September 23, 2003.

The CD release was amazing.

[HOW ARE THERE NO PICTURES OF THIS?!?!?!?!? – rob 1/2/18]

Isabelle (hurricane) left us standing amidst chaos and broken limbs. Houses reduced to twisted lumber, and neighbourhoods left in the dark for days. Nothing new for this summer. I’m sure if you added it up, we’ve had our 40 days and 40 nights of rain and dark and winds and lightning. We’re close enough to bringing on Armageddon, I suppose. Bush is certainly doing his best to reawaken the 80s’esque fear of nuclear annihilation. Megadeth can have a new generation of fans.

I’m writing from the road. 67 miles per hour is set in the cruise control, and we are narrowly avoiding caffeine crazed truckers, verging on sleep, it seems, as they swerve between lanes, unconcerned about us lesser beings. “No trucks or buses in the right lane” on the New Jersey Turnpike. Seems a good reason to stay here, but of course 67 in a 65 is far too slow for the majority populace, and we’re constantly switching lanes to avoid the onslaught of midnight ratrace.

The CD release party was amazing. We weren’t sure what to expect. The Harbour was flooded, the roads were closed, even the basement of the Vault was closed. We still had 75 people there just to see us, and we made enough money to keep our exploits on the road for a little longer.

The intimacy of just Heather and rob ilyAIMY is definitely my preference, but the energy of the band? There’s nothing comparable…

But now we’re back to the road –

November 2nd, 2003.

ilyAIMY dressed up as Alice in Wonderland creatures for Heather's birthday / Halloween at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.
ilyAIMY dressed up as Alice in Wonderland creatures for Heather’s birthday / Halloween at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.

Long nights. Halloween was spectacular. The show went way better than I expected, with really good turn-out and such incredible energy. There’s this feeling of pent up joy that I get – I want to cry because the moment is perfect – and I have my friends and creatures and girlfriend and bandmates all rolled into the same room. Only a few faces were missing.

Heather's brother, Justin, as Indiana Jones' father in the Last Crusade.
Heather’s brother, Justin, as Indiana Jones’ father in the Last Crusade.

The high tension of sexuality pulsing through the room, the music, the chaos and the last minute panic. So What went off pretty well, with few people knowing the song well enough to see where I’d forgotten the words. Always my panic – that I won’t remember the words. I often fear that I am the weak spot in my own band. Weird, hey?

Brian as... er... something very very angry. Yes, Ian - THIS is the Brian you remind me of.
Brian as… er… something very very angry. Yes, Ian – THIS is the Brian you remind me of.

Such highs and such lows. Every time we come back from our wanderings, I’m amazed by how tight the band remains. I’m almost angry about it. The more time Heather and I spend together, the more our cohesion falls to bits, the more my relationships turn to shit, but the band itself plays better and better.

Dan is NOT a construction worker. He is a male stripper. He's getting a PhD and this is the way he's paying his way through school. Just in case his mom reads this (cause I'm sure EVERYONE's mom reads this) - it's ALL TRUE!!! HIS SCHOLARSHIPS DON'T BUY HIM THOSE FANCY FUR THONGS, AND HIS TUITION IS PAID IN SINGLES!!!
Dan is NOT a construction worker. He is a male stripper. He’s getting a PhD and this is the way he’s paying his way through school. Just in case his mom reads this (cause I’m sure EVERYONE’s mom reads this) – it’s ALL TRUE!!! HIS SCHOLARSHIPS DON’T BUY HIM THOSE FANCY FUR THONGS, AND HIS TUITION IS PAID IN SINGLES!!!

Maybe that’s the pain speaking? How cliche. I know I’m sort of a failure as a rockstar. I don’t drink – where’s the heroin and whores? But the mood swings are fast and furious now. More black and white than they’d been since college, and the peaks are coming fewer and further between.\

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I’m reminded of my high school math teacher, who “held out” against anti-depressants till his late twenties – I had confided in him some time in twelfth grade – but he gave in. I’ve been told it’s a losing battle, and that at some point your choices narrow down to A or B, with B being medication.

Alfred (percussion) finally gets put away. The fact that he can stick his tongue through his mask makes me feel distinctly unclean. The Mad Hatter indeed.
Alfred (percussion) finally gets put away. The fact that he can stick his tongue through his mask makes me feel distinctly unclean. The Mad Hatter indeed.

Well, if nothing else, my health insurance won’t cover B, and we force an option C – music and art… will it keep me even SEMI sane? Who knows, but whereas Prozac won’t get covered by health insurance, I CAN claim strings as a tax deduction…Where was I? Oh yeah – what I MEANT to say, was that Halloween rocked! So What was this grand transformation. I got to scream DIE at an audience and mean it.

I think, I think I think… that I shall set this down and continue typing once I’ve had some sleep. This is NOT the mood in which I should continue typing…. oooh my watch and whiskers, good NIGHT!


Yeah, see, everything – so much better after having slept. NOW I can type about how fantastic the world is…

Halloween is Heather’s birthday, and when the Vault first invited us to do their Halloween party, there were all sorts of crazy events planned – it was going to be one Hell of a birthday party. So, as events disappeared, one by one – I got really discouraged… but it made us stand out. Halloween spirit was carried by ilyAIMY and our fans. An amazing time had by all. Crisp autumn air blew around tight skirts, under strange flapping wings, and kept us from spontaneous full band combustion.

Just barely.

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— distraction, Heather is teaching about corsets. Oh God. Yeah – on Halloween night, there was a questionable moment when Heather dragged me into the women’s bathroom, and in the midst of the dragging, my hormonal rush was checked by “Do you have your knife?” The Alice costume was too tight, and I spent the next ten minutes cutting seams so she could breathe… (that’s so EVERYONE KNOWS why we went into the bathroom together!!)

WHO's been a BAD BUNNY!!?
WHO’s been a BAD BUNNY!!?

Gosh, I really have to find a better way to do this damned Journal… sigh. [haha]

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The Vault truly is one of the best places we play. The sound may be shit half the time, but the people are friendly, the owner is upfront and does his math in FRONT of you and even the security guys got into the spirit of things, with masks and stuff and they help you carry drums.

I don’t know, Life doesn’t get much better than an honest owner. Thanks Jack.

A lot of musicians don’t like the Vault – and I think it’s because there’s too much math. Most musicians AREN’T mathematicians… which is WHY most of us are starving.

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really.

I’m sitting in the sunroom, watching Caramia explore the world. She’s a beautiful kitten, running rampant, Living up to the legends of curiousity befitting such an animal. Climbing on tables, chewing on plants, shedding… she needs constant supervision lest she eat dice. She’s Heather’s instant joy. If I could make Heather smile like that kitten does – well, there’d be rings.

Last night we went to see the University of Maryland’s production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Heather, as a former member of the Satanic Mechanics, got us front row seats – and as usual, there was more eye candy than I could shake a… er… a stick at. Hrm.

Heathers are ALWAYS hot. (Caramia is nibbling my laptop).

w1kjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj

]

\

Er, not being one to screw with the course that nature takes, I’ll leave the kitten’s additions to the journal. There, now she’s off to attack the floor or something, buying me some time to type sensibly again.

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There we are with Tweedle Dee AND Tweedle Dum - ON BONES AND VOCALS - Rowan Corbett (on loan from Tinsmith). He was all covered in blood, which makes me think his two sides were fighting. Sigh. Poor poor man. er... men. er... something.
There we are with Tweedle Dee AND Tweedle Dum – ON BONES AND VOCALS – Rowan Corbett (on loan from Tinsmith). He was all covered in blood, which makes me think his two sides were fighting. Sigh. Poor poor man. er… men. er… something.
Heather mentioned to me that this is probably our FIRST full band photograph ever. That's just kind of distression. It occurs to me that most people who read this Journal, aren't neccessarily familiar with the band... so...(activate announcer's voice!) ON BASS - the Ace of Spades - Frank Rusch ON GUITAR AND VOCALS - Alice - Heather "Danger" Lloyd ON GUITAR AND VOCALS - the White Rabbit - rob (me) ON PERCUSSION - the Mad Hatter - Alfred Kamajian and last but not least, wiggling in the back, grinning like a CHESHIRE CAT - Sharif Kellogg on keyboards and electric guitar! (insert massive crowd noise here)
Heather mentioned to me that this is probably our FIRST full band photograph ever. That’s just kind of distressing. It occurs to me that most people who read this Journal, aren’t neccessarily familiar with the band… so…(activate announcer’s voice!)
ON BASS – the Ace of Spades – Frank Rusch
ON GUITAR AND VOCALS – Alice – Heather “Danger” Lloyd
ON GUITAR AND VOCALS – the White Rabbit – rob (me)
ON PERCUSSION – the Mad Hatter – Alfred Kamajian
and last but not least, wiggling in the back, grinning like a CHESHIRE CAT – Sharif Kellogg on keyboards and electric guitar!
(insert massive crowd noise here)
Alice dancing with Taccara. Not only do we have hot fans, but DAMN they can MOVE!
Alice dancing with Taccara. Not only do we have hot fans, but DAMN they can MOVE!
She Ra and some peasant girl. They didn't even know us. I Love looking out into the audience and knowing everyone who's danc- hey, wait a minute... people we DON'T KNOW who are dancing. We know then that we are slowly taking over the world. Or at least, the Lovely blonde parts.
She Ra and some peasant girl. They didn’t even know us. I Love looking out into the audience and knowing everyone who’s danc- hey, wait a minute… people we DON’T KNOW who are dancing. We know then that we are slowly taking over the world. Or at least, the Lovely blonde parts.
Later, Alice went and sang with our hosts, Velvetene. Adaam is writhing with his guitar as... that's weird how it looks like Heather's possibly fretting the bass, but that's just not the way it is. Also weird how that reminded me that in my dream last night I found a six-string bass in the trash and brought it home but when I polished it up it turned out to just be a five-string, and I've already got one of those so I just threw it out again. Dumb dream,
Later, Alice went and sang with our hosts, Velvetene. Adaam is writhing with his guitar as… that’s weird how it looks like Heather’s possibly fretting the bass, but that’s just not the way it is. Also weird how that reminded me that in my dream last night I found a six-string bass in the trash and brought it home but when I polished it up it turned out to just be a five-string, and I’ve already got one of those so I just threw it out again. Dumb dream,
Well, either he was here because he Loves ilyAIMY, or it's because we have the absolute hottest fans of any band around. It's a sign of how good we're playing nowadays, I suppose - a mark that we're getting big. We've got a couple of fans that come down from Philadelphia, some from Virginia, some from DC and most from Maryland... so we're drawing people from four states to come see us.... I'm beginning to get Propositioned after shows.... our fans are all REALLY hot... someone ELSE carries our guitars... high school girls are writing our name on their notebooks... what other signs ARE there of rockstar success?
Well, either he was here because he Loves ilyAIMY, or it’s because we have the absolute hottest fans of any band around. It’s a sign of how good we’re playing nowadays, I suppose – a mark that we’re getting big. We’ve got a couple of fans that come down from Philadelphia, some from Virginia, some from DC and most from Maryland… so we’re drawing people from four states to come see us…. I’m beginning to get Propositioned after shows…. our fans are all REALLY hot… someone ELSE carries our guitars… high school girls are writing our name on their notebooks… what other signs ARE there of rockstar success? Oh yeah, that whole money thing. Where IS my private jet?
Sigh.
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Alice Cooper and... someone frightening. I believe these are Swathlings. Huge thanks to Jason (Chainsaw) for coming out and supporting us so much recently. I don't know, he must really like us or something.... so, when is Swath and ilyAIMY playing together? Somewhere OTHER than that shit-hole, Palomas?
Alice Cooper and… someone frightening. I believe these are Swathlings. Huge thanks to Jason (Chainsaw) for coming out and supporting us so much recently. I don’t know, he must really like us or something…. so, when is Swath and ilyAIMY playing together? Somewhere OTHER than that shit-hole, Palomas?
And then I think I made it about one more song before losing the other ear. Sigh. Heather did a good job making the ears, Justin did a good job drilling the ears, but when it comes to head, screws just ain't enough.
And then I think I made it about one more song before losing the other ear. Sigh. Heather did a good job making the ears, Justin did a good job drilling the ears, but when it comes to head, screws just ain’t enough.
 I think I made it through two songs with two ears... then one... left. Sigh.
I think I made it through two songs with two ears… then one… left. Sigh.
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 Anywho, part of my distress the other night, I think (God, I’d better reread whatever I wrote) – was over the fact that… somehow the RHPS people are real family. And I often don’t feel like I can compete somehow, simply because of lack of precedent – or the music isn’t as important because it has no lineage to it – it’s hard to explain, really. Just the feeling that when Heather looks back at her days as Frank in Rocky, she does so with a good deal of nostalgia – she misses being part of something greater than herself, and somehow the music, the Trip, the band and I – I feel like we don’t measure up. But I know that’s mostly my own insecurity talking…. Hell – THIS –>
goddess is my girlfriend... how can I NOT feel insecure?!!?
goddess is my girlfriend… how can I NOT feel insecure?!!?

Anywho, despite all the eyecandy, Heather was STILL the hottest creature in the room.

Brennan as a particularly spectacular Riff Raff. Wasn't one of the cats in that Godawful Heathcliff cartoon named Riff Raff? I wonder if there's a connexion....?
Brennan as a particularly spectacular Riff Raff. Wasn’t one of the cats in that Godawful Heathcliff cartoon named Riff Raff? I wonder if there’s a connexion….?

Everything can go so well, there can be a perfect show, beautiful people, incredible friends, gatherings of greatness… and then some assholes had to egg, mayonaise, AND molasses Mitzi’s car. And then sat on their porch and laughed at her as she called the police and they told her that they wouldn’t be able to prove anything.

That’s almost as bad as the ass-raping we had to go through to deal with our fucking car radio – except there are people here…. people who you wish you could hurt.

Our society is in this stupid phase right now, where the law can’t cover everything, and common courtesy can’t be counted on. I wish vigilantism was part of my make-up… I get so angry, wishing we could go back and do damage. $150+ damage to her car and we have faces and addresses and … we should be able to do something about that.

Of course, having it up on my website ASSURES we can’t, now doesn’t it.

Just wishes, my friends, just wishes. Wishes for molotov cocktails and pain. It’s not the damage so much as the laughter. I hate being laughed at, and it’s been a huge part of my whole Life. Sticks and stones- but eggs deserve response ten fold.

Finally! Something creative in a Rocky Horror show - throughout the night, a Ke Niggat and his coconut laden ... er... watchamacallit... corporal... lineman... SQUIRE! were wandering aboot. Here they behead the Black Knight.
Finally! Something creative in a Rocky Horror show – throughout the night, a Ke Niggat and his coconut laden … er… watchamacallit… corporal… lineman… SQUIRE! were wandering aboot. Here they behead the Black Knight.
Tori as a wrapped Rocky. Very angry.
Tori as a wrapped Rocky. Very angry.
Brandy as the doctor hims- hersel- ... as Frank.
Brandy as the doctor hims- hersel- … as Frank.
Strombad? Possibly? He was freaking me out.
Strombad? Possibly? He was freaking me out.
I had to hand the camera to Heather during this part of the show, because after a while, I just felt DIRTY taking photographs of my friends like this. Sheesh. (Cat on my toes, now - lick lick lick - erg)
I had to hand the camera to Heather during this part of the show, because after a while, I just felt DIRTY taking photographs of my friends like this. Sheesh. (Cat on my toes, now – lick lick lick – erg)
Keith and his amazing Dreamscapes Project opened the evening. He did an AWESOME cover of a Concrete Blonde song that I can't remember the name of right now.. but I can remember the bassline - doo... de doo... de doo... de doo... de doo... de dooo... sigh.
Keith and his amazing Dreamscapes Project opened the evening. He did an AWESOME cover of a Concrete Blonde song that I can’t remember the name of right now.. but I can remember the bassline – doo… de doo… de doo… de doo… de doo… de dooo… sigh.
And there was a people dancin and a writhin.... It's appropriate that page 69 should be about Rocky Horror.
And there was a people dancin and a writhin…. It’s appropriate that page 69 should be about Rocky Horror. [it sucks that page references like this go away with the move to wordpress![
Mitzi, as always, looking fine. Unfortunately, she is the centre of the imperfection of nights...
Mitzi, as always, looking fine. Unfortunately, she is the centre of the imperfection of nights…
A weird sort of sacriledge, but sometimes, you just have to go with it, besides, I figure Jim would've been flattered, though perhaps Kermit would've been awkward about Heather being able to see up his hand-hole.
A weird sort of sacriledge, but sometimes, you just have to go with it, besides, I figure Jim would’ve been flattered, though perhaps Kermit would’ve been awkward about Heather being able to see up his hand-hole.
Earlier in the evening, we played with Austin up at Port City Java - great room... great hair.
Earlier in the evening, we played with Austin up at Port City Java – great room… great hair.DCF 1.0
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February 1st, 2004.

Got to go out and see a show tonight. Finally. For the first time in forever, I got to go see music and not play myself.

Did that sentence make sense? I assure you it did.

Anywho, tonight Heather picked me up from Amy’s new house and took me out to the Vault to see the Dreamscapes Project. Now, of course, there was the business side – we’re playing there next week, and we passed out flyers and put up posters and whatnot – but it was awesome to go some place and … well, I’d never say that I don’t like being the centre of attention – but I didn’t have to be “on”, which was really pleasant.

The Dreamscapes Project was incredible, as usual. Again, the band is just carried by Keith’s stage presence… well, floor presence tonight. Keith has the energy, and the sheer charisma, as well as the business acumen to REALLY be a rockstar. I was watching him tonight – and there’s part of me that feels very aware of watching him pull strings. There are these visible actions, almost scripted for the sake of the audience – but then tonight especially – I was thinking how I wish I could think things through like he does. He knows what he wants, and methodically he figures out how to make that thing happen. I Love chatting with Keith online, and just imagining the wheels turning in his head.

We also met another act, Infuseon, who met my heavy metal needs. They did a spectacular cover of Tool’s “Sober” and Jimmie’s Chicken Shack’s “Dropping Anchor”. I wish I could’ve opened up and really thrashed aboot in a pleasantly active fashion, but … alas, I am just too reserved.

February 16th, 2004.

Long time, no mention – nothing really to mention today, either. I think I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures and narrate a bit to make up for it. We’ve begun to get responses from the summer festivals, and we’re beginning to plan around such things as Pagan festivals in Ohio, and Singer/Songwriter barcrawls in Illinois.

After the Dawson Street Pub, just about anything else was going to be a bit of a letdown - but this ceiling fan at Donavan's the next night WAS pretty damned cool. I guess the whole bar had a kind of reef, tropical kind of motif going on.
After the Dawson Street Pub, just about anything else was going to be a bit of a letdown – but this ceiling fan at Donavan’s the next night WAS pretty damned cool. I guess the whole bar had a kind of reef, tropical kind of motif going on.

I’ve been really sick for the past couple of days, caught something from Alfred  last Tuesday. I helped him carry his drums into the gig that night, and he had something really nasty, and he shared.

Rick and Dave, respectively.
Rick and Dave, respectively.

Bastard.

The next night, we went to play with Soul Plane, and got stuck behind a trolley.
The next night, we went to play with Soul Plane, and got stuck behind a trolley.

So, I brought it home to Mara. And I think we shared it with Janna. The world’s been sick. Mitzi’s had food poisoning, Tyler’s been feeling poorly, Sharif threw up and Jon’s been depressed. Didn’t want to write about THAT… see?

Soul Plane, one of the coolest bands I've seen in a long time. A wonderful, high energy, intense act out of Philadelphia.
Soul Plane, one of the coolest bands I’ve seen in a long time. A wonderful, high energy, intense act out of Philadelphia.

Anywho, many things, including my 29th birthday, which was a whole lot of fun, one of my best ever. A WHOLE lot of Magic – almost nothing better to do when you’re feeling really poorly. Nothing to do but play Diablo and Magic… which, of course, is how Janna probably caught it. Sigh… Pestilence alll over. I sit here writing – Heather’s dad is running around with many a household chore – cleaning and replacing batteries, to the accompaniment of the Beatles. He keeps trying to give me fuzzy hats and camel hair coats – I try to explain…. it’s just not flannel. Sigh.

Their bass player specifically, is like a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson - playing bass like a ... well... precisely UNLIKE a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson. More like a versionof John Paul Jones who happens to look a little like a manically grinning, probably completely deranged, youthful and slender - Rowan Atkinson... Bean? What Bean? Oh - THAT Bean - oh God no!
Their bass player specifically, is like a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson – playing bass like a … well… precisely UNLIKE a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson. More like a version of John Paul Jones who happens to look a little like a manically grinning, probably completely deranged, youthful and slender – Rowan Atkinson… Bean? What Bean? Oh – THAT Bean – oh God no!
And their guitarist is God. Nothing else to say there - nothing else needs to be said.
And their guitarist is God. Nothing else to say there – nothing else needs to be said.

It turned out the open mic we were playing was actually run by a guy we knew from before – we’d met Rick at the Coffee Club (in Media? I think).

We sold a couple of CDs, and met some cool people – specifically – Dave – the Johnny Cash impersonator. Great Man in Black Covers. Very pleased.

The sound here was gorgeous, but other than that, I was kind of distracted by all the hockey.

Philadelphia didn’t treat us as well this time around, but I think a lot of that was attitude. We, of course, Loved hanging around with Shane, and he hooked me up with a new copy of Diablo II, which made my Life pretty complete, but – we hung around in Maryland because of my father’s cancer surgery, and that was kind of difficult. I’m just so glad that that’s over with. All that’s left is recovery…

“All that’s left” – I know it’s not that simple, but I have to think of it that way lest I just go crazy.

We didn’t get much out of the night – the crowd just couldn’t be distracted from their sporting events, but Soul Plane made up for everything. They were spectacular.

And JUST as both Heather and I were thinking “they could do awwwesome Led Zepplin covers” – they did. Not many bands can pull that off. They’re guitarist, specifically, would be capable of making Jimmy Page look up from his diabolist dabblings and say “whut?”

We came home for my birthday, the night after the gig with Soul Plane… I gloss over the whole me getting the address of the gig wrong, so we advertised the wrong address the whole week we were in Philly – and ended up at the wrong place ourselves… and God – it was a disaster.

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But I got the coolest toy that ever existed for my birthday.

A Matrix Sentinal.

Now, the coolest gift EVER was what my Father gave me – successful cancer surgery while at the same time paying off the last of my school debt. It’s taken me 7 years, but it’s finally gone, and it’s an incredible feeling – but it’s harder to photograph.

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It has been such a weird month. Back to the Dad in the hospital rambling – I went and visited while he was there, I was lucky enough to have Audrey come with me – and the hospital was dismal.

I don’t expect hospital patients to be cheerful and leaping and throwing back their sheets and jumping from bed to bed or anything – but I expect the damned hospital to be clean, and to be able to really understand the English of the nurses, and for the faucets to work, and for them to clean the spilled Jell-o off the floor. GW Hospital was just a multi-tiered lump of dinge. I was pretty disappointed with its existence in its entirety. Pretty fucking disgusted, to be truthful.

Later that night, we went back to Amy’s house and watched zombie movies and ate ravioli. It was probably my best birthday ever.

ilyAIMY at the Vault for my birthday.
For my birthday, we played the Vault. Here's a random shot of Jason getting his groove on with a ferocity which was to be admired. Oh and Bia's head. She smelled sooooo good.
For my birthday, we played the Vault. Here’s a random shot of Jason getting his groove on with a ferocity which was to be admired. Oh and Bia’s head. She smelled sooooo good.
And the Lloyds, in addition to their coup with the Sentinal, brought me bunny cake. Unfortunately, I only got a half a piece out of the whole thing, cause I was so busy running around and being a good birthday boy.
And the Lloyds, in addition to their coup with the Sentinal, brought me bunny cake. Unfortunately, I only got a half a piece out of the whole thing, cause I was so busy running around and being a good birthday boy.
Alfred's kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.
Alfred’s kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.
Alfred's kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.
Alfred’s kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.

February 17th, 2004.

We checked out the Funk Box last night. Awesome. I know where I want to play. Somehow, we’re going to go play the Funk Box. Angie Aparo’s going to be there… we want to be there… we want to get into the Funk Box.

Last Tuesday, the Hippodrome opened in Baltimore. We played at the Vault again, in an attempt to draw people in there....
Last Tuesday, the Hippodrome opened in Baltimore. We played at the Vault again, in an attempt to draw people in there….
Jack's opened up the windows, and now he can admire his domain.
Jack’s opened up the windows, and now he can admire his domain.

The Funk Box, once upon a time, was the 8×10 – a well-known venue with weird interior visibility issues, kind of okay sound, and really decent name recognition…

We played to Janna, and (above) Anika and Tony. Literally - the audience was three people. The only people for the whole night. Luckily, they Loved us. They are the only ones to have heard our cover of "Killing in the Name Of" by Rage Against the Machine. Whee!!!
We played to Janna, and (above) Anika and Tony. Literally – the audience was three people. The only people for the whole night. Luckily, they Loved us. They are the only ones to have heard our cover of “Killing in the Name Of” by Rage Against the Machine. Whee!!!
It's kind of nice being able to see out of the Vault now, but I'm worried about what the owner's going to have to face now with vandalism and the upped possibility of break-ins and theft.
It’s kind of nice being able to see out of the Vault now, but I’m worried about what the owner’s going to have to face now with vandalism and the upped possibility of break-ins and theft.

Their open mic was popular enough that people would line up outside for two hours before doors opened – musicians lined up in the cold, sort of making friends, and then finally rushing the guy who opens the door – cajoling frozen fingers to sign names on the list… I did it a couple of times, but I have no memory of why. I don’t remember it being THAT cool – but there was a sense of community – perhaps just because we were pulled together by our outdoor angst…

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We met with Brian Gundersdorf of We're About 9 recently to talk different business strategies. Very useful. Unfortunately, the Jahva House was where we met, and though the furniture is much the same, the upstairs kiddie lounge and anti-furniture-movin warnings are a bit different.
We met with Brian Gundersdorf of We’re About 9 recently to talk different business strategies. Very useful. Unfortunately, the Jahva House was where we met, and though the furniture is much the same, the upstairs kiddie lounge and anti-furniture-movin warnings are a bit different.
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I wondered what the Funk Box would be like – and that was the purpose of last night – go check it out. We were scouts. (yes, I know that when I fill the space with text or whatever, that it can get a bit confusing… and so I introduce a new style tonight – CaptionText! whee!!!)

Anywho, the Funk Box is beautiful. Awesome sound, awesome space, awesome stage, awesome fries. I was very happy. We ran into a lot of people I knew from Ellicott City and my time in Baltimore, and met a lot of new people. It looks like it’ll be a very fun place to just hang out – even better to play.

This past Saturday, we played at Zig's with the Dreamscapes Project. I don't know if I've got space for all that went wrong that night. Maybe I'll write about it later. If I have nightmares and then just can't back to sleep without talking about it... erf.
This past Saturday, we played at Zig’s with the Dreamscapes Project. I don’t know if I’ve got space for all that went wrong that night. Maybe I’ll write about it later. If I have nightmares and then just can’t back to sleep without talking about it… erf.
They auctioned off their single fans for Valentine's Day. Made themselves a good amount of money towards the new album, mostly off of a trio of lesbians that were "sold" in one lot at the very end.
They auctioned off their single fans for Valentine’s Day. Made themselves a good amount of money towards the new album, mostly off of a trio of lesbians that were “sold” in one lot at the very end.
Ben at Zig's, waving money aboot. I have no doubt that these are ill-gotten gains.
Ben at Zig’s, waving money aboot. I have no doubt that these are ill-gotten gains.

March 2nd, 2004.

Rocket won’t leave my legs alone.  Rocket is my parents’ cat – and she makes absurd sounds.

I have a purring, chirping, hopeful, Loving little black cat butting up against my legs as I wander the house, searching for a wireless signal.  It seems strange that WiFi has become so common that even my parents’ neighbourhood is riddled with unprotected networks – but here I am, I’ve found a signal that stays pretty strong as long as I leave my laptop balanced on the breadboard.  Sigh – it probably means crumbs in the intakes… I already melted chocolate all over it last night.

Note to self – laptop NOT a cookie tray.

The Damn Fines at West One Coffeehouse in Baltimore.  They Lived up to their name, dishing out some very solid, very pure rock & roll.
The Damn Fines at West One Coffeehouse in Baltimore. They Lived up to their name, dishing out some very solid, very pure rock & roll.

July 16th, 2004.

We played the Royal tonight. Such a varied reaction to this venue. It reminded me of our initial days at Palomas. Nice sound system, some friendly people… A different sort of creature as owner. Australian? English? I wasn’t sure of the accent, but – I guess I’m getting used to playing and then getting a pretty enthusiastic response from the owner. The owner of the Royal was uninterested. It soured the evening, somehow. Ray came out, Brennan came out and brought Tori. The people were nice, the sound guy, Josh, was great – but somehow the evening left me tired and ready to go home.

Dan Zimmerman at Mick O'Shea's. I wish he'd brought his bass.
Dan Zimmerman at Mick O’Shea’s. I wish he’d brought his bass.
Heather being put on the spot by Sarah. But she was amazing. Heather is at her most beautiful with her hair wiggly and in disarray, hands pushed into the pockets of tight blue jeans - a black tank top, wailing away into the microphone in dimly lit bar. A Baltimore night goddess.
Heather being put on the spot by Sarah. But she was amazing. Heather is at her most beautiful with her hair wiggly and in disarray, hands pushed into the pockets of tight blue jeans – a black tank top, wailing away into the microphone in dimly lit bar. A Baltimore night goddess.

The bartender was interesting. She was a true Baltimore woman. Tall and lithe and blonde and tattooed, and older the closer you looked. I caught her hand for a moment and she was calloused and strong.

The drive home led us afoul of many back streets. A little bit of alley hopping. The roads have changed since I worked at the Science Centre. You can never be LOST in Baltimore, but it took us a few miles to find 95. We bypassed crowd-filled streets and kittens, and have returned to the Lloydholme for movies and soup.


Ray Roberts at Mick O’Shea’s with his metal bodied guitar.

back in time a bit – back at the Vault in Baltimore. The Power Movement Project was fantastic – a high energy, ferocious reggae-esque… project.

July 18th, 2004.

with the pot” – I returned to the Lloydholme exhausted, elated, and relieved.  It doesn’t FEEL like July. It’s grey and the air conditioning lets us forget what kind of temperature might be lurking outdoors. Chelsea’s dad doesn’t sleep. I’m seeing morning for what feels like the first time in weeks. Months. And the grey weather is keeping my eyes from glistening with consciousness.

9.30am and Chuck and David are up and frolicking in their morningness – David’s making bacon, and Chuck is talking about amplifiers and guitars and African rhythms. I’m just not ready for it yet.

My thoughts are still whirling from that kiss. Damn you Jason. Damn you Slanga.

Andy Zipf at the Vault. He ran his beats off an IBook and generally was okay.
Andy Zipf at the Vault. He ran his beats off an IBook and generally was okay.
For those of you who missed the Vault show last Friday. These women were dancing on the bar. That's really all I should have to say. Don't miss another.
For those of you who missed the Vault show last Friday. These women were dancing on the bar. That’s really all I should have to say. Don’t miss another.
Pookie and Heather having a moment at the College Perk. There are many pussy jokes that an uninhibited rob could make here, but luckily, he is reigning himself in.
Pookie and Heather having a moment at the College Perk. There are many pussy jokes that an uninhibited rob could make here, but luckily, he is reigning himself in.

 

 

Says it all really. I don’t even remember why it happened. But Jason kissed me. He needs to quit smoking before he gets any more sugar from me.

Yesterday was a long day. The yardsale, making food, preparing for the night. I had my first art opening in four years. It was an incredible night.

Daniel Lee has possibly the most spectacular voice I've ever heard. And weird pants. Weird shoes. I hadn't noticed those. Good lord.
Daniel Lee has possibly the most spectacular voice I’ve ever heard. And weird pants. Weird shoes. I hadn’t noticed those. Good lord.

The opening itself, at the 1448 Gallery, was a great success. Michael Vain and Kali were just – immensely wonderful to invite me to show with them, and then to have the opportunity to play as well… Audrey and I once had a show like that, at a Borders Books. Her watercolours covered half the space, and my scary scritch art covered the other half, and then we played a show at the end of the month, with her in front of her work, and me in front of mine. I remember it being a Lovely night. I did something similar in a gatehouse show back in the Commons at MICA, and then again at the Moon Cafe in Annapolis, but eventually the shows petered out because I was having too much work stolen.

Oh yeah, the ladies of Perk. Perky ladies.
Oh yeah, the ladies of Perk. Perky ladies.

So now I’m reinvigourated. The show went so well – not many familiar faces, but a decently filled room – and the faces that WERE familiar were old favourites. It was strange to think that Kali and Terri and Michael have known me from the Beginning. Back when I ONLY played shows at the Rabbit and the New Deal Cafe, they came to each of those shows, and encouraged me with accolades and cake. It’s strange to think that it’s been so long, back from the Audrey era.

Amy's face's guardianship from the corner made the show complete.
Amy’s face’s guardianship from the corner made the show complete.
DCF 1.0
Performing next to a rusted out gate covered in my art. A very good feeling.
Performing next to a rusted out gate covered in my art. A very good feeling.

It was good to see Michael, usually so serious and unapproachable, really getting into Will – rocking out in the back of the room. It’s one thing when one can move the audience, but when one can move the artists around you – and KEEP moving them years after their first exposure – that made me feel really powerful. Like I was accomplishing something GREAT.

Terri watched from the back, like she always does. She’s an unobtrusive willowy creature of eye-contact and hair. My parents are the opposite – smack-dab in the middle of the room, my mother mouthing the words. Yeah, a room full of People from the Beginning. It felt like some sort of anniversary, or a birthday, or … I don’t know. Very much a celebration of accomplishment.

I'm holding one of Kali's pieces. It would be really cool if a guitar could be made up like that and still be playable, and not be godAWFUL heavy.
I’m holding one of Kali’s pieces. It would be really cool if a guitar could be made up like that and still be playable, and not be godAWFUL heavy.

It was almost like a big thank you show to the people who’d REALLY supported me over the years. Longer than almost anyone else, with the exception of Amy. The room felt incomplete until I noticed that my portrait of Amy had been set unobtrusively against the wall, facing the stage. The beautiful Raven Jen even appeared from my past and wandered in near the end of the night.

A very good night.

And then we had to race to PLOJ.

Chelsea and Beau up from Richmond, VA for PLOJ.
Chelsea and Beau up from Richmond, VA for PLOJ.
The crowd at PLOJ XXIX. I think this was our first Pot Luck with two fiddles. Or perhaps the first one with two fiddlers. And three or four banjos. I think the guy right in the middle there is from Florida!
The crowd at PLOJ XXIX. I think this was our first Pot Luck with two fiddles. Or perhaps the first one with two fiddlers. And three or four banjos. I think the guy right in the middle there is from Florida!

I don’t think I’ve ever been very late to PLOJ before. I usually aim to get there by 4, and I’ve frequently been later than THAT – but I don’t think I’ve ever arrived AFTER things had gotten started. Until last night.

It was bizarre walking into things Already In Progress. It was hard having to greet everyone all at the same time, rather than getting my greet on one by one as people straggle in. All in all, I’d say it was probably (as much as I hate to say it) my least favourite PLOJ. Very formless, meandering, drum heavy… and a pathetic spread. Almost no food at ALL! Thank God my tabouli rocked as hard as it always does. Thank God Dan’s chili was as scrumptious as it was… thank Richard and Kelly for THEIR chili. And of course, Mara’s chocolate chip cake. I guess, really when it comes down to it… that made everything okay.

With PLOJ XXIX ending at 2.30am or so, returning to the Lloydholme with the Kerwaths in tow (Chelsea and Beau and Chelsea’s WHOLE family!!) and being awakened by David making breakfast at 9am (no complaints mind you, some of the finest bacon I’ve ever had… but 9.30 am isn’t REALLY a time to me anymore) – today’s band practice was a threat on my personal horizon. I was eager for it, but going INTO practice exhausted isn’t a good start.

Because of random circumstances, Heather and I actually end up arriving at Sharif’s house for practice separately. I navigate my car into his little Bowie neighbourhood, pick my parking space with care, and avoid a tiny obstacle.

A tiny, grey, furry obstacle. Rumpled fur and a trail of viscera that stretches almost to the curb – there’s very little in the world that’s as sad as a roadkill kitten, and I was thankful that I’d gotten there ahead of Heather. I knew it would break her heart to see the tiny body, and I didn’t know WHAT to do. It was right in front of the house, and there was no way she was going to miss it when she arrived – Sharif didn’t have a shovel or anything, and I’m not of SUCH a strong constitution that I’m able to pick up a dead kitten and throw it in the trash, or even a bush.

I’m not sure if I did the right thing. When the neighbours weren’t looking I stole a big empty pot from the yard and overturned it over the kitten in the middle of the street. It’s not the right thing, really – but it meant that Heather wouldn’t see it, and no-one else was going to smear it further along the street.

The pot wasn’t QUITE large enough, and the emotions that roiled through me when I felt the giving squish as I set it down on the kitten’s tail are indescribable and unpleasant.

Band practice itself was fantastic. A great day spent with friends, jamming on music that you Love. That’s the way band practice is SUPPOSED to be, and I don’t think it’s BEEN that way for a long time. It’s made me all the more eager for Tuesday’s Funk Box show. I was fearful everytime that Heather stepped outside – I was afraid she’d move the pot, but I didn’t want to tell her, and I couldn’t just say “don’t mess with the pot” – I returned to the Lloydholme exhausted, elated, and relieved.

Heather selling dolls at her parents' yard sale. How could I have let THIS Lovely Heatherbeest see a dead kitten? I knew it would ruin the day... there is also an evil side of me that will be amused at whoever lifts the pot. As long as it's not Heather.
Heather selling dolls at her parents’ yard sale. How could I have let THIS Lovely Heatherbeest see a dead kitten? I knew it would ruin the day… there is also an evil side of me that will be amused at whoever lifts the pot. As long as it’s not Heather.
Brennan and some new friends at the Royal Open Mic, back on last Thursday. It was awesome to see this table bobbing their heads and dropping their jaws when we ripped up the stage. Unfortunately, the owner was unimpressed.
Brennan and some new friends at the Royal Open Mic, back on last Thursday. It was awesome to see this table bobbing their heads and dropping their jaws when we ripped up the stage. Unfortunately, the owner was unimpressed.
Heather's working on making found-object necklaces. This is the first product of her creative wiles - she's got a couple of them by now, and soon she'll be pooping these things out left and right, and hopefully selling them at shows. I'm in Love with this key - I think it was one of the random ones from inside my Saturn. Maybe my Dad knows what it was for, but I sure don't.
Heather’s working on making found-object necklaces. This is the first product of her creative wiles – she’s got a couple of them by now, and soon she’ll be pooping these things out left and right, and hopefully selling them at shows. I’m in Love with this key – I think it was one of the random ones from inside my Saturn. Maybe my Dad knows what it was for, but I sure don’t.

July 20th, 2004.

Tonight we brought home a stray. Not a kitten bent on flight and skies, but a fellow rockstar.

Daniel Lee has been on the road for four years – and for the past several months I’ve been hearing about him from Brennan, from Mitzi, from Amy. He’s spectacular, and deserving of a better following than he’s got. But I base that on the fact that his following is made up merely of people that have heard him. I don’t think there’s a human alive that can listen to him and not be moved. He makes me want to set my guitar down and step back from it slowly, nonchalantly… as if to say… who me? I don’t play guitar… why?

Daniel, Gail and I eating sushi on the streets of Baltimore, waiting in line for the Funk Box open mic.
Daniel, Gail and I eating sushi on the streets of Baltimore, waiting in line for the Funk Box open mic.
Daniel Lee on stage at the Funk Box.
Daniel Lee on stage at the Funk Box.

He asked me if I wanted to join him on a song – I’m glad I didn’t. I Loved being able to wander the Funk Box open mic and watch people’s reactions. People didn’t even notice me as I moved through the multicoloured light, they were transfixed by Daniel’s ferocious onstage presence.

There was a moment at the end of a song when he brought his fist down to his strings like a death blow. Silencing the feedback like he’d knifed the guitar.

Far better than Jimi Hendrix and his pansy-ass guitar torching.

We played the Funk Box open mic tonight, and by chance ran across Daniel, as well as Prout of Hudson & Prout from Mick O’Shea’s. Prout showed off what he does solo – lots of reverb and spectacular looping tricks… he turned a Howie Day cover into a techno tune worthy of a rave.

But we’ve retired from the muggy Baltimore night and have retreated to the Lloydholme. Daniel’s making three foot tall Love letters with which he plans to woo someone at dawn. Heather and I are reciting Lord of the Rings lines and getting the CDs together and being branded geeks by the Love-lorn Daniel.

And we’re ALL soooo high on marker fumes.

July 21st, 2004.

What an amazing night. The Funk Box was worth every moment of angst. What an amazing night. Best gig we’ve ever played, perhaps. Two djembes beat out drum kit any night. And well air-conditioned. Score. I want to play THERE forEVER.


Sitting later that morning, listening to Underfoot with Daniel, we Love to be able to Introduce incredible things to one another.

Rocking out at the Funk Box. I think it was just such a relief after everything that had gone wrong, we really let loose. It was like a soap opera leading up to this gig – both personally and professionally, and then tonnes of things with the Lloydholme (and on top of everything else, David’s truck’s air conditioning just died!)… it was such a relief just to get up there and play. I’m going to have to write it all in the Journal eventually, but I’ll have to exclude names, or SOMETHING… I don’t know. It’s just… so much as to be unbelievable.

I’m still recovering from the sheer power of last night’s gig. Getting to play the songs that MEAN so much to me, rather than just our typical “bar set” was spectacular. The fans and friends who’ve missed that really responded – much flipping, cavorting, and general joy. A good time was had by all. AND we made our quota for the night, so hopefully we’ll be returning in a couple of months.