Archive for November, 2011

is this legal?

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Ok, maybe I’m tired and talking crazy.

But whatever I don’t care if people think I’m crazy, I just love this new hollywood couple.




I mean. Can it get any better than this? Right now? Right now? It just feels so right.

I admit it. After seeing the “Social Network” I developed a little boy crush on this guy Andrew. I have yet to see an Emma Stone movie, but if Jim Carey vouches for her, I vouch for her. I did see her on Jay Leno and she seemed nice. (also caught a little bit of her on SNL)

I wish the two of them all the best.

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China 4 Korea 1

(Readers note: I had photos and videos of lots of this stuff, but I fear I may deleted all of it AAAAAAAAA. Also I’ve been lazy about finished the tour diary. Only a couple days left. But whats the point with no photos. Most of what I wrote below I wrote during or soon after the trip)

Day 11

             The next day we wake up and we have to leave for the bus back to Shanghai so Jeff can do an interview. We get the bus and arrive back in Shanghai and grab a taxi. We’re running late for the interview so Abe tries to cancel it, but can’t get in touch with them. We drop bags at the hotel and then head to the interview. The magazine people are a little grumpy as they have been waiting for 2 hours. It’s in a fancy restaurant, but they don’t get us any food or drinks. Is that ok? Am I getting too needy?

The magazine takes some funny photos of Jeff and conducts a weird long interview. It’s some common interest mag like Red Book or something. At one point they ask Jeff what he looks in his ideal woman.  Grumpy he says “the size of her penis.”

They don’t seem to understand. I’m shocked. I may have video of this coming soon.

(this question comes after a lot of inane questions that she tries to take notes about)


After the interview which lasts too long we walk around the streets of Shanghai. Then it’s back to the hotel.

The next day Jeff has another interview. I’m a little annoyed as Abe and my roommate Stephen said we should check out this town just outside of Shanghai which is called the Venice of China. But we won’t have time today.

Jeff does the interview at a café and then we check internet for a while. Then we go our separate ways. I head to the gallery district and Jeff goes back to the hotel to work on some projects. The galleries are about to close, but I manage to see a few things. One artist has done different paintings of Mao in the style of different artists, here some of them are:

There is a mix of mostly bad galleries, but a few good ones. In the hallway of one gallery building these guys play ping pong:

I watch them for a little bit hoping they will let me play.

Finally they do. They’re no amazing, but better then me (hey I haven’t played in months), but I do win a couple points and it’s good relaxing fun.

I walk around. There is a large graffiti wall they are about to destroy. I read about it in a magazine yesterday. Then I head back to the hotel.  We head back to Abe’s café and get some drinks, then to Abe’s place and then back to the hotel.

Day 12.

 We have an early 8:30AM flight to Korea, so we wake up at 6 and leave at 6:30.

We’ll be back on Sunday for 8 hours. I hope we have time to see the water town.

We fly to Korea.

When we land Violet who works for the promoting company SuperColorSuper picks us up. It’s a lot cooler in Korea, temperature-wise. We go to change some money and then grab a taxi to the hotel about 30 minutes away. We get our room key which says 908. We head up to the 9th floor, but the key card wont work. I flip it around. I think it’s really 806. So we head down. It opens the door. The room is really nice. Huge TV, slippers, very clean, fancy sink and some other odd extras.

There is a luggage back and 3 bookbags neatly placed in the corner. I guess they lend you day bags if you want. Such an advanced culture!

But there’s something a little off. So I open one of the bookbags and it has clothes inside. I open another one. It also has some personal items. Then there is a knock on the door. They’ve given us the wrong room. Hmm. I take some pictures of the Jacuzzi and the fancy toilet in case our other room is worse.

But no, our own room is just as nice just no luggage. It’s room 808 (Kanye Wests room eh?) I start to unpack. Erg. My laptop appears to be missing. Did I leave it in the other room? Violet goes to check. It’s not there. AAAAAAAAAAAA. Oh jeez. What was on it? What have I lost, my tour diary for one. Lots of music I was working on. Pictures from tour and this tour diary. AAAAAAA. The only place it could be is back at the airport. I ask Jeff if he still has his receipt from the money exchange place, that’s where I took it out to check the exchange rates. How stupid can I be? It’s totally gone, a free laptop. Maybe there’s some security video I could get to catch the person, but no way the police would care. It’s way too small-time to bother looking at the video. AAAAAAAAA.

Violet calls the number. It’s a miracle they have my laptop. I must have forgotten it on the ledge there and someone turned it in! I love Koreans! Violet takes the cab back with me to the airport and we get my laptop. Here are some photos I took and a re-creation of where I probably left it.

We return to the city and meet Jeff at a radio station. This time, the first time on tour I am allowed to do the interview with Jeff. The interview guy has a great radio voice. He’s Canadian, been in Korea a bunch of years. He’s not that familiar with Jeff. We do what I think is a fun interview with a little bit of our usual bickering that everyone seems to find charming. At one point Steve, the radio guy asks Jeff during a break what they should talk about next. Maybe what people can expect from the shows. Jeff mentions his History of  Communism project and how he has a chapter about North Korea. Steve looks a little concerned and suggests we don’t mention that as it’s a sensitive topic.

After the interview we go next door to a little comic museum, which is more a comic book library. Violet says they will take us to bar that evening where they play 70’s psychadelic Korean music only on vinyl (they take all visiting bands there). Both Jeff and I are intrigued. Violet takes us around the city a bit.  Out to some delicious spicy lunch. Later we go out to Korean BBQ, which I am disappointed by.

It’s not saucy and sweet like American BBQ. It’s just raw mean you cook yourself.

We meet Sean the main man promoter. Turns out he’s from Sacramento. Nice guy, very organized. He’s got lots of interns and a good business model. He puts on art and music shows and his company is getting more and more popular. Too much, for some local Korean promoters who have had a couple of his shows shut down.

We leave the BBQ place and meet up with Ross a friend of Marci’s from Chicago who has lived in Seoul on and off for 4 years. We quickly look into a puppy bar/café. A place where people pay for expensive bad coffee so they can hang out with and pat a bunch of dogs.

We end the night at the bar that’s supposed to play psychedelic 70’s Korean music.

The bar is quite the hip spot and only plays vinyl, the walls are lined with records.

The music they play is not so much 70’s psych as just 70’s Korean rock. It’s cool.

We drink a white liquid that I think was some sort of rice wine. We drink it out of dented aluminum bowls.

Then it’s off to sleep


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Day 3 and 4

These days were originally an e-mail to Greg and Ahndraya, but I wrote so much I figured it could save me time and be my next diary entry. (with some editing)

The treatment in Buffalo has been A +, the crowd not so big (maybe 40 people)- the turn out was probably hurt because there was another show in town-The Sadies and Jesse Sykes
We played Sugar City
And the folks there were super nice, probably one of the only US promoters who actually cooked us a dinner. (and had yummy brownies)

A local act named Jack Toft opened the show. My brother has played with him before. Amazing entertainer rap guy, sort of like the Beastie boys meets indie-rock/Daniel Johnston.
If you ever need a weird rap act to play some event, get this guy.

Tonight is also our first show with Emperor X,

super sweet folks, we’ll be touring with them until Cincinnati. They let me borrow their guitar amp for my bass. They even take some of our merch in their vehicle even though it looks like that have less room than us.

After the show we went with the  promoter to an art opening at very nice art/gallery space., Hallwalls. The Artist was Joel Brenden and he had a very impressive show of paintings and drawings. It was quite good and inspiring.

We stayed with Aime the promoter and got cinnamon buns and this cafe she recommended.

The next day we went to Niagara Falls and spent a couple hours walking around the water falls.

Just like the last time I was here at Niagara Falls I didn’t have a digital camera. So this time I took photos with my computer.

Then to Toronto, the boarder wasn’t too tough on us.

We visited the famous comic book shop the Beguiling. Last time I passed through here with Jeff in 2001 we ran into two of our favorite comic-book artists Chester Brown and Seth, but no celeb sitings this time.

I’m in the middle of reading Chester Brown’s “Paying For It”

At the venue 2 people see me reading it and tell me they just read it themselves. (it’s an autobio comic about the authors history with prostitutes. It’s very entertaining.)
Jeff and I joke that we should take a tour of Toronto and visit all the prostitutes that get mentioned in the book.

After the Toronto show we drove back to Buffalo to stay at Aime’s which is where I’m writing you from now.

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Day 2 of tour

I wake up early to move Jeff’s car before we leave for Rochester. When I reach for my socks my thumb brushes up against the coffee table and I get a long splinter up my fingernail. AAAAAAAAAAA. The pain. I rush to the bathroom and try and pull it out. I only manage to break off the tip. “AAAAAAAA, ow, ow, ow” Oh my fucking god, this is un-real.  My mom comes into the bathroom with some tweezers and quickly pulls out the splinter. What a mom! A real “Pro” – mom. Man. I take a couple advil. It hurts like hell. I run downstairs to move the car.

(This is my thumb on Nov 16th)

Thirty minutes later I drive to pick up Nan, our keyboard player. Jeff is still packing so I have time to go to the pickle store and get a tub of my favorite pickled tomatoes.

On Essex Street I pull up behind a cop car, then change lanes and pass him on the right. His lights go on and two cops pull me over.

“License and registration.”

“It’s my brother’s car, but I have it somewhere”

After some fumbling I give him the insurance and registration

“Where you going?”

“uh, sort of to pick up my brother, but first to the pickle store”

He looks at my Oregon license.

“First time in NY?”

“No, I grew up down the block from here”

“Ok, I’m going to go run your name through my computer”

He goes to go do that.  He returns.

“What is 63 Ave A?”

“It’s my parents address”

“Computer says you have a non-driver ID”

“Yeah, I did, but I lost it a few years ago”

“Sir can you step out of the car.”


“Are you on drugs you’re acting a little weird, did you just wake up?”

“I just woke up not long ago” (my shoes are untied)

“Are you on drugs?”


“Do you take drugs, are there drugs in the car?”


“You don’t take drugs?”


“your eyes are dilated. I’ve been doing this a lot of years. I bet if we had you tested you, you’d test positive for something, but I’m not going to do that”

“I did just get a big splinter up my thumbnail, and I took 2 Advil.” I show him the band-aid on my thumb.

“Let me see your hands”

My hands are always shaky, so they shake.

“Ok turn them over”

I flip my hands

“Sir, you have burn marks on your finger tips”

“I play bass-guitar, those are calluses”

“Ok, I’m sure you’re on something, but you can go”

“Ok, thanks, umm, why did you pull us over?”

He’s walking back to his cop car

“Your middle brake-light is out”

Nan and I check the brake-lights, nothing seems broken.

Days later I feel almost ok being hassled since I am white. Equal opportunity harassment.

We drive to Rochester. In Rochester I get to hang out with my old friend Ahndraya and her husband Greg.

It’s really nice to be able to spend some time with them. I have seen Ahndraya very sporadically since we graduated from college 10 years ago. I did just see them the weekend before at Lily’s wedding in Kansas City. (Speaking of that wedding: http://www.maximumfun.org/judge-john-hodgman/judge-john-hodgman-episode-35-unbanded-brothers)

Just a nice coincidence that I get to see them again. Dray has a meeting so Greg shows me around Rochester. He takes me to some really amazing hidden-urban areas. I learn Kodak was started here by George Eastman, who eventually committed suicide. Greg tells me he left a note which said: “My work is done. Why wait?” 

Greg shows me the Genesee brewery and two amazing waterfalls, high falls and low falls. I wish I had time and a tour-guide to see cool stuff in every city.

I have more of these pictures on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150935068355472.758652.607220471&type=3

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Our  US tour is starting. It’s November 8th. We started touring in the UK/Europe Oct 2nd. We did Ireland, Spain, Scotland and lots of England. It was difficult mentally/emotionally/creatively. I did make enough to survive for another 4-6 months (maybe 2 years if I decided to live really cheaply).  Marci says she see how hard it is for me to quit when I start counting the money at the end of a tour. It’s true. After the shows if I have some privacy it feels very relaxing and nice to count the money I have. Even if I counted it the night before I like to count it again. I think about Scrooge McDuck swimming in his money-pit. It’s not even that much money in the grand scheme, but it’s enough to count every night.

Day 1:  Sistallica

Last night we played SUNY Purchase my brother’s former college. A NY Times reporter came with us and did a long interview/talk with us the whole evening (he arrived at 7 at Jeff’s apartment and we dropped him off at his place around 2 AM). My brother had been talking about the Times’ piece a few weeks earlier. His record-label press-person was trying to think of some activity the reporter could do with him.  They thought it’d be interesting if he came with us while we drove to JFK to pick up our drummer arriving from the UK and then up to SUNY Purchase. That’s a lot of NY Times hang out time.

I tell myself not to talk too much, let Jeff do most of the talking, try not to interrupt him or contradict him. I walk a block from my parent’s apartment to Jeff’s place. In the lobby a man is ringing the buzzer, a women lets me in. I catch the elevator and don’t hold the door for the man ringing the buzzer. I instantly regret this. That was probably the Times reporter. I go into Jeff’s apartment. A second later the man from the lobby is there. He says his name is Ben.

The only Ben I can think of is Ben Brantley and I’m pretty sure it’s not him. (Turns out he’s the theater critic)

I wish I had asked Jeff ahead of time what the reporter’s name was and read his past articles. Damn it.

Jeff has a CD copy of LULU, on his coffee table. It’s the new collab album from Lou Reed and Matallica. Ben points it out and asks if we fans. We are big Lou Reed fans. Jeff and him discuss Lou Reed. Ben has just interviewed Lou and Metallica for the times. Holy shit!. It’s the third time he says he’s interviewed Lou. Holy shit. He tells us Lou had been difficult the first two times, but this time he was very talkative. Amazing. Can’t believe we’re hanging with a guy who interviewed Lou Reed three times.

Jeff talks a lot in the apartment, we drive to JFK airport to pick up Drummer- Dave who is arriving from the UK. I’m driving, Ben is in the passenger seat, Jeff and Dave are in the back. Jeff talks a lot about the record business his music, I interject sometimes. The drive is about an hour. On campus I walk with Ben to a student café. I ask him what his last name is. Sisario. Fuck. Ben Sisario! He’s one of the main music writers at the Times I know him. Ach.

The next day I find the LouTallica article Sisario had written and send it to Jeff. Jeff is scared. He thinks Sisario goes out of his way to make fun of LouTallica and their arrogance. He’s worried Sisario will make him look like an idiot. I have to laugh. LouTallica deserve to be made fun of, their project is insanely self-indulgent and half-assed. It’s funny Jeff thinks he’s important enough for Sisario to take him down. But I guess we’ll see.


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Dang, I kind of forgot Frank Miller had turned into a super right-wing A-hole. What about his anti-facist days of Dark Knight Returns?


What is it with these Millers? (IE Dennis Miller as became right-wing after 9/11)

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