There is absolutely no circulation in this basement. Two layers of doors are closed when the bands play. Oxygen seriously runs out when bands are playing.
DAY ONE (Bakersfield, Calif.)
Zach, our first bassist, showed up to our show. We had not seen him in 7 years. Apparently he got out of our hometown of Mobile, Ala., and is now in Visalia, Calif. We checked out pictures of his
new/first kid and caught upon things. It's good to know we are all doing better in the life game since
we saw each other last.
It was a chaotic house party. 100% humidity. Vim Crony shot some video footage and an interview for his online TV show, "The Gaze."
Everything was over by 11 p.m., so we decided to go ahead and drive to L.A. We gave a call to our friends Dean and Randy from the band No Age and they said they'd leave the door unlocked for us. This is one of the spots we crash at a lot on tour, a cool in-law unit in Hollywood with a half pipe in their yard. Just around the corner from famous munch spots M Cafe, Pinks, etc.
We stopped off at a gas station before heading out of Bakersfield and some of the kids from the opening band were in there. The drummer, who had jumped in to our interview for "The Gaze" earlier in the evening, was in the mini-mart just wearing boxers with a backpack on. Totally sweaty and wasted. Since the employees were making a hard effort not to look at him or acknowledge his existence, we saw him just shove whatever he wanted in to his backpack and then leave.
On the way down to L.A., we saw some California wildfires up close and personal. they were actually quite beautiful to see at night- sort of like lava flowing down a hill or something.
DAY TWO (Los Angeles)
We had a super chill day at the house and watched lots of TV. Gee, touring is glamorous.
We played at the Smell which is one of the best all ages venues in the country. So many great young and exciting bands are centered around this place. The bill was a very old-meets-new thing going on with IMA Fucking Gymnist (super-young female-fronted minimal punk band from outside LA), the Pope (sorta Lightning Bolt-esque mid-20-year-old heaviness), Dos (Kira from Black Flag and Mike Watt's two-bass assault), and Foot Village (F'ing incredible drums-and-vocals-only quartet). Some pretty good photos popped up on Flickr.com right away.
DAY THREE (Flagstaff, Ariz.)
Wait, what time is it in this state!? How does it work!?
Flagstaff is by far our favorite city in Arizona. Better weather, general atmosphere, people, and bands.
Our show was in a basement that's WAY TOO SMALL for shows to take place in. Luckily they have a security camera system set up down there so you can just watch the show from the living room TV when it gets too crowded. There is absolutely no circulation in this basement. Two layers of doors are closed when the bands play. Oxygen seriously runs out when bands are playing. It's a f*cking strange feeling to be breathing in air without enough oxygen during a show.
DAY FOUR (mesa)
First show of six with the incredible Melt Banana (Japan).
The venue reminds us of being in the Deep South.
Vice, the notorious space-case, lost his digital camera (the one he bought to replace the other one he left on the sidewalk in L.A. last December). Luckily he had his Polaroid camera, the same one used to take photos of him as a baby, to replace it. During Melt Banana's set. the P.A. fell over onto a table holding the cameras knocking it on top of equipment. VC and audience members take turns looking for it to no avail. But during the process he did discover his digital camera beneath a pile of guitar cases.
DAY FIVE (New Mexico)
Lots and lots of burritos.
The house we stayed at had a circular floor plan. You can start in one room, walk around through every other room, and end up right back where you started. I forgot to ask what's in the very center of the circle.
DAY SIX (OKC)
Another long and boring drive. The band pretty much almost breaks up on stage by accidental injuries to Michael's mouth. He finishes the set and when he is finished blood lies around the whole set and carpet. The band pulls through triumphant and with resolution.
DAY SEVEN (Denton, Texas)
Melt Banana and we play Frisbee during our 6 hour wait for a non-existent sound check in which Uki, Melt Banana's drummer, casually catches the Frisbee with one hand while smoking with the other. THE WHOLE TIME!!!
The show is off-the-wall and very fun! There is so much sweat, that everyone in the place appears as if we have walked out of a swimming tournament. The last two songs were difficult for half our band to play, due to days-old sweat stinging our eyes and forcing them shut.
A talk between VC and Agata (MxBx) reveals that his favorite food to eat while in America is T-Bone and American Sushi ('cause it's weird).
DAY EIGHT (Austin, Texas)
The best show of the Melt Banana leg -- there is Iggy Pop-ish crowd walking, surfing, hanging upside downs and a mega 'pit. Maybe this is an exit of aggression after the two hour wait at Mekong River for our waters and food...
Finally Punk was the best opening act of all our shows with Melt Banana. It's like if your first band was really f*cking good.
DAY NINE (Houston)
We play Numbers, a very dirty club whose walls have not been painted in years. The living testament to his is the piles of Lunachicks, System Of A Down, M.I.A. and Crazy Town graffiti on the walls. There is even some band from '96 who left a note for Sonic Youth bragging about how they opened for the Thrill Kill Cult and love S.Y.'s music!
Tears shed as we say bye-bye to Melt Banana. As a departing gift, VC got them a bunch of different chocolate espresso cookies and bars. They love it and start screaming when he brings out the gift. Michael almost knocks out Uki when he hurls the bass drum 30 feet into the darkness of the stages behind.
We hang out with our booking agent who has recently recovered from tearing groin muscles while on tour in Europe. He had to be in a wheelchair on the flight home and said it sucked of course.
DAY TEN (NOLA)
We haven't been to New Orleans since 2002. We didn't know what to expect as we rolled off of the interstate and into town for the first time since Katrina. And what's insane is that there is STILL the National Guard body count graffiti on a lot of walls, a lot of buildings are STILL fucked and there are STILL destroyed cars in the middle of road. Still, the people here seem to have rebounded pretty well. Everyone was super nice and cool and mostly positive despite the sh*t they've dealt with here.
Melt Banana had to bail on this show so that they could get to Tampa to start their tour with Tool. At the very last minute, a friend of ours, Brian, sets up an amazing house show. The capacity was about 30 but the attendance was about five times that! It is one of the hottest shows we have ever played!
Afterwards, we hung out with our buddies and collaborators Quintron and Miss Pussycat, who had just finished shooting a puppet TV show. It's part of a series for vbs.tv. Their home, the Spellcaster Lodge, is looking better than ever, despite the fact that Katrina put it underwater.
DAY ELEVEN (Mobile, Ala.)
Tour wraps up with an amazing homecoming show. Grandparents, cousins, brothers, sisters and parents are all in attendance (never had all of them in the same room ever!). They witness a smashed guitar, drum set, body hurling and even a giant cinderblock to the kick drum.