Road Journal

Sunday 6.9.02  11:54 a.m.
 San Francisco, CA

Right now everything feels like a blur.  I'm finally back in my apartment after 2 months away.  It's a little strange.  The final stretch of the tour went well with a raging finale last night in our old stomping grounds of Ashland, OR. The encore, "Hippopotamus" included an appearance on saxophone by the great Jessica Lurie of the Living Daylights.  This was the first meeting of the Daylights/Trio and most certainly won't be the last. We left Ashland at about 3:30 am and arrived in El Cerrito, CA at about 8 am.  After jump starting Pete's car (which hadn't been moved in 2 months) we went our separate ways, thus marking the official completion of OM Trio's first National Tour.  

A lot more has happened in the last week or so that I'm failing to tell you about.   All things being considered, though, I'm lucky that I'm able to get the energy and coordination together to type this entry. For now, this will have to do.   

--Brian Felix Keys


Final Tour Statistics

Shows played 33
Bands played with 22
Dr. Dre 2001 listenings in van 9
Weezer Maladroit listenings in van 12
Oil Changes 3
Miles Driven  12,264


Thursday 6.4.02  8:06 p.m.
 Missoula, MT   Inn on Broadway

We've been spending a lot of time in the van lately.  As you can imagine, we
've been keeping ourselves entertained by listening to a lot of music.  Every morning with a Bob Marley album.  Rastaman Vibration and Exodus are band favorites, and also Kaya for that "easy skank" feeling we all know and love. Later on in the drives, we've been listening to a complete Phish show, always with a "palate cleanser" between sets. Weezer's Green Album and The Real Jamaica Ska have proven useful in this capacity both because of their quality and brevity. Below is the complete play list from our Minneapolis to Missoula journey, which took place over a portion of 3 days.  These tunes made the 16 hour trip feel more like 13.                                                        


Sunday 6.2.02 Late Night directly following Minneapolis show

Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet
System of A Down Toxicity

Monday 6.3.02
All Day

Bob Marley & the Wailers Kaya
Fima Ephron Soul Machine
Weezer (blue)
Weezer (green)
Twista Adrenaline Rush
Doctor Kosmos Cocktail
Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral
Phish Live 06 11.27.98 Set 1
The Real Jamaica Ska
 Phish Set 2
Squarepusher Go Plastic!
Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream

Tuesday 6.4.02 mid-afternoon

Bob Marley & the Wailers Live!
The Who Live at Leeds
Mr. Bungle California

Yes, we listened to four Weezer records in a row.


Friday 5.31.02  10.24 a.m.
 Cleveland, OH   Motel 6

     I've been torn between eating pizza and my mom's amazing food. Mom just whips up some lasagna and you can imagine it's the real deal cause back in the motherland/Eastern Block in the 70s (the formative years), you better learn how to cook well since you're just not ordering out. How my mom makes non-Russian food well (like lasagna) is beyond me. There are however 3 pizzerias in Old Bridge, New Jersey, all of which charge $8.50 for a large plain pie, and all of which wipe the floor with Arinell's, North Beach, or any other joint in the Bay Area. (Arinell's charges $17.00 for the same size pie, but if you're not in the emergency room in 10 minutes then you're surely washing down that fine Italian feast with a large Pepto-Bismol.)

I recently became a Vic Firth drumstick endorser and they sent me a ton of free sticks and a really nice leather stick bag. In the week off, I watched all those great NBA playoff games with my dad (who's strangely rooting for the Nets, while I'm a die-hard Celtics fan) and spent the duration of most games throwing these new sticks at either the TV, my dad, or against walls. (Celtics not doing too well.)

The electronica/ambient/emo-jazz jams have been serious. Brian is coming up with fresh and seemingly infinite variations of color all the while sounding like multiple DJs. Pete varies from playing machine-like synth-bass style lines to non-descript chord slides to funky blurred down beat grooves. I'm starting to look and sound exactly like Animal from the Muppet Show. It's pretty exciting and the tempos seem to be getting faster and faster. We shall see. At the Cleveland show, some guy named Mike came up to me after and asked me if I study Joey Baron or Jim Black (two drummers I surely admire). I couldn't believe he rattled off such specific influences--you never know who's listening and how informed they are. He wasn't even a drummer. He complimented me on my playing and we talked about the NY downtown scene for 20 minutes. People do surprise.

We've now done 8,473 miles since April 15th.

                                                                      --Ilya Stemkovsky   drums


Ilya keeps buying stuff:

LAURIE ANDERSON Live at Town Hall, NYC  (September 19-20, 2001)
PHISH Live 10   6.22.94
PHISH Live 06   11.27.98
PHISH Live 03   9.14.00
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Burnin' (remastered)
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Natty Dread (remastered)
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Live! (remastered)
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Rastaman Vibration (remastered)
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Exodus (remastered)
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Kaya (remastered)
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Babylon By Bus (remastered)
ELVIS COSTELLO My Aim Is True (remastered)
ELVIS COSTELLO This Year's Model (remastered)
MILES DAVIS  Live at the Fillmore East (3.7.70)
TWISTA & the Speedknot Mobstaz Mobstability
LUSK Free Mars

Tuesday 5.28.02  12.27 pm
 New York, NY

First of all, we would like to apologize for slacking off on the Road Journal.  The three of us have been hanging around the NJ/NY area for the last week or so, and thus have been on a mini "vacation" in the middle of the tour.  Our show last week at the Lion's Den in NYC was really an amazing and inspired night.  Just about all of our friends and family in the metropolitan area (and quite a few newcomers) turned out for a solid two sets of OM Trio jazz/metal/electronica and then dispersed into the NYC night at around 3 am.  After that, we spent a few days with family before heading up to Boston for our Beantown debut at the original House of Blues.  The show went well, and actually included Brian Church (old friend of Ilya's) singing on "Cult of Personality."  There's nothing like ending a show with a rocker.  Now we're just gearing up for the final 2 weeks of the tour, which will take us back across and finally back home on June 9th.  

Friday 5.17.02  8:00 pm
 Collegeville, PA  Parking Lot Scene

We listened to Weezer's new album, Maladroit, three times on the way to the All Good Festival.  The combination of it being 34 minutes long and unbelievably addictive made it the easy choice for multiple spins.   Walking around humming the tunes all day drove us back to the van for yet another listen. (Right now.)  We also listened to the new Rush record, Vapor Trails.  The nature of the intriguing and perplexing songs led Brian to describe it as "rock music without riffs, hooks, or choruses... Anton Webern is more catchy." 

All this high intensity listening got us prepared the All Good Festival, which kicked off with a five band show in The Barn on Thursday night.  We played third out of five bands, and got an overwhelming response from the capacity Barn audience.  Festivals are always bursting with folks who want to see a lot of music, which is a great environment to play in. The gig saw the debut of Il's new Zildjian 20" K Custom Dry Ride and 18" A Custom Crash, both of which prompted (unbelievably) the first tour appearance of "Hippopotamus," making its grand entrance before the encore in a fashionably slinky and punchy manner. 


Ilya Stemkovsky's Updated Tour CD Purchases:

WEEZER Maladroit
WEEZER (green album)
PHISH Live 08   7.10.99
RUSH Vapor Trails
STEELY DAN Can't Buy A Thrill (remastered)
STEELY DAN Countdown to Ecstacy (remastered)
STEELY DAN Pretzel Logic (remastered)
STEELY DAN Katy Lied (remastered)
STEELY DAN The Royal Scam (remastered)
STEELY DAN Aja (remastered)
STEELY DAN Gaucho (remastered)

And on DVD -- David Blaine: Fearless (someone explain this guy to us)


Wednesday 5.15.02  10:14 pm
 Asbury, NJ

The last two gigs of the first leg went rather well.  First of all, never let anyone tell you that the folks of Lynchburg, VA don't know how to rock.  The Trio knows better than that.  After bumping with the folks, we spent a luxurious night on beds that Pete described as "soft wood." In the morning, we made our way up to Baltimore where the pizza was good.  We were getting close.  That point became even more clear when we were visited by various friends that came down from Jersey for the show. 

At about 4 am on the morning of Sunday, May 12th the van passed the sign "Welcome to New Jersey."  I suppose that at some point in the middle of Kansas I figured that we'd never see those four particular words, but there they were.  We soon after parted ways and went to our homes for a solid 4 days of sleep.  Energy has been regained, and we're ready to take on the Northeast.  

The tour is now officially a month old.  Onward.
                                                                                                            -- Brian Felix  keyboards


Friday 5.10.02  8:38 pm 
 Lynchburg, VA  Madison Motel

We find ourselves in Lynchburg, VA.  Getting closer to home.  People everywhere saying "You guys aren't really from San Francisco.  Where are you REALLY from?"  Jersey, of course. Mr. Bernie Worrell (original Parliament/Funkadelic) sat in with us on keyboards last night in Asheville, which definitely elevated our Funk cred a few notches.  He took a deep melodica solo over our "Old Guard" before moving to the keys and playing "Cosmic Slop" and "Make My Funk the P-Funk." (Brian and Bernie were playing at the same time.) We spent the late afternoon throwing various projectiles at the TV in our hotel room to make the picture clear.  Ahhh. Life on the road.  


Updated Tour Statistics

Successfully completed crossword puzzles by Pete  107.6
Burger King vs. McDonalds  Taco Bell (think outside the bun)
Super 8 vs. Motel 6 Super 8
Dr. Dre quotes per day 48
Jerky Boys quotes per day 39
Number of successful windshield washing attempts 0
Gigs delayed due to NBA Playoffs (go Celtics) 3
Pairs of sticks used by Ilya 7
Good Reasons for NHL playoff reruns instead of Sportscenter at 3 a.m. 0
Country Fried Steaks consumed by Pete 1
Original P-Funk members that have played with OM Trio 1
Mug Nights played 2
Miles Driven 6033.2 (yes, that's over 6,000 miles in 3 weeks)

 Tuesday 5.7.02  6:34 pm 
Greenville, NC   Jameson Inn

I have to say that you haven't lived until you've eaten at an all-gay diner at 5:30 am in New Orleans on Bourbon St.  In fact, nothing interesting happens in NoLa until 3 am.  After destroying the historic MapleLeaf Club we headed to Atlanta, better known as "Hotlanta" at 6 am.  Upon arrival we discovered how many different southern dialects are impossible to understand.  We upstaged No Doubt, David Lee Roth, and Incubus (all partaking in a huge downtown Atlanta festival) and were joined by Bush for a special funk version of "Everything Zen."  I don't think so.  The scenery and aesthetic beauty of specific parts of Atlanta are unmatched....and no cover after 3 am.  We then high-tailed it up to NC for a Saturday evening gala with the kind folks from Home Grown Music Network. They're great.  We rocked their den.  Great cookies.  Starting to get restless for the Metro area.  I can almost smell the pizza.  Wilmington NC has a 24 hour Dunkin Donuts---you know you're on the East Coast.   I had a tough time with the crossword on Monday, was thinking of Jaime too much.  Lake Trout rocked Wilmington with us.  Very cool guys.  The beach here looks just like Sea Bright.  Jersey soon.  
                                                                                        -- Pete Novembre  bass


Ilya Stemkovsky's Current Tour CD Purchases:

PHISH Live 07   8.14.93
PHISH Live 11   11.17.97
SADE Lovers Live
ROGER WATERS In the Flesh: Live
ATTENTION DEFICIT (Alex Skolnick, Tim Alexander, Michael Manring)
PRIMUS Suck On This (remastered)
PRIMUS Frizzle Fry (remastered)
JOHN ZORN'S MASADA First Live 1993
JOHN ZORN'S NAKED CITY Live at the Knitting Factory 1989

Friday 5.3.02

So our motor skills have returned after the craziness of Jazzfest. Sitting in a hotel room in Atlanta, New Orleans seems like a million miles away. Bourbon Street is smelly, filthy, and totally awesome. You have not seen freaks until you've been attacked by the toothless, limbless aliens from the Big Easy. We spent the majority of the time observing the aforementioned scene with the Netwerk:Electric folk, who were kind enough to allow us to usurp their pool and AC. 

As for music, our show at the world-famous Maple Leaf Bar was classic. Will Bernard's Motherbug jammed from 10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and we hit at 1:30 a.m., playing until 5:30 a.m. without break. Along the way, we played a lot of electronica and ambient stuff combined with our unique death metal jazz sound.  The 4 hour non-stop set inspired Alex from the Boom Boom Room to declare from the stage that "OM Trio is blowin' up." 

Guests included guitarists Will Bernard, Melvin Sparks, Adam Levy (a tasty NYC cat who plays with Norah Jones now), saxophonist Topaz, and Motherbug keys-man Michael Bluestein. The crowd was rocking the whole time and we felt great about the reception we got at Jazzfest, considering it was our first time and that some other (mostly obscure) bands were in town. The sun was coming up when we got in the van and drove immediately following the gig to Atlanta in 7 hours. 

Thursday 4.26.02

OM Trio @ Dagostino's Lake Charles, LA

Second Line Blues>
You Give Love A Bad Name>
Earth Angel>
Trance Jam
Encore: You Give Love A Bad Name

Thursday 4.25.02

Tour Statistics

Successfully completed crossword puzzles by Pete  47.3
Times we heard Phish's "Guyute" on the Weather Channel in Norman, OK  2
Snow Storms Driven Through 3
Times Brian met someone in Norman who used to live in his building in SF  1
Jamaican Flags in or around Flamingo Cantina in Austin 14
Grunge Icons Deceased 1
Humidity in Texas and Oklahoma 100%
Average size of bug 3ft. x 2.5 ft.
Number of successful windshield washing attempts 0
Minutes it took Lee to fall asleep upon entering the van .003 min.
College Visors Purchased by Ilya 2
Average length of "Clydedogg" 24.4 min.
Times Ilya and Brian left the stage in middle of set to watch Pete play solo 1
Pairs of sticks used by Ilya 4
Sustain pedals broken and replaced by Brian 1
Ultimate Fighting Championship: Leslie Speaker 1 Pete's Finger 0
Stages reconstructed for optimal gig effectiveness 1
Splinters still remaining in Brian's hand from said reconstruction 1
Camera operators shooting OM Trio for DVD at Tulagi in Boulder, CO 5
Money put into van $1,200
Country Fried Steaks consumed by Pete 1
Requests for "Sunstruck" 4
Requests for "Hippopotamus" 3
OM Trio tunes resurrected (Romeo, Phobophobe)
Times OM Trio was called "Disco Biscuits Without a Guitar" 1
Times Brian was compared to Kyle of String Cheese Incident 1
Miles Driven 3,270....1.....2

Friday 4.19.02

The tour has gotten off on the right foot. First, two dates with Robert Walter's 20th Congress in Salt Lake and Denver. These were the 3rd and 4th times we've played with them and had a great time as always just joking, talking about music and touring. The bands unite by instrument, with both drummers splintering off together and both bass players and keyboardists talking shop until the wee hours. All the guys in that band are really nice and great people to hang and play with. We chilled with Fred Wesley (touring with the 20th Congress) and listened to some of his entertaining road stories. We received a Hot Pocket gift certificate from Robert, and after we told him that Hot Pockets aren't part of our diet, he said "They will be." We shall see. We've done a lot of driving, and were even challenged by a snow storm (April??!!) coming out of Salt Lake.

After playing those two openers, we made our way up to Steamboat Springs, CO to play for a solid crowd of die hard OMies, some of whom came to multiple shows this week. We took the opportunity to do a lot of improvising. The first tune went on for an hour without pause, going through multiple changes in mood, tempo, feel, key, etc...The crowd was right with us the whole way, which gave us the opportunity to really try some new stuff. The debut of a new metal encore rager has gripped the unsuspecting and it will be interesting to see how the venues hold up after the riotous mosh pits.

At the hotel after the show, Ilya reached a new level of laziness by offering Pete $5 to go to the van for some soda. (To wash down the leftover pizza we had just consumed.) Pete accepted the offer, and, even though Il could only actually pay $2, the beverage was retrieved. What a guy.

The band is excited, however, to infiltrate other parts of the country, specifically the ones without 12,000 ft. passes. The van is ready for the 10,000 miles it's about to do, but won't mind when the elevation numbers are lower than the population and gigs are less than 12 hours of driving apart.