Did anyone notice how there were lots of updates on the Ska is Dead tour.. at least one a day, and then all of a sudden NONE FOR THE REST OF THE TOUR! Well, it turned into the laptop is dead tour. My computer took a 2 1/2 month nap, but it's up and running again. Hooray! Sorry about the lack of updates, but there wasn't much I could do. The rest of Ska is Dead II was rocking, and it was really good to make friends with the Voodoo Glow Skulls and Streetlight Manifesto. They are all super good guys and I can't wait to see them again! Did I mention the rest of the tour was rocking? Well I'll say it again, because that sounds like the understatement of the year. It honestly was probably the best tour that MU330 has ever been a part of. Super fun. It was 8 weeks long, and I wish it could have kept going. Big Thank You's to Mr. Matt Porter (aka Matt-Don) who did an amazing job at filling in for Chris Diebold on the bass guitar. He rocked the parts and was the probably the only real voice of reason most of the time in MURV (MU330 Recreational Vehicle) In addition to driving the bus the entire tour (by "driving the bus" I mean playing the bass - We were not on a bus, and Matt was not allowed behind the wheel once the entire tour) Matt taught us how to harvest coconuts in FL by smashing them caveman style on a parking curb behind the Factory in Ft. Lauderdale.
I'm on a plane right now headed from Tampa to St. Louis. I just finished up playing four solo dates with Mustard Plug in FL. They were all really good shows, and Mustard Plug is great to tour with. I basically flew in to Orlando, took the bus to the club, met Mustard Plug, and then they let me hop in their van and sleep on their hotel floors for the next four days. I felt like an honorary Plug!
This next week is going to be exciting. I'm going to be practicing with MU330 all week, trying to finish up writing the rest of the new MU330 record. We're a little over half way through writing it, and I'm hoping that this week some of the song structures and horn lines will start to take shape. A lot of the songs we've been writing lately are "Monster" themed... almost enough for a whole record. I'm still not sure where we're going to go with it. So far, there's a songs about Zombies, Aliens, Wherewolves, Vampires, Floating Green Heads, a Haunted House, Fear, and Skeletons. While I was down in FL I started working on a Frankenstein song that I'm pretty excited about too. The thing is, I'm a little worried about doing another "Themed" album like the x-mas album because people automaticaly think it's going to be cheesy, but the monster songs actually ROCK! and they go so well together... We also have a handfull of songs that don't fit the Monster/Halloween theme, so it could turn into 2 whole albums. We will see. I'll have a better idea I think by the end of the week.
This Thursday we're playing at the Creepy Crawl, and on Sat at the "Ska Weekend" in Knoxville. I'm super excited because none other than the Mighty Chris Diebold will be returning on the bass guitar for those shows! OH YEAH!
Last night in Detroit was totally sold out at Alvin's. What and amazing show. Big D. was on the show last night, and it was amazing to see them. They rocked it, of course. Tonight in Cleveland was really fun too. This tour diary is starting to sound like a broken record, or the weather it Hawaii... I like that though. I guess when you have bad shows and things go wrong, it makes for more interesting reading, but I could get used to having good show after good show.
Actually, something did go terribly wrong this show... Gerry's chainsaw wouldn't start. Hilarious. He had already ripped off his shirt, and was pulling on the cord over and over, but the darn thing wouldn't fire up. So there he was shirtless in front of 500 people with a chainsaw that wouldn't turn over. Poor guy. Sounds like a bad dream to me. I'm pretty sure Gerry is feeling like retiring the chainsaw after tonight's show. Please post on the message board and beg him not to hang it up! I see it every night on stage with him, and it's still my favorite part of the show.
Later, during the last two songs of the Voodoo Glowskulls set, Gerry went up on stage wearing this rubber Voodoo Man mask and matching gloves. It was funny because the gloves didn't fit him and he kept making these funny hand gestures on stage while wearing this funny mask. When I asked him what the hell he was doing, he said "Casting Voodoo Spells, of course!" Of course. I should have known. Probably a subtlety that was lost on most people watching the show (myself included)
Buffalo NY tomorrow. I can't wait. I'm really excited to tour on the east coast. It's been so long since we've been there. Our last 5 week tour skipped over a good chunk of the east coast, so I'm glad we have lots of dates in New England this time.
Hey, did anyone watch the national jump rope championship on ESPN 2 a couple weeks ago? It was incredible. We taped it and watch it over and over again in the RV while we're rolling. For some reason when I recorded it, there's no sound on the tape, but it's still fun to watch. Anyway, we're trying to find some of the kids that competed in the competition to be in a new MU330 video. If anyone out there knows anyone who is an exceptional rope skipper, please have them e-mail us and we'll try to get them in to any of the shows on this tour. Thanks. See you at the shows. -Dan P.
We're on our way to Alvin's in Detroit. Last night we drove after the show in Milwaukee and stayed at a really filthy hotel somewhere in IN..The floor was sticky and stained and there was plaster laying all over the rug and in the tub. There was a tape measure laying on the pillow of one of the beds when we walked in. The plaster and the tape measure would leave you to believe that they were doing some work in that room, but we couldn't figure out exactly what it was they were doing. There was some kind of crusty stuff on the tub that kind of looked like dried blood, or ca ca. Very scary. The whole room was heavily stocked with DNA. I probably would have asked to switch to be moved if we hadn't already piled six people into the room.
The other night we played at Pop's in Sauget, IL.. which is right across the river from St. Louis. Odly enough, it's one of the few clubs in St. Louis that MU330 had never played at.. in fact the only time I had ever set foot in the place was to go see the Outhfield (Josie's on a vacation far away!!!) Pop's had been known for years for being one of those clubs that old washed up bands always play at... like metal bands that had a hit and still play small clubs every once in a while. Lately they've been having more all ages shows though, and the staff was really nice, and the stage is really big and they have great sound there too. Hopefully we'll be back soon.
So far so
good as far as the weather goes. I was really pretty nervous about driving
through the northeast in early Feb., especially places like Buffalo. There's
snow on the ground up here, but none on the road. The RV is running like
a champ but last night on the way to the hotel, our headlight swithch
started going out, and the headlights started flashing and going out.
Gotta get that fixed today. Gerry is driving (of course) and we're listeng
to Soupy Sales. See you in Detroit.
The Ska is Dead tour is on. Last night was the first show at the Metro in Chicago, and it was totally sold out. It was a great show. Thank you again Chicago! Chicago is easily our favorite city to play shows in. Amazing. This tour is going to be a hoot. Lance and Amy let us stay at their apartment in Chicago last night, and I'm just getting a quick entry in before we have to leave for St. Louis. It's early.. about 8:45 I think, and we need to hit the road soon. See you at the shows.
I'm on a plane
right now with my buddy Matt Porter. We just went through a really rough
stretch of clouds. We were bouncing all over the place, and it's hard
to stay focused on the screen. Thank you's to Shannon Toombs who woke
up ridiculously early and drove us to the airport in San Jose. We're on
our way to St. Louis for a couple of days rehearsal with the rest of the
band before we hit the road with Voodoo Glowskulls and Streetlight Manifesto
on the Ska is Dead II tour.
Matt and I have been running through the songs together for the past few months, and tonight will be the first time we get to play with Ted and Rob and Gerry. I can't wait to fire up the amps and let it rip. I'm making a resolution to really keep on top of this tour diary, so keep checking back, OK? See you in Chicago on Sat. for the first show of the tour on Sat. at the Metro.
The tour is all finished up, and I've been hanging out in St. Louis with Ted, writing songs for the new album. I went to the City Museum today. It's absolutely amazing. It's the most fun museum I've ever been to in my life. If you are ever in STL, you must go there! It's almost as much fun as an MU330 show.
The rest of the tour was great. Highlights of playing in TX included Gerry dropping his pants onstage in Houston, sharing the bill with our friends in Colossal, and the Total Foxes in Austin, and playing a great club in Dallas called the Gypsy Tea Room.
The show in STL at the Creepy Crawl was a great homecoming. We were about two or three people from selling out. What a sweat-fest! It was a hot one at the Creepy Crawl. My mom came out to the show and managed to make it through the whole thing! What a trooper. Mr. Diebold was back on bass with us, and was solid as ever. It was great to have him back on stage with us doing his little "crab-dance."
Big thank-you's to Brendan, who did an amazing job filling in for the last few months. He is an incredible musician, and jumped in and covered Chris' parts like a pro. He is also a super nice, laid back guy that is a pleasure to have on the road. I'm going to miss skipping rope with Mr. Brendan.
The last show of the tour was in Bloomington, IN at Rhino's. It was easily the best turnout we've ev er had for a show in IN. It was so fun! We got on stage to play our first song, and I tried to start singing, and nothing came out but a squeak! My voice was totally blown. I started getting sick in TX, and the driving overnight to STL didn't help. Anyway, the crowd in Bloomington was so amazing. We just turned it into"MU330 Karaoke Night" and different people from the crowd would just jump up on stage and sing the words themselves! It was great. Thanks for helping out. Hopefully I will have my voice when we come back!
New Orleans was a blast. A two-Po boy-day, and an amazing show to top them off. It's good to be back playing shows and drinking hurricanes instead of running from them.
OK, Let's imagine for a second that you are Gerry Lundquist, and you are camping on the Panhandle of FL, and the ranger comes by, and lets you know that they are evacuating the park, and you have to leave in the next couple hours. It is the middle of the day, and it's hot and sunny, and you've got five or six logs of firewood left. What do you do with the wood?
A) Throw them in the RV and save them in case more shows get cancelled and we go camping again.
B) Leave them at the campsite for the next campers to enjoy.
C) BURN THEM ALL IMMEDIATELY!
Please post your guesses in the Guest book.
GA - The 40 Watt
After the show we drove through a bunch of crappy GA state roads trying to get from Athens to an interstate. We hit tons of construction, and didn't get to a rest area to pull over and sleep until after 5 am. I am very tired now. We're on our way to Gainesville. I hope the hurricane that is headed for Miami decides to stay out in the ocean and just spin up the water a bit. I really don't want to have to cancel any shows.
Rain, rain rain! It's pouring in North Carolina. We will soon see if all the patchwork we've done in the last few days to the roof of the RV actually keeps out the water. Ted and I have both patched cracks on the roof with caulk and tar, and Gerry drilled holes and put bolts through the corners of the front panels above the cab to bring them together. They were seperating and water was coming in and rotting the wood away. The front end looks pretty Frankenstein now, but it should keep out the water. It really felt like one of those scenes on the A-Team where BA Barracas finds an old bus in a tractor shed on a farm somewhere and weldsWe're headed to Carrboro, NC to play at Cat's Cradle.
Arbor, MI Blind Pig
NJ - Hamilton Street
NC - Cat's Cradle
We're camping today in Bald Eagle State Park somewhere in the middle of PA of the 80. Well.. sort of camping. The RV is plugged in and we've got AC and electicity. It's kind of like having a little house in the woods without running water. We're going to go canoeing today. There's a really big lake here. I'm pretty excited about that.
We're on our way to Ann Arbor. Some people just drove past us on the highway, and they were honking and holding up a bunch of MU330 CD's. Crazy. I don't know how they knew it was us. We don't look like a band at all driving around in our old RV. More like an old retired couple with me and Gerry sitting up front.
KS - Bottleneck
MN - The Red Lion
MN - Triple Rock
IL - Fireside Bowl
We're driving through KS right now. A good time to type and catch up on the tour diary. We just turned over 6000 miles for this trip so far. The last show I wrote about was Phoenix, so I'll pick up from there, and go straight to..
Gerry has been having bad luck all tour with things going wrong with the RV, so his luck was bound to change in Vegas.. and did it ever. He got 4 of a kind four times in one night!
Teddy is driving, and I'm sitting in the passenger seat getting ready to type whatever he says for the page. Here goes..
don't know, Oh boy. Better watch what I say. So did you guys watch Seinfeld
last night. Did you get that?"
Our first show was in OK City, OK at the Green Door. It felt good to be back in the RV together and back on the road in the US. We started the tour of right before the show by skipping rope. Rob has turned us all on to skipping rope. We're trying to each skip rope for 5 to 10 min. every day. We even put up a chart in the RV to track our progress. We have been watching Buddy Lee's video, "The Magic of the Rope." Buddy Lee is amazing. Muhammed Ali once said to Buddy Lee, "Man, you're the best jumper I've ever seen!" We're hoping that by skipping rope everyday that it will improve our flexibility, coordination, endurance, and explosiveness on stage. We highly recommend skipping rope to all of our fans. Just five minutes of skipping rope a day will drastically improve your skanking in just three short weeks. If you're planning on coming to any of the upcoming MU330 shows, come out early, and bring a rope! You'll probably see one of us skipping rope outside the venue by the RV.
The show at the Green Door was fun. We brought someone up from the crowd to play guitar on LA, and he totally rocked it, and shredded a solo at the end too! We met some really nice people that have been waiting a long time for an MU330 show. We haven't played OK in a long time. Special thanks to the guy in OK who bought one of everything!
When we came
out on stage in Lubbock, before we started our first song I let the crowd
know that "the last time we played in Lubbock was in 1994.. It's
been 10 years!"
El Paso, TX
up relatively early to the club, parked up the RV, skipped rope, and patched
holes in the roof of the RV just before a big downpour. The first day
of the tour on the way to OKC, we found out that there are a bunch of
leaks in the RV on the roof and around the windows. I think we've got
them all sealed now, though.
Santa Fe, NM
We met up
with Suburban Legends last night. We're looking forward to rocking the
next couple of weeks worth of shows with them. Warehouse 21 is a great
all ages place. It's right next to a rail yard. Before the show, there
was a guy operating a hydraulic crane and he was lifting these giant telephone
poles off of a train car and loading them on to a truck. They weren't
your average sized telephone poles.. they were huge, and they would creak
really loud under the stress of being picked up. It was really exciting
to watch, and Gerry and I kept waiting for him to drop one by accident,
but he never did.
Phoenix, AZ - Modified Arts
What can I say? Modified Rocks! Scott is a really nice guy and a great promoter. I'm really sleepy right now, so I'm going to stop writing. Good night. -dp
OK, time for a quick catch-up. After a morning/early afternoon of high ropes and zip lines in Lyon, we drove to SCHAFFAUSEN, Switzerland and rocked a s show at the Orient. Our friends the Peacocks came out to the show, so it was good to see them and catch up. The next day we drove to Chur to play at the Safari Beat Club, which is becoming one of my favorite places to play in Europe. The people at the club are so nice, and they feed the bands dinner at a restaurant on the roof of the club. The view from up there is stunning. Chur is an amazing old Swiss town that is surrounded by giant Swiss Alps on almost every side. The mountains just tower around the town, and there's a raging mountain stream the sweeps right through town. The shows are always great as well, but the backdrop is just incredible.
After the show, we drove straight through the night and caught the ferry back to the UK and made it to Brighton before 3 in the afternoon. A new land speed record for driving across Europe! Nick, our driver was a trooper.
We played the last show of the tour in Brighton at the Hobgoblin. It was another "strap on your helmets" kind of show, where there is no stage and the crowd is dancing and flying into mics and you really have to keep an eye on things or you're going to get your teeth knocked out! It was really a great way to wrap up the tour. The whole night really rocked.
After driving all the way across Europe, practically, on the way back to buzz's house, we ran out of gas! Funny. We finish the entire tour, and then on the way back to the house on the last day of the tour, we ran out of gas. Buzz, Nick, and Rob went on a hike to the gas station to get fuel, and the rest of us stayed in the van and had an end of tour party with Em, a jar of pickles, and a bottle of vodka that we brought back from Russia. Good times.
The rest of the band has all flown back to the states for a couple weeks break before the US tour, and I'll be in the UK for the next two weeks playing solo shows as "Electrodan." I miss the rest of the MU330s already! I'll be writing more tour diary stuff on the Dan Potthast page, and will start back up writing on this page once the US tour begins around the 29th. Big Thanks to Buzz and Em in Brighton, Ian at Hidden Talent, Alex, Dimitri, and Distemper in Russia, and all the nice people who have helped us out this tour by loaning us gear or letting us sleep on their couches/floors or by putting shows on. We had a great time and can't wait to come back. Love, Dan P. and MU330
This tour, we had our best French show ever in Paris. It rocked! The show was on a boat on the Seine river in the middle of Paris. It was like a punk rock pirate ship.
There are these touristy, fancy, restaurant boats with glass windows that cruise up and down the river filled with nicely dressed rich people that wave at everyone on the banks of the river as they dine on caviar. Some of the kids on the punk rock pirate ship would wave back and get their attention, and then moon them! Quality entertainment. Anyway, the belly of the ship where the show took place was scathingly hot, and we had some amp technical troubles, but the show was really packed and super high-energy. I was shocked to see so many people singing along to all the words. Good stuff. I can't wait to come back.
The next night we played in Lyon at a club called the Blue Banana. The bands play on the second floor of this kind of western theme bar, and the floors are all really slanted and uneven. It was another scorcher of a show. One of the hottest shows we've ever played. Great crowd too. Two for two in France!
Yesterday we had the day off in Lyon, and pretty much just spent it walking around Lyon eating Vietnamese food and Ice Cream. We walked up to a really cool overlook and discovered a High Ropes course, so we went the next morning and did a full course of zip lines and swinging on ropes, Tarzan style. It was super fun. If you get a chance, ask Rob about swinging into the cargo net!
So we're back from Russia and are on our way to Paris. How was Russia? Wow. Where do I start. First of all, I need to back up to England, and the King's Lynn show, which was super good. We played at this place called Blue and Gold, which is a pub that is actually under the steps of the King's Lynn football stadium. It was a total "Strap on your helmets" kind of show as Rob Bell likes to put it. No stage, so the bands play right on the floor with the crowd right in your face and flying into the microphones. Good stuff. It was great to see our friends in Vanilla Pod.
the show, we drove straight to Heathrow airport, and flew to Domodedovo
airport in Moscow, so we were up all night. No sleep. When we got off
the plane we were all exhausted and excited and totally delirious. Because
it was our first time ever to Russia, we really had no idea how things
were going to go at immigration and customs. Luckily, there was no problem
getting through, and Alex, (The guy that I set up the tour with- I've
been trying to decipher broken English e-mails from him for the past five
months!) the drummer from Distemper, the guitarist from Distemper, and
the guitarist from Private Radio were there to meet us when we came through
from the airport to the Hostel where we were staying was really exciting.
We were all really in disbelief that we were actually in Russia, and it
all felt like a weird dream. At this point, reality seemed more than a
little skewed. 1 part lack of sleep, 1 part repeated toasts of vodka and
pickles, and 1part inhaling obnoxious amounts of exhaust spewing from
all the vehicles on the highway. Just a guess, but I imagine the acceptable
amount of vehicle emissions are slightly different in Moscow than they
are in CA.
We went to eat at an all you can eat buffet, and then walked all around Moscow. We saw the Kremlin, and Red Square and Lenin's tomb, and St. Basil Cathedral. Another factor adding to our delirium was that it never really got totally dark. It seemed to remain twilight forever. It was a great night, and we got lots of good pictures that I hope to have up on the page really soon. I'm not sure what time we got back to the hostel, but I know it was really late, and I was out of my mind tired. Gerry and Brendan were troopers and stayed up even later and went down to the bar in the lobby of the Hostel and made friends with some Italians.
It felt so good to lay down in a bed. All morning there was someone jack-hammering a few feet from our window, but I barely even noticed. We slept until about 1:00 and it felt like I could have kept going. the next day we went out to eat at a Mongolian BBQ place, and then did more sight seeing. We went to a park where there was a huge WWII memorial, and there were lots of tanks you could climb on. I'd thankfully never been that close to a tank before. As we walked around that day, we kind of put it together that we were leaving for St. Petersburg that night at around 8:30. It's about an 11-12 hour drive. I thought it was only about 6, maybe 7 hours, but boy was I wrong.
We drove through the night. More sleep deprivation. The seats in the van reclined a little bit, but there was no laying down. We all managed to catch little naps, but for the most part, it was impossible to sleep because we would be driving and you'd be starting to fall asleep, and then, BAM! We would hit these potholes that would just rock the entire van. Usually the driver would see it coming, and would be able to slam on the brakes or steer out of the way just in time, but that was usually enough to keep me awake.
At one point we got pulled over for speeding. I was pretty stressed after what I had read about Russian police being totally corrupt.. especially if you're a tourist. The officer was standing outside his car and waved us over with his little speed gun, and we pulled to the side of the road. Instead of the police officer walking up to the vehicle, two members of Distemper jumped out of the van and walked back to the police car. They would probably get shot if they tried that in Missouri! Anyway, we waited in the van, and their trumpet player got into the police car, and came back about 5 minutes later. Here's a conversation that followed when he got back in the van.
did we get pulled over for?
So, evidently, the cops just sit on the side of the highway, wave people to the side of the road, and steal money from them. I guess 5 bucks is a pretty cheap speeding ticket. Crazy!
We got to St. Petersburg at about 9 or 10 in the morning, and they took us to an apartment. I'm pretty sure a member of the St. Petersburg ska-punk band Spitfire lived there. We slept for about an hour, and then they took us to an afternoon festival that we got added on to at the last minute. The festival had somWhen we showed up, it was a big outside stage, and there were over 1000 people there already at about 1:00 in the afternoon. By the time we went on, I'm guessing that there were about 2000 or so people there. We were super excited to be playing such a big show. It turns out we were the first American band to ever play at that festival. When the announcer came out and introduced us right before we went on, he of course introduced us in Russian, so we couldn't make out what he was saying, except for "USA," and right after he mentioned where we were from, a small portion of the crowd erupted in boos. We started up our set, and I'd say about 1/2 the people there were really into it, about a fourth of the people were really angry at us, and the other fourth just didn't know what to make of us. There was a circle pit for a good part of our set, while a group of skinheads just shouted at us constantly a flipped us off.
After the show we went to the Red Club in St. Petersburg and sound checked. Two shows in one day w/ no sleep! Oh yeah! We finally got to see Distemper live, and they rocked it. Their vocals are similar to the Mighty Might Bosstones, only sung in Russian! Very fun show. The crowd in St. Petersburg was great.. about 200 or 250 people, and they went off. The show was intense. Kids constantly jumping on stage, knocking over mics and stage diving and just having a great time. It was a perfect show!
After playing two shows in one day we were completely wiped out, especially after getting only one night's sleep in the past three days! I was hoping to be able to stay in St. Petersburg that night, but we had to get back to Moscow the next day for a show, so our options were to either ride back overnight again in the van, or take an overnight, 10 hour train ride. After the van ride there the night before, the train sounded great. A first class ticket was around 20 bucks but you get a bed, so we were all about that. We went to the station to get tickets, but there were no first class ones left, so we bought the cheap ones, which were only about 7 dollars.
We basically were on the ghetto-car train ride from hell. There were no windows or vents on the budget car, and it had to be 95 to 100 degrees with no ventilation. The seating situation could best be described as torturous. The seats were arranged in sections of four, where two seats would face two other seats, and they were so close to each other, that your knees had to be interlocked with a stranger for 10 hours. They did serve beer on the train, which was a relief for a few hours, but when it came time to finally try and get some sleep, there were a few people in our car who just didn't know when to quit, and basically kept the entire train car awake for the entire trip. Brendan is probably the best person to ask about the train ride from St. Petersburg to Moscow. He was sitting by these two guys that kept him awake all night. He could tell the story much better than I could.
When we finally got back to Moscow, we were all completely fried. That brought our sleep ratio to one night of sleep in four straight days. We rode the Moscow subway (Which is totally amazing- all marble and fancy mosaic- each station looks like a museum) and then took a bus to Mitri's house, (The guy who put out Ultra Panic in Russia) and actually got about two or three hours sleep, and got some food in us, and then went to the club Apelsin in Moscow.
There were about 250 people at the show in Moscow. They video taped and recorded the show for a split release with the Russian ska/punk band Distemper. It was a really fun show, but the club was really big, and Alex, the guy who brought us was expecting more people... about 700! Distemper usually draw at least that many people on their own, but there was a problem with promotion, and posters never got put up around Moscow, so I don't think most people knew about the show. Either way, it was really fun and kid's went mental and danced all night and we did two encores. All three shows we played were really good, it's just that the schedule was really physically demanding.
That night after the show was my favorite night in Russia. We all slept at the drummer from Distemper's house, and they made us a late night dinner and we really got to hang out and relax and talk. Distemper's story is pretty amazing. They have been a band in Russia since 1989! We were asking them about life before Glasnost and Perestroika, and they were saying that before the country opened up, rock shows were illegal. The police would come and bust up shows and throw the bands in jail, and/or beat people up! They were saying that this didn't really start to change until about 1994. They were rocking behind the iron curtain! Amazing. It's so easy to take things for granted in the US. I have total respect for Distemper for being so passionate about playing music.
We're in the
van on the way to the show tonight in King's Lynn. The show last night
in Plymouth at the Phoenix was great. No comply had a date cancelled in
Liverpool, so they were able to hop on the show. It was great to see them.
They've gotten so much better since the last time I'd seen them. They
totally rocked it. The people that run the Phoenix are really nice. It's
seems like there's a really closely knit little scene in Plymouth thanks
to the people at the Phoenix, No Comply, and a hand full of local Plymouth
Last night we were at the Cavern in Exeter, England. I think it's the third time we've played there. The guy that runs the place is a super nice guy. He always feeds the bands the same thing; pizza, a bowl of chips, and fresh greens. It's kind of nice pulling up to a club and knowing what's for dinner. The show was really good.. A little small since there was some confusion on the date that the show was booked on, and it only got straightened out the week before, but still a super receptive crowd.
Tonight we're headed to Plymouth to play at the Phoenix and I've heard rumors that old friends No Comply are on the bill tonight. I sure hope so. It would be great to see them, especially in their home town.
We're back at Buzz's house watching "The League of Gentleman" after another rocker of a show at the Concorde 2 in Brighton, and a stop at the All Night Diner. I love playing the Concorde. It's right on the seafront, and the stage is really big, and the sound is great, and Brighton crowds are always amazing. Tonight we had two contestants from the crowd come up and have a guitar-off to play with us on "LA", and it ended in a tie, so we had a competition to see who could lift Gerry off the ground. The first guy actually managed to lift him about 6 inches off the floor. I was amazed. I've done it before, and thought I was going to die. Then the next guy (who happened to be wearing a skirt) somehow managed to lift Gerry up on his shoulders and hold him there. It was amazing! I couldn't believe it. It had to be pure adrenalin.. like when people have fits of super-human strength and manage to lift a car off the ground in an emergency. Who knows. Then, while he was playing LA, someone jumped onstage and pulled his skirt down around his ankles. Quality entertainment.
I'll do a little re-cap of the shows so far to catch up.
Tuesday June 15, 2004 Leicester
This was the first show of the tour. It went really well, except that we had to play as a three piece, since Gerry and Rob missed their connecting flight and were stuck in Chicago. It was crazy to play as a three piece, especially because it was Brendan's (bass guitar) first show ever with us. I felt like we pulled it off, and Brendan totally rocked it, but it was sure nice to pick Rob and Gerry up at the airport.
Wednesday June 16th, 2004 Sunderland
After the show in Leicester, we drove straight to Gatwick airport and parked at a service station and slept for a couple hours. It was great to see Rob and Gerry, even though their luggage got lost by the airline. We drove straight up to Sunderland after picking them up at the airport. Sunderland was the first show with the whole band. It was a little rough, but not bad for the first show. After the show, we went back to our friend Hutch's house. Hutch is a friend of this guy named Erl who drove MU330 on our first three UK/Europe tours. That night we hung out with Hutch, Jeffa, and some of their friends until the early early morning. It was what I consider a classic night on tour in the UK. It brought back such great memories of our very first UK tour in 1997.
Thursday June 17th, 2004 Leeds
Leeds is the hometown of the amazing Dale! (The guitar player from John Holmes, and the bloke who drove MU330 around the UK and Europe and introduced us to the Devil on the Bridge in Prague!) It was great to hang out with him and catch up on things. Oh yeah.. the show was fun too! Before the show, Brendan and I were playing football (soccer to americans..) and we saw a bunch of people sniffing glue in in the park. That's pretty much all I saw of Leeds. That and the club, Joseph's Well, which is a really cool room to play. Well, not physically cool.. It was probably the hottest club of the tour so far, but the crowd was really good.
Friday June 18th, 2004 Cambridge
The Man on the Moon is a tiny club in the back of a pub in Cambridge. The stage is really small, and the crowd is right up in your face. It's a great place to play, and the gig was going great until a fight broke out towards the end of our set. Fighting is no good. Don't fight, please.. especially at our shows! "Too much fighting on the dance floor!" We played a couple slower songs after the fight and tried to keep things mellow and then called it a night.
Saturday June 19th, 2004 London
Last night we played the Underworld in London with The Adequate 7, Bosseye, and Weight Loss. i like the setup of the Underworld. It's a cool stage with room to move around. I always feel like I have a better show when there's room to move around a little bit. I felt like the show in London was a wind sprint. We really blew through the songs super fast, and it was the first night of the tour we did "Close to You" and "Get Away" and Gerry ripped his shirt off. I showed Brendan both songs literally right before we went on stage.
And that gets us all caught up. We have three more shows in the UK, and then we're off to Russia on Wednesday. Rock!
Ohaio Gozaimasu means good morning. It's 9 am here and i've been wide awake since 4. For once the jetlag works in our favor. We arrived in Japan yesterday at Tokyo Narita airport and were greeted by our friends Guts, Koba-san and Ichikawa from Potshot. After checking into our hotel we went to Izikaya which is a bar-restaurant where your table is served and shares many courses of food. For example last night we all had soup, tofu, tuna sashimi, fried chicken, eel tempura, raw liver, raw whale, clams, sea urchin, fried fish cakes, chinese rice, beer and tea. By the time we were finished we had been awake for over 30 hours so it was time for bed. This morning Mike Park, Chris and I started walking around at 6am. Nothing was really open yet so I had a convinience store breakfast of rice wrapped in seaweed, green tea ice cream and ice coffee. Today we start rehearsing with our friend Yoko for our upcoming recording.
day of rehearsing went really well. We managed to get four songs done
in only four hours. The practice space is the nicest I've ever seen and
is right across the street from an arcade and a ramen shop. We're going
to get to know this area really well since we have eight days of rehearsing
Today is a
driving day. We just stopped at a japanese Toys R Us to marvel at the
aisles of Ultraman, Pokemon, and Kubrik figures that aren't available
in the states. We played two shows so far with Potshot and both were amazing.
On Saturday we played in the city of Shizuoka which is about two hours
from Tokyo and near Mt. Fuji. The venue was pretty small and would have
only legally held about 70 people in the U.S., yet over 250 kids crammed
in and rocked out despite the intense heat. We were all soaking wet by
the time our set was finished.. Last night we were in Gifu and played
to a fun crowd. Rob, Gerry and Chris posed for a lot of pictures (shashin).
To be honest I haven't been writing in this thing too much since I know the site is down. This stuff will be up eventually so I'll write about what has happened so far. On tuesday we drove south and crossed the longest supension bridge in japan from the mainland to a large island and the city of Takamatsu. On wednesday Koba-san, the drummer from Potshot drove some of us to the outside of the city where we had some of the best udon noodle soup in the world. I can't believe sometimes how crazy the crowds of kids can get without anyone getting hurt. From the first note everyone from the front to the back is jumping and singing along to words they don't even know. So much fun. The next day we were in Hiroshima city. During our first trip to japan we visited the Atomic museum and the Peace Park located at ground zero where the first bomb was dropped. It's not an experience that's easy to digest. Walking through the park that's now filled with trees and memorials, I felt an almost undescrible sensation. It was like a physical weight from the feeling that something heavy had taken place here. It's interesting that there isn't a feeling of resentment towards americans here. This is a city rebuilt with the hope of world peace and the end of atomic weapons. This was a great place for a show. I know it sounds idealistic but music connects people in ways that nothing else can. On thursday we played in Fukuoka. I don't really understand the physics behind it but each show we play is somehow better than the last. After our first show I didn't think this would be possible but I'm amazed night after night.
Famous for it's very expensive beef, Kobe is a city surrounded by beautiful mountains. We drove over eight hours from Fukuoka and it seemed like most of it was through tunnels. Those tunnels come at a price too. It was nearly $200 in tolls for an eight hour drive! For this show we were joined by two more japanese bands, Storm and New Rote'ka. It was great making new freinds.
On sunday we played in Osaka, the second biggest city in Japan at the Bayside Jenny which is located right under the largest ferris wheel in the world.There were 1200 people crammed into this place and it was so hot it made it difficult to play. It was such a rush seeing that many people jumping around the second we started into "the Punisher". We played a bunch of new songs and even that didn't stop the crowd from trying to sing along. I really don't know how they lasted through four bands. I was ready to pass out at the end of our set and the crowd matched or exceeded our energy level every step of the way. Amazing! Once again Gerry and Rob were mobbed outside the venue after the show for autographs and pictures.
We spent today sightseeing in Nara, the oldest city in Japan. As we were driving to Nara park where a majority of the old Shrines and Temples are located,we noticed wild deer everywhere. It's almost like a petting zoo but these are wild deer who have become accustomed to being fed by humans. Gerry fed a few some of his "pretz" snacks. We visted the Todai-ji temple which is home to the second largest Buddha in Japan. To give you an idea how large this is, an averege person could pass through the Buddha's nostril. This statue is housed by the largest wooden structure in the world,built in the 18th century. On the left Gerry and Rob stand in front of a statue of one of disciples of Buddha. Here we are in front of Kofukuji Temple Pagoda.
Tonight we are playing the largest show of the tour. This is the third show in the Tokyo area. (Tokyo is so big that it has a few different downtown areas). On Saturday we played in Yokohama and walked around it's famous Chinatown. Mr Kitajima-san from UK project took us to an amazing lunch. Sunday we were in Shinjuku and played at the new LOFT. Space Shower TV, a music program, filmed this show for later broadcasting. They even gave us a huge arrangement of flowers that looked like it was for a funeral. It was a very nice although creepy gesture.
Our last night in Japan. It's hard to believe that it's been a month. Time flew by. Today we played on a japanese television show called "Factory". We played in front of about 150 people like a real show but it was filmed at the Fuji Television Station. This has to be one of the coolest looking buildings ever. It's completely silver and has two main towers. Near the top between the two towers is a huge metal sphere like the deathstar with windows around the equator. As soon as I scan my pictures I'll get a copy up here. As for the set it was really fun. Ryoji, the singer for Potshot, came up and played guitar on LA. It was kind of strange having cameras completly surrounding you but at least there was an audience. This has been by far our best tour ever. Potshot are so much fun! And our new friends in New Rote'ka and Storm as well. Everyone has been very helpful and very hospitable.
In some ways it feels good to be back in the 'states, but I miss being able to get fresh sushi or noodles from one of the ten or so convienience stores within walking distance from whereever you are. We're staying at a suites motel in the heart of silicon valley. There is nothing (literally) for miles except for computer companies. The recording for the YOKO project ( i don't know what else to call it) is going really well. Today, only our second day, we finished the drums, bass and most of the guitars for 15 songs. We're recording at Soundtek Studios, where MU330 recorded the self titled album. This isn't a bad place to be. Taco Bravo, the best american style taco stand, is within walking distance and has filled us up the past few days.