Archive for The Trip

Transmission 7.2.2012

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by everythingwentblack

I hit Martyrdoom Fest this weekend with Mike Scondotto. Mainly, I was there to see Dead Congregation play, but there were several other bands on the bill that I was interested in seeing. I missed Evoken and Encoffination, but caught Sanguis Emperem and Grave Miasma, both delivering intense sets. As I watched the death metal mayhem unfold, the idea that if Immolation, Morbid Angel and Incantation hadn’t existed, this whole scene would vanish. I don’t mean that in a negative way, it’s just a testament to how deeply those three bands have impacted the underground death metal scene.

Andrew and I have been busy writing new material; we haven’t done any shows since the run of dates with Ulcerate; it feel like a lifetime has passed since we’ve played live. The summer will be mostly downtime for us, spent working on new jams, we’re hoping to be back on the road in the fall. This weekend we’re going to be heading up to Boston to track two songs with our old friend Tim. One of the songs, ASHES, will be released as part of the Decibel flexi-disc series so for those of you who are subscribers to that publication, you’ll be received a new Tombs song. The other is a cover of “Heroes / Helden” by David Bowie. Most of you have probably heard the track, but there is a great alternate version of the song that came out on the soundtrack for the German film Christiane F. That’s the version we’re recording.

I’m going to try some new things on future podcasts; trying a little more structure. Anothe Everything Went Black Podcast will be posted in the next week or so, so please check it out. I have a really special guest lined up for the next episode. Also, if you enjoy the stuff we have going on, please subscribe via iTunes and leave comments. It helps us out immensely.

Transmission 6.12.2009 Tour Journal

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2009 by everythingwentblack

5.15.2009    1245 hr        San Diego, CA
My day started at 0330 hr this morning; the car service guy showed up promptly at 0400 hr and drove me to La Guardia Airport where I waited until the security station opened.  I was among the handful of people who showed up early only to end up waiting the longest to get to their respective gates.  I only had a carry-on bag and my laptop so I checked in online and printed out my boarding passes the night before.  I dig being at the airport early in the morning and watching the place come to life.  The car ride over was quick, it was one of the rare times of day that the Grand Central Parkway isn’t filled with traffic.
I slept most of the way to Cincinnati; I had Jesu “Conqueror” playing in my headset and dozed off.  I tried to re-read a few bits from The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot but fatigue got the better of me.  The flight from Cincinnati to San Diego was completely sold out.  These two ex-Navy guys we sitting behind me so I listened in on their conversation.  One guy was in for 20 years and the other guy was in for about 15 years.  Both had been through divorces and were working on their second and third marriages.  The younger guy was a Desert Storm Vet and he was recalling that every few weeks the mail delivery would bring divorce papers to different guys.
I’m done with relationships.  I’m just not that guy.  You reach a certain point in your life and that’s pretty much who you are.  Maybe when I was younger, in my twenties, there could have been hope for me.
It was strange flying over the country knowing that the guys were down below driving the van.  I would much rather have left earlier in the week, but I had a ton of work to finish up  My life is going to be intense when I get back from this tour so having a job to go back to is a priority.  I have to find a new place to live, which at least in New York, means you have to throw down a ton of money.  I’m pretty much running on fumes financially these days, so there’s a lot of tension.
I’ve got a lot of time to kill before anyone shows up.  I don’t really know San Diego, nor do I have a lot of money to throw around so I’m just posting up at this Starbucks and drinking coffee.  It’s not hot and it’s not cold.  I can feel the breeze coming in from the ocean.  I’m a little drained from the flight; flying west is always kind of brutal for me.  It’s like you get to relive the last three hours but in a different place.  I have a feeling that today is going to be long.
I’m looking forward to getting on with this tour.  I can’t think of a cooler bunch of guys to be out on the road with.
5.16.2009    2230    Tempe, AZ
Isis is playing right now.  I’m sitting in this dingy little room listening through the wall.  The vibe at this place is a lot better than the venue we played a few weeks ago with Pelican; the staff is really cool and there isn’t that sleazy party atmosphere that the other place had.
The set went well, but we haven’t sunk into the tour mode; we aren’t in the zone where the set is automatic.  We had to give up a few rehearsal days to make the trek out to San Diego and as a result I feel a little rusty.  I think we played well, it’s just not “that thing” that you feel when the set is autopilot tight.  Last night was kind of the same trip, we played the set well but I didn’t have the total focus that I need to feel like I did a good job.
I spent pretty much all of yesterday by myself roaming around the neighborhood that the Kasbah is in.  I ended up sitting by the ocean for a few hours, reading and listening to music on my iPod.  At one point I walked down the boardwalk to a public rest room to use the facilities.  When I entered, I observed that there wasn’t any kind of enclosure around the toilet; it was just out in the open next to the urinal.  Also, this homeless dude was sitting on the toilet with his pants down.

I walked back to the Kasbah and sat outside and listened to “Show No Mercy” by Slayer.  These two black Sprinters rolled up like a Black Ops team.  It was the Isis guys.  Immediately the ball-busting ensued about how I flew out and the rest of the band drove across the country in the van.  That’s what I love about those guys: it’s like no time at all has passed and we just pick it up where we left off last time.
After the show we crashed at Andrew’s brother’s place.  I had been up for over 24 hours and I was starting to fade fast.  The coolest thing was that Andrew’s brother offered to drive Wilson to the airport so we could get some sleep.
We were stopped at the border into Arizona.  It was an odd situation: the border patrol had a check point set up on I-8 and we randomly pulling people over.  I suppose we fit the profile.  They lined us up and had a drug dog sniff out the van.  We were frisked and they took my knife, but eventually they gave it back.  It was the biggest waste of time.  They had another band detained as well, but, unfortunately for them, the drug dog started barking when he approached their van; better them than us.
Arizona is a drag.  The right wing attitude makes things a lot less than enjoyable.  It’s the land of the Whiteman.  It blows my mind that they just started celebrating Martin Luther King Day couple of years ago.
As we entered Tempe, I saw two dead pit bulls on the side of the road.  It looked like they had just been dumped out of a car, most likely casualties of a dog fight.
The plan tonight is to drive to Flagstaff and spend the night there.  It’s about 7 hours to get to Albuquerque.
5.18.2009    0048 Hr        Albuquerque, NM
Tonight was good.  I feel like I’m on tour.  The first two nights were kind of shaky for me, but I feel like I’m settled in and comfortable despite the fact that the show was delayed and the sound check was rushed.  Both bands arrived late so the door time was pushed back a bit.  People were filing in while we did a quick line check.  We were on stage getting sounds, no music was playing over the house system and kids were standing close the front of the stage because, according to their tickets, the show was supposed to be happening.  It was really uncomfortable.
Despite all of this, when it was time to play, I felt really settled in and deep in the music.  After the set we loaded out to the alley where the van was parked.  This old guy named Leonard came up and started talking to me.  I got the impression that he had been around, going to shows for a really long time.  He told me about hanging out with Mike Watt, the Anti Seen guys and a bunch of bands that I dug.  I hope I’m as cool as he is when I get older.  Most likely someone will take me out before I hit that age.
We walked down to this restaurant.  The venue had some kind of system worked out for the bands to get a free meal at this place called the Black Rose or something like that.  A lot of people were out for a Sunday night; Albuquerque has the vibe of a wild frontier town where, free and lawless.  Crews of heavy looking Mexican cats were cruising around in their tricked out rides.  These two guys were sitting in the bed of a pick up truck smoking out of a hookah.
Tomorrow is a travel day.  I’m looking forward to Austin.

5.19.2009    0012 hr        Fort Stockton, TX
We drove all day and now we’re dug in at a Motel 6 in this small town.  Our original plan was to try and make it to Austin today, but that proved to be a little too ambitious for us.  We ended up getting a late start.  I got a pretty decent workout in with Andrew this morning out in the parking lot of the motel.  I feel good; like I’m on the road and everything is falling into place.
The drive across West Texas gets real trippy when dusk falls, and night rolls in.  It’s like a distant moon of another planet.  I imagine being out here walking alone across the plains and encountering some kind of intense beast that would rip me apart and eat my flesh.  Every few miles, you’ll see the lonely beacons on the electrical towers.  At times, the highway is the only man-made think in sight.  The sky was huge and full of stars tonight; it makes me think of that Hammerhead song “Anemia” on the Ethereal Killer record.  I imagine Henry Lee Lucas driving these highways at this hour with his latest victim hacked up in the trunk of his stolen car.
Tomorrow we’ll be in Austin.
5.19.2009    1859 hr        Austin, TX
Isis is sound checking right now; Pelican just showed up.  I got a decent workout in earlier, I feel good.  Our show is in the outside part of Emo’s and Earth Crisis is playing inside.  Dave Welch, one of my old room mates from Boston, is tour managing Earth Crisis; I ran into him a couple of hours ago.
The drive was uneventful.  I’m looking forward to playing.
Austin is a music town.  There are a lot of cool spots to hang out, get food, buy records etc.  It’s too bad I have absolutely no money to do any of that stuff.  The vibe was a lot more sober than the last time we were here during SXSW.  There weren’t legions of drunken people roving the streets looking for action and adventure.  Austin was just a quiet Texas city.
5.21.2009    0859 Hr        Dallas, TX
I love Priceline.com.  The room we got last night was insane: living room, HD television, data connections.  It was probably the best room I had ever stayed in my entire life.  I’m down in the lobby eating the continental breakfast and drinking strong black coffee.
The show last night was good.  It was at this place called the Granada Theater, this huge venue.  I met some really cool people after the show; they were waiting for Isis to load out so they can get autographs, but when I was loading out our merch bins, they asked me to sign posters, records etc.  Maybe they thought I was in Isis?  I guess I was the second choice.
The last two days of playing have been good.  I feel comfortable with the set but I’m bummed that we had to cut back the set.  The new material is sitting well with the older material and all of our gear seems to be holding up.
It’s a really cool time travelling with the Pelican and Isis guys.  Everyone is cool and we all help each other out.
5.22.2009    1851 hr        Baton Rouge, LA
Last night started off real shaky but turned out to be one of the better nights for us on the tour.  When we arrived there was some confusion over which room the show was going to be in.  Joris, the Isis tour manager straightened it out but the process delayed the whole set up, sound check.  We were line checking when the doors were open and people were filing in.  It was really uncomfortable checking while kids were standing in front of you thinking the show was about to start.  We ran half a song and left the stage.  There wasn’t any music playing on the house system so it was totally silent when we left.
It was a really unprofessional, amateur situation in Houston.  The whole thing had a really sleazy vibe, I imagine that when there aren’t shows, they had wet t-shirt contests at the venue and bleach blonde women in short shorts walk around selling “shooters” and jello shots.  The sound guy wasn’t cool to us.  Apparently he had a recording of his band playing over the PA and Andrew commented about how much it sucked.  Granted, the dude left himself open for criticism by doing that but Andrew really should have kept his mouth shut, you never know who you can offend in a situation like that and it affects the band as well as himself.
In any event the sound guy was a total dick.  He should have been professional and dealt with it instead of being a bitch.  His band sucked and if you’re going to crank it up on a PA in front of a bunch of strangers, you should expect people to have an opinion.  It’s not our fault that he plays in a shitty hair metal band; at least Thorns thought it was cool.
We played well and according to Trevor, the sound was decent which was a surprise to me because I fully expected the sound guy to sabotage us.
It’s been real easy, no personal drama, everyone is getting along, the shows have been great and I get to hang out with cool people every day.  Harris has been stepping up the ball breaking and we’re having a good time.  It reminds me of when we worked together at the Newbury Comics Warehouse back in the 90’s.
It’s humid out here in Louisiana.  The air is thick and has a lot of weight to it.  This part of the country always seems eerie and wild to me: The Dirty South.  No wonder bands like Eyehategod and Soilent Green are from here.
I can hear Isis sound checking.  The new material is cool.  I used to think of them more as a collection of influences as opposed to a band, but this new record is a huge step for them.  Those guys have been working hard for a long time and they deserve every bit success; it’s been hard earned.
5.25.2009    0200 Hr        Tallahassee, FL
Andrew and I went to see the new Terminator movie tonight.  I dug it, he didn’t feel it. Today was a day off; we drove from Birmingham, AL to Tallahassee where we posted up at a hotel.  Tomorrow is a fairly short drive to Orlando, our next stop on the tour.
The shows have been good, we’ve been playing really well and that’s pretty much all I can ask for.  This is a great tour and once again, we’re in the no pressure opening slot.  Nobody expects us to draw anyone so all we have to do is show up on time, not get in anyone’s way and conduct ourselves professionally.  We’re along for the ride and hopefully we can turn some people on to what we’re doing.
I almost killed everyone in the van yesterday while we were driving through New Orleans.  We stopped for gas and coffee, when we got back on the highway there was some confusion over which road to take 610 or 10.  I was cruising at about 70 mph and not paying attention to the road when I noticed that the Route 10 lanes were almost at a complete stop.  The decision had been made for me so I took evasive action to avoid rear-ending the car in front of me, cut off two lanes of traffic and ended up on 610.  Luckily 610 was the downtown bypass and it turned out to be the best route.  I’ll have to make a mental note regarding this option when I’m driving through New Orleans again.  The guys were shaken up a bit, but I got a real charge out of the whole thing; there’s nothing like a shot of adrenaline.
We were a little behind schedule so there wasn’t much time for a sound check.  I’d never played in Birmingham so I didn’t know what to expect from the show.  The venue was really cool and the people running the show were friendly and helpful, they made us feel at home.
I haven’t felt like talking to anyone after the set so I went off on my own.  I made a call and opened up a really intense conversation that consumed most of my evening and ruined any chances of me having a decent evening. What a mistake; I feel like the best thing for me to do is tighten up and keep to myself, keep as much distance as I can.  I deserve all of the heartache; it’s the consequences.
I feel lonely tonight.  Everyone is asleep; the television is on with the sound turned low.  The most audible sound in the room is the air conditioner fan.  I feel really alone, like if I died nobody would bury my body.  I would just be left on the side of the road for vermin to pick on.  Sometimes I wish I could fade away, not die or anything dramatic like that.  I wish I could just walk away and fade into non-existence and shift out of phase with this reality.  I want to erase myself from everyone’s memory because I hurt everyone that is around me.
When I get back to New York, I have to find a new place to live.  I will never live with a woman ever again.  At this point of my life, I honestly feel that I am not programmed for a lasting relationship and the safest thing to do is live alone.
5.27.2009    1211 hr        Gainesville, FL
Isis is playing right now.  They sound great; it’s a pleasure watching them play every night.  It’s a typical college kind of crowd; they just stand there and you don’t know if they’re high or just fucking numb.  There was this dude with a shoelace style head band on standing in the front row with the most blank, vapid look on his face that I had ever experience.  The intensity of his disinterest was unbounded.  It bums me out that I noticed this.  I want to be in a totally detached place where I play and sink deep into the vibe of the music and not be connected to anyone out in the crowd.  It should never matter but sometimes it does and that makes me angry.  I would rather that someone hates us as opposed to not feeling anything.  There are many, many opportunities in life to not feel anything and I would hope that going to a heavy rock show would be your chance to feel something, even if it’s hatred for the band.
Last night in Orlando was cool.  I think it was one of the better sets on the tour and I met some cool people afterward.  There was an issue with the meal buy-out at the venue but Joris and the Isis guys covered our meal money out of their guarantee.  I was told by Thorns that id there were any more issues with buy-outs that they would cover it.  They are a rare group of guys and it means a lot to me that they chose to handle the situation like that as opposed to just cutting us loose.
During our set I saw a girl in the crowd that looked like this girl Julie that I knew a few years ago.  She looked just like her except she was wearing glasses and had bleach blonde hair.  She stared at me during our set.  I dreamed about her the other night.  In my dream, she was playing in an all-girl band and we were staying at their house.  I hadn’t thought about her in years and now I can’t get her off of my mind.
Why can’t I reach that place of ultimate detachment?
After the show, the van got a flat tire as we pulled into the parking lot of the hotel so we had to derail our plans on hitting Denny’s.  It took way too long for us to change the tire.
We got to town fairly early so I walked around a bit and checked out the town.  I never really felt that vibe in this town that everyone else seems to feel.  I realize that there was a killer scene here in the 90’s but I just never felt it down here.  It’s always been a bunch of bored-looking college types that I can’t relate to.
I feel on my own tonight.  There isn’t really anyone that I can relate to and I feel okay with all of that.  This is a good place for me to be in so I can focus on myself.
5.28.2009    2059 Hr        Atlanta, GA
I’m sitting in the dressing room waiting to play.  We all ate dinner at the restaurant attached to the venue tonight.
I feel cut off.  I’m hanging out with Aaron Harris a lot which helps me feel grounded.  I feel like talking to him plants my feet; he’s like a voice of reason in this chaotic bullshit that I’m dealing with.
We play in 20 minutes.
2342 hr
Isis is playing.  I really love their new material; it feels like they’re all peaking creatively.  This has been a really great tour so far.
We played well tonight.  Afterward this guy shook my hand and handed me a tiny bag of marijuana which I prompted gave back to him.  I told him I wasn’t into weed and mostly I just drink water and coffee.  He was cool about it.  As he walked away, I really should have taken it from him and gave it to Clifford or Chris, the Pelican sound engineer.  There was this really beautiful girl standing in front of me during the set dancing and going off really hard.  Afterward, when I checked in with Thorns at the merch area, she stared at me and I stared back until she looked away.  How would that go?  We can email each other and project all of our expectations onto each other and in the end we would let each other down or more realistically, I would let her down.
Tomorrow is a long drive.  I want to go to the hotel and sleep.
0246 Hr
I drive the van and I feel like I’m by myself.  Today was cool: I listened to AC/DC “Highway to Hell” and a bunch of Thin Lizzy.  Even though the van is full, I feel alone as the miles melt away.  This is a solitary trip for me; I don’t need anyone.
The text message is one of the most terrible developments in modern communication.  I received transmissions today that caused me much confusion and sadness as well as the usual alienation, self-disgust and depression.  I’m drawn to the concept of changing my number and only giving it to Relapse, various work-related people, the band and my family.
In my mind, I create the perfect world for us to live in.
5.29.2009    1852 Hr        Carrboro, NC
I’m sitting in the dressing room.  A tiny fan is blowing on me and I can hear Isis sound checking.  Thorns and I ate dinner at this burrito place up the street from the venue.  It was decent.
Carson did most of the driving today.  I drifted between sleep and wakefulness for most of the day.  I felt worn out today; it feels like I’ve been on a steady decline for the past few days, I don’t even have enough energy to train. I crashed out in the backseat and put my headphones on and cranked Bethlehem, Bauhaus, Tool and Behexen.  For most of the day I didn’t even know the name of the town we were travelling to.
I think there’s a college here in Carrboro.
It appears that Pelican have arrived; I can hear Joris, Isis’s Belgian tour manager berating Laurent and calling him a “Fucking Frenchie.”
2340 Hr
Tonight’s set was a little rough, but I’ll take it.  I felt rundown all day and I think it carried into our performance.  I sat on the couch right up until it was time for us to go out on stage.  I felt off balance and behind the whole time I was playing.
Isis is playing.  I can hear everything really well from up here in the dressing room.  They sound great and I mean that in a genuine way, not some glad-hand “nice set dude” way.
I’ve been kicking back working on some email interviews and going over the budget plan for the European tour with Buried Inside.
I feel exhausted.  I did a few sets of pull-ups off of this frame in front of the venue.
5.30.3009    1952 Hr        Washington, DC
We’re loaded in.  Tonight we play at the Black Cat, one of the best venues you can play at, probably because the venue is owned and run by people that play in bands.  I saw another woman that looks like this girl that I used to know working at the venue.  She had the same “I’m not impressed by you whatsoever” look on her face.  It made me feel really sad and alone; on some level, I feel like if I could have made it work with her, I’d be a lot better off in my life right now.  That’s probably just another lie I’m telling myself so what difference does it really make.
We stopped in at Richmond to hang with Dave Witte. As usual, it was cool seeing him.  We hit this killer Italian place called Edo’s for lunch, then it was over to Ellwood’s for coffee and provisions, then back on the road.
0002 Hr
Isis is playing right now.  They sound killer.
Our set was pretty good, much better than last night; I felt much more present and not completely weak and worn out.  According to Jeff Caxide, people dug us.  I try not to focus on whether or not people are into the music or not or what their reaction is, I want to remain deep in the music and focused on what I’m doing.  If you need to see your reflection in other people’s eyes, I feel like you’re setting yourself up for a world of heartbreak.  People are so fickle; they can love you one day and not give a fuck about you the next day.  I don’t expect anyone to dig what we’re doing, but if they do that means a lot to me.  It shows me that you care and that maybe you can relate to some of the concepts that I’m trying to express.
Earlier today I was talking to Caxide and he told me that he read somewhere that some kid at one of the shows was bored by all three bands.  The first question that comes to mind is why the fuck would you waste your hard-earned money on a show that will bore you?  I don’t give a fuck if anyone has a good time at any show we play; I’m there the make myself feel something instead of the relentless depression that I live through when I’m not on the road.  If you want to post something on a message board about how we bore you, be my guest, the joke is on you because you should have stayed home, jerked-off, beat your girlfriend or whatever you think will make you feel something.
There are some people in this world that exist only as a collection of ideas.  They don’t have any feelings of their own, it’s all just shit they read in a book and recite to make themselves seem more interesting than they really are.  It’s a heavy scene to look at the world through their eyes and feel all of the insecurity.  The world is a hole.  It will suck all of your energy and feelings and leave you empty and used up.
There’s a really beautiful woman that works here, I think she’s the manager of this place.  She does not give a fuck about you and what band you’re in at all; she’s all business and only cares about getting the job done.  I feel this deep ache when I think about her.  She may as well be on the top of some distant mountain top because she has no interest at all in getting to know any of us.  I imagine that guys in bands are constantly hitting on her and she has to deal with all of that weak male ego bullshit on a nightly basis.  What an amazing machine she is.
It’s best this way.  What kind of future could there ever be in a situation like this?  It’s best that we never meet because now I can project whatever personality I want onto her and think about her when I fall asleep in some nameless hotel room tonight.  That’s the best escape when you’re lonely, it’s better to construct some mystery girl from your imagination than think about an actual woman that you know; if you go that route, you have to consider the whole trip and not just “The Sweet Surrender” of getting her pants down.  I even made up a name for this manager woman; her name is Danielle.  That works for me I suppose.
It’s funny sitting in this room.  I can hear Isis ripping it to shreds upstairs and next door in the “club” I can hear Joy Division playing.  Ian Curtis is pleading “Dance, Dance, Dance to the Radio” and right now, I really know how he feels.

5.31.2009    2300 hr        Baltimore, MD
I feel like we played well tonight.  It was cool to see a few familiar faces from the last few times we rolled through Baltimore.  I’m not a fan of this venue; nobody seems to know what they’re supposed to do and the location is in a really desolate part of town far away from anything interesting.  It’s a far cry from the Black Cat down in DC.
We stayed with our friend Cole in Annapolis last night.  It was good to kick back and hang out in a laid back setting, get some sleep and not feel like we’re being rushed to check out.  We only had about a 30 mile drive to Baltimore so we had ample time to eat lunch and chill out.  I hit the local Borders and picked up The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker and the Martyrs DVD.
Isis is playing right now; I think that they have about 30 minutes to go in their set.
Baltimore is a sad a lonely place.  It’s a place that no one seems to give a fuck about, not the people, not the politicians who make the decisions or people like me who just roll through, do their thing and leave.  It’s a stop over point to the next destination.  I have to admit that I really don’t like coming here, but I will continue to show up and play as long as anyone wants me to.  I’ll play anywhere, I’m easy, just set up a show and I’ll be there; throw in some money, food and a case of water and it’s even better.
I don’t want this tour to end, but it will.
6.02.2009    1036 hr        Brooklyn, NY
I’m sitting on the couch at my apartment.  Yesterday was a day off so I had an opportunity to sleep in, get some rest, eat food and deal with some of the business that I have with my landlord.
The show in Baltimore the other night was cool.  There were some familiar faces at the show from the last few times we played there.  I think we played well; it was a little cramped on stage with all of the Isis gear but we made it happen.  It’s easy to get used to this type of tour where there’s a big stage, a real PA and hospitality riders but I can’t lose touch with the reality that if we were out here on our own, it would be a completely different situation.
After the show we drove back to Brooklyn.  Laurent and Gallagher caught a ride with us for the three hour blast up I-95.  How many times have I made that run in my lifetime?  It’s always a late-night journey when I’m beat and just want to hit the rack.  We got into town at 0415; I parked the van at Thorns’ place in Kensington and Andrew, me and Laurent caught a car service.
Load in is at 1700 so I have the rest of the day to kick back.  Tonight, we play at Irving Plaza which is a kind of a heavy scene for me.  I remember seeing the Rollins Band play there a few years ago and thinking that it would be a trip to play on that stage at some point but at the time, it seemed like an extremely unlikely scenario.  Well, it’s a good thing Isis can fill that room.

6.04.2009    1708 Hr        Northampton, MA
We’re all sound checked and set up.  I’ve been snacking all day long on a variety of foods: sushi, flax seed tortilla chips, dried mango and now hummus with pita bread.  It strikes me as funny that every venue seems to always get the same brand of hummus but don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for whatever they give us.  Last night, in Philly I ate the best falafel that I think I’ve ever tasted.  It was served by a beautiful Middle Eastern woman with an exotic accent that had these really intense brown eyes.  My experience was almost ruined by this freaky homeless lady that wanted to sit with me.  She asked if she could sit down and I firmly, but politely told her that I’d rather eat alone.
I’m sitting in the backstage room; everyone is outside of the venue.  The walls of the room are covered with graffiti, mostly of huge, veiny penises.  I’m regarding a drawing of a gorilla with a gigantic, realistically drawn cock and balls.  The drawings of women are poorly rendered and kind of abstract; it’s as if the artists were more focused on the penises and the women were more or less backgrounds.
The show at Irving Plaza was cool.  I feel we played well.  Chris mixed our sound that night and made us sound large out front. It’s extremely cool that he gave up his time to make sure we had a strong sound; whenever someone goes beyond the call of duty it means a lot to me.  I’m hoping that we can have a decent budget on the next tour so we can bring out own sound engineer. He’s been kind of looking out for us during sound check because you never know what you might have to deal with when you work with the house engineers.  Most of the guys we’ve dealt with have been really good but there have been a few exceptions.  The set was good and despite some of the personal issues going on, everything ran more or less smooth.
I remember seeing the Rollins Band play at Irving and thought that it would be cool to someday play in this venue.  It’s pretty meaningless in the big picture but it meant a lot to me to have a chance to do our thing in that place.
The next day we drove down to Philly and stopped at the Relapse office to deal with some paperwork for the impending Canadian border crossing.  The promoter in Montreal has been dragging his feet so I had to enlist Gordon’s help.  He hooked us up with some of the new Relapse releases; I scored the ne Coalesce record as well as some other older stuff like Atheist, Agoraphobic Nosebleed and the Baroness record.
I don’t feel like I played very well last night in Philly.  I got off to a rough start and never really got back on track. To make things worse, I broke a string and had to switch guitars.  I noticed that my E string was ever so slightly out of tune so, though it may not have been that noticeable to anyone else, it was like knives being plunged into my spine.
We crashed at Gordon’s place out near the office.
6.05.2009    0943 hr        Holyoke, MA
We played well last night and for the most part, it appeared that people dug our set.  Andrew had a lot of friends and family at the show so I know it was important to him that we delivered a good set.  Afterwards, I drank a container of Gatorade and hung out with Randy Larson.  It was good to kick back; I can’t remember the last time we hung out.
I’m in our hotel room.  I have Mazzy Star playing on my iPod; Hope Sandoval has a haunting voice but the mood has to be right for their records.  Today is kind of overcast and I’m sitting here alone drinking Holiday Inn coffee so the mood is right.
Pelican are staying here as well.  There are only a few days left on this leg of the tour and then we go home.  Pelican travels on to Chicago then it’s over for them.  Keelhaul jumps on in Cleveland.  I’m not sure who the bands on the West Coast leg are, but I wish we were doing the whole thing because I’m not looking forward to being home.  We don’t leave again at this point until November when we head over to Europe so I’m hoping that I can stay busy during the coming months.
Boston is tonight.  There will be a lot of friends at the show.  I just got an email from Thos telling me that he has the flu and will not be in attendance this evening.  Bummer.
6.6.2009        2206 Hr        Montreal, QC
Last night, after the show, during the load-out Turner rolled up to me and said, “I think it’s somebody’s birthday,” and some of the Isis guys sang happy birthday.
Boston was cool.  I think it was one of the better sets of the tour.  I got a chance to hang out with a lot of friends but it’s always hard to catch up with everybody in a setting like this.  I spent most of the night hanging out with Chris Lorden and Schmoyer.  After the set, we ate dinner at an awesome Thai restaurant down the street from the venue.  I’ve know both of those cats for a lot of years.
Isis had to turn in one of their black Sprinters for a grey one.  Apparently there was an issue with the AC leaking into the van but I have to say, it doesn’t look as intense with the gray van.
We stayed with Robin out at his place in Somerville and left for Canada at about 0900 Hr.  I had been stressing about the border crossing but everything went smoothly.  We had our paperwork together and we were pretty much in and out.  Soon after we rolled up to the immigration office, the Isis convoy and the Pelican guys pulled up.
The venue tonight, is a beautiful theater located in the gay part of St. Catherine’s.  Thorns bought me lunch at this killer Thai place down the street from the venue.  We ran into Joris, he had one of the most intense smiles on his face that I’ve ever seen.  I suppose the plethora of hot, available guys put him in a good mood.  Man, I have to admire gay guys; it seems like such a no-bullshit lifestyle.  If two guys want to get down, they just go for it.  I suppose the downside is that you can contract a horrible virus that will kill you dead.
The set tonight was cool.  Pelican is playing.  Shan and Vince are here like old times.
6.08.2009    0245 Hr        Toronto, ON
The tour is over; the only thing left is the drive back to New York.  Isis has about two weeks left and Pelican drops off in five days, but for us, the mission is complete.  I feel empty right now.  We settling in at the hotel and in a few hours, we get back on the road.  When I hit the last chord of the last song, it hit me that we’re done, it was the last set of the last show as far as our involvement on this tour goes.
We loaded out; I dried off and then checked in with Thorns at the merch table.  I felt like we played okay despite the fact that I made a fairly big mistake in the first song.  There were a few points in the set where I dropped the ball, but the energy levels were up.  The best night as far as playing was Boston, I felt like we all operated at a high level of intensity.
Chris Profound Lore was at the show, we hung out and he gave me a few of the new releases.  I signed two copies of our record while standing at the table and my friend Kevin from Buffalo was at the show.
I hung out at the side of the stage while Isis played.  They were on point as usual.  As the set drew to a close, I was overtaken by really intense emotion and began thinking about all of the years that I’ve known those guys and how much I value their friendship.  They’re a group of the best people that I know and I feel fortunate to be out on the road with them; I feel fortunate that I’m still able to do this every night.
All of that was crushed when the text messages started rolling in.  Instead of saying goodbye to my friends and hanging out on the last night of the tour I was on the phone dealing with some personal situations. Deep down, at the bottom of all of this, I know that I brought it all on myself because I’m weak and can’t manage my personal relationships.  Everything is so much simpler when you don’t feel anything for anyone; I feel like wiping away all of the emotions.
I need to sleep, I’m beat and we have a long drive back tomorrow.  I feel empty and useless because the realization has dawned on me that I don’t really have much going for me except music.  I imagine in a few years when this is all over I’ll b living in some nowhere town in Central Jersey, alone, because I will have destroyed every relationship that I’ve ever had.  I’ll be the guy that you see eating dinner at the counter of Denny’s that sits there for hours drinking coffee.  I’ll die alone in my apartment in front of the television and no one will even know that I’m dead until the smell alerts the landlord.

Transmission 9.27.2008

Posted in The Trip, Uncategorized with tags on September 27, 2008 by everythingwentblack

The TOMBS/PLANKS Tour is over.  I’ve been home for abot 5 days and I’m looking forward to getting back out on the road.  The past week was spent trying to sraighten out my hours, catching up on mail order and organizing.  My travel bag is still sitting in the same place that I left it, un-opened and filled with dirty laundry.  Maybe that will be my next project.

The tor was short, but I feel like we reached some people.  Planks were a great band to travel with.  We shared gear as well as the financial burdens of the rented van.  Some of the shows were a bit under-attended but it was our first time over there and I had pretty low expectations anyway.

It was still summer when we left and now it feels like Autumn.

I’m feeling the typical end of tour blues.  It’s like hitting a wall travelling 100 mph; there’s this perpetual moton, travelling everyday, riding in the van, taking ferries and planes, taxi’s from the air port and suddently your at a stand still, alone in your room with a bag of dirty laundry.