Um…the start of the tour was a bit of a blur because I was in Nashville recording some drums for a friend of mine’s record and then in my overworked and sleep deprived state I found myself on a plane to Phoenix and all of a sudden I was eating hot and sour soup from the awesome Chinese place near Chris’ house and then we were rehearsing and then the next morning we were speeding through the desert towards San Diego and then all of a sudden it was pouring rain and then there was Hellogoodbye and Steel Train and Limbeck and then I started to mellow out…like I had been there all along. This is now the third tour we’ve done with some combination of the aforementioned bands and really it’s starting to feel very homey for us. We all get along so well…it’s like one big happy family.
That first show was ok…in some club in a strip mall (is everything on the west coast in a strip mall?)…I think everyone played well…like I said, I was a bit out of it, but I think it was fine. I remember eating Carl’s Junior from across the street and Steel Train simultaneously yelling at and offering pizza to a rude bunch of audience members.
From here we stayed at a friends Japanese apartment and woke up early for a delightful Denny’s breakfast. Our friend and Western Tread Recordings executive Charlie Levy was in tow for this first leg of the trip, so that was fun…he sort of puts it all into perspective for us, which is helpful on the road. We ate and laughed and won a fuzzy bunny out of a crane game machine and continued on to UC Irvine, where we frolicked around the central park area for a while and then played a live radio show with the other bands. That was actually a lot of fun. We played a new song for the first time ever as a band live on the show (no rehearsal, which is always a good idea)…I think it went over well. I think Steel Train sounded amazing at this thing…man, they’re good…and Scott can really play the hell out of the egg shaker…for serious.
From here it was on to the San Fernando Valley where we played at the Cobalt Café in Canoga Park. Canoga Park (The CP for us locals) is not far from where I grew up in Van Nuys and on this particular night I was not too proud of my hood. The show was good, I guess, in that the bands played well and there were a lot of people there and there’s an awesome British pub next door, but the club itself was a DRAG. Just a bummer from the get go when they wouldn’t let me in the back door with 100 pounds of drum hardware on my back without a silly stamp on my hand. Just a dumpy club run horribly by a bunch of jerks…no offense to anyone’s whose home turf this is (remember, I’m a local too). If you have an option when deciding where to go see bands or where to play with your own band, I’d suggest somewhere other than the Cobalt Café.
The next few days were very relaxing. My parents live in the Pacific Palisades near Santa Monica, and so we claimed their humble abode as our own whilst gallivanting around the southland playing shows and eating Mexican food. On Sunday we hung out near the beach, ate Mexican food and then drove to Anaheim to play at the Chain Reaction. This was a good show, as we’ve come to expect at the Chain. Good people, a good turnout, and free pizza! The big excitement for the Reubens camp was a scenario we had schemed for days involving me being on my cell phone while the other bands were hanging around loading gear and such. The plan was for me to FREAK out, yelling and cursing, and out of the blue just slam the phone onto the pavement with such gusto as to break the phone into pieces and really freak out all the other bands (the phone was old and broken...don't worry). After much plodding (I was nervous to do it…I’m no actor) I finally got up the nerve and man, it worked so well that we had convinced the Limbeck guys that we might be breaking up the band. The Steel Train guys were pretty weirded out too…they thought I had totally lost it. I hid in the van for a few minutes to let it all sink in, but we could only let it last so long…all the other bands are so nice…they were really worried. This all might sound totally lame, but I’ll assume that you readers are by now used to our silly, childish games the we create for the purpose of keeping us entertained on the road. I thought it was fun…and it did entertain us for about ten minutes.
From the Chain it was back to the Chambre d'O'Reilly (parents house) for another restful night and then the ever-coveted DAY OFF. Limbeck had scheduled a show in Tijuana, Mexico that the rest of us were just too wimpy to join in on, so they went down there and ate their tacos or whatever and we hung out in L.A. and went to go see a friend’s band. Later, losers…
The next night’s show was at the world famous Whiskey a Go Go. We had never played there and I used to go see shows there as a kid a bunch, so getting to play there was fun or whatever, but the show itself was probably the least interesting of the tour. The only highlights that night were seeing Sam and Nate from the Format, who were in town to do some recording, eating killer pizza down the street (Frankie and Johnny’s or Franny and Zooey’s or something like that) and the much anticipated sighting of Steel Train Jack’s friend Scarlett Johansson who is a big movie starlet and has hung out with Bill Murray. I didn’t talk to her, but some of the other dudes did and said she was sort of lame and not that pretty. Sorry Scarlett.
Another night at the O’Reilly estate and we were really itching to get a move on. It was nice to have a home base for a few days, but man, it felt like we were just loafing around (well, I guess we were just loafing around) and it bothered us, so we welcomed getting on our way to Temecula and beyond. First we had to eat Mexican food...mmm...ok, now on to Temecula. The show at Madlin’s Coffee House was fun. We played there once before and had a blast so we knew what to expect: good times and sweet caffeine. We decided to get a head start on the drive to Tucson, AZ that night, so we took off after the show. I fell asleep (only to wake up having to urinate SO BAD I had to make Jeff pull off the road…seriously, I’ve never had to pee so bad) and all of a sudden we were in Yuma. Look at a map…that’s a far way to drive after a show. I don’t know how Jeff does it…he’s a machine.
So, because we went so far after the Temecula show, we arrived in Tucson early and ate more Mexican food at this awesome place called Café Poca Cosa. Try it out if you’re ever in Tucson…they make yummy things that I put into my belly and have since pooped out. Awesome meal, really. The show that night was at Club Congress, which usually means free hotel rooms at Hotel Congress, which means no consideration as to how much alcohol you drink (because nobody has to drive), which means…well, you know what that means. We actually opted to get the hell out of there and back to Phoenix that night because we had some new songs we wanted to work out, but we heard it got crazy. Of course, no one could really remember what happened, but it must have been crazy. We’re such nerds. Always ducking out of the party early.
The next day was nice…just rehearsing during the day and then more Mexican food before the show at the Brick House in downtown Phoenix. Seriously, we ate so much Mexican food on this trip…for me it was awesome because it’s hard to come by good Mexican food in New York, but it got a little out of control. Shows at home are always fun, especially when you’ve been playing shows away from home (I’m sort of speaking figuratively here for myself, as Phoenix isn’t my home, but…) because all of sudden you’re doing the same thing you did last night (play a show) but all your friends are there this time. Fun. I rode the gypsy wave with Steel Train in the way of playing drums along with Matthias on three songs, which is always a good time. Jack showed us some killer dance moves at the end of the night. I pet a horse named Jet.
The next day we got some recording done at Chris’ (already thinking about a new album…I can hear you drooling…) and I got on a plane home. That’s it.
Well, thanks for enduring another long-winded and inane live journal. Hope you enjoyed it, people. We’ll keep you posted of any goings on. Until then…