Saturday, September 6, 2008

Crocktastico

The way they billed the Circo Rocktastico tour for the in-store at Rasputin Music in Berkeley seemed oddly appropriate, somehow...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

Brown Lumpy Wings

More breaking news from the Cat Files...


After "Drunk Zombies in Salt Lake City" we stopped to play a show at the most friendly place ever: Nampa, Idaho. We played at a nice coffee shop where every person was very appreciative of the music. We had free smoothies and cakes.

I also met two amazing new friends, Michelle and Gionne, two girls that flew from L.A. to join their friends Astra Heights for a couple of days. They brought the perfect amount of niceness and girl power that I needed. After being on the road for 5 weeks with just guys I was starting to panic. They invited me to ride with them in the car and it was a NICE break from the guys. They bought me fruit smoothies and a bracelet, while the guys in the other van slept and ate crap.

After a nice and smooth gig we went back to our Shiloh Inn, and, later on, to eat at Denny's. Josh from Astra Heights ordered our favorite "spicy brown lumpy wings" (check out our previous blog posting about the wings at Denny's), so we couldnt stop laughing, and of course he didn't know why. We waited silently until the wings came out, and yes, they looked exactly like the promo pictures.


We watched him eat them and Pipe couldnt resist and tried a bite. His face instantly changed from curious to sad.

After that we discovered that this Denny's had a lounge bar, so we all headed in there and had shots and beers. The place was very dark with blacklights and glow-in-the-dark everything. And it was karaoke night, so after about 5 shots of whisky El Pipe and Rob sang their favorite songs and entertained the whole crowd. We danced, drank, smoked, and then when things didn't make sense anymore I left to enjoy the beautiful and priceless experience of being alone for the first time in almost a month.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

We didn't have a show in Wyoming

but we sure spent a lot of time driving through it. And right in the middle somewhere, we found a real special place:

The Drunk Zombies of Salt Lake City


Cat Writes:

Out of all the places we've been on this tour, Salt Lake City has been the worst one. You can feel the agro vibe when you walk around and talk to people. We knew it was a weird town and we knew that alcohol was hard to find (that's why I think when these people get it, they go crazy).

For example: I was sitting at the bar with El Pipe. He stood up for a second, and a really rude, white trash macho man pushed him for no reason and sat his blonde fake tits middle-aged girl down in Pipe's chair. Obviously the guy was extremely drunk. Later that night the same guy got mad because the bartender wouldn't serve him more booze and he punched the window, broke it, and then got into a fight with another guy. The cops came and he got arrested.

The next day, El Pipe and I were walking to get some water at the gas station and again, for no reason, a guy with a psycho face tackled us and yelled, "watch where you walk!" At that point we were shocked, so we laughed.

I thought that Salt Lake City was the perfect location for a Quentin Tarantino movie. Every person had this strange look on their face, like they were dead but still breathing, walking like zombies waiting for the next person to visit their town. Like vicious vampires, hungry for new blood, they'll suck your energy until you can't move so you stay and became one of them. Like "The Drunk Zombies of Salt Lake City".

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Very Beane Vacation

On our way out of Chicago, Cat noticed that the sky looked exactly like the opening sequence from the Simpsons. It was an omen of pleasant midwestern times to come.

And we soon learned that there's hardly anything pleasanter in this world than a stay with Johnny Beane's mom and dad in Minneapolis. Beds and couches! Laundry! Coffee! Turkey sandwiches! Pasta salad! Buffalo chili, burgers, and hot dogs! Corn on the cob! S'mores over a friggin' CAMP FIRE, for christsake!

Johnny had to keep reminding us that he didn't actually grow up there. His folks moved there several years back, and have a beautiful house, tucked away in a quiet cul-de-sac, and full of cool decorations and eccentric knick knacks. We soaked up their care and hospitality like the poor, weary, road orphans we were. There was plenty of room for Astra Heights as well -- here you see them enjoying delicious fruit and tofu smoothies like kids on Christmas morning (yes that's a Christmas tree in back -- they keep it up year round!)

This little halftime oasis went on for three luxurious days -- we played Minneapolis, then St Paul (15 minutes away), then had a night off. These shows were lukewarm, but who cares?? After each one we packed up as fast as we could and booked it straight back "home", to find yet another improbable feast being laid out for us, and to hear more shocking and interesting stories about Johnny's childhood (which we will not be blogging, sorry ;)

With low attendance at the shows the bands all took the opportunity to try out some unusual material. You know things are getting, uh, experimental when Pipe jumps up on stage with Monte Negro to help sing the Cars' "Just What I Needed".

video

Monday, August 25, 2008

Chicago is a very large city

We've got some great timing on this tour. And by great, I mean maybe not so much. Fourteen hour drives! Texas in the middle of August! Little college towns when school is out! Denver on the exact night Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for president!

So let's talk about Chicago instead. Our timing in Chicago wasn't so bad. Well, there was a Cubs game across the street from the Metro where we played, but there's no accounting for baseball, and anyway we managed to get there and load in before the game ended and the fans poured out. Chicago winters tend to be long, cold, and miserable, so when those precious summer months come around, everyone just goes buck wild crazy in the streets. Made for some slow navigating later on. But the Metro was a fun ol' party, and things really got wacky when the show's promoter came backstage to tell us he had just got us another show in Chicago the following night, opening for a Mexican rock/pop band called Motel, where there was "guaranteed" to be 1500 people.

We were confused.. ALL three bands? How is it that they still need and want three more bands, the night before the show? Well, it was at the Congress Theater, this HUGE cavernous place that makes the Metro look like your local watering hole. And they were just gonna start early and have a whole lot of bands play before the headliners. So hell, why not? We didn't have any show scheduled for the night, so we stuck around Chicago and played the show.

Thing is, when you're the opener (or one of FIVE openers) for a larger act in a big venue, the house crew is not so focused on getting your sound and monitors right -- they just wanna get you on and off. So suddenly you're on this huge fucking stage with this sea of people staring at you, and it's what you've always wanted.. except when you start playing you can't really hear your own band. Instead you hear all these muddy reverberations off the domed ceiling, and the back wall... back there somewhere... and of course they have this huge lighting rig but it's not set up for your own show so they're just flashing the lights around generically.

All in all, it feels very much like a dream you might have about being a rock star (except we weren't naked, sorry.) All the iconic elements are there: big stage, big crowd, big lights, but you're weirdly disconnected from what you're doing, so kind of going through the motions and hoping that somewhere out there this is making sense to somebody.




This last picture has nothing to do with anything, but hell, it's a lot of time on the road. Things happen.