Friday, November 28, 2008

The grind begins ...


OK, its Friday, I think. We have embarked on the realistic part of the tour now, and said goodbye to festivals and catering and being driven around and treated like we are the Beatles.

Lets see, Wednesday night, we played in Sorocaba at the Imperium bar with a band called The Biggs, a really good punk band. The singer, Flavia, is an instructor at a rock and roll camp for girls in Portland Oregon, and is a badass. They rip. We played really well, jumped around, broke some strings, fried some amps, ate some burgers, met some people that had heard of us or had seen us already at one of the fests, which was neat. Everybody there, Andre from the Name, and especially the Biggs, were really cool people, we hung out with them afterwards and had some beers, went out to an all night place to eat some chicken balls, then drove the hour home back to Sergios in Sao Paulo. Sergio almost drove off the road after falling asleep at the wheel, and Jason had to grab the wheel from the passenger seat to save the day.

We´ve gotten our first taste of driving around Sao PĂ ulo, in a big clunky Fiat van no less. Its a blast, let me tell you. You gotta stay on your toes, and actually be a bit of a prick or else you will get nowhere and probably kill a motorcyclist. Road laws are purely suggestions here, and the traffic is insane.

So luckily, yesterday morning, we headed out of Sao Paulo city for a 4 day mini tour, in the sense that we are not going to drive back to the city after these shows, but just crash somewhere and head to the next one. We drove 4 hours out to San Carlos, a college town north of the city. Before the show we got the Brzilian version of hotdogs whic is ... strange. We played at the cd release party for a band called Plano Proximo, a sort of sugar pop band. Carol, the singer, and all of them, were great people and very friendly. Probably because it was sort of their party, the atmosphere at this club was a big contrast from the night before and we were curious how it was going to go for us. There were djs playing mashup dance music, then a pop band, and then us. Oh and we went on at 2AM.

Oh yeah, shit, it was also Jasons Birthday. So happy Birthday to Jason.

We played probably our best set of the tour so far. People were diggin it and stuck around for our whole set, which probably ended around 3am or so. AND we got our first A.M. (after Mike) encour. A few people especially, including Carol from Plano Proximo, gave us huge props.

Oh, also have to mention we met Mark, the drummer from the Dead Rocks, a local surf rock band that played the Goiania noise fest. Besides being the man, he also let us know that lots of people in Goinia were buzzing about us. We were entertained at the end of the night by a really crazy drunk chick that had everyone laughing. Thenwe crashed at Phillipe´s, a local radio DJ. Now, we go for breakfast. Oh, and I almost took out the driver side rearview this morning.

More later ...

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Originally uploaded by mark2b2001
Updated tour poster!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ton's of pix!!

DAY OFF 1 - Mike

We were originally supposed to play a show in a park tonight, but there were terrential downpours there all day the day before and there was some problem with electricity so the gig was cancelled. Gabriella took us all around the city of Sao Paulo instead. We rode the bus and subway, walked around, got breakfast (we had these Brazilian rolls with cheese bake dinto them), went to a huge marketplace that used to be a train station and ate lunch (mortadella sandwiches) and ice cream. We went shoe shopping. We went to a mall, which was huge, and Anne and Gabby girled out and shopped. We then met up with Eduardo (the other half of Debate) at his house and we made pasta dinner and chilled out, DIDNT drink, and just talked about culture, music and whatnot. It was a perfect chill night to regroup and get our bearings.

Pictures of us were popping up on flickr and in RollingStone. Anne is pretty much always the center of attention, and there were some great shots of her screaming. We read a review of the show by some local columninst thats well respected. He kind of flamed the fest a little, but gave us some props for having really avant guard music that people still were able to connect with. He also said something about our music being depressing, which we thought was funny.

check it ... (look down the page)

Theres more popping up hour by hour. If you search around for calumet hecla, calumet-hecla, Sp noise fest, Goinia noise fest and whatnot, you should be able to find some more pix. They were shooting video at the Goinia fest, and we'll hopefully be able to get the footage at some point. And we took lots of pix and some video.

I have to say something about all the doom and gloom we were hearing about Brazil. I have seen absolutely nothing to make me feel unsafe here at all. So far, at least in the areas we have been in, its like any other city. Watch your shit and stay alert. No big deal.

Brazilians are such a racially diverse people that we don't necessarily stand out much as Americans, at least not on looks alone. I've fooled various people after greeting them with a couple portugese phrases, and they assume I'm Brazlian. There are people here from african, european and latin decent, and every possible mix of those three. Its really an amazing thing to see. The atmosphere is completely laid back, no one becomes hostile to us once they find out we are american. It really is a very cool place. Goiania was a tad bit more brotherly. Sao Paulo is much more like the New York of Brazil, but still not the dangerous place we were made to think it is.


SP Noise Fest - Mike

OH SHIT, I forgot something about Goiania ... as soon as we were done playing and extremely geeked out on adrenaline, the major network in Brazil grabbed us so we could be interviewed on TV by the Brzilian version of Annie Lennox. Very surreal ... I think we were mostly trying not to say anything stupid. When they asked us about what our sound was like, we quoted the blurb from the flyer, some shit about battery and melodic chord approaches the mic. We were all sweaty and breathing heavy, its was funny.

Oh and I also forgot to mention that we were mentioned in the Brazilian RollingStone.

Our flight back to SP was OK but we were all kind of salty, or at least I was. I watched Heavy Petting on the plane, which made me laugh. We had little info about the show that night but we figured we'd head back to Sergios house, be able to nap for a while, then head to the show. Gabriella picks us up and tells us "Nap? clean clothes? Shower? No No we have to go traight to the show. Time to work."

We headed straight to the venue to drop off our gear, which was a dance club similar to Axis before they merged it with Avalon. We met Ze', the stage manager, who was the fucking man. We found out we were playing first and were supposedly going on at 4:30pm, and that we would have a good amount of time to soundcheck which we were relieved to hear. The place was full of some of the most imposing bouncers I've ever seen in my life, all of them 6 foot plus, dressed like Brazilian mafiosos, black suits with blood red ties, and some really manacing stares at you when you went by. They took us next door to an even nicer churrascaria than the one we went to before. The guys from Helmet were finishing up as we walked in but we got to meet them quickly, then we ate like motherfuckers again. I had salmon and it was delicious. Jay was still pale and twitchy.

We then headed back to the club, hung out while Helmet did one of the most meticulous sound checks I've ever witnessed. Their sound guy was funnys hell trying to communicate with the stage crew, but he was not cutting any corners. They had a room backstage for the bands, but it was really just a tiny dressing room. This ended up being great in contrast to Goiania becuase there they had all these separate rooms for the bands and there wasn't a ton of interaction. Here, we had that tiny room, and a balcony to the upper right of the stage and thats it, so all the bands got to chill together and party.

We ended up going on I think sometime around 6 or 6:30. We've learned that punctuality is not high priority here, which has stressed us out at times, but has become kind of refreshing to our over punctual American ways. The club has a dj night that starts at 12pm sharp though and we needed to be up and out of there by then. The room was decently full when we started, maybe 100-150 people, as it was just getting underway and people were still showing up. It gradually filled up as we played.

It was alot harder to read the crowd in contrast to Goiania so we weren't quite sure how it went over. There was a definite feeling of people being like "Wha?". We definitely had their attention tho. And honestly, given the circumstances and our state of being, once again I thought we did pretty damn good. Jay didn't barf on his drum set, which would have been unfortunate as they were Helmets drums, but would have been pretty rock and roll none the less. What made the show much more easy going for me was that the stage sound was top notch, and I could hear everybody really well. Ze is the man and knows his shit. The crew there were really efficient and also knew their shit. I forgot to be a rockstar and throw my pick into the crowd when I was done, but I'll remember at some point, probably at the most inappropriate moment.

We cleaned up and headed backstage. Then we got expeealidocious drunk. Anne and Jay went and got interviwed by Brazilian MTV. Anne asked if they wanted to speak to me and Dan as well. Not interested. Delete.

They brought us constant supplies of Beer, whiskey and Pizza. This band the Ganjas from Chile played after us. Sort of like Kyuss, a little more rock, less groovy. Helmet showed up backstage, and we started drinking with them. Page Hamilton (the singer and central guy) is a crazy dude, really animated and friendly. Anne was woozy, he is a big idol of hers. But we all got along great, the rest of the guys in helmet were just as friendly. We all did shots of Whiskey right before they went on.

The place was packed fo them, the rocked it out with their cock out. They played songs from all there albums, and they played the one song I absolutely wanted them to play. By now, the vaselines had showed up backstage so we were chilling with them. The vaselines had two of the guys from Belle and Sebastian as there backing band, and another dude from Scotland playing drums. Bob and Mike, the bassist and drummer, were awsome guys, probably the most unpretentious huge rockstars in the world.

Helmet finshed, the Vaselines went on. I was marvelling at the fact that we were still awake and functional given the lack of sleep and food and amount of booze. I took a breather, but quickly realized that the only way I could keep going was to keep drinking. As soon as I stopped, I started to shut down. Roger that.

One of the coolest guys we met backstage was this dude Dr. Fresh, who was Hemets guitar tech. He was from Minneapolis and actually had common friends with Jay. He had a giant ink stamp that said Fresh. His thing was that he stamed people with it and then took their picture. We all got freshed. I actually think my neck is still freshed. He also had a coalition of the spillage, where he took your picture as you spilled beer all over yourself. I am also a member.

Random note, when you jump into the shot of a picture at the last minute in Brazil, you are lame and they call it pulling a Robert. ???

It didn't happen as quickly as in Goiania, but gradually, people started coming up to us giving us props, mostly guys from other bands as we were mostly content to hang out backstage for most of the fest. Page told us he only caught the last half of Chicane, but really liked it. We haded out CDs and stickers to everyone we could.

We saw Sergio off and on through the night, and he looked haggard and stressed out, which is always the unfortunate lot of the guy who is running the show. When the vaselines ended, sometime after 11, I was reminded about how important it was for us to be competely out of there by midnight, and from the look of the bouncers I didn't want to fuck with this.

I don't know how but we managed to make the place look like a huge rock show didn't just happen and there weren't just hundreds of people there getting wasted, which was an amazing feat.

We all hung out outside for a while waiting for the van to come pick us up. It was one of the most slobbering, sloppy, abnoxious drunken scenes I've had the pleasure to be a part of. The guys from Helmet made us promise to hang out with them later. We were the last band to leave. On the way home, Anne was blabbering some of the most random incoherent shit I've ever heard in my life, and she just kept going, like a machine.

We were pretty exhausted from carrying all the equipment out of the bar, and we were feeling pretty weird about the scene at Sergio's house, but we crammed into a cab (me, Jay, Anne and Dan all in the back in a calumet sandwich) and headed to a bar. Helmet, the vaselines, their crews, and a bunch of the amplitude tour guys (and gals) were there. We had to plead with the bartender to serve us drinks because they were closing, but they obliged. We drank Caipirinhas, and more debauchery ensued. We were a moving mass of drunken messiness.

After a while, the vaselines left, and we walked helmet back to their hotel. We said goodbye for about 30 minutes outside the hotel, headed back to Segios and crashed. That was the end of SP noisefest. Sergio was getting up early to fly back to Goiania with helmet, as they were playing Sunday night as the last band of the fest there.

Goiania Noise Fest - Mike

Taken from an email

I think I said this in my nonsense email but it really feels like we've been here for like 2 weeks and its only been 3 1/2 days. We are going to collectively update the blog, hopefully tomorrow, so you'll get most of the details there, but I'm having the time of my life. I nominated our tour slogan to be "one way or another". Its felt like we have been one step away from disaster the whole time, and yet so many amazing experiences have come out of it, which in a strange way. It seems as though nothing at all has gone as planned, but its been everything and more than I expected.

I think the blog so far has covered us getting to the Goiania noise fest so I'll pick it up from there. Friday morning we woke up in our hotel room. Turns out we were in the wrong hotel, the shittier one that the press was staying in, we were supposed to have been brought to the nice hotel where the bands were all staying. Sergio had left early that morning because he had to catch a flight back to Sao Paulo to pick up helmet and sort them out, but luckily, he had taken us to the pre-party at the site of the festival the night before and we met alot of really great people. Leonardo, a really cool dude who was there to promote his new book and who was a huge help for us cuz he spoke great english. Jan, a festival guy from belgium, who was down there to speak about indie music. Gushus, a zombie movie director who reminded me alot of Marcus. Uri and Frankie, the sound guys who were the nicest guys, totally professional and ready to attend to any request we had. This really awsome chick Quinn from Canada, another fest organizer that was down there just to check it all out. Pablo and his girl from Argentina, who again was really helpful translating for us. The fest organizers, whose names escape me. The guys in this band holger, friends of Sergio's who were also looking out for us. So many more, one right after another like a blur, everybody just putting out incredible warm and friendly vibes, hugs and thumbs up from everybody (very Brazilian apparently), everybody present in conversation and genuinely interested in us and our band, "Oh cool, I'm going to definitely make sure I check you guys out tomorrow night" and really meaning it. Part of what made this so surreal was the way it directly contratsed all the danger we had been warned about, and how it always seemed like everything was going to fall apart. More on that later.

So we woke up and went downstairs and ended up getting picked up by Anne and Jays friend Fernando, and his wife Maria, who live in Goiania. This was a big relief to the extremely nice and friendly Marri, the transportation organizer for the festival who looked like she was falling apart from stress. Fernando was a really cool dude, civil engineer, so you know, we got along, and his wife was great too. He first took us to the other hotel, which was way nice (we were on the top floor with an incredible view of the city), to drop off our bags, then took us out for lunch at a churrascaria, which is a Brazilian BBQ.

I have to tell you about this, theres a buffet where you can get pasta or salad, but the real treat s that they stop by your table, seriously, every 30 seconds with a giant piece of meat on a spit and ask you if you want some. It was bordering on harrasment, but in as best a way possible. The meat was un-fucking-real, and all you can eat, which we did. Oh, and the juice is hands down the best I've ever had in my life, everything is fresh squeezed right before they serve it to you. We ate till we felt like we would pass out (we were already hungover and hadn't gotten any good sleep), then Fernando took us back to show us his place, which was cool, (You'll have to excuse the rampant use of "cool", "awsome" and other bland adjectives. I've been speaking simplistic-so-people-can-understand-me english for a few days now and I'm finding that I'm incapable of being very descriptive, or funny).

We took a hour long nap then went downstairs to the lobby. Marri had told us that there would be someone there to give us a ride to the festival with all our gear. But nothing goes as planned so we spent alot of time looking around like "OK, whos giving us a ride, what the hell is going on?". Turns out, mostly no one ever knows whats going on. We ended up hitching a ride in a van with a bunch of press people.

The venue was a big courtyard with an outdoor stage, a some poorly located booths for merch, a perimiter set up with food and booze, and a big semi circle that contained the main stage we were playing on later that night. The main stage was huge, sort of like the place we saw slightly stoopid, but a little bigger. We threw our stuff in a room backstage we were sharing with a couple bands, then headed out to set up Gushus with our merch. Leonardo also helped out, putting ch stickers inside his books he was selling.

The festival started out with band of younger kids from Brazil. A bunch of 18yr olds, with a little 5' girl singing and ripping on the guitar. Then this band the demosonics, who we met and chilled with, and who were the only band that could even remotely be labelled as similar to us. Then Holger played, some other's all a blur. We spent alot of time hanging out backstage with the security crew who were guarding our stuff. Slightly-younger-than-us kids, who were super nice and who were drinking heavily and probably were not supposed to be.

Brazilians sure do like there smoke machines and there strobe lights. We decided we needed to make it very very clear that we didn't want either when we play. Sergio had advised being very animated while doing this because if we just casually mentioned it they would give us the thums up and then do it anyway, and Dan and I would probably fall off the stage from strobe induced vertigo, and Jason would barf from smoke inhalation. More on this later....

The time was coming for us to do our thing and I had the jitters for a while, but I calmed down alot as the moment approached. But it was incredibly tense. We had 30 minutes to get the previous band off stage, set our stuff up and soundcheck. With a venue this size , this is a complicated process, even when everyone speaks the same language. We start our soundcheck, however during which we had a bit of trouble getting the monitors in line we were imploring them to fix it, to which the said "OK, you start now"...this was due to us having reached the end of our 30min set up away we went! We ended up with a 30 minute set, which we worked out as Crab, Contact in 3, Stop Motion Sensor and Chicane. I looked up and saw 2000+ Brazilians staring back at me throwing up devil horns. The guys down here had warned us that lots of people knew of us, had looked us up on myspace beforehand, heard our stuff. Fabricio, the tour organizer announced us, butchered our name, which everyone amusingly does down here, and the place went nuts.

We didn't take it easy on them as Dan and I launched into a full noise hell crecendo, then we ripped into Crab. We fucked the opening riff up a bit, but came right out of it, to the point that it was more or less unnoticable. Crab went really well, then we went into Contact. As you know our songs have alot of loud parts followed by really quiet sections. Everytime it got quiet, the crowd would go nuts and cheer. The lighting was done well and accented the parts. It was an incredible rush.

The middle of contact has a part where it gets really quiet and theres no drums, just me finger picking, Anne playing along and Dan bugging out. The 3 of us were completely lost in the music. Jay thinks it would be fun to get up from behind the set and fuck with us one by one. He sneaks up behind Dan, and gives him bunny ears, the crowd goes wild, and we think its because of the music. He then sneaks up behind Anne and gives her a kiss. I actually have my eyes closed the whole time, like I said, just vibing out to the music. Jason sneaks up on me, on stage in front of 2000 people mind you, and plants a wet one on my cheek, which sratles the ever living crap out of me, to the point I royally fuck up the part I'm playing. But it was ALL GOOD. The crowd loved it, we were all loving it, it was all just straight up fun.

Stop Motion and Chicane went really well, I really love playing those two songs live. Chicane is an awsome closer, its consistently our best performed song, and it ends with sour-ass chords and dan screaming like hell. We finished, everyone went nuts again.

The next hour or so was really a blur. Rushing off stage, trying to wrap up my shit in the dark, still high on massive amounts of adrenaline, Jay thinks he lost his camera, the whole sound crew is searching around with flashlights when they probably should be doing more important things only to find out it was in Jays bag the whole time. It took us a while to calm down, and unfortunately, those moments right after you finish a show the only thing that sticks out is the fuckups. But considering the jetlagged, hazy, hungover state we were in, we did pretty damn good.

Multiple people approached us afterwards to try to tell us in broken english "so awsome! you rule! dischord records! Motorhead!". Uri, the sound guy says "You guys 2010!!! Everyone else here ... 2000!!!". Before we started, the room was filling up with a couple hundred for each band that played in there. The room packed for our set, and no one left. In all seriousness, I think we were just so out there, so different than anything else that they were hearing, and it was great to see real appreciation for that.

Then, we got supercalifragilistic drunk.

I lost track of Jason and Anne for a while. Turns out, after hanging out for a while, Jason caught montizumas revenge and got really fucking sick. He started to feel bad, rushed to the toilet in the bathroom backstage and started shitting and puking all over the place at the same time (we are still trying to come up with a name for this, the best we have so far is a Tennesse Tuxedo). Apparently, as Jason is on the toilet doing this, a wasted Brazilian in the next stall over stands up on his toilet and starts pointing down at Jason saying "HEEY!! AMERICAN!!!! RIGHT ON!!!WOOOOO!! OK!!!!, YOU IN BAND!!, ROCK AND ROLL!! ". Jason was trying to tell him to fuck off, but he was too busy with his Tennesse Tuxedo.

Jason finally meets back up with us and tells us he has to leave, and that we have to find our own way back to the hotel. Once again, we were suppoesedly going to have a ride ready for us, but by now we were pretty wise to what that really meant. At around 4am, we stumbled back onto a random bus that would supposedly be OK with lifting us back to our hotel. Son of a bitch if we dont look up and see the same fucking press people that we had mistakenly hitched a ride with to the festival. Crazy.

We got back to the hotel. The guys from Holger had insisted that Anne and a visibly twitching and pale Jason hang out and party with them in their hotel room, with the (Vaselines), so they were still up when we got there. Jason Anne and I decided we were done so we went to bed, by now it is 430am. Dan stayed down there and partied with them.

Fast forward to the morning. We had to get up at 8am to catch our flight back to Sao Paulo. At 7:30am, I start hearing an alarm and I'm like, jesus, what the fuck? I get up ad see Dan isn't in his bed. OK, I'm thinking he probably slept on the couch. I look out in the lounge area and he isn't there. I follow the alarm sound and its coming from the bathroom. I walk in and theres Dan, butt ass naked, twisted up into some horribly uncomfortable looking pretzel ... in the tub. I swear, my train of thought was ...

Holy Shit!! ... Dans dead
Oh man. he must have shit his pants and passed out in the tub
Holy shit, hes fucking naked and I do not want ot look at this.

Turns out Dan decided after partying with holger he wanted to take a bath (?). He drained the tub, but somehow passed out before getting out of the tub, so thats where he spent the night. This tub was small, like, even for Dan. I'm still trying to erase the image from my head. It haunts me.

Our ride to the airport was, sursprise, all fucked up. They came at the last possible moment, we dragged ourselves onto the plane groggy, hungover, and in Jays case still sick and twitchy. And that was Goiania Noiefest '08.

On to Sau Paulo Noise fest 2008 ...



Thursday, November 20, 2008

in-transit #2

Alright!! We are finally here. After 3 different flights and traveling for 30hrs straight, we are now in Brazil!! I'm typing this from our hotel room in Goiania. Our flights down here weren't that bad. Actually the worst flight was from Boston to NYC. The plane's AC was busted, and it was really roasting in there. JFK in NYC is also really weird as they don't have WI-FI posted around.....we asked several different people where we could log on last night...we had a 3 hour layover...and nobody had any clue. Eventually we take off around 11pm and fly through the night. The flight down wasn't bad, Dan, Anne and Mike were able to get some sleep in....I however, can't really sleep on planes, so I was really only able to sleep for about 2hrs.

Flying into Sao Paulo was crazy....the city is huge and sprawls much like NYC and/or LA. We actually haven't seen any of it yet, as we did not leave the airport today...except to go outside for a brief moment to meet up with our good friend and booking agent, Gabriela. She helped take some of our spare luggage back to her place so we wouldn't have to take it to Goiania. We were told on the phone that we could only check one bag per person, and that the 2nd checked bag would 4-5USD per kilo. As Dan, Mike, and myself all had to bring gear down(guitars, pedal boards, cymbals)...this was going to be real expensive as we would have to pay going there and back. Amazingly enough as we started to check the bags, the woman at the counter didn't say a word(probally because she couldn't speak english) as we kept checking bags....she was really cool, and I think she let it slide. We'll see on the way back.

Sao Paulo airport, btw, is crazy. People everywhere....crazy lines, our flight kept changing gates on us, and it's definably a challenge to try and listen to flight announcements over the PA when you don't speak a word of the language. The flight to Goiania was about 1hr and a was actually a really nice flight with some really great scenery. As we got into Goiania there were some thunderstorms in the area, and we got to see some really awesome lightning. When we arrived we were so happy to see our friends Fernando(an old friend of Anne and mine. He went to Mich Tech with us and now lives with his family in Goiania!), and Sergio(head of amplitude records, our label in Brazil). Unfortunately, due to our flight being 2hrs late, we had to say hi and then goodbye to Fernando as he had to get back to his family...but we will be seeing him tomorrow for lunch as well as he will be going to the festival with us.

Sergio then took us to our hotel, where we were able to shower and then he took us out to the sight of the festival to check things out. Sergio is INSANE people....while he is helping us out, he is also assisting/translating for Helmet. So Sergio meets up with us tonight, and then he's getting on a 7am flight tomorrow to go back to Sao Paulo to meet up with Helmet. Sergio will be with Helmet in Sao Paulo until Sunday, when he flys back to Goiania with Helmet as they close out the fest on Sunday. After that, he will then fly right back to Sao Paulo to meet up with us as we start the rest of our tour!! Insane!!

Anyways, Anne, Mike and I just got back from checking out the site of the Goiania Noise Festival(Dan has decided to party with Sergio all night). All I can saw at this point is that it's fucking insane. The place is huge!! The hall can hold up to 5,000 people, and we are on the main stage at 9pm tomorrow night. At this point, I can really fathom the whole thing. None of us took our camera's tonight, but we will have our video camera's and still camera's to document all of tomorrow's actives.

More soon!

-Jason and CH

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


We are just about to board our flight to Sao Paulo!! We'll be flying overnight getting in around 12pm. DanG loves flying. More later.