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Aberdeen Proving Grounds

A minor sidestep. Although many of you would probably never guess this, I’m an enormous military history nerd. Like, frightfully so…..

A glimpse of what made many of our grandparents shake in their boots…..

So when I went to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds on the way home, I was just thinking I could go in, check out the ordinance and be on my way. Well, thanks to Osama (or at least according to the cops), I had the van completely turned upside down looking for bombs or explosive material. Does anybody see the irony here? The Aberdeen Proving Grounds is where tanks and high caliber guns are sent for testing. So if there’s one place that you’d think it’d be okay to bring that kind of stuff in (or it’d at least not be a high priority) it’d be this place.

Peering through a busted-through tank…..

But going to the APG was kinda sad too. My dad used to take me there routinely as a kid and for some reason, everything just seemed bigger than life. Maybe part of that was the fact that I was 12 and probably 18 inches shorter than I am now. But seeing these rusted out behemoths out in the Maryland countryside is still quite chilling. And I leave you with a picture of the Anzio railgun. Note the size compared to the fella in the foreground.

A German railway gun seized at Anzio

Comedians of Comedy – The long drive home

Every tour that’s not on the West Coast ends with me driving the van from the last show to Georgia. Y’see, although you’d think that you could easily rent a one-way van, it’s actually next to impossible. So if we end in Chicago or Martha’s Vineyard, the comedians are taken to airports, train stations or whatever, and then I march home with an empty van and plenty of silence.

A typical view of New Jersey

I’m definitely hit with a sense of empty nest syndrome, but it’s also great to have a bit of silence even though it’s mixed with 3 days of driving non-stop to get home. Just mind-numbing driving mixed with countless bottles of Diet Pepsi, Pop Tarts and an occasional pee break. God, I can’t wait to be back in the South.

And here’s how I feel when in Jersey…..

Tonite I have an Overrated Tour Party in Baltimore sponsored by Atomic Books and then I hopefully catch up with the Magnolia Electric guys tomorrow in Richmond. Possibly get to meet Pen Rollings finally….. And tonite? I get to sleep at my mom’s house!

Harvey Milk screening – Allston

The last east coast tour we did ended in Martha’s Vineyard and I had my wife as my driving companion on the long trip back to Atlanta. This time I wasn’t so lucky. However, I was able to squeeze in some fun along the way.

Zach Lazar from Black Helicopter at Great Scott, Allston

I did a screening of the Harvey Milk DVD at Great Scott in Allston. Paul Trudeau came out with his wife and a couple friends. Ayal Naor (who originally released Courtesy and The Pleaser) came out with his lady Maria. Michael Babcock from Interrobang came out. And of course, the mofos in Black Helicopter made an appearance. Have you bought their new record yet? If you haven’t……you must. Like, right now. Zach from BH helped me get this screening together with Carl who books Great Scott. So much fun.
The real surprise of the night was the mighty and powerful Blacktail who played after "Anthem". Having a Boston noise rock pedigree that includes members of La Gritona and Luca Brasi, I was actually planning to hit the road before they started just to get to my hotel room on the other side of New Haven quicker, but the second they started, I had to stick around for their whole set. Droney, noisy, and surprisingly catchy as shit. Yeah, something right up my alley. I’m so predictable. I really look forward to seeing them again.

Blacktail at Great Scott, Allston

Unfortunately, I had to leave almost immediately after their set in order to check into my hotel 3 hours away. 2 Red Bulls, 5 Diet Pepsis, 2 donuts and a Pop Tart later, I arrived in Bridgeport, Connecticut. God, I hate checking in around 5 in the morning. The night staff never likes seeing you. Kinda reminded me of that late check-in back in Philly a week ago. Oy.

Blacktail – Styrofoam Island

Blacktail – Cobra Kai

Black Helicopter – Buick Electra

Black Helicopter – Warshed Out

Comedians of Comedy – New Haven

Ah yes, the end of another tour and what a better way to wrap it up than with our buddy Zach Galifianakis doing a guest set!

Zach looking catty backstage

The show was a great success but the 4’x4′ partition originating directly off stage was more than a bit weird. But regardless, it didn’t hinder things too much. Of course, everybody had really good sets and Patton’s closing set had Morgan, Eugene and Brian fucking with him off stage. Maybe not as venomous as the Patton Vs. Alcohol Vs. Zach EP, but still pretty funny.

Patton, Zach, Brian, Morgan, Eugene and me

So another tour comes to an end. Whew! Now to get the van back, but also have an "Anthem" screening scheduled in Boston and an Overrated party in Baltimore. Thankfully, I can squeeze them in on the way back home.
A couple of things, the "Pennsylvania Macaroni Company" CD-EP is now for sale and also, Mr. Galifianakis is having me make more "pretentious" shirts which I’ll be able to sell on the site. Thanks to everybody for coming out, and thanks to the folks that brought Chunklet stuff for me to sign. That was really nice of you.

Comedians of Comedy – Providence

A fun, yet somewhat bittersweet, show at Lupo’s in downtown Providence. I don’t know why, but every time on these tours, the last couple shows really make me sad. The first shows are so incredible, the middle shows are the slow burn and then the end comes and then I think "oh man, I won’t be doing this again for another 6 months". It sucks.

Had some horrible hotel problems when we got to town, but fortunately Tom Pisano bailed us out (as usual) and let me go and have a peaceful dinner with friends.

Fred Armisen as the Native American Comic, Providence ’06

A good crowd, less a couple asshole hecklers during Patton’s closing set. Fred Armisen drove up from New York to do a five minute bit that he also did in Philly as the Native American comic whose name I completely can’t remember right now.

Downtown Providence outside the Red Fez

Walked along the riverfront late at night with the Ledoux’s and John from Secret Stash looking at the "Water Fire" thing that they have going on….. I couldn’t get a decent photo of it, but it was a lot better looking at it than it would be to describe. Basically, there’s huge pots of cedar burning in the river. I know, I’m not doing it justice, but it was awesome to see. Got to glimpse at the RISD campus and talked to Jesse about how awesome he is as a designer. Anyhoozle……..
So excited, Zach is coming in tonite to do a guest set on this, the final show of the tour in New Haven. Whee!

Comedians of Comedy – New York City

The day before this show was spent driving and scrambling around to see Celtic Frost and then the party at the Spotted Pig, but day-of-show in New York was nutty. I was thinking that I’d finally get a decent night’s sleep, but no dice. Sarah woke up early to go shopping and I got up around 10 and was answering email and on the phone the entire time leading up to the show.
Logistically, the show was kind of fucked. A projection screen that was to arrive by 4 wasn’t at the venue until 10 minutes before doors opened and the stage manager’s native language was Italian so there was just way too much miscommunication given the nature of his job. However, the show itself was spectacular.

Brian, Patton, Cross, (me), Dave Rath and Sarah, Irving Plaza, NYC ’06

I think the show was like $28 at the door, but if you wanted to break it down, it was easily the best money spent for a night of comedy ever. Not only were Patton, Brian, Morgan and Eugene performing, but there was a cavalcade of stars rotating in for the shows….. David Cross and Jon Benjamin did a great conceptual piece that went off without a hitch. Nick Swardsen also performed. And then Jonathan Glazer did a jaw-droppingly simple yet brilliant piece as the insult comic Johnny Ding Dong.

Cross, Eugene, Jon Benjamin, Irving Plaza ’06

Got to see a ton of friends at the show. Seth Jabour showed up. Tom Scharpling came. Met and bonded with Terre T about our mutual disdain for modern hipster publications. And of course as always, Todd Hanson from The Onion came and let me touch his beard. That shit is so fucking tight.

Tom Scharpling and Todd Hanson at the after party on Avenue B, NYC

Melvins – Whirlyball poster

The wife, Eugene and his girl and I had dinner and a terrific visit with Jesse Ledoux and his wife Frances and John from Secret Stash in Providence last nite before the show at Lupo’s.

by Jesse Ledoux

I should warn you all right now that the tickets for this show are selling out alarmingly fast, so get on it now! A huge COC entry will be forthcoming either later tonite or mid-this week. So much driving, so much fun, but so much to report on. Anybody know a good record store in New Haven?

Things I Miss While On Tour – part deux

Straight from the guy who took the photo…. Peter asked Chris if he worked for Chunklet and then posed for this photo. I’ve been told that he was very proud that every one of his records were on the list. Then again, nothing after 1997 or so should even *be* rated, but that’s splitting hairs.

Peter Buck, Athens @ 40 Watt, photo by Chris Bilheimer

However, I do look forward to getting a copy of the new pre-Warners best of collection that was released this week. Sure, Chunklet is nothing but smug, cynical assholes, but we do have those early board tapes of R.E.M. performing at Tyrone’s memorized.

Pete Buck & Bill Berry, Athens (photo by Chris Bilheimer)

Things I Miss While On Tour

This is R.E.M. playing “End of The World” at the 40 Watt on Tuesday with (what looks like) folks from Drive By Truckers, Now It’s Overhead and Pylon.

photo by Chris Bilheimer

It’s bad enough that I missed T&G25 (and that my intro wasn’t used) but this just adds insult to injury. At least it was at the 40 Watt. God, I love that room.

Celtic Frost – live in NYC

The big question that Brian and I had for the days leading up to the show is to whether it’s pronounced "Kel-tic" (my pronunciation) or "Sell-tic" (the more traditional American pronuncation).

Celtic Frost, live at BB King’s on 42nd (photo by h2o)

There was a great black metal band called 1349 that opened. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a band actually perform with corpse paint on. I don’t know why, but I just find it funny. Not in a ha-ha sort of way, but in a "why bother?" sort of way.

Celtic Frost, live at BB King’s on 42nd (photo by h2o)

We then went to a bar called the Speckled Pig and ate with Brian’s buddies Scott Ian and his wife Pearl along with managers, agents and other folk that reaffirm as to why I live in Georgia. Oh, Sarah Silverman also asked me if I was a cop. I guess that was an interesting highlight, but really, I was just dead tired and wanted to hit the hay immediately.

Sarah and Brian under the marquee….

Celtic Frost-Dethroned Emperor

Celtic Frost-Ground

Celtic Frost-Innocence and Wrath

Celtic Frost-Eternal Summer