All Writing and Photography © Alex Livingstone/Owner's Closet

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Leg 3.2

Boston. Haven't been back there in a while. I was psyched about it on the way into town because I have some good friends from there and that live there now. But good friends do not a good city make. We drove by CF's and Ricky's rented rooms from their academic days. So long ago. We got to the club and waited an excruciating two hours for the sound guy to get there. There was a strong stale beer smell and no green room so we we just sat there and drank.
My childhood friend Charlie Redd lives in Boston and owns a restuarant called Redd's in Rozzie. I really wanted to cab it over but because of the soundguy's tardiness, I just didn't have time. Maybe next time, Jolly.
Our show was pretty sweet, I thought. I feel good about the set and the night in general. We hauled ass at 1am and stayed in Hartford, CT. Got a good night's sleep and hit the road for NYC at noon. It's been snowing and raining the whole ride to Manhattan. Bummer. As soon as we get there I'm gonna truck over to an alteration shop and get some buttons sewn back onto my dad's Navy peacoat. The jacket is about 45 years old and in need of a little reinforcement. Soundcheck, delicious dinner, show, another show, Don Imus tomorrow morning, afternoon nap and Maxwell's in Hoboken tomorrow night. Intense 36 hours upon us.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Leg 3.1

Shots from the beginning of Leg 3. Live At Drew's House.

We got a new ride and it is sweet to the maxx. We can open the doors from the inside and the windows are sealed shut. The seats are very comfortable and we don't have a trailer! There's a TV, xbox and ipod/music capabilities. Our road life is immensely better. We headed out for NJ through battery tunnel and some other tunnel. I wasn't paying attention because we were watching The Making of Pump. What an amazingly awesome and grotesque viewing experience? It's really hard to choose whether it really sucks or is really awesome, but then I reckon I don't have to choose. There's the world of Aerosmith and there's the world of Fugazi and I know to which I belong. It's pretty awesome the footage they got for that documentary, the interviews and studio takes. Pretty cool.
After checking into the hotel in Mahwah or Wahmah or some shit, we hit up the State Line Diner. This place had THE LARGEST MENU any of us had ever seen. There were too many choices, if that's possible. I mean, when you're hungry and you have too many choices it's more difficult than you'd expect. Have you been to Magnolia Cafe and had a hard time even deciding between breakfast and dinner? It was like that times twenty. I went for the Triple Decker Turkey Club, a diner staple and a hard-to-screw-up sandwich. I also had a piece of plain cheesecake that was more custard than cream cheese but good, nonetheless.
It took us a long time to find Drew's House, mainly because the address we were given was incorrect. This wasn't a bad thing though, the scenery was wonderful and we have a killer stereo. It was great to see a ton of East Coast granite out in this countryside. It was nostalgic for Q and I, him commenting that our surroundings looked like the suburbs of Atlanta and me thinking it looked like the suburbs of the entire Eastern Seaboard. Trees. Beautiful, tall trees and rolling hills.
Drew's House is an peculiar affair; remote location, minimal parking, precarious load-in, brightly lit and densely packed room. I have played many house parties and most of them are great after you settle in to the room's particular vibe. Drew's House was kinda tough because an NBC film crew was present and all up in our shit, documenting our show for a piece that Brian Williams is gonna do on a new evening show called Rock Center. I think the name has more to do with Rockefeller Center than rock music, but who knows. The cameraman told me it's an entertainment show for Wednesday nights that is being produced so that they'll have an investigative show that doesn't involve dead bodies. He told me he hasn't worked on a story without a dead body in three years. That is the crap they're throwing at us. Death, fear, crime, betrayal, inadequacies of justice, helplessness of the common man. Good luck, everyone. Chin up. Don't trust whitey.
OK, so, I had a rough start to the set. To say it was cramped in there would be redundant so I'll say that I have more room when I play on the front stage at the Hole in the Wall. I'm still crafting an interesting bassline for the verses of "Once You Roll Over" so I'll give myself a hall pass on that one. There needs to be some kind of separation between the verses and choruses so I'm in the process of changing the bedsheets. With "No Future," I have no excuse. Bush league. Darn TU-3. On Apollo Bay, I brought Birdland to the Cougartorium and turned a few experiments into pretty cool fills. We'll know for sure about all of this when we hear the recording they made. Though we only heard a snippet, it sounded great when they played it back over the PA. Regarding my evening, I reconciled my misgivings at 4:45am when I woke up from having already been asleep for 4.5 hours. Finally, I got back to sleep and woke up at 10:40am, having had one of the best nights of rest of the tour. Gonna need rest considering what's coming.
We're on our way to Boston right now. Sold out show at the Great Scott Theater. Allston, MA. Gonna drink some Guinnesses and go to mass while I'm in town. Maybe check out Tom Sholz Birthplace or the Larry Bird Memorial Aviary and Sculpture Garden.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Leg 2, Part 2

I write this from the seat of Delta flight 182, bound for JFK airport in lovely New York. I saw that the weather there today is in the mid-forties, not much of a change from our tour thus far. It was chillier than I hoped it would be in Southern California and it was exactly as chilly as I thought it'd be for the rest of the West Coast leg. I can't wait to be back in NYC, a place I have had mixed feelings about. That was until I visited there the 5th or 6th time in 2008 and fell in love with it. Then, when I went back twice in 2009 and once in 2010, I love love loved it. It's not somewhere I'd ever want live but I want to visit often. We have tonight and all day tomorrow off and I plan to do some 'splorin. And eating and drinking. Now back to SoCal.

We made a stop at In-N-Out burger between KCSN and load-in. Double Double, yo. We diced around the club for awhile until Ricky, Falcon, Steven and I went for dinner to Sake on La Brea. Rad sushi at an affordable price, especially in LA. The yellowfin tuna was fresh that day and melted like butter in my mouth. Roasted Thai chile skewers, octopus, salmon and a couple of avocado-less rolls were on my menu. So damn good. Probably the best sushi meal/experience I've had outside of Uchi in Austin.
The Troubadour was a great night. What a legendary joint? I could see the history in the wear of the benches and barstools. It sounded really good on stage but there was a clinical aspect to the show that I wasn't really into. The appreciative crowd was subdued and it was hard to really get psyched. I think the Lager House show set the bar a bit high in that respect. Some of the Folk Monsters came to the show and crushed brews with us 'til we had to split for Bakersfield. Not only did we want to avoid LA traffic leaving town the next day, we needed to get a leg up on the long drive to SF we had ahead of us.
We got the the Bottom of the Hill (BOTH) an hour early and the sound guy, who turned out to be a talented, nice guy, wouldn't let us in so we stood out on the street for 45 minutes. Load-in, soundcheck, yadda. Falcon and Ricky knew of an oyster bar called Swan so we called a cab. When we got there it was closed for remodeling, which was disappointing. We chose Mayes down the street and it was pretty good. I am allergic to oysters so I got the happy hour rib special which was so god I got a second order. I was hoping that they (both places, in fact) would have fresh shrimp platters but they didn't. WTF? Back to the club to play perhaps the only four band bill of the tour. Someone opened, Mount Moriah played second, Sad Baby Wolf played third and we were on last. The show was sold out and was part of the annual Noise Pop Festival. It was a fun show for sure. Though I shucked one clam on Balcony, I turned in an inspired near-flawless performance (as usual). Got to see my old pal Jesse, a treat as always.
Our hotel was a somewhat notorious rock-n-roll Hotel called the Phoenix. It was in the worst part of San Francisco that I had seen up to that point in my travels. Not the kind of neighborhood you go strolling alone in late at night. Once through the gate and into the courtyard, you find your self in an urban oasis replete with Palm trees and a sweet swimming pool. Definitely a killer hang on a hot day, if San Fransisco even gets those. The room was 70s retro but also seemed like it hadn't been redecorated since I was born. Who cares, we had to get up hella early in order to drive to Portland.
That drive was bogus but we had all made it before so we buckled down/up and hit the road. By the time we got out of town it was 9:30am and barring gas-ups and an Elmer's dinner in Medford, it took us 12 hours to get to Portlandia. Q and Ricky delivered pro performances on the drive, splitting it up more or less 50/50. When we FINALLY got to Jupiter Motel, we threw or bags in the room and commenced to crushing. My dear old friend Kris caught up around the fire pit and before long, Q and Some Guns joined us in getting silly and sideways in our new two-night home.
The next day, Kris and I took a compact jaunt throughout the city, starting with lunch at Pok Pok. This food was amazing. The wings we shared as an appetizer were the best wings I have ever had. I shit you not. Incredible. We also ordered boar collar with chilled mustard greens and grilled prawns, both of which came with a spicy cilantro-lime sauce that gave the food a real zest that is lacking from most Thai food. The only thing I can compare it to is one of the salad dishes (S4 I think) at Madam Mam's in Austin. From there we took the city bus downtown where we made whirlwind visits of both Powell's books and Jackpot Records. I could have spent hours in the bookstore and hundreds of dollars in the record store. Right off the bat, I wanted the Odyssey and Oracle reissue and the Beauregard LP, neither of which I've seen in person. On my agenda of things to do was to go to the revered Stumptown Coffee for some incredible brew. To be honest, my folks at Houndstooth in Austin serve up as good if not better brews. Hype, man. Kris told me that stoner nazi that owned Stumptown sold the whole business so I guess it's no longer the sacred cow I've been reading about in God In A Cup. It was good, don't get me wrong. I just didn't see fireworks and unicorns when I sipped.
Soundcheck, blah blah blah. Had the chance to have dinner with my old friend James who plays bass for Dolorean. He said they've been prompted to write and record an album by May so they'll be going into the studio at the end of April. Considering they haven't written the songs, I expect good things to come out of such a pressured situation. Birds of Avalon wrote and recorded Uncanny Valley in their basement in a short period of time and it is an amazing album. Get in there, crank it out, be done, move on. As John Lennon would say with expeditiousness, "Let's go. The light's on." I'm aware that some of my music projects have not followed such ethos but that doesn't mean I don't believe in or want to practice such concepts. I think my distaste for doing something twice causes me to want to be done with it, once and without much lollygagging. Recording Beat The Band with Tim Easton and the Freelan Barons had such immediacy and it was a very rewarding experience.
I was psyched to be back at the Doug Fir, one of the best venues in the country. Richmond Fontaine came out en masse. Solid! I had a fairly flawless performance, but what's new, right? We loaded out right after he show because they shut the venue down rapido. Some of us stayed up, some didn't, but most of us saw 2am. Ricky and Falcon hazed a couple of the Mount Moriah dudes and it's yet to be confirmed whether they tossed cookies or not. I reckon we'll never know. Got up early so I could have a dece breakfast in the diner. Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day, I did the math and estimated that we'd be going straight to the radio station and wouldn't be eating until at least 3pm. No thanks.
After a relatively short drive to Seattle, KEXP extracted our best radio performance to date. Those folks are so nice and always have their shit together. Unlike my previous visits to KEXP, this performance was video taped as well. Perhaps you can see it on their website………. After checking into our Executive Inn, I put my feet up and watched the end of Terminator. Totally unbelievable. I mean, Kyle Reese searches for twinkles and protectionin a dumpster after he sticks one of his pipe bombs in the tailpipe of the tanker the Governator is using to chase down Sarah Connor. By the time the bomb blows, the tanker is practically up Sarah's ass and hundreds of yards from Kyle's dumpster. If anything, she would have been the one to have gotten roasted.
Anyway, rainy load-in and a farewell to our swiss cheese van that has transported us over 5000 miles. It was a piece of shit we are happy to be rid of. The Crocodile was a good hang…nice green room, great food, an abundance of C-buds and for me, Red Wine. In honor of the Soul Asylum tradition of picking a random night on tour and drinking red wine, I drank red wine. The only bummer with this was that in Washington state you may not flaunt alcoholic beverages on stage so I had to drink my spicy Spanish out of a solo cup. Not that I'm above that or anything. We had a solid show. I won $20 bucks off Ricky because he dared me to play a certain funk lick in No Future. I understand the arrangement was for only one Jackson, but for the record I played it three times. Immediately after the set we packed up all our gear and put it on a truck bound for the airport. We'll meet back up with it in New Jersey when we get our new rolling fart box that will transport us throughout the tour's third leg. Heh. Much like the walls of our green rooms, this tour has a third leg. On the way back to the motel, I got some fried chicken togo from Five Point and ate it in bed while watching Alien vs. Predator. Possibly the best fried chicken I've ever had. But i need to have Dirty Bird To-Go, Bojangles, and Price's Chicken Coop again before I make that call. Awesome end to a rapid west coast leg. Lobby call 9:30am sharp.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Leg 2, Part 1

Right now CF and Ricky are recording three songs on KCSN, California State University at Northridge radio. Very very nice studio and campus. There's a beautiful Orange Grove right across from where we're chillin. Modern architecture abounds, which is a nice change from East Coast brick or Southwest stucco & saltillo. Here's a couple of shots from the session and the orange grove.

Yesterday I flew into San Diego with Some Guns and got picked up curbside by CF & Q. Someone had to do laundry so we hung out at this small strip mall with laundry, burritos and a bar called Cherry Bomb. It reminded me of Casino El Camino. Then we met up with Tim from The Donkeys at Whistlestop in a cool looking' part of town called South Park. I abstained from the alcohol and instead got a cup of coffee from this freaker tweaker lady at a coffeeshop nearby. After a scenic tour around SD we made it to the club, load-in, soundcheck, yadda yadda. Mount Moriah showed up and did their thang. By this point I had lost my voice. I don't know why, just did. I could get Trumer Pils with drink tickets which was cool.

CF invited John Reis out to the show and I got to talk shop with one of my musical heroes. Guitar wizard, that one. On my list of favorite guitarists, it's basically John Reis, Edward Van Halen and Jimmy Page. Everyone else is in a pile under those guys. Really nice guy, Reis. He said there's a second Night Marchers album in the can that'll be coming out. We had a great show. CF and Some Guns picked up right where we left off, shitty tuner and all.

I woke up and had breakfast in the Patio Cafe, the diner inside the Sportman's lodge where we stayed. CBH, baby. After breakfast and some hot tea my voice started to return. Troubadour tonight.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Day Thirteen

Denver. Larimer Lounge. Last time I was here was with Grand Champeen for the first show of a west coast tour with Richmond Fontaine in 2000-who-the-hell-can-remember? I remember noting how they had won at having the worst bar bathroom ever. This time around, that door was locked and the restroom upstairs was delightful as James can attest. Ricky, Falcon and I had some awesome food for dinner at Billy's right down the street from the club. My bratwurst was delicious and Ricky's Chicago Dog with Salmon-for-meat looked great. Falcon ordered the totally badass Garlic Pesto Bleu Cheese French Fries that stopped us mid-sentence, then forced praiseful expletives from our stuffed gobs. Go there.
For the last show of the first leg of this tour, it couldn't have been better. The crowd was psyched and the stage sounded good, Some Guns was on it and CF let 'em have it. See you in San Diego. Five West Coast shows in six days. GO!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Day something

It's been a few days, I know. Lots of miles. We've had some great gigs since the snow storm. One of which was The Mill in Iowa City. Possibly the best show I've played there and I've played there at least 7 times.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Day Twelve

Drive from Kansas City to Denver. Long. Left Kansas City 10am CST and got to Denver around 8:30 MST. Ricky and Q served up some heroic driving. Checked in an posted up at bar next to the Hotel. Worst bartender in the world. Trust me. Total fucking idiot. How this guy got a job I can't fathom. Even the most incompetent person I've worked with behind the bar was better than this fool. Wings, beers, rock arguments, Grammy roast, shots, all of which were good. Went to bed happy that I didn't have to get up at 9am for a drive. 4pm school bell.

Craig Finn Tour: Day Eleven

Kansas City.

One of the shorter drives of the tour, our four hour jaunt through Missouri got us to Arthur Bryants after the saturday lunch rush. I had the burnt ends sandwich with the BBQ beans. It was pretty good but the general consensus was that Pappy's the day before was better. Many of us wish we had gotten ribs at Arthur Bryants. The sweet tea was fantastic.
Load-in. Soundcheck. Took a heavy nap and woke up in a panic thinking I'd overslept. The freezing ass walk to the club woke me up. I'd wanted to play the Record Bar for years. i think it's a great club. The room set up, the menu (I wish I'd tried some of the food), the staff, etc. The room was packed but really chattery. WTF? Hey, if you want to talk through someone's set that you just paid for, fine I guess. Closed down the Record Bar then went to Stagecoach with Matt Cook and closed it down. Then went back to our room and closed it down.

Craig Finn Tour: Day Ten

We had a long ass drive from Richmond, IN. Nothing too exciting. Went straight to Pappy's BBQ in St. Louis. Some of the best ribs I've ever eaten. Moist and tender but not cooked too long. Just right. Dry rub too, not drenched in sauce. And sweet tea. Yeah!
Got to Off Broadway, loaded in, soundchecked, sat around. We had a terrific show. I played some new lines on "Apollo Bay" and "Jackson." Shucked one in the last song but the chances I took during the night more than make up for one trespass. CF and Some Guns were hot, boozy, spontaneous, and loosie-goosie. We put "Once You Roll Over" second in the set ("freaks up front") and it's arrangement is becoming a bit more realized. Frederick rolled in at the end of the night. What a dude, ya know? Thanks to Steve and everyone at Off Broadway for a hell of a night. Went back and crushed brews at the hotel. Good times.

Craig Finn Tour: Day Nine


Made it to Columbus for a radio promo deal. Craig and Ricky did it while the rest of us ate cold pizza. There was a really old photo of Magnapop performing at that station and they had a huge bar in the basement. After load-in we ate some craptacular vietnamese food at the North Market. While at the market, I also bought some Jolokia hot sauce which rules!
Great show. The Basement is an afterthought of a club. After talking to my bartender friend Cody (ex- Two Cow Garage), I found out that place is more a venue than a bar, as in it's not open when a band's not playing. Our sound guy Anthony did a great job considering we had a crabcore band rehearsing and performing in the venue directly above the basement. Some band called Down with Webster was pulling Talladega Benchpresses reps right above our heard. Stack and racks, bro. We played well and each show is getting better and better. Each of us are taking chances, which is propelling each of us to play better. Some Guns are gelling and it's quite rewarding. We had first introduced the outtake Once You Roll Over to the set in Detroit and we were going to play it in Columbus but CF decided to skip it. I think it was skipped because the song wasn't quite arranged well enough, it wasn't in quite the right place on the set list and on this evening, CF had some trouble with his tuning pedal which caused a delay.
For the first time in my years of playing Columbus, I did not stay in town and party. Instead, we split town for Richmond, IN to make some time against our long drive to St. Louis. There was a Steak and Shake in the parking lot of our hotel so James and I destroyed some Frisco Melts. Sweet tea to boot. Our room had been freezing when we got there so we cranked to thermostat up to 74 so it would be toasty when we got back from eating. Oh it was toasty. We just should have turned it down before crashing because it was so hot in there that neither of us could sleep. It was like a fucking oven in there and I real didn't get to sleep until about 7:30am. Van call at 10am.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Day Eight

I'm not sure quite what to say about Detroit. I'm sure there are wonderful aspects to the city that I may never see. I'm sure there are a lot of great people that live and work there. But I'm sure that while most of you have never been there, you've heard plenty about the state of the once booming city. As we rolled into town, traffic got worse on the interstate so Craigs decided to take an exit and see what the neighborhoods were like. Whoa. It was like nothing any of us had ever seen. Perhaps you've driven through a depressed Southern city upon whose curbless pothole-filled roads sit broken down vehicles in front of junk covered porches. Or maybe perched high above the streets on a Brooklyn freeway in the comfort of your vehicle you've considered what it'd be like to live in a graffiti covered row house or low-income high rise. Maybe you've traveled to a pour nation on this or another continent and seen abject poverty and desperation. Those images and realities do not have quite the same impact as the utter abandonment and decay we witnessed in Detroit. That's not to say some of the aforementioned realities aren't much more serious and perilous than Detroit's condition. What we saw was an apocalyptic scene in the sense that beautiful old homes had become burned out, dilapidated, piles of rubble. There were many clusters of buildings that reminded me of the bombed out Dutch towns in Band of Brothers. The streets were bare aside from an idle pedestrian once every mile or so. It seemed quite uninhabitable. Plywood for windows. For those of us wrapped up in living in the cool part of town or having to decide which new bar or restaurant to visit this week (there are just too many choices-OMG!), life without amenities, hope, and choices isn't ever-present. What we saw was the disintegration of America. Atrophied capitalism. Dissolved dreams and prosperity. Depression. A very real representation of life in America. A reality that could be right around the corner for Americans if things don't change in a big way.

Our experience changed even more when we got to where we were staying. Upon arriving at the Motor City Hotel and Casino, we had one helluva time parking our van+trailer. The whole reason we were booked at this place is because they told us there'd be secure parking. Right outside the lobby entrance there were about ten empty guarded bus parking spots and they wouldn't let us park there, even for thirty minutes while we checked in and dropped off our bags. We were sent to the "Ohio Lot," which was empty save for two security trucks and the guards that sat in them for eight hours at a time. They wouldn't let us park there. It was empty!! We needed a lamppost to back up to and not only was that difficult for them to understand, they were completely unable to accommodate. So they sent us to the lot at the very back of the property and in an unpaved half-lit unfenced lot we hesitantly and frustratingly left our rented raison d'etre. The rooms and everything was really nice. However, James made the observation it was all kinda creepy that some assholes plopped this huge money suck of a shiny entertainment complex down right in the middle of this depressed economy, to give mindless jobs to many and rob everyone else's wallets.
The shining spot of the day was our gig at the Lager House. The place was packed, the food was great, it sounded good on stage, the greenroom was adequate, the sound guy was for the most part on his shit. What a great crowd! Seriously, the energy in the room was palpable and we definitely felt it. If a bar is meant to be a place where one can temporarily escape their everyday woes and bullshit, the Lager House might be the best bar in the country. While we were there, it was if none of the sadness we saw earlier in the day existed and rock and roll was all that mattered. All hail The Lager House!
Before the show, Mount Moriah's rhythm section, Ricky, and I went two doors down to a sewage scented bar called Nemo's to watch the Carolina-Duke game. None of us got to watch the whole game because of our set times and the outcome of the game sucked, based on what I saw on Sportscenter when I got back to the room. I think we all went to bed praying our van, trailer, and gear would still be backed up against a construction barrier when we walked out there in the morning. It was.

Here are some photos from our drive to along Southern Michigan.

Craig Finn Tour: Day Seven


Straight to hotel after boring drive through Illinois. Boring. Greek grub sesh at Pegasus two blocks down from the hotel. Chill in room, go to club, load in. Upon immediate inspection, the Empty Bottle is a classic rock club. Brick walls, straightforward beer selection, corner stage, random (and arguably stupid) objects hanging on the walls, stinky green room. It just had that feel. Grand Champeen should (have) played here. It has a similar vibe to what Emo's "inside" was like. It had been around for nearly as long too. Great little restaurant next door too. I had a salad with grilled romaine, bacon, a poached egg, parmesan (I think) and a good dressing. It came in one of those brown togo boxes you'd find at the build-your-own-salad bar at Whole Foods. I could have eaten twice as much as the portion. James got the Fried Chicken special and said it ruled. It was his birthday and he got a complimentary brownie a la mode. How nice? The set and the crowd were great. We hung out with Bun E. Carlos at a Chuck E. Cheese for some late night Chicago style deep dish. Wile E. Coyote was there too. He was eatin' Chicago dogs though. He fuckin' loves those Chicago dogs, dawg.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Craig Finn @ Frank

Watch "No Future" from our show at Frank back in December. Filmed and edited by Transistor Six.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Day Six

Iowa City.
So I've been to Iowa City many times and I've played The Mill at least three times. I had some preconceived notions of how the show would go and I knew that I'd at least get a decent meal out of it. The vibe of that room when you first walk in is that of a 50 year old mom-and-pop steakhouse, which is not very rock and roll. By the end of soundcheck though, the room felt pretty good. Again, a short walk to the hotel so we were able to chill. I had a nap which was AWESOME. The way the performance room of the Mill is set up, almost every person in the full room was sitting down. Thankfully, when we took the stage Craig asked the crowd if they'd come closer, and they did. That changed the whole feel of the scene and is perhaps what's been missing from my previous visits to the Mill.
The gracious bartenders took good care of us and once we loaded out, I stumbled back to the room. Felt good to fall right asleep…the bed in this place was killer. So was the shower. Woke up early enough to get some breakfast downstairs, after which I was feeling pretty darn good. Hit the road for a sold out show in Chicago at the Empty Bottle. Yeehaw.

Craig Finn Tour: Days Four and Five

After waking up to snow In Des Moines and leaving asap, we got out of the storm within an hour or so. Q drove like a badass and though there were a couple of hairy moments, we made it. It was a pretty damn long drive. Got the hotel and dropped bags off then went to the club. My ol' pal Rich Mattson and his lady stopped by The Triple Rock Social Club on the off chance I'd be there and I was! They were in town from Iron Range to play an Ol' Yeller gig in St. Paul which I, regretfully, had to miss. Ol' Yeller is one of my favorite bands that Grand Champeen ever played with. Rich is a stellar songwriter and guitarist, and all-around rad dude. Glad I got catch up for a quick sec.
Load-in, soundcheck, blah blah. Feedback session at the Triple Rock. The menu was covered with this meat alternative called Mock Duck. What the hell is that? I had the Minneapolis Po' Boy with Mock Duck and I still don't know what it is. That was a rad plate of food, though. Also, the Summit Seasonal beer was delicious. It was a bock of some sort, I believe. Back to hotel for a slight chill.
The show at the Triple Rock was sold out weeks in advance and the crowd was awesome. It was our fifth show of the week and we were really settling in to the set. The crowd really dug the tunes and the band, despite a few blockheads requesting Hold Steady and Lifter Puller songs. We met Dustin Miller, Hold Steady crew member and nice guy, who expanded on many of Q and Craig's tour stories. Good hang after the show with Some Guns, Tim, Weez, Baby Grant, Tony, and a bunch of other nice MPLS folks. Love that place.
The next morning, Craig and Ricky did an early-as-hell in-store at Treehouse Records. They returned to the hotel and picked us up so we could make a four song audio/video recording at the local NPR affiliate, The Current. The host of the show was Paul Westerberg's sister. Neat. Her name is Mary Lucia and though she had interviewed Craig many times before, she still made it interesting and funny. Watch our version of Apollo Bay here:
I was really hungover and the pressure of it being recorded just amplified my pain. Can't tell though, right? When it was finally over, we parked the van and bellied up to Grumpy's bar to watch the Super Bowl XL7IIV4. Mark, our bartender took real good care of us. Great hang with the band, Dustin, Q, and Baby Grant. Short walk back to hotel. Crash. Next stop Iowa City.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Day Four

The title of Steve's song on Polvo's EXPLODED DRAWING said it best...

Snowstorm in Iowa.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Day Three

Long drive. Started off with a Wichita Deuce (hey Clare!) and then sat in the van all day. Tour, man. Going deeper on the rock trivia. Head East, Black Oak Arkansas, Styx, Night Ranger, Extreme, Talas, Fetchin Bones, Gary Wright...
Got to this wonderful place called the Slowdown. Soundcheck was great, dinner at the pizza place next door, workin' out harmonies...

Craig Finn Tour: Day Two

Our show in Dallas was great. Club Dada sounded great and the crowd was very appreciative. Since they didn't have TW Samuels as their well whiskey, I had to pull a couple of blackteeth after the show. Wasn't the blacktooth invented in Dallas by some metalhead? That a shot of whiskey with a splash of Coke has a name is redneck mixology.
Anyway, had a great breakfast...

Drove to OKC. Got to the dirt lot behind the club and perused the sweet record store next door. I bought a bunch a records from this guy at the Austin Record Convention in October. Should have bought a couple of things. The show at the Conservatory was fine. We're still kneading the set like pizza dough. I need some crushed red pepper. The crowd was awesome, hanging right in there with us and really diggin' the material. 3.2 beer, nasty bathroom and hollow stage aside, we had a good time but we had to leave soon after the gig to haul ass to Wichita to sleep for a few hours.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Craig Finn Tour: Day Two

Oklahoma City. The Conservatory.