This may be the longest thing I’ve written in years.
Last Sunday I flew to Kansas City, mainly to see my family dentist and get a root canal. But my sister was also in town to pack up her stuff and move the rest of it to NYC and my grandma and aunt had come into town to have some fun, so it was a good time. Molly (the wonder dog) threw up for about 2 solid days of the 3 that I spent at home, which stunk (literally and figuratively) but she was still her cute, sad eyed self.
The root canal was first thing Monday morning. I was totally stressed out about and barely slept at all the night before. I have excellent teeth and I take care of them. Once I went without seeing a dentist for almost 5 years and when I did I had to get a filling. That is the only one I’ve ever had. But back in May I had this horrible shooting pain in my right cheek that I thought was my sinuses or something and turned out to be a nerve in my face trying to grow into the tooth that had the filling. Well, it hurt like hell and three dentists had now told me that a root canal would solve the problem so I had just to bite the bullet and do it. My dentist in KC (Dr. Christopher Merriweather, in case you’re googling) is AMAZING! And totally spoiled me to having a great dentist so I felt most comfortable having him do it. It didn’t hurt that he was roughly half the price of my LA dentist. Mike said that he would call me before the procedure to calm me down, but I guess he forgot so I just sat there freaking out. It really wasn’t so bad though, it’s just weird and noisy. He and the nurse were amazing so I barely felt anything and had absolutely no pain afterwards. Whew! I am more relaxed now, but I still have to get the crown done which pisses me off (they say that since my nerve has been killed that tooth may turn black and die..yikes!).
The rest of the time was fun, and Valorie came over a bunch and the family went out to barbecue (KC barbecue is the best!) and Sarah and I got dairy queen and watched the slumber party episode of 90210 (excellent episode!) so it was pretty good. Luds missed out on lots of food and dog time.
On Wednesday night I flew to DC basically for the Insubordination Fest. I was hired to film it, but the guys putting it on are friends of mine (so it was like being hired and doing a favor at the same time) and many many friends were attending so I was really looking forward to it. I was also staying with my high school friend Jeremy, whom I do not get to see enough of. We stayed up until 3am one night going through his senior year book while I made fun of the things people wrote in it. That was fun!
This fest was scheduled to be Friday from 5:15pm-1:30am and Saturday from 12:15pm to 1:30am. That is a lot of freaking music and I had already bought and labeled all of the tapes so I knew I was in for it. It took 35 tapes! I am crazy. And from moment one, things were going wrong. (PS. Phrank Martian, you are dead to me now and don’t forget it!) Anywho, we finally got things down to a pattern on Friday when the Unlovables played. They are awesome! I freaking love seeing them and love dancing to them and can’t wait for them to be out here in August. I really should get on making that video for them as well…. Ooops. So they finished up and Jeremy and I headed back to the cameras (JoeIII had been handling them for the unlovables so I could actually have a little bit of fun). I see that the next band, Dear Landlord is about to start and I go to hit record… the camera shuts off. NO!! While I’m thinking “OH MY GOD, WHAT DO I DO?!!?” the power in the club went out completely. Uh oh. So we watch a dude go over to the fuse box and then… nothing happens. When it’s not just a matter of flipping a switch you know it will take a while. Joe and Jeremy and I stood watch over the cameras in the dark just chit chatting and killing time. Then we realized that it was really hot and I looked at my phone and realized that almost 45 minutes had passed. Bad sign.
The power did not come back on Friday night, but we all waited around for hours to make sure. The next band up was supposed to be Egghead. Egghead. fucking RULES! Egghead. was the first show that I saw in NYC when I moved there because Michelle forced me to go (bless her heart). My friends Johnny Reno and John Bowie were flying from LA to NYC just to rehearse because that band broke up almost 10 years ago and hasn’t played together since. So you can imagine how heart breaking this was. My friend Mark (a person putting on this show) has an egghead. tattoo on his calf and he was so amped for them that he couldn’t contain it. His sadness was palpable as we all sat in the dark.
My main regret of the night is having to pee, and no way in hell was I going to go in the porta potty that they wheeled up (since it was pitch black inside the club) so Jeremy and I walked to Safeway. I told JoeIII to call me if anything cool happened and I needed to run back. The Safeway was an adventure because it was the shadiest grocery store that I may have ever visited. The lady behind us in line (I use that term loosely, her voice was lower than Mike’s but she had boobs… and her son called her “mom”) was arrested for stealing while we waited in line, for example. So we get back and Jonnie (of Whoa Oh records) was like “Egghead. acoustic was awesome!” and I got immediately scared. Did I miss Egghead?!?!???! Turns out that I had missed a few acoustic songs and Bowie crowd surfing (crowd surfing when you’re old and at an acoustic set are both hilarious, so kudos to him). DAMMIT! I asked Joe why he didn’t call me (while punching him) and he said “because nothing happened” and I said “egghead played!” and he had no idea. So he hadn’t left the parking lot but missed it. Thank goodness, because I was about to murder the shit out of him.
Also, Larry (Livermore, the guy who lives in my brooklyn apartment) had called me to ask why I wasn’t filming the stuff outside. My answer was “it’s dark and there’s no light” to which he responded “well, if you could get some lights that would be great, this would be some great footage!” Unfortunately, in a black out (half of the block had lost power) there aren’t a lot of ways to power lights. And the cameras were inside and they weren’t allowing people back in etc.. It was a mess. He was right, but there was not much I could really do.
Finally an announcement was made that the show would not be continuing (egghead fans all wept openly… that may or may not be true) and that the power would be back on Saturday and that the show would be starting even earlier. Then we heard that some bands were going to play at a place called the Charm City Art Space but that it was Vena Cava and the Ergs! and they would most likely be added to Saturday as well. We decided to walk to this place with 2 other guys who were not locals, with directions from some people that were totally wrong. So we walked through a terrible neighborhood for about 40 minutes looking. How safe! Especially since I had run in and grabbed a camera and the battery I had been charging and had it on my back. We finally got to the place and Vena Cava was already playing and we were told it was just a windowless basement and it was packed. I saw Bowie and asked what they were doing and he said “we’re on next.” HOLY SHIT! Thank god I headed over. Unlike Kelly Lynn and Adam and Jenna who had left since there was no word that Egghead. would be playing.
I crammed into the basement with them and stood right in front of Reno’s sweaty nose the whole time. On my birthday he wouldn’t sing so I promised to have a camera in his face in Baltimore, and it actually became a reality. The sound isn’t good, but I taped it and the set was awesome even if I was dying of heat. The camera was dripping with the condensation in the room. They put on their special egghead. shirts and someone in the crowd yelled “you’re putting on more clothes?!” because it was about 10000 degrees in there and then yelled “I thought you were supposed to be smart nerds!” Hilarious. They played Jane Airhead, First Flight, What the Hell was she Thinking?, and they ended with Jet Pack (check!) which was awesome! (I saw “Donna’s Always Mad at Me on the setlist but they skipped it due to time and they refused to play Books much to the audience’s dismay)
(Here is a very dark video of jet pack from the parking lot, complete with crowd surfing):
After that I was so relieved when the door was opened and fresh air came back in. I felt like I was going to pass out. Our ride was leaving to go back to DC and the next band told me they were only going to be playing a ten minute set. I told them that I may have enough battery power to try getting it but he told me not to bother. There was also sound being recorded at the actual club, so the video taken here wouldn’t have it. It was a bummer!
Adam, his friend Ed, Jeremy and I piled into Ed’s 86 Corolla and then headed back to DC. That is not a dig on Ed’s car. I LOVE Corollas and hope that mine is as awesome in 10 years. We immediately got extremely lost. Like L.O.S.T. We took a right and ended up going back in time to cobble stone streets and tiny school houses. Where were we?!? After about ten jillion hours we found the highway to DC and were on our way. No one mugged us or killed us either, which was lucky for us since apparently some other fest goers did get mugged over the weekend.
Saturday was a long freaking day. 14 hours of music is too much, and we got lost and it took us 2 hours to make a 50 minute drive (thank you very much, google maps). Filming got back on track and there was a grill outside cooking up burgers and stuff all day, which was a life saver. The shows became a bit of a blur to me because I was so busy and stressed out. I actually watched the Leftovers from the floor and not from behind the camera, that was nice. Dead Mechanical was a band that I had never heard before and I liked them. I grabbed the boys from the Ergs and made them run outside so that I could get a few minutes for the actual video that we’re making for them. Note- it turns out Joe may not be the responsible one… shocking! I ran back in and set up camera B again and the marathon continued. The Parasites played and they were really awesome. I loved this band when I was in college and so I was poised to love them but they were really great. And they ended with a descendents cover- yay! Jeremy, who had never heard them, also liked them a lot so I need to make him a mix cd post haste.
The rest of the day was a blur of many many highlights that I can barely remember. Ben Weasel played a very crowd pleasing set. Many Ramones covers and Screeching Weasel songs and Riverdales stuff. I’ve never been a huge SW fan and when I liked them at all I was in high school, but even I liked the set. the Steinways were great and hilarious as always and then Ben played with them. He also talked about how awesome they are a bunch and I’m sure they sold a zillion records to teenagers immediately. I met a ton of people that I’ve known online for several years and I got to see friends that I don’t get to see that often but I was so busy that I didn’t get to talk to them a lot. Dang! the Ergs! went and brought the house down. People really went insane for them. I love seeing them so much but this time I was on stage with them doing some handheld and it was a sweaty mess. I also feared for my life as Joe jumped around. It was a blast though and even one of the guys working security ran up on stage and jumped off. The rest of the night had bands that I really like and wanted to see but I was starving and took a break to eat and started taking it easy a bit. Jeremy started to sleep on his feet and I felt really bad. I also knew that I’d be back on stage for the Mr. T Experience, so I was saving my energy and trying to look less gross. I hung out with Kelly, talked to Larry, took some pictures and met Sebby from England. He was awesome! I also had a moment on Friday where a dude came up to me and told me how much he likes my music videos. I asked who he was thinking it was an online person that I just hadn’t met yet and he said that he just watches them through the site. That was neat! He said “it’s like when strangers come up and say they love your band, that just happened to you!” He was nice. I’ve never been in a band so I wouldn’t know what that’s like… until now. And now my ego is out of control, somebody better me getting me a latte as I type this.
So it was an awesome, sweaty weekend, filled with friends and fun and stress and work and panic and burgers and rock n roll. I flew out early Sunday to spend the day with Mike (I was gone for 7 days) and I don’t even remember the plane taking off because I was already asleep. Then I got home and Mike skedaddled because he had forgotten our day and made other plans. I slept almost all day and then went to bed again at 11. I was so sore and exhausted I’m really glad I got that lazy time in. Now I feel rejuvenated and ready to go again!
Photo by Marc Gaertner