Thursday, February 10, 2011



(THE REALNESS) Out of all the places we visited on the 2010 Desolation Tour, Detroit sticks out as being the most Desolate place we visited... except for maybe that 12 hour drive from Austin, TX to Las Crucas, NM... there is literally NOTHING out there.

(Far as I can tell) Detroit is essentially the ghost town of America. One day while we were staying there, I took a cursory look around the neighborhood and realized that AT LEAST 80% of the nearby buildings were condemned. FACT: the population of Detroit has gone down from 2 million to 900,000 in the past 20 years. MARINATE ON THAT, YO.

It never occurred to me that places like Detroit exist in America.

A Brokedown Palace.

America is supposed to be the land of prosperity.... Yet Detroit is literally crumbling at this very moment. We shot a desolation video there in an abandoned car factory... whole floors had collapsed.... there was graffiti and broken widows everywhere... tons of piles of JUNK and CRAP. Spooky as all hell. Don't even get me started on what the downtown area reminded me of....

(PRODUCTION NOTE: This particular desolation shoot was cut short because we got spooked by all the homeless people that were lurking around the car factory, eyeing our expensive gear and our scrawniness... far from "police protection"... that's why that particular video is a little more on the raw side... cause it was MORE RAW. RAW-ER. RAAAAAAAAAAAAWR. (P.S.) - They were filming Transformers 3 nearby. No joke.)

The people I saw walking on the streets of Detroit looked SO HARD.... as if their bones were made out of steel. COLD SKELETONS.


SORRY. sorry. You are correct. No need to dwell on how messed up Detroit is... because Detroit is also TOTALLY GREAT! Don't believe me? Watch the #15 VLOG and you'll SEE that we had a great time...

SERIOUSLY. We had a $%#^@ (Hi Ryan!!) great time in Detroit. Hung out with our booking agent Kim Paris, visited the original Motown studios, etc. and so forth... good times. We found this excellent street fair called the DALLY IN THE ALLEY and got in some much needed (musically, spiritually and financially) street performing. Lots of new friends. Even though the city seemed kinda dour and down in the dumps, there was still lots of friendly smiles and dancing feet to be found.

Good vibes from the people of Detroit.

So peep the VLOG, dig the latest Desolation Video and enjoy a collection of some of the band's favorite jams that came from the Motor City:

Stevie Wonder - "I Was Made To Love Her"
(There are simply too many Motown songs we love so I just picked this one cause its... well... you know... just listen....)

Iggy Pop/The Stooges - "Penetration"
(FUN FACT. We played this song at the very first ever BATTLEHOOCH show. Were YOU there?)

DJ Assault - "Yo Relatives"
(DJ Assault is a genius. The end.)

The Amboy Dukes - "Journey To The Center Of Your Mind"

The White Stipes.....


The White Stripes broke up last week.

13 years and 6 amazing albums (seriously, not one of their albums if close to bad... all awesome in their own way).

No one died so I'll spare you a long winded rant about the White Stripes and how important they are to me a la my homage to Captain Beefheart (Audience member: "THANKS!"). Bottom line, I thought they were the bees knees and Jack White is easily one of my very very favorite songwriters and guitar players. I was lucky enough to see em live a couple of times (on the Elephant tour. boom.) and it really did feel like I was seeing one of the GREATS. Ya, know. They were HUGE. Titans. Giants. My favorite memory of seeing them live was when they busted out a medley of "Lets Shake Hands", Bob Dylan's "Isis" and the Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Man". It was REALLY exciting. So stoked I got to see the epicness that was their cover of Death Letter Blues LIVE!!! Just two people laying it down HEAVY and I could've listened to it for hours.

Anywho. LOVE THEM. And really.. kinda glad they stopped when they did. That way, they'll have never released a bad album... goin' out on top. What a career.


Here is a small hand full of some of my favorite White Stripes songs (songs, not VIDEOS, even though pretty much ALL their videos are epic...)






Thursday, February 3, 2011



Part 1

Part 2


What you will learn about is the following: Reality.

Yes, we toured for 4 months. Yes, it was the most fun I've ever had in my life. Yes, we met some incredible people/bands. Yes, there was something enjoyable every where we went...

(here it comes.....)


(Here's where Reality creeps in...)

Life on the road during this trip was not one glorious sequence of huge victories. Before we reached New York we had a roughly 2 week stretch of shows/driving that literally zig-zaged (spell check didn't like that last word) across the heartland of America. These weeks were more trying than previous weeks, which had seen an abundance of memorable shows, insanely good times and steady financial standings. Which brings us to THE SPRAWL: The place where skin was thickened and dues were paid.


What is THE SPRAWL you may ask?

THE SPRAWL is the space in between the coasts. THE SPRAWL is the guts of this country. THE SPRAWL is miles and miles and miles of (apparently) very little. THE SPRAWL is a different country. The SPRAWL is THIS country. THE SPRAWL is MOST of this country. THE SPRAWL is different from everywhere else I've been.
(THE SPRAWL is also an Arcade Fire song... about the same place. It is amazing and was definitely was on my mind while we were traveling through this area. )

THE SPRAWL is the land of HUGE churches. Sarah Palin voters. Midwestern Kindness. Vast oceans of wheat. The sweetest corn I've ever eaten. Salt of the Earth. REAL America. Drawls. Drawls in the Sprawl. (Space all around me where my soul can breathe.)

Each day the drives were enormous... something like 8-9 hours on average (cue the sound of violins playing tragic music). We were rapidly arriving/leaving from brand new places at a disorienting rate. In some cities, we only spent 4 or 5 hours in it before we hit the road. It was hard to wrap my head around the fact that each place was a unique entity, with it's own vibe and personality. More so than almost any other stretch of the tour, our time in THE SPRAWL felt the most like a dream.

When you're an up and coming band booking your own shows in new towns, it's inevitable that there will be some bummer shows. (FACT OF LIFE). More specifically: sparsely attended shows with bands that we don't really enjoy that much (Don't worry THE MATT DAMON EXPERIENCE, I'm not talking about you guys. Ya'll are boss in my book). These shows get ya down but like I said, its part of the gig... part of payin' DUES. However, when shows like this start to become more common, it gets harder and harder to remain cheerful and keep the cynicism at bay. This started to (kinda) happen during our time in THE SPRAWL.

One starts thinking about THE BIG PICTURE. One starts to compare the amount of time and effort expended with the net result of what they get back and it often seems wildly lop sided. You suddenly realize that you're miles and miles from home, eating poorly, sleeping poorly.... and you don't even know what CITY you're in. (Bring back the sad violin music, please). It can also get pretty strange because we're constantly playing the same songs over and over again. You know how if you have to write a word over and over again it starts to just look like gibberish after a while......


(You know where you are? You're in THE SPRAWL, baby. You're gonna die!!!!!!!)

Now, lets be clear... I'm not saying THE SPRAWL is a bad place and I'm not saying that all our shows in THE SPRAWL sucked. We had amazing shows (Holla Chicago! Newport! Detroit!), met wonderful peeps (Brendasaurus Rex! Another shout out to The Matt Damon Experience!) and we are hugely grateful for the hard work of our booking agent Kim Paris. She did an awesome job helping us with our tour and we know booking shows is seriously BRUTAL. We love her and are thankful for all her hard work.

The way I see it, these Blog posts are meant to sort of help tell the story of the Desolation Tour Experience. (RIGHT?) Therefore, the bleak and trying times must be represented as much as the fun and silly times. Driving those huge distances, having bunk shows.... it really gave me a sense of how mammoth the task is that we're embarking on.


We're trying to operate on a national level and on this tour I really got a taste of what doing such a thing really MEANT. Our country is huge! So many different kinds of people! So many different kinds of philosophies! So many unknowns! Nowhere else was this concept more vividly experience than during our time in THE SPRAWL. This was a crucial part of the overall Desolation Tour experience because this was essentially what the whole tour was about.... seeing the WHOLE country and seeing what happens when BATTLEHOOCH dives into it's center.


I don't know.

Even just thinking/talking about THE SPRAWL I feel like I'm getting overwhelmed. Trying to keep my head above water. It's so big... (SOOOO BIIIIG) There's so much space between thoughts... between people... and somehow we have to figure out how to tell THE SPRAWL about BATTLEHOOCH.

I think in the end all I can say about my time in THE SPRAWL on this tour... much like the tour itself... it was utterly dizzying and it's grandeur and scope was almost too much for me to fully take in...

...but I'm intrigued. It would be easy to just write it off and look at the negatives. ("It is kinda boring, barren and backwoods", says the hater) It would be easy to just say "FUCK THE SPRAWL". But that would be a disservice to all the wonderful peeps that dwell in SPRAWL (and love living in the SPRAWL!) The SPRAWL is too big and unexplored to write off at this point. As weird as it may seem, THE SPRAWL is still part of America... and from what I've seen America is a pretty groovy place and worth giving the benefit of the doubt.

We're going back into THE SPRAWL in the near future... when we know how to maximize the effectiveness of our time spent there... and I look forward to exploring it more and trying to connect with it further.