The Indras were not actually releasing a CD yet, and also were not taking prisoners. Greg, the bass and peruvian twelve string mandolin type instument player, lost his job today. Eric the guitarist gave his two weeks notice at the cultish right wing steel cutting factory where his hours have been cut from fifty to twenty per week and he inhales fine glimmering steel dust every day.
They play the sort of music that describes their experiences, blues rock with lyrics about the Greek pantheon in cyclone form and the exhilaration of outrunning it with feet of fire. The Bug Jar is a fascinating bar with an apartment installed upside down on the ceiling, dirty dishes in the sink, glowing coals in the fireplace, Nixon's Time Magazine on the coffee table.
On a set break we met Abram Boise, author of The Star of Happiness, whose book tour is stalled because of bus trouble. We stayed with Eric and Andrea and met their 16 year old cat Zia who was on the verge of kicking the bucket when they made her an outdoor cat. Her newly discovered love of killing has rekindled her zest for life.
Corey was on a pilgrimage to see the Flight of the Conchords apartment in Chinatown, where we met up with Mcgee and got Vietnamese food. They eat a lot of baguette sandwiches because of the French colonial influence. We took a stroll along Wall Street looking for the bar where the ruined brokers go to strengthen their resolve.
Instead we found an Irish pub across the street from the giant hole where the World Trade Center once stood. Mcgee told us that during the excavation they found an entire ship buried underneath the foundation. How many people knew about that? Why was it there? Whose was it? Does Dan Brown know about this?
The valet at the hotel recommended a limosine as the best method of transporting five people and musical instruments in the most expedient fashion, and naturally we concurred. Otto's Shrunken Head is a disorderly place where the punk rockers go to drink five dollar beers and listen to their friend's new band. Johnny came up from Brooklyn where he forces high school kids to learn math concepts they will need as adults. He said Adam is teaching English in Beijing after his finance job was swallowed in the economic meltdown. Maybe we should tour the PRC. I bet those kids have lots of pent up energy.
New York New York
They now have cell phone chargers in bars, or at least they did at P&G Bar, the storied midtown dive where the Grateful Dead played and which was recently forced to move from the original Amsterdam location to a cozy basement bar on Columbus opposite the Museum of Natural History. Monica and her UK posse dropped in. She had her violin in tow, having come directly from a performance. Next time we're playing The Devil Went Down To Georgia.
We ate that anonymous meal between dinner and breakfast at the neighborhood 24 hour diner with Mary Kate, who is finishing her Medievalist dissertation, which makes her sort of like Ignatius P Riley, except for being charming and funny instead of obnoxious and crazy.
Then we went back to the hotel and looked down on the city from the 27th floor. The buildings were fluorescent and gleaming yet totally deserted. No cleaning crews, no late night brainstorming, only the LED billboards were animated. So we rode the cylindrical glass Jetson pod down the central tower to the stoop and tried to flag down the cash cab.
Hennessey's Hooley House is right across the street from City Hall, which looks like a supermax prison on pylons or a futuristic stronghold designed to keep the angry mobs safely below where they can be easily dispersed with gas or bullets from the arrow loop windows.
We caught up with Ed, who is going to film school here, and who recorded the show with his tiny camera and unipod. We watched his latest short called Opus Pocus about a musician haunted by the memory of a woman, represented by her magical intrusion into the frame around every corner and behind every door.
The punk trio Straight To VHS played a brutal set. The drummer's hand started bleeding during the third song and he kept playing until the guitarist broke his last string. Corey showed up to surprise Ed and us too, even though we sort of knew. We forgot to put him on the guest list, though. Sorry, Corey.
Great town. The cheese steaks at McGuey's are only $2. We stayed with Sean and his cat Falcor and watched Rockers. Now we know why Buck says "hustlin like raindrops." At Fergie's Pub they have this wooden Captain's motto carved above the bar in old German. The translation is roughly, "Drink, die. Don't drink, die anyway. Drink."
We met the kids from Bong Hits For Jesus, who definitely like to rock out, and the hip hop jazz group Abstract Words smoothed it out for us when the gruff Irish barkeep came upstairs and told us to turn it down.
Philadelphia is a surreal city where the street parking is in the turn lane and the modern glass ziggurats loom above the ancient stone mortar halls of our forefathers. It's like listening to Deltron and recognizing Saucerful of Secrets from the Dark Side Rehearsals.
The Whiskey hosted a benefit for First Descents so Owen and Beth can take young adult cancer survivors on a mountaineering expedition across the glacier on Mout Hood. Owen says they're moving away from oxygen tanks and using a drug called Diamox to raise red cell count, though some climbers still carry tanks as a fail safe.
The main disadvantage to oxygen is the variant moisture content of the air. Russia has good air for high altitude respiration. Lately most of the air comes from monsoon drenched India because it's so much cheaper, so climbers drink or breath it on the climb and then take Diamox and function on the dry thin air at the top.
They also have to keep track of how much water they excrete because water retention is one of the symptoms of altitude sickness. The idea is that if you drink 2 liters of water and only eliminate a half liter the rest of that water could be in your lungs or your brain. This means that climbers pee in water bottles and compete for greatest volume.
Carrboro North Carolina
Ocean Springs Mississippi
I want to start a record label, just to sign Mob Towne Revival and listen to them play freestyle funk jazz hip hop from way down south: horns, keys, congas, harmonicas, everybody raps. The pop punk quartet Only Thieves were super tight, but Mob Towne music is why the bars never close in Mobile.
We picked up some strays on the way to Nailer's house after the show, and one girl passed out in the back of the van. Her friend wanted to call 911. He had us all scared that she was on some weird drugs, until she woke up and started taking shots of Evan Williams with us.
The next morning we woke up and ate kiwi and played basketball with Nailer. The ball kept getting stuck behind the backboard. We ate fried shrimp and gumbo on the way out of town, feeling like cats that couldn't remember how many lives we have left.
Defying all known laws of physics, the Mockingbird Cafe exists in two places at the same time. One is in Havana, a sleepy suburb with cobblestone streets that are deserted by 8PM, and the other, where we played, is about 20 minutes away in Tallahassee proper. When we arrived at the correct location, they were serving dinner with blue grass on stage, which is always a good sign.
Trial By Stone has a new line up complete with brain shattering rhythm section, hypnotic slide trombone, and the inimitable Buck Lemons on lead guitar. They burned the house down, as expected. The night manager Brian Gibby left with our money, but paid TBS, so Buck offered to give us their half and collect from Gibby later. The music business is full of sketch-balls. We just got lucky this time, because someone in town was looking out for us.
We met Mike from Lifeline Media, who asked to buy a CD, was informed that we sold out of CDs a few shows back, and offered to press more CDs for us the next day in his factory. So we made a custom black sleeve mix entitled Distributing 2: A Minor. While the machines did the work, we watched videos of Mike's band WTF playing classic cover songs while dressed as 70s detectives.
Orlando Florida Again
Underground Bluz is a small room with a tremendous heart located across the street from UCF and right next door to the Deko Lounge, where the Cocaine Cowboys were spinning their hard drives and shining their LED flashlights across the dance floor in search of the most reflective hair gel.
We met Jeff the research professor, who told us about his ventures into the world of touring musicians, and how doing research ends up being the same sort of solitary lifestyle with intermittent public performances. When it's just you and the work, you better love to do it.
Brad from Illegal Beats was there with his leg injury from sitting on the couch doing promotional work. We packed up the van, resisting the urge to "ghost ride that whip," and went back to Brad's to unwind and feed the eel. The next morning was the most epic Denny's breakfast of all time, except for the mozzarella stick grilled cheese sandwich, which was too hardcore for us.
Evolution Records has been around for a long time in Lakeland, but Robert built it into the weird scene it is today. The massive collection of vinyl and artwork made from vinyl that's too scratched to be played, the first print Sandinista, The Juice Bros bootleg (which you can't buy anywhere), the soundtrack to the movie Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.
The stock room has been transformed from a Bicycle coop, which needed more space, into a lounge with old craigslist sofas on stadium seating risers. The stage audio and video are broadcast throughout the store and into the street by a chain of old cathode ray tubes. If they served alcohol it would be the best venue in Lakeland.
We stayed with Chris in his apartment full of guitars and listened to that family of trees song by MGMT that seems to be everywhere right now. We were on the back porch and I guess we must have been loud, because a law enforcement officer rolled up and shined his spotlight on us. Or maybe he recognized us from the acoustic set at DC's, where that guy was playing the kitchen sink.
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