Friday, March 31, 2006

Apparently, not QUITE sold out

Noisepop left the following comment to my last post:

If you don't have an All-Fest Badge and a show sells out, we will release a limited number of tickets one hour after doors!

So, not all is lost.


The mush-brained hangover I'm currently suffering is really the only thing I can fault yesterday for. Otherwise: it was a perfect day, oh such a perfect day, like that Lou Reed song. The many reasons:

First and foremost, we again have transportation. I brought our team of highly trained sherpas back to Nepal, thanked them for their hard work, and explained that they were just another victim of the mechanization of society. Sorry sherpas, we got a van. And it's a beaut.

Of course, we only have this vehicle in the cosmic sense. We put a downpayment on it but it's not literally sitting in our driveway. But, it's ours. I'm excited because it has captain's chairs in the back and the interior is the color of moldy cranberries. It also trumps the original birdvan, since it's over a decade younger and isn't planning on overheating and spewing coolant in my face everytime it gets past third gear. The only thing it's missing is a name. I think Tessie is nice. Maybe we'll go with that.

Secondly, I saw the National and Division Day last night. I'm jealous of myself. They both gave me hope for the continued brilliance of mankind. And, I gots me a new Division Day CD, which kicked my butt this morning while I was trying to find a clear shirt to wear. I was unsuccessful. In fact, I'm at work wearing cut-off jean shorts and no shirt. Quite a sight.

Lastly, it was my birthday, which, coincidentally, is also the anniversary of John Hinkley shooting Reagan because Holden Caulfied told him to. Hence the mush-brained hangover. See, what I forgot, between work, practice, and that fantastic show was dinner. Which is bad. Mainly because the alcohol really does it's duty when you forget about food. Thankfully, left-over pesto fussilli saved my life.

Tonight: Slim's. And it's sold out. So if you don't have tickets yet, I apologize. What you should do instead is just plan on coming to our CD release shindig on April 19th, which will be cheap and, well, we'll be releasing the CD. You can also pet the aforementioned Tessie. Just don't get all naughty about it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

More ramblings

Once in a while, it's useful to remember there are some things that everyone loves. A while back, I recall claiming that the banjo and the two-dollar bill were universally adored and no one claim otherwise. We need to add breakfast in bed to this list. In fact, there has to be some way to combine all three, perhaps breakfast in a bed on two-dollar bills while listening to a Lee Skruggs album; I'm pretty sure that was the Gnostic idea of heaven, but I'm a little rusty on my ancient theology.

I mention this only because I got breakfast in bed this morning* and played banjo last night. If I was a valet, perhaps I'd get the two-dollar bill tip at some point, but I'm a temporary office lackey, so the only tips I'll be getting are along the lines of: "you better work faster" or "your lunch was too long." Two out of three ain't bad. At any rate: last night's acoustic jamboree, with the aforementioned banjo accompanying two acoustics and a cello, was a damn fine time. Sure, I couldn't hear anything, but who says you need to hear music to play it? Well, actually, you do, but let's not get picky about it. Some highlights of the evening include:

-Hijack the Disco: didn't know what in tarnation they'd sound like acoustic. They were wonderful. Hell, if sleighbells are involved, can it not be wonderful?
-Heavenly States: always great to see Ted play a right-handed man's guitar left-handed, like some genius freak.
-Ms. PacMan: Peter & I have an eternal Ms. PacMan rivalry and Thee Parkside has one of those machines where each player sits down at opposite sides and the screen rotates when you die. I was filled up with cheap Miller High Lifes (which is decidely not the "champagne of beers," despite claims to the contrary) and lost, buzzer-beater style when Peter went Nick Van Exel on me and swooped up a banana right before dying, thus surpassing my feeble score. I salute you Peter. If you didn't play guitar in birdmonster, I'd break your fingers.

Beyond that, I survived my first workday in a month without serious catastrophe, Peter is looking at a few possible birdvans today, and I get to go see the National tonight, whom Division Day have the pleasure of opening for. We played with those New Yorkers about a year ago and I haven't seen a better show since; just effin phenomenal. Added bonus: I live five blocks away from the venue. Everything's coming up Milhouse.

Oh yeah: Division Day: if you need to sleep on our floor, by all means. We only charge $60 a night.

That's it for now. Computerized labor is calling my name.

*Thanks Rebecca!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yes, I've been writing this all day and this is the best I came up with. What's it to you?

I think I'm living in a vortex. Not only am I back at my old job---wearing a headset, for God's sake---but we are again scouring the internet and the Bay Area for a new birdvan. It's the exact same thing I was doing last time I was parked in this chair, late last month. Peter and Zach are spearheading this noble mission and we've got a few promising leads, not including the unregistered Dodge that makes mysterious noises and has an unfathomable 320,000 miles on the odometer. Oh yeah, and it doesn't start. That actually sounds exactly like our old ride, except he's asking for three times as much as we sold ours for, and ours had the plaid seats and smelled like poison. The chutzpah of that guy. I hope he finds his sucker. It just isn't going to be Birdmonster.

So, it's my first day back at work. I feel like an ex-con who got out after a petty theft charge, said his goodbyes and swore he'd never commit another crime, only to hold up the gas station twenty miles away, live in a friend's trailer for a month, then head back to slammer after a positive ID from the drunken redneck in the Airstream on lot 212. I came back and people just shook their head. I think I'll have a beer at lunch, to wash down my pride and dignity.

Of course, it's a short sentence. I'm out again April 20th, before the tour with Division Day. It'll only be a week long little jaunt up there in the Pacific Northwest, but I'm looking forward to it. Maybe we'll team up as DivisionMonster and cover Graceland from start to finish...or maybe we'll just both play our own songs. I'm voting for a little of both. I just want to sing that line "ever since the watermelon." Is that too much to ask?

Last night we did an acoustic jamboree in Peter's living room in hasty preperation for tonight's NoisePop Happyhour shindig and got some delicious dinner from Maureen, who really should have been playing the xylophone the entire time, but instead made pasta. It was the sort of set Oldmonster will play when we're Rolling Stones-aged and no one can spaz out anymore. I'm looking forward to that. I'm going to have really high pants and a floppy fedora. Just you wait.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Why Johnny Ringo. You look like someone just...walked over your grave.

My short-lived freedom has an expiration date and that expiration date is...tomorrow. Back to work for me. I was thinking about becoming a quasi-professional grifter but I just don't have the requisite skills or total lack of morality. That's okay though. I might've felt a bit squeamish about living on some old lady's permenantly borrowed pension.

So tomorrow, I return to the old job, which shall remain nameless so that my mere association doesn't cripple their stock options. It's nice that there's a slot waiting for me, and, although the job itself is about as fun as lemonade and papercuts, the folks there make it livable, even enjoyable from time to time. It's just that crawling back with your tail between your legs feeling I'm not looking forward to. If I had any pride, I'd be swallowing it.

With this single day of glorious destitute freedom, I went over to the East Bay to get the ol' banjo fixed. She's sitting here on my lap, positively purring. Which is just in time, because we have a little acoustic set to play tomorrow night at Thee Parkside, and the hideous-black-bass-of-death just isn't conducive to a strummy, rocking chair set. If you're in the city tomorrow, you should come. Cheap beer? Check. New Birdmonster songs? Check. Other kickass bands turned down, acoustic style? Check. Free? Double check. Game, set, match, tomorrow night.

Otherwise, all I'm doing is being a self-publicizing, internet slattern and thinking about how good Tombstone was last night. I mean, is there any greater shit-talking line than "I'm you huckleberry."? I don't even know what it means and I love it. Val Vilmer went from that-guy-I-hated-as-the-Saint-and-Batman to why-isn't-he-in-every-movie-ever status in two short hours. Sorry I doubted you, buddy.

Tomorrow, I'll be posting from work (unless my boss is reading this, in which case, I MOST CERTAINLY WILL NOT BE), with maybe something interesting to say.

Lastly, we owe everyone a big thanks who gave us feedback yesterday on the new songs that got posted in blogland and to anyone who bought a CD, thus keeping us from the gutter. Much obliged. We really, really, really (ad infinitum) appreciate it.

Monday, March 27, 2006

One more song...

In addition to Myspace and Music for Robots (which I noted below), Gorilla Vs. Bear posted a song too. The love spreads. Thanks to both and all.

Read me and be rewarded with new music and tales of our forgetfulness

It's Monday and, before I fry up last night's left over potatoes au gratin, before I continue my quest for three week's of employment, in other words, before I take care of my physical & financial security, I'm going to update this here blog. They call that "prioritizing," regardless of how bassackwards my current brand of it may be.

This weekend found us in San Jose for the first time ever, followed by a midday Sunday show with Clap Your Hands at a venue I didn't even know existed. San Jose was...let's just say "snafu-ridden." See, it was Dave's birthday and the gift he gave himself was leaving his guitar in the parking lot of our studio. Of course, we didn't realize this until about two minutes before our set, which then led to flashlighting through the Blank Club for a black guitar case which never turned up, and he ended up playing with a guitar which hasn't been restrung since Reagan died. In solidarity, Peter decided to break strings on three seperate guitars, one of which was Send for Help's (who I really enjoyed, by the by, and we play with again this Friday) while I insisted on unplugging myself at least once every other song. Like I said, snafu-ridden. But, there's a silver lining. When we got back to the studio, a fine, fine gentleman named Antonio told us he'd found the instrument, noticed it alone and unattended in a grimey parking lot, and secured it for us. Ok. Let me be honest---I don't know the whole story. It involves some really thoughful people I'd rather not discredit by mucking up the tale, most of which occured while I was asleep. I'll give them their proper god-bless-you's (not the sneezy kind either) when I badger Dave for the whole story. The moral: I love everything and Dave didn't have to buy a new Gibson.

So, with the once missing guitar and a slight chip on our shoulder, we ended up at the Metreon's Action Theatre Sunday afternoon for an invite-only, radio-station-sponsored shindig with CYHSY. Upon arrival, we noticed they had acoustic guitars and basses, which made sense, since the venue was basically a small stage (with great sound) in front of seating for about 200. I don't think we've ever played a show to a seated audience before. I felt very mature, like maybe we should have been doing Windham Hill songs, but, since we were unaware of the arrangement, we blazed ahead with four rock songs, spazzed out in front of our hometown, and called it a day. And honestly, I thought it went really well. Our youngest fan (at least that I know of) was there, in her tiny birdmonster shirt, and we signed a poster for her, and that was maybe the highlight of the day. I felt like some kind of rock n' roll uncle. I'm smiling just thinking about it.

Clap Your Hands played a dreamy, acoustic set that was perfect for a Sunday afternoon. That song that ends with tons of "child stars"s is still in my head. Zach posted a rather blurry picture below, which proves a) that we were there, and b) that it was very red. I always enjoy seeing a band stripped down on acoustics and this was no exception. Their new songs sound pretty kick-ass as well, I must say. Bravos all 'round.

Which brings us to today and this week. But there's some good stuff happening, so, before I leave, let me tell you what the skinny is: In addition to the myspace page, which has three songs from the new album available for your discerning ears, Music For Robots posted a really nice little blurb about the forthcoming CD and tossed up a song which we haven't shared with the internet at large quite yet. It's called "Balcony" and it remains one of my favorites on the CD. So, hey, check it out. Free music, right? Who could ask for anything more?

We've also got two shows this week for our local folks. One is an acoustic thing at Thee Parkside where we'll play three songs, probably laden with banjo and whatever else we can toss together, along with locals Hijack the Disco and the Heavenly States. All the bands will play between six and seven while Ted from BAGeL radio will spin some songs on the hours that bookend that slot. The whole thing will go from five to eight, so you can be home in time for LOST, where FIVE EVENTS WILL HAPPEN, at least according to the previews. I hope one involves Jack getting bitch-slapped. I'm sick of that guy.

Friday, we play a full set with instruments that must be plugged in at Slim's. It's a Noisepop show, so get your tickets early. Film School, Cloud Room, and Send for Help will also rock out for your esteemed enjoyment.

Okay, I've put it off long enough. I've gotta fry up some old potatoes and get paid. Be good.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

clap your hands say yeah

...sent via sidecrack...

Friday, March 24, 2006

What's happening now, what's happening soon, and also, Number Munchers.

As Peter so aptly put it yesterday, we've entered the "slutty phase." For the next, oh, three or four weeks, we'll be whoring our music out to anyone who will give us the time of day. We'll be like the sonic version of those Scientology assholes on Market Street who never, ever, ever, leave you alone, even if your hands are full of umbrellas and newspapers and you're using your won't be that bad. I've had the near unquenchable desire to headbutt those people, but I'm not a violent man. I consider it punishment enough that their spiritual leader wrote Battlefield Earth. I'm more into cosmic justice than bruising my forehead.

The slutty phase has so far been, well, more promiscuous than slutty. We haven't descended to a Jerry Springer-esque level yet, so, my dignity is still mostly intact. But let it be said: that time could come.

So, why are we doing this? Well, because we're in business for ourselves and our debtors have goons. Big, stupid goons with blunt objects in the backseats of their goonmobiles. But, let me tell you something: it's a nice feeling. I'm used to being in business for someone else, which has involved haggling with ticket brokers, summarizing asbestos depositions, selling kid's clothes, and driving around Shamu's sperm---and you think I'm kidding. Peddling something we made, we funded, and we own: that's fun. Driving around orca spunk? Less fun.

And that's what I'm up to. Phone calls, poster hanging, blog scribbling---wheee. I'm splurged on a bagel this morning, which just about blew my budget for the whole weekend, but I was ravenous and lazy, which is a lethal combination. All us birdmonsters did make it to a show last night though, with our erstwhile cohorts tapes n' tapes, who sounded phenomenal, looked exhausted, got goaded into an encore, and are currently on the road to Portland. Best of luck with that, gents. I think you guys should try & find a middle school somewhere & play Oregon Trail, just for the sheer awesomeness of that. Man, good memories with that game. The grandpa never made it past Colorado in my experience. Which reminds me of Number Munchers, also a highlight of my salad days. I hope children are still getting valuable education with Ms. PacMan rip-offs. If not, I demand all my taxes & lost lottery tickets back. Now.

Anyway, here's what's up for the next couple weeks: We play a few songs before Clap Your Hands at the Metreon this weekend, as well as traveling to San Jose for the first time. Next week: a few song acoustic set at a BAGeL radio shindig at the Thee Parkside followed by a Noisepop show with Film School, who, I've heard, found their van, so not all is lost. That story depressed me a few weeks back, so I bought their album, which un-depressed me. Then, another weird acoustic thing on Live 105 on April 9th, right before our album comes out, which sounds like fun, unless my banjo gets more broken. Between all that: more whoring. I just had a blood test though, and I'm clean. So don't worry if you come in contact with me. I may be destitute, but I'm free of disease.

Oh: and to David, my old, old friend and noodling guitar player: happy birthday tomorrow. Yakmallah.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The situation

It feels like we've been working on this LP for a decade until I get off my lazy ass and check my Harry Potter calendar. Nope. Just over two months now. And, for all intents and purposes, it's out of our hands.

See, right now, the LP is being assembled somewhere under the expert guidance of the folks at Pirate's Press. They do a lot of stuff in Prague, so it's nice to know that even if I don't, our CD gets a vacation. I hope it brings back a nice chandellier, or at least some ass-tight vinyl pants. But I don't think it will.

(Weird tangent: The aforementioned Pirate's Press, who've printed everything for us since the dawn of the monster, is actually headed by an old high school friend of Dave & mine. Our EP was actually the first thing they ever slapped together. The weirdness is that after Eric at Pirate's printed the EP, I went home to hang out with my folks and revel in my surrounded-by-the-elderly upbringing and found, of all things, a disposible camera, once owned by Eric at Pirate's...from our high school grad night. Pictures of me with a bowl cut? I'm sure they're in there. Yet, as I write this, I have yet to get the little bastard developed. That's my project for tomorrow. So Eric, if you're reading this, prepare for the madness)

The moral of the story is that now, we wait. We approved the mastered tracks, the sequencing, the spaces between songs, the artwork, the whole goddamn kit and kabootle, and now...well...let's just say I won't be sleeping.

Speaking of mastered tracks, we switched out the unmastered myspace songs to now mastered myspace songs. The difference is glaring and gigantic to me, but I've also heard each song roughly three trillion times, so you may not be able to tell. Either way, they're right here, for your ears, your friend's ears, and the ears of your neighbor if you play it loud enough. Also, I have it on good authority that Ted at BAGeL Radio will be playing a song or two tomorrow during his live show, which got me through many Fridays of office chair indentured servitude.

And, no. Right now, I have no job. I've managed to spend a grand total of $6 in the last three days, which is a triumph for a man like me, who happens to be both a pack-rat and an impulse buyer. I'm the reason they put Butterfingers on the check-out stand, mister. Blame me. Of course, food & booze are running low and the inside of my room is just not that exciting anymore. I think I'm going to go into our bomb shelter, crack open some Spam, and pass out in a salty-faux-meat-induced coma. Now that, my friends, is a plan.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Waiting for FedEx...and the Repo Man

You know that saying, "Man cannot live on bread alone"? Yeah. Well, that guy didn't know what he was talking about. I've got $30 and no job, so, if I'm lucky, I'll be living on bread alone. If the going gets rougher, we'll find out if man can live on eggs and ramen alone, which, by the way, I'm sure he can, even though by the end of 2 weeks, he ends up looking like a scurvy ridden pirate whose hair is falling out.

So. We're back. 1800 miles later, we're home, and, as always, coming back to San Francisco is everything it's cracked up to be: all our friends, all our responsibilities, all that foggy goodness. I meant to write this puppy yesterday, but we got in at 6 in the morning, and with U-hauls to return and folks to be seen, the computer just didn't seem like a great idea. A day later, a few dollars thinner, it's the bee's knees.

Now, something about the album:

In the truest birdmonster fashion, we actually finished mixing it on the road. You see, our mastering date was yesterday at 10 a.m., and, because we had a tiny change or two that still needed to be made, we wrangled Brad for one last day of work. He made a couple tiny but necessary changes and emailed us the mixes so we could listen on iPods or in the car. The problem was, well, we were in the middle of the goddamn desert with no computer and, by the time we made it home, any comments we had would be useless, because the album was being mastered a couple hours later. So, what's a band to do? Well, what they do is drive into a coffee shop with wi-fi, pray that somewhere there has a Macintosh and a soft spot for a bunch of crusty looking birdmonsters, and lets them download the songs onto his/her computer. And you know what? It worked. We cruised into this pachooli-smelling cafe people by folks who were taking a break from...whatever it was they were play hackey-sack or twirl those weird pole things that hippies like and began looking for some kindred spirits. We found Staci, who I think was neck-deep in some sort of essay and was quite happy to let us give her a break and download the two files we needed for our ride. So, Staci, if you're reading this, you need to know you saved our collective ass and we thank you.

And like that, the CD was done. We got back into the car and the changes Brad made were perfect and we called him and told him he was our guru and savior and then he went in yesterday and had it mastered and it's being sent out to us today for delivery tomorrow. Of course, I'll hopefully be temping or something tomorrow so I don't have to test the above mentioned egg-and-ramen hypothesis, but if I'm not, I'll probably just sit on my front stoop waiting to descend upon the FedEx guy when he comes. I already feel like Calvin when he ate all those Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs so he could get the propeller beanie and he spends the next six weeks salivating outside his mailbox. The good thing is that I only have to wait a day and what we'll be getting is far better than a propeller beanie. Well, maybe not far better. I mean, those things are hot.

And, before I go, I must say this for not the first time and certainly not the last: Brad, you rule. Thanks for working harder than a Myanmar prostitute for the wages of...a Myanmar prostitute. Without you, God knows what this record would sound like. Probably like us recorded on my mom's old answering machine. We love you, your house, your work, and your cats. Mazel Tov.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go sit on the street corner and beg for dimes. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

That's that

We're nine hours deep in a twenty five hour drive,
coasting through the yawnfest that is West
Texas in the middle of the night. Once in a while,
you smell an oil rig or see a flattened armadillo,
but otherwise...pretty boring. Unless you like
counting mile markers. If you do: boy, do I have
the place for you.

The bad news is that we've got sixteen hours left
and that's if we make it through LA without
traffic, which would be a miracle on par with the
Second Coming or me enjoying a Kevin Costner
movie. We'll see how it goes. We're all a little
homesick though, and if you combine that with
coffee, in-car naps, and Graceland, we may not
stop at all. I say this at 1 in the morning, so
there's plenty of time to reconsider. For now:

We finished our tour, appropriately, in Texas at a
Hell Ya! show, who were actually among our first
and most enthusiastic fans in the aforementioned
city of angels. We even got one of them up on
stage to help break my long suffering tamborine.
That poor thing was held together with two kinds
of glue and three kinds of tape and it got a proper,
destructive funeral. So to Ashley: thanks.
Although, when I go home and put on my Dr.
Frankenstein lab coat, who knows what might
happen. I owe it, I think, one more surgery.

While whiling away our last night in Austin, we got,
yes, the last mix of the last song from Brad, who
was fresh off a plane from Japan. Now, we
master this puppy on the 20th, and send it off for
printing. Then, all you fine folks who've purchased
them already will get new birdmonster in your hot
little hands, which has really been the idea all

When we get back to the City, I'll get some of the
more amusing pictures together and share them.
For now, I'm going to chose some loud, sing-along
-y CD for Peter so he doesn't start going glossy on

There'll be a good deal of new in the next few
weeks, so, hope to see you soon.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Everything since Monday

Alright. Hello again. I'm a bit bloodied but all is
well. I'm going to do my best to bring us all to
speed. Here we go:

San Antonio.

I remember a guy stage diving backwards, except
it was more of a stage fall and, sadly enough, nobody caught him. We
played at a spur of the moment type place, being that the original venue
mysteriously shut down, and you'd think that would be mean something
along the lines of a fetid shithole. But, in fact, the place---the
Limelight---was just a new club, something like a month old, and they
happened to be open on a Monday evening. Honestly, it was really, really
fun. I got to actually see Tapes n' Tapes and Seventeen
Evergreen, whereas, in Dallas, there was an
inpenitrable mass of humanity (tall ones too) in
front of them and me. That was pleasant.

That night, we stayed at a motel which claimed
bargains and delivered none, and debated the
merits of drinking out of the bathtub faucet. The next morning, it was
off to Austin, where we've been for a few days
now, watching the city devolve into a massively
loud festival. It's fairly bizarre. Everyone has those convention center
badges I usually associate with bad temp jobs I used to get...and will
probably be returning to. Thankfully, this is much
more fun than handing out fleeces at a B of A
convention. There's certainly more booze.

Originally, we'd planned to play two shows here,
Thursday & Friday, but the next day, we got an
invite to play instead of this band Diamond Dogs, who'd apparently
dropped out for reasons unbeknwownst to me. We played at a daytime,
Little Radio party (who were actually the first people to ever play any
of our songs on anything but our friend's CD players), and we
loved it. The show ended a bit unceremoniously,
with a cymbal getting kicked to the ground and sawing a cable in half,
but fuck it. You can't plan for things you didn't know were actually

I have to say that I enjoyed the night a bit more
than the show. We ended up scouring the city for food, choosing dog food
tacos, and settling in to a
dueling piano bar. Pete's Dueling Piano Bar, to be
precise. There's nothing like a Texan ridiculing some
Canadians while flubbing Oasis songs. There really isn't. One of the
guys playing that night was like the Texas version of the Jungleboat
ride at Disney land: really terrible jokes, but somehow, really
entertaining. He did a mean "Blister in the Sun." Seriously. Anyway, at
some point, when he had a few requests, he casually asked if there was a
drummer in the house. And you know what
we did? We ratted Zach out. Let it be said: never
commit a crime with me, because, apparently, you're going to jail.

So, Zach, Rusty, and the other guy with the hat
played Steppenwolf. It was that or Waren Zevon, and since Werewolfs of
London can't really hold a candle to Magic Carpet Ride, I think Zach
chose wisely.

Then, more shows. Watching them, instead of
playing them. Which is of course exactly what I need: loud music. But
I'm not really complaining. I just can't hear anything you're saying
right now. But, let it be said:
Group Sounds: you rule.

Which brings us up to today, where We played at this Fader Magazine tent
downtown at 5, which involved other people's gear, playing after Jose
Gonzales, and free pants. The stage there was outside and so, was
preheated to a pleasant hundred and eighty degees for
our set. I think we all felt a little delirious
afterwards, but it was a good kind of delirium,
the one you can remedy with free booze, water, and a big comfy chair. It
was really nice to see so many friends there, so, to everyone who was in
town and took time out of the musical clusterfuck to come see us,
thanks. I had fun.

Now, all I have to do tonight is eat this by now cold pizza and try to
rally for an evening of not messing with Texas. See you soon
...sent via sidekick, with apologies for the predictably screwy

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sunday in Texas

I'm in the car right now, outside what is perhaps
the most infuriating chain store ever. That's right!
Guitar Center! All purchases are guaranteed to
take at least forty-five minutes. All employees
are guaranteed to call you "bro." And regardless of
what you want to buy, they guarantee that none
will be in stock, even if you can plainly see
forty-five of whatever it is behind the counter.
Of course, when you're in Fort Worth and you
don't know any better, sometimes, you gotta
make a deal with the devil. Sadly, no Charlie
Daniels songs were involved.

Yesterday was showless and travel free, so we
spent the greater part of the afternoon and
evening tromping around Fort Worth. We went to
this place that had a hamburger bun signed by Wiliie
Nelson in a hermetically sealed glass case on the
wall and ate some meat. You can only eat meat
here. Potatoes are acceptible, but I think citrus is
actually illegal. Also, I was thinking about buying
this pink, confederate flag purse on the way to
the car, but I reconsidered, being that it was
perhaps the most innapropriate thing I could've
ever bought. I got a purple one instead.

That place with the Willie Nelson bun was
thoroughly badass though. In addition to John
Hancocked bread products (there were other buns
signed by Styx and Dolly Parto), there was live
country music ("You can take the girl from Texas,
but you can't take Texas from the girl"), pool
(which Pete & I lost), and a video game called
"Extreme Hunting", wherein I accidentally
slaughtered countless bear cubs with a crossbow.
There was even a mechanical bull somewhere,
which, in retrospect, I kinda wish we would've
ridden, but I couldn't stop thinking of that shitty
Travolta movie and it sort of soured me on the
whole ordeal. In fact, I think it's good policy to
avoid doing anything Travolta's ever done, except
breathing and drinking water. Next time, though:
the bull.

Today, we drive down the 35 to San Antonio, to
play on almost the same bill as the 10th in Dallas.
We'll be joined by Tapes n' Tapes & 17 Evergreen
again, which is really rather nice, since that night
still makes me smile. The venue we were going to
play originally closed (yes, for good and forever),
but the fine folks who put it together (Music For
Listeners) swooped on another space before we
even knew what happened. So a big, hearty round
of applause for those guys. If it wasn't for them:
street corner banjo.

Now: more driving.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

This weekend, so far

Apparently, it snowed in San Francisco. Not a blizzard or anything, just some whispy little things that turned to puddles when they reached the ground. I mention this only because here, in Texas, it's a humid eighty degrees and I'm walking around in flip-flops. There are some things I don't miss about home.

I do miss breakfast though. We've been in the habit of waking up around noon-ish, and at that point, your typical Texas restuarant serves obscene amounts of meat and obscene amounts of meat only. There's nothing like a pound of beef brisket to the face in the morning.

But so far, I'm liking this state. We're going to be here for about a week or so and have played two out of our planed five shows thus far. Dallas found us playing at the Cavern, a cozy, loud little dive, with Tapes n' Tapes & Seventeen Evergreen. Neither dissapointed. We've been dweebed out internet penpals with Tapes n' Tapes for a good third of a year now, and, I have to say, they're great guys. We met them late for dinner, they dining on pizza, while we chose to order BLTs slathered in rancid mayo and filled with lettuce I'm sure was from a salt water aquarium. They just seemed to be really enjoying themselves all night, which is not always the case with bands we play with. God knows why. We certainly do. Anyway, we play with those boys again tomorrow night in San Antonio. Seventeen Evergreen, weirdly enough, was the second SF band we hadn't played with at home but met out on the road this trip. I dug 'em. Where they've been in our Bay Area lives is a mystery, but we're remedying that next month at the Mezzanine.

You know another thing about Texas? Compliments sound waaaay better in a thick, southern drawl. Last night, this guy told us our show "changed his life," and, you know, if he wasn't southern, it might've sounded scary. We spent last evening at the Wreckroom---and don't you have to love a club whose name is a pun?---with a band called Black Tie Dynasty, who we realized as the night wore on, we played with exactly one year ago: March 11th. It was almost enough to make me go new-age on everyone, but I refrained, drowned my chakra with a two dollar beer, and enjoyed the show. It was BTD's hometown crowd & they worked it. Thanks again boys.

Below this post, you can see another thing that happened in Texas, namely the arrival of some long overdue merch. See, we were planning on having the album already, but as you folks who have pre-purchased know (and thanks again for that), we didn't quite get that together. Instead, we got some shirts and posters, one of which I'm holding proudly below. Make sure to notice, the drunken, 4 a.m., shit-eating grin.

Today, we're thinking of doing something non-band-y...which isn't even close to being a real word. Sorry bout that. We'll post some pictures soon too, now that we have a base of operations that isn't a borrowed Toyota. And I should of course remind you that our myspace page has three unmastered songs that'll be on the LP, out in about 4 weeks.

So, if you're in Texas, hope to see you this week. If you're in San Francisco, see you in a few weeks. And if you're anywhere in between, seeing you would mean that our car broke down or that we'd become honest to God vagrants. So, sorry---hope I don't see you.

Friday, March 10, 2006

An explanation

Last night we ate at a rather spicy and rejuvinating Tex Mex place in...Arizona? New Mexico? I don't know. It's fairly safe to assume I'll never eat there again, although enchilidas with a egg on them: the bee's knees.

Any way, on the way out of that place, there were those supermarket-y things with the plastic bubbles filled with shit you don't need for quarters you'll just lose anyway, and I decided to buy something. I was hoping for the necklace with the weed leaf made out of plastic diamonds or one of those sticky hands that ends up covered in cheezit crumbs. Instead I got some plastic teeth that tasted like putting a garbage bag
in your mouth. Below, and perhaps against my better judgement, is a photograph of my extremely intelligent purchase.
...sent via sidecrack...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Finally, finally, finally

See that link to our myspace page, over there on the right? It's underneath that picture of us looking excited and sort of confused, staring at a mixing board. Yup. Right there. Ok, you should click on that. Please. I know I'm getting a bit bossy, but it's for good reason, I promise.

That reason? New songs. Hence the title of this post. Listening to those will be far superior to reading whatever my flu-ridden, pseudo-aware brain can remember about last night.

...but, you must understand, I need something to do too. We're stuck in this car today for as long as we can handle it, which means somewhere in Texas. Big Spring is an option. I have no Texas knowhow, mind you, but it's a pretty big dot on this road atlas. There's also a Noodle, TX, but I'm pretty sure I'd be dissapointed if their mayor wasn't made of ravioli, which he probably isn't. I can't deal with that kind of
anguish. Point is, it's a long way from Tucson to Dallas, so we're just gonna drive until we start hallucinating.

So, Tucson: I can't say I saw too much of it, honestly, as we played at the Club Congess, which was like this self-sustaining bomb shelter you never have to leave. They had a restaurant, a bar, a venue, and a hotel all under the same roof---and, like good birdmonsters, we used all four. The rooms were free, too, and there were actually enough beds that no one had to sleep in the bathtub...this time. We got to play with the Heavenly States, which somehow we'd never done back home. They were

Speaking of Bay Area bands, we heard this morning that Film School's van got stolen in Pennsylvania. If you run across the culprits, please, kick them in the throat or groin. You can also give the band a few bucks to help them out, which I'm sure they'd appreciate.

And now, get out of here. Listen to those songs and let us know what you think.

...sent via sidekick, and therefore filled with infuriating line

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Damn you, Dakota Fanning

Hello from Godknowswhere Arizona. Much has happened since the last ill-formatted, backseat yammerathon, so, in the interest of expediency: onwards.

Right now, believe it or not, I'm listening to birdmonster. If it were possible, I'd just have the LP hooked up into my vein. Or I'd huff a rag made from the LP. Actually, I'd prefer the rag. I'm phobic of needles. But the addiction has a purpose today: we finally decided which songs go where, which songs have roast beef, which songs have none, and which little songs go wee, wee, wee, all the way home.

But that isn't to say that everything's mixed. Mr. Cook is working on the last song (both in his process and on the disc, coincidentally), our one reallllly long one. We aren't talking Wagnerian length here. Or even Dream Theatre...narian. Just 7 minutes. Any way, once that's waxed, there's mastering and...well...then it's yours.

By the way : I apologize in advance for any mispellings or thoroughly unfunny jokes. I blame it on a head full of mucus and the incredibly shitty Dakota Fanning, De Niro movie I suffered through last night. Don't watch that movie. I beg of you. Put in Gymkata instead. Or something with Heston, preferably being Biblical or violent, even more preferably both. Moses Chainsaw Massacre is a great place to start.

Except for the aforementioned album hoopla, the tour moseys on. The show in Los Angeles was pleasantly well-attended, despite soggy weather, and Division Day sounded as good as I've seen them. We're actually heading out with them in April, up through the Pacific Northwest, but more on that later. One extra cool thing about Monday: I got to meet an original member of At the Drive-In, who bought me a Red Stripe, overpayed us for an EP, and had glowing things to say about the show. That was nice.
Unlike my pre-show pancakes, which tasted like the gruel from some Dickens book or another. For shame, Brite Spot. Is Bisquick too much to ask?

So, tonight: Tucson. With hometown friends Heavenly States. Bring your desert-dwelling cohorts.

Oh yeah. Tomorrow: we post songs. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Plan D

I'm writing this from the birdmonster mobile command center, which, no matter what you're imagining, is really just zach's sidekick in the
crampy backseat of a borrowed 4-runner. My god. The keys on this thing are tiny. I predict popeye-esque thumb muscles in two weeks. Call the circus.

So: the car. I haven't yet divulged the entire story, and, since I'll be in this backseat for quite some time, trying not to piss all over my lap---mental note: less coffee before endless drives---I figured I could yammer at you for a moment.

Plan A was to buy an incredibly fancy super-mobile. Turns out incredibly fancy super-mobiles are incredibly expensive. So we moved to plan B: purchase a replacement birdvan. But when the best option you find has no back window and needs a spray of ether on it's engine to start, you move to plan C. I don't want my van addicted to 19th century painkillers. Plan C, though: it was an atrocious plan. Plan C: take two cars. Sheer misery. Plus we'd be missing out on the innevitable insanity that will
set in in about twelve days time.

And then there was plan D: the car trade. An old friend with a 4-runner offered to take Dave's grandpa sedan in exchange for a car with actual chutzpah. So Kelby, we salute you. I'd write you a sonnet if I could remember the rhyme scheme and if my thumbs weren't already burning.

Tonight: Los Angeles. We missed you. We've got one song left to mix and I get to shake Brad's hand for the phenomenal job thus far. And we're playing with division day tonight, who are some of our favorite people in the world. In fact: Einstein, Ghandi, then Division Day. I think we can all agree on that.

Now, a scratch-off awaits me. I hope it's one of those bingo scratch-offs. I like the implied drama of long, drawn out lotto tickets. They almost convince you that you didn't just flush three bucks down the toilet.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The first day of my fight against sloth

Well, well, well. I'm now officially a professional musician, which, if you want to be a pessimist about it, means that I'm really just unemployed. But let's not go there. It'd just ruin my buzz.

Now: what does one do when one is unemplo...a professional musician? The same thing we do every night Pinky: Try to take over the world! I can tell you that so far, I'm writing this blog and not getting paid for it. I'm also on my third cup of coffee and consequently, half way to my first ulcer. But there are big plans. Dave & Pete are heading south to check out a possible replacement birdvan, which, if functional, would have to be purchased, registered, and tuned up in the span of twenty hours. We've done it before. Last second panic is a wonderful thing. Of course, there's the temptation of the twelve noon brandy milk punch, but, like that Rilo Kiley song says, daytime drunks don't get anything done. So, we'll skip that.

The good thing is: I don't have cable. I can't relive the last time I was unemployed during which a strict regiment of Rice Krispies and hours of Judge Joe Brown were the daily plan. Oh...shit...Judge Joe Brown is on network TV. Must...stay...away.

Ah good: Brad just sent us a mix of what, as far as we've planned, will be the first track on the album. Daytime courtroom shows, begone! I actually haven't heard it yet, except on the in-computer speakers on this very machine, and those sound like a bad alarm clock radio, so comments based on that sound quality would be uncouth comments. But let it be said: if it sounds good here, it'll sound good anywhere. So, now I have things to do. To the family room, Pinky!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Adios, gainful employment

I'm having a problem not smiling. We aren't talking a put on, take-my-sixth-grade-school-photo smile here. No, no. We're talking a full fledged, borderline obnoxious, ear to ear smile. We're in "shit-eating" grin territory. And the weather's just fine.

See, it's my last day of work today. Thursday, I'll wake up without all the embarrassing ecoutraments of my employment: the headset, the Excel spreadsheets, the usually inedible nearby sandwich. It's the stuff of dreams here people. At least for those of us who never dreamed of working customer service at eight in the morning. Which, let's be honest, is probably all of us.

Let us never speak of this place again.

Of course, copious tasks await. So many that simply thinking about listing them just brought back the ol' eye-twitch. Now, I'm usually a very calm person. A few months ago, a unicorn could've bitch-slapped me and I'd've just said "how 'bout that?" These days, well, we're dealing with a monkey of a different color entirely.

Which is not necessarily a bad thing. I'd like to notice pimp-slapping mythical horses if they decide to come over. It's just that the list of things that still need doing before Monday (the tour) and then April 11th (the album release) is basically endless. This, parenthetically, is why bands have managers & bookers & the like. We've just got our little birdmonster family, which is a wonderfully disfunctional---like that grandma you had who said innapropriate sexual remarks at Thanksgiving, but it was hilarious, so you didn't feel awkward.

And no, that didn't really make sense. In fact, I doubt anything I do for the next week or so will. Looking forward to that.

Three songs left...