We went somewhere to play this show and…
Stories of eventful happenings while we were off rock staring.
Stories of eventful happenings while we were off rock staring.
As some of you devoted blog reader(s) might remember, we have a good friend in Denver, and we like to visit her. We also like playing rock and roll and viewing bear attacks. So, when the oppertunity came for Maudlin (That’s my, quote un-quote -cool band) to play at UMS we said, “yes please, and some bears with that!”
There are two ways for people who haven’t discovered planes yet to get to Denver: the evil, endless farmyard known as “Nebraska” or South Dakota. Now, some people might not like all things to see in South Dakota, but we can all agree that there is nothing to see in Nebraska. (I hate you Nebraska! I hate you more than bad whale analogies!) …Anyway, there’s this place called Bear Country USA in South Dakota, next to Deadwood. There are bears there. You can pay fifteen dollars and the let you drive around in a big back yard with sixty bears- it’s basically like swimming with sharks. …except the sharks are furry. So… we did that.
(There are lots off really bad family videos of Priscilla and I driving around here that rival the Blair Witch Project, but I decided not to include them.)
After Bear Country USA, we headed on to Wyoming! …Not much had changed there since the last time we passed through. We did meet a gas station attendant who had never been pulled over by the man before. Never. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been pulled over. I must just look like trouble- trouble with a burnt out headlight.
So, just when I had made up my mind that the only way I would ever get out of the car was to veer off the road into a tree- when ever I saw one- we reached the mile high city. We showed up at Steph’s several hours late- which surprised no one, and promptly went to sleep. In the morning we presented Steph with a traditional travelers gift: a wolf hat.
The next day we performed the first of our two showcases at UMS. In our haste to get to the bear yard, we forgot Jason back in Minnesota, so our agent, Craig Grossman, was kind enough to sit in with us. Big thanks to all of our new friends in Denver! We had a blast playing!
And then I forgot my bass… my Frank Black autographed Rickenbacker… I am an idiot. But, the good people of Denver didn’t steal it, and arrangements have been made to meet at Bear Country USA again and get it back… Good fun, lots of forgotten things, and lots of bears… That’s about all I’ve got for this blog. FAIL. Le sigh…
In Brief: I hate to keep ragging on Ben Stiller… but did anyone see Greenberg? It’s the dramatic tail of a suicidal washed up musician, who sexually assaults his brothers barely legal housekeeper. It’s ok though, because after he assaults her, then verbally berates her, she realizes that she’s actually in love with him, and he’s not such a bad guy. He finds out that being a douche bag always gets you chicks, even if you’re a complete loser. I hope everyone who routinely takes all of their social cues from poorly dramatized realism is paying careful attention to this film.
This picture kind of sums things up. New Yorkers are the nicest people in the world, they didn’t even kick us out! We were invited to play the CMJ Music Marathon, and braved the long bore of the Ohio Turnpike to see what the Big Apple had in store for Maudlin. Well, it had great food, kidnapings, vandalism, and grand theft mannequin, that’s what it had in store.
This is where it all started. Downtown Manhattan, in some club somewhere, they had created a ‘musicians lounge.’ This lounge had free booze, free food, free haircuts, free massages, and free interviews with Walter from Stabbing Westward. …So we ended up hanging out there most of the time.
While all the New Yorkers we met on the street were fantastic, we soon found out that most of the 1200 bands from all over the world who came to New York were made up of boring people. As we tried to live it up, they mostly stood in tightly nit groups talking to their own bandmates. Then one really stupid chick I was talking to tried to argue with me about the size and danger of moose. WTF?!?!?!
I was telling a story, I could tell she really wanted to hear, about my family camping trip to Superior National Forest, and I mentioned that a big moose walked out on to the road. It was huge! We were driving a little Focus, and I said the thing was nearly three times as tall as we were. Then she was all like saying this really stupid crap about how moose aren’t that big, and I was full of it, and that they were like big deer and couldn’t hurt anything.
Well, I had never punched a girl before, and I didn’t think now would be a good time to start, but I really wanted to. Instead I found the first woodsy looking guy I could- some dude in a wolf mural sweatshirt. It was ugly as sin, and clearly a joke, but something told me- this guy knows his animals. Turns out he used to give wildlife tours in Alaska. They would scare off black bears that had come on to the resort with golf carts, because, as we all know, black bears are the nancys of the large predator world. He told me they received special training on what to do if you ran into a grizzly while hiking- but if you ran in to a moose up close… you’re just screwed. I lost track of that chick… but someday she’ll get hers…
Anyway, then Jason drank way too much and took over an entire sofa by himself after a lunch stop in Little Itally where he managed to smash a framed picture of James Gandolfini in his inebriation.
Eventually, we found a band that was not boring to chat with, Robotanists. They hailed from LA, and had a bizarre fetish for mannequin hands. Now, I have to give credit where credit is due- they were the first to steal a body part off the mannequin. But Maudlin is not a band to be outdone. Who would be stupid enough to put a bunch of designer clothes on a mannequin and then leave it in a room with musicians and unlimited free alcohol? Yeah, exactly. We plundered the mannequin for clothes and limbs like it was 1725!
As an after thought to all the shenanigans, Maudlin also played a showcase at the Lit Lounge which was great…
Bars in New York stay open until four, and music only went until one. The Lit neglected to let us know that the “green room” became the “smoking lounge” after two… So we had all over our gear spread out when hooligans began to flood in all over everything. Poor Jason ended up getting stuck watching things and was whiteness to several prostitutes haggling with people about ‘jobs.’ Eventually we had to make an escape before Jason was thrown into a deal as a bargaining chip.
We got back to the lovely Wendy’s place where we were staying in the East Village, and I realized I had forgotten the Green Room banner. Green Room Music Source is our booking agency, which I also now work for. I was entrusted with the safety of the banner, and I wasn’t about to lose it, so I told Jason and Priscilla I would be right back and I darted out to hail a cab. It was 3:30 am and I had half an hour to get back to Lit Lounge, but it was only ten blocks, so I wasn’t worried.
I got into a cab and said ‘Take me to 93 2nd Ave” I think the guy said ‘ok’ in some language, but I’m really not sure. Pretty soon he turned onto the freeway, and I quickly tried to explain that I was only trying to go to 93 2nd Ave, which was only a few blocks away. The driver reassured me he know where he was going. Then he told me he was trying to avoid bar traffic because it was dangerous… (as he did 90 on the freeway, slamming on the breaks several times, very nearly rear ending other cars…) When the drive continued I began to argue with him. ”I’m trying to get to 93 2nd, it’s ten blocks from where you picked me up, this is not the right way!” He finally exited onto 93 street and told me that 2nd ave was just a few blocks away. This is important. In New York they use intersections as opposed to street addresses. 93 2nd Ave is in the East Village, 93 AND 2nd ave is in East Harlem. He pulled over and tried to kick me out… What a d-bag.
Finally, after a shouting match with this guy, we were back on the way to the East Village, and my four dollar cab ride turned into a thirty dollar cab ride. I was able to get the sign though, so it wasn’t all bad. It was no surprise to us when we hailed a cab the next morning to take us to Seth’s place in North Arlington, NJ that this cab driver was also retarded.
Driver: Where are you going?
Maudlin: North Arlington, NJ
Driver: Ok, fifty five bucks plus tolls
Maudlin: Ok (we load in and start driving)
Driver: Where is North Arlington
Maudlin: *le sigh*
Later we realized he had pee bottles in the front seat …if only we had seen them sooner… But, all and all, it was a fantastic blast of a time! The locals were all great, and far better looking than the locals anywhere else- and therefor better. We can’t wait to go back!
See you guys later!
WARNING: HARRY POTTER SPOILERS WITHIN
There are somethings that everyone experiences once or twice in their life; getting trapped in a room full of naked women is one of these things. I clearly remember the first time it happened to me. I was eighteen years old and employed as a pizza delivery boy. I was on a routine run out to St Mary’s University in the mutant little town of Winona, MN. It was the summer time, probably in July- on a day not unlike this day.
When I pulled on to campus there weren’t any people around, which made sense because school wasn’t in session. I made my way to the dormitory on the pizza order; it looked deserted. I rang the buzzer and then waited. Nothing. Just when I was going to take off, something magical happened. The door was pulled open by… a hot chick in a bath towel. She was very excited to see me, and lead me into the dorm hallway- and there they were- dozens of other hot chicks wearing nothing but towels. (I know that many of you already think I’m full of it, but, I’m totally not. Why God let this happen before the invention of the camera phone, I don’t know; you’ll just have to take my word for it. )
Now, the normal reaction you see when some random guy walks in on a herd of feral women running around mostly nude is pretty negative. Guys, am I right? But, these where no ordinary feral women. They were a giant troupe of all girl soccer players staying on campus all weekend for an all girls soccer tournament- meaning there weren’t ANY dudes there at all. They were like starving derelicts attacking me like I was the dumpster behind a Perkins. ”Oh, Mr. Pizza Boy, came hang out with us!”
“Pizza Man, get your picture taken with us”
“Over here, us too Pizza Inferno”
“No, pay attention to us! Pizza Stallion!”
“We hunger for your loins Darth Pizza Boy- Take us now!”
I’m pretty sure I started crying at some point, weeping tears of joy. They were all hot like Hermione, and I could tell they were interested in my magic wand. But then, like always, some uglies ruined it all.
“Blarg narg ahooga, Pizza Guy! Get over here now- We feed now!” …I kept crying. Three breasts from down the hall forcefully dragged me away from the sirens like some horrid high school soccer version of Cerberus into their hellish dorm room. They took their pizza, tipped me poorly, and kicked me out.
Later that evening, another call came in from the same address for more pizza. I stole the order from another driver, desperate to recreate the magic. It was no use, even the Half Blood Prince couldn’t have conjured that moment back up, not even if he was wearing his prosthetics from Galaxy Quest! More ugoes had ordered this pizza, and they met me outside the building. I would have to wait ten more years before this would happen again… (foreshadowing)
So, for those of you who follow my sweet band maudlin, you know that we like playing bizarre shows. The more weird the better as far as I’m concerned. (As long as the weird part has nothing to do with the compensation…)
We were asked by Donette, a peach of a young lady who claims to wear one of our buttons on her lapel, to play a show to help raise money for Susan G Komen Breast cancer research. Charity and flattery both go a long way for us, however, throwing in a boob themed “Racktacular” with burlesque show and an art bra contest really pushed us over the edge.
It was a great show, and things were going well. We were hanging out, we were talking it up, and then we decided to go into the green room. When you’re famous you’re probably hiding there from fans, when your us you’re down there looking for free things. Sure enough, there were beverages and snacks… and changing girls.
The burlesque troupe from Lili’s Burlesque were also using the space for their costume changes. There was a little partition between the cookies and liquor and the area where the girls were getting read for their show. There wasn’t a whole lot of space and I just kind of tried to not look past the cookies. Jason snapped a picture of me with the ladies, and then went upstairs to get ready to take more pictures of the art bras. Priscilla and I sat downstairs in the green room a little longer… which turned out to be a little too long.
Before we had thought about when we were going to leave, it was time for the girls to start. They all filed up the stairs and waited in line to model the art bras. The way the club was set up, we’d have had to walk right past them and the stage to get back into the audience, and it didn’t seem like that would be appropriate. Priscilla said she was going to try it anyway. She deceivingly said she would go up the stairs and see if there was a clear path and then come and get me if there was.
She went up the stairs and never returned. …but the Lili’s girls did- and in a frantic hurry. One by one they came running down the stairs, some starting to shed the little clothes they were wearing as they went. They went towards the cookies and then came running back with new lingerie on. I was feeling awkward long before this, but now I was feeling really awkward. I positioned myself facing the stairs with my back to the cookie/naked parts area. I was pretty sure that they were all probably thinking, ‘why is this douche still here,’ but I could really find a good opening to run up and escape. Finally, I mustered the courage to ask a woman sprinting past undoing her bra.
“Um, can I sneak up the stairs to get out of here, or should I just wait here?” I’m sure my voice was cracking like Harry Potter’s on a first date. “No,” was the reply. …Now, to be honest, I had no clue what that even meant. I went back to my space on the couch and tried to focus on twittering on my phone. [mrmaudlin -follow me!] Eventually, it was all over and I bolted back upstairs. By then it was time for our set, so I went right into setting up. Ironically, I didn’t even see most of the art bras until after the show when they were hanging up at the silent auction. …I did see lots of girl butts running up stairs though.
Maudlin played a pretty hot set, and when it was all over we all decided we should end the night at Weber World. …only Jason had decided it was time to let his dog out to pee. So, he left the club with the only vehicle big enough to haul our gear fifteen minutes before the place closed and said he’d be right back when the dog was relieved. So we waited. And waited. …and waited. Eventually he came back and we all climbed around in the new fuselage room until like, four or five.
So now it’s time for a new part of my blog that I’m going to call, “In Review.” …basically I’ll briefly review several things I’ve recently seen, heard or done. Ready?
The Talented Mr Riply: Finally got around to seeing this one because Target has it on sale for $2.99. …This whole movie is basically one giant documentary about how huge Matt Damon’s teeth are.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Wizard: Hermione still doesn’t get naked in this one, and Harry Potter hasn’t been killed, bludgeoned, or cruelly maimed yet either. I’m hoping for the best with the next one. Still, you can’t really dislike a children’s movie where a goth gang throws and old man out a window to plummet to his death can you? I can’t.
Many and many a year ago a couple of outdoorsy guys named Lewis and Clark went from some place out east, west to Napa Valley and back looking for refined wines and tan babes. They had half of the dangers we have in the modern world, yet they lost half their party. Priscilla and I did almost the same thing last week and no one died. I can’t believe they got paid for that and we didn’t. Anyway, (que flash back music) it went a little something like this…
We wanted to go out to Denver to visit our good friend Steph. Since the government outright refused to commission us to do this, we decided to pay for it ourselves. After months of foreknowledge of the trip, we started planning on Tuesday night- the night we were leaving. We decided to drive to Sioux Falls, SD the first night. Our friend William Shatner helped us negotiate a deal on a room at the Sheraton last minute, which was nice of him. And now we just had to get there in one piece…
Looming over our heads was the bat-shit crazy prophecy of some lady Priscilla works with. She told her that she has a recurring dream where Priscilla and I die in a horrible car wreck and they also find that Priscilla is pregnant with our first child. She followed that zinger up with several other stories about how she’d dreamed things that had come true, concluding happily that she’s always right about these things… (I kind of feel like, if you don’t have anything nice to prophesy about, then don’t prophesy about anything at all.)
We arrived at the Sheriton at about 1am and we went to sleep. The morning had harsh news waiting for us. There was no continental breakfast. I know we only paid $50 for the room… but normally it was $129. I expect breakfast with anything I pay that much for. But, we didn’t throw in the towel- not on reaching Denver, and not on eating breakfast.
Before we continued on, we need to get a new camera, so we set out looking for a department store. The rural west is like some national park where endangered department stores like Pamida and Shopko hide from extinction. We came upon a Kmart in a desolate parking lot. We were able to get inside before it saw us and ran away. There amidst the Jacklyn Smith collection we found the stores remaining electronics and bought a camera. CNow wer were ready to face the long blah of South Dakota.
Here’s a red flag questions for states. Is everything valuable, desirable, or bearable significantly closer to an adjoining state than to the interior of the state itself? If so, it’s likely that state blows. Case in point: South Dakota. (For further examples please see Nebraska, Illinois, or Kansas. If you are unsure of where desirable parts of your state are, try googling your state. If you reside in North Dakota, then google the state you’re planning on living in when you move.)
To get to the ironically named “Bad” Lands and “Black” Hills of South Dakota you need to drive through several hundred miles of utter crap. Rolling fields of nothing. The only thing to do is just take the car to top speed and surf the Internet to stay awake while you drive. The best parts of the state lay on it’s meaty west side, close to the frightening Montana.
In the bad lands we took video on our cell phone of me running into a field of hundreds of prairie dogs trying to chase them, but all you can see is my blurry head moving back and forth with lots of ambient wind noise. I’m not going to include it. However, I feel it’s important to note that I did that.
After chasing prairie dogs, climbing out the clay edges of the hill things, and purchasing potato chips for an inebriated native who asked us for a ride to the next town, we’d seen every thing South Dakota had to offer. We were ready to get to Deadwood. Also Walldrug sucks- It just sucks.
We finally got to Deadwood and I won $100 from a dealer who was a jerk. Which was good because William Shatner was no help with the hotel rates in Deadwood. We payed $90 for a queen room. …this was the smallest hotel room I had ever seen; like someone crammed a queen bed into the bathroom. What’s worse? No continental breakfast. I was really starting to get irritated by that…
The next day we woke up and got ready to go to Bear Country USA! Bear Country is this zoo type place where all the animals roam free, and you drive through and look at them. They can walk up to the cars- I even heard that a few toddlers got killed there! We were pumped.
We exited Deadwood and were back on the open road. An hour later we saw a welcome to Wyoming sign. The realization that we’d made a huge mistake flooded over us the same way it floods over most people who find themselves reading that sign. In our case, the mistake was that we were trying to get over by Mount Rushmore, south east of Deadwood, and instead we went south west and ended up in another state. Fortunately, the road we accidentally took did happen to go to Denver, so we decided to keep going and leave Bear Country for another time.
Wyoming is big and it has hills. Hills kind of vary state to state. Minnesota has river bluffs, which are steep and cliff like. The black hills are pretty steep too, but they’re not following a river and there aren’t really cliffs. They are pretty much all pines too, where as Minnesota sports a greater variety of trees. Wyoming has these really slow slopping large hills with lots of scrub brush on them. I know this whole paragraph is really boring… this was the best I could come up with for the five hours I was in Wyoming.
Eventually we got to Colorado, and shortly after that we could see the Rocky Mountains. The looked just like the Coors can. Denver’s elevation is about a mile from sea level, so they call it the mile high city- not to be confused with the mile high club, which is something else. We found our friend Steph, and went out for fish tacos- the second time in a week. It made me nervous and awkward, but I did it.
The next day we set out on a mission to cross the continental divide and hike deep into the Rock Mountains. We drove for several ear popping hours west and up. One interesting thing we noticed is that all the trees were dead. Steph’s boyfriend Glen told us that some mutant beatle had been feeding on the trees, and due to global warming, it doesn’t get cold enough to kill them in the winter anymore. I suggested burning them out, but in retrospect I guess regrowing the whole forest after the fact should probably be a last resort. Anyway, I could the spirit of John Denver singing about planting trees all the way.
Steph and Glen like to go hiking, and they’ve both lived in Denver for years. So they took us to a mountain slope they knew and we stared up. I was pretty worried about cougar attacks because they are on the ‘remotely possible’ spectrum of things that could happen, and I’m on the ‘very much so’ spectrum of paranoid. It’s just like Kurt Cobain said, ‘Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean I’m not after you.’ …and in this case I think that applies to mountain lions.
I was watching my back pretty closely, and bravely refusing to let Priscilla carry up the rear. (Is that the correct phraseology for that? ’Carry up the rear?’) Cougars, as we all know, like to attack from behind and from above if possible. Naturally they also go straight for the jugular. If you see a cougar in the woods, the only reason you’re seeing it is because it’s stalking you. They’re a no nonsense killer. Not at all like the all too common brown bear, which is known to be pretty much a wuss.
As we hiked, something changed about my brain. I started to care less and less about the enormous killer feline that was probably right behind me. I started to feel a little woozy. My legs weren’t tired at all, but I was out of breath and my heart was beating a mile a minute. Priscilla must have been feeling the same way because she was complaining even more than usual. Steph and Glen seemed just fine. Then it struck me, we’d caught the Rocky Mountain High.
Aside from a pretty mediocre song, it’s also what happens to you when the elevation reduces the amount of oxygen in the air. Also known as ‘elevation sickness’ and ‘tennis elbow.’ Even though I diagnosed this, Steph and Glen kept right on moving at a normal pace up the mountain, presuming we were pansies. They’re like the creatures from Superman II who come to earth and find that they have super powers because of the yellow sun and their super dense bodies. …only it was like the reverse, and we went to their planet and could no longer use our laser eyesight. It totally sucked.
Eventually it started to get dark. We were at about 13,000 feet by then, only a few hundred from the summit. The trees were thinning and snow was on the ground in spots. We were on a clear mountain lake next to the ruins of a small encampment with log cabins that were probably a few hundred years old. The road to the summit started to switch back after that, so it would have taken too long to get up to the top and back down again before dark, so we decided to go home. And then, my phone rang.
Yes, at 13,000 feet, on the side of a mountain, my cell phone rang.
Phone: *ring ring*
Chris: “Dude, what’s up? We’re watching this video of this old show from high school for Todd’s band, and you were running sound. You totally suck at running sound…”
David: “I’m at 13,000 feet on the side of a mountain”
David: “On mountain, reception bad”
Chris: “You want to talk to Todd?”
David: “There are lions here.”
Todd: “What’s up man?”
David: “One ate my hand.”
David: “I’m on a mountain at 13,000 feet, I can’t talk”
Todd: “Yeah, we’re watching this video from high school”
David: “I can’t hear anything, I’m on a mountain.”
Todd: “So what are you guys doing?”
David: “I’m on a mountain, I can’t talk Todd”
Todd: “Ok, well I should probably let you go.”
Thanks Verizon, for letting me share that incoherent moment with someone 1000 miles east, and 12,000 feet down.
Anyway, we went back down, and no one was eaten. The rest of the trip I had a splitting headache, which I later learned was also part of the Rocky Mountain High. So, to combat feeling hung over, we went to a winery. I knew nothing about wines. I knew they were color coded, and that was it. The biggest surprise for me was that these little taste test things with wine and cheese and crackers are free. Free! Yeah, you go to the place that makes the wine, and they just give it to you. Then they serve you free snacks. I also learned I prefer Cabs to Shiraz and Merlot; and I prefer the cheese and crackers to wine.
After that we went to an art show, then to the obligatory performance. Jason wasn’t with us in town, but the good people of Denver still wanted a show. So Priscilla and I played a short acoustic set at The Hi Dive. When it was done, we promptly said our good buys to Denver and our friends, and hit the road. By the time we were edging dangerously close to Nebraska we decided to stop for the night. We went to this cheap joint that I’m positive several people were had been murdered in. And, wouldn’t you guess it, no free breakfast. I could have screamed. Instead I peed in the courner of the room.
We awoke with the heavy weight of the length of Nebraska in front of us. The first sign we see entering the freeway: DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS, FEDERAL PRISON NEARBY. Well. Ok then. We didn’t encounter any escapees that we know of, but we did encounter boredom. Can you imagine if you had to ride through that crap on a horse and it took you weeks? I’m sure that all the stories surrounding the loss of life on Lewis and Clarks trip were made up. They all killed themselves in the great plains. Again, I saved my sanity by surfing the net while I drove.
When all hope seemed lost, we reached Iowa. We took a wrong turn there and found a car turned into a spider. …yeah. We left pretty quickly. At 9pm central standard time we finally got home to St. Paul, MN. …and then had to go to work the next day. Puke. That’s about that. …also, no one really died on the Lewis and Clark expedition… one dude got sick and died, but sources say it was related to a methamphetamine addiction.
Oh, and when we got back we found a small pirate costume on our bed… We called Laurel who was appartment sitting for us, and she said she brought it over to try and put on our cat. …but it didn’t work out because Leeloo resisted. Well, Priscilla and I had a talk with Leeloo about how she treats guests…
It started out where all great weekends start- Hooters. I go to Hooters all the time because I love the taste of their wings! …ok, that’s not true. I don’t frequent Hooters, and the one time I ate there their food bit. However, Jason and I were downtown Minneapolis at the 7th Street Entry for a last minute show for the United Way and we were hungry. Jason claimed that the chili was good there… I didn’t buy that, we went in anyway. We ended up getting wings … they sucked.
Our server, Samantha, (Who was a little under dressed I might add) turned out to be a professional douchebag handler. …She didn’t tell me that persay. However, I told her I was going to call her “Sam” and requested that she get her picture taken with me for no reason, and she pleasantly agreed, so I knew something was odd. Normally I would expect that she would act all creeped out and then spit in my food, but, when I saw her move on to the next table I could tell she had been professionally trained. The men there were all much older, and much, much more out of shape than we were, making jokes and comments twelve time as lame as anything we said. And she pretended she enjoyed that as well. That’s the mark of a bonafid pro. Kind of America’s Geishas really. Geishas in hot pants.
So, anyway, then we went back to the 7th Street Entry for the United Way show. It was odd because it was a 5pm show. Rock The Cause had asked us to play, when the United Way asked them for help securing acts for their happy hour show. Also answering the call were The Notties. It was a pretty standard deal, we got up there and figuratively showed people a little bit of our butts poking out from our musical hot pants. The crowed figuratively leered at us. …or something like that. But, Maudlin was just getting starting on this fine Friday afternoon.
After we finished our set we raced across the metro to the mall in Minnetonka to the Hot Topic for the last in our series of Hot Topic shows we were playing all over the Twin Cities. If you’ve ever been in a clothing store, and if you’ve ever seen a band play, just put those two things together. All told, by 8pm we had played two different shows. This is earlier than we’ve ever been done playing one show on a Friday night, let alone two. We decided to celebrate.
We went to Scott’s place. …and I forget what we did. I think we went swimming there and listened to the douche from the spare room tell us his favorite vegetable was Cheetos. …I hear this weekend he left a saw on the ground by the pool and Scott stepped on it… Anyway, I’m sure we did some other fun things, and then moved on to the next day. On Saturday we went to Debuque for our third and final show of the weekend.
Dubuque is Jason’s home land. A vintage river town on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, she sports more idiots on water craft than imaginable, and we were three of them. Jason’s mom was also turning 60, and we participated in a surprise party. Our show was at The Silver Dollar Cantina. The manager, Michelle is a kindly spunky lady who was desperately in need of smokes when we arrived. I helped her out by running to the oke dokee- some kind of inbred gas station chain- I was instructed to by her menthols. She smokes them, even though they’re awful, because then no one wants to bum smokes from her. A wise woman.
Our pals in Little Man opened up the show while the staff laid gifts of fish tacos in front of us. …it was a brave move to put fish in tacos, combining two foods that have the same sexual innuendo attached to them… When it was our turn to play Jason got a little nervous because his mom was there, but she loves him unconditionally, so he lucked out. He also performed a few rare Jason Nelson originals as an encore to our performance.
The following day we went back out on the river. Given my track record with watercraft, you can guess that I nearly died. Fortunately you have to hit something harder than water to cause permanent damage. Also, urine washes out of swim trunks quite easily, so no irrevocable damage was done to anything other than my pride.
Then we drove home. That was two weeks ago I think… June 27th. And the next week Priscilla and I were scheduled to take a trip to the wild west, which we did, but I need to start a new blog for that…
It started out like any Maudlin adventure; something went wrong. Priscilla gave me a call on Thursday at work and she was having an asthma attack. I’m sure that normally sucks, but it was a little extra sucky/odd because Priscilla didn’t have asthma. I got worried and decided to leave work and go check on her. Well, apparently, now ahe does have asthma… So she wasn’t very excited about that, but she was ok. To make things worse, we were out of cat food. Both of our cats had already given us verbal warnings about the issue, and we decided that we couldn’t go out of town without getting more food. Jason’s girlfriend of seven years had also just dumped him a few nights before. (This didn’t really have anything to do with our departure time, but it’s a recent event that I thought should be added ) All and all, we got on the road for Chicago a little late.
We got off the road at about 1:00 AM in Dubuque, IA. Jason’s folks have a house boat there and we climbed aboard and watched that horrible train wreck of a film about cheerleaders with Kirstin Dunst. This is kind of a traditional houseboat film. …if you’re not familiar with houseboats. In addition, it is also unrelated to the story at large, which has to do with us going to Chicago to play a show.
Chicago is a big city. Some people seem to think that this also means that it has strange and evil powers, like traffic the likes of which, no mortal has ever lived tell!! …but, mostly, it’s a big city… so it has more cars. Minneapolis sports fewer cars, but also fewer competent drivers, so we are able to create similar drive times with half the people. No one striped our vehicle while we were inside a gas station and liquidated the parts in mere seconds while we tried to pay for gas… this is another urban legend.
But that doesn’t mean Chicago was free of crime- Not one bit. They actually charge you to go up in the Sears tower to look around. I kid you not. They charge you to look out of their tall building’s windows… We didn’t figure this out until we were half way through the 45 minute wait to get to the elevator. Once we were that far, we decided we’d better go all the way.
So we waited… and waited… and waited. …and finally we got crammed into an elevator like sardines with about fifty other tourists and rocketed to the top. …which wasn’t really the top… it was the 99th of 127 floors, which was as high as they would let us go.
When we got out there were windows. From the windows you could see the whole city, all fifteen dollars worth! There was also a gift shop where you could buy a card board cut outs of Obama? …my guess is they based their selections for the gifts for the 99th floor after seeing the affects of high altitudes and depleted oxygen on the human brain; no healthy person would have bought anything there. And then, just when I thought our lack luster journey couldn’t lack less luster, something awful happened- I had to crap.
Now, we all know the value of the “home thrown advantage,” but, when you can’t be at home, you usually try to find a low traffic, a safe looking spot. …this was not that spot. Here, at the top of the western hemisphere, in a small bathroom where countless touring hoards had shat before me, I relieved myself. Not much is known about the long term effects of high altitude deification, so I can only hope for the best.
Also, in Chicago, we played a show. I’m pretty sure that I plugged this website more times in one interview, than anyone has ever plugged any website in any interview. So, I’m really hoping that when they put the video up there’s something good on my front page. Anyway, we sounded like ass I’m pretty sure. Naturally people still said that it was great, and we took the praise, but it was a little sub par. My friend Craig came to see us, and he said that we sounded good… but he’s a pastor, so I’m pretty sure that’s all he’s allowed to say. I blame Jason’s girlfriend for dumping him and putting a kink in our normally rigorous practice schedule. Normally when we’re feeling like pouty rock stars we like to throw TV sets out hotel windows, but we were staying with friends, and they did very specifically say we were not allowed to do that.
So, after Chicago, we were off to Green Bay- or rather, De Pere, a suburb of Green Bay. After driving for seven hours in Chicago traffic we’d finally reached the outskirts of the metro area, where the McDonalds City is over the tollway. I think it’s five miles from downtown. We ate at KFC in the overpass land, because a recent news article had dared us to temp fate.
When we got to Green Bay we were welcomed by a kindly man with a jackknife tattooed on his neck. He showed us to the complimentary green room foods where we awaited our performance. This place was a riot. I’ve never seen so many people who wanted a good time. It was a great show, and, of course, we killed it. (Like in a good way. Not like we actaully killed anyone or the event itself; like we played well.) They made Chicago look pretty unhip; it was very ironic. Scantily clad women attacked me while I was playing, which was a rock star first for me. …didn’t look like it was a first for them. Anyway, great show. Don’t underestimate the cheaderheads people. After we were done our pals the Melismatics played and I showed Pony how to kill a man with my Tae Kwon Do prowess when the show was over.
Naturally, after we left, we were pulled over by the police for suspected drunk driving. Now, even though Jason was taking us down a one way in the not-so-right direction, one look at him should have reassured them that he was not a raging alcoholic. Wisconsin cops are all total d-bags when you’re from Minnesota though. It’s an unwritten code. So Jason had to do a field sobriety test. …which he failed. Sure that they had their man, they followed up with a breathalyzer. Jason scored a 0.0, which, for this game is high score. Baffled by his lack of coordination, the police let him go. …but not before harassing Priscilla for taking picture and trying to tell her that it was illegal to do so. …It’s not.
COP: “Those better not show up one of those internet youtube sites!”
Anyway. after that we went to a Super 8 motel. We did this because Little Man’s wife had told us that this Super 8 was voted best in the country and had an awesome breakfast and such. Well, with a build up like that we should have known something was wrong. Super 8 doesn’t even track which of it’s motels are best, the actually just track least number of fatalities from the poison waffle mix. It was awful. Also, the guy didn’t haggle with me. Hotels all haggle. When you roll in at 3:30 in the morning, you don’t pay full price for a hotel room, that would be dumb. You always say something like, “hey, it’s already 3:30, what could you do on a room till morning?” If I learned nothing else from William Shatner, I know you can bargain with hotels. Usually we get about 40% off with a line like that. …this dude was like, “no.” Then he later upgraded us to a six dollar discount which he seemed to think was pretty generous. He looked like sloth.
Anyway, so after we left in the morning and found food that was edible, we returned to the land o lakes and then went to sleep. Casualties? One. Priscilla’s green hoodie that had little ears sewn into it from when she tried to be Battle Cat ne Halloween. Where it went, no one knows. …but I think Sloth did it.
…well, Jason would.
Almost three years ago, Priscilla and I met Jason Robert Nelson, who became the drummer for Maudlin. He answered an add we put out, and we got together and started practicing and I set up the first show. …I was still our booker at that point, and I kind of have this fascination with bizarre shows… I don’t think Priscilla or Jason do… but I do.
Sometimes my friends and I will go White Water Rafting in Wisconsin, and I thought, why not combine that with a show. …So I contacted all the resorts until I found one that would have us play there. Poor Jason didn’t really know any of us that well, and when we told him about my plan he went along with it. …later I would learn he’s deathly afraid of water, but just didn’t want to say anything.
I began contacting friends I knew with bands- cause I didn’t want just us to play, I wanted a whole concert. Naturally there were some goons in Winona who said they would do this. Todd Hanson and We Are The Branches agreed to play, and they had a big van they were bring out with a bunch of people and gear. We decided to split the load of gear, we would bring somethings, they would bring others, so that we didn’t all have to burden ourselves with so much crap. This was all fine and good until… they all decided not to come. …when we were already in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin on the way… I was pretty pissed off. Apparently I exaggerated how quick the ride would be, and when they all googled it they got cold feet. But still, this was the day of and they were all planning on spending the weekend there. Pansies. Jason’s sister, and rap star Speshul K were dumb enough to come after a quorom of sane people decided against it. That was nice of them.
At any rate, what ended up happening was Josh Lauer, who played with us at the time as an extra guitar, ended up driving out by himself, with all the gear we didn’t bring. He drove four hours alone when he’d been up all night the night before… he was planning on sleeping on the way when someone else was driving. Miraculously enough, he didn’t die. So we got to the resort, went into the bar to set up.
There were like… five or six hill billies there, and the owners, who were kindly enough. The “DJ” who brough the PA for us was spinning tunes and interjecting, “get ‘er done!” inbetween songs… and nothing else. I wasn’t sure he knew any other words until we had to talk with him to get set up.
About this time we realized that Jason had no hi-hats. …that’s not good. So he took his china and a crash and put them together. -It was the worst sounding thing I’d ever heard. Lauer opened up for us with some solo tunes by himself… the crowd wasn’t impress. But, when Maudlin took the stage they must have been, cause the one hick got all rialed up and started to yell something about showing his penis. I think it was a colloquialism of the area that we weren’t familiar with, but I’m sure it was a complement. …So, basically, the show sucked balls. Then came the part that would suck, but also try and kill us.
They call it the The Wolf River because it eats small children. …actually I think it was the Peshtigo River… but they’re close to each other and the Wolf River sounds much more cool… No one knows how many people have died on the Peshtigo because no one can pronouce it well in enough to discribe where they are when bodies wash up.
Are convaences were Funyaks… which are like mini inflatable kayaks. The water intructor guy was all like, “Ok, now on this first drop, you’re all going to get knocked out of your funyaks, so, what ever you do, don’t stand up. That’s how you get your feet caught in rocks and die. Just let the water carry you and float on.’ Then he did this odd acepella version of the Modest Mouse song. It was weird.
Yes, we all fell out on the first drop. …I also stood up after that and got yelled at. But, the Wolf River was hungry that day, and wasn’t happy that even though we fell, no one died. So it decided to call in an ARMY OF BEES!!
So, I’m floating along by myself, separated from the group, when this lone hornet looking thing lands on my boat. It was huge. It was one of those dark ones the has kind of grey and black stripes. This thing was out for blood. I was terrified because I’m afraid of bees, and generally a wuss anyway. So I started paddling to and trying to shew him away. But then, another one landed on the boat. And then another. Pretty soon they were all buzzing around my head and banging into me. I could feel stings on my body and I started to panic. I was swinging wildly at them trying to kill some, and paddling as hard as I could to get away. The only thing I could think of was, ’there’s so many of them, they must be swarming me.’ They just kept following me down the river, and I was freaking out hardcore. I was ninja-ing my paddel at them ignoring the river, and my yak started going sideways. I hit this giant rock slab and went flying out backwards and landed on my back.
Right about this time the intructor came paddling past and could see I was distrested.
“I’m being attacked by giant bees!!”
“…those are horse flies.”
Oh. Ok. …well, I guess you usually don’t die from that sort of thing. So I got back in my boat to continue on. By this time, with all the flailing about, I had no strength left in me. There was another big drop and the intructor guy was all like, “whatever you do on this one, stick to the right” So I did. …and I still wiped out. When I bobbed up at the bottom I saw Priscilla standing at the bottom of the left side of the fall, hyperventilating. She was begging me to come over, but for the life of me, I was too tired. (She still gives me crap about this… like, had she still been actually drowning, I would have. Or if a bear had jumped in after her or something. But she was clearly alive.) She was pretty shaken up because she went under, and instead of floating back away from the fall, it pulled her under and sent her spinning underwater. She used her oar to push off the bottom to get air. The instructor later told us that that was the spot a lady got killed last year the same way. So, Priscilla was terrified. I was exhausted. And Jason who started horrified of water? He had fallen out of his boat on every single rapid.
The entire thing was a total disaster and I haven’t actually gone back in the last three years, even though I used to go all the time. To this day I still have no idea why Jason didn’t quit right there…
Hello again, hello again!!
So, as I was about to start to write this blog about some other things, we noticed that the local TV show we taped finally aired…or will be airing soon… it’s done though. Go check it out!!
Um, so this past week we had a couple of shows. The first one was in Winona, MN… this is the bizarre little city where Priscilla and I hail from. I mean that in a good way… the same way I like Bigfoot. We work a lot with this kid named Peter Boysen, who takes pictures that are sweet, and happens to like us. (Maudlin likes minions. Really, who doesn’t. But, if you’re a person, and not an entity like a band, they are harder to come by without money. You need to be famous, or have really sweet hair, or something like that. Well, my hair probably isn’t the sweetest in the world, but my band is, therefore, we have a few minions. Peter is one of them. …more precisely, I think he’s the only one. ) We like having a photographer, but we also want a videographer as well, so we tried to con him into being both for a night. The result? Stop motion photography video. I know, I know, we’re sooo cool. So we went down to Winona Friday to make this thing with Peter.
Now, we kind of debated what song… cause, we wanted a cool one, but also one that could work well with stop motion… we settled on Infidelity. Now, seeing as we’re totally disorganized, and haven’t been caring lately, we didn’t do a story board… or even have any clue what we wanted. We winged it. Only Peter loves us enough to waste his time on to see if maybe something cool happens. But, probably some cool things did happen.
We chose Ed’s in Winona as the place to do it. He thought it was a good idea too, and we know lots of people in Winona, Peter lives there too… it all made sense. So, we drove down to Winona, found Peter, shooting pictures of girls as usual, and then we were off!!
…Four hours later we really hadn’t shot anything or come up with any good ideas. …Other than getting a hot and ready. Eventually we just got ready for the show. We decided if we were talking about Infidelity, girls should probably be hitting on me. …basically because it was a music video girls should probably be hitting on my anyway. There should also be a boat, gold bullion, and a sports car… but we didn’t have any of those things. …so we settled for girls who were willing to sit next to me. …movie magic will make it all look cool. It’s hard for laypeople to understand, so don’t try.
Anyway, I think it went well. Winona was nice to us as always, it was good to be home and to see people singing along with the tunes. Our pals The Debut, and Jenny Dalton came down to Winona to play as well, and put on great shows.
So, afterwards, I abandoned Jason at Todd’s house and went to bed. In the morning we woke up and got ready for the road. Next stop MILWAUKEE!!
Milwaukee is a dangerous place to go to because it’s in Wisconsin. Most people think that, like other midwestern states, Wisconsin has corn, trees, cows, and people in overalls. While, many times this is true, Wisconsin is also home to more alien sightings and serial murderers than any other state in the union. Milwaukee is on the very far end of the state too, meaning there’s a lot of Wisconsin between us and the Brewers. So, we took a huge risk going out there.
When we arrived in Milwaukee, five hours early for our show, we decided to go to the lake. What lake is that you ask? The big one stupid. Milwaukee is on the coast of Lake Michigan, which is one of the Great Lakes. We have one too in Minnesota, and ours is better.
Avid explorers that we were, it took no time at all for Priscilla to find a fossil and some sea glass, and for me to find a sea lego in the sand. …ok, Priscilla found both, but she gave the lego to me… Then, to prove that we weren’t girls or anything, Jason and I climbed on all the rocks you weren’t supposed to climb on. The loons and children feared us.
Later that night we got to the BBC and demanded food for free which was provided for us. It was pretty ok. Then we waited another several hours to go on because we were so early. It was hard to tell if Wisconsin was ready for Maudlin or not, but we rolled around on the floor anyway, because that’s what we do. Then, even though The SaltShakers totalled wanted us to stay with them and hang out, because we’re neurotic and unstable, we drove home. You can’t predict what Maudlin will do, so stop trying. We drove home, and I only slept a little while I was driving. The fact that I’m here to write this, means it was the right choice.
That’s about it… This week? In store at Cheapo. Where we intend to block the exit, and awkwardly demand that people buy our CD if they want to get past to leave the store. See you there!
P.S. …Priscilla says that if they “answer a riddle” they can leave the store too… It’s past her bedtime.
Nothing at all eventful happened to me this week. …um, I bought a batman t-shirt, the old kind from the Tim Burton Batman… Tried to get together three times to practice , ended up actually practicing once. So that was good. We are working on our upcoming release too, but if I blogged about it, it would read more like a dry text book written by a guy who has no business writing text books, rather than my usual totally awesome bloggery. SO… I’m going to dip way back into my bag of tricks and recall a former adventure that is worthy of your time… I guess, depending on who you are.
*dream sequence style music here*
The year was 2004, and it was election day. Most of the good citizens of our nation were engaged in a misguided tug of war to decide which pre-selected representative of the Illuminati should pretend to run our country. Dick Cheney would later remark that ‘your pitiful votes are no match for the Dark Side of the Force,’ before electrocuting Luke Skywalker. …Maudlin, on the other hand, was leaving to go on tour in the exotic foreign land of Canada.
I remember leaving the country well. In the middle of nowhere Montana, Maudlin was arriving at customs to lie about our business in Canada, and what goods we were taking across the border. To our surprise, there were fourteen homeland security police officers stationed there. We were on mega-terrorist threat color red alert, as it was election day. Recent intelligence agents had also intercepted a communique that Klingons would soon be firing photon torpedoes on democracy. …that heightened security too. It was those two things.
Now, though Maudlin is usually a law abiding band, we did intend to enter Canada without proper work visas and transport salable goods that we had no intention of paying taxes on, upon entering or exiting the country. This was due to lack of funds rather than disdain for that Canadian authorities. We were keeping a very low profile. No groupies, no blow, no tying prostitutes to chairs and beating them with metal chains for logging on to our computers. Nothing fun at all.
So, when someone at the border asks you a random question like, “Do you have any prescription medications that are not in their original, labeled containers,” most people would say, “No.” …Not Priscilla. She said “Yes.” …Which resulted in our being held hostage until she could located the substance (which was prescription foot cream for a rash) and show it off to everyone. I kid you not, Cheney didn’t actually electrocute any Jedi Knights (that I know of…) but Priscilla did get briefly detained by police due to foot cream that was not properly labeled. Al-Qaeda was terrified after they heard about the incident and canceled all their rouge cream mislabeling attacks they were planning.
Eventually the U.S. forces let us leave the country after tearing apart the whole truck… and the Canadian forces? Didn’t so much as glance in the Suburban. And then, there we were, in Saskatchewan, the stupidest part of Canada, about to begin our first international tour.
So, at this point you’re probably thinking, “why the hell were they in Saskatchewan when there are other places that exist?” …and, that’s a good question, I heard many natives asking themselves that same thing. We had a reason of sorts. Our label at the time, Torque Records, was headquartered out of a town of 300 people there. What were they doing there? Kevin Gales, the owner, is an odd and disturbed man… as we would find out.
I don’t remember a lot of the specific shows. Some I do remember. Most of them were held in churches, community centers, or colleges… there’s weren’t a lot of actual venues where we played. Lots of towns with just a few thousand people. Usually that sucked, but sometimes it meant that we were the only entertainment these people had seen in their life times; sometimes whole towns turned out. This is an example of an average show up there. There we are… under a parachute? Yes. A parachute. I have no clue what town that was…
(for those astute stalker types, you may notice that Jason is not playing drums. The man pictured, AJ, was eaten by polar bears.)
If you’re from the States, and you’ve never been to Canada, let me try and explain it to you. It’s like an episode of Sliders… a universe parallel to our own. You’ll be walking around and everything will be normal- you could be in anywheretown U.S.A. …and then you’ll see it: something so freakishly perverse that you don’t even think you’re on the same planet anymore… Skim milk with blue containers, and 2% in pink ones… wtf!?!? I know, I know, most people would have left the country when they saw something as unamerican as that, but we decided that someone need to document it all for posterity’s sake.
For the most part, the people of Canada accepted us with open arms. They freely opened up to us about their ancient isolated culture. We found out that the word ‘about’ isn’t the only thing they mispronounce. Also worlds like ‘process.’ They have their own made up, pretend words for some things… like ‘tuk’ which means ‘stocking cap.’ And, if you eat french fries there they will try and put gravy on them. Do not let them; this is a mistake. The most bizarre custom they have involves the tandem coed bathrooms that can be found in many public places.
But, not everything in Canada is fake words and toilet teams, they also still have dinosaurs. Most people presume that dinosaurs are all extinct because we haven’t seen any in a long time. Well, I haven’t seen anyone walking around in jeans and a jean jacket lately, but that doesn’t mean they’re not in Canada. When these animals are hit by cars, the provincial D &R still allows people to take the meat, and Tim Horton’s actually serves mammoth sandwiches.
The state religion in Canada is Star Trek. Most people don’t actually know this either. We spent sometime in the pious village of Vulcan, Alberta. The whole town is devoted to Trek.
…Nothing I can make up can alter the fact that I had to have taken these pictures somewhere, so these things do exists… even if Canadians don’t pee together or worship Spok.
…also I did this.
In conclusion, Canada is an intriguing popsicle of a country, filled with monsters and poutine. For additional studies on Maudlin’s trip to Canada, try checking out our new hit song, Saskatchewan, off our sophomore album, Maudlin, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics, in stores soon!