I didn’t really manage to keep a good tour diary on this last European tour… call it lack of motivation, call it the ability to download and watch TONS of films from Netflix on my phone. Either way, I still feel the need to put something down before it ebbs from aging and already addled mind: at least to learn a few lessons. Yeah, we made some mistakes on this tour, but fuck it; it really was one of the most easy going tours I’ve ever done with a crew that managed 0% slacking and 100% laughter.
There’s no real need for tour stories here; we all had a good time with relatively few crazy adventures. Most of the tour stories would just be us talking about old cartoons or cult movies while imbibing lots of alcohol. So let’s try a list of errors we made and how to correct them.
More than a decade ago, I bought a really old NJ series B.C. Rich Warlock bass from my friend Lorraine. I think she was ready to ditch pointy bass guitars for something classier as she went on to play in some excellent bands like The Gault and Worm Ouroboros. It came with a weird whitish-sparkly body, lots of dings that I added to, and multiple failed drill holes for a thumb-rest. I treated it as a beater bass I could fly with if I took the neck off. Well, that lil’ beater looks like this today.
And it also belongs to my wife now. It’s practically brand new, but with a vintage pedigree. This was a classic NJ series Rich, with its serial number planting its birth somewhere in Nagoya, Japan during the early eighties. The NJ guitars were real quality, then. I decided to give it new life. The project took me almost seven years to complete. But it was worth it to give my wife an awesome Christmas present.
We finished up our tour with Carcass and Crowbar on the East Coast, so we and Night Demon had a string of shows in order to get back to California. Originally we had wanted to go to Cleveland (sorry guys) but we ended up in Webster, NY, at some old Mason hall or church or whatever… I don’t know. It was near Rochester, and even the few folks from Rochester were like, “Webster?” But whatever, the people who did show up were the right people and had a rocking good time.
We had to drive all night, again, but were set to hit Chicago and one of the best venues in the United States, Reggie’s Rock Club. The staff lead by Edgar is fucking on point, the food at the attached bar is great, they have laundry, a back room, but most importantly, they have insane Chicagoans who know how to rock the fuck out. Easily it bested any of the previous nights on tour… the ENTIRE tour.
We stepped out of the van into the Albuquerque sun behind the aptly named Sunshine Theater. Instantly, I could feel the carcinogens forming in my skin. This place was dastardly hot. The only place to unload our gear was currently baking in the open sunlight, so we opted to leave loading until we could find shade for our multitude of meltable props. Sean and I headed in an Uber to Home Depot and picked up more crap to fix all our broken hardware. We came, we played, we got paid, we were on our way for a two-day drive to Memphis. Until…
We were flagged down on the road by a woman pointing at our front left tire. I pulled off to the next rest stop and had a look. The rubber had quite literally been baked off the steel-belt of the tire, likely by the amazing New Mexico heat the day before. We avoided a blow out, but we did’t avoid being flummoxed by the lack of a tire iron in our rented van.
I mean, seriously, where to even begin? I’d say it was the worst start of a tour ever, but then again, I had one tour start where our guitarist and friend was near death with a burst appendix. Perspective, ya know? Losing a bus and all the money invested is really nothing so long as nobody is hurt. It costs a bunch, but that’s what credit cards are for.
Our band recorded a tune for Image Comics’The Humans graphic novel series by Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely. It’s a cool comic set in the ‘70s and follows a motorcycle gang’s exploits, but with a twist; in this world, the gangs are all apes and actual humans are primitive beasts kept around for sport. Each issue of The Humans is accompanied by two original songs released online from bands such as Goblin Cock and Witches of God. Our song, “Humans Till Deth”, is an octane-fueled surf-thrash tune attached to the release of issue #8 on October 7.
The song is available for download from the Humans Soundcloud page. I was so excited by the tune, I decided to put a video together for it. I used nothing but iMovie, some old television clips, and art from Tom Neely.
We recorded the tune at a new studio to us, Antisleep, with Scott Evans. I think it came out rad and I’m pretty pumped to start recording the new album there in December.
Richmond, VA has become our East Coast home away from home. I can now find my way from our friend Jim’s house to the Slave Pit, but more importantly, to the local WAWA. Of course, we were more than stoked to be invited again for the annual GWARBQ to play and get wicked drunk with all our good friends.
First, we shipped all of our biggest stage accouterments on Amtrak well ahead of our flight. Tip: this is easily the cheapest shipping method for large items in North America. Then, we headed out on an early flight to enjoy the rest of the weekend.
It all started with a simple Twitter conversation…
We had been talking about recording somewhere else for awhile now, as we prep our fifth full-length. Scott Evans is an engineer and guitarist who I met when Ludicra played a show with his band, Kowloon Walled City. I liked their heaviness and was impressed that he recorded their excellent material himself. So, I approached my bandmates about giving it a go at Scott’s Antisleep Studios for a song we had to record for an upcoming compilation. Things turned out smashingly.