After months of looking at polaroids that needed to be scanned and digital photographs that were crying out to be uploaded my body finally gave up under the strains of travel that I've been putting it under and gave me an excuse to upload a new album of travel photos. If you're interested in how drunk and sad I was during the first month of the Krewella Get Wet tour you can now view the proof in still form. Click on that last sentence or go to the Tour Photography section of the site. If you're wondering I'm feeling slightly better. I'm supposed to record funny voices for a thing today but it's not going to happen.
Last week John and I rented a shoulder mount, then bought a gourd, and a pizza and decided to stand around in the unforgiving cold while we shot a short film about a man child stuck in his own head, trying to make sense of the passage of time and the holiday known as Thanksgiving. Although most of my day was spent getting wet (and not the fun kind where you take PCP and eat the face of your dearest loved one) I'm happy with the content that we were able to output. Bully for us.
Grant woke up in a landfill. Had he eaten so much turkey that he had another dark meat black out?
Or was this another Bogh family prank?
He had a long walk back to town to sort out his options.
Martin was the last person in North America using Alex's slang from A Clockwork Orange. "Those Malchiks'll sobirat to my way of thinky winky soon enough." Martin's VHS player finished rewinding and Henry Purcell's "Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary" boomed from his poorly set up surround sound stereo system.
Writing short Halloween poems may have been the one thing that got me through the parties I stumbled through last night. Here they are. Let's go buy a turkey.
Timothy unwrapped his "fun size" Snickers bar; full of rats, again. He could hear the Petersons cackling for the next six blocks.
In a fruitless attempt at a spooky holiday prank, Jerone slipped off of the stool and hung himself on his front porch. But he won first place in the “scariest front lawn contest” so it was worth it.
Pietro was once again stuck at home fending off trick or treaters, who were these children and why did they want his candy?
Ron was reincarnated as a jack-o-lantern, he came to life just as Alice, his ex girlfriend, began carving into his face. That is so Alice.
Reaching into the bucket marked “TAKE A HANDFUL – PLEASE!” no one expected to pull out a fist full of human teeth.
Gurren wore a t-shirt that read “THIS IS MY COSTUME.” When Gurren removed the shirt at the end of the night, as did the skin from his torso.
"Now that the jocks are in on the Samhain ritual, Halloween blows." moonbeam kicked rocks down the sidewalk, mired in existential doubt.
Glen was failing his second semester creative writing class because he refused to stop writing himself into scenes from Lost In Translation.
Mariel had never been to the beach, it was essentially grey. Entering the water she was stung by a jellyfish. Mariel never returned.
John and I filmed this a couple of weeks ago in his house, with his cats, before I left to film in North Texas. The ebullient Alisha had just finished another shoot (over achiever) and was up for whatever we had planned for her. Unfortunately she waited until after the shoot to tell us this information so we just had her hang out and read. The next short we shoot is nothing but jumping avocado unicycles over pits of attack dogs on fire, you hear that Collinsworth?
If you enjoyed Marcie and Alvin there will be more poems to come, if not; might I suggest watching Die Hard? Many consider it to be the perfect script and one of the best films ever made.
Madeline and Calvin sat quietly on
their sofa watching The Omen, supposedly a horror classic but
Calvin didn't think very much of it.
The pacing was all over the place and he found the concept of the antichrist to be dull.
"Why can't you just have a good time on our night off? I told you I would watch whatever you wanted, we could have watched Honey I Shrunk the Kids for all I care, I just wanted to spend the evening with you and now you've ruined it."
Madeline went to bed.
Calvin did the dishes and finished watching The Omen, it wasn't as slow as he originally thought, and that kid was kind of creepy.
He went in to the bedroom to apologize to Madeline but she was pretending to be asleep so he pretended to sleep next to her.
I suppose its worth mentioning that Madeline and Calvin are werewolves.
Since returning home it’s been a chore to put my thoughts together into a cohesive stream to spew out at friends, let alone set them down in some type of paragraph format. Thinking back on Oregon, the time spent there doesn’t feel as cathartic or powerful as the last days of California. Oregon felt solitary and insular. The world around me was alive with fauna, rain that poured freely from the heavens and breweries on seemingly every block but I never like I was experiencing any of it, just documenting for a later description. I believe that I consumed more food in Oregon than I did in any other state, being in one place for an extended period of time makes me feel like stocking up on food like a nuclear war is bound to break out at any moment (what if I can never eat a burger again!?).
My first two or three (the number hardly matters I suppose) days in Oregon were spent in Springfield, a sleepy town outside of Eugene that seemingly only exists to host truckers and other disreputable people with a few off days on their hands. In Springfield I spent most of my time either reading by the open window in my hotel room or sitting at the bar reading and drinking at the brewery across the street. Everything had begun to repeat itself. We checked in to the hotel, Hauser and Elgin disappeared; everyone else fell into their rooms or walked the halls like ghosts in need of a room to haunt.
Restless, the six of us that couldn’t stand being cooped up in our hotel rooms any more made our way out into the empty streets of Eugene, anxious tourists begging to stir up trouble on a school night in a college town. Alone on a dance floor in an aquarium themed bar I wanted to be surrounded by strangers, sweating and ecstatic, moving slowly together as one body while a local DJ fumbled through his transitions. Whether he felt sorry for me or had the same intangible longing for connection, Mike joined me in the empty disco and twisted his body next to mine until we were outside breathing in the chill of the Oregon evening, moving with the group to another bar, anywhere were it wasn’t just us. We were tired of us and wanted to become tired of someone else.
Rearviewmirror fell clumsily out of the speakers lazily positioned around the new bar down the block from the fish bowl, people were alive here and the lighting was soft, pool tables clacked and Street Fighter 2 blinked in the back room, beckoning me like a portal to another time and place. Everyone in the bar knew everyone else; Mike and Tom quickly found townies to chat up while Amy held Pete up with arms stronger than we had perceived and Chris took everything in, paternal and sipping on a vodka pineapple. I had nothing to say and desired more than anything to be back on the dance floor, alone and bending myself into shapes only possible in a bar at negative capacity. Tim snapped me out of my desolate reverie and instructed me to exit stage left, Pete had said something, looked at someone the wrong way, or set a wall on fire; however it shook out we were being asked to leave immediately. Mike ducked into a dark corner with his townie, I handed my drink to a girl who was asking if my glasses were prescription, we fell out onto the street and Anthony of Padua sent a taxi to meet us at that precise moment. Deciding against sleep, Chris, Amy and I slipped into the closest diner and filled Pete up with coffee, chicken fried chicken, and hash browns covered in gravy; he had no plans of dying of alcohol poison so why would high cholesterol become a factor at this moment?
The next evening it was decided that the bars of Eugene were not yet ready for the extraordinary alcoholism that the Krewella road crew exhibited. 24 packs of High Life, PBR, and a couple of bottles of 7-11s finest were purchased, we dragged vacant chairs from our hotel rooms into Pete’s cavernous suite and began throwing down five dollar buy ins, everyone content with losing a little money in order to come together and laugh for one last time before plunging head first back into the grind of the day to day, somehow the world had allowed us to run away from home and live with the carnival and now we were bored with it. After drinking more than my fair share of High Life and champagne (champagne and champagne) and losing more than enough of my per diem I wandered back to my room, made a regretful phone call and fell asleep on the floor, my body refusing to acclimate to the contours of a hotel bed. Our second trip into the college town that spit us out mended any calloused feelings that were left over from our disaster of a night out. Friendly faces spoke kindly about traveling, water preservation and home brewed beer. Someone gave me a plastic cup full of pumpkin ale born in a garage and the hole in my heart grew in tiny increments, every I find a place that I think I can stay it’s time to leave, time to start from scratch.
In Portland I found the last internet café on the face of North America, Backspace was still renting out Dells by the hour and offering DSL at a paltry rate. I drank a cup of coffee that I either ordered incorrectly or was accidentally handed to me from the barista high on 90s nostalgia. Did I steal another customer’s coffee? It wasn’t exactly the climax of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when I approached the bar to pick up my drink. I swallowed the misappropriated coffee with milk and sugar (not my drink of choice) and walked back into the rain soaked streets to begin another long morning of counting down until my lunch with Josie, the best part of all of my days on the road.
Josie and I walked through the China Town district of Portland (if such a thing exists, there was a sign that said “CHINA TOWN” and that’s how I choose to refer to the area as forever) and stopped to eat at the one restaurant that wasn’t serving Asian cuisine (we’re complete bastards apparently), “Old Town Pizza Company” sounds a bit Spaghetti Warehouse but in actuality it’s a lovely tavern that serves indulgent pizzas, massive sandwiches, and local beers that put whatever I drank in Springfield to shame, specifically the Kawinga Summer Ale that I drained from the bottom of the keg, see you next year Kawinga. The rest of the day played out as all of my days on tour tended to play, Josie and I explored the area with new friends, tried to find clothes that fit, and traipsed back into the venue just under wire for doors to open. It’s possible that I was taking advantage of the fact that I had to return home with the next 30 hours so I took my job lightly for the evening (and the next evening as well). After Portland I slept uncomfortably in the bus for the last time, irrationally dreaming of falling out of my bunk onto the highway while settling up for the previous evening, an artist shackled by paperwork rolling down the asphalt at 70 miles per hour.
Let’s write about Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Chico California is what I keep saying to myself. I would love to split them up into different chapters and fill a personal quota but when the towns and days begin to blur into one indefinable place in a pocket of 72 hours (most of them spent awake) it’s easier to spill everything out like a verbal Jackson Pollack.
Santa Cruz is the sleepy city behind the mask of The Lost Boys’ Santa Clara, why the filmmakers chose to sweep the name of their city of choice under the rug is a mystery, possibly this reason is vampire related; or more accurately, it’s possible that the entire thing is a set up by some kind of mummy king in order to completely wreck the reputation of Santa Cruz’s goodly vampires. Only time will tell.
Other than learning the (more than likely inaccurate) fact that surfing originated somewhere near where we were standing and watching sea lions sun bath, Santa Cruz only offered more of the feeling that every city is slowly molding itself into a perfect replica of every other city. The ocean was beautiful; I can see how men could run away to the waves forever.
My first view of San Francisco was of junkies copping on a trash filled, piss soaked street, a soft morning breeze flitted through the city as I walked directionless in search of coffee. * San Francisco is the first city that feels like it’s own entity, there are still the chain stores and corporate dining experiences on every corner but the local homeless and junkies keep the city alive with a chipper air of authenticity. Aside from the dazzling array of street sleepers the architecture that they call home is absolutely stunning, if I had more days to explore one city so far I would immediately choose San Francisco, if only to see a duck hanging in a store front window, maybe wearing a hat if the store owner has a sense of humor. Please don’t steal my dead duck with a hat storefront idea. Taking six people out for food in a city with such a vast selection of dining was nearly impossible; I almost pushed Jason the tour manager into the bay when he suggested that we visit Joe’s Crab Shack. In the end we ended up enjoying a lovely view and semi over priced food at the Fog Harbor Fish House. Other than Jason, the tour manager constantly under the threat of death, my traveling partners for the afternoon were Beth, my buddy in merch, Miles, the tour videographer, Jeff from Seven Lions, and Josie from Candyland.
It’s a true shame that I won’t get to spend more time walking around new cities with Josie, her exuberant youth bleeds out to everyone in her proximity and our quiet conversations on California sidewalks have been comforting in a way that I can’t describe without giving away far too many details of my life (although, what else am I doing here?). A true friend if ever there was one. If you get a chance to see Josie DJ in your city get on the floor and trap dance forever.
My first taste of clam chowder was out of a sourdough bread bowl (something that San Francisco claims to have invented. I’m beginning to see a through line of ostentatious claims running roughshod across California) while looking out across the harbor at the fog rolling across Alcatraz. Finally drinking an Anchor Steam from a pint glass rather than their cheeky bottles was a relief, I have no idea if it paired well with chowder or the devastatingly flakey crab cakes but everything that had been storming in my head and my heart dissipated as I watched ferries carry tourists to the rock while the fog sat fixed over the water, both of us ignorant that it would envelop me soon. In the inky darkness after the show I stole away by cab to a beach across the water from the Golden Gate Bridge with Beth and Dutch, as we peered through the gloom that had settled upon us the marvel of suspension engineering and art deco architecture stared out at the city and did not blink.
Hours later I woke up in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn Express in Chico California, every high must have a come down and my new location was the heavy handed underlining of the phrase. A gray drizzle followed our caravan North and settled over our heads for the day, poker games were played amongst the crew, quarters were lost and plans were made. That evening I made a point to grab the tour’s production assistant (an unenviable job if ever there were one) Aimee, and visit The Banshee, a local college pub that had a wide assortment of comfort food, Sierra Nevada brews, and an excellent playlist coaxing me into a boozy haze. Having a reserved evening on tour is nearly impossible, and it was absolutely lovely to have a lengthy one on one conversation with a new friend over dinner and drinks. Our new waitress (it was her third day. “Was this another lie from California” I thought to myself, reticent to believe a word coming from this state of illusion) pointed me toward the Turkey Gobbler, a sandwich comprised of a full Thanksgiving dinner and massive steak fries, well done Chico. Once the lighting tech, Pete, showed up to The Banshee bearing shots of Jameson the evening became a bit of a blur. It’s been some time since I’ve been drunk in a college town, hailing cabs and weaving in between corduroy trousers and members only jackets, and it’s been longer since I felt that I was just out with friends; talking shit about work, complaining about that one guy in the office, and how Stepping Stone by Paul Revere and the Raiders and Straight out of Compton are the two perfect encapsulations of what a “fuck you” song should be.
Bleary eyed and stuck with a headache from another era I existed one more day in Chico before mercy blessed me and allowed me to wake up somewhere in Oregon, where moss dresses the mountains and fog hangs like a spider web on tree tops.
*Something called a “depth charge” was later found and devoured at the disappointingly non-Morrissey themed, Moz.
Last year while on tour with Mansions I started writing a detailed account of food that I liked to eat for a website that unceremoniously fired me after I stopped responding to their emails. Their loss was tumblrs gain (I suppose) and I began posting my foodie diatribes on http://tourfoodblog.tumblr.com. If you'd like to read my back logs GO RIGHT AHEAD. Pardon my caps. Right now I'm on tour with the incredibly popular EDM act Krewella working the merch table and looking at spread sheets all day, I plan on writing as many heavy think pieces (trademark pending) on the cities we visit and the food found within as I can visit. Read them here, read them there. It's really up to you.
My life in your city is comprised of ten blocks, twenty if I'm lucky. On some tours I have the luxury of being at a venue that's in the district of grime, covered in spray paint and dirt, it has been deemed cool by the smell of vomit and the pools of gutter water than refuse to evaporate. For this two and a half months at sea I'll be working in respectable mid size theaters located in cleaned up downtowns across the country, eight days in and it feels like I've been walking from backstage to backstage, traveling simply by being.
When I fell asleep in Albuquerque it was 65 degrees and when I stepped out into the mid morning sun in Arizona my blood began to boil, but I relished the chance to put my feet on concrete in Tucson. After two days of hotel coffee and whatever it is we have on the bus, a decision was made, I needed a cup of joe that I could chew on, something that would grab me by my beard and throw me across the county line. As luck would have it, our venue for the evening (a lovely repurposed theater named The Rialto) was directly across the street from the unassuming Cartel Coffee Lab.
If it hadn't been for the incredibly hip Arizonian (who was quick to point out that he was from Phoenix, not Tucson) sitting outside, squinting at us from across the street and subtly nodding his head towards the glass door I wouldn't have braved the traffic to get the best cup of coffee that I've had since leaving Austin. Unbeknownst to myself and the crystal fabricators that followed me to uncertain coffee intake, the Cartel Coffee Lab was still being built and we were the first customers ever. This information explained the sound of electric saws and the smell of sawdust mixing with roasting coffee in a lovers embrace above our heads, not a bad smell and it gave the entire affair a sense of danger that most modern coffee shops severely lack.
Oh, all of the baristas at your local coffee shop listen to slightly hip music and scowl when you order a large iced mocha with half whip cream? They scoffed when you put a dollar in the "Disintegration" box rather than the the box discretely marked "seventeen seconds"? Well in Tucson I could have had my head cut off or accidentally eaten a piece of wood while I was greedily eating a delicious blueberry muffin. The Triple C (as it shall now always be known as) was a great change of pace from being in the back of a theater, devouring whatever food was brought to us from the outside world like trolls forever shoved under a bridge.
While killing time around Tucson (as I am want to do) I noticed how knew and shimmery all of the buildings were. The custom burger joints and the "speakeasies" all passed with a slick coat of new that I began to grow wary of. What was this place? Parts of the city began to resemble other parts of other cities and I began to feel like I was secretly placed back in my loop, a rat in a cage that thought he had escaped his cage. It was Kafka-esque, if I may use a term loosely. On my way to the post office I took turns down alleys and found that even they were clean. It's like everything was built hours before my arrival, the sprawl is reaching out and I don't think we can run fast enough.
Tomorrow morning, afternoon, or evening I'll be leaving the comfort of home to travel the continental US with Krewella, an electronic dance group from Chicago that was kind enough to offer me a job (through a second party) selling merch and doing general music business work, as well as sleeping in a bus, and trying to eat the most healthy food that can be found at three in the morning while also satisfying any wild urges to try a regional fried food/cake of some kind. I'll be taking a lot of photographs (digital and analog) and posting them on this site as well as on my instagram, follow me if you'd like. I'll probably also write about what I've been eating (if it's particularly good) on http://tourfoodblog.tumblr.com . I try to stay busy. Finally, I like to send post cards to friends new and old, if you'd like a hello from one of my travel destinations send me your address to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you something cool.
I haven’t updated the blog recently, not because I haven’t been busy, but because I’ve been dealing with circumstances that are outside of my control and writing about microphone placement feels dull in comparison.
A couple of weeks ago I began to work with two artists on their respective upcoming releases. Gospel and the Wolf came into the tomb with the intention of recording three songs for an EP and calling it a day but somewhere near the middle of the session decided that maybe a few more songs wouldn’t hurt. What started off as a folky side project of Rey Renteria has blossomed into an emotionally overdriven rock outfit similar to Cloud Nothings, I can’t wait for everyone to hear the sounds that came out of our little room.
After working with G&TW I spent an afternoon recording a song for the “New Kings of Screamo”™ – Bisexual. The session had a much more live feel than any that I’ve run before and it was a great opportunity to search for new sounds in a space that I’m so used to working in. I constructed a four-microphone placement on the drums (technically five as I’ve taken a liking to miking the inside and outside of the kick), set a JM27 on the tracking guitar amp and topped it off with a room mic to capture the ambiance of the live room. I would have loved to have the entire band recording together but I think that would take more careful planning on my part and this was just a spur of the moment session. Hopefully I’ll track the Bisexual vocals this week and all will be well in the world.
After working with such lovely, sensitive artists I sprinted to East Texas to put in a little time on location with a new Discovery Channel reality show that’s still rooting around in the dirt for titles. I spent four days ringing out my sweaty shirts in the Texas sun to film interviews with the cast while learning quite a bit about television audio from one of the most informative location sound mixers I’ve ever met. Now if I can just stumble across 12 grand so I can match his rig I’ll be in business.
Now I’m back in Austin, sitting in bed and desperately clinging to any free time I have left this week. Somehow I have to find time to move, check out The World’s End, attend one more wrestling match, advance a tour and leave for said tour in the next ten days. Writing all of that in list form makes the imagined slog seem much less hectic, maybe I’ll work in a jog.
Maybe it would be more accurate to say "music for web series". A couple of months ago (although it feels like ages) I sat down with Blake Bowels, the director of Salien, TX to work on an outline for the theme to his as of then unfinished web series. I had a rough cut of the first half of the first episode burned on a dvd, the request to keep the music "sad and sexy", and six notes played on a loop to go off of. In a situation where I felt like I had my work cut out for me I couldn't have been more comfortable. After a couple of days of greasy haired inspiration I finished three songs for the first episode of the show. Time crept by, the weather became stiflingly hot and the series now has an indiegogo campaign in order to secure funds to finish telling the story that began with some guys at ACC. Hopefully they'll make their money and I'll get an email to write more songs.
If you'd like to hear the music I wrote for the show you can give the songs a listen at my commercial bandcamp and if you'd like to donate money to the production, I believe that $50 gets you a bunch of stuff, including the soundtrack to the show.
Two days ago I received an email from a client named Justin that I hadn't spoken to in almost three years. He was asking for a copy of a song from a session that took place in Fort Worth, TX in March of 2010 to put on a cassette to be released at his final performance. Somewhere between March of 2010 and April of 2013 I've moved to Austin, been across the country multiple times, and had two hard drives crash. Things are not looking good for this song. I combed through our emails and found a link(!) from the weekend after the session in 2010 that would have taken me directly to the track if it weren't for the fact that it was a link to megaupload, where nothing exists but tears and memories off all the free downloads with cheeky names that once were. The only thing left to do was to email the Electronic Frontier Foundation about maybe getting the file out of the hands of the US Government (or whomever has those hard drives).
I feel a twinge of guilt about not being able to get Justin the song that he worked so hard to create. I find it very strange and melancholic that two people can work so hard on a project, putting in ten hour days and going hungry to complete a piece of art only for nothing of their work to exist other than the memory of whatever was created. I have a vague recollection of the desired song, a pounding floor tom reverberates through a microphone connected to three delay pedals and a loop station creating feedback that stretches out for what feels like an eternity. It's harsh and beautiful and I wish that it were tangible but for now it lives as a remix in only two pair of ears. Hopefully someone will come through and retrieve the song, I'd like to be able to hear it for what it is and send this unnamed monstrosity out into the world. If nothing else it's a lesson to always click save, drop your file into whatever cloud (or clouds) that you may pray to, burn it to a disc, and buy another external hard drive. If all else fails keep your memory sharp because that's all you really have.
If you're obsessed with the same things that I am (time travel, multiverse theory, advanced storytelling, comic books, and professional wrestling) I suggest you check out the most recent episode of The Mandible Claw podcast and listen to two people put on their crazy hats. http://themandibleclaw.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/the-mandible-claw-chikara-special-1-21-jigsaws/#more-223
Someone get me my tinfoil hat!