Hi. It's Atom. The past month has been totally insane. I had to move out of my apartment, as the house that me and two other people are fixing up to live hasn't quite been brought up to living standards (no toilets etc.). So, I just returned home from a wonderful tour of New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia and my entire life is in cardboard boxes at the unlivable house, while me, my ladyfriend, and our dog, Books are living at my parents' house. I'm still living out of the suitcase of clothes that I brought to New Zealand and Australia. So, to be going away just now is a bit hectic, but I'm sure the trip with be fun because later this week, I play a couple shows in the area, and then leave on a three week tour going out to San Francisco. I'm driving my Grandfather's car to deliver it to my uncle in San Francisco, and then flying home. Most of the tour will be done with some of my best friends' band AMFM (Brian, Mike, Greg, Ralph, Scott, and Beth). It should be lots of fun.
Friday March 1st Saturday March 2nd PICTURE: Terrible picture... Jenn is dwarfed by the gigantic rock stage at the Trocadero, while Avail soundchecks. Sunday March 3rd Monday March 4th Picture: Me and my friend Steve Aoki. Tuesday March 5th Wednesday March 6th Thusday March 7th Pictures: Show attendees with homemade shirts. Friday March 8th Saturday March 9th Sunday March 10th Monday March 11th Tuesday March 12th Wednesday March 13th Picture: Me, Brian and our friend Clay wearing the same sweatshirt. Thursday March 14th Friday March 15th Saturday March 16th Sunday March 17th PICTURES:AMFM goofing around at a rest stop. Monday March 18th PICTURES:My shoes (sneakerboots=snoots?), and me with them on, standing on top of AMFM's van. Tuesday March 19th Wednesday March 20th Thursday March 21st Friday March 22nd Saturday March 23rd Sunday March 24th Monday March 25th
Two shows in New Jersey
I spent the morning collecting stuff, and running errands, and then I drove an hour to the College of New Jersey, which is outside of Trenton to play show #1 of the day. I listed to the Mekons, and Mens Recovery Project on the way. The show was in a student bar/grill and was played mostly to barely interested students, except for a few interested folks, and a table of Alpha Beta types who were very interested in making weird grunting noises, and heckling in a boring manner. After the show, I followed lousy directions and ended up nowhere near the Hamilton Street Cafe in Boundbrook, NJ. After that, I ended up at the Hamilton Street Cafe in Boundbrook, NJ. The cafe is a really cool, big space that is relatively new. I got there a little late, chatted with my brother and his friends for a bit who showed up, watched Nada Surf, and then had fun playing, even though I dropped my guitar, and someone jumped on a few people's heads. Drove "home" (see introduction to the tour diary) and went to bed.
Tonight's show was at a gigantic theatre called the Trocadero in Philadelphia. It was with Avail, Strike Anywhere, and Hot Rod Circuit, so it was sold out, with about 800(?) people there. The stage at the "troc" is about two meters tall (about six feet), and there was a barrier erected between the stage and the audience (See picture of Jenn standing in front of the stage as Avail soundchecks). While these specifications don't usually go hand in hand with a good show for my sort of stuff, as my interaction with the audience is at least some degree part of the fun, it was surprisingly not humiliating playing on the gigantic stage. Actually, it allowed me to do backflips, and other tumbling throughout the set. It was quite acrobati-licious, and I didn't even tear my ACL.
New York, NY
I drove up to New York City in the early afternoon and arrived at the Knitting Factory many hours too early in my usual fashion. Even after visiting NYC many times since September 11th, it's still eerie/awful looking at the New York City skyline with the World Trade Center missing. My friend Alex came by, and we went out for dinner, and the show was quiet for my set, but fun. I got to hang out with a few old friends that I hadn't seen for a while which was nice. Apparently during American Nightmare's set, there was lots o' hard dancing, and a few fights broke out. From what people were saying, this is a common occurence during their sets. My feelings were very hurt that no one was fighting while I was playing. Perhaps next time. Avail and Hot Rod Circuit were Avail-y and Hot Rod Circuit-y. I got home at a reasonable hour, so now it's monday, and I'm getting stuff together to be away for the next three weeks. I'll take more pictures and get those posted soon. Yum.
I drove out to Pittsburgh, by myself where I was to meet AMFM for our first show together of the tour. I arrived at the Roboto Project, a really great D.I.Y venue/zine library that's been around in Pittsburgh for a number of years. The show was fun, highlighted by the arrival of my old friend Steve, who unbeknownst to me was traveling with the band Pretty Girls Make Graves, who were playing the show with us. The show was really fun, though quiet (p.a.-wise, not audience-wise), and even though I messed up the words to a new song. After the show, me and the AMFMs went to a diner, and then back to our friends Dan and Julie's house which they recently bought and are in the process of fixing up. It's REALLY cold in Pittsburgh.
We woke up, and Brian and I watched Sally Jessy Raphael, which featured a guest that talked to animals. After that morning of hard work, we went to an all you can eat Indian food buffet that filled our bellies. Afterwards, we took off to Cleveland. Ralph rode with me and the rest of AMFM rode in their rented van. We listened to Quicksand, Les Savy Fav and some other stuff. We got split up and AMFM, armed with bad directions ended up in Guam or something, but eventually got to the place where we were playing. Ralph and I ate burritos, from which I'm still full from, almost seven hours after having eaten them. The show was super fun, and AMFM sounded great. I had been receiving email from a few different people pleading with/threatening me to play 'Hot For Teacher' by Van Halen at the Cleveland show. So, when I arrived in Cleveland, and after I ate dinner, I was pretty surprised to see a note under the windshield wiper on my grandfather's car that said 'Hot For Teacher, or else!'. You could also say that I was pretty surprised to hear 'HOT FOR TEACHER!' yelled at me from afar when ever I would go from the Grog Shop, where the show was, to my grandfather's car to grab some stuff. When I turned around, there was no one there. I played primitive versions of Hot For Teacher TWICE, but after the show was still hounded via note, and via street yelling on the way back to the car, claiming that I didn't play the song, and would have to deal with the 'or else'. I'm fairly certain that these people have never actually heard the song, and thus didn't recognize the tune. I'd definitely recommend the Van Halen Version, as mine has no lyrics except for 'Hot For Teaching', though I must admit, my guitar playing is superior to that of Eddie Van Halen's. We're staying at some nice folks house, and everyone is watching Shrek. One fellow who lives here has one of those weird electro devices that one straps onto their arm, stomach, or face (I want a muscular face), and it emits an electrical charge that makes one's muscles tense up. I suppose it's a way to work out one's muscles without actually doing any excercise. I put it on my arm, and made my hand crush things with seemingly superhuman strength. My face is going to be so strong when I get one when I get back from touring. How could I possibly have forgotten to take a picture of this happening?
We woke up in Cleveland, and Greg, Brian, Mike, Scott and I played a game of touch football with my Australian rules football. Greg and Scott's team won even though I acted like Jacko. After the competition, we headed to Detroit, stopping at a supermarket where we all bought some food and ate outside in the sun. We arrived in Detroit at the place that were we were to play. It was a big building that was divided into two venues. The upstairs venue was gigantic, and probably held about 1700 people. Unwritten Law and some other bands were playing in this room. Me, AMFM, The Control and Kill Your Idols were playing in the downstairs, smaller club. After eating dinner in a Red Wings fan infested restaurant, Greg and I headed back to the club where The Control was playing. I was sitting at the merchandise table, when the ceiling started buckling from the weight, and dancing of the people upstairs from the Unwritten Law show. It was frightening. The ceiling was on the verge of collapsing. We moved ourselves and our crap from the area where hundreds of alternafolks were going to drop on our heads, and alerted the security folks at the club. Eventually, the evacuated everyone from upstairs, and shut down that show. Our show was allowed to continue and was fun even though I spent most of the evening removing a splinter from the sole of my foot. Because I dared Beth, she ATE the splinter once I removed it. Yuck.
It is very late, so I'm going to make this short. We drove to Cincinnati, stopping only a few times for football catch at a rest area. The show was an all ages show with Digger, and The Huntingtons. It was "a'ight", with the highlight being me and Brian tackling Ralph during my set to prevent him from singing 'Upside Down From Here' with us. After the show we drove to Louisville to sleep at the youth center where we're playing tomorrow (err... later tonight).
We woke up at the youth center, and my friend Mike, who had set up the show, and volunteers at the totally awesome youth center called the BRYCC house (where the show was to be later on that evening), went with me to pick up two boxes that were shipped to me at the UPS hub. Very exciting, I know! Afterwards, we met up with the AMFM folks, and walked around, and record shopped around where the youth center was located. I bought WAY too many records, which is standard for my Louisville visits. They have a number of excellent used CD stores on this one street here. I wound up with Anthrax's Among the Living, The Who's The Kids Are Alright, and a few.... umm... Grateful Dead CDs. Ummm... yeah, I'll let you know after tomorrow's drive.
We woke up early at the youth center, because we had a 5 hour drive to Chicago, and AMFM was to play first. I forgot about the time change to Central Standard Time, so we arrived very early (oops). I had time to grab a new pocket telephone (I broke the antenna off of my old one by accident). We arrived at the Fireside Bowl, where the show was to be. It's an old bowling alley where shows happen in Chicago. It was totally packed and freezing outside. We were playing with Sean Na Na, Hot Rod Circuit and Further Seems Forever. The show was fun, and it was excellent seeing the Sean Na Na folks. We stayed with two total sweethearts, Dave and Pamela, who not only put up with 8 of us in their living room, but also got up early with us on Sunday, and made us coffee etc. They rule. My friend Paddy was playing bass for Sean Na Na for most of the tour, but we were taking him home to Minneapolis on sunday so he stayed the night with us.
We got a late start to Minneapolis for an early show. I'm not sure how we ended up with the late start. We woke up early, watched the end of the Outsiders on TV, and left Chicago. We ended up getting to the show late, but just in time to play, and Paddy was quite excellent company in the car, so it ended up okay. After the show, AMFM, my friend Alysia, and two of her friends went out for dinner at Eric from Dillinger 4's bar/restaurant the Triple Rock. 'Tis a totally radical place, with awesome food, nice drinks, and the most kick ass jukebox selection. Hearing Born Against's Jock Gestapo while eating a good dinner is a wonderful combination, I think. We drove for a while after dinner, towards Lawrence, KS, stopped and watched Pink Floyd the Wall.
Drive drive drive. Greg rode with me today, and I made him listen to the Exodus CD that I had bought. I think he especially liked their cover of Low Rider. He kept pleading with me to turn it off, but I think he was faking. I like the Toxic Waltz song the best. We arrived at the show in Lawrence VERY early, ate some burritos, got coffee, and sat around for a bit. Some guy was giving Ralph a hard time, so Ralph almost attacked him, then felt bad about it, and then apologized. After the show, we went to a bar chock full of pinball machines, and I played Star Trek. I was #1, and I made it so. Also, at some point Greg made an excellent greeting on my cell phone imitating Dr. Detroit's voice.
We had a short drive today, so we walked around Lawrence, KS which is a small, nice college town. We ate bagels, and I did some record shopping, and ended up with a Big Black CD, a J. Geils Band CD, and two others that are escaping me right now. Perhaps I'll find that best of Blur CD used, that I'm looking for... I also bought a new pair of shoes, because my feet smell like complete shit, and they had already infected the previous pair of sneakers. I bought deodorant inserts, foot spray and a saw, because if the first two items don't work, I'm lopping off the feet. Yes, it's that bad. The show in Columbia was fine even though I had some very awkward conversations with some complete creepy weirdos. The Moldy Peaches played, and they're always fun to watch. Yow!
We arrived in Fayetteville, and went out for dinner at a BBQ restaurant where you order the food from telephones at your table. We were totally into the gimmick, and into the battered french fries as well. We got to see our old friend Clay, who was in Fayetteville for a bit. Somehow, he managed to get the same sweatshirt as I have (not on purpose), so we got to look stupid.
We drove to just outside of Dallas together, and then AMFM and I split up. They headed to Austin, where they were playing Polyvinyl's south by southwest showcase. I headed to downtown Dallas to play with the Selby Tigers, The Weakerthans, and the Moldy Peaches. It was great to see the folks in the Selby Tigers, as usual, and all the bands were super fun to watch.
I ended up staying with the Selby Tigers, so we woke up, and I ate breakfast with Dave and Arzu. Afterwards, Nathan rode with me, while the rest of the Selby Tigers rode in their van, as we headed to Houston. I dropped Nathan off with the rest of the Selby Tigers at a BBQ restaurant, and I went to get an oil change for the car. We headed to the show, and met up with AMFM, who had split off from me the day before to play their south by southwest showcase in Austin the day before. We played some four square, ate some dinner, and played the show. AMFM played first and headed back to Austin after they played. After the show, me and the Selby Tigers drove for a few hours back to our friend Ben's house in Austin. We arrived at 430am, and hung out with Ben for a few hours, and eventually went to bed.
Me and the Selby Tigers woke up at around noon, and went out for lunch and headed to where the South by Southwest music festival was taking place in Austin. South by Southwest is a neat music gathering where tons and tons of venues host hundreds of bands from all over the world. It's pretty crowded, and fun, and it was nice to see a lot of old friends from all of the place. I wandered around for a few hours, and eventually met up with the AMFM folks. We went out to dinner with Nate, and Arzu, and Louis and Darren from Hopeless records. Many beans are in me. The show was fun, and I got to yell at this guy Ewan from Canada who was a real dickhead to me a few years back. I am too sleepy to write good entry right now.... I wonder if that can be retoactively applied? Oh also, the news from the war on my feet odor is as follows. They're smelling okay, and I have started to use weapon #3, that is I put stick ups, open in my sneakers every night when I go to bed. I'll keep you posted.
Day off to drive!!!
AMFM and I stayed with Greg from AMFM's brother Doug. We slept late, and ate some food, and then were off to put a dent in the huge drive from Austin to Albuquerque, where we're playing tomorrow. It's been a nice relaxing drive thus far, and we stopped a few rest stops along the way to goof off and take some pictures. Unfortunately, at one of the rest stops, I brought out my Australian rules football, and was having a catch with Greg, when I punted the footie a bit past greg into a spiny cactus plant. The ball ended up impaled on one of the spikes, and instantly deflated. Crap. Our aim is to make it to about Lubbock, TX tonight, and find a place to stay and continue to Albuquerque tomorrow. Munch.
The most important thing that happened today was we stopped at Joe's Boots and Western Attire store in Clovis, New Mexico, and I bought the most ridiculous, wonderful pair of footwear ever. They're a sneaker/cowboy boot hybrid.
We did the gorgeous drive to Phoenix all day, stopping at a bunch of really amazing sites. We drove through the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, and the Pancake House. The show in Tempe was "a'ight". One of the bands, called 'That One Band' apparently got put on the show, but then wanted to go to another show in town, so someone set up three cardboard cut outs of the band, and played a CD of their music. It was really funny, though not everyone was as amused as I was.
San Diego, CA
We drove another gorgeous drive through the desert, stopping to take pictures with gigantic cacti and sand dunes. The show was okay. It was at a leftest cafe called the Che Cafe where I've played before and never have had anything but good experiences. This time was a tad different, but still okay. I was refused when I asked to borrow a spoon from the kitchen to eat a cup o' soup that I had made because the soup contained cheese in it and, therefore wasn't vegan. This was a bit ridiculous I thought, but we compromised, and I got to have (and keep!) a plastic fork. There were a few boneheads at the show also, which was a bit of a bummer, one who was trying to persuade me to play his friend's birthday party in San Diego this summer by saying he knew that I could "surely make it with a 19 year old", her being his friend whose birthday it was to be. Pretty gross. All these things added up to not one of the better evenings/vibes of the tour. After the show, we went back to some friends of Scott from AMFM's house and made some frozen pizza and watched Bring It On, and the Twin Peaks pilot.
PICTURES:Brian and huge fucking cactus.
We drove up and played a fun show at Chain Reaction with Thee Makeout Party, and the Kids of Widney High, which is a group of mentally disabled kids who write, and play rock songs. They were totally excellent and fun, and rocked. After the show, we headed back to my friend Louis's house, while on the way driving a bit up Mulholland Drive, which provides a spooky backdrop for David Lynch's movie, and an excellent view of the monstrous Los Angeles.
Santa Barbara, CA
We had stayed at Louis from Hopeless Reocords's house, and woke up and headed over to the Hopeless Records warehouse/office to hang out for a bit and eat some lunch. After lunch, we headed out of town to the Santa Barbara/Goleta area, and went to the beach and kicked around my new football. I ended up tripping over some rocks, and landing face first in the sand a few times. The show was cool, and I saw some old friends that I hadn't seen for a while. Also, some people who came to the show gave me a CD of a birthday song they had made for a friend, that took from my song 'Happy Birthday Ralph' and edited so it said 'Evan' instead of 'Ralph', and added a few more things. Me, Brian and Ralph cackled and laughed pretty hard listening to it while we drove a bit after the show to try and knock some hours off the long drive.
We arrived in Oakland, and dropped off our stuff at my friend Martha's house, and headed to the show at Gilman Street. Gilman Street is a punk venue that's existed for as long as I can remember. It's great. It's totally punk, but completely well organized (no, organized punk is not an oxymoron) with really excellent people who volunteer there. It was a pleasure to be back. A bunch of us went out for a crappy dinner across the street from 924 Gilmand Street. The show was pretty fun, including a gigantic 'mosh pit' in front of stage. It was a bit silly, but it seemed like it was all in good fun... ooh.. perhaps I'll write a song called 'Toxic Waltz'. Yow. After the show, we went back to Martha's and hung out on her back porch until very late. Bokm.
San Francisco, CA
We woke up, and cleaned out the van, and my grandfather's car, and headed into Berkeley to do some record shopping at the two amazing record stores, Amoeba and Rasputins. I ended up with a bunch of stuff including CDs by Captain Beefheart, John Cale, the Rondelles, and Enslaved. After spending too much money, we headed into San Francisco to visit my friend Debbie. Debbie makes jewelry and belt buckles, and other stuff by drying out fruit, and gum, and 'glittering' them. They're awesome... I can't really explain it... it can be better illustrated at Glitter Limes. I got a belt, a necklance, and a key holding contraption. The last show of the trip for me with AMFM was fun, but I was pretty beat. After the show, I drove to my uncle's in Marin, and slept on my cousin's floor.
I got a ride to the airport from my uncle, so at least I got to spend a little time with him on the car ride. I got there early, and stuffed a bunch of extra crap in my pillowcase, and tied it up as tight as I could, and checked it as a bag. We'll see if it arrives in Philadelphia in one piece. I'm typing this while flying. Yow!
So, to be going away just now is a bit hectic, but I'm sure the trip with be fun because later this week, I play a couple shows in the area, and then leave on a three week tour going out to San Francisco. I'm driving my Grandfather's car to deliver it to my uncle in San Francisco, and then flying home. Most of the tour will be done with some of my best friends' band AMFM (Brian, Mike, Greg, Ralph, Scott, and Beth). It should be lots of fun.
Friday March 1st
Saturday March 2nd
PICTURE: Terrible picture... Jenn is dwarfed by the gigantic rock stage at the Trocadero, while Avail soundchecks.
Sunday March 3rd
Monday March 4th
Picture: Me and my friend Steve Aoki.
Tuesday March 5th
Wednesday March 6th
Thusday March 7th
Pictures: Show attendees with homemade shirts.
Friday March 8th
Saturday March 9th
Sunday March 10th
Monday March 11th
Tuesday March 12th
Wednesday March 13th
Picture: Me, Brian and our friend Clay wearing the same sweatshirt.
Thursday March 14th
Friday March 15th
Saturday March 16th
Sunday March 17th
PICTURES:AMFM goofing around at a rest stop.
Monday March 18th
PICTURES:My shoes (sneakerboots=snoots?), and me with them on, standing on top of AMFM's van.
Tuesday March 19th
Wednesday March 20th
Thursday March 21st
Friday March 22nd
Saturday March 23rd
Sunday March 24th
Monday March 25th