Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Well, I said I'd never do it...

Well, I said I'd never do it. I really did. I said it when I was in high school, watching some ungodly LoCal punkband butcher "Mrs. Robinson" at 200 beats per minute. I said "I'll never play a highschool quad. I'll never, especially, play the quad at my highschool." But my, my, my: how things change.

See, we were contacted quite some time ago by a group of rather eager kids in my hometown (suburban San Diego, if you must know) who asked if we'd play a benefit show for Ugandan children on the third of June. The catch, and I'm speaking from a personal level here, was that I'd be violating my youthful proclamation. To wit: Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, playing music in an area I used to eat lunch in while copying the odd answers out the back of my Algebra 2 book. Yet, lo and behold, I made a liar out of my younger self. Because we're going down south this weekend.

The nice part is, well, we're doing something nice. Benefit shows are a tricky thing, because, often, they're benefitting someone's weird little project and masquerading as some kind of non-profit do-gooder-ness. You get an email asking you to play a non-specific benefit show sponsored by some well-meaning organization only to find out that all the money is actually funding someone's art project, which happens to be a collage of tin foil and fingernails in the shape of the Virgin Mary playing the glockenspiel. It really can be rather disillusioning. That said, we have played some genuinely well-meaning ones, like a Get Out the Vote type event when Governor Conan the Barbarian called that hilariously sucky special election. I think this event is one of the good ones. So, I invite all you SoCal folks to come on out and share in what will surely be, at least for me, a very, very surreal Saturday.

Beyond that little anecdote, I must admit that I bid on another accordion on eBay. I'm attending a meeting at the Y this week though, don't worry. "Impulsive eBay Bidders Anonymous." "Hello, my name is Justin, and I have a problem," I'll say, and the nice old lady doing macrame will look up and smile at me and the kind of creepy looking bald guy with the turtleneck will say "The first step is acceptance" and everything will start getting better.

Lastly, go Heat. Not because I'm a real fan or anything, but because Shaq is cooler while he sleeps than I've ever been or even will be at any and all points in my life, added up and then squared. And also, the Pistons are annoying.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Welcome back; Go Stinky!

Most people, when they're a little too drunk, argue with their girlfriends or fall asleep with their shoes on or pick fights with 6'9" skinhead ex-linebackers. Not me. I bid on accordions on eBay.

Now, as most readers know, I can't afford an accordion. I especially can't afford an accordion whose shipping and handling costs were $90. Then, last night, while I was still blissfully ignorant about my impulsive (read: blotto) choice to bid on a 1940s Italian accordion I don't know how to play, I received an email from eBay informing me I'd been outbid at the last moment. Ah, serendipity. And I'm not talking about that shitty Cusack movie either. We need a phrase for poorly-decided-eBay-maneuvers, like posting your car for $10 or selling you soul or bidding on things you don't need and can't afford after too many gimlets. An eBoner? Meh. Maybe. I think we can do better though.

Beyond soggy computer idiocy, we also played a show this weekend at 330 Ritch, or, that club with the pole in the middle of it. Since we've played there last, the sound and stage underwent striking improvements, like one of those bitter chicks who goes on Maury twenty years after she gets stood up on prom night to show off her new tits. It's fantastic now. We got to see Push to Talk inside too, which was nice, since last time we met, we were outside in a hundred degree Chico weather with feedbacking monitors, shaky stages, and attendees playing frisbee. Needless to say, in their natural habitat, Push to Talk was wonderful. They released their CD within two weeks of us too. Worth a few dozen listens for sure. All said, a great night---thanks to all the folks who put it on, came, played, and even that smelly dude who loitered outside yelling about 'Nam. You're cool too, guy.

Sadly enough, that was our last San Francisco show until...eeek! July 15th. That's a bit depressing. But in the meantime, we've got BFD (sort of SF, but now quite) and afterwards, the East Coast will feel our wrath. And by wrath I mean our gas money. And borrowed equipment. It's been, I don't know, about seven years since I took a one-week jaunt through greater New England and I've never been to about three fourths of the places we're going, so, I must say, I'm excited. More on that later though. For now, I'm going to keep listening to Janis Joplin, who, according to those who were once in ten feet of her, reeked like a hobo. But damn could she sing. Go stinky!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Danger: Bad Jokes With-in; Proceed At Your Own Risk

When we toured with Division Day, we found out they had a fondness for creating side projects with hilarious names. A few of them even had songs. On tour, all of us who were fighting the monkey-flu we got in Seattle formed Mucus Pocus, for example. Not as funny out of context, perhaps, but, you know, just bear with me. It's Friday and I'm running low on material here. At any rate, Dave & I had a little couch-sitting session yesterday, complete with out of tune guitars & banjos & bad, bad, bad vocals in chromatic & minor keys, so we dubbed ourselves System of a Ho-Down.

Rim. Shot.

Dave also wants to start a Scandanavian metal band (nevermind that we're not from Scandanavia of course) that sings only about the interent and call it Memory of the Oversoul. I think that's the coolest metal band name ever. I defy you to trump me.

Obviously, I'm babbling. I should mention again that we have a show tonight with Push to Talk & Damone at the 330 Rich located, strangely enough, at 330 Rich Street. Merriment will be everywhere, so wear one of those Gallagher-front-row-plastic-tarp-sack things if you want to stay grumpy. Otherwise, come say hi, have a drink, get a sticker, put it somewhere it doesn't belong. It'll be grand.

Otherwise, enjoy your three day weekend. I'll enjoy these Cheez-Its instead.

p.s. yes I saw Lost. Yes it was convoluted, ridiculous, and totally awesome.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Tires! Shows! Tires!

Poor Patrick Stewart; will you ever be healthy? After only a month of birdmonstering, Sir Patrick has blown a coolant hose, leaked roughly nine thousand dollars of oil, and, now, blown a tire. And we've treated her so well too: we got her a new mirror when the right hand one fell out mysteriously in Northern California, we let her drink plenty of gas, we clean the bug corpses off as often as we can, and we removed those old bananas that had been under the seat for the past four days; in other words, she is loved. Hopefully, together, we can work through this. Tonight, she gets a nice sushi dinner and a drive through the park. We're gonna kill her with kindness.

Anyway, turns out we didn't really know how to change Sir Patrick's tires, so Zach, our neighbor, and I (along with BAGeL Ted, who did a lot of picture-taking and guffawing but very few tire-related activities) spent an hour and a half learning last night. Sure, sure: I understand the basic principles of tire changing, but in practice: not so good. At least I got to have oil under my fingernails while drinking beer and pretending I knew what I was doing. That was fun.

Now, re-tired and ready to go, we've got a show tomorrow night at 330 Rich with Push to Talk and Damone that we can make it to. I recommend y'all come out and enjoy. There will be loud music, bouncing and new stickers (spoiler: parachuting moose!). And, yes, yes: the East Coast will soon be upon us (more on that later), so for those who've been politely prodding us towards the Atlantic, we'll see you in June. Or early, early July. We'll be busy writing & scheming & booking & laughing at our tumorous bill-pile until then. Now, back to work, where they pay me, apparently, for not working...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Help us help you; actually, no. Just help us

So, with little occurring and work looming over my head, I decided to ask for some feedback. See, with copious time being spent in Patrick Stewart, we need things to do. Punch-buggie is just too violent.

We've got "Name that Bloke," gifted to us by Division Day, which I've explained before, but is basically a never-ending guessing game without hints. We've had a game going since East Texas and it shows no signs of letting up; my bloke is not R. Kelly, Joe Montana, or the guy who played Vigo in Ghostbusters 2. It's a great game, of course, but we crave variety; we need new games to go along with the ever growing list of greatest road-trip albums ever*. So, maybe you have a game you remember from your salad days, driving with Mom and Dad to some boring weekend excursion (maybe to an Amish village) and playing it with your sister, who just threw up all over the backseat to boot.

I ask because, well, with Pete & Dave out of town, and boring, business-y things happening in the world of Birdmonster, new music isn't getting finished and I'd rather not regale you with tales of sending out CDs in the mail or answering emails. So I'm asking something I meant to ask before we left last time. I'm also going to ask the Google oracle but don't be jealous: I like you more.

*among them: London Calling, Graceland, Creedence's Greatest Hits, the first Counting Crows CD, anything by Stevie Wonder, Astral Weeks, Recipe for Hate, Trapped in the Closet...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Hello again

My first work Monday in over a month happened to come on the heels of Bay to Breakers, which, if you don't know, is a day-long drinking binge disguised as a cross-city race that Kenyan folks always win. So I'm a little groggy. Tecate is a friend you do not betray.

We revisted our house-party roots this past Saturday, playing to a horde of Santa Cruz-ians who represented a variety of political and hygenic leanings. And let me tell you: they danced. Not the "I'm occasionally bobbing my head" dance favored by many a hipster, but full fledged bouncing, pogoing, and high-quality spazzing favored by the energetic, the innebriated, and the energetically innebriated. Any time you're invited to play a house with home-brewed beer, chickens, and an empty living room, you play it. That's the rule. It's in the book they give you when you first start touring, right after chapter 4: "If you must go fast food, just don't go Arby's." I'd show it to you, but it's like that book they give dead people in Beatlejuice; if you saw it, the whole balance of the universe would be upset.

Ok, so I'm babbling. It's because we've got a mellow week ahead of us as we book shows for the future, have a few loose practices, and deal with my first full work of gainful employment in a while. Should be fun. If you're around the city on Friday, come out and join us at 330 Rich, do a little dancing, and see some Birdmonster. If not, eat something pizza and watch Omega Man. You'll be happy you did.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

New ways to amuse yourself, or, we was boring yesterday

How nice it is to have an uneventful afternoon once in a while. Doing Nothing, double-capitalized. Of course, it was also nice seeing the Pistons choke on a chicken bone and finding a new Indian delivery place whose Sag Paneer didn't taste like Pinesol.

In lieu of tour stories, weird experiences, and financial whinings, I'm going to whore out a website for everyone. It's called Draw Here.

What is it? Basically, it's internet photoshop: you can go to you favorite or least favorite websites & graffiti all over them. It's strangely addictive & ranks highly on my list of "Websites I visit while avoiding work like the plague." The most genius part: you can see what others have drawn on different websites with a simple click of a button. And yes, someone beat us all to

So enjoy doodling. And yes, LOST was wonderful last night. Withdrawals forthcoming in t-minus six days.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I missed you, impenatrable fog layer

It's halfway through May, the tour is over, and it's time to start thinking about the ever pressing issue of rent. And food. And haircuts. I don't want to start looking like Bootsy Collins over here; I don't think I could pull off the sunglasses. So the issue, of course, is money, and, rather than pull a Margita Bangova, I decided to crawl back to work, yet again. I have expensive, say, not eating cardboard.

Of course, I exagerrate. We did rather well on our tour of the Northwest & the Midwest & the Southwest & the ever elusive Westwest, but we have creditors and they have goons, so, in the interests of not bleeding internally, I'm back at work. Hip hip hooray.

I spent my first and only true day off scouring my room for old letters, drum machine chords, and clean socks while taking too many banjo breaks. In the end, the room is now actually dirtier, but there's a few bags of trash to show for my efforts. And a nice little banjo ditty. Last night I was lucky enough to check out Cloud Cult & Hijack the Disco at the Makeout Room and they were both worth the lack of sleep. I've got that post-show-ten-song-medley-stuck-in-my-head-thing going on to boot and it's a rather enjoyable one. Lots of keyboards and catchy basslines. Bravo to both.

So, 8500 miles, 27 days later, we're home and we're rested and we get to crank out the new songs that have been sugarplumming through our noggins in the van. But first a break. And, of course, LOST. I've missed the last two episodes (SO SHUT UP) but I'll be caught up tonight. Hook it up to the vein.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ah, the wonders of posting in my pajamas

Like the doormat says, "Home Sweet Home." Or, just as accurately, "God Bless this Mess." I always remember my room cleaner than how I actually left it.

At any rate, it's true. We're home, more or less, for three weeks, until departing again on the tenth of next month for the East Coast to play on other people's gear, drive in other people's cars, and play in other people's cities. We're upping our vagrancy ante, my friends, and seeing New England for the first time as the birdmonster that we are.

So, we finished our tour with a two show double header with the Fall over at the Independent which I ostensibly live next door to. That part was nice. There's been some drama on that tour (see various screeds & articles online, if you must) but everyone I met seemed wonderful. Not to mention that the five folks in the band have only been playing together for about five days and are ridiculously tight, despite earlier unpleasantness. A fun show, with new people in the audience to boot. The old faces, though, brought a smile to mine. It's great being home.

I think I hear Judge Joe Brown calling me. I'll see you tomorrow.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Fall show knowhow

Ladies, gentlemen, those of unknown gender and
sexuality: tonight and tomorrow night's Fall shows
are two band bills, just us & them. We're on at
8:30...ish. Be there early & have a drink, should you
be near the panhandle.

"...And that's the most important thing"

After roughly a month with shows nightly and one
night in our own beds, we're homeward bound like
Simon and the less talented Garfunkel. Tonight
and tomorrow, though, we're playing the
Independent with the Fall, so, heads up there for
the home towners.

So, we've had three shows since we parted ways
with Art Brut and tagged the Robocop Kraus like
the Bushwhackers would have done in the olden
WWF days. San Diego was dang fun, followed the
next morning by Peter asserted HORSE dominance
on my home court, no less; Earl Boykins I am not.
Then we did a double-header in LA, once at the
Spaceland and once at the Knitting Factory...

Wait. So, I have to tell a brief story. Outside the
Knitting Factory, while we getting ready to leave,
I heard something flabbergasting that has to be
shared. Without introduction, this quote (not about
us, mind you), is my best bad line of the tour:
"Yeah, but they dressed really well and that's the
most important thing." And no: not a joke. It was
depressingly hilarious though, like watching that
Home Improvement 10th banana guy host the
Family Feud.

Oh. And "Name that Bloke" continues, with many
blokes eliminated (not Kevin Nealan, not Montell
Jordan, not Brad Renfro) but the real blokes
undiscovered, except Peter's, who was Joe Pesci.
Now, we slowly scale the Grapevine, praying Sir
Patrick doesn't start smelling like coolant. See you
in fogtown.

Friday, May 12, 2006


...sent via sidecrack...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Adios Europeans; Hello Californians

Well, we made it. Yesterday's drive was a total of
twenty one hours, with stop off's at Chuy's
Mexican Eatery (in the John Madden Hall of Fame,
no less) and an Italian place in Gila Bend, which
was pretty phenomenal. We avoided the roadside
trifecta of unforunate bowel movements (KFC,
McDonald's, and Subway) the whole way and Sir
Patrick managed over a thousand miles without
exploding. Now, to San Diego, well rested to boot.

So, we finished our ten days with Art Brut in
Houston and passed the support torch to the
Robocop Kraus, a thoroughly kick-ass and
gentlemanly German indie band who cruised into
the venue decked out in matching Wal-Mart
ensembles. If you haven't seen five grown men in
yellow Aloha shirts, blue short shorts, and
matching slippers, you haven't lived. They put on a
helluva enjoyable show along with some gimmicks
and tricks I've never seen before (the best: the
singer lifting the drummers snare drum while he
played it and leading him through the audience
without missing a beat). Best to those boys.

We ended our week-plus sojourn with Art Brut by
breaking my two-year old tamborine into three
pieces and storming the stage during their encore,
cymbals, clapping hands, and a properly working
tamborine in hand. Afterwards, we all realized
every show should've ended that way, although
that would've meant several more bloodied
knuckles and very bruised palms, so perhaps a
proper finale was the way to go. Then, the sad
end. Everybody exchanged email addresses and
hugs and learned Eddie's pin number and it felt like
the end of a really blotto summer camp. A totally
lovable band, that Art Brut.

But now, we're homeward bound after only a night
in our own beds since April 19th, with lessons
learned from the aforementioned Brits and our
band bestfriends, Division Day. I get to watch
basketball, catch up on Lost, figure out how to
pay rent, see our buddies, and eat something that's
not slathered in grease. And finally, we can sit
down and write some new music. Hooray for that.
But I'm a bit ahead of myself. We've got 250 miles
to San Diego and two shows in LA first, then two
at the Independent with the Fall and the Talk on
the 14th &15th before we can really relax. For
now, let's all just sing along to some Tom Petty,
plugs our noses as we drive through another
stretch of cowshit, and try not to pull over too
often to pee. See you soon.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Our 26 hour drive

...sent via sidecrack...

400 miles...from El Paso

Much to say, much to say, but for now, I will be
curt. With 1500 miles to cover in less than 2 days,
and a good high energy show working our brains like
trucker uppers, we decided to drive through the
evening. I took the first shift out of Houston,
which began with a rousing game of "Name that
Bloke" (any guesses?), continued with London
Calling (up there with Graceland in the pantheon of
road-trip albums) and horrific rest stop coffee.
Then I crawled into the back seat for a cat nap
and woke up to Bad Religion screaming "Fuck
Armaggedon, This is Hell." Definately the theme
song for this drive, I'll tell you that much. Let it
be known: Texas is too big. I'm putting it on the
Atkin's diet. They've got the meat to do it too.

I'll post about the last Art Brut show soon when
I've got my wits about me and a little Denny's in
the tummy. For now, someone pass me some beef
jerky and slap me. Nah. Just slap me with beef
jerky. That's better.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Deep in the heart of Texas for at least 24 more hours

Bonjour, one and all. We're in Austin, glazed with sweat, owing to the 4000% humidity, getting ready for our final show with Art Brut in Houston. Sniff, sniff. We'll miss those boys (and girl) and their top of the popsness. But there is no time for glumness, since we've still got one more show and a van to pack and, since we're in Texas, meat to eat. Bring me the ribcage of a four legged mammal.

So, I mentioned last time that we changed our day off to an impromptu show day in Dallas, at an incredibly cool, divey place called the Double Wide. If you ever hear me complaining about a camoflague soundbooth with a stag's head on it and free Lonestars, you can slap me. The opener (who had, somehow, even less notice than us) was called St. Vincent, which is misleading since St. Vincent was not a band, but a girl with a guitar. She had this Jolie Holland with jazz chords thing going on, and, well, was my favorite opener thus far. We spent that night playing a few we hadn't played in ages, including No Midnight, which always goes over well in Texas. This may sound stereotypical, but Texans love the banjo. And god bless that. We could all learn a thing or two from them. Except how to select a governor...of course, we elected Arnold and Reagan, so I wouldn't take lessons from California either.

That night, we got our first good sleep in weeks, cruised to Austin and played Emo's, after some aforementioned barbequed meats and wonderbread. Have to say that Emo's treated us really well, gave us more drink tickets than William Faulkner could've used, and the sound there was, well, unreal. It definately deserves its mythic status.

For those who may be worried or wondering, Patrick Stewart had some sort of faith healing in Kansas and no longer leaks oil at alarming rates. In fact, it's been several hundred miles since we had to fill her back up. Keep your fingers crossed; perhaps that Madame Laveau comment a while back worked mysterious wonders. Only time will tell.

So: to Houston, home of NASA, our last show with Art Brut, and 7'6" Chinese centers. Onwards.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Tales of the Midwest

Despite indulging Sir Patrick's quart an hour oil
habit, we are championing onwards. Since last time
we spoke, have put down almost a thousand miles,
seen David & my's oldest friend, and eaten some
of the worst diner food ever devised. Let's tell
some stories.

Denver: I've been once before, maybe four years
ago to see the worst basketball game ever (the
Nuggets and the Sonics, back when Payton was on
Seattle) and spend New Years wandering the
snowy streets with a rabbitfur Russian hat and
the aforementioned old buddy, Webb. This time:
less snow, more noise. The club in Denver, the Hi
-Dive, treated us so well, and, well, we send our
thanks and tip our collective hat. Four words:
Sweet potato french fries. Let it be known: I
would have accepted seven sacks of sweet potato
fries in lieu of payment. My mouth waters at the

After the show, dancing and bad video games were
in abundance. Turns out I only have about five
dance moves, but none are the white-man-arm
-waggle, so, points for me.

The next afternoon, which was yesterday, we
rolled through Kansas, which is, well, it's really
flat and really green. Also, I think highway 70 has
four turns in it. Total. Lawrence was a cool town
though, and the club was gorgeous. We sort of
neglected to account for the hour time change, so
we missed soundcheck, but that's par for the
course these last couple days, especially now that
Patrick Stewart is ravenous for oily goodness.
Webb accompanied us to Kansas as well, which
allowed for some really epic DMX sing-alongs and a
stop off at Sonic Burger, a mistake I've made
twice now. At least they'll put Vanilla in your Coke
while they put the pain in your gut.

The Kansas show was, I think, my favorite. Why?
Well, we played well and played Spaceman, which
we haven't played too much this trip and always
puts me in a great mood. After the show was
actually better than the show itself. Us
Birdmonsters and a few Art Bruters spent about
half an hour backstage singing Weezer songs, with
Art Brut's drummer (Mike) displaying his
unbelievably encyclopedic knowledge of every
River's Cuomo guitar part ever. Bad harmonies and
attempts at the falsetto Weezer "Ooh"s were
executed with drunken precision, and, in the end,
the club pretty much had to kick us out. Jaime is
still in my head.

And then there's tonight. We nixed our day off
(who needs breaks?) as Chris from Gorilla Vs. Bear
offered to set up a spur of the moment Dallas
show and we couldn't turn it down. We like Texas.
We like Chris. It seemed natural. So we're driving
now, many hours and plenty of oil away, but
tonight, it seems, we'll be Art Brut-less and
sleeping in Fort Worth after yet more
Birdmonstering. If you're in Dallas and don't care
about your Monday work performance, you should
come on out.

After this: two more Texas shows, then
westward, to San Diego and the land of the
vanquished Lakers. Part of me wanted them to
lose to the Clips instead, but when the villians die,
you can't complain about why.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Problems and their half-assed solutions

Do you believe in curses? I do. And, the sad truth
is, I think Patrick Stewart might be cursed. See,
yesterday, as we sped through New Mexico,
listening to Richard Buckner (who actually sounds
like New Mexico), we noticed a sporadic stench, an
unmistakable one, the smell of burning oil. But, as I
said, it came, then went, every hour or so. Then,
somewhere just past Santa Fe, we started trailing
a plume and smelling like those parts of Texas do
so we pulled off, turned around, and trundled back
to Sante Fe, unpacked the van, and slept the sleep
of the spastically worried.

Pete and I woke up the next morning (this morning,
actually) and went to Pep Boys for a diagnostic. A
surly woman with bad pants and a guy named
Wilson told us that we had a leaky oil pan and a
different, leakier rear gasket, which, although only
worth sixty bucks combined, would take about
seven hours to fix, thanks to being buried under
most of the transmission and engine. Good ol'
American cars. "How much?" we inquired. "About a
thousand bucks," the replied. Then I ripped out a
chunk of my hair and politely relayed that we
could scarely afford last night's desperation Taco
Bell, let alone a four-digit car repair, let alone lose
the full day getting her repaired, when most of our
drives are 550 miles a day.

So, here I am in the backseat, relegated to plan B.
We bought about 6 kegs worth of motor oil and, on
the advice of badpants, Wilson, and our at home
mechanic, we're stopping every 200 miles to check
the levels. Now, basically, I'd come to terms with
the fact that I was going to spend the remainder
of our journey grinding my teeth in anticipation of
a full-fledged Patrick Stewart meltdown, but, at
our last check, we'd barely lost any.

So, is she cursed? It's possible. I wish Madame
Laveau was still around so I could ask her. For
now, I'm just going to cross my fingers, check
fluids more often than an OCD In'n'Out emlpoyee
washes his hands, and forge ahead. There are,
after all, shows to play.

Tucson was the last of these. After the van's
first on-tour repair, we cruised up well past
soundcheck and well past when any palatable
restaurants were still serving, right after the
Cavs beat the Wiz, and right about when doors
were opening. A hectic day usually transaltes into
a good, exhausting show and Wednesday was no
exception. At least I think it was Wednesday.
Anyway, we had a good time, once the day's
madness was stained with some liquor and British
accents. Art Brut, again, kicked ass. They've
started their last three shows with eight bars of
AC/DC and tonight promise something a little
different. Here's hoping for Whole Lotta Love or,
at least, a whole lotta Muscrat Love.

They've been great tourmates, by the by: Jovial,
loud, hilarious; nothing but good things to say. Hell,
they bought me a power chord at Guitar Center
before I knew half their names (back in SF). We
would've loved to see them on Win Ben Stein's
Money alum Jimmy Kimmel's show last night, but,
well, we were too busy trailing smoke up the 25.
Hope they rocked late night TV's face off.

Hmm. We're getting hailed on now. Bring the pain,
New Mexico. Patrick Stewart might be cursed, but
at least she's water-tight. Onwards, Birdmonster!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Success is ours

50 dollars, 2 hours, and one new, less leaky hose
later, we're back in business, coasting downhill
thru southeast California. Let it be known, the
bearded mechanic in Pine Village is both a
gentleman and a scholar.

This part of California sort of looks like a Road
Runner cartoon; here's to hoping we run across
some free birdseed soon, or a tunnel painted on the
side of a bluff. Art Brut is long gone, of course, as
they are in one of those luxury liner buses, with
bathrooms, DVD players, and a lifesize chess board
inside. They were great last night, by the way: the
smaller club (the Casbah) did them justice. I hear
we were good too, but I couldn't really tell as I'm
still fighting off this goddamn fever so I basically
spent last night's show concentrating on not
fainting. They also had a supremely awesome Ms.
Pacman, which Peter demolished me at...again.

We then went back to my folk's house, which
meant hanging out with my cat and eating
pancakes and bacon in the morning. Thanks pappy.
That was a fine way to start the morning. Much
better than waking up to Taco Bell, which is a near
innevitability this trip. Hold the white sauce,
please. My stomach hates me for just mentioning

To Tucson we go.

Stopped in Pine Village

Ah, back to Arizona, land of the ridiculous gas
station. We come from California, where gas
stations sell Cheetos, Junior Mints, and lottery
tickets, so, I must say it's surprising to see a 600
pound geode when you're topping off the tank. The
thing is, there's not a whole lot of civilization in
Arizona. The towns we've been in have been
excellent, but it's one of those states where the
scenery can be positively horror-movie. I'll watch
out for the shifty eyed gentlemen with chainsaws.

But, I get ahead of ourselves. Currently, we're still
in California, with a good five hours to go. I'd like
to a moment, too, to shudder at the 3.60 a gallon
we just paid to fill up our tank while Patrick
Stewart peed out some (hopefully) unnecessary
coolant. That was fun. In the most sad and
sarcastic way possible.

In fact, we're going to take her to a backwoods
mechanic now...speaking of horror-movies and price
-gouging. Cross your fingers for us.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

She was the kind of girl who could say things that weren't that funny

We're on the road again, like Willie Nelson, except
without the man pigtails. Everyone's on about
three hours sleep after our first show with Art
Brut in the ex-brothel that is the Great American
Music Hall last night, and I've been coughing up
what looks like raw eggs, and having really intense
fever dreams about waking up blonde. Tonight, we
venture to San Diego, where Dave & I both spent
our salad days being awkward and learning Iron
Maiden songs out of guitar magazines. Ah, the
memories. Tonight's show is at the Casbah, which
is a venue I never quite got to go to, since it was a
bar and I was, at the oldest, in high school, so, on
a personal level, I kind of excited about that. I
can't for the life of me remember which bands
came to the Casbah when I was younger, but I
remember wanting to go. No matter. It was
probably Tesla or Dokken or something.
Sometimes, not getting what you want can be the
best thing for you.

It's almost two in the afternoon and we just
crawled up the Grapevine and are nearing Magic
Mountain, which means that the pit of traffic hell
known as LA looms on the horizon. But I think we
might be hitting it just right, directly after the
lunchtime trafficjam and a few hours before the
dinnertime, workday clusterfuck. I just hope the
afternoon tea traffic is a sick rumor. Cross your
fingers for us.

So, last night: so nice to see some friendly faces,
so great to be home. Sure it was for two incredibly
short days, but we got to see our birdgirls, sleep in
our own beds, see that Colbert thingie on the
internet, and cram in some desperately needed
laundry time.

And the show last night was fantastic to boot.
The gents (and lady) in Art Brut are incredibly
friendly and their live show is, well, you sort of
just need to see it, but it's damn fun, well done,
and totally endearing. I'm looking forward to the
week or so with them for a variety of reasons.
One: I get to see 'em live eight times. Two: I get
to place bets on which birdmonster will slip into a
faux-british accent first. Three: we're playing
fancypants venues. Four: mustaches comma
singers with them.

In fact, the list goes on, but it will be innumerated
in the coming days. I hope that's the right word. I
like how it sounds.

That said, we Birdmonsters do miss Division Day.
We miss their caseless keyboards and jumping
onstage for Tap-Tap Click Click and whooping
them at wiffleball and all else. Next year,
suckers, we'll record Stoked Palace. Oh yeah. And
we know Brett's bloke. Mwahahahahaha! We're
taking it to the grave too.

After a painless jaunt through LA proper, we're
now bogged down in random-outskirt traffic, but
at least we've got Graceland. Thank God for
Graceland. I think I need to start singing along.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Home today, gone tomorrow; and also, some pictures

Before I get down to doing the mid-tour laundry, packing my hobo bindle, and purchasing replacement chords, picks, strings, and the like (fyi: beer spills and instrument cables don't mix), I'm going to make good on my promise of picture-y goodness from a half week ago. And you thought I'd forgotten. Have some faith.

Just so we're clear: these aren't all the pictures, nor even the best ones (okay, I lie, I did manage to find my absolute favorite), but for the time being, hopefully they'll solidify the epicness of the castle and provide you with a chuckle or two on this Monday morning.

I should of course mention that we're playing with Art Brut tonight at the Great American (SF) and then heading out of the gas-guzzling-est tour in Birdmonster history starting tomorrow morning. Let it be known: Houston to San Diego is 1500 miles and we have a day and a half to do it. Odds of me going Vincent Dinofrio in Full Metal Jacket at some point in that drive: three to one.

Anyway, please check the tour page for upcoming shows if you're so inclined. Also, if you see our old van in LA, please light it on fire, as, for some reason, the DMV still thinks it's ours and is putting liens on my assets. But ha! The jokes on them. I have no assets.

Alright. Here's the castle exterior at 2:30 in the morning, the night we arrived:

...which led, naturally, to swordplay:

This is actually a typical room. Notice the armor and the animal noggins, as well as the thoroughly kick-ass doorway...

The following day, there was much wiffelball to be had. Brett through at heads. His pants were covered in feces

Peter with the original Division Day guitarist:

That's good for now. Plus, I'm really behind on that whole van-cleaning/laundry-doing/stuff-buying plot. See you shortly, we hope.