Right now we're driving to the kid's house that we're staying with tonight. I am pretty depressed as usual about heading out on tour. It's always for the same reason I always complain about too so I won't bore you or myself with it. At least for right now that is.
It's the same shit every single tour: No one will stop talking about shit that I couldn't be any less interested in, and I feel totally alone.
We played in CT tonight. I felt our set was received well, but that I sounded absolutely terrible. I'm not being hard on myself either. I have no problem saying when I did well, but this was just terrible. I guess that's what I get though for failing to exercise even the slightest bit during our 2 months off. Whatever, I'm paying the price now, so hopefully it teaches me a lesson.
Robert will be joining us in a few days as our merch guy. I can't wait. He is one of 2 people who I feel I made a real connection with throughout the years of traveling with Energy. Someone who I would hang out with if they lived in my town, not just someone with a place for us to stay while we come through their town.
I think we're near the area where we're staying so this entry will stop here.
I am going to try to update this as often as I can because I've felt really bad about not documenting the last few tours that we did.
Day 02: 9-22-09 @ Bogies - Albany, NY
Now we're driving to Keith's house in Long Island. It's a 3 or 4 hour drive and I think we have an hour left. I can't get "Brick House" out of my head.
Day 03: 09-23-09 @ Broadway - Amityville, NY
The show was very annoying, Joe broke a string right when we started so we had to stop playing in the middle of our intro, the mic kept unplugging throughout the entire set, for some reason we couldn't keep a steady flow and just start the next song, and 1 possibly 2 fights broke out during the set.
We knew prior to our set that a guy who is interested in managing us was supposed to come out and watch our set, apparently he did, but he left right after our set without introducing himself to us. Afterward he texted Conor and said that he bought an LP and enjoyed the set. So we really just don't know what's going on with all that now. That's just what I need, additional uncertainty in my life. Oh well, I hope things work out and he ends up managing us because we are pathetic at managing ourselves.
We drove 4 hours today and the drive really got to me. I started feeling claustrophobic halfway into it and asked if we could stop to get food.
The show tonight was awesome. Even though no one knew the words to our songs, people were really feeling it, and that's all I can ask for. The crowd consisted of a lot of younger kids which always excites me because I feel like I have the opportunity to influence them and get them interested in good music at a young age. There were a lot of little girls that wanted pictures with me tonight.
The show is over now and I'm just standing outside. I hope we have a good place to stay tonight, not a long drive to said place, and plenty of time to sleep in tomorrow. We'll see what happens.
Day 5: 09-25-09 @ American Legion - New Berlin, PA
Tonight's show had quite a few interruptions, but out of all the shows so far, this one felt the best for me personally. There was just something about the energy I was putting into the set that made it a very cathartic experience. Something happened with Keith's drum set during our intro that prevented us from going straight into Hunter Red, which really killed the vibe, then Dan broke a string during Hunter Red. The rest of the set went fine from what I can remember. Robert joined me on vocals for a Bad Religion cover.
We were supposed to have promo pictures taken before the show, but it didn't happen for some reason. After the show, we realized that we couldn't stay where we thought we could, so we had to search for a place to stay. Michael, the promoter for the show, hooked us up with his friend, so we started driving, only to realize when we got there, that there was a miscommunication involving the whereabouts of the kid's house. So basically, I got confused and caused us to drive 45 minutes the wrong way, only to have to turn right back around. 1 and a half hours of pointless driving...way to go Tank.
Day 6: 09-26-09 @ Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH
As a whole, this was probably the best night so far. I say as a whole because it didn't feel as good as last night, but we got a great reaction, and we played pretty well. Joe and I walked around for a bit, but it was way to rainy and wet out, so we went back to the club. The club owner got mad that we were late when in fact we still got there before the show even started AND we weren't even the opening band. He turned out to be pretty nice though because he bought Dan and I food from the bar when he didn't have to. Overall, a good day.
Day 07: 09-27-09 @ Warsaw Arena - Cincinnati, OH
Before we played, Joe and I tried to finish writing this song that we've been working on, but all we came up with was a lead for one of the parts. It was technically a productive writing session, but it didn't feel very productive because we were both pretty stumped, and I just wasn't very enthusiastic.
When we got onstage they turned the lights off, but in a bad way: the stage lights were off, but the crowd was illuminated. This made it pretty uncomfortable, and I had a really hard time getting into the set.
I think that along with every update, I'm going to include the amount of money we took in each night from merch sales. Tonight we sold 50 dollars in merch. I'm doing this because of how unbelievably bad we do every single night. It seems like every other band brings in hundreds every night, and we can barely break 50 on a good night. This may be partially due to the fact that we still haven't got our new (and in my opinion, GOOD) merch shipped to us yet, but I sent out a shipping address for it today, and we should have it by Thursday or Friday.
I feel like people might be under the impression that we are kind of popular, but I don't think that's the case at all. I mean yes, we have a modest fan base, but really when it comes down to it, most nights on tour we are playing to either people who have never heard us/heard of us, or people who have heard us, don't like us, and are there for the other bands. I'd say that on tour we get a good reaction maybe once a week. So if you are thinking that we go in front of hundreds of people singing along every night, and make tons of money on t-shirt and album sales, I just want to clarify that this is almost never the case. I'd say that Charleston, South Carolina is the only place where that happens, and it's amazing.
I'm done complaining now. There are far worse situations that I could be in, and I should be grateful for the things that I DO have, but EVERYONE, including yourself, complains about things when they know very well that there are always people somewhere on Earth that are in far worse situations, and have a lot more to complain about than you do. This is human nature though. No matter how good you have it, or how bad you have it, you're gonna find something to complain about, and you're always going to get stuck on the 1 negative thing that 1 person said, as opposed to the many positive things that many people said.
Day 08: 09-28-09 @ Shriners Building - Whitesburg, KY
We played a pretty good set and there were a handful of people singing along the whole time. We also decided to debut our cover of Samhain's "Black Dream" tonight. It was a lot of fun.
We finally got all of our new merch straightened out and it will be arriving at the promoter's house for Friday's show on Thursday. I'm really eager to see how well the new shirt does. It seemed to get a pretty positive reaction online and from all the other people who have seen it, so I think it will do alright. Oh and speaking of merch, tonight's total was 78 dollars.
I'm really glad Robert came on this tour for a few reasons. Aside from just being great to have around, he definitely puts more enthusiasm into being our merch guy than we ever expected. He has also been taking a lot of pictures (as you can see in my previous entries from this tour), and he has been filming a handful of our sets as well. This is already shaping up to be a pretty well documented tour, and we're only on week #2.
Day 09: 09-29-09 @ Murphy Arts Center - Indianapolis, Indiana
After driving for 6 hours and constantly being on the brink of a panic attack, we arrived at the venue. Keith's friends brought us some food including cupcakes which were awesome. Before we played, Joe and I walked around the area for a bit discussing the future of the band, we do this most nights. Our set was slightly awkward due to the lighting and high stage, but I felt as if I did alright. Joe thought we played like absolute shit. I did notice a few mistakes during the set, but I always assume that no one notices besides the 5 of us.
We got offered what I think is a good tour opportunity during the middle of December. I would just say who it's with, but God knows you can't do that. Why? I have no idea, probably because people love that little time frame where they can say "I know something you don't know". As I've stated many times before, I hate that so much.
After the set Joe and I walked around and talked about how much it sucks missing someone back home. Once the walk was over though, he seemed to be in a better mood. Strange concept: talking with me put someone in a GOOD mood? There must be some catch I'm missing here.
Oh by the way, tonight we sold 10 dollars in merch. Embarrassing.
The set went well aside from Joe's guitar breaking during "The Silence", and 2 microphones breaking throughout the set. Robert set his video camera up in the back of the room, and filmed another angle with his phone. The video from his phone came out better, but the memory ran out right at the end of "2 Whole Minutes Under Water". We plan on splicing the 2 angles together and adding it as a bonus feature to a DVD that we intend to make out of this tour. The DVD will probably be the best performances of each song that we play throughout the tour interlaced with interviews, random footage, etc. It will probably just be something we'll put out ourselves, and burn copies to sell for 5 dollars or something.
After the set I talked to Matt on the phone for a while, it's always good/funny to hear from him. After I got off the phone we headed to Keith's friends' place in St. Louis where we did laundry and went to sleep.
Day 11: 10-01-09 @ Billiards Blue Room - Springfield, MO
Dan left early to practice Marky's parts with A Loss For Words because he's going to be filling in for him during the next few shows. The rest of us drove to the show in silence. Once we got there, Joe, Conor, Robert, and myself went to a few stores in search for merch racks/clips. We ended up finding them at Lowe's.
The club was filled with smoke and it seemed like every single person there had a cigarette in their hand. The show itself went surprisingly well. People seemed to be more familiar with the songs from Invasions than with the Punch The Clock songs, so we replaced "Keep The Change" with "The Silence". 400 went over the best by a landslide.
Robert said that we sold 113 dollars in merch tonight, our highest yet this tour. After the show we drove 3 hours to Lawrence, KS where we slept on a hardwood floor.
Day 12: 10-02-09 @Mission Lounge - Mission, KS
After our set Joe and I went to the store next to the venue and on our way out some kid said "y'all look gay" to me. I just said "was that supposed to be an insult?" and he responded "nah, I was just letting you know" and then he walked into the store. I didn't know you could "look gay". Joe thought the whole situation was hilarious. It doesn't bother me when people say things like that, it just makes me happy that I was born me and not them.
After we loaded out, almost everyone tried to go to Vinnie Paul's strip club, but got rejected. Joe, Keith, Soupy, and myself drove to the house we stayed at. We didn't get to sleep until around 5 am.
Day 14: 10-04-09 @ Rose Park Activity Building - Abilene, TX
Towards the end of the drive, Dan brought up something that Joe and I had been discussing for a while: Mike Rendini joining Energy on Keyboards, back up vocals, and most importantly, as a partner in songwriting. The pros outweigh the cons a million to one. Unfortunately Conor is the only person in the band that wasn't in the van when this was brought up, so we still have to talk to him about it. I hope that doesn't present a problem because having Mike join is the smartest decision we could make as a band, and deciding against it, would be the worst decision this band could ever make. Mike is the best musician any of us know, and could only make things better. I have been putting off bringing this up for a while now because I knew that if everyone rejected the idea, that we would never achieve what we are capable of, and I wasn't ready to face that reality yet. I just can't put it off any longer, he has to join.
Once we got to San Antonio, we had to wait for The Ataris' show to get out because that's where Conor was. I guess there were only like 25 people there. It's strange how a band can be so popular at one point, but then totally fall off like that. While we were waiting, Joe, Keith and I walked around the area trying to kill time. Once the show was over, we left and headed to Josh's house where it was air conditioned and comfortable. I'm so glad I'm inside this house, and not outside in the humidity.
Green". It was alright, not bad, just not great. I feel like a lot of people who are vegan don't actually have an opinion on food. It seems like every vegan/vegetarian restaurant is "sooo good", when that's just not the case. It's like that with a lot of things, not just food. If you like pop punk music, every pop punk band is good. If you like hardcore music, every hardcore band is good. No one will admit that they think this way, but so many people do. It's just everyone's way of trying to let everyone else know what title they claim, and that they belong to something important. It's all bullshit, and everyone is full of shit.
After that we went to the mall where I got my eyebrows threaded. From the mall we drove to the show. It was hot and humid all day and night, it sucked. Before the show, Joe, Conor, Soupy, Nevada, Dan, and myself went to Denny's. I didn't get anything, I just took advantage of the free wifi they offered. After everyone ate, we headed back to the show.
Day 17: 10-07-09 @ The Spot - El Paso, TX
Day 18: 10-08-09 @ Amped Theatre - Albuquerque, NM
Our set didn't go very well. We covered Samhain, which is always fun, but I wasn't singing that well, and the overall vibe in the room was very stiff and uncomfortable. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get into it the way I usually do. We sold 103 dollars in merch despite the fact that there weren't that many people there. I was told about 30 people paid.
After the set Joe and I walked to a grocery store where I got some yogurt and protein bars. Once we got back to the venue and loaded out, it was decided that we'd bring up the idea of having Mike join Energy to Conor. There isn't a big story surrounding this really, we just brought it up, said "what do you think?" and Conor said yes. So that's it, Mike Rendini is now an official member of Energy. He will be playing Keyboards and singing back ups with us live, and will now have an equal hand in writing songs with us. This is the most exciting thing that's happened with Energy in a while. I feel like it hasn't really sunk in yet because of the fact that he's not on tour with us right now, and that we haven't written with him yet. That's fine though, because he is the greatest songwriter that any of us know, and we already know that we all work well with him because he produced "Invasions Of The Mind". Aside from the writing end, he might as well have been in the band when we recorded Invasions because he played all the keyboard parts on the album. So in reality, having him play with us live will only make it sound more like the album.
After that brief discussion, we drove 2 hours or so towards Arizona and got a motel. The room was very small and uncomfortable, but it's better than sleeping in the van.
Day 19: 10-09-09 @ Badlands Music Venue - Mesa, AZ
We played this same place on the Defeater tour in March/April. I remember someone telling me that people were calling us assholes online because we didn't watch any of the opening bands. Well guess what, I didn't watch any of them again, and I don't care. Sorry. We have played with literally thousands of bands over the past 3 and a half years and not one has even made me say to myself "hmm I think I'll ask for their demo" I can't think of one single current hardcore or pop punk band that I like, and it seems like those are the only kinds of bands that exist anymore. Not to mention the fact that NO touring band watches all the openers. A lot of nights (if not most) they don't watch any of them because they spend 250 days out of a possible 365 a year at shows and are just plain burnt out on the whole experience.
Why is that though? That there seems to ONLY be hardcore and pop punk bands nowadays? I think I know why: it's because once something becomes a trend, no one wants to stray from what they know will succeed, and that is how this endless run of shitty mediocre bands began. It's like how if The Beach Boys never took that shot in the dark with Pet Sounds and continued writing the surf hits that they knew would sell, music would remain stagnant and boring. That's exactly what's happening right now. Not only will no one try anything new, they won't even try to replicate something that's already been done in a way that could be considered even remotely original. If you aren't going to be original, why can't at least be original with who you're ripping off?
Anyways...We went on before The Wonder Years and A Loss For Words and played "Invasions Of The Mind" front to back because Manny wanted to hear it. I thought the set felt good, but apparently Dan and Conor thought it was awkward, oh well. It was pretty much the same reaction as the last time, no reaction at all.
Joe and I walked around for a while after the set and tried to talk about positive things because of how miserable we both get while we're on tour. It worked a little, but we still spent a lot of the time getting pissed off. Once we got back we headed back to Manny's. I stayed up pretty late, updated my blog, did some laundry, then went to bed.
Day 20: 10-10-09 @ Epicentre - San Diego, CA
Once we got to the show we realized that there were still a few bands before us, so we went to a grocery store where I got milk and cookies. I hate the fact that I don't eat very healthy at all when I'm on tour. I feel like I need Julia here to tell me what to/not to eat. I'm like a 5 year old boy who would eat nothing but birthday party food if my mother didn't force me to do otherwise. Pizza, cake, cookies, and ice cream.
After the grocery store we went back to the show and played. Tonight was by far my best performance because I asked the sound guy to give me SOME reverb, when instead, he gave me A LOT of reverb. This is when I realized that my voice just sounds way better swimming in reverb. From now on when clubs actually have people doing sound, I'm going to tell them to give me a lot of reverb. Aside from my personal performance, I thought we did fairly well, even though there wasn't anyone singing along. Robert said that we sold 90 dollars in merch, which is better than I thought we'd do.
After our set I walked around the area for a few hours while talking to Matt on the phone. I guess I called at just the right time because him and Heather had just broken up. Between talking to Al and Matt, today turned out to be a pretty emotional day. After the show ended, we headed to Joe Harder's place, the "Chateau Harder" as they call it, and went to bed.
Day 21: 10-11-09 @ The Green Turtle - Whittier, California
We woke up today and headed to the mall in Burbank, then to Sunset Boulevard where Conor and I ate at "California Vegan" while the others climbed the Hollywood mountain. We also went into Amoeba and browsed around trying to kill time until everyone else got back. I found a Son Of Sam 12" on pink vinyl, Rollins Band's "Do It" and "Hard Volume" 12", and Smashing Pumpkins "Chicago Tapes" 12". I found these, but couldn't afford to get them because after almost 4 years of touring in this band, I still haven't made a penny.
Once we arrived at the show, we were informed that there were 11, yes ELEVEN bands on tonight's bill. We were also informed that we wouldn't be playing until after at least 7 or 8 of them played. Bored out of our minds, Dan and I walked around looking for places to get food, no such luck. When we headed back to the venue we heard people screaming and yelling outside. Turns out there was a huge fight, the cops came, and shut the show down. We got paid though, so it wasn't a total loss, but I would have liked to have been able to play seeing as it's the only reason I'm this far away from Julia to begin with. I can't wait to meet up with her in Chicago.
After the commotion, we headed to this place "Swingers" for food, but everyone changed their minds because they didn't want anything on the menu, so we headed back to Joe's house early and went to bed.
Our set went fairly well aside from poor performance on my end. Not too many people were singing along, but I felt as if we were well received. We sold 149 dollars in merch. Right before the last song (400), we covered Bad Religion's "Do What You Want" and had Robert sing it. I think we're going to do that from now until he leaves. It was really cool having Robert come on this tour with us, he proved to be one of, if not the best merch guy we've ever had.
Day 23: 10-13-09 @ Sub-Mission - San Francisco, CA
We drove for 6 hours in the rain today and for some reason when we got to the venue we had to wait a half an hour to load in. Once we loaded in, Joe, Dan, and myself went to this grocery store that has vegan baked goods. I had to wait until Dan paid to get the money that he owed me before I could buy anything, and Joe wanted to go back anyway to get his money so I figured wed just go back afterwards. On our way back to the venue we got a call that we were on in 10 minutes, so we had to hurry back.
Our set was terrible. I couldn't hear myself whatsoever, and it didn't seem like many people cared. We sold in 63 dollars in merch tonight. After we played, I walked back to the grocery store by myself because Joe's aunt came to the show and they went for a walk after the set. Once I got there I realized that it closed 20 minutes before I got there. I was pretty pissed.
We ended up staying with Joe's aunt and Joe slept in a trailer that she had in her yard. Robert and I did push ups in the driveway before we went to sleep.
Day 24: 10-14-09 @ Branch Street House - Sacramento, CA
Today was a relatively short drive, but before the drive, we walked around Berkeley, stopped in Herbivore for some food, and stopped at Amoeba where I bought Earth. A.D. and Loose Nut. I immediately regretted this though because as soon as I walked outside, Robert reminded me that I owed him 20 dollars, which left me with about 10 dollars for the rest of the tour. I tried to go back and return the records but they have a no cas refund policy. Stupid move on my part.
Once we got to the show, Robert, Joe and I went for a walk around the area. The show was in a garage at someone's house, but it was set up like a venue with a P.A. and a stage. The first few songs of the set were a little awkward because I couldn't hear myself at all and not too many people were singing along, but once we covered "Buddy Holly" for Joe's birthday, the set instantly became one of the most enjoyable sets of the tour. After that we played a few more originals, then we had Robert join us for the Bad Religion cover because it's his last night on this tour.
After the show we headed to Keith's friend's house. She had a bunch of food for us which was cool, but I spent a lot of time out in the van by myself reflecting back on 2009 and realizing how shitty it was.
Day 25: 10-15-09 @ Paradise Lost - Chico, CA
Since Robert left the tour last night, there won't be nearly as many pictures in my updates.
The venue tonight was a video store that had a back room which was a porn store. The show itself was horrible. I could hear myself fine, and I actually thought that I did alright, but most of the place cleared out during our first song, and after that we didn't even get an applause. Generally when I feel that we aren't being well received I get a little irritated and start giving off somewhat of an attitude. This was no different. I don't remember exactly what I said, I just know that I was pissed. 25 days into a tour, 3 and a half years into the band, 4 full U.S. tours in a year...yeah I'm gonna get a little mad when the place clears out when we play, while mediocrity runs rampant and everyone eats it up. Whatever, no one even knows what they actually like anyway. After the show we drove overnight to Portland, Oregon and stayed with Keith's friend Ashley.
Day 26: 10-16-09 @ Black Lake Grange - Olympia, WA
We woke up today in Portland and drove 2 hours to Olympia, it felt like a longer drive than it was. When we arrived at the show, there was pasta, cookies, and brownies for us, there were a good amount of kids there as well. As usual, Joe and I paced back and forth outside of the venue complaining about how bad modern music is before we played. The show itself turned out to be a lot more fun than I had anticipated. There were a good amount of people that seemed to enjoy it, and a handful that knew the words. There was a kid there who told me that he wanted to hear "Bushwhacked" a few weeks ago when we played in Cincinnati, so we played it for him.
Day 27: 10-17-09 Day Off - Portland, OR
On the way back from the show last night our trailer started to break, and since it was Sunday today, there weren't any places to go have it fixed because they were closed. We were left with no other option than to abandon it somewhere and rent a Uhaul for 300 dollars. Since today was a day off we didn't start this whole process until later in the day, so by the time we got all of this taken care of, it was getting pretty late.
Our next show is in Utah so we had to drive some tonight, and get a motel. On our way to the motel, about 4 or 5 hours after we just got our new Uhaul trailer, I heard a loud bang, as if something broke, apparently a bear came running full speed out of the woods and collided head first with our trailer. We don't know how the bear was, or where he went, but our trailer got fucked up. We managed to bend the metal back into place and keep driving though.
Day 28: 10-18-09 @ V2 - Layton, UT
I woke up today and tried to take a shower, but apparently the motel we stayed at doesn't have hot water, so I just washed my hair really fast and got out as quick as I could because I was shivering so badly that my teeth were chattering. When I got out of the shower and finished blow drying my hair, I realized that my straightener is almost broken, I managed to get it to work enough to do my hair, but I'm not sure how long it's going to last now.
When we got to the venue I realized that my eyeliner was broken...not a good day as far as my appearance goes. Once we got on stage, it was pretty apparent that no one there cared about us because most of them weren't even watching us. A bunch of people were right in front of the stage just horsing around and ignoring us. I felt like a hired clown at a 5 year old's birthday party just doing my job for the parent that hired me while all the children would clearly rather be running around screaming and writing all over the walls than watch me perform my act that I worked really hard on perfecting. This is my life.
After the show we drove overnight to Conor's sister's apartment in Boulder, Colorado. I stayed up for about 4 or 5 hours of the drive, then I went in the back and tried to sleep, but only slept a little.
Day 29: 10-19-09 @ Quixotes - Denver, CO
We woke up around noon at Conor's sister's house and did laundry. When we got to the show I was told that there were 15 people paid. Joe and I walked around for a bit and on our way back a van pulled up next to us and the driver asked us "which way to the show?" it was Mike Finn. I had no idea who it was at first because I'm not used to seeing familiar faces from back home while I'm on tour.
Our set went surprisingly well considering the amount of people that were there. There were a few people singing along the whole time and someone actually jumped onstage and sang for a second. This clearly proves that any show can be good if the crowd wants it to be. I did however have trouble singing tonight. I felt out of breath and couldn't finish lines that I usually don't have any problem finishing. This seems to happen every time we play Denver, I'm pretty sure it's the altitude. I know I haven't been keeping up with this but: we sold 30 dollars in merch tonight.