Saturday, August 4, 2007

Chapter Five: High Mountain Desert

Posted by Jamie

Closure isn't the word, but it's the first that comes to mind.

Well, in one way or another, we made it. I'm currently sitting in Players Bar and Grill in Bend, Oregon, on what was supposed to be our 28th show, but is in fact only our 10th. We always promised that we would give Bend ONE more try, and then we'd give up completely. Let me give you a little LTS history with Bend.

So, two years ago, we are supposed to play at The Domino Room in Bend. Because of one thing or another, the show was promoted, but never booked, and thus, no show. The band we're supposed to play with improvise a solution, and we play in their backyard to their parents bbq. They play, and it's great, then we set up and play one song...and SURPRISE, Johnny Law shows up and shuts us down. We are allowed to try and play an acoustic show instead, which goes surprisingly well, and eventually that gets shut down by the cops again. We end up selling a SHIT TON of merch, and basically walk away even.

Winter of '05 we go to do a weekend show, drive up after work, play, and head home. Well, we leave really late, then Dave's car runs out of gas coming over the pass, and we basically show up to see the venue flipping the chairs and shutting off the lights. Yay.

So, we give it one last "hurrah", and Bend pays off. We play with The Dirty Words, who are awesome (coming from Me, that's saying A LOT) and everyone there is pretty enthusiastic. To top that off, we play our first show as a four-piece, with me playing the four string. Any short comings we may have had because of our new configuration, Rayn MORE than compensated for by performing one of the best shows of her career. Bee-otch got DOWN.

So you win Bend. You win.

It's weird how every ending has the potential to either be a true ending or just another beginning, and how the four remaining Leaving the Scene members always pull through. I can't believe how lucky I am to keep trekking on with these three other people, and I've never felt closer to them. I know that this journey of my life has already been lucky enough to last longer than most people get in their entire lifetime, and I'm not taking that for granted ever. We've dealt with members quitting, members being asked to officially leave, show after show of playing to bartenders and doormen, bad booking agents, people trying to take advantages of us, the constant financial and emotional burden of pushing this as far as it will go and beyond, and never for more than a moment considering giving it up. But when things get down, we remember that there are people out there who are buying our cds and t-shirts, people who are listening to our music online, and read these ridiculously self-indulgent journal entries, and send us endless amounts of love. If it weren't for you people, we would not be doing this. So thank you.

Tour '07 is over. Good riddance. All we can do is look back and take the good and embrace it and take the bad and learn from it. For example, don't take a school bus on a 4000 mile journey until you KNOW how well it's going to do on the road. For another example, realize that anyone can buy a website and have a professional looking image and a professional looking email address. That does NOT make them a professional in the music industry, and do not give them your money. Lessons learned. And we met some incredible people, made some new fans and new friends, and had some fun too. Thank you for reading. We'll keep in touch, we're gonna try and hit the ground, if not running, at least briskly walking.

Love you all

Leaving the Scene

Friday, July 27, 2007

Seriously. Who's doing this shit to us? What did we do to you?

Posted by Jamie

Opened our email account today to discover that, of the remaining six shows, one was cancelled today, one was never confirmed and the venue's myspace page suddenly disappeared, and a third was appearently cancelled, but we were never told about it. Meaning that we have three shows and 2000 miles of driving to do. We simply cannot afford that.

Finally, it's dead. It's over and done with. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong for this tour did. Our bus died, we lost a band member, we had a ton of shows either get cancelled or completely waste our time, we lost a ton of money. And now it's 'effing dead.

We're still going to play the show in Bend. We'll probably lose money and something really shitty will happen, like Rayn will die or Dave will hit his head and get amnesia and believe that he's a panda bear. We've now twice had really bad luck with Bend, and with all the omens we've been facing on this tour, we should not tempt it, but we're gonna.

Wish us luck. We need it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Call me Ishmael

Posted by Dave (thesis paragraph by Jamie)

Holy crap, where do I start?
Friday night in Hayden, Idaho with the Enigma (YAY!) did, in fact, rock balls. There was an incredible turn out for the show, including a lot of old friends (my friends in particular, I grew up there). Watching the Enigma was pretty ridiculous. I mean, the guy hammers a spike into his nasal cavity! Absurd…

The next night, after fond farewells to the Muldoon family, followed by a very hot drive across Eastern Washington, we found ourselves in the ridiculously muggy Richland, one third of the Tri-Cities, where we played at Ray’s Golden (cow) Lion, which is apparently the place to go if you’re (almost) in high school and REALLY drunk. We played there with the band Mister Orange, and they were great, and we’ll be playing with them again, hopefully in the Tri-Cities as well as right here in the Rose City (run on sentence, run on yeah). After the Richland show, with morale at a lovely high point, we packed into the Aremis and headed towards Seattle before we found a rest stop and called it a night.

The next morning, we found ourselves in Seattle’s U-District among Seattle’s finest collection of transvestites and junkies, waiting to play an acoustic set at Sureshot, a local coffee shop. We arrive, and meet the lead singer for Pirex (pronounced like the cookware), a local Seattle band. She proceeds to tell us that our booking agent led her to believe that we’re an acoustic band (cue decline in morale), and that we play quiet shows in coffee shops all the time. Turns out, we’re sort of loud and electric. Okay, we’re EXACTLY loud and electric.

SO, during our afternoon show (with three people in attendance) Rayn’s voice decides to give out, and I don’t mean she cracked a few notes, I mean her voice gave out, as in no speaking voice or anything. So that was pretty much horrible (cue significant drop in morale). We had to stop three songs into the set. After watching Pirex play and paying for our coffee (yes, we had to pay for it), we began our drive to Olympia.

After an afternoon doing whatever we can to raise spirits, as well as a lengthy debate over where to sleep for the night (the options being we either go to an RV park and play Guitar Hero until late, or go to a rest area and spend the money we would have otherwise spent on an RV park and get some dinner (we chose the latter)) we found ourselves in Olympia trying to find some Aloe Vera gel for Rayn to chug (we heard that’s really good for the throat) so we can figure out if we’re playing a show or not. We do, and it’s awesome, but, with the next two days off, we decide to head back to Portland for some r & r, especially for Rayn. So with our heads hung pretty low, we came home for two days.

Thursday, we headed back out on the road. Everybody felt much better after a couple days of rest, and our collective morale was back up to normal. Games of Guitar Hero Surfing (for those of you who can’t infer, it’s playing Guitar Hero while standing in the bus that is driving down the freeway at 55mph. For those of you who don’t know what infer means, stop reading this and go read a book), two hours, one hundred and nine miles, and a FULL TANK of gas later, we discovered that perhaps the Aremis is not doing so well. 2.5 miles to the gallon isn’t exactly an improvement.

So we eventually get to Lakewood, WA.

To make a long and painful story short, Lakewood was a veritable ghost town. The bartender pours the weakest drinks this side of the Mississippi, and there were literally two people that didn’t work there in attendance. So, with no money left and no gas in the tank, we cancel our show in Yakima the next night, and head back to Portland. Along the way to Portland, after our gas pedal breaks only five f-ing miles from Vancouver,(sit down if you’re not already) Joaquin announces that he is done with the tour.
That’s right, done.

So that sucks. A lot.
We called our old bass player, Casey, who lives in Eugene, and asked him if he would play our Eugene show with us on Sunday, which is today. He’s going to do it, and we’ve decided that after tonight’s show, we move on to the next chapter in the life of LTS.

We’re going to finish the tour as a four piece band.

Jamie is currently learning the bass parts, and he sounds amazing, to nobody’s surprise.

The Aremis will be taking the rest of the year off, and undergoing major surgery (a new propane or diesel engine) before next summer’s tour. We’re going to rent a trailer and hitch it up to my SUV for the rest of the dates in the Bay Area and Southern/Central Oregon.

It’s easy to be a band when everything is easy, when everything is handed to you. This isn’t the hardest thing we’ve had to deal with, and this isn’t the lowest point we’ve had to live through, but it’s close. L
Losing Casey in the first place made the remaining four of us all the closer, and the hardships we’ve endured thus far have helped us to realize what is important. We’ll trek on and we’ll be all the stronger for it. It’s not an end, just an end to a chapter we thought would be thicker. We’ll try and keep this sucker updated more often, as best as we can. Send us some love if you’ve got any to spare, we can use it about now.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ah...and things improve...

Posted by Rayn

Well the second, third and fourth day of tour went considerably better than the first. Tuesday was spent preparing and consuming an extravagant breakfast and then swimming in the beautiful Coeur d’Alene Lake. Everybody was able to splash around except Jason, who was feeling fluish. After a few hours at the lake we headed to a new venue in Hayden, ID for dinner called the Rock Joint. Over pizza, we struck up a conversation with the booking agent there and got ourselves a show for Thursday night, which was awesome because we’d already had to cancel a few due to our horrible gas mileage. We headed back to Dave’s parent’s house that night with the spring back in our step.

Wednesday we had another ridiculous breakfast and then ran a bunch of errands before setting off for The Empyrean in Spokane, WA. The Empyrean is a pretty cool little venue, with a rock stage on one side and a coffee shop/poetry slam area on the other. We played first and there was literally nobody in the room when we started. By the time the first song was over, however, we had a nice little crowd and the show came to life. Highlights of the Spokane show include seeing an old friend from Portland, eating Clementine oranges in the sun, and watching a surprisingly compelling band called the Dead Millionaires, who were equipped only with an i-pod, a metal trashcan, and outstanding creativity. But the most memorable moment from that night was definitely during the last song when Jason climbed onto a stage monitor and it came crashing off the stage and down onto the floor, along with Jason, playing and grinning all along. We love Jason, especially since we were able to fix the monitor so it won’t cost us the few hundred bucks we thought it might. After all five bands had played we loaded up the bus and went to Dick’s, where all six of us got stuffed, I mean STUFFED, for about twenty bucks total. I effing love Dick’s. We took our Dick’s and ate outside of the bus in the parking lot of Frankie Doodle’s, the evening completed with light up Frisbee, angry pigeons, and literally hundreds upon hundreds of Dick’s jokes.

Thursday was my favorite. Again, we feasted like kings in the morning, this time on breakfast casserole a la Jason and bomb dot com smoothies. After we lazed about a lot, we went out in search of the perfect swimming spot. After a few tries, we really did find the most perfect spot ever on the Spokane River. We settled the Lily dog and Dave’s mom Sharron in the shade and then swam across the river to a sweet jumping spot. It was actually a pretty challenging swim for many of us, but it felt great. We all took turns leaping from a big rock into the water, except Jamie who was really pissed cause he saw some fish in the water and fish really, really freak him out. It was really awesome when I was like, “Hey Eric, look at me!” And then I accidentally totally biffed it off the rock. After a while Jamie grew some balls and jumped in, twice actually, and we were all very proud of him. We swam back to Sharron and Lily and swam around for awhile, and we even got Lily to swim a little for her first time ever. I should take this moment to let you know that Lily has always been the cutest dog ever, but we just got her hair cut, and they made her smell like strawberries, and when she was scooting around in the water with her little shorn coat I pretty much died of joy. I mean seriously, check out this dog.

Thursday night we played in Hayden, ID at the Rock Joint. A bunch of Dave’s friends showed up and we all had a really good time. We played two sets and let me tell you, by the end I think my clothes were more sweat than fabric. People were really down with our sound, and we got a nice little pile of green in the tip box. I have to say, besides the PA being weird, besides a few technical difficulties, and besides my voice giving out as early as the fourth song, we were effing awesome. In fact, I think we changed some people’s lives, based on their emphatic reactions. Or maybe it was just that everybody there was REALLY drunk. I think that’s it. After we played we were invited to come back Friday night to open for this giant show, featuring Bent Penny among others, and headlined by the Enigma, that guy who’s talents include sword swallowing, pushing power tools into his nasal cavity, pumping his own stomach, being tattooed head to toe with blue puzzle pieces, and you know, playing music. So that’s tonight, and it’s probably gonna rock balls.

Today was french toast (What the french, toast?) and some bacon (snack size murder). After breakfast we all bitched a lot about all the work to be done and then finally got started. We need to reorganize the bus, fix the fuel line (which has a hole in it, possible source of our mileage issues?), write the blog (check!), and complain about the heat a lot. More soon from your friends from the Aremis.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

First impressions can be deceiving

Posted by Jamie

If you believe in omens, and you were in this band, you’d be high-tailing it back to Portland. The good news for us is that we don’t…not really…

To be short, the day started with a giant game of hurry up and wait. On little sleep and littler patience, we all excitedly/sleepily show up at Jamie and Jason’s house to begin the arduous task of loading up the Aremis, our 40 feet of finely crafted school bus. We needed to be on the road by 10 AM to get to La Grande (not Le Grande, as I’ve been corrected multiple times…my bad…) by 3 o’clock for a radio interview. We, being Rayn, Jamie, Jason, Dave, Joaquin, Eric and Lilly (Rayn’s dog…who was supposed to be shaved to keep down on the hair, but was, in fact, not), busted our asses and got out of my house by 10:15. Not bad by Leaving the Scene standards. But then we have to stop and get gas ($75 dollars worth of gas, I’ll have you know). Then we had to stop by Dave’s bank and let him make a deposit. Then we got kinda turned around trying to get onto I-84. So about 45 minutes later, we finally get onto the interstate. Busting ass at a cool 55 mph, we head off to the east. We’re all having fun and laughing and getting used to our kick ass bus and making our beds and setting up the stereo and such.

Fast forward about three hours. We fill up our tank, which we assume should be about half full (considering we should be getting 8-12 miles per gallon). WRONG! After an additional $111.00, we do some quick math (ok, not THAT quick. I’m terrible at math) and discover that we are making an amazing FIVE MILES PER GALLON! Holy hell. We might as well just walk to our venues and light dollar bills on fire on the way.

So there’s that. Yay for that. I fucking LOVE that. So we continue onward, looking forward to making it to La Grande to have TWO radio interviews, and a show, which is supposed to have been booked for a month, and is some sort of big ass celebration that is gonna have 10 bands playing.

Sooner than later, we realize that A) there’s no fucking way we’re gonna make it to La Grande in 4 hours, and B) the Aremis hates hills. Phone calls are made, and we trek on, hoping to make it by 4:00 at the latest.

After a delightful 50 mile trek UPHILL doing 20 mph because our bus is fat and old and hates hills (much like my grandmother (that’s a lie, my grandma’s dead)), 4:30 rolls around, and we make some frantic phone calls and discover that the radio DJ has gone home for the day. So we park and walk to the venue for a 5:00 load in. 5:00 arrives. Then 5:15. Then 5:30. Then 5:45. So we finally make a phone call to the booker at the venue who informs me that to his knowledge, the show for the night had been cancelled. This would account for the whole “there’s no bands around, no one in the club, and no kids to come WATCH the show” thing. The booking guy (Derek I believe...) was very very nice, and walked over to the venue for us to try and just open it and see if anyone wanted to come in. No one did. We didn’t even bother setting up. He made a phone call to the second radio station person, who never answered her phone. After a quick deliberation, we decided to just say “Fuck it” and take off for Couer d’Alene. We hop back into the bus after a delightful meal of “cold burritos” (which consist of tortillas, cheese, beans and various forms hot sauces, but no forms of heating said food), and start up the bus. And the bus proceeds to make a noise that sounds like rrrRRRRrrrwwwwpphhhll….(translation, for those of you who don’t speak old ass bus, was that the battery, for some unknown reason, being completely drained.) Thank you for this, bus, you really shouldn’t have. After a few declarations of going to get help that included Rayn saying “I have boobs, I’ll come help”, and Joaquin giving it one more try, the damned thing starts up all by itself. Don’t know why. Maybe Aremis just wanted to mess with us. Maybe it hates us. Maybe it’s just telling us “HEY! I’m a god damned SCHOOL BUS from 1981! Let me die! I’m not a damned tour bus you young whipper snappers!”

Regardless. We’re on the road now, we’re again doing 20 mph up some big ass hill that we’ll have to cross AGAIN in two days, and we have no show for tomorrow, so we’re gonna go swimming instead. Maybe information that would have been good to know a couple of days ago, we could have delayed this whole thing. Oh well. We’ve always had really good luck on tour. ‘Bout time we had some of what’s coming to us. That which does not kill us…only makes me hate things. And I’m a fairly hateful guy. That’s all for tonight. Until good morrow.