Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Eugene, Oregon Tuesday 18 April 2006

If ya ain't playin', yr payin'. So those road warrior musos claim. We just completed 19 shows in 19 days, and the day off that we had yesterday was a drive day! Darned! Poonk rock! Watt and his flannel beaters, and those assorted DC hardbore types would surely approve, but would still think us to be a bunch of fannies for not getting a pick-up show between Salt Lake City and Eugene. Tonight Eugene, then San Fran for 2 shows and LA for 2 shows. Dino also play at the Henry Rollins TV show on that hunk of punk sure has climbed the ladder of SUCKcess.

But what of the last 2 weeks? North Carolina was wonderful as usual. Chapel Hill is home of Merge Records....Dino's label. I have other reasons for holding this town and peoples with affection. A wonderful band by the name of "The Kingsbury Manx" live here. They have released some of the best records in the last few years and are criminally overlooked. I toured with them many years ago and we have remained firm friends. Returning to see them again presents us all with a chance to go over the latest chapters in our personal lives......marriage, pregnancies, new jobs, getting old! The Cat's Cradle venue is run by friendly people, and CD Alley is a great record shop containing gems you never thought you could find again. North Carolina in the spring is a wonder. An explosion of beauty. Asheville proved to be a old hippy town in the north of the state, the streets are tye-dyed and the food gets you high man! Just kidding. But it is hippy central and set in a beautiful location....mountains, lakes, and the sky above.

Record shopping Atlanta

Graffitty Atlanta

Nobody from Outkast came to see us in Atlanta, although our good friends "Dead Meadow" (who were opening) told me that Andre 3000 is a big music fan and can be spotted at the odd indie show or 6....he once checked the Meadow out when they played in Hotlanta. Nashville was a rootin' tootin' hoot.

Dead Meadow vs Dinosaur jr.

Caught up with Cortney Tidwell, who is a fine singer with a bright future. My only bit of A+R "work" I have done was recommending Cortney to a record label in Europe, who heard her songs, fell in love with them, and signed her up immediately. She showed me around one of the big recording studios used by the biggies of the country world, and I pooped where Garth Brooks has also done the do. Her new album will be out in the summer and it is excellent. After the show, my friend Krista (from Louisville) drove us to Tootsie's Bar in downtown Nashville. Tootsie's is the famed bar behing the Opry where all the country greats (Hank, Johnny, Earl, Jimmie, etc) would drink before and after shows at the Opry. On the walls, behind glass, are fading black and white photos of all the greats who passed through Tootsie's doors. We passed through bars on the strip and drank and danced in a c+w stylee to the many bands twanging their way through the evening.
Memphis was punk as fuck. The venue was a damaged eaterie which must have been shelter to every food disease possible, and when the tables and chairs were removed, it was transformed into a rawk'n'role hole. Elvis didn't even enter the building. The PA was an old stereo converted. But fun it certainly was. Its the grittier shows which are unpredicatble that make for enjoyable evenings. There are safe shows aplenty, and the rough ones are the ones that keep you on your toes.
I always EQ the venue PA system to a song by "The Fall". It used to be "Blood Outta Stone" for ages and in the last year I have been using "Blindness" (the Peel session version). Its always a great way to start your work day. It puts a spring in your step and its great to hear "The Fall" over a big PA. The interesting thing is that there is always one or more person/people who ask what the music playing is. They have either never heard of "The Fall" or have never heard that particular track. Almost everyone loves them instantly and I have had more people telling me that they are going to buy stuff by the band after hearing them. Shouldn't I be on a commission from Kamp Fall?!
New fan of The Fall in Memphis

Midwest madness......Indianapolis, Columbia, drive for miles and miles and miles through flatlands and then you hit a town. What do people do there? Are they the offspring of those young pioneers from yesteryear that beat a path through Indian land? There are references to the Native Americans everywhere...names of rivers, towns, streets, etc. But there are no Native Americans to be seen anywhere. Only pasty white faces and Asians and Afro-Americans. The kids who turn up to the shows are very happy that you made it through to their town and make a big deal out of it. Many get wasted and pogo. Some hang out by the bus after the show hoping to catch up with J, Lou and Murph.....many of these kids werent even born when the records came out. The older ones are just happy to relive their youth and tell you how much this particular show took them back through the years, and just about everybody is blown away by the volume and power produced by the 3 old farts onstage. And the songs are timeless. I hear new things in particular songs that I thought I knew so well....thats a sign of a great song for me. I have never been a big fan of guitar fret wankery but J's improvisations have opened up a new door to me in guitar appreciation. And Lou and Murph are rock solid. Lou's bass playing style is truly unique and I never ever get bored of watching or listening to him.
Incidentally, if you are in Lawrence Kansas, visit Lovegarden Record store.....a wonderful place....inhabited by 3 cats who rule the roost.

Lovegarden recordstore Lawrence Kansas

Lawrece Kansas...Pipes of peace

Boulder, Colorado. A beautiful setting for a town. Mountains galore. Hippies and students everywhere. A bit too much zen in this town....its all patchouli oil, massages, mountain walks, organic everything, rocky mountain high weed and sushi celebrations. Where's the dirt? Where's the real world? I have been confronted by people in every town thus far asking for change. In this town, it felt like I should be asking for change! But I really liked the place. It was nice to pitch camp at one venue for 2 nights, and great to sleep in a bed in a hotel insted of the bus...absolutely impossible to sleep on that rocking boat. Boulder is also home to Dino's management, and so the chiefs of staff made us feel welcome. Went for a run into the mountains on the second day there and hugged trees and gave thanks to the gods of!

Two sold out shows in Boulder Colorado

Salt Lake City.......good grief. Only a Mormon would come up with an idea for a town here. Set in the middle of nowhere, it is the final frontier for anyone who wants to get away from the world. The huge Mormon church spires dominate the city centre landscape, and the majority of the large, imposing buildings in town are connected to the Mormons. We arrived there on Easter Sunday, and just about everything was closed....except the church off course. Attendants wait in the forecourt outside the church, waiting to swoop on visitors to take them on guided tours. I resisted and did my own tour. The city itself is a joyless place and everything seems to be under Mormon control, which feels strange. The Mormons have seagulls as their animal of choice, because as the tale goes, when the Mormons were escaping persecution a few hundred years ago, they had to eat whatever they could from wherever they could. On their journey west, a plague of locusts descended and proceeded to eat their crops and everything else edible. Fearing that death was on the horizon for them, the Mormons prayed for salvation, and what they received was a flock of seagulls that came down and ate the locusts. Saved!
That was 19 shows in 19 days. Everybody was exhausted. Sickness came and went. The day off turned into a drive day from Salt lake City to Portland, Oregon. That is a long way. Many films watched and many cups of tea were sunk.
Saw "eX-Girl" last night in Portland...very good 3 piece Japanese girl band. punk meets metal in a cute Japanese style.

Onwards to California my's up dude!

Dan Mapp, tourmanager

Road Warriors
Train a rollin'


At 12:38 AM, Blogger Anthony said...

Ajay, I've downloaded and rocked to a couple live shows from The Fall from this years tour.
Let me know if you want some new music.

09 May 2006 House of Blues, San Diego Fall
11 May 2006 The Glass House, Pomona CA Fall
14 May 2006 the Independent, San Fran Fall

At 7:42 PM, Blogger ajay said...

hi anthony....YES PLEASE!!!!!!!!! would LOVE to hear those shows with new personnel!


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