Tuesday, February 19, 2008

5 days

posted by Majestic Ape at 12:19 AM

We went to Whole Foods after leaving Breck’s sisters house on Thursday afternoon. I had begun using my new cell phone as my navigator. It has an internal GPS and this GPS, unlike Jeff’s computer, will detect one’s location and give verbal and visual instructions to your destination. Jeff needs your present address and then he needs to know which direction you are facing. Then he is quite lousy about telling you each direction as they occur within any trip. He prefers to update Apes data in Excel Charts, or watch fights that he has downloaded. Once I liberated him from his duties of navigator, (this happened today), he plugged in headphones and watched a boxing match on his laptop. Every few minutes he would make sounds of shock or surprise in a sharp pronounced “OOH!” or “EEW!”. I asked him to stop because it sounded like he was reacting to me about to hit someone or something on the road.

The drive to NYC was lovely. It was the first clear day and my Ipod was choosing to play lots of Rush, CCR, Sandy Denny, Love, and the Who. It was so wonderful to drive without relying on ANYTHING for guidance.

We got to NYC around 8:30 and Zach from Ex-Models helped us load in. Shahin appeared shortly after. We have known these guys for years. We did some of our first out of town shows with them. I had a flashback to 2001 and sleeping 7 people stuffed on a filthy floor in a house in the woods by some train tracks in Athens, GA. I had to sleep in the kitchen that night because there was simply no other available floor space.

After loading in, we chatted with people and then I tried to go off with Jeff and Pat (from Liars and currently, These are Powers). I did NOT want to eat Indian food with Erick. Sometimes I just need to get away from him. I was less than a half block away when I heard, “Kleiny! Wait!” I shouted back at him that I was going with Jeff and Pat. He chased after me. I caved. We got food from a little Indian carry out place that was more like a deli. There was counter for people to stand and eat lining the narrow store. Mature Indian men lined the store. I got two little piles of veggie curries, one spinach and one squash. I gave Erick the rice.

We went back to the club, where the show had started. I talked to Shahin for a while and then, my ex-boyfriend appeared. I had not seen him or talked to him since CMJ 2006. There was no ill will but he was the last person that I dated seriously, and we were together when I was not too much fun to be around. It was truly GREAT to see him. I was reminded of what a NICE guy he was.

Lots of DC folks showed up. It was a bit chaotic during set up. The stage at the Cake Shop is at the bottom end of the basement level of the club. When there are four bands playing, it’s hard to find your equipment. Well, we got set up quickly and launched into our set.

It was a fun set. After we finished, I sat by the merch table for a while. I talked to our friend Mark from Queens for a while. Then I met J.R. He was definitely cute and definitely my type. He told me that he had seen us many times over the years, in lost of strange places. Modified Arts Space in Phoenix was the first show he mentioned. That brought back some strange memories. He told me that OddEyeSee was one of his favorite records of all times. He understood the record on the level that I had always hoped people would be able to connect with it. I think very few people understood that record.

I had to go upstairs when These Are Powers were playing. They are a fantastic band and extremely talented people. I simply had no ear plugs and their set was one of the loudest I had heard in a long time.

So we loaded out, when back to our friend Greg’s place andsuddenly it was 3:30 am.

Friday

We met our friend and booking agent, Michelle, and her friend Dan, for breakfast.

When we were heading to the BQE, I was in the left lane on Meeker Ave. There was an old man in a Lincoln Town Car in the left turning lane, one car in front of me. When the light turned green, he starting waving wildly. I had no idea what he was trying to communicate. He got out of his car and started screaming at me.

“Can you see I am trying to back into that space?” He was screaming his bloody head off. There was no space. He was trying to pull backward into the right lane. There was a line of cars in the curb lane.

I opened my window and smiling sweetly, I said to him, “Hey, everything’s okay!”

“What are you, stupid? I know, I have a wife!” He jumped back in his car and tore off to the right, around the corner.

Boston

The drive to Boston was long. Traffic was heavy, probably because it was a holiday weekend.

We pulled up in front of the club. The wind was howling and temperatures were bitterly low. Erick and Breck hopped out of the van and went in the club to pee before we attempted to load in our gear. I sat with Jeff for a moment but then decided that I may as well pee, too. I walked up to the door of the club and pulled the handle. It was locked. I looked around for another door but didn’t see any.

I thought I heard someone say, “Are you in a band?” The voice was quiet and I almost thought that I had imagined it. I turned to look in the direction where I thought the voice came from and saw no one.

“ARE YOU IN A BAND?” This time I heard it. I turned in the direction that it came from and saw an old leathery man standing on the sidewalk near the other side of the door, smoking.

“Oh yes, I am.”

“Look at me when I am talking to you! What’s the matter with you? Don’t just ignore people!” he continued at a volume I would call shouting.

With a broad sincere smile, I answered, “Sir, I have hearing problems. I wasn’t ignoring you. I didn’t know which direction the sound came from.” Still smiling, “It’s not very nice to simply start shouting at people.”

“You’re pretty rude to ignore people!” he bellowed as he unlocked the club door.

I walked in and stopped to survey the scene. There were multiple meat-head looking
fellows scattered about. We were in for a helluva night.

After load-in, the four of us went to a Thai restaurant. Erick mocked Jeff for most of the meal. Jeff made fun of us for years because of our preference for “world foods”. I am not a fan of typical American fare. But until recently, I wouldn’t eat most foods, American or “worldly”.

Back at the club, people were starting to gather. I would classify this crowd as a “white hip hop crowd”. I mean nothing by this statement. I am simply trying to create a visual reference point. Anyway, I didn’t think we would go over so well.

We scattered. I spent some time talking to Ryan, one of the musicians in the Skyrider Band. He was young, tall, blond, and HYPER. But we had plenty to talk about.

We played our set right around 11:00 pm. I played terribly, at least in my mind. When the show was over, I hid in the dressing room. I actually tried to sleep in a pile of our dirty clothes on the floor.

Our friends Andy and Makoto, from Tunnel of Love, had come to the show. About 5 minutes before Sole was finishing his set, I went downstairs to hang out.

Jeff reported that an audience member came up to him and said, “I wasn’t that into your alls music but I have to give you props. I have never seen a drummer get his stuff off stage that quick.”

We went back to Andy’s house. We were staying in the attic bedroom of his parents’ home. He and his girlfriend lived separately in the basement apartment. Erick immediately found several old guns- -a bayonet, and a hand gun. He just started aiming them at us and firing. The guy is a jackass. He had no idea if there was even the slightest chance they could be functional and loaded.

Erick slept in the laundry room. Jeff and Breck slept in the bedroom. I decided to sleep on the wood floor in the computer room since I have been told that suddenly, on this tour, for the first time in 8 years of touring, I am snoring. It seemed polite to try to separate myself.

At 7:45 am, I woke up and started vomiting bile. Bile is a greenish-yellow fluid that's essential for digesting and absorbing fats and for eliminating worn-out red blood cells and certain toxins from your body. It is a base (as opposed to an acid, different than acid reflux). Vomiting bile in your sleep is a violent act. You wake up choking and spewing yellow fluid from your mouth. It burns intensely and the only way to stop the burning is to consume an acidic drink to neutralize the bile. Diet coke or coffee or orange juice would have helped. Normally I would drink one of those fluids to reduce the burning. But this time I was not in my own home. The parents did not know we were there. I couldn’t go digging through their kitchen. Additionally I had inhaled some of the bile. I just ran into the bathroom and tried to get it out of my nose and lungs. I was pretty disgusting. I drank a bunch of water and eventually the pain subsided a little, enough for me to lay back down on the wood floor of the computer room to try to go back to sleep.

About an hour later, someone started shaking the doorknob.

“Why is this door locked? Who is in there?” It was Andy’s father.

I thought I would die. I opened the door and explained who I was and apologized profusely. The only reason that the door was locked was that the wind kept opening it and slamming it shut. I didn’t want it to make noise and wake people.

I grabbed my bile encrusted sleeping bag and got out of there. The dad actually took me downstairs and made me a pot of coffee and we chatted politely about our respective careers. The coffee did help the throat pain but I was having trouble breathing because of the bile now in my lungs.

I gave up sleeping and took a shower. Several hours later we all went out for breakfast but I couldn’t eat. I sipped on a nice Diet Raspberry Snapple Iced Tea.

Providence

We were playing at a club called The Living Room. Erick went to Rhode Island School of Design and any time we play in Providence, it feels like a little homecoming. The heat wasn’t working in the van and it was about 17 degrees outside. I was still feeling quite ill from the episode in the morning but now I was dizzy and had chills. We walked into the club and the temperature felt no different than the outside. The Living Room has a very ‘down and out’ feel. It is a very bare bones old music venue and the inside looks well worn. Sole and the Skyrider Band had already arrived and I chatted with my buddy, Ryan, after we loaded in. When it was time for find food, Erick recommended Apsara, a Laotion restaurant that he used to frequent back in his RISD days. We found the restaurant using my little navigator and off we went. The van had just started presenting with a new ailment. It wasn’t shifting into reverse, and it was dying when I shifted into Drive. Its always an adventure with the 87 Ford.

We made it to Apsara, had a great meal, and headed back to the Living Room.
There were several larger bald guys wandering around now that were not there when we arrived. One of them was the hip hop artist known as Prolific. He happened to be the first guy I met at the merch table. He was a lovely person and a great performer. Telephone Jim Jesus played and then it was our turn. I finally felt like I had a kick ass show. We all did.

Erick’s friend Brian, from Lightning Bolt showed up and invited us back to his warehouse. He warned us that it’s wasn’t heated. I called Andy. We decided to drive back to Boston. Breck drove. I had a fever but was not revealing this information. We made it back to Boston safely and I slept like a rock.

Burlington

The drive to Burlington, VT was breathtaking. We were essentially driving through snow covered mountains the whole way. The weather services were reporting a wintry mix for the next two days and I was hoping that we would get to Burlington before this wintry mix rained down upon us. We were all pretty excited to get to Burlington because Jeff’s close friend from home lives here now. I have written about Neal before. He is the guy that likes the Seven Layer Burrito from Taco Bell. Neal and his lovely wife, Annick welcomed us into their home to drop off our gear before heading to downtown Burlington. We ate Indian food and then went to the club. The promoter called Erick to ask him if the other bands could use our gear. It always amazes me when local bands call to ask to borrow our gear. If they are in their home town, and have their own equipment, why would they want to put extra wear and tear on our gear while we are on tour? That was the first thing that I asked the promoter when we got there. He explained that this was simply to minimize change over times. I didn’t push the issue.

The bar had a few folks inside. Erick and I began observing the guy who was supposed to be collecting money at the door. He let six people in without paying. We were only getting a percentage of money taken from the door that night and there were four bands on the bill. I walked up to him and told him that he needed to charge everyone. Erick and I watched him like a hawk for the next 45 minutes. Now I feel a little bit bad about this because maybe we freaked him out. I don’t know. He got someone else to cover the door for the rest of the night.

The first two bands played. We went on about 11:00 pm. The kids in Burlington were AWESOME! They danced like crazy. That is the best feeling. It provides the ultimate fuel for a show. I think all in all, it was a great show. However, I was totally wrecked and couldn’t wait to get back to Neal’s house.

When we got back, I went into the guest bedroom. There was half-eaten kale leaves on the floor, a large kitty litter box, and a black and white rabbit hopping around. I had forgotten about the rabbit. He has some real personality, this bunny. I did remove several hard little rabbit turds before going to bed. Bunnies miss the box sometime. I could picture getting up in the middle of the night and getting turds embedded in my socks. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Burlington day off

I woke up at 9:30 this morning. My breathing was a little easier. I set up the laptop for the first time in days and got to work. We went to downtown Burlington at about 2:00pm. One of the kids from the show last night (another major promoter in town) told us to go to the restaurant where he worked and implied he might be able to hook us up with mimosas. We went to the said restaurant and asked the waitress if the kid was there. He was there and we told her to tell him that Apes were here and said hello. At some point during the meal, he walked by and waved and walked away. Jeff was the only one who saw him. It wasn't his fault. We weren't in his section and the restaurant was quite busy. The food was great though and the server was very nice. After that it was ‘book store’ afternoon. I was in heaven walking around downtown Burlington. It reminded me of Eureka, CA. There was an abundance of folks representing all sorts of counter culture and subculture and just as many yuppies. After I had my fill of the book stores, I went back to van. I didn’t eat with everyone else because I had to budget my per diems (wallet gone, no money). I had an apple in the van and I was starving. When I got to a traffic light, I observed the white flashing hand that said pedestrians can now safely cross. There was a bus coming around the corner and I stopped to wait for him to make his left turn. Then I ran across the street. Some guy in a car rolled down his window and shouted, “DIDN’T YOU SEE THE STOP SIGN, STUPID?!”

I am beginning to really enjoy getting screamed at. When the guy looked at me for a response, I smiled and put my finger in front of my mouth to signal him to “Shhhh…”

We went back to Neal's and I spent the rest of the day writing and catching up on email. The boys watched Ultimate Fighting. We were all glued to our laptops.

Dinner was at Moe's-- a burrito place in town. When we walked in, we saw a line of about 30 people in front of us. Apparently we went to the restaurant on the anniversary of their opening and they were having a Moe's birthday party. To celebrate they were handing out free Moe's t-shirts, birthday cake and balloons.

I tried to get Jeff a balloon but the blowing lady never returned. Haha.

When I was getting ready for bed, the bunny got friendly. He hopped up on the bed, started sniffing my toes and then chomped. When I yanked my foot away in response, he ran up to my chest and jumped on my tits. I lay face to face with the bunny. We had about an inch between us. Could it be I've found a friend?

I have photos. Coming soon.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Time to begin again

posted by Majestic Ape at 1:07 PM

I am going to start writing again. I am going to be writing often. Ape life never stops but I had been keeping an anonymous secret blog since early January and devoted quite a bit of time to it. It was a blog that I have been needing to write for quite some time. I had been wanting to incorporate elements of the secret blog into this one but I got the stop/block warning from my crew. So I went under.

Now, its not springtime. I usually associate springtime with feelings-- the only feelings that I allow myself. Not anymore. I am a female AND I play music. I can still have feelings. My feelings right now are that WE HAVE A GREAT FUCKING RECORD COMING OUT AND I AM EXCITED!

WE ARE GOING TO START TOURING AGAIN AND I AM EXCITED! My name is Amanda, and I play organ/keyboards for this band called Apes. We are based in Washington, DC and we have been together officially since 1999. I have been playing music with two of these fools since I was 15. Weee. At this moment, I am attempting to train one of them to refrain from crazy screaming tirades while we are practicing. I don't like being yelled at. In exchange for his efforts, I am practicing. Welcome to my world.

Right now, I'm hungry.

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