Summer Tour 2006
Web Log
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[Day 1] [Day 2] [Day 3] [Day 4] [Day 5] [Day 6]
[Day 7]
[Day 8] [Day 9] [Epilogue]

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Day 1 - 8/4/06 - New York, NY – Arlene’s Grocery

MATT

As part of the first-ever tour that The Motion Sick is taking part in; I've decided to try my hand at doing daily logs of what happened throughout the day.

So, here's a brief run down of day one.

Spent a frantic morning shopping, doing laundry, picking up equipment, packing. I definitely did not give myself enough time; but fortunately I was able to pull everything together.

I was a little apprehensive about spending 4-5 hours in the car with everyone, but I have to admit, we got along really well. After some iPod shuffling.. we decided upon listening to Radiohead's The Bends and some Rilo Kiley. Both put us in a relatively good mood for playing even though due to some hold ups, we were cutting it very very close to make the gig.

Gig went well; however we had a tiny fiasco with our van/trailer combo; as there are very few places in Manhattan that will allow you to park a such a caravan. We ended up parking (fortunately) right in front of Arlene's (albeit, almost completely blocking a fire hydrant).

So, after booking it out of the city, we headed over to Queens; grabbed some cinnamon toast and coffee at a diner, and am getting ready for bed. Tomorrow, we expect to leave around 12-ish and we have a relatively short drive down to Harrisburg for our show at the Gingerbread Man.

So, until tomorrow's next exciting bat-blog...

Since my last post was created at 3:30 am, I re-read it and found my entry rather brief. Now that Im more coherent, heres some more info about yesterday.

I have a word of advice to all musicians, and everyone else, really. NEVER bring a trailer into Manhattan if you can POSSIBLY avoid it. We were running a little late to the gig and we pulled up to Arlenes with about 10-15 minutes before we were supposed to walk on stage. In an attempt to be efficient, Patrick and I were going to park the van and trailer while Mike, Jane and Travis set up our equipment.

Let me tell you, Patrick and I had a hell of a time trying to park that damn thing We drove to one garage that we got directions to and the attendant comes out and tells us you cant park that here... So, we briefly thought about backing out onto the two-lane road with the trailer. Well, that wasnt going to work. Patrick worked his people magic and the attendant allowed us to turn around in the garage, also a challenge; but much easier than trying to back onto the street. Our parking debacle continued but going to another lot, who wouldnt take the trailer. The attendant there said he was going to get in a load of shit with his boss if he allowed us to park with the trailer. After that, we went to another lot. There were no lights and it looked almost abandoned, but we were desperate (and about 10-15 blocks from Arlenes). Patrick got out and peered in the attendants booth and apparently the guy in there suffered from a few symptoms. Either he drank too much, was sleeping, or was dead. Patrick yelled at him a few times and poked him to wake him to no avail.

Were now cutting it very close to stage time. After calling Travis, we discovered that the previous band had a full stage full of equipment, so it took them some extra time to make their way off. Patrick and I decide to head back to the club to look for a street spot when Travis calls and mentions just parking in front and figuring out what to do from there. Well, fortunately for us, there was kind of a spot in front of the club. However, a large portion of this spot was directly blocking a fire hydrant. Im pretty hesitant about parking there, but seriously considering it since Im had just about had it trying to back up with that damn trailer. The bouncer mentions to us that the cops havent really been out tonight so wed probably be safe. With out any better options available I begged the bouncer to come in and let us know if we were going to get ticketed.

With the van parked we hop on stage and quickly got prepared to play. The club had all of the amplifiers ready so we only needed to plug in our instruments. The sound guy figured we mustve been a Dub band, because he took ALL the high end out of my bass. Oh well, I was hoping that he put it into the front of house (although I still have no idea if he did). We played pretty well and once we finished the last song I threw my gear into the case and ran outside hoping that we didnt end up having a $200 ticket and a boot. Got outside, no ticket, no boot.

With that, I tried to hurry everyone out so we could get the hell out of Manhattan and make it to Queens. After getting lost for about an hour and a half, we make it to Queens and grab some food.

Were on the road to Harrisburg as Im writing this, so hopefully later tonight after the show.


MIKE


Off to a questionable start, we leave Boston about 3 hours late due to a delay in getting our trailer.  Travis nearly broke his wrist at our Boston show on Tuesday, so he is wearing a brace that is stabilizing the whole thing.  I’ve been having trouble with my throat all week and a mild soreness is still hanging on.  Otherwise, we seem to be hanging in there.  We spend the entire trip from Boston to New York panicking about making it on time to play.  Luckily, traffic is light.  With minutes to stage time, a cop at the entrance to the West Side Highway stops us at the toll booth and says something about how we can’t bring the trailer on the highway.  The following exchange ensues:

Cop: What have you got in the trailer?
Patrick: Music equipment.
Cop: Are you musicians?
Patrick: Yes.
Cop: What kind of music do you play?
Patrick (nervously): Um, the kind that we’re listening to right now (Rilo Kiley is playing).
Cop: I can’t hear it.
The rest of the band shouts out various genres to try to hasten the conversation.
Cop: Are you going to a gig.
Band in unison: Yes!
Cop: Okay, I won’t detain you then…I am supposed to detain you.

He then shouts to the toll collector that we have an extra axle. Our delay causes us to arrive only minutes before we are to take the stage at Arlene’s.  Travis, Jane, and I start setting up on the stage; Meanwhile, Matt and Patrick are still trying to find a place to park the car.  The garages in the area refuse to accept the trailer.  Finally, they give up and park in front of a fire hydrant in front of the venue and ask the door person to keep an eye on the vehicle.  He promises to get one of us if there is a problem.  I.e., someone may have to hop off stage during the set to move the van.  Arlene’s has a small backstage loading area.  The venue is entirely backlined, so it’s not necessary (and highly discouraged) to bring lots of your own gear.  The band after us fills the backstage area with Marshall Stacks and other sundry items that make it impossible to get through the area or open the door to the attached bathroom.  

We play a fairly short set to one of our smallest NYC audiences yet.  I guess we had a lot of strong competition that night (my sister went to see The Rentals instead of us).  The show ends and the band after us decides it’s a good idea to wander around the stage and backstage area completely making it impossible for us to offload.  After much struggle through the amp-filled loading area, we get everything off the stage and out the door to the van signifying the end of Day 1. 

 

JANE

Ok – this is my first blog and I didn’t want to do it but the other guys are putting me to shame.  We’ve also been getting lots of requests to hear the female perspective on this tour so here I am.  I must admit I don’t know how I feel about blogging. It’s like writing in your diary except someone steals it and then sends it to your worst enemy. 

Today was a very busy day. I didn’t have as much time to get ready this week as I would have liked (I closed on my house yesterday) so I had lots of errands to run.  I had to do laundry, get food, do a CVS run and figure out how to pack 10 days of clothes and supplies in a small enough suitcase so I wouldn’t get yelled at. The shoe choice was hard.  If I could have taken as many shoes as I wanted I probably would have taken 10 pairs, but I limited it to 6 which I thought was pretty good considering that 3 of them are gig shoes.  I was going to try for the small suitcase, but it couldn’t be done so I picked my next biggest suitcase.  Once I saw the trailer though it was fine because I could have brought even a bigger suitcase and it would have been all good.  But it’s pretty heavy as it is and I wouldn’t want to lug around anything bigger.

So I get over to Matt’s to meet Mike and Matt around 3.  And we’re waiting and waiting for Patrick to pick us up and we’re getting more and more worried about whether we’re going to make the show.  Poor Patrick is dealing with the trailer and U-haul and obviously having issues with it. He finally arrives – a knight with a shiny white trailer and picks us up and we head over to Travis’s. Despite brainstorming about various ways we can shave time off the drive like by having Travis meet us while waiting at the I-84 toll and transferring his belongings to the van from his car while we’re both driving we did end up going to his house.  Once back on the road the traffic gods were smiling at us and we made record time to NYC.  We were actually at Arlene’s in time and the band before us was running late.  But parking with the trailer turned out to be a big hassle and Matt and Patrick were denied at parking garage after parking garage until they finally left it in front of Arlene’s under the watchful eye of the doorman (thanks doorman!) and they walked in just in time to play.  Despite a small crowd and a stressful day we played good and I heard that people could actually hear my keyboard and were happy for it (not Mike of course).  Luckily I didn’t fuck up that much.  Thanks to all the peeps who came out to see us!

Now after all that drama you’d think it couldn’t get worse, but it does.  I make the wrong decision and instead of going back with Mike and staying at his sisters decide to go with the other boys and stay with Travis’s friend Tony.  Now we get into the van and head over to Queens and run into enormous amounts of traffic which boggles my mind because it’s 1 in the morning but I guess that’s how it is in New York.  Now we were rushing so we didn’t eat dinner and anyone who knows me knows that when I don’t eat I get fucking grouchy so I was on a mission to get some food.  Now Tony and his friends had other plans like going to a biker bar and getting stabbed so eventually Patrick made the executive decision to drive us away. But now we’re in Queens and we don’t know where we are or where we’re going to stay.  I call my friend John who had come to the show who also lives in Queens and asked if we could all crash there. He graciously agreed (thanks John!) and after grabbing some food at a diner we headed over there and realized that Mike was right. Maybe we should have gotten a GPS.  But we made it there and I got a chance to chat with John a bit which was cool.  Tomorrow should be a better day.

Day 2 - 8/5/06 – Harrisburg, PA – Gingerbread Man

MIKE

A much more relaxing day.  This was mostly a last-minute filler gig, so we didn’t know what to expect.  We arrived in Harrisburg with several hours to spare and met up with a friend from college.  We all wandered around trying to get a feel for the city and ended up standing outside the baseball stadium for the Harrisburg Senators.  While chatting with everyone, a baseball flew within about a foot of my head, which was quite unlikely because of where we were standing (outside the stadium on the 3rd base foul line).  So, we ran off to head for safer ground.  The venue staff were quite courteous and helpful.  We had sent flyers to the club and they had hung them up in every corner of the place…all the doors, the bathroom mirror, etc.  We played to a small, but decent crowd functioning as a mix of background noise for many and fixation for a dedicated few.  Fell Upon Thieves performed after us.  They are much heavier than we are, but we all like a wide range of music and enjoyed their set.  The bass player broke a string early on and borrowed Matt’s bass.  They thanked us profusely for playing with and loaning the bass.  It was all good times.  I managed to get to sleep pretty early to try to work on some more throat recovery as the rest of them did some after partying.  I always forget that smoking is allowed in some places.  I am spoiled by the smoking bans in Boston and New York.  That is one thing that’s really hard on my singing.  Overall, we got some good, relaxing recovery from our New York troubles.  Tomorrow we’re off to DC for what I expect to be a killer show.

TRAVIS

So as I sit here in the van on the quick drive to D.C. from Harrisburg, I’m finding this is the perfect time to reflect on the happenings of the day/night before…  I think first and foremost we made to Harrisburg without any travel woes or delays, other than my complete disregard for listening to Jane directing me to the correct exit.  Its ok, I banged a U-ie.

  We spent our time listening to Neutral Milk Hotel and Jane’s personal favorite, the Gin Blossoms.  I learned that Mike is a big fan, which blew my fuckin mind.  We arrived at the hotel and took some time to unwind, I read more from the book about The Beach Boys that I brought along.  I learned from my readings that Barry Manilow didn’t write “I Write the Songs”, Bruce Johnston did.  Bruce Johnston was a replacement for Brian Wilson when they went on tour.

  Oh, here’s the best part of my day yesterday…  I schooled Patrick on the art of “the dot”.  This lesson will greatly enhance the live performance of The Motion Sick.  I am convinced that I should officially become the guitar tech of The Motion Sick.  Did I say that out loud?

  We arrived at the venue fairly early in order to load in and spend some time promoting the show through the streets of Harrisburg.  We learned that between the hours of 12pm and 8pm, Harrisburg dedicates itself to catering to “The American Dream”.  The streets flowed with the blood of the non-believers!  Just kidding.  But seriously, with every six steps we ran into families with small children, this made hitting the pavement to hand out fliers fairly pointless. 

  Here’s where this blog is supposed to get interesting.  MIKE ALMOST DIED!  No shit, he really did!  In our quest to find people over the age of 21, we ended up crossing the Susquehanna into a Minor League baseball Park.  The Harrisburg Senators were playing the Philadelphia something or others.  Mike was standing around minding his own business when out of nowhere a baseball came shooting at his head at about 15,000 mph!!  In typical Mike fashion, he took one step to his right and strategically placed himself out of harms way.  I believed it to be Armageddon as I thought it was a Meteor shower raining down on me, because as Mike stepped out of harms way, I nearly stepped into it.  I thought to myself “this is fucking bullshit, I’m going to die in Harrisburg…”  No disrespect to Harrisburg, but I wasn’t keen on either Mike or I dying on the 2nd stop of the tour.  That fucker can expire in Columbus, but only after we visit the Jesus statue.  More to follow on the Jesus Statue.

  So the gig was fun.  We rocked out.  Patrick and I stayed out and partied with Fell Upon Thieves until 6:30am, they were gracious hosts, and we’re looking forward to playing with them in Pittsburgh Monday night.  The rest of the band went back to the hotel and did the right thing by sleeping like normal human beings should.  Patrick and I are hung over, but in good spirits as we are close to arriving in DC.  We’re currently listening to The Sheila Divine (they’re a Boston band in case you don’t know), and deciding which Rest Stop to pull over at to let Mike and Jane pee.  They like to pee a lot.

  I believe this blog to be long, but I do hope you find it somewhat amusing.  Just read it as if I were speaking it to you, and for all of you who don’t know what I sound like when I talk, well I can’t help you there, but trust me its funny.  Time to let the kids pee.

MATT

Patrick figured out what the "dot" means today. We're all very happy.

In a nutshell... Mike almost died and Travis was close to becoming seriously wounded via a baseball. We had a much easier time parking the trailer in Harrisburg, we found a lot with tons of "No Parking, Violators Towed" signs hanging up, but we decided to risk it and said risk was sucessful. The veune was a little strange.. it was a bar where we had to move some tables and play on the floor. And there was no sound person. Or microphones, or stands, or microphone cables. (note to self: next time, bring essential mic/stand/cable combos, just in case). Fortunately for us, the following band had the gear we needed, which was super handy. So, I had to play a little bit of sound man for the evening (with Travis' valuable assistance) and it ended up working out alright. Next band goes on and about halfway through the set, Jane mentions that the bass player was trying to get my attention.. Well come to find he broke his "E" string (a pretty hard thing to do) so I played the hero to some degree and let him borrow mine. So, set finishes up, clean up, and we head to our hotel.

JANE

I can’t remember anything about the drive to Harrisburg so it must have been pretty uneventful. It did take us a while to get out of the city I think but that was about it.  We went right to the hotel and veg’d for a while. I took a bit of a nap but we wanted to head downtown to see if we could harass people on the street to come to our show.  We head down to the venue and realize that nobody lives in Harrisburg.  The venue is weird – there is a bar part with a stage that will only fit drums.  There is also an attached pool hall which got all the action that night. 

A great part about this tour is getting to travel around and meet up with old friends that I haven’t seen in a while.  In Harrisburg a good friend of ours from college, Evan, came to the show. Now Evan was in Engineering with us so we saw each other every day in college and haven’t seen him since so I was really excited about getting to meet up with him.  I’m standing outside of the place waiting for the boys and I hear someone call my name – it’s Evan with his wife (who is very nice)!  It was so great to see him and to get to chat.  For the first 15 minutes it was a little weird, but then it was like no time had passed since we had seen each other and we caught up on each other’s lives. 

We decided to try and find where the people in Harrisburg were so we walked around. The city is pretty and has a nice park on an island in the river and we walked over there.  Everyone was at a baseball game and we tried to hassle people into coming to our show and gave out a few flyers. But most everyone we saw were families with kids and I didn’t think we could convince them to take their kids out to our show no matter how much we might rock.  So we’re standing around outside of the baseball field when a baseball zooms over the wall and narrowly misses Mike’s head. We decide that Harrisburg is cursed and we should leave the ballpark before someone actually dies.  That would really cramp our style on the tour. We had back over to the venue where we had dinner.  The name of the place is the Gingerbread Man and they put these cute gingerbread men cookies on the plate.  They were very tasty – I ate mine and Matt’s. I haven’t had a gingerbread cookie in a LONG time because I thought I hated them but I might have to check them out again.

Now for some actual band stuff.  We start setting up the equipment and there is no sound guy there so Matt is taking care of all the sound (and doing a great job) and we start setting up my keyboard.  My amp sounds like shit and after testing out a few things we realize that it’s broken.  Only Day 2 and I have no amp.  I can go direct on the shows but it might be hard for me to hear myself.  Even though it’s hard when I can’t hear myself it’s also kind of fun because I can’t hear if I’m fucking up or not so I can pretend like I’m playing awesome.   We decide to play What I Get because Evan requested it and as they were the only people actually listening to us we wanted to give them what they wanted.  The room was weird in that it was very long and most of the people were far away and watching the game instead of us. But we still rocked out and I had a good time playing. And we did got some good response from the back during some of the songs.

After we played we watched Fell Upon Thieves who we’re also playing with us in Pittsburgh.  A little heavier then I like but they had some good sounds.  Part way through the bass player tries to get Matt’s attention but he’s staring off into space so I let him know that they’re trying to talk to him. Turns out that they guy broke a string and wanted to borrow Matt’s bass which he of course let him do.  This worked out for us because they let us use their stuff in Pittsburgh.  Now I want to be a good rock star and go out and party but I was just too tired that night!  After the stress of the day before I just wanted to go back to the hotel and relax, but Patrick and Travis were ready to hang with the Thieves so Matt drove the losers (me and Mike) back to the hotel.  We got a chance to relax and get some sleep which was nice.

Day 3 - 8/6/06 – Washington, DC – The Red and the Black

MIKE

We had a great day in DC.  First, we stopped at the Air and Space Hangar Museum near Dulles.  It is amazing to walk into such a huge hangar and see all these famous aircraft…The Enterprise test Space Shuttle, The Enola Gay, The Global Flyer, The Concorde, a piece of radiotransmitter dog poop (used in Vietnam), etc.  There was someone denied entrance to the museum carrying a stack of flyers about how the museum is monstrous because they display The Enola Gay and make no mention of the fact that the plane was the vehicle by which some 60,000 people were killed. 

After braving the heat and walking through the parking lot back to the van, we drove down to Georgetown to get pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso.  I wanted to go back here this time because I enjoyed the soy cheese pizza last time I was in DC.  It was very good, but the crust was a little dry, so I ate around it so I could dip it into olive oil later, which led to the disclosure that Patrick calls pizza crust, “pizza bones” and offers it to his dogs.

We head on over to The Red and The Black after.  It looks like it’s in a pretty sketchy neighborhood, but we make our way inside and find that the place has a great vibe.  We met the staff, Bill and Karen and they were very nice to us the whole night.  Person was playing before us.  He was a solo act, so he graciously allowed us to set up our stuff on stage and do a soundcheck before he put his gear up there.  We chatted quite a bit with Miguel (Person) and the guys from The Roosevelt over the course of the night and found them all to be really awesome.  We played well, exhibited a few new rock star moves including when I accidentally headbutted Patrick’s glasses off (ROCK N ROLL!!!), but I did pick them up for him at the end of the song.  We had a great time playing and the crowd reaction was really nice.  A lot of people approached us after with gushing reviews and many bought CDs.  In general, the audience, the bands, and the staff were all great and we had an awesome time.  There was also a bar next door that had some crazy circus theme.  I didn’t get to look at it really, but they had some kind of unicorn and other wonders…apparently worth seeing, but I never got around to it.  Our friend Pia very graciously let us stay with her and provided us fresh-baked goodies and allowed us to settle for the night in the room with her pet bearded dragon.

MATT

Our ride in the car was rather enjoyable actually. We listened to some tunes that we pretty much all could agree on (Gin Blossoms, Sheila Divine, Flaming Lips), had some good laughs at Patrick's expense and made our way to the Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport. Our main goal was to see the space shuttle that was there (and yes, Jane, you were correct: it was the "enterprise"). Saw some great stuff in addition to the shuttle; The Concorde was there, some cool old planes (WWI era), some Satellites, and the best one of all, some radio-transmitting poop that was used in Vietnam for counter-intellegence (sorry I have pics of almost everything else, except the poop). What I did get was some SPACE FOOD! It was a freeze-dried Ice-Cream Sandwich. The taste was actually half-way decent, but the texture was what I imagine eating old styrofoam would be.

We got to the gig, and while it was in somewhat of a sketchy neighborhood, the venue was really great (it is a brand new room, only about 3-4 months old). The first performer was an individual named Miguel Lacsamana who did a great laptop/triggered performance (and was also a great guy). We went on second and the last band was a group called the Roosevelt (also a great bunch of guys) and they played a great set too. The room was packed for all the bands, the bartender was awesome, it was a great way to get us really rolling on the tour.

I'm sure that I'm missing something interesting; I'll try to fill it in tomorrow. But, its 2:30am and we need to be out of here by 8:30am in the morning.

g'nite folks!

Also, see our whirlwind photo gallery

JANE

Day 3 in the van with all the boys and getting to see what guys really talk about.  Apparently it is all about shit – actual shit.  I think we talked about shit and other bodily functions all day today.  At least we’re not talking about sports.  With shit I occasionally have things to contribute to the conversation.  We also talk a lot about music. 

We do have a cooler which has helped us save on money so we can each lunch and breakfast. But today is the day no one steps up and takes responsibility for the ice so everything starts to go bad. 

So Mike and I went to DC last year and went to the Air and Space museum in DC but we didn’t go to the big hanger one near Dulles so we had some time today so we wanted to check it out.  I’m a big fan so we headed down there and it was awesome. We got to see the shuttle and satellites and lots of other planes.  I missed the dog poo though!  And in the car we had discussed the name of the shuttle in the van and I said I thought it was the Enterprise and everyone made fun of me and said I had too much Star Trek on the brain. We get to the museum and lo and behold it is the fucking Enterprise – take that!  So I took a picture of myself pointing at the name.

When we were in DC before we went to this awesome pizza place in Georgetown called Pizza Paradiso – they have vegan cheese and awesome pizzas so Mike suggested going there again and I was totally for it.  I got the potato pesto pizza and it was delicious!  Then we headed over to the venue.

The venue is in an up and coming neighborhood that is closer to the down then the up at the moment and we drove down this street of boarded up and abandoned buildings until we saw these two bars next to each other.  Due to the fact there wasn’t anything else around we did find street parking across from the venue. Now the place itself is awesome!  It was so cool.  It had a New Orleans theme and it had great wood floors and great walls and ceilings. I don’t know what’s it called but it’s like a repeated tile pattern on the wall that was painted. The stage had red lights and the size was great.  We had a great crowd that night and played with some bands I really liked. Person was up first and he was a lot of fun. I particularly enjoyed his last song which he called his big hit. Then we played and I fucking rocked man!  I’m trying to figure out how much I can dance around and still play without messing up.  I was also wearing my new crazy black and white striped mini skirt.  I wasn’t sure I could pull it off but I got some compliments on it. The staff was great there as well and thanks to Karen who did a great job doing sound and tending bar! The last band was the Roosevelts and I really liked their style.  I will definitely be checking out their stuff in the future.

Julie’s sister Sarah came to the show and her husband Joe (hehe – husband, they just got married).  It was great to see them and I think they really liked it. Joe bought a CD – thanks Joe!  It’s always nice to look out in the crowd and see friendly faces especially when you’re far from home.  Mike’s friend Pia also came with other friends and she was letting us crash at her place.

After the show we drove to Pia’s in MD.  We passed her street the first time because it doesn’t have a sign but we called her and she directed us to some great street parking which we had to leave by 9 which was fine because we had a long drive the next day. Pia’s place is great and I really love the way she decorated it. She also made us cookies and let us use her French press.  And she has a pull up bar – Matt was showing off his mad pull up skillz and Mike had to see if he could compete. He did 3 and then hit his head. I think he just hit his head so he had an excuse not to do anymore.

 

Day 4 - 8/7/06 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Shadow Lounge

PATRICK

It is day five of our tour and we are heading into our longest day of driving thus far as we leave Pa. for Chicago on 3 hours of sleep.

It has been interesting to see some new sides of my bandmates personalities who until Friday afternoon had not ever been in the same car together at once. Each of us has also fallen into or taken on some role or another. Jane is the navigator and though we don’t always go the most “direct” route we always get to our destinations on time and she seems to adapt well to unplanned stops. Sadly she refuses to give all directions using the voice of “Hal” from 2001. Matt is the worried parent and the voice of much reason when it comes to parking the van and trailer, he is the only one who seemed to think it was a bad idea to park in front of a fire hydrant in Manhattan. Travis is most adept at backing the trailer up and apparently he also has the ability to shit on someone’s tooth. That is no small feat. Thankfully he only uses the latter skill when pissed off to the point where shitting on one’s tooth is the only way to express him self. Mike has established him self as the guy that head-butts unprovoked, he is also the most likely of us all to get choked out, that being independent of him head-butting. As for me I have the humble job of being the jackass of the band, I am sure you have all read about my guitar tuning woes. I also burnt my fucking face off with some hellfire cheese from a Moon over My Hammy.

So Yesterday was my birthday and the gang bought me dinner at a place called Kelly’s lounge in Pittsburgh. The best part of the day was getting to rock out at one of the coolest venues I have ever been too. If in the area I recommend finding the Shadow Lounge, owned by Justin Long who comes from a family of women who marry the wrong men or maybe its men who marry multiple wrong women. For those of you who grew up in the Boston area reading this you may remember an anchorman by the name of Lester Long, well Justin is his nephew. We also shared the bill with our new friends Fell Upon Thieves who we previously rocked out with and partied like rock stars with in Harrisburg.

  I am generally optimistic about the good of strangers and this trip has done nothing but reinforced that feeling. The amount of good hearted and cool folk that we have met has been overwhelming. The genuineness of their desire to be helpful and first class hospitality is fuel. Even the authorities that often think their jobs are to harass and make life generally difficult for bands on the road have been considerate. I am wondering if everyone on earth did exactly what they loved to do as we are for this week then everyone you met would be like the folks we have been meeting but before I wax philosophy on you all let me leave you with one question, does the singing caged bird make a sound if there is no one there to hear it?

MIKE

For Pittsburgh, we didn’t get a chance to do much promotion.  We sent out some flyers and did a little radio and press work, but we were really dependent on the two local bands to draw well to help fill the room.  We arrived at The Shadow Lounge and found it to be one of the best rooms we’ve been in.  The décor was excellent and the sound and feel of the room were exceptional.  The owner, Justin Long, was one of the nicest guys we’ve encountered on our trip.  We had some really nice chats with him about the venue and the Pittsburgh “scene.”  Spencerlane opened the show.  We thought they had a really solid sound and well-crafted songs.  Then, we were to play, followed by our Harrisburg companions Fell Upon Thieves.  The crowd was very light and Spencerlane, except the singer who stuck around a little while, took off immediately after playing, which was not really so cool in our book.  Of course, Fell Upon Thieves didn’t give Spencerlane a listen either.  Perhaps I didn’t match the bill up right or something, but neither of the local bands did anything for draw, so we were left with just our own limited promotional work.  A couple came to see us who had heard us play live on WMFO, which was very cool.  We played for a small number of people and used it as an opportunity to try out some new things.  I added a coda to Satellite and played using a distortion pedal that I borrowed from Patrick in a few songs.  In the end, I had a lot of ideas about what I want to continue doing and some ideas about what I don’t want to continue doing.  I’ll be using the Rat pedal for the rest of the tour, but I’ll likely switch to the good old big muff when I get back to Boston.  Justin invited us back anytime and we took a photo with Fell Upon Thieves, who, again, were great guys.

MATT

We stayed at Mike’s friend Pia’s place on Sunday night in DC.  Pia had a chin-up bar in her apartment, and Mike did 3 pull-ups before he banged his head on the ceiling.  Good times. 

Our drive to Pittsburgh was fairly uneventful; I drove pretty much the entire way.  I forgot how much I like driving in situations like this, especially early in the morning when everyone is still sleeping/comatose.

I learned how to change the MPG counter from average to current usage.  It’s fascinating to see your MPG change from 1 to 99MPG depending on whether you’re driving up a mountain or down a hill.  It keeps Mike occupied.

So we got to the hotel, took a shower, checked my emails (I had a lot of work emails).  Mike updated the website where you will see this blog and we also posted some pictures, so make sure you go the http://themotionsick.com.

We made our way over to the venue and we were reminded that it might be slightly useful to have a GPS in the car.  There was some grumbling before the trip that there was no need for one, but after New York and unexpected detours along the way, it would be nice to have the GPS lady telling us which turn to make.  

So we get to the Shadow Lounge, and this place is really cool.  It was just a large room, probably approximately 45x35 with at least 20ft ceilings. One of the guys who worked there, or had some connection with the club helped us back the trailer into 2 parking spots, which was amazing.  It was later discovered that he drove 18-wheelers for a spell, and had much experience backing up with trailers in tow.  After loading all of our equipment in, we found this diner/restaurant and quasi-celebrated Patrick’s 29th birthday.  (On an aside, this particular area of Pittsburgh seems like it’s an up and coming area.  I was very impressed with the vibe of the restaurant, the club, and some of the other restaurants, bar, etc that we walked by). 

We got back to the club and watched the first band play; they were pretty good, but the draw was a little light.  We were hoping for a few more people; especially considering that both of the other bands were both from Pittsburgh.  When we finished, I was a little annoyed that the first band kinda, took off when they were finished… I mean, I know it’s a Monday night, but honestly, as most people in bands know, there’s an unwritten rule that you tend to support the other acts on the bill (unless of course, you’re a bluegrass group playing with a death metal act).  Oh well. 

Our set was awesome; and I don’t try to be a braggadocio but the sound in the room was great and it helped our playing quite a bit.  Mike experimented with a distortion pedal on Jean Paul and Grace Kelly.  That rocked.  We also discovered that we had some fans that came out to see us after listening to our performance last month on WMFO.  That was a very nice surprise.

The rest of the night I was basically fighting sleep and exhaustion; and alcohol.   I do need to put a shout out to Justin and all the staff at The Shadow; they were all really awesome and we excited by the show.  They hooked us up with one of the strongest Jack and Cokes I think I’ve ever had.  It’s like that scene in Scrooged (the one with Bill Murray) where he taps the can of Tab into the scotch.  Even if you haven’t seen it; the drink was tasty.

So the gig ended up; we loaded our gear, took some pictures with Fell upon Thieves and folks from the Shadow.  We headed back to the hotel and had some late-nite Denny’s action. Fortunately for us, Patrick got the Moons over My Hammy, which I was really hoping that someone would get.  I got onion rings and put Tabasco on them.

I needed to get up super early; we have a radio interview with Fearless radio today at 4 and it’s a 6-8 hour drive from Pitt to Chicago.  I got Travis a coffee, but apparently, I didn’t make it “light and sweet” enough for the man.  I thought 3 creams and 3 sugars was enough.  Some people are having intestinal distress from the Denny’s.  I’m not looking forward to this drive.


TRAVIS

Yo-yo-yo,

So I’m sitting outside the venue here in Chi-Town waiting for someone to come and open the joint up.  I’m illegally parked in a loading zone, and I quite honestly don’t give a shit.  The Po-Po are inside the restaurant right we’re I’m parked, enjoying their shift time meal, and until they come out and tell me to move, I’m gonna sit here and type away with my Iced Green Tea Latte.

  I took the drive from Pittsburgh to Chicago today.  It took about 8 hours.  We left on time at 7am, and stopped frequently to pee and poop.  The drive wasn’t terribly taxing on me, other than I was forced to look at the worst “scenery” EVER!

  We did an in-studio interview and an acoustic performance at Fearless Radio, which is an all internet based radio station.  It was cool, we played “Losing Altitude” and “Satellite”, I ROCKED the tambourine!  It’s 8:30pm and the venue is still closed, we’re getting worried and agitated…

  I’m having a good time out on the road with the boys and girl.  We laugh a lot, which makes me happy.  I’ve apparently become an expert in parking the van and trailer.  I aint gonna lie, that shit is mad hard, but I seem to have a knack for it.  Props to me. 

  I’m looking forward to not having a long drive tomorrow.  I’m hoping to do some laundry as my shit is starting to smell pretty funky.  We should also have a chance to take our time getting to Madison, and hopefully sleeping in.  Patrick likes to sleep a lot.  Matt likes to eat Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches and Mike ate a ton of Caramel Corn today.  Jane likes Math.

  Last night in Pittsburgh I ate some Kielbasa and Pierogies.  I also drank a few Jack and Cokes at the venue, which were particularly strong.  I’m not complaining.  I played well and my wrist held up until we played “God Hates Kansas”, after that I felt like shit.  Have no fear, I was still rockin like Dokken. 

  Well, it’s almost 9pm, and still no one has shown at the venue.  Shit is locked up like Pandora’s Box.  No one in the surrounding businesses seems to know if and when the joint opens.  So be it.  I’ve rambled on long enough.  The battery on the laptop is dying so I’ll end this blog.  God Bless you, and God Bless The Motion Sick.

JANE

So we had heard that Pittsburgh was an underrated city. (I had read that in the AAA tour book and then one of the guys in the Roosevelts said that as well.) Well we don’t really get a chance to find out anything about it because even though we had intentions of checking it out once we got to the hotel room we couldn’t leave. Everyone took some time to go online, check email, do some work, etc.  We finally head down to the venue which is also in an up and coming arty area, but this one was a little more up then the area in DC.  We find the Shadow Lounge which is another awesome room. It is one big room with lots of cool art and furniture. You can see some of it in the pictures.  The owner is also super cool. He was so friendly and helpful and very funny. He told lots of good stories.  He cleared out a space in front for us to park the trailer and we were assisted by some guy on the street on how to back it up.  Travis is the man – he’s got mad skills at parking this thing.

We went to this place called Kelly’s to get some food – it had been recommended to us as a good place and I quite agree. It had some BBQ options but I had Mac N’Cheese and a salad. They also had a deal on Mojitos.

We were playing with two local bands so we were hoping they would bring a lot of people but the crowd was small. But hey – it is a Monday. Even though we’re such rock stars we keep forgetting what day in the week it is because we’re not at work. There was this couple in the back that I thought had come for the first band but it turns out they were there to see us.  This woman used to live in Somerville and worked at the radio station where we had our interview and had heard us on the air. She checked out our website and saw we were coming to town and came down to check us out. It was pretty cool and she was really nice – thanks for coming out!  There were also some other people there and this one woman looked exactly like my Mom so that was weird.

I’d been in contact with the first band’s drummer about the show (spencerlane) and I was looking forward to seeing them. I really liked their sound as well and quite enjoyed the show. Then we played and the stage we pretty wide so I had space to rock out and dance around.  And we got to check out Fell Upon Thieves again and I was grooving on them a lot more this time.  We got a picture with all of those guys and the guys from the venue.  It’s been really great to travel around and meet all of these cool people and to visit these cool venues. Everyone is really nice and that part is a lot of fun.  The bartender also hooked us up. I saw him make Matt’s drink and I can say it is exactly like that scene in Scrooged. There really was just a splash of Coke.

So we head back to the hotel – no partying with the Thieves tonight.  We should really go to bed because we have a long drive tomorrow to Chicago but we go to Denny’s instead. I had hashbrowns covered with cheddar cheese which I LOVE so I was very happy. 

Day 5 - 8/8/06 – Chicago, IL – Fearless Radio and Lilly's

MATT

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. We stopped so Mike, Jane, Travis, and I could get some more coffee. Patrick was passed out in the back of the van for a large portion of the ride. That man sleeps more than my old friend crazy ray.

We had a radio interview scheduled at 4 at www.fearlessradio.com. Just an aside, I have been very wary about parking the damn trailer ever since NYC, so I had emailed Kris the co-host of the show to see if there was ANY place to park. They totally hooked us up, and allowed us to sit in the (15 minute) loading zone for an hour and a half. The interview itself was pretty awesome; they actually had a real on-air studio and the Host for the New Music Binge, Rocco gave one of the best radio interviews that we've done to date. Check their site out, as they have signed copies of Her Brilliant Fifteen and tour posters that you can win by listening to the show. They pod-cast all their shows, so check them out later in the week to hear an acoustic version of Losing Altitude (unreleased) and Satellite.

From there, we really needed to get some strings for Patrick. This guy has been breaking, on average 2 strings on 2 guitars a night. And he only brought 2 extra sets. We've played 5 shows. Do the math... We headed over the Guitar Center to take care of the strings. Jane also bought a new keyboard bag, since the old one was breaking itself up every time we tried to carry it. I forget how much wankery there is at music shops. This was a relatively well-stocked GC, but the chaos got to me, so I tried to usher everyone out as quickly as possible.

Mike taught us his stable of middle finger gags I was a big fan of the lipstick and the compact, especially.

After, I think about that time we had spent just a little too much time together; so we split up for dinner. I had one of the greatest dinners of the trip; I had some steamed vegetables with tofu (in a ginger/molasses broth) with rice. Walked around, got some coffee, some Jim Beam, some Red Bulls, etc. We went to the venue and although load in was at 8, when we arrived around 7:15-ish, we figured that someone would be there, as all the other bars/restaurants were open. Well, no such luck. 8pm comes and goes; and by this time all of us have gone into Starbucks a few times to buy coffee/lattes and use the restroom. 9pm comes and goes and I leave to use a restroom thats not Starbucks. At this point Im really thinking, Damn this fucking gig is going to be canceled. I was trying to justify our stopping in Chicago, and decided that the radio gig was worth the trip. Just then, Jane calls and tells me that someone FINALLY shows up. Only 2 hours late But when I walked in, I knew why. I think the owners/proprietors finally crawled out of their purple haze and were upright enough to open the damn doors.

Any way, we setup our shit; I think after this tour I will be quite a bit stronger. All the gear seems to be getting lighter and lighter (although my back is probably going to give out on day 7). One thing Ive really noticed is how comfortable weve all gotten to playing. The gig was certainly not ideal as far as sound goes; no monitors, the stage was 20ft wide and about 2ft deep, so we had to line up almost single-file horizontally so there was no way in hell Mike or Jane could hear Patrick (who was all the way across the stage), and both microphone stands were pretty much broken down. But, we still played a really solid gig; remarkably better than I wouldve expected considering the circumstances.

The gig was essentially an open mic that gave us the opportunity to play (I guess thats why punctuality probably was on the top of the owners minds) and we stuck around to listen to a few of the people play. I took a little breather (both literally and figuratively as smoking is still allowed in bars and restaurants around here) and walked down to a 7-11 to grab a soda since I was the designated driver (again) so I wouldnt fall asleep at the wheel. I could tell that Mike really wanted to leave and in an effort to be as accommodating to everyone, Travis and Patrick took a cab to the hotel and I drove Mike and Jane to the hotel.

Its funny how Ive lost all sense of days and time, especially after being stuck as a 9-5er. I knew it would happen since the only thing we have to do is be around at 7-8 at night; but its still very strange. I got a coffee next door at McDonalds (since there is NOTHING near this hotel) and it was odd seeing guys eating hamburgers and fries, and it feels like 9am. So I get my coffee and head back over to the room and I guess were deciding whether we should drive to Madison and do laundry/shopping there or do it here near the hotel. Guess we'll figure it out.

MIKE

We had our longest drive thus far. We only slept about 3 1/2 hours before we had to rush out of Pittsburgh to make a 4 PM Fearless radio appearance in Chicago. I was so tired, I even managed to pass out in the car for about 20 minutes of the 8-hour trip. We arrived at Fearless radio and they had very kindly arranged for parking for us. They are a really cool Internet station with a great studio and staff. Kris greeted us and helped us get settled. Then, Rocco did the live interview with us. We played 2 stripped-down songs, "Losing Altitude" (currently unreleased) and "Satellite" and they played a few songs off our CD. It was interesting to try to change the arrangements without any rehearsal, particularly the percussion. I am interested in hearing how it came out. We also did a fun interview and then signed a couple of CDs and posters for giveaways and for the studio. They were really nice to us and the show was recorded and will be posted for download.

Then, we went down to the Lincoln Park area and ate dinner and ran to a music store for Patrick to pick up some strings and Travis to pick up some sticks. After that, we parked outside the venue around 7:15. Load-in was supposed to be at 8, so we were early. We panicked a bit as no one showed up to open Lilly's until about 9:15. We set up and played a set as an opener to an open mic. It was kind of strange. A lot of people were clearly there for the open mic and were not so interested in listening to us. Still, there were a bunch of people sitting about 3 inches away from us who seemed to enjoy our set a lot. We were reminded again that we need to bring our own mic stands (even though all the venues provide them) because a lot of times, the venue's equipment isn't in the best shape.

After playing, we listened the open mic for a while, but I was really tired so I decided to just rest in the van while the rest of them hung out. I am definitely the only one in the band who just wants to go to sleep every night after the show and not hang out or "party" too much. I am trying to keep my voice in good shape and it has been getting rougher and rougher as we go along. I've had a mild sore throat since day 1, but I am hanging in there. I'm so used to non-smoking venues from playing in Boston and New York, so the smoke in these places is really killing my voice and throat. Anyway, I got my own hotel room so I could have continuous, solid sleep. I am not a very good sleeper as it is and we've been sharing space every night, which has been more-or-less fine, but I wanted a night of calm, uninterrupted sleep. That's sort of the toughest thing for me. I never want to really stay out late at the venue or go out drinking because I just don't enjoy it and they all want to. I think mostly, I could normally stand to do it, but I know I have 4 nights of singing ahead and I already feel pretty crappy. The band has been good about accommodating me, but I feel bad about it. Of course, we're staying in hotels far away from the venues, so it's not even like I can just go back to the room and go to sleep. I am sure they are sick of me not wanting to "party." Anyway, now, I am laying in bed in my own room after some decent rest. I've got to do laundry before we get on the road today. I think we've been through the tougher part of the tour in terms of not having connections in town. Okay, off to launder...

I'm back a little later. The rest of these guys are laundering in Madison. I'm feeling good today. I think it was nice to have a good night's sleep and feel refreshed. We had a fun trip today and stopped at the biggest rest stop I've ever seen. Fun times. I'm excited to rock it tonight in Madison.


PATRICK


We drove from Pittsburgh to Chicago yesterday and now we are headed to Madison. Last night’s show went well, if you want to tighten up your band nothing does it quicker then playing ten shows in a row. It has been a great experience to watch and be a part of songs evolving with subtle changes over the past days. When we get back to Bean town you will all be in for a treat (Mike just scolded me for touching his computer screen just one more reason to stab him in the kidney.)

The band vibe has been pretty jovial with just a few threats of getting shit on, stabbed, or choked out. Overall I think we are getting along pretty well. Matt amused us all with a story of a forgotten Thanksgiving Day turkey that sat in a freezer for six years and his dad blowing chunks. 

We continue to meet really cool peeps. Last night we met some great musicians in Chicago including a saw playing liaison and a stand up bass player so it was a musical treat for my ears.

I forgot to mention that Mike had a beer on my birthday!


TRAVIS

It’s Wednesday and it feels like a Sunday.  Actually, everyday has felt like a Sunday.  I’m at a Laundromat in Madison, WI, its fairly empty minus the blond attendant who is currently folding some towels.  She’s cute.  My clothes smelled so bad, I mean just god-awful.  Between the smoke, sweat and spilled beer I can only that the smells resembles a Kodiak Bear's ass.

I had a fuckin awesome time in Chicago!  I met many cool people and many musicians.  The venue that we played at also hosted an open-mic when we completed our set.  A lovely lady named Sarah played a saw…  Yea, the kind you cut wood with.  It was tremendous.   The venue also graciously fed my beer habit for free all evening, needless to say I took full advantage of it.  Patrick and I closed down the place (big surprise) and then headed a few blocks for some burrito action!  Shit was yummy.

Ended up taking a cab to the hotel.  I passed out for almost the entire ride and when I awoke, the meter said something like $45.80…  I had no idea that we were so far away from the hotel!!  Fuckin cabbie didn’t cut a brotha a break.  Jerk off.  I slept on the floor while Patrick slept in a windowsill…  I woke up with NO HANGOVER, which makes Travrad a happy boy.

Matt and I flipped a coin to see who was going to drive to Madison as we both wanted too.  You’d think after driving for 8 hours straight the day before that I’d have no desire to steer, but I’m weird, I like it.  I won the coin toss and took the rather short trip to Madison.  The city looks cool and we’re playing across the street from the Capitol Building.  The building is a great piece of architecture.

In our travels today we stopped at a Walmart to replenish some supplies.  Bought some more food, ice, and the new Gin Blossoms CD.  So far, I don’t like it but maybe after Jane forces it down my throat a few more times, I’ll be more receptive to it.  Mike and I rocked out to The Killers for awhile today, I like rockin out with Mike.

I thought I played like shit last night (Chicago), so I’m looking forward to pushing myself tonight in hopes that I redeem myself.  I also smashed my middle finger and the swelling doesn’t seem to be going down.  It’s purple.  I don’t like purple.  I’m still ready to rock this bitch and plan on using a few of my “rock faces”!

Oh, so I am the official Pack Mule of The Motion Sick.  This is in addition to being the new guitar tech.  I carry as many bags as possible in one trip and I also pack the trailer real well, so it’s a double whammy.  I like the bag gig better.  So, I will end this little rant with this one question for you to ponder…  Why does Illinois make you pay tolls every 10  miles, but they don’t provide any scenery???  Tonight, we rock Madison!

JANE

Today is the marathon driving day – 8 hours to Chicago.  Thanks Travis for driving it! We managed to leave almost at the time we wanted to and got on the road.  The drive was long but not that bad. We didn’t run into too much traffic and listened to some good music in the car.  We had to be there at 4 for a radio interview at Fearless radio and we were actually early. I took the opportunity to go take a walk around for a bit. It’s Day 5 and after spending all day together in the van I needed a little break from the boys. I get back and Patrick is reading the birthday book that talks about your personality based on when your birthday is. According to that anyone who is born on my birthday is very challenging to Mike. I’m sure he would agree.

So fearless radio was really cool. It was a great looking office with lots of cool stuff on the walls. Kris who was helping us out was great and Rocco did a fantastic interview. He asked some good questions that I think really made us think.  He really kept things moving and I hope that people found it interesting. We also played Satellite and Losing Altitude live with Travis on the tambourine. I can’t wait to hear the recording.

After that we head over to Guitar Center to get some strings for Big Daddy because he beats too hard on his guitars and is breaking multiple strings each night. Travis decided to get some more sticks and I decided to get a new keyboard bag. My old one was falling apart and it is a pain in the ass. So I got a lovely new bag which is smaller and more manageable and not falling apart.  We parted ways to go grab dinner and I had some Pad Thai. Not as good as Wonder Spice, but good none the less.

Now time to head over to the venue. After driving in circles for a while to figure out how to get on the same side of the road as the venue we pull up in the loading zone in front of the place. We are a little early and the place is dark. I was pretty tired and a little grouchy so I took a nap in the minivan while we waited. And waited. And waited.  It’s now 9 and still no one is there. We accost people on the street to ask them if they know if the place is open and we get lots of different responses. Finally they get there and let us in. I like the vibe of the bar but it’s kind of awkward to play there. It reminded me of this bar I had been to in Seattle. The placement is weird in how people can watch the stage. They are either right on top of you or far away. The stage is also small so I’m standing directly behind Mike. All I can see is the back of his head. I’m also right next to Travis who goes kind of crazy so I’m worried that he’s going to hit me with his sticks.  We played around with the set a bit tonight which was fun and I think we played well. It was hard to dance around because I didn’t have that much space but I took the opportunity to play around with my volume pedal more.

We were drinking Miller Lites for free which was nice and after being in a bad mood all day after we played I was feeling better.  I chatted with a few people who had watched us and talked to this one girl who was going to be playing the saw later.  Playing the saw is sooooooo cool. And it was also so nice to talk to a girl after all the time with the boys!

There was an open mic at the bar after and we hung out for a bit and watched. You could tell that it was a really tight group of people at this open mic. Everyone knew each other and were very friendly. They were very supportive of other people’s playing and shouted out requests.  It’s cool that they have this place with a great atmosphere that people can get together and jam and have a good time and play music with each other.  I was feeling a little more like staying out tonight but someone had to drive the trailer back to the hotel which was far away. It’s hard to find a cheap hotel in Chicago so we were by the airport.  Mike also wanted to go back so Matt drove me and Mike back to the hotel again while Patrick and Travis hung out with all the open mic’ers.  It was a long day so I certainly didn’t mind getting to go back early (well earlier – it was still 2 in the morning).  But I was a little jealous of Patravis being out and partying, but we made up for it in Madison.

Day 6 - 8/9/06 – Madison, WI – The Corral Room

MIKE

It was an interesting evening. We went to Madison, did some laundry and Travis and I ate at a Laotian restaurant. I had some veggie duck. It was very tasty. (This discussion about food was for Jane's benefit.) Speaking of Jane, I think we may have actually gotten her to agree to write some entries here...coming soon I think.

We arrive at the venue and the bartender at the upstairs section said he thought there was no show tonight. So, we panicked momentarily and then he admitted that he probably had no real idea what was going on. So, we get there. The show starts pretty late for a weeknight (10:30). The first act, Cedarwell were pretty cool. Almost like an Iron and Wine thing, but a little more rocking. The mix for them, particularly the vocals, was pretty bad sounding. We played second. The venue didn't have any DIs and they only had 3 channels on the snake, so we had to drop Matt's backing vocals and I had to borrow an amp modeler from Cedarwell so I could get some acoustic guitar and still have the keyboards go through the board. We almost just threw a mic on the keyboard speakers, which wouldn't have sounded too hot. For the 1st song, I seriously struggled with distortion on my guitar to the point where I could barely play it. By the 2nd song, I managed to get it in order. We played fairly well, though I thought overall, the sound of the room was not as clear as it could be. Such is life.

We were followed by a rock-posing band from Oklahoma. I honestly didn't catch their name. We were impressed by their rock star looks and moves. The bass player in particular made awesome faces and looked like Derek Smalls from Spinal Tap. Jeff Caissie closed the night out. He played some cool stuff with a bass player and a drummer. He made fun of the band for trying to pick up a couple of girls (his friends) that were hanging around us. Jane pointed out that Matt must have been hitting on them or Jeff wouldn't have said it from the stage. Then, I said that it was nonsense because he also said the same thing about me from stage...however, Jane correctly pointed out that Jeff accused the girl of hitting on me. "I like lead singers," he had said mockingly. Anyway, none of us was really hitting on anyone, at least not until we arrived back at Yogesh and Jodi's house where we're staying...

We were unloading our stuff to go in and some VERY drunk 40ish-year-old woman was walking by with 2 fistfulls of flowers. Travis asked for one. She gave him one and then walked over to me and basically smacked me in the face with the flowers and then tried to hug me. I ran away screaming and then she moved on and tried to shove her flowers up Patrick's butt. Anyway, it was a bizarre day and I feel like I was a little bit molested, but I am okay. I am definitely at the point where I feel like I would like to sleep in my own bed in my own apartment with my own Sophia. Three more days. I think they're all really promising gigs, so I am excited for them. It's 3:45 AM now and we have to be up at 7 tomorrow to drive to Indianapolis...but everyone is still making loads of noise in the living room, so no sleep for me...no point in even trying.

 

MATT

So I had a hell of a night, or morning to be slightly more specific.  But here are some observations from the day:

Patrick said “we’re rock stars this week, not tourists” in response to Jane’s request that we stop at an outlet village.

We stopped at the greatest rest stop that I think I’ve ever been to. It was like a strip mall/food court all bundled into one.  I also bought some stick-on “Bling” which I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do with it yet. 

I remembered why I hate Wal-Marts.  We had to buy some more food and some other materials for the press kits. 

So after Wal-Mart, we continued to drive to Madison.  Jane is getting somewhat grouchy at this point, but I don’t blame her.  I think that traveling with 4 guys was really starting to grind away at her.  However, unbeknownst to her, while we were at Wal-Mart Mike picked up the latest Gin Blossoms CD (which she had been anxiously anticipating; for months) and we were sneaky enough to import it onto my laptop and load it into my ipod.  We threw that on randomly, and she was very pleased.

We did laundry after that and tried to find some internet, but for some reason only Jane’s machine could get any type of signal.  Damn wireless networking. 

I decided to get some promo work done by labeling the demo CD’s that we’ll be giving away at the Music Summit.  I’m sure that someone will mention it in their blog, so I should mention it here so my side of the story is represented somewhere.  I make a pretty stupid mistake in my haste of printing all the thousands of pages that we needed.  I misspelled a word on the CD labels.  Somewhat fortunately, it was fixable since only one letter was off and was fairly easily transformed.  But I certainly felt like an idiot; and performed my penance by correcting all 100 labels and pressing them on to the discs. 

 I’m sure that someone else will mention the gig; the only thing that I think is important to mention is the poor FOH sound that we had to deal with; I’m not quite sure the guy even knew how the gear worked.   Oh, and the fact that the bassist from the 3rd band had the greatest bass-moves I think I’ve ever seen, but he could’ve backed it up a bit with some more bass-playing…

Last night was a slight departure from our previous shows, where our place to stay for the night wasn’t 20+ minutes away.  Knowing that, I preceded to party down a bit.  Mike and Jane’s friend Yogesh (who we were staying with) bought us some drinks at the bar and after loading out we went back to their place and drank some more, and etc.

(Btw, I missed the entire flower-incident.  I think I was still in the car). 

I passed out at some point on the couch; I remember waking up to have some pizza, but don’t remember a damn thing until Mike kicks me at 8:15 and tells us we’re leaving in 10 minutes.  I have not felt this bad in a very long time….  Head kills, nauseous, eyes all blurry, just terrible in every way shape and form.  I try to sleep in the front seat and I’m feeling all right until somewhere on I80 where I really needed to throw up.  So, run into the bathroom (fortunately there’s private family bathroom where I’ll have little privacy) and unleashed a fury into the toilet.  Still don’t feel much better; but at least my stomach is empty.  It took me until around 2-ish to feel better. 


TRAVIS

We’re on the road to Indianapolis and once again we’re traveling through the great state of Illinois…  I really don’t like traveling through Illinois as they really try to squeeze every dime out of you.  They call their highways “tollways”, its freakin ridiculous.  We’re listening to R.E.M and Matt is assed out in the passenger seat.  Matt partied too hard last night and is paying for it today.  Jane is driving.

  Mike says “I’m not hungover”, I told him to shut his face.  He punched me in the nose.  No, he really didn’t, but I can imagine he wants to.  I kept him up last night, I was being louder than most people should be at 3am.  I can only imaging what he must think of me at this point, I’m fairly crass and I’m infatuated with poop and pee.  We did however have a really nice dinner together last night in Madison, it was quiet, reserved and we spoke freely about music, food and about the tour.  I often feel that Mike and don’t take the time to just sit down one and one and converse about things other than business.  It was a treat for me.

  I partied pretty hard last night.  Not as hard as Chicago or Harrisburg, but I held the torch.  I’m probably giving the off the illusion that I’m out every night getting shitfaced, but in reality just staying up late and drinking more than 2 beers is “partying” for me at this point.  I live so far away from Boston that when we have gigs there, I can’t really get my drinkin groove on, so it’s been a nice change of pace not having to drive home.  We stayed with Jane and Mike’s friend, Yogesh.  I’d like to say thanks for everything as he and Jodi were MOST gracious.

  So Madison…  Very small city.  Lots of public drunkenness.  Matt and I almost lost our ties to 2 beautiful young ladies who were so shitfaced that I was concerned for their safety, but mostly concerned for the retrieval of my tie.  Also, Mike was assaulted by a woman with flowers.  I can’t even begin to describe the scene because it was so fucking bizarre, but the woman had the “crazy eyes”, so I let her have her way with Mike until he literally ran away.  Picture Mike running away from a woman with flowers, guitar case in hand.  Quite comical.  Patrick and I just stood there and laughed at the scene.

  The venue in Madison reminded me of these shows I played in college with my band Serdody.  We used to play in the basement of the complexes as that was the cool and hip place for the good bands to play.  The venue really just looked like someone’s basement or an V.F.W type of hall/bar.  The sound and set up was shitty, but I rocked that bitch.  I played really well, probably the best of any night so far.  Some jerk off threw up in the urinal, which made my rage meter turn to 11…  I was full of rage last night. 

  I graciously allowed the first band to play my kit, which turned into a big mistake.  The drummer didn’t really understand the concept of using his own cymbals and snare (unspoken agreement amongst drummers) and he adjusted every possible thing that could be adjusted.  Fucker even proceeded to PUNCH my bass drum during one of their songs, who punches another man’s bassdrum??!!  I wanted to stab him.  I honestly felt insulted. 

  I didn’t particularly care for any of the bands who played last night, but one band had a bass player who focused a little too hard on their “rock moves”, and not on their playing…  It happens.  I’m sure we’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but playing well is REALLY important to us, its not always every other bands priority.

  Jane just flipped out on me for criticizing her driving.  She’s probably right, I should just shut the fuck up, but it’s making me nervous.  I’d drive, but I’m blogging and putting together promo kits.  I’ve grown to hate Starbucks.  I’ve never liked Starbucks, but now I truly hate it.  Matt just announced that he’s going to throw up.  We’re pulling over to allow Matt spewing privileges.  Ok, we didn’t stop, but I have a feeling we will be soon because Matt does NOT look good.  Patrick is sleeping (another big surprise).  Wait, now he’s awake, nope he’s back to sleeping again.

  I’m looking forward to playing tonight, but mostly I’m looking forward to not sitting in this fucking van any longer.  I hate being a passenger.  I’ve come to realize today that I can really be obnoxious.  I don’t typically try to be, but there’s something in my personality that allows me the freedom to do so without putting any effort into or hesitating to do so.  I’m not sure how to cure my disease or if there even is a cure, but I should probably still take Jane’s advice to “shut the fuck up!”.  I’m done blogging for now, on to making more promo kits.  I hope this didn’t bore you, peace out homies!

JANE

Luckily today we did not have to drive that far so it was a relaxing day.  We got to sleep in to 10 and take long relaxing showers.  Despite all that I was still pretty grouchy when we got on the road and by that time needed a late lunch. I was jonesing for a sandwich and was looking for a Subway and there were others in the car who were fiending for soy lattes and coffee who wanted to go to Starbucks.  Now the rest stops in Ohio were pretty poor but today we found the mother of all rest stops.  I don’t know whether it was in Illinois or Wisconsin but it was the bomb.  We were driving by the signs and we saw one for Starbucks and for Subway so I was super excited.  And there were tons of other places there. So I was able to satisfy my Subway craving and get a sweet smoothie to boot. They also had a music/book/movie exchange store so I picked up some $1 books.

So we decided to try and resurrect the cooler idea but with the promise of being more vigilant about keeping the ice on track. Since I wanted it the most I cleaned out the cooler which I didn’t seem to find as gross as everyone else did.  After stopping at a Walmart we stocked up on some staples and headed off in the minivan again.  Now this might seem like a theme but I was a little grouchy in the van. We’ve been having Ipod wars about what to listen to and today I was particularly picky. Ok they are not really wars – at least not for anyone else. Matt started playing a song which sounded very familiar.  Now those that known me know I am a HUGE Gin Blossoms fan.  I loved them and I was devastated when they broke up. But luckily for me they got back together and started playing around. I got to see them a few times since then, the best show being the one I saw for free at City Hall Plaza in Boston. They played every song off of New Miserable Experience. Listening to Mrs. Rita live – that’s the bomb.  Anyway they would also play some new tunes and their website always promised a new album but they were always working on it. But I guess they got it together and the album was released on August 8th.  I’ve been talking about it for weeks and Mike sent me a link to a site where they were streaming the new album so I got listen to a few tracks.  But I was really looking forward to getting the new album. At our Walmart stop we had discussed trying to find it but I was off getting groceries. After a phone call telling me to hurry the fuck up we met at the registers.  I wanted to check for the CD but I was assured that it wasn’t there so I thought oh well and we got in the car. After listening to the Killers for a bit (which I like) where Mike lectured me about my keyboard playing we were ready for something else (ok – he didn’t lecture me but he phrased the wording of his request for me to listen to the Killers keyboarding because he liked it poorly, in my opinion). So anyway – back to the story.  Matt starts playing this song and it’s really fucking familiar. So I’m thinking it either is the Gin Blossoms or another band that sounds just like them (which is fine because I dig them and/or have no taste). And I ask what it is and then they start laughing and I realize that it is the new Gin Blossoms CD that they bought for me and snuck it out of the store to be a surprise. Well it was really fucking sweet and I appreciated it. I immediately felt guilty for all my bitchy behavior and promptly promised to do a tour blog. Which is why you have to read thousands of words of my boring shit.

We have an old friend in Madison (old in length of time knowing, not in age) and luckily he’s letting us crash at his new house. It’s a great house with tons of rooms so I’m looking forward to getting some SPACE from the rest of the boys.  We need more space in this band.

After doing some laundry we headed over to Yogesh’s house and he gives us some good recommendation for food near by. We head to a taco place where I had some great fish tacos – fried tilapia. Then we drive down to the venue.  It’s a steak house and the bartender is confused because he thinks the room we’re playing in is closed that night.  But we search out other people and find out that it is indeed open that night, but not open yet.  They open it up for us and we start loading in.  The place is in the basement of the restaurant and actually looks like someone’s basement that they converted into a rec room. But the staff was really nice and I got to chat with the guy in the band before us who had lived in Boston for a while. I thought they did some interesting stuff – the best part being when the drummer started punching Travis’s drum.  And the band after us had the most rocking out bass player ever.  He kept me entertained the whole time.  But it was fun hanging out and I had a blast talking to Yogesh and Jodi who I hadn’t seen in a while.  There was an issue with some ties though.  The girls in Madison are apparently tie hungry.

As far as our playing the sound did not sound so good on the stage, but we heard it was good in the house and I think we rocked!  As has been mentioned by others nothing gets you into playing shape like doing it every night for a year – well it’s only been 6 days but it feels like a fucking year!  Amazingly enough I’m not sick of any of the songs - just all my bandmates.  Just kidding – you know I love you guys.  Oh and I guess I really used to suck when I used to play in a band with Yogesh and Mike back in college.  Yogesh complimented my timing (which was nice) and said I’ve gotten so much better since those days (also nice, but implies that I sucked back then).

Day 7 - 8/10/06 – Indianapolis, IN – Indy CD and Vinyl

Note: our photo was featured in the schedule book

JANE (note: Jane entries have been added back to day 1)

Nothing is more fun than getting up 2 hours after you fall asleep on a couch.  But thanks to Yogesh and Jodi for letting us stay at there house. It was so great.  And they made us pizza last night – which was quite tasty.  And I stole some cereal for breakfast – thanks!  And thanks to everyone who came out to see us last night!

I drove for the first time today and did a very bad job – I almost got us killed twice.  I drive a small car on purpose – I have a hard time with a minivan and a trailer when I can’t see anything.  There is also lots of traffic, construction and tolls so I was getting pretty stressed out.  Patrick took over for me (thanks Patrick) which gives me time to write this.  And we’re trapped in traffic for hours – why is everyone going to Indiana???  Now I’m really glad that Patrick is driving.  We’ve started telling bad jokes.

We’re still trying to get to Indiana in time to go to this party before our show so we can recruit people to come.  But the traffic is insane. After chatting with the toll gate lady we find out that the next highway we want is 20 miles away but it could take hours to get there.  I couldn’t imagine living there and having to deal with that traffic all the time.  She said it had been like that all day.  So we decide to change our route to try and avoid all the traffic. Even though this does involve some driving on local roads and all we see are corn fields. That is all Indiana and Illinois are – a bunch of fucking corn fields.

We finally arrive in Indianapolis and go right to the part of the city where the festival is. It was pretty cool – there were all these restaurants and clubs and tons of people around. We check out the CD store where we are playing and then I head down to the opening party to get our badges and to recruit people for a show.  I get down to the bar where everyone is and there were tons of people there.  I grabbed our badges and a beer and then started networking.  I talked to a bunch of people and gave out our stickers and some press kits. I talked to a bunch of cool people like this girl who is taking her burlesque show on the road. In general everyone is really nice and ask lots of questions like where we are from and how the tour has been going. I talked to another girl who was also in a band with all guys and she gave me a hug because she knows what I’ve been going through.  Even though there are still people I haven’t talked to there I head back to the store because we’re going to go on soon but still handing out stickers along the way.  I gave stickers to one group of people and they said – yeah we saw you on the schedule. He shows me the schedule which I hadn’t seen yet because I was in a rush to get to the party and there was our picture on the schedule for Thursday. It was so awesome and I was so excited about it. I then stop a group of people and give them out sticker and they ask where I’m from and I say Boston. Then they say that they are from Boston and turns out they work for Sonicbids and live in JP.  One guy just moved from where I live now to right by my new house so we’ve been neighbors for years and now we’re neighbors again.  It was so exciting to talk to people from Boston!

I head back to the CD store and we hear the end of the band before us and they sounded really good.  It was definitely weird to play in a store. Patrick and I were standing off to the side and it was really hard to hear anything.  But I had plenty of room so I was dancing around.  I saw a lot of the people I had talked to at the party come in and check us out. I also saw a lot of people taking pictures – so if any of you are reading this please send them to us!  Thanks everyone who came in to listen!  I think this was the first show where we didn’t know any one who was there so it was nice to look out and see all these new people enjoying our music and to be able to recognize some of them that I had talked to before.

After the show we grab some food (Qdoba – nothing exciting) and then just walked around to check out some of the other bands.  We walked into one bar that had a cool sound and saw three guys playing (The Singles) who were wearing ties like we do and listened to the end of their set.  At that bar I also some guys in another band (Lorenzo Goetz) that I had talked to outside of where they were playing and they had put our stickers on their badges – awesome.  I decide to start networking again and talk to this one guy who is the singer for the band (Modena Vox) that is playing a little later. Turns out that they are from Columbus and are going to be back in time for our show. So we promise to come back for their show and they said they would try to get some people out for ours.  We then go check out The Vogue which is the big venue.  It’s a very cool venue - kind of looked like The Roxy mixed with Axis. I liked the band that was playing – Silversun Pickups.  I spent some time walking around and saw a bunch of the people who came to our show so I talked to them and gave out more stickers. I also saw one of the guys who was taking pictures and he showed me them on his camera.  I head back to see the band from Columbus who I also liked.  And I saw some more people who had come to our show so I talked to them and handed out more stickers and press kits.  Our final stop was Rouge to see the Local H.  And I saw even more people who were at our show and chatted with them. One group of guys asked who had made the animated video on our website. They had checked out our website before they came to the show and actually seemed pretty excited to talk to me and introduced me to a bunch of other people some of whom were also at the show.  Eventually we head back to the hotel which was definitely the sketchiest place we have stayed at so far. But I was SOOO glad to go to sleep.

It was a long day but I had a blast. The music fest was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to Nemo because it’s in Boston so we’ll be able to go see other bands and some of the events.  A lot of people gave us flyers to their show but we weren’t going to be there so it will be cool in Boston because we will be able to check out a lot of stuff.


MIKE

I wake up really cranky today (after 3 hours of bad sleep) with a swollen eyelid. I suspect it's from my cat allergy (there were cats where we were staying), but it could have also been a black eye from being beaten in the face with flowers the night before. We can't afford to sleep more because we have a long drive to Indianapolis and we need to make it for the 4 PM meet and greet party at The Midwest Music Summit, where we're playing. Jane started out driving. I napped for a minute in the back of the van and woke up looking out the window at a giant red truck about to smash into my head and then jumped about 30 feet when the truck full-blast honked at us. Jane had switched lanes without looking in the side mirrors. She refuses to use the side mirrors. "I don't use them when I drive my car." I think we all secretly decided that she isn't going to be driving anymore...but don't tell her.

Our goal for the Summit is to bust in and meet people and let people know about the band. In a lot of ways, our showcase performance is less important than the connections we might make. We're only sticking around for the one day, so it's a little tricky to get a lot done. We're all feeling terrible...me due to lack of sleep; everyone else due to lack of sleep and non-lack of drinking the night before. We stop regularly for Matt to throw up (sometimes he leans out the window). My stomach feels like it might fall out of my body when I'm not paying attention. On our way to Indianapolis, we hit completely halted traffic. We're stuck for a long time. Finally, we get off the highway and take back roads that run straight through the corn fields. For something like 2 hours, all we did was drive through corn fields. It was mind numbing. I was convinced we'd end up in some quasi-existent town like in the movie _In the Mouth of Madness_. Jane and I argue about the director. I say it's John Carpenter; she says it's Wes Craven. We haven't yet looked it up, but I am pretty sure it's John Carpenter. Okay, we looked it up...John Carpenter.

Anyway, we arrive in Indy too late for the party really, but on time for our gig. The band before us, Shirock, is really late also, so everything is running behind, which is bad because our time slot was early enough not to conflict with the big concert of the night, but now we're going to overlap some. Shirock plays and they sound really clear and good, so I start getting excited about the show. The store's owner Rick and an MMS volunteer help us get settled in back; both very nice people. We found out earlier that we had our picture featured on the Thursday schedule for the MMS (the only picture on the page). So that was really cool.

We get everything set up on "stage" (it's a corner in a music store) and I realize that there are no monitors. For anyone that has played in a band, you know that having no monitors is very frustrating. It amounts to me not being able to hear my guitar or vocals at all and doesn't allow me to do the self correction that comes with that audibility. Anyway, we play (what in my mind is) terribly. People flow in and out of the store. It's naturally an awkward situation to be playing in a fully lit room next to a rack of Husker Du CDs, but the people who were flowing in and out seemed to generally have interest in what we were doing despite the fact that I felt like we sounded like mud. I broke a string 3 songs from the end and kind of faked through it anyway. At some point, Matt stepped on his cable and lost signal. It was definitely one of those shows you don't really feel great about. After, we met some people, including a couple of guys from Sonicbids (Benji and Ben) and then loaded everything out to the car.

We went to get some dinner and all I could eat was rice because I still felt so sick. Then, we went to see some shows and hand out stickers and postcards. Jane worked the crowd really well. The rest of us were balls of crankiness and exhaustion, so we didn't do much. We saw some pretty cool bands: The Singles, Modena Vox, Murder by Death, and Local H. I was too tired to enjoy much of anything at that point and we headed to the motel. Though, while I was waiting outside, a limo pulled up, the window rolled down and two girls started heavily making out. I was on the phone with Sophia and just sort of laughed and looked away. Then, they started taunting me. "You know you were watching. You know you like it." I laughed again and they drove off.

We are staying at a Knight's Inn in Indianapolis. I have probably never been to a less nice place. When we arrive, some guy outside keeps talking to us, but he just keeps mumbling nonsense. It's almost out of a horror movie. Early this morning, we got a phone call with the same mumbled nonsense. I am scared of this dude. I made sure the door is chained when we went to sleep. This place is mad gross and has no shampoo. I can't wait to leave. I expect the next two shows to be close to the best of the tour.


MATT

We ran into some serious-ass traffic on I80 in Illinois.  Patrick asked the toll attendant how long it might take to get the I65, and she said probably a few hours.  Being that we didn’t have a few hours to sit in traffic, our navigator extreme (Jane) takes us on an alternate route.  I think she found it in the tour guide under “Scenic Sights of Corn” since that’s about all we saw for 2 hours.  I never realized how much genetically modified/species of corn is out there, or at least I assume so since there were signs posted near each field of corn.  I suppose that since such a large portion of our diet, pets’ diets, fuel, etc is made out of corn it would make sense that they need to have fields of different types.  I wish there was a book about corn I could read.

Due to our detour we made it to the gig right at load in time (late, but had we stayed on 80, we’d probably still be there).  There was an opening party that we had intended on attending, but clearly that wasn’t going to happen.  Jane heads over to the party to work her womanly charms to get people to the gig and get our name out. 

I unloaded most of the gear while Mike and Patrick went to Starbucks.  The other band (who was playing first) was also late; I assume due to the same traffic snafus that we experienced.  Watching them unload their gear, I realized how many levels of professionalism there is to touring.  They had a real van, a big ass trailer and all their gear was in real road cases.  The drummer even had a huge trunk on wheels that he put his kit in.  I was quite impressed.  Hopefully someone will give us some money to get cool road cases. 

The first band was actually really great, but the venue wasn’t really designed for a performance.  Think of a mom and pop record store, and put a band in the back (with no monitors, a very tiny PA, and all the lights on).  We play fairly well considering some of the technical hurdles we faced.  A lot of people come and go (which I figure is the nature of such an event since it was free).  Jane had apparently chatted up a lot of folks over at the meet ‘n’ greet party.  We spoke with some guys from Sonicbids, (which is based in Boston come to find) and live in Jamaica Plain and they invited us to a big party in JP.  Oh yeah, and they thought that we played well too. 

This was the first music conference I’ve ever attended where I wasn’t either a presenter or an engineer.   I felt the need to chat up other bands and “important people”.  Fortunately, it was easy to find such people since we all had fancy badges to imply that pretty much everyone there was part of the conference.  I tried to hand out a bunch of postcards and stickers, pretty much to no avail.  I think the night before and the hectic pace of our traveling had really started to wear me out.  I didn’t even drink anything, although I’ve developed a new fondness for club soda and lime (plus it was free at most every bar that we stopped at).  I’m positive that the others felt the same way (with the exception of Jane who was on fire; she gave away tons of press kits, stickers and postcards).  We saw a few bands at different clubs and headed back to probably the grossest hotel I’ve been in since last time I went on tour.  It could only have been worse had the room been a smoking one.  I was afraid that I would catch something from the bathroom and to make matters worse when I opened the door the entire knob pulled off.  I looked at it for a second and wondered if I’d be trapped in there all night.  I realized at this point if I was able to pull the damn knob off, that I could put it back on, which of course I did and got out.  Even though we went to bed at around 2-ish, I was able to wake up at 9:15 and felt very rested.  I was a little worried about the van and trailer though.  The hotel didn’t have the most respectable clientele and I was just a little concerned about some drunken hooligan with bolt cutters wandering over.  Took a shower and went out to the van; everything was totally cool.  Whew.. 

Around 11 we’re all ready to go and this is the first morning (aside from yesterday where I was totally unable to consume anything) where I have not had any coffee right away.  I have to admit; I was expecting that I would be drinking coffee, red bulls, and soda constantly but it has been surprisingly light.  I have about one cup of coffee a day (some days two, but never more than that) and have had a total of 4 red bulls and 2 sodas thus far (and its Friday!).  Nevertheless, I do wish I had coffee.  For the first time in my life, we stop at a Waffle House (I totally missed going to one on the last tour).  What I was unaware of was Travis is a HUGE Waffle House fan.  He even knew all the additions to the hash browns that were available (covered, diced, scattered, blah, blah).  He went to town on that stuff too. 

We’re back in the van and driving to Columbus.   This entry stops… here.

Day 8 - 8/10/06 – Columbus, OH – The Basement

MIKE

We wake up in the morning and stop at The Waffle House. There is almost literally nothing I can (or would want to) eat on the menu, so I don't eat. The drive to Columbus wasn't too bad. We arrive in the early afternoon and stop at our hotel for a little while. I was anxious to get going and see a little bit of Columbus. After a brief rest, we head over to the Arena District, where we're playing. We go walk around a little and search for some Internet access to check some e-mails and update this site. We decide eventually to eat at the most amazingly decorated Italian restaurant ever. The whole place is covered in framed "Italian" pictures ranging from scenery to The Pope to Frank Sinatra to (in the men's room) a bunch of pictures of little boys peeing...no joke. The place is like a huge maze covered in these decorations...but we decide to eat outside. Jane and I get into a minor argument about food sharing that really was just a result of exhaustion and hunger (at least for me). At this point in the trip, I had not really eaten much of anything in two days. We enjoy some giant TV advertisements (with sound) on the arena that help us feel like we've entered a Philip Dick novel.

We head over to the show. The room is a really long bar with a stage at one end (with a pit in front of it). They disallow stage diving and moshing, so we just hope our fans won't be disappointed by that tonight. It's an all-ages venue, which we're really excited about. We hang out and talk to the guys from Death in the Midwest, who had brought us onto the bill. It's pretty funny because it's pretty much a straight-up metal/hard rock bill with us thrown in. After we see how heavy the opener, From Parts Unknown, was, we decide to bring our full-on rock. So, we play as hard as we can. I tried to jump around and scream as much as I could fit in. We had some good audience reaction. A lot of people were dispersed throughout the bar and not in the pit area. Our attempts to get them closer were relatively unsuccessful, though it appeared that many were very attentive throughout. We felt like we played well and the sound was great...probably the best we've had in a long while. The sound guy was extremely nice and helpful. While playing, we noticed a guy with a "Love Will Tear Us Apart" t-shirt, so we brought out a little Joy Division and dedicated it to him. Overall, we more or less brought what we could bring in terms of "hard rock" and it was a good time.

When the show was over, the rest of the guys decided to have an all-out wrestling war in the parking lot. Travis dropped Matt over his knee and practically shattered his ribs...at least that is what Matt is still saying 12 hours later. I guess he is sore. For a moment, I saw myself playing solo today in Kentucky after Travis climbed up on top of the trailer to drop an elbow onto Patrick's head. In the last instant, he realized it was a bad idea and climbed back down. Patrick said that is the difference between being 22 and 29; you know better than that after 7 years of injuries.

We returned to the hotel and went to The Waffle House again. We had a pretty strange waitress, but she was also pretty efficient. Patrick ordered lemonade and she said she'd bring him a sample to see if he liked it. She brought him half a glass and he tried it. When she asked if he liked it, he said, "Yeah. What year is it?" Wise ass.

I slept on the floor and got the best sleep I've had thus far. Exhaustion really helps.

Off to see the giant Jesus and go to Kentucky today.


TRAVIS

So here it is, the final day of our little tour.  It’s a sad day for me as I wish that we could just stay on the road and play more.  I don’t think everyone else feels the same way, but not everyone is a road warrior, ya know?  My neck is real stiff today, I think I thrashed too hard last night. 

  Columbus was a pretty cool city.  Its real small, I’ve found that to be the case with a bunch of cities we visited on this trip.  We played at a nice venue with good sound.  I heard everything I needed to on stage, which is a rarity.  I’ve been dropping sticks lately; I think my hands are tired.  We played with 3 other bands, all of which had a much heavier sound than us.  We still seemed to entertain the good people of Columbus and managed to sell a little merch. 

  We all went to Waffle House after the gig, it was right next to our hotel.  Waffle House is my fave place in the world to eat, so it was nice to sit with everyone, laugh and eat some greasy ass food.  Oh I’m skipping an important part of last night’s activities…  Matt, Patrick and myself played a nice game of grab ass.  We started having a wrestling match in the parking lot of the venue.  I ended up “bruising” Matt’s rib, but I just think he’s a bitch ass and needs to put some meat on them their ribs…  Needless to say I won the 3-way dance, as I’m a pro-wrestler on the side, many of you may not know that.

  Last night Jane flipped out at dinner and left.  She came back 10 minutes and half a glass of wine later.  It was a Pinot Noir.  Patrick threw pebbles at the patrons.  Mike was intrigued with the bathroom décor and Matt drank Pellegrino.  I was physically exhausted yesterday and had an opportunity to nap for a few hours, but I was forced to get in the van and go downtown with the other ass clowns so they could find a wi-fi spot.  The only thing they could find was a Starbucks, but you had to pay for it.  Mike and Matt revolted but Jane paid.  I sat on a bench and listened to my iPod and sang out loud for the people walking by.  It was probably obnoxious, but I didn’t care because I was not able to take a much-needed nap.

  So I figure I’ll take a moment to reflect on some things I have learned on this trip.  First, its always better to bring soap and a soap dish as opposed to a bottle of leaky shower gel that you have to tape down the cap for each time you use it.  Other states SUCK at doing daytime construction, it makes for hours of delays.  Jane LOVES food and work.  Matt can’t always hold his liquor.  Patrick takes getting his balls busted in stride, I think his constant state of slumber has something to do with it.  Mike is a funny mother fucker, but he doesn’t always come across that way until you spend hours upon hours locked in a van with him.  Me, well I’ve learned that I like to talk about poop way too much.  I’m not really sure why human excrement is funny, but somehow it is.

  I’m feeling sad again.  Not spending all day with these guys is going to be a tough transition.  I’ll probably be depressed for quite some time.  As much as it sometimes sucks that you can’t get away for 10 minutes and be by yourself, I’d still rather be doing this everyday and nothing else.  I’ve really had so much fun being on the road with the band, playing the music and meeting lots of new people.  I’m really going to miss this.

  So, we’re on the way to Kentucky I believe.  I hope to have an opportunity to write again after today is done.  I’ll probably have more to reflect upon at that time.  “Get up, get, get down. 9-1-1 is a joke in your town”

MATT

I’m sitting in a Starbucks in Columbus.  The internet costs 6 bucks to use, so I’m not quite sure if I’m willing to pay that considering there must be SOME free internet in this city.  Our hotel is part of the same chain as our hotel last night (the sketchy one) but this room looks remarkably cleaner, but no Internet. 

We haven’t walked around Columbus for too long, and all of these capital cities we’ve been in have been boring cookie-cutter style cities.  I hope there’s some type of scene here.

I made a realization that I packed too many clothes.  I didn’t think before I left that I packed too heavy.  I was anticipating wearing at least two t-shirts a day (being sweaty and gross in the car was inevitable) but I really haven’t.  Plus, I’ve been wearing the same shorts and pants the entire time.  It’s a good sign that I have too much and it all fit into a reasonable sized duffle, but frustrating nonetheless that I have to carry around all this stuff I don’t need. 

Since we’re just killing time, I actually feel motivated to write.  It was my intention to try and keep up writing throughout the entire tour, but I was apprehensive about being able to do so for 9 straight days.  I have to say I’m impressed that I’ve been able to capture every day on the tour (even if I’m compressing entries on one day) in writing.

Btw: I’m aware that this is a random stream of consciousness.  Please bear with me. 

We ended up waiting around for Jane for about an hour (she was taking a breather from us I imagine).  Mike, Travis, and I sat around and I think that Patrick talked to his friend Julie about 4 times.  We had made a decision to grab some food at an Italian place (which coincidentally happened to be right below us).  There was outdoor seating and Patrick had been throwing rocks (not intentionally, I think) into the patio seating.  Fortunately, that did not affect our level of service when we sat down.  There were two highlights from this meal (and it wasn’t the food itself)… First was the bathroom.  Well, actually the entire décor of the restaurant.  There were all these crazy black and white pictures everywhere; huge colored Christmas lights strung all around the place (including the naked lady statues outside the restaurant as well), pictures of Madonna and God, etc.  The bathroom was completely tiled with pictures of naked babies and men (and a few statues) peeing.  Well placed, I must admit.  It made me want to go.  The other was this crazy fight that Jane and Mike had.  While I was admiring the décor in the bathroom Mike and Jane were arguing about what food we should get.  I guess Mike’s stomach had been upset and add into the equation the vegan factor and its usually very difficult /next to impossible for him to share anything (with the exception of myself, since I can survive quite well on a vegan/vegetarian diet).  Jane mentioned something about sharing and Mike said no (from hearsay) but all I get is Jane storming from the table and saying she would eat at the bar.  Wow was all I had to say.  Eventually, Mike went over to apologize and Jane came back.  Disaster nearly avoided.

On our way over to the club we heard a stadium show (I guess we were in the Stadium district of Columbus… who knew) and we found out later that none one but “The Gin Blossoms” were playing later.  Jane was excited and spent a pretty much the entire time before we were to play outside listening to them. 

Once we got into the club; the dudes from Death in the Midwest greeted us.  They were great; directing us to where we could store our gear, load in places, etc.  It was a marked change from the last few gigs where no one knew what the fuck was going on.  The other big plus was it was a real stage with a pit (no diving though; as it was posted EVERYWHERE) and a REAL SOUND SYSTEM complete with Competent Front of House engineer and individual monitors for each band member.  There was no way in hell we were going to suck. 

This was the first gig where we didn’t get any drink tickets of any type, but they had dollar beers for band members.  The club had dollar Natural Lights for everyone else, but no one but Jane would drink that shit.  Makes me think of high school. 

The bill was a little eclectic; I saw one of the other bass players rigs, and it was an 8x10 cabinet with a bass next to it that had a gigantic skull on it.  I was really hoping he’d play the gig with the skull on his bass (but alas, he didn’t.  On an aside though, he did look like that Marvel character Sabretooth).  We totally rocked the room; and there was this kid in the corner who showed up for Death in the Midwest who was totally digging us.  I happened to notice that he was wearing a Joy Division shirt that said “Love will Tear us Apart” and when we played it, he went nuts.  Pretty much we rocked the place, and I was very pleased, especially considering the demographics of the room was more attuned to Metal than to Indie Rock.  Anyway, I head back to work Merch and our friend (who’s name is Kris) came up to us and we chatted with him for a while, nice kid (Keep practicing man!)

Once we had loaded up the trailer (and becoming more and more thankful that we would only have to do it one more time) Travis, Patrick, and I decide to perform some hard-core wrasslin’ moves (a’la UHa 1999/2000).  I forgot how physical that shit is, even though you’re not actually hitting people.  Travis picked me up (I guess he chose me b/c I was the lightest) and proceeded to try and break me over his knee.  This is the kicker… he says, “trust me” so I do.  And then he hits me so hard in the ribs; I think I have a bone bruise.  The shit still hurts and every time I have to lift something or laugh it kills.  However, I “sucked it up” and tried to complain as little as possible to appease “The Travis”.

We head back to the hotel and head over to the Waffle House next to the hotel.  I have a waffle and some terrible coffee.  Mike gets some wheat toast and asks for it dry and gets butter on it (which coincidentally, happened to me when we went to Waffle House earlier).  The waffle was all right; I certainly have had better but it was enough for the time being. 

On the way to the last gig I’ll wax poetically about the experience in my Tour Epilogue.

JANE

Not that far of a drive to Columbus so we could hang at the hotel in the morning and relax. Of course it was pretty sketchy so we didn’t really want to hang out there that long, but it takes a while for all of us to get ready and take a shower.  And only Matt was getting internet so the rest of us were looking for some.

Now we needed a place to stop for food and we saw a Waffle House. Travis apparently loves the Waffle House so we decided to go. I had never been to one so I was looking forward it.  Travis claimed that the hash browns were better then Denny’s and while they were good I still think that Denny’s was better. But I didn’t get a waffle.  We get to our hotel and it was nicer than the one we stayed at the night before but still no internet and lucky for us it was right next to another Waffle House.

Some of us take short naps and then we decide to head into Columbus and walk around and get food.  We find the venue and there was a parking lot there so we parked the van and started walking around.  Found some internet and Mike updated the blog. After a lot of time with the boys I wanted some time alone so I took a walk for a while.  It did not seem like there was much to see in Columbus. It was after 5 on a Friday and I was in the business section so there weren’t many people there.  But the boys were hungry so I headed back.  We went to a decent Italian restaurant with lots of crazy Italian pictures. We sat outside where there were some statues that were into bondage and had chicken parm and spaghetti.  There was of course the slight tiff I had with Mike and stormed inside but I got over it.  7 days together and we were getting on each other nerves.

As we walk back to the venue we can hear music. There is an outdoor venue near by and we could hear it pretty clearly. We think it’s KT Tunstall.  When we get to the venue we find out that the Gin Blossoms will be playing later!  I had looked at their tour dates and I didn’t think they were playing anywhere we were but I guess I missed it. They would be playing the same time that we were but I was going to try and catch some.

The venue was pretty cool – it was very long, but right in front of the stage was a pit and I’d never played anywhere like that before.  There were lots of signs up telling people not to stage dive – I don’t think that would be a problem for us.  When we walked in Tom from Death in the Midwest greeted us and showed us where we could store our stuff and all the details about the show. It was so nice to have someone there who knew what was going on and helped us out.  He was also really nice, very friendly and seemed like a cool guy.

I got ready and went outside to listen for the Gin Blossoms. They opened with Mrs. Rita which was great and then played Alison Road and Follow You Down. At that point I had to go inside to play. But it was cool because we were playing at the same time in the same city.  The show went well. The stage was decently sized so we could all move around. There was also a decent crowd and a lot of people came down to the pit.  There was one kid there with a Love Will Tear Us Apart T-shirt who seemed into us and then when we played that cover he loved it.  All in all the crowd seemed pretty receptive and we had a pretty rocking show.

After we sold some CDs and chatted with the other bands. The next band had a guy in it who looked like Sabertooth from the X-Men.  And I enjoyed Death in the Midwest (I keep wanting to say Death by the Midwest).  It was some good rocking music to end the night with especially when you’re a little buzzed.  Everyone we met was really nice and we talked to some of the bands afterwards. Both of the bands that played after us were really heavy and we had been concerned about how we would fit in with that bill but they all said they really liked us and enjoyed the show. Some of them even bought CDs. 

We headed out to the parking lot and I guess the guys still had some more energy to burn. They started a crazy wrestling match, slamming into the minivan, jumping off of the trailer, beating each other up, etc.  Well not Mike – they chased Mike while he was on the phone.  I just watched laughing hysterically until I realized that I needed to take some pictures.  They didn’t come out that great but there were a few good ones. I did get a great shot of Travis breaking Matt’s ribs. 

After the death match we went back to the hotel. Once again instead of going to sleep we decided to go to the Waffle House.  I’d never been before in my life and now I got to go twice in one day – I am so lucky.  This time I did have a waffle, but this Waffle House could only make 2 at a time.  What kind of Waffle House is that? I was not so impressed with the waffle – I was expecting better from a place called the Waffle House. 

 

 

Day 9 - 8/11/06 – Covington, KY – The Madison Theater

MIKE

This was the final day of the tour. I was really excited to be done and get to go home. I've had a great time, but I am completely wiped out. My body isn't responding all that well to the travel, lack of decent eating, and complete lack of sleep. Performing every night for 9 days in a row has been an amazing experience, but waiting around for the other 23 1/4 hours of the day that you're not on stage is fairly torturous. So, we have a relatively short drive from Columbus to Covington (which is basically Cincinnati). We plan to stop on the way north of the city and see a 64 foot Jesus bust coming out of a reflection pool at an Evangelical Church of some kind. So, we drive on over and park the car at the neighboring Traders World. Traders World was full of bizarre things and people...the entrance is flanked with some statues of animals including "Buffy," a giant buffalo. I am sure we stuck out like sore thumbs at Traders World, but we had a good time there. Jane bought the first season of Hercules on DVD and a giant Hercules carboard cut out. We didn't really want to be seen walking near her as she carried it around. The fellow working at that shop tried a little to sell me a pretty awesome Conan The Barbarian sword. It was definitely a quality sword, but because present-day marauders can't easily be chased off by a fancy longblade, I decided I'd pass on it. Of course, I used it as an opportunity to segue into my favorite Conan quote about what is best in life: "to crush your enemy, see him driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women," (Arnold voice included). I believe we got some good photos of other fine things we saw there that should be posted soon.

After "shopping" (which really consisted of gawking rather than purchasing), we walked through the parking lot and climbed over and through a gate (probably trespassing), crossing a field to get a side glimpse at the giant Jesus statue. It was a decent view, but we wanted to get a little closer, so we decided we'd go back to the van and just pull over on the side of the highway to get some better pictures. After our time with Jesus had become tiring, we headed on down to good ol' Kentucky.

We parked in the lot behind the venue and were offered tips on where to go by the police officer monitoring the lot. He sent us to "Main Strasse." I guess I was the only one that understood what he was saying when he said, "Strasse." Still, I had to wonder when the Germans might have occupied Kentucky long enough to justify using a German name. This one is still a mystery. Covington is a cute little town where we saw lots of dogs and kids without shirts on. I thought maybe you had to choose between owning a dog and owning a shirt and everyone went with dog. There were really a lot of dogs. We saw one guy sitting with a large dog outside a restaurant completely still wearing reflective sunglasses and proudly carrying his mullet. The dog made a pretty nasty bark at someone passing and Travis asked him what kind of dog it was. Without moving any part of his body other than his mouth, he said, "It's a wolf." We think he was lying, but it was a big dog...probably a husky; possibly a hybrid wolf. Anyway, we wandered around. The bridge into Cincinnati is really nice. We ate at a pretty expensive place where we talked them into letting us order off the lunch menu for dinner. Then, we headed on over to the venue.

The Madison Theater (photos from their web site) is quite literally the nicest room we have ever played in. It's a gigantic 400 capacity theater, which apparently expands to about 1500 capacity (don't quote me on the numbers) when the tables are all removed and the balcony is opened. The stage is enormous; the sound system is pro; there's a nice drum riser, etc. etc. The staff at this place was amazing also. They were excited that we came from out of town to play there and they treated us really well and gave us the scoop on the theater and the town. The theater is one of the few really big, truly independent theaters that still exists. I would hang out there all the time if I lived in the area. We knew it would be tough for us to get a huge draw as it was our first visit there, but we figured with 3 local acts on the bill, the place should be pretty hopping. Something that we've learned from this tour is that this is not a safe assumption. We actually managed okay for ourselves with the draw considering the circumstances, but that place deserved to be filled with 100s of people, which it wasn't. Nonetheless, we enjoyed listening to the other bands and chatting with the staff and with some new people we had just met and we were thrilled to take the stage there. It was the best stage experience I've ever had. I had enough room to really move around. We play a lot of venues with decent-sized stages, but with 5 band members, it's still tough to really cut loose. Here, we had some opportunity to jump around, leap off the drum riser, and just generally rock out a little more than we traditionally can. We played decently and upon announcing our last song, were met with demands to play more, so we expanded the setlist. In general, we had an awesome time there, loved the staff, and really hope to make it back there sooner rather than later. In general, I am not much for hanging out after shows at the venue, but I would have been glad to sit around this place all night. Unfortunately, 2 AM rolled around and we had to head back home.

We drove for about 16 hours, making a few stops for snacks and bathrooms. I was in a serious sleep-deprivation trance the whole time. We actually sold a CD on the interstate in PA at a rest stop. A very nice woman came up and asked if we were in a band and if we had a CD for sale. So, we sold her a disc and signed it for her kids. We're used to selling discs at shows and online, but this was a definite first.

MATT

Last day.  I can’t believe it.

I got up a little early and decided I needed a little more time to myself before we finish up.  I took a walk tried to find some coffee.  I saw a gas station, a Burger King, a McDonalds, and figured that maybe I’d hold out for a Dunkin’ Donuts or something.  Starbucks would’ve been perfect, but I figured the chances were pretty slim.  Low and behold, I found a Tim Hortons!  I don’t think I’ve been to one of those since I was 10 or 11, but I knew that it was a donut and coffee shop, so this was probably my best chance for a halfway decent cup of joe.  It was nice to get a little walk, I don’t think I’ve done really any exercise at all this trip (and for those of you who know me, I tend to do so a lot) and even though it was a short trip, it was very nice. 

I decided to drive and we started to make the trip south to the greater Cincinnati area.  On our way of course, was our trek to see the giant bust of Jesus coming out of the ground.  We weren’t totally sure where it was (there was definitely some fighting between Jane and Mike about its exact location).  We do end up finding it, and we see this gigantic flea market called Trader’s World.  I figure that the Jesus could be part of the Trader’s World, at in the least, accessible from it. 

Trader’s World was quite an experience; an incredibly campy warehouse of cheap shit.  I think that traveling throughout the Midwest gave us an interesting view of America that is not represented on the East (or West) Coast.  I think the pictures of Trader’s World will say more than I can write.  Although, Jane bought a life-size cardboard cutout of Kevin Sorbo from that Hercules show along with the complete Season 1 DVD.  We did not carry Hercules but we did have plans to have him rock with us on stage later that night (which, alas did not happen). 

We finally find the Jesus, and he’s actually pretty far away.  There is this relatively large field in front of us, and we hop the fence and walk over to it (thinking that we’ll be able to traverse the field and some other land to get close to the Jesus).  Well, no such luck.  There was a very large marshy area and none of us really felt like getting wet.  What we could see were people stopping on the highway to take pictures of it, I assume that we can get close enough to get some good shots.  We make our way back through Trader’s World (and the doll heads) and hop in the car.   I can’t tell you about the Jesus, you just have to see it. 

We had a relatively uneventful drive to Covington.  When we got there, we tried to kill some time by walking down town; which involved us walking by many men and boys with no shirts on, and lots of dogs.  It definitely felt like the South.  Both Mike and Patrick were on the phone so Travis, Jane, and I killed some time by grabbing a beer in a pub and when Mike and Patrick are ready we try and look for this place that Mike’s friend recommended for food.  We finally find it, but it’s closed (looked like for good too).  Our food destination ended up being a bar (which actually had a very expensive menu), but they allowed us to eat off the lunch menu (albeit, somewhat limited).  I had my first red meat of the tour and one of the few meals with meat at all (a hamburger, which coincidentally did not sit well for the rest of the night).  Once we finish, it’s off to the venue for the last time. 

Load in went well, nothing too out of the ordinary.  The venue was freaking huge though.  It was certainly the largest theatre I’ve ever played in (in a rock band mind you; I have to discount all the days of being in Jazz Groups, Orchestras, and Symphonic Bands).   I worked the Merch table pretty hard, sold about 4 T-shirts before the show started.  We were technically headlining the show, so it was a very very long wait.  I was super anxious to play this gigantic stage.  Once we were up there; we rocked that place to the floor.  I had some crazy rock moves, most of which included me doing the “on the knees, leaning back all the way to the floor” action.  Mike went totally crazy; I don’t think I’ve EVER seen him rock so hard in my life.  All in all it was the perfect venue and place to end the tour.  After we finished playing, the owners of the theatre and all the staff were awesome; they seemed super pleased with our draw for the night and the show that we brought.  If it works out, I would love to play that stage again. 

At this point, we’re all pretty much exhausted beyond belief, but we had made the decision to drive back to Boston right after the show.  While we knew it would be tough, it would get us back into town in the early evening so we could possibly function Monday morning (since all of us had to work).  I drove the first leg and just about when I’m about to totally pass out from exhaustion (I had been driving for about 2.5 hours, and since I also drove all day, I did not have the opportunity to sleep in the car) Jane took over.  The rest of the trip was totally unmemorable except for Travis wanting to stop at Arbys (what disgusting crap that is) and some kid who bought a CD at the rest stop.  The exchange worked like this:

MG : (walking to buy soda)
Woman in car: Are you guys in a band?
MG: uh, yeah (looking totally disheveled from wearing the same clothes for 16 hours)
Woman: What’s the name?
MG: uh, The Motion Sick (pointing to chest, since I was wearing my Motion Sick T-shirt)
Woman: Do you have a CD?
MG: yep
Woman: Is it full length?
MG: yep
Woman: My son was really wondering, but he was to shy to ask. Could we buy one?
MG: SURE

So, I walk back, and grab a disc from Mike.  Also, she wanted us all to sign it and some notebook of her daughters.  Now there are 3 discs that are signed by all the members of the band.  That’s certainly a first (selling a disc at a rest stop) for me.  Very perceptive of the woman and her son, but I guess it could be a reasonable assumption after seeing 5 people who are like walking dead with a trailer.

Finally we got back and my freaking car was towed.  Fucking Boston.

JANE

Ahh – the last day with a show.  Playing shows was fun, but the driving, unloading and loading the van and no privacy was getting to me.  I’m sure the guys will laugh when they read this because while I did help with the loading I certainly did not do as much as they did.  Again the drive was not that long so we took our time in the morning.

Today was also the day we were going to see the big Jesus statue that Mike had been talking about for weeks.  We weren’t exactly sure where it was but I knew the general location so we head over there.  We see it from the road and think that it’s at Trader’s World which is this huge indoor flea market so we head over there.  We wonder around the flea market and I’m reminded of a sign that I saw earlier in the day – Hell is Near. I think they were talking about Trader’s World. Now unlike the rest of the band I was not fascinated by this wonderful display of middle America – I had seen it many times before while growing up. We had a flea market every Sunday in my town and as there wasn’t much to do we often went there. And my grandmother loved going to flea markets so we went a lot when on vacation at her house.  So I couldn’t wait to get out of there and find Jesus.  There was only one shining moment in the flea market – I was walking by a stall and I saw a cardboard Kevin Sorbo as Hercules. I stopped and they also had Hercules season one DVDs for cheap. I bought a DVD and asked how much for Kevin Sorbo. The guy said $10 which was good enough for me. I already have a Xena cardboard cutout and now I have Hercules as well. I need to figure out where to put them in my new house.

Then we finally head out to see Jesus.  It is not actually at Trader’s World, but at huge church next door.  We try to walk over there and while a fence didn’t stop us the fence with barbed wire did.  We saw a few people pulled over on the highway and we decide to do that instead.  As you can see from the pictures we got some shots of the Jesus. It was big, it was weird.  It was also oddly proportioned.  As one of the guys said – it’s not even a good statue. If you’re going to make a 60 foot Jesus you might as well do a good job!

Anyway – on to Covington which is a suburb of Cincinnati so we had to drive through that to get there.  The town looks a little sketchy and we find the theatre pretty easily which looks cool from the outside.  There is a parking lot nearby and a cop tells us we don’t have to pay. He also tells us how to get to the “happening” part of Covington even though I wasn’t really sure he was speaking English. I think I could understand his directions so we head over there. There are some bars and restaurants and also a cool record store which has our flyer up. I tried to recruit some people there to come to the show, but I don’t think any of them did.  We head back for some dinner and find this restaurant that was actually open. There didn’t seem to be a lot around the theatre except for pawn shops. The food was ok and we enjoyed some tunes on the juke box. It’s at this point that I started to get really tired and was almost falling asleep at the table.

We walked back to the venue to check it out.  It is really cool inside with a huge stage that has a big dance floor in front and then lots of seating above that. It also has a balcony.  I know I should have gone in and mingled but I was feeling really tired and I wanted to be able to drive that night so I went and took a nap in the van. When I woke up I was totally disoriented and I had no idea where I was for a second. Little did I know that it would be the last sleep I would get for 24 hours. 

I got ready and head into the venue. Mike and Matt are in the back with the merch so I go help them for a while. We sold some T-shirts and chatted with some people who had come to see us. Once again even though there were other local bands on the bill we still brought more people. Thanks mostly to Mike’s friend Sharon who got a bunch of friends out and myspace.  I missed the first band because I was sleeping and from what I could hear the second band sounded ok. The third band had an interesting look and I really wanted to know what their story was.

We finally get to play and I think it was our best show yet. The stage was huge and we totally rocked out and I think we played great. The sound guy was awesome and we could hear so well on stage.  We totally rocked out. We were getting ready to end and the crowd called out for more songs so we played What I Get and then ended with Grace Kelly and I had never seen us rock out more.  Mike jumped off of the drum riser more than once and at the end Matt was on his knees in a back bend so deep his head was practically on the ground. I was very impressed with how much we all rocked out that night and the crowd seemed to love it. They were very enthusiastic and were dancing a lot.

After we played instead of packing my stuff (which was done for me – thank you!) I chatted with the staff at the venue.  They were really cool and nice and I found out from the bar manager that her family owns the theatre so they have a bit more freedom about the kind of shows they can do.  She also bought me a beer and we did a Pineapple Upside Down Cake shot together. I had never had one before and it was really tasty.  I really like hanging with all the people who worked there and I wished that we could have stayed longer and hung out with them more.  They bought our CD and said how much they loved us and now that they know our sound would love to put us on another bill that would have a good draw.  I would love to play there again!

It’s a long drive back from Cincinnati to Boston so we decided to drive overnight and leave right after the show. I was really ready to go home so I’m glad that we were leaving.  I took the 2nd shift and drove from 4 to 6:30 in the morning. We switched drivers at a Waffle House on the road and I grabbed some coffee. It was one scary Waffle House, but they at least could make 8 waffles at a time. I wasn’t really that tired and I was enjoying the drive. I love to drive late at night because there’s no one on the road and you can just cruise. Everyone was sleeping too so I got total control of the Ipod with no one to complain about what I picked. That was the best part. I got to see the sun rise while I was driving and see the sky turn purple.  I don’t see the sunrise that often as I like to sleep in. Usually the only time I see it is because I haven’t gone to bed yet. 

We switched and Travis drove, then Patrick, then Matt again, and then Travis to his house.  At one of the rest stops this women came up to us and asked if we were in a band. She wanted to buy a CD for her son and asked us to sign it and to sign this notebook for her daughter.  Crazy.

I didn’t get that much sleep and read one of the books I had gotten at the insanely huge rest stop.  The guys were back to the shit talk and talking about whole tour, but I was ready to get home and not be in the van anymore. The ride was actually not that bad.  We got to Travis’s and dropped him off and then headed into Boston.  Of course the only traffic we hit the whole time was on the Pike right when we were about to get home.  We got to Matt’s and my car was still there but his had been towed which sucked.  I helped him pick up his car and then finally got to go home and take a shower.  It was so nice to be home!

 



Epilogue

MIKE

I was a little sad that the whole thing had come to an end and I was pretty excited that we managed to get through it all without any serious disasters (or really any non-serious disasters). The hardest part of the whole thing is being away from those who are close to you. Eventually, the phone calls just make it sadder. As for the band, I think we actually all got along pretty well and did a good job to compromise when our desires differed. It's really exciting to be creating music with a group of dedicated, talented, hard working, serious people. I very sincerely appreciate each person's very substantial contributions to make this tour and this band possible. They all worked hard to match my eating needs, my "occasional" crankiness, my general lack of desire to party, and my dislike for driving (I didn't drive at all).

We still have a lot of hard work ahead, but I feel like we're definitely always leaping forward. This band really is a dream come true and I am thrilled to be a part of it...See you all next time on the road!

Finally, thanks so much to all the people who let us stay with them, the bands we played with, the venues we played at, the people in the audience who gave us a shot, and really, everyone we met on this trip. None of this is possible without all of you.

(As an aside, because I am a musical snob, I tortured everyone a little with my rants about music, disdain for bands they liked, and intimidation that prevented Jane from admitting that she wanted to give a little listen to The Wallflowers. Throughout the trip, I listened a bit to my non-podular mp3 player...it was fun and I got to keep my indie cred-I wish.)

MATT

Here are some brief observations and thoughts from the tour.

- If it looks like there are a lot of pictures of me taken by me and a lot of everyone else except me was basically because I had the only real camera and was trying very hard to take as many pictures as I could. 

- I learned a lot about my band mates during this tour.  I have to say, I am impressed with everyone’s attitude and willingness (most of the time) to make concessions to keep the peace.  This could’ve been a total nightmare but I have to say, I didn’t get totally sick of anyone the entire time.

- We listened to a TON of music in the car.  Here’s a rundown of most of the things (courtesy of my iPod).

Uncle Tupelo: Anodyne
Stone Temple Pilots: Tiny Music From a Vatican Gift Shop
Guns n’ Roses: Appetite for Destruction
Golden Smog: Weird Tales
Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head
Counting Crows: August & Everything After
Radiohead: Ok Computer (incomplete album)
Nirvana: Nirvana (incomplete album)
Gin Blossoms: New Miserable Experience
Van Halen: Best of Both Worlds (incomplete album)
Tom Waits: Rain Dogs
Various Artists: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Wilco: A Ghost if Born: Bonus EP
The Beatles: Abbey Road
Toad the Wet Sprocket: Dulcinea
Weezer: Weezer
The Smiths: Singles
Ajax Ray O’Vaque: Demo’s of Saturn
Gin Blossoms: New Album
Men at Work: Business as Usual
Marvin Gaye: What’s Goin On (incomplete album)
The Killers: (can’t remember the name of the record)
Joy Division: Substance (incomplete album)
The Wallflowers: [Mike’s Fav] Bringing down the Horse (incomplete album)
The Televangelist and the Architect: Diaries of the Intelligentisa
Pinback: Blue Screen Life
The Postal Service: The District Sleeps Along Tonight EP
Frou Frou: Details
Ben Folds Five: Whatever and Ever Amen
Ben Folds Five The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy (incomplete album)
Ice Cube: The Predator
Genesis: Genesis
Guster: Parachute (incomplete album)
Wilco: Being There (Disc 1)
Goo Goo Dolls: Dizzy Up the Girl
Weezer: Weezer (The Green Album)
The Sheila Divine: New Parade
Dr. Dre: 2001
The Flaming Lips: The Soft Bulletin
Bright Eyes: Lifted
Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream
Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Rilo Kiley: Take Offs and Landings
Radiohead: The Bends

That’s just the stuff off my ipod.  I know that Travis has a big list, as does Patrick.  Listened to a lot of great stuff though.

- For those of you who care, here is a run down of all the coffee I drank while on tour:

- Starbucks: Always welcome.  I’m not a huge fan of the ‘Buck, but given the options out there, I always enjoyed seeing one on the horizon (especially while on the highway)

- Waffle House (both): God-awful, sour/bitter crap.

- Denny’s: Your standard diner coffee.  Drinkable, but nothing to write home about.

- Gas Station in Harrisburg: Surprisingly good.  I was expecting really weak coffee

- Tim Hortons: Honestly, I was expecting more.  It was like a sour-ish Dunkin’ Donuts. 

- McDonalds: Even more surprising.  I actually had two coffees there.  I guess they’ve extended their “premium blend” to most of the stores.  It wasn’t very strong, but I didn’t have to choke it down either.  It had halfway decent “coffee” taste.

- Shell Station in Ohio (driving back to Boston): there was no creamer/milk or anything in this store so I had to drink it black.  I probably would’ve dumped it out if I didn’t desperately need it to stay awake.

- Diner in Queens: Like Denny’s standard diner coffee.  But they were very attentive about refilling my cup when it was empty. 

- Bagel Place in Queens: A Good Solid Cup of Coffee.  It wasn’t like a nice boutiquey coffee shop cup, but WAAAY better than probably anything else in that area of Queens. 

- Pizza Paradiso: Espresso, and man was it welcome.  Probably the best coffee of the entire trip.

- Hotel in Pittsburg: ugh. Two Sips.  Enough Said.

- Lastly, I was totally thrilled with the experience to travel around the country playing music.  It is so hard nowadays for bands to try and put together tours all by themselves and I am pleased an honored to be working with such dedicated musicians and friends.  Without everyone’s hard work, there is no way we could’ve pulled this off.  All of my goals for this tour were met and we had some amazing experiences and a lot of fun.  I expect things will only rise from here.

As an aside, I would like to thank UHaul, Luna Bars, Red Bull Energy Drink, The Rest Stop in Illinois, Apple Computer, Free Wireless Internet, Starbucks (the whole bands thanks you; especially the one in Chicago), Milano Cookies, Trader Joes, and beer.

A very special thanks to everyone who put us up for the night, all the bands we played with, all the venues we played at, our hosts at the radio station, and everyone who came out to see us and support us.  You guys ROCK!

Peace.

m

JANE

So the tour was interesting. There were parts that were very fun and then parts that sucked – mostly all the driving and being tired.  I do think that we got closer as a band and certainly saw sides of each other that we hadn’t seen yet and managed to not kill each other and/or hate each other at the end. I also think that playing so many shows really improved our performance and how comfortable we are playing together. I’m looking forward to our next show in Boston because I think we’re going to blow everyone away. I’m also looking forward to working on some new songs.  I don’t know if I could pick my favorite show or venue because I liked most of the shows and the venues. We met a lot of cool people and have hopefully forged some good contacts for future tours and places to play.  It was also great to see some old friends that I hadn’t seen in a while.  Thanks to everyone who came out to see us and who are checking out what happened at our blog!  Hope to see you all again in the future!


TRAVIS

Well, here I sit 2 days after the tour ended and I am completely depressed.  It's such a weird feeling, I can't even begin to explain it.  You would think that after 10 days of non-stop gigs, long drives, no sleep, shit food and being smelly that one would want to have nothing to do with any of that.  Truth is, I loved every second of it…  I'd do it day in and day out if given the opportunity.  Don't get me wrong, it's really hard work on so many different levels, but nothing compares to the comradere', the zen of being on-stage and the great people you win over at each stop.  I feel lost and empty, I hope this feeling escapes my body soon.

  Speaking of my body, I gave it a hell of a beating on this tour.  It didn't hit me until I got home.  I certainly didn't prepare myself properly to go out and play 9 straight shows without any days off.  I learned the hard way that I really need to step up my conditioning and stamina.  Need to start eating healthier too.  I don't want to see another McDonald's for as long as I live.  You can convince me otherwise on Taco Bell though.  I feel like ass, and it serves me right.  I should have worked harder to get myself in better playing shape.  I might try to start Yoga again or something.

  I have to give Matt credit for doing such a great job on being paranoid about parking our van in tow zones…  Meanwhile Matt parked his car in a tow zone while we were on tour and was towed and ticketed…  Way to go.  Just kidding Matt, I had to get one last dig in there, you know you're my boy Blue!  I wonder if he still thinks I broke his rib?

  I can't wait to play again.  It feels so weird not having a gig, I am going to go stir crazy for a while.  I noticed that I don't miss watching TV.  I miss watching Sox games, but everything else is pretty blah.  I'd rather be reading or writing a song or something.  I want to isolate myself until I write the greatest rock record the world has ever seen, what are the chances I can pull that off??  Slim to none I would say.

  Well, I just realized that this is pretty boring, so I'll end the torture now.  I just want to thank you for reading our little blogs and for supporting our cause.  I'd also like to thank all of the great people who watched us perform each night, we loved doing it for you, and we hope we made fans out of you if you weren't already.  Spread the word and the love of The Motion Sick, we're YOUR band and we'd like to stay that way!  I also want to thank Mike, Matt, Jane and Patrick for putting up with my shit for 10 days, I know it wasn't easy.

PATRICK

I really had a great time and for all of those who have asked about the experience since I have returned, give me some time and all that happened will slowly leak out. So far all I can manage to say is, “It was good.” It’s tough being thrown back into reality. Though now I have even more fire to work harder and get back out there.

I really want to thank everyone we met out there and hung out with and of course all the folks who gave us a place to stay for a night. Its so cheese but it is also very true that with out the help and support of folk like you it would be next to impossible for a band at our level to go out and tour.

I am going to give a shot at thanking by name as many people as I can. I apologize if I forget someone or call someone a different name but apparently I slept a lot in the van…

New York-the cop at the west side highway who could have but didn’t detain us and of course thanks to Tony who comes to all our NY shows and always has a floor to sleep on and a toilet to shit in. We love you.

Harrisburg-the guys from Fell Upon Thieves, Dave, Barrett, Mike, and DJ (these are the guys you want around when acting like rock stars) Evan and Kristen thanks for coming out too see us and making that long drive. Cynthia and Karen/Katie it was fun hanging out and thanks for the ride back to the hotel even though we had no idea where we were going and it was in the opposite direction you should have been headed. Also thanks to Bob at the bar, hope you are enjoying Harrisburg.

D.C.-Pia, a gracious host and a kick ass show promoter, you rock. Tell Sid I want my trunks back. The owner of the Red and Black, you have an awesome club and a great vision. Thanks for coming on out Sarah (Julie’s sister) and Joe. To the guys from The Roosevelt and Miguel and Stacey we will see you soon I am sure.

Pittsburgh-Thanks to Justin Long for also owning and operating a kick ass venue, The Shadow Lounge, and thanks to Emily and her man who heard us on the tufts radio show and came out to hear us. Thank you to DJ who got some slime on our windows, which we then laughed about a good 2,000miles later.

Wow this list is going to be long.

Chicago-Kris and Rocco from Fearless Radio, Jimmy from Lily’s and a whole bunch of other folks from there as well. Let’s see… Alexis hope your hearing is back, the modern dancer I don’t think you had a problem with hearing and hopefully you still don’t anyways you two were great active audience members, and I should remember your name but I don’t so I am sorry…wait I think it is Sarah…either way thanks to the saw playing liaison you are awesome, great voice and I love the 30inch. Clint (the guy who ran the show and also played some awesome songs) hope you are enjoying the CD and that cab driver who brought me to my hotel and windowsill. Also thanks to the band playing at Cheers down the road from our gig who was going to let us play during their set because we didn’t think anyone was going to come and open the venue we were playing at.

Madison-Yogesh and Jodi you were the best hosts I am sorry I was so tired and couldn’t hang out but I sure did appreciate your hospitality and promoting efforts. Jen Bohm from Jeff Caissie thanks for your guitar strap. Jeff Caissie thanks for playing good songs and having drunk friends who wouldn’t talk to me. Cedarwell you guys rock. Very cool stuff.

Indy-I was miserablely exhausted but the parking lot attendant was pretty cool and the folks at Indy vinyl were really cool, thanks for hosting us. Also thanks to Jane for saving our asses and being the only one too rally and do some promoting.

Columbus-Chris (joy division guy) you rock. I am glad you enjoyed our music so much in spite of the fact that some members of the band wear tight pants.

So it is at this point that names become extra fuzzy…Bill or Bob from Parts Unknown it was great meeting you and Aaron cool guitar sounds. Thanks to Tom from Death in the Midwest for setting up the show, Hope your DVD came out good.

Covington-Sharon and Andrea thanks for promoting and bring so many friends with you, double thanks for having friends that are fans of ours. Thanks to Chrissie the door girl at the Madison theater and Dennis and the women in blue, I want to call you Jodie… basically the whole staff at the Madison theater were completely awesome and made our last night on the road better then we could have asked, the sound guy rocked too. Special thanks to the guys in The Myths for setting up the show, it was great meeting you and seeing you play, next time I am going to use one of your line 6 amps. And another special thanks to Crystal and Carissa (hope I got that right but you know who you are) for sticking around all night to hear us play even though you were getting a little bored and of course thanks for dancing, your box step did not go unnoticed.

And of course thanks to the other members of The Motion Sick, thanks for not giving me such a hard time because I didn’t know how to tune my guitar or because I slept a lot and I am fat or because I lost your fish…


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As The Motion Sick is inactive, there is no longer a mailing list just for updates about The Motion Sick.
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What we're all up to:

Michael J. Epstein
Matthew Girard
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As The Motion Sick is inactive, there is no longer a mailing list just for updates about The Motion Sick.
News from the band will be included on the mailing list about all of Michael J. Epstein's projects.
Join that list at: http://blog.michaeljepstein.com/2010/07/join-our-mailing-lists.html

What we're all up to:

Michael J. Epstein
Matthew Girard
Travis Richter
Patrick Mussari

Booking:


Music Licensing:
Launch Over Music Licensing
E-mail mike [at] launchover.com
http://www.launchover.com

Social Networking
Facebook [Page] [Profile] [Mike] [Matt] [Pat] [Trav]

Twitter
[Band] [Mike] [Matt]
Last.FM
[Band/Mike] [Fan Group]
Other [Blog] [Youtube] [iTunes] [Add a link to us]

Popular The Motion Sick Videos on Youtube

The Motion Sick News