Hey. Tommy here. I’m sitting in a little cafe in Brooklyn, NY outside my cousin Ian’s apartment building. I was keeping a decent current journal but I had no way of posting it on the internet for awhile. So, I’m going to post my first two entries right now. They’re about driving to Baltimore and our experiences there. I should find some time tomorrow to write about New Jersey and New York. I will say right now that this tour has been fucking awesome so far. We’re all in good spirits, and we can’t wait to see how the rest of it pans out. We have to take off for Boston ASAP. So without further ado, here’s the first entry….
3/6/2009 3:30 PM
The “Thunder Child Tour” has begun. What is the Thunder Child? The Thunder Child is the 1997 Dodge Caravan that thundered across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland in the night of March 5, 2009 to carry The Plurals with loyal confidant James Spreitzer to the safe haven of Robbie and Paul McCord in Baltimore, Maryland. Thunder Child came to a well deserved rest outside of the McCord complex at about 8:30 this morning. James, the true champ that he is, piloted Thunder Child for 8 of the 10 hours of the drive. Ohio and Pennsylvania take forever to drive through, and at night it’s completely monotonous, but I’m very glad we drove through the night. It makes it feel like it’s already been days since we’ve been home. It’s beautiful in Baltimore… I slept from 8:30 to 2:00 and I’m now enjoying some coffee in my brother’s apartment while listening to the new U2 album for the first time. My love for U2 is something that I often struggle with… I adore the U2 of the 90s (“Achtung Baby,” “Zooropa,” and especially “Pop”) which doesn’t seem to usually be the case with most people I meet, and the first two U2 albums of this decade have been pretty disappointing. I’m really digging this new one though, it’s definitely more in line with the weird, experimental U2 that I fell in love with, with only one U2-by-numbers song (which is what the last album was 100% composed of) and that song redeems itself to a large degree by having the awesome title “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.” As always, there’s chimy Edge-y guitars and lots of “whoa oh” vocals, but this time they’re not trying too hard to sound like U2, which makes them sound more like U2 to me. I really wish they’d put out another song with Edge on monotonous vocals backed up by vintage synth and Bono’s falsetto shrieks (“Numb”), but I suppose I should be happy that there’s at least one of those songs out there.
So yeah… music. Past readers and friends of mine will remember that I have a really hard time sleeping while in a moving car, and last night was no exception. Even though I barely got six hours of sleep the night before and got up at 8 AM yesterday and had a full day of school, work, and running around prepping for tour, I was generally alert and awake for the majority of the drive last night, which, aside from a couple dozing-off-for-a-few-minutes bouts here and there put me awake for 24 hours by the time we got to Baltimore. Hattie, Nich, and James each got some sleep on the drive, so they went walking around Baltimore when we got to my brothers’ apartment, but I hit the couch promptly. I still remember last night’s playlist though, due to my intense focus on music as my only means of entertainement for 10 hours. Something like this: “Let it Be” by The Replacements, “Rated R” by Queens of the Stone Age, “Come on Pilgrim,” by The Pixies, “Thirteen Songs” by Fugazi, a Frank Zappa album of James’, a Rocket From the Crypt album of James’, a couple random songs – “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangster” by Geto Boys and “Smile” by Lily Allen, “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” by Modest Mouse, random song “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart, “The Bends” by Radiohead, “Fever to Tell” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Angel Dust” by Faith No More, and “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel. Not a bad run.
I just got a call from my brother Robbie. He just got out of work, so he’ll be home in a little while. I’m psyched to see my brothers. We’re actually getting to spend today, tonight, and tomorrow in Baltimore as opposed to the last few times we’ve been here when we’ve just been around for a night, so that’s cool. I’m excited about our show tonight… yeah! Updates forthcoming.
3/7/2009 4:00 PM
Listening to Sugar in my brother’s apartment. We’re taking a quick round of showers before beginning our trip to New Jersey. The show last night was awesome. We played at Metro Gallery, which is an art gallery, bar, and live music venue, so the vibe was really cool and the staff was real easygoing. We played with two Baltimore bands, American Riot and The Rivals. American Riot did a 25 minute set of distorted pop/ rock a la early Replacements and Bay City Rollers (whom they covered). The Rivals closed out the show with a great set of anthemic alternative rock (the good kind). We played their first show ever with them in Baltimore last year and they sounded awesome last night. Super cool guys too, I’m hoping to make it a tradition to play with them in Baltimore. I think our set was really good. I usually know if the set was good if I can barely stand at the end of it. We played a set comprised mostly of songs from the “Whatevers Forever” album and three new songs (“Gaia,” “Queensy,” and “The Sun”). There was a great turnout at the show and everyone seemed really receptive to our music. Basically, about the best you could ask for on the first night of a tour in a town where we’re relatively unknown. We made vague plans with the manager to come back in late June, so… looks like Baltimore and The Plurals will continue to be friends. Yay.
After the show we hung out in the Forest Hill neighborhood of Baltimore where my brothers live. It’s basically the “college town” part of Baltimore, and walking around at 1:30 AM there is akin to doing the same in East Lansing except there’s a bar on every block for several blocks. Nich, James, and I walked around and made a game out of saying stereotypical “bro” things as we walked by groups of bros getting out of the bar – a couple lines I delivered were “Bro, I don’t mean to get fresh but that shit was just fuckin’ ‘tarded” and “Bro, I know you thought that bitch was tight but she was a fuckin skank.” Then things gradually got more absurd, leading me to saying when we walked by some wasted guys hanging outside an apartment: “I mean, what do you do when you’re asked to assist a suicide?” Our enemy is the status quo, our only friend is chaos.
We wanted to get a couple beers before we called it a night, but the bars were expensive and all of the liquor stores close at 9 for some reason, so we were resigned to concluding the night dry. As we were walking back to my brothers’ apartment after our bro-baiting adventure there was a big truck blocking a side street and the 50ish guy driving it was talking to a woman and not paying attention to anything around. We noticed a pack of Miller Lite in the bed of his truck and as we walked around the truck Nich reached right into the bed and pulled out three beers as we kept walking. Laughing all the way back to the apartment, we retired by enjoying our sweet Miller Lite and watching “Billy Madison” on the On Demand.
We spent today hanging out in the Fells’ Point neighborhood of Baltimore where there were a lot of record stores and hipster stuff of the like. My brothers treated us to a nice greasy breakfast at a diner called Jimmy’s (excellent home fries, might I add). We stopped at the nationally reknowned record shop Sound Garden (great name) and Hattie and Nich picked up some records. My brothers are awesome… they treated us to a great time out here, and it’s awesome that it’s just the beginning of tour. Of course, we’re probably experiencing the nicest weather of the trip, but… yeah, tour! Jersey’s coming up in a few hours… we’ve never had a bad time there. Looks like my shower turn is here. Thunder Child, go!
Though I generally despise all 90’s era U2, Numb was a pretty cool song. Have a good rest of tour and give me a call when y’all get home.