After South By Southwest, Lars had to make it back to Los Angeles, then fly up to Seattle to play two different shows in two different bands (Puberty and Intelligence), then fly back to L.A. to catch up on all the work he had missed. Here are his recollections of that long Texas weekend. —Eds.
One of my favorite bands and good friends Wounded Lion from Los Angeles asked me if I would like to play drums (and guitar) with them at SXSW. I jumped at the chance, I had a blast, and these are my complaints:
Shannon of Shannon and the Clams and Wheels Capponi
Day 1: Wanting to get a good night's rest before almost a week of shows I meet some friends for dinner in L.A. at the famous "Red Lion," a german sausage restaurant (Fun Fact: 'Shrek Forever After" was written here). I have recently given up being a vegetarian after five years and now eat here four nights a week and hate myself. I celebrate my self loathing with 500 knee-high beers. I get a text from one of the caring owners of the couch I am mooching that says "Ok, it's getting late you don't want to be tired tomorrow," and I reply that I'll be home in a sec and we go to a bar and play Foosball (I hate foosball) for two hours, get very competitive and scream. At one point my buddy flips the entire table over and we are ejected. I sleep for 20 minutes and am picked up to go to the Burbank airport. Phase 1 of Operation Fuck Up complete.
His demo sucked.
While boarding the crabby plane our guitarist/bassist Shant is helping a super old Indian lady put her gigantic bag in the overhead compartment and one of the stressed out dickheads goes 'KEEP IT MOVING KID!" This is really embarrassing but fuck it, sitting in the cramped bathroom, I accidentally pee all over the back of my pants. Did I mention I am 36 years old? Jesus. At baggage claim I watch the singer from Queens of the Stone Age graciously pose for a photo. Five hours later I will graciously (desperately?) pose for one with Mike Oh Sees for one of the five people who saw us in Denver this year. We go to Trailer Space and stand outside for Shit and Shine, who sound kinda cool, like a mash up of the first Tricky record and the Butthole Surfers. Remind me to burn a mix for my dad. We go to the Scoot In and see our Seattle buddies from Butts and old friends with a new band Football (not kidding). Jimmy is wearing a Football shirt, and when I compliment it he says, "Oh man, we got these from target! They're only 9 bucks, so we're charging $10!" Some hungover dude is going to be bummed when he goes shopping with his girlfriend Sunday morning. Loading in, John from Thee Oh Sees is lugging a huge bass amp through the crowd and has to stop to do the oh-no-you-go, oh-no-you-go, left right-left-right-awkward-syncopation dance with some guy who finally blurts "WHICH WAY YOU GOING DUDE?" John is stunned by the rudeness and walks on and I hear the guy's girlfriend say "Don't be a douche!" I tell John who laughs and goes, watch this, and walks back over and goes "thanks for being a douche on that one," and the guy's toothpick drops out of his shocked mouth.
We mess with Texas.
X-Ray Eyeballs are good, but the sound is so shitty that when I look back at the sound booth I expect to see an Almond Joy with sunglasses giving the "Eh, it's the best I can do" shoulder shrug. When Thee Oh Sees play, some 9-ft fartknocker in a ten gallon hat goes up and stands on the stairs, which only compeletely blocks the view of about 200 people, so I go up and ask him if he might stand to the side so we can see, and he says 'FUCK YOU I OWN THIS PLACE AND I AIN'T MOVING A MUSCLE." Wow. I tell Shant and joke that he should go take his hat off so at least 199 of us can see, and he just nods and walks up the stairs behind the dude and snags the hat and has it 2 inches from plopping it down on his own head and some crazy short dude grabs him and flings him off the staircase and into a tree and busts his eye open. He starts to get dragged out until I explain what happened and and they go, "Oh that WAS the owner! He's a total asshole and we all hate him—come over here." They patch him up, call the owner a jerk and give us some drinks.
Later that night, while our host is blowing up an air mattress for me, I decide to take a "cat nap" at the foot of her bed and wake up in the same place 8 hours later with her folded up on a love seat, and feel like a real turd. In the morning Shant's eye looks so fucked up I feel sick. But man was that a good Marg. I think it even had SAUZA in it.
DAY 2: I make everyone go to Torchy's Taco's (my fave) for breakfast, I pass on the deep-fried avacado taco since we have a daytime show at Beerland today for a bill that the great Matador Records' Gerald Cosley has put together. When I meet him he says he's a longtime Intelligence fan and has ordered the new Puberty record already, so I guess I can die even if we don't get DISCOVERED this week.
Our buddy the amazing tour manager (for Fresh and Onlys right now) gets us into the Black Lips/Bad Brains/Off! show. I chat with Shayde Fresh and Only about True Blood until we get so excited we embarrass ourselves. The singer from the Donnas is playing what one of us describes as "the fakest music ever made," so we go get hot dogs and sit in the gutter. I go back to watch Off! and see Ian Black Lips, who tells me "If I could go back in time and tell 15-year-old Ian that Keith Morris's and Steve McDonald's new band and the Bad Brains are going to be opening for me I'd flip my wig." And Jared proclaims "I just smoked out with HR!" We see our hosts band SIMPLE CIRCUT and they are great. We go home and I repeat the cat nap trick.
DAY 3: Daytime show behind a bookstore. It takes forever to get there because of the traffic and eventually we're on a one-lane street behind one of those stupid Rick Shaw bicycles pedaling some dipshit two miles-per-hour up a slight incline. You could seriously do the human centipede faster than these clowns are going and you wouldn't have nine miles of cars behind you. Get to the bookstore and the person in front of me receives the last foamy squirts of the keg. The show turns out really fun. We notice a cute girl with a tattoo of Animal from the muppets on her leg and begin quizzing each other if that is a dealbreaker. We decide it is until she sets up her drums and goes FUCKING CRAZY and decide it's a deal-MAKER. Next we are to play a house party at 9 pm and they've asked us to get there at 7. We do and no one is there except a guy behind a huge drum kit in the living room who holds perfectly still until you walk in with your arms full with a heavy amp and he rapes your naked ears with the biggest drum 'radamfuck' you've ever heard. Repeatedly. We sit on the curb for two eternities until our buddies from Shannon and the Clams come to give us some comic relief. They tell us of Bonging the Cube, an advanced new beer-guzzling technique where you stab a hole in each can of a 12 pack and hold the drizzling beer box over a funnel. We argue if this is actually possible, as it would seem that it would take an hour for 12 beers to drain out of their puncture wounds. Discuss.
While waiting and waiting and waiting, a minivan pulls up and a lady in red leather thigh high boots, red leather mini skirt, red leather bustier and fishnets pops out. Brad says "I guess I will stop worrying if my brand new red Vans are making me stick out." The sexy red leather band plays and the house is packed and we are next so I assume it'll be great. I do not count on the fact that a drunk guy will find a rope in the front yard, set a bucket up in the middle of the street and announce that he's about to "THROW A ROPE KNOT," and everyone circles around him. He tries to whip the rope into a knot unsuccesfully about 500 times and we start to set up. We start playing in the empty room and Shant will tell me later, "I actually thought, 'These suckers, they are going to be BUMMED that they missed the first half of this song.'" No one enters the room. On the bright side, two of the four people stay (one who leaves is Tom Lax of Siltbreeze Records), but the two that stay are a nutzo dancing couple and at one point the girl even puts a lampshade on her head. We head back home and retire to the awesome outdoor porch to bond (over Magruber actually being a hilarious movie) and complain (about ropes).
This is where we got to sleep.
Day 4: Today we are playing a daytime outdoor show sponsored by Sailor Jerry. Some people have mixed emotions about this. I, however, mix my emotions with rum and ginger beer and a bunch of great bands playing and shut the fuck up. The Wax Museums are fantastic and play my favorite song, "Breakfast for Dinner," which contains the lines "You can't make an omelet/Without cracking eggs/I don't want an omelet/I want what's between her legs," and "You can't make pancakes/Without making batter/I don't want pancakes/And I don't care what's the matter." I get to hang with my best buddy Pete from Coconut Coolouts and meet Personal and the Pizzas, who are so fun/funny you want to be them. Sailor Jerry asks us to do an interview in an airstream trailer and ply us with rum and offer us free tattoos. I get DUCK HUNT across my knuckles. We have a long time before our show later, so we go home for a while. Upon passing a Chilis, Brad asks if we "ever get down with Chili's?" and it turns out some do, so it's suggested for dinner. My plan was to eat tacos for five days straight, but this is so hilarious I am happy to roll with it. I send a joke text to Shannon from the Clams saying "I guess I am eating Chili's for dinner," and she replies "NO you are not, you DO have a choice." I order a twice-stuffed-bacon-chicken-chipotle-babyback-avocado-mushroom-grilled-sirloin-monterey-cajun-ranch mudpie, and we have a nice family dinner.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers were blasting on the stereo when we entered, ripping the time-space continuum.
Later we go to the CMRTYZ curated show that is outside at a place called [name redacted]. The Portland band Christmas is playing and they rule. We play next outside under a giant full moon with a ton of Seattle friends and Lion fans going nuts and while playing I get such a feeling of satisfaction (pardon me—GROSS—I know) that my mind deletes the files of the shitty house party the night before. My buddy tells me a story of having to go number two in one of the horrid porta-pottys, and—realizing he has a bottle of whiskey in his back pocket—figures he'll use his time-management skills and take a swig. Of course just then the door pops open and 2,000 of the prettiest girls in Austin see him crappin' and drinking. His heart freezes and he just bellows 'TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL!!!"
Later at Beerland, I see an old band friend that we ran into on tour in Europe last year who had invited us out for drink, for which he and his old lady bring their 1-year-old son, offer us blow, drink two bottles of wine in ten seconds and can't hear the kid screaming over the blasting techno music until they finally notice him wriggling under the blanket, which was just draped over the entire stroller, pick him up and say "Oh man, he's SOAKED to the bone." Bummer City. Later I see him and his lady and wonder about the kid and then notice that the blanketed stroller is pushed into the back corner of the smoking patio surrounded by 9,000 chain smoking rockers. He waves me over and tries to talk and some slime ball leans over and asks him how much coke to buy. He replies "Just get it all and we'll sort it out later." Right then the mom drops her beer bottle and it smashes on the ground and kid starts bawling under the blanket. I walk into a porta-potty and hang myself.
"Hey Lars, all you need is a chain and you's in the band!" — Personal
Day 5: We only have one show tonight at midnight, so we head over to Trailer Space to see Shannon and the Clams but miss them as they got put on an hour early. So we just hang on a porch across the street with the Pete and the Pizzas and I don't watch a single of the 10 good bands playing inside until the Pizzas play last and are my favorite band of this whole trip. They are hilarious and as they are about to start—just after Grass Widow (who are great) finishes their set—the singer goes, "What....the...fuck....was....that?" I see my friend Lacey, and when someone offers her a beer she says "No thanks, I think if I drink I will explode."
Too drunk to flush
The show is fun with lots of dancing and a nice one to go out on. As we wait to get paid I notice a girl in an amazing dress and realize all my pictures are of disgusting toilets and maybe it would be nice to have some pictures that don't make you barf, so I embarassingly ask if I can take a picture of her cool dress. She is visibly bummed/creeped out. I frantically try to explain that it's for a newspaper and that I am in a band that played tonight and blah blah blah, and she stops scowling and asks which band and turns out she came to see us and then finds out I'm in the Intelligence and grabs both my hands and holds them in the sky for an awkwardly long time and says she loves me and puts our band on every mix cd she's ever made and I am stoked until I look over and see the most bummed-out dude ever (her boyfriend) glaring at us from a bench. We head home and chit-chat and tell jokes ("What's the difference between a bag of coke and a baby? Eric Clapton never let a bag of coke fall out of a window." Don't worry, I GROANED TOO.) until 4 am when we have to leave for the airport. I am wiped, but I can't wait to review all of my new contacts and see how my networking pans out.