2003 US South & East
04/02 DALLAS, TX This parking lot is empty
"You have to move your van right now. This guy's really on my ass. He's telling me you can't leave your van here so you really have to move your van. 'Cause if you don't move your van now, like RIGHT now he's going to get in my ass big time and he's already in my ass now so if you could move your van, just, immediately that would be great. I'm not trying to be a dick about this but you can't leave your van here and this guy is seriously in my ass."
"Hey... American Analog Set... You guys used to be from here, right? But you moved? Why'd you guys move?"
04/04 NEW ORLEANS, LA The headliner always arrives first
Here's the thing. We've been to New Orleans half a dozen times in as many years and always escaped without serious incident. Still, it's impossible for me to drive into this city without thinking I'm going to live out some voodoo nightmare (real or otherwise), or be attacked by some gay vampire (real or otherwise), so somebody's going to dose my muffelleta and steal my good kidney.
On this trip, we added to the equation the weirdness of performing at the House Of Blues (and this is a multiplier). So we get stuff like, "You guys are gonna get a lot of walk up traffic after the LSU ladies basketball game lets out." or "so... y'all do mostly 'riginals?"
But here's the cherry on this particular sundae. We get to the club (just a little before Pinback arrives), and the manager is in the middle of showing us the green room and fancy beer and couches and snacks and liquor when he realized we weren't Pinback and says, "Oh... sorry... y'all are the Analog Set... we got a case of Miller Lite upstairs in the kitchen." Then he goes on to explain that we're welcome to sit our asses down on the concrete floor and knock back a cool one amongst the pots and pans and grease traps and whatnot.
04/05 TALLAHASSE, FL Best breakfast ever?
This one ranks. Top 3 tour breakfasts of all time for us, no question. Let me run this down for you: Coffee, Kris Kremes, eggs, pancakes, pigs in some blankets, milk, chocolate milk, bananas, peeled and sectioned tangerines, oranges, and a few other fruits the kremes didn't leave room for.
Desiree, thank you. This kind of hospitality doesn't happen very often and it means the world to a little band like us. Chris, you have a truly whippin' record collection. Coming right out of the gate with "Easy Lover." Calvin, you have a truly whippin' Transformers collection and we'll peep Finding Nemo next time through. OK, li'l man?
04/06 GAINESVILLE, FL Jai Alai
Up $10 at the end of the day. The house can't front on BJG.
04/07 GAINESVILLE, FL Do you take requests?
The shirts are cute, but I wonder sometimes why somebody would go to a rock show, see a band they haven't heard before, LIKE the band, wander back to the merch table (where there are compact discs containing said band's recordings at resonable prices), and buy... a t-shirt. I'm not complaining, mind you, because seeing someone in one of our tees is still as thrilling as ever, and it makes me feel like a real person for a moment or two. But it is a curious trend.
So this guy catches me mid-ponder to (exhibit A) ask about a t-shirt and he continues,
"You guys need to get some higher quality mp3's on the web."
"I've downloaded just about everything you've released but most of it is pretty low quality. I mean... on the longer songs I understand the file size issue, but even the shorter songs I have are kinda shitty sounding. You should get some higher quality mp3s out there for the people who really care about that stuff."
No shit... now this is one of those times when you want to be especially careful not to say anything too mean or jaded, but every broke-ass, washing-clothes-in-the-sink, sleeping-on-a-floor, stomach-grumbling-while-you're-trying-to-sleep moment is flashing through your head.
"Okee... I'm going to work on that... thanks."
Oh, also... my favorite quote of the night...
"It's LATE! It's time to go HOME! I've SHOWN you the Tony that likes white people! Don't MAKE me show you the Tony that has bad credit!
-2:12 a.m. Tony the bouncer at the top of his lungs
04/08 ORLANDO, FL Yeah, I was in the shit
This is the last Florida show and I'm calling the choppers to get us out of here.
[staring] [long silence]
"Can I help you?"
"I don't know... Can you?"
This is an awesome response... because it really challenges me to put my money where my mouth is. If I'm gonna help, I'd better be serious about it. No f'ing around. This guy's bringing his A-game and if i wanna dance I'd better bring my shoes, baby. And tell dad not to wait up, because this is going to be an all nighter. I'm standing behind a fairly serious back catalog of CDs and, yes, someone just MIGHT need a little aid in navigation.
But I don't let the gravity of the responsibility crush me. I straighten up and lean into the plate.
"Yes I can."
[staring] [long silence]
"You got change for a $50?"
Throw up the purple smoke. We need immediate evac. We have wounded.
04/09 & 04/10 ATLANTA & ATHENS, GA Walking Tall
These shows went by pretty quickly. One minute we were leaving Florida, the next we were crossing into North Carolina. I remember we picked up the new issue of Chunklet. We met someone that had starred in a Smiths video (and we all geeked out a little). Somewhere a really nice bottle of syrah was uncorked and polished. We saw the Machas and they gave us a copy of their new record. We also played really well, I thought. Ooh... and we saw a movie where the Rock beat up six guys with a piece of 4 x 4 cedar.
04/11 CHAPEL HILL, NC Boom
Boom... Just dance if you feel like it, dude. Just fucking dance. Dance the way you want to dance and if anyone tries to clown, fucking dance them into outer space where there isn't even air or anything. Boom.
04/12 WASHINGTON, DC Shameboy
That 40-line ain't no punk.
04/13 BOSTON, MA I dub thee... Sir Crabs
You know... there are places in this world that remind you of just how beautiful the world can be. And how perfect a moment can be. And how happy and satisfied a soul can be. I'd have to say that Knight's Inn room 509 at the South Baltimore Travel Stop is the exact opposite of one of those places. Even so, four hours of sleep wasn't enough. Somehow I wasn't ready to leave at 7:30 in the morning. But alas, the excitement and prestige that comes from ACTUALLY sleeping in the very room where they filmed "Trucker Handjobs 7" eventually wore off and we shoved off for Boston. Oh, yeah... Boston was ok.
04/14 NORTHAMPTON, MA Stop beating around the bush
Contract riders are excessive and often times ridiculous...It's true. But some clubs straight...fuck...with...bands. And when the case finally comes to trial (Andrew Kenny vs. every tight-ass club manager and phantom promoter...kind of a reverse class action suit), the Iron Horse Music Hall will be exhibit A:
No buyouts. Venue will provide food. Awesome, except that load-in is at 9pm and the kitchen closes at 8pm. Sorry guys...what the fuck?? I'm hungry. Ok, y'all wait in the basement and we'll bring down some food. Thanks. Ok...most of the cheap pasta was cooked and that's ok, but some of it wasn't and that's not alright. You have to TRY to fuck up pasta. It doesn't say in the contract that food should be cooked, but that kind of shit is fucking understood.
Venue provides sodas, water, and premium domestic beer or local equivalent. Ok, if you're going to charge bands for drinks (which is BULLSHIT on its own), you shouldn't agree to provide drinks and THEN not. It's just not nice. We're not proud. We'll fully pick up sodas and beer on the way into town. No problem. Two free beers? I'm a full grown man. Please. Two beers leaves me thirsty and altogether too aware of how shitty you treat bands.
Venue takes 20% of merchandise sales. There is no argument that you can put on the table that will make this ok. You charged $250 in hospitality for 10 beers and some uncooked pasta. How much more expense-padding and blood-sucking can you do before your bloated tick bellies fucking burst? Ok...'evs. I could go on, but I'm too weak from hunger to waste my precious energies on you.
God needs to throw a lightning bolt right through your roof so Barnes and Noble's can move in (no management change necessary).
04/18 NASHVILLE, TN Dude... you're making it worse
Inviting a touring band to stay with you is one of the nicest things you can do in this world, karmically speaking. If you egged skaters in high school, or if you rolled a bum after a night of drinking, or if you broke up with someone because she smelled like fishfood or something...asking a band to stay with you will get you back on the universe's good foot. In order to seal the deal, here are eight things you should NOT say in the process of asking these nice fellows over (these are real...but in no particular order).
1 "We're having a party tonight and you guys can TOTALLY play if you want."
2 "It would be nice to have some people around tonight. My ex-boyfriend is really violent and unpredictable."
3 "Do you guys like to get high.. like REALLY high??"
4 "Our place isn't that shitty. It's no worse than your average european hostel."
5 "I'm housesitting the governor's mansion.. what do you want for breakfast?" [too suspicious]
6 "You're staying with me." [as an introduction]
7 "Our place is fucked. We don't even go home that often."
8 "It's an.. ok.. neighborhood, but maybe two of you might want to sleep in the van just to be safe. My car's been broken into a few times, but they didn't take anything the second time."