air is dry and intense, I can feel all of the moisture leaving my body. It makes me feel like a lightweight, I wish there was some way I could have prepared for this. The short in-store set went well, a handful of people showed up and we kicked the first four songs of our set. I remembered the tiny stage from the first time we played there at SXSW a few years ago. After our set, we did this quick video thing where we had to decipher these death / black metal logos.

Ron met us at Waterloo and we drove to Red 7 for load-in before hitting Serrano’s, our go-to Mexican restaurant in Austin. Our tire looked a little low, like there might be a slow leak. I’m dug in now, waiting it out until we play. This is a great music city, people down here love music. Every bar has some kind of stage and there are always bands playing. I like it here, but the intensity of the heat is kind of daunting sad to say.

When we were loading out of Waterloo they were playing the new record on the store system. I didn’t recognize it at first. I don’t think I’ve listened to the record since the mastering session back in January. The material feels old to me at this point, we recorded it back in December of last year and now it’s finally available. It’s been a long process, writing, recording, all of the intermittent decisions that have to be made along the way about artwork and production. It’s behind us now and I want to get on to the next thing.

6.18.2011 Dallas, TX 20:36

It’s been a series of mishaps since yesterday. My blackberry crapped out and I have no way of contacting anyone. When I went out the van, I noticed that we had a completely flat tire and a burned out headlight. Morgan helped me out by patching the tire for me and gave me a hand-pump. The concept was that I was going to pump enough air into the tire to drive it to a fuel station, fill the tire and drive over to Pep Boys to get the necessary repairs done. I started pumping; it was hard going. I was about halfway there when Morgan’s neighbor came out and offered to pump the tire up with his air compressor. Props to good Texans!

It took a few hours to get everything sorted out at Pep Boys. We were a few hours into the trip to Dallas when the directional signal popped out. You just can’t win on some days.

Last night was killer. Austin never disappoints. Kill the Client played and totally crushed. This band called Skycrawler opened the show and I was blown away by them. It was a great night.

6.19.2011 Somewhere 23:00
We’re in a Super 8 somewhere in Mississippi. We played at Euclid Records earlier today with Haarp; the whole thing was over with by about 20:00 so we hit the road. It’s a long run to Nashville so the plan was to get a few hours in before we stopped. It’s relatively early, so I’m hoping to get some rest, get an early start so we can get to Nashville. We ordered some pizza and now we’re settled in.

Dallas was cool. I recognized one of the two people from our last show in Dallas. This time around, it was a much better scene. I’m starting to mix up Dallas and New Orleans in my head, I can’t keep it straight. I guess it’s too many miles in too few hours. It’s about to get worse.

I feel myself shutting down for the night.

6.20.2011 Nashville, TN 17:45
I like it here. We’re playing with our friends, Dawn at the Little Hamilton Collective. Jesse and Ivan were instrumental in setting up our first show in Nashville back on the Tombs / ASRA tour. We’ve played pretty much every show in Nashville together since then with the exception of the date on the Kylesa tour a couple of years ago.

We’re going to leave after the set and start the long journey back to New York. This tour was short, I feel like we just started getting into the vibe and now it’s over. We’re only going to be home for a short period of time then it’s back out on the road.

We hit a Starbucks before loading today; I got online to check if there was any news from McCash; nothing so far. My phone is dead so I don’t know if anyone had been trying to get in touch with me.

6.21.2011 Brooklyn, NY 19:20
We drove though the night, 18 hours to get back. We had the bonus of hitting the NY/NJ traffic during the final hours of our journey. Welcome home. Carson and I switched off; we logged in a few hundred hours each and took turns driving. It was brutal.

Coming back, even from a short tour is strange. It’s like fast-forwarding into the future. I wish I was still out there, the apartment doesn’t seem like a friendly place right now. I feel more comfortable with the constant motion of the road and the challenge of playing each night. There’s very little here, it’s like the volume on life has been turned down and I’m just killing the hours before leaving again. Things feel different, but at the same time there is predictability, a repetitiveness that feels like an icy hand around my throat. Maybe I just need to get some sleep.

The show was good last night. Dawn were awesome, every time I see them they sound a little different, they evolve, try out new ideas. This band called Black Majesty played that totally crushed. I was talking to the guys from the band afterward and they said that they’re going to change their name because another band called Black Majesty exists already.

It’s quiet here. It’s the first time in a few weeks that I’m alone and don’t have anything to do.