Monday, August 30, 2010

Tour Day 1--Spoiled In Chicago

Has a nice ring to it...sounds like it could be one of those light-hearted chick flick comedies...or the name of the newest shit metal-core band...

So Day 1 was at home here in Chicago...It was at Reggies, which is one of the premiere places to play here now. I have been to over 100 shows here now, but have never played there, so this is a happy first...

We all met up there...saved money on a trailer this way and I did not want to drag around those pain in the ass things more than I had to...

Things were weird though...The show was supposed to start at 6pm, which never bodes well for a local band...while we are on the tour, the fact is, we are still a local band when we play here...There were no other openers scheduled either...So there is a good chance that many people would not be getting there till later...Work schedules and travel and all...

Luckily, in the morning, I found out the show got pushed back to 8pm...Better for us!!!

I got to the club around six and there were already some people there hanging out...Apparently word about the time change did not get out...Still, good for us.

The staff there is excellent. They make you feel very welcomed and there is not any bullshit to deal with. Adam was already there and Jim and David showed up shortly after...We loaded in and was trying to find out what was going on. Destroyer and Enthroned were to use our cabinets and the drum set was supplied. Pathology was using their own stuff and they would just set up in front...Problem was the provided drumset...It was missing a floor tom, a throne, and it was just not that good. Perra (of Nominon who was the touring drummer for D666) asked if we brought our kit...was too late to go get it, but we decided that we would bring it for the next three dates since we had the room in the trailer...That was really the only setback for our portion of the tour was that kit...Even still, instead of whining and crying about equipment, professionals make due and use what is there...And that what all three bands did...

So we set up and do a soundcheck and things sounded great on stage...We were ready to slay a hopefully full room...We hung out for awhile and got to know the Pathology guys, the Destroyer guys, and the Enthroned guys...We all really hit it off...This was going to be a fun tour.

So after the hang out and getting to know each other, it was time to take the stage. The place was filling up nicely and we has seemed to get a good response...We raged through our set in about a half hour. We always plan for that as we don't want to cut in to the other bands time. If we finish early, so be it...better than over staying your welcome...

Here was the setlist for the tour...

-Insanity's Grip
-Among Us
-Against Their Will
-The Blade That Reaps
-Embrace The Aftermath
-Paralyzed With Fear
-Affliction of the Beast

Yes, mostly Haven material...we do need to push the new album you know. And it is very difficult coming up with setlists for shows now...With 3 full length albums, the Demo EP, The Beast 7", there is a lot to choose from.

I felt really good after our set. Two really great turnouts for Chicago shows in a row for us now (See the Gravehill tour post for more info on that) and to be honest, I don't want to play Chicago for a long time now for fear of getting disappointed...The last two shows we did here will be hard to top...

Didn't have to break anything down as Pathology was setting up in front of the backline. Went to drink beer, and lots of it...Hung by the merch table and watched Pathology. They are really not my thing, but they were really good. Our friend Shawn Whitaker (Insidious Decrepancy) was doing vocals for this tour...

Destroyer 666 was up next...Went up to check if they needed anything or had any questions about gear. All was well and they went on and about killed the place. I had seen them in Chicago in 06 and I remember the intensity and turnout being better for that show, but this was still a killer set.

Enthroned was up next. Now, I was never a black metal fan, so I have never heard these guys. After checking with them regarding equipment, I went back to the merch table and paid attention while they played. They were really good. Again, I am unfamiliar with their material, but I was digging what I heard.

Here is a review of the show from The Punk Vault. Contains some cool pics too!

Time to break down the gear...and get this...We actually got help with load out from members of Destroyer and Enthroned...Take note on this bands we have played with before that used our gear and then would just stand around while we loaded everything out...

Said bye to everyone and headed home...Ate a burrito and got a few hours of sleep before our trek to Detroit...

Another Tour Already?? The Backstory...

Well, sort of...It was only four days...I'll get to that in a minute...

I was going to write about Central Illinois Metalfest and our show in Akron, Ohio first, but I wanted to try and write about this most recent jaunt with everything fresh in my mind...

Ok, so a couple months ago, we were asked to be part of the Destroyer 666 and Enthroned US Tour...This was an extensive US tour that lasted nearly a month...Long story short, we were asked to do the whole thing in the beginning, which we accepted...Things kept changing though (as I'm sure it sometimes does) and we ended up on the tail end of the tour. About 2 weeks before the tour would launch (and about a week after we got home from the Gravehill/Hod/Caridac tour), I got a call from John McEntee (Incantation and Ibex Moon Records) asking if we could fill in a chunk of dates for our friends and label mates Estuary who were now unable to do the tour. We looked at every way possible, but there was no way we could have done it, which sucked, but that's what happens sometimes...Besides, the notice was too short and contrary to popular belief, people in bands do have lives and responsibilities...



We would be on the Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, and Montreal dates...Not too shabby, especially since it was three markets we have never played, with two being in another country...Yes, I can say it now...Cardiac Arrest is now an International live band! Yay us!! Only took me a little over 20 years playing death metal to do that...

While I generally never get nervous about this kind of stuff (stressed is more my style) this tour was kind of eating away at me...I was nervous about the whole border thing...None of us have anything to hide or prevent us from going, but in our case, if something can go wrong, it will for us. We have a lot of "pie in the face" moments and this tour could have had the potential for a lot of that...This tour was organized and we would be working with the booking agent and various tour managers, something we have not experienced. Also, I get nervous about bigger bands...How will they treat us? Will we get along? Will we be able to sell stuff at our prices? Will we be able to sell stuff at all? Are we going to get screwed on our guarantee? This is the kind of stuff that rattles around my empty skull...

Things looked to be on the up and up though...The booking agent was cool and kept in contact...things were getting organized and plans were being made...All we had to do is show up and kick ass...

We really put everything into our rehearsals for this tour...I mean, we always do regardless, but I think we were paying real close attention...These would be important shows for us. We would be playing for people who may not have heard us before...Also, several genres would be represented on this tour...Black, War, Technical Brutal Death (Pathology was on this tour as well) and our mix of what we do so there would be different fan bases. How would we go over on this?? Another bout of Tom nervousness...

Some things tour wise were working in our favor though...Everyone would be using the same drum kit...Awesome! Less to lug around and it helps in the set up time. We had a half hour set, so the more time saved, the better...And we were getting decent guarantees...I had the trailer secured, so that was one less thing to worry about...We had some more merch en route as well...Everything was lining up...

But I still had an unsettling feeling about the tour...To be honest, I think I was scared for the first time in my band life...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Goodbyes suck!

Well, I get home when most people are getting ready for work...I crash out in a drunken coma...

My phone wakes me at around noon...It felt like I had just closed my eyes when I laid down and now I was up again...It was Scott...The Gravehill guys were getting ready to make their long trek home to California...I throw some water on my face and head out the door...

I walked over this time...I should have walked home a few hours before, but common sense waved bye bye to me at some point in the night of debauchery...not a bad walk at all, except it was really hot out...

Al Famine was still over and everyone was just hanging out...either groggy from the long two weeks we had or hung over...or both...

And of course, Renee corrupted me once again...There was one lone beer in the house...And that was a Sam Adams Imperial White...They pack a punch...especially when I think I was still drunk from the night before...

And that folks is what is in that coffee cup I'm clutching here...





We say our goodbyes and watch Gravehill take off...I know Scott has a pic of the Gravehill-mobile and that shit awful trailer departing...

So now I am mega-bummed...While I was bummed on the road during certain times, it hit me bad now...While I keep in touch with everyone from Gravehill, it is not the same as hanging out. Who knows when we will see each other again? Sooner than later I hope...The point is, I'm already missing my friends...

Since Scott and Renee were off for the day, we hung out...went to a killer hot dog stand that I never knew about in all the time I lived here...Highly recommended, but daylight dining is suggested...It is also Anthony Bordain approved!



Of course we got beer afterward and just hung out and drank through the evening...I split around 8pm though...an early night...One of the few...

When I was home, I didn't know what to do with myself. This feeling is still going on, weeks after the tour commenced. I never knew if I would enjoy touring or not. But, as I was home, all I wanted to was be out playing. I guess I was meant to be doing this.

We had a few days off now to relax and decompress...Next stop...The Sickest Fest in the Midwest...Central Illinois Metalfest!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

After Tour Celebration--Sweet Home Chicago Part 2: Electric Boogaloo!

Yeah, I guess you could call it that...While we had to end it early, we still felt a great sense of accomplishment. For Cardiac, it was the first time we have ever did something this extensive...We all got along, no major melt downs, we gave 110% every show, dealt with the downs, and relished in the ups...We proved to ourselves that we could tour...

I had phoned Scott of Cianide before the Indy show to see if his offer (see Tour Day 8 entry) still stood...Good news...it did...and he even took Friday off. Preparing for debauchery...that's what us drunks do!

We left the Indy show probably around 3am...We stopped at a Denny's to grub and finish the drive back to Chicago...I couldn't tell you who drove...I think it was David...with me being drunk and a stomach full of awesome breakfast food, I went into drunk/food coma and crashed hard...Next thing I know, it was daylight and we were back at our rehearsal spot and gear was already being unloaded.

Still half asleep, I did what I could...We also had to put the damn extra seat back in the van...What a pain in the ass...

Everything got unloaded, so I took Adam back to his place...Came back and closed everything up and headed back to Casa de Knizner for the second time this tour. Works for me! Jim and David had to ride along since Jim left his car by Scott's after the Chicago show...But we weren't going there to party yet...Come on...It was like 8:30 in the morning...I'm bad, but not that bad...Ok I am, but Scott and Renee were at work...When I dropped Jim and David off, I noticed Al Famine's car parked there...Must have partied the night before...Hopefully he would still be around for this evenings festivities...

We get to my place about 2 minutes later...Had to search for a parking permit for the Gravehill-mobile (zoned parking and revenue collectors love finding non compliant vehicles) and we just chilled here...Matt and Corpsie went straight to the basement to crash...Rhett did laundry and he, myself, Bob, and Mike just chilled out and watched TV...We had a lot of time to kill and it was nice to just relax...

I had to take the van back at some point today, and luckily, the place was right down the street...I'll worry about it later because I wanted to clean it up before I took it back...

In the early afternoon, hunger started to kick in...I suggested my favorite junk food joint, Jacky's, which is right across the street. However, I was outvoted in favor of Deep Dish Pizza. Yes, the last time the Gravehill guys were here, we really did not have time to do much of anything Chicago-wise and they got shafted...Not this time though...I took them right down the street to one of the more famous establishments here on the South Side...

Disclaimer: Let it be known that we here in Chicago do not just eat Deep Dish Pizza like all those food shows lead you to believe...We mostly eat thin crust that is cut into squares...Deep Dish is a nice treat once in awhile...Got that???

Corpsie and Matt stayed behind and slept while the rest of us gorged on Deep Dish Pizza...I'd like to say that we were dicks and didn't bring them back any, but we are not like that believe it or not...They got leftovers that were still hot (that's how close this place is to the house)

Bob, Mike, and I cleaned the van while the others ate, took showers, etc.

Took the van back without any issue. I was a bit worried about it because of all the goofy things that we went through with the change over and turning it to a different city, but all was well...

Went and loaded up on beer and some food for the night...Drinking and grilling would ensue.

We got to Scott's around 7pm...Besides myself, David was the only Cardiac member in attendance for the bash...And Al Famine showed back up to partake in the bash...and what a bash it was...I'll let the pics do the talking...





































Yup...that's how we roll...This went on till about 5am...I can't even fathom how much booze was consumed...I know I brought a 30 pack, David brought a 12er, Al brought beer, I believe some of the Gravehill dudes bought some beer, Scott's house is ALWAYS well stocked, and that bottle of Maker's Mark was full when we got there...The bash is what the kids now call, epic!

It was getting light out when I made my way home, which thankfully is only a few blocks away...David had left already and the Gravehill guys were crashing at Scott's...I would see them again in just a few hours...

Tour Complete--The Aftermath

Well, as I said, I will explain....But first, here is the press release that went out on what was to be the final day of the tour...

Ibex Moon Records has announced that the last four dates of the "Campaign For Death Metal Purity Tour", featuring GRAVEHILL, CARDIAC ARREST and HOD, will not go on as planned.

Though HOD dropped off the bill after the July 7 date in Austin, Texas, other factors led to GRAVEHILL and CARDIAC ARREST canceling the final dates.

Commented CARDIAC ARREST drummer Jim "Grindhead" Deabenderfer: "We in CARDIAC ARREST and GRAVEHILL are disappointed to be in this position. Canceling shows is not something either of our camps are accustomed to. We are forced to drop these dates for purely logistic reasons, not financial. This should not reflect on any of the promoters for the dates in question — our plans simply had to change with the situation. Both CARDIAC ARREST and GRAVEHILL are committed to make up these four dates as soon as possible."

The affected dates are as follows:

July 15 - Buccaneer's - Memphis, TN
July 16 - Downtown Music - Little Rock, AR
July 17 - Walters - Houston, TX
July 18 - Ten Eleven - San Antonio, TX

The "Campaign For Death Metal Purity Tour" will conclude tonight in Indianapolis, Indiana at The Melody Inn, with GRAVEHILL and CARDIAC ARREST playing alongside Abyss Records acts MAAX and CHRIST BEHEADED.



So, what were the logistical problems...Well, I'll tell ya...


Ok, Hod is the one that secured the van. We had taken over said van. Hod provided a lot of the gear being used, so when they left, so did the gear...We scrambled to get ours to finish out the dates we could...

Now, Indianapolis is about a 4 hour drive from Chicago. Get where I'm going to with this? No? Keep reading then...

We also had to return the van. We were already getting hit for the different driver fee now.

We had two options at this point...

1--Finish the tour as planned

2--End the tour early for said logistical reasons

Option 1 sounds great, don't it...I thought so...Here is the problem with that...

We finish out the dates and play Memphis, Little Rock, Houston, and San Antonio...we return the van in San Antonio and we fly home from there (remember, we have plane tickets as this was the plan from the get-go) and everything is peachy, right?

Ok, how do we get our equipment home?

"Oh Tom, just ship it back home!" you say...

Yeah...2 4x12 cabinets, 1 Marshall Head, and Jim's monster drum kit...

"Just fly home with it!"

Yeah, right...

"Just rent a car and drive the stuff home!"

Won't fit...have to rent a van again...

"Gravehill has the trailer...they could take the gear back with them and work out shipping arrangements!"

Ain't gonna happen...room in the trailer was limited as it was and the van was being used for storing stuff as well...Now, no van with extra storage for their ride home...

"Go back to Chicago, dump your gear off and just use other bands stuff!"

Ok drive away from our next city, dump the gear off, and then do double the drive back to Memphis.

Believe me, I may sound like a smart ass, but we did try to examine every option to continue on with the tour...Nothing would work for us. We really did want to continue on, but ultimately decided to end it in Indianapolis since we were pretty close to home.

So that folks is what happened...No drama, no bullshit not getting along with Gravehill (or earlier, Hod)...We were just stuck and going home was the only way...

We knew we were beat...

It was all decided as a group (including Gravehill) that we would end in Indianapolis. We all put our heads together to try and make this thing work to no avail.

The plan was to go back home to Chicago, dump the gear at the practice space, return the van (which we also get a hit on for turning it in another city, but with turning it in 5 days early, it kind of offsets) and relax and party before Gravehill had to make their long trek back to Los Angeles...

Kind of anti-climatic, eh?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tour Day 13--Indianapolis, Indiana

Yeah, that's right...I can't think of anything catchy for this one...Maybe some kind of John Cougar Mellencamp thing, but I'm drawing a blank...

So we left New York probably around 3am to make the 12 hour haul to Indy...Mike started out the drive in getting out of the city. Not bad. My foot was now killing me so the best thing for me was sleep...I slept through the night, through a lot of storms, and a change in driver. Yes, David stepped up to the plate and got us through the storms...I am told he did damn good too, so he is now on the driver approved list for upcoming shows...

We gassed up around 8am and I took us the rest of the way...My foot was feeling a bit better now and I just wanted to get there...The ride wasn't too bad, just long and really nothing to look at. We were making excellent time though...

We were about an hour and a half ahead of the Gravehill-mobile as they had stopped at a truckstop for a classic truckstop shower...We chose to marinate for the day...

We got into Indy about right on schedule...we found the club and decided to get something to eat. We were in a very ghetto area by the looks of things and I think we were all wondering how this show would go. Cardiac has played Indy 3 times prior and turnouts have always been on the low side.

He grabbed something to eat down the road and I was deciding whether or not to stay the night...In the meantime, Gravehill rolled into town and was getting kind of lost...Their war machine needed an oil change as well. Luckily, there was quick lube place within spitting distance from where we were currently at...Problem is, my sense of direction is worth a shit and they went the opposite way...They finally met up with us about a half hour later...They pull into the oil change place, and the shitty thing was we had to detach the trailer...Dammit...It wasn't as bad as one would think though...So, oil change is done, and now they want to eat. It was around 5:30 at this point, so we would skip the hotel and head to the club. We also had to out our plan into action, which I will explain in detail in the next entry...I stopped at a store and picked up a 12er while I waited for everyone to finish eating...

We played The Melody in...Our friend Dano is the one that booked and promoted the show. He has never done us wrong, hence is why we will always work with him. The line-up was sweet...Our buddies Maax were the openers...We have played with them quite a few times now and they are a great band and cool dudes. Christ Beheaded would play after. Awesome black metal band consisting of Iron Bob of The Gates of Slumber fame...Then it would be us and Gravehill...

We hung around for outside for awhile and started staging the gear outside...the place was pretty small, so there was not a lot of room for gear. I drank beers in the van for awhile and checked in. The door guy looked really familiar to me, but I couldn't place him...Oh well...

People were really starting to show up...Our friends from Leproso came out to support and see the show. I also remember some other people from past Indy shows...But the place was filling up and I was pretty impressed.

Maax and Christ Beheaded set the pace...both bands were killer...In between the two bands, it finally dawned on me who the door guy (and sound guy) was...It was Karl from Gates of Slumber...It had been a couple of years since we hung out (they play Chicago all the time, and I have missed their last bunch of shows here) and my appearance has changed considerably sine then, so that's why we were both stumped...So we played catch up for a bit, and I started getting ready for load in...

We went up and did our thing...I was floored by the crowd...I think it is safe to say that Indy was one of the best shows of the tour.

Gravehill was up next and finished the assault...I believe they even got to encore...not sure if that happened throughout the tour because I never pay attention since I was usually three sheets to the wind and running merch...but for some reason, I remember it happening here...

We hung out after the show for a bit and took over the juke box again...we were in good company though since Karl and Bob were loading it up and playing good songs...

We said our goodbyes to everyone once the place closed and loaded out...We got an offer from Iron Bob to stay at his place, but we were heading back to Chicago...Yup, that was what was irking me since Hod dropped off the tour...We would not be able to complete the last four dates...Hence, the tour was now over...As promised, I will go into detail in the next entry...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tour Day 12--I Want To Be A Part Of It...New York, New York...

Digging deeper into the well and out comes an "Ol' Blue Eyes" reference...Look that up if you are confused kiddies...

Where was I? Ah, ok, we wake several times in the morning...Why several times...Because the fucking staff of the hotel kept knocking on our door asking us about when we were checking out...Um, at check out time, which was noon I think...This started at 9am...Note to self...don't stay at that hotel again...

We finally got moving around 12, but it was important to continue the mini Food Network tour...Which led us right down the road to here...



We eagerly await our feast...



Awesomeness! The food was great and cheap...and they gave you a lot of it...Highly recommended...

We had to look for a place to get an oil change for the Gravehill-mobile...Not to be...That area of Jersey seems to not have convenient places...I had a bitch of a time finding cigs, no oil change place, and gas stations tended to be scarce...

So, we head off to our next destination, New York City...which was only a half hour away...I didn't drive because I fear big city driving other than Chicago, so Mike did it and I was relieved. My mood was a bit better today...Good, I'm getting out of my funk...

Getting into New York was not as bad as I imagined...I had been there once before, but I was with people who knew the area so it didn't really phase me...Don't get me wrong...it was a bitch, but not real bad...



Next, we had to find the club then worry about parking...

That wasn't so bad either...Easily found the place and found relatively close parking...Even the Gravehill-mobile with the trailer...Just had to feed the meters...

The club was Fontana's and it was right in the middle of Chinatown...Not much to do there. It was really congested and kind of unpleasant...garbage was everywhere, so the smells were not that great either...Parking right in front of the club opened up at 7pm...No lugging stuff if we played our cards right...

Hey, look...we are tourists...



We had a lot of time to kill...Matt and Bob wandered around. Corpsie and Adam took naps...Jim and David walked around...Mike, Rhett, and I stayed in the club. I drank beer and played Golden Tee...Did much better on that then I did in Portland with pinball...

Oooohh...We made it on a poster at the venue...



Yes, we were playing with Goreaphobia tonight, who I was looking forward to seeing again...

Mike and I decided to go walking around a little bit...Load in time was getting close, so we had to be back...not to mention being ready to move the vehicles for the optimal spots...

Luckily we found a pizza joint a couple of blocks down...I was thankful for that because I am not too big of a Chinese food fan...and there were tons of those places obviously...

Look at the Creep at the Pizza Joint!



So we get back and start the load in...My foot was hurting real bad so I was kind of crabby...but, work needed to be done...There's no crying in metal!

People were starting to show up...Ran into Danny and Ron of Malignancy...Jeff Zornow and Bridget showed up...Ross and Bob of Immolation also came by along with some other friends...Coolness!

I ended up with lots of drink tickets since most of the other guys don't really drink...So I enjoyed my free Iron City beers all night!

Animals Killing People were up first. Not bad, but not really my thing...Kind of that New York Brutal thing...They were super nice guys though!

The crowd was great for us and Gravehill...The stage was kind of small so we were pretty cramped so we did the best we could with limited movement...

Goreaphobia was next and they kicked ass. But, for some reason, the club started to thin out quite a bit...It was a Tuesday and late, but I thought New York was one of those cities that never sleep...Guess not...

I mentioned my hurt foot before...I think it was due to the way I rest my foot on the gas pedal while driving...The only way I can describe it was that it felt like the top of my right foot was cracked...Anyway, I aggravated it more when loading out...there were steps, and the first one is real low...almost like it is not there...When I was going down to get more stuff, I missed that step and the middle of my foot came down on it...PAIN!! I was hobbling around like a fucking idiot after that...They all told me not to worry about loading out, but I'm not like that...I'll deal with it after everything is secure...

We hung for a bit and got ready for the long haul to Indianapolis...This would be another long run of 12 hours and a through the night drive.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tour Day 11--Can't think of anything witty to reference--New Jersey

Well, other than Jersey Shore stuff...and no, I am not a Snooki fan, but I would do a lot of things to J-Woww...I mean, come on...she's hot!!



See...

So we wake up and check out of the hotel in Allentown...The first order of business was getting to Jersey and going to Rutt's Hut for hot dogs...But, we had some business to take care of which required a Western Union...So the Gravehill guys headed out and we putzed around Allentown a bit...

There was an amusing little back and forth between Mike and Jim and a Dunkin' Donuts drive through...The high point of my morning...

My depression was getting worse...I didn't even want to drive, so Mike took one for the team. I believe I sat in the back seat just dwelling on, well, a whole bunch of things...But, I was quiet for the whole trip...

It took us a little over an hour to get to our destination...Ta da!!



And this is what I had...Two Rippers!!



I kind of glopped on the mustard and special relish, so the pic looks a bit messy...But these things were awesome! And this is coming from someone who has eaten Chicago style dogs all his life...

The Gravehill guys had already come through there and were now looking for a hotel. We would get word back shortly...

This time, we stayed at an over priced dump of a hotel...They seemed pretty strict there so we had to "sneak" in...Thorgrimm was able to get the price down a bit, but this place was so shitty...ugh...I noticed the lobby was uncomfortably hot when I was checking us in...

We get to the room and wonderful...the air works, but not really good...Fuck it, I didn't care at that point. I took a shower and then relaxed...we had a lot of time to kill. Everyone else slept while I messed around on the computer a bit (Yes, Mafia Wars and catching up on all the Facebook junk)

I went to get something to drink...I searched all over this dump for a vending machine...Success...had to go all the way down to the lobby though...Apparently, the third floor is the "no frills" floor...

I needed smokes so I went for a walk...you guessed it...nowhere around to get them...Sigh...depression gets worse...

Mike and I went over to the venue around 5:30 to check in...In the mean time, everyone else was getting ready. The club wasn't open yet, but ran into someone who worked there and he told us to come back around 7 to 7:30...

Finally got my smokes after looking all over the place and getting lost in the process...Mike was a trooper putting up with my ass since he was driving...

We all go back to the club and meet up with some of our friends...Roy Fox and Gutter, who booked the show were there with their crew and they took care of us well...

We played at Dingbatz which was a really cool place. Another short show as there was only one local band playing. Since I was in such a funk, I went across the street to their other bar Dingo's and had a beer and a burger. Bob went with me, but I was just off in my own world.

I kept to myself most of the night. I watched the opening band, Carnal. At first, I was not into them...It was that brutal slam death style, so I kind of wrote them off. But then the next song was basic death metal...then the next one had a lot of thrashy elements. They were pretty diverse and ended up winning me over.

We were up next...time to get out of depression mode and play. Yeah folks, I can change my mood at the drop of a hat when I need to. So many things were really eating at me, but you would never know it when I am on stage.

The sound at Dingbats was amazing! Jim checked his bass drums and the about lifted me two feet above the stage...Holy shit!!

We did our thing to a great response and I was starting to feel better...The beers started flowing a lot more...

Gravehill was next and they kicked the usual ass! They had played the New Jersey Deathfest last year and they had a decent following in the area. They sounded so massive there...I can't say enough good things about the sound in this place.

We loaded up and Thorgrimm and a couple of others went back to the hotel. The remainder of us stayed at Dingo's, hung with Gutter, and took over the jukebox. Matt and Bob led a great Merciful Fate sing-a-long...My mood was steadily improving thanks to those guys...Matt also found an interesting article of clothing that he got out of the lost and found box...and we wore that part of the costume the rest of the night...



We partied in the Cardiac room well into the night. My mood was better and I was looking forward to playing in New York City tomorrow...

Besides...great friends, beer, and Family Guy always makes things better!



And yes, I actually slept in the bed this time!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tour Day 10--Well We're Living Here In Allentown...

Ha! Remember that Billy Joel song? Don't bullshit me...if you are around my age or older you do...And if you don't you are lying!

After a day off of driving detail, I took the wheel. I was a little bit nervous once we left Ed's just because of the screwy roads in Pittsburgh...But, we made it out of there in one shot as robo fuhrer did us a solid...

Again, it was about a 5 hour drive, so this was going to be pretty easy. We were on the turnpike and decided to stop and get something to eat. He hit the first travel plaza that we came too...

Mistake...This appeared to be the only travel plaza on the turnpike apparently because it was jam packed. The gas lines were like 7 cars deep at each island and I didn't even bother going into the food court area...It was nuts. Abominator got a few souvenirs for his lady and we took off...

I figure we'd find something along the way.

After driving for awhile, most of which were mountain areas and driving through the tunnels, which scare me to death, we started seeing signs of population...I asked if they wanted to stop, but Jim said to just keep pressing on to stop in Breezewood, where there is this big truck stop and travel plaza...

I don't know why I keep listening to Jim...Apparently, everyone on the damn turnpike had the same idea and it took us forever to get off the damn ramp...We get to the truck stop and it is packed too...Ugh...We'll we're here, I guess we'll make the best of it. Besides, Jim needed some stuff anyway and he was able to find everything he needed there...I can't remember if that is where he bought his butt doughnut or not...



Yeah I know it is a neck pillow...But Jim was all proud of that thing and was gloating about it so I told him he mistakenly picked up the butt pillow that hemorrhoid sufferers use. It provided hours of laughter for the remainder of the tour...

We sit down in the only restaurant that ain't packed...We order food and I am starting to sink into one of my depression stages. Why, I don't know...I guess I am getting burnt out, worn out and kind of missing being home...And the fact that it took forever for our fucking food didn't help my mood any...I mean, seriously...There is not many people in the place...How long does it take to cook a chicken sandwich? I think Jim sensed my mood as I was just getting snippy with anyone and anything...Once I got my food, I wolfed it down and left to go get gas while everyone finished eating...Figure I would save some time, since we were there for about an hour and a fucking half...

We settle up and take off after sitting through the longest traffic light I've ever encountered and headed toward Allentown...We still had a couple hours to go and after the near 2 hour truck stop fiasco, my mood was worsening because I did not want to be late again.

We are going along and getting close until I have to deal with an idiot driver. I had to deal with this asshole for about 20 miles and I could not shake him...First off, when getting the highway from a ramp, Yield does not mean slam on your fucking breaks...Also, speed limit is 70, not 40. Seriously, I was losing my shit here...then we enter a construction zone...Then there is an accident up ahead and I can't fucking get away from this dick. I think everyone knew I was about to blow my top so they all just stayed quiet...I finally got away from this dude and never looked back...

We finally make it to Allentown and directions seem fairly easy, but we still have a bit of trouble finding the place. Once we do, I was getting in a better mood. I met with Skip who was the promoter and gave him the rundown...Gravehill was about an hour behind (I think they also stopped at that dumb ass truck stop) and everything was pretty much on schedule.

The place was pretty cool. It was called Jimmy's Place and it was pretty big. Had a lot of pool tables and there was a separate room where the bands played. I got to meet another online friend, Oz, who was cool as hell.

Skip had a full spread of food there that a kilt wearing chef buddy of his did up and was getting us beer! Nice! Gravehill showed and they decided to chow before we unloaded. I just wanted to drink, although I did partake in some of the food later...

Opening bands played and there were not a whole lot of people here. The PA was vocals only...We played and then Gravehill and did our best and had a lot of fun. Skip took care of us pretty good as well. Sunday night in Allentown I guess is not the ideal day for a show. But the people that were there were into it and we all got a lot of compliments. I was also shocked when someone in the crowd yelled out Dogod (my old band that played back in that area in 92 or so) during our set...Abominator also blew out the PA during their last song...That's fucking metal!!


We hung out after the show for awhile and just took our time loading out. We hung at the bar for awhile and I think we were now on the second case that Skip got for us...He got us Yuengling, which I never liked, but I loved them that day...

We load out and decide we are going to get rooms. The next show was in Clifton, NJ, which was only a little over an hour away...We find an awesomely cheap hotel nearby and we party for most of the night...I was Portland loaded, but at least I wasn't playing now...And I finally got a fucking bed...although it didn't do me that good since I passed out on the shitter...

Off to NJ tomorrow but I still have something in the back of my mind that is really bothering me...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tour Day 9--When There Is No More Room In Hell, The Dead Will Go To Pittsburgh.

Yeah, I had to drop a George Romero reference in here...We are heading to the zombie capital after all...

We take off from Scott's in Chicago around 4am by my estimation...Bobybag Bob is riding along with us this time as well. Figure we had the room in the van, we may as well take whoever wants to ride along. Plus, it gives the riders in the Gravehill Durango a bit more room...

I crashed again. Have you been keeping track? I slept in the van every day so far during this tour...Mike drove a part of the way and when we gassed up, Bob took over...It was nice to not have to drive for awhile.

The drive was not bad, but then again, I slept through it all...We make it to the Pittsburgh area, and that's when the "fun" began.

I don't know if anyone reading this has driven in Pittsburgh before...It is a clusterfuck...It is not on a grid system, people there drive like shit (Jim is from that area, so his driving skills make sense now) and areas are just really crowded...Plus, there was a lot of construction which added to the confusion.

As stated, Jim is from that area, so I figured we would be fine. Turns out, Jim was not familiar with the area we were going to. And now his robo fuhrer (GPS) was not cooperating either...

We were somewhere in this hilly area. Bob is still driving...He is doing fine, but there were so many short stops, turn arounds, twisting, turning, etc. I was getting fucking sick. I used to get motion sickness a lot when I was a kid, and I have not felt as miserable since then...

We were all going to stay at my friend Ed's house. And we were just having a hard time finding it.

And, now for Tom Tour Freak Out #3

As said, the directions were just taking us everywhere...Jim is navigating and a turn comes up too quick and he tells Bob to turn, but it was too late...He attempts the turn, couldn't do it and my stomach got jostled for the last time...

"STOP THIS FUCKING VAN RIGHT NOW!!"

At this point, no one knew what was going on with me. I was sick, miserable, and cranky because of it. Jim thought I was fucking with him, but I wasn't...I needed to get my feet on the ground...Besides, I was going to call Ed and see if he could give us better directions since it is his city...And it is difficult to do this when we are moving. I just wanted to stay put somewhere...

We find a parking lot in a particularly seedy looking area in Pittsburgh...I fly out of the van. Had a bottle of water and was much better. No folks, I did not blow chunks...But someone did before the night was over... :)

I called Ed, and he figured out where we were at and came and met us. This way, we would just follow him back to his pad. As we were waiting, I get a call from Thorgrimm and they are at Ed's...Jim's mom was also at Ed's waiting on her loving son...Awwwwww :) Go figure...The knuckle heads from California find Ed's place without a problem and a former Pittsburgh area resident can not...Score one for the Gravehill robo fuhrer!

So Ed meets us, and I ride back with him to his place while the van followed...I noticed that Ed picked up a 30 pack of Rolling Rock and a 30 Pack of Busch for us. What an excellent host!

We get to his place and Jim takes off for the day to spend time with his mom. We all hang out at Ed's. Another great break in the travel as we had several hours before we had to get to the club. Those that wanted to sleep did just that...others did laundry, showers, etc. We watched Night of the Creeps on Blu Ray, which was awesome. Ed and his wife Romina also cooked for us. I just want to say this...it is awesome to eat real food when on the road...After the last two days now, we were getting spoiled...

A funny thing happened too...Mike was out of stage blood...He asked Ed if there was a place to get any around...Are you kidding...in the Zombie Capital?? Of corpse!! Romina took Mike to get the blood, which I believe Mike bought what was left...

Ok, now on to the gig. It was dubbed the Ibex Moon Fest. It was at Belvidere's, which was not too far away from Ed's place.

Incantation
Gravehill
Cardiac Arrest
Funerus
Abysme

What a line up!!

As soon as we pull up, I see my friends Bryan (Burn), his wife Nikki, her sister Kory and her hubby Brad. This is my Cinema Wasteland crew and I was stoked to see them. But, I had work to do (unloading) so our reunion would have to wait...

Lots of friends at this show...The Ibex Metal Family as I now call it...It was great to see Jill, (John's wife and bassist/vox of Funerus) again as well as all the other cast of Ibex characters...And Jill even brought food for all the bands! How cool it that??


All goes well and the show is delayed a bit, but we still needed things to run smoothly. I was restringing my guitar, so I didn't get to watch most of Abysme or hang with my friends...I heard them though and they sounded crushing. I was glad to be able to hear them as I have known their bass player Michael for some time now as he is another Cinema Wasteland regular...

I did manage to get done and caught their last two songs...During the break, I hung out with Burn and crew...Anthony Matthews showed up (another Wasteland regular and director of the upcoming Revenge Is Her Middle Name) and it was great to see him...Ed was around, but we all noticed that he was loaded...lol...Other friends that showed was Tony Mollick, who made Adam's Custom V and Timmy Aymar (singer of Control Denied, Pharaoh, etc)

Funerus is up next...I was really looking forward to seeing them again...Every time I have seen them they have kicked my ass. This time was no different. Fuck, one of the heaviest death metal bands around in my opinion.

We were up next, and both bands were a tough act to follow. I think we did well and had a great time. The response was awesome and I really couldn't ask for more.

Gravehill was next and they did their thing as always. You would think by now, I would be sick of them, but it was not the case. They continued to impress me night after night.

Incantation was next...What do I really need to say? They killed as they always do. I always have a lot of fun watching them...

Throughout the night, I was hanging at the merch table and wandering around. Kyle had a set up to show the trailer to the upcoming Afterparty Massacre, he and Kristoff Bates' debut horror film...



But I was in a great mood and just felt really good about things...3 awesome shows in a row...

When Hod decided to drop off the tour a few days prior, I pleaded with them to stay...Kansas City was unexpected, but I knew that Chicago and Pittsburgh would have been great...and they were...We were getting better off financially and the crowds were awesome. Again, 3 awesome shows in a row and we were all in great spirits...

But where was Ed?? We were going back to his place to crash and he was nowhere to be found...

Well, Ed was loaded as I said and got even more loaded, so he was in no shape to drive. Remember what I said about someone loosing their lunch earlier? There ya go!! We had to get him home. There was no way I could because I had been drinking all day and night. David, Adam, and Mike were the only ones that did not drink in the Cardiac van...Mike had to drive the van, so that left David and Adam. David stepped up and got Ed home...We finished loading out, said our goodbyes to everyone, and headed back to Ed's...We had no problems getting back. I actually rode back in the Durango this time for a change of pace.

We get back and had to find parking...It is difficult, but doable...just quite a few blocks down...Some slept, some partied. Tony showed up at Ed's and hung with us a bit. I then got a "what for" from the cops that drove by. I was standing on the sidewalk drinking a beer and they stopped me. I got the whole Pittsburgh law thing and public intoxication threats, as I gingerly and kind of sarcastically tip toed onto the bottom step of Ed's porch and apologized saying I wasn't from here and didn't know...They just told me to stay on the porch...Cool, I suppose...

After another night of debauchery, it was time to crash. David opted to sleep in the van. What?? I was not sleeping in the van??? Surely you jest!!

No bed or couch, so I ended up on the floor...I guess that is the problem when you stay up all night drinking...you can't stake a claim!

I woke up (first one again) and grabbed another shower. Ed's wife Romina was up next and we hung out for a bit as I have not seen her in awhile so we played catch up. Everyone else started waking and getting ready. I think Ed was the last one to rise and with good reason! Ha ha! Now worries Ed, it happens to the best of us!

I got tired of waiting around, so I thanked Ed and Romina and we headed out to the next gig, which was in Allentown, PA. Only about a 5 hour drive, so another easy haul. This time, Corpsie rode with us...All is well!!

And now, the special thanks for this entry...

Ed and Romina. You guys were just so great to us. Thank you for letting me and 8 other people you never met stay at your place. Thanks for the beer and the food! Thanks for the showers and the use of the washer and dryer...In short, thanks for everything!! It is super-mega appreciated by all of us!!!

Tour Day 8--Sweet Home Chicago

You had to know I was going there by now...heh heh...

Heading home...we were now at the half way point of the tour and no one killed each other...Very cool!

Like I said, I wanted to stay overnight, but we had an 8 hour drive ahead of us...So, my poor 30 pack was ignored on the way back to Chicago...

Mike and I worked out a plan since he was riding with us now...He would handle the night driving and I would do the day driving. Why did I not drive at night? Um, I drink...he wasn't...That is called being smart and safe...

I gave Mike the rough directions and stayed up with him a little bit...I was really wiped out and I would be asleep soon...I made it for about an hour until I zonked...

Next thing I know, the sunlight awakes me...I look over and Jim is now driving...Fucking wonderful.

It is no secret that I think Jim is one of the worst drivers on the planet...Add to that, me being the world's worst passenger, that is not a very good mix. I tried to go back to sleep, but I was too nervous...And that van is not the easiest thing to handle either...

I gave it about an hour and I had enough. That occurred when he checked is Blackberry and drifted a little too close to the car in the next lane...I believe that led to a short little exchange between us...After that, I spotted the highway sign for gas...

"Pull over at the next gas stop so we could gas up."

As we did and I filled up, I grabbed the keys...I got it from here...

And now we were all safe...

So this was the new plan...I had to drop Jim off in Aurora...We would then meet at the Cardiac practice spot and get our gear to provide for the remainder of the tour...Drum set, my Marshall Head, and two cabinets...Using our gear factors on another decision that was made as the tour went on...I will talk about that then....But for now, we were in business.

I took Adam home so he could chill and do what he had to do...David rode with Jim to do the same at his pad...We would all meet at the club...

It was around 3pm now and we had some time to kill...We didn't have to be at the club till 8 and it was a 3 band bill now...the club is only 15 minutes away from my house, so time was on our side for once...

So, what is a band to do with free time in Chicago...Party at Casa de Knizner of course...

We got to my house around 4pm thanks to the wonderful area traffic. This was a great pit stop. Everyone was able to get a shower and do laundry if they needed. I also went and got a bunch of burgers and brats and I grilled out for everyone. It was a nice day so most of us hung out in the backyard. The few that wanted to nap did so.

We really needed that little escape.

Around 6, Scott from Cianide gave me a buzz and he was carless for the night. He wanted to go to the show (!!) so I went and picked him up...We all hung out and finished feasting and drinking and got a move on...

Got to Nite Cap and was feeling really good about things...Loaded in and got situated. The show could have started at any time since it was a short night...Another relax session. Awesome.

The place was filling up nicely. It has been awhile since I seen Nite Cap filling up like this...I think the word I used was shocking. And it was great to see a lot of our friends show up to support...also noticed some absences...Too bad...you missed a great show.

Lord Blasphemer was up and they ripped as usual. They plowed through their set pretty savagely setting the stage for Gravehill.

Yes, we switched it up again. The thinking behind this is that Chicago crowds are always fickle. They come for who they want to see and then don't pay attention to anyone else or they simply leave. So we wanted Gravehill to play for the biggest crowd, so we jumped on the sword and played last.

This was Gravehill's second time in the Chicago area. As mentioned way earlier, we did a few Midwest dates with them back in 08. I think they were hungry to come back...And, par for the course, they killed it again. I watched most of their set and I was just floored by them...

We were up now and I'm figuring there is going to be a mass exodus...Well, I'll be the first to admit when I am wrong, and boy was I glad I was...No one left, no one was hanging outside and the place was packed...If there is video from this show, you would probably see a shit eating smile on my face for the whole set. I was stoked.
Our triumphant return perhaps?

Ok, so the night ends and I think we were all on some kind of high...We load out and even that didn't seem so bad now. Maybe we were just getting used to it...

We had to head out to Pittsburgh after the show...we had an 8 hour drive, plus the time change into the Eastern Time Zone...We stopped at Scott's for another beer or two and a bathroom break before we left. He invited us all back to party and cook out when the tour was over...Not sure if he thought we'd hold him to that...

But, a picture of the Creep Patrol from that night...Thorgrimm must have taken this picture...


So off to Pittsburgh we went with two back to back awesome shows in a row...Will three in a row be too much to ask??


Another special thanks needs to be mentioned to Danielle (Viva La Muerte Prods) for setting up this show. She did everything that she promised when we set the show up. This was probably the biggest attendance of any of the shows we played on the tour, so it was promoted properly too. I think both Cardiac Arrest and Gravehill both agree that this was THE best show of the tour and we are grateful for you did for us Danielle! Cheers!!!!

And also, thanks to all of our friends that showed up. It really meant a lot to us as this was an important show for us, and I think a lot of you knew that. You won't be forgotten!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tour Day 7--Kansas City Here We Come...

Think of that old song...Ok, I'm digging deep now...Running out of cheesy headings...

So, I get awoken from my two hour nap by my ringing phone...It was McEntee. For those that don't know, John is in Incantation and the owner of Ibex Moon Records.

He was concerned and wanted to know what was going on. Explained the situation and assured him that Cardiac and Gravehill would be moving forward.

It was around 8:30am and we had to get moving. I went in the house and woke everyone up. Once everyone got up and moving, we split...But not before I sampled the Orange Cake that Ly made for me!! Ha ha!!

So Cardiac takes off. Mike Abominator rode with us, which was cool. I needed an extra driver, and that was the ticket. The van was a lot more comfortable now too...No one sitting on each other.

Ok, we had a 13 hour drive to KC...It was after 9am. We had very little equipment. We had to think quick.

Clawhammer PR to the rescue!

Jim was in touch with Scott and Ryan while we were making our way up. We would be cutting it close again. Based on raw time with no stops, we would arrive at around 10pm. Not good...

They were able to secure gear for us and have the opening bands start later and play a bit longer to stall...

Now, I was on a mission. I was going to us get there, both bands were going to play full sets, and we are going to make the best of the situation.

The drive was not that bad...just long. And we hit quite a few nasty storms (first time of the tour the weather was bad) but plodded along. Gravehill was about 45 minutes behind us. The only stops that were made was for gas and piss breaks...And a 30 pack at the last stop...Figure I would need it for later. Not to mention, I was served my the most rude, unattractive, and unpleasant woman I have ever met...I believe I dropped the C word when I came out of that place...

I drove straight through, minus the stops of course, and we arrived at the club around 10:30. We would have been there sooner, but my robo fuhrer (GPS) was messing with me. Well, it wasn't its fault...The street was weird there and it was a dead end that wasn't supposed to be. Oh well.

Time for Tom Freak Out #2 of the tour. We were playing The Riot Room. It looked like it was in a pretty trendy bar/downtown area. Which means parking can be tricky. We pull up and the van piles out.

"Find out where I can park"

"Ok"

Did that happen...no, not at first. Everyone was getting their schmooze on while I was sitting in the fucking van with the hazards on...Scott and Ryan were out there and everyone was grab assing around while I am waiting. I did the next logical thing...

I rolled down the window, laid on the horn, and proceeded to cuss everyone out...lol

They finally told me where to park.

You have to appreciate the situation here. I just drove 13 hours straight. I did not take a shower in the morning. I had to unload gear when Gravehill showed. All I wanted was to go in the club, sit down in a seat that wasn't in the van, have a couple of beers, and relax a bit.

Gravehill showed and we unloaded what little gear we had. We borrowed the rest from the other bands, which we were grateful for. We set up merch and got ready. I caught a few songs from the last band whose name escapes me. I was in such a daze, I'm surprised I remembered my own name.

So we played then Gravehill played. Both bands killed it again. A lot of the crowd stuck around and were really supportive. After having such a horrible night the night before with all the shit that happened, we felt a lot better about things.

I actually wanted to stay the night and sleep in a bed. It was not to be though. We decided to plow through the night and head in to Chicago. That was probably the best idea...Plus we had to put our new plan in action.

A special thanks needs to be mentioned to both Scott and Ryan of Clawhammer for majorly helping us out when we were in a bind...You guys rule and went above and beyond for us. Cheers!!

Tour Day 6--The Stars At Night Are Big and Bright

*CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP*

Deep in the heart of Texas

Sorry, could resist...

So we make out way to Austin...People always told me it was a music city, and they weren't shitting...We get to the club and it is just bar after bar after bar, all which had live music going...Hmm, this won't be good...

We played at at place called Beerland...Appropriate for me, don' ya think??

Load in as painless and good vibes were plentiful...We got some drink tickets, so I was a happy camper...Jim, David, and Adam went to do another interview with Darren. Are you wondering why I never do interviews? Well, that is a rant for another blog...I did let Darren know my reasons though...it's not like I am saying fuck off to underground media or anything like that...

Here is said interview at Metalship

I got to meet a couple of friends finally...Ly, who was supposed to have us over for a big cook out, but we could not make it...also offered us a crash spot too, which is always appreciated. Gravehill was staying there as well. I also finally met Tom and Eloisa Stevens too. It is always cool to finally meet people in person that you talk to in the world of social networking...Place had a respectable amount of people, so things were turning around...

Birth AD was up first. The are from Texas (Houston, I believe) and they were to be playing the other Texas shows at the end of the tour. They were really good. Great crossover type thrash! Also, it was someone's birthday, so some cake smashing occurred...

We changed up the order a bit...We played next, then Gravehill, the Hod...All bands put on a ripping show. I think we were all in the groove as the kids say...or do they? I don't know...I'm old...

We had something funny happen on stage...during our last song, David's hair got caught in my headstock...See, I was not on my normal side of the stage...When you look at the stage, I am normally on the right...Because of the amp situation, I was on the left...No biggie, although a bit awkward. Anyway, David and I move around a lot and we moved at the wrong time...The last song ended with us standing back to back still playing...I mean, I didn't want to rip his hair out...Maybe I should of...More metal perhaps?? So that was our "Spinal Tap" moment...

Here is a link to the show review

Show went really well and we were getting ready to load out...

This is when the extra seat in the van reared it's ugly head.

Ok, I'm not going to get into extreme detail with what happened next. This is also not a shot against our brothers Hod in any way. So please don't take it that way...

With the extra seat now in the van, we lost storage room. We figured that the gear Gravehill off loaded back in LA would free up some space. We were also getting a driver for the remainder of the tour, so we now had another body. Stuff would not fit in the trailer...We had to figure out something...Gravehill took off and I thought we'd figure everything out tomorrow...

Instead, what happened was something I didn't expect. I don't think any of us did. Hod wanted to drop off the tour. We all tried talking, but we were at an impasse. We got ahold of the Gravehill dudes who were staying at Ly's...After a lot of phone conversations, they showed back up to the club to offload Hod's gear because they were intent on staying.

Fuck.

What the hell do we do now? The van is in their drummer's name. They provided most of the gear. Why is this falling apart? What do we do with our plane tickets home? Fuck, fuck, fuck. We took the van and we'd get the paperwork stuff figured out later...It was now around 5am and we should have been on the road. We hugged and said our goodbyes, majorly upset and bummed out. I puked several times I was so upset (and no, I was not drunk) but they made their decision concerned for their best interests and we made ours...

We were carrying on...

We followed Gravehill over to Ly's place...Jim, Thorgrimm, and I talked a bit trying to get a plan together...We got a plan going and then needed to get some sleep...It was 6am...We had to be in Kansas City for the next show, so we would have to leave by 8am...Wonderful.

So, once again, since Ly's house was pretty much full, David and I slept in that fucking van again!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tour Day 5--A Day Off and Still No Goddamned Bed!

We left Prescott, AZ around 2am by my estimation. Dennis drove through the night. I actually slept pretty good all things considered. It was around 7am when I woke for the first gas stop...

That's all this part of the trip was folks...driving and gassing up...

We went through AZ, New Mexico, and finally Texas. Originally we planned to play El Paso, but we could not secure a venue. I think most of us were glad for the day off.

We kept pushing through. Trans-Am drove a shift, Carl drove a shift, then I drove a shift. Beer took over after me.

I will say this...there is not much to look at in Western Texas. Not much out there at all. I got flashbacks from movies where they have those "Last Chance" gas stations...The speed limit was 80MPH here, which I never seen. Texas is so vast you need to go fast to get through it...

Had to go through Border Patrol, which was not to big a deal. There is always that thought in the back of your head that they are going to fuck with you though. At least for me anyway.

So after all that driving, we get to Beer's place in San Antonio around 9pm. Yes, we drove straight through...2am to 9pm...

Trans Am went back to Austin that night, which was only about an hour away. Dennis and Carl went home to rest. We (Cardiac) stayed at Beer's. Time to relax!!

There was a convenience store right by the house, so off I walked to get beer! We watched a few flicks, and went to sleep...We gave David the spare room since he is a slight sleeper. So, no bed for me yet again! Although the couch was comfy and it sure as hell beat the van I was sleeping in since Friday...

Wednesday rolls around and I was up early. Watched a little TV and went to the store to get some stuff. Jim edited the little mini doc from the last post, David and Adam slept still, and Beer and I went to the record store he works at, Hog-Wild Records...

We got back and everyone was now up. We went to grab something to eat at this great Mexican place. After that, we went grocery shopping to stock up on water, snacks, lunchmeat, and other necessities. While I thought things were going well, we really had to watch how money was spent. Things were tight as it was so we had to nickel and dime.

After that, we did laundry.

Exciting, eh?

Well, that's what bands have to do on days off. At least bands with good hygiene anyway...

We are getting ready to leave for Austin soon after this relaxing day. Gravehill had arrived in Austin early and were staying with our friend Ly...we couldn't make it there unfortunately because of the Hod guys being spread out. Carl and Dennis showed up and we got ready to take off for Austin.

We put the seat (remember, the one that Hod removed for the trip out) back in and headed to the gig. That seat was a big cause of the trouble that will greet us after the Austin gig...

Tour Day 4--Raising Arizona!

Yeah, I had to give a nod to one of my favorite movies with the title...How very non-metal of me...be glad I'm not spitting out quotes from the movie...

Thanks to Beer wanting to get the hell out of LA the night before, we were now an hour ahead of schedule. He took the first driving shift and all was well. It would only be another short run...about 5 hours now.

Scenery never ceases to amaze me...we went from thick forests, to mountains, to hilly dry areas, and now, deserts in 3 days...I apparently need to leave the Midwest more...

So we get through most of California and stop for gas. I finally took over on driving for the first time of the trip. Since I am always driving, and do the driving for Cardiac, I have no problem with it. I said I would do the bulk (Dennis and Beer did a majority of it already, not to mention they made the drive from San Antonio to Portland before the tour started) of the driving for the trip once San Fran and LA were done, because simply, those places scare me to death in regards to driving. Yes, I am from Chicago, one of the worst places to drive and the high traffic, but at least I am comfortable here.

Another hilarious bit happened while we were waiting in line for gas...Again, damn Jim and his lack of camera-readiness...This family in front of us is gassing up...One of their kids come out of the store and goes to the car. He had to be about 12 or 13...Old enough to not be doing what he was doing...Think of the Family Guy bit where Peter is yelling "BUTTSCRATCHER!!" That's what this kid was doing...He had his hand and arm down the back of his shorts up to his elbow...We were fucking dying laughing...

So I take over and am nervous a bit...The van is huge and since the back is loaded up with luggage and some gear, I can't see out the back window, which I need...I backed out hoping I would not hit the EMO band that just stopped to gas up (ok, secretly, I wish I would have backed into them)and we hit the road...The van is kind of tough to handle at first...With the wind, the van could get blown out of the lane if you are not paying close attention.

We get in to AZ and coolness...75MPH speed limit. Nice. So I go along with the speed limit since I am still getting used to this beast.

Better music was playing now too...

Pretty pleasant drive really...We get off the interstate and follow the direction to Prescott...It was about 70 miles from that point. Taking two lane highways, I for sure got the best portion of the drive. Or did I?

We went through a lot of small towns...small towns that did not look like they were functioning...No where to really stop for a bathroom break or to get smokes...So I keep chugging along and I noticed we are going straight into the mountains...

Shit...

As stated several times, I'm a flat-lander (read Illinois resident) and hence, I have very little experience driving through mountains. The last time I drove in the mountains was back in 07 when Cardiac did a little jaunt out east. However, that was with my own vehicle, and even though I was towing a trailer, I was comfortable because I knew my truck.

So I take a breath and go for it...the road just continued to spiral up these mountains. I just took my time and read the speed limit signs as law. In other words, if the speed limit was 20MPH, I fucking did 20 MPH...And I tried not to look over the sides either because I just would get visions of the van going off the road thus meeting our demise...

Well, that wasn't so bad...shit...more spiraling roads going up...That is how it seemed to go...Once I thought I was out, the upward action would start again. I was getting ribbed by everyone in the van at this point, but I was getting more comfortable with the vehicle and we continued to plod our way up...

We finally make it out and next thing you know, we are in Prescott...It is actually a cool resorty town...we find the bar we are playing with ease...We talk to Gravehill and they are about an hour out...we inform them they are about 2 hours out with the mountain roads, and they were hauling the trailer...

We are playing a bar called The Drunken Lass. There were lots of bars and lots of restaurants in the area. This was a pretty cool place...And dog friendly as there were several hanging out with their owners. We meet the owner of the place, Mark, and he is really nice. Although I was a bit bummed because Monday is trivia night, but it is canceled because of the show. I think they should have left it because more people may come in. I start drinking (of course) and I am nice and relaxed. Everyone pretty much splits off to go eat. Beer, Trans-Am (Hod) and I stick around. Beer is buddying it up with some of the local women. He also finds a poster of the gig in the bathroom. I wish I had a picture of it...but it looked like it was done by a kid in 2nd grade art class...I think there was even figer paints and glitter on it. It is in Beer's possession...Ha ha!!

EDIT--Trans-Am just sent me a picture of said flyer...Ok, so I embellished about the finger paints and glitter, but you get the idea...Without further ado...The most metal flyer ever made!!

Photobucket

TA and I find Jim and we take off to eat finding a Mexican joint that had a cheap special on hamburgers. We have a winner!!

While we were gone, Gravehill showed up and unloaded without us...I felt pretty bad about that because I am always one to hustle when doing that kind of stuff...They in turn, took off to eat now. I'll make it up during load out.

This place was not really set up for a metal show like ours. Small stage which more or less acted as the drum riser. A PA with 2 mics only. We made due with what we had though. Rock star bands would throw a fit and complain. Professionals always find a way to make the best out of a situation.

No local openers. Just locals hanging out. Beer did well in buddying up with everyone because most of these locals stuck around. And since we were playing for the bar, and people were drinking, that is good for us.

I was outside whoring myself out...Trying to get people to come in and have a beer or two. Some Hot Topic looking dude seemed scared but came in...

Hod played first this time. This was the first time I really got to watch them. They smoked!! This was just raw sound as the PA was vocals only. I only hoped we sounded as good.

Hot Topic dude said it was too loud for him and left...Figures...There were some cuties that stuck around, but Beer already staked his claim...

It was cramped and had to make some adjustments, but all went well...It was getting late, so all the locals were starting to split. Rats!!!

Gravehill was next...and again, the first time I was actually able to watch them. And in the rarest of rare, they did not do the blood and armor. It was almost like "Gravehill Unplugged" imagery wise. I don't know if that makes sense, but it does to me...

Folks, this show was what I like to call "practice on the road" It happens to all bands at some point. You know, that show that only 2 people show up to? No one compromised though and we all put 110% into our performances. We all played for each other essentially, and we all had a blast. Although the turnout was non existent, we were all loosened up for the first time and had fun.

At the end of the night, the owner bought merch from each band, ripped up the numerous tabs we were running, and gave money for gas for each vehicle...He said metal shows do well in his bar, but this was the day after July 4th, and a Monday no less. Can't win em all. Still, I chalk that show up as being successful...

I would actually like to play that place again. Sometime when we are out that way.

Load out time and I kept to my word and busted ass...Gravehill was going to get a hotel. For some reason, I had this image in my head that they were bummed that they didn't do the blood and armor so they got to a hotel and put on all their stuff in their room and acted like the creeps they are...The verdict is still out on that though...

We opted to drive through the night. The Hod guys wanted to get back home to Austin and San Antonio and while we had a day off the next day (we were playing Austin on Wed) we had a 17 hour drive ahead of us.

Here is the little mini doc that Jim did showing the tour up until now...Just a lot of goofball stuff...Dig the Night Train sing-a-long near the end...That was in Prescott, so you can see we were having a good time there...



Good times! But will they last??

Tour Day 3--I Love L.A.----Not!!

Yeah, I know the "Not" thing is old and cliche, but it fits for my thought pattern...

I just never been a fan of Los Angeles...I spent quite a bit of time there when I was a corporate drone, and while I remained positive for future visits there, the negativity and distaste I have for that city is always in the back of my head. The last time we were the was for LA Murderfest back in 2008. The most fun I had that weekend was the first day I got there and Jim, Kam Lee, and I hung out out the Gravehill practice bunker in Hellheim. The crowd for Murderfest was great, but I just did not have a good time.

So, will LA change for me?

This was an easy haul. About 5 hours and we were at the venue. The Gravehill dudes headed for home the night before to get some rest and to downsize some of the gear they brought to allow for easier loading and more room. While it helped, it was still tight if not loaded properly.

So no traffic problems whatsoever and we are at the venue early for once. This had to be good.

We were in East LA...Funny thing is, every time I have been in the for a "fun" visit, I have never been in the same place twice.

Another missed camera opportunity (Jim) occurred when we got off the interstate and was driving through the neighborhood heading to the venue. This was funny, or maybe you had to be there, but we all got a much needed laugh...

We look to our right and there was a school...the school had a basketball court...And inside this basketball court were a bunch of nuns shooting hoop. They were not playing "HORSE" mind you...No, they were involved on a full on, 5 on 5 game...It just hit me so funny seeing their habits flying around and them jumping and running for the ball...You had to see it to believe it...I wonder if any of them could dunk??

So we get to the venue and park. And the venue is padlocked of course...Gravehill is not around yet, and the doors are supposed to open at 7pm...I think it was around 5:30.

This show had two tours smushed together...I knew two of the bands on the other tour...Disfigured and Insidious Decrepancy, both from Texas. They were at the venue waiting all afternoon. We hung out and played catch up a bit until I eyed a corner store...And guess what? They sold beer!! Yeah!! So off I went...

So I brown-bagged it in front of the club...32oz Budweisers in cans for the win! I kept going back to the store until the club opened and still opted for the brown bag method since it was cheaper...

Fatalist shows up and I hung out with them...This was their last day of the tour, and since we were all somewhat ahead of schedule, it was nice to just hang out and shoot the shit...

Gravehill shows up and the unloading process starts...There was a bit of an issue because Fatalist was supposed to play second, and they were using some of our gear which just showed up...Even though I didn't agree with that (I'll get there in a minute) we got them what they needed and they went on...

Ok, now for that point I just mentioned. They were on our lineup of the tour...They got put on like they were a local opener and sandwiched in some of the other bands from the other tour. I'll never understand promoters I guess.

So Fatalist plays and killed it again! Then the other tour package played. I watched some of Disfigured, but generally I was going back and forth from the merch area to hang with Lilly (Lilith's Vault) since I have not seen her since 08 and going outside to buy cheap beers. Jim and a lot of the other guys were participating in an interview as well at some point, so I was more or less on my own. Corpsie bought me one of the best Taco's I ever had and the taco joint next door.

Here is something else that bothers me, and I have noticed this quite a bit. What the hell happened to metal camaraderie? All too often, people just go there to see the bands they want to see and then split, not even bothering with everyone else. Once Insidious ended, about half the venue took off. I understand it was July 4th and people probably wanted to go back to the BBQ's and what not...Eh, whatever.

Now was time for our package...I can't remember if we went first of Hod did (we took turns) but all three bands did our thing. The people who remained there were into it so that is always a good thing. I was a little bummed because several friends that I have in that area were nowhere to be found. Again, I can understand though since it was a holiday weekend.

So, did my opinion of LA change? Let's call it a draw this time...Not bad, but not good either...

Show's over and time for load out once again. Since Gravehill is local, they got to go home. Said our goodbyes to Fatalist and we headed out towards the next gig...I crashed...Next thing I know, we are at a hotel about an hour out of the city...The Hod guys get a room and I was going to do the same...Yes! I can sleep in a bed...

Nope...Their system went down so we could not get a room...Dammit, looks like I am sleeping in the van again!! Will I ever get a bed??

This time, Beer, Jim, and I slept in the van. Hotel security was not too keen on that idea and we got a "what for", but we had informed Mr. Rent A Cop that we had a room which was filled and was not able to get another because the system was down...He let us be.

So, we got some sleep and I woke early again...Spotted a (yikes) McDonald's across the street and got an egg sandwich. Beer also followed suit. Everyone else was still sleeping. Beer had a key to the room so I took it and grabbed a shower...Early bird gets the worm, right??? Jim and Beer also had the same idea after I was done.

We had to find a place to get an oil change before we hit the road again...I found one, right by the hotel, so we took off and let the other guys sleep. We get there, and they literally just opened. Not for the day...They just opened for business...They actually had to go get oil to do the change. So we had to wait a while...It was kind of humorous though...Our receipt was handwritten since they didn't even have the computers set up. The employee there said the boss was all rush, rush, rush, and open and they obviously weren't prepared.

So after that, everyone is up and moving...We check out and head to the next show in Prescott, AZ. Where?? Yeah, that's what I thought too...