Puttin' On The Ritz

More sophisticated by the second, etc.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Seasons Greetings, etc.

Greetings, my friends. It is good to see you again, I think. We've had some fun, and I hope you have as well.

November 20, 2004 -- Asterisk, Brooklyn
It seems that some of the details have escaped me about this show, as it has been over a week since we played it and I did have a fair amount to drink that night. I attempted to do some writing whilst still at the show, but the internet was working intermittently. In any event, I do recall that it was my sincere pleasure to perform with Warbler, who were visiting from San Francisco and featured Kristy, whom I had not seen in four years or so. Fantastic, my friends. Seek them out, if you can. Our friends Diamond Nights (formerly Diamonds, having had to change their name due to legal problems) also made playing a blast. Our set was a bit of a mess, but super fun nonetheless. We set up in the hallway, although when I was moving a couch I put a slight ding in the wall (sorry, guys). Our friend Kim had asked if she could sit in with us, and we agreed. Our one practice went well, but as usual, the circumstances of the show dictated that our performance varied quite widely from that rehearsal. First of all, Kevin broke his mic on the way to the show. They had one mic at the space that we could plug into his amp, but the other one had to run through the PA. Thus, you could hear me loud and clear everywhere in the room (in fact, the entirety of Asterisk) except for the actual place I was standing. This led to me alost literally screaming my guts out in an effort to be heard. I say almost literally because altough I came very close to throwing up after the set, I managed not to. My head was throbbing with pain as well. The other problem was that Kim didn't know the lyrics too well and it was quite dark, meaning that she could not read them on the music stand. So not being able to hear me meant she couldn't just sing along, and not being able to read the lyrics meant she didn't know what to sing anyway. Instead, she spent much of the set screaming obscenities, such as "Put your penis in my vagina!", over and over again. Good times, indeed. I'm not sure what sort of impression we made, but we did manage to have a good time, somehow. Kim was wearing a bright yellow dress, which I'm sure did not detract from the proceedings. She left immediately after our performance, claiming embaressment as her chief reason. I found this out upon speaking to her the next day, as I did not get to say goodbye. I was outside trying not to vomit at the time. Somehow I ended up there, drinking heavily, until 530am, at which point I unwisely rode my bicycle home. I did manage to make it home safe.

November 28, 2004 -- Knitting Factory Main Space, Manhattan
There was some confusion as to whether we were actually going to play or not, but Todd sorted it all out. We found out that we were playing for sure somewhere around 5pm, We were supposed to play second, but Cop on Fire decided that they'd rather not play after us, and as we were borrowing their drums we felt obliged to make the switch. What are we, egotists? Well, yes. But playing first or second or whatever is not really that big of a deal to us. So, I quickly changed into my suit, as I found this out about ten minutes before we had to play. I was especially excited because my good friends Hawk and Emilie were visiting from San Francisco, and I wanted them to see us. We played to about ten or so people, it was hard to tell. We certainly made the most of it, however. Kevin was doing all sorts of drummer tricks (twirling his sticks, throwing them in the air, etc.), and I was rolling around on the ground, per usual. Some dudes on the balcony kept asking us if we were serious (heckling us, so to speak), to which I replied "We mean every word we say", and Kevin started playing the drums with the microphone stand, which was threaded between his legs. He also kept telling them to come and get it, or something to that effect anyway. When one of the sticks got out of his control and came my way, I grabbed it and threw it at the hi-hat, actually managing to hit it in time. I tackled Kevin and started playing the drums at some point, and then he tackled me right back and took over again. All of this without a missed beat, or at least missing enough beats so that it was still on time. One of the bartenders decided we needed a martini, and brought one to me mid-set without me asking. I responded "This may be the best thing that's ever happened at a Puttin' On The Ritz show." People have brought us drinks without asking before, but never martinis. Thank you, Alexis. The set ended with Kevin and I whispering "bop", and then I knocked over the music stand (which had nothing on it because I couldn't find our lyrics), dropped the mic, and walked out. It was shortly before 9pm and I was quite drunk. Big Business and Kylesa also performed, for the record. Big Business were good, even. I was a huge Karp fan, and it does feature members of Karp, so what can you do?

There were lots of other things I was going to write, but they are eluding me at the moment and I need a shower. Just assume that they were witty, or something to that effect. I hope all is well.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I'll Drink To That, etc.

I've gotten several angry letters regarding the fact that nothing has been posted here as of late. My response, obviously, was that Kevin Shea was off galavanting in the Orient and thus we were sort of on hiatus. Taking a break, as it were. Considering the number of shows we've played in the last six months, I think that's pretty fair. He had a good time, if you're wondering. We did have a reunion of sorts on Saturday evening, however.

November 13, 2004 -- Office Ops, Brooklyn
This show was booked quite some time ago, and then I proceeded to hear nothing at all about it until I saw a listing on Tuesday. I noticed that Tunnel Of Love, Breaker! Breaker!, Pterodactyl, La Otracina, and Puttin' On The Ritz were playing on Saturday. Since we were listed (much to my surprise), I figured we had a show to play, despite the fact that I had not seen or spoken to Kevin for almost three weeks. We were seriously considering just giving the show a miss, since we hadn't practiced and I wanted to have some new songs for the next show we played. After some soul searching, I realized that it would be bad form to cancel the show. It is a dangerous precedent, to be frank I've never cancelled a show in my entire life. Not a one. I wasn't about to start here. We turned up to a mostly empty house, and played to one as well. Kevin and I can play to each other and still have fun, so we did. No really, we really did have fun playing. I think sometimes we turn in better sets when no one is around then when we're playing to a full house. Go figure. We were told we were getting a twelve pack and then were handed five beers. I suppose that wasn't too big of a deal, since Kevin wasn't going to drink and I seriously doubt that I needed twelve beers to myself. I gave one to Kyle and drank the other four. Kevin got some money for us and we cut out pretty much right after we played. I felt a little guilty about that, as I know people in some of the other bands. They all admitted to me that they had seriously considered cancelling the show as well, but went through with it because they felt obligated to. I found out it was Todd's (the dude who booked the show) birthday, so I felt relieved that we hadn't bailed. He's been wanting to see us for a while and we would have been total assholes to not play for him on his birthday. While we might be assholes on occasion, we are most certainly not total assholes, despite our best efforts. I went to the show at Mighty Robot and then found myself riding around extensively whilst drunk in the cold quite late in the evening. I watched the sun come up from my new apartment and then passed out.

Someone commented to me recently that "Puttin' On The Ritz is not the sort of band that's going to get you laid." I wish I could remember who it was, as it does seem pretty true. I wonder why that is? Alas, apparently. On a vaguely related note, I think the main misconception people have about us is that we are performance artists. What does that mean, exactly? Are we eating shit on stage or vomiting on our friends or something? We have never gone completely nude, even if I have removed my blouse once or twice. We do play music, remember? I think we do it quite well, even. We are many things to many people. We are romantics, we are punk rockers; we are gentlemen, we are jazz theorists; we are enthusiasts, we are disco dancers. We firmly believe that it is time for another drink, no matter what time it might be.