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Monday, July 28, 2008

The Gay Blades Tour Logs From Drummer Puppy Mills, PT2


Kansas City, MO - Gate's Bar-B-Q:

When you pull into the parking lot of Gate's Bar-B-Q, the little arrow sign
at the entrance to the parking lot that usually says "Enter"
instead says "HI". This pretty much gets you ready for the experience you
are about to have at Gate's (or pretty much anywhere in the midwest / south
for that matter): Polite, but simple.

Gate's has six locations, most of which are in Kansas City, MO, which is not
in Kansas. (It's like how the NY Giants play in NJ.. it probably has the
same amount of steroid riddled meat too.) When you walk in to the
restaurant, the women behind the counter greet you with polite enthusiasm,
alien to us, as we are so used to eating in restaurants in NYC, where the
most you'll get is "NEXT!"

So anyway, I ordered the burnt ends sandwich, and the other guys ordered the
combo plates (ribs, ham & beef). Burnt ends are "the ends of a smoked beef
brisket, trimmed off and double-smoked". It tastes like someone took all
the little meat pieces that find their way to the edge of the grill after
hours of cheese-steak making, and then stuffed them into a sandwich.. but in
a good way. It was super-smoky tasting, and when dipped into Gate's
original and hot sauces, was a messy greasy feast that melted the bun in
your hand, and their fries were the perfect amount of crispy on the outside,
soft in the middle.

Now I have to give props to the ribs, which I ate for the experience alone,
since I usually don't like ribs. These tasted like they were ripped from
the chest of god himself, and then slow cooked in a magical tasty-matic oven
invented by Thomas Edison's ghost. I got so mad that I had wasted stomach
space on the burnt ends sandwich (which, as I said, was really good when not
being compared to the ribs) and flipped the table in a fit of rage. The
super-friendly staff then came over, fixed and cleaned everything up,
refilled our drinks and offered us a to-go box. Seriously, the wait staff
there is incredible.

Aside from their awesome food, they also sell their eponymous sauces for
under $3 for each 8 oz. bottle, and gift packs of bbq sauces and spices too.
On the BBQ scale of "Tough-Guy Texas Style BBQ" to my uncle Ron's "of course
ketchup and steak sauce mixed together is the same as BBQ sauce" I rate
Gate's Bar-B-Q "Table Flippin' Good." Also, they give you extra (free)
sides of their sauce and to-go cups for your soda when you leave.

God's ribs. Seriously.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Gay Blades Tour Logs by drummer Puppy Mills

[The Gay Blades Tour Log | MySpace.com/GayBlades]

Touring is great. Sleeping in a van with 3-8 dudes in Texas on a 95 degree humid day. Playing stages in hot rooms with bad sound. Carrying equipment. Arm wrestling bouncers. All of these are "part of the job" when it comes to touring... so when Mishmash Magazine asked me to do a blog reviewing all the crazy foods we could find on the road, I jumped at the chance. I mean, how often do you get to eat all the crappy, heart attack inducing food you can handle and actually have a legitimate reason for doing so (other than just "being an American")?

Cincinnati, OH - Skyline Chili:

Skyline chili is a small chain of Ohio chili restaurants originally opened by a Greek immigrant whose secret chili ingredients include chocolate and cinnamon. I ordered the 3-way chili which is spaghetti, chili, and cheese, and a "Coney" which is a mini hot dog, also smothered in chili and cheese. (The 4-way chili includes onions, which taste bad, and the 5-way chili has onions & kidney beans, which taste bad and are gross.) I also opted for the habanero cheese and a crap load of hot sauce on both dishes. Let me tell you something; if you play drums fairly violently in hot clubs for forty minutes at a time, and you want to be able to throw up a little bit in your mouth every couple of minutes during your set, just eat any greasy food smothered in hot sauce within the two hours before your set. Drinking warm beer during the set helps too. Eating Skyline chili and hot dogs with hot cheese and extra hot sauce not only lets you taste your food again while playing, it also makes people who clean bathrooms that band guys use hate god.

On the chili scale of "Hormel" to "Soylent Green", Skyline Chili gets a rating of "Cinnamon" - it's bittersweet and you don't want it in most foods.. including chili...

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

BOY A : Movie Screening

Jules of Cinema Movie Blog

Boy A
by Julia Marchese

Official Selection
2008 Tribeca Film Festival
2008 Berlin Film Festival
2007 Toronto Film Festival
2007 London Film Festival

Screens at the Los Angeles Film Festival June 27-28

Opening July 23, 2008 in NY at The Film Forum and July 25, 2008 in LA at the NuArt.

Not Yet Rated by the MPAA
Running Time 100 minutes

I went into the screening of “Boy A” completely blind. I had no idea what the movie was about, when or where it was made, who was in it, nothing. I got a pleasant surprise.

The film was made in England and directed by John Crowley (INTERMISSION, CELEBRATION, THE PILLOWMAN). Newcomer Andrew Garfield plays Jack Burridge, a 23 year old boy just released from a psychological prison. He had been there since he was 10, after committing a horrible crime. Peter Mullan (THE MAGDALENE SISTERS, CHILDREN OF MEN) plays Terry, the boy’s guardian during his tough transition into the real world.

The performances in this film are superb. Garfield has the lost puppy dog eyes and shy smile that makes the audience sympathize with him, even when we learn of his hideous past. Mullan shines as Terry, a man who just wants the world to believe that even “bad” people are inherently good, and can change for the better. Katie Lyons (GREEN WING) does an incredible job as Michelle, the girl that Jack falls for. She presents the character as self assured and playful, but with a longing underneath.

Although this movie is very intense and a bit disturbing I think it really works. It never veers into melodrama, and really lets you see the world through the eyes of the characters. It’s definitely worth seeing.

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Joey Letz, Hanzel Und Gretyl : Tour Logs

JOEY LETZ kicked off his tour with HANZEL UND GRETYL June 12th @ Rebel in NYC. He'll be sending Mishmash his tour journals while he's out! The tour runs through June 22nd, so keep checking in for more of Joey's stories from the road.....
[Tour Logs posted newest to oldest... scroll down for Day 1 entry]


I'm really sorry I fell behind...stay tuned for more tour journal updates coming soon!!

Hanzel Und Gretyl : Tour Day 8 : Peabody's in CLEVELAND, OHIO

Woke up at like 5 or so for soundcheck. I asked Joe to set aside a little extra time for me at the end of each soundcheck to learn some new COMBICHRIST songs which I need to have prepared for our show in LA in a week and for European tour. He made it happen and told me that he will try to for the rest of tour. I thanked him by smashing him in the head during “Fukken Uber Death Party” tonight during the show. It’s his own fault for getting within 5 feet of my back during a performance.

The club tonight is callled Peabody’s, and it’s in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the club that pretty much everyone plays when they are coming through, much like the Masquerade in Atlanta. After soundcheck it was time to find a decent bathroom for Loopie and I. Funny thing you may not know is that women who tour with other women will tell you that after a month or two they start menstruating at the same time. Weird thing about Loopie and I is that we seem to have to drop the bomb at the same time everyday. SHIZAH! Well the toilets in Peabody’s don’t even have doors on them. WTF! One thing I love about Europe is that European people seem to have a general understanding of the importance of privacy when it comes to things like this. Well not here in America, and ESPECIALLY not at CBGB's (RIP) or Peabody's. I did remember however that there was this special lounge area upstairs that was pretty private, so we rocked those out good and proper. And that’s where I grabbed these candid shots of Loopie droppin a deuce! SCORE!

After that, Loopie and I decided to venture round the ghost town in search of Starbucks. Surprisingly enough, we found one within like 5 blocks. I tripped on this fuckin 6 inches worth of a pole comin out of the ground on the way there. DERF! Who leaves shit like that! I DO NOT GET IT!... Well anyway, I’m happy to say that I had like one of my BEST Starbucks experiences EVER! First off, there was absolutely NO LINE! Then when I ordered my coffee I said something a little silly like, "the biggest cup of coffee with the most caffeine in it" and the girl behind the counter suggested I get a cup of coffee with a bunch of shots of espresso in it. I never really thought about doing that unless I was getting a latte or something, so that was a good suggestion. I also ordered a toffee almond bar. Yum. She also asked me if I needed room for cream, which rarely happens AND she didn’t correct me when I asked for "the biggest". Then something new and interesting happened that kind of excited me. She actually asked me if I wanted a receipt or not. I said no, and noticed that she didn’t throw one out. I asked what the deal was and I learned that Starbucks has realized that a lot of paper is wasted every day by receipts all around the world, so they now will ask you if you want one or not before they print one. AWESOME! I have like 65 useless receipts for like gum and crap in my wallet right now. I hope they start doing this everywhere. All in all, it was a great trip to Starbucks, and Loopie even mentioned that it was too bad that we had already pooped cause the bathroom was in fact in such a non conspicuous place that we could have spent as much time in there as we wanted and not felt like everyone was staring at us when we got out (which is kinda what happened to me yesterday in Columbus).

Got back to the venue, and I’m feeling really tired for some reason, even though I got my coffee. Hung out on the bus for a bit until 9 when my good friends COLUMBINE were to hit the stage. COLUMBINE is a band that I first met while playing with GENITORTURERS in Detroit like 5 years ago. I fell in love with these kids, they are super creative and original and I just absolutely love their energy as people and as performers. I’ve since made sure that they play with whatever band it is that I’m coming through their neck of the woods with, and would love to do a full tour with them one day. They had this white sheet that they hung across the stage like a curtain/banner that said COLUMBINE on it with red paint, and it looked like blood. They also have a new drummer, this kid Matt, who I met when he played with PSYCLON 9, when PSYCLON 9 opened up for COMBICHRIST. He’s definitely a great addition to the other 2, my homeboys Daniel (see pic) and Kevin.

After that it was time to get ready on the bus, and that’s where the following sequence of photo's of a funny interaction between Loopie and Vas came from. Loopie was surrounded by all his guitars and thought it would make for a pimpin rockstar type photo and got all excited, as I expect he probably thought that he’d finally figured out a way to look like bad ass motherfucker in my blog, but Vas decided that she wanted to rain on his parade. She totally acted like a brat and tried getting in on the photos to get under his skin, and he got all pissed and basically kicked the crap out of her. it was priceless. Here’s the shots from that whole episode.

Don’t know what was up today, I was like 100 times more tired than I usually am, but for some reason I played better than I feel that I’ve played at any other show on the tour. Weird. During the last song, “Fukken Uber Death Party,” is when I bashed Joe on the head with my stick. I don’t know what he was doing on stage, probably protecting his lights, but he came up and tickled me right before the chorus, and I guess the chorus is when I really go apeshit, so he ate it pretty bad, but seemed to be pretty happy about it. He had cut his head yesterday and I think I smashed him on the cut cause he bandaged it up right after the show. Ha. At some point during load out Joe started having some sort of panic attack or like maybe even a heart attack or something, so he had to chill out for the rest of the night and take it easy. Poor Joe.

At one point on my way back to the bus I passed by some kid wearing a CHEMLAB shirt, so I took a picture of it. My normal drum tech, Gabe, plays guitar in CHEMLAB, and keyboards in VNV NATION actually as of a few months ago. It was nice to have a little reminder of him. I miss him tons, but I’ll see him in a week or so. So I’m posting the pic of the CHEMLAB shirt in honor of him.

I also came across this girl who was really drunk, and a couple of other dudes had seemed to be mesmerized by. She was way fucked up and acting like a total hooker. One of the kids from LIVING DEAD was like, "Hey Joe watch this", and gave her a dollar. She proceeded to bite a hole in the middle and put it on her nipple. I told her that I was going to take a picture for my blog and she told me not to get her face in it. Well, she was too drunk to realize that i took a picture of her face, so here it is. I don’t know her name, and i don’t care, but she is definitely a dirty hooker. congrats on that... very classy. I wonder how many kids ( and std's) she has.

After all that excitement it seemed like the night was going to come to a screeching boring halt since we were in ghost town USA, but it seemed to pick up a little later, only not in a great way. There was a kid who was trying to organize a trip to a strip club for us, but even after we told him no, he didn’t seem to get it and would not stop bugging us about going. We finally just asked him if he knew where we could get some food, and him and a few of his crackhead friends escorted us to this pizza place on the corner. I was in there for like 5 minutes with them before I totally freaked out. I don’t really know what came over me I just knew that I felt like I wanted to hurt these people that we were with so I decided to remove myself from the equation. I went back to the bus and waited for the pizza, and everyone else seemed to be way over that whole group of kids as well.

About 20 minutes later there is knocking on our bus door, which we tried to ignore. It continued for some time before I finally got up and saw one the the kids that was with us in the pizza joint, and I told him to fuck off. Well, he didn't and after banging on the door a few more times started throwing little kid fits in the middle of the street in front of the bus, and swinging his chain wallet around like a stupid fuck, so I called the cops. In retrospect, I feel kinda bad for the kid. He was wearing a HANZEL UND GRETYL shirt and everything and probably didn’t realize he was being a jerk off, , but he was fuckin WASTED and a band’s tour bus is their home. You can’t fuck with someone’s home without some shit going down. Well lucky for him and me both I’m not drinking anymore, otherwise he probably would have ended up in the hospital, and me in jail.

We finally just took off after the driver got back, and hit up a truck stop. I pretty much just go into every truck stop that I’m awake for just to see what kind of randomness I can come across. This one was a good one. I’m a claw machine addict, and they had this super duper claw machine like none I’ve ever seen before. It was called "SEGA UFO CATCHER" and it had awesome music coming out of it. I borrowed a dollar from Loopie to play it, but to no avail. Oh well. Then I went to take a leak in the bathroom where I saw this machine where you can pay a quarter to get sprayed with one of 5 fragrances. Still doesn’t beat the "pocket pussy" machine in German truck stops though.

Tomorrow is Toledo and everyone seems to be excited about this show. Hopefully it will make for an interesting blog entry. Erika and Brianna will be visiting again. Here is a picture of a picture of Erika that I took off Willy's computer.

(Scroll down to the end of Tour Day 1 to leave Joey comments!!)

Hanzel Und Gretyl : Tour Day 7 : Skully's in COLUMBUS, OHIO

Woke up really late today. I’m used to someone waking me up after the stage is set up and it’s time for soundcheck, which seems to be around 4 or 5 every day. Today I woke up on my own at like 6:30 only to learn that there will be no sound check. The venue we are playing at is called Skully's, and it’s a rock and roll diner/bar in the front, and a stage and venue space in back. Pretty cool place actually, I was surprised. For some reason they double booked the day, having some local show all day until like 10. After that cleared out was when our guys were supposed to load in and get the stage ready for our show.

Until then, there was much to do. First off, Loopie, Willy and I went into the diner part of the venue for our free meals. I wasn't very pleased with the experience. First thing we ordered was some coffee. After what seemed like 10 minutes the girl brings us 2 cups of cold coffee and walks away, didn’t even bring us milk. When she came back to take our order 5 minutes later, she asked if our coffees were cold. When we said yes, she goes, "Yeah I thought maybe it was but I figured I’d see what you thought anyway"... what a fuckin idiot. So she said shed bring us new coffee. Another 5 minutes later we got it, and then another 10 minutes for the cream. On top of that they got my order wrong. Annoy-ING!

After that it was off with my bathroom buddy to find a proper restroom for a drop off. We learned that there was a Starbucks about 2 miles away from the venue, and decided that we would make the trek. Starbucks is usually my first choice in a bathroom if there isn’t one in the venue that’s worth using. It took forevs, but it was worth it. I got a cup of coffee while I was there too. Whenever I order a cup of coffee from Starbucks I refuse to say "grande" or "venti" or whatever else there is. I say "small, medium or large". Nothing annoys me more than when one of these retards behind the counter corrects me.... they might say "you mean venti". Yeah, that’s right you fuckin geek. Um, tuck in your shirt and don't curse or god might kill a puppy. Seriously. When they correct me I usually just stare at them until they feel uncomfortable enough to hopefully never do that to anyone again. Luckily today it didn’t happen.

On the way back to the bus I popped into this cool as fuck record store connected to the venue. I might as well have stepped into a time portal cause whenever I come across a used cd section in a store, I absolutely have to go through EVERY SINGLE CD. I was there for hours before the dude gave everyone the 5 minute warning, and I still hadn’t gone through a-d (I think). I brought what I had picked up to the counter to check out and found out that after every 3 you get one free! BONUS! Picked up some gems for sure....WARRANT, TEARS FOR FEARS, GEORGE MICHAEL (feat. Queen and Barbara Streisand), WALLS OF JERICHO, OASIS, DEBBIE GIBSON, ROBERT PALMER (rip), INXS, FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS, REPUBLICA and ROBBIE WILLIAMS. After he rang me up he asked if I was in a band and gave me 15% off when I told him I was in HUG, so I quickly ran over and grabbed a LEFTOVER CRACK cd that I’ve been missing from my collection for some time. All and all, a great shopping experience. Something about buying used cds from a cool independent record store that makes me feel good inside.

Went back to the bus to upload the stuff to my iTunes and to my surprise a friend named Lori who I met on my last COMBICHRIST tour was hangin out on the bus with her husband Daniel. Lori is a really special person and it was very uplifting to spend a little time with her and her husband before the show. Her husband Daniel is from Stuttgart, Germany and reminds me very much of my good friend Sascha from KMFDM, and it was totally freakin me out the whole time cause I felt like I was hanging out with Sascha! I gotta get those 2 in a room together one day. They hung out while we were getting ready for the show and we took some funny pics together.

The show was pretty decent for not having had a sound check. Once again, “Fukken Uber Death Party” was a god forsaken free for all, and I ended the song saving a three thousand dollar strobe light from getting crushed and drowned in beer. Some girl was standing on the stage bragging to her friend about her new bra, and I thought that was random, so I took a picture of it to show all of you too! You’re welcome ;-)

After the show I was told that I had a 3:30 bus call, which gave me just under and hour and a half to go with Lori and Daniel to their house to have a shower. Took about 15 minutes to get there and then Lori gave me a tour of their place. Lori is a very talented painter and collects horse and unicorn statues and guns and German stuff. It rules there. She had like 4 cats and a doberman pincher too. She showed me some guns and stuff and then set me up in the shower, but it got cut short cause I guess our driver came back to the bus early and everyone started freakin out that I wasn’t there ready to go. So I rushed out off the shower only to go downstairs and see this steak feast that Daniel prepared for me and for the rest of the bus once I got back. I quickly decided that everyone could wait a few extra minutes while the three of us enjoyed some great food together. It’s really special to have friends like Lori and Daniel in places far away from home that will take care of you and take you in while you’re in the middle of such a crazy and hectic journey as a rock and roll tour. It totally reenergizes you and gets you ready for a few more days of ruckus.

Then it was back to the bus, where we caught the bus moving to a new location in hopes of playing a joke on Loopie and me. Apparently Loopie was on his way to Lori and Daniel's when he got the same call that we did about the driver and he didn’t even make it. He instead got some pizza, and had no problem finding the bus once he got back, so good job on that joke guys. Loopie was absolutely disgusted with the persons responsible for him not being able to hang at Lori's for a bit, and challenged a certain individual to a bloody duel outside. I calmed him down with some DEBBIE GIBSON, but not before I could fire off some pictures of him looking like he is possessed by a demon. Enjoy.

Oh, and I got a picture of those stupid friggin tiger heads they sell at the truck stops. Tomorrow we are in Cleveland. I think I’ll organize my junk bunk when I wake up. It’s pretty messy.

(Scroll down to the end of Tour Day 1 to leave Joey comments!!)

Hanzel Und Gretyl : Tour Day 6 : Logan Square in CHICAGO

Woke up at like 5 today, opened a can of coke and headed upstairs for soundcheck. The venue is called Logan Square, and it doesn’t seem to be as near to the rest of the city as other clubs I’ve played in Chicago. The room we played in resembled a high school auditorium, and the stairs made it difficult for our crew to load in. On my way upstairs I was briefed about a local opener bitching about our drum riser again. Please allow me to vent here. When you are local support, or even in most cases DIRECT support for a band. You can rarely expect them to move their gear for you. When I toured with KMFDM, there were nights when I set up within INCHES of the edge of the stage. We were all great friends with KMFDM and their crew, and never once did we ever consider asking them to move something, let alone throwing a little girl fit/attitude about it. So yeah, "FASHION BOMB", fuck you. And you're lucky that my tech isn't as big of an asshole as I am cause when I heard about it I told him to move my riser 4 feet closer to the end of the stage so you'd have even less room, JUST TO BE A DICK. =-)

After soundcheck we all went on a search for some Mexican restaurant, but didn't find one. We walked for a while until Willy stepped in some dog shit on the sidewalk. Poor willy. We finally decided to walk back to some restaurant near the venue, where I had an awesome cheeseburger (med rare) w/ cheddar, blue cheese, bacon, guacamole, onions, tomatoes, mayo, ketchup, and asparagus instead of fries. Joe started his meal off with a tomato bisque and followed it with a tender sirloin topped with blue cheese and accompanied by some garlic mashed potatoes. I must admit, I was a little jealous by his choices off the menu.... but my burger filled me up just fine.

After dinner it seemed Loopie and I were both in search of a bathroom, and since there were no private bathrooms and we both have bathroom anxiety, we decided to be each others bathroom buddies, so he stood outside and didn’t let anyone in the room with me, and I returned the favor for him. Then it was back to the bus for an interview. The people who interviewed us were from a radio station, and seemed to be big HANZEL UND GRETYL fans. They brought gifts for us, little tiny bottles of fig flavored vodka. I of course can’t drink it so I jammed one in my mouth and took a picture of it to show my appreciation, rather than downing one (or 9 in Loopie’s case).

After the interview, we had to get ready for the show. We got ready on the bus since the backstage was like a gazillion feet away from the stage. When it was time to go on, we went up to it for a few minutes, and then when it was time to go down and start the intro I told them that I’d meet them side stage after they started the intro, since I dont have to be in stage for 3 and a half minutes. Well, I guess either no one heard me or no one took me seriously, cause I went to go hang out with Willy at the merch booth and just waited for the intro to start. Well, it didn’t start and sure enough ten minutes later my drum tech gets on stage and says in the mic "we need a drummer, is our drummer here". Tards.... so I ran over there and they started the intro. It was so ridiculous to stand there though cause the whole crowd could see us, it was a really awkward set up. Instead of staying there for the full 3 minutes I walked 5 feet away, back into the crowd, and spent the next 2 minutes spraying Loopie with water.

We finally went on stage and fired through 4 songs, and then the power went out. Luckily it was within SECONDS of the end of a song, so we actually got to finish the song, but then it was a waiting game. After a little while it was determined that the power was down in the area and it had nothing to do with our show and it couldn’t be helped, so we had to call the show off.. bummer, except that this now gives me a day off to heal some of my injuries, so I decided to just accept it as a blessing in disguise.

We went back to the bus with some friends, and waited for Joe and Ryder to finish load out so we could all take off together till bus call at 3 am. The plan was to go to a club called NEO, which was also to hold the aftershow parties for LADYTRON and PETER MURPHY, which were competing shows for us tonight. We wound up waiting for about an hour and at one point Joe came in all distressed because Ryder had knocked out the promoter. Apparently when Ryder asked about the loading personnel help that the venue is supposed to provide as stated in the contract he signed, he told Ryder to fuck off. I guess Ryder just lost it and let him have it. Good. Hopefully that motherfucker learned his lesson. Turns out Ryder and Joe wound up bribing some local kids with cigarettes to help them carry our gear down all those stairs. None of my shit better be missing or heads are gonna roll.

When the guys finally finished, it was finallly time to party. There were a few rides set up, but unfortunately not enough seats for all of us, so we got split up. Turns out the half of us that weren’t in such a hurry to get in the cars were the ones who didn’t care about going to the club, and we all decided to set out to find some Chicago style pizza. We were told that there was pizza near the club though, so we basically had the same destination in mind as the others, but just different plans once we got there. Well getting there didn’t go so smoothly, but that was fine by me. We all kind of walked around aimlessly just being jackasses for a mile or so before we got fed up and decided to look for a taxi. Finally found one and squeezed in pretty tight, but this wouldn’t be the last time we had to do that before the end of the night ( I’ll explain later).

We get to the club like 10 minutes later and look around only to realize that whoever told us there was pizza here was full of shit. A few drunk kids told us of some diner called the "Golden Nugget", so we set off in search of that, and embarked on another long walk. Wasn't so bad though, and when we got there it was pretty empty and we all really went for it and not only had meals but desserts too.... Loopie seemed to be the hungriest of all of us as he was most impatient to get to the diner, and when his meal order arrived it was pathetic. It looked like half an egg with a couple pieces of bacon. It didn’t even take up half the plate, poor Loopie! There were a couple of interesting (or not so) characters placed randomly around the diner and we all played a game of seeing who could sneak the silliest picture of each one. Towards the end of our visit this one old dude came in and just started rambling rhymes out loud waiting for someone to engage him, and of course, we took the bait. This guy jumped right up and came over to our table and started playing a harmonica. He didn’t want money, he was just nuts, so it was pretty funny. He was saying stupid shit like, "Jonny cash has a mustache and eats trash and I like wieners cause hot dogs and mustard and girls like wieners and then yeehaw". It was great. Loopie and Joe considered hiring him as a 3rd tech for the tour. Ha. For dessert I ordered an ice cream sundae and I was a little unclear about the way they listed it in the menu, and as I was reconfirming what was in it with the waitress, she was saying "yes" to everything, and she sounded just like Borat. I think we were all thinking the same thing as it was happening and kinda started snickering, and as she left I was like, "man I wanted to say HIGH FIVE so bad". I wish I did but I think I might have peed a little.

On the way back to the club, where we were supposed to meet back up with the others and head back to the bus, and then it started raining. We finally got back to the club, but not before Vas and Ryder ran off with each other ("dot dot dot"). At the club we met up with one of the chicks from the radio show and the guy from the radio show, who came to the diner with us, decided that he would try and squeeze us all into his PT cruiser. There were 8 of us. It was tough but we did it. Totally felt like I was 16 again, it was great. I lucked out in the front seat cause I’m tall and I always get away with the "I’m tall I get shotgun" routine. Loopie on the other hand wasn’t so lucky and got stuck with Joe's crotch inches from his nose for the 10 minute ride back to the bus.

When we finally got back we said our goodbyes to our friends and Ryder and Vas were friggin WASTED. Not really too much else to talk about, but I took a lot of pictures of everyone being gay jackasses, so I’ll just let the pics do the talking. And of course I wont spare you my awesome Loopie shots for the day. Beginning with "Loopie as Arthur Fonzarelli from Happy Days."

More to report tommmorow.

Love, Big Al
(Scroll down to the end of Tour Day 1 to leave Joey comments!!)

Hanzel Und Gretyl : Tour Day 5 : Opera House in TORONTO

Today turned out to be a very blogable day indeed. We found out in the morning that someone sent an email to some promoters from an email address that they made up, to try and make it look like I sent out an email canceling the tour. Whoever this retard is spelled so many things wrong, that it was obvious to the people that they sent it to that it wasn't me. I mean aside from my drumming abilities, I’m pretty well known for having placed 3rd in the Bumblebee Scout National Spelling Bee when I was fuckin 12 alright! So everyone pretty much knew it was a fake right from the get go. It’s pretty obvious whoever sent it has been reading my blog though, because they used the excuse of my neck injury as the reason why the tour was being canceled. If this person really wanted to fuck with me they’d find a picture of me and Photoshop a penis in my mouth and post it on the internet or something. I mean, DUH! Having a penis Photoshopped onto a picture of you is like the ULTIMATE insult.

Anyways, we played in Toronto, CANAKANUKADIDANA tonight at a venue called the Opera House. As I’ve mentioned, Ryder did’t make it into the country, so I had to set up my own stuff tonight. This was a good thing for me. It opened my eyes to how easy Gabe's (my normal drum tech) job really is. And to think, I’ve been going SO easy on him. Well FORGET IT. From now on I’m going to have to figure out different things to do to make his job a lot more difficult... (JK Gabe! MISS LOVE YOU!)

After I set up my crap, Loopie, Willy and I decided that we absolutely had to have a cup of coffee before soundcheck, so off we went. I had just turned the corner when I saw a little figure of some guy sitting on a bench in a window of a store, and I decided I wanted a picture of it. After I took the picture, I walked right into some sort of wire chair thing and almost fell and untied my shoe somehow. RETARD! I took pictures of all 3 of those things. Here they are. And I’m throwing in a picture of some old lady with a bag on her head for good measure...

After we made a "violent right" and grabbed a cup of coffee, we walked back to soundcheck, but not before we could take pictures in front of a wall that said THE BIGGEST JERK on it. I like Loopie’s pose the best. I’ve figured out who Loopie reminds me of. If you’ve ever seen the TV show, "The Office" with Steve Carell, he is exactly like Steve Carell's character in that show, but only if Steve Carell actually WAS as funny as he thought himself to be in that show.... get it? Loopie is hilarious. I think from now on whenever someone is talking to me and I get bored I’m going to imagine that Loopie is the person telling me whatever it is that the person is telling me in order to entertain myself.

After we soundchecked, I ate some chocolate covered almonds. They were great. After I ate some chocolate covered almonds, I went to hang out at the bar in the back of the room so I could take advantage of the venues wireless. We had to turn it off on the bus today cause it can wind up costing hundreds of dollars a day in roaming charges since we aren’t in the US. Anyway, I caught our direct support's soundcheck. They are called LIVING DEAD and they have a song about performing fellatio in return for narcotics... so they are okay by me now. They also helped out a lot during our show since Ryder wasn’t around, and that was rad of them.

Tonight we have a band called CHRISTIAN DEATH opening for us. I believe they are having their own headlining tour and it just so happens that both our tours crossed paths tonight and someone thought it might be a good idea to combine both bands into on bill.... my first impression of these guys wasn’t a very good one. I had heard that they were sending emails and making calls weeks ago about us striking our drums so that the drummer could use our riser, and borrowing gear. Now I understand what’s up about having space on stage, but I am used to playing on the edge of stages when I am opening for other bands. So when I am headlining, and I have had time for a soundcheck, I absolutely insist on my drums staying in the Exact spot that I last played them in. Anyways.... I’m sitting at the back bar, updating my MySpace with some new COMBICHRIST tour dates, and I look up and see this dude movin my shit around and I’m like WTF. My sound guy is no where in site, and I’m like, SHIT! It ain’t my job to be the dick, it’s my tech's job. He would normally be the guy who has to throw the stuff back together at the last minute, so he's the guy that is supposed to yell at people for me. So Ryder isn’t here, and soundman Joe happens to be in the shower, so I wind up going up and getting all pissed at the kid and telling him to move his drums. Homeboy comes up to me a few minutes later and introduces himself…it turns out he used to work at a Guitar Center in Tampa, and that he had been responsible for hookin me up a few times. Then I felt bad so I just went up and showed him the main things I was paranoid about and told him to watch out for a few things and I cooled down about him sharing the riser.

A few minutes after that drama, the doors to the club opened so I decided to go for a walk all alone. Since all the stores seemed to be closed, I did some window shopping and took some pictures. I thought about it for a bit and I’ve decided that I really like Toronto. My new friends in THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE are from here, and they are some of the coolest people I've ever met. As a matter of fact someone put on their cd at some point after my soundcheck and it made me feel all warm inside. I miss those guys. They are still on tour with MSI so of course they couldn’t make it tonight. Anyway, it was a beautiful evening, and I got some awesome pics of the sky and some of the city.

At one point right before I finally went back to the bus to get ready for the show, I came across a movie poster for this JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH remake with Brendon Fraser in it. First of all let me say that I CANNOT STAND Brendon Fraser. He’s a douche bag. One thing in this poster caught my eye though. It seems that there is some chick on a rock that has been detached from the cliff that Brandon seems to be clinging safely to. Check out her face! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! If that was me I’d look TERRIFIED! First of all I’m grossly afraid of heights and second of all, SHE IS ABOUT TO PLUMMIT TO HER CERTAIN DEATH! She looks like she is watching MAN ON FIRE starring Denzel Washington (the best actor ever). Either way, fuck this movie and fuck Brendon Fraser and fuck this movie poster and ... YEA RIGHT!

Then it was back to get ready for the show where I popped in and caught a minute of the local opener. It was only 2 dudes on stage in this band. A keyboard player and a singer who was this big dude with this ridiculous hair cut. It ruled so I took a picture. Then I was over it. It didn’t rule anymore, and I was standing to close to him. so I went on my bus.

The show tonight was rockin. We had a bunch of the kids who worked at the venue on stage side waiting for things to go wrong so they could run out and give a helping hand. Loopie didn’t leave them standing around much. The second one of them would pick something up he would knock it right back down again. It was all in good fun though and the kids had the time of their lives. They were crackin up the whole time and didn’t stop talking about it for the entire load out after the show. Unfortunately at one point during the performance, Loopie smashed a mic stand down with his wrist and now it seems to be sprained. It’s a good thing that we had Ryder learning some of our songs.... come to think of it.... I bet Loopie is faking it just so that he can destroy everything and not have to worry about playin guitar at all. Very smart.

After the show I cleared the air with the drummer dude from CHRISTIAN DEATH and apologized for being shitty earlier. I then went up to the merch booth where I introduced myself to the singer. I used to play in a band called AMEN and I remember the singer telling me that he played bass in CHRISTIAN DEATH at one point. I asked this dude about it and boy did I open up a can of worms. Apparently there was another band calling themselves CHRISTIAN DEATH illegally after being loosely associated with a key band member for a short period of time. Basically what I got from the whole rant was that there was only 1 CHRISTIAN DEATH, and that these guys were definitely it. Needless to say that person I was asking about seems to have been involved with the "other" CHRISTIAN DEATH.... I’m not surprised. Judging by my own experience with that person I totally believed every single thing that this dude told me. Our convo got cut short when I got called to the bus, so I took a pic with him, and one with the chick in the band, who is this dude’s wife....

Apparently while I was chattin up the singer, Loopie was chatting up his wife, the bass player in the band. I didn't really get the whole story until after a bit more of it folded out right before my eyes!.... I guess Loopie dug this chick and as we were driving off in the bus (and in a rush to get to Chicago), Loopie exclaims, "Wait I forgot something!" And like a rock and roll super hero, Loopie darts off the bus before it even stops and runs over to this dude’s wife, who’s sitting on the sidewalk like FIFTEEN FEET away from her husband and the rest of her band. I swear I could hear that music that they played in Lassie on episode 17. You know, when Lassie was running towards Timmy after having not seen him for 3 days because she had an infection on her right hind paw! The scene where they run towards each other in that open wheat field in slow motion! YEA, THAT MUSIC! Well they met in the middle of the street and just started making out. It was awesome. I’m gonna make this motherfucker a cape tomorrow! Check it out, I even ran out and got a pick of them about to suck each others teeth out.

Apparently Loopie’s had the hots for her for quite some time, and informed me later of an incident that occurred during the show, during our last song where he usually pulls a ton of people on stage. I guess Loopie tried pullin her up and instead of succeeding, he fell off the stage and on top of her (I didn’t notice) and whispered in her ear "alone at last.” Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

That pretty much wraps up all the excitement for the day. On another note, I did make sure to grab a few extra red bulls so I don’t have to worry about annoying the promoter for them for at least one day. We also realized that some of the best cookies ever invented in the world are made here. And I took a picture of Randy Jackson from American Idol back from his hairy, fat Jimmy Hendrix days.

As far as dinner goes, we drove for a little bit and finally stopped at Wendy’s but it was closed. Willy and I weren’t into the Dunkin Donuts type place everyone else ate at so we ran over to the gas station and realized that we could buy English chocolates there! Let me tell you in case you don’t know.... chocolate in America SUCKS in comparison to chocolate in Europe. EVEN KIT KAT’S taste like a million times better. So we each bought like 15 dollars worth of chocolate and milk for dinner..... only to go back on the bus like little girls who just met the Jonas brothers, and then to figure out that it was fraudulent European chocolate! It was European brands, but made in the US so it tasted like shit. Oh well....

Now we drive to Chicago. Sheizer heil eich Auslander kein mein fire hydrant uber.
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Hanzel Und Gretyl : Tour Day 4 : Penny Arcade in ROCHESTER, NY

Woke up today at 4 very excited in hopes of seeing Sammie. Sammie was one of my 2 pitbulls, who I had to give up for adoption a few years ago due to my hectic touring schedule. I found him a great owner named Nancy, who just so happens to have bought the Penny Arcade, the venue that we played tonight. So I put my contacts in (to avoid dog drool on my specs) and ran inside, and sure enough there was my old man Sammie the rascal.

I took full advantage of my rare visit and took Sammie for a really long walk into a huge beautiful open area with like 6 kickball fields on it! During the walk, Sammie pooped twice, tried to poop once more, AND I found a dollar! Needless to say it was a pretty eventful walk. When we got back, Sammie met up with a few of his other new doggie friends who looked like ginormous St. Bernards. Sammie also tried stealin some ice cream from this little kid who looked at Sammie very sternly and said "I dont want dog drool in my ice cream!" It was very cute and I got a pic of it.... definitly a Kodak moment. SPEAKING OF KODAK! It just so happens that Rochester happens to be the "worldwide headquarters" for Kodak film. Apparently, locals are warned not to swim in the ocean there because of the horrible pollution from the plant. Shitty.

There’s not much to talk about as far as the show went tonight. Not many people came down at all. The club owner, Nancy, also mentioned that GOD FORBID played there last night and had a similar turnout. I think it has something to do with the fact that she hasn’t gotten her liquor license yet. Bummer. It’s a really cool club. We'll definitely try and get back up there once she gets that worked out to try and get a proper party goin on.

As I type this, its 5:45 in the morning and we are dropping Ryder off at the airport. He cant get into canananananananananandididididididididididida cause of some transexual prostitution charge from his meth days. (JK LMAO LOL ROTFN OMFG..... I don’t think he ever did meth). Anyways, we sent him off with a few HANZEL UND GRETYL songs to learn on guitar so that Loopie can sing certain songs without having to play guitar. Ryder seems very excited, but this should prove to be really interesting as Vas pointed out, because one of Ryder’s main jobs is to pick up after the mess Loopie makes on stage, so with Loopie not having to worry about playing a guitar, he’s sure to make even more of a mess! BUT RYDER WONT BE ABLE TO CLEAN IT UP RIGHT AWAY BECAUSE HE'LL BE ROCKIN OUT! I cant wait to see this craziness. Anyway, Ryder won’t be there tomorrow so I’m gonna have to set up my own stuff. YEA RIGHT! I’m gonna make Willy the merch guy do it, he just doesn’t know it yet.

After the show I headed over to a diner with a couple of friends from one of the openers tonight called KRYZST. Mike was the drummer from the band, and he was pretty fuckin good. I could tell from his playing that we shared the same love for the NIN style of drumming. Mike's girl’s name is Ashley and she couldn't make it over to the show and was pretty sad about it, so I sent Mike away with a big chunk of china cymbal for her. Oh yeah, I broke my other china cymbal today. I am now chinaless. Newt, the other guy, was the keyboard player from the band. We talked about drums, peyote, being sober, and got lost a little each way to the diner. No biggie though, still got back in time for bus call at 1:30. Got back and Loopie was pretty pissed that I didn’t ask him to go. I didn’t think it was appropriate since he had a lady friend visiting. He ALWAYS seems to have a lady friend visiting, sometimes even a few (3 or more) in one day! EPIC!

After the show it was off to a truck stop and showers. I don’t know what it is about truck stops, but they always seem to be a little weird and have strange random things for sale. The other day there were these cheezy fake tiger heads, like to hang on your wall as if you killed it yourself and it was your trophy. CHEE-ZEE! I think I’m gonna buy one. Loopie bought 3 buffalo wings from the dude behind the counter. I’ll name him Bob. Bob was tall. Bob..... I bought cherry m&m's and was pretty pleased to learn that they were only 35 cents!

On my way out I noticed what looked like a bag of cocaine or meth sitting on the counter and it had a label that said KEY LIME PIE on it. I took a picture of it and the lady behind the counter said I could have it. I planted it on the floor in the bus hoping someone would find it and freak out about it since we are about to cross the border. When I got back to the bus the bus driver was cleaning and no one said a word about it. I bet the bus driver sniffed that shit thinking it was meth. Bus drivers love that shit.

Off to CANA-NANANANANA-NE-DUH. More to report tomorow.. "doncha know"

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Hanzel Und Gretyl : Tour Day 3 : JAXX in Virginia

DAY 3 down the hatch. Just leaving a venue called JAXX in Virginia. AGAIN, weird rules about drinks. The people who worked at the club told us that if we walked outside with a bottle of water that the cops would shut the club down. WHAT THE FUCK! SLC ain’t even like this. Fuck, I remember taking pictures with the cops and KMFDM the first time I was over there... Anyways.... I didn’t care and I walked around outside all day drinking water. I’m such a rebel.

I woke up around 4 and found an Einstein Bagels. I inquired about a bottomless cup of coffee from the menu and the guy told me that if I left that I couldn’t come back in to get another cup for free. Then on my way out he gave me another cup and told me to just make two cups! I had two different flavors and both cups lasted me all day. One was a dark French roast, and the other you ask? VANILLA HAZELNUT OF COURSE! DUH!... Nice guy.

Got back to the bus just in time for a torrential downpour. Someone said there was a tornado. Once it stopped I went outside and it smelled like friggin bacon everywhere. It smelled like that for the rest of the day and it was really humid, so it was pretty gross outside. I felt like I was walking around inside of a dead pigs lung. Yum.

I took a walk at some point to find a nice bathroom (I do this often, I hate using public restrooms, even at venues before they are open). I found a Starbucks not too far off and was very excited as it’s usually my first choice for a private bathroom, but it didn’t have a bathroom in it. I moved onto CVS where I snuck into the stock room and found the bathroom. Very excited. If i remember correctly, I even rinsed my pits in the sink. Refreshing.

There was a bit of drama today as our sound/light guy, Joe, realized that he didn’t have his passport. I just found out yesterday that our tech isn’t able to get into Cananananadida because of some sex in public charge, so it wasn’t too good to think that we may not have our only other crew member either. It scares me to think about having to put my drums together by myself. I don’t think I remember how to do it. I remember one time I got mad at my old tech and fired him while he was putting my drums together, only to walk onto the stage and have no idea where anything was. I quickly apologized for getting hot headed, as I realized what an asset he was. Anyways, after a bit of worry, Joe's mom has located his passport and we are currently on our way to new jersey to pick it up. I'll still have to do a bit of my set-up myself though, but at least Joe can help me out.

At some point before our show one of the dudes from BELLA MORTE showed up with his fiancĂ© and they hung out on the bus while we got ready for the show. Everyone (except for me) finished off a bottle of Jager within a few minutes, and things were off to an interesting start for the rest of the evening.. in fact, Loopie absolutely INSISTED on dressing me for the show! Arousing! When it was finally time to go on, Loopie couldn’t find his wireless unit for his guitar, and had a hard time getting his shit together to get off the bus to do the show. I thought it was great how disheveled he was and so of course I tried to force him to finish the second bottle of Jager all by himself. He tried but almost barfed. I finally got him off the bus and we went to go to the stage.

Rough show for me tonight. I had what seemed to be an asthma attack within the first couple of songs and had a really hard time performing the rest of the set. At one point, I think it was during HEIL HIZZLE MA NIZZLE, I stopped playing for a second and I almost passed out. On top of that the venue had this really rickety and shaky riser and at one point my hi-hat stand just fell right on me while I was playing. Vas and Loopie on the other hand seemed to be in their element. During our last song, FUKKEN UBER DEATH PARTY, Loopie invited the whole venue on stage with us. This has happened a little the other two nights, but this time it was just ridiculous. Loopie wound up crowd surfing ON THE STAGE for the entirety of the whole song. I swear he must have set a record for the longest crowd surf EVER. He fell on my drums a few times too. Ryder was standing on my riser trying to protect our lighting, and holding Loopie’s guitar. He seemed to be having a rough time so I grabbed the guitar out of his hands and continued to play some of the song with only my left hand, and a guitar in my right hand. Never done that before. A few times during the song I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t even play. It was good times for sure.

After the set I ran onto the bus and tore apart my junk bunk looking for my inhaler and took a few minutes to repair myself. Gotta remember to bring that thing onstage with me every night. Once I got it together I went back inside to hang with a buddy of mine named Richie, who surprised me by driving down from NY without even telling me. I also ran into a buddy who was introduced to me by Gabe (my normal tech) who used to play in CHEMLAB with him. He looks just like Richard Patrick from FILTER and NIN, and I asked him if anyone ever told him that and he told me that RICHARD PATRICK HIMSELF had told him that and showed me a pic that he had of the both of them together. I made him email me the pic.

There was this crazy looking chick in the front row who had a shaved head and all these Marilyn Manson tattoos. She freaked out when I took pictures of her. I don’t care though and now I’m gonna post ‘em here.... SO THERE YOU CRAZY LOOKIN CHICK!

Of course Loopie was busy mackin it to all the groupies, that is, until Vas came through with more of what we had for dinner (some sort off spicy pasta and chicken dish). I put a ton of ketchup on it and downed it. I usually will wear the same pair of pants and shirt for a while tour, and only usually bring extras in case of a ketchup accident. I love ketchup. I put it on everything. Well tonight, I had a ketchup accident, so it might be time to change.... or I might just try to wash it off in the sink. I’m diggin the plain black shirt I’ve been rockin lately.

Tomorrow we play Rochester and I realized that the promoter of the show just so happens to be this girl named Nancy who adopted one of my pitbulls from me a few years back. I’ve asked her to bring him so I can bro down with him for the day. Sammie rules. He has horrible breath, kills cats, and resembles Samuel L. Jackson. Here’s a pic of him from last time I saw him, which was when I toured with Genitorturers a couple years ago. Hopefully I’ll have some new ones of him for the blog tomorrow.

Here’s my funny Loopie shots for the day:

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Hanzel Und Gretyl : Tour Day 2 : Virginia

Well, day two under our belt. Where do I start. I woke up at about 3 in the afternoon outside some bar and grill type place in Virginia (I think) called Buddha's Place. Our rider today consisted of a meal of our choice from the venue, but the selection didn’t seem too exciting. I noticed someone from the venue eating the food and asked them what they recommended, which is what lead me to the club sandwich. Loopie, on the other hand, ordered the cheeseburger, which he ate in a very unique fashion. He chewed up the burger part and took it out of his mouth and then put it back on his bun and said he wanted to have a sloppy joe but since there wasn’t one on the menu he just had to be creative (note before and after photos). Aside from that, I think they gave us a case of water and beer. I asked numerous times for 4 red bulls, and once again, denied at the last minute. Something about some law here in Virginia about supplying certain drinks to bands. Sounds like a bunch of malarkey to me, but fuck it… I went to sevs elevs and bought some.

We did manage to get a free hotel room somehow, which we all used to shower in (together of course). I’m hurtin a little cause I decided to get tattooed the day before this tour. I had taken the red eye home from LAX and landed at 7 in the morning at JFK and took the subway to my boy Richie Rocks place and got tattooed for a couple of hours. This bus doesn’t seem too clean and my tat is lookin kinda crusty and it hurts. I’m afraid it might be infected (note pic)... in any case, a hot shower was definitely in order.

Then back to the bus to begin warming up for the show. So far things aren’t really running as scheduled and it seems that our main support band needs a bit of shaping up as far as getting on and off stage on time. This sort of thing really fucks me up since I have a pretty strict routine that I have to stick to in order to warm up for a performance. Basically in this case I went from thinking we went on at 11, to then being told 12, to it turning into 12:30, and then to being rushed onstage half way through my warm up since the venue threatened to cut our set short because of the opener taking their time. Once we finally got onstage, I realized very quickly that I hadn't stretched my neck correctly when I pulled a muscle running all the way down my back in the very first song. Right now my neck is FUCKED UP and I am pissed. As far as I’m concerned, the openers can fuck off if they don’t get it right tonight. I have no time for this shit. If I wake up and I’m told that I go on at 11 o’clock at night, then that is exactly when I expect to go on. If anyone has a problem telling them to fuck, off I’ll do it myself.

Anyway, got some cool characters on this tour. JOE is our sound guy AND light guy! I’ve never witnessed someone being responsible for both these jobs at the same time, and I gotta say he does a pretty good job. I feel like I play a lot better when it seems the lights are great, and so far they seem awesome. A few people have complained that the sound has been too loud but Joe seems to be proud of that, so I guess that’s what he's all about. Our stage hand, who is also my tech, is named Ryder. Since my main tech has been hired for the rest of THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE/ MINDLESS SELF INDULGENCE tour that I was just on with COMBICHRIST, he couldn't make it on this tour with me. Ryder is normally a monitor and guitar tech, and has toured most recently with CRADLE OF FILTH and MACHINE HEAD. He was off to a rough start with the cymbal mishap the first night, but seems to be really on top of things. I can’t really help but blame myself for a bit of it as I was too busy to properly mark all my gear for him to set it up correctly, especially since he’s never done drums before. I took some extra time after sound check to mark everything and that should make things much easier for him. Ryder did have a bone to pick with me after the show regarding some bodily fluids and drumsticks that he seems to be getting in the way of quite a bit. I apologized and I think he knows that I meant no ill harm. We discussed a better place for him to hang out that will keep him out of the way of some of that from now on. We also have a dude named Willy who does merch. He wears freaky contact lenses and last night he had a girl with an interesting hair cut (see pic) hang out and come for the ride on the bus. They slept in the front lounge so I put the soundtrack to Edward Scissor Hands on my iPod radio for them. I bet they made out.

That’s pretty much everyone that’s on the bus. It’s great that there are only 6 people. I’m used to there being a full bus and no room for anything. In this case I have a middle bunk, with an empty bunk above me that I’m using as a personal junk bunk AND an empty one below me which I’m putting my shoes in. Pretty easy to stay organized with all that space and without a bottle of whisky in my stomach.

The show went well and we followed it up with a little VILLAGE PEOPLE on the bus while waiting for the driver. We also had the pleasure of watching a video that I haven’t seen for years that a friend of mine posted on you tube. It’s footage of a friend of mine getting yelled at by his mom after clogging a toilet. He was like 13 at the time. It’s pretty fuckin amazing. She screams at him, “SHIT, FLUSH, SHIT, FLUSH!” Hilarious. If you wanna check it out go to you tube and type in THE SHIT TAPE. Should be the first one to pop up. Oh, and here’s a pic of my HANZEL UND GRETYL STAGE SHIRT that I made in NYC. OH YEA! And in case you haven't figured it out, I've made a sport out of getting candid photos of Loopie. He hates it ;-) Check out today’s gems!... More to report tomorrow.


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"The Shit Tape"

Hanzel Und Gretyl : Tour Day 1 : REBEL in NYC

The first day of HANZEL UND GRETYL tour in NYC today was a stressful one for a million reasons, but mainly because NYC is always an important show to play. It also happens to be everyone’s hometown, which made it that much more important. Usually you wanna do a show like that after at least having a week to settle in to the motion of things and get warmed up. Unfortunately, it wasn't the case last night. It’s also extra stressful to have a bunch of people come to the show who you totally miss and wanna hang with, but also have to juggle getting ready to perform, which for me involves being alone in a room doing yoga for an hour and listening to Clutch and Turbonegro.

So everyone in the band is from NY, which made the plan for the day pan out like this: crew shows up with gear in a truck at 11 am to the venue to load in EVERYTHING, including everyone’s personal shit. Unfortunately, the bus was not scheduled to arrive until 2 am (after the show) and everyone’s stuff had to hang around in the dressing room and in the venue till then. AND WHAT A MESS! The dressing room in that club (REBEL/ ex DOWNTIME) is TINY, and they've recently installed BATHROOM stalls in it for some reason. I guess when it’s a normal club night they use it as a bathroom… well for today it was our dressing room.

I’ve got a totally new crew who I’ve never worked with before, so I had to give them a quick tutorial on setting up my kit correctly. Afterwards, I hooked up one last detail on my custom painted drum set (painted by me of course), which was spraying the German phoenix eagle on the front bass drum head. Coincidentally, the club manager was hanging around, and is from Bvlgaria, Germany. I was waiting for someone to complain about spray paint fumes when to my dismay she asked me to decorate the newly installed dressing room bathroom stall doors with the stencil. I happily obliged and am proud to have been personally responsible for the awesomely intimidating German phoenixes painted on the bathroom stalls. The club is totally Hanzel and Gretylized forever (or until they change management I suppose).

A couple things stressed me the fuck out today:

#1 was that I had broken my china cymbal a few days earlier during a recording session with MORTIIS. I haven't really used a china since my GENITORTURERS days so I only had the one and no back up. I made an emergency call to my boy at SABIAN and had 2 replacements sent to me. Found out the day before the show that they weren’t scheduled to be delivered until the DAY OF the show… and I waited around for them for 2 hours past load in, until I finally had to give up and head into the city. Luckily the promoter’s friend was coming in from Long Island and was able to go pick them up and bring them in to me just in time for my set. Unfortunately my tech, who’s name is Ryder, has never done drums before and put the brand new china on upside down. Too much was going on for me to alert him to this straight away and I wound up breaking the thing within the first 20 seconds of the first song. I’m not gonna hold it against him though cause it’s his first time doing drums and he seems like a hard worker and a great guy. Luckily I have one more unbroken china, lets see how many minutes it lasts tonight!.....

#2 stressful thing was worrying that my click track would work without a hitch. All to many times during a COMBICHRIST show, we will be all set at sound check, only to walk onstage and have the monitor guy sitting around with his thumb up his ass and having not turned my monitors back on. Usually that leaves me with like 10 seconds for my tech to get it figured out, or to have to try to play without any sound or monitors, which is IMPOSSIBLE for this type of music. Often times I’ll wind up smashing the guy in the head with a stick to get his attention.... this stress has caused COMBICHRIST to invest in some wireless units so we can set our levels during the intro and at least have a minute and a half to trouble shoot in case we are turned off. Anyway, don't have wireless units with HUG and during soundcheck the click track somehow unplugged itself. With like a million openers changing gear on such a small stage I was super stressed that something might have gotten unplugged, only to walk out on stage and be totally relieved when everything was fine (except for my china being upside down).

One thing that was a total bummer was that the promoters fucked up alot yesterday. This was very disheartening especially since I’ve known these guys for years. I haven’t been treated so poorly since I was like 16 playing in some shit club. Everything from not having water, red bull or towels, to trying to dick us out of money at the end of the night. After a ton of yelling and a shattered personal and professional relationship, we got our money. I vowed to them that they will never book anyone else on Metropolis ever again, and trust me they wont.

We also wound up going on at like 12:30, which was an hour and a half late. I think a few of my friends had to take off early, but it was cool to catch up with them for a few minutes before the show. Acey Slade came in fresh off a plane from the UK from WEDNESDAY 13 tour. My cousin flew in from Los Angeles from Nine Inch Nails rehearsals. My new buddy, Tom, from a band I play with called DANGEROUS MUSE, and my homeboy Neil from BURN HALO were among some of them.

All and all it was a hectic yet fun night. Now that we have our bus, things should run alot more smoothly. Woke up somewhere in Virginia today. Not sure I ever played Virginia… I think I usually play Washington DC. Took my vitamins and had a coffee and I'm ready to go. More to report tomorrow.

(Don't forget to leave Joey some comments below!)

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