Tuesday, November 17, 2009


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 - 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...


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


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"


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.


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".


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

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


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 - 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.