We are in Flensburg, Germany today. Since last post, we spent a day off in Liege, Belgium, where we wish we could have played. We stayed at a dorm for touring bands that is part of a venue there. Next, we made a long-ish drive (we're used to doing 8 or 10 hour hauls in the U.S. Here, it seems everyone thinks a 6 hour drive is murder). We made it to the squat in Hamburg, and were pretty amazed at the place, the Rote Flora ...... It is a huge, stand-alone edifice of a building, like an old bank or embassy or something, that has been completely repurposed as a squated community space. It has a cafe, several perfomance rooms, and is smothered in grafitti. The show was good, but we had to play first, and so many people missed us. As usual, we were well fed for dinner and breakfast, and met many good people. Yesterday we made our way up to our northernmost tour stop, Flensburg, Germany. Flensburg is a small port city just 5 km south of Denmark. Once again, the venue was an all-in one; living spaces, kitchen, bar, performance space that is collectively run by a group of 10-20 residents. The show may have been the best yet, with lots of people who really really had a good time. In addition to the regular fun stuff of bands, beer, and food, there was a hand-made fusball table that saw heavy use. The Europeans (including the two Frenchmen among us) absolutely destroyed us at the game, but the best player I saw was a local Flensburg girl who put everyone to shame.
The weather has been pretty constant - just above freezing, solid grey clouds, sometimes a little rain. Not good, but not bad. All nine of us have been playing "pass the sickness" with a rotating roster of people with a cold. The beer and endlessly smoke-filled rooms everynight don't help matters, but the current sick person usually bundles up, sleeps as much as possible, takes Vitamin C and chuggs lots of water until their turn is over. We've all been hit once now, so hopefully that pattern will subside.
We have a day off today, and our hosts have some good internet access. So, we're going to try to upload some of these photos into our gallery later on.
UPDATE: tour photos are going up here: Euro Tour gallery
We are in Liege, Belgium today, between shows. Since last post, we„ve only had a couple shows. We picked up a lst minute show in Rotterdam that took place at a squatted bridgehouse in the harbor. It was very very cool: it was located between two drawbridges. Not many people at the show, but a friend Mike from Portland in the USA arrived to see our last song. The next show in Tournai Belgium was in man made cave in the side of a hill. Many people showed up, and it was our best show yet. Fantastic.
We havent been able to upload any photos, but we have lots, and hope to do so soon.
We've made it through our fourth show of tour. In the last several days, we've played every night in a different squat. On December 29th it was in Utrect, then in Hengelo, then last night, new years in, in Krommenie. All the squats have been incredible places. They are like large community centers, all volunteer run, with performance spaces, cafe/bars, book stores, bicycle repair shops, and living spaces. Bands on tour are fed a large communal meal and provided sleeping places. On the personal side, we're also holding up well. Our driver, Dimitri, has been fighting a bad cold, but so far the rest of us have remained healthy. The weather has been overcast and just above freezing, but not too bad. We've taken a lot of photos, as well as some video, and will try and upload some of that soon.
Last night we played our first show of the European tour, and it went great. Here's a recap of events since we left home...... Our flight went fine, and despite our anxiety about checking our guitar and bass as luggage, they both survived the trip with no damage. We'd also filled our bagage allotment to the brim with large suit cases stuffed with as much merchandise as we could carry. That amounted to 75 LPs of "Seize", 90 CDs of "Seize", 38 CD-Rs of our new record "Plain", and about 40-50 t-shirts. All that stuff surviced the journey as airling luggage as well. Our next source of anxiety was getting all that merchandise through customs. We'd been assured that it would be no problem, and they wouldn't check, or if they did, they wouldn't fine us/tax us. That proved to be the case as we walked through customs with only a "go on"nod from the officials -- we'd made it! Soo thereafter, we met up with the PAWNS and our driver. It was 8am local time, and we had to kill the rest of the day waiting to go to the gig. We went to coffee shops, ran some errands, and saw a little of downtown Amsterdamn. We were dead tired, having been awake for about 24 hours by the afternoon. We caught a couple hours nap in the basement of an unheated squat, and then made our way to the show in Nijmegen. That was in a well organized squat, with a great show room in the basement. We were fed, and taken care of well by the people there. After a showing of the CRASS movie "Christ, the Movie"both us and the PAWNS played to about 25 people. Not a huge turnout, but good for two out fo town bands on an off night. We both played well, and it is a good start to the tour.
We are starting our European tour in a couple days, and are very excited. Detailed info has been posted on our tours page, with dates, listing, and map links to the cites and/or venue locations. Some the info is incomplete, and we'll be updating it as we can ...... . As stated on the tours page, this tour was put together by Shawn and Shelby of the Chico, CA band P.A.W.N.S.. They have been to Europe several times before, and are introducing us to their European friends and contacts. They also decided to bring along thier band, so, the P.A.W.N.S. will be touring with us. We're traveling around in a van provided by Exutoire of Bordeaux, France. We hope to make many D.i.Y. contacts and meet like-minded people to hopefully blossom into future tours and cross-Atlantic underground music cooperation.
It is _almost_ sort of done, actually. Getting it done too a lot longer than we'd anticipated, but we're are very pleased with the results. It is 8 songs + 1 cover tune. The main tracking was done at Atlas recording studio back in August of 2004, and the overdubs, mixing, and mastering were done in our home mastering studio (and that is probably why it took so long ...... However, it is NOT released yet, as we are looking around for a label or two to release it. We had previously announced that we were putting it out on Chicago's Council Records (Council released the vinyl version of our first record, "Seize"), however, we are looking at other options at the moment. All is good with our relationship with Matt Weeks and Council: he's been a big help and we appreciate his efforts. But, we're looking at trying out releasing with some new poeple, and are exploring finding a European label to do European releases too. We hope to be announcing a North America and European release when we get back. We're interested in suggestions, so if you have any, let us know.
Unfortunately spam-posting robots found our website, and have been robo-posting bogus "comments" to articles here that are pseudo Christian text with links to gambling websites. As such, those bogus comments have been removed, but the comments features have been taken off line for the time being, probably permanently.We would like to allow this site to be a place where people can post freely and discuss stuff without too much hassle, but as the lazy, selfish, cowardly "takers" stop abusing other people's goodwill and openness, we'll have to either disallow public posting for good, or turn on a "you must register to post on this site" feature. Oh, by the way; spammer(s) if you're reading this: it took me about 3 minutes and a couple SQL queries to zap your crap, so fuk u.
It is the day after the U.S. presidential election. And the horrible, smug, dishonest, dangerous, delusional, madman, GW Bush has been reelected. The other asshole, Kerry, would have been a middle of the road loser, stuck in the same mess that W got us into. At least he would have appointed Supreme Court justices that would have protected the right of women in regards to abortion. This is truly a horrible day. The most powerful country in the world will lumber on as the the "attack everybody and hate-gay people" country, making ancient Rome look reasonable...... But keep this in mind... this doesn't change the fact that the real politics ARE NOT decided in these big government spectacles -- personal politics, the views and actions of real people who live in the real world are what matters, and this election hasn't changed that. If anything, expressing those views is more important than ever. Yes, Kerry would have been better than Bush, but not much. The rich still commit war and opression on the poor, throughout the world, and by dividing people through the arbitrary boundries of "nations", they exploit predujices and fears. The rich white guy in the big house has been decided for another 4 years, but how real people think and feel hasn't been changed. Let's speak truth to power, challenge opression, and never give up. Open your mouths, your eyes, and your minds.
------- corrected post (8/29) begins here --------
OK, thanks to the comment posted, it appears as if the Firedside-as-venue has not ended, just changed. A visit to http://www.firesidebowl.com/ reveals that Brian Peterson / MPShows have stopped doing the booking for the Fireside. Now, it appears that old time metal/punker Vic Vacume has taken up the task. Its important to note, however, that ALL FUTURE SHOWS WILL BE 21+ ONLY. I've know Vic for a long time, and I'm sure he'll do a good job, but the Fireside without the all-ages aspect is not going to be the same thing at all.------- original post (8/23) begins here --------
It had a good run, but Chicago's long time all-ages venue has stopped doing shows...
We played there many times. Although it was a good venue, and they were good people, hopefully this will spark people the create new and inspired underground/alternative venues. Let's go, Chicago!
We've begun working on our second record. A few weeks ago we recorded the basic tracks for seven songs at Atlas Recording Studio, with Matt Allison engineering. Unlike last record, we're doing the rest of the album at our "home" studio, MaximumMac. This is my (Douglas') mastering studio, and we're doing all guitar overdubs and vocals, and then mixing and mastering. We will be doing the basic tracks for a couple more songs at Atlas in the new few weeks, and then finishing those up at MaximumMac too. Our goal is to have the recording complete by the beginning of September. No title for the record yet.