Friday, August 16, 2002
Ann Arbor, MI

We're crowded into Jill's friend Becky's small apartment. She moved into here about a week ago, which means that we were able to fit on the bare floor without too much trouble. It's a nice apartment for one student like Becky, but having 5 smelly guests makes it seem a bit on the wee side.

Last night's show ... well, let's talk about last night's show for a moment. Here's the thing. We, as a band, do not play music that is pop (which is short for 'popular') music. We made a decision, based on the fact that we like music that most folks don't like, that our music will be something that appeals to a niche audience. Most people, walking into a room where we happen to be playing, are really not going to like what they are going to hear. Abrasive and caustic are not adjectives that most people like applied to their entertainment.

That established, we operate under the assumption that there are some people who will like what we do. The overall idea behind what we're doing right now is that these people just have not heard us yet. To get to this self selected small percentage of the population, we are best playing in situations where they will already be. In other words, if there are (somewhat) similar sounding bands playing with us, these people (let's call them "cretins") will say "Aha! This music is pounding, violent and painful. That's what I like!" They will like it, we will like playing for them, and everyone's happy.

Last night we played at Mac's bar in Lansing, Michigan. The two bands playing with us were 'The Shenanigans' and 'O'er The Ramparts'. Aside from the quality of these two bands (and judgments of quality are subjective), they were not music for the cretins. They were each a very different type of music. I'll wrap up a lot of frustrating description by simply saying this - the band before us had maybe 15-20 people watching them, and we cleared all of those people out quickly. It was Thad, myself, Jill, Matt, Abby, cousin John (see below) and the sound guy. That's it, friends.

Still, we were able to pound out five songs at top volume and medium aggression. It was a college bar band in a small city on a Thursday night when school was out, but we still filled it with percussive noise for 40 minutes that sounded good to me. Who's to blame for such an obscure situation taking place? Well, we don't have much of a following, the booking guy could have begged off booking our cretin music with the other bands, maybe the other bands could have drawn more of a cretin crowd, etc. Either way, it was the fewest people that we've ever played in front of, but we sounded okay. And there's something that's just funny about an incredibly loud band playing to an empty house. Makes for good stories, providing you're just starting out.

On the much better side, the fourth member of our audience was my cousin John Hastie, who may bear blame for the whole situation anyway. Johno was into cretin music a long time ago, scaring the hell out of me when I was in grade school with the spooky stuff that he listened to. This was the beginning of a long road for me liking strange and violent music, so I guess it was appropriate that he see what this stuff has brought me. Maybe if I'd never met Johno, Thad and I would have been playing acoustic Bob Marley covers to an appreciative coffeehouse audience.

Well, Johno rode 4 hour from Chicago to see us play last night. He was hopped up on cold medicine and lamenting the fact that he had to drive back to Chi-town that same night, but he still stuck around until the bitter end, buying t-shirts, a CD-R and helping us load in equipment. My advice to you - if you want to play music for the cretins, make sure that you have someone who is willing to be that wonderful to act as moral support at your darkest hour. It helps.

Pulled up to Becky's apartment last night at 3:30AM, and she met us bleary eyed and confused. The five of us sardined up on the hardwood and woke up about 7 hours later. An incredibly delicious breakfast and nice shower later and we'll be off to Detroit before too long. Matt is repaying our intrusiveness by helping Becky set up the new top of the line Dell. She got it because they shipped her a lemon about a year and a half ago and she finally told them that she wasn't trying any of their fixes anymore. Now the two of them are getting the thing up and running, with Matt making snide comments about how awful Microsoft is. Still, he's making us more welcome though his assistance.

Tonight should work better, playing # 3 on a four band bill and being told that cretin music is the fair of the night. Even counting the number of bands on the bill, if no one else shows up, we've still got a much better deal than last night.

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