So obviously I abruptly stopped blogging about our day to day travels on tour. This is mostly because it was harder to keep up with it on the road than I thought. I contemplated going back and posting each day, but have instead decided to write a zine about my experiences. I will be tabling at Chicago Zine Fest on March 10th, 2012 so I have made that my deadline. Once I have it near completion, I’ll post ordering instructions here for those who can’t make it to CZF (though if you can make it, I highly recommend doing so).
I’m currently working on a new website for my button business Bit Part Buttons, putting the finishing touches on my friend Biff’s record label’s website Feral Kid Records, creating a shopping cart for Josh’s label Feeble Minds, and over the next month I’ll be helping Alex Wrekk set up a new Stolen Sharpie Revolution website. To say I’m busy is an understatement (but it’s the good kind of busy).
This was our last full day in Austin. Sheena had plans with Eva so Alex and I started the day with a trip to the post office. I had some button orders I finished on the road that I needed to mail out and Alex had a bunch of Lemuria shirt and record orders to send. Despite being thousands of miles away from home, being at the post office was oddly comforting.
After the post office we headed to the mall because I decided to buy an iPhone 4s. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I decided to treat myself to a new phone because I had just worked 80 hours in 6 days. Plus my HTC Droid Incredible had been acting up a little. When we got to the mall, there was a line outside of the Apple store which I quickly learned was just for people waiting to buy the iPhone 4s. I waited in said line for about a half hour until it was my turn.
The employee took my info and then I found out I needed the last 4 numbers of my mom’s social security number (I’m on a family plan with her). I tried calling her to no avail. I thought for a while if she had given it to me before, but I couldn’t remember it for the life of me. Then I thought of a way I could get it! My grandpa does taxes for everyone in the family so he would have it. I gave him a call and with a little digging he was able to find it. I gave it to the woman and all was set, until a notice popped up on her screen. Apparently my mom hadn’t paid her current bill yet and the account had to be paid up in order to upgrade a phone. Seeing as I couldn’t get a hold of my mom earlier, I decided to walk down to the Verizon kiosk and pay the bill since I had the extra money at the time. When I came back to the Apple store I didn’t have to wait in the line again which was nice.
But there was one problem. I had to start the registration process over again and I had forgotten my mom’s social security number. I tried several things but I couldn’t remember it at all. I tried calling my grandpa but he wasn’t answering the phone (I later found out that he had gone to a school function for my cousin right after we got off the phone). As a last ditch effort, I called my mom’s husband to see if he could find something around the house with the number on it. He couldn’t and I could tell the employee (a different one from earlier) was getting impatient. I decided to give up and come back the next day. I felt defeated. I also felt like an idiot for forgetting 4 numbers in the span of 10 minutes. I felt so bad for making Alex wait the whole time and I apologized up and down.
Feeling hungry and bored, we decided to go see Tower Heist at the Alamo Draft House. I think we were more excited about going to the Alamo Draft House than the actual movie. Getting to the theatre turned into a huge ordeal due to horrible traffic, glitchy GPS, and horrible Austin roadway systems. We finally made it and managed to see the end of the trailer for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which I’m really excited to see).
The Alamo Draft House is awesome because there are long tables in front of every row of seats and you can order food from your seat. I just got a soda and a basket of fries, but being able to get free refills without getting up is awesome. The movie was pretty good too. I’m a big fan of heist movies and while this was more on the comedic side, it was still good. After the movie we went back to the house and finished counting and organizing all the merch. Tour started again the next day so we had to get ready. I was having a good time in Austin but I was ready to hit the road again.
This was a very relaxing day, and it was much needed. I didn’t do much at all. I helped Alex with counting Lemuria shirts and then we went out to get burritos at Freebirds. It had been recommended to me a bunch and it definitely was really good. The only other highlight was meeting up with Sheena, Eva, Max, and Natalie for Indian food at Clay Pot. We had tons of food and it was all delicious. Max’s raves about the place were well deserved.
This was my last day of working at Fun Fun Fun Fest. As soon as we got there at 9am, the mood was completely different. Everyone was happy because the fest went really well and all we had to do is clean things up. The first thing I did was helped Sheena clean the “green rooms”. I did a bunch more stuff, but the most memorable was when we had to return rental bikes so a pack of us hopped on them and rode them across the river. It was a great feeling and many jokes were had. This is also when we started to use “Slayer” as an adjective, ie “That bike ride was Slayer”. It seems silly typing that now, but at the time it was awesome.
We didn’t do much else after that. It felt so good to cut off my wristband that night. Fun Fun Fun Fest was a great experience, and I already am contemplating working there again next year.
I was looking forward to Sunday for three reasons: Lemuria’s set, last day of the fest, and Henry Rollins. Today was also the day Slayer was headlining so everyone was buzzing about that. I was never a big fan
of their music, but seeing their set up during the soundcheck was pretty awesome. Lemuria played 2nd on the orange stage so I helped set up a few things at yellow and headed over there to make sure I had a good spot on the side of the stage for their set.
I had never seen them play on such a big stage before and it was definitely weird. There wasn’t much of a crowd watching them since it was early in the day, but there were a handful of people singing along. Lemuria sounded really good and it was awesome seeing Sheena and Max with a lot of room to move around and rock out.
When I got back to the yellow stage, Henry Rollins was there. I wasn’t nervous to meet him like other people were, but it was definitely cool. He’s super nice and really talkative. He was there early because he was going to officiate a wedding for 2 people who met at FFF several years ago. It was a fun service, easily the best wedding I’ve ever been to. It ended with the Sexy Sax Man coming out and playing which was pretty awesome. He might come out to Lemuria’s show in LA. I really hope that happens because that would be amazing.
A few hours later Henry Rollins went on and killed it. He always puts on a great show and has awesome things to talk about. About half way through the set I heard a voice in the crowd that sounded like someone was heckling him with a bullhorn. As I was looking for the person, I realized it was Brian Posehn starting his set over on the orange stage.
Directly following Mr. Rollins was Trash Talk. They were supposed to play the black stage as that’s where most of the punk and hardcore and metal bands played, but for some reason they got moved to our stage. I helped them get all their equipment on stage and then set up near the stage right speaker to make sure people didn’t climb on them. I’m not a fan of Trash Talk, and had never seen them, but I’ve been to enough hardcore shows to know what to expect. It was full of pile ons and stage dives and circle pits. It was weird watching a show from a different perspective. In the middle of the first song, this kid John from Buffalo saw me on the stage and said hi. It threw me off because I forgot he had told me that he was going to be at FFF. It was cool to see him and I wish I could have talked to him more at the time, but I had to get Trash Talk’s equipment off the stage and then rush over to the blue stage to do security again.
The reason was because Odd Future was playing. I had heard stories and seen videos of the insanity of their shows, so I didn’t go in unprepared. I got there before they even started but the crowd was already going crazy. People were pushing on the right barrier so much that it was about to flip over. To remedy this, they were wedging a big metal rod between the stage and the barrier to keep it up. A few minutes later, Tyler the Creator and the rest of Odd Future hit the stage and the place went wild. Bodies were flying everywhere. Odd Future was stage diving into the crowd, people were crawling to the front, and a few people were crowd surfing on giant inflatable rafts.
In the middle of their set, they abruptly stopped a song and all ran off the stage into the crowd. It was pretty crazy and we didn’t know what to do and what was going on. Apparently someone had thrown a water bottle and it hit Tyler in the head so they jumped into the crowd to beat the shit out of the person. It was hard to tell what happened in the crowd or if they ever found the culprit. I thought that was going to be the craziest thing of the set, but I was wrong.
Right before they played their last song, ‘Radicals’, Tyler the Creator told the crowd to “fuck the security, rush the barrier and come on stage”. While normally i’d think “that’s awesome and super rad”, being on the other side of the fence (literally), I was not stoked. As soon as the song started, chaos ensued. Immediately, my glasses got knocked off which was terrifying to me. Without my glasses, I can barely see. At first I couldn’t find them among the bodies falling on my head, but luckily I managed to see them in the dirt and put them in my pocket before they were broken. For the duration of the song, it was non-stop stage diving and crowd surfing. It was easily one of the craziest things I have ever experienced.
There was only one performer I was looking forward to on this day and that was Donald Glover. I have been watching the tv show Community a lot lately so when I found out I was going to meet one of my favorite characters on the show, I was pretty excited. When I went behind the tent (our stage didn’t have a backstage area, just a slightly obscured grove behind the tent), he was surrounded by people. As I approached him, his agent/publicist/ handler/something Chad introduced himself and I checked in with him to see if they needed anything. He asked if I could get him a bandana that we were all wearing to deal with the dust storms. I knew the tent that was giving them out so I rushed over there and grabbed him one.
It was pretty hectic leading up to his set time, everyone wanted a picture with him. I was finally able to introduce myself a few minutes before he was going to go on. It was really awesome that he didn’t assume I knew who he was and when I said “Hi, my is Derek by the way” he replied with “Hey i’m Donald.” I then told him that I was a big fan of Community and he was really happy about that. His stand up set was awesome, super funny and the crowd was packed.
Turquoise Jeep put on a really entertaining set after Mr. Glover. Then a couple comedians was Neal Brennan who used to write for the Dave Chapelle show. He was funny as you’d imagine he would be, and really nice as well. During his set I looked out into the crowd and I saw Brian Posehn watching. This wasn’t a huge surprise as I knew he was doing stand up on the orange stage on Sunday. After Neal’s set, he came to the side of the stage to congratulate Neal on a good set. He was busy talking to other people so I took this opportunity to introduce myself to Mr. Posehn. The highlight of my night was when I made him laugh. It was awesome.
The last set for the night was a 2 hour sketch comedy thing by a bunch of people from Baltimore (featuring Dan Deacon). I wasn’t really into this so I stood outside for a while. Then my stage manager asked me if I wanted to go to blue stage and help out with security. I had never done security work before but I was bored so anything sounded like a good idea. I met up with the head of security and he explained that all I’ll be doing is standing between the stage and the barrier and making sure crowd surfers get to the ground safely and don’t go on stage.
I got to the stage at the end of Childish Gambino’s set (Donald Glover’s hip hop group) so that was a pleasant surprise. After them was Neon Indian. I had never heard them before but they sounded like a new disco band. Not really my thing personally. The headliner was Major Lazer, which was the reason why I was asked to help out with security. They put on a crazy show and I had to catch the singer several times.
Best cover song: Captured by Robots played “Thieves” by Ministry
Most awkward set: Air Sex Contest
What I said that made Brian Posehn laugh: ”It’s really nice of Slayer to offer to close for you tomorrow”
This was the first of 3 days of the fest. I got there at 8am and it seemed like a lot still needed to be done. I got assigned to be a stage hand on the yellow stage, which was a big tent with a smallish stage inside. Most of the acts over the weekend were stand up comedians, but there were a few bands scheduled to play. I met up with the stage manager, Josh, and he seemed really cool and laid back. As did the other stage hands.
One of the first acts for the yellow stage I met was Adira Amram. She was really nice and I found out she lived in Buffalo for 2 years when she went to college at UB. We talked about Buffalo a little bit so that was cool. She put on a good show too, kinda of like Peaches with a couple back up dancers.
The only band I remember seeing besides stuff on the yellow stage was I ventured to the other side of the park to see From Ashes Rise. I had just seen them at The Know in Portland in April so seeing them on a big stage outdoors was weird and didn’t really fit them. Regardless, they sounded great.
I had three highlights today. Upright Citizens Brigade put on an amazing improv set. I had never seen something so consistently good and funny before. Second was Brett Gelman. He was a super funny stand up comedian and also was a nice guy. Closing out the night was Reggie Watts. I had heard his name before but I had never listened to his music. I wish I had because he blew me away. His ability to make a song by beatboxing and layering his voice using a series of samplers and digital delays was incredible. It made me have faith that there was going to be some gems on the yellow stage in the next couple days.
Our stage ended before the 3 main stages so I decided to check out a little of Danzig’s set. It was supposed to already be 45 minutes into it but as we later found out he was being a diva about the wind and my friend/bass player of Lemuria Max had to stop the wind for him. I watched 20 minutes of his boring set and then I headed over to the blue stage to catch some of Public Enemy who put on a much better set. Little did I know that Danzig was going to be a running punchline for the rest of the week.
As soon as I was done working, Lemuria had a set at one of the FFF night shows. It was at The Parish with Ume and The Thermals. Alex had loaded all the gear to the show and set up the merch. Luckily our friend Shane was at the fest and was nice enough to give us a ride to the show, despite being sick. We got there just before Ume was about to play. I had heard good things about them so I was excited that they were on the show. They definitely lived up to the hype. I really enjoyed their set and look forward to checking their records out.
Lemuria played next. It was a big club so I stayed in the back with the merch in case people wanted to buy stuff during their set (which they did). They sounded good, even from the back of the room. It felt good to be going merch again, I missed it. The Thermals closed out the night and they played really well. Even though I lived in Portland for 2 years, I never had the chance to see them before. I enjoyed their set a bunch. Afterwards, Alex and I got pizza with them and gave them a ride to their hotel room. We thought of new Wu-tang related mash up band names in the vein of Wugazi. My favorites were Stevie Raekwon and Method Man is the Bastard.
Stand up comedians: 4
Soup Danzig demanded: French Onion
Number of Misfits songs I saw performed: 0
This was a really long day and is mostly a blur. I rode around on a golf cart a lot which was really fun. I also started wearing a bandanna this day for the first time in my life due to the dust storms (graciously lent to me by Eva). This was the last day before the fest started so there was tons of stuff going on, lots of signs that needed to be hung, and not nearly enough coffee.
Hours worked: 16
Best task: Riding bikes to the site from a bike rental shop
Person who looks tougher in a bandana, me or Sheena: Sheena
Today was my first day working at Fun Fun Fun Fest. I had never worked at a big music festival before so it was definitely going to be interesting. My first task was for me and Sheena to hose down a dirt road in the production area to help with all the dust storms. This was a lot harder as it seemed because it was a huge area and dragging a very long hose around isn’t easy. Also in the middle of doing it the hose burst so we had to deal with that.
I did a bunch of other little assignments throughout the day. Bring this here, set that up, etc… I had to unload a trailer full of Passion Pit’s equipment. They had a ridiculous amount of stuff. It was a really windy day so fences kept falling over so that was a big “to-do” for the day. The highlight of my work day was probably standing on the stage that Slayer was going to play on in a few days. It was pretty cool.
After our 9 hour work day (which I was soon to find out would be our shortest work day of the week), we met up with Eva and Natalie for veggie burgers at Jackalope. It was awesome seeing Natalie (Eva had been working with us all day) and it was a cool bar with some decent half priced veggie burgers. We then headed to Eva and Natalie’s house where we spent the night.
Stages at FFF: 4
Solid meals had all day: 1
Time it took to walk from one end of the park to the other: 20 minutes
Today we finished our drive to Austin. Our first stop was at Waffle House. I have heard about Waffle House for many many years, and have passed a bunch but had never been inside one until today. I had a triple order of hash browns with onions and mushrooms, which was pretty much the only vegan thing on the menu. It was pretty good, but not amazing like some people tend to think.
On the drive I introduced Alex and Sheena to the Ongoing History of New Music. We listened to 2 episodes and I think they’re already fans of the show. This is good news because I downloaded a ton of them in hopes we could listen to them on tour. Looks like that will be a reality. We also made up some ridiculous new tag lines for Texas once we entered the state that will probably only be funny to us.
The only other stop we made before getting to Austin was a Wal-Mart outside of Houston to get the oil changed. Wal-Mart’s are already terrifying to me, but Wal-Mart’s in Texas are extra scary. If you don’t believe me, just ask Sheena. She agrees with me.
When we got to Austin we were hungry so we went to Olive Garden. I haven’t been to Olive Garden in over 3 years but Alex and Sheena love it so that’s where we went. I forgot how good the breadsticks are, i’ll get it that much. The pasta was good too. I guess I can’t complain too much because it was a delicious meal, it’s just weird because I rarely go to chain restaurants, especially in a city where there’s tons of local places that are vegan friendly.
Afterwards we went to Savers, which was a thrift store across the street that Sheena was drooling over. It wasn’t that special, but I did find a pair of pants for $8. Then we headed to Max’s friends house, which is where we were staying for the night. There were two really nice dogs there, Daisy and Seven. Sheena fell in love with Daisy and couldn’t let her go. That was until Alex went outside and let the dogs out. Little did he know that the gate wasn’t latched and they ran out of the yard into the darkness. We couldn’t believe when he came back inside and said the dogs got loose. We walked up and down the streets and alleys for a half hour looking for them, calling their names. Turns out they do this from time to time, but they always come back. Luckily, they eventually did come back. That half hour was really stressful though.
I start work at Fun Fun Fun Fest tomorrow and i’m pretty excited. Not only to make some money for tour/pay rent, but also to be a part of a big music fest and see how it runs and help out.
Miles traveled: 317
Most confusing bumper sticker: Eat Potatoes and Love More
Mouthfuls of Nerds Sheena ate trying to take a picture: 5