Tuesday, June 21, 2011
First things first, I know, I haven't 'treated myself' to any writing on this here blog in awhile. I'll do my best to update more often. This story seemed worth writing about, so coffee went on, dogs are fed, and I figure I'll let this rip....
So Chuck Ragan and I finished up the last night of our eastern Canada tour Sunday night with a packed, spirited Bovine Sex Club show, one of my favorite venues with so many good buds, so naturally it was quite a party. Chuck and I were sharing a room in a hotel that the NXNE folks set up for us and we both were flying in the morning. Chuck's flight was early, mine was late.
Chuck shut it down early and went back to the room, but I figured I'd hang some more with friends. I get back to the hotel with my guitar, merch bag and backpack on, and as I entered the lobby some sketchy looking fella, who looked as if he was staying at the hotel, and was kind of tweaking came up and the following exchange was had....
Tweaker: "Yo man, whaddup? You play music 'n shit?"
Me: "Yeah man."
Tweaker: "Ah cool me too, where you from?"
Me: "Philly, in the states."
Tweaker: "F'real? I aint never been. I'm from Toronto"
Me: "Ah ok, well have a good night."
Tweaker: "Wait, hold up, I make beats, we should make music together. You make money doing this?"
Me: "Sometimes. Yeah that sounds good, but I gotta head up to the room man, I gotta fly tomorrow."
Tweaker: "Yo, gimme your phone number and I'll call you and then we can hook up, I'll make beats and you can write songs over them."
Me: "I don't give my number out man, I don't know you."
Tweaker: "C'mon man, just give me your number."
Me: "Sorry fella, I'm heading up, have a good night."
At this point, I'm creeped out, not to mention getting annoyed. Does Tweaker have a knife? A gun? A group of lunatics in a room somewhere ready to get medieval on my ass?
Tweaker: "You coulda just said you weren't interested."
I'm getting my bags and various other items in the elevator, waiting for the door to shut.
Me: "I did, in a nice way. I'm not fuckin interested. Back off."
Tweaker: "Man, you're a dick."
Me: "Ok, maybe so. G'night."
I get up to the room, and of course, no key. Chuck's inside, but probably sleeping or in the damn bathtub, so I knock. The elevator opens back up, and of course, here comes Tweaker all fired up with a full head of steam.
Tweaker: "Yo man, that's fucked up, what you said."
Me: "Listen man, I guarantee you, you don't want to do this, get back in the elevator, leave it alone."
Knock on the door again, louder. "Chuck!"
Tweaker: "Nah man, I know you made money tonight, so give me your money."
Me: "You ain't getting anything, trust me. Beat it."
I'll admit, not knowing what this guy was up to or capable was scary. I figured another knock was in order.
Tweaker: "Yo man, this ain't Philadelphia, it's Canada."
I literally laughed out loud. Now look, I'm not saying there aren't roughnecks everywhere, but Canada is one of the cleanest, kindest, low-crime parts of the world I've had the pleasure of touring in. Philadelphia's violent crime rate has been 2.5-3 times the national average for years. It's a drag, nothing to be proud of, but you learn how to carry yourself in a rough city.
Me: "Oh I know where I am. Not sure you know what kind of town I'm from, but if you touch me, you're gonna get beaten like we're in jail. You'll get hurt. And when this door opens, there'll be two of us, and you'll get carried out of here. "
Now look, I'm not a violent guy, but when some cretin comes up to you in a hotel hallway threatening to take your money, you gotta say some ugly shit in order to try to make the situation swing in your favor. Plus I got the feeling this may have been his first attempt at a robbery, so I figured I'd take my chances.
Tweaker: "Your money, or your guitar, I'm taking some shit."
I balled up my right fist, figuring it was time. Tweaker, lightning quick, grips my wrist. I drop the guitar, pop a left jab to the lip and grab his throat, kick the hotel door, and yell for Chuck one more time.
Tweaky has my wrist, I'm squeezing his thoat, saying "Look man, don't do this, I'll let go, and you get back on the elevator. Last chance."
Just then, the door opens, and my old friend and your's, Chuck Ragan comes out, towel around the waist. Tweaker's eyes, bulging from getting blasted and getting choked out, somehow get even wider.
Chuck: "What in god's name is going on out here?!?!"
Me: "Yo bud, this kid is trying to rob me!"
Tweaker snapped out of it when he saw towel clad, tattooed, Braveheart-lookin-Chuck, as would most, and let go of my wrist. I let go of him and he took off for the elevator.
Chuck: "What the fuck? Get him!!"
Me: "NO NO!! Chuck, just help me get my shit in!! We're in Canada, If we beat this kid up, we're never gonna be be allowed to come back here and sing our little songs...hurry up!!"
Chuck: "Right, right! Ok..."
I called the front desk.
Me: "Sir! There's a guy heading down the stairs right now, just tried to rob me, don't let him out of here, call the cops."
Desk clerk: "What?! The guy from the lobby? He's staying here!"
Me: "Call the cops, don't let him leave."
Again, neither I, nor Chuck are violent fellows. Sure, I would've loved to have beaten the living hell out of this kid, but it would've been an ugly thing to do. Plus, as soon as you have assault anywhere near you, getting over borders and operating as a musician becomes extremely hard.
I tell the bewildered Chuck the story, he's shocked as he was having a soak in the tub before his flight home. We laughed and laughed at this kid's horseshit attempt at robbery, especially at the "This ain't Philadelphia, it's Canada" line.
15 minutes later, the phone rings.
Desk clerk: "Sir, we have the man, the cops are here, are you ready to come down and press charges?"
Me: "Hell no. Kick him out of the hotel, make sure he's gone, this is over."
Desk clerk: "Are you sure?! He tried to rob you!!"
The last thing I want to do is come back up to Toronto to deal with this nonsense.
Me: "Totally sure, thanks for your help."
Desk clerk: "You're welcome sir, I'm so sorry, good night."
Me: "Oh hey, by the way..."
Desk clerk: "Yessir?"
Me: "I need a 10:15 wake up call."
Thursday, December 30, 2010
So here is the way we'd do the encore in Australia, in order...
Then we'd do this one...
and end with this gem:
Now you see why we were using all that hyperbolic language about it being the "greatest tour ever" and such. Life doesn't get much better than this.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I posted my albums last week, to which some people replied "c'mon! you didn't include such and such and so forth record??". So once again, these are my FAVORITE songs of the year. I didn't hear every song, and I'm no critic or expert so I can't say they're the best, but...well, sure I can. These are the best songs of 2010.
12. The Drive-By Truckers-"This Fucking Job"
I love when Patterson Hood sings about working folk, "The Righteous Path" is one of my favorite songs of the last few years and this is in a similar vein. The key thing I love about this song is the turnaround at the end: the narrator is bitching about his shitty job, only to come to grips with the desperation in having no work when he loses said job. Perfect lyrics for The Great Recession.
11. Dr Dog-"Shadow People"
I admit this whole record is pretty great, but you know how sometimes certain bands' vibes give you the creeps? That's what happens 25 or so minutes after my wife puts this record on. But long before I'm fumbling for the right arrow key on the Ipod, "Shadow People"'s radness gives me a great cheer. "It's the right night for the wrong company" is a lyric I wish I wrote.
10. Against Me!-"Because of the Shame"
"We used to get high together, instead of gettin high alone" is a great way to start a story.
For every Against Me! record I've heard, there are moments where I feel like they knock it out of the park (that "Condoleezaaaaa" song) and other sections where I don't quite get it. This is an Against Me! home run. I can't believe they didn't use this as the single, it's really terrific.
9. Band Of Horses-"Laredo"
This is the perfect song for the first car ride of spring where you can roll the windows down. I wrote a song called "Melanin" before I heard this song that I think shares some similarities, oddly enough.
8. The Gaslight Anthem-"Boxer"
I may be in the minority here, but I really like that Brian ditched the Springsteen-referential, "Maria" thing on their new record, they were brave to go in new directions this time around. "Boxer" is them doing what they do best. Not sure exactly what the lyrics are about, but the song is so good I just want to clap along and smile as they get to that bridge. Rock n roll goodness.
7. Title Tracks- "It Was Easy"
This band has the best rhythm section you could find, Andrew Black and Michael "Spider" Cotterman, but they didn't play on the record!! Why the hell not?!
Anyhow, pure smart pop goodness. Best song on a record I wish more people were talking about.
6. The Hold Steady-"The Weekenders"
I'll start by saying, and it's no secret, that I LOVE The Hold Steady. Like, if they weren't friends of mine, I'd be starting-a-local-chapter-of-the-"Unified-Scene"-fan-club-for-suburban-Philadelphia-kind of love them . I like "Heaven is Whenever" but I didn't quite get out of it what I got out of the other 4 records. This song, however, has everything I love about this band. Great story, killer guitar hook and that that gnawing sense of the other shoe dropping despite the party peaking.
5. Mumford & Sons-"The Cave"
I hear this record what seemed like a million times this year, my wife was all about it. This is the first song that made me want to hear more from them.
4. The New Pornographers-"Crash Years"
Cool reference to The Smiths in "Honey child you're not safe here". Neko Case, what more can be said?
3. Brandon Flowers-"Hard Enough"
Brandon Flowers doing what he does best, delivering a great hook. I love how pop he got on this record, he was pushing into almost Elton John or Phil Collins territory. Jenny Lewis' harmony is so killer on this song. Repeat.
2. The Black Keys-"My Next Girl"
Great vocal on this song, killer Stones-ey lyrics too. I love how he delivers the lyric so far beyond the beat, like James Brown's drummer or something. Definitely not auto tuned, beat detective-d, or focussed group-ed.
1. Cee Lo Green-"Fuck You"
C'mon, how can you not love this tune? It's been said before, that this was 2010's Hey Ya, and it's a good comparison so it bears repeating. So fun. I've watched that video a dozen times and it never gets old.
Thanks for reading. With Bright Eyes releasing a new 10 song record in 2011, my list won't be that interesting or diverse so I'm glad you got to read this one...
Ok I gotta shoot straight...This year I spent a lot more time listening to Howard Stern than I did listening to new music, but I did try my best to keep up, and I still haven't gotten to a bunch of records I wanted to hear this year. None More Black's "Icons" narrowly missed my list, and deserves your attention if you like the guitars REAL FKN LOUD. Robert Plant's "Band of Joy" record sounds amazing and had Patty Griffin on it, and Tim Kasher's "The Game of Monogamy" has amazing lyrics and my favorite cover art of the year.
The new Drive By Truckers, She & Him, and New Pornographers records had amazing songs but didn't hold my interest from start to finish as some of their past records have done.
So here they are: no other records blew my skirt up or impressed me as much as these 10.
10. Free Energy-"Stuck on Nothing"
This band is aggravatingly good at writing a great pop song. I would love to hate this as it seems like a novelty T Rex or Cars kinda deal, but the songs stick to your ribs and are undeniable. Not to mention the band is from Philly and is getting popular, so I'm routing for them, big time.
I like that they went for a real loose and creative vibe on this record. I think their 2007 record "GaGaGaGaGa" (too many Ga's) was hard to beat but this was different enough that it didn't let me down. When Britt Daniel sings:
"When I'm with you all my brothers I feel like a king, It feels like I'm dreaming..."
it gives me the chills and makes me want to jump in the van with Mike Sneeringer, Dave Walsh and Chris Gonzalez and tour for the next 10 years.
8. Titus Andronicus-"The Monitor"
Dark, loud, nasty record. It doesn't offer any solutions to how insane the state of affairs are, but still makes you want to buy a 40 oz and party down. "The enemy is everywhere" Badass.
7. The National-"High Violet"
I'm late to the party with this band, I liked a few songs off of Boxer but I didn't quite get it. There's some kind of anxious sadness about this record that I really connected too. My chore is to vacuum the house once a week and this is the soundtrack. The drummer manages to make super complex patterns out of straight forward time signatures that blow my mind.
6. Cee Lo Green- "The Lady Killer"
"Fuck You" is my favorite song of the year, and this record does the job all the way through despite having such a monster single. Super creative soul record with saucy lyrics, makes you want to shake a tail feather.
5. Superchunk-"Majesty Shredding"
My favorite pop-punk record of the year. How do they come back after 9 years with this radness?! I don't know what "My gap feels weird" means, but I know how he feels...
4. Taylor Swift-"Speak Now"
Mark my words, Taylor Swift is this generation's Dolly Parton. She writes amazingly well, her songs are emotive, and she's able to communicate with a ton of dignity and empathy her 20 year old perspective. Go ahead and hate away punks, this girl is the real deal and has more skill and heart in one finger than 99% of your favorite "indie" bands.
3. Kanye West-"My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"
I followed Kanye on Twitter for about 5 minutes and deleted his ass, believe me, I know the guy is fucking annoying. But he's an annoying musical genius, and this record proves it. It just feels like music from the future and I was hooked from the opening chorus of "Can we get much higher?" I love this record so much.
2. Jenny And Johnny-"I'm Having Fun Now"
Jenny Lewis is one of my modern songwriting heros, and this collaboration record with her boyfriend Jonathan Rice is fantastic. Great 70's pop vibes with the acerbic lyrics Jenny delivers so well.
"Outside of Silverlake, I am the biggest fake."
1. Arcade Fire-"The Suburbs"
I was obsessed with this record from the day it dropped, no other record even came close. It's a masterpiece, and I get the impression they made it very true to their artistic vision, without letting the commerce of being in a popular band lead their decisions, so it's even sweeter that they topped the charts.
Great songs and lyrics that really nail our modern times. Their drum tech, Patrick is a fan of The Loved Ones and invited me out to their Philly show, and within the first two songs my wife looked over and smiled at my wide-eyed, mouth-agape face and said "I guess we know what your new favorite band is, huh?" She knows me all too well. Buy this if you like things that are good.
Alright, I'm gonna throw together an even nerdier list of my favorite songs of the year in the next few days, look out for that...
If you want to buy these jams, head to Main Street Music in Philly and hand my buddy Pat your paycheck, he'll steer you right. treatyourself.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Ok folks, welcome to treatyourself, random musings, etc from your old pal Dave Hause.
Lets start this thing off...2010 was one hell of year, and if I had been a bit more organized, I would've kept a more detailed account of what was doing throughout the year. Instead I suppose I'll give you a quick recounting of said year and then I'll be updating this blog I guess whenever the 'spirit' moves me.
January...I kicked off the year with a weekend of shows with my buddy Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem) in New York City (Bowery Ballroom), DC (Black Cat) and Philadelphia (First Unitarian Church). We each jumped in a car with our wives and had a blast, and at the end of each show we combined to play a few covers, check out this video of us covering Tegan and Sara's Call it Off ...Brian Fallon & Dave Hause cover Tegan & Sara.
February...I headed up to Canada and out to the midwest for 2 weeks, some great times were had playing shows with Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry, Cavaliers, Lucero, and American War (check out this band in particular, unbelievable stuff.)
3 days into the tour I got a panicked call from wife that one of our sweet dogs, "ZUZU" had a sudden heart attack and passed away. It made for some gut-wrenching moments driving around the cold Canadian landscape, and I want to extend gratitude to my buddy and fellow Loved One Dave Walsh (he had come on the tour to hang out) for his positivity and love in those rough weeks as well as to my friends Alex McDonald, Chuck Ragan, and Tim Barry for stiff drinks and good friendship, much respect to all of you.
The Loved Ones headed out with our old friends in AFI in March for a 1o day run, which was a real treat to head down south and to hang out with our bay area buds. We played the Harvest Of Hope Festival as well which was a blast. We came home and played an incredibly memorable Philly show, in a west Philly house with 24 hours notice with our buds Paint it Black. Here's proof it happened:
After one hell of a great night in Asbury Park, playing at the lanes opening for Frank Turner, I headed back up to Canada (couldn't get enough Steam Whistle booze and enormous snowfall) for a cross Canadian tour with NORTHCOTE, or what Matt Good calls his solo project. Bear in mind, I had never met this guy and was getting into a hatchback with him to tour from Ottawa to Vancouver, but within days we were like 3 (Uncle Dave Walsh came out on this run too) old souls, laughing and having the greatest time.
Oh yeah, and Chris Gonzalez aka TEAMVIBES, the bass player of the Loved Ones, got married to his beautiful bride Nicole. Needless to say, we partied.
May saw the release of my first 7", entitled Melanin, which was released by the fine folks at Bantic Media, a music business class run by Darren Walters of Jade Tree out of Drexel University. It was a pleasure working with the sharp young minds from that class and they helped me sell the 500 copies out at an amazingly fast rate.
At home we decided to get a new puppy, not only to keep our other dog LaMotta company, (who had the blues big time over the loss of ZUZU) but to shift the focus from the bummer of loosing Zusie to a new sweetheart, Miss Caldonia. She's been a blast.
June was the first of 2 trips I was able to make to Australia this year. The Loved Ones headed down for our first Australian voyage, supporting Strung Out, and man I'll tell you, touring that country is as good as it gets. Michael "Spider" Cotterman, our original bass player came down as Chris was honeymooning and we drank countless coffees and Cooper's, got tattooed, petted koalas, met kangaroos, and played some of the most exciting and well received shows the band had ever played. Dream come true kind of tour. Big ups to our tour manager and dear friendCharney Marshall for taking great care of us and showing us a lovely time.
Dave Walsh and I flew directly from Brisbane to San Francisco for our dear friend Thadd LaRue's wedding (the king of San Francisco) and then I solo toured down the coast with my wife and step daughter for a week. I had the honor of having one of the greatest musicians I know out to play the California gigs, mister Mitchell Townsend.
July/August/September I spent writing new songs for the next Loved Ones record and doing some contracting work. The record is coming together really well and is a much darker, loud, spastic group of songs then Build & Burn was. At the end of September I did 2 shows withJoe Sibb, who owns Side One Dummy. It was interesting to do a show where I was the only guy playing music, and Joe entertained in spades. Go check him out.
October I headed out on another tour wherein I didn't know the people I was playing with, and yet was hopping in their van, the great and underrated Two Cow Garage from Ohio. I had a blast tearing up the east coast with these guys, what a good band and a solid group of individuals, thanks guys.
November was quiet, just prepping up for my debut full-length record, "Resolutions" to release on Paper + Plastick in January 2011. One of the coolest things of the year happened though, I got to open for one of my absolute songwriting heros, the great Bob Mould at a small theater in Sellersville, PA. Bob was a true gentleman, and was complimentary of my music which blew my mind and played a career spanning set that night, Husker Du songs, Sugar songs and solo songs that was just amazing.
The end of November I played NYC with my buddies Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio andBrendan Kelly from the Lawrence Arms. Well, Brendan didn't so much play as get blackout drunk and attempt to play, oh my god, what a site. It was a great time, check youtube for video (I would think it's there) of me joining Matt at the end of his set for some Trio favorites.
December. This should get it's own blog, and it may just have to. I had the absolutely incredible honor to head back to Australia (and New Zealand, for the first time) to open for some of my best buds in this world, and 2 of the most fantastic bands you'll find, The Bouncing Souls and Hot Water Music. This was one of the most life affirming, wild, dream come true experiences I have EVER had, and I feel like the luckiest guy on earth to have been a part of it. The hell with it, I'll collect my thoughts on it and post a blog just about this tour, it was that good.
Thanks for reading, this turned into one of those letters you get from your uncle with a picture of his family in santa hats describing what happened last year, so thanks for bearing with me to the end. Stay tuned for end of the year favorites lists, movies, songs, and records.
Dave Hause 12/10