(Give that introduction pause for a moment- how creepy did it sound? Please tell me you just shed a tear in panic.)
A lot has been going on- so much so that I actually typed this blog while at work. I can hear you all [everybody] screaming, “Way to stick it to the man, Em!” Thank you, thank you- I try. But I haven’t fallen from the musical radar just quite yet. Before I get into all of that: I’ve been working in a shitty corporate job for shitty corporate America for almost a month. It has been both miserable and mind numbing. (WHAT DO YOU MEAN NO BROWSING OF THE TUBULAR BELLS.)
I’ve been searching frantically for jobs elsewhere and praying that my soul will be freed if I eat my broccoli (which isn’t much of a stipulation since broccoli is delicious). I tried to be proactive; I hadn’t even graduated from Stetson, yet I had already begun applying for jobs IRL. One of the job listings was for Full Sail University. I don’t have to take the time to explain here why this was an exciting prospect, though I will say this: multi-hundred channel mixing boards. Yes, BOARDS. Plural. Get me? Good.
Most people in Florida know that Full Sail has it going on… albeit for a hefty price. Nonetheless, I went out on a limb and decided I would try my hand at this whole “technologist thing”. [see: “No Friends”
] I applied the very day I graduated and then waited. And called. And waited some more. And started to give up.
There are a ton of really poignant, really relevant lyrics I could insert here that would make you somewhat feel where my mind was going at this point. All I can really offer is that I am a Debbie Downer and a Negative Nancy a lot of the time, so I assumed no one liked/was impressed by/cared about my CV or resume, and that I would be stuck working this crap chute of a job (and I was happy to get hired by somewhere, even though I’ve had people hang up, threaten to call the FBI on me, and even tell me they were going to pull out their leg hair (which is what I just received in the midst of writing this sentence. I shit you not. God save the Queen.) for many more tortured months. But then there was a game changer.
"Good afternoon Ms. Dwyer,
I read through your resumé this morning and was impressed by your information.
If you have not done so, would you be able to fill out the pre-screen questionnaire and upload your unofficial transcripts?
I would also like for you to consider a time that we could set up for a meeting.
Please let me know your schedule, when you can, and we can proceed from there.
Thank you very much for your time."
Spoken like a hero.
… Excuse me? Did I read that correctly? EXCUSE ME, SIR. SIR. SIR.
Suffice it to say, I called about 10 minutes after receiving that email
and then called back Monday morning to make sure of the interview date.
Can’t touch this!
I switched my schedule around on the same day and planned to meet a Full Sail head honcho at 10 am on Tuesday, aka today. I had been sent directions which I proceeded to mutilate after making 3 U-turns at the same intersection before calling the Full Sail main office. I truly have no sense of direction. #good
Besides the usual paranoia and tension before going into interview, I felt rather deflated. I kept thinking, “Why would they want me? Nobody wants to hire me for music. My majors were hard, and finding a job is going to be even harder." And then as an after thought: "...Where can I throw in a TWSS here?” So I parked and walked into the office and met with my interviewer. We talked about why I had applied for the position, my collegiate and pre-collegiate background, my experience with recording software- basic questions that anyone would get asked when applying for that type of position. He told me about the other faculty members’ instruments, but I didn’t hear “violin” listed. So, being the “TRIP AND A HALF” that I am, I cut my eyes and him and asked slyly, “So no violinist? Sounds like you need one.” Nice try, Emily. That’s real professional. Act like a clown in front of the department head. GOOD WORK. LESS MARKETABLE. But then a meteor fell out of the sky and landed on the interview and maybe my face (because that mental image is making me the LOLing).
“Your background speaks volumes about your dedication to music. I am very
impressed and would love to have you on our team. When’s the earliest you
I checked the calendar and the earliest start date listed was April 29th. I pointed to the date the way a Walker points to human flesh. We stood and
went to talk to the Assistant Course Director before I left. He told me to finish some paper work and that he would get me in the system.
Butt trumpets and angels and shit.
And just like that, I was hired by Full Sail University*. (*This is the point of the story where I make an analogy about my life to Frodo destroying the One Ring, or Voldemort dissolving into ash, or even Darth Vader getting his butt hole handed to him by his own son.)
And though I still have an hour to waste at my desk, I can see the sunlight dying between the shades of the blinds. And I feel comforted.
I made a promise to not slander anyone or any program in particular, but it’s really unbelievable what some teachers say to their students- especially in an ultra-sensitive field like music. It makes you grateful to the professors, family and friends who have stuck by you, even when you had the audacity to tell them all you wanted to study two musical fields in college. All I can say is: I am NOT less marketable. But thanks for playing. #getrealshewhomustnotbenamed
Aside from a fresh job waiting for me, I’ve also begun some part time work for an Orlando-based company called Booked Promotions
. One of my friends from middle school as well as Stetson began working there and told me that
there was a vacancy for a “BookedPro Show” hostess. I immediately shouted in his face, “DOES THAT MEAN I GET TO BE A CUPCAKE?!” at which point I got slapped in the mouth. Not really, but that was way cooler of a story, bro. So I looked up the company and then found both the job description and the ad. I decided, once again, “YTFN?”, and proceeded to send my resume and website info. I was contacted by two gents named Andrew and Danny. They told me to meet them for an interview at a Starbucks
off of Colonial. Seeing as I love me some Sbux as well as music, I was down to interview. It went well, and both seemed very warm and chill (don’t misread that as
an oxymoron, you FOOL!). They told me they still had a few interviews and that I would be hearing from them by Sunday if I got the job. Because Andrew is a little prankster, I got this email:
"Hello Emily,We have bad news, unfortunately you were selected to be “The BookedPro Show” host which means you’ll have to see us a lot more.
Haha, congratulations! We’re going to get some of the sites up and running and then we will contact you with more information. If you have any questions be sure to let us know."
Initially, my heart sank like a rusty anchor… until I proceeded to reread the email. I c wut u did thar. I was very happy to be a part of the Booked Pro team, and had my first assignment at the Polyenso show on March 28. The second show I had to cover was the Evergreen Terrace show on April 4th. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, because a lot of deets will be up on the Booked Pro Show Facebook page
. Also, you’ll be able to see me stumble through interviews, talk about what makes bands cool, and watch me act ridiculous in public via the podcasts. Best hostess ever? Dur. #straightcupcakestatus
I do, however, still want to write about both of those shows, since there were some endearing stories and happenstances. But more that’s for tomorrow’s workday. The Booked Pro Show is going live as soon as I can get my vain ass in gear and pick the promo shots. Did I mention I’m super stoked about it all? I love getting to talk to musicians I both admire and have recently met. It’s all about networking. And being hot. That helps, too.
And speaking of hot, I’ve decided that I’m going to let y’all in on a not-so-little secret about someone I’ve affectionately nicknamed Hotbox. I will use the hashtag #straightbeefcakestatus whenever I discuss him (just so we’re clear). Many of you may remember me bloggy wogging about a certain Julian
a post past. After much wooing and swooning and general lovesickness, he decided to accept my stalking as completely-smitten affection… and return it.
Be prepared for me to start blasting my unadulterated joy on Facebook.
THAT’S RIGHT, KIDS
And on top of that, he has generously extended the invitation for me to be a part of his SoFla ensemble LAVOLA.
Hell, we’ve already been doing acoustic gigs together! And if that isn’t cute enough for you, go look at a pile of kittens. Even though you should do that anyway. I shall say nothing more of the matter because I’ll find myself gushing. And Lord knows what happens when I gush (see: poetry.)
I could cry about all of this. This whole post makes me very emotional, because things are not taking a dump on my soul as of late. I seem to have hit a pocket of good luck and unbridled joy, both of which are most welcome. I’d like to thank the Academy, and Jesus and my cat Lily, and everyone else who hasn't turned me in to the karma police. Or maybe just all of y’all for making me feel like my choices finally mean something worthwhile. I can feel the tears- HERE THEY COME! (twss)
But really, thank you. I love all of you. But mostly my cat Lily.
Until I overdose on filtered sewage water aka work coffee,
"Our gimmick is helium-singing."
Just when you thought you were going to get rid of me, I came back with a fury so strong your eyeballs melted out of their sockets. Good. I do apologize for any vision loss I might have caused, though. Some things have been happening! Things with stuff! To feel feelings! Done did it done to do it done, and other related noise. It's hard picking an appropriate starting place, but I'll try to flesh it out as I go (that sounds gross).
So... I've been to a lot of shows recently. I went to see Meshuggah on Monday the 10th, Further Seems Forever on the 15th, and then Anberlin on the 17th (which was a nice way to finish). That's... a lot of music. And stimulation. And hearing loss, especially since I forgot ear plugs for every show and had to resort to using napkins from the bar. Is that my phone ringing? NOPE, ONLY MY OWN DEAFNESS. #Beethovenswag
I could take all the time in the word talking about those shows, and I very well might- they were a lot more interesting than my girly observations about the insanity of local musicians, school-girl crushes, and recording experiences. BUT I KNOW Y'ALL LOVE ME UNCONDITIONALLY SO I MIGHT AS WELL TALK ABOUT MYSELF SOME MORE OKAY.
But briefly, here's a run down of the aforementioned shows:
1. Animals as Leaders blew my mind. I had always heard good things about them but e=never had any of their albums. Apart from them being the most racially-balanced trio, they were incredibly inspiring musicians. Definitely blew a fuse over their performance. Meshuggah is metal as fuuuuuh. I didn't even know what was happening most of the time because of how br00tal everything was. I met up with some folk there, including Topper from ABL,
my Uke friend Roddick, and Julian from Lavola. Topper and I ended up moshing, which must be noted: YES, a 98lb female violinist moshed in a pit at a Meshuggah concert. Love me forever.
2. Further Seems Forever was like a dream. Really. I went with my gal Rachel, who has also been a long-time friend of the FSF crew. Madness ensued. We drank Pabst/Bud Lite like champs, shouted nonsense, and even sang along when Chris proceeded to fall on top of us from the stage. Oh, and did I mention that photo boothing was involved? Yes, ladies and gentlemen: I sat on Chris' lap while we photoboothed like besties. Probably because we are. (Note: author must take a short bathroom break to vomit a rainbow.)
For the sake of reliving something wonderful, here was the setlist:
Pictures of Shorelines
NEW DESERT LIFE
Just Until Sundown
Justice Prevails (!!!)
Snowbirds & Townies
New Year's Project
The Moon Is Down
Too... Much... HAPPENING.
3. Anberlin, another FL band, is still kicking. I have liked these dudes since WAY back in the day. We're talking for at least 7 years, I have been attending their shows. Even though 3/5 members are married with families, they still rip apart everyone's butthole in a nice, refined Christian way (they are rock stars, though). I used to go to all of their Florida shows when they would come into town, though I couldn't exactly do it this year, sadly. So instead, I got massively out of control and went wild like an animal. Ask anyone. I pogo'ed until two DUDES in front of me left, head banged until a security guard thought I was having an epileptic fit, and then screamed like someone was dying. It was kick ass, even if I had to resort to much Tiger Balm the day after. They all came out afterwards, too. Nice guys.
I'm going to pretend I'm that microphone. Don't judge me.
One of the reasons I didn't go to see Anberlin's Ft. Laud show was because I was recording with the band LAVOLA
. I had been hit up a while back by their singer Julian after he saw the cover Steve and I did of the Velvet Underground. I had no complaints or qualms about jumping into some new music, so we had a Skype practice session before I actually drove down to record. Despite my mind completely disappearing after meeting a ravishingly attractive dude, the first practice went well. (Note: what is it about musicians? I can't seem to escape them, yet they all end up being somewhat insane- including myself. *Let's hope Mr. Black Eyes isn't.)
*This is the part of the story that I skip for obvious reasons. Oh, and because if I don't skip certain deets, y'all will think me a crazy, obsessive stalker. WHAT IS GOING ON, PEOPLE. LET'S BRING THIS ISH BACK TO MUSIC, OKAY.
Good God. Anyway... Lavola was set to record with the mega-talented Ryan Alexander of Civilian
at Bieler Brothers Studio. Unfortunately, the studio was officially closing on Tuesday, so recording HAD to happen that Monday lest it wouldn't get done. Since I had nothing else going on, I made the trip down and hopped to it. We layered some really dark, depressing string parts on top of one another for a super lush sound, added some creeping tremolo sections, and even did a let-me-kick-your-ears accented section. I'm pretty proud of how everything is already sounding, and nothing has even begun getting mixed yet. All good signs. I'm very stoked to hear the final product, as you should be.
When I got back into town, I got hit up by a guy with whom I recorded a music video. He said he wanted to have live strings instead of MIDI (duh) and wanted to record Wednesday night. Wednesday was kind of hectic because I had an interview for a library position (books rule) followed by 4 lessons. I had to high tail it back to Orlando from Winter Garden to make the session on time. I recorded in this guy's house alone (unnerving), with only a stand, folding chair, and one lone mic as setup. Though I can't actually get into too many details (I signed a work-for-hire release- pfffft), I almost walked out of the session.
Kids, I rarely pull the ego card. Most of you will know this if you have ever worked with me in any capacity. I am usually the first one to say how much I have proceeded to suck at something. But when some washed up producer of a HIP HOP track has the gall to tell me that I am not in tune when he doesn't even know what key he has "written" in, I get a little flustered. And by little, I mean an overwhelming amount. Thicker skin, I know- I know. I probably need to let more shiz just roll off my back so I can get back to feeling good about the music I make. But to have some jerk off flippantly ask, "Have you even recorded before?" after HE was the one to punch me in during a musical phrase (so that I didn't know where we were starting from), it's pretty rough to handle. I actually told Mr. BIG INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL that unless he was going to tell me clearly how he wanted me to pay some bullshit 4-bar passage (that wasn't hard except that it was poorly written... without a key signature aka ENHARMONICALLY), he would need to CTFD and treat me with a shred more respect. I didn't study violin and recording technology for 4.5 years only to have some consistently-stoned old man knock MY musicality.
Suffice it to say, I was pretty PO'ed. I hate the idea of people not respecting musicians solely based on the fact that they think the work we do contributes nothing to society. Or that live musicians are all stupid and inaccurate. Sometimes, I swear to God, you have to have as much patience as a canonized saint to be able to handle the directions that are given to you in the studio. And want to know the irony of the entire situation, if it's not entirely obvious by now?
The string sections on this song were for HIP HOP. THE GENRE WHERE EVERYTHING IS MIDI, AUTO TUNED, AND FAKE.
Yeah, Master Producer- these 4 bars of eighth notes at 130 bpm are the hardest thing I have ever played. It's not like I studied the Corigliano sonata for my senior recital or anything. #nbd
This was me after recording on Wednesday.
But at least recording with Lavola was refreshing and worthwhile. I'll let you guys know when that album is set to drop. And for all the talk of the above industry professional, Ryan and the Lavola dudes were way more musical and organized with what they wanted out of a live string player. And for that I am grateful.
Oh, and did I mention that I'm smitten with their lead singer? WHOOPS.
Hope everyone has a good weekend. Opera is Friday & Sunday, so I hope to take a trip down to Dead-Land to see it. But for now, I'm going to go practice and pretend I'm not still wearing my pajamas.
Until then, I remain your rosy buttercup,
"I'm glad we went to that Fick show even though right now we are SOL on the side of Mt. Doom."
Oh man, oh man, oh man.
It's rough being a musician most of the time. Sure, it's brilliant fun to make music with some of your best friends and create a world out of the nothingness that is often every day life. I feel like without music, I would just be another being occupying space. Music gives me a place and a purpose for my heart. And it's not easy- to quote John Ralston, "No one said it was easy." But day after day (by day by day by day...), musicians everywhere have the same struggle that I do: to find where we can feel loved and appreciated for our exhibitionistic narcissism and catharsis. We just want to be loved, really.
That brings me to some sad but all-too-true revelations of late. These things are bound to happen, but a lot has been changing in my life post-college. Basically, both Fick and The Minks are breaking up. Here's an idea of the reasoning behind Fick.
"Hey guys, today I've decided to end Fick. It may seem sudden, but for a while, I've been reflecting on this past year's lack of progress, and I feel it's time to move on before investing any more time. To this day, I've continued to entirely devote myself to this band, but with the lack of progress, no fan base, and no other measurable amount of success, I can no longer justify my efforts. It's not an easy decision, and I know I'll have my regrets, but it's the best decision, at least for myself. But I'm looking forward to hopefully ending on a positive note at the next show. It's been a real pleasure, and I wish you all the best in your future musical endeavors. - Kyle"
One shiny, dysfunctional group of misanthropes.
That's a hard email to read. I don't really understand the idea of us not having fans since progressive metal is a rough genre to break into, not to mention when a band is based out of Gainesville. It's also odd to me because there was much discussion about my involvement with the band after graduating. Though it's depressing for me to admit, I saw this coming. Fick has been an amazing group to be a part of, though there were some seriously trying moments in our band's history. And Kyle's right- it's pretty annoying playing shows that no one comes to, and putting out CDs that no one ever buys. But I see music through rose-coloured glasses; I make music for myself, not for approval from others.
But really, I get it. That's just my sadness monster speaking. And no one wants to keep hearing a sadness monster ramble on and on about memories and death and life and bitterness. Self-indulgence! Hurrah!
Anyway, I thought I would take this opportunity* to relive some of my favourite moments with my bandies since after this Saturday, we won't be "Fick" anymore, though we will still be palsie walsies.
(* See the above disclaimer if you're not interested in feeling all mushy about metal dudes)
"Your incredible tapping skills make me want to lick you!"
Kyle: What a hysterical dude. He is the proud owner of Karma Cream
, a Gainesville sweet spot that's favoured among hipsters and cool folk. He was actually the first member of Fick to suggest that I be in the band after we recorded at North Ave Studios. He helped me with a lot of the physical music writing aspects of the band, as well as always rehearsed with me before shows. He was incredibly patient when I couldn't grasp constantly changing time signatures, weird modulations, and awkward accents. He had a propensity for being a light weight and falling asleep on various couches; he had an interesting way of counting out songs which consisted mostly of "one-onetwooneonetwo-one"; his political and social beliefs were strong but humourously Kyle, aka presented, "Well, liiiiike..."; he also is married to my former high school concert master, which only leads me to believe that we truly live in a small world.
K.D. : Let me just start off by saying that this guy is a complete and utter bad ass. First of all, he's the only brown member of the band, so he gets ethnic points (SORRY, BUT IT'S TRUE.) He also has had a good number of things in his life that have been less than awesome, one of which was being diagnosed with cancer. But did K.D. kick cancer's ass and take names? OF COURSE HE DID. And he came back into the music scene kicking and screaming. He does a lot of thrashing from within, though, because he's usually very calm.
"This is better than giving each other the finger."
Don't be surprised! He is merely planning how to explode your head with mind controlling powers. Some of my favourite memories are sarcastically "wanting" to take shots at 10 am while on tour, starting a mosh pit at Bar 1982 after one of our sets, and watching him actually laugh after a beer or two. (That's a big deal, because the only other time K.D. smiles is when he is feasting on the flesh of his victims.) Oh, and apparently old women like his DEATH shirts.
"I swear this was one of Freddy Mercury's moves."
Dan: Where to begin? Ah yes, HE'S GOT THE GAYS. Just kidding. But it was a recurring theme with us, among five thousand other things. Dan was always protective of me and made sure that the good times lasted (at least until 5 in the morning). I was fascinated that he had been reading a book on philosophy when I first met him, and then continued to be fascinated when I found out he had a ton of poetry books in his room. He is both a sensitive writer and loyal friend. He, like me, grew in up a small, dinky town (he, Arcadia; me, North Port) so he knew what it was like to want to shake off the rural life. I have never felt more metal in my life than when I took my first legal shot of tequila sans lime OR salt with Kellen and him (and that's saying something since I've been known to throw down). He has a knack for saying the absurd, making people watching an Olympic sport, and turning shitty situations into reasons to celebrate life's banality. But I can say with certainty that the loss of his various bandannas has made it finally possible for me to sleep at night.
Kellen: KELLEN SCHMELLEN! He had more than a few hang ups about everyday annoyances such as: his hair*, chicken, ranch dressing*, Republicans, Mitt Romney, southern-raised folk, neo-Nazis, Jews, his hair, meat eaters in general, ranch dressing, obesity, Florida, crappy co-workers, not-tight-enough drum heads, poor venue mixing, Keanu Reeves, his hair...This guy is seriously one of the best musicians with whom I have ever worked. He is ultra-passionate about his drumming styles, technique and attack. He opened up my mind about playing in a prog band because of how fluidly he transitions between time signatures and tempo changes.
Jews taste better.
He has helped me in times where I felt myself falling through the cracks- especially in my final semester of college. He also drove all the way to Tampa to pick me up after my car took a shit on me (see earlier blog) when I was driving to Gainesville to go on Fick's mini tour. Saintly? I think so. Though he may sometimes appear high maintenance, he has a huge heart- and even rescued a kitten from the side of the road! THAT'S RIGHT, WORLD. And despite Fick ending, I hope to make music with him in some capacity in the future. Help me convince him! INDEED.
(* Note: these items have the potential to be mentioned a plethora of times. But I took the liberty of merely mentioning them twice for clarity's sake)
Well, it looks like we're actually the Village People.
I'm thankful that I got to be a part of something so hardcore and bad ass. Females don't often find a place in the heavier music scene, sadly. But with these guys, I never felt like the odd gender out... probably because I make a ton of TWSSs and dick jokes, but whatever. It felt good while I was a part of it. (...twss)
Long live monotone colours... and metal.
I love them all very much, and wish nothing more than awesome musical endeavours in the future. Just remember- FICK created the genre "butt rock". Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Hey kiddies. I know, I know, FOR GOD'S SAKE I KNOW- I never finished writing about tour. I will. I promise. Though I probably should never promise anything too sincerely during the school year. Stop judging me- Jesus wouldn't like it.
Anyway, I thought I would take this opportunity to write about some recent comings (twss) and goings of my musical life. It seems the dynamic I have with music has ended one crescendo and reached a new forte, if you will. (Did I really just make a pun about dynamics? I really need to cool my jets.)
For right now, the Minks have taken a break. I think we all are a bit burnt out with our old music, and none of us have as much time is as needed to sit down and actually legitimately WRITE new songs. Sure, we can play them... but we also need to discuss, track and re-evaluate them. As far as that goes, I think we might start back up in November-ish, at the least. I promise we won't be gone forever. I mean, have you seen my face during live shows?
"I LOVE CONFETTI. AND YOUR MOM."
Yeah. There is no way that is ending.
In terms of Fick, we're still going strong. We have a show at Backstage Lounge on September 29- more deets are to come in time, but everyone has been plugging along AIDS-free. And that's gotta mean something, right? Exactly.
What I'm pants-crappingly stoked about happens to be a semi-out-of-the-blue side project with my good ol' boys, Beauty to the Moon. Yes, they are brutal... but said side project features their acoustic and more mellow songs. No screaming, no shredding like it's Taco Night- just straight, clean melodies.
In fact, I traveled down to S Fla this past Saturday to record with Mike, Bader and Carlos. We set up shop in the Coral Springs School of Rock and were set on finishing one of my favourite local band tracks OF ALL TIME, "List of Things", as well as start a new song that Mike had been toying with for a while. After much ado about mic placement, we were good to go until...
Let me explain. Mike was running an old school copy of PT with Mac OS 9.2. Yes, you read correctly- nine point freakin' two. There was an issue with the buffer size (as all you engineers out there will know, it can be a little bit--), so he changed it and then... Nothing. His computer wouldn't start unless he turned off all the extensions. He and I called anyone we could think of and luckily my friend Stephen has some classic advice:
SHUT THAT SHIT DOWN.
So we did. And I flicked some checkboxes and prayed as the tears welled up in my eyes. Could this really ruin an entire evening session? Did I drive down here for no reason? I'm getting recording blue balls, c'mon when suddenly
IT WORKED. Like a leprechaun trumpeting a unicorn from its magical rainbow, the computer started with no issues and PT was back in order.
"BRB, gotta go answer Emily's prayers before she throws a hissy fit in front of all these tattooed dudes."
So then, with newly-acquired vigor and passion, Mike and I recorded the two most brilliant tracks in all of music's history. Well, that's pretty much how it went down, folks. I felt a tingling in my inner cochlea and/or spinal fluid upon listening to the luscious guitar/violin call and response. When these tracks drop, you will all drop deuces. Mark my words. And make sure you have enough TP.
We actually have some more in the ready that are marinating until I can get down there again. One is actually driving me partially insane, in all seriousness; it's called "The Risk", and I've had it on repeat since Mike sent it to me. Lyrical highlight: "It was never yours to take."
Don't worry, it will all make sense, even if you end up in tears by the end of the song.
But HEY, YOU! I need to go practice all that classical rep soon. Just thought you missed me. Because I'm egotistical and self-centered. LOVE ME! LOVE ME!
After the show on Thursday night, we hit the place we had been staying to grab our stuff. Kellen took a quick shower since drumming leaves one quite sweaty (twss?) while we loaded the car. I had made my little nest in the cargo area when Kellen started arguing with his Droid. It’s common knowledge that no one likes Kellen’s GPS girlfriend. She has a not-so-soothing voice and seems to enjoy masochistically sending everyone in his vicinity in the wrong direction. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Kellen’s GPS girlfriend is actually jealous of me, considering that every time I talk she likes to interrupt with a newfound direction that has never even appeared on the map before. Let’s just say I’m sick of her girly BS. Did I just bitch out a GPS voice? Sure did. NEXT.
Throughout the night/early morning, I got two hours of sleep here and there. It was glorious when it was actually happening (twss) because sleep is hard to find on tour. No wonder so many band members drink themselves into stupors and pass out in their respective vans. It’s not easy, kids. (Points to you, reader, if you got that reference.) We kept stopping every two hours as well, which is probably another reason I kept waking up. I’m not sure if it’s because the trailer brought on a lot of drag to the car or because the Fick babies have the tiniest bladders known to mankind, but either way we were startstopstartstopping throughout the route to Dallas. One of the interesting places we stopped at was some faux saloon place that has a plethora of awful yet wonderful things to purchase and be perpetually overjoyed with. For example: I bought strawberry jam (a Louisiana favourite!), a mini German chocolate pie (shoot me), a “we don’t call 911” sticker (ultra classy), and then… it was like the angels were blasting butt trumpet fanfares when I saw this:
"That's right, I am a Deputy Sheriff. With two F's."
What COULD be more glorious? You’re right- nothing. What had to happen? You’re right- it needed to be purchased as my new tour crown. I ended up wearing it even while sliding back down for nappy wappy times ten. Billboards of great importance: various Bible quotes about repentance with a Zeus-like figure looking pissy and vengeful, “fried pies” almost immediately after crossing the state line and yes, “FREE CONDOMS HERE” for all the world to see and revel in (the sign, not the condoms). I suggested we pull over for the latter, but then Dan made quips about raw dogging and then- “Are those Dallas stars under the highway?” We were almost there, and the hotel couldn’t come fast enough on the horizon.
There was much ado about nothing aka parking the trailer. We ended up pulling the hangover move of not caring where & how the state of things were left before spastically springing to the bathroom to puke joy over the feat of finally having made it. There was a queen in a room with dividing doors, extra cots, a mini-fridge, and A JACUZZI HOLY SHIT WE’RE ROCK STARS. Doesn’t matter that no one used the jacuzzi, it was still there for using. If we wanted to bathe ourselves in champagne and have a bunch of hot dudes feed us chocolate strawberries, we could. Wait, that’s only what I want? Non factual statement. Surely someone else could work this fantasy into fruition. Dan? Anyone? Hello?
"It's okay, Emily, we understand your plight about sexy men bathing in champagne."
We dropped our belongings and headed out for food. I had been keeping a wary eye out for vegetarian places since all of us boast of animal rights activism. There was a Thai place along the main road that I had seen and suggested, so we ended up there. Kellen was a Pouty Polly the whole time because he was tired – he even leaned his head back to shut his eyes at the table. I had a massaman curry dish that was absolutely fabulous and an epicurean Renaissance, of sorts. If I find the name of said restaurant, I will send everyone in Texas and its surrounding states there. I had leftovers after gorging as well, which were just as good cold as they were hot (especially on the road, when a "meal" means a pb & honey sandwich). Conversations during meal time: the spice levels of Thai food, government representatives, the creation of the world. Literally. We are a fascinating band.
"I would have tasted so much better had we not argued over why the Primordial Soup Model of creation makes the most sense. (I was still delicious, though.)"
We left from the restaurant to check in at the venue (the Boiler Room). It was about half an hour away which ended up taking longer than expected since there was a good deal of traffic. When we got there, no one thought to knock on the front window even though one of the venue workers was inside. Eventually we got merch set up only to have one of the other bands (who shall remain unnamed) set up right next to us with everything looking stellar and expensive. They are local yet had about 5 different shirt designs and a metal shirt hanger rack contraption rich-kid thing on which to boastfully display them. Nothing pisses me off more than a not-so-professional-sounding band having totally-professional-looking merch. They probably have all the means in the world to make themselves better-sounding musicians before making themselves better-looking businessmen. Snort.
When we got back, we needed to start getting ready. Of course, I called the shower first and proceeded to almost break my face in the tiny and poorly lit Quality Inn bathroom. High butt busting quality INDEED. I then putzed about in my skivvies (oi!) for a hot minute and polled the audience about my show outfit. KD and Dan preferred the combat boots with short dress combo, Kellen preferred the Nine West rainbow leopard flats, and Kyle preferred starting at facebook’s advertising page. I ended up with the boots since I wanted to give the “I can still kick your ass even if we’re in Texas” vibe.
Outfit break for that night's show: GUESS? denim dress; brown Journey’s combat boots
Before heading to the show, we stopped at a liquor store like true classy gents and then saw a waterfall billboard! Gasp! It was for Coors, however, which was an extreme disappointment. I listened to a variety of the Dashboard catalogue in honour of John Lefler’s promise to come out. Yes, your read that correctly: THE John Lefler said he wanted to come see me. It was a big deal. It still is. I mean, have you seen his luxurious locks? Have you? Here’s a picture in case you forgot.
Don't you just want to scream, "HA'DAW!" ?!
As for the actual show, we had the biggest turn out thus far on tour. Dallas is a lot bigger than Pascagoula and Pensacola, so that makes sense. There were a lot of sound/technical issues however, and we ultimately played like crap that night. Of course. It figures that when someone legitimately important comes out and there are a decent amount of people there that we would suck. Awesome. John was gracious though, and deemed us a “metal band” even though Fick often holds the alternative/progressive title. I think we’re more of a WTF band, but that’s just me. And everyone else in the entire world.
It was lovely to catch up with John[ny]. I haven’t seen him in a hot minute, so there were many things to discuss such as: relationship woes, musical gear, tour life, songwriting, drinks of preference, and getting “older”. Ladies, keep in mind that he is single and if you are reading this, there’s a good chance you’re awesome enough to holler at him. I’ll act as his personal representative. Good.
Much drama ensued later that evening between band members being drunk and random people showing up to the hotel, semi-uninvited. I mean, they were invited by our front man. But no one invited them to proceed to SMOKE AN ILLICIT SUBSTANCE in our hotel room. Who even does that? I seriously wonder what the hell goes through people’s heads sometimes. I* pulled out the RA card and got all “I can’t believe you’d put us in a compromised situation” attitudinal, which has consistently worked with my fail-stamped residents in the past. Dan was ultimately very apologetic the next day, but everyone was in a pooper-scooper mood on the last day’s drive to Austin/San Antonio. We had all entered into the 007 gear (overtired 0verdrive… 7 deadly sins?!) by the time we hit the road on Saturday morning. The relative atmosphere of the van was tense and thick (twss) which made it all the easier to sit on my iPhone and pretend I had various important, managerial things to do. I did remark, however, that I saw a child of no more than eight years old actually go out of his way to get hotel coffee. No one seemed to think that was remarkable except me, at which point I crept back into my SUV hidey hole.
Austin, here we come.
*For the record, I have never been high (YES, I have NOT smoked weed before, so don’t ever ask me. kthx) and have chosen to live above societal pressures and loser druggies. Take that, America. Go me, self-aggrandizing, pompous, pure blood Emily.
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!