We arrived at the venue in Albany, named Bogies, and as soon as I got out of the car I encountered a short, chubby guy with a hat and glasses telling me that the club was closing because we arrived too late to play. He added something about how we were supposed to load in at 5:00 pm and and because we were from a big city like New York, we were used to showing up late, so too bad for us. But the time was only 9:30 pm so I tried to reason with him but he acted like an ass. We had driven up to Albany, and we had to anyway to get to Buffalo, but why drive over 4 hours to go to some club so some ass-wipe, who was NOT Joe Chaos for everyone's information, tell me such foul shit. When they closed the club at 9:30 pm for no legit reason, and on a Saturday night no less, sure some fans clamored for a refund since was the bands was present and were ready, willing and able to go on. What could I do, it's not like the cops were gonna make the club give refunds, even if they should being that there was more patrol officers and police cruisers all around Albany on that Saturday night, so I brought both my bands to play at Twon's House who was kind and generous enough to allow us to rock Twon's House. Now at this point I want to express my deepest apologies to Mr. Joe Chaos for assuming he was the guy that was responsible for shutting the club at 9:30. Joe Chaos was the promoter of the show but the promoter isn't always at the show. It's happened before and even later during this very tour. It was a bad mistake for me to make an assumption that it was Joe, sorry my deepest regrets. You see I had some not so very nice things to say about Mr. Joe Chaos when I posted a status on Reagan Youth's Facebook. That it got over 100 comments and their were many that stuck up for Joe Chaos showed me that he must be a good promoter, a stand up guy, someone any band would have no problem working with. Madame St. Beatrice of Dust Angel hid the post telling me "enough with that crap Paul" so I focused on other things, like the rest of the tour. Now just recently someone, who was present when all that nonsense went down, contacted the band and told me exactly who the guy that closed the club was; Dan Asylum.
What truly baffles me is why this ass wipe, DAN ASYLUM, or let me call him by his full name; DAN "ASS WIPE" ASYLUM, why he didn't or wouldn't contact the post Reagan Youth made about Joe Chaos and say to us, be man enough to tell me that my beef wasn't with Joe Chaos, but that it was with him, Dan "Ass Wipe" Asylum. Just shows you what type of man Dan Asylum and I don't know what bands want to deal with him, but telling me that I'm no longer welcomed at Bogies is like telling me.. nothing. Whoop dee fuckin do Ass Wipe Dan. But enough with the ugly, it's time to talk about the good that we had in Albany. Dust Angel and Reagan Youth got to play our entire sets, and fans wanted more so I got the band to play some covers; "Basement" by The Ramones, "Class War" by The Exploited, some "Clash City Rockers" and "Raison D'Etre" by the Buzzcocks. And some extra love to Twon for putting us up as well. But Albany is mostly about my bad for making a stupid mistake so I Mr. Joe Chaos can forgive me for my derogatory words towards him and the club he promoted our show at. And it was quick and easy to get over what happened because of that sweet gig at Twon's House and a cozy bed to crash in and the next thing y'know, it's time to shuffle off to Buffalo.
In Buffalo we played a club which was converted from a Funeral Darth Sarah and Lindsay they had a great energy, a mixed crowd and it was one of the better shows on the RUSTBELT tour. It was cold in Buffalo but a great crowd for a Sunday show, no bullshitting, just great down home punk rock. The club put us up and it was pretty cozy sleeping in a place that was once a dead person's last stop before disappearing.
We then made our way to Peabody's in Cleveland.home and both bands I played in got tighter and their were a lot of coolest looking punk rockers that I ever come across, just like I played Cleveland once before at Now That's Class and I wanted to see what else Cleveland offered so we played at Peabody's. An interesting club which was huge with two shows going on on the same night. One was a metal show (I had to check that out and the band, I believe they were from Florida, were super talented on their instruments and I can always respect musical abilities) and then there was the punk show which included Sour Towel.
In all honestly if it wasn't for Sour Towel I'm not sure anyone would have showed up and they were great fun. But in Cleveland it was when we found out about the bombing in Boston. For some reason whenever I go on tour something with terrorism has to happen. I remember telling an audience in Baltimore that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. My drummer Greg had a friend who went to college in Boston and a few days later his friend called to tell him that a swat team had stormed his college with a black hawk helicopter hovering above. We watched the news for information everyday about that episode, which sounded like serious news, but nothing was ever on put out about that on any news channel. That's why you can't believe everything the news tell you, when it's more about not keeping us informed or just informed enough so you really just know squat. What I did see was an interview with a curmudgeon saying the bomber should be sent back to Russia to get buried. Wow, the had to put on an old fart who still believed the cold war was still going on since the dead bomber was a Chechen. Now Chechnya only had two really nasty wars with Russia recently enough. So we slept and then left for Detroit, a city with a great musical history MC5, The Stooges, Slim Shady and it was in the great city of Detroit, living up to it's reputation, that had the best bands playing on the same bill as us.
After we played we needed some time for just the band so we checked into a motel, and we do that, every once in a blue moon, because crashing at crash pads saves the band money, but more importantly, we get to hang with the locals and get a good feel of the places we visit. Motels are the same everywhere, and it doesn't hurt that people's places are usually 100 times cleaner than some place where people will use as a stop over, or a place to fiend on drugs, or to leave bodily fluids everywhere. But before we went there we did a radio interview for Cleveland State University's radio station WCSB. Now it was only supposed to be a ten minute interview, but the deejay wanted both Dust Angel and Reagan Youth and before you know it, we're ranting for an hour, at least. Listening to my band mates spread their good words and positive message enlightened me to the fact, that for the first time since I got Reagan Youth rolling again, I had a two bands with some great chemistry; the brethren Trey Oswald, Stig Whisper and Mike Nowek and sistren Madame St. Beatrice and Tibbie X-Kamikaze. It's always fun to do a radio interview but this one warmed my heart and made me feel proud to be associated with such great musicians, friends, human beings. Thank you.
When the tour was being booked there was a band called Glitter Trash from Detroit, MI that wanted to play with us but had been banned because the singer liked to perform topless, sure wish they showed up but we played with Raw Dogs instead that happened to they were show a lot of skin that night. Raw Dogs sounded pretty fuckin' amazing!As a matter of fact every band that played that night at Toepher's House in Warren, MI sounded hot. The promoter, from Suicide Machine, had the flu and didn't show up and we hope he made a full recovery. He booked a great gig and we drove to Chicago over night so we could crash at Ivan and Deborah's; good buddies of Madame St. Beatrice and I.
In Chicago I played two shows, one was all ages at Township and another at Ultra Lounge. The all ages show we played with kids that were my age when I started Reagan Youth way, way back with Dave Insurgent. It was great seeing and playing on the same bill as When Flying feels Like Falling. Violet, Saffron and the rest of the band. Funny thing was when one of the other band's had one of their dad's at the show. he told me "So you're the reason I have to stay for the whole show". When we played the song 'Reagan Youth' that dad stormed out of the club during the "heil, heil, heil" chorus. So he didn't know what the band is about, I respect that dad for his reaction. Playing two shows in a single night is tough and we went to Ultra Lounge to play our second show. There I met Ari Lehman who showed up for the show. Ari went to N.Y.U. with Dave Insurgent and stayed in the same dorm. It was great seeing him after all these years. He started a band called First Jason because he was in the first Friday the 13th movie, as Jason Vorhees. Funny stuff, especially when he lit up some amazing herb which made it even funnier. My drummer Greg kicked himself for not getting a photo with the first Jason. I told Greg not to worry, we'll go see First Jason next time they play New York. And in Chicago it continued to rain, and rain. It rained so much the Ivan and Deborah's house got flooded. We drove off but not before checking out Chicago and my bass player, Tibbie X, bought me this Rush tee shirt that just happened to be red with a skull and swords on it. We went to a guitar store that had a Fender mustang bass with racing stripes. Tibbie tried that bass on and it was a perfect fit. I'm gonna have to find a way to get her that bass for her even though Tibbie will be playing second guitar for Dust Angel, it just looked way too cool on her.
So we drove off the highways towards Milwaukee and I
wanna give Dust Angel's bass player Mike Nowek mad props for driving us to Milwaukee because we heard there was so much traffic from a massive rainfall, one the area hadn't had so bad since 2008. I did not realize I would be playing most of the shows in Wisconsin but I did and found out why. It's the state with some serious music, serious musicians, serious fans.We played the Frequency in Milwaukee and we were told there was a big heavy metal show going on earlier and we would get the spill over crowd coming to see us. When Dust Angel went on my guitar broke a string and with the tremolo system I have on my strat losing that A string made the whole guitar go out of wack. Nothing I could do at that time (no way I was gonna restring up because besides it taking too much time, I was stoned out of my mind. You see, Wisconsin is like the California of the Midwest, the state with the best sweet leaf. So I tried to play the song that was next up "Love Is Between My Legs" and it sounded like total shit. Before I could get through the opening chords Tibbie X, my bassist in Reagan Youth, grabbed someone's guitar and I tuned it quickly and next thing I know I played the whole set with this cool looking heavy metal guitar. The crowd at Frank's Power Plant was very kind but not as sweet as Mike of Population Control whose guitar saved my ass that night. When Reagan Youth went on I had put a E string on Mike's guitar but the crowd, which spilled over from the other metal show that ended earlier, didn't care much from punk rock, even if we were playing "Heavy Metal Shuffle", the crowd emptied out and we went out in the cold night and got ready for Madison.
Madison is the capital of Wisconsin and is a very beautiful place. We played at the Frequency that night and it was one of our better shows. A band from Vegas called the Vampirates blew my mind by sounding totally disorientated yet tight. Can't describe it really, go out and give them a listen, you will not be disappointed. After the show it was a bit sad because our bassist Tibbie X had to go home because she's a mother and her babysitter couldn't babysit no longer. So I drowned my sorrow in that amazing Wisconsin sweet leaf and played Bobby Hull table hockey until my lower back started aching like my heart did for Tibbie.
We were supposed to pick up Tibbie's replacement for the rest of the tour, Shiro Aoki, a good guy I know from the rock scene in NYC but the airlines fucked his flight up something fierce. There was no way he was making it to Appleton so I proposed playing the set as a trio but my singer Trey had another idea. He contacted Eric from Wartorn and we met him earlier that day and ran through the set.It was colder than a witch's tit that night and when I went to get my guitar from the trunk of our rental there was icy condensation on my strat and I thanked myself for leaving the Gibson back home. I played the Dust Angel set as a trio because we didn't have a bassist anymore since Mike Nowek was driving himself and Tibbie back home and we were able to play some songs we weren't able to before with Mr. Nowek so that was fun. Eric from Wartorn came on stage with us that night and played our entire set as good as anyone could have. To think he learned all the songs a few hours earlier, played a set with his band Wartorn and promoted the show as well just goes to show how freakin' amazing he is. After the set there was a sense of relief from all of us but there was another party to go to so we huffed, and puffed and blew away so many brain cells. We deserved it so why not. Too bad we had an 8 hour ride to Des Moines.
At this point, since we lost two bass players and their car, we had to upgrade our rental. Our first rental, when I opened the glove compartment I found a pack of cigarettes and asked "whose are these?". Everyone said "not mine". I dug into the glove compartment a little deeper and found something a bit more insidious than a strange pack of cigarettes; cocaine, cooked up. I'm glad none of us indulged in the base cocaine that was left behind by the last car renters. With our new rental, true to form, something was left behind for us yet again; a Nintendo DS. No one wanted that either, so after driving all the way to Des Moines no one cared about returning that or the base cocaine. But I digress.............So we had to make it to Des Moines and when you go to sleep when the sun is coming up it's kind of hard to make good time. I wasn't gonna break any speed limit but I couldn't take a break and driving 8 hours was hellish on my lower back and to top shit off, I had to pick up Shiro who finally had the airline fly him into an airport. So we picked up Shiro, headed right to the Lucky Cat and plugged in and played my two sets and we were happy to have a full band again. We could have partied, and Shiro really wanted to, but we explained to him that every night we've played there was a party waiting for us right after, so Shiro took pity on us and we crashed at our singer's friends, Tim & Tabatha's. house and we finally caught up on sleep.
We drove to Omaha the next day and finally checked into a motel for it had been a while, since Cleveland, so we could have some alone time. I chilled out, watched a Simpson episode and headed out to the Hideout to play. It was a great crowd for a Monday night and we played thinking "dang, this is gonna be over soon". So we played our hearts out knowing the Rustbelt tour was going to soon come to an end. We hung out for a bit after the show and we were blazed up and then given some killer bud as a present. Nebraska punks are as great as they come.
So with our rental we headed to St.Louis and as soon as we hit the venue we were given money to go eat up some good ole' St.Louis food, so kind of Bob who promoted the show and had a good turn out. I'm not gonna lie and tell you we were feeling 100% when you play 25 sets in 12 days. I played a Dust Angel set every night and then followed it up with a Reagan Youth set with two shows in Chicago, so I did my best to sound at 100%. The crowd at Fubar was great and that made a big difference in both sets especially when a fan singing all the lyrics into my mic. Afterwards we were given an interview by the lovely Devin and sweet Tess who was kind enough to put us up in the heart of St.Louis and it was the most interesting night for me because I didn't just meet musicians but a a filmmaker, Jim D. Fuller (look him up in IMBD) who gave me "Demons Play", "Die Naked At The Hands Of Your Killer", At First Sight" and "A Cosmic Kiss Goodnight"....sweet! And then the next morning I got to go see CBGBs...again, but it was closed. And it was in St. Louis, but still.....Devin later confessed that she became political science major because Reagan Youth. Dave, you have to be smiling down from heaven from that one :-) and Tess gave off some of the best vibes we had encountered and believe you me, that's saying something after meeting so many great people who were different as individuals but copacetic as Reagan Youth fans can only be. Needless to say it was sad to drive off to our last show, our singer's Trey's hometown; Louisville.
Entering Louisville we lost an hour due to the timeline and we hung out at St. Louis longer than usual because it was so chillax but that meant we missed our man, Mike Defendant from Ohio, when he performed as our opener at Spinelli's Downtown. After the show the band let loose at this great bar, Cahoots, because it was the end of the tour, it was time to indulge at a really beautiful scale. I still was able to find time to jam with Mike on a Jethro Tull acoustic classic; "Mother Goose", and the next day he recorded a country version of "Degenerated" with the guys I brought out whom I owe a many thanks to especially Trey Oswald not that Stig or Shiro for that fact. We partied the night away drinking Bullelit Bourbon (what else should one drink in Louisville, Kentucky?) and then I crashed, went to waffle house for some hash, and was ready to go home.
So, let me end by saying this, thank you to everyone, and there was a whole bunch of you who were super kind to both Dust Angel and Reagan Youth. Next time we'll bring merch for Dust Angel and more merch for Reagan Youth so you could spread some positivity around and not to mention some catchy tunes and great singing and then you'll see we're only going to sound tighter until it's as tight as a mosquito's ass, the music that is. And last but certainly not least, once again I'm sorry Joe Chaos, you did nothing wrong because to ASSUME it was you I was beefing with, I made an ASS out of U and ME so my most heartfelt apologies to you, Joe Chaos. LONG LIVE THE MIDWEST MUSIC SCENE! from a most faithful Axe Meister