Friday, December 4, 2009

CRASHING THE TOP 40 PARTY

We are stoked to report that Millions "Gather Scatter" has made the Decibel Magazine "Top 40 Records of 2009" list.

Sure we could post all the details, but why not pick up a copy and check it out yourselves?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

MILLIONS "VERY STRANGE" BRICKTOP SESSIONS

In what seemed like a genius idea, we booked studio time before we left for Europe. The idea being that we had new songs and after playing them every night for a month straight, what better time to record? We enlisted the engineering skills of Andy Nelson at Bricktop Recording. He had recorded the Harpoon and Weekend Nachos full lengths and those sounded stellar. Andy also does guitar / pick slides in Weekend Nachos, and their shows are worth a night leaving your couch.

So after being home for a couple weeks from our Euro binge, we awoke on a Saturday morning, went to the practice space to load up, then headed to the Pilsen neighborhood where Bricktop was located.

It was very strange doing anything post tour without Ralph, our European tour manager / driver, so these sessions are named in tribute to him.

We loaded into the studio and got situated in a room that could fit us all. The idea was to set up in the same room, mic us all up, and get an energetic live recording. Vocals would be tracked separately and of course the guitar feedback overdubs would be done later.

Some history about the building where Bricktop resides. It's basically an old warehouse full of rubber gloves, raincoats, furniture, coveralls, and a completely out of place Fender Rhodes. This place used to be right down the street from the Maxwell Street Market so it got a ton of foot traffic and people would come in from all over to buy their gear. Now the market has moved and the people have stopped coming. It feels sort of like a fossil from those Maxwell Street days. Needless to say, we felt very comfortable and were able to knock the songs out in a short amount of takes.

Corey weighs his options.

We walked out of there with four originals and a cover of Nirvana's "Tourette's". We will post the Nirvana cover here in the next couple weeks as soon as we finish mixing.

The new material is MILLIONS moving in a forward direction for sure.

Or perhaps we are moving sideways.

These four songs recorded... Are they to be an EP? Material for some seven inch splits with other bands? How bout our 2009 demo? The history is yet to be written. We're really happy with how they turned out and can't wait to unleash them on the unsuspecting public.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dresden



Dresden - After spending most of the day in Prague, we left for Dresden in the late afternoon. Daylight savings had kicked in the night before, but darkness had fallen by the time we hit Dresden two hours later and we didn't get to see much scenery.

It was set in our minds that we would be travelling home the next day and we had started to sort through what needed to be done before we left town. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to think about these things after we had played the show!

The show was at Az Conni which was a very nice venue that Ralph our driver had been a part of for the last ten years and he made sure to get us plenty of beer and delicious food. The sleeping quarters were in a building next door, so with the crisp Fall air, the whole night had a "camp" feel to it.

We played with Framestar who sounded like a tasteful cross between Refused and Turbonegro and their set was flawless. Daniel who had given us shelter upon our initial arrival in Berlin was the vocalist and it was nice to see him again.

As the fairy tale goes, the last show of a tour is supposed to be the tightest, most energetic, and the last shot at redemption. Thinking back on all our past tours, this only happens 50% of the time and the other half can be filed as crash and burn. No fairy tale took place in Dresden.

Not feeling fully satisfied with the night, Scott and Mark set out to find one last döner kebab meal to bring back to camp and they were successful. We are sure the smell was still in the air at 5 am when we left for Berlin and our flight home.

And with that....Our tour of Europe was over.

90+ Hours in a Van in 26 Days: Millions Reading List


Staving off boredom in the van can be challenging when you're looking riding in the thing 26 days in a row. And for some reason we made it harder on ourselves this trip by trying to not listen to music on the stereo in the van. Personal iPods and whatnot were fine, but we opted to not subject everyone to our horrible individual tastes in music. Odd as it sounds, it was a nice change of pace. The only thing coming out of the front of the van that we could all hear were the soothing sounds of the German GPS and, when in Germany, Ralph listening to talk radio. That was actually kind of relaxing, something about talk radio that you can't understand a word of is perfect for lulling you to sleep.

Anyway, we read a lot of books, watched a fair amount of TV shows and listened to some sweet jams while whittling away the hours in the van for a month...

Corey:

Read: Watchmen, couple installments of Y: The Last Man, and the In The Court of King Crimson (King Crimson Biography). Yeah, I really wish I brought more books on tour

Watched: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 and some of 4


I fashioned a sweet home theater system in the van to optimize my Star Trekkin'

Listened: Converge: Axe to Fall, Aphex Twin: Select Ambient Works Vol II, His Hero Is Gone: Monuments to Thieves, Crain: Heater, Rodan: Rusty, Slint: Spiderland, Tyrannosaurus Rex: Beard of Stars & Unicorn, Kylesa: Static Tensions, Creedence Clearwater Revival: Green River, Krallice: s/t, Mahavishnu Orchestra: Inner Worlds, Miles Davis/Bill Laswell: Panthalassa, Yes: Relayer, Straight A's: 7", Rye Coalition: Lipstick Game

Mark:

Slept a lot. Listened to Iggy Pop "The Idiot", Swans "Filth", Soulsavers "Broken", James Brown "The Payback". Read British tabloid news, and Joe Matt "The Poor Bastard". Watched "Real Time With Bill Maher", "Curb Your Enthusiasm", and "Hells Kitchen"

Pat:

Read: Lolita, Nabokov; The Plague, Camus; Transition, Banks; To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee; and A Confederacy of Dunces, Toole.

Watched: Season 1 of The Wire, Season 1 of Eastbound and Down

Listened: Tons of 3D Thunderstorm environments to get through the snoring, Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Van Halen, a little King Crimson, a little Floyd and Keelhaul.


Scott:

Read: Children of Dune, Frank Herbert; Elric of Melniboné, Michael Moorcock; and Watchmen, Alan Moore/ Dave Gibbons.

Watched: Season 2 of Dexter and a whole lot of European scenery.

Listened: Fight Amp "Manners and Praise", Voivod "Killing Technology", Yes "Close To the Edge", Yuppicide "Dead Man Walking", Entombed "Wolverine Blues", Replacements "Let It Be", Einstürzende Neubauten "Halber Mensch", Front 242 "Front By Front", King Crimson "Lizard", Unsane "Lambhouse", Rodan "Rusty", and Charger "Fuzzbastard".

Ralph:

Spent a month listening to four American idiots who thought they were funny, but they weren't.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Prague


Prague -
One of our favorite shows of the tour. It was about time that we played a show that we all felt good about. It was promoted as HC /NOISE, so people knew exactly what they were getting into.

We showed up at the club and it just felt different. First off, the guy running the parking lot was pretty sure that we all spoke Czech even though we were only talking to him in English. Ralph tried German too I think. Didn't matter....He was giving very lengthy descriptions in Czech. We were pretty lost.

The club is in the basement of a college dorm. It was cheap, and the sound was good. Goulash was provided for food and it ruled.

The first band that played was Transwaggon. It was the promoter, Kejmy's band. They were great and ended their set with a Husker Du cover dedicated to us. After Vicenza, it was nice to play with a band that fit with us.

Remember those roses stolen from Italy? We put them up on the stage and told people to take them during the set as a gift from us. They were gone before we were done. Gotta remember that trick.


Our set was probably one of our better ones. People were way into it. Double encore too!

After the show we went to the merch table and sold thousands of Czech crowns worth of merch. This was exciting! Then we realized what the exchange rate of Czech crowns to Euro was....Not as exciting (still pretty good though).

The next day we woke up and got to do some cool sightseeing in Prague. Some of the only sightseeing of the trip....We picked a pretty good place to do it.

Then it was on to Dresden to play Az Conni, a collective of which Ralph was part of. This would be our last show of the tour.

Vicenza


Vicenza - Seems like anything would have been a let down after waking up in one of the most beautiful places we've ever been. The drive here was pretty cool though cause we found a gas station that doubled as a full on meat pantry! Unfortunately some of the goods acquired out of haste and excitement didn't make it through US customs. D'oh!


The venue in Vicenza was very fancy and there was a band flat directly above the venue which was great. There were some issues with the toilet....Namely that it wouldn't flush. At first we blamed our dumb American-ness, but it turned out to be a legitimate issue. The promoter, Erico, helped us figure out the trouble after initially offering Mark a box to remove his leavings.

After that it was downstairs for soundcheck and free pizza! The pizza was insane and we each got a whole one to ourselves which came in handy later in the night. They also had Lagavulin behind the bar. It didn't last the night.


The show was well attended, but we're pretty sure nobody was there to see us. In fact, many people were probably a little bit shocked by what was happening. We may have stood a better chance with a spoken word set taking turns reading Steven Hawking's "A Brief History Of Time" to the crowd. So it goes. We were probably a little loud for the venue too. The other band, Cruel Boxes sounded like a cross between Thrice and Alexisonfire. Yes, we know what those bands sound like. Not sure they were a good fit for us, but a little variety never hurts. At least the bartenders and Erico seemed to like us!

After Cruel Boxes had ended their set, they had their beautiful Italian girlfriends occupy the merchandise table. This is always a great idea except these ladies took no shame in boxing us out of the area so we had no chance of selling anything! Sometime during the night, 4 roses were bought and given to these women. Now we aren't exactly sure how it happened or who was involved, but those roses left with us the next day on our 10 hour drive to Prague.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lucca

Lucca - Leaving Schauffhausen around noon we continued on through the Alps into Italy. We were aiming for a 5pm rendezvous at Mike Persil's house just outside of Pisa. With Ralph at the wheel driving with determination, this only left time for fuel, bathroom, and smoke breaks.

Swiss Smoke Break.

The scenery was amazing overall, except a 17km tunnel through the mountain which tested everyone's underlying claustrophobia.

Mike Persil was the man who was behind booking this tour for us and it was a pleasure to meet him and he welcomed us with 1 lb of prosciutto and two bottles of excellent Chianti. What a generous host!

The show was at a upscale bar/restaurant and we can only describe our set as tiny daggers into the hearts of the Italian people which made them slowly run for cover.


Later that night we stayed at the promoters house, out in the Tuscan countryside. One of the cool things on tour is arriving to where you're sleeping at 1 AM and not really knowing where you're at, then waking up and discovering you're either in a shithole or paradise, or somewhere in between. Now we appreciate everyone who has given us a place to stay through the years as we have been on tour, but waking up in this countryside was quite memorable beyond everything.


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Zipping Through Tuscany in a Van at 1AM

At 5 AM we were awoken by roosters, grabbed a few more hours asleep then discovered we were in the middle of some incredible scenic Tuscan hills. Pomegranate and olive trees and grapes growing on vines just beats the allure of dirty toilets and bathtubs with broken drains.





Us with Mike Persil

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Schauffhausen

Schauffhausen - We drove through the Swiss Alps on this drive. It was just the start of it, and we'd get to see a whole lot more of them as the trip went on.


We got to the venue and it was another really professional place. It was probably a 300 capacity room which was one of the bigger places we've played on the tour. Good sound, decent crowd for a school night in a pretty small town (30,000?). We played pretty well.

After the show we walked the streets trying to find somewhere to eat. There was nothing. Massive bummer. We wound up splitting 2 snack packs of chips between 4 people. That didn't go so well.

Later in the night, Mark took his socks off for the first time in 4 days. It cleared the room out. Pat wound up sleeping somewhere else in the house just to get away from the smell. Foot powder and open windows wound up saving the day eventually.

The next day it was off to Italy, specifically Tuscany, to meet Mike Persil.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Munich


Munich -

Awesome sound system at this show and possibly the best food spread so far. Tasty ass olives, meats, salad... good stuff. Really took care of us here.


After the show we stayed at a complex called BACKSTAGE which had multiple venues and had hosted both an ARCHIVE and PETER MURPHY show that night. Both groups got wind we were staying there and left town before we even got there, leaving us with a sleeping place all to ourselves.

The next morning we woke up and were made breakfast as a fantasy metal tour package loaded in. Awesome.

Leipzig



Leipzig - I think we all agree the venue in Leipzig, Zoro, was one of the coolest of the trip so far. Another squat, converted from an old school, with a couple spaces for shows and a nice kitchen and accommodations for the many bands that come through here. We played with Teenage Cool Kids and Algernon Cadwallader, also American bands. It was good to shoot the shit and discuss our mutual experiences touring Europe. When we drove up the venue they were walking down the street menacingly eating ice cream cones...



Before Dinner with Teenage Cool Kids and Algernon Cadwallader

A couple people cooked us some really, really good vegan food - and this is Corey writing this, so you know it kinda hurts him to say that. Gonna steal that potato dumpling recipe,,,


Played a fun show in the downstairs show area, which had a cool, rusty, steampunk in Freddy Krueger's basement vibe going on. Good turnout and the other bands killed shit as well.

Cologne (Day Off)


Cologne (Day Off) – Not too much to say about this. We ate some tasty Lebanese food and walked down the Rhine River by the Cathedral. We got some rest. Corey was feeling much better. We watched some Curb Your Enthusiasm. Nice relaxing day off.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A pound of prosciutto, washed down with chianti and microbrew in Lucca, Italy has restored Corey to full health! Popeye has his spinach, Corey has cured meats.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Paris

Paris – The most well put together, professional show we’ve ever been a part of. Easily. We pull up in the van and standing there on the sidewalk is the promoter, a technical director, and about 20 stagehands waiting to unload all of our gear. We are in the right place right???


Everything is ready to go within minutes, they give us a dressing room (not kidding) with a TV and soundboard mix coming through the speakers so that we can keep an eye on how the shows going without going out there.

There is a full catering spread which they have people serving to us while we just sit there. Wine and beer is plentiful.



After sound check we walk around a bit and Mark buys some street sausage that winds up being the finest sausage he’s ever eaten. Corey, although he still can’t keep any food down, tries a bite and agrees, it’s the best.

Back at the show, we get our backstage passes and watch the other bands. Alpinist plays and completely kills it. Nice guys too. Probably one of our favorite bands that we've seen for the whole tour so far. They sound a lot like His Hero is Gone. Corey likes this.

We play and although Corey is weak from malnourishment, the show goes well, we might be a little lower energy than usual, but it’s tough when one person hasn’t eaten a meal in 48 hours. People are dancing and kind of going crazy while we play. It’s a pretty amazing thing to see. There is good banter with the crowd, and we get asked to do an encore….For some reason the French seem to get our music. It’s cool that someone does! The people there seem very appreciative, and we feel the same way.

Then comes the best part…..The people who put on the show got us three hotel rooms to stay at, which are about a five minute drive from the venue. Insane!

The next day, Scott and Mark woke up and went to a nearby Farmers Market, which was scrumtrulescent. Anything you can think of was there. Fresh seafood, the best cuts of meat, thousands of kinds of crazy cheeses you’d never see elsewhere, tons of different breads and rolls and croissants. Scott got some rotisserie cooked rabbit, a sausage, and a baguette. Mark got a rotisserie tenderloin kabob, a sausage and an apple raisin baguette. Awesome….


We drove by the Eiffel Tower.


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Walking the Farmers Market

Utrecht



Utrecht – The Netherlands rule. The people are the best, the venue we played at was great, the food they made us was top notch prepared by professional chefs. Everything about it felt like it was done the right way.

Utrecht itself is sort of like a twin city with Amsterdam. They’re about 20 minutes apart, and connected by train lines. The same stuff that you love about Amsterdam is here.



We already put pictures of puppies on the blog....Here's a rainbow now too.

We play much better at the show tonight, which is a relief. It’s a pretty Corey light set because he is still a wreck. He’s unable to eat pretty much anything. His enjoyment of Utrecht is seriously inhibited, but he gives it his best effort.

The bands we play with, This Routine Is Hell and Vogue are exeptionally good.

This Routine is Hell


After the show we go back to the squat where we’re staying at which is a pretty amazing place, and Mark leans on the police alarm which wakes up the entire complex. Everyone runs down in various stages of undress and Mark is standing there on the phone telling them what a dumb American he is. They all look a little angry, but turn to smiles after a couple minutes with humor at our expense.

The Squat




The video below is a pretty normal crossing of the street in Utrecht


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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Trier


Trier – This will come to be known as the show where we get our first eyewitness encounter with the phenomenon known as crabcore. We will never be the same….

This is also notable as the town where Corey would get sick….Again. This time we’re guessing from, in a total Homer Simpson moment, eating a stray piece of ham that was in a tabouleh salad that he bought at a gas station.

The show itself was at a huge building that was built by Napoleon and is now a complex that does all sorts of community functions. It is part youth facility, part performance space, part music venue….It also houses the bands that play there. It’s the sort of thing that would never fly in the United States.

The first band, City Light Thief plays and is good.

Then comes the second band crabfest…..A band who’s name we won’t mention, goes on and does the full techno, autotune, DJ, “crouching emo/hidden metal” thing that crabcore is all about. Plus, the dudes are in their 30s! At one point the bass player was pretty close to doing the splits. Corey stands there for a full 15 minutes in complete horror. Mark doesn’t make it more than a minute. However, people seemed very into them. They take about 30 minutes to get their gear off stage (which the storage area is about 5 paces from where they played), and then they immediately leave. Thanks dudes!
I think there needs to be a word for something that's so simultaneously awful and awesome at the same time, like a brutal car wreck... or that band.

We play and it’s not so good. I think our minds were just melted from the crabulous rockin’ that preceded us. Whatever, we had a bad show. It happens.

The first band helps us load out without us even having to ask which totally rules. That’s rare over in Europe, even when the other band uses your gear.

Corey wakes up the next morning completely unable to keep food down. Damn. You know, he thought if he got food illness in Europe it would be from some mystery meat sandwich in Italy or horse brains or something. Haggis? Fine. Oysters? A-Ok. Random sausage stand on the street? Perfect! But tabouleh? Really? Lessons learned: Stay away from airplane and gas station food, period.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Lille

Lille – This show was interesting for a few reasons. First off, we walked in, looked at the walls, and realized that the band Anvil had played here during their tour of Europe that was documented in the movie, Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Right then we got freaked out….We hoped our show would work out a little better. (oh snap! a little googling found this)

We loaded in and did sound check, and we noticed a somewhat funky odor but didn’t think much of it. Eventually they showed us the band room, which was underneath the show room and we discovered where the funky smell was coming from. It was incredibly strong, and it smelled like someone forgot to change 100 cat litter boxes for about a year, and then tried to finally clean it by scrubbing it with ammonia, nail polish remover, and a sponge consisting of burnt hair. Yeah, try screaming and breathing all that in for half an hour... ewwww.

Despite all this, the show went well. Good crowd. Even some old friends from Michigan were there! There was a decibel meter in the corner that showed what level all the bands were hitting. We have no idea what level would trigger it, or what it would do, but we tried to max it out. Who knows if we did.
Corey in Middle Earth

After the show, we ate some pasta and then the promoter, Stan took us back to this chateau in the French countryside where we stayed for the night. Couldn't see much of the outside at night when we got there, but goddamn the next morning we saw we were surrounded by almost stereotypical picturesque French scenery.

Mark stepped in some really fresh dog poop the next morning before getting into the van.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gent



Gent – We thought Gent was going to be a small little show in a small little town where we’d finally get some much needed rest. We were way off!

They do something similar to Freshers here too so the streets were packed with people. What they make the kids do here is basically sell useless stuff. For example, a couple came up to us and tried to sell us an apple for one euro. Another girl came up and tried to sell us a flyer for a euro. If they don’t sell the item, they have to do some sort of dare. The dare usually involves some sort of drinking challenge. And if they lose the drinking challenge? SOUPY GARLICY SHIT IN THE HAIR.

We played the show at The Frontline, which is sort of an unmarked club in the middle of town. Pretty fun show, we sold a good amount of merch again. Then it gets nuts….

We played the show with the band Last Minute to Jaffna. They are from Italy. Their sound guy Rocco could open beer bottle with his teeth. Our host, Aimee took all of us out on the town. A 10 person group. We walked the streets, saw the city at night, and found some cool places to duck into.

Corey and the drummer from Last Minute to Jaffna had a 45 minute conversation about food.

Then back at Aimee’s the Italian guys decide to cook everyone spaghetti. They have a travelling kitchen that they bring with them on the road so that they can cook all the time. Stoves, pasta makers, homemade sauce, ingredients, utensils….The whole thing. 5AM pasta dinner in Gent? Corey and Scott on their iPhones?


The next day we woke up and went to the Castle. We toured the city, where there are actually a lot of cool old buildings. Beautiful freakin' place.



And Amadeus....Where they compose a mean set of ribs we hear....
(Here I just picture the scene in Amadeus where he's reading off his top secret bbq sauce recipe on his death bed to Salieri)


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