“Yes please, and some bears with that!”

13 08 2010

To keep healthy in the wild, bears will do countless sets of sit-ups.

As some of you devoted blog reader(s) might remember, we have a good friend in Denver, and we like to visit her.  We also like playing rock and roll and viewing bear attacks.  So, when the oppertunity came for Maudlin (That’s my, quote un-quote -cool band) to play at UMS we said, “yes please, and some bears with that!”

There are two ways for people who haven’t discovered planes yet to get to Denver: the evil, endless farmyard known as “Nebraska” or South Dakota.  Now, some people might not like all things to see in South Dakota, but we can all agree that there is nothing to see in Nebraska.  (I hate you Nebraska!  I hate you more than bad whale analogies!) …Anyway, there’s this place called Bear Country USA in South Dakota, next to Deadwood.  There are bears there.  You can pay fifteen dollars and the let you drive around in a big back yard with sixty bears- it’s basically like swimming with sharks.  …except the sharks are furry.  So… we did that.

Highly paid bear models will starve themselves to stunt their growth and maintain a desirable figure.

In captivity, bear models will starve themselves to stunt their growth and maintain a desirable figure.

(There are lots off really bad family videos of Priscilla and I driving around here that rival the Blair Witch Project, but I decided not to include them.)

After Bear Country USA, we headed on to Wyoming!  …Not much had changed there since the last time we passed through.  We did meet a gas station attendant who had never been pulled over by the man before.  Never.  I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been pulled over.  I must just look like trouble- trouble with a burnt out headlight.

So, just when I had made up my mind that the only way I would ever get out of the car was  to veer off the road into a tree- when ever I saw one- we reached the mile high city.  We showed up at Steph’s several hours late- which surprised no one, and promptly went to sleep.  In the morning we presented Steph with a traditional travelers gift: a wolf hat.

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The next day we performed the first of our two showcases at UMS.  In our haste to get to the bear yard, we forgot Jason back in Minnesota, so our agent, Craig Grossman, was kind enough to sit in with us.  Big thanks to all of our new friends in Denver!  We had a blast playing!

Later someone in the crowd made me take off my sunglasses.

And then I forgot my bass… my Frank Black autographed Rickenbacker… I am an idiot.  But, the good people of Denver didn’t steal it, and arrangements have been made to meet at Bear Country USA again and get it back… Good fun, lots of forgotten things, and lots of bears… That’s about all I’ve got for this blog.  FAIL.  Le sigh…

In Brief: I hate to keep ragging on Ben Stiller… but did anyone see Greenberg?  It’s the dramatic tail of a suicidal washed up musician, who sexually assaults his brothers barely legal housekeeper.  It’s ok though, because after he assaults her, then verbally berates her, she realizes that she’s actually in love with him, and he’s not such a bad guy.   He finds out that being a douche bag always gets you chicks, even if you’re a complete loser.  I hope everyone who routinely takes all of their social cues from poorly dramatized realism is paying careful attention to this film.

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I pooped at high altitude, and other adventures!!

7 06 2009

It started out like any Maudlin adventure; something went wrong.  Priscilla gave me a call on Thursday at work and she was having an asthma attack.  I’m sure that normally sucks, but it was a little extra sucky/odd because Priscilla didn’t have asthma.  I got worried and decided to leave work and go check on her.  Well, apparently, now ahe does have asthma…  So she wasn’t very excited about that, but she was ok.  To make things worse, we were out of cat food.  Both of our cats had already given us verbal warnings about the issue, and we decided that we couldn’t go out of town without getting more food.    Jason’s girlfriend of seven years had also just dumped him a few nights before.  (This didn’t really have anything to do with our departure time, but it’s a recent event that I thought should be added ) All and all, we got on the road for Chicago a little late.

We got off the road at about 1:00 AM in Dubuque, IA.  Jason’s folks have a house boat there and we climbed aboard and watched that horrible train wreck of a film about cheerleaders with Kirstin Dunst. This is kind of a traditional houseboat film. …if you’re not familiar with houseboats.   In addition, it is also unrelated to the story at large, which has to do with us going to Chicago to play a show.

Chicago is a big city.  Some people seem to think that this also means that it has strange and evil powers, like traffic the likes of which, no mortal has ever lived tell!!  …but, mostly, it’s a big city… so it has more cars.  Minneapolis sports fewer cars, but also fewer competent drivers, so we are able to create similar drive times with half the people.   No one striped our vehicle while we were inside a gas station and liquidated the parts in mere seconds while we tried to pay for gas… this is another urban legend.

But that doesn’t mean Chicago was free of crime- Not one bit.  They actually charge you to go up in the Sears tower to look around.  I kid you not.  They charge you to look out of their tall building’s windows… We didn’t figure this out until we were half way through the 45 minute wait to get to the elevator.  Once we were that far, we decided we’d better go all the way.

So we waited… and waited… and waited.   img033…and finally we got crammed into an elevator like sardines with about fifty other tourists and rocketed to the top.  …which wasn’t really the top… it was the 99th of 127 floors, which was as high as they would let us go.

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When we got out there were windows.  From the windows you could see the whole city, all fifteen dollars worth!  There was also a gift shop where you could buy a card board cut outs of Obama? …my guess is they based their selections for the gifts for the 99th floor after seeing the affects of high altitudes and depleted oxygen on the human brain; no healthy person would have bought anything there.  And then, just when I thought our lack luster journey couldn’t lack less luster, something awful happened-  I had to crap.

Now, we all know the value of the “home thrown advantage,” but, when you can’t be at home, you usually try to find a low traffic, a safe looking spot.  …this was not that spot.  Here, at the top of the western hemisphere, in a small bathroom where countless touring hoards had shat before me, I relieved myself.  Not much is known about the long term effects of high altitude deification, so I can only hope for the best.

Also, in Chicago, we played a show.  I’m pretty sure that I plugged this website more times in one interview, than anyone has ever plugged any website in any interview. So, I’m really hoping that when they put the video up there’s something good on my front page.  Anyway, we sounded like ass I’m pretty sure.  Naturally people still said that it was great, and we took the praise, but it was a little sub par.  My friend Craig came to see us, and he said that we sounded good… but he’s a pastor, so I’m pretty sure that’s all he’s allowed to say.  I blame Jason’s girlfriend for dumping him and putting a kink in our normally rigorous practice schedule.   Normally when we’re feeling like pouty rock stars we like to throw TV sets out hotel windows, but we were staying with friends, and they did very specifically say we were not allowed to do that.

So, after Chicago, we were off to Green Bay- or rather, De Pere, a suburb of Green Bay.  After driving for seven hours in Chicago traffic we’d finally reached the outskirts of the metro area, where the McDonalds City is over the tollway.  I think it’s five miles from downtown.  We ate at KFC in the overpass land, because a recent news article had dared us to temp fate.

When we got to Green Bay we were welcomed by a kindly man with a jackknife tattooed on his neck.  He showed us to the complimentary green room foods where we awaited our performance.  This place was a riot.  I’ve never seen so many people who wanted a good time.  It was a great show, and, of course, we killed it.  (Like in a good way.  Not like we actaully killed anyone or the event itself; like we played well.) They made Chicago look pretty unhip;  it was very ironic.  Scantily clad women attacked me while I was playing, which was a rock star first for me.  …didn’t look like it was a first for them.  Anyway, great show.  Don’t underestimate the cheaderheads people.  After we were done our pals the Melismatics played and I showed Pony how to kill a man with my Tae Kwon Do prowess when the show was over.

Naturally, after we left, we were pulled over by the police for suspected drunk driving.  Now, even though Jason was taking us down a one way in the not-so-right direction, one look at him should have reassured them that he was not a raging alcoholic.  Wisconsin cops are all total d-bags when you’re from Minnesota though.  It’s an unwritten code.  So Jason had to do a field sobriety test.  …which he failed.  Sure that they had their man, they followed up with a breathalyzer. Jason scored a 0.0, which, for this game is high score.  Baffled by his lack of coordination, the police let him go.  …but not before harassing Priscilla for taking picture and trying to tell her that it was illegal to do so.  …It’s not.

COP: “Those better not show up one of those internet youtube sites!”

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Anyway. after that we went to a Super 8 motel.  We did this because Little Man’s wife had told us that this Super 8 was voted best in the country and had an awesome breakfast and such.  Well, with a build up like that we should have known something was wrong.  Super 8 doesn’t even track which of it’s motels are best, the actually just track least number of fatalities from the poison waffle mix.  It was awful.  Also, the guy didn’t haggle with me.  Hotels all haggle.  When you roll in at 3:30 in the morning, you don’t pay full price for a hotel room, that would be dumb.  You always say something like, “hey, it’s already 3:30, what could you do on a room till morning?”  If I learned nothing else from William Shatner, I know you can bargain with hotels.  Usually we get about 40% off with a line like that.  …this dude was like, “no.”  Then he later upgraded us to a six dollar discount which he seemed to think was pretty generous.  He looked like sloth.

Anyway, so after we left in the morning and found food that was edible, we returned to the land o lakes and then went to sleep.  Casualties?  One.  Priscilla’s green hoodie that had little ears sewn into it from when she tried to be Battle Cat ne Halloween.  Where it went, no one knows.  …but I think Sloth did it.

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David





Introductions and Creepy Cemeteries

9 02 2009

Before I dive into this, my first blog, I should probably introduce myself in case someone reading this didn’t just follow a link from my facebook… My name is David and I play in a band. If you don’t know what band that is you’ll be dying to know by the end of this blog.  Everything else about me you can just learn on the way while I chronicle my adventures and misadventures…which will just be embellishments of actual events that were really neither.

Maudlin, my totally sweet band, is headquartered out of the frigid metropolitan ‘Twin Cities’ in Minnesota.  However I hail from the exceptionally bizarre little college city of Winona, where I met and fell in love with a gal named Priscilla.  Because we have family and friends there we return often, and since we’re both also in the before mentioned totally awesome band, Maudlin, we force Jason to go down with us and play music.

So, Jake, my little cousin, set up a show at the local lodge in Winona and asked us to come down and play along with a bunch of other local acts- most of which are friends of ours we went to high school with.  It’s nostalgic as hell- and for a guy who names his band ‘Maudlin’ obviously I’m game for stuff like that.  We were pretty much grossly unprepared to play.  …I’m sure us being grossly unprepared is going to become a primary theme in this blog…

We had been working all this summer on our upcoming album, Maudlin, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  (ha… I typed that and then had to correct the spelling  when I saw the red line… that’s sad) We finally finished it in November, and will just be getting around to officially releasing it in March.

Between November and now, we haven’t done anything… aside from one perversely awful Christmas show  that was so humiliating Jason almost left the stage.  In fact, he was so sure it was going to suck that he was overheard talking about how pissed he was with me for booking the show in a Minneapolis restaurant.  This prompted internet rumors and bloggings that Maudlin was breaking up… Needless to say, the eavesdropper was not familiar with Jason’s assertively pessimistic demeanor.  …Anyway, after all the excitement we dropped off the face of the earth bandwise, and went back to normal lives for a while.  So, we cram jammed right before the show this past week, but we hadn’t had a real practice in about four months, and we haven’t been in good shape since this summer.

The day of the show was a typical Maudlin cluster.  All of us had come down with the flu.  Priscilla and I went over to Jason’s after work, and dilly dallied our way to packing up a few things and calling the other bands to see if we could borrow the rest so we wouldn’t have to carry so much.  Stopped for cokes and rockstar beverages, and we were off to Winona.

Holzinger Lodge in Winona is nestled in the eerie and striking bluffs along highway 61, which is a highway Bob Dylan liked.  Right next door to it is Woodlawn Cemetery.  Woodlawn is probably the creepiest and biggest cemetery I’ve ever been in.  …granted I don’t spend all that much time touring cemeteries.  There are at least three songs I’ve penned all on this last album that were inspired by, or happened in, Woodlawn.

When we got there we were several hours late, and there was one more band to go before we closed out the show.  It’s a stark contrast for me at the lodge.  If we go out to the bar, or play a show in downtown Winona, everyone recognizes us, and probably went to school with one of us.  But the lodge shows are all ages, so they attract a younger crowd.  This is good, bands always want to attract the all-ages crowd. But it also makes me feel really old.

Now, we all know that young people don’t live in the real world, but it’s important to remember that the reverse is also true. Wherever the hell they do live, is a hop, skip and a jump from your apartment.  There was this fuzzy-headed little man leaning up against Jason’s van when I was grabbing some guitars.  During the course of my invading his space to get our crap, he began to ask me questions about my band.  Inquisitive measuring questions like I was trying to sell him a vacuum, and he was pretty sure the Kirby he had was way better than the Hoover i was selling.  “If you could name one band that’s… blah blah blah… who would it be?”  What do we sound like? Explain it to me in terms I think are cool.  …crap. Honesty? Go for the deep musical trenches and pull out something obscure and weighty… or should I try and think of the most recent band I can think off that Rolling Stone called hip that sounds remotely like us at all? Making and breaking sales for Hoover right here.  So, I said “The Pixies.” Why? Always the Pixies.  If I don’t say it about us, someone will.  They are a huge influence, and everyone has heard of them; they also garner huge respect even among music elitists. …Then I have to wait to see if that registers with fuzzy, and he’s not to young to know who that is.  “Cool.  We’ll stick around for you.”  Success.  I’ll be able to tell US Bank to stick their job up their stuffy rectum any day now, and the money will roll right in.

So, we take to the stage… or rather the corner of the lodge designated to be used as a stage.  The room lights go down with a ‘click.’ I can see the attractive, smooth-skinned mass waiting with skepticism, wondering if we’re cooler than the conservative late model vehicles we rode in on.  There’s always a shift from when they’re looking at you waiting to hear what you sound like, and when they’re waiting for the next song.  Usually that, ‘oh, I thought this would blow, but it’s bearable’ kind of look.  I love it.

Now, Jason fled the scene as always when we finished, and refused to stay the night in town.  Even with the flu. Priscilla and I went out on the town.  Abby, or “handful” as I like to call her, kicked me square in the gut and I went down an icy staircase where another friend, Joel, caught me like I was a rag doll.  That was about it. Then we went to Perkin’s where I talked way too much and Priscilla fell asleep at the table.

But, what does it all mean? What did I learn from it all?  Don’t talk when there’s loud music.  It will hurt your throat, and if you already are sick, that sucks.  If you thought this blog sucked, read the first one that’s up before you give up on me, cause that one’s funny.  I brought it over from our myspace, http://www.myspace.com/maudlinmusic

Your pal,

David








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