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Ignition 2er Day Four: The Caravan

Ignition 2er Day Four: The Caravan

"San Jose sucks"

Yup. No clever catch phrase, no witty pun, San Jose just plain sucks. No other description quite fits. Two years in a row, this city has taken the wind right out of our sails. And here's the thing, it's not the infrastructure. The actual city itself is rather pretty...newer construction all throughout downtown, everything appears very clean and well maintained. They definitely dropped some money on this berg at some point, no question. I saw a very elegant statue gracing the front of a large office building...not too shabby...and all the better for the scores of homeless junkies to loiter on. No, sorry man, it's the craziest thing but, I actually pay for these cigarettes and I don't just go around passing them out nightly to random addict bums like some kind of twisted smoking Santa Clause. Kindly return to that weird, half standing, half falling over shuffle you do so well.

I'm not gonna sit here and shit on The Caravan. The bar was gracious enough to give us gig, book a local band and flyer the show, all inside of a week, so I got nothing but respect to the bar and its management. It's the people. Same thing as last year. We're up there throwing down our gauntlet of god damn awesomeness and these pricks all stand there with a blank look on their faces like a dog that has just been shown a card trick. Not even applause between songs. You're too cool for clapping now, or? That just seems like a respect issue...I clap for bands regardless of if I care about them or not...it's just good manners. And the craziest shit is, they didn't even appear to be the slight bit enthused for the local band they were all apparently there to see. Just sat there drooling like a bunch of mental patients on Thorazine. During our set, one particular piece of shit came up, stood on front of me, and turned his back in an apparent sign of his distain for our band. What an utter cockbag.

We play our set, RUACH jams through theirs and we get the hell outta there. We burned through the night with the urgency only an escapee feels.. all us knowing our next destination will be far more hospitable....The Black Palace, also known as Mike D's!!!!

Ignition 2er Day Three: Burnt Ramen

Ignition 2er Day Three: Burnt Ramen


Musically, I grew up on punk rock. Dead Kennedys, Wasted Youth, Black Flag, minor threat, the vandals...these were the bread and butter on which a young musician got fat. I used to take pride on how huge my liberty spikes were, how many patches my jacket had, and especially how many shows I could attend. It was one of the few times in my life the "scene" had an actual community feel to it. It was beautiful. So electric and alive, I loved it. It was just the ideas I sought: fuck authority and most of all FUCK YOU. The idea that music could contain such raw energy , and equally speak to social change, was one with which I was fully enamored. I learned every song I could and sat on pins and needles until the time I could replay them for anyone. I put studs on my strap and dye in my hair. I loved the grime, and the sweat...the thrill of rocking out all while skirting the law. Of course, I grew out of the seedier aspect of punk...namely, drinking shit booze, not bathing and sleeping on the streets...but I never lost the spirit of it all. That distain for the status quo.

Sufficed to say, my 16 year old self would have loved this place: the aptly named Burnt Ramen. For starters, the neighborhood looked like a demilitarized zone. As we approached the dilapidated building, we all got the sense that we could be robbed at gun point at any moment. The place fronted a set of track tracks which seemed to have a locomotive trucking by every 60 seconds, and the majority of houses in the area looked as if they would fall over merely from the vibration of it. The interior reminded me of The Foot's Lair from teenage mutant ninja turtles...spray painted from head to toe in bright neon and orange.... A decent sized stage near the front door, a bar with pool table in back and let us not for get the quarter pipes for skating. Not a single kid in that room knew who we were, they just came out to watch a show. How fuckin beautiful is that?? This is a place where the underground thrives. Hell, we weren't even allowed to give out the address. A shack in the middle of the hood where the fire of music, made in and of itself, is kindled and stoked by the youth. Oh, The filth, the depravity, the circle pits! Long sort short we had a surprisingly awesome gig, and were not assaulted in any way. Although Sanchez did believe he saw two dudes shooting up in back but...ya can't have everything.

After trying 50 shit motels, we find one to let us in at 2 AM. Holes in the walls, mold in the shower, trash in the parking lot with a recently condemned pool. Just a little slice of touring band heaven. San Jose...you're next...whether you wanna be or not...

Ignition 2er Day Two: On The Rocks

Ignition 2er Day Two: On The Rocks


The alley behind the bar smelt like a knocked over porta potty in 100 degree heat mixed with the musky, heavy stank of garbage. No doubt this little stretch of asphalt had seen more than its fair share of piss and vomit...why would today be any different? It wouldn't. And we were about to meet the man of the night. He looked to be in his late 20s, a heavy set gentleman probably pushing 300 pounds, his black jeans twisted around his ankles, exposing his freshly soaked boxers. Be it only 10 pm on a Friday, he was blind fuckin drunk, and had gotten knocked the fuck out by an employee of On The Rocks with whom he had gotten out of line. A man by the name of HANS. Now, in a brilliant symphony of belligerence, he wallows in the gutter of one of the foulest alley ways Bakersfield has to offer....screaming at the top of his lungs for the bastard who had left him there: the illusive knock out artist known as HANS!!!

Michelle, (good friend, kind soul and coworker of Rico of meditated assault's) did her best to comfort him and aid in at least getting his pants back over his soiled knickers. She held is head and tried to coax him to stand up in her sweetest, most motherly sounding voice...but he would have none of it... All he wanted was HANS! I pondered his motives. Perhaps he sought to make amends? Perhaps he need further explanation as to why his face hurt so badly. My mind settled on the idea that he was in search of vengeance. Once HANS returned to the scene he would burst forth with the ferocity and blind fury of a caged animal, simultaneously resurrecting his pants and his pride, all in one sweeping, dramatic, unexpected round house to HANS' face! REDEMPTION ROUNDHOUSE!!!

Oh that fucker HANS... Such quick hands...like the ninja assassin of obese lushes. The Bakersfield Bruiser. The Oildale Impaler. Who was this part time mixed marshal artist, part time cook, full time bad ass? We would never know... But to his credit he did provide us with a good show as we packed up the van. He never did come back. And our friend was still wallowing in the street when we pulled away. The security informed us that he was a "grown ass man" and that he "can get his drunk ass up on his own." Oh well, show's over. But the video is damn compelling entertainment. (to say its bound for youtube would be an understatement)

Good ole B Field. Cheap beer, great crowds, our buds in Meditated Assault and the kind of humidity that makes you sweat so fierce you curse the day the good Lord gave you a sac. The show went well tho, decent crowd, $2 PBRs, Sanchez nailed all the baselines flawlessly on his first day filling in for Jason and of course, we got to see America's seedy underbelly... In the form of an actually belly...reeking of booze, pee, trash and the American dream. A place where we are all free. Free to get alcohol poisoning, piss ourselves, and then swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck in his giant vault of money. God speed you golden drunk juggernaut, God speed. And hey... We got our new tour phrase.. HANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sweaty sleep on Rico's couch and then off to San Francisco...

Ignition 2er Day 1: The Slide Bar

Ignition 2er Day one: The Slide Bar

"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home"

If there was one venue that I could unequivocally point to as our home, it would have to be The Slide Bar. The Slow Forward and Ruach have collectively rocked the fuck outta that place so many times, there's probably enough DNA up on that stage from our blood and sweat to enable future generations to clone all of us. We love the place. And not just because they pay us.Okay, mostly because they pay us...Which is probably because the owner of the bar is in the band Lit. Or at least that's what I've heard...never actually seen him there...but then again I don't know if I'd know him if I saw him so...he might be the fucking bartender. The crowd is always an odd mix of college age career drunks and the fullerton faux rich out for wine and cigars. But I digress...

The bill is epic, Beneath The Buried and acrobatic destroyers: Light Up The Eyes, kick it all off. Michelle calls us all pussies for warning her about climbing on the truss. She has bigger balls than all of us. Seriously, I have no idea how she tucks those fuckers back...

So here we go...dragging the battle axe for a second year running. The same bands. The same van. The same vinegar-esq stench of 8 non showered grown men's balls. The same overwhelming sense that someone, somewhere along the way, will likely never be seen or heard from again....a casualty of the road, a myth, a legend, a ghost. The band mate gone into the void, spoken of only amongst the uber drunk after parties. Oh yes it gets weird out there, and there's always been a sense of fear and loathing... But this time around there's a different sense of the journey ahead, we have tread some of the ground before, and we all seem to have an unspoken nod to one and other seemingly to say "we got this shit." So as we each collectively rock the fuck out of our closest friends, fam and fans, in the back of our minds we got the kind of confidence only those who have conquered can hold. We are about to go fuck the western United States, and were starting with your face, Slide Bar. Shows over, time to get one more night's sleep before the road. Getting home at 1:30, I'm physically and mentally exhausted...but I can't quite fall asleep yet...so many thoughts running through my mind. Will the gigs be good? Do we have the money for this? Is my gear all good to go? Will I do another tour blog?? Finally drift off, kiss the beautiful wife good bye, and pack up Big Hoss. Got my whiskey, a large bag of trail mix, some pop tarts and an appetite for destruction. Off to Bakersfield..

New Years eve 2012

What a fucking year...it has truly been a roller coaster for The Slow forward, no doubt. We've seen more than our share of lows; a studio fire, DUI, escalating money problems, job loss, impending Armageddon...conflicts and doubt.

But there has been absolute highs as well; being signed to Sullen Musik (and all the blessings that has brought), releasing our first ever full length album, touring the entire west coast with our amazing friends in RUACH, making our first music video, playing an arena... wondrous experiences all greeted with excitement and hope. Yes, there was a lot to fret over and yet, so much more in which to rejoice!

Reflecting on this; we offer these words:

There is only one path, and we each set out on it long ago. We fret and worry about the direction we will go, looking desperately for some sense of bearing with the fear of being completely lost nipping at our heels. But, we only perceive that we are navigating this road, when in reality, we are merely pawns of nature's whim, being tossed hither and fro on a boundless sea of existence by the unseen hands of the universe. The wind is in our sails but never at our backs, and we struggle to find a light in the darkness...something to steer towards...so that perhaps we can make landfall and in doing so, bring meaning to the journey. Our burden is to think we must act decisively, move quickly and choose intelligently, lest we find ourselves in a strange forest, too tall to see the horizon, becoming directional less. With our fear and doubt forever whispering in our ears like tormenting demons, saying; "You are becoming lost. You will be left behind."

However, the unavoidable truth is that, what shall be, will be. And perhaps that is what is most frightening. The idea that we are not in control, nor shall we ever be, and that we affect little, yet are affected by so very much. This sobering notion, that we are standing still and it is only the earth that turns. But I tell you, turn this fear to joy, and remember why you ever dared to take a single step: to witness the beauty, and swing on a spiral...

All we can truly effect is each other, with our hearts and minds, and most importantly with our love. Let us never forsake our passion and love, in pursuit of a mirage posing as a destination. We are all on this path together, and eventually it will come to an end, so pray to have the understanding to love each other along the way...and to love the journey merely for the sake of it, destination be damned...like we said in "Shatter”; ‘it’s not where you're running from, it's who you're running with’.

Happy New Year from The Slow Forward, may you love and be loved in the new year. We'll see you on the road....

Ignition tour day nine: Two Bit Saloon, Seattle, WA

Ignition tour blog day nine: The Two Bit Saloon, Seattle, WA

So, it's not just a clever name...

I awoke on grandpa Les' couch in the living room. A few feet away grandpa was snoring in an easy chair, and grandma was cooking breakfast. I reach for my glasses and discover through the night i had acquired a small dog that now resides on my chest. As I opened my eyes we exchanged a glance, and he shot me an expression that seemed to say "dude, we partied ALL night, what are you getting up for?" Yes, little wiener dog, that was only 3 hours of sleep but I smell bacon and it's too late to ignore it now! 

Slowly, our beleaguered belligerents began to bellow from the basement. One by one, each painfully ascended the stairs enticed by a hunger only those who have drank til the sun rose can fully comprehend. We feast on eggs, bacon along with good ole fashion biscuits and gravy. Everyone is hustled in and out of the showers so we can get our asses over to the community college to get on the air by noon. At the show last night we met an awesome gentleman broadcaster by the name of Kellian, who told us he did a 2 hour show and would love to interview us all. Naturally we jumped at the opportunity and scrambled to make it on time. Mission...some what accomplished...we arrive about 20 minutes behind sched but Killian was cool and didn't give a fuck. Our first radio interview ensues. It goes well, mention all the right points, we play a few TSF songs, not too shabby....well,  until last nights whiskey and oyster shots catch up to me...I listen to RUACH's half of the interview via the bathroom on the loudspeakers blasting the show throughout campus....

After thoroughly destroying a Portland College bathroom we hit the road and cruise into Seattle. Splint has the greatest line of the day as we're entering Washington:         "sweet! Washington! So how far is it to the white house??!".                

...umm...like a couple thousand miles dude....

          "I thought the capital was in Washington"

...yeah, Washington D.C. man...

Oh those drummers. Jon Rock quickly reminds us tho "HEY! We drummers may not be smart but we'll fuck ALL you guys up!!" touché, sir...you got me there. As the sun begins to set we descend on Seattle. After our traditional custom of driving aimlessly through the narrow one way streets of a big city, we arrive at the bar. Its a nice little dive a stones throw off the shoreline nestled amongst some industrial buildings. We park the van and head in to find the person on charge...only to discover there kinda, isn't really anyone in charge.  Oh and it gets better. You know that local band we booked you with? You know! The one that was gonna bring in the locals? Well they're all under 18 and they haven't brought anyone besides their parents. They actually have to stay out of the bar until their set starts. Don't get me wrong these kids were BADASS (Jar Of Rain, check em out) but I've had bigger crowds for shits I've taken. (don't ask) Oh well, they can't all be winners....or at least that's what I keep telling everyone...

RUACH murders. I go shirtless for a half assed hang over set...a rare sight to be hold. Pack it up on the double, and get back in the van mates, we got a 14 hour burn through the night to Lake Tahoe.... Good Lord give us strength... hopefully no one falls asleep at the wheel.... ....it's okay Wainwright, we know you were just resting your eyes....

Ignition tour day eight: Ashstreet Saloon, Portland, OR

Ignition tour day eight: Ashstreet Saloon, Portland OR

I realized the sad connotation of the statement as soon as I uttered it: "wow, I've never seen so many trees in my life!" Yup, it's a sorry state of affairs when a man is so removed from the nature he was born into that something as perennial and common to the planet as a forest is looked on as an oddity. Never the less, I was taken back by the beauty of it all. We burned through the woods (quite literally...we passed a small road side fire...) then the trees parted to reveal the majesty of Portland. My God, what a city...it's sprawl seemed endless. 

Just like with each downtown before it, we got a little lost and took an un intended driving tour. Finally found the venue and parked with a couple hours to see what the place was all about. We all split up to find food and drum up any extra heads we could get to watch the show. We cruised up and down the streets, handing out stickers and meeting a few people. Coincidentally, along the way we were accosted by a vagrant transsexual...he...er or she...ran up out of literally no where...."YOU GUYS TALKIN SHIT?!" ...umm no, we don't even know you.... "GOOD!! CUZ I'LL FUCK ALL YOU UP!!" ...right...okay well have a good day, man...or mam...I'm sure you'd have no trouble taking on 7 tattooed rockers with that 90 pound crack head tranny frame and 4 inch heels. 

I met so many people who told me they moved here from southern California. They speak reservedly as if it is some secret they didn't want to be responsible for leaking. But after spending a night here it's really no surprise what brought them all here. Big city energy on par with Vegas or LA, with stunning beautiful rivers and forests just minutes from downtown. All the night life you could crave with infinitely less douche bags and wanna be gangsters. RUACH discusses relocating their world head quarters....

So I don't know if I've mentioned it previously but I've been sick since day one on this tour. Head cold turned into a coughing chest infection. Each night I've said I just didn't know if my voice would hold up for the evening's set and every night I miraculously pull it off some how. That bring said,  these A holes  in RUACH keep sounding better every night...I can only assume it's done to spite me. This night at Ashstreet Saloon? Best I've heard them live in a year....and I see them ALOT so trust me when I say that's a bold statement...

Jon Rock's grand parents live just outside of the city in a gorgeous little wooded area with a creek just behind it. They were kind enough to let us invade their home and crash for the night. I know what you're thinking...a nice quiet night at the grandparents'....perhaps a game of gin rummy and some chatting over coffee? ...think again... Grandpa Les is a former trucker and parties like a rockstar. Charlie Sheen ain't got shit on Grandpa...the man drank with us past sunrise like a kid in his 20s...His legend has been solidified in our eyes, and should we ever find ourselves back on Portland, we know he'll waiting with open arms, deviled eggs and oyster shots...

Don't worry Seattle, we'll save some rockstar for you....

Ignition tour day seven: Big T's Redmond, Oregon

Ignition tour day seven: Big T's, Redmond, Oregon.

It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it...

We all knew it....wherever we went after Marysville would seem drab and grey....perhaps not literally but simply in comparison...

 We descended from the heavenly comforts of Mike D's home and crash landed into a scene of filth and depravity. Big T's. A hole in the wall strip club along the 97 freeway, where you get the feeling you could catch a beer or a good band....or hepatitis C. Although the hospitality shown was just as gracious as we've seen from so many people along the way, the setting was certainly a part from any we'd encountered thus far. The band that opened the show, (the hooligans...nice 4 piece chick fronted punk band) also owned the bar and the ramshackle house that lay behind it. They allowed to crash on the floor (the home was vacant and had next to no furniture). Our hosts told us that it was one of the oldest houses in Redmond, built near the turn of the century...no surprise there...In my humble opinion, the house would be better suited for demolition than habitation. But the boys all seemed fine with the accommodations so we took the offer. I won't lie and say I had the best night's sleep but it was a free roof over our heads, and the touring musician must take what he can get. Here's the quick break down: 3 hour haul...Pull up early...oh shit it's a strip club...meet the proprietors...free rolling rock on tap all night...watch the first band...a drunk pushes Splint...restrain and good judgement prevail, fight avoided...more rolling rocks...the b-squad Wednesday night strippers attempt to dance awkwardly in the adjacent room to RUACH's blistering metal...Slow Forward's turn...been too sick, can't scream to save my life...hmmm how about some rolling rock...load the trailer...rolling rocks sound about right...stumble to the haunted house...sleep awkwardly on stained carpet...wake up hung over....write a tour blog...

Off to Portland....

Ignition tour blog day five and six: The splendor of Mike D's

Ignition tour blog day five and six: The splendor of Mike D's...

It's funny how quickly you can  adapt to your surroundings, however out of your day to day ordinary landscape they may be. Case in point... The extraordinary estate of the legendary Mike D. A palatial homestead lined with walnut trees where a the road dogging musician can recover from the grind for a few days. We left the grime, shit and paranoia that was San Jose and surrendered to the incredible hospitality of Mike and his family. The man is an amazing artist with a zen like demeanor and laid back attitude. Truly the definition of an old soul... Makes you feel like you've always known him... you've just been away for a while and now its time to catch up. He opened his doors to us for a well deserved break from the sweat and the strain...a chance to sleep in an actual bed, get a shower and perhaps enjoy the pool. We couldn't appreciate it more!!

We pulled up around 3 am and I crashed out fairly quickly. I heard tales that the boys all stayed up and watched the sun rise. Woke up and took the tour. Holy sweet god damn, this is one hell of a pad! After the best damn burger I've ever had (courtesy of the Silver Dollar Saloon) we head back to the manor for beer, whiskey and pizza. Throw down a bitching jam with everyone taking turns adding to the tapestry ...truly a thing of beauty. Then we rage til the break of dawn, like the rock stars in training we are. A man could get used to this. But really we shouldn't....who knows what  filth and loathing lies ahead...it certainly won't be anything near the stunning beauty and gracious hospitality of Marysville. God help us....we've seen heaven but sadly soon we will be cast out...down to the purgatory of the 5 freeway...where the demons are darker than the asphalt and the degradation flows like the pabst blue ribbon at most of our gigs...fuck yeah, touring, gotta love it. 

We all try to take it in as much as we can...the longest, hardest moat brutal stretches of road lie ahead. We're coming to kill you Oregon.  

Ignition tour day four: Johhny V's San Jose

Ignition tour blog  day four: Johnny V's

Can you spare some change? As we entered downtown San Jose, my first impression was of how clean it all looked. That image was quickly dashed. The street the bar was on was littered with all of the dregs you'd expect to find surrounding a half rate rehab clinic on skid row in LA. The down trodden, the disenfranchised, the disturbed. The douche bags who want to purchase individual cigarettes from as if you're some kind of Korean donut shop owner. Couple that with a cut rate PA,  a rude metro sexual overly pretentious bartender and a crowd you could fit in most elevators , then you got San Jose.

 But the upshot is that the local bands (Dimidium and This Fire Burns) were straight up bad ass. Their performances solicited nods from all the boys making us resemble a sea of bobble heads. Had they been anything less than awesome, I fear the combination of the shadiness of surroundings coupled with the hassles of the night, may have been to much for our tour manager to bear, forcing him to have to behead the bitch faced bartender and piss down his neck hole. Luckily for us all, the bands were sick, so Havok's rage was contained....for now. 

Now were off to sac town to recover for a couple days at RUACH's artist's pad. A much appreciated break to lick our wounds and gather strength for the second half of our gigs. That being said, I'll leave you with our newly coined ignition tour catch phrase: "YEEHAW FUCK YEAH BITCH!"