Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fig. 1: Our Set @ Cole's, With Awesome Drunk Guy in Foreground

I think he was doing the Heisman Trophy pose here.
(photo courtesy of Liz Bustamante, excellent photographer and drummer)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Show Recap, 12-12-2009 @ Cole's w/ Bully Pulpit and Builder/Destroyer

Some Of Your Friends Are Probably Also This Sick

As I mentioned in the last post, we had a show this past Saturday at Cole's, a newer bar that has opened up in that stretch of Milwaukee Ave between California and Kedzie where new shit's popping up like crazy.  I've been hitting up Cole's somewhat regularly since I heard about it a few months ago, because it's within stumbling distance of where I live, and they have good, reasonably priced beers and a small cheap pool table.  I was stoked when we were offered the show by Mat from Builder/Destroyer (because Bear Claw couldn't play--I'm not gonna lie, we get a lot of shows this way), since I was interested to see what this place was like as a music venue.  Also we hadn't played a show since August, so we were due for another.

There were many things popping up over the last few weeks that conspired to burst my bubble about this show, however.  First of all, Rich and I both got sick with the same thing at the same time--some nasty sinus infection/sore throat/cough thing that we suspect we both picked up at the Jesus Lizard show the day after Thanksgiving.  This fucker is tenacious.  It will not go away, and we're going on more than two and a half weeks since that Jesus Lizard show.  Also Uli had a bunch of papers and tests and stuff for the end of the semester.  This all sort of limited our quantity and quality of rehearsals in the last couple of weeks, and I'm not sure if this would have happened anyway, but definitely we couldn't finish those recordings by overdubbing any vocals.  Also I'm going to pretend that it contributed to us not having any shirts or anything for sale yet at the show, but really, we probably just sorta dropped the ball on that. 

The day of the show came up and we were feeling in good spirits, if not altogether in good health.  This was the first show we've played since we moved to our new rehearsal space way out on the Northwest side, complete with loading dock and elevator.  Also, one key benefit of sharing a band member with Bear Claw is that they let us use their van.  I really would like to thank Scott and Rob for that.  Thanks dudes!  We owe you.

So we ran through a couple songs to warm up and tighten up some sloppiness, then loaded up and headed to Cole's.  Things were going pretty well, and various home and store-bought remedies kept the sickness at arms length.  Then, upon arriving, it started raining and sleeting and I nearly crumpled several fixed gear bicycles chained to a pole directly in front of the venue while brazenly attempting to parallel park the enormous Bear Claw van using the side mirror and some context clues for the large blind spot.  Luckily I was alerted by Rich a split second before disaster, when he poked his head out of the window and told me about this fact.  I then parked somewhat awkwardly without damaging any bicycles and we began to load in.

I immediately wished I had crumpled all of the bicycles and possibly taken a dump on the seats as soon as we reached the back room with the first handfuls of our heavy equipment.  Here, we encountered the likely owners of the bicycles, who were inebriated to an excessive degree for the early hour of 7pm, and were shouting nonsense into a microphone on the stage for some reason, guffawing and shouting inside jokes, wrestling each other and spilling beer all over the place while simultaneously managing to get completely in our way and not give a fuck that we had really heavy and expensive shit we were trying to unload around them.  In fact I think a couple dudes openly mocked us, unintelligibly, for performing manual labor.  I didn't respond because I had no idea what they were talking about, but I could feel my fists tightening up with rage every second I was in that back room, and knew that Rich was most certainly in danger of boiling over and strangling a dude or two.  He's like 125lbs soaking wet and six foot something tall, but he makes up for it with his intangible weapon: intense, bottled up rage.  I was worried something bad would happen either to our equipment or to those drunken douchebags.  As we were finishing loading up, some friends began to trickle in and I warned them not to enter into the back room if they didn't want to feel the murderous rage that they could read on my face.  After finally convincing the owner to get those assholes out of our way and away from any live microphones, we finished arranging our stuff on the stage and hooking up our amps, and I retreated to a nearby Mexican restaurant with my friend Andy K (who probably wanted to murder everyone moreso than me) to chill out and get a bite to eat.  It wasn't the best pair of tacos I've ever had, but it magically filled me up for like five bucks, so that problem was solved efficiently.  Luckily the douchey drunks were completely out of the back room when I got back, and Rich had kept his cool without strangling any dudes at all.  I got a drink and finished setting my shit up.

Eventually we decided to get the show started.  Of course the one thing I didn't bring a spare for, a short patch cable between pedals, decides to get fucked in transit to the gig, and no sound came out of one of my amps.  Slight stumbling block.  After a few minutes of troubleshooting, we fixed the problem and began playing.  Except for Rich's thunderous bass amplification (comprising exactly 17 of our 21 speakers) shaking the stage so violently that something was vibrating horribly and making a weird sound, things sounded pretty good.  We get into it, people seem to be having a good time and getting rocked sufficiently.  Some weird and totally wasted dude in a sport coat and shirt and tie is *really* into it.  I love it when there's a totally harmless drunk guy just making an ass of himself, not giving a fuck, rocking out and making weird motions with his arms.  Love it.  I can't speak for Rich or Uli but I think that guy helped melt my previously highly annoyance factor with the drunks and the broken cable.  That and having the room full of a bunch of my friends that were awesome enough to show up and go "woo!" after our songs a lot.  Both helped.  I think we played decently, albeit not the best we've played.  Definitely had some fun.

Builder/Destroyer and Bully Pulpit followed, and enjoyably bought the rock.  Either the drunk guy had spent all of his energy gesticulating to our set, or perhaps they just didn't move him to rock out as much, because he just kind of stood off to the side, occasionally moving his arms and nodding "yes" as if to approve of the rocking.  Drunk guy advantage: Mayor For Life.  I enjoyed them thoroughly however.

Not very surprisingly since it was a free show in a small room full of our small crowd of mainly friends, we played for $10 in free drinks per band member, used only by me, the only drinking band member.  I used my $10 to get a couple beers for my friends.  We didn't even bother to ask Cole for a little gas money for helping pack his bar with drinkers, not expecting to receive any.  Suffice it to say, Quencher's is still our favorite place to play to a small room full of our friends, and Cole's will probably just be the place that I go to have a few drinks somewhat regularly.

On the way out, after we loaded up and were saying our goodbyes to the other bands, the singer of Bully Pulpit offered up an almost embarrassing amount of praise and, confusingly, a pair of white boxes that we thought (hoped) might be delicious cakes.  I think he said it was a gift to bribe us to finally have some stuff recorded for him to listen to, but we were kinda confused and out of it so we thanked him profusely and got out of dodge.  We opened the boxes up in the van and found a pair of really nice headphones.  Whoa, thanks dude!  That guy's awesome. 

Thanks to everyone that came out, and to everyone who just read this little insight into what it's like to be in a small local band that plays shows mainly to their friends.  I'm sure this will be humorous to read after we've sold out Budokan and sold a million copies of our debut album that was self released netting us 100% profit that we donate completely to a charity that cures cancer for good.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What We're Up To Right Now

Here's what we've got going on right now.

- We did some tracking for a few songs a few weeks back with Scott Picco, who plays drums in Rich's other band Bear Claw.  Two of the songs we'd like to release on a 7", and then the other songs (I think we did 3 others) we plan on putting up on the web as a demo.  We still have to record all of the vocal overdubs and get the two songs for the 7" mastered, as well as figure out if anyone wants to help us put it out on their label.  If you own a record label and would be interested, let us know.  Some time down the road we've got enough material for a full length and definitely plan on recording one.  More on that when it becomes more concrete about where we're doing it and what we're doing with it.  There are plans but they're pretty vague and pie-in-the-sky at the moment.

- Pretty much right after we tracked all that, we began the process of moving out of our old rehearsal space (a.k.a. Union Rock Yards) and into a new place way out on the Northwest side of the city.  I'm sure that almost anyone reading this blog at this point probably knows what Union Rock Yards was all about and is sad to see it go, just like we were.  Also you're probably not surprised when I tell you that it was kind of a shithole as far as rehearsal spaces go.  Don't get me wrong, we had many fine adventures there and we do miss that shithole, but our new rehearsal space is pretty kickass and most importatnly it has heat.  On top of that I think that Mark and Rich have a good possibility of doing the Union Rock Yards thing in one or two new legit venues, so all is good.  Also, that amazing pool table down there that once belonged to the late, great Michael Dahlquist of Silkworm fame is in its new home at a new bar near California and Belmont that sounds like it will be an awesome place when it opens up.  Anyhoo, the point of this lengthy digression is to point out that we were pretty busy for a few weeks with moving all of the enormous amount of crap that several of our bands had all accumulated over the last few years.  Scott's still in the process of getting his tape machine and mixer set up in the control room at the new spot (which, as a bonus, the previous tennant had configured decently as a recording studio) and hopefully we'll get the vocals overdubbed and everything mixed and bounced to 2 track pretty soon.

- We're playing a show on Saturday, December 12th at Cole's in Logan Square, with our friends Bully Pulpit and Builder/Destroyer.  Cole's is quickly becoming one of my favorite bars in the neighborhood (I live about 5 blocks from there), and it's a free show.  Highly recommended if you like fun and value.  We're playing first, and the show starts at 8, so get there early and have a few $4 bottles of Leffe with me.  Here is a really cool poster for the show, which I believe was designed by a friend of Mat from Builder/Destroyer:

That's about it for now.  I wish I had more stuff to speak of, but the last couple of months have been pretty hectic with moving and Thanksgiving and Uli swamped with schoolwork and whatnot.  I've been playing in bands for a few years now and every year around the holiday season, many plans are delayed as people are traveling to visit their family, everyone you know wants to have a holiday party all of the time, and then everyone gets sick.  In fact Rich and I are both pretty sick right now, which sucks.  Such is life.

Talk to you soon,

Monday, November 30, 2009

How Things Got Started

OK so I'm playing around with this blog site for the band.  My thought is that it will be a more long-form way of keeping track of things as they happen, letting some nice long sentences and paragraphs out there to go into great detail on whatever we feel like talking about, instead of the quick and short "hey we are playing on Saturday" stuff that we post on Facebook.  The text message-ization of the Internet dismays me.  I love writing big rambling paragraphs, personally.  Also I'm pretty surprised that mayorforlife.blogspot.com wasn't already taken so I wanted to nab it while I could.

We'll see if this is worthwhile and anyone cares.  At the very least, it'll be worth looking back on it like a journal, for us three guys. So now that I've bored everyone, here's a little bit of a background on who we are and what we do.

I (Todd) have been friends with Rich for a few years, ever since we kept running into each other at Shiner shows and our old bands played a few shows together.  Eventually those bands broke up, and neither of us were playing guitar in any active bands.  I had started up a new project with some friends and asked Rich if he'd be interested in playing guitar with us.  He accepted and that band became All Limbs Intact.

Unless you are really good friends with either of us or maybe we happened to play a show with your band and you stuck around to see us, you have probably never heard of All Limbs Intact.  Which is a shame because I still think that band name was awesome, but was totally our fault.  We were around for a couple of years but spent most of that time in the rehearsal space and/or trying to keep members involved in the band.  The lineup that played all of the shows also included our friends Steve and Jeremy on bass and drums respectively.  Also our friend Lain sang some gibberish for exactly three shows right at the end.  Then everyone but us lost interest and/or flaked out.  This happened right after we spent all of the meager money we had earned from playing shows as a band (a staggering $225 or so) to buy some totally sweet ass western shirts from Alcala Western Wear on Chicago Ave, and happily wore them on stage, amusing solely ourselves, albeit immensely so.  Such a waste.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I loved our songs and we had a blast writing them and playing them to 20 people at midnight on a Tuesday or what have you, but really, I lament the passing of the band name and not really having a good reason to wear those kick ass expensive western shirts.

After All Limbs Intact failed, Rich and I decided to start a new band with the bare minimum amount of people we could get away with to do what we wanted to do.  Less people that can't afford the rehearsal space, less people to email you an hour before practice saying they couldn't make it, less people to realize that they probably need to stop spending their time and money on the band and to spend it doing something that actually supports them and/or their family.

The three piece is definitely the way to go if you have trouble getting too many people in a room at once and you want to start a loud rock band.  So Rich decided to switch to his native instrument, bass, to take lead vocal duties, and we asked his coworker Ulysses if he'd be interested in playing drums.  Uli was a bit younger at 20 years old (at the time), but he possessed very impressive skills behind the kit, and we were all happy with how things sounded and got along like a house on fire.  So we wrote some songs, experimented with different amps and guitars and snare drums and all that fun stuff, and eventually (it took a while...everything does...) we started playing some shows.  Like everything Rich and I do, it started instrumental, but we actually sing now!  I only sing backup yells on some stuff, but hey, technically "we" "sing" when we play.  Things still take a while to happen, but they actually happen.  We all have jobs (and in Uly's case school on top of that) and we're busy but we're able to accomplish some stuff sometimes.  Since we don't currently have any recordings to post up here, here's a link to a search for "Mayor For Life" on youtube, where there are a few videos floating around from our shows

Next post will be an update on what we have going on right now.  Good night, faceless void of the Internet, and I will talk to you soon, I promise.

Keep in touch,

Hello World

Welcome to our band.