Friday, January 31, 2014

The Winter of our Discotheque: Part II

Chapter 3: West Coast

1/23 – San Diego, California (Joe)
Was it the psychosomatic manifestation of compounded anxieties brought about from the recent trials and tribulations of the beloved Beelzebus, or potent amalgam of cheap beer and even cheaper tequila that was voraciously corroding my stomach lining? The answer lies in shadows, but the fiery acid-bath burning in my abdomen seemed to be a fair fit as we navigated the arid Arizona hellscape. Eyes wide, ears acute, buttholes fully clenched, every vibration and low rumble was brought to question and all for naught, for the dauntless Belezebus carried us safely to the temperate oasis of San Diego.
Hearts and minds at rest after our nerve racking sojourn, we shifted gears and engaged in a debate that has plagued mankind since time itself began: Where exactly does one find the best burrito? San Diego's star scumbag, Ryan Donovan, met us for our inaugural California burrito at Pokez. The delicate balance of avocado, refried black beans, and the San Diego secret weapon, french fries, were encased in a lightly fried tortilla and smothered in Ranchero sauce and artery-clogging handfuls of cheese. Engorged and shameless, we rejoiced in the exceptional display of burrito mastery.
The arduous digestion process left us with little ambition and barred any undertaking that connoted even the illusion of productivity. `We checked in at Til-Two, collected homies Ryan and Annie, and retired to the bus to ingest substances that make heartache forgettable and life more tolerable. San Diego super pal, Matt Williams, opened the show with his new band, Caskitt, and tore it up despite an unappreciative crowd. Clever song structure and catchy anthems has made their album a regular play in the bus. Fuck yes, tight power! Direct Hit followed with a “Jock Jams Vol 3” like set and Elway drank and did stuff. RCR full-force approach got some bodies moving and made for a memorable show.
The party moved to a small apartment where three unsuspecting girls had made obvious efforts to create a warm and inviting home complete with plush furnishings, clean bathrooms, and scented candles. We ruined everything. In a palpable cloud of febreeze, the party gained momentum as 30 racks and party favors were consumed with unrepentant alacrity. The sun was peeking over palm trees and our defeat was imminent. The remaining beers were placed in the cooler for breakfast and we laid our soon to be throbbing heads to rest.
Vindictive consciousness, we woke and cursed the day. Sustenance was sought in the only acceptable caloric-currency, burrito. While the bus was left at the auto-shop for a routine oil change, we stumbled across the street to a family owned and operated taqueria. Schizophrenics circled the patio like delirious buzzards, ranting and raving without ever making a cognizant word. I devoured the burrito in a one-hot-sauce-cup-for-every-two-bites fashion while the encroaching bum-scent lingered in the sweltering sun. The juxtaposition of simple indulgence and the vulgar display mankind's frailty and lack of empathy left me with a vacuous despair. I'm certain Los Angeles will offer some sort of solace, right?
We're all fucked.

1/24 – Los Angeles, CA (Garrett)
The I-5 into LA tells a lot about the city. Slabs of concrete puzzle pieced and tarred together leaving small evenly spaced chasms to pound a slow rhythmic thump in the tires. A noise that seemed to serve as a knotted gauge reminding a crew of merchants that they are following the shittiest of trade winds while grid locked with rosary beaded Camaro and chromed out lifted SUV ships. An orchestra of rattling license plates and billowing exhaust with the fine silk-like veneer of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the dream that you're “going to make it” cresting the horizon.

We arrived at our buddies Jen and Neil's house for some pre-show beers and home-style kitchen hair cuts. Joe, our resident hair sculptor, equipped himself with buzzer and beer and proceeded to give the usuals – the Jared Street Fighter Zangief buzz cut, the Tim Hitler-esque swoop along, and the utterly uninspiring same-haircut-as-your-uncle-David for me. New dews, a thirty-rack, and some of southern California's finest inspiration later we were ready to head due west for the show.

An appropriately themed colonial sailor bar called The Redwood seated right in the heart of the city was to host the rocking tonight. After load in I ventured forth on a walk to be reminded of what I missed about LA. A catered movie scene in an alley scooting me quickly across the sidewalk for another take. A retail store smelling a fresh Indonesian freight container with two armed men guarding six dollar hats. A guy with striped leggings making airplane noises while pulling a wheelie suitcase not pedaling his bike but propelling himself with just his lace-less shoes and the ground. LA seems to be a circus to perceive in either in a fascinating anthropological “so this is the epitome of human kind, a place presenting the uncensored triumphs and tribulations of a species” sort of way or just a “oh what the fuck” sort of way.

Waiting for the show to start we indulged further in some drinks, burgers, inspiration, and cigarettes. At some point in the first twenty minutes of being in the venue we noticed a large illegible tag spray painted the entire height and width as the back of the bus. Shrugging our shoulders in a “well I wish he could have at least spend some more time and done something nice” kind of way we calmly returned back to our vices and awaited the show to begin.

The show was good. People sang. People danced. It ended with us being able to leave all of our still erected gear because of a matinee show at the same bar the next day – in so relaxing more responsibility and further giving us an excuse to drink near violently. Driven back to Jen and Neil's apartment somehow we capped the night with streaming religious overdubs of nineties rock songs such as “Enter Samson” and “Every Crown has its Thorns” and passed out.

1/25 – Los Angeles and Pomona (Tim)
In this new LA morning, the tour so far had seemed hectic to the point of madness. As the list of touring priorities congeals into a work-like routine and obstacles present themselves and are dealt with between spats of worry and anxiety which are later manifested in temporal outings with the malignant barnacle of existential woe, it becomes easy to see the in-between moments of this lifestyle as a continual theater of trauma and triumph in which you are not involved. It was amid a 10am staredown with these darkened passageways of waking thought that I stepped outside into the sunshine. Everything slowed down. For a moment, the city static was rendered innocuous and the small gift of the universe was it's own reward as it beat down on my face and gorgeous new haircut. It was a beautiful 77 degree day, and that was just fucking fine with us.

Burritos were sought out at a local Highland Park taco truck and were consumed with a trollish zeal. Delicious stuff. We drove the now almost familiar freeway back to The Redwood, where we were slated to play a 3pm matinee show. Wasting no time, and without need for load in (we did that last night) we leaped liver-first into a frenzy of alcohol consumption. The way we abused alcohol before 3pm is beyond analogue in the mortal sphere; we are so fucking stupid. The show is pretty rad and well attended by a crowd of half familiar faces and half woefully hungover strangers. Hours later, we load our things into our freshly-tagged whip and set sail for the inland empire and an awaiting Pomona, where we would play the second show of the day.

Arriving in downtown Pomona after navigating the entanglement of highways and sub-highways and sub-sub-highways wrapped around the black heart of greater Los Angeles, we are greeted by the always-jovial Party Marty. It is always a pleasure to be a part of any show he puts together and tonight's outing was no different. Though we were competing with “1996: the show (A lineup featuring Narcoleptic Youth, JFA, Angry Samoans, etc... A virtual who's who of 'who gives a fuck?')” at the nearby Glass House, the show was pretty full and very fun. I can scarcely remember chiding some sexist shit pile in the audience through the scratched mirror of alcoholic hindsight, but I do know that I had a blast. We finished up and set out to drive overnight to San Francisco, but not before conscripting our buddy Ariel to come with to hang for a day (without so much as a toothbrush or phone charger). She doesn't know any better and is made of party particles, so she hopped in the bus. Leaving LA, we stopped for gas and were given an envelope full of the devil's lettuce by a lone skateboarder stalking the parking lots of the San Franando Valley by night, looking for cheap thrills. We got high and drunk on a newly acquired bottle of cheap whiskey and Beelzebus rumbled gaily into the California night.

1/26 – San Francisco (Tim)
I've never seen a miracle, a revelation, or anything that seriously lends credibility to the existence of the supernatural, but I have seen downtown San Francisco appear after passing through the Treasure Island tunnel on I-80 over the bay. It is one of, if not the most picturesque and gorgeous thing I've ever seen. Combine the unique architectural and geographic beauty of the city with the fact that we have some of the best friends ever here, and we were primed to have a great fucking day. The bus came to a halt at pint-sized darling, Jordyn's house in Lower Haight and we set out to make the most of our short time in the city. We started the day the way any passer-through worth their salt would: with a Mission style burrito from El Castillito in the Castro district. (Now might not be the time to bring this up, but San Francisco's burritos are the very best and most consistent IN THE WORLD. There's a lot of talk around the touring punk band sewing circle about this, and you'll just have to trust us on this one. Look at OUR ENTIRE BLOG for evidence. Burrito judging is what Elway does. Okay...) After finally recovering from a night of difficult sleep at awkward angles, we cruised down to the BART stop in the Mission district to pick up east bay bestie Sarah. Another quick stop in the inner Richmond neighborhood to pick up Nothington mastermind Chris Matulich, and we were on our way to Baker Beach; a longstanding Elway tradition. The dense fog rolled in from the mighty pacific and hung thick sheets across the hills of Marin across the quickly-fading Golden Gate Bridge. We stuck around for an hour or two and caught up with bay buddies atop the dew-drenched rocks, watching the bridge and mountains fade in and out of view. With load in time approaching, we left for the Mission district to eat our second burrito of the day at Tacqueria Cancun – the undisputed champion of the Mission-style burrito and a real credit to the scope of humanity's ability to brighten the Earth we spend so much time destroying. The Cancun burrito has philosophical connotations tucked into it's floury folds that make taste seem like only a small component of the concept at large. It is no ordinary meal.

Our third outing at the mighty Bottom of the Hill. YES! This is easily in my top 3 places to play in the world. The sound, the hospitality, the people who show up, the bartenders, the owner are all top notch. The show was characteristically wonderful, and all of the bands were warmly received by the sizable audience. It was great to see a bunch of familiar faces, including Elway blog alumni Danielle Bailey, who is as delightful as the fucking day is long. During the course of the show, we decimate our beer allowance, along with the provided bottle of whiskey. We top it all of with the magnum-sized bottle of Evan Williams that was literally the only thing that Ariel brought up from Pomona. Just about everyone was acting all Hasslehof by the time we had to start our drive northward for Portland. We said goodbye to Sarah and Chris, dropped Ariel and Jordyn off at Jordyn's place (it took her 5 full minutes to open the front door) and lamented not being able to spend an eternity hanging out in that incredible city. Onward we went across the lightless central-Californian landscape.

1/27 – Portland, OR (Garrett)
It's hard to distinguish at what point a day start and begins when intermittent half hours of sleep are dictated by gas station stops, the consistency of the road, and how long you can keep your head upright before your neck goes limp and tries to roll off your shoulders. I suppose we can begin at sunrise. Neon reds, oranges, and yellows pushing the sphere of darkness away from the rolling ridge of thick snowy evergreens. A low hum of the tires pulling the wet pavement behind us whose yellow dotted lines now visible beyond the headlights. Sleepless bodies pulling heavy sleeping bags further over their heads as if to say “Fuck you day, I'm not ready for your bullshit again.”

A long day of groggy fast food stops, video games, and fart jokes later we arrive into the vanguard of the revolution – a progressive utopia complete with coffee shops, other coffee shops, and really cool hats – Portland, Oregon. Our GPS takes us to a fantastic arcade dubbed Ground Kontrol where we spend the better part of an hour dunking hoops, flying jets, and killing zombies. After some delicious vegan pizza we arrive at the Slabtown with a green room almost the same size as the bar/venue itself offering air-hockey, ski-ball, basketball, and one of those punching machines where you get to prove to your friends just how much you would absolutely lose a fight if it ever came down to it.

Our good friends Josh and Britney arrived with more pizza, hugs, and positive attitudes. We set to find booze but after some smooth talking we managed to use our $50 bar credit to at-cost behind the bar credit and managed 48 tall boys and a bottle of William's finest. A greater number of people than previously imagined shuffled into the show and commenced in dancing. Red City Radio's van lay wounded 7 hours south, and they didn't make the show. That bummer aside, Direct Hit and Elway were warmly welcomed with intense foot shuffling, fist pumping, and shouting of lyrics/whatever they decided to make up for lyrics. Danny blew his finger up on the snare drum rim and it was gross.

Sweat, rock, and a huge dent in our behind the bar credit later we mingled with the crowd to ask them how great they thought we were. A new friendship was formed after some brilliant strategic plays assisted by my good friends Matt and Dennis. A previously “more of a coffee shop rock” assumed town proved us assholes again with stoked high fives and rounds of bought beers. It goes to show that the shit you love to hate is probably because there are parts you secretly think are pretty fucking choice. A sloppy load out and best wishes lead us to Josh and Britney house where we met the most adorable French Bulldog in the world - Boris. We all passed out.

1/28 – Seattle (Tim)
Garrett Dale has always been something of a hero of mine. Elway and Red City Radio have a long and involved history as good buddies. I can remember the first time we played together at Surfside 7 in Fort Collins (It was in 2008), and the magnanimous way that Garrett presented himself could have sold me on just about anything. His personality seeps into every facet of the band's performance. He is a beacon of optimism in a scene where ennui and disenchantment are standard modes of operation. I love the dude. This only bears mentioning right now because, as was mentioned in the Portland entry, Red City Radio broke down in Northern California and was forced to cancel their appearance at the Portland show. In order to make today's Seattle show, the had to finish the repairs to the van and drive a grueling 10 hours to arrive just in time to jump on stage and play. We arrived in Seattle still unsure if they would make it.

We showed up at El Corazon and loaded in. Wristbands, drink tickets, buyouts, backlining, etc... Good friends and Elway blog alumni Erin and Shawn showed up along with Portland power couple Josh and Brittany to whisk us away to a very reasonable vegan restaurant called Veggie Grill. We returned to the venue in time to witness an impressive influx of people. Locals Poke Da Squid and Success! both killed. The crowd was excited and vibrant for Direct Hit. Moments ahead of our set, I learned that Red City Radio was mere miles away. We got on and had an excellent show, due in large part to barkeep Benny's heavy-handed insistence that we never leave El Corazon sober. The man is a legendary bartender who has without fail delivered on this mission. He is 3/3 with Elway. During the set, Joe wastedly fell through a window concealed by the stage curtain and landed his ass on the ground in the entryway mid-song. This Houdini-styled disappearing act went nearly unnoticed by me. Garrett said he noticed Joe disappeared and just followed the instrument cable out the window and pieced it together from there. After taking a long time to shame Joe on stage, we continued through our set. Red City Radio showed up as we had 3 songs left, and I met eyes with Mr. Dale. He walked in and seemed to read the whole vibe of the night and I could see him mentally preparing to dominate the show. Little did he know that on stage I instructed the audience to act with complete disinterest as Red City started their set, but to afterward go fucking nuts. I threatened their cooperation with a Seahawks superbowl loss, but the crowd obliged explosively. Red City Radio played with a zeal that can only come from bouncing back after being fucked by the road such as they were. Best show of tour thus far. We retired to our buddy Chris' place and drank ourselves to sleep well satisfied by the day's events.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Winter of our Discotheque: Part I

Chapter 1
1/16-17: The Great Exodus and Dallas, TX (Joe)

Frigid, in the malaise of an ungodly am hour, the intrepid Beelzebus is softly purring in diesel-powered punctuations inside a slumbering Chicago neighborhood. Direct Hit!, a collection of Wisconsinites, soft and supple in their cheesecurd fueled forms, arrive on the scene. In a series of elongated o's and interjecting i's where a's formally are, they introduce themselves to the destitute drunkards of Elway. The bands nervously awake the sleeping green giant in a plea to escape the unforgiving polar conditions and seek the warmth of Texas. Braving frost covered roads, the near-strangers break the ice(heyo!...I hate myself), with mickey's grenades, WWF-caliber leg drops, and generous circle jerks.
Only halfway through the imposing 16-hour journey, the gallant road warriors are famished and are in dire need of sustenance. After passing the mighty metropolis of St. Louis, they steer the bus into a road-side Waffle House. The small Missouri town, home to 3,000 people and 3,064 teeth, provides a gracious sampling of it's residents inside the 24-hour breakfast chain juggernaut. Triple hashbrowns: scattered, peppered, covered, and dollar menu egg and cheese biscuits are delivered with expediency despite uproarious redneck crowds slurring demands for late-night caloric glory. Dan from DH! audaciously orders a plate of hamburgers which the overwhelmed waitress fails to deliver to the “chef” because, quote, “Honey, I didn't thunk you was serious.” Well, perhaps it was the hollering mother-of-8-marines demanding “more bacon up in here” that skewed the waitress' sense of reality, but word to the wise, preface your Waffle House orders with. “I would seriously like...” if you expect to eat.
Tired, beat, and ugly, we pit stop in Oklahoma City to imbibe in a several 3.2% Highlifes and set our spinal chords to a tour's fighting-fit-frame, scattering out on the hardwood floor for much needed sleep.
Friday night, Beelzebus triumphantly rolls into the parking lot of the Gas Monkey in Dallas after conquering 967 miles of America's highways. The BBQ megaplex is complete with a giftshop, outdoor stage, beer, and probably its own slaughter house. The restaurant/bar was overflowing with mid-40's patrons sporting suits, ties, and spurs seeking relief from the spurn of a week's work. Red City Radio now in tow, the bands retreat to the green room for dinner and libations. Generous amounts of beer, fireball whiskey, and rib racks are provided from Gas Monkey. Elway's veg crew orders salads and onion rings that somehow require steak knives ( Dan from DH!, in a foolhardy endeavor, feels he can order without saying, “I would seriously like a hamburger.” Consequentially, he watches the bands savagely devour their meals while he once again goes hungry. What a goof, eh? He'll never learn.
Drunken antics ensue backstage. A box of party favors is opened and a chorus of tinseled horns sounds like an obnoxiously misguided ska band. Considering a career change, I (Joe) find the stripper pole and decide to confront potentially hidden talents. Employing RCR's Jojo to be my assistant, he helps me lift my legs above my head in order to perform sexy, star-studded inverted slide down the rail. The weighted fall on my face brings me to my better senses and I decide I should keep not making money playing music instead. Devon from Hit! removes his shirt and does a few twirls while everyone stands paralyzed in wide-eyed awe at such a balanced display of masculinity and grace. The tinseled horns sound once more in a cackle of applause and gratitude. I hate him.
Fat By The Gallon opens the show and warms up a divided crowd. Direct Hit! Follows with unfettered energy and slays. Elway drinks and kinda does stuff and RCR follows with 400 harmonized kick-ass whoas.
The bus follows RCR to their friends' house and we are greeted with tacos and a place to crash. Stoked. We reluctantly wake up, stammering out of bed only with the promise of weed, poppers, and fruitloops. The morning races by as we take turns lapping the block on scooters and raiding the next-door neighbor's yard sale for pearl snap shirts and fifty-cent bags of frozen pina coladas. Warmed by the Texas sun, we shuffle back into the fearless Beelzebus and set out for San Antonio.

Chapter 2
1/18 – 1/22 – Texas / The Road / Not Arizona, how could you?

1/18: San Antonio(Garrett)

With the sun at full mast we pushed on down the road to Austin. While counting our pearl snaps and finishing our pina colada rations we watched the yellowed landscape spotted with sun bleached Jesus billboards and paint cracked tire shops soar passed us (this is called foreshadow, guys). Beelzebus Captain Steve of best-luck all-star team Direct Hit had announced a bit of turbulence due to Texas's never ending goal to cover the entire state with a spoon splattered spaghetti web of highways. The shit road blamed rumble grew worse before it concluded with an abrupt explosion coming from under the haul of the bus. A grinding halt on the shoulder and brief inspection revealed that a bursting of an inside dualy tire had shot the nuts off the outside tire, sheering half the pins that hold it on, and laying it to rest almost sideways under the rotor. We were stranded – in Texas.

The gang was now perched in the dead highway grass on phones and debating options. Around us was nothing more than a dull trickle of a fire road and an empty sign referring to an exit ramp some miles up. A dead raccoon lay next to the rear of the bus seeming to taunt our fate. With no way to latch the wheel to the few last sheered threads we called a series of tow trucks. No answer. Unable to haul a mini bus. Out of range. The cackling answers of those we now relied on. Even worse were the ones who could help. Cancellations after an hour and a half of waiting. AAA telling us three hours and two canceled trucks later they don't support our size of vehicle. $500 just for a hook up before the price per mile. We were at the mercy of these people. Meager shells of meat with a few bucks. The prey of Texas.

Night soon set across the dead and trash covered Texas shoulder. The neighboring fire road was being passed with slowing cars and stumbling dark figures. The raccoon grew more smelly. Hands grasping phones grew weak as numbers tired (hah get it?) and bus rations dwindled. A can of chile, a few granola bars, some beers. Direct Hit had set out to find a gas station with food and cigarettes. We were all in this together, but while they were gone I stole some of their trail mix. I swear that I would be the good guy – but at what point must we fend for ourselves? Could I be the bad guy?

I pondered the nature of man kind/myself while staring up at the gigantic Texas night sky and listening to new Beyonce. What were we doing any of this for? Are we still a rock band after six years without enough money to fix a tire? Are we just pushing a half empty cart down the barren and burnt road of life with no end goal – with the admittedly impossible dream of a plush coast before our inevitable deaths? I could hardly remember the world before Texas. The names of things slowly following those things into oblivion. Colors. The names of birds. Things to eat. Finally the names of things one believed to be true. More fragile than one would have thought. How much was already gone? The sacred idiom shorn of its referents and so of reality. Drawing down like something trying to preserve heat. In time to wink out forever.

But alas! We had found a rich resource-filled bunker in the ground. A brief but reviving refuge from the road. A tow truck driver would pick up our bus and drop it off at a shop for $300 and Lance, of Perdition and a friend of Direct Hit's, would pick us up and pack nine of us plus gear in his mini van down to our show. We had momentarily survived the stray wandering intellectually starved predators of the Texas road and were able to play our set for the usual fifty disinterested people and no drink tickets. After the show we celebrated with Red City Radio's whiskey and beer while shooting the empties off the top of some fat entitled Texas ladies SUV with a Nerf gun. Our gracious savior Lance took us back to our friend Austin Ryan Landon's house in Austin to sardine across blanketless hardwood/linoleum floors. Far from the road, in the cold and dude smelling stale air, we finally rest.

1/19: Austin (Garrett)

The next morning I was awoken on the kitchen floor by a loaf of bread hitting me in the face. Breakfast items had been looted from a corner store and brought for the hungry neck stiffed masses. Joe prepared eggies with vegetables and fried potatoes while I lapped the backyard getting in touch with loved ones back in civilization. We finished our breakfast in post haste fashion while watching a movie called The FP - an apocalyptic 90's future based film where gangsters DDR battled for girls, guns, and glory with the premise of “Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished.” A must see for those interested in a way better based apocalyptic story.

We headed back on the road escorted by our former Fort Collins friend Austin. Cautious in our travels, we were quick to realize Austin (the city) is a refuge of Texas in itself – a small island of progressive forward thinking liberals fortified by the fear by the rest of the Texans that if enter they will turn gay or something. We take a tour featuring collaborative public art projects, colorful cafes full of attractive people, and a hotdog cart that if you ask for the “special” you can supposedly find hard drugs. We are dropped off downtown, to where we get bored quickly, and walk back to the area of the hot dog cart.

Though we don't make it to the cart, the gang splits up and has a lovely afternoon shopping and drinking in the warm sun. We reunite at a bar called the White Horse and reminisce of the bus, human kind, love, and whether or not we are wasting our lives. We draw no conclusion from the years of often carelessly booked shows, personal sacrifices of time and money, and countless errors and costs. The one thing we can tell is that you won't survive for yourself. We know because we would have never come this far. A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with word of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body... Some more words were said after all this but I choose not to remember.

We walk the roads to the venue of the show. We load in the few pieces of gear we recovered from the bus into the venue totted by another Austin buddy named Austin and wait. The goodness of human kind was revealed in the form of delicious grilled chickpeas, potato salad, and a ton of eighteen hour smoked meats that mostly Direct Hit consumed. To kill time a few of us and Garrett of Red City Radio went to shitty bars with dollar cocktails and hits from the 90s. Loaded and ready we stumbled back to the venue in time for us to go on.

The show itself was played mediocre and received great. A lot of people came out, danced and sang. The bar tender completely ignored the single drink tickets we presented in hand and lined up seamless shots of whiskey and cases of beer. In the midst of after show shenanigans/chaos we managed to meet a lovely Texan named Morgan who quickly made it into our hearts by shit talking Texas with us. We made five way date plans with her for the next day and sped off via a Bulgarian taxi driver who told us to his surprise he much prefers communist Bulgaria. “When EU came in, I can no longer afford beer after work!” With sorrys for the imperialist teamwork and thanks we pack in and retired onto our new found friend Shane's floor.

1/20: More Austin (Tim)
The distorted ding of my alarm clock harkened back to a time where I would awake only to be slung once again into another daylong journey through the land of work, familiarity, and in a certain sense, comfort. Today it bore with it the recapitulation of the past few days' misgivings and that, by fate of a late night game of dice, I would be responsible for waking up in the ungodly sepia-tone of the Texas morning to sort details with the beleaguered beelzebus. Shane reticently woke up to drive me the 30 miles to the shop in San Marcos. A mechanic named Randy insisted to me there that we would be on the road by day's end without issue. This meant good and bad things. We weren't as fucked as our cynical assessments from days past may have suggested, but we would have to cancel our show in El Paso, something we have never done in 6+ years as a band. We return to Austin to go about what we would have accomplished the previous day had we not the issues at hand. Garrett, Joe, Shane, and I left Direct Hit behind at the house to meet Morgan at Veggie Heaven for delicious vegan food and a brief respite from the now quite burdensome stress looming aloft our heads. Shane returned home and we spent the remaining daylight with Morgan doing the only thing we know how to do without fucking it up. We drank. I consumed a bloody Mary with habanero infused vodka that kicked the shit out of me in the sort of way that was felt like a beautiful penance delivered from the last just corner of god's otherwise-merciless soul. The phone rang, we finished our libations, Morgan drove us down to San Marcos, (my second journey there in a day), we recovered the bus, hundreds of dollars are reluctantly exchanged, the bus still shudders and vibrates suspiciously, it needs additional care, we're half-drunk and fully sick of this shit. Shane gallantly offers his home for another night to our sorry asses. The necessary loosening of ties manifested itself in the form of bargain vodka and whiskey choked down along with the gringo glory of Torchy's Tacos. We spend the rest of the night steeped in a drunken levity that is equal parts waxing comedic about new age yuppies clad in fedoras and toe shoes and the sort of existential rhetoric that could only come from 7 years of peering into the moneyless abyss of touring our way across the ashen inbetweens of an unsympathetic america. We're it not for the altruism of people like Lance, Austin #1, Austin #2, Shane, and Morgan, we would've arrived upon the inevitable conclusion that we are hopelessly and unabashedly doomed forever and ever long ago. We lumbered off to sleep unable to amble these sentiments from our liquor soaked jowls, so I must recant my utmost thanks by light of foresight. Christ...

1/21: El Paso (Tim)
With the bus nearly battle ready once more, we took to the desolate ash tray of west Texas en route to a rally point with Red City Radio in El Paso. Sedentary flocks of blackened oil wells crowded the turgid, reddish hellscape. The daylong venture across the enormous expanse of open space gained in trade for culture barely yielded a moment worth framing with glib musing, though we did stop at a gas station, where a woman who looked like a mountain of ice cream wore what seemed like centuries of desolation beneath a glistening veneer of faux-decadence. So there's that. We ate at a Mexican restaurant in a random outpost town somewhere between The Middle Of and Bumfuck, Nowhere, where it is purported (over and over and over again) that John Madden, by the bidding of Jesus Christ himself, visited and dined while watching the Monday night football game back in 1987. There is a mural depicting this. Madden later went on to tout their wares nationally on television and in print, rechristening the restaurant “John Madden's Haul of Fame.” It was okay. The rellenos had cheez whiz in them. We arrived in suburban El Paso, where we again confided in life-giving alcohol to fend off the doom for another night. The last few showless days left us attended by the anxiety and malaise of inactivity that does little but grind away the traction that propels the machinations fashioned by our usual mode of operations. The next day's return to the familiar cadence of show after show in Tempe would be a welcome one, indeed.

1/22: Tempe (Tim)

How many tire shops must a band take up a temporary, nomadic residency in before the pulsing nervous system of interstate-highways across the US are tackled without incident? The answer is at least one more, for it wasn't even 150 miles out of El Paso before we were violently vibrating against the blacktop again. We exchanged another stack of our dwindling cash for another couple hundred clicks of spurious assurance that we are not to be dined upon by the circling vultures and hit the road bound for the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe. We arrived ahead of the show and began settling once again into the routine of touring. It only took the strapping-on of wristbands and dispersion of poker chip drink tokens to puncture the bummer bubble that had been steadily gaining mass the few days hence. I took this lapse in negativity as a sign and wasted no time in combining a half-full gas station coke with a full pint of whiskey; an act of parking lot sorcery that would deftly preclude the possibility of accurately recounting much of the evening's proceedings. Hangs with Elway blog alumni Erica Harper (Who brought us an upside-down crucifix cake iced with the words 'Elway is Jerks' and Chris Chappell made us feel right at home. The head shop adjacent to the venue in the classic Phoenix architectural staple, the stripmall, was selling cigarettes at the unthinkable rate of 2 packs for 2 bucks. The two local acts took the stage and both ruled. Direct Hit swooned audiences into their increasingly fun set with an intro of pure moods' staple: Enigma's “Return To Innocence.” The sizable crowd danced and sang along to our set and put us right back into the mood we should never have to lose grip of. Red City Radio thundered through their set with an aptitude not typical of the type of drunks they are. Our shows in the Phoenix area just keep getting better, and it was a blast to get to see some familiar folks. We departed the venue and took up an overnight residency at homie Charlotte's house, where we expertly decimated the home's beer and tequila supply in a whirlwind of intoxicated rambunctiousness that culminated with either cross-eyed stumbling off to bed or intimate interludes slathered in British, one-door-opens-and-another-closes-style comedy. Tight power.

Monday, January 13, 2014

US Tour! Artsy things!

Well, well, well.                               

It certainly has been a long time since last we posted on this thing.  We’ve been running amok, going on tours, making records, eating various exotic meals of the vegetarian/vegan/ideological eating disorder variety, imbibing in illicit substances of every type, and not telling any of the faithful blog readers (Hi mom!) about a damn second of it.  What a bunch of slackers we’ve been.

Let’s start fresh, babe; it’ll be different this time.

First and first-mostly: we’re hitting the road this week for some two months with a handful of long-time friends and first-time tourmates.  We’ll be touring the west coast with the 3.2% quaffing titans of the Oklahoma prairies, Red City Radio and Milwaukee’s own Direct Hit!  After departing with the Okies, we’ll be playing a few Midwest shows, including our first show in Chicago in 7 months or something crazy, after which we’ll meet up with Philadelphia hunky starlets The Menzingers and Minneapolis’ sad rockers Off With Their Heads for a short jaunt eastward.  We’ll leave those buddies in Baltimore and tour our way up through New England and back toward the Midwest, during which we’ll play some shows with Worship This.  To cap it all off, we’ll return to the East Coast again for a run with famed Epitaph records haircut visionaries The Lawrence Arms and Carbondale, Illinois pop punks The Copyrights.  It’s going to be a good couple of months.  We’re stoked shitless.  Dates are as follows:

Gas Monkey
RCR/Direct Hit
San Antonio
RCR/Direct Hit
RCR/Direct Hit
El Paso
Lowbrow Palace
RCR/Direct Hit
Yucca Tap
RCR/Direct Hit
San Diego
Til Two
RCR/Direct Hit
RCR/Direct Hit
RCR/Direct Hit
Bottom of the Hill
RCR/Direct Hit
RCR/Direct Hit
El Corazon
RCR/Direct Hit
Carr's Corner
RCR/Direct Hit
RCR/Direct Hit
Salt Lake
Shred Shed
RCR/Direct Hit
Fort Collins
Road 34
RCR/Direct Hit
Moon Room
RCR/Direct Hit
Direct Hit
Kansas City
The Black and Gold
Direct Hit
St Louis
Direct Hit
Beat Kitchen
The Frequency
Des Moines
Bourbon Room
Keyser, WV
Asbury Park
Asbury Lanes
New York
St Vitus
The Fire
Now That's Class
Worship This!
Worship This!
Worship This!
The Sinclair
The Met
New York
The Gramercy
Theatre of Living Arts
Asbury Park
Asbury Lanes
Baltimore Soundstage
Newport, KY
Southgate Revival

Elway buddies of the European/Canadian variety can expect some good news in the coming weeks as well, as we’ll be touring our asses off for the first half of the year of our lord, 2014.

Now, a brief change of pace.

Recently, I was deadlocked in a debate with the sort of self-ascribed erudite fellow who believes that people who consume music digitally is ‘totally missing the point, man.’  I am of the opinion that if you truly love music then it shouldn’t matter what kind of packaging it comes in.  That being said, I am always pretty interested in the way that bands use visual art to compliment their own.  It is in that spirit that I want to share with you a small sampling of art we’ve used over the years and talk a bit about each artist.  Indulge me, won’t you?

First is our good friend Josh House, who flew the coop from Fort Collins to work and make art in Austin, Texas.  Josh is a brilliant illustrator and has worked with us more than any other artist, including the album art for Delusions.  Below is a small sampling of his work for Elway, starting with the poster for our upcoming US tour.  Check out his seriously impressive portfolio over at

We saw a clown 'street performer' in Ulm, Germany who's only talent was having a small horse.

We'll have this guy on shirts and hoodies on tour, but it was originally a hand-screened poster

About the closest we'll ever get to being a metal band.

Inspired by The American Astronaut.  Tell me you've seen it.

Me and Cory from Arliss Nancy used to have beer chugging contests.  He was Big Foot and usually won, but I was Gravedigger, which is way more tight,

Next is Benjamin Buttice from our native Fort Collins, who keeps a large piece of Elway’s collective hearts via his spellbindingly macabre indie-folk band, Sour Boy Bitter Girl, and has also contributed some cool paintings for a couple of EP covers.  Check them out below and be sure to listen to his band at

The rarely seen Itunes only Passing Days EP cover.  Pretty neat.

Hence My Optimism EP cover.  Plath/Hemingway/Lovecraft-type stuff.

Next is Californian guitar-shredder Tyler Gibson at Doom Toof Design who has done a number of shirt designs for us, as well as the album art and layout for Leavetaking.  My favorite piece he’s done for us is the below design used for our first European tour poster.  Peep his wares at

Lost Saint Christopher.  Rad.

Speaking of European tour posters, this next design came from our Russian buddy Vika Vi, who we spent some time hanging out with in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.  This is one of my favorite things ever done for us and is very representative of her striking work.  Peep that shit at

We had handbags with this awesome fucking design on them for our second Euro tour as well.

Last is Sveta Sokolova, another friend we met in Russia, currently residing in Berlin.  This is a shirt design that we’ll have with us on tour for the next couple of months and I just fucking love it.  You can find more of Sveta’s work at

Hands, rosaries, abstraction, stress.  Fucking cool, eh?

Hopefully, throughout the course of these upcoming tours, we’ll be keeping up with this blog once again.  Our apologies for not even acknowledging that this thing exists for the past year.  Expect more frequent updates, anecdotes about hayseed gas station clerks, pictures of Joe making a drunk ass of himself on stage, but looking better than the rest of us doing it, words of wisdom from Dan Case, vivid descriptions of stains on a Motel 6 window drape, and tales of the search for the nation’s greatest burrito, all in that characteristic Elway tableau!

Sniff you jerks later!