2005 US East Coast

11/11   Chicago, IL    Chicagozzy Mozzy!!!

   The Flower 15 Festival was a five nights at the Metro affair and we played on night four with Jimmy Eat World. For fuck’s sake these kids were amped up for some Jimmy Eat World. The J.E.W. guys were all super nice. James and Zach said they’d been aware of us for a long time and requested that we play their night. The crowd was so crazy loud,, though, that I didn’t know if they could hear us play or not. But the whole ordeal was worth it to see Henry and Brian from Chunklet guesting in character as morning zoo Djs Booker and XXXXX. The hilarious banter was lost on all but a few of the mostly underage audience.. ah well.

   I accidentally got the kind of drunk that you should only get on purpose and messed up my cell phone somehow. This disaster will pay disaster dividends in the near future.. I can already feel it. Putting out fires is hard enough with a fire hose. Trying to mnage the tour without a phone will prove futile I think.

 11/12   Pittsburgh, PA     Balancing the Books

   It should be said that the AmAnSet owes Clevelend a rock show. Our performance at the Grog Shop in 2002 was cancelled due to illness (it was that bad) and even though we had a doctor’s note, the absence was unexcused. Even so, the AmAnSet was owed a decent show by the city of Pittsburgh and we decided to cash that marker in. After yeas of playing the best warehouses, former squats, and abandoned airplane hangars tin the greater Pittsburgh area, the Andy Warhol finally offered us a show and we accepted. Minimal PA.. seated theater.. no drunks at the bar to compete with.. these are the kind of shows that we practice so hard for. So Cleveland, we only had one day  open and we leaned the other way. We owe you a show plus interest.

   A word about interviews. We don’t do all that many so don’t catch me complaining. Right after a band plays (and this applies to all bands I think) is the absolute worst time to get the whole band together for an interview. People are scattered, breaking down equipment, selling cds and t-shirts, talking to friends.. it’s a chaotic time. I would rather be woken up unexpectedly at 5 in the morning for an interview than have to wrangle 5 rock jerks together..

[kenny.. kenny.. KENNY!! Wake up, man.. you asleep? Hey.. real quick.. How do you describe your music? You awake, man? Do you wanna glass of water or something? Cool.. real quick.. How does “Set Free” differ from previous records?]

11/13   Toronto, ON

We dropped in on Bret Styles for blueberry pancakes before turnin the van northward towards the border. Even though we're legal this time, border crossings still make me nervous. You never know.. you know?

   Before trying our luck with the mounties, though, we drove around north Buffalo for half an hour looking for food or gas or an open business or really anywhere to buy zombie repellant. We joke, but we shouldn't. Driving around and witnessing firsthand the devistation that the hurricane caused really puts your life in perspective. These people lost.. everything. It's as if the vengeful hand of Jesus reached down from on high and pounded the ground with his fist, crushing every sign of life or modern civilization. The power of nature is unfathomable

   Later at the club, the crew was dealt a severe blow on the food front. There’s a legendary veggie hot dog cart right outside the Horseshoe and we’d been talking it up all tour. We were comparing notes on the various topping selections after dinner when the Horseshoe staff let the cat out of the bag.

“You guys ate there? Man.. they come in here and use the bathroom all the time and they never wash their hands. If you start feeling weird…"

11/14   Montreal, QB     Well.. Boogieman train station = out the f’ing window too, isn’t it?

   Still in Canadia.. a little nicotine buzzed from all this Tim Horton’s coffee. They make a mean maple stick though.. no lie.

   What do you get when you combine fries, cheese curds and gravy? You get a French Canadian delicacy called “poutin” and it’s a bitch killer. We’ve been told that Chris from Stars is the reigning poutin king of Montreal so we called him up and asked him his advice in tracking some elusive veggie poutin rumored to exist in this fair burg. These girls couldn’t help either.

   Someone told me that Metric has a song called “Monster Hospital”.. you know? “Monster Hospital”. I mean.. where do you go after that? I mean.. you write songs and you try to try to write songs that mean something to you because that’s the thing isn’t it? But not “Monster Hospial”.. not today.. THAT one’s been written, you know? It’s hard. It’s real hard.

11/16   Boston, MA

   Finally back in the US of A, I managed to score some Zicam in an attempt to keep my cold in check. The Canadians had nothin’ for me but vitamin C and an only slightly healthier Tim Horton’s wheat maple stick. As unlikely as it may seem, in only 3 1/2 hours we managed to find the least helpful licensed cell phone repair shop on the east coast too. Unlikely but true. Otherwise, I sat in the van all afternoon waiting on people to call for phone interviews. Three out of five called (batting .600 is really good btw). The Dallas Observer ghosted me, of course.. this will be important later in the journal.

   This was our first show with the Headphones, who are joining us for the rest of this leg of the tour. I liked the Headphones record when I heard it, but the songs really began to make sense to me live. This is how good records get great. You need to see this band.

11/17   Philidelphia, PA     This is what you get for being born in the Seventies

   What can I say? We’ve been to Philly. We knew what to expect.  But I guess if we knew when to give up, we wouldn’t be here in the first place, right? I’d say it was personal, but this room had no patience for the Headphones either.

   We’re a small band and nobody knows this more than us. Even so, it hurts to put as much energy and love into our music as we have and be treated like bar entertainment. There was a reason that the Rockafire Explosion were animatronic, you know? The heart is not built to withstand this kind of abuse.

   My advice to other bands considering playing at Khyber Pass? The Kyber.... pass.

   We did run into Horatio Sanz though. He seemed like a real decent guy and earned instant hood status wearing a Headphones T on SNL that weekend.

11/18-20   New York, NY

   Any show that I can go home and sleep in my bed afterwards is a good show. Seeing the New York crew was great too. Big ups to Tag Team Media and all the hard work they’ve done for “Set Free” and for the tour.

   After Thursday night in Philly, it felt especially good to play at Southpaw in Brooklyn for a room full of people that were excited for us to be there. It made us excited too and we played really well I think. We played three shows in the NY area this weekend so we did our best to make the sets as different as possible. You never know, right? And aside from one loudmouth Saturday night at the Mercury (I wanted to get after this yahoo with a roll of duct tape, throw him in my trunk, and drive him down to Philadelphia where he belongs), the shows went off pretty well. High five.. see y’all in Dallas [gulp].

11/30   Dallas, TX     Still lazy after all of these years

   We could’ve ghosted Dallas on this last tour and nobody would’ve said shit. Nobody. We’ve just never existed in Dallas. But we came and played anyway.  We’ve never had a good show in big D, but I didn’t want to look back and think it was because we never tried. We played most of our set before finally being heckled off the stage by people shouting out songs (some written by us, mostly not) and cheers and area codes and whatever other sub-freebird shit people were throwing around. It was an embarrassment to put it lightly.

   Check out the Dallas Observer article previewing the show.

   This really says so much. This article has been edited at the request of our loving publicity team since its original posting unfortunately. At first posting, they referred to me as “Kelly” no fewer than five times. FIVE... times. They also had a number of quotes from me that I guess were from another interview posted on our website? Or a press letter maybe? Recall: Darryl ghosted me on our interview a week and a half ago. They also accused Tag Team (our loving publicity team) of spreading misinformation about our future. The article is loaded with backhanded gems like, “Such camaraderie can be hard to come by, especially after releasing six CDs that garnered only moderate accolades and limited sales.” Wow.. snaps. But you can go back a decade and find the same disrespectful shit. This 1995 review by Robert Wilonski was titled, “Blow Fi” (no kidding). This is the first thing ever written about the American Analog Set, actually, and it was why we decided to move out of the Dallas area.

   You don’t have to read the whole thing. Let me sum it up for you with this quote, “The difference, though, between a band like Bedhead and American Analog Set is this: Bedhead is a great rock and roll band and then some..” Don’t waste your time combing the other 22 mentions of the AmAnSet in the Dallas Observer over the last 10 years looking for something flattering. You won’t find it. And that’s fine. If they don’t like us.. that’s cool. If you made music that everybody liked, how special could you ever be to one person? Maybe I'm painting a bullseye around the arrow here, but it doesn't mean I'm wrong. 

   And this begs a question. Bands take time to develop.. What might a little patience do for a music scene? Robert Wilonski’s review wasn’t of our first album (which wasn’t even recorded at this time), it was a review of the demos for our first album recorded the summer before. Also, we didn't send him the demos either, but the story of how he got them is even shittier than his review and you don't need any additional evidence of Robert Wilonski's dill-baggery. We had only played one show, Bobby. ONE show.. and already we were over in Dallas. You owe us an apology. Not for the bad review. If you considered it your job to keep the public ear safe from a band that had only played one show (that wasn't IN Dallas, by the way) and didn't have anything officially released, then you were doing your job. Job well done, champion. You owe us an apology because you took a job covering the music scene in a city and you made that scene shittier. And we grew up in that city. And we love music. And Dallas could've been our hometown. So despite your lack of patience, and ego, and aforementioned dill-baggery, we moved to Austin and turned the AmAnSet into something we remain proud of.  #set4life

   But also my mom read your review and I had to explain to her what "Blow Fi" meant so eat a Dallas Morning News tote bag full of dicks, asshole. Also catch cancer.

   Now.. support of the local press doesn’t always mean you’ll go over in a city. Press in Phily has been pretty good.. ha ha. But might our history in Dallas have been a little different if the Observer hadn’t been so quick to hate on us? It’s easier, but perhaps not as good for the scene over time. We’ll never know now, of course. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking for a kind of blanket support statement like, “Everything that happens in our scene is gold” because that can be WAY worse for a music scene, right? But might there be a connection between this type of journalism and the disproportionately shitty music scene in Dallas? Something to think about anyway.

   Chris Michaels has a recording of this show and he threatens me with it every time he needs something from me.

12/2 & 12/3   Atlanta, GA

   We spent a night in Jackson, MS, at the Laboratory on our way to Atlanta. We’ve really enjoyed playing in Atlanta over the last few years. We also had the time to do a short radio spot to preview the show. I’ll run down the stats for you real quick..

Total time (estimated) to station: 20 minutes

Total time (actual) to station: 1 hour.. 20 minutes

Total time taken to review the “I won’t curse on air” literature and sign the release: 17 minutes.

Total time before I say “shit” on the air: 17 seconds

Total number (estimated) of tight n’ shinys I expected to receive during the interview: 0

Total number (actual) of tight n’ shinys I received during the interview: 1

12/4   Orlando, FL     Mr. Diarrhea Hands strikes again

   Let’s talk about Baptiste. He’s a promoter in Orlando and he kicks maximum ass. Performance-wise, Orlando was my favorite show of the tour. But oh man.. the mirror. This is the cruelest joke of all. There’s a mirror over the bar that you can see yourself in while you play. Is that what I look like playing guitar? Wow.

   The veggie hot dog cart comes by after the show though and THIS guy’s hands are certified diarrhea free. He’s got a li’l flip sign behind the bun warmer talking about, “119 days with no diarrhea on my hands, yo.”

12/6   Washington, DC

   Oh man.. that was a long drive. This show was way worth it, though. It was our best show in DC by far. The promoter, Dante has been around the block and he’s cool to talk to about music stuffs.

12/7   Chapel Hill, NC     For a good time, listen

12/8   Chattanooga, TN

12/9   Jackson, MS

   See the city is , “Carborro” and the buritto place is called, “Carburritos”.. that’s what makes it clever.. because the name of the restaurant sounds like the city that it’s IN.. AND what they serve as well. That’s what makes it.. like.. not merely Carburro Burritos which, frankly, doesn’t sound that appetizing. It’s the kind of effort and creativity that I, as a consumer, can assume also carries over into the food they serve. And it’s true. The burritos are great and the real flour tortilla chips are a nice alternative to the usual corn tortilla chips you might expect from a place like this. But see.. that’s how if you have a clever name you might be limited by the city where you decide to hang your shingle out. Think about that.  See if this place with in Pittsburgh, they might call it Pittsburritos and then maybe you might remember that they serve real flour tortilla chipsburghs or something. And see.. what makes THAT clever is.. Shut up, Kenny.

   Why don’t more bands do this? This is good stuff. Styrofoam was just here a few weeks ago.. and I see a nice little note on the poster here. This is just like when graffiti artists send messages across the country to each other on boxcars.. except with sharpie.. over the urinal.

Otherwise, I’ll just lump these three “performances” together I guess. They were all equally soul destroying for the same reason I suppose. The shows were all decently attended SEEMINGLY by people that used to like the American Analog Set when they were in college maybe. I dunno. If this wasn’t our last tour, it would be our last tour.. you know? I still love my band.

   But we HAD to go back to Chattanooga. We had such a good time the year before last. And yeah it was a little noisier this time. OK it was a lot noisier this time. When the first words out of the promoter’s mouth are, “I’m sorry”.. something didn’t go right.

12/10   Houston, TX

   Ryan Chavez.. boom. Thanks for the great show. This was our best show in Houston and we played pretty well to boot. I met my doppelganger at a coffee shop next door.

 12/11   Austin, TX

   This was the last show of a really long tour. The season really began for us on August 22nd at our tenth anniversary show here in Austin and now it’s ending nearly four months later. I always expect these things to be more emotional somehow. Maybe this one especially because it was our last tour. But I was so exhausted and in the moment, it was just a show. That being said, it was a good one. It was the quietest crowd we’d ever had in Austin and we were amazed and honored. My voice was a little worked from four months of “singing”* and a few hours of talking over the bar chatter before the show. I swung at a few wild pitches and didn’t connect. I think I’ll chose to remember the notes I hit instead of the ones I whiffed and hopefully everyone else will too.

*I’m petitioning my ego to have the quotes removed. Tbd.