So here is the start of my tour journal. I will update with the rest of it as I get it written up.
8/18/06 7:10 pm
We are about an hour from getting to the west side of Pennsylvania. Driving across PA is an accomplishment in and of its self. For anyone who hasn’t done it you can’t really explain it. You just have to do it sometime. 400 miles of pretty but super repetitive scenery.
We are listening to the new Full of Fancy demo. It is super sweet! It is crazy that members of two of New Brunswick’s most brutal bands, The Hunchback and Glaciers, came together to make such pretty music.
The tour kickoff went well last night. Winning Looks went on early but definitely impressed the people who were there. They knew Sam West, formally of Plastic East and the Pink Meat. That girl knows everyone. Then we waited. Both Titti! And Scandalous Vandalists were really late. Colin and Reid played an impromptu noise set. Thanks guys!
Once the show got rolling again everything went smooth. SV, Titti! And the Invincible Gods all played memorable sets. There were a ton of people there. I couldn’t believe the size, energy, and momentum of the crowd once Screaming Females got going. I’ve said it before but it continues to be true - We wouldn’t know what to do without you all. At least I wouldn’t really know what to do. The crowd’s energy is really what charges the band. Casey, of DCMS fame, even got up crowd surfing. I heard there were actually a few people crowd surfing! In a New Brunswick basement! That’s awesome.
Me, Jacki, and Marissa took off this morning to go pick up King Mike. I looked at the van before we went on our way and someone had keyed the damn thing! Sons a bitches!
The only thing that would make this better is scotch!
We just crossed time zones. Last night we played The Firehouse in N. Manchester, IN. It is an all ages venue that we got a last minute show at. It is in the middle of nowhere. We were driving through corn fields for a long time thinking, “Where the hell is this place and what the hell is it going to be like?” It ended up being awesome.
The town’s high school biology teacher, Jabin, runs The Firehouse. He was so fucking funny. I can’t even tell you. One of the few people Screaming Females have met that immediately understood our special brand of humor. They paid us, feed us, and got us a hotel to stay in. They have had some amazing bands come through (i.e. Of Montreal, Cursive) and it is no wonder with treatment like that.
We met a local kid named Reilly that told us about how he found a dead frog in a bag of potato chips. I don’t know if I believe him. I can’t wait to go back to that place. Jabin was super impressed with us. It is always really cool when people like that are really into us. Those people see bands constantly, so it is a big deal to grab their attention… and we seem to keep doing it.
So Jacki finally got her Subway sandwich. She has been talking about that goddamn thing since the beginning of this trip.
My throat/ear is all messed up. I think I have a throat infection. I’m going to have to get it checked out in Milwaukee today.
Two nights ago we played the EWL house in IL. Another interesting (read-strange) venue. First we drove through hours of cornfields to get to The Firehouse. Then we had to drive weird back roads outside of Chicago to find this punk house right on a lake. When we gat there it was just a couple of dudes sitting around in their underwear playing NES. Arguments as to the exact Contra code ensued. We were a little down on the show at first but then, slowly, punk kids started showing up. One guy was wearing Delay shorts and told me a story about how those guys played their house and swam across the lake for fun. That sounds like Delay-energy to spare.
The show ended up being awesome. We played with this killer local band The Brokedowns. They were aggressive punk rock with some grooving breakdowns. These kids from the house had recorded a pluck of a guitar string onto this tiny key chain recording device. They kept playing it and cracking up. They thought it was the funniest shit they had ever heard. Everyone there was real nice and even though there were only 15 or 20 people at the show everyone bought something and we easily made gas money. They made us promise to come back. Two people told us we were the best band to have ever played the house.
That night we stayed with Katherine from Lefty Loosie and Nato from the Modern Machines in Milwaukee. Their place is so nice. They pay $630ish total for their apartment. Five people live there. It is comparable to the apartment I pay $1960 for in NJ. What the hell are we doing in NJ?
Last night we played Big V’s in St Paul, MN.
Just sat in a hospital for HOURS in Menomonie, WI. Suck.
Anyway. When we rolled up to Big V's we were again feeling a little down on the show. St Paul is looking crazy run down. The bar had a few old dudes getting drunk. A severely inebriated Native American man spoke to us for a while outside of the venue about reservation casinos and Madonna. While standing out front KingMike had a passerby try to steal a non-existent gold chain from his neck.
We began to be at least a little reassured as we noticed old Deerhoof, Xiu Xiu, and HarMar Superstar tour flyers hanging around the place.
By the time we played there was a decent crowd. We rocked it a always. We came off the stage and were immediately approached by audience members with rave reviews. We again sold a bunch of shit to everyone including the soundman. I love impressing soundmen! Some metal dude came up to me asking if we were signed and if we wanted to be. I said, “Hopefully someday” and he proceeded to tell me all about his connections to Metal Blade Records and Killswitch Engage. It is pretty cool to be able to get on stage with a girl in a dress playing guitar and a drummer wearing hippie beads and impress a metalcore guy.
The band on after us were from Brooklyn and had IWW connections but they didn’t know any of the Bruns IWW kids.
After them was a young MN band called Economy Team that an audience member told me has a serious buzz around them. They weren’t my deal exactly but damn could they play! Watch out for that name. I could see them getting signed to Fall Out Boy’s label or at least Victory Records.
I was talking to the drummer afterwards and he said that he really liked us and that it was really awesome to see a band come through St Paul that wasn’t like the bands that usually come through. I asked, “What kind of bands usually come through?”
His response… “Bullshit.”
We are a few short hours away from blowing the roof off Milwaukee!
We have been driving all night. This is probably the craziest leg of our journey (Bloomington, IN > Chapel Hill, NC in one day). I haven’t been keeping up with this journal too well. It has been a serious emotional roller coaster over the last few days. The prospect of trying to explain that while summarizing our shows, the people we have met, and the things we have done was too daunting to even pick up the pen.
The shows have ranged from really good to weird to just okay (the shows being Milwaukee, Columbus, and Bloomington). I’ve found that falling for girls half way across the country, that I might not see for months, if even again, is totally bad news but seemingly unavoidable. The idea of ‘are we “punk” enough?’ keeps manifesting in different ways. I mean we play for a pretty big punk crowd at home, have done everything DIY, and have punk bands as some of our biggest influences. At the same time we didn’t grow up on super underground punk (i.e. a lot of these people could easily rattle off 150 ‘famous’ punk bands that I’ve never even heard of) and our sound doesn’t quite fit the formula. Sometimes I really love the fact that we can play for a diverse crowd but often having this sound, that doesn’t easily fall into one style, is isolating. I hate that it is even an issue and that people feel the need to so readily define things. And then feel an even greater need to enforce the definitions and seclude that which doesn’t fit.
And speaking of isolating, it feels as though the same could be said for our personalities. In other words, we suck at “bro-ing down.”
It is weird being trapped in a van with 3 other people for hours a day and still feeling lonely. People have mentioned the idea of home sickness but I haven’t felt that. I guess its because I have a lot of these same feelings even when I’m home.
KingMike, Marissa, and Jacki keep referring to me as ‘Dad’ for always staying too sensible and worrying too much. Thus not having enough fun myself and impinging on others just trying to have a good time. I don’t want to be that but the words just seem to go running out of my mouth.
But while all this is going on we are still able to play every night and that is when it really comes together and makes everything worthwhile. And there are also people I can’t wait to see again. Here’s to hoping it is sooner rather than later.
We are right outside of DC. Too bad we aren’t headed there. DC show that was supposed to be tonight got cancelled because the local band we were playing with cancelled. Suck. Oh well. Seems like we are ready for home anyway.
The last two shows sucked so bad! This is what you call a learning experience. In Chapel Hill we played with awful bands and to almost no one. Then in Norfolk, VA we played with no one and to even less people. We rocked none the less. Chapel Hill was particularly amazing. Marissa was in rare form with her stage banter causing Mike and I to laugh so hard we almost couldn’t play. Aside from the awful shows we had a great last few days. We stayed with our good friend Mr. Jones in Chapel Hill and drank wine , drew pictures, and played video games. Then in VA we stayed with Molly (So We Beat On/ New Brunswick) who was on vacation in Virginia Beach. She made us a wonderful vegan dinner and dessert. She also convinced me to go swimming in the ocean which was awesome.
In Durham/ Chapel Hill I picked up a copy of the Snake Pit Book from Mr. Jones’ comic store. Ben Snake Pit draws a 3 panel comic strip daily covering his life of beer, work, weed, punk rock, and girl troubles. I’ve heard of Ben here and there and seen some of his shit in Razorcake Magazine. Then in Milwaukee Nato Mo-Mac told me a wonderful story of how e and Snakepit and a few others got in trouble at Plan-it-X Fest for drinking. So when I saw the 3 year anthology of his comics sitting on Mr. Jones’ suggested reading rack I decided to pick it up. Best $12 I have ever spent. I can’t wait to meet this dude. I hope he digs Screaming Females.
And thats it folks. More to come next time!