Saturday, November 11, 2006

By Alan Smithee

I am sitting in a parking lot in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania today. I have no explanation for it at all. I'm about 40 miles from Pittsburgh. 40 miles from the end of the Earth, it seems. This is what it looked like at 2 this afternoon. Misery.

When I spoke to the production manager for the ice skating rink that we are playing tonight he informed me that they usually just 'throw a bit of carpet over the ice' and that we should be wary of when we load in because 'the crew are a bunch of retards.' I really wish I could say that he exaggerated either of those statements,but alas.

Everyone is in a foul mood, mostly due to the weather, the current working conditions, the general lack of warmth and food, and the fact that this is the seventh show in a row. Our monitor engineer, who is a trained and experienced professional, is being paid $30 to mix the support band. That's like paying your mechanic $11 to fix your car. He was a little insulted, so he decided to just unmute (ie turn on) everything with the press of a single button. This came to be known as 'the 30 dollar button.'

I love how the game is US Vs. Russia, and the fact that it's made by moog, the guy who perfected the synthesizer.

Yesterday I was in Norfolk, (or Norfork, if you are local) Virginia. We did a show at the Norva, a club I've been to many times over the last few years. We are in good company. K-Fed?

It was previously a health club and when it changed over to a live music venue the new owners gutted the first two floors and put in a stage and bar, but left the upper three floors intact. Long story short, the club has a floor-sized dressing room with a jacuzzi, sauna, pool table, arcade games, basketball court and movie room. It's a pretty great thing for someone who is currently living aboard a bus. Team backline took full advantage of the saunas. It's not at all off-putting to see two, well-tattooed crew guys rubbing each other's backs in a cloud of steam.

We also discovered that Tim gets goth pedicures.

Good show though.

Prior to that I we did two shows in NY at the MSG Theatre.

It wasn't great to be back. I just left a few weeks ago, and here I am again.

It was mostly cold and rainy and crowded and crazy. Being back made me remember why I left. This is what happens when a truck gets stuck in midtown at rush hour. You really do have more to fear from pedestrians in NY.

Hell, it's like Dawn of the Dead. People started crawling under the trailer and climbing over cars in a nearby parking garage in order to get through. Madness. I did get to spend some time with my good friend Bobby and his old roommate Jack Rabid who publishes The Big Takeover. Together the two are a goddamn talking music encyclopedia that you can't shut up. So, as I was saying, here I am in Belle Vernon, Pa. It's cold and wet. It was cold and wet in DC, but the girl and I still had a blast.

The Constitution Hall is such an odd place to do a show. It's all very formal and whenever I put a show up in there I feel like I am desecrating hallowed ground.

It may actually be true.

Honest Abe

This is absolute madness. I saw both of these just steps from the Lincoln memorial. I don't need to delve into the irony of this sort of nonsense at the feet of the statue of 'The Great Emancipator.' Craziness.

I made it out on the second day to see Scheid over at the 9:30 club. He's looking after Broken Social Scene which seems to be a bit like tending to a three ring circus or holding the jaws of a lion open or something. Basically something that I wouldn't be interested in doing. He lured me out with the promise of a gift. Nina scored a shirt for me from her place in LA. It says 'Lucas Echo Park' on it. It's great because I lived in Echo Park not long ago. Oh, and my name is Lucas. Supercool.

This place is connected to the hockey rink and is serving as our catering hall for the day.

Mark has been answering the phone whenever it rings by saying 'hello Murph's, Murph speaking.' He invented a dinner special that he's been passing on to unwitting callers. He also told two employees not to come in tonight. We'll see how that one pans out. Eating today has been interesting, and by interesting I mean that I am quite literally starving.



My sister is taking a break from her first semester at Oberlin and coming out to the show in Columbus. She, like me, is not a huge fan of the band, but is willing to stick it out in order to hang with me. Good people.

Words to live by...