Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 6, Tampa, FL

"I’ve never used a prop for an interview before, but..." he said as he bent over and rummaged around in his bag, "...can you tell the story behind..." he pulled something up, something small and blue which I didn’t immediately recognize, "...THIS?!"

He dangled it between us like proof of a dirty deed, his face impassive, tape recorder thrust forward, waiting for my response. And then I realized what it was that he was holding.

I choked on my own surprise, hiccuping laughter, spitting and sputtering, wanting to question and answer, interrogate and explain all at once, but all I managed was a strangled... "OH MY GOD!!!"

Oister, that wily motherfucker.

--

Oister was the theme of our day in Tampa. Talk about one person making a big impression, shit, this guy, all 130 pounds of him, was the talk of the van for days. But in the morning, as we drove, we didn’t even know he existed.

Florida's roads are ripe with little citrus stands. Every 10 minutes we’d pass one, usually a little wooden farmer’s-market like table covered with oranges and grapefruit, sometimes a strange gift shop that resembled the kind of log cabin you’d imagine finding in a swamp- a hodge podge of cheap wood slapped together with dingy windows, decorated with unexpected treasures (treasures?) such as child sized rag dolls. (Nothing says "Florida" like a 4 foot rag doll!) Between the shops were orange groves with short fat trees hung so heavily with oranges that they looked like ornaments put up by overzealous 7 year olds. On the drive to Tampa we were stuck on a toll road and missed all of these strange little stops, but we did stop at a rest stop and... stop. Let me tell you about Pames’ shirt.


In front of the rest stop was a citrus stand captained by a chinless, chicken necked, blond butt-cutted surfer-meets-nascar-fan of about 20 who, as Pames and I walked by, spoke to Pames with a burnout’s deep drawl.

"Yeahhhhh! Ever been to Cali man?"

Pames and I simultaneously followed the dude’s eyes to Pames' shirt which read "Weed, California" over a big pot leaf. Pames replied, smirking, "Naw man."

The dude continued excitedly as if Pames hadn't spoken, "Yeah man, I really wanna go. I’m going to-" he could hardly suppress his glee, "AMSTERDAM later this year." Then he wiggled his eye brows in a ‘know-what-I-mean’ sorta way.

That was our brush with the local culture of whereverthehellwewere, FL. Impressive.


Our show in Tampa was hot and small but fun, as shows in Tampa usually are. We got to play with Axis again which was a huge treat. On the ride to show I read aloud an interview with them in Karim’s zine, Coffin Nail, and our love for them was cemented. Here’s our set from that night:











Oister, whose band VegXAll (a seething political/vegan 2 piece that reminded me of fastcore of years gone by, political clips playing from a sampler and all) opened the show with their first ever performance, asked me if he could interview me for his zine. His zine, Spying On The Scene, had a few issues out which we had already picked up and I agreed. But first came the post-show parking lot hang outs.

I stumbled out of the venue soaked in sweat and out of breath, convinced that we played like shit and I sang like a wheezing bag pipe. I'd say about 3 out of every 5 shows we play I think we've sounded awful. Immediately after the set I become moody (much to my later embarrassment) and have even been banned (by Dave) from talking to band mates because I get so negative. ("We were tight tonight."... "Areyoufuckingkiddingme?!") When people come up to me after we play and say "good job!" I think they're doing it out of sympathy. And I really thought we blew in Tampa. Like, so bad that we shouldn't even be a band. But then I saw the video we took, and thought, "Hey... that sounds good!" and realized that all these years and all these shows we haven't sucked. Huh.

Tom is an old friend of ours and one of the dudes who set up the show. He sang for a band called Gator Bait, runs Significant Records, is a proud father, and a 40 year old straight edge kid. Talk about an impressive hc resume. Last time we played Tampa he brought his daughter, and I, always having my face paints with me on the road (I work as a face painter and one never knows when one may need to become a zebra), painted her up as a leopard. I could wax poetic again about the hardcore community, about growing up and staying true, about family and friendship, about laughter shared... but I shant. Just know that it was a very cool moment during our Straight Edge Revenge cover when our friend Kotu, who had a couple years ago written to me about his disillusionment with hardcore, grabbed the mic, and when Tom sang along with a smile on his face.

(Tom, Dave, Me, Pames, Kotu, Axis, Dustin)

The parking lot slowly emptied and it was time for my interview. Oister and I went around the corner of the building where he pulled out a tape recorder from like, 1985, and a list of questions. It started tame enough, with the usual "What made you go vegan?" type queries, but then came this:

"How do know JP, and what do you think of him?"

A curious question for a zine I thought, but answered. We met him on tour and stayed with him and I think he's a swell guy.

"OK, a couple of weeks ago I was talking to JP about this show and he called your band 'shitty metalcore'. NOW what do you think of him?"

WOAH THERE NOW! After I shouted my disbelief (“He did NOT say that! Really? REALLY?”) and rebuttal to the accusation (where I compared us to all of our influences [which we sound nothing like] while shouting, “Are THEY metalcore?”), he quickly followed the verbal assault (!) with another inquisi-sucker punch.

"I’ve never used a prop for an interview before, but..."

From his bag he pulled a fluffy, blue sponge.

I experienced in the space of about 2 seconds a spectrum of emotions that, were I to explain them by their place on the color scale (and then place that color scale on my cheeks), would start in pink and quickly dive into a deep, burning red. I stammered, “Is it...?!”

“Yes,"

Oister held in his hand the infamous LOOFAH.

"I bought it off ebay. I even have the original packaging, and the photos that came with it.”

The story of the loofah is as follows: On tour in 2009 we stayed with our buddy, Mean Pete. We all took showers in his bathroom, and when it was my turn I took my soap and, disliking using my hands to suds (but finding a sponge on tour to be impractical) saw his fluffy, blue sponge hanging on the shower head. I pulled it down, soaped it up, washed myself, rinsed, hung it back in place, toweled off, and went to sleep. The next morning as we were readying to leave, Pete came screaming into the living room,"WHO USED MY LOOFAH?! WHO USED MY LOOFAH?!" After realizing that Pete meant his fluffy blue sponge, I said, "Oh, I did. Why?"

"I'm a fucking germaphobe! Now I have to throw it out and buy a new one! I can't believe you! Fuck you!"

Pete went on and on and on about the unforgivable and disgusting thing I'd done while we all laughed at his distress. I offered him $.99 to buy a new "loofah" (no one would listen to me on that this sponge was NOT a loofah*) and he refused. Then, in the midst of his cootie fit, I could almost see the light bulb pop on above his head. He said, "Actually... fuck you, come here. You're getting me a new loofah."

Pete grabbed his camera, handed me the fluffy blue sponge, and directed me back to the crime scene (bathroom). "Hold that up and smile." I did. He walked off smirking and said, "I'm listing this shit on ebay. 'Loofah rubbed all over the body of Davin from Kingdom' Some creepy dude is gonna buy this. Fuck you." I barely believed him and cared less than I believed, and we packed into the van and left without a thought about the sponge (though the debate on whether or not it is ok to use another person's sponge raged on.)

A few hours later the texts and phone calls from my friends started rolling in asking me what the hell was going on with my loofah. ("It's a sponge!") By the time we got to our show in Atlanta, unbeknown to us, the "loofah" had swept hardcore and practically everyone but us had seen or heard about the listing. No, we didn't know how big it'd gotten, and we didn't find out until we started playing, until the moment I said, "We're Kingdom from-" and was cut off by people shouting, "LOO-FAH! LOO-FAH! LOO-FAH!"

Pete had posted about the fluffy blue sponge's ebay listing EVERYWHERE. Every message board. Every internet outlet. Everywhere. His description was hilarious and insane, the snarky tongue-in-cheek sales pitch of a bitter germaphobe, and the picture of the product was the one of me, grinning as instructed in his bathroom.

Quickly the bids started, and more texts rolled in as we drove from state to state telling me about it. Misinformation spread. People on the internet started talking shit. "Can you believe that girl Davin is selling her own loofah? She's got such an ego!" and "First Colin of Arabia sells his beard, now Davin from Kingdom is selling her loofah... I hate what hardcore's become." I watched this whole thing unfold in the few minutes I could steal away after shows to check online, laughing at the absurdity yet finding myself growing increasingly angry as people wrote things about how me and my loofah "killed hardcore."

The "loofah" sold for $4 to, as Pete told me, "an unknown person." $4 was not a giant sum, but juuuust enough to be weird.

2 years later, in the lot behind the venue in Tampa, I was meeting, nay, getting interviewed, nay, getting verbally assaulted by that unknown... Oister!

"I bought it so that I could ask you for the story in an interview."

I'm not sure how my stuttering and yelling will translate to text, but I hope it was worth it.

After the interview Oister offered me the sponge back, which I considered (so that I could mail it to Pete) but in the end said, "No, it's yours."



We left the show with a new friend named Nick and went to JP's house. JP the shit talker.

We walked in the door and I didn't even make it to the living room before I saw JP and said, "Did you tell a punk kid that we're a "shitty metalcore band" 2 weeks ago?!" JP, in shock, said, "NO! What?" and I told him the story, and awaited the answer. He almost fell over laughing, and Nick, and Ben (JP's roommate) also doubled over in disbelief, everyone gasping, "Oister said that??!!" JP vehemently denied the entire thing, and  and everyone laughing, and everyone telling Oister stories, we ate.

JP had a pizza waiting for us (mushrooms, onions, artichoke hearts, and daiya cheese) which we devoured, then we stayed up well past the point of our eyelid's cooperation, telling our worst ever tour stories- the ones full of crazy people doing things that were at the time terrible, but in the retelling hysterical. In the morning we all went to vegan Vietnamese food (meeting up with other Tampa locals, all of whom almost died hearing the Oister/JP/Loofah story) and talked about our first and most embarrassing screen names (Dustin's Bust-A-Dusta was a fan favorite) and silly hardcore names (like Dave's "Gay Dave".) Then it was back into the van.
 

*This is a loofah:


This is a fluffy sponge (called a "pouf" to be specific):



Friday, February 18, 2011

Scribbling bibbling

So a lot people have been asking us where the preorders for THREADS are since we said they'd be up a week after we released the song "Harbinger" and they're still nowhere to be found. Here's the answer, and a sneak peek at the layout:



And while we're talkin' art, here's some Kingdom related art that people have sent us lately. If you have some, send it our way!

This one is by Jake of the band Passengers made for Hoax zine. Here's his explanation, "These are feverfews which symbolize good health, and protection. The mass of them is supposed to represent the community protecting itself."


And here are two digital... caricatures? sent to us by W. Dolle in Germany:


And here are a couple tattoos. The first belongs to Rann from the Philippines, and the second to the guitarist of Shallow Breath.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 5, Pembroke Pines, FL

Mean Pete. He’s a character that’s popped up on here a lot (remember the time he almost got us kicked out of our hotel room for not knowing the difference between a light switch and emergency cord?), we’ve toured with his bands (Remembering Never, Bishop), and his label (Dead Truth Recordings) is putting out our new record. In today’s adventure, Pete had promised to make us chili before the Pembroke Pines show, but we ran out of time to stop by his house. I sent Pete a text asking if he’d bring the chili to the show for us. Pete, our friend. Pete, our label guy. Pete, who knows what it's like to be a hungry band on the road. Pete, who now likes to be called “Peter” and does not use the prefix “Mean”, said this in response:

“I’m not bringing a bunch of bullshit.”

I could practically hear his voice saying it as I read it, and in the the parking lot of The Talent Farm, I actually did. Mean Pete shouted this text verbatim at us when we moaned, “WHERE’S OUR CHILI DUDE?!”, then he went further, pretending to hold a big pot of chili while making an 'I’m an asshole hippie' face.

“I’m not gonna be one of those dudes with FOOD at a SHOW. Fuck you.”

Ahhh, Pete.


The Talent Farm itself is reminiscent of a European venue. The stage is extremely tall, there’s a band room to chill in, the bathroom has toilet paper, and there’s a giant sound booth... but The Talent Farm has one curious and unique quirk: 3 cameras installed in the walls which both stream the band’s set live, and produce DVDs to be given to bands after they play. Ours is sitting in our living room. We’ll rip it and upload it one of these days.

This show was the reason this tour was booked. First off, it was like 80 degrees outside and there were palm trees everywhere. Second, we wanted to see our friends... and this show was like a family reunion. I'll get into them in a minute.

Before our set I became overwhelmed by the fear of toppling off the stage as this had almost happened once on a similarly tall stage in Germany. Derek Zipp, one of my BFF’s on the internet, on my cell phone (top 5 y’all), AND in real life (NBD) sat on the side of the stage and talked me down, and then it was time to play. Our set was fun- the mosh was brought, kids sang along, and I stayed upright. Here, see for yourself:



After we played, lots of people came up to us and thanked us for coming, thanked us for caring about things (never sure what to say to that...thank you for caring that we care about things?), and one dude and I spoke at length about putting DIY ethics back in hardcore, which was fun and refreshing. Sad that it's refreshing though, huh?

In the band room, One To Blame was in make up. Our buddies Daron Marino, Jared Warsh, and Sam Kooby were transforming like beautiful butterflies into... a hippie... a... bat...dude? and a Mexican wrestler. And I’ll tell you, they simply took our breath away.


I will not attempt to describe One To Blame to you, I will simply give you this video from the show:



We poured out of the venue laughing and out of breath, hugging and high fiving and taking pictures. Here's a class of '09 Bishop/Kingdom European tour reunion shot:


Then went to Derek’s to meet Lulz, his rapmetal coatimundi that I’ve heard oh-so much about. I’ve known about Lulz for a long time, but he and I have never met. In my mind Lulz was a squirrel sized, adorable fur ball that hung out on a little hammock and ate bananas. As we walked up Derek's steps it turned out that my mental image was... small scale. Lulz was gigantic. Like a fucking raccoon.. mixed with a monkey. The fact that he hung out in a hammock and ate bananas made him no less terrifying as he ran at us... just minutes after John Warden and Mean Pete had told us that Lulz is prone to attacking and biting people.

I scrambled up Derek's stairs and ran screaming into the house, looking for cover. Lulz, liking my little running game, scampered after me, bucking and leaping around and, if I remember correctly, opening and closing his mouth. I ducked into a laundry nook where I continued to freak out, and I vaguely remember Derek saying, "Well don't scream at him!" in a semi-annoyed voice. I wasn't screaming at Lulz per say, I was just... screaming... like I was going to die, because I kind of thought I was, so I did not stop.
Lulz quickly tired of my hysterics and left to leap around Pames, Dave, and Dustin.

Dustin, braaaaave Dustin, tried to make friends with Lulz. And what did Lulz do? WRAP HIS ARMS AROUND DUSTIN'S LEG AND BITE HIM. He drew blood. (After the initial shock, we all said, "He drew first blood, not fucking me!" and moshed.)

Through this, Dave and Pames were laughing, I was whimpering in the laundry nook, and Derek was saying, "Aw Lulz...", and "Davin, what are you scared? He's not scary!" ("HE DREW FIRST BLOOD! PUT HIM AWAY! I'M SERIOUS!")

Lulz eventually, after doing this weird thing where he put his nose up Derek's nose (... on second thought, I don't even know that Derek dude...), made his way back to his cage where he rattled the bars and looked at us menacingly through the window.

We fell asleep watching It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, which Dave and I (who live in South Philly) had never seen, and we were amazed to see our neighborhood and hang outs all over the show.

We awoke hot... which was weird since it was February 2nd, and made our way over to Mean Pete's for breakfast. Pete had warned us that he lived in the ghetto, which very well could have been true (bad neighborhoods look vastly different from city to city) but struck us as hilarious nonetheless, because the worst thing we saw was an old paper plate stuck in a palm tree. ("Oooh, rough neighborhood!")


Pete made us pancakes and told us how he hated almost every song off our Eulogy Record and thinks we should only play our old 7" and our new 7" live ("But dude I love 'Fire Born'"!"... "Man I hate that fuckin song!") is his signature way of bashing and complimenting, and then John Warden and John Warden's famous dog came stumbling out of bed and joined us. John listened to the conversation for a second then added, "Don't listen to a word he says. If I listened to him I'd never play drums again."

John Warden's dog had been a daily topic on our '09 tour with Bishop. There is a bitter rivalry between John Warden's dog and Mean Pete's dog, both of whom are big, a little scary (Pete's dog bites people she doesn't know, John's dog is a jumpy giant with open bleeding wounds), a rivalry which rages on today, and even as we ate breakfast they talked shit to and about each other's canine companions. In the end we all decided that Lulz was the worst dog/creature on EARTH, and as we all settled into a collective "That creature is going rip Derek's face off some day...", the dog dissing eased down to nothing (heyo!)

(Mean Pete's dog, Dave, John Warden)

We finished our pancakes and talked shit, made fun of each other and everyone we know, and Dave did imitations of the weird moshing that we'd seen in Florida (which had become the instant favorite tour joke.) Mean Pete asked Dave to show him how it was really done, to show him true, hard moshing and refused to let us leave until he did. So John Warden put on Hatebreed, and as we all fell over laughing onto the white tiled floor, Dave brought the br00tal m0sh in the living room. With that, we gracefully bowed out.

Just a day before I’d reflected on Kingdom being the kind of band that found its place in Daytona, but at the Pembroke Pines show I realized that wasn't true. I don't know what our place is. It's not Daytona, it's not Pembroke Pines. We're not from Philly anymore since only 2 of us live in the city, so it's not really Philly either. We're just... a band from the east coast. And our place is... hardcore, which I guess is why most nights feel like reunions and most places feel like home.

On two nights as different and friend-filled as these, I feel I should touch on scene diversity for a sec. People really get their, uh... gender neutral undergarments in a knot about certain types of people/bands and getting along/playing together. (As if we should all be enemies and every scene should be insular. Sounds super fun right?) Hardcore's not just a place for politics or for moral and ethical stands to be made, it's also a place for a bunch of friends in costumes to inspire stupid fun. A community is not just a blueberry muffin from a swell pal, it's also a jaded old shithead of a friend who won't bring you chili... but will put out your record. It's all of it together, all of us together, the costumed, the nervous, the serious, the awkward, the self righteous, the weird moshers, the stands and the stage dives taken, the shit talking, the laugher. The things that set us apart aren't bigger than the things that bring us together.

It's like Diecast once said:

Skinhead or not
Straight edge who cares
Music unite
Because hardcore still lives

Immortal fucking words, amirite?

Thank you South Florida, all our old friends and new, HIVEMIND, ONE TO BLAME, 40 WINTERS (who have a new song! CHECK IT!) for an awesome night... as always. See you real soon. <3

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 4, Daytona Beach, FL

Or, “You know you’re not in Philly when...”


 
We walked into the truck stop where a man wearing a cowboy hat sat with his cowboy booted-feet kicked up on the digital poker game. As he twanged into his cell phone he gave us each a stink-eyed once over. A few steps further in and a man with a thick, red mustache wore a sleeveless denim button up tucked into his stone washed jeans and bought road food from an obese, monroe-pierced, beady eyed cashier who glanced over at us apathetically. This sure ain't home, I thought.

The next stop was at a gas station/truck stop/Japanese restaurant somewhere in Nowhere, GA. Here we ordered the only vegan option, shredded sauteed cabbage with a thick, sweet, sticky teriyaki sauce that was among the most repulsive things I've ever eaten. Pames ate white rice with soy sauce, which in retrospect was a wiser choice. All around us southern folk with thick asses and accents grazed on french fries (made by Japanese people) and stink-eyed us, presumably thinking, they sure ain't home.

If you watched our cat business interview, you’ll have seen the business cards that we were given randomly by a passerby. These were conveniently laminated and hole-punched and have become our tour passes (since we forgot to make them ourselves before we left) and today we started collecting “tour charms” for them.

(front)
(back)

In the process of booking the Daytona show someone had said to me, "Yeah, you're totally a Daytona band." I had positively no idea what that meant. We've played Daytona Beach on every tour, in fact they were one of the first places to give a shit about us back when all we had out was our demo. We love Daytona Beach. What was that person implying?

I looked around the room as we loaded in. There were kids in jerseys and kids in patches. There were zines and my friend Lars (tattoosbylars) and his girlfriend Gab came bearing vegan blueberry muffins. A toddler ran around the room, little earplugs already in place. Daytona Beach has a scene of kids that still see hardcore's connection to punk and community, to creativity and giving a shit, and yeah... if appreciating that kind of scene is what they meant by us being a Daytona Band, then they were right.

Speaking of Daytona bands... ever look at a band and think you know exactly what they're gonna sound like? The first time I saw Arsis I KNEW they were going to be metal. Like, no doubt. So when Axis started setting up and I saw their singer wearing cargo pants, Sauconys, and wooden beads half way up his neck I pegged their sound as "political '96ish" and prepared to get bored (while I loved that sound as it was happening, it's a style of hardcore whose resurrection I don't enjoy.) I was wrong. So wrong.


Axis musically sound a lot like Buried Alive. They are so fucking heavy it's unreal. The singer spoke between songs and explained what they were about, which was coincidentally very similar to what we're about, and we all got very excited because, well... it's hard to find a band with good ideas AND good music.

Right before we set up, our friend JP (who will come up again later), pointed out what appeared to be a tiny turd on the floor. He explained that it had fallen from the toddler's diaper, and a few of us on that side of the room, giggling and grossed out, questioned him until he admitted that it was chocolate. We sealed our lips and waited to see who stepped on it.

Our set made it 3 songs deep before the screaming started. One of the dudes from Axis was shouting at his friend, "DUDE DID YOU SERIOUSLY RUB SHIT ON MY FACE??!", while everyone watched and laughed, and his screaming went on for so long that we ended up talking/playing over him. Our set was fun... video coming soon.

photo by...? tell us if you know!

Outside everyone chatted (meaning: Axis and us going back and forth saying nice things about each other... I think our bands are courting one another), and loaded gear, and eventually I made my way over to Karim- a dude who we were crashing with who was previously unknown to us. I craned my neck up and stared in awe at the stars, which are something that we Philly-folk rarely see.

Karim told me about Daytona Beach's population of bros and small minds and lack of diversity. ("I'm the darkest person in my neighborhood.") You really don't need to leave the country to experience culture shock, I'll tell you that. Philly is a majority black city, but also chocked full of Hispanics, Asians, Indians, and everywhere else-ians. On our block alone there are Thais, Cambodians, Mexicans, Italians, blacks, and us. There's a bodega, a pizzeria, and an Asian market. That's just one little block in a big city. So when we leave this melting pot and find ourselves in places less... melty... it's almost creepy.

Karim quickly inflated a bed, unfolded a sleeper couch, got glasses for water, towels, gave us internet info and directions on how to use his TV... and it became clear that Karim knew a little something about making touring bands comfortable. Dave mentioned this, and Karim said he used to tour manage bands and spent 7 years on the road. "Oh, what bands?"

"Martyr AD, Dead to Fall, Lacuna Coil, The Black Dahlia Murder..."

".. The Black Dahlia Murder? Were you with them when they got the Danzig shopping list as a rider?"

"... how do you know about that? And yes, I was the one who got it...."

This. Is. HUGE!! For those not in the know, here's the Danzig shopping list:




Danzig's shopping list as received as a rider by The Black Dahlia Murder (pic given to us by Between The Buried And Me's merch guy, Chuck, a friend of Karim's, and roommate of Ben, our old drummer, who we were staying with when we recorded our full length in '09... seriously, RANDOM!):


And because we got Karim telling the entire story on video (to be put into a tour video soon), I'll not ruin it now.

We all stayed up late recounting our craziest tour stories. Before we fell asleep, I got 5 text messages from the dude from Axis apologizing for yelling during our set. He explained that he had believed he was truly getting shit rubbed on his face (which is why he was freaking out so severely), and because he had earplugs in he'd had no idea how loud he was being. He apologized and over-explained to the point that it was both funny and charming, especially because we weren't even upset. Manners man, gotta love 'em.

The next day we bid Karim goodbye, and stepped out of his extremely well decorated house into straight up summer. We took some pictures in front of palm trees, rolled down the windows of the van, and drove off into the 85 degree January day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

MERCH STORE'S UP!

You  order stuff here: KANGDUMB MERCH (And yes, we ship internationally.) Better pictures up soon.

(crewneck!)

PS. Here's a video from last week of us playing "Harbinger" in South Carolina!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NYC PICS

Photos by taken Mike Howard
2/6/11 @ The Party Xpo in Brooklyn, NY

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 3, Atlanta, Georgia

Long ass drives are what happen when you want to cover a lot of ground on tour but can't get a lot of time off work. This was the first in a few long drives. We rolled out of the warehouse parking lot at about 8:30 AM. Pames, Dustin (our fill in drummer- he also played with us on the Bishop Euro tour), and I crashed out immediately while Dave drove. After a few hours we came into the reason we headed south on this tour... warm ass weather.

When we left Philly we could barely make it down our street without sliding into parked cars. The snow was more than knee deep and most areas hadn't been plowed. As I packed my suitcase I stared at a pair of shorts in my drawer for awhile then thought, "Nahhhh, there's no way that it's possible to wear shorts anywhere right now." I did however pack 2 winter hats, a scarf, and a lot of layers... like an idiot. GEORGIA. FLORIDA. DUH.

Speaking of packing, check out Dustin's suitcase. Have you ever seen anything this fucking organized?


At a North Carolinian gas station we watched mulleted children punch magazines (?) while their mustachioed fathers bought ciggs and we perused the oddities ("BIG AZ Burritos" and other cleverly named foods) that southern travel stops offer. Dave was chastised for taking a picture of a note on the women's bathroom door which read, "Never men. No!" by a man who yelled, "NEVER MEN! NO!" which led us to believe that he was the mastermind behind the signage.

This stop also marked a milestone in tour- the first gas station ramen. Let me explain, for vegans not in the know or those who think veganism on the road is sooooo harrrrrrd and soooo expeeeensive.

I send this section of this blog entry out to Pierce. No wait, I'll do this proper. THIS IS FOR MY BOY PIERCE, HE'S BEEN HOLDIN DOWN TOUR RAMEN SINCE DAY 1!

TOUR RAMEN:

1 pack of Top Ramen Oriental Flavor (the only vegan flave) available anywhere for about .$.25
1 coffee cup (16+ oz- these are sometimes free, sometime cost around .$25
hot water from the tea tap

Instructions:

Break ramen into chunks while still in package. Dump into cup. Fill cup with hot water to top. Pop a lid on the sucker. Wait 3-5 minutes, then drain in the parking lot. Stir in seasoning. Savor the salty, MSG-laden taste of tour. Sure it's not healthy, but what road food is?


The sun fell and Pames told ghost hunting stories, the spookiest taking place at Witch's Pond in Stafford, VA (rumored to be one of the most haunted towns in Virginia.) Back during the witch-trial days, women who had been accused of witch craft were brought to this pond to either sink (and die human) or float (and get killed for being a witch.) Pames has been multiple times at "the witching hour" (3 AM) and heard, as many claimed to have before, splashing (in still water) and screams (when no one was there.)

It's time I tell you about our van. We rented a cargo van... you know, one of those windowless, creepy molester-style jawns. What's great about renting a van is that you never have to worry about it breaking down, blowing your loot on repairs, or premature ejaculation from tour due to van drivile dysfunctions because if your van shits out, you get a new one. They're clean and good on gas, and guaranteed to get you where you need to go. On our last tour we spent 6 weeks in rented comfort, but when Dave went to pick up the van this time it wasn't quite like before. Oh no, no inconspicuous roomy white van for us this time. Nope, we got a neon yellow van with a fucking CAGE behind the front two seats. Pames and Dustin sit behind the grate in semi-darkness like kidnapping victims, or stray dogs, or tool boxes. We pass food between the holes. In order to see where we're going they have to get on their knees and grip the grate. Pames actually has cuts on his hands from gripping the grate so often.


It was dark when we pulled up to Luna Nueva. Luna Nueva is a Mexican restaurant that allows hardcore shows but continues to serve locals food while they happen, which leads to both a painfully awkward and hilarious environment. Kids there told me about Backtrack playing while families were seated and eating empanadas at tables just a few feet from moshers.

(a fountain directly behind where people stand during shows)

As I walked around and checked out the venuraunt kids came up to me and said things like, "I'm so excited to see you!" and "So glad you made it!" and "Thanks so much for coming to Atlanta!", which after bombing in Richmond was good to hear.

The opening band featured some young kids, one of who's sister came to check them out. She seemed about my age. We chatted as the band played and it was strange to share so much and little with someone at the same time. She was a snappily dressed young professional. I was black-clad punk rocker. "So like, what night is this? Do they do things like this often here?" I explained that the show was set up because my band came all the way from Philly to play it, which as I said it and looked around at the people eating corn chips, seemed really bizarre. We came to Atlanta to play this Mexican restaurant.

My friend Josh showed up and we talked at length about the sad state of hardcore and the idiocy of the newer kids, which is an often had, pointless, and frustrating conversation that pops up a lot with those of us over 25. We miss the hardcore we remember, we resent the kids now for not giving a shit, and grumble to each other about this trend or that phase. Deathbed started playing and, as if echoing our memories of shows from '95-'00, played vintage hardcore- 90-'s alive, rockin' Earth Crisis gear and all.

Pames and I sat behind the merch table to watch the next band, which sounded a lot like Modern Life Is War and said about their new record, "It's a split with an avant garde version of ourselves" and mentioned something about playing glockenspiels.

Our set was fun. After we finished playing I plopped down on edge of the stage to cool off and a couple of kids came over and talked with me. A dude and I were talking about Philly's hardcore scene when a girl approached and started talking at me rapid-fire, almost frantically about how great she thought we were and in the same breath, about how she was raped and how hearing it talked about on stage, openly and publicly, was fantastic. It was so much at once, so flattering and personal, I didn't really know how to react. Unable to think of anything else to say, I thanked her. She left, and the dude next to me and I resumed our hxc chit chat as if nothing has happened.

After the show this happened:


Then we hung with Josh and had a new conversation about hardcore. This time it wasn't about what we hated, but what we loved. Not the sell out reunions and the asshole new jacks, but bands likes Earth Crisis who stand behind their words and music and friends who are still doing cool bands and keeping real hardcore alive. Not the people who take advantage of hardcore, but those who move it forward.

We crashed with a dude from Deathbed, watched a strange Paulie Shore movie, and got some much needed sleep.