Saturday, May 7, 2011

Notes from the Wilderness: New Jerk City

Fuck if I'll ever play the city again.

 I get that you're a tired old, for lack of a better term, "promotor," and you don't care if we've been on tour for three weeks, smell like shit, feel and look homeless, but with seventy-five plus people there paying eight bucks a pop I think we can do a little better than twenty-seven lousy bucks. I get that we didn't bring the most people (although I counted nine tally marks next to our name, which should have allotted us at least sixty bucks), but maybe if you didn't schedule us at seven o'clock for the punk rock matinee show some of our friends could have gotten off work and made it. I almost wanted to give the money back and tell her not to worry about it, but she was so busy burying her face in cocaine in the back room she probably wouldn't have noticed.

But tonight is Brooklyn, and lord do I love Brooklyn.

Didja hear how we got wasted in Danbury? We'll be back up for the annual Gut Rot Crew July 4th BBQ. Now that we're official members and all.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Notes from the Wilderness: A Tired Kindness

Two weeks left of tour. I am sitting in a bar where we will be playing tonight. I feel mildly sick and out of wits. The bartender is moderately to very attractive. Last night I slept in the driver's seat of our van. I struggled for all of the night and most of the morning to find comfortable positions, getting very creative to find my comfortable "curled up in the fetal position" position. As I was twisting and turning myself into all sorts of grotesque shapes I started thinking on the kindness and trust that so many people bestow upon you while you're a touring band. I don't know if it's us specifically, the people we meet, or just the all-encompassing, iron-clad "rules of the road" that makes it easy for folks to take us in, feed us, allow us to use and defile their facilities, and so-on-and-so-forth.

Take the other night for example in Fredonia, NY. We had played another goddamned coffee shop show (albeit we played well, though admittedly a bit awkwardly and made a decent chunk of bills) and went out with some locals. They were nice enough I suppose, not exactly the biggest party animals though how could you be in a shitpit like Jamestown, NY? Either way, they told us that Fredonia was the cool place to play, and hang out. So around 11:30 we left for Fredonia, which is about a half an hour north, got in around midnight and tried to get a show for our day off the next night at some college bar where they have shows, we heard. 

The place was fucking packed, I mean wall-to-fucking-wall, as some big end of the semester street concert was going on. All of the bastards were around us. So with nothing to lose, and little to gain we asked the bar back Tim, who also booked for the joint, if we could jump on a show the next night. It was obvious that the bar staff was tired, ornery, and looking forward to a night's peace. The kid is unsure about a show, but, he offered, he could set us up with a place to stay. He brings four strange men to his lady's house at three in the goddamn morning sight unseen. It's a strange a beautiful thing.

In case you're wondering we're sitting in a quiet coffee shop somewhere in Massachusetts while a man across from us plays our songs over the speakers on his computer. Somewhere a slow death is required. 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Notes from the Wilderness: Warrior v. Champion

Author's note: I wrote this at 6 AM coming down from mushrooms, stoned out of my gourd, and drunk on Bush.  There was truth in it, probably more so than the last few entries, or any subsequent entries. I am not discontinuing Life and Crimes, but I am moving onto a bit different programming. I also might export it to tumblr. I haven't yet decided. So without further ado, the tired ramblings of a madman. 

The entirety of Life and Crimes has become a self-referential mess. Constant allusions to drunken and debacheurous nights have worn thin on myself, and I assume the readership. I am bored with constantly chronicling the repeatative nights "on the road." In summation: We went to a bar, we saw this, we drank that, we consumed everything else. Some people got laid, others didn't. You get it. I get it. We get it. The real reason we do this is because of this phrase I have been rolling over and over in my head:

"Tonight I will sleep a warrior, tomorrow I will arise a champion."

As I knelt down to sleep with my troops like a captain opting to sleep in the brig instead of his quarters I repeated this phrase. A cheap and cliche'd mantra I know, but It makes sense to me and it justifies all the sojourns we traverse. Another two bit piece of prose strewn about a well-walked highway. Blowing in the wind like so many fast food wrappers and plastic bags. Sorry folks, I can't document from this angle any more. It is tiring.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Notes from the Wilderness: Shreveport, LA and Houston, TX

Of course there has to be a coffee shop on every tour. This was certainly the case in Shreveport at the Naked Bean Cafe. We were told that electric acts have played there before, but a quick survey of the simple square-footage of the place showed that we would have probably blown the windows out. If you’ve ever seen an Only Thieves show you probably know that we are loud as fuck, like, Dinosaur Jr. loud. It’s just in our nature. At that point we made the decision to strip down the set. I was to play an acoustic, Marc through my combo, Aubrey armed with only snare, high hat, and bass drum, and Thomas on a much smaller amp. 
To kill some time before the show Thomas, Marc, and I went for a stroll around the neighborhood, which was beautiful, lined with ancient oaks that formed great canopies and old southern mansions (I’m a sucker for relics from Antebellum south) and tried to find where Fangtasia (a bar popularized by the HBO program True Blood) was located. As it turns out THERE IS NO Fangtasia, it’s some bar in Los Angeles. So much for scamming on vamp broads all night. In lieu of that we went to the mall. Shittiest mall ever. There wasn’t even a food court, just a hot dog stand and soft pretzel shop. 
We returned to the cafe and had some tea and coffee, because, of course, there’s no booze. The act before us was a staple of the shop, an acoustic act with some life-affirming/observational lyrics and this-and-that about getting high. We played after.
We did a lot of ad-libbing that night, changed up the rhythms on a few songs, played a song we’ve never played before, and just had fun with it. It’s good to know that when pressed we can switch things around, and not completely fuck it up. The six baby boomers in the audience really seemed to enjoy it. Of course “last time these guys played here the place was packed” was used as a tag line. After the show we went over to Chris’s (who played in the first act) house to get high. 
It was an awkward experience. The guy was nice enough, but a helluva chatterbox. He just went on and on, and because I was really stoned I kept going in and out of consciousness watching his mouth move not really registering the sounds. At some point we heard some disturbing human noises emanating from a back bedroom. I’ve heard OD’ing sounds before, and these resembled them pretty closely. Chris shrugged them off.
Eventually he suggested that we go out to some bars. Yes, Chris, bring us to the women. Unfortunately there we none to be had. All the bars were packed to the brim with young professionals and their weird wives and girlfriends. For lack of a better term, we asked him if there were any “punk bars” around, but he didn’t have much of a concept of this. 
He offered us a place to stay, but then launched into how his roommate would probably awaken us with a gun in our face, and we just have to yell out “Rob, don’t shoot!” and to mention Chris’s name and that he had let us crash there. Remember all these things at some point in the early hours of the morning, hungover, and you won’t get your teeth blasted through the back of your skull. Needless to say we opted to sleep in the parking lot of a Burger King instead. 
Upon waking, we made the six hour drive to Houston. We needed a good show. We had been playing incredibly well almost every night to fucking nobody. We needed to be reminded of why we chose to do this. We played a place called the Mink in the backroom space reserved for shows. The first band, Wildcat, actually had some decent songs, they were a little closer to our style, but still miles apart. I was feeling sick, so I sat the second band out in the van. From what I gathered they were too big for their britches and not very good, but thank god there were people there. Not many, mind you, and it was one of those “parents come out” gigs, but fuck it, at least some one was watching us. 
The last band of the night was quite a find. They were called Midnight Carnival, and they played some kind of conceptual goth rock deemed “steam punk.” The lead singer looked like Billy Idol, and furthered comparisons by doing the whole sneer thing. 
We made friendly with the bar staff and they took care of us very well. I won a Guinness chugging contest. I’ll have to post that video. They offered us a place to stay, but it looked like the beginning of a late night. We were beat to shreds and anxious to get to Austin so once again, we slept in the van. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Notes from the Wilderness: New Orleans, LA and Jackson, MS

Last time we left you we spun a brief, and an admittedly amnesiac, tale of our drunken night in Pensacola. Well, be sure that the next night in New Orleans (henceforth referred to as NOLA) was just as booze-fueled and chemically enhanced as the prior. 
We arrived and went straight to our friend Bethany’s place, which is on a lovely street sandwiched between two strange sketchy neighborhoods. We finally got Gertie (our tour van if you haven’t kept up) tinted for a bit of added security. She kind of looks like an FBI van now. Anyway, we were treated to homemade chicken salad with salty baked goods. 
We split for the venue around seven-thirty and ended up driving around and around trying to find Siberia bar with very little luck. Apparently, the place lacks any sort of signage, and when we finally did locate it, it was closed. We were all a bit worried we were about to walk into one of those tour horror stories where the show gets shut down and nobody notifies anybody, but shit, we were in fucking NOLA there was no way a bad time could be had. Luckily, this wasn’t the case and the venue owner/bartender Jenny came and unlocked the door around eight. And the waiting game began... 
We got pretty drunk. The first act was a decent acoustic folk thing titled simply GOOD, and the “second act” (the two opening acts were just acoustic duos who traded off singing duties and called it different bands) was something that words fail to define. The best description I could possibly come up with was “an androgynous celestial wood nymph warbling over droning guitars and generally freaking people the fuck out.” It was more outsider performance art than anything, and I’m not quite sure where these people were found. On the brightside it gave us a chance to buddy up with Jenny over our collective distaste for the acts preceding us, and once she saw the we were actually a decent band the shots kept flowing, and the free PBR was plentiful. 
The act after us was a form of rock that was okay, but they were jacking off somewhere for most of our set and reminded me of the kids in high school I didn’t like. 
We managed to stay on Jenny’s good side long enough to have her invite us out to another bar upon closing Siberia. So along with her boyfriend Micah we headed out into the night. 
Long story short: bonds were made, rules were broken, and we left the bar as the sun began to rise. New Orleans as it should be. Honestly, it was one of the best nights on tour I’ve ever had. 
The next day was slightly painful. Two hangovers in a row for the first two days of tour can quickly drive tempers to the breaking point. We headed to Jackson, Mississippi for our show at Sam’s Lounge, connected to the Budget Travel Lodge off of I-55. 
Upon arriving, I quickly conjured thoughts of that scene in Blues Brothers in the honky tonk where they end up playing the theme from Rawhide. It wasn’t that bad, it really wasn’t anything at all. There were no locals so it ended up being us and another touring band called Senryu who were great, but unfortunately this leads to the 50/50 door split and money out of our pockets. With the relatively low turnout it didn’t account for much. Although, the bar did provide the bands with a cooler full of High Life. Senryu drank hardly any and left for their next show immediately after, ergo Only Thieves got drunk for free with beers left over to take with them (As of press time, I am knocking one back). Win. 
We spent the night on some girl’s filthy floor. I woke up to an eviscerated and smashed mouse corpse mere inches from my mouth. At that point I got up to sleep in the van. She did donate some lunch meat that provided us with a few sandwiches, and we were off to Shreveport.
Next time on Life and Crimes: Harrowing tales from Shreveport, and Austin city limits. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Notes from the Wilderness: Return to the Wild

Alright dammit, we're back in the fucking van.

Currently, I am sitting in a dining room in a house in New Orleans. There are some flowers wilting before me. Our sojourn toward Pensacola was marred by a horrible accident on I-10 westbound. We only saw the aftermath, but a truck hauling horses must have veered off of the road running at top speed. The driver had smashed into a tree and the trailer had crushed the bed sandwiching the cab. Dead horses were strewn about the highway. We were waved through by a smiling cop. Just another day at the office for him.

Needless to say the accident left a black smear on the beginning of the tour.

We got to Sluggo's around 7 and started in on the dollar PBR tall boys. The venue was incredibly accommodating to us. They offered up houses for us to stay, and we still got payment despite the incredible low turnout. One of the two locals cancelled the day of the show. I wouldn't suggest playing with the Noiseheads. I will admit, through all this touring, we have become adept at receiving consolation prizes from the staff. The bartender shared shots of rumplemintz and whiskey and called over to another bar we were heading towards to make sure we got a round on her. We ended up at lounge/package store for karaoke night. A gentleman tattoo artist named Gabe kept feeding us Jameson. Thomas and I did a stirring rendition of "Born in the USA." Brought the house down.

 To be completely honest I don't remember much after that. I woke up in the back seat of the van, still very drunk, with Thomas in the seat behind me looking just as confused.

We play New Orleans tonight. I expect to wake up with questions.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Photo Blog pt. 2

Kackie x2-Kansas City, MO
I <3 Video-Austin, TX

V for Victory-Austin, TX

Eye of the Capitol-Austin, TX

Feed Me Sluts-Cleveland, OH

Two Real Asses-Gaineville, FL?

Blake and Friends-Baltimore, MD

Gertie in the Snow-Philadelphia, PA

G.B.A.-Washington, DC

Roanoke Star-Roanoke, VA

Gertie the Gator in the Snow-Midwest, US

Triangle St. House/Crash Pad/Motorcycle Club-Danbury, CT

Franz-Milwaukee, WI