Home I Upcoming Shows I Media I Members I Summer '03Tour Diary I Our Story

Little Rock I Lexington I PhiladelphiaNew York City I Detroit I Chicago
Bloomington I Kirksville I Ft. Smith I Tulsa I Ft. Worth I Huntsville I Houston

No one ever puts out tour diaries anymore, so we thought we’d do one so y’all could see what we did on tour and maybe have a laugh or two.  This is also printed in the #2 issue of Little Rock's Localist magazine.  So check that out if you get a chance.  Read on and enjoy.....


Little Rock, AR: 3, 2, 1-Liftoff!
We were supposed to play our first show in Memphis, but the people who supposedly booked the show absolutely flaked out so we avoided going and trying to wander around Memphis trying to find "Devon's house."  Instead we stayed over at my house up real late preparing merchandise for the tour: folding CD covers, putting labels on and burning the CDs, inserting it all into plastic sleeves, screening and heat-treating shirts and patches.  Then there was the problem of money (or lack thereof, on my part).  I had to figure out how to make sure bills were paid while I was gone, a tough prospect since I would be missing work for three weeks.  Last minute details always make for a stressful, up-late nights.  It was almost better that the Memphis show didn’t work out, ‘cause it gave us more time to prepare.  Dave and Josh crashed on the floor and couch while I stayed up ‘til about 5:30 screening shirts and making sure everything was packed.  We split for Lexington at 8:00 am with about $60.00 in hand.  back to top

Lexington, KY: Rags to Riches
The 8 and 1/2 hour drive was exciting; three youngsters out on a three-week adventure.  It made it difficult to sleep.  We talked about tour slogans and official tour names for each of us.  Mine was “Sleep-Deprived Fuckface.”  Dave was “Shit Gristle,” and Josh was “Cannonball Red.”  The van was not to be left out, and was thereby dubbed, “Dog Titty.”  It wasn’t my idea, trust me.  Upon arriving in Lexington, we found a street called Man O'War Blvd.  I think it was named after a famous racing horse, but to us it was a sign that Lexington might be metal enough for us.  At the show, we got the news that the headlining band, “Himsa,” had undergone a spat and broken up about two hours before they arrived in
Lexington, at which point they turned around and drove straight back to Seattle.  Nevertheless, there were still 7 or 8 bands playing at the massive show, to which we had been added to about a week before hand.  Amazingly enough, we were the only out of towner since Himsa had left.  Our chances of breaking even on the costs of getting there had improved.  Tons of kids were at the show, mostly in high school or even younger.  Lots of straight edge symbolism that I hadn’t seen in ten years.  Three metal bands played before us.  Then we set up and as we played this dude who looked about 10 years older than everyone else grabbed the mike and started singing along to our Born Against cover.  Unfortunately he got so excited that he also tripped the switch on the power strip that had my amp plugged into it and we and to stop the song.  We were real nervous, and this fellow tripping the electricity didn’t help us get over it.  But the show went OK and most people liked us.  We received a much larger amount of money that we expected since Himsa didn’t show up.  This was a good thing (for us) since we rolled into town with about $17.00 total and three weeks of touring to go.  Sheesh. back to top


Philadelphia, PA: “4th of U-Lie”
On the way to Philly, we stopped in Ashland, KY, my birthplace which I had never been to since two months after I was born.  We checked out the hospital where I was born and rolled along.  The Appalachian Mountains were no match for Dog-Titty and we got to Philly in time to go to the anti-Bush demonstration at the unveiling of the new "Constitution Center."  It was the 4th of July, so the symbolism on hand was high on all sides of the political spectrum.  I went to the march while Dave and Josh went and ran up the famed “Rocky steps.”  We got some rest at my friend Aaron’s house then went to the show.  The show was called the “4th-of-U-Lie  Rebel Party.”  It was a very well-attended poetry and music event that featured some great Black radical poetry and hip-hop/funk music, including Pam Africa of MOVE (“we gotta get these muthafuckas!”).  We played last, so we had to endure that its-midnight-so-no one’s–around-to-watch-you-play thing.  But the 20 or so brave souls who watched us seemed pumped and they were actually the only people who danced all night.  Our host, Gina was cool and we got enough cash to make it down the road.  As we were walking to Gina’s place, some revelry-minded college kids invited us to come into their house and kick it in their temporary hot tub.  We said no-thanks, and Dave and Josh went to sleep.  But my curiosity (and my love of hot tubs) was piqued so I went back to check if I could still get in on the action.  It was to no avail though, since they had already taken it down.  Oh, well.  The next morning we loaded up and took off for NYC. back to top

New York, NY: Peralysis
We nervously drove into the city with surprisingly little traffic.  We easily found the famed “ABC No Rio,” dropped off our stuff and went to grab a bite.  We met up with Aaron, a good pal who set up a show for us in Fayetteville, AR, when he used to live there.  We went back to play the show and watched the first band, “Despite Best Intentions” from Pittsburg.  I thought their intricate and dynamic political hardcore was friggin’ cool and we traded CDs.  We played the best show of the tour and the kids went wild to our shit.  Also, the next band, “The Profits” were real good too with their old school punk rock.  My pal Per, from old Skyscrapers and Revenge Syndicate days came down from Boston with his college friend and roommate and we walked and rode the subway around Manhattan including visits to Ground Zero (which was intense) and Times Square (complete with a special appearance by the Black Israelites).  We stayed in Brooklyn at “Ft. Whitey,” a house full of white punk kids in the middle of the Latino area of Brooklyn.  At least they knew  their place in the world.  The next day we played Frisbee in Central Park then hooked it up with old friend Dave Hill of Hot Springs, AR and “Trumpetmouth” fame.  He bought us lunch and we talked about his UNITE union-organizing stories and old Little Rock/Hot Springs punk days.  It was sweet.  As we drove out of town, Dave Dobbs almost plowed into a group of pedestrians which made me more than a little tense. back to top

Detroit, MI: Suburban Paradise
We drove through the night, 11 hours to Detroit.  Actually, we were staying in Troy, one of the many bedroom comunities around the city.  As we deliriously drove into our suburban destination at 4:30 am, Josh sleepily uttered what became our ultimate tour slogan: “Fuckin’ Buggly!”  Ask me sometime what that means.  We played some basketball with the kids from the band "Rescue" and stayed at their parents posh house for three days.  I felt a little guilty and probably got a little grumpy because of it.  The show was in the city at the Garden Bow, yes a bowling alley.  It was set up by the Idle Kids record store.  Josh explained the nature of quarks, positrons, and worm holes to us, then we tore shit up at the show.  Josh prostituted us well after we played, asking all the bowlers if they wanted to buy our stuff.  We were the only band since the locals all cancelled (which would prove to be a theme throughout the tour).  We stuck around one more night at the suburban palace and split for Chicago. back to top

Chicago, IL: Swearing off Cex
This was our second bowling place in a row!  While we were preparing to play at the Fireside Bowl, I heard someone from the crowd yell “Andy Burns is hot!”  Thinking that someone was fucking with me, I turned to look and it was my old friend Alana from Fayetteville.  That made a little more bearable the fact that 150 indie-rockers were there to see some bands they knew play but had to watch us up on a 3 ft. stage.  Our sound was great, being professionally miked and all.  The indie-rock kids were polite, but most were less than enthused to see a hardcore band since they were there for the hipster rock that was to follow.  We got on the show as a fluke and a favor from a nice person at the Fireside who liked our demo, but the lineup, complete with lame white-boy rapper, “Cex,” was definitely not in the same vein.  The other bands were cool, but Cex was a grade-A asshole.  He had a huge financial guarantee and he made all the other bands wait around for about 2 hours while he talked to his weird internet fans and then negotiated with the Fireside for money.  There were at least 100 people there, and at 8 bucks a person, they had to take in quite a large amount of dough from the door.  But it apparently didn’t meet Cex’s contractually-guaranteed amount and the Fireside had to beg him to give us a meager $30.  After Cex tried to provoke a spat with us, declaring, “hey man, I’m just like you guys, out on the road, trying to make it,” we were planning to let the air out of Cex’s tires.  But then we heard that he got his rental car broken into just a few minutes earlier so we figured that justice had been served.  We stayed with Peter, my pal from the campus organizing world.  We made beans and rice, and talked about  the 2004 Presidential race. back to top

Bloomington, IN: Earache-A-Go-go
In Bloomington we were again the only band from out of town.  We played in a small apartment that was going to be turned over to the landlord the next day.  Justin, our host and the show’s promoter, turned out a good crowd and we had fun even though no one could stand to be in the shellac-covered wood panel room with the loud-as-shit sound bouncing all around.  This gave me quite an earache.  In all my years of playing in loud bands, I still have not been able to bring myself to wear earplugs, and I think I’m starting to pay the price.  Maybe it will be a new years resolution next year.  Dave made a killer vegan pizza after the show and we explored Bloomington the next day, hanging out a lot at the library and at the radical bookstore.  Dave walked like 4 miles after dropping the van off to get an oil change.  I saw an old friend, Phillip, from college days who now lives in Bloomington.  As we left town we tried to go to the famed rock quarries outside town, but they were really hard to get to without a guide and we split for Missouri after all the holes we found were not so great to jump in.  Bloomington was a nice town, very kid friendly, and “progressive” with really nice accessible libraries and a pretty campus and the whole hip college town thing going on.  It made me miss college, but also realize that the real world is a lot different that the college atmosphere.  This is not to say that college isn’t the real world.  There are plenty of college kids who have to work hard taking jobs and raising kids while they study and watch their tuition go up.  But the towns set up around colleges are typically not the most difficult places to get along and are, more times than not, lily-white and overwhelmingly middle-class.  While I hope to visit Bloomington again and meet more nice folks, Little Rock has a flavor I like a lot better.  I’m glad I live there. back to top

Kirksville, MO: the Turning Point
Everything up to this point had been pretty normal.  Shows went on as planned, housing situations were pretty normal.  But at this show and from here on out things started to get a little out of the ordinary, as you’ll learn as you read on.  Driving into this town we had no idea what to expect, being such a small town.  The Aquadome was a little storefront downtown that was run by the kids.  This show would have been great, but all three of the other bands flaked.  Add to that the fact that there was another show scheduled a few blocks away that had only been booked for about a week.  As suggested by the Aquadome folks, we moved our show over to the bar where the other show was.  Before the show started, Dave, Josh, and Chris from the Aquadome snuck around in some abandoned hotel.  I was worried they would get caught and we would have to get them out of jail, but that didn’t happen.  The show was fun.  After the nauseating grunt-metal band finished, we played and it was all right.  The few people there seemed to like us  The next band, “Infighting,” truly lived up to their name by getting into a fight on-stage over who knows what and pretty much breaking up.  The drummer stood up and threw down these goofy headphones he was wearing, smashing them into bits and then walked out of the room saying, “fuck this, fuck it!”  An awkward silence followed and the rest of the band started packing their equipment up and grumbling.  Then the drummer came back in and said “let’s just finish it!” and they finished their set amidst cheers from the 15-20 people there.  It reminded me a lot of something “Tenacious D” would do, except for the fact that it was totally unplanned, I think.  After the show, Chris, a 19-year old punker from the Aquadome asked if he could go with us on the rest of the tour so he could attend this big protest in New Orleans at the CAFTA meetings.  We moved some stuff around in the van to make room and said “sure.” back to top

Ft. Smith, AR: Rejection Central
After we found out that the show in Fayetteville was cancelled because all the other bands cancelled, we drove all night (7 hrs) after the Kirksville show to Fayetteville, AR, my former town of schooling.  We went to my pal Dustin’s empty apartment and met up with Corri, who had procured his house key.  Of course we asked Dustin’s permission!  We snuck into the Leverett Gardens pool at night, cooked a bunch of food and invited some Fayetteville friends over to eat.  The next day, we drove down to Ft. Smith for the show at Dave Dean’s house.  This was seriously the hottest (temperature-wise) show I have ever played.  I almost passed out from having to yell and scream amidst all the heat.  It was a good show though and the other bands were fun.  Buck Buck, Dave Dean’s band always turns it out, as did the new all-female band The Vamps.  After the post-show scenester pool party and a trip with Kirksville Chris and Corri to the legendary vegan hotspot Taco Mayo we stayed with “Def Jeff,” at his parent’s house in the suburbs.  His parents weren’t home.  We sprawled out across his family’s living room and slept like babies.  At about 8:00 am, Jeff’s Dad, the man of the house, came home and was pissed that we were there.  He roused Josh out of his slumber, told him to get out of his chair, and said “don’t make that mistake again.  Then he went into Def Jeff’s room and griped at him.  We packed up and split hoping to spare Jeff any more embarrassment.  We then went to the grocery store and called some other kids, two high-school age women who had seen the show, and went over to make some pancakes.  We had to make them on the outdoor gas grill because the electricity was out.  Everything was going fine when their parents called to say they were coming home from work.  We had to leave in a flash so they wouldn’t get in trouble for having a bunch of older boys there.  At least we got the pancakes made.  We threw them in a plastic bag and took them to Creekmore park and ate them with syrup.  Then we tried to go to the public library to use the internet, but found out that you have to pay to use the computers if you aren’t a citizen of Ft. Smith(!).  That was the last straw.  Our third rejection was too much.  We broke down and decided to go swimming at the $2.00 public pool in the park. It felt good in the hot mid-June Arkansas sun.  We went over to Dave Dean’s house, watched a Minutemen video from 1983, had some Vietnamese food, and drove to Tulsa. back to top

Tulsa, OK: Pledging to the Frat
We got to the show late because we took a wrong turn coming into town.  Chris, our new-found friend and merch-guy from Kirksville was on his first shift driving, and I think he was a little nervous.  But it was OK.  We got to the show, which was in a house basement.  Did I mention that I totally dig house shows?  The other local bands cancelled (I know you’re shocked), but at least Buck Buck from Ft. Smith showed up and played after we did.  Someone who was a friend of a friend of Dave Dobbs took us in for the night.  He was a frat–brother complete with wall memorabilia and young-impressionable freshman girlfriend who slept over with him.  At least he had air conditioning and an internet connection.  We split after hanging around just shooting the breeze with Dave’s friends. back to top

Ft. Worth, TX: Collective Chaos
The sweltering drive was over as we pulled into the show space.  It was a place called 1919 Hemphill.  Another great DIY collective space, the atmosphere was great, but the show was pretty haphazard.  It started two hours late and again, and again, all the local bands cancelled.  We had some time to fix our equipment – my amp was needing some structural adjustments with the wooden frame and wheels.  I worked on these as the Hemphill Collective folks made plans for a haunted house fundraiser exhibiting the evils and dangers of capitalism (brilliant!).  Finally the couple of the folks there made an improvisational country band and sang some songs to open up for us.  There were about 25 people there by that point, so it felt less awkward and people seemed to be into our sound and we had fun.  We packed up and headed to this awesome place to stay where we cooked a big vegan burrito meal and talked about the plans they have for the 1919 space and their activism.  Chris apparently does not and would not eat any bread that wasn’t free, so Dave and Chris went dumpstering for bread while Josh and I ate chips and salsa and drank lemonade.  Josh and I did their big dish mess the next morning and we said thanks to our great hosts and headed out.    back to top

Huntsville, TX: Things Kind of Explode
We had driven about 4 hours when Dave asked to stop and see this small town North of Houston called Huntsville.  It turns out, this is where his dad grew up and he visited a lot when he was a little kid.  We went to the downtown square and checked out the “Café Texas.”  This place was the real deal, totally decked out in Texas memorabilia.  There were a couple of scruffy-looking regulars in here reading the paper, watching FOX News (“Fair and Balanced”) and chatting with the young waitress.  The menu on the wall actually advertised the pro-AmeriKKKan culinary delight “Freedom Fries.”  Although we were pretty broke, and I was doing my best not to spend any money, I couldn’t resist ordering some fries of the French variety.  I was bracing for a possible exchange of hostilities over this little insurrection, but none occurred and I quietly ate my fries, sharing some with the bandmates.  As we left Huntsville, which coincidentally is the town where all the state executions are carried out, we had a little problem with the van.  OK, actually it was a big problem seeing as how it started making a grinding noise in the engine.  We pulled over and looked under the hood.  It was bad.  Luckily I had a borrowed cell phone and Dave had an AARP roadside assistance policy.  Dog-Titty’s heroic days of traveling were over and a tow truck soon appeared.  The driver told us stories of moonlighting as a limo driver and picking up the Dixie Chicks and Kid Rock (who was an asshole, he said) from the airport and driving them to concerts.  We called the folks from the band we were supposed to play with in Houston, “The Broken Hearts Club.”  One of these nice fellows drove all the way from Houston (1.25 hrs) to pick us up at the mechanic’s shop and took us to the show.  They also let us borrow their equipment to play what we hoped would not be the final show of the tour. back to top

Houston, TX: The Death Knell
The show was at a skatepark.  There were lots of trick-bike riders and skateboarders flying all over the place, getting a little too close to people at times, I thought.  We set up using the Broken Hearts Club’s equipment.  Their equipment sounded muddled compared to ours, which made it difficult to play.  It was hard to hear what was going on, but we managed.  After the show we argued about whether or not we could try to bum a ride to Austin for more borrowed equipment shows.  Dave was opposed, and I was trying to make it work out.  It unfortunately did not.  Instead, one of Josh’s in-town cousins who was about our age picked us up and we stayed at his older cousin’s house.  We fixed beans and taters, used the internet, and crashed out.  The next day, Kirksville Chris took a bus to the freeway and hitch-hiked to New Orleans.  We were sad to see him go, but glad to see him making it on his own.  It reminded me of when I used to tramp all over in search of tall tales and big fun.  I had a writing assignment for my job that I had due the next day, so I just sat on the computer all day, until Dave sounded the alarm that we had to get back to the van immediately since his dad was going to drive all the way from Pine Bluff to get us and tow “Dog-Titty” back home behind his huge truck.  The van was beyond immediate repair, so we had to scramble to make it back to Huntsville to get it hooked on to Dave’s dad’s truck.  We were in Houston and the van was still in Huntsville - an hour north.  The only ride available was with one of Josh’s cousins, but Josh and I had to ride in the back of his tiny pickup truck on the freeway with no tailgate thru a rainstorm going 80 mph for an hour and 1/2!  We bonded to say the least.  We chilled at Denny’s and got a free meal from a sympathetic waiter named RJ.  We promised him we’d mail him a CD when we got home.  Dave’s dad arrived about 1:30 am.  We labored feverishly hooking up the truck to the poor broke-down van and we headed back to Pine Bluff.  I stayed at Dave’s house working on the computer and talking on the phone for my job all day while Dave met up with his sweetie and Josh went home and slept.  Our tour ended sooner than we would have liked, and we had to flake out on the last 5 or so shows, two of which were going to be really big and fun.  We did call the promoters and tell them though, so it wasn’t really flaking out.  But it was a great time otherwise.  It’s a great testament to the power of DIY, mutual aid, and well, frankly: the powerhouse that is Dave’s dad.  Thanks to everyone who helped us out and we hope to see you again soon!  back to top

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