Let Your Sluggish Voice Be Heard

While the tour blog was certainly well and quickly manned by Mat "Quick Blog" Biscan, I have finally gotten to my own notes and photos (a few of which were already used on the band blog proper). So if you feel like reliving the whole thing, in greater (read: verbose, tangential) detail, feel free to read the posts starting today at my blog.

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Empty Bottle Monday Night

What a welcome home! Packed house at the Empty Bottle, everyone was having a great time. If someone wasn't, they were dead inside.

Arks, Empty Bottle, November 19th, 2007
(Photo by Hayley Murphy)

See more photos here and here.

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Glennome Falls on Hard Times


Getting Home

Well, tour's just about over. Just got home and settled in. Tomorrow night is the show at the Bottle. I heard our interview on Q101 this evening. We had a phone interview in our van in Pittsburgh, where the station asked me about the Against Me! story and Lanny about the tour. We didn't sound like jackasses, so score 1 for Arks.

In Pittsburgh, our friend's Bill and Lacey gave us a place to crash, cooked us dinner and then took us out for brunch! We couldn't have asked to be associated with nicer people.

The drive home was easy. I spent 3.5 hours playing video games, 2 hours watching Old School and another 2.5 driving.

Here's a tally of things broke, lost and lost/found:

1. 1 Bass
2. 1 Bass head (including 3 fuses)
3. 1 bass string
4. 4 guitar strings
5. 1 instrument cable
6. 1 guitar cabinet (fixed)
7. 1 guitar amp (fixed)
8. 1 mashed guitar headstock

1. 1 ATM card
2. 1 set of car keys
3. 1 screw (holds drum throne together)

Lost, then Found:
1. 1 earing backing
* Lost: in an apartment
* Found: in the van
2. 1 nut that holds on guitar amp input
* Lost: unknown
* Found: on a pedal board
3. 1 guitar amp input
* Lost: in New York
* Found: In Pittsburgh
4. 1 Sharpie pen
* Lost: in one city
* Found: in another bag in another city
5. 1 USB camera cable
* Lost: In an apartment
* Found: In a venue parking lot


New York, Day 2

The Annex show went pretty well. I don't understand why the venues in NY look at you funny when you bring your own equipment. We spent part of our sound check convincing the sound guy to let us use our own drums. He gave us a funny look, like we were presenting him with a really dumb idea. Seriously, why would any musician want to use their own equipment? That's crazy talk!

Walking Bicycles drove up from Chicago just to play the show and hang out. It felt good to do the same bullshit we do in Chicago in New York, if only for a day.

Afterwards, we headed back to Brooklyn to the Lucky Cat. Dave and Gerard took care of us with hot pizzas and cold drinks. Met a lot of really nice people, saw some tie-and-tight-pants-wearing synth band embarrass themselves relentlessly.

Getting ready to head out to Pittsburgh. Hopefully we can hit this Italian deli for sandwiches before we leave.


New York, Day 1

The show at Trash Bar last night was great. Met a lot of nice people and made some gas money to help us get home.

Our friend took us out to Union Pool, which was probably a bad idea in retrospect. Really feeling the hurt right now. Thankfully, the show tonight is early. We'll be done and out of there by 10pm. I'd love to just collapse after that.



The Boston show was very low key and unfortunately, my bass amp blew out. I've had that thing for 12 years and never once had a problem with it. But now it decided to betray me, an old friend. :(

So, now I'm down a bass, an amp, a cable and a couple of strings. Only 4 more shows to go!


Washington DC


Against Myself

So, we're sitting here in front of the Velvet Lounge, in our van passing the time. Some teenagers walked by, stopped and then came up to the window. One of the girls was overly excited and shouted through the window, "OH MY GOD ARE YOU THE DRUMMER FOR AGAINST ME?"

I guess having a beard and glasses makes me look like what's his name... (google search) ... Warren Oaks.

I kept telling her no, I'm not the drummer for Against Me. I even opened up my door and showed her Glenn, who was sleeping in the driver's seat. "That guy's a drummer. I don't play drums. And, I'm definitely not in Against Me."

She still wouldn't believe me. Apparently, that band was playing the 930 Club down the street from the Velvet Lounge, so it seemed plausible to her.

"Do you think against me would be touring in a Dodge Ram van with a trailer? They'd probably have a bus," I reasoned.

"Oh yeah, I guess. Wait, are you fucking with me? You better not be!"

I don't know. Maybe I should have pretended I was Warren Oaks, but I really don't have the beard for it. Or the desire to turn on teenage girls.

Ask yourself, does this guy look like he plays in Against Me?

Mat Biscan, bass player unknown

Warren Oaks, drummer extraordinaire.

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Fredericksburg, VA

Thanks to the people of Fredericksburg for being such a great crowd. Bourbon Room was shaking at the foundations last night thanks to Ceremony and The Offering. It was a pleasure to share the night with those guys.

That was the second night in a row the locals apologized for their own town. No need for that, since the crowd was the most animated we've come across.

Unfortunately, there was no gnome sighting in Fredericksburg. Every corner of the town was set up for the perfect post card scene.


Rock n' Roll

Durham, NC

The owners of Reservoir Bar were really nice. Any small band on tour looking for a place to play in Chapel Hill, go there. They gave us gas money and a cooler full of beer. Not bad for a Sunday night show.

The night was pretty funny, though. Everyone at the bar kept apologizing for being so quiet. We were making comments about how it was like a library in there. The crowd was pretty subdued, but as a few of them told me that's the way the people are around here.

Grappling Hook and Hazerai tore it up between our set. It was good to share the night with them.

Thanks to my friend Evan and his wife Nicole, we had a place to crash. Heading out now for Fredericksburg, VA.


Atlanta, GA

Today, we are leaving Atlanta and Untied States. We'll miss them, for sure. Skip let us crash at his place and even helped try to repair my busted bass. Thanks, Skip.

Gnome fight!

Professionally Trained Voicemen


Untied States


Every small band on tour should play Knoxville. It's a small city there's a lot of appreciation for music there. The house we played at was full and the floors shook while the bands played. We got to play with two incredible bands, too.

Untied States has changed a lot since I last saw them. Skip and Colin changed up the band since then and they've found some great people. When they play, they play like a real band. It's really showed me what it takes to do something interesting live. Just play like you mean it, really. As a friend recently said about them, they play like it comes naturally.

Woman was the Knoxville band. Their frontman wore this black and white checkered sweater, had a bushy beard and a bald scalp with long hair hanging off the sides. It's not often we get to see, let alone play with, bands like this one.

A great frontman is hard to find, especially when they don't even play an instrument. The band was good and heavy. I lost my earplugs and ended up having to watch them from the outside.

We played pretty well ourselves, but halfway through Trap Shakes, all the plastic knobs and switches on my bass snapped off - including attached metal parts. The bass was toast, with two songs to go. Skip lent me his Ric, despite the fact that he poured beer down it a few nights before and it no longer rendered any high frequencies. What disappointed me the most about it was that the bass didn't catch fire. I would have even settled for a piece of plastic impaled in someone's leg. Instead, I looked like an idiot dancing around with no sound coming out.

We spent the rest of the night at a 3 story bar down the street. We ended up crashing on the same floor we played, woke up early and went out for breakfast. Before we headed out for Athens, we went to Music Room in Knoxville. Brad, the owner, was helpful and directed us to a repair shop. Unfortunately, the repair guy was backed up, so we ended up having to get a new bass, which might turn out to be a great addition to the band. A Japanese Fender Mustange reissue. The neck even has the same stain my Jaguar Bass has. It has a short scale neck, but it sounds a lot like the Jaguar in passive mode. I ended up picking up a SansAmp pedal to replace the high-end boost I was getting from the Jag in active mode. It's not the same, but it sounds pretty good for what it is.

Set List:
The International
Matthew Teller
Lightning Werewolf
Bring Me Equinox
Trap Shakes
Cars on Fire


My wallets gone!

This is what I have been yelling every morning to wake up the guys. Or, really, to wake myself up.

Two T-Bones

Kansas City, you've been Arks'd. We played a nice, small venue in a strip mall called Record Bar. The place reminds me a lot of the Empty Bottle. It's got a great sound system, room to hang out and they book some great bands there.

There weren't many people at the show, but I think we found some of the most excited ones yet. Pretty soon, we'll be the biggest band to all the bartenders and sound guys in the Midwest. I think we're just starting to hit our stride, though. The show was so fun to play and the handful of people there made it an amazing show.

There was also the fact that the bartender knew a friend of ours in Chicago. And, a couple nights ago a Chicago band played there and left us a note. Nice surprise. Thanks for giving us a little taste of home.

Afterwards we hit a Denny's. Lanny tried to pick up the waitress, which would have been fine if she wasn't in her mid 60's. Actually, he was just ordering a burger with two t-bones used in place of bread. Here's to whiskey.

Kansas City Set List
The International
Matthew Teller
Rot It Out
The Spoils
Safe and Sound
Bring Me Equinox
Lightning Werewolf
Trap Shakes


This One Time, In Omaha...

The glennome was sighted inside a truck stop diner, the Apple Blossom (or something like that), where the coffee was hot and the ham was in-bone.

It's day four of the tour. I treated the fellas to a Motel 8 suite last night so we could get some shut eye before 3am. So many people on this tour have been generous, offering places for us to stay, fridges full of beer and free pizza. It's all karma coming back to slap us on the back. But, serious sleep was needed.

Weird crowd last in Omaha. I'm not sure anyone really liked what we did. Or, maybe they did and we just confused them. The response after each song went like this: silence, thinking faces, excited applause. From the side of the stage, this one guy kept asking me between songs if I liked Soulside. That's not the first time I've been asked that in context with Arks. To answer everyone's question: No, I haven't heard Soulside. Send me MP3s or point me to some vinyl, I would check it out. Then, next time someone asks me if I like that band I can say, "Yeah, I love Soulside. They're like my most favorite band ever. Can you tell?"

Omaha Set List
The International
Matthew Teller
Rot It Out
Maritime Snakes
Sudden Freeze/The Ice Shelf/The Thaw
Bring Me Equinox
Lightning Werewolf
Trap Shakes

St. Paul wtf

Before I forget, I have to give some credit to IFIHADAHIFI for playing the first two shows with us. Those are some great fellas. Milwaukee was a blast, playing for a crowd of 40 people in a small backroom of a gallery. I love those kinds of shows.

St. Paul was interesting. We went through the entire list of venues there until we got to the very bottom and this venue known for having metal bands booked us. Why? I have no idea. I think the sound guy was a little disappointed when I asked him if it was Steve Miller he was playing. It was Thin Lizzy. Christ, I need to get out more.

The band the venue booked to open was some hippie jam band from Duluth. IFIHADAHIFI begged to play after, if only to show them how to have a real acid freakout. That would have been great, but the band never showed up. They probably checked out us out online and got scared. Or, maybe they were smart and just didn't show. I'd go with the latter. With a name like Hobo Children of Uncle Frank, they've probably never heard of the internet. The other band that played - our friends, Mise en Place - did a bang up job, despite the audience consisting of only band members. Michael, who plays guitar, treated us to a fridge full of beer and some cheesy-melty pizza (looking for endorsements, unsaid corporation!). There were something like 100 beers in that fridge, which prompted Yale Delay (HIFI) to request a 100 beer challenge. I'm sure we could have met it, chests high and proud, if only we all tried harder. But old age and the late night caught up to everyone before we cracked 25.

The next afternoon we went out to the Convention Grill for some good, old-fashioned burgers and to say our goodbyes.

We did have a glennome sighting shortly before we left for Omaha.

St. Paul Set List
The International
Matthew Teller
Rot It Out
Maritime Snakes
Sudden Freeze/The Ice Shelf/The Thaw
Bring Me Equinox
Lightning Werewolf
Trap Shakes


Day One-Chicago, IL-Milwaukee,WI (92 miles)

Set List:

The International
Matthew Teller
Rot It Out
Maritime Snakes
Bring Me Equinox
Lightning Werewolf
Trap Shakes

W/ Elusive Parallelograms, Burbank Cartel, IFIHADAHIFI

A glennome sighting.

Just Woke Up: Milwaukee

I'm lying here staring at an Ed Devevic sign on the wall: "The only party I don't know nothing about is the Commie Party!"


We're heading out of here around 2pm for St. Paul. All I know is I need some coffee and eggs. More later.


It's That Time Again

I'm sitting here waiting to be picked up to head out on the road when it dawned on me: We have a blog! Oh yeah, forgot.

This is the first official day of our 15 day tour across the midwest and east coast. Tonight, we play Beersville with friends to kick it off. We're already running late, but that's to be expected. We'll show up just in time to load our shit in and plug in the amps, which is all we really need.

Nov 2 - The Borg Ward - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Nov 3 - Station 4 - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nov 4 - Oleaver’s Pub - Omaha, Nebraska
Nov 5 - The Record Bar - Kansas City, Missouri
Nov 7 - The Underground @ The Red Sea - St. Louis, Missouri
Nov 8 - The Birdhouse - Knoxville, Tennessee
Nov 9 - Little Kings - Athens, Georgia
Nov 10 - Lenny’s Bar - Atlanta, Georgia
Nov 11 - The Reservoir - Carrboro/Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Nov 12 - The Bourbon Room - Fredericksburg, Virginia
Nov 13 - Velvet Lounge - D.C., Washington DC
Nov 14 - The Abbey - Boston, Massachusetts
Nov 15 - Trash Bar - Brooklyn, New York
Nov 16 - The Annex - New York, New York
Nov 17 - Gooski’s - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Nov 19 - Empty Bottle - Chicago, Illinois

I have a headache, which I plan to beat down with a full load of bass coming up from behind me on stage.