God Bless America Tour #2

This tour has been a rollercoaster. Toledo was okay, although the night as very memorable, spent hanging out with the band Gregarious. Fine updstanding gentleman those guys are, even if white trash guys slashed their tires in the morning because they talked to one of their girlfriends (sidenote: I’m glad we didn’t park next to them in that hotel parking lot). Sunday was spent, first, helping Gregarious get their tires fixed, then swimming in Lake Erie (the last time any of us “bathed” until Thursday night), then driving to North Canton, OH to find out our show had been cancelled because the local band forgot about the show and did zero promotion in addition to cancelling the day of. We briefly hung out with the Detroit band Death or Glory (the other casualities of the cancelled show), then slept in the van in a hotel parking lot in Erie, PA (a hotel that we made liberal use of the lobby bathroom and continental breakfast in the morning). The Monday show in Syracuse was pretty awesome. The Castle Rockmoore crew knows how to put on a good show, and our tour intersected with the tour by the great acoustic punk artists Ghost Mice from Indiana/ Gainseville, FL, and Heathers from Ireland. And Hattie got her bass drum pedal back, at long last.

Tuesday was a last minute show in Cortland, NY that was pretty fucking awesome. It was their jam night, so the house jam band of 50-something dudes was splitting the night with us, and everybody was into it. Hippie ladies were dancing to the harsh riffing of “New Age,” the local 20-30 something punk rockers were out in force, we decided to debut the live electric version of new song “Squagel,” and we got what may be our first official, completely sincere encore call. We’ll be coming back there. Wednesday was supposed to be Boston, but the promoter stopped calling me before we even had a venue confirmed, so we just drove down to Philadelphia where Cheap Girls and Lemuria were playing. They got us into the show and we hung out with all of our friends, did some networking in Philly, and spent the night with the band The Menzingers. Philly was pretty cool, it still felt like we were on tour, just doing a promotional trip or something, and it was great to rock out with Cheap Girls and Lemuria. Looking forward to actually playing next time!

Thursday was supposed to be Brooklyn, but there were venue issues, and then the local band cancelled, so we just drove to Baltimore to hang with my brothers, which was really nice since their both going to move away from Baltimore in the next few weeks. Baltimore is a really cool town and I’m glad we’ve gotten to spend a couple days here. We also were in desperate need of showers and a decent night’s rest, which we got. Sadly, right when we were parking outside of my brothers’ apartment, the radio came on reporting that Michael Jackson had just died. 50 years old. What a drag. We got inside and watched CNN coverage for awhile with my brother Robbie, as the confirmations came in and random yahoos that saw MJ once in their lives got a chance to milk some 15 minutes of fame. Despite the man’s eccentricities and deplorable behavior, I loved his music very much and truly hoped that he would redeem himself – after all, he was still quite young. That night at the bar, The Plurals and Robbie and Paul McCord toasted Michael Jackson, and all night long you could hear his music popping up out of car speakers and other bars. He was the king.

Yesterday (Friday) afternoon we went to a library south of Baltimore where our friends The High Strung were playing a set for their Rock and Roll Library Tour – a really cool way to tour and try to get kids involved in music. We ended up writing a song with The High Strung and the 6 or 7 pre-teen kids hanging out call “The Rules of Life” which was strangely reminiscent of the Velvet Underground. The High Strung are a great band, so it was really nice to meet up with them nowhere near where any of us live. We printed up some handbills for our show that night while we were at the library, and then met up with my parents, who were coincidentally in town as well, and they took all of us out to a Thai place. We drove up to our venue for the night, a cool art gallery/ bar called Metro Gallery that we played at last time, where our buddies The Rivals were already waiting, set up, ready to rock. Super nice guys, we’ve played with them every time we’ve played in Baltimore and it’s always a pleasure. We went out to hand out some handbills, but I’m really fucking bad at promoting, so eventually Nich just took it over, and he was able to get a a good handful of random people to come check out the show. Our set went very well. We spent a decent amount of time the night before and the day of getting down an arrangement of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 to play in tribute to the deceased king, and it went down great. A few people walking by the club ran in off the street to dance around while we played it – they left right after, but, hey, good times. After the show we went back to my brothers’ district of Baltimore, college-town-esque Federal Hill, and Nich and I walked around as the bars let out, marveling in the drunken stupor of our clean-cut peers. We stuck out like sore thumbs – some girls were excited to see guys with long hair, which is always kind of funny, but by and large people gave us wary looks in the rare case that they acknowledged us. I’m going to miss walking around the Federal Hill bars at 2 AM…. we’ll have to come back and do it for old times’ sake.

Tonight we play in Trenton, NJ for the last night of the tour. We’ve never had a bad time in Trenton, and it’ll be great to see some friends. There’s a rumor that the new Too Much Too Fast Too Soon record may be finished and ready to be heard by us… Excellent….


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