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Friday, August 05, 2011

Western Annihilation Days 17-22: I wish they all could be California girls

Suarez feeding a bird McDonald's in San Francisco
Well folks, here I am on our last week of the tour. I haven’t been writing as much as I would like to but this tour we have been so god damn busy. Compared to the first tour this one has been absolutely gruelling. Long drives and strange shitty sleep have sometimes made the process mind numbing. Every day I start to feel more and more like Tom Hanks in Castaway. I have been growing awful facial hair, been talking to inanimate objects and contemplating hanging myself on a cliff.
Stupid Suarez...

Last we spoke we were headed to Medford to play a cool venue called Johnny B’s. It's one of those greaser bars where it seems all the staff and bar patrons have those Jimmy Neutron wind tunnel tested elvis hair dews. Rockabilly tunes played over the PA’s and the walls were covered with pictures of Hank Williams and Elvis Presly. The show went pretty well for a Monday night. One thing that really stands out about this gig was that business was super slow at the beginning of the set. So I started playing in the window and dancing for people walking by on the streets. And to everyones surprise (including me) it actually worked. Some girls actually started piling into the bar.

A big thank you goes to Jym Harris and his wonderful family for making us feel at home at their house, and helping with the show.

Hanging out in Golden Gate park
The next day we were California bound. Heading to Dan Souza from Zombie Holocaust's house. His place is in Oakland. We were greeted with respect as soon as we got there. The rest of the guys from the band were at the house chilling and we hit it off immedietly. We decided to just hang out in his backyard, have a nice big fire and BeerBQ. The next day me and the Fatality crew headed to San Francisco for the day. We checked out Haight Ashbury which is the go-to downtown location. We had lunch in the park and were deciding what to do with our night off. We knew we were to attend a Zombie Holocaust jam session so we had a few hours to kill. Adam had the genius idea to walk to the ocean. It turned out to be waaaaaaay farther then we thought. I’m talking 3 hours of heal-toe-heal-toe. And the worst part of the whole thing is I knew that ultimately we were headed to nothing that exciting. Can you imagine walking 3 hours knowing that your destination is a giant pond? I bet Ted Bundy had more optimism while walking to the electric chair. “But you have never seen the ocean, It is amazing!” We got there… It was exactly as I had envisioned it. Large and Wet.

After that blunder we went to the Zombie Holocaust jam space and partied hard. My favorite part of the night was having a 15 minute funk jam that evolved into an epic version of Born to be Wild with our new buddies in ZH.

The next night we kidnapped Dan and brought him with us to Fullerton because we had a gig with an awesome band called Witchaven. We were playing at an all ages venue called the Riff Haus. California audiences are the coolest in the world. Since we have been here, we have been received very well. And the dudes in Witchaven are some of the coolest dudes we have met on this journey. We were also proud that guys from Exmortus and Bonded by Blood came and hung out with us. We ended up staying with Mauro from Bonded.

The next night we had a gig at this great venue called the Burnt Ramen. I think it is most famous for being the place where the Dead Kennedys used to cut their teeth in the early years. This was perhaps one of the coolest DIY venues I have ever been to. First of all, it is in the worst part of the bay area... Richmond, CA. It is in a part of town that is separated at all sides by railroads. When they refer to “the wrong side of the tracks” they are probably referring to the Burnt Ramen. As we were pulling onto the street that it was on we found a deceased dog in the middle of the road that no one seemed to notice. We unloaded our gear in between a giant pile of putrid garbage and a huge pile of dog shit. At one point someone accidentally dropped Adams amp into the dog dirt. And I must say, I was secretly delighted. 
The venue was an absolute dump. Graffiti everywhere, stinky homeless guy couches and a half pipe in the back room. The coolest part was a top secret bar that is located behind a hidden wall that is not visible when it is closed. Once inside it is actually a really nice bar. Nice carpet, a pool table and a bar with cheap home brewed alcohol. It was really amazing. The interesting thing about this venue is that a bunch of young punk rockers live in squalor in the venue. I got to chatting with one of the fellas who lived there. I asked if when he was a kid he ever thought that he would be living in a place with a live venue, a skate park and a cheap bar. He's livin’ the dream, son!

Cigar on the beach
The Burnt Ramen show was my favorite show of the tour so far. The crowd was absolutely terrific and were tearing shit up the entire set. From our first song we had kids moshing and dancing all over the place. We were passing out beer bongs left right and centre, smoking doobies on stage and crushing beers like maniacs. Apparently we got lucky and got a shout out to our show the biggest FM rock station in the Bay Area the day of our show. We crushed, man, it felt real good. And I guarantee I had the most fun out of everyone there.

After the show 20 of us headed to an all night diner and got into all kinds of trouble.

Pacific Ocean

Our gig the next day (saturday) was moved to the same venue we played at on Thursday the Riff Haus. I didn't mind because we were playing with exmortus and Bonded by Blood. 2 of the best up and coming metal bands in California. Both bands are going to hit the big time, I'm sure of it. Especially after seeing them on saturday. Shit son, these players make me want to drown myself in the name of incompetence.

Love you,

Spencer LeVon

How did we get to Lebanon?!

Jamming with Zombie Holocaust

Didn't those guys burn "the place" down?

Amoeba Music in San Francisco

Witchaven in OC!!

Set list from the Burn

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