3/11/2009 1:30 PM
All right. I’m sitting in the living room of Jeremy Rizik’s house in Winthrop, MA just outside of Boston. Jeremy’s roommates are playing an organ in the kitchen while cooking. I’m going to do my best to keep this chronological. I’m probably going to get interrupted and I’ll be forced to stop writing for awhile. Lots of stuff happened.
We got rolling out of Baltimore right around 5 PM. It was fairly uneventful leaving the city. I don’t recall all of the playlist, but I know we started out listening to “Cheap Trick” by Cheap Trick and spent most of the drive listening to Motown singles. The show was at a place called The All Call Inn in Ewing, NJ which is just west of Trenton. We were originally going to do the show at The Mill Hill Basement in Trenton, which is one of our absolute favorite venues to play, but it got double booked so we did the show at All Call. We pulled up and it was just a straight looking neighborhood bar in, well, a neighborhood. I would’ve been pretty nervous about this being our show if the guy at the door wasn’t wearing a Pats!e t-shirt (our friend Dale’s old band from Trenton). We were the first band at the show, but it was really nice out so we hung out in a parking lot across the street where our van was parked and waited for people to show. The first people to show up of our friends were the band DEMO, which is our old friend Dale and his drummer Greg. Although I only see him a couple times a year, I really do consider Dale to be one of my best friends so it was really good seeing him. Not much later, I was standing in the parking lot when I hear a car pull in and a distinct Jersey voice yell “fuckin’ hippies!” which could only mean that Taff, the former singer of The Rape Babies and the current singer of Too Much Too Fast Too Soon, had arrived. The rest of the band was there too, which is comprised of Dim and Goggles (also ex-Rape Babies) on guitar and drums and a fellow named Jack on bass. Too Much Too Fast Too Soon was only playing their fourth show, but a band consisting largely of members of The Rape Babies was surely going to be awesome. The show finally got started with a band from Cincinnati called Portocal, and we all finally started hanging out in the bar where we discovered our undoing: $1 PBRs. These $1 PBRs were on draft, kinda stale tasting, but it was a room full of rough rock and roll bands and touring veterans, so it’s safe to say we partook liberally. Some familiar faces were scattered around the room, Portocal was rocking, the PBR was flowing. Soon enough, DEMO was set up, with a third member now on backing vocals, samples, and a floor tom, in addition to weird projected images. They were bone crushingly loud, with a great vibe from the heavy psychedelic music and the trippy images. They still busted out an old classic of Dale’s called “Real Man” that I’ve seen him play with every band he’s been in while I’ve known him. More people were trickling in and DEMO played an awesome set. What? The PBR haze was getting thick at this point. It’s time for us to play? Oh man!!
(We’re going to go into Boston for some breakfast. More updates forthcoming).
3/11/2009 7:30 PM
So, where I left off, we were about to play our set. It was exciting to play in New Jersey for the first time with the “Whatevers Forever” album out. Admittedly, we drank more than normal before we played – it was difficult as we were in a room full of friends, in town for the first time in a year, Nich had just turned 21, and… PBRs were only a dollar. We took the stage, and from the first chord of our opening “Sing Along” the room was singing and rocking out. We did a set similar to the night before, with a couple less album songs and our new-ish song “New Age” making an appearance. The set was a haze, and we were certainly looser than any other night of tour thus far, but the room was with us every step of the way, and it felt good. Halfway through our set I noticed Mark Vella, the former bassist of The Rape Babies, rocking out on the floor. I wasn’t sure if he was gonna be around so I was really happy to see him. After us Too Much Too Fast Too Soon took the stage, which Dale and our friends Greg and Chris prefaced by saying that it was The Rape Babies, but even better. They may be right. I loved The Rape Babies so much, their 2008 “The Killer EP” was one of the best things I heard in all of last year (with the song “Burnt Side of the Spoon” being one of my favorite songs ever), but Too Much Too Fast Too Soon retains what I loved about The Rape Babies but with more rock and roll and a little less punk – but still hard and fast. Taff is a great front man and Jack is a killer bassist, but the combination of Dim and Goggles is such an awesome core of a band that I’m pretty sure I would love anything they did together. Too Much Too Fast Too Soon is awesome. After Too Much Too Fast Too Soon played a band called The Loose Roosters played, but I missed most of their set because we ended up haning out in the parking lot across the street, initially just to cool off and catch some air but soon all of our friends ended up over there as well. What I did catch of The Loose Roosters was really good though (I definitely have an affinity for two piece bands) and I hope I get to catch them again. We ended up back at the Pats!e House, where Dale, Goggles, and Greg from DEMO all live, a house which has served as our Jersey home since the first time we played out there a couple years ago. We stayed up super late partying, listening to music, and watching some short films that Goggles and Dale had made. I ended up passing out in Dale’s bed, with Dale, but we were both so exhausted that neither of us gave a shit. I woke up in the morning to a weird screaming sound, but Dale assured me it was “just the lizard.”
We woke up at some point on Sunday March 8, and for a while we just hung out in the living room of the Pats!e House. Someone put on the pilot episode of “Twin Peaks” and we sat there, some of us hungover and all of us tired, watching “Twin Peaks” before eventually deciding we couldn’t take it any more and needed coffee and food. Hattie was feeling a lot worse than all of us, so Nich, James, Dim and I went to a diner over the Pennsylvania state line and got some food. I’ve been trying to be vegan for Lent, along with Hattie, Loren, Ryan Horky, and Dan “Funeral” Finks so I ordered an egg beater omellete and no butter on my toast. It was still an amazing meal. It was great getting to just relax and hang out with Dim. The night looked to be pretty eventful, with a recording session and a show on the plate. At some point the night before, Goggles and Dave, the guy who books Mill Hill Basement, had a conversation and it was decided that The Plurals and Too Much Too Fast Too Soon would do an encore show at Mill Hill on Sunday night. I was pumped because I love the Mill Hill and I would’ve been bummed to be in Trenton and not get to play there. Before this last-minute show, though, we went to Too Much Too Fast Too Soon’s rehearsal space at a converted garage called Microjazz in downtown Trenton. It was a sweet space, and I was able to use some mic stands and cords along with some stuff I brought from Michigan to record Too Much Too Fast Too Soon. We recorded four songs for a potential Too Much Too Fast Too Soon/ The Plurals split record, and at the conclusion of the session I asked them if they’d be interested in joining the GTG roster. They said they’d be honored. We said we’d be honored to have them. So, everyone welcome Too Much Too Fast Too Soon into the family. They’ll be putting out their first record, on GTG, in the spring or summer. Fuck yeah.
We made our way to the Mill Hill and Too Much Too Fast Too Soon was set up and playing by 11, but apparently people at the bar were mad at us for being a little late and there were some petty bar politics going on which kind of put a damper on the night. However, the show was awesome. There was a lot of people there for a last minute show, and I feel we played a much better set than the night before (probably because of the lack of dollar PBRs). We debuted a new song called “Bean,” brought out the old/ new song and one of my personal favorites “Plastic,” and closed our set with an extended jam on “Raspberry Alarm Clock” which we haven’t played in any capacity for some time. This version included me playing the guitar with drum sticks and screaming until I could barely stand. I’ll be interested in reviewing the tape of that one. There were also people there that hadn’t caught us the night before but wanted to, so it ended up being a really good move on our part. Too Much Too Fast Too Soon played a killer set, and the night was closed out by Weiner and the Beans, the new band from ex-Rape Baby Mark Vella. We were completely out of the bar by 1 AM, but still some people were mad for some reason (I didn’t even try to understand) – I personally thought that being in and out in 3 hours is pretty damn good, and if they were so concerned about having things start earlier they could have had Weiner and the Beans play as they were there before us. Whatever, I’m really grateful to Dave for letting us play as we had a great night (Dave is also the first guy that ever booked us in Trenton, so I definitely owe him much of our happiness). We went back to Pats!e House and didn’t all fall asleep until it was daylight.
I didn’t wake up until 2 in the afternoon on Monday March 9, so an afternoon diner trip was definitely in the cards. We went to to Pat’s Diner in Trenton with Dale and Goggles (more egg beaters) before making our way up to Brooklyn. This was the first time any of us had been to New York in any capacity, so we were a bit tense, but we put on some of New York’s finest for the drive with “Marquee Moon” by Television and some Wu Tang Clan. As we got into New York, with James doing a fine and admirable job of driving into one of the biggest cities in the world, we decided to absorb some local color so we turned on the radio with the first thing we hear being a talk radio thing about “what it means to be a New Yorker” and the next thing being some crazy fucking free jazz. Yes!
We wound our way through Brooklyn, passing a bunch of Hasidic Jews in the streets, eventually finding our venue for the night, a bar called The Alligator. Brooklyn looked pretty much as I imagined it would, with a bar every few yards and almost everyone in sight carrying a guitar case. We were able to park a little ways down the block, definitely manageable for loading purposes, so… so far so good. The street we parked on, the same street the venue was on, dead-ended at the river and we could see Manhattan from across the river, which was pretty cool. We walked up to the venue to check it out and a girl outside having a cigarette flagged us down and introduced herself as Niki. I had been e-mailing Niki for months about this show, so it was nice to finally meet her. Turns out she was in a band called The Sea The Sea a few years back, and I definitely have one of their CDs, so that was cool to find out. Niki is really awesome, and she gave us a great show in New York, which is… well, it’s pretty damn cool. Thanks Niki! Our buddy Jeremy Cassar, a Michigan transplant in Brooklyn, showed up for the show, as well as my cousin Ian and his friend Justin, so there were a few familiar faces around. It was great show… by any standards, not just the fact that it was a Monday night. Nate and Danny from Used Kids (ex-Modern Machines) were in attendance as well, so it was cool to see some guys whose band I’ve followed for several years in attendance and rocking out. I broke a string halfway through the set, and accidently got unplugged at another point, but by and large it was a great set, largely an abridged version of the set we played in Baltimore but with “Plastic” making another appearance. We wound our way back through Brooklyn after saying our goodbyes, and crashed on the futons at my cousin Ian’s apartment. Once again, we found a parking spot with relative ease. We stayed up for awhile with Ian, woke up and pissed off one of his roommates, and then went to bed with the plan to get up early, get coffee with Ian before he went to work and go check out New York City for a few hours.
Of course, we woke up at 1 in the afternoon (not really sure what happened to Ian…) and had to get our shit together, get directions to our next show, and be out of the city by 2-ish. So, I suppose I have been in New York City now, but I only saw the skyline aside from Brooklyn. We’ll be back though, and I’m sure I’ll get my chance to be a tourist. We made it out of the city pretty painlessly, so… New York wasn’t nearly as intimidating as we were built up to think it was. Of course, we really only were in Brooklyn but… I’ve had a worse time in traffic in Grand Rapids or Detroit, and it certainly wasn’t as bad as driving in Chicago. The Plurals win!
On our drive from Brooklyn to Cambridge, Massachusetts, we listened to “Star Time” by James Brown, the song “Killing an Arab” by The Cure in honor to Nick’s tour reading of “The Stranger” by Albert Camus, “Chronicle” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Live Through This” by Hole, “The Killer EP,” by The Rape Babies, and “Warehouse” by Husker Du.
(I’m getting kind of sick of writing… I’m gonna call it for now. Safe and sound in Winthrop, MA).
Sounds like good times so far! Too bad you didn’t stay at Niki’s so you could give my regards to her cat with whom I got into a pretty heated argument with last time I was in Brooklyn. Overall, good tour journal…I laughed, I cried, I swooned at your UCB reference…looking forward to kicking into “acousticade” when you guys get back!