Merry Christmas and a Happy Valentines Day!

21 02 2011

Ok, so my last blog was about Priscilla and I getting attacked by bears in South Dakota- AND LOVING IT! …that was about six months ago.  …or eight.  And, it seems as though I’ve gotten pretty bad at updating this blog.  I promise to try and do better… but, in the mean time, he’s what I’ve done the last- I don’t know, year or so.

Green Room Music Source Christmas party- I'm telling a story, and Priscilla doesn't buy it. ...That or she's realizing what crappy job I did trimming my sideburns...

In September we went down to Winona for the fifth annual Zombie Pub Crawl.  Unlike some more normal cities zombie crawls, in Winona you get a good feeling for what a real zombie attack would look like.  People stop traffic, climb on cars, projectile vomit all over, and even chase unsuspecting college kids who don’t know what’s going on.  One high schooler tried to start a fight when his daddy’s Chrysler 300 got a little bit of puke and blood on it… what a wuss.  The only zombie he attacked was a girl, and his opening line was, ‘you can’t hit me, I’m a minor.’  Then he promptly tried to strangle a girl zombie before the rest of the angry mob of drunken undead gently removed him and told him to go home.  This boy will be a huge douche bag one day…

Some Winona degenerates attacking a car

Check the whole in the knee... wicked!

Check the whole in the knee... wicked!

The toughest 17 year old in the world!

Also, Priscilla launched Pirk, a soap and beauty company. All natural, organic when possible, soap and face scrubs and bath bubbly salt junk, all that sort of crap.  People have been liking it so far!

Priscilla showing off all her soap flavors- which, as it turns out, are not for eating...

In October, Maudlin and our agency Green Room Music Source, went to New York City again for the CMJ music festival.  I was very disappointed by the fact that we didn’t steal any mannequin body parts this time.  We did eat a lot of food, and get a better understanding of how the Russian Mafia operates.

On the way to NYC we stopped in Indianapolis to see their war monument downtown... These bears commemorate the great bear insurgency of 1849

On the way to NYC we stopped in Indianapolis to see their war monument downtown... These bears commemorate the great bear insurgency of 1849

Me and Green Room partner, Aubry, checking out bands at the fest.

Brooklyn at Juniors

Brooklyn at Juniors

Puk in Manhattan

Priscilla doing something or other in the subway

Then, in November, Maudlin welcomed a new band member into our wacky fold.  You may remember Nick from last years St. Patrick’s Day adventure.

Nick proving that he fits in with the gang...

December was a time for holiday magic!  Maudlin hosted our second, kind of annual ‘The Worst Christmas Pageant Ever’ at the Hexagon in Minneapolis.  Discribing this event isn’t as much fun and just listening…

Radio's Barb Abney of The Current and Nick Larsen of Maudlin

Speshul K singing a touching rendition of his song, "The Bitch Who Stole Christmas"

"Daddy, Please don't get drunk at Christmas" You could feel John Denver smiling down on them as they sang

And who could forget Pat's duet with a puppet. Yes, Scritchy the Cat showed up for this one too.

Here I am with Barb trying hard to read my lines...

Priscilla ...out dorking everyone

This is a recycled piece of our totaled Ford Focus...

January was cold.  We don’t do anything in January here because it’s just too cold.  When the New year is over we turn in to primordial cave people.  …We also make ice sculptures though.

I am king of all the people dumb enough to be outside when it's this cold

This is King Tut

February has Valentines day in it… Weak.  I got Priscilla a pan for Valentines day.  Yup, a nice pan.  I thought this was  probably not the greatest gift I’d ever come up with for Priscilla.  However, after seeing her reaction to getting a very nice pan, I’ve decided that she only gets pans for gifts from now on.  That’s your relationship advice for the year- Pans, chicks dig them.  Or, at least, Priscilla does…

More exciting than the new pan was the new amp we bought for P

That’s about it… Oh, and George Clooney, STOP making movies. Please.  The glory days or over my friend.  Speaking of people who should stop doing what they do, I found this website recently.  What a beautiful charity! www.killlilwayne.org Hopefully someone will make a similar site for Weezer soon.  They must be stopped!

Until next time…

David





Raiders of the Lost Rickenbacker

22 09 2010

Ok, take the next left, and then an immediate right and you can't miss it.

Some of you stalkers may remember the recent trip Priscilla and I took to Denver Colorado for UMS.  After getting in the car at about 10PM, Priscilla and I drove out of Denver, and didn’t stop until we’d reached home, sweet home, St.  Paul, MN.  I was getting out of the car, and decided we’d better get the guitars before we went inside to collapse and sleep for a day.   I opened up the back of the Element and there was only one guitar. “Oh, we don’t have my bass…”

My baby! See where Frank ran out of room, and finished his name sideways? ...wait, you can't it's behind the mic stand. ...but that's what it looks like.

Priscilla broke down crying, which was very sweet of her.  My Rickenbacker, 4003 bass is my most prized possession.  Aside from the fact that, that’s just an awesome bass, mine was made more awesome by Frank Black when he signed it.  He was a complete dick the entire time I interacted with him.  I approached him as he was clearing some things off the stage at a small show at The Warehouse in LaCrosse when I was still in high school.

Me: Frank?

Frank: *silence*

Me: Frank?

Frank: *silence*

Me: Um, Frank?

Frank: *sighs* Yeees?

Me: Can you sign my bass?

Frank: I’d need a marker

Me: *waves hand already holding out marker*

This was probably the most pleasant of the three brief conversations I had with him that night.  Despite him being a jerk, AND his musical downward spiral (I was quite found the the FIRST six solo albums.  Now he’s got, like, forty or something- each progressively worse from what I could tell.  This was on the ‘Frank Black and the Catholics’ album tour.  That was a SWEET album.) it is still my favorite memento.  But as Priscilla cried, I was far to delirious from driving 15 hours to care about anything at all, and I stumbled inside.

Grief stricken, but determined, Priscilla went online to try and find what might have happened.  As luck would have it, a local Denver band found it and had already sent us an email.  When I woke up, we had to figure out how we were going to get this bass back.  I couldn’t ship it, because it was just in a gig bag, and I wouldn’t trust shipping it anyway.  There was only one thing to do- journey back west.

Our good friend Stephy, and new pal Brittany stopped somewhere in Wyoming for no reason that I can think of. Stopping in Wyoming is probably the most dangerous thing that happens in this blog...

Our good friend Steph went and got the Rick from the Denver band and took it home for safe keeping.  Then, on one fateful morning in September, we both set off, from opposite ends of the Earth, on a mission to reunite me and my bass!  Where should a historic reunion like this take place?  In the place the Natives believed was the sacred center of the Earth, and the white man marked as his territory with four famous severed heads, like some overly artistic dog peeing on a fence.  That’s right, Mount Rushmore!

Actually, that’s a lie.  We did go there because Steph brought her friend Brittany along, and she’d never seen Mount Rushmore.  But, we actually met beforehand at the hotel where we were staying ten miles away… Which is where I got my bass back. After that though, we did go to Mount Rushmore.  And once I had my bass back, what more could I ask for?  More bears please.  That’s right, back to Bear Country USA!

Bear Country also has Caribou, but they have less add space devoted to them...

So, it just so happens that we hit a ton of bugs with our car on the way to South Dakota.  It also happens that bears actually like to eat bugs.  …I didn’t ask them why.  But this combination turned out to be interesting.  We might as well have strapped a dead deer to our car as far as one hungry bear was concerned.  After he was done picking the grill of our car clean, he got up on his hind legs and plopped himself on top of the hood of the Element and began chewing on our windshield wiper.  It was probably the coolest thing that has ever happened to me… THEN, Bear Country USA came to our rescue by sending a scrawny teenage worker to chase the bear away from our car by clapping his hands and saying, “Shew!”  They apologized to us, and gave us out money back because there were scratches on our car.  …I didn’t tell them I would have paid extra to have a bear chew on my car…

People have asked me if I was afraid after seeing these photos.  …seriously? As if!  I’m not afraid of this little guy- it’s not like its a maneater like… oh say, a killer whale! *drum roll*  But, what happened next scared the crap out of me.  After the ride through the park we got out and walked through baby land.  (The part of the park with all the baby bears and other little critters) When, out of nowhere I felt something hit my chest hard, like some punk five year old whipped a pebble at me.  …but it wasn’t a pebble, it was the scariest bee I’ve ever seen.  If you can identify this thing then I owe you a beer.  Remember when I was getting attacked by horse flies that I thought were bees? This was like some sick joke by mother nature.

 

Evil has a name. It's this guy's name. ...I don't know what that is, specifically... so I'll just call him, 'Evil.'

I grabbed my shirt and pulled it away from my frail human body, and out of range of the massive stinger on its butt.  Then I worked up the courage to try and flick it off of me.  Just when I was about to make my move, Priscilla freaked out and told me not to- clearly afraid of what this thing would do to retaliate.  Just when we thought all hope was lost and the bee would have to ride home with us we heard, “Oh for Pete’s sake…”  Some small children’s mother walked over and fearlessly shewed the bee away.  I was surprised when it didn’t kill her.  I went up to the little boy she was with and told him, ‘Your mommy just saved my life, isn’t she brave?’  And he looked at me like I was a freak.  After that adrenaline rush it was time to go to Deadwood and ‘heckle’ pedestrians.  At least that’s the ‘official’ story of what happened…

Anyway, it was a weekend of triumph and knowledge.  I got my base back- that was great, but I also learned some things.  Some hotels charge by the person.  But when someone asks you why you need three keys when there are only two people staying in the room, keeping a cool head can save the day.  …that and using the back door the entire time you’re there.   I also learned that you can blow out your rotors really quickly in the black hills.  What I haven’t learned is what in the hell landed on my shirt.

 

I was thinking about going back with a screw driver to make the claw marks more badass, but I decided to leave it.

All for now!

 

 





They say you never get to attend your own funeral…

20 09 2010

Well, only if you wait for someone else to throw you one!  So, when I found out I was turning thirty, I decided to do just that- throw myself a funeral.  Once again, facilitating the event fell on the muscley shoulders of Scott Weber- because I don’t know anyone else with a 35 room themed mansion well enough to throw a party there.  He was happy to help.  Then, I shamelessly requested friends of mine to write “eulogies” in the form of a roast.  Everyone was told to wear black.  …and this is totally one of those ‘had to be there’ stories.  But, it was amazing!  I’ve never felt so loved while being made fun of!

Barb Abney (transplanted hillbilly) was called on to MC, but she couldn’t find it in her heart to say anything mean about me.  …which was too bad, because in my retort I had written several things about her… Laurel Ogren had some choice words for me- but I’m mostly mentioning her full name in here because someone keeps googling her and finding my site.  …so there you go whoever you are… Then the infamous Scotty Herold roasted me with a blow up doll.  Nick of The Icy Shores recounted our St. Patrick’s Day adventure (which is also a blog)  And, finally, my lovely Priscilla came up to roast me while doing her best Courtney Love imitation.  It was all hilarious.

There was a cake too.  It was great.  Thanks for the great time everyone!!!!





So, there was Saint Patrick’s Day… that happened… Um…

5 04 2010

 

The poor deformed individual came out to try and drown his sorrows at the parade.  …the guy in the hat, not me…

Some of you readers may be from Minnesota where Maudlin is headquartered.  So, you will all understand this.  Others may have to take a trip up here to visit.  …It’s really cold here. Really, really, cold.  It may seem odd to many of our friends to the south that this blog has lay dormant for months since last fall- but like the illusive groundhog, I poked my head out into the frigid reality of Minnesota, and just went back to bed.  Like all burrowing rodents, I was eventually lured out by food coloring and crowds of people in dumb costumes.  I’m, of course, referring to Saint Patrick’s day.

Like many of our treasured holidays, Saint Patrick’s day was a total flop when it was first recognized.  But after many uneventful years, the meaning of the holiday was swapped out with the simple, yet effective, focus of complete drunkenness.  The name remained the same to lend legitimacy. You may remember this model being used for Christmas when the celebration of the birth of the savor was not as popular as the celebration of a fat guy who stages an annual home invasion, pilferes the fridge, and makes advances on your mother, in exchange for cheap Walmart toys wrapped in shinny paper and tape.

But, regardless of how things got the way they are- or what Saint Patrick’s was supposed to be about, the bottom line is clear.  At 10 am on a Wednesday morning, downtown Saint Paul was crawling with a hundred thousand people desiring nothing less than to shame their families and defile themselves in every way possible. …and I would certainly never miss a freak fest like that.

It started out like any other party.  I saw a film crew from a Canadian broadcasting company doing a piece on Saint Patrick’s day so I introduced myself.  “Hey, I’m a douche bag, interview me!” …Why that always works, I’ll never know, but they did proceed to interview me for several minutes.  Ten bucks to whoever can find the footage online, because I can’t.  …and, I mean, obviously they would air my interview.

Astronaut marching band.

After that my party buddy, Nick, and I went to the parade to have candy thrown at us by members of NASA.  I don’t know much about what the space program is up to these days, but I’m pretty sure that putting a marching band in a Saint Patrick’s Day parade is a pour use of government funding.  I mean, we can’t even live in space yet, WTF.  Let’s fix that problem, and then maybe have a marching band.

When the parade was done, we walked back to see historic West Seventh street in Saint Paul be destroyed by morons.  I prefer to make Patrick McGovern’s my home base for Saint Patrick’s Day.  When we got there, there were already a thousand people in the joint.  I was hungry and Iron Man Nick had only had some cottage cheese before biking thirty five miles before I woke up… so we decided to carb up on some hamburgers.  Now, on a serious note, McGovern’s is great, and the food is great… any other day of the year.  Every single employee looked like they should have been on suicide watch, and they served my burger on a paper plate with ketchup packets.         …ketchup. Packets. *shudders*

Who would go out with me to almost certainly get beat up? This guys would. Hi Nick!

We got stuck sitting right next to a couple of “hilljacks” -Thanks for the scientific terminology Barb! (Barb Abney, that is.  Barb is MPR’s foremost expert on Ohio- the native breeding ground of the hilljack) Nick and I tried really hard to make fun of them in code that their primitive minds couldn’t follow without getting killed.  …there are no picutres also because I didn’t want to die for a photo opp.  …but just imagine that they were so hilljacky that I had to mention it.  That’s a lot of hilljack.

After the carb up, we ventured up to see all the freaks dancing to the DJ’s very non-Irish set.  This guy was the live of the party, and my goal for elder life.  If I could be one part this guy and one part Johnny Cash, I think I’d die happy.  He’s 62 years young, and he was dancing there with his daughter all day.

Later we made the horrifying discovery that some people were wearing Zubas again.  …Although, one of these girls also had a fanny pack on, so they may have both just been from a group home.

When they brought their zubas closer to me I vomited in the cup

There were a whole lot of freaks there, and Nick and I bothered all of them.  One girl thought that wearing a white shirt and letting people write things on her would be fun.  Boy was she dumb.   Then some girls pants fell off of her butt.  I’m really excited to see how many google hits I get from someone googling that exact phrase, btw.

 

Later, Priscilla joined Nick and I because we still hadn’t managed to get the crap kicked out of us yet, and she wanted to try and fix that.

 

 

We inched closer and closer to the drunk couple making out. It was really funny. ...if you were there...

 

If you like looking at this, also try http://www.awkwardboners.com

Some of you may have noticed that when these pictures started it was very noonish, and in the Green Man picture it’s very bedtime-ish.  Well, seeing as well at to work the next day, we called it a night shortly thereafter.  As Nick would say, “…and cut!”

In Brief:

The Marc Pease Experience. …um… if you pick this one off the self and take a look you’ll probably think.  “Oh, Ben Stiller and Jason Schwartzman in a comedy about a musical? Classic!” Then you’d rent it, and then you’d find out this movie has no jokes in it, but but it does have eight full songs from The Wiz in it.  If you’re thinking, “That sounds good, but I’d rather see Stiller and Schawartzman co-star in a movie where they are both pedophiles” then this is really your movie.

That’s all for now, I changed our cats food, and they’re number three-ing (which is the scientific term for excriment that has both the characteristics of number one and number two…) all over the house, and I need to get my hasmat gear…

David





K-Mart proves they can even screw up going out of business…

17 09 2009

This picture of me is from a recent show and has nothing to do with this blog.  But it's pretty sweet looking, right?  Thanks Mike Minehart!

This picture of me is from a recent show and has nothing to do with this blog. But it's pretty sweet looking, right? Thanks Mike Minehart!

…I mean, just the fact that there are still some open demonstrates that…  It’s like, in begining there was K-Mart and Shopko, you know?  But then came along Walmart and Tartet, and there could be only one!  …or two.   Originally the marketing was simple.  K-mart: We sell utter crap for less!  And Shopko was all like: Hey, some of our stuff is “hip” enough to fool parents into purchasing  it and utterly disappointing their children. Also, the retard step child that no one talked about was there too… Pamida.  And then, out of the blue, Walmart stormed in with it’s K-mart-on-crack, Nazi style, no one sells worthless garbage for less approach.  At the same time Target walks in and is all like “What’s up bitches? Ever heard of advertizing?  I will make your kids think this crap is cool!” Then they all drew swords and went at it Highlander style, at the end all that was left standing was Conor McWalmart and Dunan McTarget.  And then, like a bad sequel that doesn’t even make sense, Kmart kept coming back even though it was beheaded and the quickening had happened, and the Queen theme had played…

But, what actually prompted me to say that was my visit to one their behemoths mid death rattle. All I really want is some lawn furniture. I don’t actually have a lawn, but that’s besides the point. I want to buy some lawn furniture. This guy I know says, ‘Hey, there’s a K-Mart going out of business in Richfield, try there.’ (actually that’s not exactly what he said, more of an example of what someone might say, were they some guy I knew trying to give me bargain advice) So we went out there, and a block away there are K-Mart guys holding huge GOING OUT OF BUSINESS signs.  We’re thinking, this is going to be sweet. Piles of crap for pennies.  This was, of course, not the case.  As previously stated, they can’t even figure out how to go out of business right…

Upon entering the store we realized that something was terribly wrong with this store that had been “going out of business” for a month.  The signs all read, ‘All items 10-30% off!!’  …um… that’s really not that much.  That’s like a sale.  Also, all of the stuff there really was crap. They didn’t just lay down when Walmart entered the ring, they just competed in the wrong area- who’s crap can be more offputtingly unpurchasable.  And, they may have actually won that campaign.  More like ‘trying to go out os business’ sale.

As long as we were there in a store, Priscilla needed to buy somthing though, so she went off and came back with several nail polish bottles.  They were marked at a dollar each.  …but rang up as 30% off two dollars each.  Being the passive aggressive Minnesotan that I am, I didn’t argue, I just blogged about it later.

The Salt on the wound? We were in a K-Mart that was still intending to stay in business later that day and we found some of the SAME items we were browsing at the dying store… for LESS.  WTF.  W. T. F.

Pee on your head K-Mart!!!

What else… we did all sorts of shows and wild parties and rock star crap… it was great.  I have no pictures to prove any of it and I’m too lazy to look now… so it’s 100% K-Mart for you tonight!

IN BRIEF

Ok, lets see… I watched ‘New in Town’ with Renee Zellwigger.  Don’t ask me what sadistic urge prompted me to do that.  But, wow, taking crap to new heights.  It was filmed in New Ulm, MN.  Some hillbilly from there rear ended me while I was at a dead stop once… so there’s already bad blood.  After this… I don’t know.  I mean, there was one scene in the film shot in Minneapolis, and when I saw that I beat the crap out of myself Fight Club style.  If you’re from New Ulm you should probably take the respectable way out of this one and perform the ol’ Seppuku.

um… all for now.  bye!

David





Lewis and Clark Eat Your Hearts Out!

17 07 2009

Many and many a year ago a couple of outdoorsy guys named Lewis and Clark went from some place out east, west to Napa Valley and back looking for refined wines and tan babes. They had half of the dangers we have in the modern world, yet they lost half their party. Priscilla and I did almost the same thing last week and no one died. I can’t believe they got paid for that and we didn’t. Anyway, (que flash back music) it went a little something like this…

Me in the bad lands.  ...I don't know what I'm doing either.

Me in the bad lands. ...I don't know what I'm doing either.

We wanted to go out to Denver to visit our good friend Steph.   Since the government outright refused to commission us to do this, we decided to pay for it ourselves. After months of foreknowledge of the trip, we started planning on Tuesday night- the night we were leaving. We decided to drive to Sioux Falls, SD the first night. Our friend William Shatner helped us negotiate a deal on a room at the Sheraton last minute, which was nice of him. And now we just had to get there in one piece…

Evil bull that guards the road to the Bad Lands.

Evil bull that guards the road to the Bad Lands.

Looming over our heads was the bat-shit crazy  prophecy of some  lady Priscilla works with. She told her that she has a recurring dream where Priscilla and I die in a horrible car wreck and they also find that Priscilla is pregnant with our first child. She followed that zinger up with several other stories about how she’d dreamed things that had come true, concluding happily that she’s always right about these things…  (I kind of feel like, if you don’t have anything nice to prophesy about, then don’t prophesy about anything at all.)

We arrived at the Sheriton at about 1am and we went to sleep.  The morning had harsh news waiting for us.  There was no continental breakfast.  I know we only paid $50 for the room… but normally it was $129.  I expect breakfast with anything I pay that much for.  But, we didn’t throw in the towel- not on reaching Denver, and not on eating breakfast.

This room cost $90... wtf

Later we stayed in this crappier room that cost $90... wtf

Before we continued on, we need to get a new camera, so we set out looking for a department store.  The rural west is like some national park where endangered department stores like Pamida and Shopko hide from extinction.   We came upon a Kmart in a desolate parking lot.  We were able to get inside before it saw us and ran away.  There amidst the Jacklyn Smith collection we found the stores remaining electronics and bought a camera. CNow wer were ready to face the long blah of South Dakota.

Here’s a red flag questions for states.  Is everything valuable, desirable, or bearable significantly closer to an adjoining state than to the interior of the state itself?  If so, it’s likely that state blows.  Case in point: South Dakota.  (For further examples please see Nebraska, Illinois, or Kansas.  If you are unsure of where desirable parts of your state are, try googling your state.  If you reside in North Dakota, then google the state you’re planning on living in when you move.)

These are the Black Hills

These are the Black Hills

To get to the ironically named “Bad” Lands and “Black” Hills of South Dakota you need to drive through several hundred miles of utter crap.   Rolling fields of nothing.  The only thing to do is just take the car to top speed and surf the Internet to stay awake while you drive.  The best parts of the state lay on it’s meaty west side, close to the frightening Montana.

In the bad lands we took video on our cell phone of me running into a field of hundreds of prairie dogs trying to chase them, but all you can see is my blurry head moving back and forth with lots of ambient wind noise.  I’m not going to include it.  However, I feel it’s important to note that I did that.

After chasing prairie dogs, climbing out the clay edges of the hill things, and purchasing potato chips for an inebriated native who asked us for a ride to the next town, we’d seen every thing South Dakota had to offer. We were ready to get to Deadwood.  Also Walldrug sucks- It just sucks.

We finally got to Deadwood and I won $100 from a dealer who was a jerk.  Which was good because William Shatner was no help with the hotel rates in Deadwood.  We payed $90 for a queen room.  …this was the smallest hotel room I had ever seen; like someone crammed a queen bed into the bathroom.   What’s worse? No continental breakfast.  I was really starting to get irritated by that…

This is a log cabin we found later in the story at 13000 feet.  And ancient race of spider people lived here.

This is a log cabin we found later in the story at 13000 feet. And ancient race of spider people lived here.

The next day we woke up and got ready to go to Bear Country USA!  Bear Country is this zoo type place where all the animals roam free, and you drive through and look at them.  They can walk up to the cars- I even heard that a few toddlers got killed there!  We were pumped.

We exited Deadwood and were back on the open road.  An hour later we saw a welcome to Wyoming sign.  The realization that we’d made a huge mistake flooded over us the same way it floods over most people who find themselves reading that sign.  In our case, the mistake was that we were trying to get over by Mount Rushmore, south east of Deadwood, and instead we went south west and ended up in another state.  Fortunately, the road we accidentally took did happen to go to Denver, so we decided to keep going and leave Bear Country for another time.

Priscilla in Wyoming.  I was looking for my binoculars, and came to the realazation that they were in the car before it was broken into... Great, they took my grandfather's binoculars that were worth ten bucks. I cursed the theaves here on top of Big Sky Country.

Priscilla in Wyoming.

Wyoming is big and it has hills.  Hills kind of vary state to state.  Minnesota has river bluffs, which are steep and cliff like.  The black hills are pretty steep too, but they’re not following a river and there aren’t really cliffs.  They are pretty much all pines too, where as Minnesota sports a greater variety of trees. Wyoming has these really slow slopping  large hills with lots of scrub brush on them.  I know this whole paragraph is really boring… this was the best I could come up with for the five hours I was in Wyoming.

Wyoming people are scary.  This mother and son have identical massive man-butts. ...creepy.

Wyoming people are scary. This mother and son have identical massive man-butts. ...creepy.

Eventually we got to Colorado, and shortly after that we could see the Rocky Mountains.  The looked just like the Coors can.  Denver’s elevation is about a mile from sea level, so they call it the mile high city- not to be confused with the mile high club, which is something else.   We found our friend Steph, and went out for fish tacos- the second time in a week.  It made me nervous and awkward, but I did it.

This a the cake Steph made to celebrate our arival!

This a the cake Steph made to celebrate our arival!

The next day we set out on a mission to cross the continental divide and hike deep into the Rock Mountains. We drove for several ear popping hours west and up. One interesting thing we noticed is that all the trees were dead. Steph’s boyfriend Glen told us that some mutant beatle had been feeding on the trees, and due to global warming, it doesn’t get cold enough to kill them in the winter anymore. I suggested burning them out, but in retrospect I guess regrowing the whole forest after the fact should probably be a last resort. Anyway, I could the spirit of John Denver singing about planting trees all the way.

The cake cutting cerimony

The cake cutting cerimony

Steph and Glen like to go hiking, and they’ve both lived in Denver for years. So they took us to a mountain slope they knew and we stared up. I was pretty worried about cougar attacks because they are on the ‘remotely possible’ spectrum of things that could happen, and I’m on the ‘very much so’ spectrum of paranoid. It’s just like Kurt Cobain said, ‘Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean I’m not after you.’ …and in this case I think that applies to mountain lions.

Hidden Valley, home of ranch dressing, is on the way to the spine of the world.  So is the Coors place, where beer comes from.

Hidden Valley, home of ranch dressing, is on the way to the spine of the world. So is the Coors place, where beer comes from. ...and the whole town is also sideways, it wasn't the photo editing. ...*whew* he he suckers! Just saved myself the 30 seconds it would take to fix that!

I was watching my back pretty closely, and bravely refusing to let Priscilla carry up the rear.  (Is that the correct phraseology for that?  ‘Carry up the rear?’) Cougars, as we all know, like to attack from behind and from above if possible.  Naturally they also go straight for the jugular.  If you see a cougar in the woods, the only reason you’re seeing it is because it’s stalking you. They’re a no nonsense killer.  Not at all like the all too common brown bear, which is known to be pretty much a wuss.

As we hiked, something changed about my brain.  I started to care less and less about the enormous killer feline that was probably right behind me.  I started to feel a little woozy.  My legs weren’t tired at all, but I was out of breath and my heart was beating a mile a minute.  Priscilla must have been feeling the same way because she was complaining even more than usual.  Steph and Glen seemed just fine.  Then it struck me, we’d caught the Rocky Mountain High.

The Hobbit Priscilla on her way to the slopes of Mount Doom with the Ring of Power!

The Hobbit Priscilla on her way to the slopes of Mount Doom with the Ring of Power!

Aside from a pretty mediocre song, it’s also what happens to you when the elevation reduces the amount of oxygen in the air.  Also known as ‘elevation sickness’ and ‘tennis elbow.’  Even though I diagnosed this, Steph and Glen kept right on moving at a normal pace up the mountain, presuming we were pansies.  They’re like the creatures from Superman II who come to earth and find that they have super powers because of the yellow sun and their super dense bodies.  …only it was like the reverse, and we went to their planet and could no longer use our laser eyesight.  It totally sucked.

Eventually it started to get dark. We were at about 13,000 feet by then, only a few hundred from the summit.  The trees were thinning and snow was on the ground in spots.  We were on a clear mountain lake next to the ruins of a small encampment with log cabins that were probably a few hundred years old.  The road to the summit started to switch back after that, so it would have taken too long to get up to the top and back down again before dark, so we decided to go home.  And then, my phone rang.

This was almost as high as we got, around 13,000 feet

This was almost as high as we got, around 13,000 feet

Yes, at 13,000 feet, on the side of a mountain, my cell phone rang.

Phone: *ring ring*

David: “Hello”

Chris: “Dude, what’s up?  We’re watching this video of this old show from high school for Todd’s band, and you were running sound.  You totally suck at running sound…”

David: “I’m at 13,000 feet on the side of a mountain”

Chris: “Huh?”

David: “What?”

Chris: “What?!”

David: “On mountain, reception bad”

Chris: “You want to talk to Todd?”

David: “There are lions here.”

Todd: “What’s up man?”

David: “One ate my hand.”

Todd: “Huh?”

David: “I’m on a mountain at 13,000 feet, I can’t talk”

Todd: “Yeah, we’re watching this video from high school”

David: “I can’t hear anything, I’m on a mountain.”

Todd: “So what are you guys doing?”

David: “I’m on a mountain, I can’t talk Todd”

Todd: “Ok, well I should probably let you go.”

Thanks Verizon, for letting me share that incoherent moment with someone 1000 miles east, and 12,000 feet down.

"Hello?"

"Hello?"

Anyway, we went back down, and no one was eaten. The rest of the trip I had a splitting headache, which I later learned was also part of the Rocky Mountain High.  So, to combat feeling hung over, we went to a winery.  I knew nothing about wines.  I knew they were color coded, and that was it.  The biggest surprise for me was that these little taste test things with wine and cheese and crackers are free.  Free!  Yeah, you go to the place that makes the wine, and they just give it to you.  Then they serve you free snacks.   I also learned I prefer Cabs to Shiraz and Merlot; and I prefer the cheese and crackers to wine.

This is a picture of Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings movies, home to the dark lord Sauron

This is a picture of Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings movies, home to the dark lord Sauron

After that we went to an art show, then to the obligatory performance.  Jason wasn’t with us in town, but the good people of Denver still wanted a show.  So Priscilla and I played a short acoustic set at The Hi Dive.  When it was done, we promptly said our good buys to Denver and our friends, and hit the road.  By the time we were edging dangerously close to Nebraska we decided to stop for the night.  We went to this cheap joint that I’m positive several people were had been murdered in.  And, wouldn’t you guess it, no free breakfast.  I could have screamed.  Instead I peed in the courner of the room.

Priscilla and I are playing guitars on a stage.

Priscilla and I are playing guitars on a stage.

We awoke with the heavy weight of the length of Nebraska in front of us.  The first sign we see entering the freeway: DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS, FEDERAL PRISON NEARBY.  Well.  Ok then.  We didn’t encounter any escapees that we know of, but we did encounter boredom.  Can you imagine if you had to ride through that crap on a horse and it took you weeks? I’m sure that all the stories surrounding the loss of life on Lewis and Clarks trip were made up. They all killed themselves in the great plains.  Again, I saved my sanity by surfing the net while I drove.

Aren't we cute when our brains are depleted of oxygen?

Aren't we cute when our brains are depleted of oxygen?

When all hope seemed lost, we reached Iowa.  We took a wrong turn there and found a car turned into a spider.  …yeah.  We left pretty quickly.  At 9pm central standard time we finally got home to St. Paul, MN.  …and then had to go to work the next day. Puke.  That’s about that.  …also, no one really died on the Lewis and Clark expedition… one dude got sick and died, but sources say it was related to a methamphetamine addiction.

Seeing is believing.

Seeing is believing. ...I think this guy was in the Lord of the Rings too trying to eat Frodo.

David

Oh, and when we got back we found a small pirate costume on our bed… We called Laurel who was appartment sitting for us, and she said she brought it over to try and put on our cat.  …but it didn’t work out because Leeloo resisted.  Well, Priscilla and I had a talk with Leeloo about how she treats guests…

This is Leeloo.

This is Leeloo.





How do you spell Rumpelstiltskin?

23 06 2009

I hate how you can’t really advertise your true feelings anymore.  The internet turns even the most mild blogger into a gossip whore.  I can’t even talk about how I hate my day job and I want a new one because  it’s likely that someone I work with will read this, and let me boss know, and then all the work pot lucks will be awkward.  Not to mention, that dude I called a douche is probably going sneak up on me and say something designed to intimidate me.  The world is more dangerous than ever.

The Alarmists seen in natural habitat.

The Alarmists seen in natural habitat.

So I try to keep things positive.  These guys do that too. If they mention you, they like you.  If they don’t, they probably just wont mention you.  That’s a sound, friendly approach.  But what about everyone else?  Should we never be able to talk about things that we think suck?  Should we be afraid to let people in our vicinity know that we don’t like their work?  Should people even get upset if someone doesn’t like what they do in the first place?  Who knows, but I do hate my job.  I don’t hate The Alarmists though, so lets talk about them.

I don’t know Eric Lavold super well, but I do know him and his cohorts Drummer Boy Schwandt and Bassist Brian who are also in the bands White Light Riot and So It Goes respectively.  All great guys.  So, when I was told that the City Pages peed on them, I wondered what was up.  A friend alleged they had recently called them poop heads, and ass clowns who couldn’t play instruments.  …or something like that.  It’s sparked a huge debate about whether or not The Alarmists suck and/or whether or not the City Pages sucked. Also how in the hell do you spell the Star Tribunes music guys name?  I had to know the truth, so I decided to investigate.

Like all important people in the Twin Cities, I had an advance copy of The Alarmists new album, The Over-head Left to listen to. I also went to the release show, and then I read all these articles AND all the blog comments on the City Pages site.  Then I read Chris Rachmaninovschneider’s interview in the Star Tribune.  I’m pretty much an expert about now,  so, I will tell you all the truth.  But before I act like I know everything, let me first drag out this story by adding in personal experiences that are unrelated.

As I mentioned, the entire cast of Maudlin showed up to the show.  The first bit of evidence that I collected came when I saw the Rock The Cause table in the Varsity Theater.  As you may or may not know, Priscilla and I sit on the board of directors for Rock the Cause.  If you’re not familiar with how we help the community and music scene, please take a look.

Eric Lavold approached Rock the Cause with an offer.  Bands approach us with offers all the time.  Some of them are good ones, some are a little self serving.  Some would be really difficult and some more realistic to do.  Eric’s offer was both generous and easy.  At a time when our org could really use some extra cash, he offered to let us accept donations for digital downloads of the new album on our site and keep 100% of the proceeds.

Priscilla and I arive in Dinky Town, Jason documents.

Priscilla and I arrive in Dinky Town, Jason documents.

This might not seem like a huge deal to you, but the amount of work, money, and liability that goes into RTC putting on an event to raise money is huge.  This required nothing of us other than we upload the song.

The comment was made that The Alarmists drama may have over shadowed their music.  Why can’t someones generosity and good nature over shadow the drama surrounding their band?  I guess because People magazine would go broke, with the City Pages along with it.

Craig Grossman of Green Room Music Source, The Alarmist booking agent (also our agent) and Scott Herold, CEO of Rock The Cause hang out at the show.

Craig Grossman of Green Room Music Source, The Alarmist booking agent (also our agent) and Scott Herold, CEO of Rock The Cause hang out at the show.

The crowd at the show was great, and the bands selected where right on too.  Maudlin had a great time running around and mingling.  I let my agent buy me a drink, and Eric’s dad tried to buy Priscilla a drink because she adjusts his glasses at work, but Craig beat him to it and bought her a drink too.  Primarily we like Craig as our agent because of the drinks.  Anyway, Jason bought himself one too many drinks and then ran around taking pictures for posterity.

Jason getting his drink on.

Jason getting his drink on.

The Alarmist show was actually really good.  The new line up is great.  Someone on a blog made a comment that all the new musicians couldn’t stack up to the old ones, and made special citation of the drummer being included.  Their old drummer was very good, but complaining about Mark Schwandt’s drumming is pretty retarded. Aside from being a solid show, it was more raw than the album and had a more personal feel to it.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It actually made a few songs I was a little luke on from the album really grow on me.

Me forcing people to listen to me.

Me forcing people to listen to me.

The Album itself is certainly nothing at all to scoff at.  I can see how it differs from previous releases with less edge, but it adds a more haunting feel- actually reminds me a bit of Chris Isaac on some tunes.  (course I was just watching True Blood so…[At least, when I first wrote this pharagraph I thought that Chris Isaac wrote that song, but today Barb Abney *cough cough name drop* corrected me.  Some random hillbilly wrote that song. ]) The vocals are more stripped and personal.  They bring out a great contrast against synths soaked in reverb.  There are some dark sounding melodies and hooks, but the album still feels hopeful even if melancholy.  Something for a rainy day if you’re not the kind of person that gets super depressed and hates rainy days.  I definitely favor the first half of the album with tracks like, “Rhyme and Reason,” “Car Crashing,” “Flutter and Fly,” and “Hollywood’s Not My Home.”  Not feeling songs like “The Country” or” We Belong” as much, and I flat out do not like “The Elusive Mr Albright.” …not sure what the motivation is on that one.

Over all it sounds very much like a liberation or a rebirth than a swing and a miss.   These guys knew exactly what they were going for, and while it’s not going to thrill everyone, I think it will win a lot of people over.  As to whether or not The Alarmists will take over the world, who knows- and who cares.  They’ve already carved out a place for themselves, they’re making music that’s rewarding to themselves and still have an audience to listen.  That is what success is.

The Alamists at their CD release show at the Varsity Theater

The Alamists at their CD release show at the Varsity Theater

I believe in real criticism though, real honesty.  If there isn’t anything bad, then, of course, nothing is really good.  It’s just all double plus ungood. We don’t want that.  I’ve met Andrea from the City Pages before, and even if she hadn’t been talking with me about my band being good, I still would have thought she was really nice.  Not at all the kind of person who seems out for a vendetta.  The City Pages article is pretty scathing, but, if it’s honest, then it’s not meriting retaliation.

Chris Rumpelstiltskinschneider said that The Amarmists are big enough to take a hit.  They are.  His own article in the Strib praises the album and gives a great inside look at what’s going on with the band and what’s transpired.  It’s hard for me to not take a step back and see the two biggest papers in town arguing about a band and think, “Any press is good press.”  Ultimately the controversy made listening to the album more fun for me.  …Although, if it was my album getting shredded I would release angry bees into the office of the offending party.  Not killer bees, just kind of having a bad day bees.

My biggest complaint with local press has always been what they miss, not what they criticize.  There’s so much music here in Minneapolis, and way too much for everyone to go out and see what every band has going on.  A scathing review here and there is a service.  Just like letting people know about a new great band, and keeping up with what the bands we’ve all heard of have been up too.  The more reviews the better, good ones and bad.

Still The Alarmists, only the lights are a different color now.

Still The Alarmists, only the lights are a different color now.

So what are my conclusions? People may have differing opinions about whether The Alarmists new album is good, just like people have many different opinions on how to spell Chris Rasputinschnieder’s name- and that’s ok.  Because, in the end, there really isn’t a right or wrong answer.   And, if that conclusion offends you, blame this guy.

David








%d bloggers like this: