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New York, NY, United States
Formed Reagan Youth and House of God during the 80s with the late great Dave Insurgent. Now I'm back to burn with my new band DUST ANGEL and I've got the urge to record one last Reagan Youth album about the life and times of Stig Rotsky. My blog is where I rant, it's like a diary, an account of my trials and tribulations that occur with my band's past, it's present and a future that I presume will be fun and interesting as well.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

RUSTBELT TOUR 2013

I am back home after touring the Midwest with Reagan Youth AND my brand spanking new band Dust Angel. We started off in Trenton, N.J. where I was raised by the praise of a fan who said I upset her...because the band didn't have enough original members (Dave Insurgent and Andy Apathy, your absence sill hurts our hearts). The next night we played Brooklyn and our the bill was Empty Vessels, New Scum and the always cool Crusty P. It was our last night before we had to to hit the road so the next day my band mates left their jobs early, as possible, Tibbie had the hard task of telling her baby boy goodbye before we hopped into our rental. So I tossed my most punk guitar, Fender's cheapest strat, the Squirer because I wasn't gonna trust the weather of the Midwest as wood is very susceptible to expanding and contracting, doing whatever it wants and that sucks when you wanna play your songs as well as you should. So I left my prized Gibson Les Paul at home and headed out with my two singers Trey Oswald and Madame St. Beatrice and my new drummer, Stig Whisper. Reagan Youth never played Albany before and we heard that they had a good punk scene, so we all left psyched, excited to play.  

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 wearing a hat and glasses telling me that the club was closing because we arrived too late to play. He ranted something about how we were supposed to load in at 5:00 pm (though all we were supposed to load in were our guitars and cymbals, things you sling over your back because we were supposed to be backlined, as we had the entire Rustbelt tour) and because we were from a big city like New York, it was obvious 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 wipe. 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 ass shit. When they closed the club at 9:30 pm, and in my eyes, for no legit reason, and on a Saturday night no less, some fans for sure clamored for a refund since was the bands were present and 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 over 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 wasn't even the promoter of the show but someone who was helping promote the show but the band was given bad intel. It was a fucked up mistake for me to make an assumption that it was Joe, sorry my deepest regrets go out to Mr. Joe Chaos, for 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 there 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, the promoter for our Albany show; 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 didn't he or why wouldn't he contact the post Reagan Youth made about Joe Chaos and tell us that Joe didn't have nothing to do with closing the club at 9:30pm. It's easy to figure out. people had paid to see Reagan youth play and why not keep our guaranteed money and close down the club early so Dan the ass wipe could go out early and spend the moeny people paid to see us on chicken wings and sandwiches and anything else he could stuff into his fat ass, but 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 "the ass wipe" Asylum is, that fat chunk of shit. I don't know what bands would want to deal with him, but telling me that I'm no longer welcomed at Bogies is like telling me..  absolutely nothing. Whoop dee fuckin doo "Ass Wipe Dan". But enough with that ugly piece of shit fuck face Dan Asylum because it's time to talk about the good that we had in Albany. Dust Angel and Reagan Youth got to play our entire sets in Albany, at Twon's House, and our  fans wanted more so I got the band to play some covers; "Basement" by The Ramones, "Class War" by The Exploited, "Clash City Rockers" and "Raison D'Etre" by the Buzzcocks. And some real big phat love to Twon for putting us up as well. But Albany is mostly about my bad for making a stupid mistake so I can ask Joe Chaos to forgive me for my derogatory words towards him and the club Bogies, it's neither of their fault that Dan Asylum is a piece of shit ass wipe. It was quick and easy to get over what happened because of that sweet gig at Twon's House and having a cozy bed to crash in made things all the more sweeter. The next thing  we know, it's time to shuffle off to Buffalo. 
In Buffalo we played a club called The Funeral Home which was converted from a funeral  home. Darth Sarah and Lindsay had some amazingly great energy and it was nice to see a mixed crowd. 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 some 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. Sweet ;  )
We then made our way to Peabody's in Cleveland. 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 at 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 always respect musical abilities) and then there was the punk show which included Sour Towel.


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. 

In all honestly if it wasn't for Sour Towel I'm not sure barely anyone would have showed up for us 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, which sounded like serious news, but nothing was ever put out on any news channel about that. 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 end up seeing was an interview with a curmudgeon saying the bomber should be sent back to Russia to get buried. Wow, they 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, so why would they put on an idiot saying something so stupid. Fox news, can't you just disappear or at least, stop spreading lies and bullshit on a consistent basis? So we left for Detroit after Cleveland, and Detroit/Michigan has a great musical history MC5, The Stooges, The Amboy Dukes, Grand Funk Railroad and Slim Shady so it was no surprise to us that it was in Warren, Michigan that rock and roll was living up to it's reputation, because that gig had the best bands we played with that night. 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 were 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  with When Flying feels Like Falling with Violet, Saffron and the rest of their 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"., but 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, but I respect that dad for his reaction.  Al least I know he's not a Nazi. Now playing two shows in a single night is tough and so 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 cool Rush tee shirt that just happened to be red with a skull and swords on it. We went to a humongous guitar store that had a Fender Mustang bass with cool racing stripes. Tibbie tried that bass on and it was such a perfect fit. I'm gonna have to find a way to get her that bass even though  Tibbie will eventually 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 getting us to Milwaukee because we heard there was so much traffic from that massive rainfall, one the area hadn't had so bad since 2008. I hadn't realized I would be playing most of the shows from our mid west tour in Wisconsin but I did and found out why. It's the state with some serious music, serious musicians and serious fans.We played the Frank's Power Plant 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 losing that A string made the tuning go wacky. Nothing I could do at that time (no way I was gonna restring up because besides it taking too much time) and yes, 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 out of tune 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 as quick as quick can be and next thing I know I played the whole set with this cool looking heavy metal guitar in black. 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 an E string on Mike's guitar but the crowd, which spilled over from the other metal show that ended earlier, didn't care much for our brand of punk rock, even if we were playing the "Heavy Metal Shuffle", the crowd emptied out and we went out in the cold night and got ready for the next gig in 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. Then there was Tim and Pyroplast and his lead guitarist tore that shit up! 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 table hockey until my lower back started aching like my heart did for Tibbie X leaving us. 
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 Les Paul back home. I played the Dust Angel set as a trio because we didn't have a bassist anymore since Mike Nowek was driving Tibbie back home and we were able to play some songs we weren't able to before with Mr. Nowek so that was fun. Then Eric from Wartorn came on stage with us that night and played our entire set as good as anyone could have after learning the tunes hours earlier. His band Wartorn tore it up and that he promoted the show as well just goes to show how freakin' amazing he is, not to mention that he also loaded the equipment to and fro the show. After the set I ate some amazing vegan lasagna and I have to admit 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 the next day. 
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 smoking up base cocaine. But I digress.............So we had to make it to Des Moines in 8 hours 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 Des Moines. So we picked up Shiro, headed right to the Lucky Cat, plugged in and played our two sets. Nothing like having a full, complete 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 were finally able to catch up with some much needed sleep. 
We drove to Omaha the next day and finally checked into a motel, for it had been a while, since Cleveland. We needed to have some alone time as so we got it. I chilled out, watched a Simpson episode (I'm a big fan) and headed out to the Hideout to play. It was a slammin' crowd for a Monday night and we played one of our more inspired sets because, in the back of our minds we couldn't help but think "dang, this tour is gonna be over soon". Of course after the show we were blazed up and then given some killer bud as a present. Nebraska punks are as great as they come, I'll swear to that just as I'll swear The Shidiots are a great punk band. 
So we headed to St.Louis and as soon as we hit the venue we were given enough money to go eat up some good ole' St.Louis food, so kind of Bob who promoted the show. Another good turn out. I'm not gonna lie and tell you we were feeling 100%, especially 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 , and that's counting two shows for Reagan Youth 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 with a fan singing all the lyrics into my mic (just like in Omaha). Afterwards we were given an interview by the lovely Devin Wright and her sweet friend Tess was kind enough to put us up. I have to say it was the most interesting night for me because I didn't just meet musicians but a a filmmaker as well; Jim D. Fuller (look him up in IMBD). He gave his short films "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 to me that she became political science major because of Reagan Youth. Dave, you had to be smiling down from heaven from that one :-) and everyone gave off some of the best vibes we had ever encountered and believe you me, that's saying something, especially after meeting so many great people who were different as individuals but copacetic as only Reagan Youth fans can only be. Needless to say it was sad to drive off to our last show, to our singer's Trey's hometown; Louisville. 
Entering Louisville we lost an hour due to the timeline and we hung out at St. Louis a bit longer than usual because it was so chillax there 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 beautifully decadent scale. Yet 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, most especially to Trey Oswald, Stig Whisper and Shiro Aoki. And mad love to Mike Nowek and ofc ourse mad props have to go out to my band mate extraordinaire  Tibbie X. So I partied the night away drinking Bullelit Bourbon (what else should one drink in Louisville, Kentucky?) and then I crashed, hard, at Sam and Bonnie's and woke up late. What to do? Eat at waffle house for some of their well known hash browns, and then just like I was ready to head home.
You would think after driving this entire tour with no car drama \the one drive home would be simple but we got pulled over for speeding in Ohio. The State Trooper took Stig's drivers license and came back a few minutes later and told Stig he wasn't allowed to drive because his license was "dropped"! That's right "Dropped"? Not suspended, nor revoked, not even stolen, just "dropped". So Shiro went on the internet and searched the internet about anything about a driver's licence being dropped and found  absolutely nothing. So we had a ball busting, bull shit artist State Trooper who then asked if anyone else in the car had driver's licences and we all said no, because no of us did (Trey did most of the driving, he's a maniac like that) and then he asked if we knew anyone in Columbus, where we were near. But why wake up people we like at some God forsaken hour, for bullshit and if he could lie to us why shouldn't we do the same to him so we said "No". Well he said he couldn't allow us to sit on the side of the highway because if some car comes plowing into us that would be some lawsuit against that State Trooper who wouldn't let Stig drive because of a "dropped" driver's licence being dropped? So he escorted us to a motel, hung around the parking lot to see if we'd check into some roach motel (we didn't), he then lost interest and we got back to heading home.
So, let me end by saying this, thank you to everyone, and there was a whole bunch of you who were so 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. Trust me, you'll see we're only going to sound tighter and better with new tunes being written and rehearsed all the time. And last but certainly not least, once again , my bad 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. LONG LIVE THE MIDWEST MUSIC SCENE! from your most faithful Axe Meister, Paul Cripple ;  )> 



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