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Friday, July 29, 2011

Western Annihilation Days 15-16: 2-Bit Madness

“Hey baby, I hear the blues a callin’, tossed salad and scrambled eggs.” – The intro to Frasier

Fatality set at the 2-bit Saloon
Our first American show was in Seattle at an awesome dive named the 2-bit Saloon. It was a western themed bar in downtown. The kind of place where you can almost smell the blood and vomit on the walls from the night before. It was a great room. There was a bar on one side of a wall and an awesome stage and dance floor in the next room. It is amazing how courteous everyone has been to us as soon as we got into the States. We met up with Zack from Skelator who booked the show. As soon as we arrived he had pizza and beer waiting for us. So we sat in the van and shot the shit and ate a ton. Skeletor was the first band up. American metal bands truly rule. Each one of them seems very professional and well rehearsed.

Canadian pizza in Seattle! EH!
After those dudes we got up on stage. The first thing I noticed was 2 signs on either sides of the stage that said in big letters “BANDS MUST NOT DRINK WHILE ON STAGE. IT’S THE LAW.” It was a pretty hip bar so at first I thought it was satirical. You know, like when you see a fella with a shirt that says “pants” on it. What the hell is that all about, anyways? I continued to read the rest of it, and it explained that in the state of Washington it is actually against the law to drink while working, and because we are being paid by the venue, we couldn’t drink either. What kind of boring shit soccer mom came up with this crummy law? I guarantee it all started with a snooty letter.

“Dear 2 Bit Saloon. Last Wednesday I took my niece Sandy-Sue out in our fair Seattle and decided to see the group Ronnie Rollback and the Texas Rimjobs, and was devastated to find out that the singer appeared to be intoxicated and he also used the C word gratuitously. We were in the market for family entertainment and what we got is Bologna! I would like my 5 dollars refunded as well as the money that I spent on 2 virgin banana-ramma daqueries. I am miffed to put it bluntly. (excuse my language).


Boring White Lady”

Seattle's famous "Space Needle"
Yes lady. He was drunk. He isn’t a brain surgeon, he wasn’t operating heavy machinery, He was playing a Saloon on a Wednesday for a bunch of other drunks. The mediocrity that we as a society put up with is astounding. Normally I am not a political person, because I don’t feel my way of life is too compromised for the most part. I don’t think I have enough money or property to be too pissed off at this point in my life. But I got to say I was a bit irritated even though I still drank a few on stage that night. Its not like I was planning on getting black out drunk, but I do enjoy having a few beers while I’m performing because it goes good with heavy metal. Plus, I am an adult and should decide when I am being appropriate or not. And if it is family entertainment you are after, why don’t you go see a hypnotist you boring big-titted baboon?

It seems like in our culture the people who get their voices heard are the people who I don’t connect with in the least.

The show went amazing and we seemed to really connect. I feel like I am finally coming into myself as a front man. Nothing gives me the heebie-jeebies more then a band who just stares at each other in between songs. There is an awkward feeling that you can almost hold onto. So I always stress a live show that is laid back, impulsive, engaging and completely chaotic, but I still always want to be in control of the presentation and situation.

Eytan and Suarez in front of Kelly's in Portland
Portland last night was kick ass. We played with 3 stellar local acts at a place called Kelly’s Olympian, which is a great rock bar with a crazy history. Its one of those good old bars that has been around since the late 1800s that used to be a hooch parlor during the prohibition. The kind of place where men would go, get there shoes shined, get black out drunk on bootlegged booze and exclude women from voting.

I am all for equal rights but we had things pretty good back that, am I right fellas? Other than the wide spread poverty and possible death by the hand of the common cold. And what did people masturbate to back then? Think about it. We may be able to get access to whatever porn we could ever imagine with the click of a mouse, but just 30 years ago people would either find porn in the fucking forest somehow, or shamelessly wank to national geographic Ethiopian pancake boob. Furthermore, do you think that cavemen used to pull their garbage to naked lady drawings on the wall of a cave? I think you can monitor how technology is progressing by how easy it is to access pornography, you know?

Excruciator breakfast!
Portland was a great gig. I was really hyped that Phil Zeller from Toxic Holocaust and Rammer came and checked us out. He is apparently an old Toronto boy but moved to Portland. We had a great time in Portland with the guys from Excruciator too. They let us stay at their apartment. They also bought us some cereal and some orange juice for breakfast and let us hang out even though they all had to go to work in the morning. Class act. The kindness of American metal bands is just astounding.

God bless America!

-Spencer LeVon

Skelator at the 2-bit

Inside Kelly's


Monday, July 25, 2011

Western Annihilation Days 11-14: Kamlooped

Suarez at Lake Louise

Where do pubs get their names? The frog and the firkin, the fox and the fiddle. Do pub owners just meet at a community centre and draw a name from the animal hat, and then one from the inanimate object hat? “Look Fred I’ve got the Aardvark and the Spatula.”  “Wowie Ted, I got the Ant eater and the Peanut butter lid.” Last night we killed at a bar called the Funky Winkerbeans. And gotta say, had a blast. I will tell you about that in just a bit. Where was I?

Krazy Karla, Eytan and some dudes from the Gallows
 Ahh yes: Jasper. I loved the drive to Jasper almost as much as I enjoyed rockin the god damn house with my best friends. Jasper is a small town surrounded by the most beautiful mountains. We arrived and were to meet up with the promoter who had the apt moniker: Krazy Karla. What a character. She had bright green contact lenses for that David Bowie look and was covered in metal tattoos. She took us to a local pizza place for some food and then we went to the venue called The Horseshoe. At this point I recall falling asleep in the van like the Fuddy Duddy that I am. When I awoke, it was time to perform. The room was pretty full for a Monday night in a small town. We started strong and I opened with a good joke. “I know what you are thinking… ‘I didn’t know the singer of Great Big Sea had a thrash band.’” And that broke up the room, even though it was a bit hacky. The set went great and we had a blast. The show did so well that the venue paid for a hotel down the street. We didn’t trash it. In fact we had a few beers, listened to some Ozzy and went to sleep. Motley Crew lied to us. They told us that the life of a metal musician was all about doing blow and getting blown. Can a band even have a cigarette backstage anymore without getting fined?

A drinking game we made up while camping... (Balls)
The next day we stocked up on some groceries and drove toward Kamloops and found a campsite. It was shitty and raining so they gave us this awesome site with a huge canopy over it surrounded by fuckin Mountains. Right next to an outdoor kitchen with a fridge, dinner table, cable TV and cooking appliances. We hung out all day, went swimming, and had the camping experience. That night we got drunk and had a huge frankfurter roast. We awoke exited because we had a gig with world-renowned punk band SNFU. We love playing with punk bands because punk was where we started.  When we were 14 we started playing at grimy punk venues because we weren’t quite good enough on our instruments to play with the metal bands. We used to play weekends at the Q bar in Toronto for a handful of drunken natives. We arrived to the venue starving so we went to the market and got materials to make a nice pasta. Rich spent hours on it and cut his thumb open in the process. I went into the venue and realized that it was 15-cent wing night. So without hesitation I bought 20 wings for about 3 bucks and punished my digestive system for no reason whatsoever. Why couldn’t I have just eaten some pasta like a gentleman? I bought a bottle of red wine to go with it and everything. The show went well and SNFU were absolutely crushing. Everyone in Kamloops loved them and showed it. We got along with the guys really well too. I respect the hell out of them. They have been there and done that. But they still find time to do some touring and have a damn good time.

Mr. Chi Pig from SNFU

We drove all night through pitch black to our buddy Brayden from Unleash the Archers house. We slept all day, woke up and headed downtown. We filled up a few slushies with some booze and headed to the ocean. We were looking for the Wall of Sea which is apparently a must see in Vancouver. We followed a map and started looking for it. At one point I remember standing there with the guys half loaded trying to figure out where the fucking Wall of sea was. Little did we know we were standing right on it the entire time. After that we went to a rock bar and got a few brews. The next day we headed to the venue to scope er out. The venue was on Hastings Street which is a notoriously bad neighborhood in Vancouver. The singer of SNFU told us, “Be careful on Hastings, there are some strange people over there.” And this was coming from a 50-year-old Asian ex-meth addict punk singer with pink pig ears on his head.

Fatality at the Sea Wall with Brayden from UTA
God he was right. I have never seen so many homeless people in one spot. In certain alleys there were like 60 crank addicts just milling around on crank. We pulled into the sketchiest parking lot of all time. There were used AIDS needles and crack pipes all around. I really felt strange about parking there, but there was no other place to park. As soon as we left, some crack head threw strawberry yogurt all over our van and trailer. What the fuck? When have you ever seen a homeless guy with a fuckin yogurt, anyway? Did this guy actually raise money all day in the sun, walk to the grocery store, and buy some fuckin Activia just to drench our vehicle? Did our slight inconvenience mean more to this bum then basic survival? Amazing. Well played bum... well played.

City of Vancouver
The venue was fuggin packed. We also had a perfect set time. We all went up with our stunners set to kill. And we did just that. We played a crushing set and bopped all over the place. After the set we were all feeling pretty confidant and hung out with the locals. The cool thing is, I think a lot of people thought that we were rock stars or something. Everyone was really jazzed to meet us and took lots of pictures with us and the whole 9. That isn’t good for my ego. Just wait 5 years till I am spotted being belligerent at a Denny’s in Portland screaming. “Don’t you know who I am?”

Spencer in mid-cartwheel!!
 We just crossed the border into the United States of Amurica and are currently headed for Seattle. Crossing was pretty painless. We were there for about a half hour but still managed to hear 2 Amy Winehouse jokes from the Homeland Security Guards. I always get a little nervous crossing the border because when you enter the building there is a plaque that basically says that the officers can do pretty much whatever the fuck they want to you, for however long they want. And if you do anything to interfere, you will be imprisoned. So if they wanted to look in your butt for drugs, and you said, “wait a second, No. I am a god damn human being.” They can take you and put you into a smaller room with a bunch of other felons who will gladly look in your bum every hour on the hour. Politics are weird

- Speen

Suarez doesn't know... but he's at the wall of Sea!!


Sunset in Vancouver on the coast

Lake Louise near Banff

SNFU in Kamloops at the Pogue Mahone

Eytan conquering the mountains

On our way to Jasper from Calgary!!

Eytan hanging off a waterfall like 2000 feet high

Mighty Mountain pose

Jasper show poster

Beautiful waterfall just off the highway

Phallic marshmallow roast

Fatality set in Jasper

Golfing on the lake at the campground

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Western Annihilation Days 9-10: Calgary Babealgary

Interview with Extreme Metal TV in Calgary
I write this for you today in a state of tiredness and confusion. Jesus, it’s the senior prom all over again. Here I am in Calgary. Just had an amazing time last night at Lord Nelson's. Calgary is so far the most beautiful place we have visited. I don’t know why, but this city resonates with me. We got to the venue a little early to do an interview, so I had a little time to myself to explore. I hopped on my bike and started into unknown territory. I went down a random street and ended up in the bar district. Shit was bumping because it is the Calgary stampede this week. I still don’t really know what the fuck the stampede is. But one things for sure, every single human in Calgary had perfect DNA and a cowboy hat. It was a strange experience to say the least. There were perfect 10 models and celebrities everywhere. I even saw the actor that plays Vince from Entourage. You know that feeling when you are almost certain that everyone within a 100 Kilometer radius is better looking than you? Doesn’t it make you feel like a loser? It really affirms the fact that I am a pile of genetic debris.

Planting our asses right on the foot massagers.. haha
At one point on my bike ride I came across 4 girls who were physically perfect getting into a cab. I was biking the same way as them and was driving parallel for about a minute. As they were turning off the street I was on, I heard one of the models say something negative about me to her friends, then she waved at me and smiled shitilly. And for once in my life, I had nothing to say. No retort. Why would a woman like that treat me with respect? There I was, unshaven, with cut off shorts, a stupid shirt that says, “Gone Fishin’” and a filthy bandana with weed leaves on it. I really looked like a vagina with eyes. I could have legally changed my name to Axl Grose. And the funny thing is if they actually got to know me there is a chance they would hate me even more! What do I have to offer chicks like that? They were probably on their way to an awesome loft to have sex with basketball players, and at that time I probably appeared sticky to the touch.
World Class White Trash

The show was friggin awesome. This would be the last we saw of the bands Without Mercy and Until Dawn; we also made friends with the local bands We Found the Body and World Class White Trash. All the bands got hammered. I stayed sober because I needed to drive, but I still enjoyed myself very much.

Doughnut Burger... WTF!

Tonight we are headed downtown to the last night of the Calgary Stampede. I plan on getting dressed up, having some drinks and dancing all night to shitty country music.

Wish me luck, friends.


Group shot with Eytan's cousin Paula

Monday, July 18, 2011

Western Annihilation Days 5-8: Fundmonton

“I’m one step ahead of the shoe shine, two steps away from the carry line, just trying to keep the customers satisfied”  - Paul Simon

Dead bugs on the front of the van
Well, the drive to Winnipeg got pretty fucked up basically immediately after I finished writing the last blog. For starters we hit a deer enroute. God, deer certainly are nature’s retard. Driving west you never know when one of these 4-legged morons will jump in front of ya and potentially ruin both of your afternoons. This deer ran right across the front of the car and got clipped by the bumper. I don’t think we killed it, at least not right away, because I saw it limping into the bushes going “shit, shit, shit!” Or at least that’s what I think he said in deer. Close call. I think he probably learned his lesson. Stupid shit head dear.

Waster from Winnipeg
We also encountered a different barn animal on the highway shortly there after. Only this one was wearing a police uniform and he pulled us over for speeding. We also found out that the information that was on our insurance was inaccurate and he gave us a nice fat fine. Maybe we're nature’s retard. I think we learned the same lesson as that damn deer: don’t mess with whitey.

We finally made it to the Park Theater in Winnipeg. One of the coolest venues I’ve played in. It is part venue, part movie theater, so you can thrash out to a band and then get some popcorn and shit. There was a really awesome feel to the room and an enormous stage. We played a power set and then hung out and watched the rest of the show and shot the shit with the other bands.

Spencer, Rich and Doug Stanhope
We got a pretty cool interview that Eytan did in the Winnipeg newspaper. It’s so strange seeing your face in a publication 2050 Kilometers from home. The article next to ours was one with one Doug Stanhope. If you don’t know who he is, he is one of the best comedic minds of our time. Sounds like giving him too much praise, but it is so true. He is an underground comic who has a sometimes dark and vulgar humor, but whatever it is, it is always hilarious and 100% on the nose. It also said that he was playing at a club down the street from where we were playing. So we packed up our shit and drove to the venue, just to see what was going on. We headed into the bar and reasoned with the bouncer. We told him that we were performing down the street and just found out about the comedy show and asked him if we could get in for free. He said it was no problem, so we ran into the building, found a seat on the pool table and enjoyed the show. Boy was he good. I got the opportunity to meet him after and we talked shit about hockey and then took a picture. Just awesome. Its not as good of a picture of my big brother with Doug Stanhope burning a miniature American flag, but its pretty cool.

Show poster for Saskatoon... he he
We stayed with the promoter. Nice house. And the kind of shower that doesn’t just throw water at you, but just punches you with it. Best shower in North America, bar none.

Next day we drove to Saskatoon. Interesting place. We played with an extremely talented death metal band called Without Mercy for the second time at this show. We also met up with our friends in Untimely Demise who are an awesome thrash band from the area. I am listening to their record right now. Great guys too. The main thing I remember about this show is what happened at the end of the night. Usually we can find a friend to stay with, or we can make a friend and boogie at their place. This was the first time we found ourselves in a situation that we had to do some problem solving. We literally stood in the parking lot staring at each other like a bunch of chapless nobodies. We ran through our options and decided that the best thing to do was drive to our next city, which was Edmonton. We could stay with the good folks in Mortillary. Eytan heroically drove all night long while the rest of us fought for some shuteye. We arrived in Edmonton at 9 in the morning. Got some food at a diner and headed to the Mortility house and were immediately unconscious as soon as we found a soft place to sleep.

Mortillery from Edmonton!!
A huge thank you to Alex, Miranda, Mortility, Bat'leth and Messiahlator for all of the fun. We had a great show and a great time. Edmonton is an awesome place, and the people where even cooler. A lot of the people there were rocking out and having a damn good time. We even had some crazy drunk local gals stage dancing. Just pure insanity. As we were loading up these 2 girls approached us. Both wearing silly hats and on acid. It was like something from Alice in Wonderland. Edmonton is full of strange and interesting people.

Edmonton Poster... Wicked show!
Right now we are driving through the praries on our way to Calgary. It’s true what they say about the prairies, it is just flat and boring. You can be looking out the window then decide to take a snooze, then wake up and everything looks exactly the same. You don’t even know what fucking day it is or where the hell you are. Its great. Tonight we have an interview and a show with We Found the Body and Without Mercy. Gonna be tight ya’ll!

Till next time, fuddy duddies.

- Speen

Without Mercy:


Untimely Demise: 

Until Dawn:

Fatality in Uptown Magazine in Winnipeg

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Western Annihilation Days 1-4: On the road again

Professional Trailer Load... :D

“On the road again, like a band of gypsies we go down the highway. Were the best of friends, insisting that the world keeps turning our way.” – Willie Nelson

Sault Ste Marie at the Rosie!
Well Folks, here I am continuing my never-ending quest for musical fulfillment. The urge to tour is an interesting phenomenon I have noticed. It feels like there is an itch on my soul that can only be soothed by performance. I have something to say, something to experience. I have no idea what it is; but what better way to find out then to hurl myself across the continent likes projectile vomit at a frat party? There is something inside of me that is `just dying to come out, and each night I perform I get a little bit closer. I mingle with it every single night. It almost feels like my heart has an itchy asshole, ya know? Maybe I just need some pepto.

Either way, I am still finding time to enjoy myself. I may as well, life is too short friends.

For the most part, I feel like the traveling experience is sometimes wasted on me. I love meeting new people, but I detest touristy shit. I really couldn’t give a fuck. Historical sites, gift shops, themed restaurants and culturally significant monuments can all suck my tourist dick. They are all the same. Just a safe place for boring country folk with fat ankles to take mundane photos of their softheaded kids. And you just know that they can't wait to get back home in the suburbs to email the pictures to their boring friends to contend and attest to the fact that they did indeed make a visit to “the Big Nickel” in Sudbury, or the CN Tower in Toronto. “Gee, This is a very tall building!” Yes, Stupid. It is a tall building.. Couldn’t you have just taken my word on it and stayed in Burlington?

I especially don’t want to go to a place where something vaguely interesting happened a hundred years ago. Nothing interesting has happened there since, and no thanks, I wouldn’t care to read the plaque.

Beer-BQ in the parking lot with metal brothers IMMERSED
Take me to where the fun people are please.

And this brings me to our first gig in Sudbury, Ontario. We played in a venue called the Nickel City Inn. It is one of those small town joints with a big heavy metal door with reinforced glass. The kind that makes you feel like you would need to know a secret knock just to gain entrance to the building. The show went fine and we headed to the promoters house for an after party. Apparently Beneath the Massacre stayed at this party house the weekend before and they had all gotten into all sorts of trouble. We gallivanted like a bunch of fairies well into the night with a bunch of locals and a wicked death metal band from Ottawa called Immersed. We went to sleep as winners and we immerged the next morning as losers. We had an early wake up because we were playing an afternoon show in Sault Saint Marie. We actually got to the venue a few hours early, so we set up our hockey net and the BBQ and cooked up some steaks and played sports with the dudes from Immersed. These activities also coincided with the Sault Saint Marie promoter dropping off a few 24s of beer for us to consume. I asked him why the show was so early, and he told me that there was Karaoke taking place after our set. I made a joke about it onstage later that night.

Suarez at Black Pirates in TUNDER BAAAYY, EH?
“If it is any indication as to how my musical career is going, we are going on before Karaoke. Technically we are opening for a middle aged secretaries Journey medley”

The show was a success and we had a great time. And I'm pretty sure the crowd had a blast as well. And then we were off to the next after party. Holy Shit, I think I'm starting to see a pattern here, folks. I love meeting new people and partying. I feel like I need it sometimes. Most people gain energy from being alone and unwinding. I am the opposite. I feed off of the energy and creativity of others. I guess all of this partying and excitement is doing me good after all.

This drive has had many lakes....
I was very exited to visit Thunder Bay because we had a gig and a day off. We played at an awesome venue called the Black Pirate’s Pub. It was nice to see a few of my friend’s bands tour posters on the wall. We played our set and then drove an hour and half to a town outside of Thunder Bay and stayed at Adams girlfriend’s cottage. It was just awesome. The next day we boogied all day long. We played drinking games and relaxed in the sauna. We also got it in our head that we should swim down the shore and use one of the cottages on-water trampoline for a good bounce. Just a perfect day of relaxation. And don’t get me started on the stars. All of the constellations, and even the Milky Way, Which one of the locals had suggested that it is gods ejaculate. Interesting theory. Maybe that is why good needed to rest on the 7th day.

Right now we are flying down the highway towards Winnipeg. We have a show tonight at the Park Theatre with Waster, Without Mercy and Until Dawn. Should be a blast. I’ve never been this far west before, and it should be a real treat.

Stay nasty!

-Spencer LeVon