Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Think I Recall Portland...... (BATTLEHOOCH U.S. Tour Part 4)


(Setting records, boys and girls. 2 blog posts in (almost) one week.)

(Archaeology Johnson pats himself on the back)

Time for Tour Vlog Episode #3!!!

(Is the word "Vlog" lame? I think it's kinda funny... sounds like the name of a Russian butcher...)

As I'm writing this I realize that it's only been 2 weeks since the events captured in this VLOG/Post have happened. A short amount of time, yet the past few weeks have been so dense with adventures that I'm wondering if I can recall it all... EH! Lets just give it the ol' college try...

Episode #3 finds the Battlehooch crew returning to the beautiful and ideal city of Portland, Oregon after our successful jaunt in Washington state. We were in Portland for longer than we were in Washington so in turn the Vlog itself is a little bit longer. (Lots and lots of good stuff). The first cut of this episode was approximately twice as long as it is now... I had to cut a bunch of videos of various performances and different Piecechows and what not... leaving in just the cream of the crop.

(or NOTES ABOUT SOME OF THE LIVE SHOWS WE PLAYED, as seen in Video Blog #3:)

Portland State University South Art Blocks - This time around to Portland marked our 3rd time playing on the outdoor stage in the South Art Blocks of Portland State University. This tree flanked and utterly splendid stage has become a highlight of our northwest journeys. The clip of us playing "Fishmilk" is from this show. Another reason why we love gigs at PSU is because we get to hang out with our friends from the SOUND HOUSE.

Our relationship with the SOUND HOUSE started a couple of years ago when we met a fellow named Joel in SF. He came upon us while we were street performing and we became fast friends. He worked for PSU and invited us to come up and play there next time that we were in Portland. We took him up on his offer and thus started a great partnership. Assisting Joel with the sound at our PSU shows are his good friends/house mates. This crew of gentlemen are all well versed in the ways of live sound (thus their house being called the SOUND HOUSE) as well as the subtle art of allowing Battlehooch to sleep on their floors/couches. On this tour we spent a solid chunk of time hanging out on their porch, shooting the bull and checking out the many trinkets that hung from the overhangs.
You can see us all hanging out by the BBQ in the Vlog. Exciting. Their neighbor Jim is a whole other story. His house is the one above that has the "Krusty The Klown" face painted on the garage door. We'll save an in depth look at Jim for another time... Probably it's own special blog/vlog combo... He'll blow yr mind.....
(SLIGHT TANGENT ALERT!) Another particularly funny thing about this recent PSU gig was the fact that in a nearby building a convention was being held for the association of medical illustrators. More importantly though, they had a BIG FAT BUFFET. (contextual note: In order to make ends meet on tour, each member is trying to live off of $100 a week for all our food/random expenses. In other words, we're often hungry.) So, most of the band decided to head in and mingle with the crowd... and grab some snacks.... this little (mis)adventure can also be found in the newest Vlog. Utterly Classic.

"PDX Pop Now" Guerrila Show -

At the same time that we were rolling through Portland, the PDX Pop Now festival was revving up. The festival is a groovy annual soiree with all manner of bands playing at some outdoor stages in downtown PDX. We rolled up looking for an opportunity to set up and do some street performing but the vibe didn't quite seem right.... we didn't want to ENCROACH, dig? We were getting ready to head home when we bumped into the fellow who had booked us earlier in the week at Portland's own Mudai Lounge. It turns out he (THE BOOKER) also did some booking (BOOKING) for the festival (!!!!!!). We asked him what he thought about us setting up our street performing gear in between bands. He gave us the go-ahead. We made haste and set up on a loading dock behind one of the stages and played a quick 5 song set for a group of a few hundred people. A snippet of the (unfortunately poorly lit) show is also in this Vlog.

Alberta Street Fair/Saturday Market - In Portland, on the last Thursday of every month there's a fatty art crawl/street fair on Alberta street. The scene is truly something to see: quirky folks selling their home made wares, street bands abound (Editors Note: Portland truly is the land of Street Performers. So many street bands, yo), and tons and tons of people looking for something to catch their eye.

We found a cool little spot amidst all of this and set up our gear. Shortly before we got started, we were approached by a group of "breakdancers". These "breakdancers" informed us that they were going to be setting up their "breakdancing" station in close proximity to us and, in all likely hood, drown us out with their P.A. system. We figured we'd give it a go anyways and started doing our thang. The set started well, we got a crowd going... you can see a fragment of a version of "Red Tide" from this performance in the Vlog. However, right at the end of "Red Tide" the "breakdancers" started "breakdancing" and basically totally took away out crowd. We were all but ignored from then onward. We were pretty damn super pissed yo. HOWEVER, a few days later we came across these same "breakdancers" at the Saturday Market. Like Alberta Street, the Saturday Market had a bunch of really wild street performers, crafts and other madness (Note: dig the 10 piece gypsy/pirate/punk band and blues guitarist who had a stump for an arm in the Vlog #3 ).

Also like Alberta Street, we came to the market to do our street performing set... but the "breakdancers" were already setting up their stuff near where we had signed up to play. But we had learned our lesson the last time we dealt with the "breakdancers", so instead of getting out the busking set up, we pulled out the FULL set up. Big amps and everything. (I've mentioned/included a video of us playing at the Market in a past blog post, but you can also just check it out here.) This time we were the ones that did the crowd steeling.

(Look at these Thugs..... LOOK AT THEM!!!!!!)

• Fireworks Pizza (in Corvallis, OR) - this show is sure to go down in the BATTLEHOOCH LORE OF MEMORABLE SHOWS. After having a rip roaring good time in Portland, we cast off and headed south a little ways to play a show at Fireworks Pizza in cozy Corvallis. This was a sit down restaurant, boys and girls. Quiet, mellow and far from the type of places that we normally play (insane street corners, sweaty bars, tripped out hippie parties, the like...). On the posters that advertised our gig we were billed as "Folk Rock from San Francisco".


So we set up our quiet street performing set up (so as not to blast away the dinner patrons like we would with the big amps) and started in with "I'll Crawl Into Your Mouth", a new jam and one of our mellowest, quietest songs. Shortly after we finish it, the waitress comes up and says something along the lines of "you guys are a little loud, can you turn down a little bit?" This left the band a bit freaked out. We were supposed to play for 2 hours, but our quietest song was already too overbearing.... WHAT TO DO!?! So what did we do? Well, we did what any shape shifting orchestral rock band would do... we shifted shape. We took all our nutty ass material and just went ahead and played it smooth and mellow. Like Hall and Oates does the complete BATTLEHOOCH songbook (except "Fishmilk", I don't think I can even fathom what a smooth version of that would entail). If this is too hard to imagine, just check out the clip at the end of Vlog. Yes that is "Human Ram", yes Pat is crooning and yes a few feet away families were eating Pizza.

So much of the touring adventure falls through the cracks of my story telling.... the NBA JAM battles, the silliness during the HOURS and HOURS of driving we do, visiting Ben's cousin Asher and his epic band called "My Dads", the sheer joy of being able to sleep in a real bed for a few days when we stayed with "My Dads", the PDX food carts, visits with our good friends Jeff Green and Nate Goldman, "The Mist", the list goes on and on...
Yet, I suppose that's just the way it is... I mean, as I write this, I'm in an Executive Inn in Amarillo Texas, and only last night was I dancing with a belly dancer, slamming free pineapple juice, watching people willfully electrocute themselves and hearing the murmur of a shitty biker blues band butcher "Roadhouse Blues" in close proximity.

Too much is happening. Too much is happening.

Hopefully you can kinda get a sense of what it is that we're going through out here in Weird Ol' America... A Weirdness that only gets more elaborate and all consuming with each day and each new experience....

I'm Out. But just for a bit.

P.S. - we found Ryan's soul mate... or at least the residual echoes of their great explosion.... or something like that....

Monday, August 9, 2010


I'm currently in the "Old Man" (Official Title of BATTLEVAN 2.0).

Remember in the last post when I was lamenting technologies lack of dependability... and the general frustration it (Technology) had dispensed on me?

SCENE: (Dark interior)-(Crying noises)
Archaeology Johnson: "I can't blog cause my compy is FUCKED."
(Crying noises)

Well enough of that boys and girls, I'm hear to sing the praises of the 21st century and it's numerous technological marvels.

My Computer is working fine. (knock on wood)
I'm writing this blog in the van.
While it's driving.
Around these parts we call that AWESOME.

We are speeding along into the night (9:01pm Mountain Time @ The Moment), and plan on staying in Moab, Utah for a couple days. We just stopped at an In and Out Burger and much to my delight and surprise, one of my favorite new songwriters, Avi Buffalo, was there as well. If you don't know who Avi Buffalo is, DIG this song. I LOVE THIS SONG.

Very pleased with the fact that he owns all our albums now. Nicest fellow too. It was almost like he was more excited to meet us, they we were him. Looking forward to jamming with him in the near future.


So, here's the FULL SEATTLE BLOG POST (with notes)

First off, if you haven't seen it, here's Episode 2 of the Vlog.

The first week of the Desolation Tour made us a bit worried. While we certainly enjoyed ourselves, played some great shows, made new friends and managed to save lots on food costs by cooking at friends/family houses, we also barely made any money. While the experiences certainly make the journey worthwhile, we also understand the reality that we need a certain amount of money in order to make a journey of this length sustainable. So, as we rolled into Washington state we had serious fund raising on our minds...

AND wouldn't ya know it, brothers and sisters, everything turned around in the most wonderful way.

First off, we went and visited Tom's sister Joanna in Olympia. This visit was extra special because Tom's Dad and Grandma were also visiting when we were there. You can see G'ma killing everyone at Gin Rummy in VLOG #2. We played a quirky show in the hallway of a practice space in downtown Oly... good times for sure, but like the previous gigs didn't lead to crucially needed funds. We also filmed our second Desolation Show in the forests around Jo's house.... (still editing it though... keep an eye out...)

But then things started to really turn around with our show at The Black Lodge.

For those who don't know, The Black Lodge is an awesome live/work space in Seattle. Super colorful psychedelic walls and is inhabited by a crew of some of the coolest chaps around . Twas our 3rd time playing there... probably our (MY) favorite Pacific Northwest venue. We played with our old friends GOD and they sounded great. Stoked. Good night of music AND we started to chip away at the deficit.

Dig some of these pictures. Feel the Vibe.

Feelin' good, we went off and sought to street perform in close proximity to the Capitol Hill Block Party. The Block Party is basically a couple of downtown blocks set aside for HIP concerts by HIP bands. We set up near one of the entrances of said Block Party and played for a few hours.

And I say without hyperbole that it wasthe most successful day of street performing we've EVER had.

It was just completely fucking ridiculous. No other way to state it. Lets just say that with that one day of playing pulled the tour/band out of the red (financially speaking). The whole evening culminated with an impromptu concert in a park, where we had a deliriously raucous dance throw down with a whole gaggle of new friends. Scenes from this are also in Vlog #2.

After the gig we were elated but exhausted. We planned on just heading back to the place we were staying and then calling it a night.
OH NO SIR. Before we new it, a bunch of our new friends hopped right into our van and demanded that we drive to the beach. So, about 12-13 people deep, we rolled out to Madison Beach at Lake Washington.
Appropriately, the band and our new friends went for a night swim. We swam out to a diving board in the middle of the lake. 20 feet high. No clouds. Full moon. Everyone took a jump. Twas absolutely amazing.

Love my/our life.

We did a little more street performing the following day, and we managed to capture a video of us doing "Piecechow"-era track, "Looks You Can't See".

We wrapped up our weekend with a brief set in a coffee shop and then headed back down to Olympia for a day off.

We were literally elated for days afterwards. Where we had been apprehensive and nervous before coming to Seattle/Olympia, we were now filled with supreme confidence and excitement! Thanks Washington State!

That's it for this edition of the blog, ya'll. But I promise more good stuff happens in the next episodes... Wait till you see the footage from our second trip to Portland.

Love you. See ya when I see ya.

(Utah is weird, yo)---------------------------------------------------------(Utah is Beautiful, yo)

(Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus Bonus!!!!)

This one fellow really dug our set and then came up and asked if he could play Ryan's drum set. Normally, we don't let people play the set because most people who ask are morons who either hit too hard and/or don't know how to play at all. But I had a feeling about this dude. So we let him play. I think the video speaks for itself. Peace.

Monday, August 2, 2010



There once was a band called Maus Haus. (was? is? was? is? DEFINITELY is. Love those dudes.)

This band wrote a really nice song called "We Used Technology (but Technology Let Us Down)".

I can relate to this song.

My computer had an epileptic fit and swallowed its tongue... Started yelling something about folders full of question marks.

It was mildly distressing. (understatement, yo)

So for the past week I had a FUCKED computer and thus my abilities to blog, make videos, make songs, etc. was basically totally compromised. THUS, 2 weeks without new blog stuff.


I took my computer into the good people at the Apple Store in Pioneer Square in lovely Portland, OR. The girl who checked me in got a kick out of my headband and lucky feather. ANYWHO. Not only did the GENIUSES fix my computer.... but the GENIUSES did it for FREE.

Love it.

When I found out it cost NOTHING, I clicked my heals together and then went and played a very loud E major chord (in root position) on a piano.

So I am currently writing this blog entry on my own computer.....

...Inside a Yurt. A REAL, HONEST TO GOD YURT, yo. (We are currently at the Solar Living Institute kinda near Santa Rosa, CA. Yurts and Teepees ABOUND!)

Even though my computer died, we still filmed TONS and TONS and TONS of footage from the past couple weeks and we're gonna be putting it up over the next couple days. As I had mentioned in previous blog posts (here), we were doing a KICKSTARTER project to raise money to get the band some snazzy new cameras. Well good friends, we met our goal and then some! Now, pretty much everyone in the band has a camera/video device and we are trying to capture the seemingly never ending barrage of crazy wonder that surrounds us on tour.

(This is by far the most thoroughly documented adventure/tour for the band yet)

Seriously so excited to post some of the videos we're gonna post (...can you say "Human Ram: Lite Rock style in a small town restaurant"? Believe it, it happened. We have proof.)

But first here's all the videos (so far) that have been made by new friends we've met on tour. (Maybe you saw em on the ol' BOOKFACE)

The first video we're showing off actually just got posted today, and it's of us doing Human Ram/Somersaults at the Saturday Market in Portland, OR.

(BACK STORY: while staying in Portland, we attempted to street perform at the Alberta Street Fair. We played for about 35 minutes or something before a crew of break dancers, set up shot RIGHT NEXT TO US, turned on their loud ass P.A. system and drowned us out and completely stole our crowd. Needless to say we were bummed. A few days later, we bumped into the same crew when we went down to the Saturday Market to play. But we learned our lesson before and this time we rolled out our FULL ELECTRIC SET UP.

They HAD a crowd, but after two songs by us, their crowd became our crowd.

We leveled them. Sweet Revenge, yo. So Sweet.)

The next video is a little mini montage that a friendly chap made from one of our sets we did outside of the Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle, Washington.

...and last, here's another video of us playing outside of the Capitol Hill Block Party, doing our new Sly and the Family Stone cover, "Stand".

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL. Here's some pictures of various Piecechows we've seen on the road.


Here's just a taste:


(BONUS!!!!) here's ben sleeping.

Alright, now time to get cracking on putting together some videos. See ya in a bit.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I met Jimi Hendrix. AWESOME.