Thursday, March 30, 2006

Overheard in Durham--Vol. V: "The Quickening", or "I'm Pro-LAX"

March 29, 2006
4:10 pm
in line for hot dogs on West Campus
(NOTE: let it be known before this entry that West Campus is now a madhouse of local and national news crews, vans, newscasters, people standing in packs hoping to be sighted waving behind a newscaster, newscasters spraying copious amounts of hairspray upon their finely coiffed newshelmets, despicable springtime hotties, burning buses [yes, a bus did burn on West Campus yesterday, and I saw it:

And if you haven't heard about the Duke lacrosse team gang rape (I love how people love to use that word in print but can't say it out loud--but then again, those 5 words have quite a ring to them: Duke-lacrosse-team-gang-rape), then you are OUT of the loop. Front page of the NY Times, bitches. Take that, Harvard!!!

So anyway, the scene:
Four dudes, three of whom are in flip-flops, one of whom is wearing Croakies, are in line discussing their collective drinking history.
DUDE 1: So, yeah, like that one time, I got that drunk, but I was SO sick beforehand.
DUDE 2: Yeah, and another time, that one time, like, I was so drunk, his (points to DUDE 3) room got SO demolished. Like more demolished than anything has ever been demolished. Like, he (points to DUDE 3) was passed out in his bed, and I woke up on the floor, and like got up and knocked EVERYTHING over, and then like found this sleeping mat and wrapped myself up in it and fell out on his bed. And, yeah, that's when my arm got broken, but no one knows how that happened, I was just like "Oh, fuck, why does my arm hurt SO bad?" when I woke up. And then when I came downstairs, your mom (points to DUDE 3) was like, "you guys".
ALL DUDES: ....heh....croakies....heh....

(a non-despicable, but aspiring-for-despicatude, hottie shows up)
DH: Heeeeyyyyy!!!!!
DUDE 1: You comin' to 'Zade's tonight? (This abbreviation indicates the restaurant Parizade's, a popular bad-fuck-hookup-hole with the Blue Devils)
DH: Oh, I don't know, I was thinking about it. Maybe you can convince me?
DUDES (at this point they're all the same): Oh, you should, totally. Hey, nice face time on the news yesterday! (apparently the DH was one of the many bimbos interviewed by the news about sexual assualt and race relations and such)
DH: hee hee
DUDES: Yeah, we had Tivo and when it came up on the screen like "Bimbo McBimbsalot" (editor's choice of name), we were like, "hey, we know her".
DUDE 3: Yeah, that was tight.
DUDE 4: Tight.
DUDE 2: Yeah, no one liked what I had to say, 'cause I'm pro-lax (LAX meaning the men's lacrosse team).
(the dudes swiftly lose interest in the thing in front of them that has a different chromosomal makeup attached to some hideous sunglasses and a push-up bra and starting talking to each other)
DH: Um, Ok. Bye?
(she walks away, and DUDE 1 KIND OF turns in her direction)
DUDE 1: 'ZADE'S!!!!
(conversation continues)
DUDE 2: So yeah, that one party, like he (indicates other DUDE) was really sick already, so he could only shotgun beers since his throat hurt so bad. He did like 15 of them.
(their turn with the hot dog man comes)
HOT DOG MAN: What'll it be?
DUDE 1: What do I want, man?
DUDE 2: He'll have a dog with cheddar, chili, potato chips, and Old Bay.

Are these guys just going to fuck each other with slimy hot dogs at the end of the day? How the fuck do these girls put up with this shit? More importantly, are these people going to mate? How dumb are THEIR kids gonna be?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Flbrt et Hghsmth

Two links about two of my favorite writers:

1) Gustave Flaubert: "What strikes me as beautiful, what I would like to create is a book about nothing, a book without external attachments held aloft by the internal force of its style."

2) Patricia Highsmith:
“I find the public passion for justice quite boring and artificial.”

(via Return of the Reluctant)


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Nein advertises their own exhausted selves

Finn and Biggie, looking m.f.'ing COIFFED!

We've come to accept the New Guy.

Semiotic Crouton vs. MF DOOM

Peep these. Watch for the green shirt.
Crowd goes wild
MF Doom makes an adjustment while Finn, rapt, gazes on


--Houston. A relatively uneventful day, as the past weekend has worn everyone out completely. Not a very long drive. The show is at a place called The Proletariat, and its with 3 other touring bands. One of them, who will remain nameless for their own protection, is very friendly with us until we play, at which point their distaste for our music is highly palpable. The feeling becomes mutual as they take 30 minutes to set up after we bust ass rushing offstage when we finish our set. The guitar player apparently seems to think a tuner isn’t necessary, so he spends about 10 minutes asking the keyboard player and the sax player (they have a 3-piece horn section which is actually the best part of the band) for an A. Several members of the band discard their shoes, and one of them petulantly kicks a pile of percussive trash around the stage like an autistic toddler, then spends most of his time onstage pretending to be “eccentric”. The music is purposefully difficult to swallow, even with a really good drummer and that horn section, but the band’s collective mannerisms reek of calculated weirdness disguised as primal sincerity. Man, it must be a lot of work pretending to be a fucking retard. The opening band, however, are very nice people; 3 girls from New York called First Nation who have spent the past 3 weeks on tour with Animal Collective. They are just as awkward and weird as the aforementioned band, but a little something called sincerity makes it easier to deal with.
The crowd itself displays their own aloofness as almost none of them enter the room where we are playing, preferring to stay at the bar and drink crappy Shiner Bock. Overall, a fairly mediocre night, and also the first time that we’ve had to get a hotel in the lack of people willing to donate floor space. The stuff on television at 3 in the morning is pretty ridiculous; there’s a very long infomercial about some revolutionary colon cleansing product, whose spokesman is very comfortable using the word “colon” repeatedly in a sentence.

--Denton, TX. We get up and try to cash our whopping check from SXSW, which proves a little difficult as my bank is Durham only. Dale has an account with Bank of America, however, so we stop by one of their branches and get in line while a giant screen TV shows George Bush live in Cleveland, oozing smugness and acting like a fucking celebrity instead of a president. In honor of this moment (watching GW on TV in a Bank of America in a strip mall in Texas), we go to Super Wal-Mart to get some groceries while Dale tries to get a footswitch at Radio Shack. He is unsuccessful, so we have to track down another Radio Shack further down the highway. As we exit the strip mall, a large dude in a Mustang with his hat on sideways drives into the strip mall. He looks at me and barks loudly.
On the drive to Denton, the wind is so strong that it shakes the van back and forth constantly, making for a pretty tiring drive. Fighting with wind is not a favorite of my pastimes. In Denton, we stop for directions at a convenience store and a girl who is sweeping the sidewalk tells us to remember her when we “get famous”. The show is at a place called Rubber Gloves, which is in a very industrial side of town…train tracks and smokestacks and warehouses. We are playing with two non-U.S. bands: Run Chico Run, a two-piece from Vancouver, and Dada Swing, a trio from Italy. Both bands are a lot of fun and very nice. There’s a 4th band from Houston called Bring Back the Guns that are also pretty good. No one comes to the show, though, so the bands end up just watching each other. This also means that we have to get another hotel, which fortunately does not have commercials about what gets stuck in your colon.

--San Antonio. We check out a really cool bookstore in Denton for an hour and catch up on email, then hit the road. The show is at a place called The University of the Incarnate Word, and it’s on the quad. We play in a covered tent, which seems dubious upon arrival but turns out to be fun. Run Chico Run are playing the show as well, with Muldoon, our friends from San Antonio. There’s lots of people milling about, but not a whole lot of them want to watch rock music outside. But the people who are there seem to be into it. After the show, we drive to the house of our host, where Run Chico Run are also staying. The drive seems to take forever since we have to basically drive across the city. On the way there the local college station plays 4 songs in a row by the Arctic Monkeys, who are supposed to be the new hot shit from England or something. It’s the first time I’ve heard them, and it’s pretty fucking boring stuff. They’ll put anything out if it’s British and played by 4 semi-attractive guys nowadays. At the house, our host, whose name is Decos (that might be spelled differently, not sure) makes everyone grilled cheeses. The house is cleaner than a lot of places but the couches and carpet are extensively stained with who knows what. There’s also a very disturbing series of GUESS ads featuring Paris Hilton above the main couch….disturbing in the sense that there’s simulated sex going on between her and some random fashionista dude while she stares at the camera. She’s taking the concept of “the gaze” to new heights. She’s also got no butt whatsoever. I think all of the above qualify her as a “skank”.
All night long there are random noises that wake me up: some loud-ass birds outside, the neighbors’ dogs (my favorite), and Decos’ extremely neurotic cat who spends most of her time wandering back and forth through the living room with her collar bell jingling up a storm. When we finally wake up in the morning, there’s a fit of giggling happening outside the front door, which turns out to be two girls who live in the house that we didn’t know about. And they have two rabbits running around outside. Time to go.

DAY 13:
--Baton Rouge. So far the most painful drive we’ve had to do. It just seems to take forever. The first gas station we stop at has quite a surprise in the men’s room. Opening the door to the restroom, I’m slapped in the face with a heinous warm odor that can only mean one thing: someone took a shit OUTSIDE the bowl. In this case, it kinda looks like someone took some lumpy chocolate pudding and threw it against the wall. How the fuck do these things happen? The ladies working in the place are aware that there is “a mess” in the bathroom, but the extent of that mess is unknown to them as we leave. Robert comments that if he were in their position, he’d call the cops and get a special shit squad to come clean it up.
When we finally arrive in Baton Rouge, it’s dark. The club is the same place we played last year, but this time, LSU is back from spring break so there’s a decent crowd. However, the first band that plays, Vaeda, embodies everything that I hate about humanity. They won’t move their van to let us load in. Their bass player has a Mohawk and is named Aristotle. The drummer air-drums to the music coming through the PA. They all wear matching blazers. They sound exactly like low-budget Creed. Their singer dedicates a song to all southern girls, “because they’re so pretty”. He also spits on the ceiling three times at the climactic apex of their last song. Then they take forever to break down, and at the end of the night they try to cheat our friends Harlan, who play second, out of their cut of the money. I wish you could send infectious diseases through Myspace, because I’d get myself a page and send them all syphilis and genital warts.
We stay with John from Harlan, who are really good when they play. Robert, Josh, and I all stay up til 4 being drunk and laughing at the endless jukebox of 90s grunge classics that Robert and Josh keep churning out on an out-of-tune guitar. Finally Dale comes out and tells us that it’s 4 in the morning, which a polite way of saying, “Dudes, shut the fuck up. No one wants to hear Alice in Chains this early in the morning.”

DAY 14:
--Hattiesburg, MS. We go to breakfast with John and his lady in Baton Rouge and then I go across the street to check my email. As I get to the other side of the street, a crusty punk with some sort of anarchist-themed-band patch sewn into his dirty ballcap and a requisite mangy dog yells at me, “Hey rockstar, you got any change you can give me?”
I stop, look at him, and go, “What did you call me?”
“Rockstar,” he says.
“Sure, no problem,” I say as I keep walking. The best way to get money from people is call them names that are only derogatory in your own mind. I’m sure he would have loved it if I called him False Ideals Guy.
Hattiesburg is a pretty cool town. The club we are playing at is called the Thirsty Hippo, and it’s a small room with lots of windows that look out at a beautiful rock garden with a fountain and fish pond. There’s an an apartment above the club that bands can stay at, and the restaurant around the corner gives us half-price meals. We go there and it’s happy hour, so there’s a ton of drunk people, but it’s a really nice restaurant, kind of like 411 West, so it makes the whole thing pretty surreal. I get the linguini with alligator—I figure I might as well try it. It’s pretty bad. Alligator doesn’t really have a taste.
Before the show, Josh and I watch the DVD that I’ve brought on tour that we’ve been waiting to watch for 2 weeks: “Crocodile 2: Death Swamp” (from the executive producer of such classics as “Mansquito”, “Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy”, “Octopus 2: River of Fear”, and “Shark Attack III: Megaladon”). Don’t worry about the plot…it’s just a thinly disguised formula designed to create rich, complex characters that get eaten by a giant digital crocodile. We stop it about an hour in so we can go hang out downstairs.
The show is great, one of the better ones that we have played. People really seem to be into it, and there’s a good crowd out. After the show people do nothing but apologize for the poor turnout, and finally I have to grab someone by the lapel and tell them to stop talking about the attendance; there’s more people at this show than there have been the past few nights, so we’re not even thinking anything negative about the show. It’s puzzling why everyone always tries to call the glass half-empty.
The band that plays after us is called Amazing Energy, and they are great. It’s very simple, old-school bar rock, but the lead guitarist pulls out all the stops, jumping on the bar, running into the crowd, dancing in circles, etc. They would make a perfect George Thorogood & the Destroyers at the Great Cover-Up.
After the show, we get to experience the colorful locals. There are two guys at the bar who just spend all their time yelling at each other and drinking more beer. They’re almost exactly like the characters in the Mr. Show skit who get in a fight at a bar and end up getting married (“til death do us part, asshole!!”). One guy tells the other guy that’s he’s going to “throw up on your dick”, and then mimes the action. There are some pretty fine quotes I manage to write down while standing in their presence:
”Man, why am I so MAD all the time?”
“Oh, The Nein…yeah, the ‘Goonies” band….” (in response to a comment by someone else who saw our show and liked it)
Then, during the “get stoned” part of the post-show experience, a guy with really long hair and big ears (who also tells us we should “listen to more Archers of Loaf”…thanks, man, point noted) tries to get me to join in his marijuana-running scheme so he can sell his dank Mississippi nugs in North Carolina. I decline to be his weed rep, but tell him the names of a few local clubs that he could go hang out by the back door of; eventually he’ll find someone who knows someone who would go in on such a scheme.
We finish the evening by attempting to finish “Crocodile 2: Death Swamp”. I fall asleep and miss the thrilling conclusion, but Josh fills me in the next morning (they set the water on fire and the croc blows up). Classic.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More Books

I finished Foucault's Pendulum. It was pretty good, or maybe just OK. There were many great things about it, but damn, if I ever read see another Templar, Cabalist or Jesuit again, I am going to pop. About 200 pages too long. Though, it was fun playing, "What literary references do I notice." A lot. But really, no only will I never again give a conspiracy theory even a passing, irony-filled glance, but I no longer belive in anything. It was like saying to someone, "Yeah, I like mayonnaise on sandwiches," then having your face pressed into a toilet bowl full of mayo for a week, only to be pulled up every few minutes for breath as an annonymous voice shouts, "Low Fat!" I mean, I like maybe one butter knife swipe, but this is out of control.

After finishing FP, I picked up Hell, by Kathryn Davis. She wrote The Thin Place, which I have not read, but has gotten many, many strong reviews, including from WN. I decided to start with another of her novels becuase it was $20 cheaper. It is very short, and I am only a few pages into it, but I am very confused, so that is a good sign. I like it already.

Yeah, Europe Central had some definite high points, such as the second chapter about Krupskaya--really brilliant. But it just didn't fit my mood at the moment.

Did you know, David Gilmour has a myspace account? I asked him to be AP's friend. I bet he says yes, then sends a private message that says, "Hey, David, this is David Gilmour. I am really influenced by your style of play. I can't describe how much your work has meant to me." I will read it and delete it without responding, not to be mean or because I don't like him--quite the contrary--but because I can.

Bob Wall says Gilmour's new LP sounds like the Neptunes.

Tonight in Durham: Solo folks...

(not the same captain saturn shown above)

James Hepler presents . . . . Wednesday March 22nd, Joe and Jo's, Durham, NC 9pm sharp!!! * Reese Gibbs * * John Crocker * * Captain Saturn * (me) Cover: somewhere between $0 and $3Reese Gibbs, best known for her work with the Dirty Little Heaters,plays some of her quieter, sadder songs on acoustic guitar. Anne Gomezsays Reese sounds like Janis Joplin only better.John Crocker plays catchy folkish tunes with one foot on a kick drumpedal and some C-clamps on a keyboard. And if he doesn't feel asthough he is capturing enough of your attention, he will either comeand play right in front of you or make you participate. You will beentertained.Captain Saturn plays the traditional musics of his homeland, the distantmoon of Io. He's not sure why people keep asking him to play but he hasa hard time saying no. He hopes to practice for this show at leasttwice, schedule permitting.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

TEXAS BURN--The Nein takes Middle America by light drizzle

--we’ll illustrate the scene with a few bullet points regarding Columbus, OH, on March 10, 2006:

1. “Happy Hour” at Bernie’s Bagels features $1 Rum & Cokes and a lot of clinical depression waiting at the bottom of the large plastic cups that the PBR comes in. And a lot of broken glass, screaming, and dancing along to “Dreamweaver”.

2. A dog was among the patrons at Bernie’s; it was drinking beer out of a plastic dish, and when its owner, a very drunk, very scary, very large lady, spilled her own beer, the dog was there to help clean up. With its tongue.

3. The electric meters attached to the building across the street from Bernie’s are apparently the best place to urinate in town, as evidence by the very large man who peed over there at least 5 times in the course of the evening (and the group of 5 people who were spotted there at 2am doing the same thing). This same man also told us he’d watch our van for us, because he’d been in a band before, too. They were called “The Bitches Hippies”. He told us this twice.

4. There was a fire down the street from Bernie’s, so channel 10 news showed up to cover the action. As they set up across the other street from Bernie’s, several drunk, emboldened patriots began screaming, “FUCK THE CORPORATE MEDIA!” over and over, finally crossing the street and surrounding the anchorwoman and her cameraman while screaming the “Star Spangled Banner” at the top of their lungs. The media retreated in their SUV’s, but not before the anarchists pounded on the hoods of the vehicles.

5. By 9pm, enough drinking had been done by this one blond chick that she fell on a bench by our van.

6. A man named Don attended the show and made each band play a song that he sang. The first band was forced to do “Louie, Louie”, which were all the words that Don actually sang. The second band did “Batman”, which again, was the only word sung in the song. The Nein was also forced to do “Batman”, but our version was superior. Don hugged me after the show when I told him how to get more shows at Bernie’s. “I like this guy”, he said about me to no one in particular through the lack of teeth that was his mouth.

7. A thong was sighted. On a girl whose boyfriend, or at least the male person accompanying her, expressed his affection by walking up and licking her face violently. She returned the action.

8. Our host lived with his parents. We were told we had to be really quiet until 7am. As if we were going to set the alarm for 7 and get up and holler. We also had to leave $2 for each beer we drank out of the fridge, because his father buys really expensive beer. And since our host was broke, we had to buy him his own father’s beer. And pack his bowl.

Basically, The Nein experienced Sodom and Gomorrah in Ohio.

--Chicago, IL. The windy city. It is surprisingly warm when we pull in. Our show is in the northern part of the city, at a place called No Exit, which is like a small coffeeshop with large ceilings and a huge glass (insert “put ‘em on the..” jokes here) window behind the stage. It provides some pretty amazingly dubbed-out drum sounds. The first band we play with, Fourth Rotor, is really good Chicago-style punk; nasty Shellac basslines, Bonham-style drums, and gruff vocals. They’re extremely friendly people as well. Also the only band I’ve ever met who is going to tour Alaska. The band that plays after us, Storybook Funeral, can only be described as Spin Doctors meets Alice in Chains fronted by Mike Patton. Their drummer strips naked before he changes into his drum shorts. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when he does it IN FRONT of the entire room, one wonders why he thinks that a saggy white ass is something anyone wants to see at a rock show.

--Stuck in Chicago with no shows. A welcome rest, actually, seeing as how the next 10 days will be taxing on the liver and sleep schedule. We explore parts of the city on our own but ultimately end up spending a lot of time in front of the TV at the apartment we are staying at (an apartment whose residents are out of town, leaving us with our own personal hideout for 3 nights; all we have to do is feed the cat, whose name is Whiskey). TiVO is so hard to walk away from, especially when Episode 1 of the new season of the Sopranos is on.

--Des Moines, IA. The state that gave us Slipknot has little love for The Nein. We eat at a Chinese restaurant across the street from the club; Robert is let down by his menu selections, which include egg drop soup with the consistency of snot and some chicken that “tastes like ketchup”. At the club, we meet someone who claims to have been the drummer for Zen Frisbee. I can’t remember his name at the moment; trying to remember names on the road is a futile exercise. But he seemed to know people we know, so who knows?
The opening band, a local group, is basically a guy whose aspirations to become Conor Oberst have permeated every aspect of his being. He has two people playing with him, but this is obviously HIS gig, as he refers to his bandmates as “these guys” who “don’t even know what they’re playing”. His songs cover all the appropriate Bright Eyes related genres (acoustic folk with reverse sampled drumbeats, strummy country numbers with lots of tambourine shaking and “woo!”s, etc).
But the big story here is Myspace. The other touring band has their laptop out and was on Myspace. The door girl has her laptop out and is on Myspace. The two people who have paid get on their laptops as soon as we get back to their house after the show and they get on Myspace—separately. And they start interacting with each other online. One of them has a shirt that says, no shit, “YOU LOOKED BETTER ON MYSPACE.COM”. His wife apparently left him for someone she met on Myspace. I’m not making this up.

--Omaha, NE. We get into town early to get the van worked on, and then we hit the multiplex theater to see “16 Blocks”, with Bruce Willis and Mos Def. It’s OK. After the movie we find a music store to buy some strings, and Robert spends about 30 minutes in the special room with all the amps and pedals, tweaking the various parameters of the bass synthesizer. The rest of us wait in the van; when he emerges finally from the store, he tells us that he could have introduced us to our minds.
At the club, the first person I meet asks me if I want to get stoned in the back room. I accept, and so does the bartender. We play with a really nice guy named Kyle, who does a set of droney guitar noise, and a two-piece metal band whose drummer has no bass drum, just a midi kick pedal that runs into an 8x10 bass amp. Our set is kind of chaos; we play everything too fast. The promoter gets drunk and spills a pint of beer (my beer, actually) on me and my amp. We stay with Kyle and his fiancée, who buy us 2 bags of soft tacos from Taco Bell before we get there. Very nice people.

--Oklahoma City, OK. What a fucking flat-ass drive. There are some crazy wildfires in Texas, so there are signs on the highway that say “CAUTION; EXTREME FIRE DANGER”. It takes us about 8 hours to get there. The opening band, Hypatia Lake, is from Seattle and is really cool. The middle band is horrendous pop-punk. They have a group of totally hot chixxx standing in front of the stage who scream during every song, and then they all leave before we play. It seems that The Nein is not very appealing to the laydeez.

--Austin, TX. We drive after the OKC show and get to Austin at 7am, dropping Dale off at a hotel where he is meeting Amy Jo. He’s participating in Flatstock, so we won’t see him until our SXSW show the next night. We get to our hosts’ house and fall asleep on the floor for several hours, then head into town at noon to check out the scene. Which is massive. This year, there are more bands than ever at SXSW, and there are at least 30 parties a day in addition to the shows at night. Everyone in town starts drinking around noon, so we follow suit. We go to the Vice Magazine party and see Kid 606, Cadence Weapon, and then Josh finds out that Roky Erikson is playing on the other stage (there are 3 stages at this party). He bounds over there just as I find out that Madvillian is playing an invite only party a few blocks away. I run down there, determined to get in, even if I have to give someone some weed. Once I’m in line, a doorman walks out and tells everyone that if they haven’t RSVP’ed, they’re not getting in. Things don’t look good for me, but a guy in front of me has an extra guest spot so he gets me in. I give him some weed.
The next 5 hours are amazing; one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen. Then the fun starts when I meet Josh and our friend Amanda across the river and proceed to get really fucking drunk. When the bar closes we all pile into a car with 6 other people; I end up riding in the trunk, which is a little scary, but I’m so trashed at this point that it doesn’t matter. Instead of going back to Amanda’s hotel, where Josh and I are going to crash since we’re too far away from the house we’re staying at, someone in the party we’re with decides it’s time to eat at an all night diner…..with the 100 other drunk people who have decided the same thing. Josh and I decide to wait outside while the rest of our crew eat. We finish a bottle of whiskey and start arguing about Johannes Brahms (this argument has become a theme of sorts between us). Josh doesn’t like him. I do.
We wake up on the floor of Amanda’s hotel room and I realized that I haven’t eaten in 24 hours, unless you count beer.

--Austin again. Somehow I have the energy to hit some more parties at noon and start drinking again. We see this awesome British band called Art Brut at some hair salon and then go a few blocks down the street to see Big Bear, our friends from Boston who were supposed to come on tour with us. They are the heaviest band around, and Josh and I fall in love with their singer, who is the toughest girl I’ve ever met.
Then it comes time for the cattle-herding mentality of our SXSW showcase. Load-in requires going up a flight of huge stairs. At this point, my legs are completely wiped out from standing and walking so much in the past 24 hours, but there’s not much to be done about that. By 8:45, we’re getting ready for our set, which starts at 9. But then Dale comes up to me and says, “Where is my sampler?” Since he wasn’t there at load-in, he didn’t remind us to bring it in, and it’s easy to forget since it’s tucked under the van seat. The only option is to run 6 blocks back to the van to get it, which I do. As soon as I return, the place is much more crowded and the club staff are telling us we are running late. I’ve got a cramp in my stomach, I’m out of breath, my legs are killing me, and the only thing we have to drink is Miller Lite (“the official beer of SXSW”). The soundman has to replace a cable, so they give us a few more minutes to go on. By the second song, it becomes apparent that the stage is pretty rickety, as one keyboard falls twice in the same song and then the mic stand falls into the crowd—twice.
After the show I’m ready to go to sleep, but I get a phone call from our friend Alex, who has taken Josh to some secret party. He has an extra wristband, but he won’t tell me who is playing the party—I have to decide whether or not I want to come. He tells me I will not regret it, so I walk down to this parking garage where a long line of people are waiting to get in. Alex meets me outside, hands me a wristband that will grant me access to the party, and tells me I’m about to see Gang of Four. It’s a party for the magazine URB, and it’s also an open tequila bar. Needless to say, I’m trashed in 30 minutes as one gorgeous bartender/waitress after another circles the party with trays of shots and margaritas. Gang of Four is decent, but they apparently are sponsored by Peavey now, so their tone sucks. (It should be noted that The Nein uses Peavey, but our amps are older, not this crappy nu-metal style of amp used by Dave Allen and Andy Gill).
After the show, Alex manages to get us into the dressing room, where Josh and I hobnob with Dave Allen, who gives us all their Clif Bars and Vitamin Water. We start talking to a guy who is hanging out backstage, and then discover that he is Michael Azerrad, who wrote Our Band Could Be Your Life. I fawn over him for a while until he politely excuses himself out of our drunken presence.
As if it couldn’t get any more surreal, we pile into a van with everyone that has been in the dressing room, including Dave Allen and Andy Gill. I have to pee very badly, but there’s not much to do about it when you’re crammed in a van with half of Gang of Four and their entourage. We end up at a ridiculous afterparty at a ridiculous boutique, and we are standing in line when Amanda shows up with the singer from the Wrens and the owner of Saddle Creek Records. In some fucked-up stroke of timing, we are ushered into the party while they are not. Once inside, we stand in another line to get to the roof of the party, and then we just talk about how drunk we are and that we are at such an event.
By 4am we discern that we need to get some sleep. Alex lets us crash in his hotel room, which is currently occupied by Cy Rawls, who lives up to his ubiquitous reputation. He leaves for his flight as soon as we get there, so Josh and I crash in his bed and wake up with blinding hangovers. Then we get in an elevator that David Byrne has just exited.
I don't think you can make this stuff up.

I'll try to post more later this week. But hopefully we'll see you all on Saturday.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I haven't posted much lately because I have been busy--or depressed--I can't tell. I feel like telling you all about books. I got out of the gates good this year with a quick three: Infinite Jest, Endzone, and the Maltese Falcon. I loved IJ, as I have mentioned; it is now one of my favorites of all time. TMF was also good. Endzone: I did not like. I read White Noise last year (these two are my only D. Delillo experiences). I liked it alright, but was on the fence. What I didn't like about WN, Endzone had in spades and then also in large baggies. The characters seemed really flat--actually, they seemed interchangeable. All, in both novels, talked the same way: fast, witty, smart. But there was no depth. Just cleverness for cleverness's sake. (No offense to the ToF readers who like D.D.)

Then, I hit a patch of four books that I didn't finish. This always puts me off. I used to think that it was because I wasn't ready, or didn't have the time or it was my fault in some way, but I think sometimes I just don't like a book, and therefore, don't care. First, I tried Almanac of the Dead. I read about 70 pages, and I actually think I kind of liked it, but just wasn't in the mood. I will try this one again. Then I picked up Europe Central. I read about 200 pages. This was good too, really good in places, but damn, was it depressing and a struggle to read. I have read some of Vollmann's short stories before, and liked them, and I am curious about him, but this just didn't do it for me. So I stopped. Then I picked up A Million Little Pieces, out of spite. But it in fact sucks big time: true or false; it doesn't matter. Bad is bad. Does crack make you lose the quotation mark and indent keys? I guess so. Then I started the Goldbug Variations. This I did not like and didn't really think it was that good. Richard Powers is supposed to be great, but I wasn't impressed. I'd read the subject matter before in EGB, which I think expressed the ideas better and in a more entertaining way. Then with out that, you just have the story, which I didn't care for. Ruminations on lost love--not my bag of tricks--Wait! Isn't that what my beloved Lolita is? Well, something else then. It reminded me of the Blind Assassin, which I didn't finish either.

Oh shit, 2005 confession time: Clint, I didn't finish Herzog. Same thing; just couldn't get into it.

But then I got Madame Bovary. Hell, yes! MB is the jam. What a perfect book for a lonely Spring Break. I have no complaints. This is how a novel should be: the perfection, the model. Ah! MB has also jumped into my top ten books of all time. The prose is just so perfect (of course, I read it in translation, by French being on par with my drumming and spelling), but I compared a number of translation with the original French text and found the one that seemed the most faithful--and in any case it was great, whoever wrote it.

Now I am almost finished with Foucault's Pendulum. Enjoyable, funny, easy. Really, I am just trying to kill time until Black Swan Green drops. I still have like three weeks. What will I read, or leave unread next? I don't know.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Friends from Philly.

Erie Choir plays this Thursday, March 9, at the Duke Coffeehouse with friends, old and new.

En Garde has a couple of guys whom I’ve played with in various other bands; Sorry About Dresden, the Wusses, Blanket, The Circle Seen and Thesaurus Kite. You tell me which band name is worst.

Late Night Television is Matt Kelley’s band, where he sings about how things usually work out for the best, just like we do. He is from Philly. His label, Route 14, put out Sorry About Dresden’s first album, as well as albums by the Scaries and Strunken White. If he’d only put out a V. Sirin record, everything would have worked out much differently.

Erie Choir is gonna be me and Bob this time. I got my stitches removed yesterday, but I’m still a little gimpy.

Grammar Debate is also from Philly. Their myspace quote is "Reigning Champions of Spiffcore!" Sounds good.

It's 5 bucks and you can bring your own beverages.


AUDUBON PARK GETS BURNED IN MYSPACE; or, In Myspace No-one Can Hear You Delete.

Yesterday we had 84 friends. Today we have 83. The Headline? "Audubon Park Gets Served Own Medicine." I don't know who it was--it is hard to look and see who is missing. Man, so burned; so burned.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

When did we decide that steroid use was wrong? I thought we knew? I thought it was like aluminum bats and better shoes--just part of the science of the game. If you didn't get the right equptment, you would fall behind. It's all the same. That's why I also support players hiring people to kill and injure each other off field--all just part of play. You have to live the game and only the best succeed.

Give Bonds a Break.

Friday, March 03, 2006


The weirdest thing is this: who is being referred to by the word "you"? It's like "you" means everybody in the world. Or is it just the Romans? The jews? The liberals? The Democrats? Dan Rather? Newsweek? I can't tell.

Photo by Bill Barnes
Photo editor: Todd Santa Maria

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sorry About Dresden vs. Dook

Saturday night(3/4) at the Cat’s Cradle, Sorry About Dresden will be playing our first show in over a year. Simultaneously, some ten miles away, the North Carolina Tar Heels will be battling the evil minions of Stingy et al’s alma mater, Dook. We hope to begin sometime between the under 8 minute time-out and the under 4(~9:30), playing through halftime.

Oh, yeah, Sally Crewe and the Sudden Moves and our longtime faves the Wedding Present are playing too.

Cat’s Cradle owner Frank Heath has a way better memory than I do and reminded us that we’re 1-0 in this situation: “(the) last time Sorry about Dresden played during a Duke/UNC game was the time Adam Boone led us to victory in Cameron”

I’ll be playing injured, having received 3 stitches last Saturday to repair a small gash I received from a surly bottle. Nonetheless, we’ll do our best to “Play smart, play hard and play together.”