Monday, September 22, 2008


we've been listening to a lot of bobby darin during breaks and it's been especially helpful when we're getting things going in the weekend mornings at the manor. i feel strangely like a group of hyenas. there's a pretty tight bond between the six of us right now as we roll through the finish line here and start mixing and i'm interested to see what comes from this. Surely, we've been in a situation where we felt on the same page with people before and have definitely been charged up together, but with mike and jesse there's a definite sense of a more human understanding.
the manor is kinda like being in exile.
it is hard to imagine having to go back to dealing with real life every time we leave there.
all of our jokes are then rendered non-sensical and when people ask how the studio is, it's hard to relate any sort of memory of the events that transpired. i mean, fuck, none of them really make sense to me.

overdubs are finished on nearly every song now and we'll be ready to mix once we lay down the party vocal on '(us and) all our friends are so messed up' we should be ready to hole up and mix the fucker. things are turning out great, but it's still a little strange. tried a bunch of t-rex percussion stuff on 'helpful' and did some overdubs on vocals for 'wtf lol' (thanks, sar) the thing that really sticks out for me is the adds on percussion for 'judy' which sound incredible. ethan has really really nailed the little lead-in licks that he hears on his head in nearly every song and his guitar playing, while managing to stay articulate, is out of this world.

we'll see.
finishing up tonight on most stuff.
know i promised a song, but you might have to wait til tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"They painted a dog and when it got on stage it kinda just barked and ran away."

Heard some pretty great stories about ZZ top on the Tejas tour yesterday. Including one that ended like that, because when Billy Gibbons was asked what he wanted the stage to look like, he responded that he hoped it would re-create the album cover.
"So you want cattle?"
"Yeah, and every night i want a wolf to come out and howl and we'll start the show"
"Well, Billy, a wolf is a wild animal..."

yesterday was by far the most productive of the days in there and i am really really starting to become involved in this record as i think everyone who is working on it is. 'alice golden' was nearly forgotten since it hadn't been played in so long but we dropped a great version of it yesterday and it is close to my fav so far. some unexpected gems.

got done with all the guitar and bass fixes yesterday as well so we'll start overdubbing parts onto the record tonight when we meet up.

it's strange.
i know the record is going to diappoint a lot of kids as it's so much more pop than anything we've ever tried before. i am starting to abandon the strangeness of that now though. it really is kinda an odd record but in my favorite ways. it's weird to think about how when the replacements did 'let it be' they recorded 'androgynous' and 'gary's got a boner' in the same session. not that i'm comparing our record to a masterpiece like that, but i feel that there is a similar idea there.
hopefully, the rock songs (and there are some faster ones on it) will sate that need for people to bang their head.
patrick just made a good point in saying: "i don't sit around and listen to rock records" and it's a really good point.


more tomorrow and maybe a song or something.
just don't tell lust or the label.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jeff's House

another day done, didn't get a whole lot accomplished besides naming our imaginary ska band (Don Skaballero or Animal Skallective) and getting some bro-ing done, but we did manage to pull off a really nice "neon lights" by doing something we've never tried and splicing the two parts together. sounds real great and will definitely be one of the corners of the record as far as i'm concerned. had a listening party to check out what we had gotten done and now it's time to listen to some stuff and get ideas/decisions on which takes and what to use.

just started downloading the .zip file of it off rapidshare and i don't know if you guys have this problem but rapidshare can fucking blow me. it's just a pain in the ass. regardless, it was nice of jesse to throw that up there so we could all just download what we have. i'll try and post something later in the week when we get some more things decided upon. Despite thinking that we were being total slackers by drinking so much beer and telling jokes the whole time, we're actually getting a lot done.

tonight, we go in to do 'massage' again and then i think we're going to try and blaze through some of the more boring shit, like guitar punches and bass fixes. got quite a bit of stuff already.

Monday, September 15, 2008

do both

so, we went into the studio with lust at phantom manor saturday afternoon.
things got rolling kinda slow and the rain didn't really motivate anyone to change that so we lost a couple hours to the bloody marys at the bottle. rolled in to get set up and the studio looks great. nice room to sit around and hang out in, great control room and a pretty incredible live room.
everyone got a little lit up for the first session and we didn't end up getting much in the way of takes saturday night. i think we kept three: 'cream rises', 'never living', and 'judy'. lust is hilarious to work with and i'm pretty sure i've never had as many inside jokes with someone i had practically just met than him. he kinda knows when to break up the tension and when to just let it roll, it feels great to work with someone who is so good at his job, and is willing to put a WWF microphone sound FX machine into the talk-back mic when the song sounds like shit.
sunday we got quite a bit more done which may or may not have been because we weren't totally wrecked off our asses all day. miles' upper grass helped a lot and there was more budweiser. finally got lusty to drink some of those after a short protest that was supposed to last the entire session and didn't last more than three hours. let's face it. it's the king of beers.
got going quickly, laid down miles' new one which is still untitled, 'massage', 'i don't care', a great nearly perfect version of 'rat hole', a couple versions of 'WTF LOL', laid a base track for the pagans cover, and also worked a lot on ideas for the new one we are writing in the studio called 'kinda babes'. things are sounding pretty great and the sounds we're getting are pretty right on the money. likely we'll go in and throw some prettier stuff on the tracked songs tonight and try our hand at 'neon lights' which kinda sounded like garbage yesterday.
maybe we'll take it a little easier tonight, too. i can say for sure that this weekend has done some pretty intense damage to my liver and has aged me a little bit, but it was pretty fun. i can totally see now how bands end up fighting the shit out each other in the studio. when you're getting fucked up and sitting in a room together talking about what you wanna do and someone dissents it's almost always taken as a personal attack. doesn't help when the people getting fucked up and arguing are musicians and have pretty substantial egos to go with them. there was a little bickering in front of sara and caitlin yesterday and i got kinda bent out about. decided we needed to chill and did. got some pretty decent stuff recorded after that as well and got, what i think is, a keeper for 'WTF' right after.
excited to see what happens in the next stage.
til' then.

Monday, June 2, 2008

leavin' town

Smoking Popes/Tour! F-Yeah Fest too!

so this week'll be a busy one.
we're doing the record release show for the smoking popes newest album at Metro on saturday this week. (we're even the night before at everyone's favorite meatmarket The Continental)
should be a great time.
show starts around 9 and we play second out of three.
tickets are 20 bucks and are going relatively fast, so might be something you wanna jump on now.

then wednesday it's back to the Ravari Room where we can relive the glory of opening for the Turks by playing a set with Guinea Worms who are fucking fantastic.
we'll be heading through a lot of cities so check the calendar.
we'll also be hooking up with the now famous/infamous F-Yeah Festival Tour featuring Dan Deacon, Matt & Kim, Monotonix, The Death Set, Team Robspierre and us.
That show is going down at the Black Cat in Washington D.C. but we'll also be doing a show with them back here in Chicago on July 3rd at the Stan Mansion place that just opened up.

come on out.

also, this tour will probably be the last of the Criminal I.Q. 45s that we have left so if you haven't picked one up yet, you might want to jump on the chance as i don't think that they'll be repressed.

see you soon?
we'll do our best to keep updating from the road so check back once we take off.


RIP Bo Diddley

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

on two sides

so, the week was rather fun. we definitely had a great time, and the shows went well. maybe we overindulged a little, but wouldn't want to disappoint the fans, right?
cleveland was nothing like we expected, and after a terrible drive we were welcomed at the beachland in royal fashion. great people there, and they made sure we were fed and drunk before we played and that when we left we had a hotel room to stay in.
Dead Meadow were great dudes as we expected and we had a great time hanging out with them and shooting the shit. good dudes to chat with about b-movies and stupid shit like x-box games.
most impressed by the sheer amount of gear that those dudes was fucking crazy, it seemed like it took them around an hour to bring it all in from the u-haul and once it was finally onstage it looked like some kind of weird soundsystem from mad max at thunderdome.

it was definitely the first night that thing really really clicked with the new lineup and there were drunken hugs, on stage even.
things are a lot smoother and continued as such in cincinnati. the show there was a little light but some kids who'd seen us at the ravari room with NBT came out and were nice dudes. generally good times, and again, we were treated real well at the comet. the burritos at this place are out of fucking control and i suggest if you ever roll through the nasty nati that you go around and grab one.

the bottle show was a little strange, i suppose that it was a shitload of fun, but i was a little too fucked up and the crowd was not what we have gotten used to here in the city. i know that sounds crybaby of me, but i think it is just a testament to the fact that we need to work harder. i think we're kinda in an odd position with MM right now. i can't tell if it's oversaturation, but i've always felt that we've kinda teetered between the hipster kids who really dictate that popularity really liking and supporting us and just a complete dismissal from them. it's a strange boat to sail and it's not something that we actively address, but it really is hard to ignore the affect marketing has on us. (and i guess everyone for that matter) hopefully things continue to roll along and we can get this next record done and take some time off.

either way, it wasn't a bad turnout, just little light.

saw narrator's last show the next night and it was incredible. played everything i wanted to hear and there were smiles all over the fucking place. it's going to be strange to not play with them anymore. honestly, the best experience i've had in a band directly involved all those dudes and i feel closer to them as individuals than anyone else in the music circle that we run with. there's a certain kind of kindred existence there. anyhow, they were given a real proper send off and i couldn't be happier for them. it's just a shame we couldn't make it out to NYC to see the last show proper. fuck those dorks for doing it there. regardless, go buy 'all that to the wall' if you don't have it already.

also, if you're looking for some new shit to listen to, i suggest you go take a peek at this incredible band, blank dogs. you might have heard the stuff they put out on todd's hozac label a while back, but their best stuff is on their full length 'on two sides' which you can download for free from their blog site:

we'll see what is happening after the local h show and i'll post some more.

Monday, April 28, 2008


There's a lot to talk about i suppose.
I figured that this would be a good place to start putting new happenings and goings on up.
We've officially said 'goodbye' to our good pal and bass player Rick Berger as he has moved to New York to start a new life with his soon-to-be wife. Things ended on the best of terms and we hope that Ricky carves NY a new hole.

Miles Raymer has filled the bass hole in the band and has been working wildly to catch up to the seemingly seven thousand songs that we've written in the four years with Rick.

Coming up real soon (two days, even!) we'll be heading out to cleveland to play with one of our favorite bands, Dead Meadow, at the Beachland. Kinda nervous to play with a bunch of metalheads, but also real excited to give it a whirl. Hopefully, we'll be nice and tight and have a good time. Then, a show in Cinncinati and back home the next night to play the bottle with Tyvek.

The next months are looking to be the busiest yet and now that we're officially represented by creature booking, we can look forward to even more busy.

i'll be updating this quite often, so feel free to check back and keep up with us.
we kinda miss you.