Monday, August 18, 2008
This mention of friends that came to see us makes me pause and want to sincerely acknowledge the people that support/put up with Third Class' antics and have for so many years. People such as the above-named and others such as Chrissy Bailey, a good friend and frequent show attender, and others who have been there especially when we were starting out as a band such as Craig Beight, Derek Baker, Steve Boyle and Karen Boyle. There were also so many that joined along the way and recognized our sound for what it is, people such as Cathy Miller, Megan Whinnery, The Zou, Posture Coach, Brandon Hull who went on tour with us and has become a really good friend in the past few years, Erin and Jessica Kane, Abby Kondas, Samantha Hoover, Kristin and Elizabeth Reeves, Pete Drivere, Dog OK, Emily Elser, and many many more.
Five Elements, a reggae band from
The next day, I woke up early (early for getting to sleep at 5) and drove the trailer around as much as I could to prepare for the next show.
We headed for our next destination on July 27th. This time we were going to a closer location called Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania for a festival called The Firefly Music Festival. Joining us this time was our friend, Brandon Hull, a member of our comedy skit troupe called Bull Skit Productions, a troupe which we had made it our mission to promote (specifically for Bullskit.com) on this tour in order to get more people to watch the skits we made. It was scary to drive there because there were a lot of hills on the route we took. When we arrived, we were directed into a dirt road in the woods that our trailer could barely make it across. Then we were parked behind a stage. The festival was a textbook hippie fest. There were tents everywhere and vendors with hemp necklaces and peace-sign t-shirts; the works. There weren't an astounding amount of people there, but it was definitely a good thing to be playing for a decent sized crowd for us since we were from out of town. Then, one of the organizers of the event informed us that one of the sound guys backed out and our stage wasn't available.
We were all really upset, but then I went behind the main stage and asked a group of guys who were scheduled up on stage next if they could cut there time slot shorter so that we could play a handful of songs. They agreed and were very reasonable and nice about it. So, we played four songs and it rained a little when we played, and only when we played, as if we were not meant to be there, disturbing the natural order of hippie-music fests. But, there were a small group of people that liked the songs a lot. Particularly, a group of girls seemed to be bouncing and tapping their feet to "The Glue Is Starting To Crack" from our album Chloe's Epitaph Is Choe which we had released the year before. Then, we got out of there and someone snapped a picture of us in front of the festival sign. We hit Sheetz and drove home once more before heading out for the last four shows.
Steve Boyle, the youngest brother in my family, joined us for the rest of the tour. He had been at Lakeside Camp in Sandusky, Ohio and we met him when he got home and left early the next day for Louisville, Kentucky. We had to hurry because we had two shows scheduled in one night on the day we left which was July 28th. Jack had booked us a camp site in Sheperdsville, Kentucky and we got there around 6 pm and set up a tent and cooked Spagetti-O's and hotdogs and what-not. Then we got back in the car and pulled the trailer into Louisville where we took to walking around the streets and handing out Third Class and Bull Skit fliers to people we walked by. They were all very friendly and most of them probably threw the fliers away, but who knows. We did get a myspace message from a kid who was camping next to us and went on www.myspace.com/thirdclass to check out the tunes. The first venue we played in Louisville was The Petrus Nightclub with a good rock band called Dying Indiana. There were about 5 people there. Then, we packed up and drove down the street to our familiar venue, The Highlands Taproom on Bardstown Rd., one of the coolest roads I have ever seen, full of coffee shops, used-clothing stores, bookstores, music stores, cool restaurants, health food stores and more. We played at about midnight at the Taproom and there were about 10 people there. Steve also got yelled at for not being 18 and they wouldn't let him into the bar when we played. After that, we all went back to the campsite and slept in the tent.
The next day, we assessed that it wasn't very much more money to stay in one of the really nifty KOA Kabins on the site, so we switched sites and got more comfortable. Then, this being July 29th. It was off to The Hideaway Saloon. This bar had guaranteed us a small spot in there open-mic night and so I went in by myself and played acoustic versions of "A Drug Inside Your Wrist" and "Rainy And Stormy." The people in there were crazy about it. They wanted to hear the full band and I passed out a couple free full-length albums and they were copying them to laptops and handing me cards with different booking phone numbers on it. It was a good promotional moment. We spent the rest of our time that day playing volleyball, hiking and swimming at the KOA.
On July 30th, we played at Stevie Ray's Blue's Bar and played acoustic versions of "A Drug Inside Your Wrist," "Office Supplies," and "Explode The Sky" among other songs. We got no response from the crowd.
We had a break until our homecoming show in Youngstown, Ohio on August 4th. So, we played more volleyball, hiked more and swam more and made sure to get a good portion of the tour videotaped so that we could later edit together our infamous documentary called "The Third Class/Bull Skit World Tour" in which we goof off most of the time. During the time near the end of our trip, we stopped in Cincinnati, Ohio and promoted with chalk on the sidewalk and did the same in Columbus, Ohio. We also visited our friend Amy Erdmann who took us on a stroll around by Ohio State University. Then, we visited our friends Billy James and Jen Townsend who lived just outside the downtown area and we stayed the night at there place and went to Waffle House.
On August 4th, Craig Beight and Derek Baker joined us to ride with us to Cedars Lounge in Youngstown, Ohio for our final show of the tour. We opened for Posture Coach and had a really fun time. This gave us the opportunity to include a lot of our Youngstown and Columbiana, Ohio friends in the documentary.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Anyways, after the show some promoter guy called me and chewed me out for not selling tickets. I even explained to him that he was in the wrong in the way that he expected to get people to shows and that I had disclaimed myself when initially being called to play the show. But, it didn't make any difference and he told me how he booked shows for Garbage and stuff so as to impress and intimidate me. I just spouted off sarcastic remarks until he hung up on me.
We were very excited for our release. The next day we played another show in Louisville, Kentucky with the same line-up at The Highlands Taproom. Both shows had strong sets I thought.
I also ran into a former high school colleague, Jennifer who seemed a bit frightened by our music.
A member of the band Cut The Red Wire happened to be there for the performance and we traded cds and exchanged contact information. Cut The Red Wire is associated with electronic bands such as Joy Electric. The guy was a really nice guy and his music was really cool.
When the guy heard the album, he remarked that he'd wished he'd checked us for weapons at the door. This was a direct result of hearing our scary, thriller-type song called "Get Out Of My Head" where Pepe's lyrics threaten to "hit you with a broom/stab you with a knife."
We swam at the beach in Indiana before and after mastering the album. Chicago was pretty.
Friday, August 1, 2008
We recorded the album, Chloe's epitaph is Chloe, in its entirety in these four days. We had a good time. We went to get pizza at Papa John's when Pete was mixing down the stuff.
The album was a collection of old and new songs, none of which had been recorded with truly good quality until this point in the band's career.
Ampreon Recorder is in Youngstown, Ohio.
We felt kind of weird playing for a good amount of old people, but some of them like us. Sometimes, it is only the young children and old people that like our music. Seriously, it works out like that sometimes. The majority of people ages 20 through 40 hate our guts when they hear us play.
Brandon had fun and came up on stage and held a guitar while we played a song. What a goober.
We are jealous.
The sound was surprisingly good and our performance had a bit of a papery sound to the vocals, dumbing down the atmospheric qualities, but clarifying the instrumentation.
This particular one I cannot remember because there have been too many. I do know that there was one halloween show where we dressed as a soccer player, me, a pop star, Pepe, and a guy getting out of the shower, Jack.
All the other bands, particularly Posture Coach and Lady Fantastic, did wonderful sets. Even Love Circuit, a band that soon ceased a few weeks after this performance, a very new band at that, were at their edgiest. They egged on a couple guys that booed them and a fight broke out near the end of the night. It was a crazy show.
We shared the stage, the very small stage, with Steve Boyle and Spacehooker. Going to Kentucky was fun. We stayed in a cabin in a KOA campground and flew kites. We walked around Bardstown Rd and went to some stores before the show. All the people in Louisville are really nice.
It was cool to talk with Jack's college friends. Our song "Full-Frame Movies" spawned a request for it the next time we played that venue. Good times.
The sound guy was good and he liked us and gave us his card, but the other musicians didn't fit in with Steve and us. They just were jamming and doing Sublime type stuff which I am not a fan of. Also, some guy from this company, Third I Entertainment talked our ears off about music and "the scene" and stuff like that. He annoyed us so much that we left early without worrying about collecting a percentage of the door. Later that week we received an e-mail from him offering to allow us to pay him $ 150 to be on some compilation. What an offer.
The show featured a ton of acts and I was surprised by the amount of people who came and stayed for the whole show. We had acts such as The Ladykillers, The Rydells, Steve Boyle, Sam Goodwill, The Zou, The Smileys and ourselves, Third Class.
The turnout was a bit less than anticipated, but it was still filled with a good group of 60 or more dedicated listeners. And, really, what more can you ask for?
This particular festival went well. It was the third festival and it was the beginning of some of the bands who are now well-established acts of Youngstown. We played a good set. We always play good sets when we are near an opening time slot. It takes the pressure off.
Festivals like this one and a previously-played Bonfrog Festival we played, organized by Simon Kenneally, formerly of Sijupauna, are good outlets for our music. We are, for some reason, viewed by most as experimental and we need weird, indie events like these to keep us in our element.
Anyhow, this series of shows was our first tour, a small tour. It was a journey away from Youngstown, Ohio. On August 18, we played in our home town's city park, East Palestine City Park with a band called The Fading and a band from a leg of The Warped Tour called Brookside. We considered this to be the kick-off show of the tour.
After the show, we went to our favorite truck stop restaurant called 7 & 14 and ate. Then, that same night, we set off for New York.
Our first destination was Long Island, more specifically, Commack, New York. We had reserved a $ 15-per-night camp ground and when we got there we slept in the grass until the night came over us. Then it was off to our first show at McCoy's Bar. The date was Aug 19. We played with a band called A-life, as well as, a now very successful band who has opened for Hanson recently, Hyjinx. And, let us not forget, Steve Boyle, our little brother. He was the one who booked us this particular show. He toured with us the whole time in N.Y. The show was pretty good, but the Long Island crowd, we had the feeling, needed some funkier licks than what we, an indie-progressive act, or Steve Boyle, an indie-pop act, had to offer. All the same, we made some new friends, performed a respectable set and hung out with the other bands.
Then, we had a few days off until the next show. We were dumb enough not to bring a tent, partially because it didn't fit into the van, so we slept on the ground the next couple nights. We also tried sleeping in the front seats of the van.
In our spare time, we played on the playground at the camp site and drove to Fire Island and swam in the salty ocean. That was, looking back on it now, the funnest part. The dunes on the beach and the huge waves made for an awesome vacation while we awaited our next shows.
The next show was at The Coda in New York City on August 22. We basically played to the sound guy and the bartender. It was a monday, but we felt pretty stupid regardless. We even had made an effort to promote a lot outside before the show. Upon arrival in the city, we went straight to McDonald's and ate the first real meal we'd had in days. We were very low on money and had been feasting on peanut butter, granola bars and dried bags of tuna for the last few days. In the city, we stayed in The Riverside Studios hotel and it felt awesome to sleep in real beds with real mattresses.
On August 23rd, we played the Mad River Grille with a small audience of regulars and headed home the same night.
Then, on August 26th, we played somewhat of a home-coming show at the Upper Room Fellowship Church in Columbiana, Ohio. It was a late-night party for a youth group and we ended up playing capture the flag and it was a good time.