blog: Chris Randall
subject: Real Men Don't Wear Kilts!
Posted on May 14, 2004 at 1:11 PM
So, our first major show of the tour is now done and gone, and it was a whopper. Due to problems with the sound system and some other minor things (the cumulative total of which was the Cluster Fuck Of Vast Magnitude I mentioned in yesterday's update) we didn't get a sound-check (or it's slightly retarded half-sibling, the line-check) so it was basically a scenario of "put your gear up on the stage and proceed to rock."
Luckily, I'm a resilent motherfucker, and don't get worked up about that sort of thing very much, after opening for many bands that would regularly soundcheck right up to the time doors opened. I did have an internal whince when I pressed 'play' on the sequencer to start the intro to 'To Hell With You' though, as I'm not sure what exactly is about to occur. But, at least in this particular case, there were no major troubles, and the show was ultimately excellent, aside from a couple minor glitches with Levi's bass rig.
Anyways, we met some cool people working for Genitorturers, and ran in to some other people we knew well but hadn't seen in a while, so it was a good day aside from all the sitting around. I'm sitting in a HIX in Smithtown, NY writing this, after yet another All Night Hell Van Ride. I'm tired as all fuck, so I'll stop here. I will update about the Smithtown show tonight, however, as I've got a very nice wi-fi connection right here in my hotel room. So keep your eyes peeled for that around 3 am or so.
subject: Welcome To The Metal Zone...
Posted on May 13, 2004 at 11:33 AM
Okay, so never mind that the promoters obviously consider metal, prog rock and industrial three peas in the same pod. The show in Hartford was actually relatively well attended, but because it was in such a gigantic room, it didn't seem so. However, once we got on stage, I went in to my normal "I'm a mother-fucking Rock God" mode, and didn't care one whit.
So, while there weren't many people there (most people in the area chose to attend the far more appropriate show the night before in Northampton, 45 miles away) I still had a hell of a show, in my oh-so-humble opinion.
The bad part of the equation was driving to D.C. after the show. It turned out to be about an 8 hour drive, what with all the stops for gas and such, so we rolled in to the D.C. metro area around 8 in the morning, just in time for rush hour. Wheeee. Miguel and I tend to fight like little girls when Miguel is driving in a situation where I feel his lack of depth perception could be a detriment. (Like, e.g., bumper-to-bumper traffic.) But all that aside, we got here safe and sound. I am now firmly ensconced in my sister's townhouse, fully showered, fed, rested, etc. and ready to face tonight's Cluster Fuck Of Vast Magnitude. As those of you in the D.C. area certainly know, we'll be playing with the Genitorturers tonight. Any time the DT bill is fucked with, it throws us off our stride, so I'm not looking forward to the inevitable confusion that will result.
As soon as the show is over tonight, we'll probably be driving straight to Long Island (Wheeee again) so I'm going to have an entire van full of smelly tired cranky guys. Time to stock up on feminine protection.
subject: Do the Bang Bang Boogie...
Posted on May 12, 2004 at 4:17 AM
Another One Down, it would seem. Just got back to the hotel from the show in Northampton, MA. I am noting more than ever the difference between audiences in towns that we've played often versus towns that we've either never played or haven't played in years.
The audience tonight was most assuredly of the New School Industrial variety, so I wasn't sure how the show (which is decidedly old-school, since, well, that's what I am) would be received. Also, the line-up was moved around a bit, which put a little bit of a spanner in our otherwise smooth-running works. But those two provisos aside, it was smooth as silk tonight. My voice is fully back now, which made the two massive squeeks I let out in Disease doubly amusing. After the first one, I got a case of the giggles in the middle of the song, and it was all I could do to stifle it. Then I did it _again_. Fucking hell. It sure is hard to act all industrial and shit when you're belting out a song and you suddenly turn in to Alvin and / or one of the other chipmunks (Simon, Theodore, or the other one who's name escapes me.)
But all's well that ends well, and now I'm safe and sound back at the Holiday Inn in Springfield, of which I believe I've already waxed poetic. I am definitely taking more of a physical beating on this tour than earlier ones, what with all the extra work that the DIY ethic entails. I'm going to need a physical therapist before the end of this fucker, no doubt about it. Maybe I should get a shiatsu treatment on our next day off in Virginia Beach, instead of spending the entire day surfing as I originally intended. This time of year the surf will be mushy as shit anyways. Plus, spending time in the sun will ruin my pasty complexion.
Maudlin thoughts of physical well-being aside, this was only the beginning of a very busy week, so I'm going to toddle off to bed.
subject: Tender, juicy chicken feets
Posted on May 11, 2004 at 2:03 PM
One of the better features of tour is seeing odd things that you wouldn't catch in your normal day-to-day. Maybe not the most noteworthy events on the tour, but something that catches your eye, and makes you think for a minute that there are other people in the world that lead very different lives than you. (This fact is easily forgotten when confined to a van for ten hours every day with the same people.)
So, anyways, yeah, chicken feets.
subject: Honk if you love Jeebus
Posted on May 10, 2004 at 4:50 PM
Man, I never thought I would say this about any town/city in New York, but Ithaca isn't actually a bad place at all. Pretty little college town (Cornell? Ithaca State? Middle New York School of Beauty and Barbering? Who the fuck knows...) nestled up in the mountains. The Haunt, the club we played, is actually on a small river (more of a largish stream when judged against my over-sized western American book of standards on Shit That Occurs In Nature) and has boat docks and such. We were greeted on arrival with a most excellent meal cooked on the premises, and let me tell you there is no quicker way to a touring band's heart than a good meal.
The people that run the club are some of the nicest I've run in to, and their operation is about as good as it gets for a sub-500-capacity venue. Great PA, and the soundman knew his shit. The audience, while still having a healthy dose of the typical New York jadedness ("what's dancing, Precious?") was in to the set, even with having a larger than usual proportion of SMG first-timers, and merch went flying out the door. To make a long story short, all the pertinent planets were in alignment for this particular show, and when coupled with the excellent weather, made for one of the better days on the tour overall.
So I find myself in the interesting position of saying that the two New York shows we've had so far (Ithaca and Buffalo) were both excellent. Usually shows in New York are fair to middling, so that's what I go in to any place in this state expecting. Having lived in NYC for seven years, I am fully aware of the average New Yorker's habit of standing back and judging a band, rather than participating in a show, having done it many times myself. New Yorkers, by and large, are very much of a mind that the band performs and the audience watches, as opposed to many places where the band and the audience are part of the same experience. That reads kind of stupid, but if you had played a couple thousand shows, you could get a pretty good feel for what I'm talking about.
Anyways, after driving for a while after the show, we stopped at a Super 8 which could only be described using phrases like "nasty shit-hole" and "woefully overpriced" (and maybe "this place fucking blows" wouldn't be out of line). It's funny how with some hotel chains like HIX or Comfort Inn, pretty much all of the hotels in the chain are exactly the same, varying only in local pricing and building style, while with other chains, every hotel in the chain is a separate entity, and stopping at one of them is a crap-shoot. I'll just say that this particular hotel is at the ass end of the Super 8 Bell Curve and leave it at that. I'd name-check it, but I was so fucking tired when we checked in that I have absolutely no idea where we are, other than a rough estimate of somewhere along I-88 in the Southeast quadrant of New York. It was so bad, I had to compose a haiku in its honor, so without further ado:
Super Eight Motel
Today, however, is our first Big Day Off. We'll spend it in Northampton after the requisite driving. Unfortunately, I won't be able to do anything remotely approaching "fun," because laundry and restocking of supplies (socks, lighter fluid, cigarettes, et al) need to occur. But at least I can give my voice a much-needed rest from screaming "Sins Of The Flesh" at the top of my lungs, and this fucking squeak will hopefully go away. I'm well and truly tired of this Peter Brady bullshit, as I'm sure all the audience members are.
UPDATE: The Super 8 in question is located in Sherman, NY, about 90 miles west of Albany. Avoid it like the leper colony that it is, and you'll be a better person for it. Just one more service that SMG provides our loyal listeners.
subject: "I'm not a rock-star, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night..."
Posted on May 9, 2004 at 1:27 AM
I have to say that while I usually don't have anything nice to say about any chain or big business, Holiday Inn Express (or HIX, as I've taken to calling them) isn't that bad at all. Cheaper than your average uber-shitty Super 8, but nicer than your average kinda-shitty Comfort Inn. I'll actually search out a HIX now and again, I think.
Cleveland felt fine from the stage. The sound-man couldn't manage to follow the simple "press this button when we start playing" instruction that I provided to get the backing video playing at the right time. Rather, he pushed the "play the file right before this one" button, with the net result that instead of my painstakingly assembled backing footage, the audience was treated to a special screening of the John Woo / Chow Yun-Fat vehicle "The Killer" while we performed. While this wasn't necessarely a Bad Thing, it is noteworthy, I suppose.
Anyways, as has been stated in the SMG newsgroup, the audience was, while not exactly "sparse," on the thin side. I don't mind playing to small audiences, as long as they're obviously in to it, and there was no question of that, so it was all good. Karlos had a particularly good night tonight, and CA was tight as hell. Overall, a fine day for the Domination Tour. No major problems to report. To quote Ice Cube, "I didn't even have to use my AK / Today was a good day.
subject: Fucking physics
Posted on May 8, 2004 at 3:23 AM
I've been informed by persons far better educated than I that the correct motto for the tour is not F=ma, but rather Ke = 0.5mv^2. (Apparently, it would seem that "kinetic energy is equal to one half times the mass times the velocity squared," according to the afore-mentioned learned person.) Unfortunately, Ke = 0.5mv^2 doesn't quite roll off the tongue in the same manner as F=ma, so I think I might be shopping for a new motto. I'll let you know how that goes.
In other news, the Buffalo show was fantastic, right up until the moment I walked off the stage. After that, it was a rolling cluster fuck, one that I can't really expound upon except to say that sometimes it really sucks to be the one that doesn't drink. Alchohol has this knack of limiting the responsibility one has to take for one's actions. I, for reasons passing, don't accept that simple fact, apparently to my regular and consistent detriment. Some days touring really blows.
subject: All-American Slam
Posted on May 7, 2004 at 6:30 PM
Sorry it's been a while, but I've been busy, busy, busy the last couple days, and the few times we stopped somewhere that had wi-fi or some semblance thereof I was either sound asleep or doing Something Important (like trying to be sound asleep) or some other thing.
Anywho, let's see. Last time I dashed off a missive we had just finished Pittsburgh, if memory serves me correctly. So we've played at the Crowbar in State College and La Tazza in Philadelphia since then. I don't have anything particular to say about either show, other than to say that the promoters in both locales, and specifically Wendy in Philadelphia, went _way_ out of their way to make sure we had a good time.
I got a new tattoo in Philly, since I had some time to kill during the day. I've taken a picture of it, but I can't find the fucking USB cable to get the god damned picture out of the camera (the van is a vortex from which small things can not escape. Set it down and you might as well kiss it goodbye.) As soon as I either find or replace the cable (and if I replace it, the act virtually ensures that I will find the first one, and thus have two), I'll put up a snap, as well as a couple other interesting pics I've taken over the past few days.
We arrived in Buffalo early this morning, and some of the people on the tour that have never been to this area wanted to see Niagra Falls, so we hiked up there. They spent the morning getting all damp from the mist, and I spent the morning recovering from the terrible and overpriced Denny's breakfast I had. (I've been to the Falls several times, and for some reason didn't feel the need today.) So I slept off the All American Slam, and am now feeling in top form.
There are quite a few pre-sales for the show tonight, and SMG has always had an excellent show here at the Continental. I think that there is a reasonable chance this will be the best show so far on the tour. My voice is back in top form, and there is a nice big stage for jumping about and acting the fool. (This bodes ill for Christ Analogue's equipment; a large stage means Wade can get a bigger running start before smashing in to Jason's drum set. F=ma, the ongoing maxim of this tour.)
On another tack, the Vermont show on Monday has been removed from the list; we had a conversation with the promoter and decided that playing Burlington on a Monday after (and before) a very long drive would be a war of attrition on our part; discretion is the better part of valor, and nowhere is that more true than in the entertainment industry. So we will hit Burlington at a later date, and take the day to dress our wounds and do a little on-site promotion for the Northampton show. Hope this doesn't fuck up anybody's life.
All righty, next time you hear from me, I'll be in Cleveland, basking in the success of a hugely successful show at the Continental.
subject: Circle Pit!!!!
Posted on May 5, 2004 at 9:16 AM
Pittsburgh was the bomb, to not put too fine a point on matters. The first three bands did their excellent show, then Karlos proceeded to turn an audience that was completely unaware of Manufactura right on its ear. When he first took the stage, the majority of people were like "uhh. yay." By the time he finished his set, he had the whole house pumping.
The boys in Christ Analogue then proceeded to destroy everything in sight, including their gear, our gear, the stage, the audience, and themselves. Wade ended up with all kinds of non-life-threatening injuries. Punk as fuck, no doubt about it. To make a long story short, I don't think anybody in that band will be playing keyboards any time in the forseeable future.
Our set was the most banging so far on this tour. My voice is starting to get back to form; I'm still pulling a Peter Brady on some of the yelling bits, but for the most part I'm all good now. We had stage diving for the first time on the tour last night, and I even talked the audience in to a good old-fashioned circle pit for a minute during Crackhead. Brings back memories of my youth, raging circle pits at Black Flag and DK concerts.
Anyhow, the show was the best yet, taken for all in all; many thanks to the people of Pittsburgh, and especially Jim Semonic, for being such gracious hosts. I think last night will be the benchmark for the first leg of the tour.
On another tack, can I just point out that our hotel has free Wi-Fi, a sauna, hot tub, olympic-sized pool, late check-out and complimentary breakfast, all for $79 a room? Why the fuck is it that one place can provide an excellent service, while for the same price at another place you get totally shit upon? The difference between last night's hotel and tonights is vast; one is a flea-infested tenament jacked in to the side of a mountain in West Virginia, while the other is a really nice late 70s affair with balconies and all the shit I mentioned above overlooking Pittsburgh. Yet they're both $79 per room. Fucking lame, really. I guess that's capitalism in action.
subject: Well, a hip, hop, a hibby to the hip hip hop and you don't stop rockin'
Posted on May 4, 2004 at 2:30 AM
Well, Columbus (which, in all honesty, was our first potential problem show, and one I was a bit iffy about) is now in the bag. My voice, which was teetering last night in Champaign, was completely cashed when I woke up this morning. I couldn't even croak for a while.
Heretic_D was kind enough to bring some of his rather large crew to meet us at the venue and help us set up and such. This was a big help, and much appreciated, since the venue didn't provide any loaders (or any other production support, for that matter.) Wade ended up doing sound for SMG, to give you an idea of what kind of day we were having.
Anyways, everyone on the tour stepped up to the plate tonight, since we basically had to do all the production ourselves. I'd like to particularly thank everyone that came and put up with my voice problems. The show itself was great, and even though I couldn't do most of the vocal calesthentics I attempt nightly, I still had a good time. Time for a nice hotel room sleep-a-thon, then off to Pittsburgh.
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