Sunday, March 22, 2009

let's review, shall we?

Cities as haiku. 5 7 5 memories.

Death Sentence Panda
and Bronze in an Oakland loft
The bay has rad bands

Someone takes a shit
behind our parked van that night
At least our show rules

We stay with Pat's friends
Metaphysical musings
Lands End and dinner

Long drive to L.A.
Fish tacos and The Echo
We are Part Time Punks

Rampage Fest Trunk Space
Abe Vigoda true homies
Kids bring the party

Play a dirt back yard
really close to the border
Best house party yet

5 shows in 3 days
Some kids come to more than one
Crazy exercise


Yo, we done!

My voice is gone, my feet are tired and dirty, we all have varying degrees of sunburn, our ears are ringing and Austin is one overflowing festival porta potty filled with stumbling drunks, ladies teetering on too small heels while pulling down too small dresses, dazed club employees, spent journalists, homeboys spinning rims and flashing neon under the highway in an impromptu Saturday night car show and tumbleweeds of fast food paper plates.

Didn't make it to Barton Springs or the bat cave..again. Saw plenty of Whole Foods salad bar, friends, and some amazing acts.

Kudos to the kid that drew marker boobies on his t-shirt with "SPRING BREAK" written under them. Lots of ladies were touching his chest at Todd P's party at Ms. Bea's. Everyone likes boobs!

We uh, also apparently did a good job too--
"I resisted the desire to self-mutilate during These Are Powers' set at the Biz3 showcase, but it was hard."

Got a long drive ahead of us, so lots more updating in the van, since I can only make croaking noises and bad pantomimes at the moment.

Also! Our friend Yony Leyser made a video for our song "Blue Healer"!

It is fantastic and I think means we are like exotic but domesticated animals who like to feast on fresh vegetables and raw meat.

And! I recently wrote 500 words about eggs and adventures across the pond for Impose Magazine. Look out, M.F.K.!

Friday, March 13, 2009

i will spank you

*UPDATE* I got a new fancy phone today in Oakland. The phone lady cut me some deals! Please email me your number at powerspow @ gmail. xo

Dear Person (or Persons) who has been using my phone in Philly,

I will spank you.
I will find you and take you over my knee and spank you.

I hope I was able to help you with your phoning needs this month.

Because of you I had to make so many bargains with the devil that is my mobile phone carrier. I was so angry I told the guy helping me that he was a pawn of the corporation he was working for because he insisted on changing my plan to cover all the charges.

I know it may be hard to believe, but my musical career does not provide me with infinite wells of cash with which to pay your tab.

I would have reported my phone as stolen sooner but I've been on tour and I was under the foolish impression that it was being mailed to me by friends of a friend.

For every person who acts selfishly, I know that I will meet two more who will overwhelm me with their generosity.

So I invite my friends to send dirty messages to the following numbers--

Lori says most of these are landlines, and they're really just the friends of the phone stealer, so is it worth it anyways?Two wrongs and all that..

Take that, phone stealers.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

tiny little drifter

13 miles outside of sunny Santa Cruz we pull over to the side of the winding highway, 17 South. Our persnickety van is steaming and the temp gauge is all the way to HOT. We gotta pull over or we'll destroy the engine.

highway drifters

I pop the hood as cars speed by and green radiator juice is dripping from every part of the engine. It's not a pretty sight. But having had a little experience with van things and touring, I know this is something that we can overcome with a few items that we have stowed away in the van for this exact situation.

I grab coolant fluid from inside the van and once the radiator has cooled I dump in the half-gallon of glowing green juice. It's enough to keep the engine cool.

After this I pull out our trusty tube of JB Weld which is designed to patch weird metal holes, like if your radiator springs a leak. It's an amazing product. I apply it to the hole, it sets up to the hot surface in about five minutes.

I crank up the van. The temp gauge settles at the middle. We roll down 17 South and the temp gauge recedes to the cold mark so I know we're ok. We happily hit the club about 30 minutes after the break down and as we speak with Adam the owner of Crepe Place, he begins his search for a mechanic.

We sound check. Adam seats us for dinner and hands me a number to call in the a.m. Later, after the show, he hands me another number. "This guy's a friend and he'll do it for free," he says.

First thing this morning about nine I call Adam's friend Nate. He calls me back an hour later and we agree to meet at one. We head to his house after a hang at the beach and some local coffee houses. He is not your typical mechanic--young easy going educated liberal arts type. The kinda chap who knows how to run his car on veggie oil. His white 1966 Volvo station wagon sits in the driveway beside his house. He modestly boasts of how it can get up to 85 without shaking.


He solders the leaky seam near the top of the radiator. We put some more JB Weld on it. Bill, Anna and Karen hang out on the curb in the Cali sun. The patch sets up a bit and we head off with a handshake and he is happy to have our new album on vinyl.

Once we reach the auto parts store about 10 minutes away radiator fluid is spewing all over the engine again. We find a mechanic who will have us back on the road by tomorrow afternoon. After we agree on a price to weld the hole shut, he gives us a ride, sleeping bags and all back to the house where we stayed last night.

sad drifter

We walk down to the beach after some tacos. It's sunny and peaceful. The season has not yet kicked in. There are worse places to have a break down.

happy drifter

toe jam

I dropped Pat's amp on my toe in Portland at Backspace and it got swollen and turned into a grape like Violet Beauregarde.

You thought I was gangsta before, but now I have the limp to prove it.

Backspace was rad and we ate so well. The whole staff was super ace friendly and cracked me up with their dancing to Lauren Hill while closing up at the end of the night.

Pat's friends Nancy and Dave left the door open to their house for us, and we found lots of sweet little hand written notes, Guinness, cupcakes and clean sheets, kind of like an Easter egg hunt.

Traveling through the wet cold Northwest can wear you down, and these little gestures restore you, as do shows where kids dance.

Santa Cruz'n right now. It is so good to be in California. Played Crepe Place last night, where we again ate like kings, everyone was incredibly sweet and the show was truly ALL AGES. In fact, lots of kids had to leave early because it was a school night. I like how in California, parents wear jams and hoodies and look like they just stepped off a skateboard themselves.

I bought everyone smoky quartz at the new age store down the street for positive energy restoration. The occult bookstore was closed. Apparently witches sleep early in this town, or as our friend Rod said, maybe they weren't up yet?

We slept on the floor of an old Victorian house painted orange and hit the beach in the morning. I drank some of the ocean, it was, if you can believe it, salty.

So many drifters lurking here too!

Monday, March 9, 2009


First some van action
van action

Then a little smoke

van smoking

Rhinoceropolis in Denver is one of the best spaces to play in the country. What up Pictureplane!


The Good Food Store in Missoula. One of the best health food stores in the country.

good food

Nothing like some Elk Talk and carrots to start the pre-show party.

elk talk


What I ate there

Pat’s friend and drummer Ron from Liars always said tour is where you go to get fat


Triple Rock’s mock duck spinach salad with beans and rice

Whisky hot toddy with lots of honey

Chamomile tea and granola with almond milk

Danimal’s homemade chocolate chip cookie, and

breakfast tacos with corn tortillas, poached eggs, soysage, beans, avocado and cilantro


Truck stop cherry donut with whole jellied cherries on top

Almond crackers and a carrot

Heidi’s grandmother’s recipe Angel Food birthday cake

Newcastle beer

Tomato flavored tuna, almond crackers

Curried tofu from Open Harvest co-op, more crackers, salad greens

Excellent soy cappuccino with cinnamon from Meadowlark


Brown rice and fish with black bean sauce from Thai Basil (not real Thai, but good)

Glass of some kind of Australian Sauvignon Blanc

Can of Dale’s Pale Ale

Sound guy drank all my Makers Mark


Nic’s amazing breakfast of eggs with peppers and tomatoes, toast, fresh coffee and juice

Bean and queso fresco taco with lots of avocado salsa and hot sauce from somewhere awesome

(forgot, but it was painted bright orange inside)

Family style BBQ at Nic’s with organic feta and roasted pepper chicken sausage, veggie kebabs,

salad and beans and rice

Can of something awesome beer (maybe by the same people as Dale’s)

Orange juice, scrambled egg with Swiss and fresh biscuit at Dot’s Diner


Lame medium Americano from Starbucks

Instant bulk bin refried beans from Open Harvest, French Onion Sun Chips (terrible gas)

Grape juice

Gas station chicken and cheese sandwich (2 for $3!), potato chips, pineapple orange juice


Chipotle tomato soup and salad bar from Good Food Store

Dane’s homemade vegetable soup and tortillas

Flathead Lake micro brewed stout beer

Yogi Chai Redbush tea

Granola with almond milk and Washington grown gala apple

Traditional Medicinals Organic Echinacea Elder tea


Granola with almond milk and apple

Dried bulk split pea and lentil soup and crackers

Vera Project catering for dinner—

two kinds of veggie deli slices with cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots,

tortilla chips and salsa

More dried soup and tea for late night snack

Lisa’s homemade breakfast goat cheese and asparagus frittata

Toaster waffles with fresh berries and syrup

Orange juice

Chocolate and orange natural flavored coffee

Cumin flavored cheese sample from farmers’ market

Peach raw honey straw

Homemade kombucha tea

Clam chowder from Pike Place Market

Lisa and Travis bought everyone Alaskan wild salmon quesadillas,

fried clams and french fries to share!

More complimentary coffee

Friday, March 6, 2009

flush for fantasy

I seriously thought I had Lyme disease. Never mind that we weren’t anywhere near any wooded areas in Denver or Boulder, or that Nic and Marcy’s cats are indoor cats, or that I don’t really know the symptoms of Lyme disease.

But whenever I feel an imbalance, and in most cases it’s pretty mild--I like to say the best worst-case scenario I can imagine. Usually I just say I’m dying, because that is an effective and funny enough catch all.

I’m not a hypochondriac by any means. Sure, if I get sick, I feel a slight physical betrayal at being mortal. Like, “how dare you get sick, you defective bag of bones and tissue, arteries, ligaments and synapses??”

I’m not dying, I just took too much Solgar Ultimate B+C Complex Stress Formula on an empty stomach before breakfast at Dot’s, where the waitress wore an interesting contraption of a t-shirt masquerading as a bustier and accidentally spilled water all over the adjacent table, but laughed it off easily and I loved her for it.

First it felt like someone had a heat lamp on my left ear. Then the flush took over and my body started itching in sections. Ankles, legs, neck, arms, wrists, ankles, arms, wrists, legs, stomach, hips, and repeat—this is incredibly distracting when you’re trying to contribute to a friendly conversation before eggs and biscuits. It was a symphony of pins and needles, which I imagine is akin to a mild episode of being on speed.

Further inspection in the bathroom showed raised pink streaks on a lot of my legs and hips from scratching. I felt better after eating. Pat said my natural color was returning--my cheeks had been rosier than usual.

Totally dying.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cake and Cardboard

While making the eternal and flat great plain trek from Minneapolis to Lincoln I call up my old friend Heidi Ore Taylor. I must speak in a hushed tone so Anna can't hear me asking Heidi if there's any way she can bake an Angel Food birthday cake tonight for Anna's b-day. She is a righteous person and she gladly accepts the challenge. She puts her daughter Kyra on the phone to say hi and Kyra says, "do you have presents for us?" I say "welll...maybe..." On our last diesel stop I comb the novelty shelves inside the truck stop and find some dream catchers. When we arrive at their house in Lincoln I give them to Kyra and her older sister Zoie. They're stoked.

Throughout the 90's, Heidi and her husband John played in a band called Mercy Rule. On their last tour I was the nanny for the older daughter Zoie. Now she is in 6th grade. Every time we stay at their house in Lincoln it's amazing to see how Zoie is growing up along with her sister. I have a journal from that tour which documents her daily goings-on as an infant on the road. When she graduates high school I will give it to her.

John brings the cake down to the show later and we work it out that before our last song he'll present the cake to Anna, candles burning and all. So we end our second last song, a new bumper currently titled, "Untitled." I announce that it's Anna's birthday and that we have a special gift. John comes to the stage, cake in hand and I get the audience to join me in singing Happy Birthday to Anna. She is thoroughly surprised. Cake makes Anna happy. After the show we eat it and celebrate.

The next morning I line up a full body birthday massage for Anna through my friend Tara. I hang out with Tara's son Aaron while she is massaging Anna. I try and explain to him what New York is like while showing him some photos on the web. Lincoln has a pointy capitol building and when I show him a picture of the Empire State building he says "is that the capitol building?" I am reminded and inspired by the fact that kids' minds wander in different ways than our adult minds.

Anna and Tara finish. Anna feels refreshed and rejuvinated, somewhat lethargic too. All the lifting and sitting and playing and lifting on tour gets to the muscles in such a way that at times makes you feel frozen.

Speaking of frozen, the cold has lifted on our drive to Denver. The cardboard sheet has come off the front of van's radiator which helps the engine generate more heat so we have have heat in the cabin. This is a little trick that's worth trying if you're on tour and your van isn't getting you the heat you desire. Last year on our spring tour we froze-this year we got cardboard. The closer we get to Denver the warmer it gets. We're feeling pretty happy to have escaped the Midwest winter without freezing like we did last year.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Grinnell Jamzzzzzzz

Tonight we descend on this tiny little liberal arts community tucked away in a cornfield in Iowa. Bird Names were supposed to meet us at the I-80 Truck Stop (they actually have real semis in the place) but they missed out and we resort to calling them Turd Lames when we arrive. We all have a chuckle and set the night afoot with some proper sarcasm.

It's a night of delirium as we are all tired from our sold out show in Chicago the night before at The Hideout.


Collin plops down in a 50-gallon trash can seemingly high on delirium and COORS. He cracks us up and firmly establishes the fact that tour turns everyone into a 12 year-old.


My nephew Ross attends the college as an economics major. Last time we played he got up and jammed with us on our last song-he did the same this time, but with bari sax instead of alto. We rehearse the two note repetition of Blue Healer and he says just give me the key and I'm like well...there's not really a key. I mean I'm Ross's uncle and all the sudden I feel like the nephew when he says, just give me a key and I'm like ummm, ummm I don't really know how to do that.


He finds the pattern in about two minutes and we're good to go for the show.
We play and the kids are eating it up, each expressing themselves through their own respective dances ranging from eccentric hippy girating to stiff-hipped bumpin from some of the guys.

Bird Names jump up with us on the last song as well. I manage to get the sound guy off his lap top so he can turn on the extra mics for all of the extra players. Bill hits the beat and we're off on our journey of Blue Healer. Ross on bari sax, Collin, Nora and Phaellin, on drums, Al on melodica and David on guitar. It sounds like a train stepping on the gas and breaks at the same time, nearly ready to derail, but somehow staying on the tracks, kinda like Bird Names.

We finish, load and convene to a large room upstairs where some "crazy" kid has piled up all the furniture in a big pile. After putting back some Old Style Lights, David crawls under the furniture pile to go to sleep. Shortly thereafter, Nora asks the drunk dude who keeps coming in to plunk on the piano to stop. "And you are?" he asks. "I'm Nora," she retorts. He leaves and we can sleep now that the plunking has been silenced.

Monday, March 2, 2009



Blogging from the backseat.

Dub is the soundtrack to our highway. We joke we drove Karen crazy with it last time through the States, but Lee Scratch Perry ushers in the official start of this tour.

We sold out The Hideout last night! I even unwittingly helped someone sneak in through the back door when I cracked it for air before we played.

Jesse Rose and Phillip took the train in from St. Louis to see us, backpacks strapped on. She changed into a sequined flapper dress in the bathroom and they wild danced all night up front. The first show of ours they came to ended in a giggling dog pile in a Kansas City living room. I rolled around on the carpet and brought kids down by grabbing at their ankles. One girl lost a battle with her pants and quickly pulled them back over her ass as she got up. Our friends Mythical Beast were in on that show too, shaking the adjacent room with their reverberating spell.

That night Jesse Rose was flailing on her knees and had her forehead pressed into the floor. How can you explain what it is like to take this thing out of your self and see it manifest in another person in a way that is physically and emotionally moving? How ridiculous and fortunate it is to be able to make something invisible, but tangible in this way and to commune with them at the richest and most transcendent point of both yourselves.

So, Chicago. We’re still all a bit puffed up from the show. Bird Names pulled up the same time we did and we shouted greetings and mock obscenities at each other out the windows of our vans. Nora suggested we all have a fake stage fight, but I think the idea seemed too complicated in the end. Plus she bought us gala apples from Stanley’s and it’s hard to fake fight with someone who does that.

We are so lucky to have the friends we do in Chicago, and it’s very much home for all of us, even though it will be a minute before we’re parked there again. Bird Names played a sick set. They’re like ping pong in the mind of the most hyper and brilliant five-year old, wrapped up in David’s love for Fifties girl groups, and tossed with sprouts and rainbow sprinkles. We love Collin, Al, David, Nora and Phallin heartily.

The stage of The Hideout is really high and framed with Christmas light strewn wood rafters. Total funhouse clubhouse. For some reason it makes me feel like I am looking out on everyone through a dizzying fisheye lens. The new jams went over right well and we had so much sweat-covered fun.

Alex and Hunter kept things humming and bumping all night and Gatekeeper were perfectly epic in all their synth smoke.
Lots of well-wishers, hugs and kisses all around.

We crashed at Bill’s parents house, waking the cavalry of small dogs in the kitchen. Everything was warm and clean in the way that parents’ houses are, and we took well-deserved showers. His mom made us a spectacular breakfast this morning with lots of fresh greens, berries, eggs and organic chicken sausage. We are serious…about our breakfast.


Someone wrote “slugs and snails are after me” on the toilet paper dispenser in the women’s bathroom of The Lava Lounge. The place is decorated like the forgotten psychedelic room from the Flintstone’s house; with watch batteries and gears embedded in resin and drippy plaster stalactites everywhere.
The disco balls are motorized rocks decorated with mirrored pieces. That cracks me up.

Everyone is smoking. A lot.

Italian Ice play a raunchy dual drum and space invaders from the bottom of a well set that is awesome. Heavy psych in an artificial cave, with rave lights is good. We are not heavy psych, and seem to hit a wall despite our best efforts. The room thins a little. Diehards stick it out, and women seem to outnumber men up front, which is pleasant.

Melissa St. Pierre and her boyfriend Rich are our gracious hosts. She apologizes for a lack of beer and weed, but offers tea, which is perfect. We sleep on couches and an attic floor; there is a prepared piano in the dining room that Melissa is using to practice a John Cage piece. Screws and tape pepper the wires and a pink ribbon is tied in a bow on the arm that is propping open the lid.

Venus Zine Live Review


It is a mad dash out of Brooklyn; we literally nab a practice space subletter at the last possible minute, while we are packing the van in the morning. We get to Philly with hours to spare, and just wind up killing time in the food court of the grocery store down the street from Marvelous Music. Note to us, next time--more sights, less lukewarm soup.

Marvelous gives us quarters to feed the parking meter. Bill narrowly averts a ticket by adding more just as the cop walks up. Inside, people are crowded in between racks of CDs and records.
heavy d
Karen is doing a bang up job of working the door. Sliding scale tonight.

We drink homemade beer at the show. U.S. Girls squalls from the tile floor. Meghan’s got everything in a suitcase, which I appreciate.
us girls
Her sound simultaneously lulls and grinds like a steel wool blanket.

It’s a good first show out of the gate. One guy hops up and down almost the whole time on Pat’s side of the stage. But a lot of folks are shy to dance in a music store. Usually Philly is a drunken mess for us, like happy embarrassing wedding reception drunk, but with punk crust and face tattoos.