Thursday, April 30, 2009

and i swear...

i promise i didn't forget about you. lots of craziness over the last week or so. i will fully update you quite soon, and with much greater regularity. i send my love.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009


i'm terribly sorry my loves, i've been without interweb and been busy. living loudly takes time, so occasionally i need to stay offline and breathe fresh air.

scotty and i spent four days in canada playing music, hanging with friends, meeting new great people, loving new york subway burritos, paying way too much for alcohol and generally loving life. oh, and scotty didn't mind the decriminalized stance on his favorite plant either.

it's pretty amazing to be in a place where people are so open minded, warm, kind, welcoming and supportive. sure, it's a bit of a generalization, but i suppose if i'm going to generalize, it's not so bad that it's a positive, loving one. bettie and pat took us in to their apartment for four days, which i know ben franklin would frown on. also, i went to more art galleries in the short time i was in canada than i've been to in probably the last year.

the first big show was at a gallery where i played to amazing people and re-fell in love with canada. the next day shawzy tattooed me and i laughed at how ridiculous i am. that night we went to another gallery where one of bettie's friends put on a show with a bunch of artists who'd donated their time and art on skateboards to support a charity for hospitals. while i thought that was an odd choice for a country with socialized health care, i really appreciated it. the styles really varied, were well done and exiting. i had a great time. plus, how often do you get to go to an art opening where you can drink beer and watch people skate a mini ramp?

we then drove to sarnia, which is just about michigan, and automatically expected the worst. we were told it was a chemical plant town and not only was it, but the street where the show was happened to be under construction. i thought we were late, only to be there before the venue was even opened. we didn't expect much at all. so, to kill some time, scotty and i walked to harvey's, which is a fast food place that sells veggie burgers, so obviously we had to go. after eating we walked back to the club and realized that things might not be so bad. kids started showing up, coming in and i got excited. as i started my set i wasn't sure they would be into it, but i figured i'd might as well just have fun. within a song i had 25 kids stomping and clapping along right below me while the other 50 or so people sat and listened, clapping loudly after each tune. what a great time. oh, and i neglected to mention that i was playing on what was obviously a stage built for strippers, as that's what this club used to employ. the front half, however, was filled with stuffed animals. not the cuddly kind, but the taxidermy kind. yikes. one of the bands playing was called streetcore, and they were really sweet young kids with a fake problems/against me vibe. well done. the headliner was spiral beach, super young band, no one older than 21, and they were fucking insanely good. super tight, psychadelic, dancey, fun, just awesome. i sold a bunch of stuff and got paid well. what a turn around from what i expected. canada never fails to deliver awesomeness. after the show i drove scotty and i back to toronto, as it was a few hours into a trip we needed to make to plattsburgh, ny.

we woke up in toronto and i was incredibly tired, but we had to make our way to ny. the drive took about eight hours total, including the hassling we got at the border. they obviously thought something was afoot with us entering and leaving canada from different points and no real reason for being there. one of the things they found while searching my car was an old oxycontin prescription bottle with someone else's name filled with pills. those pills were ibuprofin, generic brand advil. the bottle was just something to hold them in. i'm an idiot. but, the realized it was a stupid mistake, told me to be smarter and let us go. the long drive continued, we got a terrible sandwich and then eventually made it to plattsburgh. by then i was in a terrible mood and just wanted a beer and rub my bare feet in the grass. it was so incredibly beautiful out, if i were home i definitely would have been grilling veggie burgers, drinking a beer and hanging in my backyard. but, instead i had to walk up to a third floor apartment and play show. boo hoo. don't get me wrong, i fucking love playing, and i love seeing old friends, but i was just being an ornery bastard, and wasn't in the mood to not be sitting in the grass drinking cold beer. but, you know what? once i got up to the apartment and saw all my old friends from previous tours, i was in a great mood. i had a beer, hugged my buddies, talked a bunch, played a really fun set and just felt amazing. what an incredible turnaround. after the show we went for a walk and then to the river behind where the show was. i finally got to take off my shoes and let the grass tickle my feet. i was in heaven. great people, fun town, drinking beers by a river, all laughs. we then rode bikes to dana's house to check out old picture of my old band from five or so years ago. we were so skinny and soft looking. then a sweet photo shoot by monuments and the river. such a good time. we stayed up until the sun rose over the river, then went back for morning waffles and sleepy time. chris told me some amazing stories about being in a movie in iceland and i generally loved my time. scotty and i slept on a futon mattress on the floor until 3 pm. what bums.

when we woke up we went for pizza. i prefer breakfast food when i wake up, regardless of the time. scotty thinks i'm ridiculous, as he'd always prefer a burrito. we got the plattsburgh specialty: pizza with cold cheese. this is where they reheat the pizza in the oven, then pile on more cold mozzarella when it comes out. the pizza was so hot it basically heated and melted the cold cheese to the point where it was more or less an extra cheese slice, but i always appreciate local fare, espcially if it involves pizza, so i was down. by the way, a little side note: in canada they spell it "pea-eye-zed-zed-aye." zed zed! ha ha. incredible.

scotty and i left plattsburgh, got on the ferry to vermont and drove through the rain to matt's house. and that brings us up to tonight. this evening we had sweet jams, met lots of cool people and then we walked to the store and bought supplies for chili, came back, i cooked, scotty made corn muffins, and we all supped. amazing. phew, that was quite an update. sorry for being absent, i promise i'll be more current in the future. i have a couple more shows, then some time off, after which i head out with butch. should be lots of fun. thinking about a pizza tour when i get back.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Run for the border

Right now we're just close enough to the US border to pick up AT&T service so I can actually use my phone without it costing me an arm and a leg. Speaking of body parts, Scotty's girl chopped part of her finger off so I got a tribute tattoo. Not really but it's funny to pretend. I'll get up picture up as soon as I can.

Overall, things are good. I made a little money the other night so I've been able to feed myself. I wasn't sure how tonight was going to turn out but it's looking really good so I'm happy about that. It's a constant flux, an ever evolving emotional set, but I'm trying to keep my head up. Really though if I could get a booking agent that would rule so hard. But until that happens I'll keep plugging forward.

Tomorrow we're back in the states which will be nice. I love Canada but it's always nice to come home. I'll have a few more shows then a few days off, after which I head out with butch walker and then have the let me run tour. I'm really excited for all of that and really hope I can set up something good for the summer. We shall see my friends. Ok well I'm going to set up mercy. More from me later. Hope you're great.


art shows and skateboards

soon i'll be back in the states and updating more often. sorry i'm absent. hope you're well.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

toronto, i love you

last night was incredible. i can't tell you how incredible it feels to have people like shawzy and nate care that i exist. these two guys, among many other last night, made me feel like what i'm doing matters, that i am on the right path.

shawzy rented out his friend's art gallery (there were some great pieces by a guy who did a bunch of work with a NYC theme. funny, i go to another country to see stuff from my backyard.) and invited a ton of his friends. lots of amazingly nice people came out and listened wonderfully and just made me feel incredible. i can't explain how awesome it feels to have lovely people care about what i do. i think to even try would be remiss. so, suffice it to say, i felt filled to the brim with love and happiness. i sold some stuff, which ruled, both because it meant people liked what they heard enough to want to listen more, and also because i can now afford to get to the next city.

we eventually moved the hangout down to shawzy's tattoo studio in the basement and he mentioned he wanted to put a zombie hand on someone, so i offered up my leg. today we did the outline and when i come back in the summer we'll color it. ridiculous, i know. i sure love road tats.

so, i hope this finds you all wonderful. i think i'm going to go work on a new song i started writing this afternoon. i send my love.

the crazy clouds rolled in and ruined the bbq shawzy was going to have. oh well, these things happen, but i thought they looked pretty sweet. at least i got the chance to spend the day with shawz while he tattooed me. good times.

this place is ridiculous. it's right on the main drag, queen st, but there's these girls dancing in the window like something out of amsterdam. it's super populated and a sunny day, so having near naked girls gyrating awkwardly is quite odd.

this place has the best burrito i've ever had. they're so weird. i get the mixed vegetable one, which has potatoes, beans, cauliflower and spinach as well as what i can only describe as some sort of mayonaise sauce. no description would suffice, but the best i give is that it's like indian food meets mexican. weird but amazing. go check it out on queen st w.

cute little fisherman at bettie's place.

a sleeping giant

tonight was beautiful. well, to be honest, just about everything about today was beautiful. the afternoon was simple, i hung with scotty while he seized the day

and patrick made sure it was documented.

while in the alley and on the walk back i realized a few of the many light hearted reasons i love canada

and after going to the beer store and paying what feels like way too much money for beer, we headed down to meet shawzy at the art gallery. shawz took us to dinner at a really good restaurant called nirvana, which i was of course okay with, and we enjoyed pad thai and libations with new friends who were good times. i think the rest of the night was too fun for me to write about now, as i'm falling asleep. but, i promise, i will recount on the morrow.

i hope you're all great.


Friday, April 24, 2009

oh, canada

i fucking hate parking in cities. i fell asleep at 4 am just to have to get up and move my car at 8 am. but i then realized, "oh, i have to move my car in a city 10 hours from my hometown after hanging out with cool friends. oh, and i don't have to go to the job i don't have? ok, i guess things aren't so bad."

yesterday scotty and i left kristin's and headed for the border. it's always nerve wracking to cross, even when you know you're not doing anything wrong. sure, i'm trying to play a few shows, but really i'm going to spend way more money being here than i would be making, so i don't feel bad about lying and saying i'm just coming up to visit. the border guard was definitely accusatory but i think then realized i was of absolutely no threat to either the country or its economy, so she simply handed back our passports and waved us on. there's an ever-present feeling of relief and unsettled fear that comes from passing over the border. "she did say we could leave, right?" "i think so. yea, we're cool, i think." we're such jackasses.

scotty and i drove over kings hiway 402/401 for three hours, pulled a couple of turns and arrived in front of dan's apartment. i met dan when i opened a show for butch walker in toronto and when i said i wanted to come back up he offered his place for a hang sesh and to play some songs. dan made us some chili, corn muffins and provided beers and booze. what a great welcome to the country. so, we supped with our new friends amanda and christine and then mike and bettie showed up. i played some songs, we shot the shit and just generally hung hard. dan is an incredibly warm and generous dude, and provided a great open place where we instnatly felt comfortable.

after the night died down we headed back to bettie's to catch a few hours sleep and to fulfill the promise of afternoon eggs. screw morning eggs, i'll be asleep. the thing is, i can make some killer eggs, and while traveling they're the perfect cheap but filling and semi-nutricious meal, but if i don't have quality tools i kind of suck. this morning i kind of sucked. but, these things happen.

however, it's beautiful out, i'm in tornonto with friends and just living. sure, i'm down to my last few dollars and unsure of how the upcoming days will treat me, but i'm doing my best to stay positive and happy. there are so many great things to be excited about, so i'm going to try to not worry about my funds. we shall see how things go.

ok, i'm going to go enjoy the day. when i'm back in the states in a few days it will be a lot easier to update things more regularly. until then, sporatic will have to do.

the best part is that i'll be spending my time with these great kids!

until i get back, i send my love down south.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Going into canada

Turning off my phone. I'll update as I can. Much love.



in case you were wondering about taco night:


get to cookin'!

let's eat them jawns!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

i don't think we're in lansing anymore

ann arbor michigan, fleetwood diner, home of the hippy hash. dang, i probably should've taken a photo of it. anyway, scotty got the hippy hash with tempeh along with his eggs. i usually think tempeh sucks, but this was really good. i might order it the next time i go to a veggie/vegan restaurant. hippy hash is a pile of hash brown potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, melted feta cheese, and in this case, tempeh. scotty's girlfriend told him if he was going to ann arbor, he had to get it. overall, this little diner was a positive experience. the really odd part is that you can still smoke in places here, even tiny boxcar style diners. so weird. if you look, the waitress is lighting up a smoke. so old school diner style. it sucks though.

people were smoking in the bar in pittsburgh and that sucked. when i left i felt liked i'd had an entire pack of cigarettes, but didn't even get the enjoyable part of smoking, just the shitty part. oh well, these things happen.

kristin must have had a rough morning as we worked it hard last night and she had to be up early for a school funtion. oh, kristin, it's been a while since we've gone out and caused trouble.

last night we went to the arbor brewing company and scotty and i split their sampler. ABC is one of a few local brew pubs that makes some really nice beers and serves what seemed like pretty good food. we got chips, salsa and black bean dip, all of which was quite enjoyable. we also got some founders beers, which is a michigan based beer that scotty loves. apparently it's huge in philly, especially at his bar, and it's pretty delicious. i also had an ABC coffee stout that ruled. so thick and tasty. intense stouts are my new favorite thing. i spent way more than i should have, seeing as i'm trying live on about $5 a day, but when you meet up with great friends and there are birthdays involved, you shouldn't be too frugal. i also got to meet kristin's friends erin and monica, which is nice as i've heard lots about them. during a fairly intense conversation i had to run out to talk to my brother, and i was really happy to hear him in a good mood. things are up and down with us bond boys, but right now he seems like he's in a good place. i like that.

after we shut down ABC we went to the 8 ball, which is an amazingly seedy little bar in a barely marked door down an alley. i love places like this. people gave us some pretty dirty looks as i had on cowboy boots (i know, i know. it's ridiculous, but i enjoy them.) and kristin is a pretty girl, so we're probably not their standard clientele. we had a good time though, traded fun stories and generally caroused. we also shut the 8 ball down, and took fun photos on the way home. that's where the kristin/light/grafitti photo came from. back at that house i posted pictures and wrote, which should explain most of the spelling and grammatical errors.

i woke up this morning to kristin back in her pajamas and a promise of a thirty minute nap then breakfast. by the way, check out the sweet beard on this dude. scotty said he hopes to someday have one like that. he'll get there.

after breakfast kristin went to a meeting and scotty and i walked down to the university of michigan just to check out where kristin goes to school and to people watch. girls loving wearing spandex/leggings here. i'm not against it, but the ubiquity is amazing.

now i have to start writing the book portion of this blog, which i hope to do more frequently in the future. the idea is that it will be a bit more in depth and at the end of this crazy adventure it will be a cool, more permanant version of this experience.

oh, and i think we're having tacos tonight!

hope you're great.


how do you feel about photos?

so, i realize i've been incredibly lax on presenting you with photos. tonight is the night. i've been drinking heavily, as i've been known to do, and trying to make sure people have been having a good time. here are the lovely gentlemen and ladies i've been spending my time with. i hope you appreciate them even a bit as much as i do.

this is amelia (one of my favorite people in the world) being sad that our french bulldog friend is pretending to sip a beer. james wears a cowboy hat well and a smile even better.

this is one of my best mates, brian, crossing his eyes for you. have fun ladies.

loki and pria are the sweetest and lovliest housemates. sure, they attack you whenever possible, but can you deny their amazingness?

sometimes i drink too much and take photos in front of plants.

i told you that first house was amazing. check it out.

have you ever had the best friend of a best friend show you his home town? have you ever been FLOORED by talent, sweetness or quality? if not, check out erik, slippery rock and everything related.

i've met some cats with sandpaper tongues that i've not loved for momentary reasons. but, come on, check me and sneak out.

i believe this says:

"i need some help building a deck around my pool. i can't pay but will provide beers and meth..." name and number are semi included. do with this what you will.

i didn't get paid to play this show, nor did i sell anything. to be honest, i didn't expect either. the promoter and sound guy were really nice, so this is not a slight on them in the least. and, some really good friends came out, new and old, so i honestly felt great about it. sure, the beer we were pointed to "worked," but PA has done way better in my opinion.

craig rules. he got me a sweet burrito, and i'm pretty sure it was heavier than a baby's arm. but more so, he's incredibly supportive, kind, loving and a great dude. plus, he has a great beard. gar mount is laughing through the night in a way that makes everyone smile, feel great and sleep well. and, perhaps best of all, jon geog is hosting a mustache worth writing home about, staying true to love, providing a home we're stoked for, and playing braid for good times. i think this house/group deserves an award.

missing from here is garett mousetrap, one of the most amazing people i've ever met. garett is, without a doubt, one of the kindest friends i've ever met in my life. sure, we all have friends of friends, but garett not only went out of his way to make me feel at home, but actually made me feel like we'd been buds for years, like i was welcome, at home, and part of the family. people like garett are the reason i love touring. thanks dude!

you wonder with whom i'm spending my time? this is the man i woke up to. it was/is his 27th birthday, and if anyone deserves a celebration, it's him. sure, he looks a bit of a bum, but if you knew how much my heart saved a place for him, you'd get it. one of my favorite jokes is that he was so stoned in the womb on 4/20 to come out that he just said, "eh, i'll just come out tomorrow." born 4/21, scotty treated the world to one of the greatest people ever to exist, a huge heart, amazing road companion and constant adventurer. if you ever need a good time in your life, i promise you, he will provide it.

two of my best friends ever. kristin and scotty. aren't they wonderful?

say what you will about me, but tell me this woman isn't amazing and sexy, well, you're just crazy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

big time michigan

i made it to kristin's house. for those of you who don't know kristin, she is one of my best friends that i lived with for three years in new brunswick, nj. she makes amazing brownies and has been accused by my brother as being a "one trick pony," in reference to the fact that she often makes meals consisting of pasta, sauce and cheese. they're all delicious, and actually quite different within the paradigm (stuffed shells, lasagna, baked ziti) and it's obviously incredibly appreciated as she makes these meals for large groups of people in order to facilitate loving gatherings of awesome folk. but, my brother was being silly and i appreciate that.

kristin has been in michigan for about 9 months, and this is my first visit up to see her, so rather than sit on this computer, i'm going to go out with her and scotty, because the whole point of life is to live it, not sit around and blog to six people about it. well, to be fair, i know how 11 followers. i think i've offically made it to "important guy" status. no, i'm an ass. but it's scotty's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTTY!) and i haven't seen kristin in months, so we're going to hang. in case i don't get back to this brick i call a laptop, here's today. i hope you're all great.


Monday, April 20, 2009

it's raining in pittsburgh

i'm sitting in a cafe called "beehive," in pittsburgh, pa, and the last time i was here was probably four years ago. at the time i was a bit scared/put off by the scene here, seemingly filled with crust punks and homeless people. i must have been really young, because now i look around and just seem like minded looking people and fairly cute girls. i suppose that's quite an upgrade. sitting here, relaxing, catching up on emails, signing up for ridiculous interweb applications, these are all good things. i'm playing a bar across the street tonight with the life and times (ex-shiner and dillenger escape plan, at least from what i understand) and i'm excited about that. even more so, i'm excited that things are good. well, i guess they're pretty great, actually. sure, i'm still scraping by, still without much direction, but i had a blast last night, and my good buddy scotty is coming here tonight to hop on for the ride for the next two weeks. that's going to rule.

yesterday turned out really well. i had a four hour drive from harrisburg to slippery rock and just put my ipod on shuffle and let it ride. lots of good music, feeling good screaming down the highway. when brian (the waltz) and i played in PA last month we took the same road, so it felt nice to see familiar things, like i wasn't far from home. i have a feeling this is going to start happening more and more. i love that feeling of being somewhere you don't live but knowing that one coffee shop or burrito joint that makes you feel like you're not completely nowhere. when i got to slippery rock i figured i might be a little early so i went shopping at the dollar store (which had many things for way more than a dollar. weird, but they had some cheap food) and bought a bunch of random canned and dried goods. i figured i'd hit the supermarket before i left the next morning, but if i could stock up on some good traveling food it'd be a good idea. i then made my way over to erik's and with good timing, as he had just returned home. just a little back story on erik:

about four years ago or so i played a show with my old band in grove city, pa, which is the town over from slippery rock. one of the dudes at the show happened to also go to rutgers, the university i was finishing up at, and he'd seen my band before. he came up and introduced himself and we got to talking. this kid's name is jacob, and he's since become one of my best friends, but at the time i knew little to nothing about him. we had spent the previous night at a house of some people jacob knew, and i suppose he knew the condition on the house, so he offered his parents place up if we wanted to stay somewhere else. where we were staying had some really awesome people, and we had a lot of fun, but it was incredibly hot, and next to a church that had ringing bells all morning, so going to a parents house with a clean shower and free food sounded great. that night we went to jacob/jake's house, swam in the above ground pool, turned it into a whirl pool, ate food and hung with new friends from the show. some of those friends were a band we'd played with earlier that night, and one of the band members was erik. erik is jake's best friend from home, so when i decided to tour PA i thought he'd be a great dude to catch up. and that brings us to now. oh, i neglected to say, jake has been in budapest, hungary for the last 9 months or so, so erik and i were happy to see each other, as we are both reminders of our mutual good buddy.

erik and i hung out and caught up for a few hours, and then i called my buddy to talk to him. the poor kid has been having a really rough time recently with love issues, and yesterday it all came crashing down upon him. it felt so terrible to know this guy i love and respect so much was in such pain. i fucking hate it, and it's things like this that make me want to not be traveling around. i feel so incredibly selfish in situations like this, and i hate it. but he's strong and he will be ok. still, my heart goes out to him. we talked for a while, and then when he reached a good friend's we got off the phone. i had a knot in my chest, but tried to pull myself out of it all. after i got off the phone erik and i walked down to pick up some beers for the evening. i then met some of erik and jake's other friends and we all headed over to sheena's house. erik had set up a living room show, and basically we just packed a bunch of friends into a living room, played songs, drank beers and hung out. they were all amazing, really kind people, they donated money for gas, bought albums, laughed at my stories and generally made me feel wonderful. i really appreciated it and felt like if i could do this every night, i could live amazingly well and happily.

after a good nights sleep and waking up to a hang out session with sneak, erik's cat, i went to pick up some groceries. i bought some fruit and vegetables, some baba ganouch, and prepared myself for a shrinking stomach and long days. i tried to fill up on coffee and water, but the water i bought from the dollar store turned out to have tons, and i mean TONS, of brown particles floating in it. i've eaten and drank gross stuff, but i figured this wasn't worth it. i mean, pizza off the ground in asbury park, sure, cookies in the street in new brunswick, of course, but sea monkeys in jug water? no thanks. i guess i'm getting conservative in my old age.

i then made my way down towards pittsburgh, listening to my brother's music the whole way. he's so insanely talented. brian bond. check him out. you'll love it. i wish so badly that he got the attention that he deserves. he constantly inspires me and pushes me to do better. he's also responsible for me having one finished album and one near completion. and, that brings you up to date. here i am, in the beehive in pittsburgh, waiting to meet up with garett (jake's buddy who i met last night but lives in pitts) so we can cook up a nice veggie dinner before i need to head over to the smiling moose. i just met some really nice people and invited them to the show, so hopefully they'll come by. i realize it's still really early in this trip, but it's been great, i've been living, loving and laughing. nothing crazy has happened, but while driving by myself i sometimes just laugh out loud or smile, realizing how ridiculous i am and how insane this whole jam is. i can only hope it gets better and more fun.

crap, i just realized i need to put money in the meter. you forget about things like this, but i really can't have them ticketing and towing my house. that would not bode well for me at all.

also, i wanted to recant something my good friend sam said the other day. he said that i should try to think of every day as the first day of this adventure so that i enter it with wide eyes, an open heart, and full zeal. that being said, he suggested that rather than counting up the days, i should count down the year. i really love the sentiment and appreciate sam for suggesting it. i suppose this would be 1 of 360 or something like that. feel free to look at it that way if you'd like.

by the way, i have no idea if anyone reads this, but if you do, i hope it finds you amazing and happy. say hello, let me know what you think and take care of each other. have fun and don't stop.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Things are good

Tonight was great fun. Thank you slippery rock.

This too shall pass

My best friend is hurting and it's killing me. I wish I could be home with him.

you gotta be this tall to ride this ride

the roller coaster of emotions is an interesting one. and the funny part is that you're all watching from the outside, fully aware of the dips and loops that are ahead of me, while i'm barely aware of anything but my current spiral. ok, enough metaphor.

two nights ago i made a questionable decision at 4 am that kept me awake and a bit out of my brain until near 11 am. i finally fought through some sleep until 1 pm, then got up and worked my way to harrisburg, PA. this we've discussed. upon my arrival i was weighed down heavily with thoughts of the previous hours, the residue of intense experiences. i felt that i did not properly accept the situation i was about to enter, which i think is completely against the whole reason i'm doing this trip. for the greater part of the evening i was less open and happy than i wanted to be, feeling dejected, lonely, drained. self-doubt lingered next to me, my only companion. could i make it through three hundred and sixty some odd more days of this? it felt unlikely, though somehow, i still had my little buddy faith hanging in the wings. and, i know what you're thinking, "already? wow, this will be a short lived adventure. what a cop out." perhaps your version is nastier or filled with more "i told you so" type sentiment, but the fact of the matter is that this is the nature of these kinds of projects. i'm not as naive and inexperienced as i was on my first tour. i've been traveling for the better part of 8 years. but this is the first time like this. i have barely any money and what i hope is a big, open heart to carry me through the next year. so, when that begins to question things, it's hard.

but, i knew it wouldn't last long. i planned on going to bed early to get a good night's sleep, recharge the old batteries. but my new roommates, somers and jake, were going out to hang with my other new mates, hank and cupcakes. the latter set are a drum and bass duo from brooklyn via israel. really interesting and intense. some of the greatest bass playing i've ever seen in person. cupcakes is also an attractive female drummer who plays standing up and sings. this seems to have really captured the attention of a certain demographic in this town. for whatever reason i always get a kick out of less conventional bands and the people they draw. it's always interesting and exciting. so i went and hung out, some really nice people bought me beer and pizza, so while perhaps we were not the types of people that would normally hang out in the same group, music and positivity brought us together, and that rules. oh, and anyone who buys me pizza and/or beer is automatically my friend.

the turnaround felt good. i went from being a bit down in the dumps to drinking the last sips of some homemade wine on the third floor deck of someone i'd met officially only minutes earlier. i had a variety of conversations that focused on religion, drugs and life experience. strange how they all seem to fit together in a way. then we moved on to the bar where i got said pizza and beer, and came home a happy boy.

it's strange how a bit of re-orienting of the evening or mindset can change everything. but it's lovely.

right now i'm sitting in the house of one accord in harrisburg, PA. my roommates are at church with their daughter and i'm going to leave in a second to get an oil change and some food. but this place is great, and you should know about it. this is a house belonging to a young white couple in a predominately black neighborhood that hosts punk rock shows and sells affordable used clothing. the clothes stay on racks on the porch and people peruse as they will, knocking on the door to pay their 50 cents or 2 dollars for something totally wearable. and for the most part, everyone in this area respects each other, and takes care of each other. at least from what i can tell. and i think that's incredible. so, while i didn't play to many people last night, the ones i did mattered. and i'm a good mood again. i'm not sure if this is the up or down part of the roller coaster analogy (the down part always seems more fun, going up that clink clink clink part is rather boring) but i'm feeling good. with that, i'm off. i hope you're great.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Whitney Houston of trees

Have you ever tried to explain a dream to someone, only to realize part of the way through how incredibly ridiculous you sound and that it's completely in vain? Now imagine that tenfold and that was my night. It started innocently enough with brian and me going into new York city to a wine and cheese party at our friend anca's house. It was amazing to walk into an apartment filled with people I love and that love me, warm welcomes and claps on the back. Brian and I quickly found glasses and half empty bottles among the wreckage (we were rather late to arrive) cut ourselves some cheese (no pun intended) and settled in. Some of my closest friends were there as well as a variety of other fun people I always enjoy seeing. Brazil jon entertained us with tales of threesomes, Amelia cringed as Jacques the French bulldog was treated to a few sips of beer (for the record I abhor people trying get animals wasted. This was not one of those situations.), and James shoved his face in and bit the $200 chocolate cake. (unfortunately fancy chocolate places sometimes try to fancy up chocolate. The addition of peaches did not make this cake better.)

But as things started to wind down brian and I decided we wanted to find some trouble. So we headed over to angels and kings to see our buddy Jesse who always greets with a warm smile and a cold pabst. he's a good dude. We pushed ourselves further and spoke to a few random girls as well as some friends who happened to be there. Oddly there were also two girls who conferred and agreed that they had once given me a ride from a secret show to the bar one night in November. Weird. Anyway nothing exciting was happening so we decided to leave and head over to a pizza place down the street. The thing is, we were not interested in a slice. More so we were concerned with the door towards the back if you walk past the cooks and say the right name you are granted entrance into a secret underground bar. As far as I'm concerned, this is a speakeasy. And that rules. brian and i had been there two weeks previous, and quite enjoyed ourselves. But this night, we were denied. Supposedly it wasn't open and we decided we'd rather not sit around a greasy pizza joint waiting for this underground watering hole to decide whether or not it was interested in our business. so, we went to the bar next door, ordered some drinks and looked around. and you know what we realized? this is all total bullshit. brian is an awesome guy with great talents and interesting things to say. i'm a ridiculous guy with stories that will make most people cringe, but overall exist in a seemingly alternate reality rife with absurdity. but our tying bond? we're both romantics of some sort. and in our momentary wisdom we looked around and realized how much we hated going to bars. granted, most people have this epiphany from time to time, but it sat on us with such great weight that we barely wanted to stay around long enough to finish our drinks. the idea of attempting to strike up a meaningful conversation with someone, making the night worth while, wishing to meet someone of worth, these thoughts are greatly desired and rarely achieved. we did finish our drinks, by the way, but we left as soon as we did so. on the drive home we listened to Jimmy Eat World's "Clarity," one of my favorite records of all time. JEW recently performed this record in its entirety, though i was not terribly impressed. the overall consensus by most was that the show ruled. i've seen JEW five or six times now since the clarity era, and i think they sound better and stronger with their new stuff. this is not a popular opinion, but it's mine, none the less.

when we got back to brian's i realized that this was no way to attack the first days of my year. as far as i was concerned, i should have stayed in NYC, but it just made more sense to go back to brian's. anyway, i decided we should push the night. so we did. and i went further than i've ever been before. i explored spaces of my brain i'm not sure i ever had any clue existed. around 11 am i found a little spot of sleep, but it was tenuous at best, and barely restful. at 1 pm i got out of brian's bed (it was a strange upward progression of sleeping on the floor on my sleeping pad to taking to the couch to getting in brian's bed when he got up to take the dogs out.) and tried to face the day. i knew it was not going to be easy, and i attacked the sleep under my eyes with my standby ammo: egg and cheese (salt, pepper, ketchup), coffee (strange, i know, for those of you who actually know me. by the way, it was terrible.) and water (vitamin water or gaterade if they have the lo-cal versions. gotta watch that waist line). i pushed my way out of new jersey and across PA, knowing full well that the possibility of me playing well was quasi-existant at best.

the house i was scheduled to play turned out to be an interesting mix of thrift store, venue, house and collective. in reality it is just a house belonging to two open hearted, open minded people who want a place for music to exist and an area where people can meet comfortably and positively. this is something i can totally get behind. the show was light, not many people, but i felt that while the numbers were small, the willingness to listen was there, and that is incredibly important. i played few songs and felt like people were generally receptive, regardless of whether they actually cared at all about the music.

it seems the main event of the evening was a two piece from brooklyn, ny. drums and bass, but somehow way more synthy than you'd ever expect. man, i've seen bass playing before, but this was something else. and you know what? this band, show, house and town taught me a lot. here's what i learned about harrisburg, PA:

01. people here are nice, warm and open.
02. everyone is married.
03. sexual and gender orientation are non-issues, and that rules.
04. the average show-goer is in their 40s.

i'm not saying these are hard and fast rules, but if one were to look around the room, these are the conclusions one would come to. that being said, i think these were all great things. i was surrounded by nothing but great people who were kind, warm, open hearted and fun to be around. my company for the evening was totally enjoyable. and, on top of it all, i was given drinks, fed pizza and treated splendidly. so, while my day started off less than perfect, i am now sitting on the couch typing this with a smile on my face, happy to have been here and lived in this town for an evening. well done h-burg. thanks for a good time. hope you're all great.


Friday, April 17, 2009

mikey likes it!

i had a bowl of life cereal for breakfast this morning. well, admittedly, it was this afternoon, but i was still breaking my fast. it's good. i have memories of eating cinnamon life at my friend josh's house when i was in elementary school. my mother never bought "sugary" cereals for us, so even this extra sweetened life cereal was a treat. that and caffeine free coke. whenever i see that gold can, i'm brought back to g.i. joes and duplexes. an odd association, i know.

i'm in montclair at my buddy brian's house, drinking coffee and listening to bob dylan. yea, i'm still in jersey, so perhaps one might think that i've not quite "adventured out" yet. one may be correct, but the thing is, last night i moved the last of my worldly possessions out of my parents basement and packed my car, hugged my folks and said goodbye. "i'm off to take on the world," or something like that, an equal mix of romantic zeal and youthful naivety.

as a child and adolescent i was in the boy scouts, and eventually made eagle scout. the way they look at it, once you achieve the status of eagle scout, you are forever a scout, whereas, if you do not reach that level, you merely were a scout. interesting distinction. you'd not think this was the case last night. after leaving my parents place i took some old camping gear and boy scout stuff i'd long forgotten about to the church where i'd attend meetings so many years ago. the way i looked at it, there were probably a few underprivileged scouts who would revel in the fact of receiving a free external frame backpack or sleeping pad. sure, they're used and not pristine, but who cares? free is free, and they're still totally useful, and can hold your underwear and sleepbag as well as the day they came off the assembly line. to contribute further, i donated two hand carved wooden eagles, one belonging to me, and one my older brother. the thing is, when we were young, these were highly coveted items, probably half the reason most really pushed to finish their eagle projects, just to make sure they got one of the few remaining hand carved sculptures delivered by the tacit day worker come sculptor. (i'm aware that usually it's "cum," not "come" in this situation, but the implications didn't sit well with me.) still, after years of experiences, hundreds of shows, thousands of friends, an uncountable amount of nights in dark bars having fun, laughing, trading stories, getting in trouble, i tend to hold less to material things, specifically ones without a specific use. sure, i just bought a fancy phone, and sure i feel a bit ridiculous about it. but, you know what? i won't when i'm late for a show and can find it with my fancy map function, or when i'm without a place to lay my head at night, and can be surfed itself. so, this has a use, and therefore more of a place in my life. and this is not to say i think art has no use. quite the contrary; however, i am not currently in the luxurious position to be storing and/or carting sculptures about. so, i figured i'd give them to someone new. one of my students from past years of teaching is getting his eagle soon. i thought, why not let him have it? he doesn't know they even existed, it'd be a beautiful surprise, and some sort of torch passing, new love and life breathed into something long since forgotten. my mother absolutely loved the sentiment and applauded me. at the scout meeting i was met with eyes of near disgust, confusion, misunderstanding and general distaste. in some of their defense, a few of them never liked me, and even in my youth was aware of it. i suppose those who spend their lives working towards maintaining the straight and narrow-ness of the scouting lifestyle don't take well to pierced long hairs. that's fine, if to be punk is to be progressive, questioning and outcast, well color me punk. whatever you call it, i was not what he/they wanted, and i suppose in a lot of ways i revel in that. so, i made my best to explain that i proudly and happily hold onto the memories and experiences, but feel no need to hold onto material things to prove i existed that way then.

wow, that went on longer than i thought. sorry. but, i left a bit angry, put on Lydia (whom i have nicola to thank for sharing. thank you nicola.) and drove to get a camera from brian's parents. i realized i was physically, emotionally, and metaphorically leaving that part of my life behind and moving towards my current/future me. i got the camera, went to brian's and we took a couple quick shots. just knowing that when this whole record comes together, it will be new, exciting, mine, real, so many amazing things. and if the "critics" don't like it, i don't care. because it's me, through and through. and if they don't accept me, as so many haven't in my past, that's ok, because i know i'm living for what i think is right. ok, enough rhetoric.

anyway, brian and i left the puppies (loki and pria, two amazing bulldogs, french and english, respectively) and ran for burritos. but alas, they were closed, so after an overly theatrical groan, we bolted for egan's, our local irish pub, upscale but tolerant, if not welcoming, of low brow slummers like me, despite the high class clientele that abounds. we supped on fish and chips, portobella sandwich, salad and guinness. some woman unaware of our existence swung her jacket on and knocked brian's beer onto me. i'm not sure what it is about people, specifically in brian's presence, pouring delicious stout down the front of my pants. i don't know what the implications of this are. anyway, after finishing our food and another drink, we moved to the bar area and scanned the room like a radio, searching for the song we wanted to sing. eventually, as often happens, we had to settle on a tune we didn't mind having in the background, but did not feel like screaming at the top of our lungs. content to keep silently scanning while simply listening, we sat. and, eventually we were approached. interestingly enough, while i'm well aware of the ridiculous interplay of male/female relationships, especially in bars, i'm still quite unfamiliar with being on the receiving end. it's been just a few times that this has happened. and understandably, these are not often the women i'm terribly attracted to, as those ones are often flanked by dudes offering their dicks, too busy to approach even if they wanted to. so, a rather sweet and funny girl approached us, and laid a few playful lines on us rife with the humor and a mix of self deprecation and confidence necessary to join the game. and, for the most part, it was perfectly executed. but, the interesting thing, for me at least, is how fucking transparent it was. and i realized how incredibly ridiculous i must always look. here i was, thinking i was playful and silly while being perhaps attractive/cute and suave. in a lot of ways, it comes across as incredibly naive, almost puppy dog like. still, these girls were very friendly and said nice, complimentary things to us (apparently a vote was taken, and we won most attractive in the bar. i'd be interested to see the numbers and perhaps ask for a recount.) so we enjoyed some banter. my favorite of the three was the girl on the outskirt of the circle. and it was her birthday! what the hell? shouldn't there be shots, debauchery, ribbing and the like? perhaps i saw something of myself in her, not sure, but i spoke with her a bunch and quite enjoyed myself, but i think in the process i bummed out the initial approacher. then another girl came by to thank me for interrupting some drunk asshole from south Carolina who made the mistake of thinking his mere geographical origin translated to charm. it did not. so, between choosing to speak with the friend first, and then this outsider, the original approacher donned her coat and announced her exit. i felt bad, because of course, that has been me before. trust me. but, not as much now, as i'm slowly learning how to not be totally useless in public. so, i felt for her, but also learned quite a bit by the interaction.

overall i was happy to spend this first night after announcing to the world (at least those in it with open ears) that i now belong to it with my buddy brian. he is one of the most amazing people i know. so incredibly talented, and has one of the most open, generous hearts of anyone i've met. i feel for him greatly that he is constantly forced to put up with my incessant talking and inanities. but he's a great friend. he does anything and everything he can to make the lives of his friends better, whether he knows it or not. he is really, in many ways, the reason i am where i am today. he and a few other key players greatly shaped who i am and what path i took that led me to this place of open heart and open road. and, for this, and many other reasons, i am eternally grateful and indebted to him. furthermore, brian has taken me into his home more times than i can count, providing amazing comfort and warmth that help recharge my bones and fill my heart and belly. he's a great dude, and i can't think of anyone else i'd like to start this journey with.

so, here we are, day two. i'm not sure how these updates will go, day of, next day recap, whatever. but, they'll happen, and hopefully you'll join me for the trip, either by reading or hoping in the car. i'm sending out an open invitation, anyone who needs to take a few days or weeks off from their current life and come out with me, there's a spot for you. i'd relish the experience.

i send my love to you all and i hope this finds you laughing.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Time to clock out

So this is it. My adventure starts today. Though, that's not to say that I haven't tried to make every day an adventure, but this is one of a bit more consequence. And, could it have started on a more beautiful day? I'll take this as I sign that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Admittedly though, I'm sure someday it will rain and I'll fail to see it as divine intervention or what have you.

When I left work today I rolled down my window and put on Lifetime's "jersey's best dancers," because goddamn that record rules when the sun is baking down and the wind is pouring in. I have some last minute packing to do, some garbage to put out, songs to practice and then I'll head over to Brian's. We're hoping to work on the art for my record that is scheduled to come out in July. This stuff always takes forever. I'm terribly excited though and while there is always self doubt, I am quite proud of it. We shall see, though, if the world cares. I suppose in a lot of ways that doesn't matter.

That being said, here we go. Day one of three sixty five. Wish me luck.
Hope to see you soon.