Monday, February 4, 2008

battleblitz epologue or FAIRWELL INKY BEAK-WEILDER


Quite a stretch with no blog action, but the close of the tour was packed with activity and lite on wireless internet connection, so here I am writing from the comfort of my bed in the beautiful city of San Fran.... the tour is finished. we made it back alive...

we last left off on a beautiful sunny monday in LA.

me and the boys jumped in the spongevan and jetted over to santa monica. we grabbed our gear and sashayed over to the 3rd street promenade. found a little spot where we could post up our gear. as we set up, i notice out of the corner of my eye a mysterious, dark figure with crazy black hair and crazy lookin' eyes. very quickly i realize that i'm watching cedric bixler from the battlehooch-beloved MARS (mother fucking!) VOLTA! after being a dork and staring for a good 20 seconds, i get my wits about me and hand the good man a copy of OOF OWF, which he generously took. we told him we loved his music and thanked him for his kindness. WOO HOO! hellz yeah! then we played 3 songs before we got hasseled by the man (thankfully we didn't get a ticket). as well as meeting cedric, we also met the original lead singer of motley crue (pre- vince neil) and also we made our youngest battlefan yet. his name is nate, he's the man, look for him in upcoming vlogs.

after getting kicked out of santa monica, we headed over to venice beach to see if we'd have some luck there. we walked up and down the beach, with all our equipment, trying to find a good place to post up but we had trouble. after causing much grief to a beach side palm reader and a seemingly never ending barrage of hobo -harmonica players joining our band mid song, we decided to bail out from venice beach. after all, who is walking along venice beach at 3:30 in the afternoon other than drug addicts and weirdos. not to discriminate against such folks, but we needed gas money. dig?

anywho, we headed back to max's and cooked a mean stew. then we loaded up the van and headed over to echo park for our first ever offical show in LA at pehrespace. the show was put on by sean carnage and it was a great scene. kids chilling, laughing, drinking, smoking, talking. we had a very strong turn out this night with lots of friends from far and wide, from various stages of our collective past turning up to say what up to the hooch. we saw a bunch of great bands this night including Brother from Sacramento, Destroy Tokyo from the East Bay and Kuato which featured our good friend Oliva's (of WiretapMusic/Radio Vago/Lovely Public fame) brother playing bass and singing.

We were the 5th of 6 bands, and played a set that was under 20 minutes long. the sound in the place was a little rough, but the show still went pretty decent. it ended with grant dumping half a bottle of gaurnier fructis on ryan's head. the place smelled awesome for the whole rest of the set.

you can see more pictures on line at

afterwards, i had the good fortune of meeting jim from the fantastic group, Captain Ahab. we had a great talk and he gave me lots of good advice about playing shows/touring and he was good enough to accept a copy of OOF OWF. I also met members from the awesome group ANAVAN, who we are currently trying to set up a show in SF with.

great people all of them, real nice and genuine.

we went back home and crashed out at a late hour, after some rock band action (any time we're not playing music during our time in LA, we're playing rock band, or rather at least one of us is playing rock band).

now it's tuesday. we played two shows including one at kxlu on the loyola marymount campus. this show was kinda nuts cause we had to carry our gear REALLY FAR! and i mean, REALLY FAR. down a court yard, round the corner through another court yard, down some hallways, up an elevator, then down another hall way.... you get the picture. it was pretty rough. and then we played on the air without a soundcheck and with crappy feed from the vocals. what came out over the air sounded way different than what was in the room. sigh. oh well.

for dinner we dined at the fabulous Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. a fine meal indeed. HOWEVER, the fates had conspired against us and our eating experience was soured when we discovered that some people were trying tow egg's car. much bally-hoo was raised and lets just say, $125 was exchanged and many tempers boiled over...

that nights show was at a place called hyperion tavern in silver lake. the night was called club ding a ling and it was put on by a dude who used to be the drummer in the GERMS.

Here he is in all his glory. ----------------------->
(he was seen at one point, pounding two 40s at once in the parking lot)

Now the thing about club ding a ling, at least on this particular night, is that all the bands we were playing with were, shall i say, doomy goth karaoke. all the acts basically were people plugging in a laptop/ipod/whatever... and barking out evil, devilish vocals augmented by effects. some of it was pretty groovy, but all in all the scene was just an incredible PIECECHOW REGALIA CONVENTION. hairpieces, hats, frocks and smocks that you all just had to see to believe. the whole thing was organized like shit, and the first two bands took ridiculously long to set up their gear, then played really short sets. we went on 3rd, after having to argue with some dude who wanted to take our slot. this place definitely had the weirdest stage we played on all tour. the stage, was wide enough to have 3 people across, no problem, however, it was only about 2 feet deep, which meant it was impossible to get all of us on the stage at once. also, keep in mind that the stage is like 4 - 5 feet off the ground. so we had it with me grant and ben on the stage, and ryan tombo and pat down below us. there was a video projection of the most crazy random fucked up shit ever flashing right in my face the whole time, thought i was gonna swallow my tounge or something.

all in all though, one of the best shows of the tour. the room was packed when we played, we played a really solid 4 song set, sold some cds, made some friends, made the heckling goths shut their traps. maybe it was the rage from the towing incident being turned into positive kinetic energy? we headed home feelin' good. except we got lost on the way home.

wednesday, we slept in a bit, then hit the road for Dr. Spankk's house in Brea where we were treated to a delicious home cooked meal. we played a little piano, sang some leonard cohen, then set off for costa mesa. the show was at this SUPER posh italian restaurant that was underground, called La Cave. word on the street is the Sinatra played there back in '67. no bull.
we were playing with a fine fine band called Dolphin City. we played first, and had a great ol' time. great sounding place and crowd was nice. while packing up my equipment, the PA system toppled over and a big ol' speaker fell right on my noggin. felt a bit dizzy for a while, but i didn't have a concussion and i didn't die when i fell asleep. woo hoo! dolphin city was really great, good players for sure. and they were way nice to hang out with, they even set us off with a box of free fruit. it was delightful. then we piled in the van a little after midnight and hit the road for encinitas where we would stay with our good friend ryan davenport.

we, arrived late at night, 10 people deep and apparently didn't go over to well with his sick housemate. bummer.

thursday was a strange day, it was like a vortex where nothing got done. in 8 hours we eat mexican food and looked for a radioshack. we took eggs out to dinner cause it was her birthday and we got some grubbin pizza and calimari aka squid aka THE INKY BEAK-WEILDER. the show that night was at a place called Chasers. we were supposed to play at a joint called Scolari's office which we had heard was one of the main spots for touring bands and local bands in San Diego. however, a couple weeks before the tour, Scolari's got bought by "yuppies" and the old booker started doign shows at chasers instead. Chasers was a way cool place, but it was off the beaten path kinda and hadn't developed a name for it, so the crowd wasn't as big as we had hoped but we definitely met some great people, some of whom came out to multiple San Diego shows we played at. very cool people. thanks a bunch. we met up with maria, who helped us organize the show, and who played in a band called "a history of premature burial" (who kicked serious ass) which is a side project of her main band, the vaginals. she was way awesome and was good enough to put the crew up at her house for the night. very kind indeed.

Friday! friday was the probably the gnarliest day of the tour but also, probably the best. we woke at 9... which is insane considering that the whole tour we'd been going to bed at like 3 or 4 and waking up at noon consistently. we grabbed breakfast and all of us were feeling, looking and smelling really haggard. we'd been on the road for well over a week, hadn't been sleeping much, eating well, or showering. perfect time to head over to San Dieguito Academy to play during lunch for all the fine high schoolers. we strolled in and set up in front of the gym, and by the time the lunch bell rang we were ready to go. this show was definitely the most fun of the whole tour. compared to the clubs and things we normally play, the level of enthusiasm and appreciation that the fine folks at San Dieguito displayed was overwhelming. when we finished playing we sold 22 copies of OOF OWF and made a bunch of friends. holy shit did these kids have good taste in music. Kraut rock, Beirut, Deerhoof, WTF?!? we showed some of the kids how to play theramin and gave out the rest of our battlerags that we made for the tour. before the show we all felt haggard. afterwards we felt like kings. but we didn't have time to dilly dally. it was off to KSDT at UC San Diego for a set on NoWaveNoDiego. this radioset ran much smoother and the sound was much better cause we took care of our own vocal levels and we just used a single large diaphram condensor mic to record the set, which sounded much better.
we're planning on putting highlights from that set up on our page soon. so stay tuned for that.
then we jetted to the house where we were gonna play at that night. the show had been organized by a group on myspace called san diego house parties and they were good enough to book us for the evening, which as luck would have it, was taking place at a house where our good friend John Paul (from wonderful San Diego band Grand Ole Party) lived. we made a fine meal for ourselves, and then the party began. it was quite a groovy scene. there was some cool hip hop acts that started the show off and the GOP themselves made a suprise appearance and played 5 brand new songs, all of which sounded killer. they got a really lean sound and it was great seeing them in an intimate setting.

speaking of the setting, imagine this if you a will. a true basement. a ceiling that is probably 6'3" and that's being generous. insolation and wires and beams hanging from the ceiling.
this is the spot where we played. the set went pretty good, we went on at 1 am, it included the first ever mosh pit at a battlehooch show (during deep knee bends). afterwards, DJ Kipper kicked in and rocked a dance party that went to the wee hours. we were crashing at the house that night, so we had to wait until the party was over before we could settle down for the evening. it was well past 5am when i went to bed.

we got up around noon-ish, load up the van and meet up one more time with Davenport for a fine lunch. then it's off to bakersfield for the final show of the tour. it takes about 4 hours to get to bakersfield and we get their around dusk. we were really excited about this show the whole tour cause we were playing with HEALTH who are truly awesome. we got there really early so we got a free meal compliments of the joint, Narducci's cafe. talked a bit with jon from health and he gave us some really solid advice about touring, playing shows in LA, etc. we played second and we all pretty much agree that it was the worst show of the tour. both grant and i had our effects crap out on us. my amp fell over cause the stage wobbled when i jumped (apparently some of the supports had been taken out). the PA system was just FUCKED UP. like WAY FUCKED UP. eggs said that the the sound was fluctuating in a really weird way. i had to rethink almost all my guitar parts on the fly cause i had no effects, which led to a lot of crappy playing. i personally felt the fatigue of touring and having to constantly try and bring the A game the most at this show. a shame really, but c'est la vie. the night was getting on and it was clear that HEALTH was anxious to play before it got to be too late. the 3rd band started, a really bullshit gutterpunk band, (they had the most hilarious song titles ever, grant nabbed the setlist, you really got to see it to believe it) but some drunk morons came in and started harassing the drummer, who then went and slugged one of the dude's in the face. a big bru ha ha errupted and much yelling and arguing took place. the drunk moron's drunk moron girlfriend thought it was our band that punched her man and tried to attack the battle van at one point! the end result was that the bartender pulled the plug on the WHOLE FUCKING SHOW. health weren't allowed to play. they played maybe 2 songs and then that was it. SUCH BULLSHIT!

pretty shitty way to end the tour, but once again, c'est la vie. we left bakersfield shortly after midnight and drove 6 hours home to San Francisco.

so, yeah, that's pretty much the story. it was good fun. we met great people. played some really awesome shows. saw some really awesome bands. laughed a bunch. played rock band a bunch. met one of our heroes. saw some old friends. sang songs ( I LIKE THE BARTENDER....). but i think above all learned a lot of lessons and really saw what it was like to be a real band. when all was said and done we came back with a profit of $500 after gas expenses. and most amazing of all, the battlevan made it the whole way without any hassel. the van that didn't even run when we bought it, trucked us almost 2000 miles in a week a half without giving us any hell. i think this is the begining of a beautiful friendship.

we're already planning the next tour and maybe even a couple mini tours. eggs and peter joined the tour in LA and eggs shot a bunch of great video, which we'll compile into a couple more vlogs to round out the tour story.

OOF OWF in California '08

-Archeology Johnson

No comments: