Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's true...

we're back! In true Colorado fashion, it was a beautiful 75 degrees yesterday - and now there are flurries of snow. I have every intention of updating my blog and completing our trip experiences, as I did in fact write them all down to remember later to type out for you.

There are just a feeeewww things to do first: like buy food so I don't starve and start not-living out of suitcases (which means I have to unpack)...

Monday, March 31, 2008

a slight, almost update


We have just finished an AMAZING 9 days in San Diego - don't worry - I have pictures and stories to post (including my experience eating a live cricket today)! But not yet, because I'm not ready for another blogging all-nighter.

I love San Diego and want to move here. Seriously. Even though gas is 3.65 and I'd have to live in a cardboard box and eat ramen... so if anyone wants to come with...

We're off to LA tomorrow and will be playing a Spin magazine showcase in Hollywood on Tuesday! Then we keep traveling up the Cali coast and have shows every night Tues-Sun. I tell you this because I'm not sure when my next blogging opp will be.

But stay posted.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

day 40: tempe/phoenix/scottsdale

The day started off with scrambled eggs, homemade biscuits and apple butter. We're staying with Robbie and Carissa, friends of Juli's and mine from Baylor. (Among other things, Robbie and Juli played in a band together, and Carissa and I were in the same group who traveled to Turkey during one of our spring breaks.) With their light, open apartment featuring great modern decorating and furniture, recycling and composts, and organic foods, I felt so at home. Again, I have to say one of my absolute favorite things about touring is reconnecting and hanging out with old friends.

Leaving Texas has brought a new energy - especially after realizing we had been there almost a full month! Arizona is gorgeous - sunny, no humidity to be felt, and not a cloud in the sky. Carissa took Dann, Juli and I on a little tour of downtown, right by the campus of Arizona State. An interesting thing about the area: Phoenix, Tempe (pronounced Temp-EE), and Scottsdale are all essentially the same city.

Carissa and Dann. I think the building to the right has some sort of significance, but now I don't remember. That's what I get for writing this a week later...

Tempe Beach Park

Juli and Dann fighting to the death... see how angry they look... and how effectively they punch.

Our show was at at place called the Rogue Bar. The sound guy didn't actually show up until our set had started, but a "new guy" named Manny held it together for us. Again, we didn't have a huge crowd (I think we brought 7 people?) but everyone else in the bar was pretty receptive. We played with a great band called Princess Lady Friend - I enjoyed their set so so much (check them out!).

Yay Arizona.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

day 39: in the car

The drive to Arizona was our longest day in the car yet: 16 hours, baby! As we passed through 2 time zones following the sun, it felt like the majority of our trip was during 4-5pm.

The most exciting thing to report about this day was that we experienced the official Worst Band Meal Ever. Just a preface before you start to get all judgmental and roll your eyes because of the "restaurant" we chose: we rarely ever eat fast food - and this place was the only possibility in the desert of New Mexico. It was either eat or starve. (Ok, ok, I know I'm making this way too dramatic.)

After waiting about 15 minutes to get our food at an otherwise customer-less Taco Bell, we decided it was more enjoyable (and probably cleaner) to eat outside.

I should have gotten more pics of this. Notice the dog by Juli's head. He was the most pathetic dog with the saddest-looking eyes I have ever seen.

Reid and Dann are staring at him, too, while Juli continues to laugh.

We took a few bites of the worst Taco Bell of our lives, and offered the rest to the sad pup. Well, the food was so bad that even this poor, starving dog wouldn't touch any of it. I wanted to save him from the cruel existence of Nowhere, New Mexico - but the rest of the band wouldn't have it. They said he was most likely on drugs along with the rest of the town.
So we grabbed some gas station "food."

And hours and hours later, made it to Tempe.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

day 38: san antonio

Today our plans changed about a zillion times. By the end of the day we ended up in San Antonio. Once again, we were originally supposed to play in Waco. Once again, there was rain. We figured we could just have the girls play an acoustic set inside, since Juli and I have a lot of friends there who were planning on coming. But after a few phone conversations with a few different people, it turns out there was some miscommunication when our show was rescheduled... and we didn't really have a show after all. Even though we had a guaranteed audience, they didn't want to go through with it. So, whatever, Waco. We've tried to play there 3 different times and each time has fallen through. Funny as it sounds, Waco is one of the places I really really want to play... a way of me saying, "Take that, Baylor music school."

So we came up with a few different options for where to stay the night, since we were playing in Lubbock the following evening (one beautiful Texas metropolis to the next!) only to discover the booking guy for the Lubbock venue was lame, too. So we cancelled that show. A few minutes later we had a new route to follow, and decided San Antonio was a good place to stop for the night.

We stayed at our friend Amy's parents house, which is more like a mini-village, with different houses and driveways and fields. At dinner, Tifah had one of my favorite quotable moments of the tour as she tried to explain: "You know, that thing, that big game, with football, and lots of people." (Yes, that would be the Super Bowl)

Even though it was late, we went out to the Riverwalk. On our way there, we drove by the Alamo, since Dann had never seen it. Not wanting to get his hopes up, Tif and I kept telling him how tiny the Alamo actually is - unlike the way it's often portrayed on film. We'd point to small structures and say: the Alamo is smaller than that! So it was pretty funny that Dann didn't even see it the first time we drove the loop around it (to be fair, he was driving and we didn't exactly point it out).

Here are some pics of the Riverwalk, one of my favorite places in Texas. You might just have to use your imagination, since it was so dark outside:

A red tunnel I was fascinated with.

We came across an Irish pub, and decided to celebrate St. Patrick's Day a day late.

We played some darts. By "played" I mostly mean Reid made about 274 bullseyes.

The evening ended with a mysterious man following us. At least, he kept showing up where we were. Luckily we are sneaky and devious and made it back safely (whew). Plus, Dann and Reid are pretty confident they can beat anyone up.

Monday, March 17, 2008

day 36-37: houston part 4

So... back in Houston after a last minute request to play at Ecclesia for the second week in a row. The third time in a city must be the charm, because at the end of the day we were standing in a 5,000 sq. ft. house that our friend Chris wants to buy us. Seriously - he wants us to live rent-free in a massive house so we can have more time to create and play music together. Perks? Well, the obvious: free large house to easily get lost in, golf course out the back yard, garden, lots of windows. Non-perks? Living in Houston. So we'll see...

We went to lunch with one of our favorite people/sound guys, Zach, in the artsy part of Houston called Montrose. Within the hour or so that we were there, the weather went from sunny and warm to windy to rainy to cool and then back to warm. I guess Colorado isn't the only state that has unpredictable weather.

While I know weather is the most exciting topic to write about, the above paragraph actually is a perfect segue way to the next day. We had planned on going to Waco to do some promotion for our show, but because of a sudden weather change (ie: rain) there, we stayed in H-town. We had a nice long band meeting (blah blah blah) to establish leadership roles (yawn for you), and realized a little too late that we missed celebrating St. Patrick's Day...

Regardless, my sis Malia turned 25 today - Happy Birthday, Mimi!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

day 34-35: austin part 2

I loooove Austin! Pretty much every 5 minutes the thought of "I could totally live here" crossed my mind.

Then it occurred to me that I have actually lived in Austin... although I don't think it counts, since it was in the early '80s and before I turned 4 years old. If only as a toddler I would have known the vast treasure of music to be discovered and enjoyed in the great capital city of Texas...

When we first got to Austin I experienced culture shock. Well, I'm pretty sure that's the best way to describe it. Why? Probably because it was hot outside both days we were there (92 degrees, anyone?) and because there were people ev-er-y-where. Definitely a far cry from the majority of our tour stops in the last month. (ie: Camden, AR - where we saw 0 people)

Our first day, we made sure to stop by some of our favorite locations: Sno Beach (if snow cones could be gourmet, this is the place to find them) and the Hula Hut, which is right off of Lake Austin:

Yeah, this is a stolen picture from the internet... but since I'm just now recharging my camera batteries, I thought some form of picture would be better than none.

Later that night I was supposed to go to the Blender party with my cousin "Jonny Hey" (which started at midnight and went to 4am), but unfortunately was not feeling well. Bad timing!!!

SXSW ("South-By-Southwest" for those of you not music-festivally inclined) is one of the largest music festivals in the US. This year there were 1,700 bands playing in the span of a few days. Literally, everywhere you walk down the street, there is live music - not only in bars, but restaurants, alleyways, and even hair salons. Absolute craziness, I tell you!

So it's only fitting that our show turned out pretty crazy...
We played at a place called Guero's on a little outdoor stage:

(Another lame picture from the WWW. And I know it looks just like us, but that is not The Autumn Film you see pictured.)

So anyway, there is a little "window" in the back of the stage to load and unload all of your gear through - we had a total of 45 minutes to unload, set up, sound check, play our set, and load back up. After 20 minutes, nothing of my violin equipment seemed to be working. We were unplugging and re-plugging cables, trying out different amps, switching between computer gear and non-computer gear - all to no avail. The only sound I could produce was an annoyingly piercing buzzing sound. Time was wasting away and everyone was getting anxious, so I just decided to play all my violin parts on my keyboard. Problem solved. It felt odd with no violin, but I was so anxious to play that it didn't matter as much. We gained some new fans and sold even more T-shirts (apparently Texans love the cotton) so it was worth it. Jonny Hey took some pics, so maybe he can send them to me to post later.

After unloading everything out of the trailer to change a tire (another missed photo-op), we got back in the car for the 3 hour drive to Houston... as we had a last minute request for an all-day playing gig the next day. It was hard to leave Austin so soon, but the trip back was one of my favorites so far - I was driving with Juli doing a fine job DJ-ing it up - and a massive sing-along

Thursday, March 13, 2008

day 28-33: houston part 3

Houston is starting to feel like our home away from home.

Highlights include...
-Our "we're halfway done with tour" dinner at Saltgrass. Would it surprise you to know the 5 of us ordered the same thing?
-Actually getting 8 hours of sleep a night!
-Hanging out with Josey (my roommate from Boulder's mom). Working out with Josey. Talking to Josey. Laughing with Josey. She loves telling her friends that a rock band is staying at her house. :-) She also loves making fun of her friends who came to our show and plugged their ears the whole time because it was so loud! (She says because of this embarrassing behavior, they are uninvited to our future shows.)
-Walking through Houston neighborhoods. Can you believe neighbors actually say hi to you and then stop and talk to you here?
-Playing lots and lots and lots of Rock Band with Reagan and his friends.
-Going out with my cousin Becca a few nights. Even though one of her hangouts (the Armadillo Palace) had a huge Armadillo out front and played country music - I was totally into it! Another place I loved was called The Volcano - super cool atmosphere with lots of masks. It reminded me of my Hawaiian heritage, how could I not like it? (Thanks for taking me everywhere, Becca!)
-Playing at Ecclesia. This equals a 13-hour day.
-Catching up on college basketball in this magical season of March Madness.
-Perusing modern art museums with Dann and Tifah.
-Looking for needles in haystacks at Home Depot and Lowe's with Reid... in the end it was all worth it - he built me a sweet pedal board!
-Rehearsing with Ableton - our new computer program!
-Watching "How It's Made" on the Discovery Channel. You would never believe how such things as lapel pins and golf clubs are made.
-Still forgetting to recharge my camera batteries... hence no pictures...

Our show at Walter's on Washington this week was another great show! After load in, we walked around the neighborhood looking for a place to eat with one of the other bands we were playing with... after walking for about 15 minutes and finding nothing, a fancy Italian restaurant appeared. The wait staff seemed excited to have us, as no one else was there. But after looking at the menu and noticing the high prices, we turned around to walk out. (This is a very normal occurrence - it's not unusual for us to walk in and out of at least 5 places before actually deciding on one.) Trying to persuade us to stay, the host said he would make us a deal and asked how much we were looking to spend. Tifah jumped right in and said, "We're poor musicians. So, comparable to Subway - $7 for food and a drink?" He smiled a big smile, said "Have a great night," and pointed to the door. Haha. Since that was our only option, we ended up eating stale snacks Juli's mom had given us a week before...

Anyway, I didn't mean to go off on such a tangent.

We had a great turnout - it almost felt like playing in Boulder with a crowd full of so many people we know. It was the first show to use my new pedal and Ableton... now all my loops are going through a computer, which means they are right on time and glorious!!!

My wrists are hurting from so much typing - which means this post is done. Hope you enjoyed the up-date.

Friday, March 7, 2008

day 27: dallas part 6

After a slight blogging-hiatus, I am ready to resume (hopefully) regular postings... also, the moms of the band are freaking out that no one has been posting as of late.
(Don't worry, moms, we are still alive.)

After brunch in my old dorm at Baylor (yes, I am one of "those" alumni), I insisted that Chris take Juli and I to see all the new buildings on campus. I don't know if it was the sunny day or the happy memories, but I had a pretty stupid grin walking around. I'm sure Chris felt like a tour guide as I kept asking all the typical highschool-senioresque questions...

We then made the 1.5 hour drive to Dallas (a familiar drive from the college days) and had a few hours to chill before heading to the venue. Tonight's location was The Door, a venue in Deep Ellum (let's just say it's not the nicest part of downtown Dallas). First we enjoyed delicious food and drink (the best burger of my life, I think):

(Picture stolen from Juli's blog because my camera is still battery-less)

Then, after suffering through countless screamo bands made up of teenage boys (Juli's blog is a must-see for more on this phenomenon), we finally took the stage.

And it was absolutely the best show so far of the tour! We had 50 people there just for us, and as soon as the first note was played, everyone else in the place swarmed over to the stage. Once again, I got to see friends from long ago. One of them was another pal I traipsed in the Ukraine with - Brittany (and her new husband Zach). Thanks to Brooke F for bringing a bunch of people and Brooke B for the gift-bags and Alyssa for being there... and to everyone else for buying shirts and cheering.

I had forgotten what a difference a good show makes... God bless Texas!
(Um, cheesy?)

Oh yeah - a shout-out to Gabe, who turned 23 today!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

day 26: waco part 1

We woke up to... drizzle. Normally, this would of course suck. What made it even worse was that our show at Common Grounds was outside. Of course this was one of our only outdoor venues of the entire tour. Of course it hadn't rained in Waco for months until today. And of course it was 80 and beautiful here yesterday...

We stayed at our new friends Brooke and Freeland's house. I say "new" because we had only met them for about 5 minutes (at one of our shows in Denver a few months ago) previous to knocking on their door at 2 in the morning and overtaking their house. And I say "friends" because after spending 36 hours with people in their home and having them cook for you and bonding over Lost and wanting to adopt their personal zoo consisting of 2 Great Danes and 2 cats, you pretty much are friends.

As the rain poured down even harder, my dear friend Chris (along with Juli) picked me up and we headed to campus. After drying off, we found Brett and their baby Ellia, only to get soaked once again on our way to happy hour. By this time, our show was officially cancelled. (If you live in Waco, do not lose heart - we have a new show on March 18.) Later on, Chris, Juli, and I went to Common Grounds anyway... and after a few minutes, we noticed a guy we knew walk in the door. Turns out Kevin had driven all the way from Ft. Worth to see our show and had even bought a hotel room for the night. Needless to say, he was bummed that we weren't playing.

Juli and I crashed at Brett's little brother's house. Ryan was friends with my younger sis Malia - so it was weirding me out to be staying at his house that he owns with his wife! On this tour, I keep discovering more and more friends who have both spouses and houses. Maybe I could take a step towards stability and have a dog first?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

day 25: austin part 1

Hello, Dearest Readers. I finally have 1)time 2)the internet 3)the desire to write on my blog. However, I do not have 4) pictures, as I keep forgetting to charge the ol' rechargeable batteries. But a few stories should suffice, right?

We were in Austin for about 6.5 hours. 1.5 of those hours were spent at our favorite Austin restaurant, Kerbey Lane (gingerbread pancakes, anyone?), and the other 5 were spent at the venue. Normally I would be quite upset to spend such a little time in such a great city, but (as we are circling Texas at 3 times this month) we will be back in the capital city next week to paint it red.

We played at a place called Emo's - right on 6th Street - which is a great place to play in Austin. I guess everyone stays in the week before SXSW (a huuuuge music festival happening next week), because once again we had a whopping 3 fans in the audience. I'd like to thank Jonny Hey (my cousin who happens to have great taste in music as well as the latest men's fashion), Courtney (another of Tifah's high school friends), and Emily (a friend from Boulder who's now at UT) for making it out and clapping in between songs.

After another fun experience of loading the trailer back up, I drove us to Waco at the happy hour of 2 am. I was so excited to be back in this blessed city (yes, I did say both "excited" and "blessed" in reference to Waco) that I may have not been paying attention to the GPS, and somehow found us driving by train tracks on an unpaved road. ??? Yeah, I'd never been to that part of Waco before... somehow my nostalgia overtook my driving skills...

But - don't worry, it all turned out okay. I'm just not allowed to drive in Waco anymore. ;)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

day 23-24: houston part 2

Houston, oh Houston. Yesterday was pouring rain, today was deliciously warm and sunny.
Here is some of what we've been up to on our 2 days off:

Hanging out with Tif's friends Zach, David, and Sarah. I guess you'd say they're all of our friends now, since we hang out with them every time we're in town.

See this yard? This is only a small section...

of 1.4 acres outside Tifah's parents' house.
If you look really closely, you can see...

us hard at work raking. (Yes, we are talented at yard work, too.) We did it as a gift for Tifah's dad, who was so enthralled, he bought us steak!

Dann has been wowing us with his card tricks (little known fact: he is also a magician!)
He would also like to point out his growing bicep - no doubt a result of doing 100 pushups every other day.

And now, a few of my favorite things around Tifah's house - a mini-tour, if you will:

Tif as a little girl. Awww...

Huge wall paintings. Tif's dad can tell you all the names of the men in these paintings.
Some of them are princes he knew personally... talk about some crazy stories!

Vintage hookah. Sweet!

An elephant. Yeah, I actually don't know the story here, but I like it nonetheless.

One of many Persian rugs to admire... and step on.

A big thanks to Mama Josey for rocking it as a host mom, and an equally big thanks to Maria Taylor, Damien Rice, and Radiohead for creating the perfect soundtrack for today.

Tomorrow - on the road again and back to work.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

day 22: houston part 1

This morning was an early one. We were supposed to be at the church we were playing at by 7:30... so it worked out really well for our GPS to keep freezing as we missed a turn somewhere and ended up being 30 minutes late. Additionally, this church met in a movie theater complex, which means that we had the pleasure of carrying our gear up and down escalators and elevators, through multiple glass doors, down hallways, past concession stands, and up and down more stairs.

Desperate times called for (gasp!) coffee. Those of you who know me know that I have caffeine about once every 2 years. Yes, today was that chosen day!

We made it to Tifah's parents' house just in time for lunch (ie: strategic free food location). I don't remember much after that, because as we were hanging out with her parents, I literally fell over on the couch and was out. Nap time didn't get to last too long, owing to the fact that we were back in the car driving to the next gig.

Taking pictures of me taking pictures of them

Reid loves him some merch

Our T's

Do you want some free music? Dann can hook you up

Foosball. The boys are fierce. Just ask Juli and I - we now owe them drinks. :P

The best part of the day for sure was arriving at the Reynold's. "Mama" Josey (my roommate in Boulder's mom) has been unanimously chosen as the bands' favorite. Luckily for her, we will be around not only part of this week, but most of the next.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

day 21: dallas part 5

Wow, I never knew this blog was in such demand... my sincere apologies for writing this a few days late. ;) In order to make it up to you, I will sacrifice some sleep to hopefully remember all the happenings...

Today (well, not really today, but let's pretend) I first woke up at 6am... which is ridiculous, especially for a Saturday. When I woke up again at 11, Juli and Dann were happily at brunch with some of Juli's friends. I was feeling quite unhappy about missing out, until my friend Alyssa called... she is a good friend from Baylor, and the person to which I attribute my love of Harry Potter. Anyway, I hadn't seen her in a year and a half, and was ecstatic to spend time with her and her husband Chad.

After packing up and loading out, we rode off into the sunset to pick up Reid and Tifah from the Dallas airport. This is the one part of the day I remembered having a camera. Hence these very compelling pictures of the Dallas sunset (in the car, no less):

After our happy reunion and catching up on our 72 hours apart, we made the 4 hour drive to Houston. On the way we had a long discussion which Reid and Dann noted "would never happen in a band with all guys." (ie: we talked about connecting and our feelings...) I am delighted to say that since our big talk, the boys have taken it to heart, and now I frequently hear: "Aubrea, let's connect," "Look, we're connecting," and "I just want to connect with you." Haha!

Once we got into The Woodlands (where we stayed for the night) we pretty much met the people we were staying with, said hey, and then crashed.

Friday, February 29, 2008

day 19-20: dallas part 4

Happy Leap Day! It's been nice to have some days off, but the itch to play is starting to surface... yesterday Reid and Tifah left for Oregon (Reid's brother got married today). As the saying goes, when the cat's away, the mice will play. Or something to that effect...

Dann and I have been working on Ableton, the computer program we're switching to for looping. Basically, it used to take 2 buttons to do my looping - and now it is 200 buttons contained in 20 banks on 2 separate channels. A little overwhelming, to say the least! I compare it to moving from a studio apartment (tiny but you know where everything is) into the Pentagon (sooo many hallways with so many doors that lead to so many unknown secret things...well, not that I've ever been to the Pentagon, but one can imagine). Luckily for me, Dann is a pretty smart guy. Any time I have a question, it takes him about .0329 seconds to figure out the solution.

Mostly I've been hanging out with Brooke. Some of what we've been up to...

Hanging out with highschool girls Brooke works with at Student Venture. This is Jordan, who I met at a show a few months ago.

(no pic - the camera is not that attached)

Baking. (That's right, I do in fact bake about once a year.) The specialty of the evening was an Earl Grey chocolate cake. Tea? My favorite! Chocolate? Delicious! Both together in the form of a cake? Yes, please!

Brooke doing most of the work. I was also hard at work, taking about 20 "artistic" pictures of the bowls and spoons...

Dying the bottom half of my hair "Darkest Brown"... which makes for a grand total of 4 different colors on my head.

Hmmm, so those are all the appearances the camera made. A majority of my other goings-on have not been very photo-worthy, as they have included a lot of me blowing my nose and trying not to get more congested. Maybe I'm allergic to Texas?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

day 18: dallas part 3

Our show today was at noon - 12 hours earlier than our usual gig time. So the 10am departure felt earlier, too. :) We played a concert for the performance class at Collin College (known as CCCC), the school Juli went to before transferring to good ole Baylor. Back in my music major days, performance class was never a favorite (ie: required) and rarely appreciated (ie: an average of 3 per week). However, I would have been quite pleased to be a student at CCCC today, sitting in my required class and enjoying music of a not-so-classical genre.

As promised, my new/yet old/but not-really-mine camera has been attached at the hip... so I'll get on to the pictures:

a white board in the atrium announcing our show (much cooler than a poster - don't you think?)

the black box theatre

soundcheck makes them happy

writing the set list

the rockstar returns to her old stomping grounds

my mess. the boys are going to build me a pedal board!

Interspersed between our songs, we talked about the writing process and what it's like doing everything independently in the music business. Some of the students hung around afterwards to ask questions, and it hit me that I was the one answering questions, instead of asking them... I felt really thankful for this stage of what we are doing - that while it's a long and tedious process with even more work ahead, at least our journey has already begun and we're not at Square 1.

Juli's sweet dad took us out for lunch, and on our way there, we saw...

the first official palm tree of the tour! (i think i was the only one excited)

Our next adventure included our very first band trip to the mall. Dann was in search of new hair (in the form of a new haircut) and new shoes.
dann before

and after


During the above transformation, Reid rode the escalators making business calls and us girls kept ourselves busy... I ran into a glass wall (that I thought was a door) because I saw a huge picture of Tony Romo... I was just so excited about the photo opp that I bolted into the nearest "entrance." I'm sure Tony would appreciate my newly-bruised knee, just as the onlookers appreciated this unexpected laugh...

after the "run in"

Juli and Tifah testing out products:

"juli, smell - it smells real good!"


not only does he have new hair, ladies and gentlemen... he has new shoes. mission accomplished!

So I'd say our first outing to the mall was both successful and eventful. Juli and Dann proclaimed that they were worn out from the event, to which Tifah responded, "But we've only been here for an hour!"

And that, folks, is what I've got for you today... this post has taken me quite some time to create (in the realm of 3+ hours), and I think it's high time for me to leave my computer now.