Monday, July 20, 2009

Break Down

I woke up this morning to sounds of banging and power tools underneath my head. At first I assumed it was one of the bunks around me, seeing as a few members of our crew's girlfriends are out with us at the moment. I ignored it and fell back asleep, but woke up an hour later to the same sounds. It's a day off, and yes I was so tired from the last week I confused the sound of an air drill with people fucking.

Anyway, I walked up to the front of the bus to find out at some point last night the BRAKES just stopped working. I was told this very casually, and I asked Radar how he handled it. "Oh I just coasted on in to that gas station over there. I coulda used the air brakes, but you all woulda wound up crumpled up at the foot of your bunks."

It's a little scary to think about. The brakes just stopped working last night. I could have woken up broken, paralyzed, or dead, but I just slept right through it. Not to be too dramatic, but the last thing I could have done in life was eat pizza and ride my bike across a parking lot. Now we're all sitting in the front lounge, talking about other bands on the tour and watching TV, waiting for the bus to get fixed. How often does this happen? How often are we this close to careening off the side of the highway and not waking up? Thank goodness Radar is our driver. Above quite a few people, I would trust him with my life.

Sorry I haven't blogged in a little while. My girlfriend, Julie, was out on tour with us for a week, so I was distracted. It's great having someone from my real life come hang out in my touring world, I found out. She really enjoyed experiencing what this is like, and I appreciated being offered a different perspective on these things that maybe I have started to take for granted. I had a conversation about this the other day when someone asked me what it's like touring so much. I don't pretend that my job is very hard, and I am constantly grateful that I found a place in this world that allows me to support myself through two things I love, music and traveling. Though, like any other job, doing this day in and day out can give it a certain level of monotony. After a couple weeks of this tour in particular, I begin to wake up and look outside and say, "oh look at that, another parking lot." Having a positive, open minded, amazing person like Julie come out for a while is like a slap in the face. It reminded me how many opportunities I have every day, and how awesome what I'm doing is. I only wish she could have stayed out longer!

That said, this last week has been like the previous ones. Our day off in Pittsburgh one week ago was pretty awesome, thanks in large part to Justin. I got myself and Julie a hotel room, and as I was struggling through multiple travel web sites, staring at $200+ per night rates, Justin sat down and starting looking shit up. He went on Price Line, and long story short found me a room at the fucking Hilton, right on the corner of downtown Pittsburgh, for next to nothing. We also ate at an amazing Indian restaurant on Justin's recommendation, but besides that just ran errands and chilled the rest of the day.

Highlights from this week-

-Watching the new Harry Potter after the show in Scranton. It was good, though I started falling asleep half way through. It was out of pure exhaustion though, the movie was great.

-Seeing my friends Alex and J in Buffalo. I love Buffalo, NY. I spend a good amount of off time there. Alex, J, and my other friend there Sheena have an amazing band (honestly one of my favorite bands out there) called Lemuria. Check them out!!!

-Biking from Camden, NJ, to Philadelphia for vegetarian cheese steaks. Then, later, throwing merch into bins, while holding the tent so it wouldn't fly away, trying not to get anything wet in the sudden storm. The Gallows tent went flying and broke in half upon landing. Marc has the hardest job on this tour, that's for sure.


-Everything I did with Julie. She's awesome.

I think we still have 5 hours of fixing and traveling before we get to Boston. I'm antsy, I like Boston a lot, was really hoping to check out some record stores and eat delicious food. Right now my options are Dunkin' Donuts and Cracker Barrel. Well, see you in Mansfield (I hope).


Monday, July 13, 2009

Mon. July 13 2009. 4:21 p.m.

So, even though I live the stories. Isn't Max an amazing blogger? I am in awe of his blogging abilities. The links, the wit, the sass, all untouchable.

I just want to personally thank Max. I am a reader. I am a believer.

Other than that!
How are ya?
Any of you all been to a warped show? Where? Was it righteous?

Being on warped with Alexis has me excited for our UK/European takeover! And we are also in the planning stages for a U.S and Canadian return.

Stay awesome.
Much love.
Much respect.
Chris 2

Friday, July 10, 2009

Here's a little flashback to a couple weeks ago, all the way back in Phoenix, AZ-

We took part in a bowling competition to benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation, a foundation that has raised millions of dollars for leukemia, AIDS, and cancer research. All the participating bands met at the bowling alley, and were teamed up with a person that had bid to play with them, hence the fund raising aspect. Our 6th team member was Lori, a long time friend of Anti-Flag, and apparently a semi-pro bowler. We took it as a good sign when she showed up with her own bowling shoes. We bowled next to friends Underoath the first round, and later on in the lane next to Bad Religion. Now I've never met Greg Graffin before, and I did not meet him that night, but I wish I could share with you to comedy of his mannerisms as he scored strikes and spares in the lane next to ours. Every time, without fail, he turned around, with his hand on his chin and a contemplative expression on his face, as if to say "Did I just score that? I didn't see, what just happened here?".Nerd.

It was great bowling that night. We were cheering each other on and getting really into the game. 2 got real competitive and animated, Pat jumped in and rolled a few for me while I rested my arm, and of course the legend Neil Linn was rolling turkeys and carrying us through our rough spots.

It showed in our scores, we made it to the final round! Now there's no telling how we made it that far, none of us were very exceptional bowlers to be honest. I, personally, was happy to roll over 100. I think the key, though, was that none of us were exceptionally bad bowlers either. We were strong and constant. In the end, we came in 4th place, but seeing as first place was the local radio station, and third place was Vans shoes, we decided (ourselves) that we actually came in second place, just behind Less Than Jake. Congratulations to us!

Toronto was fun today. Neil and I had to take all the equipment from the main stage and wheel it to one of the smaller stages, and then tomorrow after the show we have to roll it back again. The band helped out warped by moving to a smaller stage to make room for Alexisonfire on the main stage, just for the Canadian dates. If you think you may have heard Alexisonfire before, but aren't sure, then you're probably not from Canada. They're a band from Toronto, and they're they're huge north of the border. They have 4 gold records here, they're sort of a big deal. If you aren't aware (I was not until recently), Canada has a very rich, unique musical culture, thanks in part to some laws concerning the rights of Canadian based bands and radio play. I think it's kind of a cool law that supports their artists federally.

And here are some pictures to keep you entertained until next time;

Neil and I-

The follow up to the party joke-

Sleepy Marc code-

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Early day today. Parked at around 9:30am and made it to the stage shortly after, only to find out the guys were playing at 11:15am. It was like we rolled out of bed and already the stage crew was shouting at us to get going. Sleepy eyed and under-caffeinated, The Flag took the stage and nonetheless had a decent show. The crowd look like this making a huge circle pit around Stu, our sound guy;

Way to go breakfast club. I don't know how these kids have so much energy this early in the day. I mean, I'm an early riser, but punk shows usually won't get me moving until after dark. Thanks for making it worth it Cleveland!

Really that's it. Being done that early didn't leave me much to anticipate for the rest of the day, so I decided to bike around Tremont for a while. Just past the bridge into the venue there was a small side road that shot up a huge hill which I decided to go up for the hell of it, and at the top found a cool little 'historic downtown' area with coffee shops, pubs, churches, schools and a scoop shop. On my way out I saw a little bike shop and pulled over to see if they had a tube patch kit. I looked inside at piles of abandoned bike carcasses, and what looked like a former service desk piled high with invoices and bike parts. I awkwardly stood out front by a couple guys eating Chinese food on the curb till one said "Who are you and what do you want?". They started asking me about the tour, and making fun of me for riding a fixed gear (though it isn't a fixed gear, their mistake). The proprietor of the establishment, Mitch, made up for it by truing my wheels, adjusting my breaks, and giving me tips on how not to get my shit stolen. It just goes to show you; sometimes it pays to take the road less traveled.

Also today I got to watch Fake Problems, who were on warped tour for all of one day, but it was great to see them either way.

More excitement - I got yelled at by some huge shirtless guy for not responding when someone knocked on the door of the porta potty I was in. It wasn't even him! He shook the whole thing while I was zipping up my pants, and held the door closed as I tried to come out. When I slipped out, he said 'hey buddy why don't you answer the fucking door next time when someone knocks, huh?'. I pointed to the door, and dumbly asked, 'oh, isn't there a sign on there when someone is in there?', pointing to the red 'in use' sign that pops up when you lock the door. He asked 'what did you just say?!' like three times as I repeated what I said. I got a blank stare, and then 'well somebody could have crawled in there and dummy locked it.'. Not wanting to take this incredibly stupid argument any further, I didn't mention how it's impossible to crawl in or out of a locked porta potty. He asked what band i was with and what stage I was on, I told him and he said 'they don't have porto potties over there?'. Me not being over there, what would it matter? I told him I was just passing through, and took off before he got violent. So goes the story of how the porta potty nazi gave me a lesson in crapping etiquette.

Anyway, that was my exciting day. Early morning, bikes and tough guys. Tomorrow, we invade Canada. I love Toronto!

See you soon,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We got pranked today.

These wound up all around the venue today. They were convincing enough that around 5pm I asked Neil "So what's the deal with the party?". I went over and helped at the merch booth for about an hour, during which time I got asked the same question by 100 different kids.

"Sorry, there is no party."

It got pretty frustrating when kids didn't believe me when I told them it was a joke. Some thought I was withholding the info because I didn't deem them 'cool' enough to join. Yeah right! I'm the biggest nerd out here buddy, I'm in no position to judge!

At dinner I realized that a lot of the other bands on the tour saw the flier, and most didn't realized it was a joke. I'll be the only one here, in the venue, on the bus tonight. I'm prepared for knocks on the door all night wondering where the party is.

Anyway, I came to find out who perpetrated the prank. Now we gotta think of a good way to get them back. Any ideas? Please give me some, we gotta get 'em good.

Besides that, the show was spectacular today. I love seeing bands play home town shows in the middle of tour. It's like just as the shows are starting to blend in to one another, here comes an over the top, high energy show with, while maybe not the most kids watching out of any show, they're at least the most invested kids. The pressure was on today, before they even started they had 50 friends and family watching from the stage. I ran over my checklist 100 times, handed off the guitars, and crossed my fingers.

Everything worked and was more or less in tune. Mission accomplished.

Also today I watched Less Than Jake and thought about the first time I ever saw them. I was standing in the same spot on stage, but in Gainesville, FL at The Fest. Good times.

See you soon,

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Greetings from Ohio!

We peaced out early from the show today, the guys were very anxious to get back to Pittsburgh. I'll be anxious to get there when we swing through on our day off next Monday, and I can pick up my sweetie from the airport. I got back to the bus from dinner after helping Marc pack up merch, and 2 was bouncing off the walls in anticipation for his return home. Radar (the brave captain of our ship on wheels) stumbled in, blurry eyed from four hours of sleep, saying he just wanted to hammer this drive out so he could get there and get a full days sleep. Neil felt inclined to help him out a little, check out the video. He drove for a good 10 minutes while we laughed and Radar took a piss. I cowered behind one of the seats. Not that I don't trust Neil, but I've driven an RV and trailer before, and that felt out of control, I couldn't imagine a fucking bus and trailer.

Suffice it to say, we're all fine and he didn't crash. He is a legend, after all. The real deal, Neil Linn.

That was the most exciting thing to happen today. The tour took us to somewhere in Indiana. The show was good, kids were excited, weather was great. Also, I finally felt back in the 95-100% range today as far as health is concerned.

Tomorrow I'll wake up in Pittsburgh on an empty bus. Now I'm gonna find something to watch and something to eat.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Hello fans of The Flag,

Warped tour 2009, who could have guessed it would be so tolerable? Even coming out of the haze of sickness that was unexpectedly cast upon me as we crossed the border into Texas, I realized I'm maintaining positivity and I'm still stoked to be out here right now. Today's day off in St. Louis has offered us some time to reflect and recover from our experience so far.

This is not the band's first time on this tour, nor is it mine. Last summer this all seemed a lot more difficult, though. Perhaps it was the fact that I was stuck behind a merch booth and wishing I was working closer to the action, and now I am. Maybe it's the actual make up of the tour. Last summer I was working with The Street Dogs, one of the punkish bands on the tour, and we felt like the minority. It was like the tour was booked and we were added as an after thought along with The Briggs, The Aggrolites and a couple others. Decent bands, but not taking the spotlight on the tour. There were not enough of these type of bands to get kids that like these type of bands to come hang out with us in parking lots, especially when they had to deal with a high volume screamo/emo/whatevercore bands to see them. We felt alone, like outcasts on our own tour, and a little resentment towards the bands who were becoming the life of the party.

Now, we find ourselves out here with bands like Bad Religion, NOFX, Less Than Jake, The AKAs, and soon to be Flogging Molly and The Bouncing Souls, and it feels more like we exist along side the bands of alternate genres, as opposed to competing against them. This summer I will remember as being filled with high fives and helping hands. Yeah, it's hot as balls. No, this is not an easy tour no matter how you go about it, but I'm staying positive without telling myself to be, and I'm happy to be here.

Today, though, I woke up and rode my bike up and down Delmar after getting some free air for my bike. I found some wheat grass and juice, as well as a cool record store. Many noodles were eaten at many mediocre noodle restaurants, and I ate some Ben and Jerry's (apparently I can't always get a discount when I tell them I'm from Vermont). We saw a movie called Away We Go, which 2 and I agreed was one of those good idea-poor execution type films. The most interesting part was seeing Alison from the amazing band Discount in the previews with her new band, Dead Weather Now I'm back at the Hotel, ready to go to sleep to wake up and get back to the grind tomorrow.

See you soon,

Monday. July 6th. 6:09 p.m.

Out on Warped Tour 2009.
Shows have been great.
We have a new friend helping us out on this tour, let me introduce you to Max, guitar tech/all around good dude.
I gave him the log in information for this blog, so hopefully we'll be blessed with some updates from him.

listening to the new Alexis On Fire - new Big D and the Kids Table - new The A.K.A's albums.
good time for new music.

take it easy, but take it.