Lesser Of Two

Tour 99/00 Diary

Sept 17

Chris from Vae Victis got confused and booked us at a bar show on Sept 16. When we called asking for directions he scrambled to get us on the bill of a house party. We were running late trying to get all the last miute details in order. We arrived at the house at about 9:45 PM and were informed by Chris that the show was supposed to be over at 10 PM. He looked in vain for someone who lived in the house to get permission for the show to run over the predetermined time frame. We began unloading our equipment with the hopess of playing.
We sat in the driveway with our equipment while listening to the band Redrum from the other side of the garage door. We couldn't help but wonder how many bands have gone by the name Redrum. My next door neighbors used to be in one from Philly and they talked about how unoriginal their band name was.
Regardless of this the Reno Redrum was good. We played to a somewhat thinned out crowd. We only got to play four songs before the police arrived.
Some inspirational quotes from the evening include:

"That bald headed lesbian bitch..."

"Which one of you bitches wants to have my baby"
"That boys running like a nigger in the night."

In addition to this I had a guy pinch my ass as I was loading the equipment. Kelly also had some guy who took liberties in touching her facial piercings who then said, "I bet you have nipple piercing too, don't you."
The party was definitely an odd mix of idiots and what seemed to be others who were genuinely interested in music.
After we loaded our equipment we realized that the drive to Colorodo Springs was going to be an all nighter so off we went. Despite the confusion I'm glad Chris did everything he could to set up a show for us. He even gave us three Vae Victis albums and bought some of our merchandise for Resurrection a collectively run record shop in Reno.

Sept 18/19

Oh my, that all night drive to Colorodo Springs I mentioned was much more than an overnight event. After a grueling 21 hour drive we arrived at the VFW hall just in time to hear the last song from the last band. It was past midnight and we were releived that anyone was still there. We quickly scrambled to set up and play. There was a short circuit in the microphones and one of our amplifiers died.
People stuck around to watch us play so we were grateful that we still had the opportunity to play. We spent the night at Chappel Perilous (aka "The Punk House"). Chris, Murph, and Earl were very hospitable and slightly deranged hosts. We spent our day off there during which time we tried to make shirts but found that our ink dried to quickly for it to be practicel. We left around 10 PM and about half way to Tulsa we realized we left our squeegie behind.

Sept 20

We arrived in Tulsa about 6 PM and were glad to finally roll into town early. I jested to the others that this would probably turn out to be an afternoon show which we were not informed about. When we got to the door of Jason's house a guy came out and said, "Are you in Lesser Of Two? We'd almost given up on you."
Apparently my joke was true. It turned out that we were just in time to see Rise and Fall (well actually they were waiting for us to borrow our bass guitar). There was a good turn out and everyone was nice to us. We went to a barbecue after we played and I drank a 3.2% beer someone gave me.

Sept 21

The passenger door started opening at random times this day. Dave was luckily strapped in when this happened. Unfortunately I was making a sandwhich when it happened to me. I was on my knee turned around in my seat while I was reaching for the jam. I didn't fall out though. We are now taking precautions.
We got turned around really weird due to poor directions. We played with Fu Yu and Victor's other band who's name escapes me. Fu Yu was amazing. I was really surprised because they seemed to have transcended beyond the performance I saw last time we were in Little Rock. If you ever get a chance to see them you should do so.
Victor and Stacy, from Fu Yu, made us a lot of food and started a bonfire in the back yard. They have set up three shows for Lesser Of Two over the years and it was really good to see them again. We were sad to leave but we had to pull an all nighter to Florida instead of spending the night.

Sept 22-27

Back in Ft. Walton Beach, Fl. Being back made me realize how little I missed Florida, well, except for the beaches. It was oppresively hot the entire time, yet it was good to see our families and the freinds we still had living in Florida.
There were a lot of gaps in our tour where shows had fallen through or never been confirmed. I worked diligently to fix these gaps and for the most part did.
We played at the Java Pit which I would recomend to other touring bands if for some god forsaken reason you decide to tour down the Florida coastline.
The first band to play was Sick Kid. Sick Kid is a one man band slightly reminiscent of Drop Dead for lack of a better comparison. The best line from his set was, "I am sick kid! I am sick kid!". The overall effort was good, yet still a far cry from other one man bands such as Captured By Robots or The Thrones.
The second band to play was Fungus Among Us who were really good especially for a first show, yet played a somewhat radio freindly form of alterna-metal.
The third band to play was The Ginny Four. I was really excited to hear them because they have two ex members of My Fathers Mission a really good band somewhat similar to Sunny Day Real Estate. My Fathers Mission and Lesser Of Two have had a complex and somewhat incestuous exchange of members also involving the former members of Jehova's Hitlist of which Dave was a member.
At any rate I was excited to see some old freinds play, and they were all I was expecting: intricate layered melodies, pounding offbeat drumming, moments of tense dissonance, and expansive dynamics. I only hope the Ginny Four can rise above their many Ft. Walton predecessors and make a substantial recording before they break up.

Sept 28

Still in Florida and still oppressively hot. We made our way down to Orlando to play at Nick's house. It was during this leg of our trip that we picked up another member of our entourage. Her name is China and she will be driving our van back to Florida when the American tour is over.
Nick's house was great. He had a 5 foot half pipe (skateboarding ramp) and multiple launche ramps. His house was filled with art, art projects, and art supplies. It was also evident that Nick, his housemates, and his freinds were involved in numerous creative activist endeavors.
We played with the Runnamucks who played some rockin' good chaotic hardcore. I recomend them if you get a chance to check them out.
After we played, our freind Heather's buddies from Tampa showed up to take her to Tampa. After Tampa she plans to travel up to New York. It was sad to see her go. We had gotten accustomed to and enjoyed her company.

Sept 29-30

The first night we played at the Velvet Elvis in Savannah, GA. It was an 18+ bar which is usually not the kind of venue we play but unfortunately we couldn't find anything else. It seems the scene in Savanah is pretty lacking. Not only could Victoria not find an all ages venue, but she also couldn't find a local band to play with us. Apparently there aren't many bands at all in Savanah.
She would have booked her band Damad but unfortunately thier guitarist severed a tendon in his hand at work. Despite all that the turnout was good. We played a longer set than usual. After we were done Damad asked to use our equipment to play.
Apparently thier guitarists hand had healed enough for them to play and so they went ahead and played five songs. We were thrilled. It was like they were playing just for us.
After the show we decided to drive to Greenesboro to spend our day off. We had tried to set up a show with Zegota but nothing worked out. We hung out with the Zegota kids and then our friend Brendon who we met five years ago on our first major tour.

Oct 1

In the morning we got a message that our show in Richmond wasn't arranged properly and there was a question as to whether we were going to be able to play or not. We had been given confirmation about jumping on the bill of this show six weeks prior but apparently Ross had failed to follow through in contacting all the necessary people.
When we got there the club manager didn't know anything about us playing, the bands didn't seem to know anything about us getting on the bill, and none of the flyers or listings mentioned our name. It was very frustrating and there was nothing we could do. The manager was insistant on sticking to a 4 band bill so all we could do was sit there watching the bands play while we tried to sell merchandise.
The local bands felt sorry about the whole mess and ended up giving us their share of the door money. It was really nice of them to do that, yet I only wished that things had worked out the way they were supposed to.

Oct 2

The next day we got into Washington, DC in the late afternoon. We drove to the club and no one was there yet. We were excited to get thrown on this bill, yet the prior evenings experience made us slightly concerned about the potential for us not having been put on the bill.
The bands scheduled to play were the Casualties, the Generics, De Nada, and us. We were really excited about the bands. I had heard a lot about both the Casualties and the Generics and was hopeful there would be a good turnout.
After some time of waiting around people started showing up. I met Kevin the promoter and he let us know that both the Casualties and the Generics had canceled. We had originally gotten on the bill in place of the Boils and No Justice and Code Blue were put on the bill to replace the other bands.
A lot of people showed and left upon finding out that the line-up had changed so drastically, but the turnout for the original show was so large that the crowd that stayed was still pretty large.
De Nada was a real standout of the evenings festivities and in retrospect I am unhappy that I didn't think about trying to trade merchandise. If you get a chance to see them I would recomend it. They play some chaotic noisy loud hardcore which weaved in and out of chunky heavy metal breakdowns.
That night we stayed with the guys in Crispus Attucks another really good band out of the DC area which play a raw powerful kind of hardcore with a melodic sensability slightly similar to Misfits.
We ate their food and watched movies and got to hear Crispus Attucks have a band practice in which they worked on new material for an upcoming recording.

Oct 3

The show in Baltimore was in the upstairs of the Sushi Cafe with Milemarker, Allied War Effort, and us. Turnout was small but the bands were great.
Allied War Effort played loud, pounding, offbeat, noisey metal with a punk rock edge. Their music reminded me of a cross between Hoover, Snapcase, and Born Against if that makes any sense. To be honest though I was distracted during there set by the fact that our good freind Flynt came out to the show, and we hadn't seen her for a long time.
Milemarker had the bass player from Hellbender and the guitarist from Griver. There sound was comprised of throbbing offbeat rythms layered with loud noisey textured guitar work and an exchange of screaming vocals between various members. They definitely put on a good show with great tones.
I would recomend checking out either band if you have the chance.

Oct 4

After the Baltimore show we drove all night to meet our newest traveling companion, Silk, at her parents house near Philadelphia. We hung out with her family, soaked in the Jacuzzi, and basicly enjoyed a little down time while we also worked to get our itinerary organized.
I am here now and we are currently waiting on our freind Flynt to drive up with her daughter Justice and her freind Larry.

Oct 5

We woke up early and drove to Rochestor, NY. We played with A Death Between Seasons who rocked pretty hard. They reminded me of a noisier version of Eye Hate God. They were pounding heavy with songs that blead one into another until it was impossible to distinguish when one began and another ended. It also seemed that a good bit of improvisation was taking place which is interesting for a band that has definite hardcore/metal roots.
The people in Rochestor were really nice. They paid us well, housed us, fed us, and seemed more than happy to help us out with anything that we needed. It is nice to run across such a sincere and friendly bunch of folks on tour.

Oct 6-9

We left Rochestor for New York. Then we left New York for Frankfurt, Germany. It all seemed very simple, but Dave and Silk took a different flight from Kelly, Dominik, and I. They were supposed to be waiting for us in the airport in Frankfurt, but Dave and Silk were nowhere to be found.
After about 4 hours of searching we gave up and drove to Bremen with our freind Jens who picked us up in the van we are using to tour in. On the way to Bremen we stopped to check our e-mail and found out that Dave had to reschedule their flight and that they would be in the following morning at 9 A.M.
We got to Bremen at 1 A.M. and at about the exact moment we were about to fall asleep we realized we had to drive all the way back to Frankfurt to pick up Dave and Silk.
When we finally got back to Bremen we found out about a party going on and went. We found out that Neurosis is playing on the 10th so we are going to try and get in to see them play. It will be nice to see some familiar faces so far from the Bay Area.

Oct 10/11

Everything is closed on Sunday in Bremen even the grocery store. Apparantly this is due to some kind of nationaly mandated Christian legislation. We went to the Bremen equivalent to Food Not Bombs at Siedwall Hause and had a great meal. It was almost completely vegan and had a lot of high quality selections. They had coffee with soy milk, tofu scrambble, waffles, bread, and various dips and spreads.
As I was eating I noticed that all of the people partaking in the meal were young people who seemed not to down and out. In America Food Not Bombs has a hard time meating the demands of the hungry and at their meals there are always older people, homeless people, and emotionally disturbed people.
I asked one of the volunteers why these types of people weren't present and she responded that Germany doesn't have as many social problems and has more programs to help those in need.
Later we drove to Hamburg to see Neurosis, Voivod, and Today Is The Day. Neurosis and Today Is The Day were both phenomenal. Voivod was a let down though. Voivod's album Negatron is an amazing album, yet they were unable to do the album justice.
They had an almost completely inaudible guitar and there drummer seemed like he had been drinking to much to perform his parts. The bass player asked how it sounded and the crowd roared "Ja". I was pretty upset. I stood next to the P.A. cabinet so that I could at least distinguish some of the guitar work.
On Monday we went to Musik Produktiv to try and buy some equipment. We were told that a big shipment of inexpensive gear was coming in on Wednesday so we decided to play our first week of shows on borrowed equipment and come back.
As we tried out equipment though we discovered a few major problems with converting European power to American power for our amplifiers. Fortunately the people at Musik Produktive were very helpful. Some of the salespeople actually drove into town to show us how to get to a place to buy a power convertor. As we were about to split up afterwards they even bought one of our CDs and told us to keep the two marks we owed them in change.

Oct. 12

Eisenhuttendsenstadt was the first communist town to be founded under the communist government. It was originally named Stalinstadt but instead they named it Eisenhuttendsenstadt which means "the town of iron houses".
Now all the iron mines are closed and strip malls are beginnintg to be built amongst the striking communist era architecture dominating the town.
The club was a burnt out building on a street of similar burnt out buildings in what slightly resembled a wharehouse district in an American industrial town.
We had 4 shows before we could get our own equipment so we found ourselves playing on a drumset which was held together with packing tape (which actually had a better tone than most drumsets I've heard) and two small 50 watt amplifiers. One amplifier had electrical problems so we had to improvise a web of cables and fragilely balanced amplifiers to get a bass and guitar tone.
We played all of our fast songs and the noise generated slightly resembled some of the Neandretahl recordings (pre-Man Is The Bastard). The notes were barely distinguishable but it was a somewhat pleasing progression of chaotic noise.
After the show we went to Olaf's apartment and drank into the wee hours of the night with a bunch of crazy punks. Olaf fed us, gave us endless supplies of alcohol, and showed us some of the music and activist videos he has made. He definitely has skill in manipulating video and a great deal of energy which he puts into Eisenhuttendsenstadt's small music/activism scene.

Oct. 13

We were awed by Zoro squat in Leipzig. It was a huge multi-level complex with adjcent buildings. There was a big kitchen, dining facilities, practice studios, an office, storage space, a bar/show space, and living quarters.
When we arrived they had prepared for us a large meal with homemade sauerkraut, some kind of potato dumpling, and so on.
12 Alluidos played some chaotic noisey hardcore with a lot of energy. They were very good. We found out later that they are touring by using the Euro-Rail. It seems like a very inexpensive and eco-freindly way to tour Europe. The only downside is that they had to borrow almost all their equipment except for guitars and cymbols which they could take with them on the train.
This type of tour would be difficult for us but I highly recomend it to other bands who want to tour Europe.
We played and everything sounded good since the squat had some nice cabinets for us to use and a good drumset. Unfortunately I fell off the stage leaving my ass sore for a couple days. Another thing I noticed was how the Germans seem to smoke a lot and smoke everywhere. The venue was dense with smoke making it difficult to sing because of the caustic vapors. I usually am not one to obsess over second-hand smoke, but the smoke was so thick that it was distinctly oppressive.
We met up with Lenin formerly of the band Los Crudos. We stayed up late with him and the guys from 12 Alluidos. We decided to leave that night so that we would have a good margin of driving time to Wroclaw (pronounced: Vrotswov). Unfortunately we forgot one of our power transformers and had to turn back around only to find that the squat had been abandoned and the door to the show space locked.
I slept in the kitchen and was awakened by people making coffee. I got the transformer, but didn't have time for a cup of coffee.

Oct 14

Wroclaw was a beautiful town, but when I say that I don't mean it in the mainstream sense of what is considered aestheticly pleasing. Powerful architecture spanning many eras much of which still had scars from wars past fill the town. The towns history speaks in it's streets. Unfortunately investors are beginning to plaster over the central marketplace and the Kiosks are being replaced with McDonalds.
The squat like the other shows had food and drink waiting for us. The question begins to arise as to what we should do with all this excess beer we will inevitablly accumulate.
The squat was put together in complete DIY fashion. They had power and a gas stove but no running water. Also I was noticing that everyone we had encountered in Europe seemed to recycle everything and compost food matter. Poland is filled with family gardens and the squat was no different. The trail leading to the show tent was straddled by an orchard on the left and a small plot of leafy vegetables.
The tent was huge with a large stage equipped with a PA and a bar near the entrance, yet despite it's size it was dense with people. We had problems getting our equipment set up and connected to theirs but after many attempts with multiple configurations we got some tones. We quickly played and ran through our set. It sounded really strange, yet the crowd was very excited and demanded two encores. It was awkward since we'd never played to such an energized crowd before.
After everything died down we went to the other bar at the beginning of the trail. It was impressive to see how these people found a space, claimed it, and built it into an autonomous community. I guess the same could be said for all functional squats but this was only the second we had experienced. Unfortuately the Wroclaw squat's days are numbered. Investors have bought the property with the intention of evicting the tenants and building housing on it.

Oct 15

The next day we hung out with Jason a guy from Canada who had been in Europe and Poland for quite some time. It's interesting how his speach patterns had altered so that he could be more easily understood by Europeans. I actually mistook him for a European at first.
Jason showed us the open market, the college, and the central square. We then left for Poznan to play at the Rozbrat squat with Post Regiment. It was Rozbrat's 5th year anniversary and our first show of three with Post Regiment one of Polands premeir hardcore bands.
Rozbrat was an amazing complex of buildings with an anarchist bookshop, living quarters, an archery booth, and huge music hall. The music hall had a huge PA and nice equipment for us to use.
Like the day before the crowd asked us to play more songs so we did. It was interesting how much energy the Polish punks seem to have especially when contrasted against their American counterparts.
When Post Regiment played I was impressed with how much better they were than I had expected and the subtle intricacies of their music which I had never fully noticed. The crowd was completely energized to the point that one of the PA cabinets almost fell over on our drummer Dave.

Oct 16

We went back to Music Productiv and bought some really nice guitar and bass cabinets. It was definitely a relief to be able to ensure that the rest of the tour would be with reliable equipment. Apparantly bands touring with their own guitar stacks is very rare especially along DIY circuits. With this knowlege we knew to expect that our possesion of such equipment would lead to us providing our equipment for most of the bands that we would be playing with. More than anything we looked at this as a way for us to be a more integral part of the shows in which we would be playing.
This night was one such night. All the bands in Hannover used our equipment which was good because we weren't originally scheduled to play. We jumped on the bill of this our second show with Post Regiment.
Sprengel squat was very impressive. It was comprised of two large buildings and a gypsy wagon caravan camp in the back. At the entrance ther was a large bar/cafe. Towards the left was the music hall with a large sound system, and to the right was the entrance to the living quarters which were about five stories high.
To say the least the Sprengel squat was very impressive in it's layout, it's size, and it's maintenance. We played first and then after us the Israeli band Dir Yassin played. They played odd fast paced high energy punk rock. They also addressed issues dealing with Zionism and how it is equivalent to Israeli nationalism. It was good to see a band directly involved with the issues to talk about them in an informed manner. I only wish they could play in the states and share their experiences and knowlege.
After Dir Yassin was our friends 12 Alluidos who we met in Leipzig.12 Alluidos set was more powerful than the other nights noisfest and their performance was filled with tense energy. Thier music has long bursts of chaotic offbeat noise interspersed with synchronized heavy hooks that seemed to come out of nowhere. The guitarists face was bright red and his eyes looked like they were about to pop out of his head. I felt nervous standing next to the stage however irrational that may be.
After 12 Alluidos came Post Regiment. Thier is little I can say about Post Regiment than that they have completely mastered thier own brand of melodic hardcore; "melodic hardcore" being a pathetic descpription of thier masterfully crafted music. I guess words fail me here.
After the show everyone proceeded to hang out and socialize. It was interesting to observe and take part in the many interactions of people from different cultures speaking different languages. It was interesting to see Israelis, Spaniards, Poles, Germans and English speaking peoples all use English to bridge language differences. It was fortunate for us as well because we didn't feel isolated by language barriers.

Oct 17

We followed Post Regiment back to Bremen. We played in a youth center. It was interesting to see beer being served and cigareettes being smoked. In America people would freak out if such things were to occur in a youth center. In this respect Germans and Poles seem less repressed than their American counterparts. The downside to this for us is that our traveling partner, Silk, has been tortured by thick smoke in clubs which agravates her asthma. Even without asthma it has been hard for the rest of us to acclimate especially when we play and we gasp for air filled with second hand smoke.
As we set up our equipment I realized I had left an adapter cable for the power transformer to my amplifier in Hannover. Without it I couln't power my amplifier so I was really distraught. I scavenged some wires, a german plug, and some electrical tape and made a makeshift adapter cable which worked fine. All was not lost. This was one of many American/European conversion related problems which we had encountered.
It was only us and Post Regiment on the bill this night. Post Regiment played another amazing set which I'm sure they do every night considering how well seasoned of musicians they are.
When we got to the house we were staying at we still couldn't get through to our European ISP. Thus far the computer we have brought with us has been useless except for maintaining the diary you are presently reading.

Oct 18

We got up early to eat breakfast and for us to take care of some things. I had to rewire my makeshift adapter to conform to Polish and German plugs. While I did this Kelly and Dominik borrowed a computer to check e-mail and contact people in reference to various loose ends in the tour which are still being worked out.
The members of Post Regiment recomended that we follow them to Hamburg in order to jump on the bill of another one of thier shows. When we arrived we realized it was the exact same line-up as in Hannover. Rotteflora squat seemed to be an abandoned movie theater and because of this seemed to be used more for events than living quarters. There were multiple events taking place simultaneously. Their was a convention which had been relocated to Rotteflora from some other local, a soup kitchen, and our show all in the same night. The fact that we weren't originally on the bill and that we didn't know what was going on with all the different groups made things somewhat confusing for us at first.
The room for the bands to play in had some strange acoustics similar to a cave which added and interesting and at times frustrating dimension to all the bands performances. These strange acoustics favored 12 Alluidos set by accentuating their dynamics of chaotic noisy hardcore into hard heavy hooks. Post Regiment on the other hand had a difficult time cutting through because of the general lack of clarity produced by the stone room with high ceilings. To compound thier problems a handful of punks decided it would be cool to jump on stage hitting the drums and unplugging the guitar at random intervals. 2Despite all of this Post Regiment still maintained focus and put on yet another great performance.
After the show was over, our equipment was loaded, and our farewells were made we left on an all night drive to Tielona Gora, Poland.

Oct 19

In Zielona Gora we found ourselves playing in a hall on a college campus with Awake a very unoriginal straight edge band which sounded similar to the many Earth Crisis clone bands in the USA. We recieved our tapes from Nikt Nic Nie Wie which had different artwork on the cover than the CD yet had the complete CD layout when unfolded plus Polish translations of all our lyrics. We were very excited about the layout of the tapes and the sheer fact that we had a more accessable format to add to our small collection of merchandise.
After the show we drove to Poznan in order to stay the night with Martin of Malarie Records. Martin, who is Czech, told us he would go with us to Czech in order to translate. He speaks Czech, Polish, and English so we were happy to have him with us at that time.

Oct 20

Torun, Poland is a city whose central area is within a medievil fortress for Catholic armies. The show was in a bar which was a later addition to the fortress wall which served as a WW2 bunker. Fortunately the town was not bombed or assaulted in any way by the Germans. We were told by some locals that this was done intentionally because Torun had an old Germanic history which gave the Germans motivation to seize it all in one piece.
When we arrived we realized we were the only band scheduled to play. The bar was small and so was the room we played in. We were so cramped that our microphone stands were knocked about quite a bit even by each other.

Oct 21

We had two days off the first of which we spent exploring Torun. We went to a local punk record shop and got postcards advertising a live video of Post Regiment, Lesser Of Two, and others playing live at the Rozbrat squat's 5th anniversary which we had played not to long ago.
We got some coffee that was pretty expensive even by American standards. It was really good though brewed fresh by the cup. Then we went and got vegan pizza. Our Polish friends put Catsup on thier pizza. Apparantly that's common in Poland.

Oct 22

The next day we spent in Gdansk another historically significant town. The central part of town is filled with gothic architecture. Historically Gdansk was referred to as "the free city of Gdansk". This was due to the fact that Gdansk was never subject to sovereignty by any outside rulers.
The architecture in Gdansk was far more dominated by aesthetic beauty. The buildings are adorned with handcrafted awnings and sculptures, and the layout of the streets is more open than Torun whose dominant architectural motivation was utility. This city on the other hand was designed to be beautiful with a magnificant church and layout designed for being a center of commerce.
We stayed in an apartment in a huge communist style apartment block which seemed capable of housing thousands of people. The apartment was small yet comftorable. Scattered amongst the complexes were nice walkways and numerous small playgrounds. As I walked about I wished there were someone with me to play on the see saw but I settled for playing on the monkey bars. After the monkey bars I went to the slide. It was dark and when I reached the bottom of the slide I became aware that there was a puddle of water at the bottom. The seat of my pants were soaked so I went back inside.
Another nice feature of this neighborhood was that just beyond one of the lawns was a moderate sized marketplace where one could by inexpensive groceries, houshold items and various other forms of merchandise. We prepared a feast with less than the equivalent of 3 American dollars.

Oct 23

The space in Goldap was a small community space. The drums were nailed into place on the tiny stage and it was impossible to set our amplifiers up in any acceptable position so we just resigned ourselves to setting them up wherever they could fit.
We played with two other bands. The first was a really bad and unoriginal straight-edge band. The second was a mediochre metal band with a very definite Metallica flavor mixed with some butt rock. The sound was awful all the way around and it was overall not as good as most of the other shows we had played thus far.

Oct 24-25

As we entered Lodz we began to notice Anti-semetic graffitti everywhere. The Star of David hung from a crudely illustrated scaffolding was one of the most prevalent images and definitely the most shocking. As we got further and further into town a subtle dreadful fealing started creeping into my psyche. We had heard stories of Polish Neo-Nazis and violent soccer hooligans. Up until this point we had seen little evidence of their existance.
Lodz is a pretty bleak factory town. The architecture was of the stripped down communist industrial variety for most of our drive to the venue.
When we arrived at the squat I was very impressed. The walls were covered with beautiful and intricate graffitti. The inside venue area was set up like it's German counterparts with a bar/kitchen separate from a large room for bands with a roomy stage and a large PA. There was running water as well as a large commercial bathroom facility. The venue area reminded me of a smaller slightly more stripped down version of the Sprengel squat in Hannover.
The first band to play was another not so original straight edge sounding band playing the newer metallic variety of sXe hardcore reminiscent of, ugh, Earth Crisis.
The next band to play, Self Hate, was really metal. They were similar to Brutal Truth yet not quite as intricate, and also similar to Assuck yet not nearly as fast. To be honest though I spent to much time watching our merchandise in the other room to give an entirely accurate description of either band. After the show we took some wood beams from the upstairs and started a little fire and drank beer.
The next day we walked around a large wooded area within the city. The trees were large and spread out. There was a small vartiety of plantlife unlike the dense woods in Florida or the dynamic mountains of northern California. It was good to appreciate some nature thriving in the midst of such a bleak industrial city. As we were about to leave we entered two chappels. One had a well 100 meters deep. We drank from it and it tasted fine. No one got sick either unlike stories of Polish tap water we had been told.
After the woods we went to a Vietnamese restaurant. This restaurant was in an area full of Asian restaurants. For me this juxtaposition of cultures devoid of American perpetration was a unique experience; a small immigrant community in a Polish town. The food was really good as well.
That evening found us once again sitting around the fire except this time I was annoying everyone by playing guitar. I realized that even though I have been playing guitar for many years that I haven't learned any good campfire classics. I guess it will be hard for me to play for change in the streets after the tour is over. Maybe I'll follow people around and make them pay me to go away.

Oct 26-27

We left the next day to go to Warsaw to hang out with our friends in Post Regiment. Warsaw is an interesting city. It seems that it has evidence of many different era's of Polish history. Their are many medievil structures and a rebuilt "old town" center. This are was rebuilt after WW2 when rioters clashed with the occupying German forces who destroyed almost all of the historic district. Of course there is a lot more involved than this, but my understanding of Polish history is limited.
Also evident are the stark Communist era buildings and statues. Bold statues representing the working class; men and woman representing varying forms of industry.
Newest of all eras is the capitalist era with thier chain stores and high rise office buildings constructed of glass and steel. At least the communist architeture had some character. Perhaps that is the mark of capitalism; completely devoid of any spirit.
On the second morning we ate at a communist style restaurant. The food was simple, inexpensive, and good. We ate pierogi with saurkraut filling and pierogi with potato filling. We also had kasha with mushrooms.

Oct 28

Dabrowa Gornicza is a small town just outside of Katowice. The show was with Czosnek. Michael from this band does the label Nikt Nic Nie Wie which is one of Poland's oldest and most prolific punk labels/distributors. He had helped us with many of our shows as well as releasing a tape version of the "Lesser Of Two" album in Poland. It was nice to finally meet him.
We played 2nd and had a lot of feedback from the microphones. It was a real headache with all the unwanted noise, yet we played our whole set without stopping to try and fix it. It seemed that the guy working the PA would eventually fix the problem yet he didn't. By the time we played our last song, "The Mule", I unplugged the microphones after the last vocal lines were sung so as to at least finish our set without a constant rumbling feedback.
After we finished a grunge metal sounding band set up. We went to Agnieszka's apartment and ate. She does the label Sunny Days in Dabrowa Gornicza.

Oct 29

We went to Aushwitz this day. I really have little to say about it that hasn't been written in history, yet reading of a place and actually being at a place have two separate dynamics. Unfortunately the sun was setting as we wandered about Birkeneau (Aushwitz 2). This site was expansive, and is mostly comprised of rubble left by Germans trying to cover up thier acts of genocide.
We left to play a show who's bill we had jumpeed on at noon that day. This was fortunate because we had some shows fall through and were looking at having an excessive number of days off. The show was in a small town about 15 minutes drive from Aushwitz
Chory played first. They played some pretty good hardcore albeit somewhat simplistic and straightforward. They definitely had there own distinctive sound and some good energy. I'm sure if these guys keep playing for a while that thier music will mature into something worth checking out.
Psychoneurosis played next and they played an interesting mix of Infest style hardcore and death metal. There was quite a bit of technical musicianship yet not so much that they weren't able to maintain some raw punk energy. This is another band worth keeping ones eye on.
After the show we drove back to Dabrowa Gornicza to stay with Agnieszka. Unfortunately a thick fog rolled into southern Poland making our visibility as low as 5 meters at times. That coupled with some bizarre detours in Aushwitz made for a hellish drive through small poorly constructed back roads in dense fog. We had no choice but to continue on so we did so at times driving at a snails pace with hazard lights on so that no idiot would come barreling blindly right into us. What should have been a 45 minute drive turned into over 2 hours.

Oct 30-Nov 1

We spent Halloween in Nowy Targ. Michael from Nikt Nic Nie Wie; one of the oldest punk labels in Poland; fed us, housed us, and gave us the grand tour of the area. Twice we hiked thorugh mountain trails. We drank from mountain streams, ate wild berries, ate wild nuts, and ate wild mushrooms. It was a wonderful change of pace from what we had previously experienced in Poland. Yes the beautiful historic architecture in many of the cities is wonderful. It was even interesting to see many of the industrial ares, but to finally experience nature in Poland was definitely a great experience.
It was also good to meet Michael for the first time. Our touing partner Dominik had contacted him early on in our efforts to set up a European tour and he helped us probably more than any one person. He helped us book many of our Eastern European dates and gave us a great deal of vital info in regards to that. He also produced 2000 tapes, distributed our other merchandise, and got someone to print shirts and hooded sweatshirts for us. All that on top of his hospitality was an amazing gesture by him.
The show was good. There were a lot of people in attendance. I can't say that any of the bands caught my attention, but perhaps touring for over a month has begun to make it hard for me to pay attention to other bands.
On our last day in Nowy Targ we went to the cemetary. It was interesting because a large number of the people in the town were celebrating All Saints Day. On this day people put candles on the graves of friends, family, or just about anyone they want to show thier respects to. There were people everywhere and the cemetary was brightly lit up. It was definitely an interesting site. Kelly was yelled at by some old lady when she touched a candle on one of the graves. Touching the candles is not really a big deal according to Domonik. I think the lady just didn't like the idea of a funny person standing over a grave of what was possibly one of her family members. Dominik yelled at the lady and she went away.
When we got back from the cemetary we met up with Martin from Malarie records. He is going to accompany us through Slovakia and Czech.

Nov 2

We were stopped at the Slovakian Border. They decided to bring out a dog to check our van for drugs. The dog alerted towards an empty spot on the van floor. It didn't make any sense. They brought out two or three more dogs all of which alerted on the same spot. I can't remember the exact number of dogs because during this time everyone except for Martin was taken into a building to await a strip search.
This whole process was excrutiatingly slow and none of us were allowed to use the restroom. It was a funny site. We would one after the other go into a little room to get strip searched, and then come out with our disheveled clothing to run to the restroom.
Finally they decided to take us a little way into town so as to take our van apart. Domonik got chosen to oversee this process while the rest of us were detained within the station. Apparently they took all of our bags out to look through, unskrewed the floorboard. and used a high tech periscope to look into any other crevices. Finally when they still hadn't found anything they brought out yet another dog who yet again alerted on the same spot. All the cops were arguing at this point and were very frustrated. Finally one guy came up and asked why we were being detained when the boss had told them to let us go at the beginning of this whole ordeal. The arguing heated up even more with each of them accusing the other. We were finally let go.
We still made it to the show in Cadca on time to play. The first band, The Public, was really good. They played thier own quirky brand of driving, powerful hardcore. Some of thier changes displayed a touch of technical progressive rock influence which was tasteful only about half of the time though, but I appreciate thier willingness to experiment.
After we played we got cornered into conversations with drunken Slovakians, many of which could only speak enough English to tell us their favorite heavy metal bands or MTV rock bands. One guy found someone to translate his blathering. Apparently he claims to have been in the band Bolt Thrower, but it so happens that he had traded his guitar that night for beer. He said he could set up a show for us, but I'm not sure if I trust someone who trades his guitar for alcohol.

Nov 3-4

We got detained at the Czech border on the way to Martin's house. They brought out a dog, but it didn't do anything. Despite this they decided to go through a few of our bags anyway. Once again they found nothing because we didn't have anything. Martin said that we should expect to be hassled at borders quite a bit due to our unconventional appearances.
Czech was very inexpensive even compared to the prices in Poland. Once we arrived in Martin's home town we went shopping. We bought a box of specialty vegan food, backpacks, and various other items we required. We went back to the house and tried to use our computer but we couldn't get a connection. This wasn't surprising since we couldn't get on-line the entire time we had been in Europe except this time it seemed like it was some problem with our modem.
Martin said that since we had been having so many technical difficulties that we should re-name our tour "Lesser Of Two versus technical progress"

Nov 4-5

We went a day early to our show in Prague which in Czech is called Praha. Ladronka squat was a historical building on the outskirts of town. It is so well known of a building that it is drawn on the maps of Prague. Some of us went into the city soon after arriving at the squat. We rode on the tram and when we tried to pay for tickets the driver told us to go away so we decided not to pay.
Prague is a beautiful city which is unfortunately scarred with the mark of tourism. About 20,000 Americans live in Prague drawn partially by it's beauty and partially by the inexpensive cost of living. As we entered the central square the first person we asked for directions was American and so we easily communicated and got to our destination which was an internet cafe.
Usually I avoid such places, but because we booked almost our entire tour via e-mail it was necessary. Luckily since we were in Czech the cost of this convenience and luxury was little in terms of American dollars.
When we got back we realized that Kobayashi wasn't playing and we were to be the only band. Also we realized that Martin hadn't booked the show and thus didn't know who did. It was a big complex mystery which we couldn't solve. Martin didn't know who actually set up the show and neither did any of us.
The next day we played. There were some Americans at the show as well as some Australians. The Americans at the show had been in Prague for quite some time and had found work teaching English.

Nov 6-7

The next day we arrived at a cottage in the hills near Roznov. Fekal and Lucie had food cooking in a wood burning heater/oven. It was cold and their home was warm and filled with the smell of food. We ate and drank homemade spirits.
The next day we went to the show to find that it was a small storage space with a garage style door. Fekal's band Complicide Candine played first and they played some high energy punk rock. During their set it began to rain. It was very light and fortunately everyone stuck around for our set.
We went back to the cottage and when we awoke the next morning we realized that it had begun to snow very early in the morning. The hills were covered with snow. It was beautiful yet it wasn't so much fun when we tried to leave and our van slipped all over the road as we tried to maneuvar our way out of the neighborhood.

Nov 8

We had no show this day, yet we somehow weasled our way onto another show. Unforunately when we arrived at the venue we found that the other two touring bands had canceled and it was just us and the local band. Despite this the show was a lot of fun. The band Dread 101 played heavy and fast unpolished hardcore.

Nov 9

The show in St. Polten Austria had a small turn out. Monolith played metal. They banged their heads, had guitar solos, and gestured quite a bit. We slept upstairs in a large recreation room. It was refreshing to find that the Austrians didn't seem to smoke as much as other Europeans. There also wasn't as much drunken revelry either.

Nov 10

We drove to Vienna the next day. Our show on this day had fallen through so we had nowhere else to go. We were told that the Ekh squat was the model for Austrian punks. The squat was in a multi level office complex that used to be the old communist party headquarters. We were directed to two floors. One floor had a room with mattresses for sleeping and the other floor was a big space with a kitchen, an office equiped with a computer, and various apartments for long term occupants.
There were many other levels with all kinds of activities going on. There was evidence of both communist and anarchist activities. We laughed at the communist flyers which had a picture of a stern man behind a podium juxtaposed on a big five pointed star in black and red. To think that activists would be endeared to such imagery seemed ridiculous.
Whoever this man was it would be silly to ask him to solve all the problems in the country and still call it communism. The imagery seemed more fascictic in nature. Still the same mixture of seemingly diametrically opposed ideologies happens often within activist communities. The obstacles here and now tend to take precedence over the differences in thier intangiable political theories.
We settled in for a fem minutes and then left to try and sell some merchandise at record shops. At Sacro K-baalismo we looked at a calender of events and through a series of events jumped on the bill of a show that night at a popular local bar. We were told that the other bands were local hardcore bands and that we would fit right into the bill.
Apparently she had a very broad idea of hardcore because the two bands we played with didn't vaguely resemble the genre as far as any of us could tell. The first band played a very polished kind of indie rock with maybe a little bit of a Korn influence. The second band played some serious heavy metal but rock with a somewhere between Iron Maiden and Spinal Tap. What truly ruined there set was homophobic remarks made by thier singer who was American.
The first band was moderately bearable but the second was completely lousy on the verge of being humorous. Most of the crowd left as we played so I guess as far as everyone else was concerned we were the worst band of the evening.

Nov 11-12

We finally got a taste of some warm weather when we got to Udine, Italy. The squat was two buildings with a large fenced in space that looked like it may have been a parking lot at one time. The main building had three levels. The top was a kitchen, dining room, sleeping quarters and a large balcony perfect for lying around in the sun.
The second level was actually the ground level. It had a bar, a large movie screen, and space with tables which the various vendors set up on. This set up was good because people not interested in the show could still came and look through all the various merchandise.
The first level was the basement which was the show space. It was well equiped with a nice P.A, a small stage, and at the other end a sound booth for the sound person.
We (Kelly, Dominik, Martin, and I) walked around town. We climbed to the top of an old structure till we reached the top and found a courtyard. A sign seemed to say in Italian that it was an old castle who's initial foundation was constructed in the late Roman era. From the walls you could see the layout of the city well and a maze of paths leading down the other side from which we came.
As we walked around we saw many fashion boutiques and expensive shops. It seemed that we had wandered into some kind of tourist section of town.
The first band played what seemed like unpolished mid tempo New York Hardcore; heavy metal grooves set to a rock beat with an angry emotional vocalist making gestures. I guess that's a vague description yet it's getting harder and harder to come up with a concise description of the bands we play with. I guess it's my inability to focus after 7 weeks of touring.
Before the show we met Mattjaz and Lea from Slovenija. Mattjaz runs Atomic Fart which is a booking agency, distro, and record label. He set up our shows with Brother Inferior and was kind enough to meet us in Italy and guide us around during our entire time in Slovenija.

Nov 13

We got stopped at both sides of the Italian/Slovenijan border. Oddly enough it was the Italians who brough out the drug dogs. I guess they want to keep people from taking away thier drugs. We decided to rename our tour "Waiting for the drug dog."
At the Slovenijan border we had to do a detailed inventory of our equipment in triplicate with the makes, models, and for some pieces serial numbers of our equipment. They even wanted to see receipts, but apparently it was only so they could give us a tax refund from the European Union which Slovenija isn't a part of. We decided to pass on the refund and just get away from the border as quickly as possible. We also had to pretend we were Brother Inferior because we had somehow forgotten to get invitations into the country.
We went to a biker bar for pizza. It wasn't the best and made me yearn for pizza in Boulder, Colorado which was the best I'd ever had. I passed on the coffee which was a really strong Italian style espresso which wasn't nearly as refreshing as good cup of American or Turkish coffee as well as being way overpriced.
We arrived at MKNZ later in the afternoon. There was some really nice PA equipment and the room had a low ceiling and was completely constructed out of wood. We were told by Mattjaz that the sound here was really good and that we should take this opportunity to acquire a live tape. We did a really thorough sound check and were really happy with the sound and acoustics of the room.
We met Brother Inferior and there Polish companions one of whom was Pawel who we stayed with in Gdansk. The drummer from Brother Inferior was Jason from Fort Smith, Arkansas who had set up a show for us a couple years back. The singer Chad was very outgoing and friendly, and Thier bass player Grant seemed to move in slow motion.
I was really surprised when they began to play. Their new material and new line-up had a very aggresive high speed hardcore energy. They played mostly new material but still played some of thier older material. Unfortunately the new line-up could only play a certain number of songs which wasn't enough to satisfy the crowd so they had to play a long series of Misfits covers.
As their set progressed it became more apparent that Grant had a little to much to drink and was stumbling over some of his fills and their hooks. Their new material is full of synchronized kicks mingled amidst hectic driving rythms.
During thier set there were some really loud and annoying hecklers. They were grabbing the band members, grabbing the microphones, striking glamorous poses on stage, obstructing the band, taking down their pants, screaming; "Pizda klaki buraki!" which is a very vulgar statement, and being loud and drunken in general.
After some time I realized that the leaders of the hecklers were in fact Brother Inferiors Polish traveling companions. The drunken revelry was of the classic punk rock variety and was an exciting addition to Brother Inferior's live show despite the fact that it completely ruined their opportunity to get a good live recording.
It was apparent that Chad was getting annoyed with all this especially when he was trying to talk about serious issues while being interupted by drunken screaming. After the show Dave asked him about this and he said that it was OK and that his friends were just having a good time. I'm not sure if we could be so tolerant.

Nov 14

The next day Brother Inferior and us caravaned to Zelezniki. On the way we stopped at Predjama which is a castle built at the mouth of a cave which has remains of human habitation since prehistoric times. The castle was on the side of a somewhat steep mountainside and was accesible only by one path leading to a drawbridge.
The castle was at one time seiged for more than a year. The position of the castle made it impossible to attack without serious losses and only a small chance of success. With this in mind the attacking army decided to seige the castle until the starving inhabitants surrendered out of sheer hunger.
To their dismay this never happened. The inhabitants even threw the carcasses of eaten wild game as if their were an endless supply of food within the castle. In fact the cave's mouth led to a maze of smaller caves one of which opened far away into a field so the lord could practically come and go as he pleased. It was only through the betrayal of his subordinates that the attacking armies finally won.
After the castle we drove down some narrow windy mountain roads until we came to a dirt road on which an old abandoned logging cabin was situated.
Mattjaz said, "This is it."; and Kelly kept driving. "Where are you going?" he asked.
"Oh, I thought you were joking." she replied.
We ate soup with saurkraut, potatoes, and beans. It was very good even though there wasn't quite enough for everybody. Both our bands had acquired somewhat large entourages that the organisers had planned on.
The venue was small and there was more PA equipment than was necessary for the small room we played in. The turnout was small, but Brother Inferior's music was more powerful than the previous night. The hecklers were for the most part silent.
After the show Martin decided that he wanted to go with us back to Italy rather than returning to Czech with Brother Inferior. He gave them all the directions and phone numbers they needed and they left early the next morning while we were still asleep. I enjoyed their company and wished we could have had a more concious farewell.

Nov 15-17

Apparently someone in Slovenija had told Kelly that he would book a series of shows for us but never actually did anything. So this left us with three days off without any chance for setting up a show. Mattjaz and Lea invited us to stay with them in Koper and have some down time.
We also took this time to fix some other questionable dates on the tour, stock up on supplies, write, read, draw, eat, listen to music, and watch underground videos. We were also entertained while dubbing Brother Inferior's and our live sets.

Nov 18

We were warned of snowy conditions throughout Italy and a strike of fueling station employees..., but neither happenned. We got to the Villa squat in Milano about three or four hours before our scheduled arrival time which was two or three hours before the actual time of the show which begun at around 11 PM.
As we walked up the driveway we noticed a pony galloping towards us. We thought how wonderful it was for there to be a cute little pony on the squats expansive lawn, yet soon we noticed a squater running to intercept and inevitably divert the pony's course using a piece of bread as bait. Apparently Tony the Pony is a very aggressive maybe even mean animal which likes to bite and trample visitors.
The squat grounds were very nice. It was comprised of a large front lawn separated by Tony the Pony barricades behind which stood two buildings, some mobile homes, and many benches strewn about. Inside the largest building were four levels. The basement is where the show space and bar were set up in separate rooms. The ground floor had a large living room, a modest library, a large restroom, and a kitchen. This was apparently the common space for the inhabitants.
As one walks up the staircase to the next floor one will alomost inevitably hit one's head on the door frame which almost creates the illusion of being of average size. After hitting ones head it becomes apparent that you have arrived at a second kitchen. On this floor are private rooms and then a ladder leading into a large guest sleeping area and one more small bedroom.
It seemed that the population upon our arrival was split pretty evenly among Italians and English speaking peoples. Phil from Australia, Fred from Canada, Joshua from the USA, and a guy with a purple mohawk from the UK. There were also a large number of cats and dogs which seemed to understand mostly Italian. With newfound companions we sat around the fire eating soup, salad, bread, and of course pasta(we actually had some Italian freinds make disclaimers that Italians don't always eat pasta it's just tradition to prepare this for touring bands).
After a little bit of time Carlo introduced himself to me. Mila, who set up our shows in Italy, asked Carlo to acompany us as we travel around Italy. Again it was a luxury to have someone with us who knows the native language and the layout of the landscape.
The first band Eiacula had a lot of fast straightforward progressions very reminiscent of DRI yet they also had numerous quirky breakdowns. Despite these good elements it seems that it will be some time before they reach their full potential.
After we played Cornflakes Freaks played. They played melodic hardcore of sorts which is a pretty poor description for this band. The opening song had a long kazoo solo with a ska progression in the backgound. From here they smoothly switched back and forth between multiple styles of music including: melodic anthems to mathmatic grooves to experimental noise and then to pounding high speed energy. All this was blended with perfectly executed kicks and hooks. Despite using really weak amplifiers and having a scholastic approach to their instruments they still put on a really good show.
The next day Phil made breakfast; more pasta. It was very good despite the fact that Phil wasn't satisfied with his own creation. I in turn had a desire for hot chocolate, and tried to make the nearest thing I could: water, cinnamin, nutmeg, cloves, sugar, and powdered soymilk. Kelly tasted it and complimented me on my "chai tea". I repeated the recipe adding black tea, and was called upon multiple times to repeat this process. I was happy that my culinary accident was a hit. I still wanted some soy hot chocolate though.

Nov 19

In Cervia we were lost when some people flagged us down. When they got out of thier we recognized Iacopo who had been with Brother Inferior in Slovenija. They led us to the space which was an abandoned warehouse at the end of a dirt road in a desolate field used for mining salt. The ground was wet and layered with thick slippery mud. Near the entrance to the warehouse some people had started a fire in a large steal barrel. It was cold and the old wooden wharehouse was no warmer than outside.
Inside the warehouse was stored some extremely old salt mining equipment. All of this equipment was constructed from wood and steal with no modern synthetic materials, and it was aparent that the equipment was completely manual with some pieces being designed to be driven by domestic work animals.
The first band played some pretty basic straighforward punk with alternating vocals. The next band, Umigliazione, played noisey unrefined hardcore with many blast beats (ala Assuck, Napalm Death, Hellnation, etc...).
Cattiveria played third. Thier music is well written hardcore with heavy math metal breakdowns. Individually all the musicians play with a great deal of technical skill and seemed to play well as a group, but unfortunately their sound levels were extremely out of balance making it difficult for me to hear a lot of the progressions and thus fully enjoy thier set. I'm sure they will be really good on recordings. I would have suggested that they turn up their amplifiers to match the volume of the drums and vocals, but I would feel awkward coming to a foreign city and telling some regional band how to improve their sound when all the locals seem to be content.
After our set Silk did a fire performance. Kelly made noise while Dominik and I clunked about on percussion. Dave did fire safety with a wet towel. It's nice to have some other kind of performance creating diversity at a show instead of having just one rock band after the next. In the past I've seen fire performance, spoken word, puppet shows, art exhibits, and activist exhibits. I'm sure there are many more ideas that could be explored as well. After over two months of touring Silk interjecting some diversity was a welcome event.
After the show we drove to Borrchiello squat which was a nice house just a few meters away from the train tracks. They were watching "The Rock" with Italian overdubs. I was amazed with the dramatic, well produced sound of these overdubs. Whoever overdubs in Italian must spend a great deal of time and money on these productions as opposed to the Polish overdubs which have a flat monotone voice speaking for all the characters with the original sound in the background at a reduced volume. There must be a great disparity in time and money between the Polish overdubbing industry and the Italian overdubbing industry. Still I beleive subtitles are the only way to ensure the maintainance of artistic integrity, but artistic integrity is less important than viewer accesibility in Hollywood where marketability overides artistry.

Nov 20

The next day we were given coffee that was better than anything we had found in Austrian, Italian, or Slovenijan coffee shops. The squatters used a stovetop espresso maker which has three parts: the base which holds a resevoir of water, the central filter which holds coffee, and the pitcher on top which catches the coffee after it's forced through the filter via some kind of weird pressure created by some form of vacuum.
As the first few drops spurted out this dense coffee was carefully blended into sugar creating a caramel color with an almost toffee like consistency. When the rest of the coffee finished brewing this mixture was blended in creating a golden brown crema on the surface and infusing the sugar into the bevarage. This cup of coffee was rich, sweet, and naturally creamy.
Scintilla squat in Modena was an amazing space. On the ground floor there was a large room equipped with a bar, an activist library/store, a computer workstation, two rooms with free fussball, another big space with a large rock star type stage on one end and an elvated sound booth balcony on the other, and a restroom with a nightmare motif (flashing yellow light, cowhide painted walls, a continuous drip leaving a brown stain of minerals, and a left turn sign pointing to the hole in the floor typical for Italian toilets).
There was also a basement which had a large guest room designed for over a dozen people, and industrial sized kitchen (which had an industrial sized pot of pasta cooking), and multiple small rooms used mainly for storage. In addition there was a second floor which had apartments, a fully equiped kitchen/dining room/common space, a large restroom with shower and laundry, a large official meeting room, and a future library expansion.
Caligola sounded like early 80's hardcore, but with ridiculous quirky breakdowns vaguely similar to some kinds of experimental jazz yet not nearly as refined. At the end of our set Kelly and I made noise and Dave did some tribalesque beats while our friend Silk did some fire dancing with torches. It was a lot of fun. Silk is a really good performer and it is flattering that she would allow us the opportunity to juxtapose our performances against one another. We had done this twice before yet this was the first time we did this directly out of our set without any switching about of our instrumentation.
After the show we met Mila for the first time. Everyone was drinking, dancing to disco, playing fussball, and generally having a good time. Mila began to dance on the bar and soon after he was joined by a boisterous girl who resided at the squat. It was the peak of the festivities, but these festivities came to a screeching halt when the girl who was apparently drunk fell over pulling Mila with her. Mila came crashing four feet straight to the cement floor. He landed at an angle mostly on his back and then his head snapped down as well giving him a good welt. The girl hit a table edge on the way down and then spun around onto her face. Mila was in pain but seemed relatively OK, whereas the girl seemed to go into shock. She was really drunk and to incoherent for anyone there to tell if she was hurt badly or not. In the early hours of the morning she left in an ambulance with three broken ribs.

Nov 21

In the morning Martin made pasta and I made my chai tea. It was snowing outside and it took a little bit of time and our effort coupled with the effort of the squatters to get the van turned around in the icy driveway and out onto the street. Once on the road everything seemed find, yet discussion ensued about our need to get snow chains and/or snow tires. The van came equiped with neither of these despite the fact that it is going to be driven through the Swiss alps early in December.
The show at Biba house was scheduled early because of it's residential location. We played in the garage in the basement which was actually a really nice space which led to some adjoining rooms and an entrance leading from the back yard.
Bluid played first, and they played some amazing chaotic hardcore/metal mixed with heavy offbeat hooks and breakdowns layered with melodies and noise. I noticed a slight Uranus resemblance and at times Rorschach as well. This was definitely the best band we had played with since the show in Hamburg over a month prior with Post Regiment, 11 Alluidos, and Dir Yassin.
During our set someone grabbed our water from us mid song and began to drink from it. They set it back as if it was no big deal, but for me personally I find this to be a big invasion upon me. Especially since it is always the drunkest stupidest imbecile out of the crowd who expects me to drink after them. After that point I became angry and bitter. Thoughts of violence passed through my mind. "Should I kick the guy in the head if he does it again." or "Should I hurl the bottle at him when the songs over dumping it's contents upon him.", are thoughts that passed through my mind.
My better judgement prevailed and I decided to make the water less accessible to the crowd by keeping it behind me. I also decided not to be that guys freind. What an inconsiderate bastard. Unfortunately the asshole in the crowd seems to be the first one to come up to you and tell you your bands good and then try and engage you in some neverending drunken dialogue while you try to pack up your equipment. I should just yell at him and tell him to go away, yet instead I find myself saying, "Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed our set." and then try to follow the incoherent babbling.

Nov 22

We took a train to Venetia (aka Venice). The rail line ended and after we walked through the train station we found ourselves dumped upon a maze of canals and alleyways. I've seen so many images of Venice throughout my life that seeing it was really a minor step for me. The only thing that was new to me was the smell of sewage emanating from some of the canals with poorer water circulation.
We ate really expensive pizza which was good yet still paled in comparison to pizza we had in Boulder, Co many years prior. Soon after the pizza we made our way to the square of San Marco which is a huge square with a large tower and the Church of San Marco.
San Marco is the patron saint of Venetia and the old Venetian state which was at one time one of if not the most powerful of city states during the early part of the Renaissance. The church of San Marco was very impressive with many highly detailed awnings, statues, and paintings. The ceilings of course were ridiculously high and something that set it apart from the church in Gdansk was the intricate marble work in the floors creating complex colorful designs.
After visiting the square we walked around slowly moving in the general direction of the train station. This of course was due to the fact that we were lost and had to stop for directions every five minutes. Fortunately Carlo was with us and he expediated this process.
A girl approached during this adventure in the hopes of meeting some alternative types I guess. It just so happened that she had recently been traveling with our friends Catharsis. When we were in Greensboro a couple months earlier we stayed with the guys in Zegota and the guitarist told us that he was joining Catharsis as a second guitarist for thier European tour which they started only a few days after ours.
I figured that somehow we would inevitably cross paths, but I saw very few Catharsis flyers, and what few I did see were many weeks after our shows. Luckily she gave us thier itinerary and it looks like we may be playing with them in Munich on Nov. 30 because we couldn't find a Swiss show and have been scrambling to find something in southern Germany. I hope we get to play with them.

click here to read the rest of the diary

home/discography/lyrics/essays/images/links/tour dates

click here to e-mail Lesser Of Two or snail mail them at:

P.O. box 3603
Oakland, CA