Gig Archives: 2012


(Disclaimer: this may be incomplete or inaccurate)

Saturday, January 14th, 2012
with MoeTar:
Thanks to Papa J and the always hospitable and helpful CalProg crew we headed back to SoCal yet again, this time opening up for none other than the Allan Holdsworth Band (Holdsworth, Jimmy Haslip, Virgil Donati, and Dennis Hamm)! It was at the Center Theater in Whittier, where miRthkon played their CalProg gig over a year ago. Great to be back, and great response from the crowd. The headliners didn't disappoint - and it was really nice to finally see Allan do his thing live and hearing him on so many records in my collection. Also fun to have an impromptu jam in 13/8 with Virgil and Tarik during soundcheck.
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
The start of a super fun West Coast Tour co-headlining with Dengue Fever! But first 2000 miles of driving (through Eureka and Seattle, which was pummelled by a freak ice storm just before our arrival - there we picked up the tour van/trailer and headed through more ice and snow through Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming) and then a few days hanging out in Denver rehearsing and eating all kinds of yummy food (thus bringing my opinion of the city up a few notches). We kicked off the tour proper in Denver at the Bluebird Theatre. One of the bigger shows of the tour - a great way to start. I'll also mention right off that Dengue Fever were awesome to tour with - great music, great people.
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
A lovely drive through the always lovely southwest (including an awesome stop at Adam's Mountain Cafe near Colorado Springs for brunch) to Santa Fe, NM where we played at the Santa Fe Brewing Company. I think this was the first time SC3 hit this town, and people were quite appreciative. Due to long drive today (and long drive tomorrow) not much time was allowed for hanging out in this adobe paradise.
Thursday, January 26th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
Another lovely trek through another chunk of the southwest and then tackled the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix, AZ - a nice, newish venue. During our soundcheck Obama and company were actually passing through town in some motorcade a block away.
Friday, January 27th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
Pretty much the last long drive day of the tour brought us to Los Angeles, i.e. the west coast for real. And hit the rather nice El Rey Theatre. Really big gig. So many people confused me with Adam there. One woman actually squealed in horror when somebody pointed me out in the crowd. I think there's finally a picture floating around out there with both me and Adam together thus proving we are indeed two different people. Anyway, around this time we picked up Mark who joined us for the rest of the tour (thus bringing our entourage to seven people). After the show me, Timb, Danny, and Trey completely overate at Canter's Deli.
Saturday, January 28th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
Played the Constellation Room in Santa Ana, CA. Jason joined us on bazouki for "Ship of Fools." Sounded great, though I think that's the only time we played that tune all tour. Smaller venue but quality crowd.
Sunday, January 29th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
Headed down to San Diego, CA to play the good ol' Casbah (last time I played this venue was with Species Being 12 years ago). Kind of the only "rock club" show of the tour, but lots of fun as it's all cramped in there giving us a old school scrappy punk feel. And then a much needed day off doing very little except working our way slowly back to LA proper to spend the night.
Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
Days off are actually both good and bad. Kind of a momentum killer. And we hit another new market for SC3 San Luis Obispo, CA, playing at Club SLO Brew. On the way there stopped at Starbuck's in Santa Barbara where Billy Baldwin was standing behind us in line. Random. Anyway, it was probably the slowest gig of the tour. An off night in a new town, which as it turns out is kind of a fratty college town. Fair enough. Not a bad gig, just slow, and now we have our momentum back.
Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
The first of a few "home town" crowds in Santa Cruz, playing at Moe's Alley. We feared a smaller crowd given the non-central locale of the club, but it was well attended. Lots of Estradasphere draw, I think. I forgot my earplugs and usually that's not a problem but it was so fucking loud I actually lept off stage after 3 songs to go get them. Ouch. After the gig hauled ass up to SF where most of the gang was staying. Me and Timb then got welcome-home tacos at Farolito and then went to Oakland. Slid into my own bed at 3:30am. Yay. Awesome to be home in the middle of a tour...
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
The first of two SF gigs, this one we were headlining at the Great American Music Hall. Long story short: I couldn't have asked for a better show, really. Great crowd, great sound, great performing, great hospitality at the venue... And I could just drive home after the gig.
Friday, February 3rd, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
And the second SF gig, this time opening for Dengue Fever at Slim's was also impossibly perfect. A much bigger crowd. In fact, a lot of my SETI workmates surprised me by being in attendance. One of them, turns out, is a SC3 fan and had no idea I was in the band (he knew I was a musician but thought I was just in some "jam band"). And once again spent the night in Oakland.
Saturday, February 4th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
Back on the road, though not very far. Went to Sacramento, CA and played at Harlow's. Pretty fun show. Some friends who missed the SF shows drove up, and Josh from Clouds on Strings drove down from Chico.
Monday, February 6th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
Drove up to Eugene on our (second and last) day off (thus missing the Super Bowl entirely). Then started the final stretch of shows here in Eugene at the WOW Hall.
Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
Then an easy drive to Portland to play at Dante's. Got to hang out with friends Phoebe and Tyler before and during the show. Free pizza at the club, and Voodoo Donuts across the street. Good show, but for the sake of convenience stayed with the guys instead of with family/friends, and this found me sleeping on the floor of the tiniest of tiny rooms in a hotel lined with photos glorifying recent republican presidents. Weird.
Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
Then up to Seattle, WA to play at Neumos. Big club, big crowd. Another "home town" show of sorts. This show was recorded I think, but was probably one of my worst performances (just in a weird mental space). I mean it was fine, just little sloppy bits nobody else will probably notice except me. I walked around town a while before the gig, almost all the way to the water, passing the Cheesecake Factory where I spent my 34th birthday with the Casino Royale gang.
Thursday, February 9th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
Up to Bellingham, WA to play at The Wild Buffalo. Small but fun gig in this border town. This is the furthest north on I5 I had ever been thus far. Total rock star moment: While eating dinner at a nearby restaurant the waiter suddenly informed us an anonymous fellow patron was picking up our tab because they were big fans. Sweet! Before playing I walked all the way back to the hotel (where I left my camera) through dark parts of town, leaving a half dozen messages on my home machine singing in Morrissey voice for Jenya.
Friday, February 10th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 West Coast Winter 2012
Our final show of the tour! After an easy enough border crossing we hit Vancouver, BC to play at the Rickshaw Theatre. This was my first time in Vancouver, and I gotta say I didn't get a good first impression. The club is in the slummiest of slums that I had ever experienced. But it was a huge show with a huge crowd, and we killed it. Plus we all sat in to take solos on a Dengue Fever tune during their set to close out the journey together. The bad news was immediately after my solo I then went to lie down in the van to escape the chaos and noise as I wasn't feeling too hot. An hour later I was puking up my guts in the nearby alleyway between the dumpsters and crackheads. Total sudden food poisoning, which then led to an opportunistic cold, thus making the journey back over the border and tour denouement a little trying. Stayed the night at a comfy band hostel in Vancouver, then at Skerik's house in Seattle (where we dropped off the van/trailer), and then me, Timb, and Trey made it all the way back to Oakland in one shot the following day. Ooof! A rough end to the tour, but still a completely fun/fulfilling experience...
Saturday, March 10th, 2012
with MoeTar and miRthkon:
Yup, that was a fairly major prog-fest blowout at Vitus in downtown Oakland! Opening the night was Listo, then MoeTar, then miRthkon. My god that was exhausting, being in two bands (am I officially too old for this?). But also lugging the entire miRthkon rig and snake because we debuted the whole in-ear-monitor-and-no-amps-on-stage thing tonight. MoeTar had amps. Pretty good showing, with friends and fans and far flung prog lovers in attendance. Oh yeah, there were world premieres from both MoeTar ("Entropy of the Century") and miRthkon ("Osedax," and "Eat a Bag of Dicks" with me on bass). I melted into a shimmering glob of jelly by around 3am that night after loading out and driving home.
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
First time I ever performed anything in Las Vegas! The current band lineup (me, House, John, Jamison, Paul, Scrote, Holland) flew/drove in this morning and ultimately met at the Revolution Lounge in The Mirage. Pretty much a standard corporate party gig, all told, playing the standard 60's material. One funny thing: some high roller dropped a million bucks at some tables nearby so we had to cancel our soundcheck and maintain quiet as long as the guy was dumping money in the casino. We also had the whole party cancelled, but the guy left apparently and everything went back on track. In any case, this gig pretty much solidified my ill will towards this city. Kind of a mecca for the museless, a magnet for the useless, uninspired, unhealthy, soulless people of the world to go and pretend stuff is happening to them without actually do anything except handing over fuckloads of money.
Friday, April 13th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 South America 2012
The Secret Chiefs 3 returned to South America, this time hitting Argentina and Chile (which they've played in before without me) AND Brazil (which was a first for the band). After flying into Buenos Aires and hanging out recovering from travel and rehearsing for a couple days we played in town at the Niceto Club. Big venus, lovely audience, super appreciative and friendly folks. Opening up the show was the awesome Helmut Robot.
Saturday, April 14th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 South America 2012
This epic day started with a flight to Santiago, Chile which we almost missed. After landing had Peruvian cuisine for lunch then headed to the National Stadium (still containing recent ghosts of its past and therefore patrolled by countless military police) to play a short set as part of a politically charged festival in front of 10,000 people. We didn't exactly fit in, but Chilean songwriting heroine Camila Moreno sang one of her songs with us as the backing band and that was pretty fucking awesome.
Saturday, April 14th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 South America 2012
But the day wasn't over. After our set at the stadium we hit the van and hurried 2 hours to Valparaiso where we played a formal club gig at El Huevo. We didn't start until 12:30am, and then played for over 2 hours. First time the band played in this town, and the crowd was in love, clapping and singing along with the songs, stage diving, and one guy even jumped on stage to mock conduct "Exodus." After the gig drove into the hills for an awesome 4am dinner lovingly cooked for us in a private house overlooking the city.
Monday, April 16th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 South America 2012
After a (much needed) day off exploring Valparaiso we headed back to Santiago and played at the large Teatro Nescafe de las Artes. I was a super hero as one of the sampler cards got erased but between Timb's laptop, my dropbox account (which I smartly put the samples in before tour), a card reader I happened to have on me, and a cable we bought from a street vendor, we recreated the sample card. I was also the asshole as I forgot to swap the sample cards to the proper one before "Radar" which kinda fucked things up but everybody else was a good sport about it. For one of the encores Camila Moreno got on stage and we played the same song "Millones" we did the other day. Post gig, after dealing with the fans waiting for Trey outside, we went to an amazing dinner with the whole Chilean entourage including Lelya (who organized the Chile part of this tour) and her family, and Camila and her crew. We all drank lots of pisco sours. During the meal, around 2:30am, a 6.7 earthquake struck Valparaiso, which we felt of course. Kinda scary, but ultimately it was relatively harmeless for such a quake. The biggest I've felt to date.
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 South America 2012
We flew to Sao Paulo, Brazil and after a day of acclimation headed to Araraquara (about three hours north) to eat a bunch of feijoada whilst being seranaded by two local genius guitarists at a music school, then played a gig at the town SESC facility - kind of a community center with a large pool, cafeteria, several theatres and stages, an art exhibition.. Kinda trippy. But the sound was amazing there and we ended up playing a kick ass show.
Thursday, April 19th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 South America 2012
Then back to Sao Paulo to play the SESC Belenzinho, which was a likewise awesome experience and great crowd and good music. Most of the gang (Silvina, who organized the whole tour in general, Felipe the amazing Chilean soundperson who travelled with us, Ches, Toby, and Timb) were leaving super early the next day, so some late night celebratory dinner and then a round of goodbyes. Me and Trey and Alexandre (who organized the Brazil part of the tour) hung out the next day before Alex drove me to the airport. Three hours of dead stop traffic, then 2 hours of waiting in seemingly endless lines at the airport before just barely enough time to board. The changeover in Miami was hellish, but I once again barely made it after running my ass off from gate to passport control to baggage claim to customs to re-check luggage area to domestic security check and finally to the new gate. But then.. back home in sunny Oakland!
Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
with MoeTar:
Fun mid-week gig at the Bottom of the Hill in SF. We actually headlined, with Arms & Legs opening the show, and the lovely Cash Pony playing the middle slot. Good stuff all around, and super efficient - we actually were set up and ready to start like 10 minutes ahead of schedule! When does that happen? We enchanted the happy crowd and it felt and sounded great, I think. First time I played the Bottom of the Hill in SF since, jeez, 2001 with Species Being?!
Saturday, May 19th, 2012
with miRthkon and Sabbaticus Rex:
I played in two of the eight acts at this installment of "Undercover Presents" which regularly do all night multi band tributes of classic albums. This time it was Black Sabbath "Paranoid." So much talent on stage that evening at the Independent in SF and so much fun! I played bass/keyboards in Sabbaticus Rex and the Axewielders of Chaos doing a 15 minute dirge-like version of "Electric Funeral" with Cornelius Boots leading a Shakuhachi trio and good ol' Gene Jun on vocals and guitar, Jenya on taiko and Karen Stackpole on drums. miRthkon closed out the evening with "Fairies Wear Boots" completely and expertly rearranged by Wally. Between load in and soundchecks and performance I was actually at the club for about 13 hours. A 13 hour party.
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
with MoeTar:
Another mid-week gig, this time all the way up in Chico at La Salles, playing with our favorite band up there Clouds on Strings. I love those guys. This was a graduation party of sorts for them. They headlined, we played the middle slot, and GravyBrain opened. Our set was fun, even though my laptop konked out in the middle of "Random Tandem." On the bright side, we debuted the super complicated "Regression to the Mean" and did so without trainwrecking. Psyched to add that to our set from now on. Hung out all night and drove back in the morning after some local brunch. And I actually went back to work at the lab once back in town.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
with MoeTar:
Breaking new territory. We went down to Monterey to play the Alternative Cafe. Unfortunately Dave had a minor medical emergency, but luckily Jon Arkin was once again available and willing to fill in at the last minute. Phew. It was a long easy drive down the coast to foggy Seaside. A tiny place and a small crowd, but still a worthwhile gig. Fun little venue and they treated us right.
Saturday, July 7th, 2012
with MoeTar:
Still stretching our reach far beyond the Bay Area we played at the Fox and Goose in Sacramento (where I had brunch with SC3 the next morning after our gig there six months ago). We were invited up there by Moondrool who were wonderful, and David Houston and String Theory who were also quite lovely. We actually started the show, which was easy - drove up, set up, played, done, then hanging with various friends who I hadn't seen in a while. Quite nice. And still got home at a reasonable time.
Monday, August 6th, 2012
I flew to Europe for one gig. And in fact the flight was delayed. Luckily Toby was on the same flight so as we were missing our connection to Toulouse from Frankfurt we could commiserate. So I ended up there in France for a total of 36 hours. That said, it was still one of the most fun gigs ever. We were performing at the world reknowned Jazz in Marciac festival (in Marciac, France) as one of three bands (us, Abraxas, and Aleph Trio) under the umbrella of John Zorn's Book of Angels. It was a 7 piece version of the group (Trey, Timb, Gyan, April, Ches, Toby, and me). Once we arrived we rehearsal in the hotel going over the crazy arrangements. Then once again the next day at the gig. First time I played a gig on Hammond B3 and Rhodes. It was awesome! After our set there was a big group song with John Zorn playing and conducting. I got a solo. Regarding that solo Zorn during soundcheck told me, "I'm gonna give it to you - so TAKE it."
Saturday, August 11th, 2012
with miRthkon and MoeTar:
On Tour: miRth & Moe 2012
The first gig of the joint tour (of which MoeTar was only doing the first half). Wally and Jamison drove the rented RV out from the west coast all the way to Baltimore. En route Wally got hit with a major kidney stone and ended up in the ER. The diagnosis was he wasn't in danger at the moment, and therefore was just on pain meds until he could deal with the situation properly. Despite that we all met in Baltimore (the MoeTar gang and the rest of the miRths flew in, while I drove down from Philadelphia with my mom). We played at Orion Sound Studios, with Mike Potter at the helm. It was an awesome gig. Many prog fans from many places attended. Great stage, great sound, great fans. And my old homie Joe was in attendance yet again (he comes to all my DC/Baltimore shows!). The only downside was the insane humidity, and after doing double duty in both bands I was nothing but a giant sweat bubble. The crowd loved it, and it was an awesome way to start the tour after almost being derailed by a kidney stone. In fact the pain meds made Wally's interstitial banter quite amusing.
Sunday, August 12th, 2012
with miRthkon and MoeTar:
On Tour: miRth & Moe 2012
Played at New Spectrum in NYC (on the lower east side). Got my Katz's deli sandwich before the gig. This was a private place run by Glenn (who used to live in Palo Alto and hooked MoeTar up there at his space there a year ago). Mark Growden was in attendance - nice to see him. Also Jon Arkin (who happened to be in town). The sound of both bands was quite compromised by the use of unfamiliar equipment (v-drums, studio microphones instead of stage microphones, etc.). In fact after taking forever to tune in miRthkon's gear we finally started with: "1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. **EAR SHATTERING FEEDBACK**" Anyway, for most of the tour I was sleeping in the RV, but tonight I stayed at a nice hotel with the MoeTar gang.
Monday, August 13th, 2012
with miRthkon and MoeTar:
On Tour: miRth & Moe 2012
After a day of tooling around and walking over the Brooklyn Bridge we had another gig on the lower east side of NYC, and this time at the first club of the tour: Piano's. Also the first gig with air conditioning. Phew! Old Casino Royale pal Lisabell was in attendance. The opening band, Audio Collision, set up the gig. They were rad! Then we hit it. More brains shattered, faces melted. Both bands really getting into the swing of it. While loading out bumped into Shanir from Abraxas out on the street. Since others had imbibed I was assigned to drive the RV out of the city, so my first time behind the wheel was navigating through the tight streets of Manhattan. Fucking scary.
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
with miRthkon and MoeTar:
On Tour: miRth & Moe 2012
Big gig at the large and hospitable Sellersville Theatre in Sellersville, PA. Unfortunately too large: we barely filled the place, but they were super cool, treating us like all the regular bands coming through. Help loading in, awesome soundwoman, giant green rooms and free dinner buffet. Even a shower we could use, but of course doing double duty (double loading in, double soundchecks, double sets, double breakdowns) I couldn't get 10 minutes together to take a shower. I'll just stink, then. Anywho, I had many people in the audience: dad, brother & sister and their spouses. They were stoked. Also another old homie Lehho drove down from NYC. Haven't seen him in forever. And Matt from Cleric (who was also at yesterday's show). And Mike Potter drove up from Baltimore. So it was a small but dedicated crowd. Sounded great on stage, and felt great. Good show. The bummer was after loading out and parking the RV nearby for the night Wally was blindsided by another wave of impossible pain, and thus we got him to the local ER (luckily a few blocks away). Stuck there all night as he got strong pain meds and ultimately decided with the doctor's advice and help to solder on but if we need another ER visit we're stopping the tour.
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
with miRthkon and MoeTar:
On Tour: miRth & Moe 2012
On little sleep schlepped up to Rochester, NY. Drove by Binghamton - the closest I've been there in almost 2 decades. Played to a small group at the Lovin' Cup. A nice enough venue/stage, and they were nice to us. This town is also the locale of Magna Carta Records, so we MoeTar people got to meet and greet in person with a couple of the main guys. We had dinner together, they watched our show. That was really nice. Also among the scant few people there were a trio who drove down from Toronto. So there's that.
Thursday, August 16th, 2012
with miRthkon and MoeTar:
On Tour: miRth & Moe 2012
Long drive to Columbus, OH, to play at Bernie's Distillery. Normally I'm pretty generous on line but I gotta be honest and say this was easily the shit gig of the tour. Opening band that played too long for nobody. Then my two bands played two short sets (after debating not playing at all given there was pretty much nobody there). While packing up some guy who was there for the fourth band (which contained his nephew) but turns out he's a huge fan of my work, so he was psyched to see my bands on the bill. However, we had to get all the fucking way to Madison, so with no time to lose we packed up and left immediately. I felt bad about missing this fourth band until they posted sarcastic messages on our facebook pages thanking us for sticking around. Oh, grow up. Oh! There was one positive note about this show: the very first time I played a whole miRthkon set without needing to read any music!
Friday, August 17th, 2012
with miRthkon and MoeTar:
On Tour: miRth & Moe 2012
And we made it to Madison in good time. Ugh, what a drive, but our diligence was rewarded with a couple extra hours to tool around this lovely town. Jamison, Carolyn, and I ended up at the lake and - fuck it - rented a canoe for an hour to set forth onto said lake. Fun! This was another kind-of-dive-bar gig but far better than last night, with a larger enthusiastic crowd. Went out for celebratory pizza at 2:30am. I like a small city with pizza options at 2:30am.
Saturday, August 18th, 2012
with miRthkon and MoeTar:
On Tour: miRth & Moe 2012
En route to Chicago Wally's kidney stone started giving him fits again. We already pushed this far enough so he entered the ER and braced for whatever it took to remove the damn thing. And so it ended up just being MoeTar tonight at the secretive Swerp Mansion. And this was the last MoeTar show for this tour. So we played a victorious set. It was a nice crowd, and they even bought a bunch of miRthkon merch. We got stuck in Chicago for days waiting to deal with Wally's condition. That was actually kind of fun, and I got to hang out with my third cousin Eric. Eventually the procedure proved to be severe enough that we had to cancel the next few shows. Wally flew home to recouperate, the rest of us drove the RV back to the west coast in two very long days. A bit of a bummer, but worse things have happened.
Saturday, August 25th, 2012
with miRthkon:
On Tour: miRth & Moe 2012
We regrouped back in Oakland, then miRthkon continued to do at least these last two shows of the tour. Drove down the Los Angeles to play at the Mezz with Kayo Dot - a gig set up by opening band The Anti-Job. Jenya had the day off unexpectedly (truck issues) so she joined us, which was fun. Quick enough drive down, loaded in, then me and Jenya went to get Canter's for dinner (after I had Katz's two weeks ago in NYC - I'm such a good jew!). The soundcheck took forever due to a crappy sound system and boomy room. Kayo Dot was having a hard time, so we took the hit and just line checked basically plugging into their system/mix. And it was good enough. I think the pressure of the cancelled shows and weird sound put us all in "fuck it" mode and thus we played one of our best sets all tour. Several SoCal fans/friends were there, including fellow LA Fuxedos bandmate Stephen. And Trey was in town too so he caught me and Toby's sets. A random mini SC3 reunion of sorts. Kayo Dot was awesome, as expected. Long drive back to the bay area the next day. This chapter of epic drives was now over.
Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
with miRthkon:
On Tour: miRth & Moe 2012
The "homecoming" show of the "tour" - at the Elbo Room in SF. Once again with Kayo Dot headlining, but also with The Atomic Bomb Audtion and Author & Punisher. Since it was four bands on a Tuesday night we only played like 6 songs. Fair enough. It was sloppy but we still killed it, I think, and that was that. Great crowd for a Tuesday night. Sometime between driving home at 2am and waking up at sunrise my catalytic convertor was stolen.
Friday, October 19th, 2012
This was the first San Francisco Fuxedos gig in almost two years! We played to a great Saturday night crowd at the Bottom of the Hill in SF - plus we had the coveted middle band slot supporting the always wonderful and awe-inspiring Stolen Babies (who I hadn't seen live in like six years - since Faun Fables played with them in LA!). It was a fun set with new material, and also Wally added some guest guitar on our demented version of "Freebird." Yes, "Freebird." And as an added bonus I also sat in on drums for the latest incarnation of the Darling Freakhead band which started the whole show. This time it wasn't just mockery - it was a real band playing real instruments - me on drums, Micah on guitar, Nat on bass, and Mick on lead vocals and guitar. So once again there I was doing double duty on a zillion instruments, and the night before flying to France the next day to start a 7 week tour. I rule.
Thursday, October 25th, 2012
We flew to France and arrived in Lille on the 21st, then immediately embarked on a bunch of rehearsals, working in new material, new gear, new keyboard software and sounds, and a new drummer (Kenny), all culminating in a series of shows at L'Aeronef. I had serious jet lag, and thus little sleep, and thus got really fucking sick during this week, which really fucking sucked. I sat there programming and playing keyboards for hours at a time while accumulating a pile of moist snotrags nearby. And by the way Air France somehow lost Trey's custom microtonal guitar. As far as we could tell it was gone forever, which was really sad and a real pain in the ass. But that was the bad stuff. The good stuff was Air France found the guitar five days later (phew!), telling us mere minutes before retrofitting a brand new guitar with extra frets. And the band for these special shows ruled. It was me, Trey, Toby, and Kenny as the core. Since Timba couldn't make these early shows we had Eyvind Kang on guest violin. And also Jessika Kenney on guest vocals, and Nicolas a.k.a. L'Œillère on guest guitar and keyboards. And Anna on guest harp. We also had new robes, which I shan't wash the whole tour. Anyway, before the main show on Saturday (see below) we had sort of a public rehearsal of sorts, where we shook the kinks out of a couple tunes, and had a Q&A with the small audience, led by Alex, the amazing mastermind behind this whole week. He brought up my work with SETI.
Saturday, October 27th, 2012
Then we played the main event for our week in Lille, which was billed as "FORMS perform Mausolée Mécanique." And indeed the band now was skewed towards Forms material, as the three new tunes we worked in were very much Forms. We were the music and main event, obviously, but this amazing dance/theatre/psychological mayhem performance troupe Prima Materia handled the amazing, dark, ominous visual and multi-dimensional glue for the evening. What a spectacle! Honestly I was personally a bit rough performancewise but the show as a whole was a great success.
Sunday, October 28th, 2012
We had one more show in Lille - a show for kids, in fact. Basically a much shorter, less dark and ominous G rated version of last night. Played our lighter material a lot quieter, pretty much - i.e. no Brazen Serpent. That ended up being a lot of fun. Kids were dancing. Their hip parents were stoked. And that was it for Lille. Afterward we headed to Erquery to rest for a day before the actual tour began...
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
We picked up Timba and Olivia at the airport and thus SC3 was in proper formation, with Kenny on drums chomping on the bit to embark on his first tour. Me, I'm all seasoned - this being my 6th adventure with the band already if you can believe that. Met up at the Macario/Christine homestead in Erquery. Also there was our old pals aPAtT, who will be joining us this whole tour. This time around they were six: Ste, Josie, Jon and new guys Joel, Jamie, George. And with Macario and Christine joining us, as well as Stefan the driver - we will be a 15 person entourage in two Sprinter vans. Ate well, slept up, and played chess in the catacombs below the house. Then we headed to this first gig, which was in this church - La Chapelle Saint-Jacques - in this smaller town of Vendôme, France. Actually this was part of Festival "Rockomotives." So no pressure starting a tour with a Festival gig. In a church with shitty sound. Walked around the town and the surrounding creepy hills before the show. There was a spoken word act first. Then aPAtT went on and were great - I'm liking the current formation a lot (though yes I miss Ben who couldn't make the tour). We went on, and all the set changeover chaos led to impossible tech issues with the keyboard rig all night. Ultimately we found this was due to a loose firewire cable, but I was fighting with the fucking shit for half the show. Totally embarrassing. Felt worse than when I threw up on stage. While this ended up being the worst technical issues I'll deal with all tour, it was sadly a sign of things to come. Each upcoming night, except for maybe three shows, I'll have to deal with at least one random midi barf or broken cable or software glitch or power issue causing unpredictable, distracting chaos and reducing my ability to just focus on the material. But when it worked it was awesome, and over time I was becoming an expert at dealing with this stuff.
Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
A much more "normal" show at La Péniche, in Chalon Sur Saône, France. My gear worked for the most part, and it sounded a whole lot better in this club. Plus we were all staying in a comfy dormitory that was in this whole concert complex so we could just leave our shit set up all night and collect it in the morning. No costumes for Halloween.
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Air France also lost one of Olivia's bags, and like Trey's guitar found it much later. But they shipped it to Erquery of all places. So she had to get up super early and take a train to Paris where Macario's brother met her at the train station with the luggage, then she met us at the border into Switzerland. Even with this errand we made it to Geneva on time. Great show, great club, great sound. And a Great Dane dog wandering around the club as we set up and soundchecked. Also great food. And had rooms upstairs where we slept. We had a day off the next day but the club let us hang out there, and they had a washing machine which we all queued up and used. This will be the last laundry I'll do all tour, and I'll be wearing the same black pants for until the day I fly home. We did get to sleep there the next night if you could call it that. We went to bed with stomachs (and ultimately colons) clogged with fondue, while a rave pumped downstairs at impossible volumes.
Monday, November 5th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Actually we had three days off in a row. Kinda weird. But we hung out in the Czech Republic for a couple days, mostly in Kutna Hora - checking out the epic ossuary and hanging out with Mirek from Uz Jsme Doma. I haven't seen him in well over 10 years (they used to pass through the Bay Area a lot and stay at my old house). But finally we were back on the train playing at Barrak in Ostrava, CZ. Alright show, more weird tech issues, etc. Then loaded out right away and drove all night to Romania. I actually had the 4-8am shift mostly going through Slovakia and into Hungary. Pretty sunrise.
Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Arrived all sleepless to Cluj-Napoca and loaded into the club, Gambrinus, while Romanian police were yelling at us to move our illegally parked vans (right on the main square). Had a little time to wander around this old former capital of Transylvania. After soundcheck some fans met Trey and invited us all to go to a nearby wine and cheese tasting. Long story short: we got ripped on awesome Romanian wine before the show, and given many bottles to take back home. Rock and roll! Played a fun show. Eastern Europe has weird power and thus we have weird tech issues each night. Tonight the power died on stage twice during "Halloween." Still, a fun show. Bad news: some people went upstairs into rooms to sleep, others like me had hotel rooms. But we went to the hotel at 3am and.. they had no reservations for us. So we had to drive back to tthe club and cram into the rooms upstairs after all, while others slept in the van right outside. Just as well, we had to leave in 3+ hours anyway. Rock and roll...
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
We had no internet access during the previous day, which was election day in the US. We had no idea what was going on, But eventually I got a text from Jenya: "Obama!!!" I told the gang waking up in the van and there was a small sleepy celebration. Headed to play at Silver Church in Bucarest, Romania. Great club, great staff, great show. Not really much else to say about that. First gig all tour where I had zero technical issues. I was stoked.
Thursday, November 8th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Rock Bar Studio in Sofia, Bulgaria. Long drive on little sleep, and the long drive was made about 5 hours longer due to bungled directions taking us to a border crossing which required a ferry ride. So it was a hectic load in once we got into town. aPAtT pretty much set up and played in the smaller rock club which Ivan the promoter had dinner with us in the yummy Chinese restaurant upstairs. We set up and then I stood there like an idiot in front of the impatient crowd for a half hour debugging DI issues. Ultimately all the sound came out of the headphone jack of the fireface - that was the only thing that worked. Then I had to change into a robe in seconds off the side of the stage while people were trying to take pictures of me. Jeez. But it ended up being a good show otherwise. The long drives were getting to me: I fell asleep right there in the club after we played, lying down right under a speaker blasting post-gig metal. Next thing I knew everything was already loaded out. And we had our last day off of the tour tomorrow, during which we caught up on sleep and had the meal of the tour in this traditional Bulgarian restaurant. Amazing food.
Saturday, November 10th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Back to Romania, playing at Daos Club in Timisoara. Mechanical issues in the other van slowed us down an extra few hours - we stopped at some random small town garage in Serbia to diagnose this shit. Not sure what the hell is going on, but limped the van along the rest of the way. Despite that and the late load in and sound check it was another great show. One of the better crowds of the tour, and we had so much fun after the gig it just evolved into a big ol' dance party, using our amps as sound system and staying up way too late partying. Not exactly a restful way to start 23 days in a row, but fuggit.
Sunday, November 11th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Then back through Serbia, this time not just having van issues in this country but also a gig in Belgrade. Played at the Gun Club, which is also a shooting range (with targets set up on the bullet hole ridden stage). Not very welcoming, but it was a fun show, good crowd. Once again slept through load out. Don't worry, I'll more than make up for it during future load ins and outs.
Monday, November 12th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
The aPAtT van issues were enough that they were stuck in Serbia while we headed to Budapest. This will end up being the only gig they missed due to van failures - all things considered not too bad - but a real bummer of a gig to miss, as we were playing at A38 - a large boat turned music venue/restaurant, with amazing sound. And we were all opening up for Zechs Maquise, who were cool guys and a cool band. Anyway, we were well treated and well fed, and played a good show, which was well filmed (almost to the point of annoyance as they were filming us doing stuff like me video chatting with Jenya backstage).
Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Played Menza Pri Koritu in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The aPAtT gang caught up with us in a temporary van which came with a mandatory Serbian driver and 100kph speed limit. Cool squat complex with crazy art and a nice hostel to stay in etc. Played a good show, and what's more is we had a short drive tomorrow so for once I got to sight see a little bit the next morning and Ljubljana is a pretty awesome town.
Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Then off to Croatia to play at Klub Mochvara in Zagreb. Cool club with a cool space-ship like sound booth. Of note: we had take out Mexican food for dinner. Yup, Mexican food in Croatia. Also of note: since the aPAtT van had a Serbian driver they were totally fucked with at the Croatian border. Oh yeah that. The driver and the van had to stay in Slovenia, and our van had to go back to the border to get aPAtT and their gear for the gig, then drop them back off over the border after the gig. What a fucking pain in the ass! In the middle slot was the awesome local band Tigrova Mast.
Thursday, November 15th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
And then into Italy! My first time in this country, finally. Headed to Milano where we played Leoncavallo, a squat all decked out with stage and cafeteria and hang out areas and stuff. Cool deal. Awesome dinner. I also kinda snuck into this locked building with free wifi after the gig to video chat with Jenya in piece for once after a show.
Friday, November 16th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Played the Centro Stabile Di Cultura in Vicenza, Italy. More like Schio, Italy. The venue was real nice, and friendly to weird music, and despite our fears of being on the outskirts of town it was a great show with a good crowd. Met an ICS comrade after the show. Had time to inspect the town the next day, and there was an outdoor market where I bought much needed extra socks and underwear to get me through the rest of the tour.
Saturday, November 17th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Bologna, Italy - playing at the large new venue Zona Roveri. We were kinda like guinea pigs, it felt like, and were worried once again about shitty turnout, but it worked out great, and enough people showed up to soak of the boomy reverb of this venue, which was pretty much a large concrete box. Sometime during the past 24 hours Stefan got the temporary van back to Serbia and picked up the fixed van and got back in time. Yay! The van issues are behind us! The bad news is Jon has to get back to work, and thus this was his last show. And then aPAtT were five.
Sunday, November 18th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Stunningly beautiful drive to Nice, France along the riviera. Played in a large complex called Nikaïa Live - in one of the stages around the back side of it. Reminded me of one of those SESC gigs in Brazil. Felt great to be back in France. And it was strangely tropical. The gig had both Vladimir Bozar 'n' ze Sheraf Orkestar starting the night and then aPAtT (where George did a great job stepping up and taking over Jon's parts). After the gig, and checking into the hotel, a subset of us went exploring around Nice. Holy shit what a trippy town. We also went down to the water and the beach of big white rocks. My first time checking out the Mediterranean Sea.
Monday, November 19th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Easy gig in Luynes/Aix, France. It was a short drive, so we had the morning to sight see. And thus a subset of us went to St. Paul de Vence - a nearby Medieval town more or less preserved. However en route the GPS had us take the van up a narrow one-way road up a hill, and we found ourselves wedged on a tight, narrow bridge. On the steepest part of the hill. In the large Sprinter van full of our gear. We stopped and then couldn't get started again without the van rolling back (it's a stick shift). Cars with frustrated other drivers piled behind us. Long story short we had to empty the van and get out and push it as we did minor 6 inch adjustments to and fro to get the van oriented properly to just barely twist onto the bridge with minimal scrapes. It was a success, but it took an hour. And then we had to carry all the gear about 100 yards up this steep hill back into the van. Ugh. It sucked, but it was a bonding experience. Then headed to this small metal club called Le Korigan. Fun, easy gig that was added relatively last minute. Not fulfilled with the club dinner offerings, some of us headed into town. I had a bacon burger.
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Got lost on the way to the club Secret Place in Montpellier, France. Small but fun club, and with cool local band Alkemiya opening up the evening as well. Stayed at a hotel which had a Santa Fe like theme to it.
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
On the way to our gig in Barcelona, Spain, we SC3 peeps took a side trip to Cucugnon, the gateway town to many Cathar fortress ruins, and tried to take some band pics. Not sure any came out. Then played this cultural center there - C.A.T. - a big place. Definitely more of an avant music crowd. Starting to work in playing guitar on Brazen Serpent, making it moar metal than before. Didn't really get a single moment to check out the town. This was my first time to Spain, by the way, and I didn't really see much.
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Back into France, playing the I-Boat in Bordeaux. Yeah, another boat gig, and it was much smaller than the one in Budapest. But *wow* the sound was pretty damn amazing. Plus it was crammed with people in there. I had a good time that night. It was Thanksgiving, by the way, and we had a lovely band dinner upstairs, though it made me miss being home a little more than normal.
Friday, November 23rd, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Played Bar'Ouf in Cholet, France. Smaller town, but a nice club, and an easy time of it as they had rooms upstairs to sleep in. There was another impromptu private dance party after the show, but I was in a foul mood after loading out and one of the keyboard boxes opened from the bottom and the keyboard dumped onto the street and one of the guys who worked at the club was all drunk and laughing at this. "Dude, it's my fucking keyboard, why are you laughing?" I actually yelled at him. Yeah, it was getting late into this epic tour and this kind of thing really started to piss me off.
Saturday, November 24th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Another festival gig, this one being Festival "Invisible" in Brest, France. All the way in the upper corner of the country there. Very much a port town. Loaded in and had a long, comfortable soundcheck. Lovely food as well. And a nice hotel a couple blocks away. Pretty good gig. By the way the furthest points on the tour would be here and Budapest. About 1600 miles distance between the two.
Sunday, November 25th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
The first of two gigs in a row in Rennes, France, both at Jardin Moderne. This was a major relief, knowing we wouldn't have to drive anywhere tomorrow. And it was a nice club. Plus we had Maude a.k.a. Mood do an amazing mid-show solo set which beautifully kept the flow between aPAtT and our set. The venue was rad - they let us have a private dance party. And one of the staff guys was actually playing music from the film Escape from New York as we broke down - music Trey and I have been gushing about earlier on tour.
Monday, November 26th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Two gigs in a row in the same club is like having a day off.. except you also get to play music at the end of it! During the day Maude showed a bunch of us around old town Rennes. We also went to the train station there to pick up a surprise guest: Rudy! Soundguy extraordinaire and good guy in general who was joining us for this last week to do sound for aPAtT. Maude sat in on two songs during our set, improvising singing along with various violin or guitar solos. And then we backed her up on one of her songs for an encore. While packing up Rudy saw me packing up my nest of cables, rack gear, three stands and gingerly getting four keyboards back in their cardboard boxes. "Every night?!" he asked. Yup, every night. Another dance party afterward. Good times, good times.
Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
To Evreux, France. Played at L'Abordage, which was a large family-oriented complex. There was a carnival next door (not really operating at full capacity given the season/weather). Cool show. Actually one of my favorites as far as my own playing. I hate to admit it but that was largely because I wasn't wearing earplugs (as I had a minor ear infection). Earplugs are necessary, and I wear them 99% of the time, but they really dampen the enjoyment factor.
Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Then over the border into Antwerp, Belgium. Played at Trix, which was a cool venue. Drank a lot of amazing Belgian beers. We bought many at the Carrefour next door to the venue. Right before the set I knocked somebody's full beer off the side of the stage. Well, they shouldn'ta put it there. And some girl sitting on the stage kept leaning against my monitor and pushing it away from me. I moved it back, she leaned against it again. Couldn't really get the message across that I needed the monitor in a specific position. Outside of that a great gig.
Thursday, November 29th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Spent the morning failing to find Belgian waffles for breakfast with Trey and Kenny. We were in the wrong part of town, and everything was closed. Got really crappy doner kebap instead. Then to the Netherlands, and to Rotterdam. Wacky city. Cool club/space: Worm. A really fun gig made even funner as old pal and Casino Royale bandmate Mark Wyman was in attendance. We hit a wine bar before the show to hang out and catch up. Good show. Also great Indian food dinner cooked in house. Also hung out with some really nice local ICS brethren after the set. We knew each other's music, nice to meet face to face.
Friday, November 30th, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
And just like that back into France for the homestretch. Played a quaint club in Dunkerque: 4 Écluses. The exhaustion and minor annoyances of tour were starting to wear on morale. At least my morale. I was definitely thinking hard already about returning to Oakland and the general "tour dismount." Adding to my sour mood: they served fish for dinner. I could tell it was good stuff, but I fucking hate fish. Nicolas was back on tour with us, and joined us on stage for Toccatta, as well as doing a cool solo set on solo acoustic guitar (which he'll do the next two nights as well).
Saturday, December 1st, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Holy crap it's December. I think that's the first time ever that I spent a whole calendar month away from home on tour (usually the long tours are split over two partial months). But only two gigs left, and both in Paris. Good ol' Paris. The first was the third and last boat gig of the tour: Petit Bain. Arrived early, and had a nice, long, casual load in. It would have been the best gig on tour hands down, except while milling about before sound check I jumped onto stage and for some reason misjudged the height and tripped and my nose hit my keyboard with all my momentum. What the hell?! Immediately I checked to see if it was broken. No. Phew. Dodged a bullet there. But there was definite swelling and bleeding. Kind of embarrassing, but I was diligent about icing it (and took a long walk around cold, frosty Paris breathing in freezing air) so the swelling was minimal. I was worried it would just start bleeding any second while on stage. Otherwise, it was an awesome night. Great music, sound, energy, and the most mosh-pitty crowd ever. We played for two hours, and still had some unplayed songs to lay on tomorrow night's crowd.
Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
On Tour: Secret Chiefs 3 Europe Fall 2012
Final gig of the tour! At FGO Barbara in Paris. Once again Maude sat in on a couple tunes, as did Nicolas. Another epic set. Great energy. Great mood. Great crowd. I also had every technical issue possible, but my expertise on dealing with them has been well honed - it was like the tour was practice leading up to this evening, as I was able to handle every random tech issue without missing a note. After the epic encore I was taking a much needed piss. I emerged from the bathroom to celebrate with the band. Where are they? Oh shit they're back on stage starting a second encore! Ha! We closed with Labyrinth, which ended with Timba diving into the drum set (knocking Kenny and the kit off the riser). And then Trey dove in as well. Toby and I were like, "nope." But yay! Tour over! We had a short celebratory dance party afterward. We were quite pleased with ourselves and slow to load out. The club closed around us. The other vans already left for Erquery. We finally finished loading and.. uh oh. Where's the van key? Turns out the other van left with our one and only key (after unlocking it for us so we could load it up). I guess with all the confusion of goodbyes and multiple vans this important detail got lost. None of us had cell phones that worked or anybody's numbers. What a nightmare! We were there for almost an hour, as the air got impossibly cold outside, and I was out there walking up the street hunting for free wifi to send an emergency message somewhere. We were bracing to just sleep in the van in the heart of Paris, when we realized we had the key after all (a person I shan't name was sitting on it the whole time). YAY! We're saved! Quite happy about this we drove to Erquery and slept in a warm bed and then had a day off recouping and packing and saying long goodbyes with our bandmates and the aPAtT gang before heading home. By the way, getting into the car on the drive to the airport was the ONLY load out into the rain all tour, if you can believe that shit. Super lucky, weather wise.
Saturday, December 15th, 2012
Hey, let's celebrate the upcoming Mayan Apocalypse! And what better place to do so than at the Stork Club in Oakland? Once again, just like a couple months ago, I was doing double duty, and starting the evening playing drums with Darling Freakhead. Same set as before. Somewhat tighter, though Mick and Nat were both sick. Mick went on these glorious rants about prog rock being precious and rare, and desperately needing cash so please please please buy something, etc. Cash Pony rocked the middle slot - great tunes, great tones, great musicianship as always. Then MoeTar brought it all home - while debuting our two new live backing singers Liza and Erin. They sounded great. Good crowd. Good for the ol' Stork Club still being a viable venue.

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