Saturday, May 30, 2009

Alright, alright, alright.

I'm sitting in the atlanta airport and I'm fucking exhausted. Last night I finished packing everything up and went to spend my last few minutes hanging out with Jac, acacia and the band. At one point this guy pushed passed Jac and me and I wondered aloud "is that michael rappaport?" I realized it wasn't but actually a different actor whom I was familiar with but mixing up the names. You know the guy in dazed and confused with the reddish hair who folds his hat in his back pocket? It was that guy. Weird. Anyway I was hanging out with Jac and mentioned that I knew who that guy was, to which she responded, "is it the guy standing over by matthew mccounahey?". Hmm. Yes in fact it was. Wild. I decided I didn't really care to go try to talk to someone I didn't really care about knowing he could care less about me when I could actually spend my remaining time in LA with people I cared about. Funny thing is at one point I needed to push past butch and he stopped me to introduce me to matthew and tell him that I am a talented song writer but just helping out on the tour. I'll tell you what, that was definitely a surreal moment. It's not everyday a highly respected successful songwriter compliments your talents to a movie star. Weird. I shook Matthews hand and he asked me how he could get some shirts. I told him if he walked to the bus with me I'd hook him up. I think this is not the response he expected or was used to. But you know what? He's a guy like amy other. Why should I leave my friends to give him free merch? He was a good dude though and at the end of the night I grabbed him a few shirts and he was appreciative. Overall i'd say it was a fun story. Much more pleasurable though was when Kerry from the state and Reno 911 came up and was very sweet and unassuming. She bought a few things an left me a little tip. Not that I am big into meeting stars or anything but I love when I do and they're real, good people. It's awesome to see people who've worked hard and earned success but don't seem fazed by it. I love this quality and hope that If I'm ever lucky enough to find some success I'll be as thankful and appreciative as I am now.

Anyway, by the time we left and the bus dropped the band off at their hotel and then me at the one by the airport it was almost five am. My flight was at eight so I wanted to get up at six. Fuck me. I woke up at six thirty an freaked because I thought I'd miss my flight. No shower and out the door straight onto the shuttle. Didn't have time to dig through my bag for deoderant. Didn't put any on yesterday. Yikes I must be a sight and a smell. I made a breakfast of food from the bus the might before and slammed that down as I waited for the security checkpoint. You know it's awesome they have these kiosks now where you can check in in two seconds if you're not checking a bag. Anyway I made my flight which ruled but was incredibly tired the whole time. I tried to sleep a little but it was hard not only trying to do so between two strangers but also painfully aware of the face that I probably smelled, I snore and in order to keep from grinding my teeth need to wear what I lovingly refer to as my "geek guard.". Yes I'm aware that term only half makes sense.

Still I survived the four hour flight and tried to sleep a bit before my connectin flight. No dice. I decided to go be some food. You know you fly a lot when you recognize the workers at the Atlanta bread company in terminal c at the Atlanta airport. My meal definitely conflicted with the book I'm reading, "in defense if food," but well, I'm tires and cranky and just don't care right now. So now I'm standing amongst crying babies and hare krishnas waiting to board my second flight of the day. I'm full of diet cola and hate the fact that I won't make it back to new jersey until almost ten. Well new Brunswick. Man I hope I have an aisle seat otherwise someone is going to have to move a bunch of times. Fucking free refills.


Friday, May 29, 2009

salmon hash? ok, i'll bite...literally

i had salmon hash for breakfast. like an ass, i forgot to photo it. what good is having a ridiculous phone if you forget to document things? oh, and the kicker? i hear the new iphone is going to have video, so if i had waited a few months, i'd be able to share moving pictures with you on this glorified diary. by the way, do you remember diaryland? just curious. it was pre-livejournal, and we all wondered why anyone would care about posting one's innermost thoughts, and even more so, why anyone else would care to read said thoughts. and yet, here i am. go figure. on a side note, one of my favorite bands, paulson, had a song called diaryland on their second EP cum first LP. i believe it even enjoyed a short stint on MTV's "the real world." the song totally rules. and yet another tangent, i believe "the real world," started this whole ridiculous "reality show" stupidity. thanks MTV. bastards.

back to the hash. i had a conversation with jac about why i now eat fish. it's totally a valid question, as i've been vegetarian for the majority of the last 8 years. i say majority, as i've had stints of eating fish, so i'd call me pescetarian for those times. anyway, i suppose for a variety of reasons, including watching too much food network television, i found myself occasionally wanting to eat meat. i also think from touring and traveling as much as i have that sometimes i felt like i wasn't putting anything good in my body. and sure, vegetables and fruits would've fixed this issue up nicely. sometimes, though, you need to just listen to your body. at times i've felt pangs of guilt, in that i do like the idea of being vegetarian, and do feel it's better overall. i decided that the three main reasons i appreciate a vegetarian lifestyle (other than just generally feeling better doing so) are environmental, humanitarian and health oriented. based on these three points i felt that if i were to consume any animal, fish and seafood in general are the least adversely affecting in these areas, thereby allowing me to maintain a mostly vegetarian lifestyle while taking in fairly small amounts of animal flesh. sounds kind of gross when you put it that way, huh? ha. i'm sure by now you've come to appreciate my tangential style, and hopefully you embrace it. so, the hash was interesting. i've had fish with breakfast before, but mainly in a lox way, colder and more "flavored." this was good salmon and potatoes under eggs overeasy and questionably sour dough toast. should've gone wheat. i think the oddest part about it was that the fish was hot, as normally fish should be, but with breakfast, well, i'm not sure. (hot fish! for those of you who get it. if not feel free to ask). atop all this arguably decadent breakfast was a shallot and dill creme freshe. wow, how bourgie. i just might have to move to connecticut.

after clearing the glasses from the table (and subsequently being offered a job by the waiter), jac and i headed back to acacia's apartment to drop off some stuff and get me to the el rey theatre for the last show of the tour. it's pretty wild to think that i'll be flying home tomorrow and in a few days back on another tour that couldn't be more different. 6 friends in a van with 5 in another screaming down 95 together trying to paint every town red. we plan on doing lots of swimming, tons of drinking, loads of grilling. and, maybe if there's time, playing the occasional show. i've already packed my bag and am ready to count out all the merch at the end of the night, hand over my final money and prepare for better things.

you might ask yourself, faithful reader, how i got to be here. well, that question can be answered in many ways, and some has been done so already, but for the most part i feel the hole is in the previous hours, the night before, when i feel things occured, as they will, beautifully and full of flight.

as the night ended and i finished up my final work for the evening i realized i had many hours to kill and new friends to do so with. we were not planning on leaving until 10 am, which was pretty sweet as i was happy to be hanging out with jac and her best (now my new) friend, acacia. through them i met libby and the lot of us, after enjoying 24 oz pabsts at an upscale bar (and me getting corned by a drunk latino telling me of his 5 kids from 4 woment while i was taking a poop) we left pomona in search of late night fare, and an escape to LA. it really wasn't that hard. we packed into acacia's car, she ran over a curb, and then we were on our way. upon our return to acacia's apartment i meant the cutest little pup, jareth, a puggle, and whipped a mess of breakfast food as a late night feast. we soon bedded down and i was happy to have new friends and to be seeing old ones. i slept late, got up, showered, headed down to check out acacia's office (which totally rules and if i ever have to work in one, i hope it looks like hers) then off to breakfast.

so this now catches you up. in a few hours this leg of the wild journey that is my life will begin to come to a close. and you know what? i'm okay with that. onward and upward, i always say. i hope this finds you splendid and laughing.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

let them eat bread

yesterday butch played the great american music hall in san francisco. after finishing up my merchandise duties and shooting the breeze with the incredibly friendly staff, i headed out to the bus to drop off all my gear and relax for a minute. everyone from the band and the venue were going to a bar around the corner that was playing rock and roll music. after a brief respite i headed over and was immediately impressed by the amount of good looking people hanging around outside smoking cigarettes. i suppose san fran is a pretty town.

upon walking in i was promptly handed a beer. that's good service. ha. i'm not sure who bought it, but that's a great situation i'd like to find myself in more often.

looking around i saw even more beautiful people dancing, carousing and having fun. this is my kind of place. i smiled at pretty ladies, talked to nice dudes and then realized something interesting: this, more so than anywhere else, is the kind of place where you have absolutely no clue what you're dealing with, sexual orientation wise. my buddy and i were dancing with two girls who were friendly, but not overly so, even though it'd seemed like they were smiling at us and talking about us. but that's the thing, they could've been saying, "these straight boys think we like them," or "i hope this breeders don't come over and talk to us." i'm sure it wasn't so mean, but still, i've been in gay bars and obviously knew what i was getting into, as well as been in typically straight bars and knew fairly quickly who was gay, if anyone. not to say i have amazing gaydar or something, but i'd say since i have absolutely no issues with these things, i often find myself engaging in conversation with people of all walks of life. that being said, here was a situation where both the city and specific bar allowed for confusion. overall i found the evening humorous, as it's funny to watch a bunch of dudes try to hit on women only to know they're fighting a losing battle from the beginning. i didn't care as i wasn't trying to pick anyone up, but it definitely made me think a bit.

then, this girl bought all these shots.

holy crap. that's something like 15 shots of jameson. she bought them for the dudes on the tour and for a few of her friends. i think it ended up being either 60 or 80 bucks. all things considered, that's actually a pretty good deal. but golly.

today i walked around pomona, ca a bit, and found what is lauded as one of the best local bakeries in the area, the pomona baking company. they were closing up shop but the guy cut me a deal on some jalapeno cheddar bread. it was really rich, i'm thinking lots of olive oil, and reminded me of other jalapeno cheddar things i've had at places like panera or wherever. it's definitely good though, and i can only assume it's way better when it's fresh. however, if i ever go back there i'll be sure to try either their wheat bread, which is something i generally love, or their chocolate cranberry, which not only sounds really good, but is interesting and different. i usually like to try things i can't get other places, which begs the question, why did i buy a loaf of bread i'm not normally in love with? don't get me wrong, i love all things cheese and all things spicy, but i find bagels/breads of this variety tend to clash with whatever i put on them. oh well, this was good. i got some eggs and put them on, allowing the cheese in the bread to be my cheddar. i found some hot sauce in the venue, so i was laughing.

now i have a few hours until the show, one more tomorrow and then i fly back to jersey. in a few days i'll be starting the tour i'm going on with Let Me Run, and i'm definitely looking forward to that. i think i need to start playing shows again. the last few days have knocked my spirits down a little, planting seeds of self doubt. i think i need to have my guitar in my hands and sing at the top of my lungs. i need fresh air in this chest. i'm going to try and go find some. i wish you the same.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

it was cold, but refreshing

if you've been wondering, more specifically, where i've been spending my time, this is where i sleep. they're referred to as "coffin bunks," and while this is obviously far from the case, if you want to be alone, this is where you go. oh, and there are definitely times i feel like i'm going to die in here, but i suppose that's nothing new for someone who travels like i do.

holy crap. i guess that hat had money in it.

i found this sign and these flags humorous and ridiculous. oh, mormans.

butch got passes to go see no doubt and paramore. this is the view from the limo. so wild. sometimes i'm amazed at the situations i find myself in.

man, arena shows are fucking crazy. before no doubt played i hung out on tony's bus (the bass player) and met adrian (the drummer). both dudes were incredibly nice. tony was amazingly kind and welcoming without there being a feeling of it being a farce. i'm sure that there are people of his stature that pretend to be nice but are thinking negative thoughts behind it all. while i don't pretend to know a man i met for a half an hour, i will say that i like to think i'm a good judge of people, and he seemed like someone incredibly down to earth who knew that he'd earned success but still really appreciated it. i think that's wonderful and wish all the best for him.

the mess that is my bunk, complete with the daniel johnston documentary. it doesn't help to watch this while drunk and in a bad mood. doing so made me think a lot of terrible things about where i am in my life, the decisions i've made and where i'm headed. but, i think these are good things to worry about. i think we need to remind ourselves of the paths we're on from time to time. plus, while some of it is ridiculous, daniel wrote some amazing songs.

you ever see when an alcoholic beverage blows up a plastic bottle? well somehow i think these chips fermented and gassed this jawn up. weird.

i'm still trying to figure out the math behind this. is there a law in lake tahoe against things being over 8 feet, and someone felt this was a way around it? not sure.

i also need to apologize for being lax with my updates, but this is really the main reason why. days off in amazingly beautiful places are to blame. the rest of the guys went out on a boat ride and apparently there wasn't room for me. so, i made my own fun. i found some locals, well one local and a friend that was visiting. ann and i dropped amy at her job (had a happy hour beer there) and then went to some swimming in lake tahoe. i've driven past tahoe before but never gotten this close or swam in it. the water was the clearest, most beautiful water i've ever seen. this is what i think of when i imagine the caribbean. actually, i've been there, but i was young and forget it for the most part. anyway, i have a better picture of the amazing blues and greens but ann is in them, and she asked that i not post pictures of that. i'll respect this.

i have to tell you, this whole meeting people randomly and then making friends thing, it totally rules. even when you meet someone you might not normally hang out with "at home," i like to think that you find new and wonderful friends who can teach you a lot about the world and yourself. i definitely suggest you go out and try it. i know it's not easy, trust me, but the payoff is amazing and bigger than you'd ever expect.

i woke up this morning and all i wanted was a coffee and a PB&J. well, we were out of bread and coffee, so i had to venture out into the world. fair enough, that's how it goes. so, being half lazy, and half adventerous, i wandered into the nearby vietnamese area and into one of their more prominent sandwich shops. i ordered the vegetarian baguette sandwich and got something that was both quite odd and rather tasty. the "meat" base of it was tofu, noodles and yam, all stir fried i think. then the veggie topping was carrot, dicon radish, jalapeno and cucumber. the tofu part was a little weird, very "asiany." i quite liked the vegetable part, it was cool and refreshing. overall, the experience was interesting and i suppose for the most part enjoyable. i'm specifically happy with myself for trying something new, something different. if i'm lucky enough to go to other countries my boundaries will be pushed even further, so i'm glad that i got to do a bit of that in the comfort of my own country.

my reason for living and my biggest downfall.

i love things printed and written backwards. at the top of the stairs at the great american music hall in san francisco this is written so you can read it in the mirrors. amazing.

this is one of my best mates from college, nick. he and his now wife, emily, took an amazing road trip a few years ago looking for a place to plant some roots. i think that's so cool and always applauded it, even though it bummed me out that their roots ended up finding soil 3000 miles away from me, in california. still, i love the idea of my friends going out into this crazy world and making it their own. and this lovely couple did so. luckily i got to meet up with nick, catch up, get made fun of by a bartender (pay for your own drinks, what is he, your girlfriend?) and generally feel better being in the company of someone i really love and miss. sure, it's not always in the forefront, but i had a great year living with nick in college, we put out my first proper record together (which i was subsequently signed on) shared loss and love, had drinks, met great friends, just generally were great mates. sometimes you forget about these things when you don't see people for a while. sure, you remember you love them, but it's not so active a love, so pure and powerful an excitement as it is when you get to be in their presence, see them, hug them, laugh with them. i am a very blessed kid to have had so many incredible people in my past, present and i'm sure future. it definitely catches up with me at times, and occasionally i need to pay the piper. but, here is nick in front of an impressive structure, and for that, i'll count myself lucky.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

so much to think about.

I've decided that so much of who we are is what we do. And I like to think that I treat people well. Sure Im by no means perfect but I promise that overall I try to treat people well and make them feel welcome and loved. Still if we can't always do this I hope we always try. So I'll keep trying my best and hope others will do the same. Big update soon. Much love.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Denver daze

this is katherine, my new amazing friend from denver. i went to thrift store that my buddy had told me about and heard her say she was leaving for lunch, so i asked her if she'd show me around town. i've wandered around so many random towns and cities and felt i didn't get much out of it because i prefer to see places from the local's perspective. i was really lucky to ask the right person because she was so sweet and walked me around a bit just showing me local places that i would probably haunt if i lived in denver. we then went to get some food and a drink at a place by her work called city o city. it had a great beer selection and a veggie friendly menu. who could ask for more? katherine and i hung out for an hour and then she had to head back to work so i just sat finishing up my beer. the bartender was really cool and bought me a beer because he said i couldn't come to denver without trying the great divide brewing company. i really appreciated it and had a healthy buzz from two big beers. a few minutes after katherine left carla got off work and sat by me so i struck up a conversation with her. soon after, phillip, carla's fiance sat down and the three of us shot the breeze and shared a drink. they're a wonderful couple and just seem to fit perfectly. i love when i meet people who give me faith in love. i got up to take a piss and when i came back carla had purchased me a beer and then she bought us all shots of whiskey. here it was, four in the afternoon and was already 4 drinks in. i felt great hanging out with my new friends, laughing, telling stories and learning about each other. after one of my stories phillip decided we need to go buy some joose and go to the park. i rode carla's bike while she sat on phillip's seat and we cruised down to the store. how awesome is my life? i meet new friends, they're amazingly sweet, i get to ride bikes and we go have drinks in the park. it really doesn't get much better. i don't know what i did to be so lucky that people just let me into their lives and hearts, but it's amazing. i already had three people in this city that i felt like i could call friends and would hang out with if i lived here.

so we rode to the park and hung out more, enjoying the energy drink that seems to follow me around the country, and i learned a new fact: in denver you can drink in the park if it's in a can. bottles aren't cool, but no worries if it's a can. so weird but amazing.

what a lovely couple.

carla poured some of the blue joose onto the orange so that it looked like the denver bronco colors. she's silly.

we then left to go to a bar so carla could watch some local sports match. at this point i was feeling a bit out of it, so i sat outside and talked some local kids who were hanging out and then i said my goodbye to phillip, thanked him, and headed back to the bus. speaking of which, this is where i'm living right now.

it's a little different than my other digs, but lovely nonetheless.

i headed back to the bus, laid down for a bit and just generally caught up with my mates. i hadn't seen them for hours and enjoyed that i had stories to tell them. when katherine got out of work she called me and told me about a house party that was happening a mile or so from where the bus was parked so i figured i had no excuse to not go hang out with my new friend. katherine is really fun and likes to laugh, so i was excited to go spend some time with her. it was raining out a bit and just cool enough to make walking around quite pleasurable. i called my buddy brian since it seems like his job's been working him to the bone. just checked up with him, made sure he was ok, and told him to quit that shit and come on tour with me. ha. i know he'd love nothing more and i can't wait until he's able to. when i got to the party i met a bunch of other fun, like minded folk, and decided that if i moved here i'd be quite happy. though it was raining we felt great. we were alive, spending time with new friends that felt like old, listening to music pouring out of the windows and generally loving life. at one point katherine and i went out on the porch just as all my buddies were rolling up. i'd been so preoccupied with my new friends i forgot to call my busmates but luckily they found out about the party independently. so, we caused a bunch of troubled and at the end of the night i walked katherine to her bike and headed back to the bus. i'd say it was definitely a day worth living.

katherine paints these amazing pictures using school style watercolors and they come out incredible. this is a creepy/cute self portrait.

this is an awesome, weird alligator kid.

this morning when i woke up i hung out in the front lounge just in time to see michael and cari ann come back. cari ann sat down and busted out a bottle of wine, jumping right into it. i'll admit that i get up late, but i still found this funny. she's a trip, so fun, so full of life and so incredibly talented. they're an amazing couple and an amazing duo musically. quite lucky to have each other, and we're all lucky they do.

i'm sorry i didn't write yesterday, but as you can see, i was out living life. there was no time for reflection, i was straight flecting! i hope you're wonderful and safe and happy.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

"thanks for doing such a great job."

i'm still not sure exactly why this happens, but people often thank me for a job well done. please realize that i, under normal circumstances, would greatly appreciate this, except the situation here is that i'm sitting behind a table selling people things they want, or reading a book. i'm not convincing anyone they should pay for things they don't want or entertaining them at all. and, it's really not that hard to hand someone a shirt and a five dollar bill in return for their twenty. even greater/more ridiculous though, is when the above comments are followed by drinks, as happened last night. a girl came over with a guinness, handed it to me and thanked me. the weirdest part: i'm not sure i dealt with her once the whole night. i don't remember her at all, other than when she handed me one of my favorite drinks for free. sure, i can understand if someone asks to try on three different shirts in two different sizes and then buys a cd instead, then thank me for being nice and patient, which i am. that's totally understandable and appreciated. but, when you give me money and we exchange pleasantries, sure that's wonderful, but you needn't then go out of your way to tell me how great of a job i'm doing. it's kind, don't get me wrong, but i feel like there's something else involved, perhaps a misunderstood sense of hierarchy. like maybe they think since i'm on tour with a guy they love that i'm somehow special as well or more important than they are. but that's not the case at all, you know? sure i happen to ride on the bus with dudes they like but i'm just a guy slinging merch, hustling every day to play shows, sing songs, drink beers and generally avoid traditional responsibilities. but, if you want to by me beer or tip me, of course i have no issues with this at all. it's just weird i guess. but i do appreciate it. so don't stop. ha.

this is the fourth day of the tour and it's going pretty well. there are 12 people on this bus, which if you've ever been on a tour bus before, you realize that's pretty much it's limit. that's how many bunks there are, sure, but when everyone is awake and on the bus, it feels packed the gills. boo hoo, the bus is full. yes, i know, the complaints of a tour bus. seriously though, i love van touring, and while there are so many perks of being on a bus, i can't wait to get in the van in a few weeks with my boys in Let Me Run. we're headed down the east coast spreading trouble for the month of june. it's going to rule.

but texas is treating us well. i'm in dallas right now and i love the weather. i'm sure i would hate it here over the summer, but being here in the spring is absolutely gorgeous and i am happy to be alive here.

and now for a further photo update:

one day i'm going to by this car for dave. USA! USA!!

on the flight down. it's a bit blurry, and i don't like advertising, but that's a pretty great slogan.

this is the park where jac and i went to drink joose.

shovels and rope, an awesome country duo of lovely married folk.

ponderosa. think lynard skynard and love your life.

we had a day off in monroe, LA. since the two opening bands did not get to play the first show in atlanta, the drummer from Ponderosa, darren (who's also in butch's band) decided he was going to dip his toes in the DIY pond and called a local bar asking if his band and the other opener, Shovels and Rope, could come play a set. the bar said they couldn't pay them but would let them drink for free. bad idea. so, after eating a meal at olive garden we headed down to the bar and watched a great set by both bands. the locals loved it, they sold some merch and i'm sure drank more than their fill at the bar, so i say well done.

a side note about the olive garden:
at this point just about anywhere i go outside of new jersey/new york, i get asked if i'm in a band. so you can only imagine what it looks like when seven dudes with tattoos walk into a family restaurant in rural louisiana. the family at the table next to us sent over their teenaged daughter to ask us if we were in a band, and since we all feel awkward about dealing with this question, we answered in odd, unsavory, confusing ways. this poor young girls discomfort was palpable and she eventually crept back to her table feeling just as weird as we did, i'm sure. after the meal a slightly more talkative friend brought the lot of them over and probed the issue further and we were more prepared for it this time. the conversation went more smoothely and luckily the folks and grandparents appreciated it and we felt we'd evened things out. on our walk back to the bus to grab the kids some cds an SUV came screeching by, and a girl threw the door open, almost tumbling out, to scream, "ya'll think you're rock stars, but you're ugly!" the thing is, none of us recognized her, so we were just plum confused. why so much animosity towards us? we didn't do or say anything to her. we later found out from a guy who did magic tricks for us in the bar (really? seriously?) that when we were walking around the mall the general consensus by the mall folk was that we thought we were too cool and it spread like wild fire in the underground mall circuit. wow. that's ridiculous. anywho, we called a cab and six of us hopped into what was both the weirdest and most expensive cab ride any of us had ever been part of. understanding the cab driver was like trying to fight through sea weed infested waters to talk to a fish. man, that was some accent. then when we got out he charged us 5 dollars per person. i've never heard of that before. usually it's a flat rate plus a per person extra charge, but not that much. we ended up getting a ride back from him as well, so with tip the guy made about 70 bucks off us to drive us about six miles round trip. oh, and the best part about him: he pointed out a strip club and when someone asked if it was any good he said, "no, not really." guess where he spent the evening while we were in the bar. exactly. "actually man, i think it's improved a little, want to come over and check it out?" no, thanks man.

outside of stubbs in austin, tx.

inside stubbs. i'm not sure i fully understand the story behind this, but i like it.

just enjoy the sunset. (from some other day, not sure when)


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

oh, austin? are you going to pahk yah cah?

austin, texas. everything is weirder here. well, that's how they like to see it. an oasis of leftism in a sea of red state. i like austin. i slept quite late today, as i tend to do on these butch tours, so i'm not sure i'll have time to walk around, but just being here feels good. i only know about 10 or 20 blocks of this town, but i feel good about it. i've had a lot of fun here, walking around trying to get in trouble, asking homeless kids to help us find fun times. the boys are playing at stubbs tonight, which will be the first real show of the tour, and i'm excited that my merch area is a cool little patio outside the club where i can just relax.
I stopped writing to go eat family dinner. I think it's really cool when clubs do this where they cook you up a big old mess of food or like tonight let you order off the menu. Sure I never mind getting cash instead of food but there's something really cool about everyone sitting down to a meal together in the place you're to later play. The only downside is that being someone who doesn't eat meat I am often relegated to eating a meal of side dishes or mainly bread. Still I appreciate the sentiment. Luckily this wasn't the case today and even though it was a BBQ joint I was able to grab some enchiladas. Not too shabby. Oh and furthermore, I find the vibe to be reminisent of what we do in the DIY punk scene so of course I love that.

After eating I took a walk around Austin just soaking in the city. One of the many things I feel very lucky about with all the traveling I've done is that I feel so at home in so many places. Sure, if you dropped me a mile away in the same city i'd probably feel lost but in the ten minute walking radius around sixth street I'm a local. During my wanderings it felt good to reminisce about previous trips here and I found myself upon the state Capitol. Well if it wasn't that it was a stately looking building with beautiful lawns, trees and benches. I sat and thought about the record contract I'll be signing when I get home and about how lucky I am to be wanderig around like I am. In general things have felt a little weird and uncomfortable the last few days but I suppose that's to be expected. I've had so many great highs lately that there were bound to be some lows. But I have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks and that proactivity (is that a word?) will help me push positive.

I think what's most interesting to me is how much I'm living. A buddy recently said each day on tour is like three regular days. I definitely think there's truth in that and perhaps me living out of my car and on the road all the time is more like four or five days for each sunset. I'm sure by the end of this year I'll have songs, stories and a rotten liver. Five years of living in 365 days. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Live loudly and die quickly.

After getting back from my bench sitting I got my merch stuff together and relaxed. The weather here today was quite possibly the closest thing to perfection I can remember in a long long while. Right now I'm sitting outside of stubbs BBQ in the perfect summer evening air, that kind where you'd go ride the swings and smoke cigarettes with your high school girlfriend maybe stoked you could wear a hoodie or buttonup after so many days of heat. And the best part is that I could feel this before my actual summer even begins. So rad and so much better than sitting in a grimey club. Now all I need is a good woman to share nights like these with.

Tomorrow we're headed to Dallas and I'll try to put up some photos and explain the ridiculousness of yesterdays day off. I hope this finds you well.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Rules just don't apply

I woke up this morning quite unhappy with the prospect of getting out if bed. For those of you that don't know I'm terrible at sleeping and even worse at getting up. Well I suppose to clarify I'm horrible to sleep next to and never wake up feeling rested however I can sleep until the cows come home. And if you're wondering when that is it's easily three or four pm. Just saying.

Since I knew I'd miss the train and subsequently my plane if I didn't get up I peeled myself off the futon folded the borrowed sheet returned the pillows to their rightful place and rubbed the sleep from my squished puppy eyes. That's at least how Shaun says I look when I wake up and I fear he's not far off. I showered which was great but drying off with the mildewy towel I left here months ago is none too appealing. Still it's better than the non existant shower in my car.

After throwing two weeks of essentials into my knapsack I left the apartment grabbed some crap coffee a pretty good bagel and headed for the train station. Fifty minutes and two trains later I was at the airport again. Seems I've made this trip so many times I just run the motions. I was happy to not have been called into the little swab analysis room. However I did have to get in some weird machine that shot jets of air all over my body. Strange? Yes.

The flight was uneventful if you don't count the pilot playing harmonica over the PA along with some kind of spoken blues or his later very poorly executed Arnold schwartzenegger impression. By the way we couldn't leave until he'd received a proper applause for his harp solo. I half dozed to thoughts of lovely absurdities and desires. I knew Jac would be pickin me up and was excited to see her. While catching up she asked me about joose (which I blame dave for. Or love I'm not sure which it is.) and I also remembered that my favorite beer in the world is local to here so we went to the store to get some provisions. Unfortunately they did not have wake and bake as I found out it's a seasonal beer but a got another coffee stout recommended by the helpful clerk. I was sold by the fact that it recieved a 100% on Now I'm not normally swayed by things like this but think about that fir a second. That means that not even one person rated it as less than perfect otherwise it's be 99 point something. That's crazy. Sen if I dot like it I figures I owed it to myself to try a perfect beer. For five bucks while a bit steep for me I figured it was a risk worth taking. So Jac and I took our joose to the park and sat on a swing chair catching up and sharing energy drink malt liquor. If you've never hung out with someone fun drinking on the sly on a sunny day you're missing out. Just saying. Eventually I realized I needed to get to the studio and check in all the merch for the butch tour. Today is the first day I butch walker tour number three for me. I'm not really sure how my life twisted in such a way they've been able to do this a few times but I definitely appreciate it. I'm sure there are plenty of people who would wonder why I'd go out to sell merch seeing as I'm a performer. I have a lot of reasons to be honest but overall I do it because I like it. I've learned more about a variety of things including myself on these stints than many other tours. There's something beautiful that comes from spending time on the road with people who are basically strangers and then learning each others ins outs ups and downs. I've also met some amazing people and written one of my favorite songs on these tours. There are more things that make me appreciate being out here but suffice it to say I'm back on purpose.

After checking in all my stuff I said hello to the guys claimed my bunk on the bus ate some food and then left to meet up with some friends for a beer. It's weird nut amazing to have a local bar to recognize the tender know the local fare. I've technically only been here on three tours but I already have a routine I'm comfortable and happy with. I feel if I moved here I wouldn't feel that out if place and that's an amzing feeling. And now I'm just sitting back waiting for people to come buy stuff and otherwise just hanging. I hope this finds all of you well.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

pizza tour nyc 2k9

a few months ago i decided that i wanted to combine my love of all things ridiculous with my love of pizza. i spoke with my buddy brian about the possibility of walking around new york city trying all of the famous, highly regarded pizza places. of course we would be drinking the whole time. he loved the idea, and so the NYC pizza tour was born. what follows is a photo series and brief notes that i kept on my phone. the notes are the ones that start detailed and devolve into "big time." the rest is explanation of the photos. i think you're smart enough to distinguish the two. you'll notice that as the night progressed the notes got less specific. that will happen when you've been eating pizza and drinking on the sly for 9 house. man, my life rules and i love my friends. oh, and just for your knowledge, d=dough, s=sauce, c=cheese and o=overall experience/enjoyment. the money signs indicate cheap to expensive, $ being cheap. (note-of course we couldn't hit ALL the places we should have, but we made a list of 9 that we'd regularly heard good things about. some changes were made, but here's what we ended up with. if necessary, we'll have to have a followup tour).

Pizza tour 2k9

though we were quite anxious to get the pizza eating underway, we felt we needed to start the day off right with a guinness. well done greg.

Art d3 s3 c4 o3
Marg d4 s4 c4 o4
Crab d3 s4 c4 o4
Long wait

Una pizza napoletano
Marg d5 s3 c4 o4
Started off watery
Whole pies only 12"

this is a pretty small pizza for a lot of money, 22 bucks, and looked watery when we got it, but honestly, it was amazing. the dough was similar to naan bread, soft, pillowy and charred perfectly. overall this was one of the best experiences of the day.

the pizza champs outside UPN. i tried to take a photo of the guy chopping wood in the basement but it didn't come out. seriously though, my friends rule. does it get any better? oh, and orange joose? yea. exactly.

if it weren't for brian, the pizza tour never would've happened. thanks dude. well done. oh, and 32 oz cup for drinking on the sly? well done.

we decided to skip john's because it was pretty out of the way for where we were going and as it was we knew we wouldn't fit in every place. after using one of the most useful iphone apps, sit or squat, to find a bathroom we got some more beers and while ross filled us up i shot this great piece across the street. i definitely appreciate the idea.

D4 s3 c3 o3.5
Reg Good trad slice. Nothing new.
Pesto d2 s4 c4 o3.5
Good slice no synergy.
4 beers in.
this was a good slice. not amazing but definitely good. reminds me of new brunswick, nj pizza at my favorite place, so while by no means mind blowing, definitely a really good regular slice. and you know what, i'm quite alright with that.

my buddy jeff suggested this place and said the pesto sauce was "slammin'," i believe. i don't particularly care for olives but don't mind them enough to take them off. still, i think straight pesto would've been better and made more sense. overall, for me, pesto is a bit oily to make the entire base of the pizza, but i appreciate the sentiment.

leaving ray's we saw this entire slice of pizza deserted. under normal circumstances i would've eaten it. but not this day, and also it had meat on it, so probably not, but seriously, who gets a slice of pizza and then just ditches it? sorry the picture sucks, the camera took a second and we were on the move.

Whole pies only. Already had joose just got sparks. Good and bad beers. Getting full. Life rules. USA.
D3 s3 c3 o3
This was a good slice. Quality quasi gourmet nothing special but quite good.
this was tourist central. artichoke had locals waiting on line, this was all people traveling from other states and countries. this was probably when were the most brazen and ridiculous, opening beers and filling up our styrofoam cups on the street. i think it's crazy enough that for some reason i don't think that rules apply to me and that this is ok, but even crazier that my friends didn't bat an eyelash and did the same. i love them so much.

Trad 3
Special 3.5
Good not great. Garlicky. Oily. If it's close do it don't go out of your way.
i forgot to take a photo of the traditional slice, but snapped a quick one of the fresh tomato slice before it disappeared. this was another place where i felt quite good about the pizza, and agree that NYC (and to perhaps a greater extent, NJ) pizza is generally awesome. even if it's not perfect or amazing, it's quite good.

further fillups in cool doorways.

you know it's a good pizza tour when it requires you to take a subway to another borough. we were headed towards lucali's which we hear is quite good, but when we got there a sign in the window told us they were closed for vacation. who does that? probably a place that doesn't believe in leaving the shop behind with just any random worker. we also met some locals who agreed it ruled and suggested a few other places, a few of which we'd already tried. go us. with no brooklyn slice yet we walked down the street and decided we'd throw a wild card in the pot and just try a random place. and that place? francesco's. it ruled. was arguably in the top two or three, and when i told the oven guy, he thanked me with a free slice cut into tiny pizza tour trial slices. amazing.

Big time.

while they do make great pizza, brooklyn's spelling leaves something to be desired.

on our way to grimaldi's there was some really cool lights by the highway.

Big time.
there was a long line but they let us cut it. they claimed it was because we were doing take out as opposed to sitting in the restaurant, but i think it's because they could smell we were professionals. well, it could've been that or the booze, not sure. there's probably a good explanation why photo's are missing.

after grimaldi's we walked across the brooklyn bridge back into manhattan. in all my time living right outside of NYC i've never done that. my brother and i used to talk about how we've done so many interesting things in other cities but never really did the "tourist" based things in new york. this was really fun and i got to do a lot of these kinds of things without it being super corny. and it really is quite beautiful at night.

Somewhere else
We were drunk and it was good.

i believe greg exclaimed, "see, it doesn't matter where you go, the pizza's always good!" and while we're all aware of the old adage about how pizza is like sex, and we were pretty gonzo, i do remember this pizza actually being quite good.
overall i'd say this tour was a huge success. what did we learn? i'm not totally sure. i do know that for the most part there are huge differences between "gourmet" pizza and "traditional" pizza, but both are of worth and wonderful. i think they both have their place in this world and in my mouth/stomach. by the way, if you're wondering where the incredibly scientific scores came from, they were loose averages of everyone on the tour. i've decided for the most part they didn't help us come to much of a conclusion, but the basic notes did help quite a bit. the best part? wandering the city with people i love drinking beers and eating pizza on a beautiful day. does it get any better? i think not.