Puttin' On The Ritz

More sophisticated by the second, etc.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Natural Log, etc.

July 20, 2005 – Glasshouse, Brooklyn
Most of my memories of this show involve the room being unbearably hot. Hot! We shared the stage with our friends Nick Flanagan, Bent Outta Shape, Ill Ease, and 50 Million. We decided to use two drum kits again, which might have been ill advised because I was a little dizzy from the alcohol and the heat. Thus, I faired poorly on the drums. But then Sharp got up and played with us for a bit, which was probably fun but I can’t really remember. Most of the people who were there had left by the time we played, probably because it was so hot. Hot! I was sweating and then I rode my bicycle home and went to bed.

July 23, 2005 – Parking Lot in Long Island City, Queens
Todd outdid himself, booking something like 37 (to wit: Matt & Kim, Growing, Eloe Omoe, Parts & Labor, Aa, USAISAMONSTER, Free Blood, Japanther, Afrirampo and Lightning Bolt) bands to play all afternoon and evening. We were part of the second stage contingent, which also included Talibam and Necking.

1st set: We were going to perform around dusk, but then a little after 4pm Todd approached me and said that we had to play now. So, we set up and played in the blazing sun. What was nice was that the 7 train could be seen going behind us, I imagine it was quite scenic but I was facing the other way so I couldn’t really tell. I had drained a few beers in a very short amount of time in an attempt to ready myself for this performance, which may or may not have worked. I believe we played quite well, in fact I think we gave our most spirited performance of Rainbow Connection to date. Much to our surprise, people watched the whole set and didn’t throw too many things at us. I had the foresight to apply plenty of sunscreen before I left the house, which probably aided me in not receiving a terrible sunburn. So yes, we had a blast. Playing outside in the afternoon whilst drinking beer is pretty much always a good time. People kept coming up to me and commending me on our performance, total strangers even! I think Kevin even managed to offend one of them, which might not have been the best idea as we sort of need all the support we can get. Thanks, Kevin.

2nd set: When Todd asked us to play early he said that we could also play late if we wanted. We decided that yes, we wanted. So we played again in the dark, with the 7 train still running behind us and occasionally drowning us out. This time there were a few more projectiles, although I don’t think any of them were really on target. It was nice to get to play live in the round, as there were people forming some sort of circle around us. We usually do not command that sort of audience appreciation, so we did our best to keep them entertained. I was standing on top of a large amplifier but managed not to fall off and hurt myself. I had been drinking for at least five hours straight by that point, which made that no small feat. People made requests which we totally ignored, mostly because they were requesting songs we had played in our first set and we weren’t interested in repeating ourselves. I ripped Kevin from the drums and launched into Fly me to the Moon, and Kevin retaliated by standing on them then kicking them over. Undaunted, I continued playing Kevin and the fallen drums. What fun we had! For some reason we are always surprised when people like us, maybe we’ve been hit in the head with too many beer cans at this point. I cannot tell. After the set some dude from Switzerland by way of Missoula or something like that was gushing to me about how great we were. Then some other dude came up and started harassing me about what the point of our bands is. What is the point of our band? Wouldn’t you like to know! What is the point of any band, what sort of message is any band trying to get across? I know we certainly are not making a living off this and probably will not be any time soon (unless we enter the Twilight Zone, which seems unlikely) so we better be having a good fucking time. It is all about the good time and all that jazz, etc. Actually, I can’t really tell what the point is anymore, I think I might have known once but it has been buried beneath gallons of bourbon and the occasional beer. Well, maybe a few more beers than that, but I think you know what I mean. Alcohol. If we needed an excuse to get drunk I could say that is the reason we play, but I am perfectly capable of getting drunk without being in a band. It certainly hasn’t gotten either of us laid, which is another famous reason for being in a band. In fact, this might be bad for our image (you know these things are very delicate), but Kevin and I have gone from being two bachelors to both having girlfriends so getting laid isn’t really a priority anymore (well, it is still a priority, but there is only one particular woman we are each trying to have sex with). But I don’t think either of us can point to this band as the reason we both found love, which should probably not come as a surprise to any of you. In any event, the answer is, the point of our band is because we love you. I should hope that satisfies your curiosity, etc. Actually, what was I talking about again? Do you know what the cube root of 27 is? I’ll give you a hint: it’s prime. Actually, that one was too easy. Why don’t you tell me what the logarithm of 1000 is? Or rather, tell yourself, because I already know. Toodles!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Mercury, etc.

On July 16th it was cold and foggy out at the Atlantic Ocean. We were both bummed out. The water did not seem inviting, so Kevin and I sat on the beach and looked out at the sea for a while rather than actually entering it. Our second annual show in the ocean was cancelled due to inclement weather of the soul. I would apologize to all our fans who came out and were disappointed, but as we were sitting by ourselves on the beach at 8pm there is no one to apologize to. Some days the bar eats you, it would appear.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Yours, etc.

Friends and colleagues, readers and moonlighters -- hello. I owe each and every one of you an apology, it seems like you have all suffered through a long month without a single word of wisdom from us. I have been quite distracted as of late, I must admit. I do not care to share the details, but that is really neither here nor there. I am sure Kevin meant to say hello but he has relegated himself to the stone age for some reason, despite the lateness of the hour he is currently without internet access. He is a wholehearted participant in these discussions but he does not always have the time, time has not always worked in our favor. I know what time it is right now in several parts of the world, but I have long been a fan of mathematics. There is much to discuss, it would seem. We played some shows, etc.

June 27, 2005 -- Glasshouse, Brooklyn
Kevin actually showed up at a resonable hour! You have no idea how impressed I was. We had the sincere pleasure of playing with Birdbrain, Castles, and The Good Good. If you are unfamiliar with any of those bands, they all receive our stamp of approval, for what it's worth. Perhaps you do not look to us for musical recommendations, I have no idea who you look to for guidance. I am not currently in analysis so my grasp of such things is limited. I had decided a few days ago that there was a new song that I wanted to perform. Kevin had never heard it before, so I sang it to him about 15 minutes before we went on. We opened with it. I might have given Kevin some musical direction before we started, but I cannot recall. If I did, I also cannot recall whether he followed it or not. Man it was hot in that room! Kevin admitted to me once that I get him more drunk than any other human on the planet, that he has vomited more as a result of Puttin' On The Ritz shows than any other ailment. Remember that he has a sensitive stomach, my friends. Whilst I might be a bad influence on him occasionally, also keep in mind that I add an element of positivity that might also be lacking from his life. I am making no apologies; we are both grown men and can fend for ourselves. Although the details are a bit hazy I believe we played a good set and even managed to enjoy ourselves. I wish my memory of such things was more reliable, but you might all take heart in the fact that according to my bloodwork my liver is in tip-top shape. Apparently my heritage has disposed me to decomposing alcohol quite well. Thank the lord, or at least I would if I believed in such things. Fortune favors the bold, that is where I put my faith.

July 7, 2005 -- Tommy's Tavern, Brooklyn
For any number of reasons, we had not played at Tommy's in quite some time. Whatever the reasons, we played twice. Quite the international show, apparently. Love of Diagrams were kind enough to visit from Australia (I have a shared history with the drummer going back a number of years. I spoke to Monika before the show, and when she asked me how I'd been I responded "What, in the last six year? Up and down." How would you sum up the last six years of your life? If I had to hazard a guess I would say few of you would respond with "Awesome." Granted, it has been occasionally awesome. The glass is still half full, no matter what you believe. Retconned, Recompas, Hells Hills, and Necking all performed as well, much to our collective delight.

1st set: We played early in the front room and I was not nearly drunk enough. I mentioned being distracted earlier, I think it sort of affected my performance. It was a bit lackluster, I will admit. I do appreciate the fact that Marcy came out, she claims to read this thing extensively but then mostly fails to turn up. I did not expect her to be wearing braces on her teeth, but then again no one expects the Spanish Inquisition. I am glad that we kept it short because it was not quite as sweet as it could have been. I suppose I have always had a hard time faking it, I am a terrible actor and an even worse liar. I am really good at being vague and elusive, but at least you know when I'm being vague and elusive. I hope that is of some small comfort to you. After we finished I continued getting completely smashed, which I am convinced did not hurt our cause.

2nd set: We followed Necking, who set up two drum kits facing each other. Jason had actually suggested that we both play drums, and as I was feeling quite suggestable that evening we did. Casey and Todd were fucking with the effects on my vocals the whole time, which I commented on by exclaiming "My vocal sound weird." Karolina kept threatening to leave as she had to wake up early in the morning but was coaxed into staying by promises (threats?) of greatness. It is my opinion that we delivered, but I may or may not be biased. Kevin was pretty deadpan and refused to be goaded into singing very much, but we did do a pretty tender duet of Fly me to the Moon. At least I think we did. I think we took turns soloing together, if that makes any sense at all. My most vivid memory of the evening remains the taste of the microphone, which I had perhaps inadvisably stuck in my mouth during our grand finale. You may not know this, but it is hard to sing with a microphone in your mouth. Your voice tends to be muffled and it is quite challenging to enunciate. I would claim that we got a standing ovation, but there were no chairs and as I mentioned, the only thing I really remember is the taste of that goddamn microphone.

I am not sure if this is what I intended to write or what you expected to read, but I don't really care all that much. It is late and I'm drunk. In a few short hours I will be waking up for work and other things. This by no means constitutes an apology, we have nothing to be sorry for. Well, very little at any rate. It has been brought to our attention that there is an academic paper of sorts circulating that treats us as one of its subjects, I think it might the first thing I've had written about a band I was in since the Angel Assassins record got reviewed by my friend Charles in Maximum Rock and Roll. For those of you unfamiliar with such things, these events all transpired whilst I was 18 years old. That is to say that it was not recently, the year was 1997. I will not comment on it directly except to say that we have composed a formal rebuttal; it is available for your perusal in the pages of such publications as Candide, Tom Jones, and The Tokyo-Montana Express. Take that as you will, my friends. We remain here for you, as always. We might be tired and distracted but we are not dead. We do, above all, love you.

Puttin' On The Ritz