A letter to a naked dude

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So, this past weekend, i played a festival in the outback of Australia. As different as it was from other festivals I’ve played (being on the other side of the planet, the people , the wildlife and the musical tastes), if you were to press mute on everyone and just look at it from afar, it was really no different than a festival in the woods of Oregon. Typically , I do my set and scurry off to the closest hotel to make love to some wifi and watch tv with a roof over my head, never to be seen on camp grounds again. However, this time, I stayed for the full 3 days of the festival. I was IN IT. So, with all this free time in a foreign land, at a festival where I only know a handful of people, i spent a good deal of my time roaming around the campsite. People watching. I mean, that’s kinda what you do at these things, right? It was packed with the usual suspects. Burners, people on drugs, burners on drugs, girls in road warrior outfits carrying hula hoops, people in footie pajamas covered in dirt, a few back woods wiggers and a surprising amount of children. In fact, this was , by far, the most kids I’ve seen at a festival. It was pretty cool to see actually cause i can only imagine how their tiny brains are taking it all in. I suppose to them it’s like a circus with REALLY loud music.
On the Saturday morning of the festival, i was in the food area just stuffing some sort of garbage into my mouth when , out of the corner of my eye, I caught what seemed to be an abundance of naked human flesh. Being the inquisitive soul that I am, I turned my head to see a man walking away from, butt naked, with some painted stuff on his shoulders and ass…think war paint. I tilted my head and thought “Well, surely he’s got something on covering his front parts…”. I then saw him walk up to someone and give a close hug to them (the receiver of said hug did a noticeable body jut to avoid pelvic contact). Right then I thought “no fucking way”. Lo and behold, he sashays his was back around and there it was, his naked dick flapping in the wind, parts of it were painted but, make no mistake, it was as uncovered as a cock can be in a public setting. So, i’m sure this particular aussie raver doesn’t read my blog (i bet he doesn’t even own a tv and on uses the internet for email cause, you know, he’s THAT guy) but I figured I’d write him a letter…just in case cause, you know, someone needs to talk to this guy.

Dear Naked guy,
What’s up? Chilling? cool. I was eating my breakfast the other day when I turned my head to see your dick bobbling as you walk. Nice cock, bro! I especially enjoyed the ornate colors you painted it. Did you, perhaps, have one of the children who were doing face paintings at the festival handle that for you? Whoever did it, they did a bang up job.
I see you there, prancing around like a proud peacock, winds blowing your hair, smugly strutting to give your dick that extra bounce. Balls hopping off your thighs as if to way “Hey! Don’t forget about us!”. Don’t worry balls, we could never forget you.
Your pride and self love are palpable. You must feel great!
Well…
I’m writing you this letter to let you in on something. That something is that, unless you’re part of art installation or the incredible hulk after turning back into David Banner, no one who’s not having sex with your penis should ever see it in public. I understand you’re probably a free spirit. You cannot be caged but the constraints of society around you. Cavemen walked around, dicks flailing, so why can’t you? Well, I’m sorry to say, you are not a caveman. You’re a male in 2016 , in a public place full of children running around. Now, that’s my #1 gripe. Your dick and kids eyes. It’s just…not okay. I dunno if you know this but dicks are gross. They aren’t tits. When a women thinks of a strangers cock, she frowns and they’re the #1 target audience for dicks (shout out to gay dudes but the sheer #’s put ladies in first place). Think about that. The people who enjoy dicks the most, are also repulsed by the majority of them. But beyond the sheer grossness of it (for everyone), what you’re doing is forcing your bullshit on everyone else. Now, I believe people should be able to do what they want. So, in a sense, if you WANT to walk around with your dick out, then live you life. But, with life’s choices come responsibility and consequences. The consequences being your dick waggling in front of a 4 year olds face and your responsibility being to NOT waggle you dick anywhere near the face of a child. Listen, it’s a free world. We have so much we can do. Is your right to express yourself via nudity that important to you? Perhaps you should go to a nude beach or a Hedonism resort where that kinda thing is accepted and monitored. Maybe one of those burning man fuck tents I’ve heard about. I know, i know, a fuck tent is not in public but I’m just spitballing ideas for you. Regardless, all those places seem more appropriate than here.
I think what gets me is that I 100% know you’re doing this cause you’re just so one with the earth and comfortable in your own skin. That’s great. But ,sometimes, we’re so far to the left, we swing around to the right again. You’re blissful, free love hippie freedom is so extreme that it is , in fact, bordering on sexual harassment to every single person that lays eyes on your paint chipped penis. Every woman and man who didn’t feel like looking at your freewheeling cock. Every male child who now probably thinks that, when he gets older, his dick will become a crusty orange and green hair cake.
Every little girl who has never seen a penis in her life will now have THAT as what she expects. In 12 years, when she’s old enough, she will pull out some dudes dick and be shocked it didn’t look like bravehearts face. That’s on you , dude. And I know that’s the furthest thing from your intentions but still…s
o, fuck your freedom. There are so many ways to express individuality and openness without having to ruin everyones day simply cause they looked in your direction. So, please, do me and everyone else a favor and cover that stupid cock up. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Sincerely ,
Tony

Alternate version of this letter:
HEY ASSHOLE, I CAN SEE YOUR DICK. WE CAN ALL SEE YOUR DICK. THERE ARE KIDS HERE FOR CHRIST’S SAKE. PUT THIS SHIT AWAY, YOU FUCKING JERK OFF.
Regards,
Tony

Festivals…again.


I realize, pretty much every time I return from doing a festival show, I write about it. But I suppose there is a reason for that. This weekend, I took a trip to a festival an hour outside Austin, Texas. Aside from the typical festival disarray that comes with every Hippie/electro event I’ve ever performed at, it was actually pretty nice. Since I don’t have a particular story to tell about it, I figured I just give a power point run down of random thoughts and events that went down.

1)This was the cleanest festival ever.
In general, the festivals I play have a noticeable layer of filth covering them. This is because, well, they’re usually held in the woods in the middle of nowhere and the majority of the attendees are hippies on a shit load of drugs. That combination tends to lead to less than pristine grounds. This show, however, looked like a painting. I don’t know how they did it, as the clientele was certainly no different than other festivals, but I applaud them. It was almost enough to make me wanna get a tent and actually camp out. That is, if I had even the slightest interest in that kinda shit.

2)How to not bond with me
I’m a fairly lax dude in real life and I never really get into it with people. Truth is, I’m just not easily offended and fairly passive. However, there are a few stupid things that get under my skin and will occasionally lead to an awkward conversation with someone I don’t really know. Embarrassingly, many of my personal issues have to do with other people and how they talk about New York City. I realize this is childish and lame but , what can I say, there’s really nothing else I relate to and hold close to my heart like being a native New Yorker. Far beyond my stupid ancestry , my family or my music , I’m a new yorker first. So, when people who aren’t from there speak ill towards it, it immediately pushes my buttons. With that said, I’m also not unrealistic. I realize NYC is not for everyone. It’s certainly got a shitload of faults and I’ll never deny that. But here was a situation that rubbed me the wrong way.
So, anyway, I was talking to this girl in Austin. She was a driver for the event I was playing. She was a friendly, short girl in her mid 20’s who was obviously very involved in all things artsy. She mentioned being from new york and I immediately was curious. She kept referring to herself “being from New York” and how , now that she lives in Austin, it’s a different ball game . Cause, you know, she’s a New Yorker and New Yorkers do New York shit. Listening to her talk, I assumed she meant she grew up there. Looking at her, however, I didn’t really pin her being from there. Not in a bad way. She was perfectly nice. It’s just there aren’t really a lot of native new yorkers out there who are heavy into Burning Man. Even our biggest artsy hipster types don’t play that shit. So, I ask her a few questions and it turns out she’s actually from Pennsylvania and lived in NYC for 7 years prior to moving to Austin a year ago. Well, this is one of those things that drives me insane. People who moved to and lived in NYC claiming they are , in fact, New Yorkers. As we all (should) know, this simply means she lived there , after growing up somewhere completely different and , therefor, will NEVER be an actual New Yorker. nope, she’s just some girl that lived there for a little bit. Sorry. But that is the rules. Now, if I was some dude from another place who had never lived there myself, this would obviously not bother me. But being that I am a native, the shit made my blood boil. Well, my head then almost exploded when she told me she hoped the place burned down to the ground. WHAT????!?!?!?! This is a person who had lived there for 7 fucking years…and apparently hated it. Keep in mind, her complaints about NYC were all valid. It’s way too expensive. Yes, there are roaches and rats. But why would you stay somewhere for 7 years if you hated it due it’s high prices? it’s not like she had a serious job. She’s a starving artist. I realize this all seems super petty but this girl stepped over two lines, shitting on NY and , at the same time, claiming NYC as her home. Get the fuck outta here with that shit.
So, for the record, now you know how to immediately piss me off if you ever meet me. Speak out of your ass about the city I love. Aside from that, good luck for , otherwise, I’m a brick wall of dead emotions.

3)Burning Man
Whenever I do these festivals, the question “What do you mean you’ve never been to Burning Man?!?!?!?!” comes up. This boggles my mind. I understand why they’re asking , as it is the norm for people in the scene to be all about that shit and , to no fault of their own, they really don’t know me. However, if they did really know me , they would know how hilarious the idea of me attending Burning Man is. There are few things lower on my “to do” list than that. It’s a few notches above “Eat a shit omelette” and “Skinny dipping with my family”.In fact, one of the top things on my Bucket list is “Never go to burning man”. So, if you’re one of these Burning Man people ,with all due respect, allow me to clear the air so there’s no need to discuss this any further
1)I don’t camp
2)I don’t do hard drugs
3)I don’t dress like a molested pixie
4)I sweat a lot so a boiling hot desert is not a good look
5)I don’t like any type of music that generally plays there
6)I’m a fan of comfort. I like having internet access and Tv. Phone service. Food with no sand in it. You know, the simple things.

and to the people who ask me why I don’t play there, well, they don’t pay you. As far as shows go, I’m way past the “doing it for the love of the game” portion of my career and if I’m gonna put myself through some shit like Burning Man, I’d have to come home with money pouring out of my asshole.
I realize this all sounds harsh but , honestly, it’s just not for me. If you’re into that shit, have fun. It’s just funny that not once, in all the times I’ve been asked why I don’t go, someone has responded “Ah, yeah. i can see how you wouldn’t be into that”. Not once. In fact, my indifference towards it has only been met with jaw dropping shock from whoever asked the question. The thought of someone NOT comprehending how someone might not be into that kinda shit is pretty hilarious to me but, hey, more power to them. It’s just a great example of their dedication to what they hold dear.

4) These fucking names!
I literally met a dude named “Paper” last night. That was his birth name. I asked. Amazing.
It feels like every other person I meet at these things has a name I’ve never heard before. Which leads me to believe that , when naming your child, there’s a good chance that name will define their existence. For instance, if you name your kid something like “Todd”, there is a good chance he will end up wearing a vertically striped shirt and drinking Jager. But if you name your kid “SunDoodle”, you can rest assured that that motherfucker will be tripping on Molly at an electro/hippie jamfest at some point in his/her life.

5)Being the outcast
Without fail , when at these festivals, I’m WAY too normal looking. Jeans, t-shirt sneakers and a hat , might as well be a polo shirt , pleated dockers and boat shoes. I’m looking like it’s a tuesday evening at home and there are people walking around looking like a cross between Braveheart , candy corns and Pharrell on Extasy. And those are the tame ones…It’s strange to be so far removed from something and thrown right into the center of it. I feel like I’m an explorer infiltrating some bugged out rave based inuit culture that’s never been seen by outside eyes. It’s actually pretty interesting and, as the search engine of this blog will tell you, very fascinating to me.

No matter how many of things I go to ,they’re always a trip. And as much as they are all the same, they all manage to be their own machine. This kinda shit makes me feel like a low level sociologist…and I like that.
In the end, I can’t be mad at any of this shit cause I imagine my lifestyle is just as strange to them. The difference being that some of them might actually be open minded enough to see the good of where I’m coming from, while I’m old and pretty much over everything so, that shit isn’t flying over here.

The worst show that never happened (aka Fuck “quaint”)

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It’s safe to say that every artist who does a decent amount of touring has a few off nights. Not even on a personal “performance” level, but more so concerning the venue, promoters and other people involved in getting the show off the ground.
I’ve had a somewhat charmed touring life. I’ve primarily stuck on tours where i’m not the headliner , thus any serious responsibility (outside of getting on stage when the time comes) fall elsewhere. That said, I have had some serious stinkers in my time. 9 out of 10 times they have been the result of an ill advised “one off”. This is when someone contacts me to come to wherever they live and do one show. These shows tend to pay really well and travel and boarding are always taken care of. In theory, they’re the best. You’re in, you’re out and home before you know it , with a bunch of money in your pocket. However, the world is not perfect and these shows almost never go according to plan. I’d say the most common mistake is when a guy who had too much money and really likes your music decides to book you. Only problem is he doesn’t realize that just inviting his friends is gonna cut it. Promotion is a huge part of organizing shows and you’d be amazed how many times i’ve flown somewhere, for thousands of dollars, to play to a room of 30 people at a place that isn’t even really a venue. More like a basement in a gallery or a dive bar. The thing is, as much as I want a show to be fun, as long as I get paid and have a place to sleep, I can get over a show being a complete failure. It’s part of the job, I suppose.
With all this in mind, I’ve recently entered into the world of performing at festivals. Last year I did a few and this summer I have a few more lined up. The kind of festivals I do tend to on some “electronic/hippie” type shit. Most of them take place in the northwest , tucked away in some barren farmland. The festivals also tend to pay very well and , as shows go, are pretty low pressure. I say this cause most of these events are at least 3 days long and involve people sleeping in tents and wiping with pinecones. By the time I get to these things, most people there are in a three day acid/molly haze and could really give a shit about what I play. That said, they’re usually a good time (an interesting experience , at the least). My only beef is that i don’t do “the wilderness” so I usually ask to be put up in a hotel. This is fine and all but most of these events are pretty far from anything so getting to and from the hotel is a bit of a trek.

Anyway, all that brings me to this. The biggest failure of a show I’ve ever done…and I didn’t even perform (Spoiler Alert!). Allow me to give you the detailed rundown of this debacle. This happened a few weeks ago. I had a show at a music festival in upstate NY. It’s was about 3 hours outside of the city. I had made plans with a friend of mine to rent a car and drive up there. Figured we could make a little field trip out of it. I don’t drive so it was all on her but I was gonna cover the expenses as long as she did the driving. So, the day of the show arrives, and I was slated for a 1AM performance time. This gave my friend and I plenty of time to get up there. She went to go pick up the rental car and the plan was she’s casually come pick me up and we’d roll up there in a leisurely manner (cause, after all, we had tons of time to kill before 1AM). Around 2 PM, I get a call from her. She’s at the car rental spot and they won’t let her rent the car. Apparently, car rental spots do not accept debit cards. Only credit cards. My friend, for some reason, does not own a credit card so we were shit out of luck. So, I told her to not worry and I’d just hop on a bus and go it alone. I figured I still had plenty of time. As I go online looking for bus times , I find out they are not only scarce but very soon. I start to panic a little cause I had told them i’d get myself up there and this was my responsibility. Frantically, I look through all the call numbers I was given (these are phone numbers of the people involved with organizing the show). One by one, I call them all. Some don’t pick up. Some go straight to voicemail. All of them have full voicemails. I get to the last number and , miraculously, someone picks it up.
The man on the other end of the line is a thickly accented russian guy. I ask him if he knows how I can get in touch with the promoter. He tells me, he can’t help cause he’s still in Brooklyn but he’s about to head upstate to the festival. Ding! I sheepishly ask him if there’s any chance of him driving me up there with him. He agrees and tells me to meet him in an hour on Houston st. and the FDR drive. I quickly gather my shit up and jet over there (it’s a pain in the ass to get there and pretty far from any train stop). I arrive there and I wait. I wait for a long time. I can see Traffic is bad on the FDR drive, so i’m not really mad, just impatient. After all, this complete stranger is doing me a huge favor. How mad can I be? An hour and 15 minutes pass and his car finally pulls up. Inside are 4 men. The russian driver. Another russian guy. A french trance music DJ and a South African trance DJ. While this may sound like the beginning of a good joke, it is not. All four of them were stuffed into a small 4-door car, which I then forced myself inside of. It turns out, the russian had been making runs all day and the other DJ’s in the car both had just been picked up from the airport. No one in the car knew each other (or knew of each other) and we all pretty much had nothing in common. So, we’re all sitting there having super awkward conversation , while deeply stuck in traffic. We had a full 3 plus hours of this ride ahead of us and , within 15 minutes, all topics of discussion had been milked. Not to mention, no one bought music to listen to. I mean, I had my IPOD but I wasn’t about to bust that shit out and play old rap for a bunch of trance DJ’s. As far as I was concerned, These dudes were from a different planet than me. I mean, fucking Trance music? Really? I don’t even know what the fuck that is.
Anyway, The never ending ride proceeded and somehow 9/11 came up. French guy made some off color remark. Now, I’m truly the last person to give a shit about a joke. I’m also the last person to be patriotic about anything. I seriously don’t give a shit. But there is something so offensive about a smug frenchman popping shit about 9/11 to a new yorker who was there when it happened. Without being a dick about it, I mentioned that I was downtown for that and I could feel the ground shake from when the buildings fell, even though I was about 25 blocks away. That shut up everyone for a bit and ride remained quiet pretty much the whole rest of the trip.

Finally, we arrive at the festival. It’s about 9:30 at this point. We’re parked on the outskirts of the festival. I get out and look around and it’s pretty much looking like what I expected. A bunch of weird hippies walking around on drugs. Good times. I come across the organizer of the event and he’s super excited to meet me. He’s extremely nice and very accommodating. Turns out he had only first heard of me about 3 months earlier but thought I’d be a great fit for this festival. This was the first warning sign. As we walk deeper into the festival, something feels weird to me. This crowd, while somewhat typical of electro-music fests, seems slightly off (if that’s even possible). I notice the majority of the people around me are speaking in some sort of eastern European tongue. Not an issue at all, but unusual. I listen to the music playing in the distance, and it’s some straight up raver shit. At this point, I turn to the event organizer and ask
“is there anything I should know about this crowd? Like, what are they into?”
He responds
“oh, you’ll be fine , man. They’re gonna love you. Just don’t play anything to rappy”
I stopped dead in my tracks.
“what? huge portions or my set have rap in them and I’d say my overall vibe is fairly ‘rappy’, I mean, you know I produce rap music right? ”
He reconsiders his words and tells me
“well, just not raps…nothing with words. This crowd won’t get it and , honestly, they’ll hate any rapping”
My live set consists of various little mash ups and a bunch of them are classic hip hop shit. On top of that, a lot of the appeal of my live set is it’s referential quirkiness. All these things would be lost on a crowd who came to Austria’s own “Dj Klaus Shnitzle” or Prague’s world famous “DJ Wizard Hands” (Note: not real dj’s i’m just saying) However, I accept this and ask him if there’s a room I can go to to re-work my set. basically, I need to fill in all the rap parts with something else. He took me to a random cabin but the door is locked. We ride around in a golf cart searching for whomever may have that key, but to no avail. By now it’s about 10. With all his other options exhausted, he says maybe he will get me a ride to my hotel so I can fix my set there. I agree and hop in a car with two russian dudes who look armenian rap/rockers from the future. Turns out, the hotel is about 45 minutes away. As we pull in, let’s just say the hotel was “quaint”. It was about 10:45 and , for all intents and purposes, it was closed. The organizer had given me the key so I could get into my room but this place was a ghost town. I walk in the room and it’s fine. No different from hundreds of other shit bag hotels I have stayed in. The organizer had told me my cell wouldn’t work in the hotel (AWESOME) so I should call him from the phone in the room when I got there. I tried but i couldn’t even get an out going signal. I even called the operator. Nothing. Fuck it, I had to fix my set so I just forgot about that for the time being and got work. Around 11:30, I had patched up the set best I could. It was extremely half assed but it would have to do. I try and make a call again, but no dice. At this point, I’m worried for a few reasons.
1)The only bus leaving this town tomorrow , leaves at 10:30 am. I have no phone service (It couldn’t even connect enough to get a time reading), no internet, and no alarm clock. assuming I get on stage at 1am , I’d finish at 2 and hopefully be back in the hotel by 3. I had pretty much just accepted I’d have to wake up on my own the next morning , get out of bed, walk into town and find where the bus leaves from. SUPER AWESOME
2)I was worried they would be late to take me back to the festival. The later they were , the later I go on, the later I get back to the hotel, the less chance I miraculously wake up at 9 am to go find this magical bus pick up spot in the middle of fucking nowhere.
3)I had literally no way to contact anyone. I began to think about what would happen if I broke my leg or something. I would just die there like an asshole. Do people in the town of Phonecia (that’s where I was) just die of neglect all the time?

So, I took it upon my self to walk into town and see if my cell worked there. Turns out, Phonecia is a cell phone free town. After realizing this and cursing all that is rural, I get to town and find a working pay phone in the only open place , a bar. I call the organizer and it rings twice then goes straight to voicemail (which is full). I call again. Straight to voicemail. Defeated, I walk back to my hotel. I’m not even sure this guy knows what room I’m in, let alone that his runner will be able to find this little shitty motel I’m staying in.
12AM rolls around. This is when i’m expecting to be picked up. It hadn’t been discussed but , for a 1am performance, it seemed logical. After all, I’m 45 minutes away from the event. No one comes. 1AM. No one comes. I make a deal with myself, If no one comes by 2, i’m getting in bed. 2AM , not a peep. Fuck it. I turn the lights off and watch sportscenter and eventually drift off into uncomfortable, anxious sleep. That is until I hear a knock on my door. I’m half naked in the dark but not exactly rattled. I was almost expecting it. I ask who it is and a voice from behind the door says “It’s a runner from the festival, you ready to go?” I quickly dress myself and let him in. It’s him, some random girl and another artist who i’ve met before who wanted to say hi. The entered my room and we all sat down and discussed what the next move would be. I told the runner that there is no way I can perform at 4AM and get back here at 6:30am if i’m gonna catch that mystery bus (with no alarm clock). He was very understanding and totally sensitive to my predicament. He decided to call the organizer and see what he had to say. I told him go ahead (knowing there was no way he was reaching anyone from that dead zone). obviously, his attempts were futile. It was now around 3:20 and it was clear that me performing there was not gonna happen. The runner was extremely cool about it and assured me he’d pass on the word. honestly, It was the type of thing that had that runner been a different person, shit could have gotten really ugly. But he was a good guy and that made all the difference. Anyway, they all eventually left my room and I fell asleep around 4:30. Around 8:15 , I woke up to piss and realized I would pretty much just have to stay awake. I got dressed and headed into town to find the bus station. Fortunately, it was right there. I got on my bus and got the fuck outta dodge. Part of me was relieved. That show would have been a disaster. I was wrongly booked at an event I had no business being within 200 miles of. Another part of me was nervous that there would be some serious backlash to me not performing but I knew it wasn’t my fault. They had put me up in the the black hole motel and they were the ones who missed my pick up time by 3 hours. On the bright side , I did get paid. Paid to sit nervously in the bates motel and watch baseball highlights. I guess that’s really not as bad as performing for a bunch of angry trance music fans.
If there is one thing I came out of this whole worthless experience thinking it would be this: Fuck quaint.
“Quaint” is a word used to spin something bad into a positive. When someone says “quaint” , they paint a picture of a simpler life. Everything is old fashioned and unaffected by technology and other new fangled nuisances. in reality, “quaint” means “from the 1950’s”. If i never go anywhere quaint again, it’ll be fine with me. Keep your fucking bottled soda machines and old timey water pumps. This is 2010. Motherfuckers have needs and expectations. Phones. Internet. Basic ways to communicate with others. The ability to not die after 10 pm due to no phones or internet. Basic needs really…all needs that “Quaint” just shits all over. So, in reality, It wasn’t my fault or the organizers of the event . I’d say it’s clear that the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Phonecia, The quaintest little shit hole on the planet.