Monday, November 16, 2009

Genie Vocalist of Gather

I met Genie from going to shows/ being on tour throughout 2008/09, we've kept in touch and I'm excited to be friends with a person who has so much passion and energy. We never really get to hangout much in person due to always just being at a show, but the ideas and reasons transcend a show, so we've kept in touch. Sometimes you just feel really comfortable with certain people and you feel like communication is just there Genie is one of those people so I decided to ask her some questions about getting in that van.

1. Biggest thing you stress about while you are on tour and why?

I’m going to answer these questions based on my experience singing in Gather since my new band hasn’t done too much touring really.

Losing my voice was the biggest source of stress on tour. I developed vocal cord nodules a little before going to Europe in 2006 and I lost my voice after day two of a month long tour there and have never recovered since. At some shows I made our bassist, Randy, sing for us. Other shows I faked it the whole time and didn’t even sing into the mic, and often I couldn’t talk at all after shows which was really isolating because on tour I love meeting new people and talking to them! It still bums me out to no end that I have such problems when I attempt to sing or even talk now. So now I’m playing guitar, and it’s so much less stressful except for the part about me not knowing shit about guitar.

2. Personal space is limited on tour, being stuck in a van for hours at a time, and then having to be at a venue, housing with the same people for durations of time, what are some situation's that have risen from these constant surroundings and how do you deal with them?

For the MOST part, we’re all very close so we got along on tour and it wasn’t a big problem. But there were definitely times I got annoyed, like when Randy would wear super short shorts with no underwear and try to climb into the loft above me, oblivious that his balls were in my face, having not showered for days… Or when we toured with 7 Generations and Chris (singer of 7G) and my brother (drummer of Gather) almost got into a fist fight over bathroom breaks and Chris yelled at me when I tried to calm them down... Times like that made cringe when I’d count how many days we still had left on tour. But I’d just bust out a book and remind everyone that they couldn’t talk to me because I was trying to save my voice. That gave me a little “alone time.” And of course, each night when we’d play, no matter how many or few people there were, it was always such a great release so each day was like a fresh start.

3. What is/was the most important reason for touring for you personally?

One of the main reasons Gather started was so that we could help keep hardcore radical and spread awareness of things like animal, earth and human liberation, anarchy, and feminism. Touring was the best way for us to do that. We met so many inspirational people by touring too, so it was about learning from others as well. Personally, touring helped me overcome my intense shyness. I think it really helped me not give a fuck about some of my insecurities so that was a bonus.

4. How do you try and stay healthy while you are on tour?

Tour food is the worst--it’s hard to eat healthy on tour. Years later, I still can’t bring myself to eat a Builder Bar (or any food in bar-form really) and that was one of the things I said I could eat for the rest of my life. We didn’t resort to fast food thankfully. We would hit up grocery stores instead. I tried to eat mostly raw on one tour, but I just got gnarly diarrhea from detoxing, so that backfired. Dustin would always bring lots of supplements, but I hated swallowing pills, so that was no good either! I just tried to eat as many fruits and veggies as I could, and drink lots of water and tea after shows. I probably got sick a couple times, but mostly my problems were just with my voice from screaming.

5. What kind of connections and disconnections have you made from touring?

Some of my very best friends I have now I met from touring or bonded with the most from touring so I’ll always be thankful for that. Whenever I’m in one place too long and feel like I’m not meeting any people who challenge or inspire me, I know that touring would cure that. It’s just so nice to know that each night you’ll be in a room with people who are seeking the same thing, who are somewhat like-minded and appreciate that sense of community that the DIY punk and hardcore scene can offer. At the same time, you meet so many acquaintances that sometimes it seems like the bonds you make might be really superficial. But either way, they’re way less superficial than the bonds you make with normies that you meet at work, or at a club or some bullshit.

Day #7, Lincoln, Ne

Day #3 Cleveland , Oh @Now That's Class

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 2

Day Two in Rochester, Ny, I got to see friends and eat at some fo my fav. food establishments. Ming's sesame Tofu is one of the greatest things to ever enter my mouth. Im so happy that I got to eat some of that glorious food before I left that lovely city, I'll be back in a month! The show was pretty awesome, Like Wolves played and killed it like always, they got Trevor on bass these days and sounded good. Such Gold played as well, first time seeing them they didn't a nice Snapcase cover. But the overall mix of friends and everything else was great. I had am awesome night back in Rochester, wish I could have stayed a little longer.
Day one of tour in Albany, Ny, best part of the night our friends treated us with delicious cupcakes. They didn't stay together but they tasted great! Night Drive to Rochester,Ny to hang in the old stomping grounds.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

John Twentyfive, Wyld Punx, Not Sorry, How We Are, The Disaster, Break Of Dawn

John and I have been friends for a very longtime, we see eye to eye on most thing's involving this wonderful world we surround ourselves in. That doesn't mean we don't disagree and have our moment's, but that's the beauty of being friends for over a decade. John is a very compassionate, honest, and stubborn person and I truly value that in him. Never afraid to be the person to tell you how it is, espcially in a world where people are always trying to water down the truth. Currently singing in Not Sorry and formerly playing bass in a crap load of bands. John lives in Seattle,Wa and still inspires me to this day and I'm very pleased to have him in my life and to be one of my best friends. Wyld Punx always!

1. What was it like leaving XHead OnX while on tour? (i figured this would be interesting because i really don't have any type of reference for this situation and well i was there and want to know your insight. plus it's been long enough and i think it's a cool story, although you don't have to tell the story)

That was a strange event. Jeff (our singer) and I were not really getting along around that time. Between the band and living together, on top of both being stubborn bullheaded people, it finally came to a head. Looking back on it, it was childish and I was in the wrong for bailing, but it's what I needed to do. I put a lot of time and effort into that band and to have him say, "I've been faking it for months and you haven't noticed" (something to that effect), really hit me hard. I took a bus from South Carolina up to Rochester, NY. It was a 24 bus ride, as well as 24 hours of my life I'll never get back. Ugh, it was the worst.

Though it did allow you guys to meet some cool people and make some cool friends. It could've been worse. Though I'm sure at the time, it was incredibly awkward.

(Editor's note: I was on this tour and not in the band, it was a very awkward moment seeing your good friends argue and have a band that you loved break up right before your eyes.)

2. You've been in band's that have played the same city a few times, can you tell me what it feels like to keep returning to a city and realizing it's just not the same anymore?

It's a total bummer really, but it happens. We both saw it living in Rochester, the turn-over rate of hardcore and punk kids is like a revolving door. But hopefully you've made some long standing friends in those towns and at the very least, they put you up for the night. So you get to see them and hang out, catch up, and talk about old times. I love meeting up with people I haven't seen in a long time and just bullshitting.

3. What insight has touring given to you in the bigger picture of life?

Hm, good question. It teaches you how to deal with people, both good and bad. It also allows you to think on your feet. While touring may not be as hard now as it was in 1982, shit does happen and sometimes you have to make decisions that aren't easy. But having that time to get to know the people in your band, learning to take things with a grain of salt, how to share space when you have very little, is all priceless. If touring doesn't make you a better person in some way, you're doing it wrong.

4. If you could choose one thing about tour and be able to change it what would you pick to change?

Feeding bands. Plain and simple. Now if you are doing a local show and ask a band from an hour away to come play your town, or they asked you for a show, there's no need to roll out the red carpet and fix them a 6 course meal. But for bands that have traveled most of the day and have been on the road for weeks at a time, throw some pasta in a pot, put some sauce on it and you've got an instant meal. If you've been in a van for 6-8 hours eating only gas station junk food, having some warm food waiting for you really hits the spot and does not go unappreciated. If it does, fuck'em and don't fix them food ever again, maybe even consider letting someone else book them next time.

5. Worst place you ever stayed on tour? As detailed as possible please!

The worst place I can remember staying on tour was this dude in New Mexico. We drove like 12 hours overnight to get to the show. It was summer so we didn't want to drive during the day, we ended up arriving at his house at like 5 or 6 in the morning. He told us we could have the house which was fuckin' dirty and stunk like shit, mainly due to the cat poop that was everywhere, along with a weed/stale beer combo. It was hot, 6 in the morning and there was not enough room for the 5 of us. He took a sleeping bag and slept under the hot sun on a plastic folding chair in the "yard" which was little more than dirt. It was so hot in his place, so that made the stench extra tantalizing. And to top if off, the show turned out to mainly be a party . . . cool.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ryan "Hex" Canavan a writer, show goer, band member, show booker, lifer

As long as I can remember Ryan has been a staple in the Syracuse Hardcore Community, his zine Hanging Like A Hex was the lifeline for those of us in the western/ upstate, New york area. Ryan has had his hands involved in many different projects over the years, zines, bands, shows, events, and a label. I have the utmost respect for Ryan for making his passion something truly resonating to me. He's a wonder in this world of lazy assholes and poor me attitudes. Ryan has also always told it like it is and I respect that more than anything. Without further ego boosting here ya go! Hex Records, Mistletoe, and Westcott Community Center.

1. The biggest mistake you have ever committed on tour?

Attempting to drive through a mountain pass between Oregon and Northern California in January... not expecting snow. The highway was closed and we had to cancel a show because of it. Total bummer. I'm sure there have been much worse atrocities- almost allowing a bum to knife us in NYC by engaging in conversation with him while in the van, going to the next show a day early when we could have relaxed in Vegas for an extra day, forgetting some of our gear at a show and not realizing it until the next day when we were 200 miles away from it (by some insane stroke of luck it was still where we left it). This is what comes to mind right away. I may have blocked out worse things.

2. With the vast amount of bands touring now, what are a list of reasons for bands to not tour?

There are so many. Seriously, most bands should just not tour. If you're a band, and you're itching to play out of town, stick to just playing some places where you have friends... preferably not too far away. Make it easy on yourself at first. Get good. Maybe record something, then give it a go. Don't bother touring in the summer unless you are certain that all will go well. By and large most bands aren't good. Also, you probably won't break even, so if you're already broke touring is probably not a good idea unless you're extremely crafty. If you're an obnoxious asshole who has an issue with being respectful in other people's town/homes/venues you probably should not go on tour. If you have a serious issue with showing up to anything on time ever touring is probably not a good idea (you'll just piss off promoters trying to run a smooth show). If you're in any band that takes more time to do their hair than they take to learn their instruments you probably shouldn't tour. In fact, you probably should just break up and spare everyone a boatload of misery.

3. What is one routine you get into when you're out on the road?

I've noticed that I tend to consolidate my stuff into a little zone wherever we stay for the night. Some people leave stuff in the van or whatever. I take everything, keep it right around me within easy reach, and essentially make a little nest for the night. I get real protective of all my things because I absolutely hate the idea of losing anything remotely necessary on tour. I guess it's not too weird, but when compared to my bandmates I feel like I might be a little obsessive in that regard.

4. You just committed to a long over night drive what is your first musical selection you go for?

Something that is both lengthy and interesting, so I don't have to change it up a lot and time goes by a little quicker. Perhaps Rush, "Chronicles"?

5. What are some of your favorite things to do while on tour?

I like being in a place that may not be too familiar to me and has some places to explore that are walking distance. It's better than the typical, 'show up, wait, play, find some cheap place to eat, watch a movie, sleep, repeat.' I like all that stuff too, but being in a new place with some interesting facets to the town/area is always really cool too.