|Driving and playing is what we have to look forward to for the next five days. I couldn't possibly
ask for more, unless it was recording in some studio for five days straight, or writing songs in
our basement for five days straight or whatever, you get what I mean. In all actuality it will
probably end up only being four days, but oh well. I spent so much time blathering on about how
cool it is at Yellow City Art Gallery in Amarillo TX, only to have them close their doors. Irish
luck always comes with a big mouth. I guess the groundswell of support dried up. "First the gold
dried up, then the whiskey dried up..."Folks in Albuquerque should be stoked theat their
collective is doing such a good job at Insurgo.
We play with Siva from El Paso tonight at La Tuya. Mike Morales, the drummer for Siva, used to
live in Albuquerque in the very same house I just moved out of. Steve (ex Troma Kids, Ex Adam's
Alcoholics) lives there now. Ez (Ex Troma) , and Beth (president of the Megan Kimble Fan Club,
Albuquerque chapter), and Everett (Last Day Parade) live on the other side of the duplex where I
used to live with Caree, and Dan. Next door James (LDP) lives with John Broilo (ex Troma). Dan and
Caree moved to Chicago, and I hear she's an excellent auto mechanic nowadays. Dan plays with South
of No North. All sorts of bands have practiced in that basement. Chinese Lovebeads, Better Off
Dead, Roman Candle Choir, Pavo, Halcyon Shell,...shit probably more. Its a legacy house. Mike used
to live there with Serge from Chinese Lovebeads, now he and his wife, Vanessa, live in El Paso
again, and are the rhythm section for Siva. Serge (not Ex Chinese Lovebeads Serge, but another
Serge altogether), and John(?) fill out the group on guitars. We saw them at Medina's house, and
they had a spacy emo sound that I loved, sort of like Appleseed cast, but with Joh Bonham on drums,
and no vocals. Yeah, no vocals yet, but I love that too.
Swearing at Motorists, Jazz June, Starsky, Mogwai's new album, Superchunk, and Canyon
all got turns in the cd player. We roll into El Paso with time to spare. Drive right to La Tuya
without having to even think about it. Lee Trevino Boulevard. Lee's a bigtime golfer. There's a
friggin' golf course right behind the club. My dad is into golfing. He ruined me on it, the whole
thing is too wierd. I have to smoke a lot of dope to get into it. I would never want to support
through my own vices , or with any positive or glamourous rhetoric, the abuse of drugs and
alcohol, but I drink heavily...and smoke copious budd. I'm not a role model, and neither are my
parents. I don't drive the van, although I think I'm a fairly decent driver. Majority rules in the
van, and I kindof enjoy the lack of responsibilty. I had a friend who wrecked his bands tour van.
They kicked him out. Out of the van first, and out the band second. We saw Mike and Vanessa right
out front, and they were happy we made it safe. Our old pal Dave was tending bar, and he poured
three amberbocks the minute we walked in. Amberbock seems to be the moderately priced tap swill
these days. Yummy. We met the other touring band, and low and behold they are from Denton, Texas,
which we will be playing two days hence. Its also the town I called home-shit-home before I
reconoitered to Albuquerque (happily). The guys from Denton, called Eniak, didn't seem to know any
of the folks I had hung out with, and good for them. They had a crew of fols from El Paso there to
see them, and were pretty wrapped up with that and the Pro GOlf video game. They were on the
beginning of a long tour to the west coast with a song on the emo-diaries five under their belts.
Eniak was the name. Nice fellas.
Siva started, and they blew me away again. I just dig the two guitar sans vox thing. Real textured
stuff with Mike's legendary wall of drumming. My favorite song was their newest one, and that's a
good sign. Eniak was next, and they had the textbook emo sound ala Promise Ring. Dual harmonizing
vocals, seemingly heartfelt and personal lyrics, that I'm sure everyone could relate to. A little
sad at times, I thought, but nonetheless pleasurable. Definitley the more melancholy end of the
emo spectrum. We played last. I have to admit, we hadn't spent enough time preparing for this
tour. Migs and I showed up late for pracitce just the day before. Anyway, given that fact, and the
free band beers we had consumed, our set turned out a little less than sterling. I still hold fast
to the theory that we were doing alright until the last song. Then I kindof fell out, and started
screwing up a lot. Crap. Anyway, we got off, and Jess payed us, and the guys from Eniak lit out
for Cali. We hung around with Mike and Vanessa, and then after a short farewell, we got on the
road for Austin. Made it about an hour outside of town before we decided to pull over. Slept for
about three hours each , then took off. We were somewhere right around Bakersfield, where the big
giant windmills are. Hundreds of em, and thousands of goddamn grasshoppers collected on the side of
the road. Like something out of Birds, but totally less threatening. More macabre, but less
threatening. Some sort of biblical association, I guess. We took turns snoozing in the back. I
can't wait until we have that loft built for christ sake.
There's horses in my throat. the road we're on is not well travelled. Traffic trickles, dust
devils scratch out my eyes. There are beautiful wildflowers on the side of the road. Colors you
don't see where we're from. Texas highway patrol burst like coyotes from the median and drag down
some Volkswagon Rabbit. Our lumbering van is like a rhino out on the desert tundra. We all breathe
a sigh of relief when we see some other game dragged down. Just glad it isn't us. Highway life is
like Serenghetti. This stretch of beautiful wasteland is mercifully deserted. Small animal
suicides. There is no speed limit posted, only destinations to hurry on toward. Texas comes either
flat or hilly, with wild flowers in spring and summer on even the loneliest roads, and the saddest
We rode into Austin around four, I guess, and went down to 6th St. to wait for the guys from Last
Day Parade. They have been on a six week tour, and it will be interesting to hear their stories
and see how they are doing. We had a few beers at a place called the Library, and made contact
with everyone via cell. First we hook up with LDP at 7:00, then Kelvin (from Austin) at 8:00. The
guys from Kelvin had set us up to play a party with them, that was pomised to be a rager. It ws a
last minute thing, but with no other leads we were happy to try. Three or four hundred kids, no
sign of the cops, beer, land, PA, security. It all seemed too good to be true (HINT:
foreshoadowing). We wait patiently.
Ausitin is great. "I could see myself living here." Migs said. Some guys sidled up to me while I
stood outside waiting for the Last Day van to appear. "Need anything? Doing alright?" he said. He
walked off before I could answer; "I'm cool...". He asked everyone as he strolled down the street
if they were 'ok', and did they 'need anything', presumably from the burgeoning satchel under his
arm. I should have asked him what he was holding. The police sauntered down the street
nonchalantly behind. Heavy visibility in Austin. Perhaps a taste of what's to come in Albuquerque?
I sure as hell hope so. Sixth street is a blast, but sometimes seemingly on the verge of total
breakdown. Albuquerque could learn a lot from a city like Austin. We hooked up with Last Day guys
and had a few more beers at Casino El Camino before heading over to the Kelvin practice pad just a
few short blocks down 4th St. East of the Highway is a really beautiful authentic part of Austin.
I loved it, none of the signs in English, all Spanish. Simply beautiful area that I would
definitley try to get a place in if I was from there. We made short introductions with the guys
from Kelvin. There was some fucking rockgod in an adjacent room progging out with his five
thousand piece drummset, so it was intolerable to wait any longer at their rehearsal spaces. We
left for the party, almost immediately finding ourseves outside of town. Further and further we
drove, until we realized we could no longer say we were in Austin at all. I called a friend in
Austin proper and relayed some landmarks to him, and he informed me we were in in the middle of
nowhere. A few dubious turns and a few sketchy roads later, our guide pulls over and asks to use
the cell. While he attempts to call the party organizers, we are informed by another member of
Kelvin, that the party was the day before. Ha ha ha, fuck, ha ha. We felt it all along, and so we
took it all pretty well. We turned around and picked up some beers on the way into town.
We ended up leaving the guys from Kelvin at their practice pad, and heading down to Casino El
Camino to get fucking tanked. Found some parking spaces that were attended by Attila the
Hun/parking lot guy. We get out of the vans, and I notice that they are both slightly askew to the
yellow lines. Sure enough as we're attempting to leave the guy comes running over screaming at us
about how we each have to pay double for taking up to many spaces. He's all freaking out as car
after car streams into the lot. He rushes off to direct them to their proper places muttering only
barely intelligible gibberish in at least two dofferent languages. We move the vans to another
spot, and then he comes running over screaming again that we've taken reserved spots or something.
We pay the man who seems like he's about to have a nervous breakdown. He keeps balking on taking
the money as if is still expecting to get some satisfaction out of throwing us out of the lot.
Finally he takes the money, then tries to screw us out of another seven dollars seemingly for his
inconvenience. To top it off some strompy jock comes over and indignantly notifies us that we
should give the attendant a break, because "this guy has a hard job'. In the vast cornucopia of
labor intensive endeavors, parking lot attendant is simply not one of the leading fields. I hooked
up with a friend of mine, Toby, who had stories about how and why all of our old friends hate each
other now. Some guy named Sancho moved to town, if you know what I mean. He gave me a hundred
dollars, which was a godsend (it should be noted that Toby is doing pretty well these days, and
probably enjoyed the opportunty to spread it around). Thanks Toby. After drinking fairly liberally
till close, we went up to the Applicator's Pad (get it; applicator pad) and dropped off LDP. We
went and bought an over priced hotel room to collapse in, which was probably not necessary, but oh
well. We slept relatively well, and showered, and hooked up with LDP early the next morning.
Christina from the Applicators must've been the highlight of the entire Austin trip. She was very
gracious and showed us possibbly the best morning hangover cure mexican food joint I have ever
been to (at least in Austin). It reminded me of home. Molly's Tamale shack. Check it out. What can
I say about Austin. Huge established party of four hundred degrades into backwoods barnburnin
graduation shindig that was yesterday. I can't say i was surprised, but my hopes are always high.
We had to drive alot, but driving around the Austin countryside can be a pleasure. The air there
transmits smells remarkably. The molecules are bloated with oxygen. Being disappointed in Austin
can be better than being stoked in a lot of shitholes, so there you go.
On the way to Denton from Austin we took pictures of Last Day Parade defiling a teen beat mag they
picked up. Look for these, theyt're priceless.
Leaving Denton, what a blast! For me it was recognition of freinds in stillife. Promise to call,
and you miss them all. Street names and landmarks. I ran into a lot of old friends, but not as
many as I'd hoped. Similar to Austin. We went down to Fry Street, and ate (at Mr. Chopstix), and
had coffee (at Karma Cafe), and went to the record store (Lone Justice Records). Sean bought vinyl
of Firebird band. Brian from the record store (who plays with Mandarin) let us check our email.
There was some stuff from Chicago friends about touring up there in August. We went around the
corner, and began to drink beers (at Cool Beans). You can drink open containers on the street in
Denton. At least right around Fry. I don't think you can all over town. The guy at the liquor
store (the Corkscrew) was writing songs on a computer based sampler. Had the whole thing spread
out over the counter of the store. Welcome to Denton. We drank a few beers right on the street. (An old bass player trav and I used to play with, John, showed up to share beers and hang out. It was really good to see John). We ot down to the club and I saw that this friend of mine Brian Schmidt was running sound. He looked rather like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Folks in Denton have a unique
viewpoint, in that the town is lousy with music and musicians, and people who work at the clubs
are forced to become somewhat jaded. Its hard to really feel good about what you're doing there,
no matter what it is.
Rubber Gloves has a pretty cool set up. The have a hoop in the back, and we played a few rounds of
three on three. I subbed mostly. It should be said at the juncture, that Sean T., the roadie for
LDP, was schooling everybody. Like passing to himself and gettin his own rebounds. Shit like
Whenever I come to Denton, I'm not allowed to meet any one new. I have so many old chums there,
that I just end up hanging with them, or looking for them the whole time. This time was no
different. I spend all this time catching up on old stories, and never feel like I've been able to
relate to them here and now at all. I end up reminiscing about all the old days when I'd rather be
getting in trouble. Everyone thinks my stories are tall, until they hear my friends stories.
First band was Retton. Darren Pulley's band. Anna played guitar, darren; drums, and this guy Mike
played bass. Totally quirky math/prog, fueled by Darren's totally egocentric drumming style and
Anna's Crass-ish vocals. Way out good stuff. They seemed put out a little bit. I think they might
have skipped some practices as well. I loved it anyway. They had bingo on stage, but I don't know
who won. We played next, and this gig was decidedly better than the last. LDP was after us and had a fantastic set. We hadn't seen any of them in so long, much less on stage. it was great treat for us after
so long. There wasn't enough people watching them. In retrospect it would have been better if we
had played last, but whatever. We'll play last in Norman. It won't make any difference then, but,
hey, hindsight is 20\20. We ended up staying at Paul's house, thanks Paul, but not before going to
a nice little party at Erin's house. Erin was moving away to New York, and good thing too, because
I heard the cops had been through the party five times that night. It was good to see you Mike,
Bill, John. Thanks for the hospitality Brian, Paul.
Next time we play Denton, we play somewhere other than the Rubber Gloves. I was dismayed to hear,
after the fact, that there is a door clause that gives the first hundred and thirty dollars to the
club. I had no idea. We made about fifty two dollars for all three bands. Suck! We could've used
the dough by this point. No wonder they're so jaded at that place. Its geared toward the fact that
the town is stuffed with musicians. Too much local talent to focus on smaller touring acts. With
big bands dying to play there, and locals out the yinyang, what the fuck; jadism ensues.
Dentonites are waiting to be associated with the next big thing. I got some advice from a friend
there that said we should play the local gay bar. They pay straight from the door, so it sounds
good to me. Better yet, if you're planning to play Denton, try and play Fort Worth or Dallas as
well. Norman was next, and we all hoped it would be better.
"Touring is like urban camping." Migs said. At this point, I think there was psychic consensus to
skip Amarillo. We hadn't been able to contact John at Yellow City since he told us the gallery was
no more. He had hinted at trying to get us into a bar, but never called us back. Anna from the
band 13Stars set up the Norman show for us. We had tried to get a show in OKC, but it wasn't in
the cards. We ended up hooked up with these folks through our contact Giwanni (forgive myspelling)
Scintille, whom we met through Music Dimensions, the local OKC record store. We had called the
Samurai, but were steered away from there. Norman had the pallor of a preserved cadavre. It was
empty, catatonic. What do you expect on Memorial day weekend. Its between sessions in a college
town. We went to the mall, and Sanjay bought new shoes. He told us one of his tour secrets; Make
everybody buy a couple of bags of cheap new socks, then throw away your old socks as you use them.
This way you don't stink up the van, and morale will last a little longer. Also bring lots of
porn. There was a lot of wierd sexual frustration created by nine guys wothout enough personal
time/space to tug one off. Especially taking this bunch of studs into consideration. If you give a
boy on tour a shower to use, you shouldn't have any reservations about what he's scrubbing.
We thought we had stayed pretty late in Denton, but we could've statyed later. It took no time to
get to Norman, and when we got there, it was obvious that Norman was dead. To our frustraion it
never came to life. The club, called the Medicine Hall, was underground. It seemed like it would
have been a cool place to play, if some people were in it. They hadn't bothere to charge anyone,
which was cool, considering. 13 Stars brought the PA, and it was pretty state of the art. Thanks
you guys. It rained for awhile, with some fierce lightning, which I loved, and then the bands went
on. No one was there. There had never been any threat of attendence. LDP was oblivious. They put
on an even better show than the night before, and for practically nobody. They were outstanding
for this, the last show of their tour. We actually played first, and were pretty together,
ourselves, if I do say so. I had fun just hanging with these friends of ours in some strange bar.
None of our shows seemed to break the Memorial day curse, and it was a little upsetting, but we
were on our way home now. 13 Stars was the quintessential rock outfit. There's a place in my heart
for the straight rock thing, that used to be filled by Fever Hot. These guys would've toured the
world and elsewhere with them. Anna, the bass player, was pretty awesome. I have another soft spot
for girl bassists. I got the impression she had had some schooling in music from real comfortable
look she had wearing this huge Richenbacher bass she played. It was taller than she was. The
drummer beat shit out of his drums, big sound. The lead guitarist was competent, and filled out
the songs well, even when the singer dumped his guitar for two or three songs. The singer himself
had this high voice that kindof reminded me of our old bassist, Liam. Except not all liqiuored up,
which is too bad for him. I've personally never understood why you would want to sing and not play
guitar, if you could do both. My reasoning is basically, smoke em if you got em.
The show ended, and we stowed our shit, and followed Anna to the 13 Stars house in OKC. On the way
we saw an Xterra turned over on the highway. Spooky. It looked as if no one was hurt. I wanted to
take a picture, then thought, "What if we get up there, and there, and there's a bunch of dead
folks on the side of the road?" Better not, just in case; very bad karma. Sean noted as we passed
that the cab was still intact, and very little body damage was done. Windshield still in tact,
front quarterpanels. Note that, Mr. Nader, Consumer Reports style. We need to get the loft built.
We argued a bit on how we should do it before we left Albuquerque. There's no doubt after this
trip that comfortable sleeping arrangements for at least two would be essential for the touring we
hoped to do. Liam emailed us while we were in Denton about the midwest tour in August. Yahoo.
The lights in Anna's neighborhood were all out. The storm had taken them away. How long would they
be out? Maybe forever. It added to the whole Omega man thing that had surrounded Norman. All the
lights off, all the suburban streets abandoned. Stumbling through the house with candles. Everett
spent an hour on the phone with Juliette assuring her that he would be home the next day. Talked
to Randall, Anna's boyfriend, a bit about doing a show in Lawton sometime. "It'd be better than
tonight, I can assure you that." Wouldn't be hard to beat it. Tonight was my turn to sleep in the
van, and it sucked. We took off pretty early the next day. Anna had offered to fill both bands
tanks from her pocket, but we didn't feel right about it, or about having to wake her up in the
morning, so we just bolted. LDP left us outside of Santa Rosa. Their van is newer, and with fewer
miles than ours. God knows they've put more miles on that van themselves than we have on ours, but
nevertheless. There's nothing to take pictures of on the way home. When you are headed out, every
new looking thing is a pinpoint of interest. It has some value beyond the road home. The
familiarity of this road does not appeal to us like it will when we have been out for six weeks.
The guys in the LDP van were hurtling down it at about ninety in a crowded shell. I won't say they
were all shits and giggles, but they had fared pretty well for a six week tour. They hadn't all
beat each other up anyway. They hadn't put tape on the floor of the van indicating where each
person should sit. I was impressed. They would all get back to Albuquerque and retreat to their
beds for awhile, and live to fight another day.
Sean recorded several bits of music to minidisc while we were out including Siva, Eniak, Pilot to
Bombardier, Last Day Parade, and 13 Stars. Look for them possibly on our website, or possibly on
mp3. Until next time, this is Travis Bombardier signing out.
Sidenote: Ryan Medina has left Last Day Parade, and a replacement is in the wings. Tour
casualties. We also learned on the road that Icelandic has broken up, and Dorian is calling it
quits when Rodney moves to Philly after their tour. Everyone should keep an eye out for another
wave of bands.