Pela was one of the many New York bands at SXSW last week. They kept a journal of their time there for us (which included bbq, hotel antics and a car crash)...yeehaw! Also check out My Brightest Diamonds's second journal entry for us, here.
Listen: Lost to the Lonesome - remix.mp3
Tuesday March 13th It's 5am and we're heading to LaGuardia for a 7am flight. Very tired. We'd all been working nonstop until the night before balancing jobs and rehearsal and life. Layover in Chicago at 9am. First stop is Chili's bar for tall boys. Surprisingly, there were many people drinking beer and whiskey at this joint. Following this we boarded a flight to Dallas. Someone made a poor bacon, egg, and cheese decision from a place we won't mention. We got on the plane and realized we were all stuck with the middle seats, and worse off we we're in between grown men. God damn. Time to drink. Flight attendant declines request for double fisting due to FAA agent on board. Eric becomes defiant and decides to walk down aisle while plane is landing and gets scolded by the flight attendants. We hear an announcement stating that no one is allowed to get up from their seats.
Flight lands. We fill out paper work for a rental van. We starting driving. 15 minutes later while admiring a billboard declaring drinking and driving is a right we have, we get into an accident with a a Mexican woman. Tom is not happy. After exchanging info we stopped by some BBQ joint called Mike Johnson's and ate our first big Texas meal.
We get to the place we are going to play at tonight and realize it's on a patio of a ad design firm. On top of that there's a giant 'Texas thunderstorm' threatening the city. Fred the sound man appears pensive to put his stadium size sound rig outside. Fred is concerned about his system being struck by lightning. We are then directed to the lobby of the firm to set up for the show. Meanwhile Doppler 2000 shows Dallas/Ft. Worth in a sea of red alerts.
We went to rest at the hotel for a while before the show. While downstairs in the lobby Nate realizes there's a complimentary keg of beer for 'a common social hour'. While on the phone tornado force winds hit the hotel. Nate fears for life while people run up to window saying 'tornado, tornado'. That being the only word of English they speak. Meanwhile up at the hotel rooms water is entering though closed windows. Storm leaves.
7pm-Arrive at 'venue'. These Texans know how to drink. Forcing Billy to drink 'Tito' which is some kind of grain alcohol conceived in bathtubs in Texas. We start playing, Eric's bass amp cuts out. People are not paying attention at all. We stop to sort things out. We get going. Play out set. Next thing you know we get encored 5 times. People really liked it. And we wouldn't have known until the very end.
People are now drunk and eager to drink with us. After a series of photos with the staff and new fans they urge us to come with them to a bar called 'Lee Harvey's'. We agree. People drive us. We roll up to a house with a big open area on the outskirts of Dallas. Firepits with fires and pitbulls running around. Across the street is a house with tinfoil on the windows. Which means one thing- that's a crack house. We hoist mighty robust glasses of scotch. Many of them. While at 'Lee Harvey's' Eric is taught 2 versions of the Texas Side Step. The low brow and high brow version. Dancing ensues.
We return to the hotel to attempt a never before completed back flip while launching from bed to bed. Billy lands poorly and has a tremendous scrap on his side. People complain and management comes to the door. We go to bed.
Wednesday March 14th
Wake up in Dallas to a continental breakfast while listening to Nina Simone. Started to embark on our next destination. Austin or bust. Stopped at a grease pit brisket house with an autographed Willie Nelson photo and a black and white photo of an old football player named Leroy Jackson who was white. Get back in car and have conversation about how nice the people in Dallas were.
Get to our first show at Red Eyed Fly. We get out of the van and immediately get help loading everything right to the stage where we immediately get on stage and start our show. The place was packed and people were into it. Right before we start our fourth song a local guy comes up to the stage with Eric's bass case and tells us he found it down at the river right behind the venue. We thank him and continue the show. This was the most humid day in recent memory. We were sweaty and tired but agreed that we sweat out the scotch from the night before. We then met a bunch of people, did a few interviews and headed back to the hotel for some rest. Going to hit the jacuzzi. Instead sleep happens.
Thursday March 15th
Man vs. BBQ. Woke up and ate continental breakfast. Ran a few errands. Went to thrift store and saw 27 polaroids of shoplifters who had been arrested. We asked a little Mexican woman how they caught these people with out a security guard, she responded by saying, 'running'. Then we spend an hour in traffic trying to get into downtown Austin. We picked up our label manager Euvin, and Jesse and began our pilgrimage to Salt Lick- BBQ Valhalla. After traveling through the dry hills for 40 minutes we arrived.
We walked in and paid homage to the massive smoke pit. Sat down, ordered 'family style' and 2 minutes later had huge amounts of BBQ meats, slaw and potatoes. After a half hour we became 'meat stupid'. 'Meat Stupid' is a term in Texas when one injests too much BBQ and becomes disoriented. Hence Billy left his favorite hat at the restaurant.
After BBQ we went to registration and were inundated with every fashion don't you could imagine. i.e- thick sunglasses with no lenses and bangs obscuring vision and scarfs, which make no sense in 80 degree weather. We needed a few beers to cope. We then went to KVRX, a radio station to do an in-studio. We met Oguz, a valiant Turkish sound man with a broad, sweeping mustache from cheek to cheek, We played/recorded 8 songs for them.
After loading out we drove by Apples In Stereo in the parking lot and Rob Schneider smiled and waved to us. We went back to the hotel, dropped off the van and took a cab into town. Cab driver pulled up and we asked how he was doing. He responded, 'horrible'. We embarked on downtown. We went to a pub to get away from all of the noise that happens during SXSW to meet with some label people. It was nice and mellow for a change. Then David Cross, Aziz Ansari, and other fellow comedians strolled in. Billy jokingly became Aziz's hugest admirer in the bar. Aziz was very confused. Another girl in the bar wanted to give Billy a tattoo and spoke about how she would tattoo 'HOMEWRECKER' on her knuckles if it would fit.
We all got separated in a drunken haze and Nate and Tom ended up on 6th street with our assistant manager Jenny and EL-P standing in the street confused at where everyone else was. EL-P said he was sick of being 'aurally raped'. We agreed and began to look for an oasis of beer and quiet. Meanwhile Eric was with our friends Dan and Darby looking for us. And Billy was off buying drinks and stumbled onto the Bloc Party show.
2am- Bars close and we have no ride to hotel. We try for 40 minutes to hail cabs. We run into our friends DJ, from Dirty On Purpose, and his lady Sung Bin who lead us near the river to catch a cab. We succeed and then the driver takes us 7 miles in the wrong direction. 30 minutes later we get to hotel and go to sleep.
Friday March 16th
We overslept and ended up in an over packed IHOP. We missed our beloved continental breakfast at the hotel. Drove back to aformentioned BBQ pit, Salt Lick to pick up hat we left the day before. Everyone winced at the thought of briskets and coleslaw. Tom and Nate went to pick up complimentary Levi's and there was a Wayne Coyne and Chuck D siting at the Hyatt. Also we were informed that we received some bad press on account of Billy's on stage comments regarding Texas chili.
Load in was seamless except Billy stepped in 6 inches of garbage juice that had collected in the alley from the dumpsters behind the club. He sadly threw his socks out. Luckily we just received new socks. The Faint soundcheck was fantastic. It was apparent those boys had been around the world.
The show was beautiful. So many people clapping and shouting kind things. Our Brooklyn friends Dirty On Purpose and The Big Sleep were representing. Just an amazing night, packed to capacity. We then spilled out onto the streets for more drinks. The Faint were complete sweethearts and were so helpful all night. They were the real deal and a class act all around.
Saturday March 17th
We woke up pretty early reveling about the show the night before. We ate yet another, final continental breakfast and headed back to Dallas to drop off the van and rental equipment. Stopped by and had some final Tex-Mex at this massive restaurant called Pappasitos. We had a layover in Chicago and finally landed in Newark at midnight. Long fucking day. 16 hours of travel. Got home at 2am and went to sleep.