Hey kids. We’re coming up on Riot Fest Chicago weekend, aren’t we? I’m excited. You? To get you guys in the mood, here’s a link to a video of me playing a new song called the Profiteers last weekend in Toronto. This particular song was brand new and became kind of a staple on that Euro tour that I did with Dan Andriano. For that, it’ll always provide me with a belly of good feelings. I’d like to dedicate this version to Sam Russo and his completely transparent penis.
Hey! Speaking of transparent penises and Dan Andriano, yesterday Slapstick practiced. It was pretty funny. For those of you who don’t know, Slapstick was a band I was in back in high school. We started when I was sixteen and broke up when I was 18. We briefly got back together a year later and did 2 shows, but we’ve been dormant since then. The people who were in that band remain some of my very favorite guys in the world and some of them have gone on to dizzying success in the world of law (Matt Stamps) while pretty much everyone else went on to play in such bands as Less Than Jake, The Honor System, Tuesday, The Broadways, Alkaline Trio, Lord, The Lawrence Arms, The Falcon, Ratasucia, Whale|Horse, Duvall, The Smoking Popes, Colossal, and so forth. You get the idea. Lots of bands came out of this one band we were in back when we were all in high school, which is cool and surprising when you consider that pretty much all these bands are/were pretty decent. Talk about a million monkeys on a million guitars…
Anyway, as a result, Slapstick (which was a ska punk band, hence the hilarious amount of members) has not completely faded from memory yet and last year we reunited to play the Asian Man spectacular festival which took place in San Francisco and celebrated fifteen years of Mike Park scooping cupped handfuls of farts from his asshole right up to his nose, putting out records and overall being a great dude. At that point it had been fourteen years since our last show. We were all understandably nervous and as a result, we spent a lot of time listening to all the old songs, figuring out which songs were still good (which is a kind of weird thing for a nostalgia act to do…the actual quality of the product isn’t important, that’s not what you’re selling…you’re selling the memory, which makes being in Slapstick in a post 9-11 world an entirely unique experience for me [and I think for all of us] because the goal, in stark contrast to, say, the Lawrence Arms, is NOT to change, not to strive for more, but rather to continue doing exactly what we’re known for and have already done), which little subtleties we’d have to remember, and generally reacquainting ourselves with the catalog.
Once it was time to practice, we all converged on a garage in San Jose from such scattered exotic global locales as Chicago, Madison, Bellingham Wa, St. Augustine Fla, and Elgin Il. to see what we could do. Amazingly, it was like we’d never missed a day. We’d all spent so much time practicing on our own, playing and singing along with the recordings, that we were essentially stage-ready as soon as we all got together.
Well, I’m sure you see where this is going. For this show, the one happening tomorrow, my attitude was a lot more cavalier. “Shit,” I said. “Last time we nailed it after a fourteen year break. This time it’s only been a year. We’re gonna be fine.” Apparently, we all had this attitude because yesterday we got into the practice space and uh…well, these songs are fast and goofy as shit and we were laughing and flubbing notes and missing stops and generally fucking the goat (Dutch expression meaning ‘blowing it’). By the end of practice, we were back up to where we needed to be, but that first 20 minutes, whooooooohooooooooo. Call the stink-bulance (which, just in case that doesn’t translate to text, is like an ambulance that takes things that stink to wherever you take things to unstink them…eh, needs work).
This afternoon, Slapstick will practice one more time, then tonight, I play a solo show at the Empty Bottle with the Alkaline Trio. That shit should be fun, but man alive, tomorrow is the main event, when our dumb highschool ska band comes out and plays after such real live acts as Andrew WK, GWAR, Cursive, Hot Water Music and Gaslight Anthem. It boggles the mind, frankly, and like I said, I’m completely aware that those bands (well, with the exception of GWAR, probably) are real bands putting out new material and generally pushing shit forward and the only thing bringing people to see Slapstick is nostalgia, the desire to see if we can still play these songs (we can), to see if we’re all fat and bald (oh yeah) and generally to witness the spectacle of a bunch of old men playing trumpets and ska while a 36 year old man sings the words he wrote when he was sixteen (sigh) but srsly guyz, this shit is gonna be SO MUCH FUN. I don’t think I can overstate how much I love Matt, Dan, Dan, Rob and Pete. I’m really happy to just hang out with everyone. Great times.
Oh, and we’ll be playing a bunch of songs from our upcoming new album. We’ve written seventeen songs and we’re paring it down to an almighty 12 that will skank your dick right back into the 90s, when it could still get hard and you could sleep without drinking/crying. Get stoked assholes. I know I am.