Friday, May 29, 2009

Tour update #10, Oakdale + Murrieta, California

Remember what I said about west coasters and their desire to hug and touch you? This proved itself again at our show in Oakdale, California. This was a show set up 3 or 4 days before it happened. The Wrath, Rebuilt, Horizons, some christian band, a local 3 piece, a local Pantera-influenced metal band (the singer looked straight out that metal club in Wayne's World), and of course we were all there to play to the throng of attendees. Despite that the "throng" was comprised of 20 or so people, I still managed to spent my whole night dodging hugs. God damn west coast hugs. It was a nightmare. I tried to resist, but it was to no avail. Those west coast arms will get you every time. I must admit though, there was one hug I returned. A dude came over to me and said that he had gone vegetarian last year because of our music, and that- to me- is just about the greatest thing I could hear.... so going against everything I know, I squeezed that motherfucker tight.

The Wrath's set ruled as always. Dave and I worked on the video tour update (have you seen those yet? Search XKINGDOMX on youtube and they'll come up!) in the van during Rebuilt and Horizons (despite that tour is nothing but free time- very little of it can you use for anything other than driving or playing, so sometimes you have to miss bands even when you don't want to- which sucked- but I did get to pick up a Rebuilt 7", which did not.)

Now, I think mosh calls are stupid*, but when used for comedic purposes, can be great. (see: Bishop in Warsaw, Poland "THIS IS WARSAWWWWWWWWW!", or Battle! in Sarasota, Florida, "TAKE YOUR SHIRTS OFF AND FLEXXXXXX!") So, as a nod to our christian show-mates, I gave the only mosh-call of this tour, shouted with sincerity during the song "Pythoness", whilst grabbing my crotch: "Bible thump THIS motherfuckers!" The representatives of JCHC stayed behind their blessed merch table while the hug-loving heathens moshed in the name of clitoral pleasure. =)

After the show we drove through the night to my friend Jayme's house. We arrived t 4 am while she was getting ready for work, and we slept like babies until the time she got out of work, at 3pm. We hung with our new friend, Martine, played guitar hero (poorly, as seen in our tour update), and then piled in the van and headed to Murrieta, California, very, verrrry slowly. LA traffic is a doozy.

We got to the show just in time to deliver Wes (who had been with us since Reno) to his band, A Better Hope Foundation, and we finally got to see them play. They were so sweet!

During the last band The Wrath's merch table got flipped and our table was almost broken in half, so I guess in all I'd say it was a good show. This is me trying not to puke a burrito I had eaten on the way:

From there we said goodbye to Wes who had been reunited with his bandmates and hopped in the van, all in silly moods. Pierce and I sent texts to people we didn't know well or hadn't talked to in a long time, saying things like, "I want to suck your balls" or "I want to feel you cum", thinking it would be hilarious. But after the people we wrote to wrote back stoked, the joke was less funny (to us), so while our van-mates laughed at us, we dealt with the uncomfortable situations we had gotten ourselves into.

We woke up in the afternoon. Martine, Jayme, me and the dudes all headed to Hollywood to eat at a vegan soul food restaurant called Taste Of Life. See, the problem with a lot of west coast vegan food is that it caters to people who want to eat "healthy", and it tastes like what I imagine people who aren't vegan think vegan food tastes like- cardboard. Personally, if it made it more delicious, I would deep fry my morning oatmeal. So the idea of soul food on the west side of the US intrigued me but I did not have high hopes. But, my west coast stereotype be damned, The Taste Of Life seemed to be on the east coast side of vegan food- everything was oily (but not gross, just not made for anyone on a diet), and deeeeeelightful. Here's what I got:

Mac N Cheese, "Pork" roast, Kale

Corn Bread

Cauliflower in an ocean of butter with cheese sauce on the side

We hung out with the owners, who force fed Ryan and Jayme (the two pickiest eaters on earth) free food, then took a crew shot before departing:

We said our regretful goodbyes, and headed on to what was to be one of our favorite nights of tour in Riverside, California.

*Unless you are Death Before Dishonor, 100 Demons, Skarhead or any other band of that genre. If Shattered Realm tells me to put someones head through a wall, watch out.

Friday, May 22, 2009

tour update #9, Berkley-Fresno, California

We started our big day off in Berkeley. We met up with my, previous to this day, internet friend Jon. People can talk all the shit they want on myspace, but I have met so many rad people through that site, him being one of them. We met up at Whole Foods.... and who was working but Dustin from Gather! Crazy silly small world! Jon, his friend, Wes, the dudes and I all headed to Telegraph Ave to accomplish our one and only goal of the day: to eat cheap and delicious vegan burgers and fries at Smart Alec's. Mission accomplished.

After that we hit up some record stores to touch things we couldn't afford to buy. Then it dawned on us... wait, we're in a band, and we just put out a record! We rushed to the "K" section and this is what we saw:

Pierce found out from an employee that they had sold out of "The Rage That Guides" the day before. We were SO psyched. That means AT LEAST like 3 copies have sold! Billboard chart, here we come.

Remember our friend Core who we ran into in Springfield, Ill? (...he took those rad photos and lived in South Africa for awhile?) Well, it just so happened that he was staying with his girlfriend in Santa Cruz on that very day, and offered us floor space and showers for the night. After bidding my now real-world friend Jon goodbye, we hopped in the van and headed south. After a short drive that led us out of the city and into the dark and lush scenery of Santa Cruz's winding and almost horror-movie-esque roads, we pulled up to a big house and Core standing outside, looking very much the same as a week ago in the midwest but with much more flattering an atmosphere surrounding him. We all stayed up telling tour stories till the cartoons on the tv were over and our eyes fell shut. Well, most of our eyes...

Jon, knowing that I enjoy coffee, have offered me a cup before we left Berkeley. So, despite my body desperately wanting sleep, my mind made it impossible. Dave ("Mother Hen" of the Euro tour- my best friend and always attentive care taker- whether I like it or not), dog tired but pretending not to be, stayed up all night with me and we fell asleep whispering and giggling, per usual, as our tours and probably all tour are just, as I've said before, traveling sleep-away camps.

We awoke to the Core The Wanderer special- breakfast enough to feed a vegan army. Hashbrowns, tofu scramble, toast, tempeh bacon, coffee, and tea. We raved over his scramble, but he shooed away our compliments as he had just a week before with the same, "You can feed a touring band just about anything and they'll think it's the greatest thing they've ever eaten!"... which is probably true, but whatever.

We went to downtown Santa Cruz with only a little time before had to jet, so we ran into the local health food store to grab some treats. Core was talking to someone who worked at the store as I scanned the aisles for what exactly to spend my hard earned gambling money on (dark chocolate covered raisins won), and I heard a familiar voice answer back. I turned around, and low and behold, there was my friend Courtney who used to live down the street from me in Philly! Her shift just happened to be over, and we all walked around the uninteresting landscape of downtown Santa Cruz (surf shop, dress shop, hippy shop, hippy surf shop that also sells dresses...) and she updated me on the last few months of her life. (The last I had seen her was when she was awaiting a ride to North Carolina at my place in Philly, and a cop broke in, threatened to pistol-whip and pepper spray her boyfriend for not having ID on him. The cop, a few minutes later, apologized, blaming his "bad social skills".) Travels, shows, food, breakups. The usual. I traded my similar stories, and by the time we had condensed 6 months into 10 minutes we were all back at the van, then came a round of "See ya when I see ya!"s, and off to Fresno for our second show with The Wrath.

This is what I have to say about Frenso:

Dear Have Heart,

Please stop playing cities the day before we do. Kids spend their whole nights moshing to you and they are tired when we get to them. Your shirts are so irresistible that they spend all their money re-doing their wardrobes in HH merchandise, then, while they may be looking fly, they can no longer to afford to come see us- and if they do, they can't even scrounge enough change for a 1" straight edge pin. You are too likeable. Please stay at least 5 states away from us.

Love (kind of...),


(ps- Horizons and REBUILT played this show are were fucking rad. Also, the kids who did come out to this show- all 20 of them- were awesome.

pps- Thanks to the infoshop for letting us crash and making us pancakes!!)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tour Update #8, Reno

Enough things could not be said about how much we love to play Reno. I had been looking forward to this show and try as might to stop my mind from hyping it, it did, and then the reality of the show exceeded my expectations. Thank you to everyone who was there, it was such a righteous night!

We got into town and I had a number in my phone that a kid named Buck had given me in our 5 minute conversation after our set at the Blast-O-Mat in Denver, saying to call his friend Levi in Reno, who would then take us around, feed us, and put us up. It seemed a little odd, being connected to a total stranger in Reno by a near-stranger half-way across the country, but you know, that's the beauty of hardcore. People tend to glamorize the past ("back in the day") so often and become so jaded on the present that they fail to notice that the influx of idiots aside, the scene is more or less the same as it always was. Sure, you may not wave at another kid wearing a hardcore shirt on the street, and the Internet kinda killed cross country pen-pals and mixed tapes... but this is still a culture, and this is still a community. One week on tour with us and you'll see that. It never stops inspiring me, and never stops amazing me. A mutual love of Minor Threat somehow connects us all and introduces a level of trust that you would not even find amongst friends in the "normal" world. We open our homes, our fridges, our wallets, whatever we have we give to and share with each other. Shit is rad! Anyway. I still felt a *little* weird about the whole Levi thing, like... what was I gonna say, "Hi.... I am someone you don't know in a band you've probably never heard of. But uh, do you wanna do nice things for me and my band like that dude in Denver told me you wanted to?" So I texted him to avoid any possible discomfort.

After the text was sent, we went into my favorite casino- Circus Circus. After spending my last $3 on a quarter toss in an attempt to win a teddy bear, and a basketball game that Dave beat me at twice (fuck you Dave), Pierce hit the blackjack table and I took $20 to roulette. After Pierce had lost, won, then broken even and I won $8, it dawned on me that I hadn't heard back from Levi. Then I saw my phone had no reception in the casino. Dammit.

Outside, I got the return text saying him had been awaiting our call and wanted to take us out to eat (on him!) at any vegan place we wanted to go. Woah. We met up with him at the Pneumatic cafe and ate ourselves stupid on vegan sandwiches and hung with Levi, who was (obviously) wicked nice. We headed to the show, which was in a basement. This was our first day with our new bff's THE WRATH. They are amazing. So straight edge, so heavy, so, sooooo much fun. We miss them terribly. The new Armed For Battle band, Wolf City, played, I think it was their 2nd show. The Wrath played and I couldn't even get into the room because the mosh was way too br00tal. Run With The Hunted played next, and then it was very late and very hot and we assumed people would start to filter out, but no! Our set was explosive, kids screamed the words in my face and I'm sure that by the end of the night I was covered in a dozen people's saliva, but with as sweaty as I was I'm sure it all just dripped off of me.

Wes from A Better Hope Foundation brought us a double match of vegan peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, which were unfuckingbelievably delicious.

After the show we headed to Levi's HUGE rad house where we did laundry and took long, luxurious showers. Pierce shaved his beard which took... I'd say... an hour and a half? Then he popped his head out of the bathroom to show us his baby face, which was fucking COVERED in old, slimy beard hair. Ryan's pants and refused shirt somehow got bleach on them and didn't make it out of Reno. RIP.

We left the morning to pick us Wes (he rode with us to So Cal), he piled in the back of this windowless, seatless van, and we hit the road onward to the Bay Area to hang (and eat) on our one day off.