Puttin' On The Ritz

More sophisticated by the second, etc.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The End Of An Era, etc.

I apologize for the dearth of posts as of late, I'm sure there is some sort of good reason. There has not been a dearth of shows for us however, which I will currently attempt to update you on.

October 15, 2004 -- Free Radio Dumbo, Brooklyn
Tianna set up some sort of cockamamie microtransmitter for a pirate radio station that you could only hear in Dumbo, and only then if you happened to be standing in the right spot. Someone standing in front of the radio station itself was unable to tune it in, but supposedly other human beings could listen to it, if they wanted. We were asked to play and, as is our custom, we did. Kevin and I emerged from the subway a little disoriented, but we eventually found our way down to where the magic was happening. It was a large storefront, which had been painted by a bunch of hooligans, apparently. There was a party ending next door so we grabbed some people and forced them to enter a small room and watch us perform. Kevin had a snare a small cymbal. I was singing into a microphone, but the speakers were in another room. The original fifteen people quickly dwindled to two, and then one when Tianna went to the bathroom. So we were playing our hearts out to Suzie, who was holding a video camera. I was assured that it was actually running, but it is difficult to tell with these things sometimes. Regardless, we played a hell of a set, and we had fun doing it too. I think the small space and the intimacy of the performance was a bit too much for people's hearts; we most definitely succeeded in making them feel uncomfortable. After the show Kevin went on to make out with Suzie, despite his protestations. I assumed that they had intercourse as well but apparently Suzie was in his apartment for not five minutes before calling a car and retiring for the evening. I walked home and ate a sandwich.

October 17, 2004 -- Tommy's Tavern, Brooklyn
After many trials and tribulations, the lineup was finally resolved. Let me start out by saying that every band that played was fantastic. Lion Fever, in particular, were phenomenal, totally killer. We even managed to have a good time, believe it or not. I noted that all of the bands had to stick around and watch us because I had their money. It elicited a few titters, if memory serves me. There was of course the usual rolling around on the pool table and that sort of thing, we wouldn't want anyone to go home disappointed. There were exactly two bummers about this show, however. The first was that Joe from the Fugue kept pulling his penis out whilst they were playing. My shouts of "put it away!" went unheeded. The second was that the singer for Bellmer Dolls insisted on being a total primadonna dick. He was raving about how he just had to have a soundcheck (quite unsual for a band playing Tommy's), he complained about the club, the PA, the room, the people there, the pay, etc. I will note here that his band got paid $30 while The Fugue, the DJ, and Puttin' On The Ritz got approximately $0. This is not to disparage the entire band, as Dan and Anthony are very sweet, kind, killer dudes. Their band is actually quite good as well, but that fact is totally hindered by the singer acting like a spoiled brat if things don't go exactly his way. Despite these things, the show was super fun (in fact, Jennifer said it was the most fun Lion Fever show all tour), everyone there seemed to be enjoying themselves, and the touring bands got some (not a lot, but some) money. So there.

October 18, 2004 -- Knitting Factory Tap Bar, Manhattan
Brendan called me at 8:00pm to let me know that we were playing at 9:45pm. I busted ass down there after work, just in time to catch the first Touchdown show in who knows how long. Then, we got our chance to go nuts. I quickly downed a few drinks before we went on to help me get in the mood. You know how it is. There were people there, but for the most part they looked uninterested. We did have Brendan sitting right up front, rocking out the whole time. Since we played mostly because we wanted him to see us, we felt like our mission was accomplished. He later told me that we were the best band, like in, the best. The Barr, 1999, and Bobby Birdman trio or whatever got up next and totally brought the good times. 14k brought it on back down to close it out whilst I was sitting in the backstage area (a first for Puttin' On The Ritz) drinking beer I'd snuck in. We even got paid, which was a welcome change of pace. After the show Kevin and I took the train home, and we were discussing the show that night and the one before. Kevin gets bummed out about the money situation sometimes, which is understandable. I realized that something had been bothering me about the show on Sunday, but I couldn't quite figure out what is was. Then it dawned on me. A grand total of one friend of mine came to the show, and I had only called him a few hours before it started. Of the hundreds of people I had told about the show, and the many who claimed they were going to come, one turned up. I have no expectations of people coming out on even a semi-regular basis, but it would have been nice if a few people had turned up. It was just a bit of a bummer, that's all. I was entertaining friends from out of town after all, and I wanted them to have a good time. I found out later why at least some of them didn't come out.

October 20, 2004 -- Tommy's Tavern, Brooklyn
Prologue: We played not one, not two, but three sets. First, middle, and last. Kevin was feeling unwell, but he popped a bunch of cold medication and played through the pain. Apparently everyone was planning on coming to this show, which is why they didn't come on Sunday. I mean, we did play with Sleepy Doug Shaw, Blood On The Wall, Silver (who are apparently enormous in Norway), Vietnam (who just moved to rural Pennsylvania, for some reason), and Cheeseburger. Everyone gave stellar performances, and the place was packed. Brad and I congratulated each other on setting up a successful show.

1st set: We went on at 9:12pm, and there were approximately ten people in the bar. I kept saying "ladies and gentlemen," but amended it to "lady and gentlemen," as there was only one woman in the room. It was a bit more subdued, as we were sober and it was early. That is not to say that we did not try. We always try. We're not overly concerned with the sheer numbers, we play to whoever is actually in the room. We still, and always will, love you. People began filing in whilst we were performing, although I'm not sure that they were either ready for or understanding of the mayhem that was transpiring before their own eyes.

2nd set: We started our second set just after Silver finished. Well, it was a few moments after because Kevin decided that was the exact time he had to go pee. Regardless, this was our largest and least interested crowd of the evening. Sure, there were all sorts of people carrying on conversations and watching the baseball game, but not many paying attention to me standing on the pool table and chairs precariously placed on top of tables and screaming. People were sitting on the pool table trying to speak to each other so I jumped on it and rolled around next to them for a bit. Awesome.

3rd set: I don't even remember what time we went on. We got through a few songs, and people actually seemed to be enjoying it, much to our surprise. After what was to be the end of our set, people were hooting and hollering about something, but I couldn't really tell what. I decided that it would be a good time to play another ballad. People started throwing things at us and booing, so I informed them that if they wanted to throw anything, they should throw money. Then the barrage of change began. Since people were reacting so well, I decided to play another ballad. My funny valentine, indeed. People started grabbing the drums, knocking over the amp, unplugging the mic, etc. Debbie almost beat some girl up. I certainly shoved some people around. That was the funny part -- there were people attacking us and people defending us whilst we were singing about how silly love can be sometimes. Then someone finally unscrewed the mic and I thought it was broken and that was it. I later discovered it wasn't, which was good because at that point I was out for blood. You can fuck with us a little bit if you want, that's all in good fun and in the spirit of what we do. But you can't acutally intentionally break our shit or try to hurt us. There's nothing fun about that.

Epilpgue: I was informed by another person that we are their favorite band in New York. We were also told that we have a reputation, and that we are in fact notorious. What all this means, I am unsure. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we played three sets that night, which doesn't seem out of character for us. I can say that no other band even approaches what we're doing right now, for better or worse. I suppose I'll let history be the judge, as I like to do so often.

So there you have it. We won't be playing for a little while because Kevin is going to Taiwan for some jazz thing and then is playing a solo set in Tokyo. Whatever. I will say that we are curious as to whom reads this thing, and what you might think about it. I honestly have no idea what sort of site traffic we're getting. So post a comment, send me an email, or fucking come to one of our shows and let us demonstrate how it is properly done. That will be all, I believe.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Tower Of Babel, etc.

This translation is courtesy of babelfish.altavista.com. It is unclear why all the characters are not being translated, but I suppose that is the way of these things. I do like that the article doesn't really seem to be about us at all. It is about Kevin being a crazy man. That, for the record, is absolutely true. Without further ado, here is what a Japanese dude had to say about us (as mentioned a few days ago):

Hitting the outrageous drum with storm & stress and copic light solo of る man KEVIN SHEA, it hits the drum with that style and the り which is sown the demonstration 3 of SEXY THOUGHTS which you talk romantic love talks, concerning the relation of the girl "CD from this person arrives at dlc. You can laugh in any case and it is dangerous! Way you can buy with next few days dlc and nat, the stripe shank.And that another band PUTTING ON THE RITZ which relates! This is strange rather, is. Link of video being to paste, by all means check!

Kevin release has done does also the り even from crouton of jon mueller of pele and on the October latter half the schedule which participates in Taiwan ジャズフェス. You see even in Japan and don't you think? the れ れ it is highest.If storm & stress and coptic light the person you have heard perhaps, it is understood, is, but this person it is outrageous, it is with to an air the て.

Sexy Thoughts is Kevin's solo project, if you didn't know. Ta Ta!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Feel Free, etc.

I will skip the pleasantries and simply get down to business.

October 2, 2004 -- Asterisk, Brooklyn
We neither asked nor were asked to play this show; we were merely informed that we would be performing. I arrived quite late so it is unclear how the other bands performed. My friend Sophie was celebrating her birthday, so I was getting drunk at a karaoke bar (warming up, as it were) and was unable to put in an appearance until 1:30am or so. Kevin was in rare form when I walked in, ranting and raving about how he had already played and lambasting me for bailing on certain activities that were transpiring at the party. Nevertheless, I turned up; I always turn up. You can probably well imagine what sort of show we put on, that is to say neither of us were quite in our right mind. Another thing I would like to mention is that this was our silver jubilee, our 25th show. I remember rolling around on the ground a lot and heckling the hecklers. It might be better said that I kept falling off the stage onto the ground and then proceeded to roll around once I was down there. Kevin kept trying to tell jokes in between songs but I don't think they made a whole lot of sense. The set ended with Kevin and I both playing the drums, one stick and one hand a piece, and his ridiculously tall (and hairy) friend Joe rapping (!) over the resulting ill beats. For some reason, I continued to drink more beer after the show, which might very well have been a mistake. My night ended when I got home, vomited, and watched Casualties of War, starring my good friend Michael J. Fox.

Puttin' On The Ritz HQ has been buzzing with rumors of Japanese tours, performances at brothels, and probably other things I've forgotten about. So far, these are all just rumors, but we sincerely hope that there will be some truth to them, someday. We did get a little press, however. If you speak Japanese, please tell me what this says:


Also, I thought it would be fun to create a myspace page for us. I'm still not sure if the fun has started yet, but as always, I'll let history be the judge. The upside is that it features some rough mixes of our latest recording, takes and tracks mostly picked at random. To listen, send us fan and/or hate mail, or simply ogle our hot bods, take a gander at:


Thank you all for your continued support, and we look forward to seeing you soon. Feel free to buy one or both of us a drink or ten.