Ten or Ten Thousand

  • September 29, 2018
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In the early days, "ten or ten thousand" was our "remember the Alamo." It has been a long time since we've needed a rallying cry. We are by now well removed from that beautiful, excruciating half decade that we spent driving overnight to play 11 AM slots at festivals in front of eighty people, double-teaming amps up icy staircases in the dead of winter, standing on the street and passing out burned CDs to try to get people to come to our first show in a new town, taking turns soliciting email addresses from a crowd that was mostly there to see the band we just finished opening for, rolling down the windows when someone farted in the van and then rolling them up because it was cold outside.

But in those days, gosh damn did we need it.

I could romanticize the heck out of the early days of this band. It wouldn't even be hard. They were extremely romantic, and not just because we used to double up in hotel beds and occasionally perform inadvertent reenactments of the "those aren't pillows" scene from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. (I confess I've found myself in the John Candy role more than a few times.) There was always a certain awe that came from being able to look around and be like, "holy hot fuck, we are all the way over here in California right now and the only reason we are here is to play music in front of people and that is amazing." The thing is, back in those days, there just weren't all that many people in front of whom we could play music. We played barbecue joints. We played mall courtyards. One time we had to push our set back because it was Tuesday (or Thursday or some other day of the week) and it was movie night and we couldn't start until they finished screening The Big Lebowski on the projector curtain in front of the stage. Did I attempt the infamous Big Lebowski Drinking Game* that night in the hours before we took the stage? Hell yes. Were there more than twenty people at that show, or any of the other ones in this paragraph? Hell no.

*: There are numerous variants online, but I've always played it as drink every time someone says "dude," finish your drink at each acid flashback.

As great as it was, it could take a toll. It's hard to drive halfway across the country to play for five people, it's utterly demoralizing to drive halfway across the country a year later and play in front of the same five people. I can think of a couple of shows where the crowd was so thin that I would ask all fourteen of their names from the stage and then periodically ask them to quiz me throughout the night. But we were always grateful for the handful of folks who came through, and we always gave them everything we had.

A few weeks ago, we were huddled in the stage left wing at Red Rocks, just trying to make sense of it all, and one of us (I don't remember who) asked, "hey, remember when we used to say 'ten or ten thousand?'" Someone else replied, "let's go out there and play like it's ten."

Hello, friends! Rob here. And I know what you're thinking: where the hell have I been? Well, here's where the hell I've been:

You see, back in the rosy, bygone days of late May this year, we got the idea to assemble a snazzy graphic we could post alongside blog links in order to make them more social media-friendly. However, because I am little more than a network of paralytic anxieties cowering behind a pair of fashionable sunglasses, that helpful and gently-worded suggestion from management was enough to hobble my productivity for a while. And so time passed, and we got kind of busy around the office trying to make this dang album exist, and I fell out of the habit of writing, as I do from time to time. But there are going to be pictures alongside blog links from now on! At some point, we might even have a single, recognizable graphic that we use every time. Maybe it'll be stylish and obtuse like the iconic album art of HipgnosisDesigns. Maybe it'll be a jumble of vintage filters and lens flares. Maybe it'll just be the same abomination I used for this post- which I promise you I didn't spend the last four months making- over and over again, forever.

You know what's absolutely insane? Where do you keep your toothbrush? You know, that thing that you stick into your mouth twice a day for the specific purpose of making the inside of your mouth cleaner? That thing? Where do you keep it in your house? Specifically, how close do you keep it to the place where you do all of your pooping? That's weird, right?

Anyway. Here's what we've been doing:

-After about eighty-five gatrillion emails, our forthcoming album has a name, a release date, and a whole bunch of other stuff that isn't worth mentioning here but is trust me very important. Take Good Care comes to you on November 9, 2018. Be ready.

-I thought I knew pretty much everything I'd ever need to know about touring by now, but last week in Buffalo I learned that some stage risers have wheels in the middle instead of on their corners, which means that if you stand on them they will tip over, as will the amplifiers on top of them, one of which- a lovely vintage model that the venue rented for us because we flew in for the show- will sustain significant damage. DO NOT ASK ME HOW I LEARNED THIS.

-We're out on real tour now. It's still a relatively short run- ten days, which is just enough time to get a little bit homesick- but it has felt like an age since we've been out for more than a long weekend. I think I'm getting soft in my old age. Still, I'm glad to be back in the trenches, even if it's just for a week and change.

-I had a sandwich on Thursday. Turkey on rye.