Friday, October 22, 2010

"Wayne Coyne is kinda like everyone's Dad..." - BATTLEHOOCH U.S. Tour 2010 Episode 10

... and then the mid-west.

A state called OK. An OK State.

(This certainly wasn't California... or anything close to the west coast, really.)

This was new, this was different. This was Oklahoma. And Oklahoma was where my conception of this whole damn country started to mutate.

Before the tour, I'd spent 99.9 (with a line over the last 9) PERCENT of my life in California. Day in day out in a place that as far as I could tell was heaven on earth and the most desirable place to be...

I mean, why be anywhere other than California? I wasn't necessarily HATING.... I just didn't understand.

California: The sunshine state, with the bomb-ass hemp beat. The State where you never find the dancefloor empty.

But there was something under the surface in OK (Oklahoma). Anyone there would tell you that everything was a little bit BEHIND... it's not the center of the world... not really EXCITING... and it doesn't necessarily explode with eccentric creativity (see NYC, Portland, SF, etc.). BUT BUT BUT BUT BUT... the people who live there (in OK) were great people.... interesting people... friendly people... open minded people... basically people that you would find in a stereotypically progressive city (see previous city list).

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, most of the people I talked to loved OK.

I heard tales of going out to the shooting range and firing off some AK-47 rounds. Tales of cow tipping. Tales of crazy hippie freak outs in the woods of Missouri (!!!!). Tales of wild jam bands that live in the outskirts. And then I recalled that the Flaming Lips are from OK (The title of this blog is a direct quote from the resident "OK Super Hippie" (Johnny) talking about the infamous Lips front man).... Sounds like GOOD TIMES, Right?

... So a cursory glance at this mid-western institution would reveal it to be so very very boring. So very very up hip. So very very UN-noteworthy.... but such an assessment denies the fact that there's still wonderful, creative and interesting people that dwell within it's borders, having a blast and living a good life....

The core essence of this realization - THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE EVERYWHERE - kept popping up in my brain constantly with every new town/state/scene we went into. This is a beautiful thing. Makes me love this country A LOT.



What can I say? Some of us lost our tempers. We yelled. We got in each others faces. SHIT GOT UGLY. But at this point in the tour (As of this writing I am in the early stages of week 15) we have yet to have another blow up.


Yet, I think this little squabble that we had, while quite unpleasant, was necessary. I have never had people this UP IN MY GRILL before in my life. I literally spend every day with these guys. And not just every day, but pretty much the ENTIRE duration of each day, too. We wake up together, we eat together, we travel together, we unload/reload the van together, we play shows together, we even sit together when we're on our computers just chillin out. WE ARE CONSTANTLY IN EACH OTHERS FACES... thus we are aware of each others little delightful quirks, eccentricities and randomness.


And that's what I think our little fight in the corn field was all about... trying to figure out how to deal when you have no personal space and when your mental state (or really just ones GENERAL state of being) is directly tied to another person (or persons). Its like we're a creature with 6 personalities inside of 1 head. If one personality is angry or bummed... it's hard not to have it effect the other personalities in a negative way. I personally got to a point where I was letting another persons mentality totally dictate the way that I was feeling and that ain't healthy at all. (Fuck, we're getting into some DR. PHIL Shit right here. Maybe we can get Dr. Phil to be our personal band psychiatrist, just like METALLICA!!!!!)


... but thus is the nature of this whole adventure. Learning and discovering with my brothers. Going out into the deep end... doing what is hard in order to achieve something MORE...

My dear, dear brothers. Love 'em.

But it's all good now, friends. Whatever ugliness that may have occurred is but a small smidgen in an ocean of good times. We may be in each others grills, but we know how to work together.

Basically what I'm trying to say IS....


Thursday, October 14, 2010

"...And we entered the Mountains to test our METAL" - BATTLEHOOCH U.S. Tour 2010 Part 9

THE MOUNTAIN REGION, boys and girls.

Where air is thinner.

Where we had our first real "struggle" finding lodging. (Admittedly struggle is far too extreme of a word, but it WAS the first time that we had to really hussle to figure out where exactly we would lay our heads each night.)

Where gawdy weed dispenseries littered the roads, devoid of tact.

Denver, What are you? (COLORADOoooooooooooooooooooooooo???????)

Here's this edition's Vlog ---->

(illustrating an aspect of the existential nature of a touring band's life on the road)

Our time in Colorado was quite interesting. It was the first place we visited where we had some truly STRESSFUL shit to deal with. Days that would probably lead to any other band getting INSANELY PISSED at each other... Yelling and fighting and what not.

Not BATTLEHOOCH, dear friends. We're a band of brothers.

(Audience member: "Hey, didn't ya'll get in a shouting match in a field in Oklahoma?"
Archaeology Johnson: "QUIET YOU! That's the NEXT Episode. We're talking about Colorado.")

Actually, it was basically just one particular day that was kinda rough. So here's how it went down and how we persevered:

We roll into Downtown Denver, totally jived from how well street performing went in the PacNW... we pick a chill looking spot and set up our gear. We start up our first song and then we are IMMEDIATELY SHUT DOWN. The culprits were a small gaggle of smarmy little "Hospitality Officers", who peruse Downtown Denver... keeping it "In Order". Apparently, "Order" did not entail "Electric BATTLEHOOCH Street Performing". "Electric" being the key word here.

So we packed up....

Then we argued. "What should we do?" "Where should we go?" "Should we give up?"

Lots of options were presented and debated... and somehow the one that we decided upon was that Grant should go buy an $800 acoustic bass. Logical, correct?
So we returned to the same spot and then tried our first ever all acoustic street performance AND (drumrolllllllllllll)....

it BOMBED. So Ruggedly. Here is a picture taken from this show....

The cars passing by were just too loud for our instruments, it was wimpy sounding and worst of all the brand new Bass was totally inaudible if you weren't standing right next to it.
Defeated, we packed up. Then Ryan almost got arrested for being smart alecky with the cops.

So we regrouped and argued more and made lots of snarky, bitchy comments to each other. Tempers did get a little heated but we still didn't FIGHT.

(...also keep in mind, all we had eaten that day was some Cereal early in the morning. Grumpy boys, indeed.)

Once again, after all the ideas were presented, we made a logical decision on what to do.... We ended up deciding to drive 30 miles away and try to play for people in the parking lot of a Primus/Gogol Bordello show at the legendary RED ROCKS Amphitheater.

(Again, very logical, right?)

This gig, however, turned out to be a big success. We met lots of cool folks, people seemed to enjoy our music, and we made a little bit of money. General faith for the band was restored.

After all that, we drove back to Denver and then headed to our actual, official gig of the evening. In the car, we bro'd down pretty hard and everyone apologized for being irritable. The bro bond was strengthened. Or as my man Ari Gold says.....

As luck would have it, the venue we played that night gave us a delicious and free full on BBQ meal and free bowling. Very excellent.


When street performing, just about everything is uncertain - where to play? will we get caught? will anyone like us? should we play electric or acoustic? etc. The only thing that is certain is that perseverance will lead to success. When all was said and done, despite all the setbacks, we made some new friends, played our music in an amazing location and then got free Ribs. Sounds okay to me.

The rest of our time was much more delightful. We checked out Boulder, CO the following day and gave the acoustic street performing set up another go. This time we found a more ideal acoustical spot, far away from cars. We played two sets and ended up making about $300. No hassle from the FUZZ. (You could even hear the bass!) Someone even shot 30 seconds of video. (see above.) GOOD TIMES. We played a gig later that night at a Pizza joint. Free Pizza. Flamenco dancers. We played last of 3 acts and only 15-20 people were around when we played but funny enough, we sold merch to about 15-20 people.

BATTLEHOOCH. Gettin' across to ya.

And then we came down from the mountains and stumbled into Oklahoma... that LITERALLY is another Story that will have to wait.....

(P.S. - the lateness of this post is blamed on the fickle nature of YouTube uploads. that is all)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010



This blog will probably end up sounding something like this (in some order):
  • (fill in the blank with ramblings about tour)
  • (fill in the blank with ramblings about how the stuff in this vlog took place a long time ago)
  • (fill in the blank with ramblings about new york - where I/we currently are)

We are in NYC and have been for the past few weeks. I think that once we rolled into New York, my brain's capacity for retaining/processing all the events and adventures from tour completely broke down.


Thus my lack of blogging for the past couple weeks. At any given moment I felt like I was half asleep... half awake... bombarded by stimulus.... struggling to take it all in.
Yes, I became awash in the electricity that is the GREAT AMERICAN CITY and before I knew it, it had been weeks since I last did a post on this (lovely) little blog.

So......... yeah, sorry.

I think I'm slowly getting my wits back... Or at least my ability to process the madness going on around me... and thus my ability to process the madness that came before.... (sometimes it blows my mind that I'm STILLLLLL ON TOUR. Still.... I kinda almost feel like how I did in all those years of public school... like I know that SOMEDAY it'll be all over, but it's so far off that dwelling on it's conclusion doesn't make sense... thankfully The Desolation Tour is nothing like 3rd grade... well, other than the constant poop and wiener jokes that go on in the van...)

So this blog is going to cast us back a month or so... as we were moving into the GUTS of the country. As we moved past the GODLESS MECCA OF SIN (Vegas) we entered into the mountain region... with UTAH as our first stop.

Utah was the first place we visited on the tour where I started to notice people staring at us when we went into gas stations and grocery stores. On the west coast we blended in with the general population... our eccentricity being fully noticeable, yet not something that stuck out amidst the fray. UTAH WAS DIFFERENT. Suddenly I was very aware that I was wearing California surfer shorts, Mardi Gras beads and a headband with a feather in it... and my hair suddenly felt WAY longer. Everyone else looked like they shopped at a store called BLAND CLOTHING ETC.

We didn't have a show to play in Utah, but the drive from Vegas to Denver was quite brutal so we broke it up by staying in Moab, Utah at a hostel called the Lazy Lizard.

At the Lazy Lizard, they had a common room where the various travelers could congregate. Here, I would sit and work on Vlogs and various other BATTLEHOOCH RELATED LOGISTICAL STUFF. While I sat in this room, the owner of the establishment (a very humorous fellow with ONE EYE) sat watching "The Shining" and spouting out ridiculous one liners/non sequitors. He was spouting them out faster than I could write them down, but one of my favorites was him talking about the actress, Reese Witherspoon: "Oh yeah, I love [her]... I'd fuck her cat." What could he MEAN by this? He also had lots of little funny little stories about the behind the scenes madness during the filming of "The Shining"... kinda boiled down to Kubrich essentially torturing Shelly Duuvall to get her to give the performance he wanted... and then Jack Nicholson would do the good shit in ONE TAKE. (That movie is awesome.) I wish I had one eye and had funny shit to ramble about in terms of 70s horror movies. (No I Don't)


2 (Important) things did happen in Moab, Utah.

  • THE MUSIC PARK: Utah is covered in Mormon. Moab is a little eccentric oasis amidst this Mormonism. This is perfectly exemplified by the fact that in Moab there is a little park (off the beaten path) where there is a whole gaggle of percussion instruments that are free to be played by the general public. We recorded almost an hour worth of stuff at this park, and it was whittled down for Episode 8 of the VLOG series. This place was truly magical. There should be free musical parks EVERYWHERE... and it was so pleasing that it was found in the middle of MORMONLAND. Weird America. Popping up in the funniest places. Constantly Surprising Me. Redefining WEIRD (WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD WEIRD.)
  • DESOLATION VIDEO #2: Remember our video that we shot in Arizona on the way back from SXSW? That was Desolation Video #1. It was a huge moment for our band because we had discussed the idea of doing shows in the middle of nowhere for a long while BUT THIS TIME WE ACTUALLY DID IT! So, with all our new cameras and all this new terrain we'd be visiting, we decided to try to make more Desolation Videos on this tour (Thus this tour being THE DESOLATION TOUR). With "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" not far from our minds, we found a cool location (off the beaten path) in Arches National Park and lugged ALL OUR GEAR into a red rock canyon... In mid-day desert summer heat... Twas, in a word, BRUTAL. In two words, BRUTAL SAUCE. But wouldn't ya know it!!! we pulled it off!!! BIG THANKS to our sound-guy Gabe Armstrong, who surprised us all with his amazing FILMIC SENSE (yes, I used the word FILMIC) and keen eye for framing shots. His involvement made the shoot VERY SMOOTH. Sadly, I can't show you the video JUST YET because we have big plans for how it'll get unveiled BUT I can show you some of the screen shots to give you a sense of how EPIC this shit was. (EPIC EPIC EPIC EPIC.)

After this point we moved on to Denver, CO. There is a Blog ready to go about our adventures in Denver BUT, wouldn't ya know it.... I've been waiting for DAYS for the Denver Episode to finish processing on YouTube..... (literally Days, yo. been constantly checking it, too) So I'll wrap this blog up with the guarantee that the Denver Blog is coming very very soon.

I know I know... you'll believe it when you see it....