Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thunder Gunt Rampage Tour- October 8-31 2009 with The Grates Part 2

October 17th- Portland, Oregon Scion/Vice GarageFest at Someday Lounge

We were looking forward to this festival for so long. Personally, my head would explode every time I looked at the line up. All my favorite bands!! Although I was disappointed the Sonics didn't end up being there, like it said on the original list, I was still very psyched. And we were finally feeling well enough to really shake it down!
So we got up that morning to go to our interview. (all the bands had to do one) We had to get our stuff from the van into one of the Artist shuttles, but it was on the top floor of a parking garage about a block away and it was raining. So we grabbed one of those carts for luggage and started walking it down the block, but was very shortly cut off. Apparently its not allowed. Sooooo after every body finally dragged everything to the shuttle, we headed off. The interview was really boring, Ill admit. I don't think the guy even gave a shit or had ever listened to our band. Or if he did he must not of been that impressed. But still a nice chap. Afterwards we went to some restaurant, which I swear was called "The Diner" and Nikki swears it was called "The Dineraunt". Nikki's Portland and Olympia friends showed up and made everything crazy, as usual. We had to get out of there and load-in after the showed up, but once we got to the Someday a band was soundchecking and the show had been pushed back almost an hour. We hung out there and did an interview and drank some PBRs till we played. The show was pretty fun, there was a ton of energy floatin around, and all Nikki's friends we in the front dancing and singing and heckling. It did kinda suck that every thing was running so late because they really were pushing us to get set up quickly and since we weren't using our own amps we didn't really have enough time to get the right sound. Plus we spent the majority of the set up time trying to figure what to do considering one of the amps didnt work. BUT the crowd made up for our stress and I think we might have even converted a few "im too garage to like those darlins". My only other complaint was that since the show got pushed back I missed one of the bands I wanted to see the most, the Almighty Defenders, a Black Lips and King Khan and BBQ collaboration. Bummer.
After we loaded out we were headed back to the hotel to drop our stuff off, and we ran into half of the Defenders, including King Khan, who immediately recognized us as his soon to be tour partners. It was our first time meeting and I was pretty excited! They were headed back to the hotel as well so we all hopped in the shuttle together and went back.
We dropped our stuff back to the hotel and went back to the Someday lounge, to catch Cheap Time. As we were waiting, this band the Box Elders played before them. We were in the green room hanging with Ian from the Lips when he had the great idea to share this giant bowl of tortilla chips with the audience. We ran out on stage, he held the bowl while I threw them out. They fell like feathers, It was beeauutifull. and everybody was reaching out and opening their mouths. They were so happy. Ian put the bowl on his head for a minute, then he broke it. Then we crowd surfed away. Apparently the stage manager was pretty mad. Those chips were for the artists BOOHOO.
Next up came Cheap Time, which for some reason this was my first show seeing them. Our friend Ryan Sweeney who lives in Nashville is playing drums with them, and we were happy to run into him. Anyway, I was not let down, they put on a great show. I was a little sad there were no chips left to throw...
After they got done playing it got to the point where I kind of lost track of time and reality. Since the festival was all in one day, to see all the bands I wanted to I should've been on my game, but instead I was like I normally am so I missed a bunch of cool bands I wanted to see. I just can't do festivals right. Next thing we did after hanging out backstage for a while longer was head over to Berbati's Pan, to catch the Spits. It was SOoooooOOoo packed in there and everything was crazy, but they were really really good. I mean, damn fine shit. If you ever have a chance to go see them you should!!!
They left the stage and we left the annoyingly full crowd and went and found the green room, where the Lips and spits and a million other people were hanging. I can't legally disclose the events of this part of the story. Just Kidding. It was just a buncha people drinking beer, just like up stairs but smokier. And the bathroom had a clogged toilet full of shit, it was disgusting.
The green room was soon emptied by roky erikson's tour manager. He needed his space, yo! So I went upstairs and solidified my spot next to the stage for the Black lips. Was was a pretty comfortable spot soon turned awful after a million more people crammed in. I didnt care though, I would not give up my spot. The Lips were great as usual, but my head we right next to Ian's amp and Jareds Bass amp, so thats really all I could hear the whole time. And it was fuckin LOUD. But it was still so so so good. And I had a real nice view of Ian when he went over to the bar and ran all along, and then tried to drink straight from the tap only to get yelled at by the bartender, in which his response was to break a beer bottle and wave it around and then instead of inflicting harm just started using it as a slide for his guitar. Good stuff. I was really really starving by the time they finished so lin, Byron, and I went and found this fish stand. It was just like a taco truck but they had fish and chips and sandwiches. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOO amazingly good. I got a red snapper sandwich, and it comes with this amazing cole slaw on the sandwich. Unfortunately it knocked me into a food coma and mixed with the PBR I just couldn't stand up anymore, so they put me on a shuttle back to the hotel. For a "nap." They were instructed to wake me up once everyone got back to the hotel so I could hang out, but unfortunately the 12 hour drive and 3 shows the days before was wearing on me, so once they finally did try to wake me up, I didn't budge. Meanwhile they had stayed for Roky Ericson, which they report was "OK" and they caught a little bit of king khan and BBQ which they report they though "wait a second, what are we doing. we are getting ready to see this every night for a month!" Kelley and NIkki were MIA as well, but they had been gone all day. I will say, the bed was comfortable though, as disappointed as I was when I woke up and realized it was 6 am. Oh well.... sometimes you just gotta get some sleep.

Above: outside the hotel the next morning, a whole lotta garage bands.

above: portland in the fall, from a car window.

October 18th Eugene, Oregon Sam Bond's Garage

We showed up to Eugene a couple hours early. A lovely lady named Laura Lee asked us to come by her clothing shop, Redoux, for some complimentary pairs of bloomers! We headed that way, but she wasn't there yet, so lin and I went and ate at the restaurant next door called the Laughing Planet. It was good, they had a lot of burritos. I got a Vietnamese Burrito, which was just like your average vietnamese tofu dish except all wrapped up in a burrito!

above: laura lee

When Laura Lee arrived I went over to join the girls and WOW! what a great store. They had some used clothing but it was mostly a bunch of handmade clothes, and accessories etc. The girls who work there/own it were great. Very Darlin! They also had a keg of a local beer that was delicious. They know how to do it right. We got some amazing stuff, including my new egyptian headdress.

The Grates came over and hung out as well. It put me in a great mood, and I was suddenly really excited for the show. We went over to load-in and met the boys from Digital Leather, who were the headliners that night. They came back to the store with us, where we got into our show clothes. Laura Lee gave one of them a pair of iridescent bloomers with pink fur around the bottom. He wore them on stage.
When we showed up the Grates were already playing, and to say it was empty was an understatement. There were very very few people there, but the grates were totally on and Patience did such a good job with the crowd. She had everybody's complete attention. John's microphone stand broke and she was using it as a prop, like a cane, a horse, and the funniest- a trombone. Finally our turn was up and I think maybe 2 more people were there.... BUT it was sad at all because the girls from the store, and a few other hardcore darlins fans that we had no idea we had in Eugene, were dancing like crazy! It was so fun. It was all empty except for about 6 girls in the middle of the room going craaaazzzzyyyy. Yeah!!
While Digital Leather was playing it was even worse, all the girls left and there was one lone dude standing in the middle of the room. Nikki was sneaking up behind him and shaking parmesan cheese on his shoulders. He probably got home and decided to by some Head and Shoulders.... Anyway, we started dancing on the last song, nikki was holding the parmesan cheese sprinkler in one hand and the red pepper on in the other, and using them as dance props. After doing this all night the bartender finally noticed, he was not happy. sorry it was a she. I couldnt tell. AH zing
Anyway, the sound guy told Digital Leather they had to stop playing because of the police? I think it was just bullshit and a way to get us to leave. Either way they were on their last song anyway so it was fine.
We stayed with one of the girls from the shop, Crystal. They went on a heroic drive back to the shop to get the rest of the keg. We hung out and talked with some very intelligent people and talked about the universe and things like that. And played with the cats for a while. Next thing I know I was being awoken from my chair to go inside and sleep next to the fire place. mmm warm.

October 19th- Day off, Drive from Eugene to San Francisco

The half of us at crystal's house met the half of us that stayed somewhere else at the World Cafe. I had the Huevos Rancheros and it was fantastic.

We were taken to the Eugene Leather supply store, where they had the most amazing selection of fox tails, faces, coyote faces, skunk faces, and full coyote pelts. They also had a bunch of great moccasin and leather painting and carving kits. Its where the real cowboys shop!
As we drove down Byron started on his annoying quest to get IN-and-OUT burger. I am a vegetarian (yeah, i didn't eat the whole damn thing...) and so I was wholly uninterested but he just wouldn't shutup. somehow we always missed the exits that had them, and this made him go on and on even more. We stayed with our friend Antler again, and we got to his house around 12. I had slept almost the entire 8 hours of the drive, so I went up to the roof and sat for a while, trying to get sleepy. I finally just made myself sleep, and when I woke up I had finally caught up and was bing bam boom.

October 20th- San Francisco Rickshaw Stop

Our manager JT flew in that morning. Byron went and picked him up from the airport. We ate at a place called Green Chile Cafe. I got a green chile burrito, it ruled. We had a quick meeting with JT and then headed to soundcheck. This show had another band on the bill as well, The Choir of Young Believers, who were from Denmark. Between them and the Grates, It was an international line up!! The bill was kind of a strange match but I think people enjoyed the diversity. When we played we had some serious dancers. I love dancers... we should have a dance-o-meter to determine which cities are the best dancers. Anyway, it was rowdy and fun, and afterwards a really sweeeet fan gave us a bouquet of flowers!! We've never gotten flowers before. That was really special to me.

I had accidentally slammed my guitar head into my chin because my strap fell off, and it was right before we played the first song. I tried to stand there and pretend like my jaw didnt feel like it was broken. YOu know, just looking cool. The next day I had a bruise on my chin, but it was a perfect circle and it was only as big as a pea.
Considering our booking agency is based out of San Francisco,it makes sense that our friends Zach and Meredith from highroad were there. After the show we all went to some other bar to hang out, and on the way JT and kelley rode in the back of Merediths truck. It was freakin hilarious, but Im really glad we didnt get pulled over. When Kelley and NIkki walked into the bar they were wearing furs and it dawned on me when the people in the bar were staring at them. I was waiting for the paint. It was pretty funny though. There was a jazz band playing, and we got hooked up with free drinks. Nikki got an Ike turner, a shot of hennessy and a slap in the face. He really slapped her too. I dont think it was worth the shot of hennessy though. that shit is nasty. Thats probably why she puked it all up afterwards.
Alana and Ty from the Grates came with us to hang out. Unfortunately John Grates' sickness had turned into pneumonia so him and Patience were at the hospital getting him all set. Alana brought it to our attention that Ty had fallen asleep on the couch, and she was worried about him and thought she should take him home. We told her it was okay as long as nobody was bothering him, and she should stay and hang out. She pointed out the fact that his shirt was pulled up and his belly was hanging out, and people kept coming up and rubbing it. So we took care of it. Linwood went and pulled his shirt down.
When we finally left, I had to walk back to merediths truck to get my purse, and I found two great pairs of shoes. yay more prizes.

October 21st- Day off, Drive to LA

I ate at a coffee shop by myself because I was too hungry to continue searching for a better place. It wasn't disappointing though, and I had some fresh squeezed OJ that was delicious. A good meal on the road is really like a diamond in the rough. It can be the highlight of your day. That and a good bed.
Anyway, we had to go get Kelley fingerprinted so she can get into Canada, because they dont let pirates into their country, and she has a bad history of high seas jewelry theft and is wanted for the murder of 3 sailors. While we were waiting we stopped by another health food store and I got a mango kombucha. It seemed to me that it had gone bad, because it wasn't fizzy like normal, but it tasted fine. We found ourselves wandering if it was just the flavor. Anybody have any light to shed on this??
We got to LA really super late. We stayed at the cheapest hotel we could find, and it was really terrible. We also go the "family room" which had 3 beds and a pullout couch all crammed into one tiny room. there was crayon and marker all over the walls and it smelled awful. Home sweet home!! The Grates were actually in the room next to us, so we got to be neighbors.

PART 3 Coming Soon!!!

Thunder Gunt Rampage Tour- October 8-31 2009 with The Grates PART 1


October 8th- Little Rock, Arkansas White Water Tavern
Our first date with the Grates! We drove from Murfreesboro that day, all pondering on what they would be like. I also had a BBQ tofu sandwich from White Water Tavern on my mind. If you are ever passing through there, you should check that out. I highly recommend.
It was also our first tour with a trailer. We just can't do it without one now... Our mental well being was at stake. We were all very excited for the extra space!

As we were leaving Kelley mentioned she was feeling a bit under the weather... which by the time we made it to the venue I was feeling a bit off myself. We had no idea how much of a dreadful foreshadowing this would prove to be.
After meeting the Grates I made my way over and ordered the BBQ tofu sandwich. Unfortunately when it came I was full from the gross gas station tuna sandwich I had forced down my esophagus earlier. So I nibbled a bit and decided to get take-out.
The show proceeded, opening with the Grates, who are from Australia. We were all impressed with the lead singer Patience's out going nature and way of connecting with the crowd. Very upbeat and energetic. Unfortunately I got up to use the bathroom in during their set and a bartender swiped my sandwich! I was devastated but they calmed me down enough to play.... Seriously if there is one thing in life i can't stand it is my food getting messed with. Especially food you dream about for months. Despite it all the show was fun! We stayed with bar owner Matt White, who had just moved in to his new and awesome house. I was starving upon arrival and Lin and I went on a very Hunter S Thompson style search for food, ending up at a gas station with the choice between a can of tuna or a can of spaghetti-o's. I bought them both and headed home, soon after consuming the can of tuna. It was disgusting. Next thing I know i was puking off the back porch. I'm pretty sure either that tuna was bad or I just shouldnt have ate that much tuna in one day. Either way, what a way to start the tour!

October 9th- Norman Oklahoma The Opolis
Kelley and I awoke to a confirmation that both of us were sick. I was feeling a couple steps above a bad cold, but not anything serious. I slept the 5 hours to Norman, trying to sweat it out. Nikki mentioned a few of the same symptoms we had the day before, it had spread. We all knew it was downhill from there.
Unfortunately, in the panic and sickly haze, we forgot about an on air interview for a Norman radio station... And again apologies to everyone involved.
The Opolis was a pretty cool spot. It is owned by the band the Starlight Mints, who were very nice people.
After load-in we went to the Pink Elephant, a small place about a block away. It had a bit of a weird vibe but the food was really good. I got some soup for my sick self. After soundcheck we had an interview so we went back to the pink elephant. There we met Jesus. Or apparently he was actually David. Whatever. We put him on the list.
We had a few super fans at the show, which I wasn't aware that we had in Norman. My favorite was the big guy with the bottle of jack.
That night we drove to Oklahoma City after the show, where Byron had some friends from high school. I went to bed early, and for some reason they all decided to stay up until 6 AM playing really stupid drinking games. Nikki said it felt like she was back in her old frat again...
I developed a fever that night.

October 10th- Lawrence, KS Jackpot Music Hall

I could tell I had a pretty bad fever when I woke up because when I took a hot shower I shivered the whole time. I spent the 5 hours drive trying to keep warm, but it just kept getting worse and worse. When we finally showed up to Byron's moms house I couldn't hardly move. Lin halfway carried me into the house, where the Grates were meeting Byron's mom. They had brought her a cake and flowers, how sweet!
I slumped over on the couch until Lin got me a thermometer, 103.4 degrees... I was shuttled upstairs immediately, pumped with medicine, and left to sleep it off. Meanwhile I can hear the Grates and the Darlins and Byron's family having a gay old time downstairs. boo.
Byron's mom made us all some yummy pizza and some soup for me. After several hours of passing in and out, hallucinating, and shivering, it was time to go play a show!! My temperature had went down some, around 102. I slept in the green room up until we played, and then commenced sleeping as soon as we were done. To be honest I don't remember what the show was like at all. I do remember I had to change my shirt that night 4 times from sweating through it!!
But I was really glad to be in the hospitality of a mom. Even if she wasn't my own...

sad and sick nikki

October 11th- Day off, drive from Lawrence to Denver

Awoke to 99.8 and was feeling like a million bucks compared to the day before. Unfortunately it was Nikki's turn to be the awful sick on this day.
Byron's mom fixed us a big breakfast of eggs and bacon and pancakes and fruit and everything a breakfast should have. Yummm.
We left a little later than planned, it was hard to rally the troops what with all the good hospitality, comfortable beds, and miserable states of being. Nobody wanted to get in that van, especially not for 8.5 hours. But we eventually made it in.
The drive went fine until we got about 3 or 4 hours from Denver, and as the altitude started to rise, the sun started to fall, and the temperature dropped below 30. And it was raining. The worst part was Deertick John had flown in to Denver, taking a break from his tour, to visit fiance Nikki Darlin. So he was waiting on us, and she was sick! Things on our end just kept getting worse... There was a ton of ice on the road, and after seeing a ton of tractor trailers almost swerve off the road, and almost loosing the control of our van/trailer on about 10 bridges, we just had to call it too dangerous to drive. We found a little hotel 2 hours from Denver, which definitely must've been a retirement home at some point. And I'm pretty sure the beds were made of cardboard. Byron and Lin went to sleep crossing their fingers... they were the only uninfected of the group!

October 12th- Denver, CO HI-DIve

Next morning- it may look like snow but in fact it was just ice! everything was white, but it was much easier to drive than the night before. We checked into our hotel in Denver and it was awesome! The most comfortable beds ever! that made me very happy. I took a great big nap.
On our way to the venue this guy flicked us off and told us to stay in our lane, honking the horn furiously. We all laughed as we pulled up to the red light beside him. He was ready and waiting for the window to roll down. Lin, who was riding in the copilot seat, took the opportunity and pushed every button this guy had. He looked like Bob, the evil spirit and antagonist in the Twin Peaks series. His skin was very porous, and it looked like he had smoked 20 million cigarettes in his life. Highlights:
"Why don't you stay in your own fucking lane?"
Lin-"Where are you from?"
"I'm from Denver you fucking faggot, where the fuck are you from?"
Lin- "Thank god i'm not from Denver if everyone looks like you do!"
"Stay outta my lane, go back to where you came from you faggot, Why dont you go suck a dick"
Lin- "How many dicks do you want me to suck?"
"I don't care how many dicks you suck, faggot. Fuck you!!"
Lin- "hey man, let me ask you something"
"what the fuck do you want??"
Lin- "do you got any extra cigarrettes?" (the man is smoking a cigarette)
"If I did I sure as fuck wouldn't give you any, faggot"
Lin- "What Kind do you smoke?"
"something something faggot something faggy fag...."
Lin-"Do you smoke Charlemagne's?"
"Learn how to fucking drive and shut the fuck up"
Lin- "Im not driving dummy!!!!!!! you got the wrong guy but ill pass it along!"

Our friends the Nicotene Fits opened that night, they're from Denver. The show was fun, although I was still finding it hard to put forth a ton of energy. Ty had been stricken by the undiagnosed sickness... He was so sick he couldn't play. Which luckily for them they used to be a three piece so they knew how to pull it off. Guess he isn't as much of a hard ass as me... haha or maybe he's just not as stupid. Either way, we felt bad that we had gotten him sick, and knew it was inevitable the others would probably get it too. What can I say, Those Darlins make an impression I guess.

Patience and I both noticed that it was really hard to sing at such a high altitude. Up there where there's less oxygen. A mile high!

October 13th- Day off, Drive from Denver to Salt Lake City

Ate at a pretty good Mediterranean place called Abe's. Byron claims we "cleaned up" and Lin says he "french dipped twice." After eating we went to a health food store and LOADED UP on stuff to make us feel better. We had all reached the plateau of the sickness, where it inevitably settled into our chest, giving us horrendous coughs and wheezing chests. But at least we didn't feel like crap anymore. We got some Eucalyptus oil for decongesting, Lung tonic, Cough Syrup, Throat Spray, and Ear Candles. And some tea tree oil toothpicks to chew on in place of cigarettes. We really get down in health food stores. The Grates were also familiar with homeopathic remedies, we totally nerded out.

It was another 8 hour drive that was mostly uneventful. We did stop at this rest stop/diner that was pretty cool. And there was this big golden lab that tried to follow us into the restaurant who was lost. He had a rope on his called that had been ripped. When we left the restaurant he was still waiting outside, so we played with him for a while and debated stealing him because he ruled... We all packed up in the van and watched the dog slowly run over to another lady who yelled at him to get away. It was heart wrenching. We sat in silence for a while, watching, and Byron didn't even start the car. Finally Lin spoke up, "should I go check his collar and see if there's a number to call?" "YES!!" we all said in unison. He chased him down but unfortunately no luck, no number. We bid him adieu as his dough eyes sadly watched us drive away.

October 14th- Salt Lake City, Utah Kilby Court

Kilby Court was our first All Ages show on the tour. It was really cool. You can't drink there but it's worth it to have a space where the under 18 crowd can see music. And the promoters for All ages are always so much more hospitable and appreciate what you do. Lance, who owns Kilby court and also the bigger, main venue in town, was so sweet. He made us dinner, vegetable curry. YUM.
The space was really cool too, and the weather was just right. Not too hot, not too cold. The Kilby Court has a room for the venue on one side, then a big courtyard with a drink and snack stand, and the merch room and green room across the courtyard. In the middle they have a little fire pit, and it was very cozy.
Today was the first day we were all feeling well enough to hang out, but Alana and John had caught the sickness as well. Really not cool. I think Patience ended up getting a little sick, but for the most part her, byron, and lin avoided the bug. Lucky bastards.

October 15th- "Day Off"

Twelve and a half hour drive. Bah humbug.

October 16th- Seattle, Washington KEXP, Sonic Boom, Sunset Tavern

It was raining when we arrived. Of course! We ate at some Mexican food chain, it was okay. Then we hurried over to KEXP to record some songs and do an interview for the radio. You can check it out online. They had some pretty good coffee and it was a good time. And they had a table that had a mama hen and her chiclets mosaic'd in.

We headed straight the record store Sonic Boom after KEXP to play for the 2nd time that day. It was a great record store. I love record store employees. They are usually really sweet and appreciative of you being there. Especially the owners. I guess a record store is usually more of a labor of love than a business venture. Anyway, the stage at Sonic Boom is crazy because it is in the corner where normally there are more record shelves, but when a band comes they pull out this big wooden stage and lay it over top of them. It ends up being something like 10 feet high. When you play it feels like your in the Crow's Nest of a ship, everybody's face is lower than your feet. it ruled.
Next we wheeled our stuff around the corner to Sunset Tavern, where we met up with the Grates again. The Sunset Tavern was apparently a huge part of the grunge scene and Eddie Vedder still hangs out there. And also the dudes from Guns and Roses. Either way, we didn't see any flannel sportin' celebrities but there WAS a wall to wall packed house! It was awesome. The crowd was really warm and jiggly. Definitely the best show on the tour in terms of attendance. But my adrenaline from the show was soon killed as I was crammed back into the van to go to Portland. I slept the whole way, and we arrived at the hotel at 5:30 in the morning. We were playing the Vice/Scion Garagefest the next day and all the bands were staying in the same hotel. When we arrived there were still a handful of garagers standin outside, one of them including Jared from the Black Lips.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dr. Dog Dates

We played in Asheville, NC, New Orleans, and Baton rouge with Dr. Dog, but I unfortunately only got pictures of the new orleans show...

McMinnville, TN- Cumberland Caverns

We played in a cave with Charlie Louvin 333 ft under the ground! it was awesome. It's the same cave that silver jews played their last show in, and we were the 2nd rock n roll band (them being first) to ever play there. We were actually the 2nd band to ever even bring a drumkit down there. It sounded soo awesome. It really fit us because we are part vampire any way.

Afterwards we went out to eat with our manager JT and his gal Bonnie, and friends brian and james toth.

Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival (bristol tn/va)

Home of the first recording site of the Original Carter Family!