As you know, Golden Tee 2003 has become our favorite way to spend
the idle hours post-sound check and pre-show. As of this week, our
blissful untarnished opinion of the game changed when Pete's right thumb
became the victim of a defective game ball. His finger was sliced open,
and he was forced to play the remaining 3 gigs of the tour with the thumb
bandaged. Being the warrior that he is, it didn't affect his playing
and he actually started taking more slap solos. When asked about
the incident Pete notes that he actually continued play and eagled that
hole, only to stop on the next hole because the van was running out of
time at the parking meter. Ilya claims that he was having the round of his
life at +23 and Pete was forced to over compensate. (Pete was -8 at the
time.) We will, of course, continue to play Golden Tee.
Our show in Prescott College fell almost exactly 2 years after our first show there. We were struck by the unique dancing styles employed there, including full on Yoga positions and contact dancing. There was a report that a man spent about 10 minutes in the back of the room standing on his head.
The Rhythm Room in Phoenix seemed to be mostly a blues club, so we obliged by going in an out of both 12/8 and Shuffle Blueses throughout the second set. The heady folk weren't fooled by a calendar that included names like Blind Willie Boy Jefferson, and came out in numbers to rock to the Trio.
At the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, the night was climaxed by an impromptu performance of "Earth Angel" that featured Il on Keys, Bri on Bass and Pete on Drums. After the audience joined in to sing along with the R & B classic, one spectator actually continued to sing as we went into "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter." We were shocked and amazed that he knew all the words. Kurt would be proud.
In San Diego, we knew the crowd was ready to rage by the one fan standing front and center wearing a Metallica shirt. These people knew it was the last show of the tour, and they acted accordingly. There actually was a mosh pit during "Bombtrack" that bouncers were forced to break up. Let me reiterate that: a MOSH PIT. We toasted the rowdy audience with 3 ceremonial shots of tequila and then ripped "Paradise City" as an encore. The tour was over.
At 11,000 feet, the rain comes down as snow. We were reminded of this all too clearly on Saturday as we were driving into the Colorado mountains for our gig in Steamboat Springs. The drive was treacherous, and for part of the trip "There was no road." (as Pete said.) Your favorite Trio made it safely into Steamboat, and were rewarded by a sold out show at the Wolf Den Tavern, packed with the most raging crowd in recent memory. Every audience should take lessons from these Steamboat folks on how to get down.
Overall, our return trip to the Rocky Mountain States was much anticipated. In Boulder, a fan showed up with a homemade T-Shirt that said. "Fuck Bush. I Voted for Novembre." There was even a rumor circulating in Colorado Springs that we're scheduled to perform on the Tonight Show. Allow us to assure you that this rumor is absolutely true. Another rumor that we can confirm is that the new 32 Bleu in Colorado Springs kicks ass. Affectionately referred to Trio-style as the "Spears Dome" (named after Jason Spears, the proprietor of the establishment), the club lived up to our expectations that it would immediately upon opening become the premier music club in Southern Colorado. Needless to say, the stage is high.
We also made a return trip to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. For those of you who've never been to Wyoming, we can assure you that the state is rather barren, with the notable exception of a high stage and kick ass sound system in the ballroom on campus, ready with hundreds of kids who come out to see us play every time. Before the show, we were entertained by the Rolling Stone top 100 albums list, that amazingly enough ignored our Live album. Rolling Stone has never really had its finger on the pulse of the truly deep shit.
As many of you know, we always play our own selection of electronica before our headlining shows. (Usually Autechre or Photek.) At Quixote's in Denver, we were denied this opportunity due to the fact that the Grateful Dead is always on. Thus, we listened to back-to-back shows from Deer Creek '91 prior to the gig. This explains why Pete was so deeply entrenched in the Phil Zone all night. (We were actually all in the Phil Zone.)
Ilya's new cymbal-on-drum technique is leaving audiences baffled during our trance jams. Invariably, after every show people approach him and ask "where are your triggers." This question then gives rise to an immediate post show drum clinic for all those who are interested. Ilya doesn't charge them, he just picks their pockets. The whistle solos have now evolved to include West-African style hand clapping by Brian and super-deep egg accompaniment by Pete/Pedro.
There has also been much recent confusion concerning Brian's Leslie. Just in case you were wondering, it is just a large piece of furniture we carry around with us for fun. The pieces of plastic rotate inside of it for no reason whatsoever except to look cool on stage.
Pete's thick groove is a result of him having never
changed his strings, ever.
Miles Driven since September 4th: 17,811
Ilya 's Current Tour Purchases:
WEEZER The Lion & The
Witch (live ep)
And on DVD:
AMADEUS (special edition)
Miles driven since September 4th: 15,026
It poured the night of our NYC show. Luckily, our East Coast fans are so
hard core that the rain didn't stop them. 200 or so folks packed the
Mercury Lounge for the Trio's raging midnight set. Everyone was
amazed at how our sound has changed and developed in the 4 months since
our last NYC show. The crowd was treated to a newly renovated
"Cult of Personality," which has been treated in a "death
reggae" fashion. Tapers noted that the encore was the first
ever "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter > Peaches en Regalia > Radio
Friendly Unit Shifter" or "RFUS > PeR > RFUS."
The next day, we traversed the entire state of Pennsylvania (again) to play Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. En route, your humble Trio was pulled over AGAIN by a Pennsylvania state trooper and issued a speeding citation. The ticket was issued for 70 mph in a 55 zone on the PA Turnpike. This led us to title our opening number later that evening "Pennsylvania State Trooper, Get off My Back."
The following night, we made our way to a Mighty Mighty Bosstones concert at the Birch Hill in Old Bridge, NJ. Even though it seems like just yesterday that we were all attending rock shows such as this at our favorite NJ clubs, we were struck immediately by the fact that we're 10 years older than average MMB fan. We were forced to the back of the room by these youngsters who were crowd surfing and moshing up front. The Bosstones were ultra tight, honed by years of relentless touring. We were dismayed, however, when their set clocked in at exactly one hour. Not everyone gives the audience the bang-for-the-buck that OM Trio does. Despite our discontent with the set length, the Bosstones still inspired us to create a "moshing only" section at our shows, effective immediately.
Total money paid to the Pennsylvania State Justice System: $270
The van keeps running, the weather keeps getting colder, and the
rain...well...it just keeps coming down. Actually, the Trio was
pleasantly surprised by mother nature earlier this week. After a
solid five days of rain in the greater NJ/NY area, we were sure the
pouring rain on the way to Philadelphia was unrelenting. Much to our
surprise, about ten minutes outside of Philly the clouds dispersed---and
what did we see but sunshine. We kid you not. This got us
ready to rage the legendary Trocadero (where Il has seen stuff like Helmet
and Fugazi to name but two) with Joshua Redman's Elastic Band. Their
show was stellar as ever, and the huge stage gave us a chance to pummel
the audience from an unprecedented angle. (We pay a great deal of
attention to stage height.) That was the last of three shows we did
with Redman and Company on this tour. Having the chance to watch
these phenomenal players from backstage was an experience we will never
One of the other highlights of this past week was our live performance on the Jamnation Radio Show in Hartford, CT. This gave us a chance to meet and hang with the illustrious Budnick/Waful combo of Jambands.com and Relix notoriety. The controlled studio environment prompted us to do quite a bit of improvising live on the air. We actully DID write a setlist for this extravaganza, but we didn't necessarily stick to it. Just another day in the Trio.
We were on our way to play with Joshua Redman in Cleveland, listening to Black Sabbath, enjoying the ever-present rain. All of a sudden, whilst savoring the opening harmonica strains of "The Wizard," Ilya noticed the odometer reading on the van.....166,666.6. This was not planned. Satan, laughing, spreads his wings and was definitely coming 'round the bend -- in the form of a Pennsylvania state trooper who stopped your humble jazz-metal outfit and proceeded to issue the much-appreciated $145 summons. We had no N.W.A or Bodycount in the van to reference after this.
We did two nights (Cleveland and Baltimore) with Redman's group which includes keyboardist Sam Yahel and drum giant Brian Blade. These guys are all leaders in their own right and it was an honor to share a stage with them and a great chance to watch such jazz luminaries from the wings and for free. The crowd was substantially older than our normal audience and were in their seats at 8 p.m. both nights, clapping after bass solos. This type of environment makes the Trio bring the tough New Jersey grindcore/Cannibal Corpse/Menudo vibe to the general proceedings. Needless to say, there were a lot of musicians at both shows and we got a great reception. The individual Redman players were very complimentary and Joshua thanked us from the stage, saying we had a "very innovative sound." Another great description of our sound from random listener: Cross between Herbie Hancock and Kraftwerk.
Backstage is also an opportunity to read the witty graffiti/band sticker/miscellaneous debris on the green room walls. Some great band names we've stumbled upon include Puppy Kicker, Monday Dead, Cracktorch, Shredlocks, and Alcoholocaust. In Maryland, there was a particularly awesome sticker on the bathroom wall commenting on the current state of affairs in music: "Will rap over rock for food."
After the gig we got in the van and drove away quickly, trying to avoid this jackass sniper in Maryland. Luckily, he wasn't at our show because he thinks we sold out and prefers our first album to any of the new shit.
Miles driven since September 4: 10,584
So we've been eating pizza everyday. In Old Bridge, NJ, there are no less
than 3 outstanding establishments which serve a slice to satisfy any
discerning palette. Keansburg and Millburn are playa hatin' cause they
gots week, psuedo-Italian posers pretending they can toss the dough high
and catch it on the fist.... but they can't! Felix and Novembre claim that
their respective towns can surely hang but Il don't buy it.
Being in New Jersey is fun. We took a couple days off after the North Carolina debacle and then set out for an intense three-day run of driving hell. We began by driving 7 hours to Norfolk, Virginia to play with Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. Probably our longest opener set (90 full minutes) the gig went well and the venue, NORVA, was a wild backstage playground. Hot tub, basketball court, arcade, pool table, foosball, you name it -- they had it. Pete can jump up and down and still play the bassline in "Demarcation" flawlessly. A rare coordination gift.
We then drove 10 hours to Lexington, Kentucky to play at the Fishtank. Some band named Phish seemed to be a favorite of the proprietors and clientele of said venue and their live shows were well represented in the jukebox and their logo was well tattooed on the arm of part-owner, Roger. The club only held about 150 heads and skip ahead a few hours -- the place kept a line out the door after 150 came in and the show was officially "sold out." The Lexington folk were raging for the Trio, listening to every note and screaming their heads off. Tons of musicians in the crowd. Fishtank, very cool. Roger was one of the nicest guys we've ever met and we look forward to returning.
6 more hours in the van found us pulling into Chicago to play with Umphrey's McGee at the House of Blues. A crazed, drunken, trucker sideswiped us and broke off the driver side mirror. Your humble narrators were almost killed in action. The duct tape ghetto rig now in place is a sight to behold, however. Anyway, the House of Blues is a beautiful room (1300 capacity) and the place was packed as soon as we hit the stage. Umphrey's is from Chicago and there was a buzz for people to come out early and catch us. Needless to say, we played an extremely tight and inventive death metal bop set that left both the audience and us exhausted. The reaction we got from the crowd was one of the best we've experienced, with all three Trio members getting stopped after the gig every 10 seconds by someone with a positive comment. Hopefully something will start to really happen in the Windy City now.
Umphrey's McGee, who we hadn't heard before, were really great. The nicest bunch of guys to hang with (we all discussed various topics revolving around heavy metal), their set was a mix of complex prog-rock type arranged mayhem and dual rock guitar lead glory. They are all accomplished musicians and both bands had mutual things in common. We look forward to doing more dates with them soon. After partying with the UM folks, we got in the van at 6:15 a.m. and began the approx. 800 mile trek from Chitown to New Jersey. When all is said and done, we will have driven about 2000 miles in 3 days. We're not kidding. (How's the van running you ask?)
Total miles driven since Day 1 of tour: 9,283
There was some confusion before the gig last night in Wilmington, NC about who was actually going to be running sound for the Trio show. At about 7 pm, a solid candidate emerged, and we seemed satisfied with the choice the club made. All seemed to be going as planned until the sound man casually informed Brian that he was having some sort dispute with his ex-girlfriend that may involve police coming into the club and taking him away. He then went on to give Bri a 30 second explanation of how to run the sound equipment if that should happen. (None of us really know exactly how to run a sound board.) Sure enough, just before we were scheduled to start, the police showed up and took away the sound man in handcuffs. Luckily, we managed to figure out the board and got a little help while we were onstage from sound savvy bartender.
As the night grew later, it became evident that the evening's surprises were not over. At around 1 a.m., the crowd outside the bar (downtown Wilmington) was looking hostile. Sooner than later, more police cars showed up. More people were put into handcuffs. By the time we got off stage, we found out that there was a violent fight in one of the neighboring bars that (allegedly) involved people getting stabbed with broken beer bottles.
Given this peculiar set of circumstances, we took the opportunity to
play a very aggressive, heavily improvised set that reminded us in many
ways of the Tucson is Burning series on Live. It
wasn't so much the content that was similar, but rather the vibe of the
music and the experience of playing music in such a bizarre set of
Superlatives: Weeks 1-3
Most raging gig: Klusoz Bar Lubbock,
Stella Blue | Asheville, NC | 9.26.02 | Second Set
The Lemon Song > You Give Love A Bad Name > The
So, we woke up at 8:30 a.m. the morning after this raging set so that we could get to Atlanta, pick up Pete's bass, and then get to the Harvest Fest with time to spare. We made it, but then were confronted with the reality that were scheduled to play on was basically a mudhole with a half-built stage. (Delayed heavily by the continuing presence of Hurricane Isadore the previous night.) By the time our set time rolled around, it became clear that we weren't going to play, so we consulted management and departed. We apologize to anyone who was looking forward to our show at the Festival, but, as they say, shit happens. Our "My Name Is Mud" opener would have been tight. We'll catch you next time in Atlanta.
Pete left his bass in Atlanta. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band has a sousaphone player. A sousaphone is not a bass. The club in Hilton Head called some people and an axe was delivered in time for our set. The sheer beauty, tone, action, and overall vibe of said instrument was a sight and sound to behold. The Trio rocked anyway. Step to us. Big ups to Rodney from SC for coming through. Of course we don't have Pete's Fender for two more gigs (we'll pick it up for Harvest Fest near Atlanta). So for the next Dirty Dozen show in Columbia, SC, we managed to procure an 80s Ibanez replica 4-string beast for Mr. Novembre to attack with abandon. Thanks to the Jam Room in Columbia for the clutch delivery.
BRIAN: "We got an 80s Ibanez replica for the
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, by the way, are the nicest bunch of guys ever and they scream "Give it up for the OM Trio!!!!" for 5 minutes as soon as they hit the stage. Towards the end of the night, some ladies got on stage to dance and Terrance, the drummer, made the perfectly acceptable move of dropping his sticks to grind with the aforementioned females. This maneuver left the music sans percussion and Terrance winked at Ilya to replace him at this particular moment. So Ilya sat in with the Dirties for half of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition." This simultaneously brought a pinch of yankee toughness to the overall New Orleans vibe of the Brass Band and of course helped Terrance score (we think).
Conversation over dinner at the Mellow Mushroom, Hilton Head, SC.
IL: "Who's more wasted, Jim Morrison or Tom Waits?
Sunday 9.22.02 2:30
New Orleans is crazy. Our second trip there involved driving through yet another ghetto to reach a music venue, this time the famous Tipitina's. Our gig in "crackton" went well, even though people go out at 1:00 a.m. We're booked for the Superdome next time around so we'll see how that turns out.
After New Orleans we drove to Live Oak, Florida for the Florida Music and Film Harvest. This was a huge event with thousands of people milling about. The first night we saw Train (they sing that song "Drops of Jupiter") rock the crowd hard or did they put them to sleep? The next day we played the main stage at noon. It was 178 degrees in the shade. We opened with a seriously aggressive version of the Rage Against the Machine classic "Bombtrack" after which Brian greeted the crowd with the inventive self-description that we were "the alarm clock from their worst nightmare." We proceeded to play a tight and heavy stadium rock set and closed with "Paradise City." We felt like we were in that video because the stage was so huge and the speaker stacks just enormous. Throughout the rest of the day people stopped us and complimented us on our ballsy approach.
That night we were lucky to witness the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. He's like 110 years old but he came out tough with the tightest band of about 25 people and screamed for two hours. When you've got an actual title like "the Hardest Working Man in Show Business" you can't come out light. Our title is "The Most Dangerous Jazz Group in America" so we'll see what develops from that.
The night ended with a collective first for the Trio. On our way out of the Festival to the hotel, we passed a campsite and heard something strangely familiar. It was the "Hippopotamus" from our live album and these 5 or 6 folks were jamming out to it at about 2:30 in the morning. Il had the video camera and approached the unsuspecting circle. After introducing himself, Il exchanged some kind words with them and they told him how much they loved our music. That doesn't happen all the time. A special moment.
We're still in the dirty, dirty, South. We love it here.
Thursday 9.19.02 1:53 p.m.
One little known fact about touring is that a band can greatly increase it's revenue by buying instant lottery tickets at gas stations. So far, in two scratch off sessions, the Trio has managed to increase its gross profits by $27. Not bad for $1 scratch offs. We should take that kind of luck to Vegas....
The biggest surprise this week thus far has been Lubbock, TX. When we rolled into town at about 6 pm, we promptly ran into an Elvis impersonator who was on the run from Uncle Sam. After interviewing him on video for about 10 minutes, he went on his merry way, but left us asking ourselves, "What exactly are we doing here?" Much to our surprise, come 11pm the Klusoz Bar was packed with music fans waiting for the smooth organica sounds of the Trio. Let us tell you...the people of Lubbock know how to rock. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty Peggy Sue.... After a triple encore, we were past curfew and the show drew to a close, but we left the audience with the guarantee that we will be back. Who knew?
We completed our two show TX run yesterday at the great Mercury @ Jazz in Austin. Michael Wolff and Impure Thoughts opened the show, and gave us a chance to meet jazz luminaries Sonny Fortune and Badal Roy who played with Miles in the 70's. Both the room and the crowd lived up to their respective reputations. Almost the whole crowd were rapt by the Trio until close to 2 am on a Wednesday night when were drew the evening to a close. Another great night. Don't mess with Texas.
As Jon's Golden Tee scores go down and the rest of us stay the same, we're barreling along the I-10 en route for the East Coast.
It has been raining every single day of this tour. Tucson? Pouring. Vail. WET. It's remarkable. Anyway, the Trio has purchased matching galoshes to tackle this dilemma. The past few days have been filled with interesting music and interesting encounters with former and pseudo celebrities. In Vail, we ate dinner next to former college and NFL player Brian "the Boz" Bosworth. He was pretty candid about his steroid scandal and was a really nice guy to talk to. He reminded us of his wild days when he wore an NCAA shirt that said "National Communists Against Athletes" at the 1986 Rose Bowl. The Boz. In Fort Collins, Karl Alvarez (bass player in the band ALL) opened for us with his side project, The President's Wives. We met him before the show and he was equally as approachable and showered us with stories of the road. ALL is really good.
Description of our music by our fanbase has been hilarious. The two best ones are as follows: "You guys are disgustingly disturbing yet poetic," and the new band favorite, "You guys are a cross between Medeski, Martin, & Wood and South Park." Blame Canada.
So far, the leisure activity on the road has been made up of rolling into a town and finding the golf arcade game, Golden Tee Fore 2003. Jon Weinbach's enthusiasm has caused a collective obsession with this video recreation, although he can't really raise the level of Trio play much higher than pathetic. The average Trio score is around 11 or 12 over par. Sad.
Also significant is the amount of buffalo chicken wings we have eaten on this tour. 90% of our meals include this tasty appetizer. It is quite amazing how different wings are from place to place.
Ilya has been taking these whistle solos while playing the drums simultaneously. Brian and Pete clap along with the audience while Il looks likes he will pass out. It is all a lot of fun to witness.
Pete is extremely funky.
Tuesday 9.10.02 11:04
We've had a couple of days off. This has allowed us to participate in
extracurricular activities such as tennis, basketball, swimming, and, of
course, writing the road journal. Let us first get you up to date:
we cruised through AZ, rocking our favorite places in Tempe, Tucson, and
Flagstaff. Unfortunately, the Trio was met in AZ by some of the
worst rain in recent history. Rain in Arizona. Who'd have
thunk it. The brave AZ folks did cover their heads and see the Trio
shows... Our set lists included "Fool in the Rain," "The
Rain Song," "Rainy Day Women #12 & #35," "Have You
Ever Seen The Rain," "Rain" (Beatles), "Box of
Rain," and other songs about rain or showering or swimming or
drowning or water.
The majority of the tour has seen the 3 of us speaking to each other exclusively in quotes from This Is Spinal Tap, The Big Lebowski, and The Jerky Boys. Also joining us for the first 4 weeks is Jon Weinbach, an old friend from Jersey, on board to sell merchandise, carry the Leslie, and play Derek Smalls during our impromptu theatrics. The band has purchased a digital video camera to document the madness of the road. We just prance into a foodmart and roll tape. We've also successfully convinced at least 3 people in NM or AZ rest stops that we were Rage Against the Machine (minus Zach) or Blink-182 (with all our tattoos erased).
The Jersey Nokie (our sports team name) thoroughly destroyed a squad from Durango (we'll call them the Durango Danksters) in 2 consecutive basketball 3 on 3 battles. The Danksters were no match for Ilya's precision passing, Pete's rebounding, Brian's jumper, and Weinbach's elbows. We also played tennis. Jon and Brian are really good and Pete and Ilya, uh, play basketball.
We also saw a baby black bear outside our hotel room in Durango. Yes, a real bear. Winnie the Pooh it wasn't.
The music, (oh yeah, we played some of that) has been sounding great. Crowds are really responding the the trance staff and the freedom we're given by such open audiences is causing some new sounds to revolve. Brian sounds like 5 guys a lot of the time and the fullness of the collective noise is a sight to behold? a sound to believe? Whatever, he's killing. And the Trio is raging. Pete likes crossword puzzles. Ilya likes the Washington Redskins.