TRANSMISSION - TOUR JOURNAL
6.16.2017 Baltimore, MD 18:20
First day of tour is here. I picked up KSP at Newark Airport this morning and drove down to Keansburg. As usual, I was early. We hit this coffee place that Ninja recommended. It was fair.
We loaded the van and hit the road. Friday is a rough day to travel on 95; we hit traffic but load in went smoothly. We’ve got the direct support slot which means we don’t get a sound check. It’s just a quick line check and go. We’re sharing a soundman with Fit; it’s the first time we’ve done a long tour like this with a front-of-house engineer. It turned out that the soundman is a guy that I’ve met before; he works at Brick by Brick, a venue in San Diego that we’ve played a number of times. When Fit rolled in, I recognized him but couldn’t put my finger on from where.
I’m hanging in the green room. Tonight is the first set with the new lineup. It’s funny to think about this changeover in personnel. You can’t stop me. This is all there is for me to do so no one will take it away from me.
Set time is in a couple of hours. We’re driving up to Reading tonight after the show.
6.17.2017 Reading, PA 15:45
I just did an interview for a radio show outside of the venue with some really cook guys. I can’t remember the name of the station but we had a good hang. There were some standard interview questions but we ended up talking about Black Sabbath, UFO and some old hard rock and metal bands. Doing interviews can be very tedious; it’s a lot of the same questions over and over again. I understand the drill but I do so many of these things when a new record comes out.
By the way, I almost forgot that our new record was released yesterday. I’ve been focused on the tour so much that I pretty much forgot that yesterday was the release date. That’s another trip. We recorded the record back in January so it’s been part of the past for several months; it’s not “new” to me. We don’t have copies of the record in our possession just yet. That’s the way things usually go for me, there’s always a “by the way” with most things. Great! You have a new record out but, by the way, you won’t have copies until the fifth day of the tour…maybe.
The first show is in the can. I think we played well. This is, on a technical level, the best players that I’ve ever had in the band. All of the guys are shredders. It was very powerful and it will only improve after playing gigs every night. I’m looking forward to getting it on.
The package is eclectic; I dig this kind of thing but it may confuse some fans. Fit for an Autopsy is heavy as fuck, prior to this tour I wasn’t very familiar with them. Mostly, I was afraid that they would sound like the Acacia Strain or some of the other “deathcore” bands out there. They’re sick. In addition to the slams there are some legit death metal parts and cool arrangements. They are part of a genre that I know very little about; it’s cool that they asked us to come out on this run. Moon Tooth are amazing. Nick, the guitarist is probably the best player on this whole tour. I can’t really describe what they sound like, very unique. It’s music for musicians but there is a lot of melody. I’m going to go out on a limb and describe them as Freddie Mercury fronting Shudder to Think.”
6.18.2017 Richmond, VA 16:30
I’m sitting in a booth at Strange Matter. I have a feeling that tonight is going to be shot. Call me a pessimist, but it’s been a while since Richmond has shown us any love. Maybe they really dig Fit for an Autopsy down here.
We played a big venue last night. The sound system was sick, but it was a really big room and despite the fact that there was a decent turn out, it looked kind of half-full.
I remember playing in Reading when I was in Anodyne. Alexander from Lick Golden Sky used to put on shows in his parents’ basement. Those were good years. Back then it was us, Lick Golden Sky, Coliseum, Hot Cross and a few other bands playing shows together. Time slips away. I had my head down and kept grinding in those days. I was like one of those mice on one of circular treadmills; just keep moving, go nowhere.
The food is good at this joint. We get a meal, so maybe it’s time to order some chow before it gets too late for me to eat.
6.19.2017 Greensboro, NC 18:45
We rolled up about an hour ago. It started raining as soon as we started loading in and the sun came out as soon as we finished. I got in a good workout afterward. I brought a jump rope, a kettlebell and a medicine ball. The worst thing about touring is the slow deterioration of your athleticism. It’s a combination of sitting in the van all day, not sleeping and poor nutritional options. I’m in the small green room drinking water and kicking back.
I think I’ve only been to Greensboro once before at it was several years ago when we toured with Planks. I think there was about 3 or 4 people at the show.
On the way down, we listened to Body Count and Dice Clay; it created a certain “male” vibe. There are no women on this tour. The shows seem to be dominated by young men.
After some technical problems last night, the set popped off. The worst thing about playing at Strange Matter is that you can see way back into the bar. The show was pretty small. As I played I could see a guy wearing a tie-dye shirt shitting at the bar. He had a white baseball hat on and sunglasses which he wore on the back of his neck. I think that was the worst part about his look. He was smiling during our set.
6.20.2017 Atlanta, GA 17:05
Last night was pretty cool. I don’t know if anyone really got what we were trying to do, but we played well. Sometimes that’s all you have.
We listened to the “Manslaughter” Body Count record on the way down. It was the first time I heard their version of “Institutionalized” the old Suicidal classic. I remember being a kid and hearing that first Suicidal Tendencies record and thinking it was the most intense thing I’d ever heard. The Body Count remake isn’t too shabby either.
The Grand Annihilation vinyl and CD’s showed up. We had to pick them up at a Fedex spot on the way into Atlanta. Sometimes things work out. It would have been nice to have them for the first few shows but we live in an imperfect world.
We were early today; the door to the venue was locked. To kill some time, we went into “Friends” the bar upstairs from where the show is going to happen. It was afternoon. The bartender looked a little nervous when we went in. It was the five of us and Joe Bad. I mainly wanted a place to sit and check out the vinyl. I noticed the gay hook-up magazines and the condoms with the Tom of Finland artwork on the packaging. It was a gay bar, no problem. I sensed some tension from the bartender, so I went outside and sat on the bench. The rest of the guys followed me. When we were all outside, the guy slammed the door behind us.
At first, I was kind of put off by that, thought it was kind of rude, but then I remembered that I was in Georgia, I was in the South. That’s not to say that everyone in the South is ignorant or homophobic, but I imagine that it’s harder to be gay in Atlanta than it is in New York City or San Francisco.
I got another workout in and walked over to this place across the parking lot called The Book House Pub. The Twin Peaks reference drew me in. A live version of “Nightclubbing” by Iggy Pop was playing on the sound system. It was dark inside. A huge flat screen tv was playing “Natural Born Killer.” I sat down and this nice looking lady with tattoos offered me a menu. The scene where Juliette Lewis seduces the kid at the fuel station was playing. The close caption read “do you want to touch me?” as she closed the distance on the kid. I always dug Juliette Lewis, especially in a movie called Strange Days.
Listening to “Nightclubbing” made me want to hear “China Girl”, probably my favorite track on the record. When I was in high school, I thought it was a Bowie song, but I later learned that it was an Iggy Pop track. The lyrics are so sketchy. It sounds like Iggy tracked them at some small hour of the morning after a night of heavy drug use. His voice sounds shot, tired and desperate. “I stumble into town just like a sacred cow / Visions of swastikas in my head / Plans for everyone.” I have know idea what that means but it’s heavy. If that song came out today, I’m sure it would offend someone.
6.21.2017 Tampa, FL 16:30
It was a long drive today. It’s hot, humid and heavy outside. The Florida summer is not to be fucked with. I got a decent workout in.
Last night’s attendance was pretty lean, but I’ll take it. We ran the fog machine pretty excessively so I couldn’t really see how many people were there anyway. I feel like we’re locking into the set, the vibe is there and now it’s just a matter of kicking it as hard as possible.
Nick, the Moon Tooth guitarist is on another level with his playing. It’s pretty rad watching him do his thing every night. I can only really watch half of their set before I have to get ready.
Not much else. I think I need to eat something, then it’s just waiting to play. Tomorrow is technically a day off for the tour but we have a show on our own in New Orleans. This time around I went through Bryan Funck for the show. If you want to do anything in Louisiana, you’d better call Bryan.
6.22.2017 New Orleans, LA 17:15
We left after the show and drove overnight to get here. New Orleans forgot more about heat than any of us will ever know. It’s slow misery down here.
We’re playing with Thou tonight. Bryan set the show up so I know it will be promoted at least. The show is at this low-key coffee spot, very small and with minimal sound. I guess we’ll figure out a way to work it out. It reminds me of the gigs I did with Anodyne back in the old days.
There was a slate board outside of the entrance that listed us as “Tomes.” That’s kind of a cool name I suppose.
This town always makes me nervous. There is a real dark vibe down here. I always feel like I’m about to get jacked by someone or that I’m being followed when I walk down the street. A few years ago when I was down here with Wormrot, I definitely had the feeling that I was about to get jumped by these guys.
6.23.2017 Austin, TX 16:45
We left after the show last night and drove all night. On the way out of town, we stopped at a Waffle House. I should have known better.
I’d only been in a Waffle House once before, in Asheville, years ago. It was another late night excursion after a show. It was across the street from the motel we were staying in. I ordered toast with butter and a cup of coffee. I remember this group of drunk girls were sitting at a nearby booth. One of them proclaimed that it was her birthday and then pissed all over her seat.
We fueled up and parked the van, walked over to the Waffle House. I remember wondering if “waffle” was a German-derived word. To me, it sounds German. This really drugged-out woman in a blue dress met us at the entrance and asked for a cigarette. None of us could help her so we went in and sat at the counter. The blue lady followed us in and sat alone at a booth.
No one else was in there; it was late. You could smell the desperation mixed in with the pig fat and cholesterol. The dishwasher was this really severe-looking woman with huge forearms and jailhouse-style tattoos. Before too long, she indicated that she had just gotten out of jail. She then went into how important personal hygiene was when you work in the food industry.
We ordered food. I was hungry and depressed that this was the only real option. I ended up getting some egg dish with home fries and meat. When it arrived, I carefully picked out the “sausage” and ate the eggs. I could tell this wasn’t going to sit right.
At this point, I noticed the blue lady was asking about KSP. I think he made a friend. We settled up and left.
I dig driving at night. I had The Soft Moon “Deeper” playing. The track “Wasting” sounds particularly good for a night drive. At some point someone else took over and I woke up hours later in a parking lot.
The show last night was really cool. I was happy to play to some people that appreciate what we do. There was a good vibe. We usually play this place called Siberia, but like I mentioned earlier, if you’re going to play Louisiana, you need to call Bryan Funck to get it done.
Thou went on after us and played a bunch of what I think was new material. I’ve always admired them and this was the first time that we’ve ever actually played together.
6.24.2017 Houston, TX17:05
Austin was cool. It was the same venue we played on the Darkest Hour tour except they renamed it Play it Again Sam or something like that. It used to be called Grizzly Hall. I took an Uber out to Morgan’s place. He’s recovering from neck surgery so he’s out of commission for a while. It was good to get out of the tour vibe for a minute. He’s one of those guys that I look forward to seeing every time I come through. I don’t have a lot of friends at home. A lot of people moved away and a lot of the ones left behind are two-faced bitches. I feel like I have real friends but they’re spread out across the country. It’s another “By-the-way.” I have great friends but “By the way” they all live in cities far, far away. Morgan is one of those people.
The venue is out on the outskirts of town. There’s a cool record store attached to it and I scored two cool finds: Battlezone’s “Children of Madness” and Paul Chain’s “King of the Dream.” As much as I respect Bruce Dickinson, I’m a Paul Di’anno fan. I thought Maiden sounded best with him on vocals. The lyrics, the riffs, the attitude all made sense to me. Battlezone is no Iron Maiden, but there are some good tracks on that record.
6.25.2017 Dallas, TX 18:30
It’s hot, Texas hot. You don’t know heat until you come down here. The show last night was pretty cool. I don’t know how well we’re crossing over to Fit’s crowd, but it is what it is.
The night seemed to go on forever. We crashed at this totally shot house. A few years ago, I decided that I didn’t want to sleep in those typical punk houses where there are beer cans and pizza boxes everywhere. Last night, I inadvertently went back on that decision.
The house smelled like cat piss. It was a real dump. There were guitars left out of their cases in the living room because, of course, the people that lived there played in bands. There were whole slices of pizza left cheese-side-down on the floor. Who knows how long they had been left there. Someone saw that and was cool with leaving it. Having lived in places like this in my younger years, I was always fascinated by the mentality that would allow that. I once had a roommate that would bring take-out food home, eat it and leave the Styrofoam containers on the coffee table in the living room. It ended up just becoming a permanent part of the living room terrain.
KSP wisely slept in the van.
Dallas is a cowboy city. I believe we’re in the part of town known as Deep Ellum. There are a lot of people walking around the neighborhood that could only be from Texas.
6.26.2017 Albuquerque, NM 18:05
We checked into a motel before coming here. We all need a good night’s sleep, showers and some quiet. We’re out in some remote part of town, in a concrete building. There is the feeling that no one will be here tonight. I can’t put my finger on the feeling, but sometimes you load into one of these places and the vibe makes you question why you showed up. Maybe I’ll be wrong.
I’m trying to fend off the feelings of depression. I’m not going to try and make it sound like I’m someone who struggles with clinical depression and need drugs to cope, but I often times find myself in these dark moods. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember.
We ate at this great Thai place that was a few blocks away. It was odd to find such a good restaurant out here in this desolate part of town. A motel was located next to the restaurant with a lot of sketchy-looking types lurking around. I imagined that some kind of illegal activity was going on there; drugs, prostitution, desperation, you name it.
6.27.2017 Mesa, AZ 17:45
Seven, eight, nine, ten hour drives? No problem. The moving van, miles melting away, sunrise through the windshield have all become “the Way.” I feel exhausted and sad, lonely. I thought Texas was hot, but Arizona takes it to a whole new level. It feels like an oven outside.
We loaded into this big venue. The AC was on, but I was still sweating. There is a lot of air volume and building mass to cool down before the sensible temperature of the space drops. I hit a comic shop across the street and picked up the first two trade paperbacks of the series “Outcast.” I love comics, but regular trips to a comic shop isn’t in the budget at the moment. It made me miss the days when Brooklyn Monster Factory was open. I would go there every Wednesday to pick up my books and hang out until it closed. It was great fun, but like all good things, it doesn’t last and is now a place where women get their nails done I think. Time flies on broken wings.
The show last night was dismal. I counted six people in the room when we played. The promoter was bummed; I felt bad for him. It’s a brutal game. I feel bad when the promoter takes on responsibility, when in reality, it probably has more to do with none of us being able to draw anyone in this part of the country.
I’m sitting in a coffee place down the street from the venue. Everything looks closed. I’m listening to a conversation going on behind me. A group of girls are talking about some kind of group they have that reads Harry Potter books. They sound like nice people. I imagine that the on doing the most talking recently graduated from college and has some kind of job that she likes. Maybe she lives with a roommate in an apartment that’s nicely decorated with a fully-stocked kitchen. The kind of life where you just have to keep showing up and everything will turn out okay. Most likely, this is just a fantasy but I admire the idea of having a life like this. On some level, I would like to live like this instead of the constant struggle that I’m dealing with. I suppose at one point of my life, I had an opportunity to live this way, but gave it up for a life of adventure. Ultimately, I’m exactly where I deserve to be.
6.28.2017 Los Angeles, CA 17:45
Another brutal drive is in the books. I’m happy to be out of the desert which is beautiful but also generates this desolate sadness inside of me.
Before our set, this kid asked Andy is he could jump up on stage and free-style some vocals. Andy said that he needed to ask me. Initially, I thought he knew Andy, but I soon realized that he was just some dude. I told him I don’t think it would be a good idea for him to jump up on stage. He wouldn’t relent, so I told him that if he really wanted to jump up on stage he could but I was going to hurt him real bad. I left the decision up to him.
When we started playing, he was rocking out. About halfway during the set, he was gearing up to get on stage, but his girlfriend intervened. It’s a good thing. I really didn’t want to hurt him. I just wanted to play and get off the stage.
7.3.2017 Olympia, WA 14:14
I woke up a little while ago. After the show last night, we hit a Denny’s and drove down to Jeff’s place. Today is a day off. Your body seems to know when a day off is coming because I feel like I’m moving through amber.
The show last night in Seattle was pretty good. This really cool band called Heiress played; John Pettibone, ex-Himsa / ex-Nine Iron Spitfire / ex-Undertow, was the vocalist. Pettibone, aside from being a promoter is sort of a Seattle metal / hardcore luminary. He’s been around and it’s good to see him in a cool band like Heiress.
The last few days have been driving, playing shows, loading gear and trying to eat and sleep well. I’m grateful for the day off as I sit here in this comfortable place, drinking coffee. We have a motherfucker of a drive coming up.
We needed to get a brake job after San Francisco. We stopped in some town to get it done. It took a few hours; there was a Denny’s across the street and they were nice enough to let us post up there while the van was being worked on. I love Denny’s.
7.4.2017 Salt Lake City, UT 17:45
We drove through the night. I don’t have much memory of driving or seeing anything. It’s hot; blast furnace hot. The air quality up here sucks. It’s a huge contrast from Olympia.
We’re playing this huge place tonight. The show is a combo metal show, drag thing. I have low expectations.
7.5.2017 Denver, CO 16:05
We drove all day. I can feel the altitude effects. Earlier on, I walked down the street and felt my gas tank diminishing. I’m in pretty good shape so a short jaunt down the street shouldn’t have fucked with me as much.
The show last was about what I expected. The biggest disappointment was that the drag queens were actually women, it was very confusing. It was kind of a depressing night. The high point, was the legit Mexican food we secured after the show.
It feels like an oven outside. I’m hanging out in the green room, enjoying the air conditioning, drinking water and staying hydrated. I remember playing this place with Pelican many years ago. They sell pizza here, but being from the East Coast, I think I’ll pass.
7.6.2017 Omaha, NE 17:01
We just finished loading in, Fit for an Autopsy are wrapping up their sound check. I slept all day in the back of the van. We left Denver at 07:00. I said I needed about an hour or two of sleep so I crashed out in the air-conditioned cocoon in the back of the van. I opened my eyes and it was 14:00. I guess I needed to rest. I felt exhausted last night after our set.
There are only a few more days left. I don’t have any feelings about Omaha. I know I’ve played here a few times over the years but I don’t have any recollections of this place. Maybe I’ve played here before? I vaguely remember playing a place called the Ranch Bowl many years ago.
It’s hot and dry. I feel drained. I wanted to get a workout in but I don’t see that happening. I haven’t eaten anything yet today. I brought the coffee maker into the green room and brewed up a pot. As I write this, I’m drinking a hot cup with a little MCT oil. I’m feeling better. I can’t believe how shot I feel today.
I just read the Decibel review that Nikki sent over. Generally, I don’t read reviews but Decibel is one of the last print magazines left. We were given an 8 / 10. Pretty cool. I can go on and on about my feelings about record reviews and subjectivity but I know that it’s many an ego trip, its based on my low self opinion of myself. I decided it would be good for me to read reviews so I started a file to collect stuff like this.
It’s time to throw our gear on the stage.
7.7.2017 Chicago, IL 18:30
It’s almost over. You push and push and suddenly it’s all over. It happens every time. We have two more shows left then I’ll be home for some undetermined amount of time. I’m thinking about what it will be like to be back in Brooklyn, the noise, the shitty people. I’m thinking about the jackasses that live behind me, making noise. I could stay out here for another month. I don’t miss being home. I could care less if I get to sleep in my own bed again. I’ll take a clean motel room for a couple of days off and saddle up for another month of shows.
After the set last night, this kid told me that we were the first “avant garde” band that he’d ever seen and he dug the set. I know that he was trying to be cool and give us a compliment. I thought it was kind of funny. He must have read that Tombs was “avant garde” somewhere in a write up for the show. I hate journalists and the way they string together words that barely make sense. Who in there right mind would classify Tombs as avant garde. We don’t sound like Philip Glass, do we? There is so little to hang onto our here that little things like this stay with me.
7.8.2017 Cleveland, OH 16:06
Tour is almost over. We have the set tonight and we’re going to drive back to New York for the last show in Brooklyn. I could go a few more weeks; I’m never in hurry to get back to New York. I’ve grown into having an adversarial relationship with the city. When I come out here, it makes me realize how most people that live in New York have their heads up their asses.
Chicago was pretty cool last night. I like playing there. Reggies is a cool venue.
We’re playing at a place called The Foundry, out in some shot neighborhood. The venue is a typical, beat-up punk rock joint, but oddly the green room is quite nice. Cleveland has such a dark vibe.
I think Will and Chris are coming out to the show.
7.9.2017 Brooklyn, NY 14:40
We drove overnight. I think it was a good idea, why chance the unpredictable New York traffic? It can be tricky, even on a Sunday.
I took the night time shift. I stopped at a Sheets somewhere in either Ohio or Western Pennsylvania. I ate the most delicious chicken sandwich; when you’re hungry, food tastes great. We all geared up at Sheets and hit the road.
We’re hanging at my place. I tried to get some sleep but it was no good. I feel shot. I know tonight is the last show and I can feel myself starting to shut down. We watched the “Last Days Here” the Bobby Liebling documentary. Darkness seems to follow him. I read that he was arrested for beating up his mother and has been thrown out of the band. I question the validity of continuing Pentagram without Liebling. I read a while back that there was some sketchy activity on tour with the two female fronted bands. What do you expect would happen? I don’t really know all of the details, but touring with Pentagram would like opening a doorway for total chaos to enter your life. I don’t really know anything about the two bands King Woman and Wax Idols aside from the fact that they are female fronted. Liebling seems like one of those old school guys who expects to get his dick sucked. I can imagine it going poorly for a band with female members.
We’ll head over to the venue in an hour or so.