24 April 2009

The brown brown grass of home

Oh hey, we made it back, yeah. You were wondering.
To make excuses, the dearth of wi-fi and/or unwillingness to pay £15 for 30 minutes of internet access, coupled with, y'know, the fact that we were spending our precious European free time doing things that involved not wasting away in front of a computer, means we only blogged thru the halfway mark. So, here's the rest, in a nutshell...

Left Paris and rocketed through the night to Amsterdam, immediately blew out the power in our hotel after attempting to plug in our myriad electronic devices via a maze of adapters ("I dunno, I just went to turn the TV on and then... bam!"), woke up in Amsterdam on Rob's birthday, shopped, coffee shopped, shopped more, withstood harsh interrogation and escaped a savage beating after covertly taking photos of sex workers in the Red Light District, played live on Dutch national radio, sat in traffic, festivaled in Rotterdam, adopted an often-profitable Darker My Love vs. A Place To Bury Strangers inter-band German backstage poker habit (pictured below), played in a subway station in Stuttgart amidst a multiethnic all-ages German reggae club, successfully smuggled merch into Switzerland (shhh), sat in more traffic, played in Munich, sat in that hellbox of a van (also pictured below) for 8 hours from there to Berlin, saw Berlin by the pre-dawn light, and said goodbye to the Strangers... all before enduring the most brutalriffic, sleep-deprived, sweaty, nauseous day trapped in that scorching hellbox for 17 hours, rushing to get from Berlin to the Chunnel in France, not stopping, sitting in traffic, realizing we'd miss it, rebooking for a later one, then missing that one after falling victim to the British borderpeople's uhhh-we-just-got-a-new-computer-system thumb-twiddling and subsequently sitting in the van in pissy drizzle at the gate in a remote parking lot for an extra two hours (except for Jim, who walked off his rage in the parking lot before fashioning a bed on the clavinet case in the back for the latter half), and finally getting to the other side only to drive another 2 hours in to London.

this is what Germany looks like.

We had 3 gorgeous days in London, which was a fine way to come down from the tour. Did a radio thing here and an interview there, played 2 amazing shows, but mostly stuck to milling about the neighborhood around the luxurious Tommy Miah's Raj Hotel (aka The Raj) and its Indian canopy beds. In all earnestness though, thanks to everyone that made this fun and successful and all that - people that drove us around and let us use their gear and bought us drinks and bought us food and showed us strangers-in-a-strange-land around and brought everyone they know to see us play and endured being in that van with us and sold our merch for us and was nice to us - thank you.

And on Monday it was all over. We miraculously made our flight back (after our driver somehow managed to actually run out of gas on the way to the airport - that's right - one van, two different drivers, two empty gas tanks, one on the first day, one on the last), and 24 hours later, we were back in 99-degree L.A. Scorching hot and crystal clear. What a long, strange, weird, wet 'n' wild trip 'twas.

p.s. more photos to come.

14 April 2009

So! Lots of catching up to do here. Did Glasgow, did Manchester, did Leeds, did Oxford, did Birmingham, did London. All fully righteous and well, as follows:
Shopped, sat in bus traffic, carried gear up/down multiple flights of stairs, ran into Americans, shopped some more, went to Nottingham Castle only to find out it's been destroyed, drank in several self-proclaimed "oldest pub(s) in England," heard second- and third-hand that all the 90's rock royalty in Oxford was at our show, shopped again, ate Sunday roast, played some live rock concerts, and finally shipped out to France from those white cliffs of Dover. UK in a nutshell.

Market in Leeds

Collected every sauce known to man too. Only in medieval England.

Then, Paris. They speak French there. Tim spoke Spanish, mostly. We played in what was either an old wine cellar or part of a tunnel hundreds of years ago, and it was good. We were lucky enough to have a day off the next day, so we walked a good more-or-less 50 miles from our quaint old very-French hotel to the Notre-Dame cathedral down the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. Which was closed. No joke.

morning in Paris


While Andy's back in SF being our Brian Wilson, we were lucky enough to snag Mad Dog Jim Crook of Atlanta's own All the Saints to drum on this tour (shout out to Matt and Titus). So, in case you were wondering who that guy is, that's him.

sending fresh love from the old country,
the dudes

p.s. photos by Jared!

09 April 2009

For Immediate Release

Since we've been here, Tim has prepped his first two solo releases - Runnin' From a Good Feelin' and Live Sweat - which he's thrilled to announce will drop in a stunning 2-fer package on 21 December 2012.

06 April 2009

Ireland to Scotland (still talking 'bout love)

Let's preface this by apologizing for falling so far behind on our blog. We're still covering the beginning stages of the tour. Which were memorable nonetheless, like so:

You should really see our van. It's quaint. The sort of thing you'd see gun-toting Libyans riding in, through a sawed-out hole in the roof. So imagine it, day 1, in the Northern Irish countryside, running out of fuel. Facing uphill. Our driver/sound guy/handler Gavin, who really is a swell guy, rolls the van backwards downhill (into oncoming traffic, no less) - our only option - so we can back it into a driveway. And it was then that we all, save Gavin behind the wheel, got out. To push. So we get it going, and then the adrenaline rush to end all adrenaline rushes: running after the van, it moving at increasing speeds, and jumping in though the side door. First Jared and then Will running-jumped in, then finally, imagine Rob chasing a van down a hill, full bore, trying to hold his pants up with one hand. And oh yeah, the side door doesn't open from the inside, and it had slid closed, so Tim had to lean out the front window and finagle open the door so Rob could finally dive in. Straight outta Little Miss Sunshine. And a serious adrenaline rush. Stupid GPS.

Anyway, from there, took a ferry from Belfast to Scotland. Then we got our nature boners up on a drive up the Scotish coast, the most sighttastic to date. Since then, of course, it's been those nondescript British motorways that look like you could be in California, except there are sheep and medieval castles on the side of the road. Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Oxford, Birmingham - different towns, same British Travelodges, same music videos.

Tomorrow = day off in gay ol' Paris. Eat it.

03 April 2009

Two sides to every Dublin story

Here's what preceded the Jared/Will whisperfest. Our precious jetlag slumber, unattainable, forced us (Jared + Will) out to sightsee at the crack o' dawn. There's a rather loquacious bearded one providing the soundtrack for this under the bunk at right.

Ate free hostel muesli, drank free hostel Nescafe out of somebody else's dirty cups, then did the usual tourist stuff. Those medieval cathedrals wanna get paid to let you walk inside, so we cut up to the River Liffey that traverses the city, which makes the Los Angeles River look like the goddamn River of Love or something. Its riverbed is a graveyard for any and all type of wheeled apparati: adult bikes, kid bikes, shopping carts, wheelchairs, oxygen tank scooters, tires, more kid bikes, you name it. Makes you wonder who's throwing children's bikes over a steep ledge into a river. It's unwheell! (ha ha, ho ho)

This, of course, is also where the adjacent St. James's Gate Brewery, home of Guinness, gets its water (or so goes the urban legend). Did the brewery tour, in which we discovered that roasted barley is a great snack, and that we can probably make Guiness in a french press at home, given the availability of the choicest of hops.

And oh yeah, good show too.