Shut the f*ck up, science.
Well, holy shit. I haven't written in quite a long time, probably because major shit has been hitting a major fan. I don't really even know where to start, what to divulge, who to grossly maim, and why I'm not crying right now.
I just got back from a weekend retreat to North Port with BEEFCAKESTATUS. Though I would never say I rejoice in North Port (much less Sarasota county), it was needed. Badly. I'll get to that in a little while.
Things have been rather topsy turvy in my life. To begin, I no longer work at Full Sail. I can't even bring myself to add "university" to the end of that title because it's hardly an educational hub. In fact, it's actually a black hole where talent disappears rather than appears; it's a stiffling environment where male nepotism chokes female sensibility. It's also the gigantic turd that landmined the music industry of Florida.
PLEASE EXPLAIN, EMILY. WE DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOUR ALLEGIANCE HAS CHANGED SO SUDDENLY! HELP US!
See that image to the right? I did it all by myself! And it's about the quality of a Full Sail graphic arts grad. It really says something about the quality of learning there.
Anyway, the long and short of it was that I was a woman in a man-dominated workplace. And as much as I hate to say that and make you all think I'm some sort of crazy feminist, that's the truth of the matter (which is also a good song- WHO GOT THE REFERENCE?!). It's fucking depressing. It's 2013 and yet I get squeezed out of a seemingly perfect job
Those are turds falling from the airplane, FYI.
because students hit on me and then got in trouble and co-workers made lewd comments about: female students they would sleep with if given the opportunity, me being in a bad mood because I was "probably PMSing", wanting to take shots and get drunk at work, their "bitchy ex-wives and slutty girlfriends"... the list goes on and on. It was a filthy place to work, both socially and physically. One of my "team" would open drawers and put his trash in them so he wouldn't have to walk 5 feet to the trash can. The same guy called me a "pretentious bitch" for saying I knew how to explain the circle of fifths better than him; mind you, he never studied music and doesn't have a fucking degree. And I have to say that I'm still baffled, disappointed, and appalled that a so-called educational facility would foster such downright bullshit attitudes. What kind of students are they turning out? I can safely say it's a waste of time and money if you want to learn how to be a good musician and generally decent human being. VAGINAS ARE THE DEVIL
To continue the poop chute, I was working for a lawyer for about two weeks when he randomly goes (on a Thursday), "I thought you were better looking," implying that maybe he wanted a legal assistant to help with more than just drafting notices and pleadings. Awesome, just what I needed- another faggot to deal with. GOOD. Suffice to say, Craigslist hasn't been good to me. Or anyone. Ever.
So, things have been a little rough as of late. And to top it all off, my mom and I brought Lily my fur child to the vet this past Saturday. She had been guilty of "delinquent litterbox use", or as common people say, pissing on the floor. My mom thought something was wrong so we took her. Sure enough, she had yet another UTI. The vet was feeling around and said that one of her kidneys had shrunk considerably, meaning she was able to be diagnosed with kidney disease. Cat owners know the gravitas of this diagnosis. This means the cat will either go naturally or have to be put down if the pain becomes too great. It's not pleasant for anyone involved. The cat normally pees all over the house in inappropriate places, stops eating, loses weight, etc. It's horrible. And it makes me wonder why God would create such suffering for innocent animals. It makes me wonder if there even is a God sometimes. I'm not going to go all preachy on anyone about what I do or don't believe, but it sucks. Massively.
Some of you were made aware that we lost our other cat Zelda recently- we're talking right when I got back from Portugal. She hadn't been eating, but it all came on so quick. She had been fine, and then was starting to mope and then went on a hunger strike. It still kills me that I wasn't there to say goodbye. People who have never had pets don't get it. They can't understand how animals become a part of your family and heart. As if it wasn't bad enough with the Zelda tragedy only a few weeks back, now we're in danger of losing Lily. I know it's inevitable, that people both human and fur, must come to an end. But for God's sake, can't there ever be a peaceful goodbye?
We miss you already, Zellies.
I'm sorry, kids. I'm in a funk, so to speak. This weekend WAS a boatload of fun, though. Jules and I got to see some of North Port's great monuments... which are few and far between. And by few, I mean none. We drove by Warm Mineral Springs (which is closed as of July 1st), went to a European deli (PEASANTS), stopped for ice cream at Sweet Scoops, got doughnuts and stared at while at Abbe's... there was a lot of eating involved. We also saw some good ol' Southern music at Owen's Fish Camp on Saturday night, and had the best Caesar salad by far. BCS (beefcakestatus will be abbreviated as such henceforth) and I even spent a romantic while on Nokomis beach looking at the stars and talking about our dreams. No joke, that's LIT-RALLY how cute we are. I know, I know. I also got some quality catch-up time with my momma, who is hysterical and wonderful. I had been waiting to tell her the happinesses and horrors of Portugal (I'm still waiting to tell y'all), so it was good to finally get it out of my system.
"I like your ring! It's... interactive!"
- BCS commenting on my worry ring
(and managing to be adorable simultaneously)
We also played a kickass show on Friday night at the Cock 'n' Bull. We did two sets of both new and old songs, as well as some jams. We threw in a cover of "Soon or Never" by the Punch Brothers that someone besides my mom recognized, which made us both proud, as well as "Impossible" by Anberlin. To me, there's no greater feeling of satisfaction than getting to write and play music with your significant other. For a musician, that's relationship porn. You combine the best of both worlds, and the two things you love the most: the music itself, and the other person making said music with you. I can't say it enough, but I really lucked out with this hunk in mah trunk. #twss
we are the cutes.
And despite the fact that he's allergic to cats, he even petted Lily! She came up on the bed Saturday morning and croaked in his face. She then proceeded to shave on his arm and cause some minor itching. WHAUPSUH. SHUH JUS LUVS YEW UND ERRYWUN DA SUM COZ SHUZ DA COOL WUN.
I could vomit with joy.
SHUH SMYLZ FER MEH.
Taking pictures with Lily made me feel significantly better. And writing this blog has helped me too.
It's already late. I know I said I would write a bitchy blog about why I deserve to not work for free aka GET PAID WHEN I WORK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, but that'll have to be a second installment. It's time to nust and rest my mind.
Better luck (and spirits) next time.
"So, it's awesome that we're best friends."
See that picture there? Yes, that is THE Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional, only my FAVOURITE ARTIST EVER. #nbd
But before I get to explaining all of that, I just wanted to take a second to brag and let that picture air. My heart is still bleeding a little bit from that entire weekend. I haven't felt that fabulous in a while, and it just kept getting better. I hate when people say, "It doesn't get any better than THIS!" but let's be honest- this past weekend was paradise. Truly. And I always curb my enthusiasm.
It was quite the hectic yet relaxing weekend. Now, for the deets. And kittens. And cake.
I had been mad STRESSIN' about getting a ticket to this show. It was at the Bienes Center for the Arts in Ft. Lauderdale. I didn't know anything about the venue, but what I did know was that it had sold out. Normally, I am the first person to get tickets for any DC shows, but I was in my final semester at Stetson... which basically means I was SOL. Big time. Like, maxing out my debit card over a $5 Publix pizza. Good for me. Winning.
But because of that, I had no monnaies, so I couldn't exactly acquire a ticket easily. I reached out to Jack, the infamous tour manager and he did everything in his power to get me a spot. Luckily, I was able to find a ticket and get into the show, for which I am still grateful. I was having a MAJOR WARDROBE CRISIS because I didn't know what the venue was like (it was at a high school?!) except that it was a seated show. Not good. I only like GA shows unless I am at the symphony, for crying out loud. Did you hear me? UNLESS I AM AT THE SYMPHONY.
But anyway, I ended up deciding on my new Tom's (grey with sparkles, woof woof), Bullfrog jeans, and a hip shirt with beachy palm trees and such on the silky sleeves. I thought it made sense according to the general vibe of many DC songs. SoFla, represent! The Tom's were a good choice, but I'm not there yet...
When I got to the venue, it was pretty odd. It was literally a high school, yet they were serving alcohol. I found my seat which was towards the back. During Ryan Alexander
's set, everyone was pretty mellow. I know a lot of his earlier music when he was in Alexander, but didn't know his new stuff (it was still awesome). He played solo the whole time, which takes a serious amount of guts. Maybe next time I can jump on with him. Eh? EH??
Great minds dress alike.
After his set, I went outside with some of the DC gals just for a breather then came back in when Chris was going on. I managed to talk to one of the ushers and asked if I could sit closer. She asked to see my ticket then pointed at a general area in the front, saying loudly that "that area in the front" was where my ticket specified, but then she winked. She whispered that if someone came for that seat, I would have to move. Uh, deal! I got to sit next to two gals who were quite into the music and were singing along. My kind of crowd! Eventually two bimbos came and said we were all in their seats, so the two gals moved away and I snuck to the second row. Why not? Exactly. There, I sat next to a lovely dovey couple. They were simultaneously being romantic while getting sloshed. Always a good combo. The woman said I could continue sitting in her paramour's seat as long as no one came. Somehow, by the random but fabulous happenstance that is often life, though the entire rest of the venue was sold out, that one singular person never showed up. So... basically I sat the second row the entire time. Sweet Lord.
Chris started off the set as usual- playing old DC with new, occasionally taking audience suggestions (WILL SOMEONE SHUT THE FREEBIRD-LOVING HOBO UP), and generally acting like his normal, DC-fronted self. He had a pretty extensive setlist.
But wait. About 3/4 of the way through his set, he suddenly announced that he had some friends he wanted to welcome to the stage. I knew it wasn't any of the DC dudes since I had talked to Johnny earlier, so who could it be?
Two guys and a gal walked onto stage- drums, bass, mandolin/keys. Chris said that he had been working on a new project that was "more in the direction he wanted to take his song writing", which was folkier in nature. Turns out that the group didn't even have a name yet, but had about five songs prepared and ready to play. It was downright bizarre. Don't get me wrong (GET ME RIGHT), I really enjoyed the new tunes- it just seemed random. I had no idea Chris wanted to go folkier, though "Into the Flood" definitely had a vibe of country/folk to it. The reception was an odd one too; people were clapping, but no one knew about the musical surprise. It was hard to gauge the reactions of most.
Chris kept the new band mates on stage for the last few songs, though one song they all stood silently. Ending with the band during "Hands Down" was interesting and not quite the same energy level. Though they are all great musicians I'm sure, that song only really seems appropriate with the original DC cast. Maybe I am a purist. The DC gals came up to the stage so we all stood on stage right for the final moments of a mind-blowing concert. I still left feeling warm and fuzzy, a sentiment I don't think will ever go away when there is still Dashboard to be had.
After the show, I talked to Suzie (mandolin) who apparently is in a band from NYC called The Narrative. She was super sweet and said the new ensemble was a bit unorganized in its beginning stages. My question was: when is a band ever organized? I also talked to Ryan some more, then waited to chat with Chris. When the line of hyperventilating winos calmed down, I approached Chris and immediately said, "Nice shoes."
Yes, he was wearing Tom's. What colour? Grey, like mine. GOOD.
We talked about the show, the new FSF album, working with old/new band mates- it was nice to be able to merely catch up since it had been a while. I had been itching to ask him about the new band. To me, folk music requires violin. It's entirely necessary since violin adds that "fiddlin' sound". When I finally felt ballsy, I told him simply that I wanted to be in his new group. His response? "Okay!"
Now, wait just a second, kids. Though nothing is in the works yet, I do have my foot in the door. And I will break every damn toe on my foot before letting said door close. I even gave Chris my number, which I personally typed into his phone. Musicians walk a fine line between being enthusiastic and being abrasive. Though I would hope to never come off as the latter, I figured it would be more pertinent to try to approach the request in a mellow way. He asked if I played mandolin (??) and then said he thought I didn't live in SoFla anymore. SO WHAT!
I didn't scream in his face like I just did in yours at the end of that paragraph. I only responded, "I will drive."
He mentioned an after party at a local pub called Maguires Hill 16 in Ft. Lauderdale. He kept saying he didn't feel sober enough to drive (whoops) and wanted to stash his equipment first. I ended up going for a bit but then high tailed it to my former boss' house since I had no place else to stay. It was a hefty drive back to West Palm, but overall the night was pretty kick ass- I couldn't complain.
The next morning, I mad a bad decision about my life and decided to ham out at Howley's
with Steve. It was delicious carnage.
Goat cheese, mushrooms AND sweet potato fries? Might as well go kill yourself.
We ended up jamming together for a while afterwards and came up with some covers. It was pretty wild since I had never heard Steve sing or play in person. We did "I'll be your Mirror" by The Velvet Underground/Nico and "You, Your Fears" by Coma Cinema. How do you think this one turned out?
I ended up leaving around 4h30 after taking a trip to a local music store to get Steve's guitar restrung. I was supposed to record with some of the Beauty to the Moon boys that evening at their new recording area, The Moon Studios
. I hit up Starbucks for a strawberry smoothie first (which has whey protein- be warned!) and then Panera before heading over. The complex where the studio was also housed a porn store and a punk venue (where once, when I first started at FAU, someone had pulled a knife. Oh, good times!). The walls inside were covered with old fliers and shirts staple gunned to the walls, which is a neat idea. Heaven knows I certainly have enough band shirts to do that successfully... Mike was finishing up with a local punk band as I set up. We ended up recording the guitar track for a new jam called "The Risk". Everything was going well until someone below started playing their SHITTY music WAY too loudly. Then, microphone bleed. Awesome. We had gotten some violin stuff recorded, but I don't know how entirely happy I am with what we have currently.
"Emily, you are being a MAJOR pain in the ass."
For some reason, all the parts I was coming up with seemed very "major" in nature. I wanted to create depth but via shadows, not light. Since the song is nowhere near completion, I can go back and rewrite some of those parts. There is a really sick harmonic outro that I love, but otherwise I was disappointed with my own playing/writing. Bah! I do love working with these guys like nobody's business, however. I'll probably be back in SoFla within the next month to work on some music with these guys. I really feel quite passionate about everything Mike writes. Sometimes people just speak to you. I had felt that way when I had been in a Christian band way back in the day, but enough of that talk... it makes me kind of nostalgic and sad. BAH NUMBER TWO! But Mike did have a really wonderful compliment: "I am in love with the music we make together." As an artist, nothing could be sweeter.
After the mini-sesh, I ended up driving to Delray Beach to meet up with former FAU folk, Brostowski and Brittany SM. I wandered around aimlessly, since I didn't know where Bro worked. Even if I had, I suck with directions. (Please see Psychostick's "Girl Directions"
for details.) I walked past a bunch of restaurants filled with ta-ta'ing rich folk until getting to the now-closed City Limits where I had seen one of the best shows of my life.
"I am filled with sadness and lost memories."
We all ended up at this local bar where it was Wop Central. Jersey Shore all up in this! Brittany took care of us, but it would have been rough without a male protector. Bro and I ended up leaving and calling it a night despite it being Latin Night at the Blue Martini. Whew.
The next morning, we went to a 50's diner and I proceeded to ham the f*ck out again because I lack moral guidance. We sat in the Marilyn Monroe room, which was the only detail that I took umbrage with. It was a delicious meal filled with home fries, iPhone apps, and beermosas.
Afterwards, there was still potential that I would be recording again at the Moon Studios. Turns out that both Bader and Haddox were in a class that would last until about 3, which would mean I would be getting back way too late. Instead, I went mini golfing with Bro even though I would rather lick gum off of my own shoe. Did I mention that I have -5082 hand eye coordination skill? Yeah, so that happened. It was exciting to see Bro make a hole in one because then not only could we feel like an accomplished team, but we could also make a ton of TWSSs. Besides wanting to flip the birdie (GET IT?!) at a bunch of hooligans and pants-pooping children, it was a good time.
Like I said, no moral guidance.
We almost look normal.
The trip home seemed like a short one because I had an extensive but hardly dull conversation. It was almost a four hour drive but worth every single minute. I haven't had that much fun since I was crapping into a diaper! Which was yesterday! But really, it was more than I could have asked for.
Now, let's see about me making some music with Mr. Carrabba in the future.
Until then I remain your faithful, crazed pretzel,
Please let me be a hipster- I took a picture of a Ferris wheel AND used Instagram to post it!
After getting past the morning grogginess, we were revving to go to Pensacola Beach before the show that night. Kyle was being an “on the fence Phillip” about going since his throat was sore. Common knowledge once you join a band: if one person is sick, most likely you will get sick too, or else the rest of your band will be sick and you’ll be so paranoid about getting sick that you’ll end up making yourself sick anyway. K.D. kept repeating how the vitamin D from sunshine would be good for everyone. Thanks, doc! Though Kyle seemed more convinced than he had been before, the task of unhooking the trailer was still at hand. After much ado (about nothing), it was unhooked, locked and left in the obliging yard. Mission accomplished.
Kellen was given co-pilot duties since he used to live in the same area, though there were occasional clucks of disapproval from his friend, the Pensacola native. I was once again given my back-seat-lounge-cargo-space area and tried to steady myself during sharp turns- not so much of a success. We ended up stopping at a local Wal-Mart so that K.D. could look for swim trunks. Here, at this point of the story, I’m surprised that I can’t recall with fondness how a ragingly liberal, vegetarian band didn’t spontaneously combust simultaneously upon even entering said store’s parking lot. Maybe bathing suit material is fire proof and/or flame retardant. It certainly isn’t ridiculousness retardant because…
as K.D. was looking through the hoard of knock-off, cheaply made beach gear, Kyle and I witnessed one of the most amazing occurrences the entire tour. There was an older woman standing behind K.D., wearing a silly hat and a white blouse. Why she had a hat on inside, I’ll never know. Why she decided to talk to K.D. I’ll never know even more. She seemed to be concentrating deeply about what aisle the prunes were on or if she needed a clean-up on aisle HER PANTS. SNORT. But as we watched her from the sidelines, she seemed to be staring at K.D.’s back. After a moment more of observation, I poked Kyle, realizing full well that she was, in fact, reading his shirt. Mind you, the “logo” was written in a Nordic, grunge script spelling out “Death” and then below it, “to all tour”. Not exactly something you want grandma to be staring at attentively. Kyle paused momentarily and almost appeared stricken, then smiled when the woman tapped K.D. on the shoulder. Maybe she thought he worked there, and that was his uniform, though Target workers always wear red? Maybe she thought it was a Celtic design? Either way, K.D. turned around slowly and carefully, finding his words in his own surprise.
K.D. : “Can I help you?”
little old lady : “Why, yes! You can!”
[awkward, life-shattering pause]
little old lady : “What does that shirt of yours say?”
K.D. : “… Uh, it’s uh, a band. They’re a band.”
little old lady : “Are they! I have two sons who like a lot of different music. What a pretty shirt!”
K.D. : “… um, thank you.”
little old lady : “I should ask my sons if they know that band. That sure is a nice design.”
[motions for her husband to come over. Kyle and I are dying.]
little old lady : “Look, honey! Look at this young man’s shirt. Isn’t that pretty?”
little old man : “Why yes, that is a nice shirt.”
little old lady : “You have a good day now!”
K.D. : “…”
Only in a Pensacola Wal-Mart.
We got back on the road for the beach only to realize that not only did it look like rain, but that it was massively late in the day aka massively crowded. Oh, and did I mention that it was Blue Angel weekend? Yes. That. No.
We ended up sitting in the car for an hour trying to find parking. Hardly a successful endeavour until deciding that a tow truck would not actually be able to shimmie into the beach outlet store’s parking lot, so we were safe. Of course the planes were loud as hell, and kept flying by in their annoyingly-neat formations while the locals took videos and pictures; this in turn led to Dan and Kellen getting anti-commercial and anti-community, saying that they were “just planes wasting more fuel” and should at least “do something worthwhile.” You tell ‘em, boys.
"Stupid airplanes doing airplaney things."
We ended up going to a small but packed local bar for a locally-made but famous drink called Bushwackers. Kyle no likely, K.D. semi-likey, Dan LOVEY, Kellen LOVEY, Emily no likey then likey after going outside to the porch. I think it might have been made with 151. Sweet God in-----
K.D., Kyle and I ended up having an extended conversation about marriage, children, and all things adult. When it got too serious, it was time to actually go to the BEACH! Yay immature jokes en route to the sea side! Yay band members feeling tipsy and then attempting to swim! We set up camp by the ultra-hot life guard (sorry, guys. He was FINE.) then ran down to the shore like little school girls. There was much swimming, payload talks and fish discussion- Kellen was sure that they were trying to bite him (the fish, not the payloads). Silly high maintenance Jew not being used to being eaten alive in the ocean.
"Can I even count to 151 after these? NOPE."
I started being the baby from South Park about going on the Ferris wheel that we had passed while driving in. Kellen has initially snorted at the idea of putting in a Ferris wheel but then seemed to soften when my head literally popped off of my mounted jaw
whilst asking to ride it. As the others ran along, Kellen and I got a seat in the enclosed Ferris wheel car. For $50 more per person, we could have had champagne. What a loss! Afterwards, we hit up a pizza kitchen that was ridiculously overpriced while discussing classic rock (mosters! rawr!). At the end of it all, we got a beach picture where Kyle and I blinded everyone with our whiteness.
"Is that Keanu Reeves? And what's with the one lone brown guy?"
The show later that night was highly disappointing. Only two of Kellen’s local friends, his mom and her pal showed up. The door guy was a punky kid who was nice but obviously had no hand in promoting. The bartender was also nice, though possibly high on heroin or drunk or both; he kept making shadow puppets and then pretending that they could bark. They gave us free beers, as well as water. HIGH ROLLERS WE ARE! At the end of the night, we got paid in a case of water and the ticket price Kellen’s mom paid. Good times.
Went back, loaded up, navigated to Dallas, and prayed that we would make it there alive and unscathed. The goal was to drive the whole night and then some. How do you think we did? Stay tuned!
I’m a big fan of lists, so I’m going to make them. A lot of them (twss).
Breakfast: kisses from a particularly tiny kitten, assorted fruit parfait, orange-mango juice, whole wheat toast, Karma Cream Coffee (thanks, Kyle)
First day of tour style: Frankie B jeans, TWLOHA shirt (fears vs. dreams campaign), Let Love Rule Tom’s shoes, orange Zenni optical specs
First destination: Pensacola, FL. Final venue destination: The World Famous Celtic Irish Pub (Pascagoula, MS)
We started by loading a mini-trailer at the warehouse. Though KD has only been on one other tour, he took the initiative to be the trailer-loader and consequently play a mean game of Tetris with all of our gear. Kellen did tedious but necessary drum maintenance- changed the heads and then loaded up his 5000000 piece set. Dan announced early on in the process that he needed to “drop a deuce” and disappeared with the community roll of TP. Kyle flitted about, asking about general band maintenance, funds and map organization. Boys will be boys. It didn’t take us long to get situated like one compact, dysfunctional family in a 5 seater SUV. At this point, the open trunk area seemed to be calling my name. I could easily lounge with a pillow and sleeping bag if I remained in the fetal position, or maybe even make a tour de fort. GET IT?!
U-Haul ... ass?
The total driving time was about 5.5 hours, though no pit stops had been factored in. The plan was to go to Kellen’s old friend’s house, drop off the luggage there, shower & change, then hit the road for MS. Since Pensacola and Pascagoula aren’t very far from one another, we planned on driving back after the show that night. I took cat naps throughout the nearly 6 hour trip until we stopped at Ponce de Leon Springs Park for a bathroom break. Friends, let me share this little secret with you about this location: cleanest rest stop bathroom I have ever used, probably because it’s in the middle of nowhere and nowhere is not a place to have a party. Unless you’re in Fick, in which case anywhere is potential shot-taking territory. Nothing else was extremely outstanding besides seeing a school bus filled with convicts. (From this point forward, I’ll make a list of oddities observed while driving all over America’s south.)
By the time we got into Pensacola, we were collectively worn out. But thankfully, we weren’t even at the first venue! And it was the first day of our mini-tour! Joy! Rapture!
I called the shower first (girl power) and was feeling pretty heavenly for the show that night. When we got on the road, I decided to listen to Fick’s discography. And solfege it all. Finally, four years of music school has practical application! By the time we got close to where the venue was supposed to be, a putrid smell of fishy swampiness greeted us with predictable Mississippian hospitality. After driving past a hospital that reeked of potentially-liquefied, Matrix-reminiscent bodies, turning onto an all-too dark railroad crossing, then backtracking to behind a Lowe’s, we found the venue.
“What the hell is this?”
It was small (twss). It looked relatively interesting from the outside, particularly so because no one was there. The bartender was pretty cool right off the bat, as was the sound guy, who was all-too attentive. There were some people inside who seemed to enjoy drinking alone on a southern Wednesday night. One eventual Fick enthusiast wearing a dangerously short “canary yellow” dress kept asking about “hearin’ that fiddle” when she saw me lug in my 2000 lbs of gear (playing violin in a band has its advantages).
Outfit break: royal blue top from Charlotte Russe, American Eagle shorts, lace leggings from Pac Sun, shit kickers from Journey’s
The guys ended up doing two sets: one of cover songs where I sat out and recorded video, and a full Fick set where I would actually play on every song. Note: The usual drill was walking off stage when I didn’t specifically have a part I was told to play. More recently, things have changed and once again, I have weaseled myself into the entire set after arguing that it was awkward to walk off and on like a musical call-girl. Though it has been a rough practice the night before, I was pumped to finally have the chance to play on every song. We did a full set, something Fick has never done before; this even included the semi-SOAD-reminiscent song, “A Ballad for the Folly of Man
"I will film your horrible stage banter."
For the most part, it was smooth sailing. Of course, there were only 6 people there to begin with and 4 remaining after our set, but it was a start. Ended up having a conversation with a bearded ginger about music school expectations, which is always a topic of much debate. Also had to be convo-rescued when a “meth mouth” came up to me upon the completion of our last song. Here’s how the exchange went down.
toothless man: “Mmmehreshuh mmat FIDDLE?”
me: “Yes, I play fiddle!”
toothless man: “Wheremahassen fiddlesolommmyeah?”
me: “I just played a solo in ‘Daybreak’!”
toothless man: “Mmmmzzzufuhzuzzle…”
Dan: “Thanks for coming out, man! She needs to pack up now.”
Various jokes about “packing” were made while loading the trailer. We got paid (a good start!) and hit the road for the drive back to Pensacola. It was short and sweet, but would be the only non-exhausting drive during the entirety of the tour. Sad face.
Back at band headquarters, I attempted (mind your head!) to shower. Apparently there are these ultra-fancy pants faucets where you pull the actual filter spout thing down and it goes from bath to shower configuration. But after fifteen minutes of frustrated efforts to change the water flow, I settled on a bath*. I did get to snuggle up in the spare bedroom which was a little more distanced from the IAMDRUNKITALKLOUD voices coming from the living room. Suffice it to say, I felt bad for K.D. and Kyle.
What glories await Thursday afternoon?! Gasp, gasp, GASP!
* THAT’S how metal is done, boys.
I’m writing this in the back of an SUV. I am some serious, precious cargo. Not really, but I wanted to write the word cargo. Now that it’s out of my system, I have to spill some deets with how tour life has been going. Make a cup of coco (unless you’re reading this and live in Florida, in which case you’ll regret ever beginning to read this blog only to find such a miserable suggestion), get out your Snuggie and prepare for some hardcore literary brilliance. Sort of.
Know how they always joke about getting the “bad karma” out of the way before you go on tour? I was the lucky bastard to hit situational gold when I was leaving from North Port => Gainesville Tuesday afternoon. I thought my car had been riding a little more oddly than usual, which isn’t really saying much to begin with. For those unaware, I have a ’93 Honda Accord. It is… a satanic pile of metal (to say the least). But I figured that it was actually curing itself of all its various maladies since the motor mounts were no longer making the cabin a massage chair upon stopping at red lights. Oh, and it smelled more like a car instead of an exhaust sanctuary. I was revving to go and left around two-ish, merged onto 75N and thought everything was gravy (though, for the record, gravy is disgusting). I called Fick’s drummer Kellen to let him know I was en route and prepped for the 4 hour drive. I put on our first cd, “Futureshock”, and buckled down for a mental practice run-through. After about ten minutes on the highway, my car pulled another one of its ridiculously evil stunts.
I suddenly saw a black chunk of plasticrubbercarinnards fly out from under front of my car. Obviously, there is no way to avoid roadside hazards caused by one’s own car, so I did what only a pathetic, helpless driver could do: I ran over it. Next thing I know, I hear a sickening crunch; the smell of rubber and automobilic spite was perfuming my nostrils with a buxom cry against the human race. At this point in the story, I’d like to say I was a “calm Christine”…
But I was not.
I immediately called our drummer and pulled over on the side of the highway, too shaken to get out and asses the damages for at least a few minutes. The ABS light was glaring at me with orange vengeance, which confounded me even more. Had my brakes gone? Was I missing some sort of brake belt? My fears were racing faster than my car could decelerate. And then: Was my engine even still there? I told him I’d call back, then called my mommy. Guys, girls, ladies and gents: If you think you can handle your shit in a time of confusion and crisis, remember that your mother will always be around to pull your head out of your ass for you. And my mother, fabulous of a woman as she is, knows exactly how to bring down my panic meter from EXTREME PARANOIA I’M DYING WHAT DO I DO to All Right, This Is A Lot Of Messed Up But At Least I Am Still Alive.
When I got out of the car, I circled around it a few times in a vulture-like fashion, assuming it was either dead or dying. I noticed a floodgate had been opened by the front passenger tire. Clear liquid poured out, which reinitiated my panic. Brake fluid? Transmission fluid? Lighter fluid? Blood? I reported all of these things to my mother who told me to call AAA and describe the problem and ask for a tow truck. Me being a daredevil (and also a dumbass about all things cars), lamely asked, “Well, do you think I could attempt to drive it, or…?” Just get a tow truck and calm down.
So I waited on the side of 75, so close that I was still within North Port lines. I alternated cursing my demonmobile and sweat-crying (when you’re so flipped out that you sweat and cry and you can’t tell which is which on your face). It took a good 20 minutes on hold with AAA before going through the motions of confirming your “how many questions can you handle being asked while assuming your car has undergone irreparable damage” membership.
In the time soon after, one heavenly gentleman pulled over in a beat-up looking van. Just what I needed- a pervert to pass the time. He asked if I needed help and I’m assuming he though I was twelve since I kept repeating that I didn’t know what had happened to my car but that my mom was coming to pick me up. How old am I again? Oh right, not twelve. He reached into a cooler and got me an unopened, un-roofied water, and shared some car horror stories of his own, saying that junkers are often more high maintenance than babies. He speculated that the liquid was brake fluid and wished me well. Thank you, random saint on the side of 75N.
My mom eventually found me as the sky started getting all adverse and crappy. We loaded everything for tour into her two door Yaris and set off for home. I had left the car key under the floor mat so that I could at least get away from such a depressing site. Made it back home with still no word from the towing company. We needed to get a move on since I still wanted to make band practice- especially because I was set to play Fick’s entire discography, which I had never played before. Charming. My mom agreed to drive me to Tampa so that I wouldn’t have to call the idea of touring quits, and Kellen agreed to drive to Tampa to pick me up.
Let me take the time to insert here how solid Kellen has always been when coming through for me. He has driven me to many venues before shows of my other band (the Minks) including the Social, the Beacham, and even House of Blues, all because he knew my car was the spawn of Satan. Oh, and because he’s a stand up guy. He also rescued a kitten, which may not seem metal but is. And though this isn’t entirely the time or place, his drumming will make your shit yourself. And then you’ll have to call your mommy and cry into the receiver because of how hard his playing will blow your mind. Really. You might not even want to listen to Fick if you’re a wussy little bitch. Good, glad we got that cleared up.
Though I had a slight freak out at the AAA rep after spotting my car STILL on the side of the highway two hours after my initial call, the drive was smooth otherwise. We switched cars in a Lazy Boy parking lot then hit the road for Gainesville. By the time we got in, I was pretty crabby and exhausted. We ended up running through as much of the set as we could before I almost suffered a mental (not metal) breakdown. We weren’t going to leave until 11am on Wednesday, so there was time to sleep off all the bad vibes.
NOM NOM NOM
Because Kellen is a glorious human being, he made me a blowout meal of vegetarian, smorgasbording skewers when we left practice. A Jew making kabobs? Glory. Full meal included: watermelon & feta salad; pearl couscous with sundried tomatoes; garlic and orange-glazed baby bok choy; Italian-dressed portabella, soy-ginger tempeh, & tofu ceviche with red and green peppers and onion. And all the while, his rescue-kitten Jezebel fluttered about and mewed, “Luk et meh. Eye’m sew kyute.” Considering I speak Flangdas (I’ll explain my cat language someday), we had a nice little conversation that consisted of me pretty much squealing about said kitten for 20 minutes straight. (Note: I apparently am a bit obsessive about kittens. Whoops.)
Overall, it was the perfect way to decompress after an unnecessarily hectic day. But the real cray-ness would start right off the bat Wednesday morning. Stay tuned! Tour! Inside information! Gig life! Boys! Girls! Things with Stuff!
ROCK MONSTERS, RAWR
See those boys on the left? That would be Fick. Pretty much the best band description anyone could have ever gotten, and all you had to go was look at that picture. Didn't know there was a band like that, did you? Well, there is now. Boom.
In all seriousness, Fick is pretty hard to describe when I try to tell people that I am a violinist in two completely opposite-sounding bands. I was with these guys first, actually; though when I first got involved, I never thought it would become a legitimate member. I had been contacted by Lee Rosario, a former engineer at North Avenue Studios. He said there was a "metal-ish" band that had asked for a violinist. Eh?? Are we in Sweden? Nope, but would I be down? Sure!
So I got my gear together, headed over to the studio (about 15 minutes from Stetson), and let myself in quietly. I kept thinking that "Fick" would be a band filled with ISMFOF-like loserdom. Mind you, the only reference of a "fick" I had found online was some insane group of unshaven Europeans. Every song sounded like dropping a payload in the Mediterranean. When I got inside, however, first appearances were what dropped a payload on me.
Normal looking, non-tattooed, pasty dudes! Well, except for that one guy who was wearing a death metal shirt and nodding his head up and down to something coming from fancy headphones. Maybe I was in the wrong studio? A cautious but pleasant fellow came up to me first, with an outstretched hand. This could not be the right studio.
"Hey, I'm Kyle Fick. Are you the violinist?"
And that, my friends, is where I entered into the world of prog-metal/alt math rock. I'm not even sure what those things mean because math makes me want to cry blood just a little. But that's what I'd attempt to classify Fick as. We often cling to names such as Tool, Muse and Faith No More when describing our sound. And there's always that one toolbag who has to go, "O LUK, AY VYOLIN! YEW MUST BE LYKE YELLOWCARDDDD!"
Note: We sound nothing like Yellowcard.
But to continue the story of how I weaseled my way into such a unique band, here it goes: We all went out for celebratory drinks (I wasn't actually the legal age yet - oops?) about how awesome the EP "Futureshock" was going to sound. There is a kind of high that you ride after recording in the studio that just grabs you by the balls (even if you don't have any), and even if it's not your band. Yet. We started talking business a bit and Kyle brought up me playing with them live. I, being the ultimate sasser know to mankind, go, "Well, if I play with you live, I should just be in the band." Classic lurk technique. I have had years of experience working in much the same way for any time of music. But you know what his response was?
So simple! So mellow! Dan (singer) and Kellen (drummer) seemed warm and inviting, just as Kyle (guitarist) had. I think KD (bassist, no bullshit anchor of the band) was unmoved either way, because he's too much of a bad ass to care about anything seemingly trivial. Or important. Or necessary. Or anything, for that matter. But just like that, we toasted and smiled and then sacrificed a goat. Did you feel like it was getting too corny there? I felt it (twss).
Four out of the five members of Fick are vegetarian (including myself). We would never actually harm any animals. PETA, I'm sorry. Don't hurt me.
All of this brings me to why I was writing in the first place- FICK IS GOING ON TOUR TOMORROW!
(cue angelic trumpet blasts and a herd of kittens)
This will be my first tour, so I am pants-wettingly excited about it. We're going to Pensacola, Mississippi, and Texas. It's funny that we're staying in the South, you say? I agree, is IS ironic that a band of liberal musicians is going to play in Mississippi and Texas when we've never toured before. But all the more reason to defecate in public! Right? Right?
It actually will be exciting to get out there since a good friend of mine lives there, and I haven't seen him in a hot minute. Does texas have Piggly Wigglies? What about Waffle Houses? These are the details with which I shall be concerning myself. That and....
MY GOD, I DON'T KNOW WHAT CLOTHES TO BRING.
Ladies, can you holler? I think I should only bring one pair of heels, but I don't know in what direction my tour wardrobe should even go. I want to be low maintenance, I really do... but I haven't had a midlife crisis yet where I stop caring about my general appearance and start porking it up at the all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet.
I'm thinking some basics:
black glittery hipster shoes (I forgot the design name?)
black and white split leg pants
a dress or two??
a feather boa????
These are the things I'll figure out while watching the new episode of "The Bachelorette" tonight. Yes, you can be in a heavy band and still have really girly guilty pleasures. No one ever discusses my propensity for ripping people a new... wait, where was I?
Oh, right. Tour. Fick.
I'll keep a running commentary going while taking in the next five days. Just know that you were warned.
Hello, babies. It has come to my attention that I have not written about one of the most bombastically jolly musical experiences which only occurred recently. On June 30, The Minks along with Dog Powered Robot
opened up a can of ITHOUGHTIWASDREAMING onto a packed house at downtown Disney. On a Saturday night. Even better!
See all the unicorn-toting fun that's going down on the left? Yeah, that's my band Andy Matchett and the Minks
playing House of Blues. I never thought that I'd have the opportunity to play the same stage on which so many of my musical idols have played. Let me give you some background: At this particular HOB, I saw my very first concert. Ever. And I have been to a LOT of concerts. But not only was it my first live show, it was by my favourite band, Dashboard Confessional. (Web spiders may not know this, though all of my friends do- figured it still needed mentioning.) Needless to say, said show blew my mind, and not just because Chris Carrabba shone with an otherworldly glow. Come to think of it, that probably helped, actually. But you get me.
And six years later, I now got the chance to take that very same stage. Here, I got a taste for what life as a musician can mean after years of playing in crappy, integrity-less bands. I have had dealings with a lot of tools who claimed that music was their priority. //NOTE: This will not be a rant post since I'm too busy thinking about Fisher Miga, the little pom pom whose presence was greatly missed. My one snarky complaint of the night? That the venue staff wouldn't allow one of the most precious animals in the world to be a part of a show. HIS show. Hell, I would've gone just to see that cream puff beast. I am getting ahead of myself. //
Anyway! There was a lot behind the planning of this concert. Andy is known for being really up on his frontmanship and general band game. His coif is basically a molded sign pointing to "I'M REALLY AWESOME" atop his head. C'mon. We made a deal to have DPR help us out. That means dancing robots, confetti, balloons, gigantic balloon arms, THE parachute, general revelry, rainbows bursting from everyone's eyeballs, etc. We even had to have a band meeting about stage directions. Here is a picture of me worrying I'm going to fall on my ass or something equally as concerning:
"I run where when? What?"
Or perhaps I was thinking about how I could be backstage at HOB. Doesn't seem like a big deal to all you pro musicians out there reading this blog, does it? WELL, IT WAS. There was a clean shower, weird, faux-folk artwork (gigantic cigarette boxes included - GO CANCER!), huge couches [probably covered in something I'd rather not discover] and a stocked fridge.
That's luxury, people.
Though it may seem silly, the mystique is hardly something to sneeze at. Sure, you get used to various venues and green rooms (if there are any) over the course of your involvement with a band. But there's always a small sense of wonderment about what a different lifestyle musicians live and/or getting to play at a venue where you never thought you'd end up. For me, anyway. And that's from classical AND rock perspectives. That's not to say, however, that I showered there instead of at a close-by hotel. We're all a little high maintenance sometimes. Except for me it's all the time.
Speaking of high maintenance, ladies- can I get you to raise your hands/holler if you've spazzed about a show outfit before? Because I was practically deucing my pants. And I wasn't even wearing any. Good thing there are places like Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe where I can go and publicly cry into the closest hipster scarf/dress I can find. We all need the comfort of trends sometimes. So basically, I found a smokin' dress at CR and proceeded to mentally purchase it before even trying it on. When I tried it on, I wanted to buy myself in whatever context that even means. I couldn't afford to buy myself if I even wanted. But it was a nice thought while it lasted (twss).
Time for an outfit breakdown (rawr?) :
dress: Charlotte Russe (Femme Fatale collection
hat: vintage (from my cousin Hannah)
jewelry: "infamous" scissor necklace from Dressed Boutique (DeLand, FL)
I was going for the vintage look- did I succeed? I wore stockings so that my pale legs wouldn't blind the audience either, since the neon of my dress could have done the same. The dress wasn't low cut or massively short, so it was acceptable to play in. Something to always look out for if you're on a stage that's raised, I might add. I had no wardrobe malfunctions, so I'd say it was a swell choice.
Before the show, I ate at the HOB restaurant with my mom and brother. They actually drove three hours to see us play, which is quite a feat (since we didn't go on until 11). Among the other hopefuls and do-gooders who came out post-Emily-invite were: Dan, Kellen & K.D. (of Fick
), Michelle & Jerry Jones, as well as Paul Cuevas (of Violectric
), Alex Palmer & family, Joey LaCorte & his buddy (ladies, FYI- Joey is single and incredi-amazing
), David Medairos (of Traverser
), and some of the hardcore Minks Crew. It was a good feeling knowing I had support from a lot of people. It was a pretty big day for me musically, after all. Did I mention that yet?
We had an hour set, which was ample and much appreciated (with all of the bot-laden acts, we needed some time in between). There was a full house, though the balcony was closed off from the general public. (Kelly and I went out there with drinks before our set however, and talked about band life as female members.) The audience seemed very energetic and were revving to go. At the start of "Thoughtsalot", confetti explosions pretty much made everyone want to puke stars, it was so overwhelmingly joyous. And don't get me started on all the balloons.
It was surreal being on such a vast stage. The sound was ultra-clear, though there were occasional guitar issues. Andy's cut out at one point and Rog's kept feeding back. All things to take into account next time... we play there?! Though that was my first time playing a huge hometown venue, I hope it won't be my last. I just gotta keep climbing.
Until then, chickadees (yes, that includes all the buff young men reading this).