Friday, April 30, 2010

Arrington Tour Days 3-5ish

SO! The tour has actually begun. I am sitting in a coffee shop in Salt Lake City, Utah using a very nice lady's computer!

I awoke the morning of our first show about 2 hours earlier than everyone else, as usual. However instead of having a laptop to keep me company I decided to go for a jog. I put on my "cheerleader" shorts and his the Olympia Road. I jog along The Puget Sound for a bit and went through a nature trail and realized that the hills in this town are mad steep and a good work out! I wasn't absolutely dead when I was done so I felt good about not having jogged for a few days prior.

I arrived back on the porch of the house and it instantly started pouring rain. I sat back on the lovely red velvet couch on the porch and listened to the seagulls and rain for a bit. It really did sound like I was on a beach. The dark clouds above had patches of sunlight that would arrive and really cook the ground... it was magical.

We headed over to the venue and met with Tatsuya who was playing a solo percussion set. The opening band was called Glow Tips. I rather enjoyed their set actually. They had an Kraut vibe to them but it wasn't derivative at all. The Tatsuya played his set and it was a pleasure to see particularly in such a small space (the living room of the house). I saw he had made a record with Mary Halverson and I got a copy of it. We listened to it the next morning it I'm excited to blast the clear LP when I get home!

I played my first show with Arrington and though I was crazy sloppy had a really great time. Pretty much everyone in the room had seen Malaikat before and seemed to be open to my version of what we do. Someone told Nehemiah that we were the Metal Version. I also received what I think is my favorite compliment to my drumming "I'm not sure if that was murder or rape, but I loved it!" Then I mentioned it was probably murder due to my history in the family business.

We sat in the usual drummer of Malaikat's room and listened to some great music. The funniest being Sleng Teng. Sleng Teng is a strange pocket of Dancehall music centered around one Casio beat that doesn't ever change tempo or key. One beat, one studio, one producer and countless people coming in and singing their own song over it... in any key... it's kind of great.

I crashed and awoke the next morning thinking about how much I need to focus and save my energy so I don't burn out mid set. It was a quick drive to Portland and we drove around for a bit before parking and going to a much needed drum store. I now have my own stool! I had true Stumptown coffee and it was delicious. We loaded into the venue and the opening act Million Brazilians was set up. I order a vegetarian Pasty from the bar and it was delicious. I got to see Brendan from Late Night Curly and it was awesome catching up with him.

We went on to a pretty full club and with the first snare hit my stick shattered in my hand. This set felt was better that the night before. I got sweatier there was a more solid connection between the band too. Someone asked Arrington "where the fuck did you find that drummer?!" it was flattering. We were hosted by a gracious women who's name escapes me but she had a killer apartment and Arminda's same Owl Teapot!

We woke up and grabbed more Stumptown (MMM!) and started the 8 hour drive to Boise,ID. We arrived in one piece and they had Lagunitas Pils on tap! As well as Stone IPA. I was a happy man (4 drink tickets!!). This was more of a rock club type setting and I was worried at first. The opening act was With Child, it was extremely well done O'Rourke style pop. The La Knots played next, younger kids... like couldn't stay at the bar after their set young. Apparently the rhythm section was comprised of the son and daughter of the drummer of Built To Spill. They were a trashy blues rock band and it was enjoyable.

I tuned my snare drum higher and we tore into our set finally with an audience wanting to be blasted with sound and all about dancing their asses off. This show would have been absolutely flawless had my pedal not torn right through the kick drum. I tried not to be a queen but I threw my drum sticks at the drums after trying to compensate with the floor tom. Then we jammed on a riff Arrington randomly played... it was total Velvet Underground shit!

After tons of compliments and nice people we stayed with some very nice people to whom I suggested Cave, Can, Neu! & Afuche(duh). We just got into Salt Lake City and I have to return this laptop.

I love & miss my Brooklyn

With love & prog,
Ruben Sindo Acosta

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arrington Tour Day 2

I seem to still be on Eastern Time. I'm getting up about an hour or so before everyone and going to bed earlier as well. Realistically we're going to be bouncing Time Zones come tomorrow anyway so it's not really a huge deal.

Yesterday was very chill and fantastic. Started off the day by grabbing some coffee from Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. with Nehemiah at the suggestion of Arrington's roommate. I was really happy to have someone else who just NEEDED coffee.

We grabbed a cup and decided to walk down this nature trail that lead to Puget Sound. We talked about funk, horrid jam bands, Wayne Shorter and eventually The Band. We sat on a bench in front of Puget Sound and it smelled a lot like the Jaws ride at Universal Studios in Orlando. So much so that I couldn't help but mention it several times during our chat. We walked back through the trail which looked a lot like the ET ride... mixed with a little Star Wars (the Ewok part). Obviously I grew up in a place where breath taking nature could only be man made in a theme park.

Upon walking back we both wanted more coffee (fiends we are). In true hippie fashion we asked the barista to just reuse our previous cup and the nice lady obliged. We walk back to Arrington's house (which is called The Garden of Sweden) and sit out in the back yard talk about Pho and Grilled Nectarines (MMMM!!!).

Arrington heads out to pick up his daughter so she can take some press photos of us. We set the gear up in the basement/garage (it's actually the ground floor, but the house is on a hill and you need to walk downstairs... what do I call it?). He gets back and we meet Lucinda. We start to do some shots of us just playing through the material and inevitably there are some photos where my hair is standing straight up mid "head bang". We do some more in the basement with a picture frame and for a few of them I wear Arrington's glasses (it was funny ha ha). Then we head up stairs and do some posed shots with Arrington's drawings projected onto us. We have some funny moments. We do an energy exchange then that I can actually feel... weird hippie shit man! We get done with that and head down to rehearse.

We sound 50% better than yesterday and I thought we sounded good yesterday. We've rearranged one song and the 3 newer songs and have really taken shape. I am so happy I can actually play like myself! I introduce a few odd meter ideas and a lot of linear drumming techniques that I've been all about recently (total L Sons shit). I feel welcome to do all of this and Arrington and Nehemiah seem to be all about it as well.

We get done rehearsing and head to downtown for some food at Old School Pizza... it was OK. There were some awesome Dio posters and Larry Bird posters as well. We walk by a record store and I remember that I really NEED a copy of "Time and a Word" by Yes on vinyl. Then we head back to the house and just hang on the porch and listen to music for a bit. I play Mitchell and Nehemiah some cuban music and Legitimate Sons. I couldn't help showing Nehemiah Afuche as well. I am so fucking happy Afuche is what it is right now. I played him the recording of our show at Zebulon and some of the newer 4 track stuff and couldn't be prouder to be a part of it! It turns out that the Cake Shop show on May 22nd is going to be an Old Time Relijun show now! FUN FUN!!

We head to downtown to grab some food at Le Voyeur and I order a Sloppy Hippie with a Dogfish Head...that cost $4!!! The sloppy sandwich is quite a challenge but I got through most if had a Green Flash IPA that was awesome! and $4 as well?!! We walk back in the rain and it smells like Jaws again. The roommates are watching Ring of Fire. A great documentary about Indonesia and it's culture as studied by 2 british dudes. There are 5? parts I think. We watched the end of part 3 and started watching part 1 but I knocked out and realized in my head it was 1am and I had stayed up until 4am(est) the night before.

I awake realizing the dream I had that I broke my mallets was just a nightmare and I am excited to go jogging today along the water. Trust me, these posts will get shorter and shorter when I am not staying in the same place every day.

With love and Prog,

Ruben Sindo Acosta

Monday, April 26, 2010

Arrington Tour Day 1 (and change)

Holy shit, Olympia is beautiful! So much green!!

Got dropped off by Zach at JFK airport and was in total awe of the JetBlue terminal. It awesome! Had food and boarded my plane which was practically empty, making my 5 and a half hour flight feel like I was hanging out on someone's couch with Direct TV and a tiny television. I land at PDX at 10:30pm PST which is 1:30am in my head. Upon walking out of the plane I felt like I had landed in the nice part of Demolition Man. Everyone was very nice, everything was very clean and it was sort of creepy.

I get picked up by Arrington in the back of a CDR colored 1997 Ford Escort with Nehemiah in the front seat. This is going to be my crew for the next few weeks. It's really tight in the back seat because this is before my moving expertise will arrange all the gear (and no real thought had been given to it just yet).

We start driving straight to Olympia (about an hour and a half) and the highway in the dark reminds me of Miami. We get pulled over by a cop because the tape Arrington has over his broken tail lights has faded from Light Pink to Clear. While scanning the car a bit the officer (who had a funny Canadian Accent as I recall) asked if I was wearing my seat belt while shinning his flashlight at me, then he proclaimed "whoops" and asked for my ID. Kudos to Arrington for trying to tell the officer I'm from Florida and I don't know any better. That didn't stop the cop from issuing me a $100 ticket for not wearing my seat belt in the backseat. Apparently, that is a Washington State law. We laugh it off and keep on trucking. Somehow I wasn't really upset at all by this. Half of it was being hella tired (I'm not really saying hella, don't worry) and half was not wanting to let something small ruin my day/night. We arrive at Arrington's house and I crash on the couch with a Little Mermaid sleeping bag.

The next morning Arrington and I drive over to pick up the cymbal and hi hat stand I will be using for the tour and it's in his friend's house... who lives in a fucking log cabin... I was tripped the fuck out! Then we drive down to the K Records building so Arrington can print out some insurance stuff for his car and I get a general tour of the warehouse, office and the Dub Narcotic Recording Studio. We listen to some lave cuts of Malaikat he had made recently and they sound like direct broadcasts of indonesian pop music from hell. I really liked it.

Nehemiah wakes up and we set up in the garage to start rehearsing. The drum kit I'm using sound amazing. It's an old Pearl that belongs to Germaine, the drummer of Old Time Relijun and the person who's playing the other half of the Malaikat Tour. However, the bass drum has no legs and a cinderblock and 2 milk crates of books are no match for my right foot apparently.

Rehearsal goes extremely well. It felt more like playing through songs we already knew. I am locking in well with Nehemiah and I feel relieved that the whole vibe is really welcoming and fun. We get some food at a Co Op up the street and listen to demos of newer songs while we eat. There's one mathy song (7/8!) and I ask if we can play it (by ask I mean as soon as I got down stairs I played the drum beat). We play through 2 newer songs and I start playing a drum beat I've been working on. Arrington and Nehemiah start playing along and it looks like we've written a short new song as an intro to the set. I am really happy about this. If there's time we're going to cut a lave of it at Dub Narcotic today.

We get done rehearsing and I couldn't be happier! Now we head to out to try to install and CD player in Arrington's car. It turns out that since there is not dashboard unit at all they can't install the player. Nehemiah mentions he can figure it out and we buy a CD player and drive over to the K Records building to use their tools. Nehemiah installs the player with just electrical tape, wire strippers and a lot of patience. He's already earned himself first dibs on a bed if we encounter one on tour, in my book anyway.

I met Calvin Johnson while Lake was rehearsing at the studio.

We head back and there's a show going on at Arrington's house (I think the venue is called Sweden). There were 2 Olympia bands and Power Animal from Philly. I sit outside for quite a while Progging out with Nehemiah and Mitchell, a roomate, walks into to the conversation when Fred Frith is mentioned. He asks if we know each other and we both agree and are content with the fact that, no, we're just sizing each other up. Spouting obscure Kraut rock band names and mentioning facts about Yes and King Crimson. We're drinking Alaskan Beer and it's delicious. I am handed a Veggie Burger by Mitchell and I now could not be happier (good food, good company, good beer and Geeking Out!). Someone over hears the words New York and yells "Man, FUCK NEW YORK, that place sucks" we laugh and i ask why and how old he was when he was there. Obviously he was there before he was 21 and probably with his family in Times Square. When I say I live there he asks what it's like with glowing eyes and says "I bet it's awesome" I laugh and concur.

We go down to the basement to watch Power Animal, who were great actually! They know the Armchairs and mention that The Ox is the spot to play in philly now. I buy a T Shirt from them (one more clean article of clothes!) and we talk Randy Newman and Lady Gaga vs Britney Spears for a bit.

Happy, slightly drunk and very tired I go to sleep with the Little Mermaid Sleeping Bag and awake now at 9am to decide to have tour blog I can use to Prog Out later, hence the name.

Arrington de Dionyso's Malaikat dan Singa

Power Animal