Music Videoing Virgins

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Behind every creative entity is a black hole of fear caused by an utter lack of money and business skills (I like to make broad, unsubstantiated statements). For an unsigned band (or a band with a baby label), unless the members are made up of trust fund kids, marketing geniuses, and engineers (hey we’ve got one!) you’re constantly scrambling for cash to pay for everything yourself.

When several people told us that we needed a music video to continue the momentum of Attack Time, we quickly realized that we couldn’t afford to make the big fancy one we dreamed of. We were simply too wiped out financially from tour. So, we got creative.

We ate pounds of Kebabalicious while brainstorming, watched a million music videos, researched set building, filming, and lighting, (let’s be honest, Ben did most of it) and designer Jen Rea created Erin a killer costume. Then we borrowed and rented equipment, and built our own set in the live room at the studio. Three 14 hour days were spent ironing sheets, bungee cording and clamping things, experimenting with angles and lighting, and ultimately filming the video for our first single from Attack Time, “Ride“. We drank whiskey, ate pizza, and the boys tried not to murder me while I constantly complained about how badly my calves hurt and how chaffed my armpits were from my outfit.

Exhausting, but (hopefully) rewarding. What’s next? Editing. Hours and hours of it. Possibly a second shoot with a different theme, depending on how much we like the footage we got. If we’re happy enough to make the whole video from this shoot – we’ll start filming our “Dub Kitty” music video next month!

In the mean time, those of ya’ll in Austin can catch us play two free shows for FREE WEEK this year! 1/5 at Sidewinder and 1/7 at Spider House. (In case you haven’t learned by now, click on stuff for more info)^^^

XOXO -Erin

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Crap.

It turns out blogging every day for twenty days is hard. REALLY hard. Who knew? (Molly).

We got home from tour and after a blissful two week break started back at it – writing, recording, rehearsing, booking and planning.

To make myself feel better for pretty much failing my tour diary attempt, here are some highlights from the rest of the tour:

Olympia, Washington: Adorable (sarcasm) drunk couple made out directly next to the stage for hours, and ended up definitely having sex in the bathroom. The woman either had such a great time in the bathroom, (or as I like to imagine, was so moved by our music) that she took her shirt off and swung it around her head during our set. Rock stardom achieved. After the show I was approached by a man in a pirate outfit (not costume, mind you – this was some legit Johnny Depp looking shit) who offered to trade me a bunch of organic grapes for our CD. As a pirate, he explained to me, he only bartered goods and did not carry cash. I obliged, because duh.

Seattle, Washington: Don’t even get me started, I LOVE SEATTLE. Because Marcos used to live there and is awesome, he basically planned the perfect sexy entrance into this gorgeous city. We loaded the van up on a ferry and ENTERED BY SEA. It was magical and we all kissed and cuddled, staring blissfully into the waves as the space needle grew larger and larger. We then spent the afternoon at GasWorks Park where a couple did ACROBATIC YOGA while their TWIN BABIES sat on a picnic blanket and stared wistfully into the bay. I realize i’m using a lot of caps but COME ON. This amazing woman named Amy (who none of us knew) let us crash in her house and eat her food, and we played at a really nice venue where we filmed a live video of Dub Kitty that you can see HERE. <—-(click on that)

The next day we had off, traveled through the mountains, and stayed in gorgeous Couer D’Alene, Idaho. We went on a mini-hike and ate highly recommended sushi from a food truck that surprisingly did not poison us.

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Billings, Montana: We played in a tattoo shop. I was hesitant, but it ended up being super cool. The owners were husband-and-wife tattoo artists/folk musicians who turned part of their space into a venue because they love music and want to support traveling musicians as much as they can. Nichola, the wife, actually carried a bayonet, so we became friends like immediately, and she told me stories about her friends who were modern day train hoppers (which I did not know was a thing), one of whom was now retired and living in a school bus, blowing glass in front of their shop. At the end of the show naked painted ladies showed up and invited us to a fancy shindig with free food and booze.  Also, since gambling is legal there, every gas station is a mini-casino. So high five, Montana, for being really surprising.

Denver, Colorado: As we pull up to Bar Bar, the second oldest bar in Denver, I’m feeling pretty freaked out. It was located very close to a homeless shelter in a run down part of downtown, and I was skeptical about even leaving the van. The best way I can describe the vibe of this bar, is by telling you about their Early Bird Special – from 7am and 9am you can get a PBR tall boy and 3/4 shot of Jameson for $3 (because a full shot that early is just a little much, ya know?). I had a feeling most of the 4pm crowd had been there since 7am. There wasn’t a real stage, and I was feeling pretty discouraged. However, Chico’s family came to see us, a surprising amount of other people started showing up, and it ended up being one of the best shows we had on tour. After the first song there was that typical split second of silence, where you aren’t sure how they’ll react. I bent down and took a sip of water. “HOLY FUCKING SHIIIIIIT!!!!!” yelled one dude in the front row. Loud applause. Oh, okay. Thank god. The last few crowds hadn’t been so great and I really needed a pick me up.

That night we met a pair of brothers from Chicago who had just moved here to partake in the abundance of marijuana (apparently about 100 people are currently moving to Colorado a day). They filmed our set with their cell phones and both kept yelling “SHOW YOU HOW WE DO IT IN COLORADO, CHI-TOWN!”. We suspect drugs may have been involved. Especially since one brother, “Flip” had approached each of us and assured us that he got whatever drugs he wanted for “real cheap” and could get us anything we needed. Oh, the hospitality! His brother “Flop” (can’t make this shit up) was passed out in a booth for most of the night, but popped up for our set and afterwords told me he “L-O-V-E loves our band. Like REAL love. TRUE love. Like IN love.” …What a special, special moment for me. The night ended with the super cool bartender, who everyone loved, grabbing my boob while taking a picture with me. Typical. But not even misogyny could get me down after such a fun night. Besides, we were driving to Colorado Springs that night, so we were staying in the same hotel TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW! Which means there’s no check out tomorrow and I can sleep all DAAAAAAAAAY!

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Colorado Springs: The town that refused to let Danny eat lunch. The morning of our Colorado Springs tour we all set out to find food. Marcos, Tommy and I enjoyed some delicious Mediterranean grub while being harassed by a snooty hipster who hated his job, Chico found some Mexican food, and poor Danny was just trying to find a burger. The first place he saw had an OPEN sign, but was locked. He looked up and saw a man, waving at him inside. He tried the door again. Still locked. The man just kept waving. He narrowed his eyes and slowly backed away. The next place he saw was labeled “Bar and Grill” so he went inside and asked if they had food. “Yes, but it’s not for sale.” said the friendly bartender. Long stare down. For the second time, Danny stared at a seemingly nice person, who simply refused to feed him, and sidled back into the street. As he neared the end of the street and began to lose hope, a woman approached him, asking for money. “I just started my period and need tampons!” He burst into hangry tears, falling to his knees – “WHY, GOD?!” and ended up eating at Denny’s for the third meal in a row. Our show that night was cool for three reasons – one being that the crowd LOVED SkyAcre, and it’s always really fun to have that happen. They sold a ton of merch and people were super into it. Secondly, the other bands we played with were great. Thirdly and most importantly, we were each given our own pitcher of beer.

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Amarillo: Amarillo paid us a decent amount of money. There was smoking inside, and people seemed annoyed that we weren’t playing country music or butt-rock, but they paid us well, the bartenders and booker were really nice, and the stage was great. We may have been told never to come back because we’re too loud, but I think that’s besides the point.

Summary: We ate way too much Denny’s and Shari’s. Boss Battle and SkyAcre are now BFFs 4 lyfe. We are back in Austin recording our second EP, which will be released in April right before our next tour (Midwest this time). Thanks for reading!

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Someone Tried To Break Into The Van…And Farted.

Tour Diary: Day Eight (9/18/15)

Hello Portland! Big fat yummy burgers and a stroll in the park. You know, while pretending water was shooting out of our orifices (my favorite part is the guy laughing in the background).

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Our Portland show was in a Dr. Who themed bar, which was weird in and of itself. Combine that with a very tiny stage (only Ben fit on it) in a very tiny room and you’ve got yourself a pretty awkward show.

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The cool thing was that my friend Izzy came, brought friends, and let us stay with her at her adorable house in Woodstock (SE neighborhood in Portland). Izzy and I met at the restaurant we worked at together in Austin, and were known for our late night cry-laughing (after 12 hour shifts we tended to think everything was funny and would laugh until we cried so hard we couldn’t speak, doubled over while polishing glassware). Staying with her was extra cool because hotel prices in Portland are HIGH, and her cat Nyx is the prettiest cat in the world.

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After the show we met Izzy and her friends at a fancy-ish cocktail bar in North Portland (oops, didn’t realize it was ghetto) and were hanging out on the patio drinking, looking directly at the van which was parked across the street. It was our typical post-show vibe – everyone kinda tired and winding down for the night. I was telling a hilarious story (which I do often, on account of how hilarious I am) about how my manager Haden had helped an old man who fell down outside of our restaurant, and as he lifted him up to his feet, he farted. Our friend Jen (another notorious cry-laugher) had been walking through the dining room several days later (this is a fancy place, mind you), couldn’t stop thinking about the fart, and started giggling uncontrollably. She had to run to the kitchen where she burst into tears, and I filmed her and sent it to Izzy.

As Izzy and I are cry-laughing about Jen cry-laughing about farts, we suddenly hear a loud shattering noise come from the van. Chico scaled the table and reached the van in .2 seconds, with Marcos close behind, who dusted off his old bouncer skills and took the dude to the ground. The breaking glass sound was thankfully made by a large bowl that he had smashed into the side window of our van, and not the actual van window breaking. “I’m just so angry, i’m just so angry” he kept drunkely mumbling while Marcos restrained him. At one point I saw Izzy walk up to see what was going on, then walk away. I thought maybe she didn’t want to be involved, but didn’t think much of it. By the time it was all sorted out we were wide awake, finishing our drinks, watching drunk dude get carted away with some very sore ribs. The bar very nicely gave Marcos a free beer for his valor, and as we took turns expressing our disbelief at what had just happened, I found Izzy was giggling again. “He was farting the whole time!” she managed to get out. Marcos started laughing and confirmed. I guess they had tried to ignore the farting since it was such a tense situation, and the rest of us, not close enough to hear, were oblivious to all the hilarious farts.

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The next day we spent a little time in Woodstock eating lunch and walking around. It was really cute and reminded me of the little villages in upstate New York that I grew up near. I met a girl named Erin who gave us a lucky cactus totem for the van, we ate some tacos, and left for Olympia.

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Love you, Peen!

Drunk Girls Love Danny

Tour Diary Days Six & Seven (9/16/15 – 9/17/15)

Day Six was a day where we lounged around Matt and Natasha’s house all day until we left for Sacramento (only an hour away from SF) to play our show that night. Not much to mention except:

  1. It sucks when you separate a rock show from its alcohol
  2. They had surprisingly delicious hamburgers next door
  3. Chico’s pre-show shit was SO TERRIBLE that it succeeded in stinking up the ENTIRE venue right before we played. This includes the actual bathroom, the forty foot hallway it was in, and the stage area. Fantastic.

Day Seven: We were finally driving into Oregon! This is the part of the trip I’ve been most excited about (Oregon and Washington). It looks just like I imagined, like the Misty Mountains.

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I think the coolest part about being here is that the mountains are so dense that man can’t cover everything in bullshit and strip malls. Mother Nature is like I DARE YOU. We just build these winding roads to get from one habitable valley to the next. It’s so cool. At one point there was a wreck (and we passed a semi that had been separated from it’s engine – and caught fire! Apparently it was hauling porta-potties, which were now all melted) and we were going so slow for so long that we just rode with the door open, and the mountain air felt spectacular!

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It made me consider that touring as a well-known band vs. an unknown band both has it’s ups and downs. If we had money, we would have money, which is cool. We could pay a driver, and we would sleep all night while traveling on the tour bus. We would have more time to see each city and relax, but we wouldn’t get to see all the cool stuff we pass all day every day on the road.

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Our first show in Oregon was in Eugene, and it was a really fun night. It was a smaller venue, but it was a good show with cool people and decent attendance. The best part of the night, hands down, was the bachelorette party. They were there when we got there (early) and already drunk. We began to notice when one of them (let’s call her Blair) knocked over a bar stool. Blair began to dance and scream for the first band, which was entertaining. She then proceeded to spill 4 drinks in a row (two were other people’s). She fell over a monitor, then decided to just stay on stage, linking arms with the bass player, attempting to pull him over to the guitar player, so that she could link arms with both of them, swaying to the music. The band was totally awesome about it. They smiled and attempted to keep singing even though the singer was being physically pulled away from his mic. Eventually the sound man walked over and asked her to come off the stage. This was the best part. Her eyes got really big, she got really scared and serious, and started shaking her head no, backing away, hiding behind the singer. The poor sound engineer had to get on the stage and pull her off. She was a cute tiny little thing and bounced right back, getting a new water, and coming back to get front and center.

Her friend brought her a chair to sit in right in front of the stage since she was having such a hard time standing, and a second glass of water. She placed both waters on the stage about 2 inches from the guitar players pedal board. Chico thankfully moved them seconds before she fell over, knocking them over with her and the chair. I eventually realized that the blonde girl (let’s call her Serena – see what I’m doing here?) taking care of her was wearing the “bride to be” button, and seemed pretty sober. This made me sad, but as Ben pointed out – she should have picked better friends. There was a third girl with them (Regina) who was pretty drunk but able to stand up and take care of herself, and was attempting to help Blair keep balance while Serena flirted with an older man at the bar. The two of them eventually slow dance/almost fell their way over to Danny and both began hugging him and making him spin them around like ballerinas. Regina asked if she could pet Danny’s beard, to which he naturally replied, “of course”.

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Blair was eventually escorted out, and Serena and Regina begrudgingly followed, but reappeared after our sets. Hopefully Blair was now safely puking at home. Serena made her way over to the bar to find her older gentleman (who was clearly her drink supply for the evening) and was shortly followed by now-much-drunker Regina, who walked up behind her, said something in her ear, and as she turned to answer, headbutted her HARD. Regina took a knee, but managed to pick herself back up, found Danny again, and decided it was make out time.

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And that’s the night we learned – drunk girls love Danny. We celebrated by going to Shari’s.

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Hella Good Farmily Reunion

Tour Diary: Day Six (9/15/15)

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Tuesday was our San Francisco day, so we got all touristy again and took the BART into town to Pier 39 to see Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. I didn’t know much about The Bay when I got there, except to use the phrase “hella” often to fit in, and to eat sourdough bread if possible. We ended up eating clam chowder out of sourdough bread bowls (and got to watch a pigeon attack a group of women who screamed so loudly/high pitched that Ben cricked his neck as he jumped back into his booth) and Chico took the opportunity to buy a new dorky hat, this time a LEATHER COWBOY HAT! Which unsurprisingly he pulled off, because he’s very handsome.

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We then took one of the historic trolleys up some massive hills and had fun taking pictures, almost getting hit by cars, and finally finding a dive bar to hang out in (after making Danny walk up so many hills we owed him a rum and coke STAT).

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We were going to eat more in Chinatown, but realized we were having so much fun we lost track of time and had to rush across the bay to Oakland. Our show that night was at Stork Club, and I was super excited because that morning my friend Sara texted me to tell me that she and Nick (her best friend) and Corin (her girlfriend) were coming to the show. I met Nick and Sara at Pu’u’ala Kava Farm on the big island of Hawaii last year. I was only on the farm a short time – about a month – but it was such a life changing experience and I made some incredible connections with truly amazing people (we call each other “Farmily” now). Nick and Sara are two of those people. Corin arrived on the farm after I left, so this was my first time meeting her, and it was really fun to see Sara so happy and have a big happy reunion with some of my favorite people.

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We missed you Kelsey!!!

First Day Off

Tour Diary: Day Five (9/14/15)

Monday was our first real day off. We spent it picking Heather (Ben’s girlfriend) up from LAX and driving to San Francisco. Picking up Heather was surprisingly fun because we rolled up, opened the door to greet her, and were immediately judged by 5-10 people staring at us unbelievably. Like, they ain’t never seen a van before. No weed smoke rolled out of the van, no one was being crazy, but for some reason people were ogling us. The best was the old dude who stared us down disapprovingly while shaking his head. Pick her up in a regular car, why don’t ya!

San Francisco is way farther from LA than I thought. I’m terrible at geography, so unsurprising. Thankfully the long drive ended with an incredible sunset as we neared the bay area. The pollution may suck but it made the rain look HOT PINK while the sun was setting!

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We were very lucky to stay with an old friend of Ben’s – Matt and his wife Natasha, while in the bay. These are their two dogs – Bulleit and Chief, who are awesome.

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Matt and Natasha are both musicians, and are clearly the coolest people in the world, because they let SEVEN people crash at their house for two nights. We seriously took over their entire house. We used their washer and dryer, cooked in their kitchen, slept all over their floors and beds, and all shared their one bathroom. After making a trip to the grocery store where we got to witness a domestic dispute with loud restraining order threats (fun!), we made dinner and drank and ate late into the night. It was so nice to have an evening to just hang out and crash – especially at a house, versus a hotel. It was so homey and wonderfully recuperating. Plus, the weather was so nice that they just kept their windows open, and I got to bust out my tribal leggings and flannel!

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Thanks again, Matt and Natasha! We love you!!!

Lawsandjuleez (i’m running out of cute titles)

Tour Diary: Day Four (9/13/15)

A day where we weren’t going to be spending all day in the van had FINALLY ARRIVED! It only took an hour and a half to drive into Los Angeles from Lancaster, and we decided to be all touristy and walk down to Venice Beach.
venice beachI have honestly never had much interest in LA or wanting to be there, ever. It just seems so big and crazy and overwhelming – not really my thing. Once I got down to the beach, however, I felt the perfect water, looked at the mountains, and kinda got it.

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Tommy’s knee was acting up and Daniel had his fill of sun and sea after a few minutes, so they wandered off, and the rest of us went to see Venice Boardwalk. It was terrible. I seriously don’t need to go into any more detail. We found Danny and Tommy being very fancy at a very fancy bar and embarrassed them by taking pictures.

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We reluctantly packed up and headed over to La Puente, where our show would be that night. I could have easily stayed at the beach all day (or all my life) but I think I was the only one. Bridgetown DIY was a very interesting venue. It was almost like a punk rock youth center. There was stern signage about how this was a drug-free alcohol-free space, with no homophobia or racism or discrimination of any kind allowed. It was a small space in a strip mall, covered in Black Lives Matter literature, feminist literature – all kinds of smart, informative stuff. This was all cool, except two things: no booze, and no AC – a tragic combo for a rock show.

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We had a sinking feeling that no one would show up, but in fact, we had about 12 kids come, and stick around for the whole show. It was a rough set, because we had several technical problems (cables and things I don’t understand) and the lack of air movement. By the end of it we were drenched in sweat and all starting to feel pretty shitty from dehydration.

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(Here’s Marcos being a beast)

I like to look at all of our shows – even the tough ones – as positively as possible (annoying Sagittarius trait) so that I can take at least a little something away from it. What I learned from this show, was how much I take Chico for granted as a stage-mate. I have never been a front person by myself. I think that I’ve thought of myself as a front person since joining this band, since Chico is stuck behind a stationary mic and a massive pedal board sometimes, but really – I rely on him, and I need him. When we had all the technical difficulties at Bridgetown, he was gone. Like, no interaction with me, no more performing – he was just completely focused on getting his equipment to work, and didn’t have any extra energy to push outwardly. It was completely crazy how much it changed the whole show for me. I felt alone – awkward almost – tired, and unsure of myself. It was definitely a humbling experience. We made it through the set, Ben ran out and low-fived all the kids, and Chico would like me to clarify that he had an excellent time.

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(Thanks to Hotwire Deals we got to stay in a RADISSON!)

That night we got back to the hotel, and tried to figure out what to do with ourselves, but I think all of our brains were broken from all the heat and profuse sweating. Ben, Chico and I were supposed to stay with my friend Briana in Silverlake, but after getting to the hotel and feeling so terrible, we didn’t want to try and figure out how to make that happen. Half of us went to sleep (Tommy slept on a closet floor), and the other half tried to walk a few blocks to a bar for a beer. Unsuccessful. It was midnight, and the bars were closed! Apparently it’s a campus thing, because we were staying close to USC. We ended up taking an Uber a few miles to the closest dive bar, and having a drink. It was still expensive. Ugh. Then, starving, we walked to the closest open food, The Original Pantry Cafe, which apparently is famous. Also expensive. Damn. We decided LA hated us and trudged back to the hotel, very much looking forward to the next day – our first day off.  Hopefully San Francisco will be more loving in the booze department.