New 9 song release - LP on Southkore Records, CD on Underground Communique. It's been about a year since we announced we'd recorded for a new record, and since about January of 2005, we've been selling a few CD-Rs at our shows of our "upcoming" record. Finally, its officially, really, actually going to see the light of day. It's titled "plain", and two independent Chicago labels, Southkore Records and Underground Comminuque, have agreed to split the release, with Southkore doing the vinyl, and UC doing the CD version. The records are getting manufactured now, and we cshould have copies in our hands, for sale through our site and the label's sites within 2-3 weeks. We'll make an announcement when they're in our hands. Why did it take so long? It seemed a lot of little reasons conspired to delay it, not the least of which was our own hecktic schedules: we've been touring Europe, buying a new van (more on that soon), and planning future tours.
Yeah, I know you're excited, but we've got a new site underway. There are going to be some rough edges for a while as we hammer the details into place, so bear with us. But overall, the new site will be SIMPLER and easier to navigate. We dumped Geeklog in favor of a home-made solution.
We're back from our tour. A+ on just about everything. One bad thing: the airlines lost our guitars. Hopefully they will find them soon. We'll write more later, post pix, etc etc. Now to sleep.
We are in Helsinki, FInland again, and it is the afternoon beofre our last show. Since Geissen Germany, we have done a lot...
Cologne, Germany - Played a coffee house-community center, and saw the Catherdral. We drove into a low parking garage and almost scraped off the roof of the van.
Braunschweg, Germany - Played a super tiny show in the front cafe room of a new activist community center.
Berlin - toured the city and saw a few major sights, beofre giging in the biggest squat of the whole tour. However, the squat did break the rules by having super clean working toilettes. Crazy long night, good basment bar show.
Denmark - A small community center with a lot of young kids. Idealistic D.i.Y. voulunteer organization, lot of drunk kids. Met up with CONFUSA from Helsinki, great show.
Stockholm, Sweden - drove across Sweden (trees and lakes, beautiful) and got to gorgeous Stockholm. Vellu's frinds cooked us a great meal, and went to a very fancy rock club for the gig. We sucked bad that night, ouch. THe show ended late, and we had a ferry to catch at 7 am the next morning. SOme people went to a house to catch 4 hous of sleep, others stayed up in a parking lot all night drinking.
Both vans (we were traveleing with CONFUSA & their van too) barely made the ferry on time, and the no-sleep all night drinkers tried to cure their hangovers. We all slept a little (we had cabins on the 10 deck ferry), and then we up to watch the Swedish-Finnish Baltic archapellago drift by under grey skies, a 10 hour ride.
Turku, Finland - Played a University student run bar. We didn't suck, and met a few people from the NOMEANSNO megssage board in person who came out to see us. Good show, but we pushed on afterwords and made the 2 hour drive back to Helsinki, finally getting to sleep around 4 am.
Herman, the van, is freaking hot. At least after hours under a blazing sun, high humidity, and the fact that the windows don't open. We had sweltering drives from Prague to Chemnitz, and then Chemnitz to Dresden. Dresden to Nurnburg wasn't too cool either. Frequent air breaks helped.
The show in Dresden took a long time to start, and lasted a long time. We were all worn out from the drinking binge in Chemnitz, and the heat. So, we we're all a little "fuzzy" and the set wasn't very tight. Still a small attendance, but, as always, a dedicated handful had nice things to say...... That night saw a mix-up with our further attempts to help the Polish band Alliencia recover from their vehicle problems. Apparently, they'd arranged from a friend in a towtruck to drive 10 hours from Poland to pick them up, along with their dead car. We had to drive them, after the show, to their meeting place. All of our sleeping gear was still in the van, and so when it drove off, we were waiting for it's return to be able to sleep. At the rendez-vous, our van was parked in by the tow truck, and after an hour or so, we finally had the van back at the youth center, around 4am. Whatever, sleep happened.
We drove to Nurnburg, and found the venue on the edge of the old city, inside a big stone building riddled with WWII bullet holes. Apparently, it had once been local Nazi HQ. But today, it is a former squat turned into an arts center. The show promoters were fantastic, having provided a fantastic spread of food and drink for us, cooked a great meal server in the nearby beer garden, and had a great P.A. We played with FRENCH TOAST from D.C., and had a good time catching up with those people, as several of us had known them from various bands in the past. Again, a small attendance (30-40 people) but appreciative. With showers, a good sleeping place, and a big breakfast the next day, we were all feeling in good shape.
The weather turned overcast and cooler, which was welcome for the drive to the small university town of Geissen. There we found the venue, a great little ex-squat info-shop space. Another great meal, and a nice little show (30 people). There was a good fusball table, which is always nice. Also the venue was adjacent to a passenger train rail yard, with a god view of the trains. In the distance, perched on top of a hill, was the local castle -- it was even lit up at night, and added to a cool European atmosphere.
The 007 Show in Prague was great. The sound engineer there is fantastic, and made everything sound perfect. Our friend Martin, the rpomoter of our show in Chumotov, CZ, from last tour, made it out to the show. Afterwords we discovered that the van, "Herman the German", had a coolant leak. We limped it back to our friends house on the edge of Prague for the night, had a good sleep...... The next day, despite wanted to visit the famed "Bone Church" about 30 km east of Prague, we were forced to drive around looking for a mechanic to replace the radiator hose. We found a shop, and spent a couple of pleasant hours chilling next to a duck pond. Finally undeway, we made it to the squat in Chemnitz, Germany, on time. The trip from CZ to DE took us up over the mountains, and Herman struggled, but made it. That stretch of road on the Czech side is densly populated with prostitutes, and oddly, roadside stands selling garden gnomes. We we unable to fathom the connection, but that's Czecho-whore-vakia for you.
The squat in Chemnitz was one of the best ever: three buildings surrounding a courtyard. A great bar, band sleeping space, meeting room, performance space, computer room, etc etc. When we arrived at the show, we learned that a Polish band was trying to make it to the show, but had car trouble and were stranded in Dresden (65 km away). They needed transport, so we emptied Herman, and drove over to get them. The show was a blast, and afterwords there was an all night drinking / bonfire party under the stars.
Despite heavy hangovers, and another morning quick van repair (the alernator needed another bolt), we drove to Dresden. Before leaving town, we stopped by the largest statue of Karl Marx's head in the world. During the time of the communist East Germany, this town was named Karl Marx Stadt, and thus the statue was built. We hit the road, enduring sweltering heat, but a thankfully short drive. In Dresden today, we relaxed at the youth center's courtyard under big trees and cool breezes.
We played our third and final show in Poland two nights ago, in a train depot themed bar. Not too many people were there, but Wroclaw (formerly the German city of Breslau) is a beautiful place...... The few people who were there really got into the show, despite a comically horrible sound system and engineer. Maybe he was a train engineer instead -- who knows. With several new friends, we went off to two seperate houses to sleep, and got together in the morning for picnic breakfast in the park. On the music front, there seems to be some confusion about us -- people sometimes ask if we're a DiY band, because we're not crust. They assume we're something else I guess. We're happy to introduce them to the idea that you don't need to follow the crust punk cliches to be DiY/underground. They do seem pleasently surprised. We played Czech republic last night in a little bar, and it was a sinilarly small but good show. Today we're in Prague, doing laundry and getting ready to play at the one club we playing in last tour, the 007. Still haven't been able to upload any more pictures.
It's been a little tough to make updates, as internet access has been hard to come by. We managed to upload a few pictures on the Photos page, however. We are still healthy -- no one is sick. That's a HUGE improvement over last winter's tour...... The shows have been great, in squats and clubs. We are 2 for 2 on huge crazy squats in Poland, which are these massive, multi-story squatted buildings with bars, show spaces, kitchens, etc. The shows have been mostly crust/grind hardcore bands, all very D.i.Y. As always, we're the odd band out, but people seem to like the fact that we're different. The Polish lyric sheets went over well (thanks Dariusz!) and we're learning a little Polish. Time is short at this internet cafe, so, we'll post more soon.
Just a quick tour update...
We started our tour on the 16th, and flew out of Chicago, through London, and to Helsinki. All went fine, and we met up with the HERO DISHONEST crew at the airport. We had absolutely zero problems with customs: there wasn't even a single customs offical working when we arrived, so all our merch made it in no problem. We spent the night and the next day adjusting to the jetlag in Vellu's apartment (the singer of HD)...Our roadie Shawn Scallen, from Canada, had arrived earlier, and it was great to see him again after several years. We all hung out on the 17th in a nearby bar and got to know each other. That day we loaded up "Herman the German", the HD tour van, and drove the 2 hour s north west to Tampere for the firtst show. It was a little local bar, with a nice P.A. and room. Besides our two bands, a French band Sons of Saturn were on the bill, and an Italian band Thrash Brigade was added. Prior to the show, some locals wanted us to try out the oldest, and last remaining sauna in Tampere. Several mambers of the various bands walked down, and we're inaugurated into the Finnish ritual of the sauna, complete with scaling heat & steam, capped off by being struck about the back and shoulders with a cluster of birch sticks. Refreshing!
The gig went well, despite the "first show of tour" akwardness. We had to drive back directly to Helsinki that night as we had to catch a 9am ferry for Tallinn, Estonia the next morning. We got back to our beds about 3:30 am, and had to wake aroun 7:30. Ugh. We made it to the ferry with minutes to spare, and had a good ride. It was a clear day, and the trip lasted about 3.5 hours. We splurged on the 12 euro all-you-could-eat buffet, and sat in the fancy dininr room adjecent to windows looking out the from of the huge auto ferry. We were styling, indeed. Next stop was the deck, and the bar; good times.
We landed in Tallinn about 12:30, and started the drive to Riga, Latvia for our next gig. The "Via Baltica" was scenic, with little cottages and villages seperated by stretchs of birch and pine forests. We even stopped briefly at a beach to check out the Baltic Sea.
We arrived in Riga in the early evening, and are about to play gig #2. Van life is great so far, and we're all getting along well, figuring out how to make fun of each other, and give each other shit where beeded. Our only concen is that the van "Herman" has already developed worn brake pads, and we'll need to repiar those in Vlinius tomorrow. So it goes.
No pictures uploaded yet: we have many, but no way to upload them just yet. Stay tuned for more updates soon. Let us know what you think so far.