Thursday, September 23, 2010

Corn and Fog

I may have waited too long to start this one. Without a day off the dates blur together and there's not a lot of time down. But here we are, in Salt Lake City, and what I remember most about Chicago, to Des Moines, to Omaha, to Wichita is all the corn and all the fog. All the corn is dead. In California on the 5 they blame the democrats for the dust bowl with signs along the highway. Something having to do with plants vs. fish. Out here I think it's just not the season, but at Thanksgiving people have those multi-colored corns to help with the decor. There's nothing having to do with politics spackled by the roadsides on the way to these mid-western towns. Global warming, maybe. Would explain how there's nothing political to point the finger. And the fog was dense. Enormous obscured wind turbines churned the moisture around them like a dinosaur lumbering through the mist. Somewhere, out there, lay Des Moines, Omaha, and Wichita.

Des Moines was the local crowd at the historic Hull Ave Tavern. Regular Saturday nighters were in attendance. That's fine. We gave them the lizzy song and they danced their asses off. Spent the night at some sweethearts' house and had a breakfast.

Omaha. The Manor. Punk house. Looked like a squat but they had an XBOX. There wasn't one bird in the house cuz Cursive was having their welcome back or get the fuck out reunion/goodbye show. Boys night out. It rocked. Hit them up if you have to go to Omaha.

Witchita. Kirby's Beer Store. Kirby is a sweet dude with lots of Rolling Rocks. Place filled up nicely. We played with some Australian kids on tour for 3 months. And a good stoner rock band called Arbogast. We had a blast here as well, and can't wait to be back. Of course, next time, we have to be back at a better venue with better promotion, blah blah blah, thank you very much. You hear that, Seattle? People like us.

Monday, September 20, 2010

City Slangers

The van crept into the Windy City like a decrepit white moose weary of predators lurking in the surrounding shadows. We were in our first big city of the tour. Scotty The Slam had seen this kind of trouble before. Joey 2 Sticks cracked his knuckles eager like the young kid he is with a chip on his shoulder and a belt on his waist. The gang was lead by Heartbreak Harris toward Ronny’s, a dark dive where crooks and scumbags will stab you in the kidneys as fast as they’ll pick up their phone that they just dropped on the floor accidentally. As for me, Mean Andy P, I was hungry to show Chicago what we came for: a shallow grave for Ronny, and a deep dish pizza for me.

We unloaded the trailer faster than a tommy gun at the cops breaking down the doors of a speakeasy. The crowd looked like a down and out mix of secrets, lies, and passions simmering on low heat, with salt and pepper to taste. Dames and goodfellas mostly. Ronny had established a joint for sinners to shrug off salvation while the angels were left outside to fend for themselves. Gypsyhawk rarely interfered in the affairs of the meek and desperate but tonight at Ronny’s we were here to rock. And prove that once we were done we did indeed deserve free beer.

Special thanks to Ronny for being a stand up cat, Brian and Andrew for the hospitality, and Chicago for never letting down and always standing up.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Christopher Columbus vs. Indiana Jones

Dead Sea

After we teared it all up spur of the moment in Lexington we made way to Columbus, Ohio. Hound Dog pizza. New records. Black Label Beer. Got to meet a shit ton of Eric's amazing old friends. Too many to mention, but the bands they were in all ruled heavily. Night Soil, Eye, and Dead Sea. Make sure to check out Dead Sea on their tour in October. All in all we hung out with some of the nicest and raddest people around. Extra Special thanks to Leighanna Hopf, et al for tremendous hospitality. (I'll get you your book back some day, I promise.) We leisurely left around 3 the next day and left a tornado in our wake. Seriously, look it up.

Indianapolis. very nice people. I don't have very much to say about this show. We played pretty good and had some laughs. Then we slept at the WalMart and now we're getting the van serviced with a smile.

Next, Deep dish pizza and radioactive relish.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Assück: Crises Averted

After Gainesville we had 3 days to get to Columbus. Unacceptable. We needed a show to throw in there. We bombarded Birmingham, Knoxville, Covington, Cleavland, and Lexington with phone calls, emails, and myspaces on our way North. Nothing. We did find out that Eric has an old friend christened Woody going to school in Lexington. The plan was to set up camp in his apartment and figure it out.

Walking down the street to a bar Andrew gets stopped by a citizen enjoying a beer.

Assück shirt?! You guys in a band from out of town?

Ha ha. Yeah.

Where you guys playing?

We don't have a show.

Well, you gotta play The Green Lantern!

That'll do.

Sure enough, next day we get the call that the show is on. Our man on the street, Pope, got his band, All American Werewolves (, to help draw. They're a kick ass punk band so check them out. We opened the show. The crowd was mostly unsuspecting and suspicious faces that quickly erupted into furious excitement and raised beers. We made friends with every person in there and had a blast. Definitely going back to Lexington.

Tonight, Columbus.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Live And Extemporaneous

We arrived in Lafayette, Louisiana about 6 in the morning just as the Harris household was rising for their rigorous routines. The sun was taking a peak from its eastern bed. The air was thick with the moisture of swamp terrain. Clouds loomed thunderous on the horizon. After greetings we crashed. Eight hours later we devoured bowls of gumbo. Boudin and cracklins followed. Louisianans make you one of theirs with a smile, a wink, and a bit of twang. It was soon time to go to Sadies for Eric’s hometown review. We couldn’t have had a nicer reception. Everyone was elated to see their hometown hero doing better than ever.

Next day was New Orleans. The Big Sleazy. We were in a dirty, dank, but optimistically gentrifying, corner of town far from the girls going wild. The Hi Ho Lounge is a punk bar where the squatters hang outside and drink beer listening to the bands inside they can’t afford to see. We played with Donkey Puncher and The Pall Bearers who sang songs about raping the statue of liberty and other cool shit like that. Shout outs to LANEY for making indestructible amplifiers.

Back to Lafayette with some days off. We were invited to a cookout at Mista Dane’s house and it is agreed that the man is a master chef. Some of us had daiquiris the size of a fat baby in order to save up our energy for our night out at Cowboys, a country/western bar where the beers are cheap and life is cheaper. Andrew got stuck in a massive line dance and Scotty had to rescue him. That’s when the band on stage said that Gypsyhawk from Pasadena, California was gonna get up here on stage and play a couple their diddies. Being the pack of Huckleberries we are we grabbed our guns from the trailer, saddled up, shot first, and asked questions later. “Rock N’ Roll Hoochie Coo” and “Defenders Of Good Times” got all the fillies in heat and kept the beer frosty. Much obliged, it was eventually time to hit that ol’ dusty trail.

Didn’t I tell y’all to never sleep in a hot van in a Wal-Mart parking lot? Well, that’s where we woke again two days later in Gainesville, Florida. It was Saturday so Orange and Blue were strutting proudly through the streets ready to party. Florida clouds show you just how big the sky is with the vast depth they create. Spread everywhere beneath was dense green reaching up from any crack in the landscape it could find. We got to the Wayward Council around 8. Played to a nice mix of Gator jocks, Tampa youngins, and Everywheresville crust punks. Anyway you want to slice this shit everyone likes a guitar solo now and then. Or over and over again. Ad nauseum. Afterward we checked out their squat and partied til dawn. Really cool kids. Go hang out with them if you can.

3 days until we’re in Columbus, Ohio.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oklahomies and Uncle Randy

“I’m sorry, sir, but there is no I-35 South in Oklahoma.”
“Um, I think that there is.”
“Hmmm…. Well, where did you say you were on it?”
“14 miles north of Marietta.”
“Is that in front of you or behind you?”

This conversation had been going on more or less like this for 15 minutes since I had pulled over after our left trailer tire blew up on the 35 South on our way from Oklahoma City to Houston. The night before we played at The Blue Note and had an incredibly good time. Free beer all night, friendly locals that know what Californians want, and a great support band in Los Hijos Del Diablo. Check them out if you like Sleep’s tone put to work with progressive structure and no vocals. After some down home lasagna lunch the next day we hit the road. We were on the I-35 South in Oklahoma for about 2 hours when the tire blew.

Houston is big. Way too big. It dwarfs L.A.’s suburban sprawl into the puny bastion of elite liberalism it so pompously proclaims to be. And there’s George Bush State Park, George Bush Intl’ Airport, George Bush Turnpike, and the dog stain that’s shaped like George Bush’ profile advertised mightily off Interstate 45 at the next exit.

Eric’s Uncle Randy was providing hospitality that night. Earlier he promised to have pizza waiting for us, just as long as we didn’t want any “faggot veggies” on them. We said faggot meat would be fine.

But don’t let Uncle Randy’s colorful language get you down. He and his family epitomized everything I’ve ever heard about Southern Hospitality. I mean, as soon as we were done with the pizza we got to play with his M-16s in the living room, a damn good deterrent to any ideas about spray painting anything in there. Next day we had biscuits, gravy, eggs, sausage and toast for breakfast, and then spread the guitar scales and God of War III duties equally before heading to Rudyard’s for our show in Houston.

Houston has some of the friendliest folk around. Pinche Gringo was the supporting band lead by El Jefe himself, a regular John Smith, if John Smith bought beers and shook hands instead of kill Indians and hand out crosses. The point is, he welcomed in his own way that made us feel part of his family. The venue had some of the friendliest staff and one of the best sound guys we’ve had the pleasure of working with. We look forward to coming again.

Next stop, Louisiana, home of vampires and accents I still can’t figure out.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Cowboys Of Moo Mesa

We were headed south by southeast, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs, and by that I mean lack-there-of, began to take hold. It was hotter than a gay biker pulp novel and no one showed up to the show in Phoenix that nobody knew about. Nice guy, but left me in charge to find bands to play with us in a town none of us had ever been. And central Arizona bands got their nose up higher than Teddy Roosevelt’s on Mt. Rushmore. Or something. No one got back to us. So Gypsyhawk had to close an open mic at the Big Fish Pub with three people at that bar annoyed we were interrupting the anecdotes the bartender was regaling them with regarding how much Jameson he can drink. And we had no weed and no booze. At least we didn’t get cattle prodded. (see: Landmine Marathon, and why no one goes to the Big Fish Pub)

Ever sleep in a van at a Wal-Mart parking lot in the middle of the desert? Don’t. Just go to an old Navajo sweat lodge. Scotty was down with disease and sweated it out into the interior of his bench so that the germs can now incubate patiently, waiting to infest a future host. And watching meth addicts up close trying to peer into your tinted van puts even tough guys on edge.

The drive from Phoenix to Las Cruces was a restful and uneventful one. Desert everywhere in every direction spread rocky and solemn, unyielding to life’s need for hydration. And Las Cruces is a dump. Sorry, kids, but your college experience at New Mexico State is one you’re going to regret. We drove around looking for a party to crash. Hurricane Alley gave us the finger. When we asked a nice young gal for a suggestion she said, The Hurricane. Sho’ ‘nuff. Onward to Love’s Truck Stop about 90 miles east of El Paso in Van Horn. That’s when we saw the tail of Hurricane Earl manifested as a massive lightning storm in the center of a black cloud system. It looked like bright white mushroom clouds spread across the night disappearing as soon as they arrived over and over again forever. The winds were classifiable on your insurance forms as Act Of God. All night long the van was a rockin’, not in a good way, as we slept at the truck stop.

Beautiful landscape on the way to San Angelo, Texas. Bright green grass blanketed round hills, shallow crevices, and towering mesas like a Celtic desert. Above it was a light shade of gray as remnants of Earl’s wake remained stretched above us ushering our way through central Texas. San Angelo is a cool town. Most of it looks like an Old West boom town slightly refurbished with all the latest conveniences such as regular paint jobs and a CVS. A cool community with outdoor public theater (Twilight, but it’s Texas, so maybe they don’t know better), a fat dude grilling up sausage sandwiches and quesadillas for cheap from his trailer, and an Eskimo Hut serving drive thru Daiquiris and draft beer. Draconian prices on their Four Loko, however ($4.32??). Anyway, the venue, the Deadhorse, was rad and everyone loved our shtick. We even met a nice lady that let us sleep on her floor and eat her pizza, and didn’t get mad when Andrew spray painted “Gypsyhawk Was Here” in her living room.

Our travels continue to Oklahoma City where we hope to make some Oklahomies, then back down Texas through Dallas, then Houston, then Big Bayou’s home turf.