A friendly heads up to my touring companions

First off, I just wanted to remind you all once again that I’ll be on tour with Emancipator as of tomorrow for a while. Two weeks now and then 10 days in late February. In case you’ve missed it, here are those dates:
1.25 Milford CT @ Daniel Street Club
1.26 Burlington VT @ Higher Ground
1.27 Boston MA @ The Church
1.28 NYC, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
1.29 Buffalo, NY @ Soundlab
2.01 Asheville, NC @ Stella Blue
2.02 Charleston, SC @ The Pourhouse
2.03 Athens GA @ New Earth Music Hall
2.04 Tallahassee FL @ The Engine Room
2.05 Gainsville FL @ The Venue
2.06 Atlanta GA @ King Plow Art Center
2/21Aspen, CO@ Bellyup Aspen
2/22Steamboat Springs, CO @ Ghost Ranch Saloon
2.23 Fort Collins CO @ Hodi’s Half Note
2.24 Boulder CO @ Fox Theatre
2.25 Dallas TX @ Tree’s
2.26 Austin TX @ Aces Lounge
2.27 New Orleans, LA @ The Hookah
Please come out. We’d love to see you. I got all sorts of merch goodies and it should be a good time.
The only downside to touring is that this blog takes a slight productivity hit. I’mma try and post stuff as much a possible but I make no promises. I’m sure I’ll pick up on my “Notes from the road” posts that I did last time. Those were fun and educational.
Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, I figured now might be a good time to give a heads up to my travel companions. Let me explain. This is a small tour. 4 dudes in a van. Me, Emancipator (which is two guys for the tour even though he’s actually one person) and a tour manager. I’ve never met this tour manager but I will be sharing a hotel room with him for the better part of the next month or so. I figure now would be a better time than ever to just let him know to expect when it comes to bunking with me on tour.
First off, I’m a very easy going person when touring. My whole mind set is do what you gotta do and get through it. I rarely complain about anything and , in general, keep an upbeat mood. So, that’s good right? Yeah. However, like all humans, I have my idiosyncrasies. I figure the honorable thing to do is just let you in on them now (even though, in reality, you will never read this blog and have no clue I even have a blog).

This is gonna happen. A lot. Especially considering the kinds of food people tend to eat when on the road. Allow me to just apologize in advance for that. They will be loud and they will smell. I wish I could control either of those things but , unfortunately, that’s impossible. Early in the tour, I may try and hold some of them in out of respect but I’m sure by day 4 , all hell will break loose. Just know it’s nothing personal. My stomach just hates me.

I’m a terrible sleeper in general but, miraculously, I tend to sleep ok when on tour. Feel free to watch Tv while I drift off. In fact, I like a little background noise. I’m not a snorer so that’s a plus. However, there is something you might wanna know about me. I’m a sleep rapist. Just kidding. No, I’ve been told that , particularly when I’ve been drinking, I talk in my sleep. Here’s the thing, I’m always super jovial when I do it. From what I’ve been told (by my girlfriend who has had to actually endure this shit while in the same bed as me) , my sleep talking consists of me giggling uncontrollably, speaking complete gibberish but in a very funny way and , on occasion, making clear statements that make no sense in any context whatsoever. So, yeah, heads up on that. If you hear me exclaim “That barn door was no under the moon stencil!” , just know it means I’m enjoying my dreams.

3)My addiction
I’m not an addictive person. I don’t have many vices. I drink on occasion but you’ll never have to deal with a belligerent drunk that needs tending to. I don’t smoke weed or do coke so you’ll also never have to deal with me either fiending for anything and bothering you about helping me get it. That said, there is one addiction I can’t deny. Internet. I need it. I want it. All the time. The Irony is that my phone is from the 90’s and does not have any internet access. I’ve done that on purpose cause I’m so internet reliant , I prefer to not have it on my phone so I can function when out of the house. I need the break. However, on tour, shit gets real. 6 hours drives with no internet to venues with no internet to hotels with shoddy internet. All I’m saying is that when you see me scramble for my computer at the first sign of Wi-Fi, don’t be alarmed. It’s my addiction at work. I’m checking E-mail , writing a blog, looking at facebook, making fantasy basketball moves or twittering about whatever the fuck pops in my head. So, be aware. In reality, this doesn’t effect you that much but know when I’m connected to the internet after 18 hours of non-connection, I’m dead to the world and trying to communicate with me is futile. unless you wanna send me an E-mail. I’ll answer that right away.

4)Feed me
I’m not one of these people who can not eat for long periods of time. I’ve toured with tons of people who can wake up at 7 am and just not be hungry until noon. While I envy these types, I’m simply not a part of that gang. No matter how tired or hungover I am, I need food within an hour and half of waking up. ALWAYS. If I don’t, I get nauseous and rattled. It’s literally the only time on any tour you might see me freak out a little (not counting when hotel internet doesn’t work. In those cases I might act like someone killed my newborn child in front of me). But don’t fret, this isn’t as big a deal as it seems. While I’d always prefer a meal, I also understand that time is of the essence when touring. We stopping at a gas station? Cool. Beef jerky for breakfast it is. I’m flexible. I just need to put some crap in my stomach. One time, while on the road a few years back, we stopped at a gas station at 7 am after getting about 3 hours of sleep. I was starving and purchased a corn dog and a piece of friend chicken that had been sitting under a heat lamp for probably 12 years. It wasn’t my proudest moment and I paid for it later “fecally”, but it was what I needed at the time. So, yeah, let’s eat.

That’s about it. Not that bad right? Other than all that shit, I’d say I’m a dream tour companion.

A brief rundown of my uneventful weekend AKA That’s so Ravin’

I had a show in Pittsburgh this weekend. Instead of just telling a meandering story that really has no point, I think I’ll just ring off some bullet points. Mostly not related to each other. Some, even , just random thoughts I had during this trip.
Let’s see how this new free form style thing works…I might be applying it to my tour later this week. Who knows…

1)Jet Blue airlines>>>
When I get flown out to do shows, it’s pretty much always on some crap airline that has the cheapest tickets the promoters can find. This is fine as it is par for the course. This week, however, I was lucky enough to fly on Jet Blue. It blows my mind that their type of service has not been enforced as the norm amongst all airports. First off, their terminal at JFK is like some straight up Jetsons shit. If it were a mall, I would go to it. Free wireless. Places to plug in everywhere. Actual decent food (by airport standards). Everything looks new and all the furniture they have looks like it was made for wind resistance. Pointless, yes, but kinda cool none the less.
Secondly, as every knows, they have personal TV’s on very flight and they give you good snacks. Not some dried up old almonds or a 5 dollar cheese and cracker box filled with a Trisket and some Diet Jarlsburg cheese.
Also, the seats are actually comfortable AND the employees are actually friendly. They’re like the opposite of every other shitty airline around.
Not to mention, Jet Blue is relatively cheap.

2)The people of Pittsburgh
Ok, Big generalization coming up…
Is there some sort of law in Pittsburgh that all men over the age of 30 must have thick goatees (with the extra neckbeard extension) , huge guts and wear Jorts?
It’s fucking uncanny.
This is gonna sound like some NYC elitist shit (but if the shoe fits…) but often times when I travel to smaller cities in the mid west (or even semi west coast areas) I feel as if I’ve stepped into a time warp to about 8-10 years ago. Everything is basically the same but slightly off. It’s as if it’s a Wes Anderson movie but with wardrobe done by Blossom. Obviously, I’m not speaking of everyone out there (and in other places) but your average working class person walking the streets en rout to Chili’s.

3)Raves still exist.
Because my solo music is this weird in-between genre type thing (I’d say it hip hop but the lack or rapping changes everything and I perform with a laptop so who the fuck knows), I’ve done lots of shows with all sorts of electronic music people over the past year. Dub step, Break beat stuff , jungle and electro all the way to straight up rave dj’s. I’m pretty much anxious every time I go on stage in these situations cause I know what I’m about to play is nothing like the music these people are here to see. That said, it’s all gone over fairly well thus far so I can’t really complain. Let’s just say, for me, it’s odd. Simply because all these different mini genre’s are very particular and I’m completely clueless about all of them. On many occasions , I’ve opened for people I’ve never heard of who are 50 times more popular than I ever will be. Not a diss to these acts at all, I simply just don’t follow new music. Anyway, All that brings me to that this show in Pittsburgh this weekend was a rave. I’m talking Glow sticks, Colored whistles, Girls dressed like pixies on ecstasy, candy necklaces , Intense sweaty drugged out dudes dancing their balls off and endless under age girls running around half nude making my penis scratch it’s own head. These are things I saw when I was 15…in 1991. Serious time warp. And had it not been for my recent shows, I’d be clueless to this kinda shit still existing. I gotta say, that scenes longevity is pretty astounding.
PS:Motherfuckers were wearing JNCO jeans and chain wallets…IN 2010!!!!! So ill.
PPS: There is no place on earth that I feel older, than at one of these raves. My initial reaction to being at these things is to tell the girls to put some clothes on and stay as far away from the bug eyed, sweaty males as possible.

4)I didn’t do a show this weekend
So, when at a rave, there arelots of things that can go wrong. Over crowding. Over heating. But most of all, young motherfuckers who can not handle their drugs. This rave was all ages and everyone was fucked up. I walked through the crowd at around 10:30 (doors opened around 8ish) and saw a grey faced , barely conscious girl being carried out by security. AT 10:30! jesus christ…get your mind right, bitch! She didn’t even last past the opening DJ. She was attended to by the paramedics and everything seemed fine. That is, until, some dude on a mystery drug started flipping out in the crowd and getting violent. I didn’t see it but apparently he had to be removed by 3 security guards and he was still whyling out when he got outside. Because this was drug induced ($1000 bucks on PCP being that dudes drug of choice), they were forced to call the paramedics again which, in turn, led to the party getting shut down around midnight. It was pretty fucked up cause one bad apple really ruined it for everyone. That shit ended before any of the headlining dj’s (myself included) got on. I felt terrible for the promoter, who had actually done an amazing job on every other level. That shit was sold out before 11. They had to turn away 500 people. Not too shabby. But cause of one dumb kid who got out of hand, the night was a wrap.

5)Whipped cream flavored vodka?
Yes. This exists.
The promoters girlfriend , who was very sweet and accommadating, did me a solid and purchased some vodka for me to drink backstage. That is aways appreciated. Earlier that day, she was driving me from the airport and mentioned whipped cream vodka. In response, I made the fake barfing noise as that sounded like the worst idea on the planet. She insisted it was awesome some more but the topic eventually drifted elsewhere and I pretty much forgot all about. Lo and behold, backstage she had copped me the fabled Whipped cream vodka. And what’s there to mix it with? Kool aid, of course. Feeling an extreme need to not be sober at this insane rave, I made myself a drink. And you know what? It really did taste like whipped cream…mixed with vodka. And you know what else? it tasted like Willy Wonka’s asshole. So, just a heads up , anyone ever wondering what it might be like to felch Willie Wonka, you can now find out. Cheers!

The misconceptions of touring

Back in 2004, I went on my first tour. It was In Europe and I was the opening act on a 4 group bill. Basically, I dj’d while the doors opened and no one gave a shit. My first show was in London in a huge theater that could fit about 2,000 people. I was so nervous, i seriously almost shit in my pants while on stage. This was funny cause, well, there were about 25 people in the venue during my set. It looked like the crowd at a Nets game. Anyway, that tour got my feet wet and I eventually actually got to play for people who had heard of me. I’d be lying if i said I love touring, but it’s not as awful as i used to think it was. Whenever i vocalize this to people who have no toured , they look at me like i’m crazy. This is because ,when most people think of what touring is, they think it’s all fun , all the time and assume it’s some “party like a rockstar” shit. Well, i’m not the bassist in Nickleback, so shit doesn’t exactly roll like that. far from it. Sure, things can occasionally get very fun on tour but the reality is far from what many think of when they envision life on the road. The people who get it the most wrong are usually the people at the shows. Pretty much after every show I’ve ever done, someone asks a variation of the “where’s the party!?” question. I almost feel bad when they give me that disappointed look after tell them “we’re going back to the hotel so we can sleep for 3 hours and drive for 9 hours tomorrow”. Bummer , bro, I know.

Now, bear in mind, i’m a laptop show having douche bag and that’s obviously a huge difference from a rock band or even a rapper. Different crowds, often different venues…but still, here are some misconceptions and truths to touring. Allow me to list them in an orderly fashion::

1)It’s a month long party
i’ve heard that there are tours like this but i’ve never been near one. Honestly, i don’t think i’d want to be. You ever drink three nights in a row and not get any sleep? Fuck that shit. That’s like begging for diariahh and the delium tremons. The reality is that , unless you’re one of those “built to party” gladiator types, being hungover and performing sucks. It also sucks to be sitting in a crowded van driving for 5 hours and wanting to barf the whole time.

I did most of my touring as single man (IE: i haven’t had a serious tour in years) While i definitely have hooked up with girls while on tour, I wouldn’t call them “groupies”. In most cases, I had some sort of contact with them prior to that evening or I straight up already knew them. Even with those considerations, there haven’t been many. I realize this makes me sound like a total pussy but I’m honest. I wish i was lying.
The thing people fail to understand about touring is that, for indy artists who don’t have millions of dollars and lots of time off between shows, it’s MUCH harder to even coordinate than you could ever imagine. First off, A lot of these shows are “all ages”. I’m 33 now. When i was touring more, i was in my late 20’s-early 30’s. Every girl i saw under 23 looked 16 to me. I’m not trying to be on “To catch a predetor”. Secondly, the logistics. When you tour, you’re not alone. You have everyone else on that tour with you…all the time. We either all share hotel rooms or we all sleep on a tour bus in tiny bunks that are better suited for people the size of a guitar. In the case of hotels, unless a girl is willing to have sex with you while another dude pretends to read a book in a bed 3 feet away, it’s pretty much a no go. If your lucky, and she’s a real dime bag whore, you could possibly pull the bathroom escapade off but girls like that are few and far between…and they also most likely fucked ever band that’s been to that town in the last year.
With tour buses, we often would leave immediately after the show en route to the next destination. Unless a girl is willing to travel to another city AND have sex is a casket sized bed, that is a no-go as well. Not to mention, any girl willing to do those things is probably a disgusting groupie , which leads me too the ladies themselves. Groupies! By nature, groupies are gross. In theory, they’re the best thing on the planet for a single traveling musician. Good to go girls. Who doesn’t like that? I just can’t front, it’s fucking bizarre to meet someone who , as a stranger, is right off the bat , willing to let you put your penis inside them. You don’t know them for shit. You’ve never spoken. but regardless of all that, it’s a go. Eh…I’ll pass.
On a side note about groupies, the illest is when a girl is WITH HER BOYFRIEND at a show and trying to set shit off. I’ve only seen this a couple times but it’s brutal…Especially when the boyfriend is a fan of the artist. Rouch…That kinda shit can hurt your sales in the “lonely broken hearted masturbator” market and , as you all know, that’s a key demographic for most indy rappers nowadays.

3) Touring is living some sort of high life
The misconception that touring is some sort of jiggy experience is funny.
Touring is sporadic showering in hotels. Touring is getting a cold and sharing it with your friends. Touring is always being tired and rarely taking a good shit.
Touring is a lot of driving and a lot of shitty food. I basically sweat Cracker Barrel gravy around the fifth day of the tour. The crazy shit is, Cracker Barrel is the pinnacle of highway dining. When i was last touring, we sought that shit out. And you know what? It was pretty fucking good…for a few days. After two days of that, regular bowel movements were as real as unicorn pussy.
The thing is, touring is a grind. It some shit we as artists HAVE to do to support ourselves. It’s one of the least glamorous things you could ever do. Sure, the shows are often a lot of fun and there are parts that make you feel like a superstar. But for every thing like that, there is a 6 am wake up call in the hotel or a venue with no toilet paper and no doors on the bathroom stalls.

4)Fans are great.
fans ARE great. it’s cool meeting the people who love your music, But, like most things, there are rotten apples in the bunch. I’d say 95% of the people i’ve met over the years have been cool. Normal people who like music and appreciate an artists contributions. The other 5% however…fuck them. These are the motherfuckers who apperently were raised by wolves and never learned the simple rules of human engagement. They corner you and talk till you tell them to stop. They ask wildly innapropriate questions and feel justified about it cause they’ve illegally downloaded your albums. The worst are the ones who think they’re “cutting through the bullshit” by just saying some really rude shit to you as if they know you. Some shit like “dude, that new album kinda sucks…” or “you got fat, huh?”. I just don’t get that whole mind set. You came to my show to tell me that? Has that approach ever worked on any level in the history of the universe? Like i’m gonna be all “hey man, i appreciate your brutal honesty even though I ,in no way ,shape or form, asked for it. would you like to be my close friend and possibly make music together in the future?”.
Trust me, the best response one can hope for in that situation is “go fuck yourself dickface”.

I recently did a show with some of the best promoters I’ve ever dealt with. They were on point and hospitable to a point that really makes most everyone I’ve ever encountered prior to them, look bad.
It’s safe to say that the majority of the promoters out there are pretty much the worst people on the planet. Just truly worthless people who’s only talents are to be pushy and , occasionally, get people to come to a show. I mean, they usually do mean well. I’m not denying that. It’s just there seems to be particular kind of mind set that goes hand in hand with that job. That mindset is that of a complete dipshit. fortunately, when on an actual tour, they aren’t really an issue. You usually have a tour manager and he’s dealing with all that shit. It’s the random one off shows where these guys really show their true colors. They are the car salesmen of the music industry.

With all this said, I’m hopefully gonna be touring this year. Perhaps in the states, perhaps in europe. I dunno yet. But i’ll be sure to let you know allllllll about it when I find out.
Oh, and if I come to your town, I appreciate the offer, but I don’t smoke weed. But really, thanks for asking.