Well, I’m back home watching the Ashlee Simpson show, finally getting to the bottom of this Saturday Night Live debacle, and the Format tour is over. I realize that I haven’t written anything about it so here I go.
We started on January 28th with a show at the Marquee in Tempe, AZ with The Format, Dios and Skybox. It was a fun show…I think it sold out, so there were lots of people there, but the crowd was pretty mellow and honestly, we didn’t have the greatest time playing. It was so incredibly hot onstage that we all just had a hard time getting in to it, and…well, enough complaining. Skybox was interesting, with their flamboyant costumes that they wore all night, and Dios was actually very cool. The Format sounded better than maybe we’ve ever heard them. Yay Format.
Ashlee claims she never sings with a backing track, apparently…it was only because of the loss of her voice that night. Yeah, right.
The day after the Marquee show we had a day off to prepare for the three shows we did with the Format, where we, the almighty Reubens Accomplice, acted as the Format’s backing band for five songs. Rehearsal went well and we were ready to go, so we went home early and got some sleep.
The next day we made our way to Hollywood, CA, where we played at the Knitting Factory. On these shows with us were the Necronauts, who rocked us silly, and Chase Pagan, a creamy voiced crooner who played guitar and was backed by a keyboard player. Before we went on at the Knit, Ryan and I saw a guy that looked a lot like Stephen Perkins (the drummer from Jane’s Addiction) helping Chase take gear off the stage and were skeptical until Chase called him Stephen and asked him about drumming. My heart skipped a few beats, as I’ve always been a big Jane’s fan, and I couldn’t get up the nerve to say anything to him (what do you say, anyway…”I like your drumming”?…”You’ve got great hair”?…”where did you get your pants?”), especially because we had to go up and play, but it was exciting for me nonetheless, although I realize that it’s totally nothing and I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m writing about it. Me too. The show sold out, went well, and our debut as the Format’s band was well received. Overall it was a good night.
Ashlee is talentless.
Now, the next couple of days were pretty non-eventful for me, as my family lives in L.A. and I spent them hanging out with my mom and sister. I couldn’t tell you what happened with the rest of the band…I think their days were pretty dull too, just driving to the other shows, eating fast food, and hanging out in hotel rooms, but I can tell you about the shows themselves.
First let me tell you about our obsession with rock, paper, scissors. Nate from the Format was the ring leader with all of this, but got us all into playing the game for the prize of getting to be called “master” or “lord” or whatever it may have been that day, for the entirety of the rest of the day, by the loser. The matches were long…I think the last day of the tour it was first person to 20 maybe…something crazy like that. And there were many variables to what everyone would be referred to. If you won only a few points, you would be called “sloth” or “serf” or something of the sort by the winner of the match. Honestly I never really got it all straight, but they were very emotional and heated battles that left the losers a shell of the person they were and lifted the winners to a state of merciless self-importance. It was pretty brutal.
Anyway, on Tuesday night we played at the American Legion Hall in Ventura, CA, which was basically just a function room at, you guessed it, the American Legion Hall. The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans organization, supporting present active duty military personnel along with its commitment to all veterans and their families, so says their website. We think they’re a front for the support of underage drinking. The place was actually nice, and the show was fun…on a makeshift stage with the audience crowded all around us while we played…it was intimate…I could smell their breath. The Necronauts kicked everyone’s ass at this show…they sounded awesome. Chase was mellow, as always. We played all right and we all had a really fun time. The Format’s acoustic stuff was nice…the audience sat obediently for the performance and sang along with all their might. All in all it was fun. Before we played, Ryan, Amy, Chris and I went to eat at a Mexican place that gave you stuffed animals to signal to the servers where to bring the food orders. I got a cat and the others got a fake Simba the lion king…it all seemed really strange to me. After the show, I drove back to L.A. to hang with my mom and the rest of the crew went out to Jack in the Box and to sleep. Touring is so crazy and exciting…rock and roll is the life for us!
I guess Stephen Perkins played drums on Chase’s record, which is why he was hanging around. I guess that means I’ll have to buy it.
The next day, my mommy dropped me off on the side of the road and I was picked up by the van to drive down to Anaheim. It was really tough to get off the freeway at the Disneyland exit and not get to go. Instead, we had to play a show at the Chain Reaction, Orange County’s premier all ages club. This show was also sold out and the crowd was very rowdy (for this kind of show). I think it was the first time we ever played where the crowd was pushing and shoving…not quite dancing, and not quite moshing, but something was going on that we weren’t used to. Honestly it was kind of fun…made us feel good about ourselves. Everyone played well and had a fun time. We were all a little sad at the end of the night to go our separate ways, but that’s the way it goes. Our gang went to a hotel literally across the street from the almighty Disneyland complex. Oh man, I love that place so much…it was torture!
The next day we made our way back to Arizona. Most of us slept much of the way (again, this rock and roll lifestyle is nonstop action…you have no idea), and we all made it home in one piece. And that about does it.
What was the highpoint of the trip? Well for me it was a comment Ryan made. In Ventura we saw a mall with a rather tall tower. We asked Ryan if the tower would be a suitable conduit for his wizardry and his response was “well, it’s not very tall, but it’s circular, which helps…but more for sorcery than wizardry.” Good to know…
Until next time,