I started (and finished) this piece in the van, but also worked on it at the Ski Haus in Carbondale, (where Rational Anthem played with The Heat Tape, Future Virgins, and Hate Waves).
My primary purpose in creating art is emotional balance / regulation. Sometimes though, when I don’t like what comes out of me, the process can actually throw me off base a little bit.
I’m pretty fragile. Little things fuck with my head. I sometimes forget that I can write private journals that don’t have to go online immediately. When that happens, I lose one of my tools.
Noelle said this one looks like a warzone. From the beginning, I was pitting the top right and bottom left against each other, alternately considering cropping one or the other out. It took a long time to bring them together in the center in a way that felt right to me. I think the combination of textures (through the layering of the different materials) helped a lot with that. So did journaling (privately) in order to really examine the forces behind my feelings. Taking a suggestion made by a friend a few weeks back, I wrote on the back of the piece. As I wrote on the front of “Iowa,” I don’t need to put my every thought up in lights for public scrutiny.
Noelle works early on Wednesday morning, so we decided that tonight (in Valdosta) is the last show before we head home. We’re running more than a little late, but I’m not stressing it anymore. I don’t know how tonight will shape up, but I’m excited for whatever’s coming next.
Sun, 8/18: Des Moines
Mon, 8/19: Carbondale
I don’t have the link… It’s with Future Virgins… more info TBA. (Noelle has the info, I think, but she’s not actually with us ’cause she’s a rock star who doesn’t ride in the van with Chris, Pete, and I).
Tue, 8/20: Valdosta
Same story. It’s at Red Room Records with Johnathan Coody (Ninja Gun) though. More info TBA.
Wed, 8/21: Tallahassee, Gainesville, or Orlando
This hasn’t been booked yet so more info TBD (and then A).
Listen while you read! (The embed for their new album won’t work, so here’s a stream of their 2011 EP, “Bread Line” – one of the last releases on Traffic Street).
It’s almost midnight, which means that I’m just barely living up to my “new content every day” promise. I know, I know. You’re all very upset. I’ll make it up to you somehow… just not tonight!
You see, I’ve been spending the day, readying myself to hit the road. Tomorrow I’m embarking on a (very) short tour with Rational Anthem. We’re going up to Dave Strait Fest in Minneapolis and stopping for a few other shows on the route up and back. (By the way – interesting trivia fact… did you know that (not counting bands that Davey Tiltwheel is in) Rational Anthem are the only band playing that aren’t from the Midwest?) That’s kind of cool if you ask me.
But anyway, a ton of my favorite bands are playing and I’m really excited about it. Before I went to rehab (the first time) I was going to at least forty shows a year (many of which I was the one responsible for booking). Shit, I did forty shows just in the summer 2008, ’09, and ’10. Since I went to rehab though, Rational Anthem (and Weak Nights) are the only bands I’ve seen. In almost two years. That shit’s insane. Plus, Rational Anthem’s 2009 tour was kind of the epitome of my bad behavior. Well, my bad behavior in a social context anyway. I was not a good friend to them. After that tour, my relationships with Chris and Noelle became a little strained, so it’s kind of a big deal for me to be hitting the road with them again. Even if it is just for a week. It means a lot to me. Like… it makes me really happy. Not just that I get to go, but that they trust me to go. That they actually want me to go. (They invited me! They’re stoked on it! (That’s really, really awesome)).
I interviewed them for Razorcake recently, so you’ll be able to read a lot more about our zany adventures together once that comes out. For now, I’m just gonna share some of the stuff that I got to design for the sixty-or-so day tour that they got home from about a week ago.
This originally said Off With Their Heads instead of Rational Anthem but I decided to change it up ’cause Rational needed a shirt and OWTH didn’t. I listen to both bands when I’m feeling well, but when I’m upset, I turn to OWTH when I wanna dwell in it and Rational when I wanna pull myself out. I didn’t get one of these shirts before they left for their long tour so I’m pretty stoked to finally get one tomorrow.
Screen-printing is not the best medium for images with small or fine details. It took me fucking forever to find a balance in manipulating this image so that the faces were somewhat visible, but didn’t have any lines or dots that’d be too small to come out in a screen. The logo on the first few Rational records and shirts was mine, but this one I stole (I think it’s one of Corey’s). (When Corey’s not playing in The Manix and Banner Pilot, he does some pretty outstanding artwork and was definitely an inspiration to / influence on me). Anyway, this shirt was Chris’s idea (or at least he’s the one that brought it to me). Originally, it was going to say “Pop Punk Vacation” at the bottom, which I thought was kind of boring. We thought this was way, way funnier. Not only is it a great statement about playing in a band generally, but what the fuck are they doing posing on top of a van for a photograph? I mean, don’t these fucking kids have jobs? Honestly…
Originally, this was the only thing I was designing for Rational Anthem’s summer tour, but – as it’d turn out – I got to do pretty much everything. (That first shirt design was also printed up on red and black koozies). This one definitely took the longest though. The main artwork – like the name of the tour – is a National Lampoon parody. I looked up the posters to the different Vacation movies and thought it’d be fun to do a re-imagining of the “European Vacation” poster, on which the Griswold family are all clutching the legs of their leader, Clark, as he stand proudly with his fist in the air, clutching a [I forget what he was clutching]. The tagline is also a parody of the tagline from the poster. Ours says, “For over three dozen years, punk rock has survived many terrible posers. Now for the real test… Rational Anthem are coming out of their mall!” (That’s definitely my favorite part). Anyway, I drew the kids with colored pencils. Don’t ask me why I gave them green skin – I have no reason. The van in the background is from the first piece I ever sold, “Clarity,” and the rest is from a piece I made after I left rehab, called “Heather Pierce.” Neither is up on this site with a real write-up yet, but you can see them (and get a little background info on each) elsewhere. “Clarity” is online here, in my Facebook album of inpatient artwork, and “Heather Pierce” is up here, on my Storenvy site.
Here are the dates for our little mini-tour. If you’re coming out, I’ll see you soon!
Tue. 8/13 – Leavin’ late and just hanging with Stewart in Atlanta
Wed. 8/14 – St. Louis w/ [ask Noelle]
Thu. 8/15 – Dave Strait Fest in Minneapolis!
Fri. 8/16 – Dave Strait Fest in Minneapolis!
Sat. 8/17 – Dave Strait Fest in Minneapolis! (this is the day Rational are actually playing)
Sun. 8/18 – Des Moines, IA w/ The Copyrights, Lipstick Homicide, Tight Bros, and more
Mon. 8/19 – Carbondale, IL w/ [ask Noelle]
Tue. 8/20 – [ask Noelle]
Regarding the shows on Sunday and Monday though – Zack’s hitching a ride with us back down to FL from MPLS and – I think Dear Landlord might be playing one (or both) of them. Once I’m actually with everyone, I’ll know more solid details on the shows (like venues/addresses) and I’ll throw them up online here when I do.