Sunday, June 01, 2008

USA Part Five: Whatever...

Maxwell's feels like home, albeit it one you can never park within 15 blocks of.

Hoboken is all so familiar that the fact we always have to search the darkest recesses of the city for a parking spot befitting a 15-passenger while in be it biting cold, suffocating heat, Jersey stench or just plain annoyance, has become somewhat a calming experience.

We rocked the party. I put all of the Stooges Funhouse on the jukebox as I sat down for dinner, but was bummed to find out that, although I'd programmed the songs in order, the beast itself took the liberty of scattering the songs throughout the span of my selections.

What kind of bullshit is that? It's like that completely fucked option on those ultimately lame satellite jukeboxes where, for an extra credit, you can have your song played immediately.

Now I know the world we live in is unfair and that those with gross amounts of money are usually quick to remind us of it. But the jukebox! The last bastion of public audio programming is now selling out for a quick credit? Whereas before the entire process was democratized, to hear my super-savvy obscurest garage jams, you had to be tempered under the spiteful honk of an Elton John medley. It made it all that much more worth it.

Just like everything else, the ad wizards have found an ever-so-small kink to cater to those with a nickel to spare while those of us still clinging to our jukebox ethics are freezing out in the cold.

The Datsuns showed up for the gig as they were spending some time in NYC. The room was fairly full, not jam-packed sold-out like other times, but it was a Sunday after all. I assume we played well and the crowd enjoyed it. I'm not writing this shit in real-time, so some details get lost after awhile.

The next day I spent with Johan Kugelberg. Smart, divisive and a record collector of the utmost caliber, he opened my eyes to a cornucopia of delights the likes of which I am not able to fully divulge on this here transmission. But a few things I dug:

In a word…wow. There's no real reason something like this should exist and that's why I love it. Some have argued Folkways is the best record label of all-time and I'm coming up with nary a reason to try and disprove that. You can hear/see for yourself this particular title at

-original Back From the Grave promo poster

-picture sleeve for "All Tomorrow's Parties"

-a handful of songs off of Funhouse pressed onto one side of an LP intended for US Army radio airplay

The wise soul offered me much along the lines of opinion, touring advice (Spirolina) books he'd worked on (all oh-so delectable) and just general composure. We ate at Pizza by the Pound and it was glorious.

From there I walked to Other Music for the Dirtbombs instore performance. Load in was easy and we were able to stay parked in front of the store the entire time we were there. Nice.

I'd forgotten I'd broken my snare drum head the night before and the Other people were so helpful that they sent someone out to go grab me a new head. By the time the lights and cameras were set-up and they'd let the crowd pour in it was pretty exciting.

We played We Have You Surrounded in it's entirety, in order. I felt particularly energized (the "shit, we're only playing 45 minutes, let it all fly loose" vibe ringing in my head) and particular highlights were having the crowd so damn close to us, using the Buddha box on "Race to the Bottom" and getting my rack tom to hang upside-down from the ceiling and being able to play it that way.

Fucking fun times. I bought some shit there too…needing to take advantage of the 20% discount…the new Joe Carducci book, The Birth of Jazz by the Modey Lemon, the 1st Matador single by Jay Reatard, the 7" by Vivian Girls and some other shit I'm forgetting. The store even hooked me up with a free copy of the Breeders Mountain Battles that made my day.

Mick was interviewed on camera afterwards and I was delighted that the questioning was intelligent, informed and nothing like the other interviews he has to continuously do. I was left alone with the van, in charge of taking it back to Jersey City when I was hit with the weird vision spots (why do I think these are called fascia?) as a precursor to a headache.

I can say that driving a 15 passenger van alone through Manhattan in annoying rain at nighttime is not the best thing when your vision ain't 100% and it's even more aggravating when you're looking for signs for the Holland Tunnel. Every little light takes on a soft aura glow around it and where I'm used to 20/20 vision now more resembles an impressionist painting.

Next day foray to New Haven, CT was slightly fun. We picked half the band at Union Square and then made the hoof up to Third Unheard territory. The club (Café Nine) is beautifully tiny. We ate Italian carry-out, I ambled 'til I found a decent newsstand and bought the latest issue of Bad Idea and Stoltz hit his head on a precariously-placed ceiling nail, drawing blood.

I had a pre-show headache (I know, I know, I need to get this shit checked out) but once we were onstage everything felt magnificent. The head pain was gone, we were crammed up there like Mexicans in the back of a semi and the crowd couldn't have had more space than we did. It's moments like that where you feel the energy up in your throat. I did a headstand on my bass drum to end it all and in the process took Mick out with my legs.

I was a complete and total accident and I was thankful he wasn't hurt. Then I thought if I saw one of my favorite bands (shit, ANY band) where the drummer accidentally took out the lead singer because he was doing a headstand on a bass drum, I'd be really fucking impressed. So despite my inclusion in their ranks, I still think I'm the biggest Dirtbombs fan out there.

Spent the next day tramping around Jersey record stores with supreme collector Justin Frohwirth. He's largely responsible for upkeep on the staggeringly comprehensive punk discog at

He was able to track down a copy of the first LP by the Fourth Movement and after talking for awhile (we got lost somewhere on the Garden State Parkway) we realized that I bought my copy of the Victims "No Thanks to the Human Turd" single off him at the WFMU Record Fair back in 2003.

He said the only reason he remembered me was because that he didn't know me, saying that it's rare to unload big ticket items like that to people you'd never met before. I think the price on the single was $200, which I gladly paid. I also picked up an X-X record. I liked that we'd "met" years before for nary a moment but both clearly remembered it.

A nice dinner in Jersey City was a mental relaxant.

Off to Philadelphia for some City of Brotherly Fuck You. I've never really had anything remotely resembling a good time there and wasn't ever really expecting to. The few record stores I hit were decent…the soul/dance/r&b shop filling me with copies of some choice early hip-hop comps as well as Freddy Fresh's Rap Records Book, Volume Two, all necessities in my current jag of early rap knowledge.

With tons and tons of shoe stores, I was still unable to find a pair of size 10 1/2 Nike Vintage Waffle Racers or Oregon Waffle Vintage in my desired color scheme of green and orange OR yellow and green. Any help from those reading here in searching down a pair would be greatly appreciated…the Nike Vintage site says all sold out, but I call bullshit, someone must have some somewhere.

Johnny Brenda's was nice and comfortable. Soundcheck and dinner afterwards were both supreme. I slept during Mondo Topless and most of the Stoltz set too. The crowd was into our jam and it got me into it big time. To end the set, I jumped off the stage, ran up the stairs into the balcony, climbed over the railing, traversed the lighting rig like a set of monkey bars, swung myself into motion and after almost losing my grip and falling 12-15 feet to the ground, gathered myself and landed on the stage, knocking the wind out of myself, but ultimately driving the crowd nuts.

I also did the drum on the head dance, sang parts of "We Fenced Other Houses With the Bones of Our Own", jumped into the crowd, had two glasses thrown at me (with one actually connecting) and overall pulled out all the stops to engage the audience while having fun myself. I think I clearly succeeded, just watch the video here…


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you posted the video as part of your blog. it's sheer, utter genius, entertainment in its purest form.

Damn, that's a long way down but I think the fact that you drop out of the screen makes it look even more dramatic.

Anonymous said...

cool aren't going to start taking Midol for those headaches, are ya?

Anonymous said...

Had a similar conversation very recently about that plutocratic jukebox feature and its role in the shift away from barroom egalitarianism. Oddly it was just after after The DBs show in Columbus last Sunday. Perhaps it was something you screamed. It was decided that future additional credit features will likely be as follows...

Do you want to have the current song stopped immediately and in dramatic fashion to be replaced by your own? (1 additional credit)

Do you want your song to be played 10 decibels greater than the song you are interrupting? (1 additional credit)

Do you want to have the purchaser of the interrupted song projected onto the jukebox screen as well as every tv screen in the room? (1 additional credit)

Do you want to have said offender forcibly removed from the premises? (5 additional credits)

Anonymous said...

That video, wow what can I say other than " ARE YOU A F**KIN LUNATIC?"

driving a 15 passenger van alone through Manhattan in annoying rain at nighttime ----- Welcome to my world!

Headaches-=- Most do not require asprin, they require water. Especially if the headache is followed by neck pain, it just means you are dehydrated.

The more you know
(cues rainbow and star logo)

Anonymous said...

Jukebox ethics
Glorious Pizza by the Pound
City of Brotherly Fuck You
"No Thanks to the Human Turd"

Headaches and vision spots, get that shit checked out now.

Anonymous said...

isnt constantly talking about putting drums on your head getting as old as the act itself?

either way, i agree its fucked that jukeboxes shuffle plays rather than playing them in the order of purchase.