Wednesday, June 18, 2014

AATS 6000 Mile Tour Day 7, change of plans...

Wednesday May 21, 2014

So upon leaving Shannon's place in the morning and preparing for the VERY long drive to play a house party in Reno NV, which would involve crossing the Donner Pass through the mountains, there was suddenly a flurry of business calls to Adrian.

We had to let Armando take over the wheel so she could attend to the suddenly pressing business.

And pressing business it was. Change of plans. Rerouting to San Francisco to play Slim's that night opening for Brody Dalle of The Distillers...!!!

Holy shit!

Turns out (as Adrian had been very tight-lipped about the deal until it either happened or did not) that for the past few months, Tim Moss and his wife Clementine had been pulling strings to land us that opening slot.

As we needed a show regardless, Adrian booked the house party in Reno to keep the date filled. Which probably still would have been cool, house parties are more often than not a total blast!

Background on Tim Moss and Clementine:

Tim has been running am avant garde noise/stonerrock band called Men of Porn for well over a decade. I have seen them play numerous times under numerous line-ups, including Dale Crover (Melvins) on drums, producer Billy Anderson on bass, Henry Vasquez (St. Vitus, Blood of the Sun etc etc etc) on drums, Nila from Bottom on bass, and many others. He's had Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth sit-in on guitar as well.

He is, as the kids say, the real deal. And a super nice guy to boot. My first Austin band Southern Gun Culture played with them in Albuquerue NM in 2003 with the Henry/Nila line-up. Bad ass.

Clementine is married to Tim. She used to play drums in Bottom, an all-female heavy rock band from NYC whom Amber and Trent were still raving about when I first met them and we formed Southern Gun Culture in 2000. We shared bills with them, let them use our jam room to prep for tour as well as work up material for their album "You're Next." For awhile, Nila the bassist was living in Austin as well.

Now Clem drums for Zeparella, the all-female Zeppelin tribute we have some upcoming shows with. I last saw Tim at Melvins here in town last fall. I haven't seen Clem in 10+ years.

Adrian met Clem as Hell's Belles has shared many bills with Zeparella, and befriended Tim by default.

It is a very small world indeed. It doesn't seem very small when you're traveling 6000 miles in less that 21 days. But in musician circles, you will run into the same people quite a bit. And I love that about being a player.

SO. AATS had officially landed the opening slot for Brody Dalle at Slim's that evening!

Awesome! And work to do. We all (well, Armando didn't just yet) hit our iPhones to promote the living SHIT out of the show, and I started frantically contacting all my friends in the Bay Area to invite them out.

And yes, Adrian did call the Reno people and tell them the situation, and they were very understanding in us cancelling \m/,

There is also some really beautiful country driving up I-5. Or "The 5" as they call roads in Cali.


Been up and down this way many times with The Mother Truckers over the years, and interesting to see it during different seasons. Had AATS come through a month later, the rolling straw-colored hills would have been a vibrant emerald green, and offset by orchards blooming in pink, purple or white as far as the eye could see. Just, wow.

Crossed the Bay Bridge into San Francisco in the afternoon after hauling ass (well, 70 is the sweet spot for Vincent Van Go hahaha) all day. Good thing we took the correct bridge, cause this would have sucked:

SF skyline!

Arrived at Slim's in time to relax a bit before loading in and soundcheck. Another familiar stomping ground from The Mother Truckers days, haven't played there since 2010 I believe. And I also remember two Spinal Tap incidents on that stage, possibly the same show:

(1) Jumped offstage for a bass solo in the crowd. Couldn't make it back up under my own power, my friend James (more on him in a bit) had to help me back up hahaha


(2) Went for an awesome bass toss end of set, despite it not being the highest ceiling in the world. And dropped the damn thing. #rockfail

So yeah. Good times! And good to be back. San Francisco is one of my fave cities in America.

Obligatory van-next-to-tour-bus pic:

Took our time loading our gear into the venue from the front door (and up the entry stairs) as Brody Dalle soundchecked. Got settled into the downstairs green room provided to us as well.

Soundcheck. (This was during soundcheck... right?!?)

Obligatory green room shots and backstage common area:

Was bummed to see that all the band stickers in the bathroom were now long gone.

Finally pulled out my laptop for the first time on this trip. We'd been covering so much ground and hadn't been in one place long enough for me to even fire it up, much less remove it from the bag. Was beginning to wonder why I even brought it, as in the past it was useful for editing and posting pics from my digital SLR camera. But now that I have an iPhone, I can take a pic, edit it, and post it almost instantaneously. Crazy.

Wanted to quick burn some CDs of my music for Tim & Clem (attending the show obviously, and they showed up beaming like proud parents, very excited for us!), as well as my friend James, who was the only one who could actually make it out on such short notice.

Back upstairs to load on stage and soundcheck, doors were about to open.

Sound crew and loaders were all top notch and nice people. Wish I could remember their names now...

Did I mention Brody Dalle is also married to Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age/Kyuss? Yeah. I was very careful setting up/tearing down my gear (as well as with my beer during the set), as directly behind my rig was a Fender Twin with QOTSA stenciled on it. Not going to spill my beer on Josh Homme's amp... Not going spill my beer on Josh Homme's amp...

We were provided meals courtesy of Slim's. I had a few bites but didn't want to rock out with Adrian on a full stomach.

Before we went on, Brody came into out dressing room and chatted with Adrian and us. She was very kind, very supportive to Adrian, and was happy she was on the bill and couldn't wait to see her. That was awesome!

Adrian handled it very well, and was doing everything in her power not to totally geek out and blab out how much of an ispiration Brody was to her, and was such a fan she named her dog after her, heh!

The show was sold out, and already damn near full by the time we took the stage. 500 people easy.

And we SLAYED them!!! At least that's how it felt, heh! We gave them everything we fucking had, and seemed they were really into us! Capacity crowd of 600 by the time we finished.

Adrian couldn't make it into the actual crowd due to the barricades, but she got as close as she could \m/,

Knocked em dead! Awesome set!

Got our gear offstage as quick as possible and stowed it against the side wall by the backstage door, and enjoyed the rest of the night.

By now my friend James had arrived. We go way back. First met him on the old message board. His old band Damnweevil has stayed with me in Austin at least once. Usually see him and his bandmates whenever I am in the Bay Area.

The last time I was there in 2010, The Truckers had a day off and Josh Zee and I were at his parents' place in San Rafael. James called, asking what I was up to. He was just off work, would be driving through the area, and was wondering if I'd like to hang out as his new band Heavy Action rehearsed in Oakland, then go see Goatsnake with them in San Fran that night, right down the street from Slim's.

Of course, my response was FUCK YEAH!!! It was awesome, and I finally met Scott Reeder later that night (was playing with Goatsnake that night and had been in Kyuss with Josh Homme).

So James eventually shows up, and I believe the first thing we talked about was how long it had been since we had seen each other, and recounted the above story as the last time. Wow time flies.

He loved the show (I love ALL your bands \m/,) and we caught up and had a beer or three before he had to leave with his lady to get up early for work in the morning. They grow up so fast ;)

Good times with good people, photo by Armando Reyes

Because of the (RIP) forums and from my travels as a musician, I have friends in most major American cities, and scattered across the globe. Very small world indeed. And tho evidence often points to otherwise, it is still filled with many many good people!

Caught what we could of Brody Dalle's set, but I was admittedly talking to James and Armando most of the night. But what I did see, kicked ass. Really dug her voice, which was both raw and clean at the same time, if that makes sense.

When they announced the last song, I made my way down to the green room so I didn't wind up walking down there with them at the same time, heh.

Before we packed and left the green room for good, I grabbed a pocket full of candy from the common area. I know I was getting malnoursihed from energy expenditure and random cuisine, but was craving chocolate for some reason. Weird.

Talking to Tim and Clem afterwards, they verified that yes we had just knocked 600 people dead. They were engaged, and were engaged until the final note of the last song "Rice and Beans." Wow!

Not only that, but they had sprung for a hotel room for us in an older historic place close to the Bay and Golden Gate park. That was indeed very awesome of them. And a cool, weird old hotel as well. Very old school European style. Another thing I love about SF, it is a truly international city.

The next morning, I kept having to remind myself what country I was in. Kept thinking I was in Europe. Awesome :)

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