Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Toulouse Pt. 2

also....pinball. Medieval Madness is my favorite pinball table ever. and i haven't seen one in about 6 years...normally i prefer bally games, but this one was made by williams, you storm the castle and kill trolls that pop out of the floor. and also....this table is located literally 6 feet from the bar, under the stairs in the main room at Bikini. if you play during the can see the stage reflected in score screen....

fitting. france, with it's poor internet connections, faulty wiring and bad cell reception still frequently feels medieval....sorry. but it's true....

(photo courtesy of Owen "Mac Daddy" Holmes)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Toulouse Pt. 1

and so wraps another one.

Tour concluded tonight with the last of four shows as part of the Les Inrockuptibles Festival in France. from what i can tell, Les Inrocks is similar to Reading/Leeds Festival, or Summer Sonic in Tokyo/Osaka; in that many bands are on the bill, but 4-6 bands play per night in each, and all bands rotate between cities playing different nights. so everyone ends up playing everywhere...Lille, Paris, Nantes, Toulouse...

our bill was pretty cool: Late of the Pier (UK), Black Kids, Cajun Dance Party (UK), the Ting Tings (UK). with Soko (france?) on several nights to shake it up. it was strange going back to being a support was not the "us" show anymore...hurt my ego/pride just a very wee bit...but the band got huge responses from the french crowds....and the Ting Tings are our US label-mates so i guess it was kinda like family?

Not to mention 10 minutes before the band goes onstage...Paul and Wade from the Virgins (and their euro TM and new drummer, sorry, forgot names!) storm into our dressing room to say hello. big reunion blues all around. The Virgins supported us for a month on the US tour and shared the bus with us. we hadn't seen them since wrapping US tour 4.5 weeks ago....but they were in town to play the festival tomorrow night and decided to swing by the venue to see us all. which was cool.

we leave for the airport in 3 hours. my flight is at 6:AM...and that hurts. direct flight from amsterdam to seattle...that's 3 bad movies, a two hour nap, and maybe 30 pages in Umberto Eco's "the mysterious flame of queen Loana" if i'm lucky...i like it a lot but it's a bit dry. Eco tells his "autobiography" by reconstructing his childhood through books he finds in boxes in the attic of his family's country home to overcome amnesia post-stroke....imagine a 400 page college syllabus of foriegn literature you will never ever read for class....the best kinda book for the road...'cause ya read it so damn slowly...

this time tomorrow i'll be flipside stateside back home on the west coast. can't wait. can't. happen. soon. enough. this tour was a really great run. but it's time to go home...

(photos: Reggie Youngblood on guitar, soundcheck. Mike (of US hardcore band, Giving Chase)-our MOST excellent guitar tech and stage manager, and Simon (of UK metal/hardcore band In Me)- our kickass drum tech, pointing with glee at 4 bands' worth of gear at load-out...)

Thursday, November 13, 2008


there amongst the polders and the dykes, low between fields of tulips and wind turbines, huddled shivering on the reclaimed coastline, lies the town at the end of the world. Amsterdam, with it's house boats and canals, dutch masters and tattoo parlors, smiling happy socialist hooker-fucking, pot-smoking heineken swilling party loving pickpockets and bike thieves.... amsterdam, i love you. those damned canals of yours take me and my ipod and my hands in my pockets elsewhere.

and there in Amstel town is the tale of two clubs....testaments to the houses of rock. rooms witness to years of music magickry. deep inside i harbor sinister desires towards rivalry. i wonder if the lines are drawn and the banners strung. neighbors turn against neighbors and partnerships shatter. the collective staffs at the Paradiso and the Melkweg don flak jackets and gas masks and take to the streets with bricks....but i doubt it.

the paradiso. melkweg. i ask the question to everyone....most people go misty when they talk of the paradiso. it's vibe...history....architecture.

and i don't give a damn. I'm a melkweg boy through thick and thin. i've done both gigs. and i know where my heart lies and who i'll be fighting for in the details of the war...

i've done more gigs at Melkweg than any other gig in the world. the only exception being Madison Square Garden. but that doesn't count....
and walking through the doors is like stepping into home. familiar faces, my office, the restaurant in the back, the canal under the bridge at the entrance....and i'm welcomed everytime. the staff here is kickass.

last night was the first time i ever did a show in the small room. it was like opening boxes in the attic, a whole new world discovered. i don't even know who was in the main room last night. they better have done it justice.

while touring wears and tears and grinds the bones to the core, the pros far outweigh the cons. and while i miss the time i could be spending at home and the loved ones there, it blows my mind when i wake up half-way across the world and get to spend the day with friends in distant cities i'd never see otherwise.

totally kickass. dan regan met me around dinner time and then he and i geeked out in the dressing rooms on our computers....catching up, joking around, talking smack, argueing about the industry, all the while typing work emails.... he's up for dutch manager of the year (sorry dan, gotta blow your shit up!)

Then em white and her bro jesse show up as the band hits the stage. i meet them at FoH and we bug out during the first 3 cuts. em and i met in boston while we were both in school. i've managed to bump into her in more places around the world than all the time we spent in beantown while living there....

after the show i'm selling t-shirts and kathi shows up with her friend jill from glasgow. we all head backstage and party 'til they kick us out of the club. which they do very gracefully and very late, because it is the melkweg and the melkweg is tits.

we let jesse take us to an indie/metal/coverband bar down the street that he knows 'cause he's studying abroad here and i'm jealous. lather rinse repeat, we kick back the brews and do it up until the wee hours.

everytime, amsterdam, every single time. magic town.

(photos: em and i talking shop at webster hall- she maps the fate of the universe, i whistfully peel beer labels. fiction plane doing it up for 1500 in the main room at Melkweg, last winter.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

and so it begins....Brussels....

the writing. writing. i looked around and realized i hadn't posted anything anywhere in months.

and it bummed me out.

surrounded by creative people all the time, and i can't find or muster the energy to bother anymore. admittedly the road sucks all the drive right outta me. everything is so 24/7 all the time...hard to focus or find the time to contribute.

so i thought maybe a new venue might make a difference. will see what happens.

European tour has been going awesome. one of the smoothest tours i've done i think. it's been three weeks now, we are on the last leg.

we just wrapped two days in Brussels. this was my third or fourth trip to Brussels in 2 years...but this time around i actually got to see some of it. talk about something to talk about. the town center is amazing....

and to kick it all off...the above photo was taken in Brussels at the Forest National arena. i was there with Snoop Dogg/P Diddy, winter of 2007. the venue was a dive/maze of twisted corridors and access tunnels. but immediately behind stage were 3 corridors covered in 40 years of tagger paint and gibberish...I made the runner go out for 6 cans, the crew and i did it up all over the walls after load-out.