Archive for the ‘Styrenes’ Category

Post Mortem/on

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Styrenes Tour – Days 14-16
Philadelphia – Boston – NY

The tour felt like it ended before Philadelphia, with the end of hotel stays (for me) and the last four shows in familiar venues like a sort of coda to the trip. At the same time, driving past NY to go to Boston has this odd disconnectedness, like visiting places you used to live. From another angle, knowing we’d be returning the next day to play is a violation of Morton’s backtrack rule. He once read me out for walking a block uptown to catch a downtown train. It seemed a little OCD then, but now it does kind of remind me of the mildly deflating daily routine of setting up for sound check, knowing you’ll only have to strike the stage for the opening acts and set up again later.

Banned in Boston

Almost. The bouncer at Church almost booted me for not having ID on me. If it was remotely possible that I looked young enough to card, or even that I might be working for the ABC, I’d not have minded much, but I’d already been inside for four hours. He was a right asshole about it, which provided me ample fuel to give him back some of the same. And later Morton almost got arrested for getting testy with the desk clerk at their hotel. Must be something about Boston. Or maybe we’re just tired.

Good thing we didn’t get locked out and/or up, as Boston was probably the best set. And Friday’s In C was the best of those. Too bad the tour is over, the thing is pretty well oiled at this point. And the ideas start poppin’… WFMU Saturday, Paul decided to lead the set with Little Bunnies, which was not only never in the set for the tour, I’ve never even played it. Maybe on a six-week tour, we’d get tight enough to work right around these monkey wrenches. Probably not, but that’s part of the Styrenes quirky charm. It’s frustrating music at times, but you have to just take it for what it is.

Paul, Al, JD Morton they’re all nice guys, fun to play with despite the periodic weirdness. Jamie on the other hand—Jamie would be the first to tell you he is a crank, and it’s the rare moment that cuts the shot of neat battery acid that is a conversation with him. Even on topics he loves, like baseball, about which he knows more than anyone I’ve ever met, he speaks with an utterly derisive twang in his voice. To see a grouch like that beaming onstage at a fill I played, that’s what really makes the tour worth it.

O. Henry Goes Swimming

I thought the story ended nicely in that shitty pool in Columbus, but in Boston, the band got a huge jolt out of the fact that the Holiday Inn in Brookline had a sparkling, clean pool in an atrium at the end of the lobby, but that I couldn’t swim in it since I was staying at my mother’s house and wasn’t a registered guest. Not bad, kind of corny, but suitable to the conceit of the story line. O. Henry would have made it a bigger, nicer pool. This was still one of those 15 footers.

Landed in Burbank a few days after the tour. Picking up my rental car at the Burbank Empire Courtyard Marriot, a shaggy dude with tats shuffled past me on the way to the full sized outdoor pool. Hertz agent: “Godsmack. They’re staying here this week. They played Leno last night.”

Paul? When does the west coast leg of the tour start?

Art Dommage

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Styrenes Tour – Day 8
Unremarkable drive from Nashville to Cincinnati, reading and playing Xbox in the van. It is weird to sit in a moving vehicle while driving a virtual car onscreen; yet oddly satisfying in rush hour traffic coming into Cincinnati.

Art Damage Lodge

A collective live-in performance space in an old Masonic Temple on Harrison Street on the Northside of Cincinnati. After a 3-story walk up load-in and set up in a large open auditorium which was the masons’ ritual room, one of the 10 guys named John who live there showed me ‘the pit’:
Under the eaves in the attic is a small closet is a hole in the floor fitted with a wooden man-hole cover over a dark, sealed pit, maybe ten feet deep and five or six feet square. The wood has a square cut in the middle plugged with a squat obelisk of granite. The stone has a ring in the top, and there’s a large wooden pulley hanging from the rafters overhead, presumably to lift the block during whatever Masonic ritual took place in the pit. The stone is engraved with the letters TKSHTWSS in a circle on one side. I’m still trying to figure out what paraphrase of “It puts the lotion on it’s skin” these might stand for.

This was an In C night, reasonably executed, rounded out by local guests including a great high school guitarist whose parents drove him down from Columbus. The opening band played an impressively terrible set, strip mining covers like Nilsson’s Jump Into the Fire and Joy Division She’s Lost Control, lopping off all the peaks and dumping them into the valleys, leaving a barely recognizable relief map of the song. It was a consistent procedure they performed throughout the set with a kind of virtuosity; even though the result truly sucked, I have to admit I kind of liked it from that angle.

O. Henry Goes Swimming
Act 2 opens with a bathetic slide back to the standard pre-season sight: Cincy Quality Inn has an empty pool with a tarp over it. May be the influence of the Masonic pit, but I feel like I should start looking under the tarps.