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Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Hi, there is gonna be a lot of Euro tour 2005 posts, so in the meantime I'll be doing a few side notes.

The first side note is we have a new blog. It's for posting comments about where you wish we would play. So now when we post tour dates and somehow your town out of the like 9 million towns on the planet, you can post here instead of on those dates. Or like when we are doing an obituary or talking about something super serious and you are like "come play in Djibouti" and its just weird and a bit akward and we're all just wondering what if this wasn't the internet, and someone was like reading the obituary out loud at a funeral, and instead of just wishing it in your head, you actually got up in the middle of the obituary and said "Hey I think you should come play in my town" and seeing it was a funeral and you had to wear a black suit even to get in, and also had to actually know the deceased, otherwise how would you even get in, so those two factors making it more familiar and legitimate, but then making it more creepy as a result, that you'd get up and actually make such a forward and unrelated request, and like the persons parents would probably be there, as well as a lot of people you know, unless in actuality you were just some weird uninvited guy that actually only came to the funeral in the first place to ask if we could play in your town, and didn't know the guy who died at all. Imagine how strange that would be? Again the link for doing this weird shit is HERE.



We got up early again for a 700 km drive through the rest of Denmark and some of Sweden. The tour manifest we got, with some slipshod directions, was mostly just stuff like "LEAVING EARLY!!" and MAKE SURE YOU ARE LEAVING VERY EARLY THIS MORNING, and pretty much nothing else. After seeing next to nothing of beautiful Copenhagen, home of Hans Christian Andersen and Neils Bohr, we got the ferry to Malmo.

The first thing we noticed about the Swedish countryside, is that it looks a lot like Ontario, where we're from (the streets though, not the countryside [except Damian, who is from the inner-suburbs]). There are little lakes with ridiculous names everywhere, lingonberry trees, people doing construction non-stop. In Sweden they had signs posted to lakes where you could stop and swim. A few of them (we stopped a lot) even had wooden rafts and diving boards set up.

We stopped at a grocery store next to an Ikea and another Ikea before we got downtown. Josh bought some weird meat, I bought an open container of Bilberry Juice, and there were deer heads in the middle of all the produce displays.

Stockholm to us seemed like one giant castle. We'd come back years later and figure out all the different sections of the town, like Gamla Stan, and Slussen but to use, winding up these small passage ways under towers, and drawbridges the whole town seemed connected into one giant medieval structure.

We played at a club called Alcazar, a tiny pocket of a bar in the corner of a much larger building. The first thing we found was the giant kitchen. We opened a shelf in order to find forks, but instead found steamed trout. The shelf below that was filled with glazed potatoes, and on down to the floor, each shelf was packed with something delicious, like we were in some strange Swedish version of Alice in Wonderland. As we stuffed our faces, we figured our good fortune was due to how large and great a band we had become. Even though 24 hours prior we were eating dumpstered vegetables at Ungdomhuset (which were actually amazing and were part of an entirely dumpstered meal that also contained strips of kombu), we knew that we were finally being rewarded for all our toil. As we continued to explore the building, we realized what the bounty was for - the main hall was playing host to a real fashion show, and was packed with well dressed cosmopolitans, and that most elusive European element, the Swedish Babe. We watched from a balcony in awe, as our own repellent vestments holed up and dripped off our bodies, as 10 after 10 walked down the aisle in some Swedish outfit or other, to uproarious applause from the crowd. Probably fearing an assasination of some sort, we were pulled from the balcony after about 2 minutes of spying, and sent back to the crusty section of the building. Somehow Sandy managed to get back in the great hall and spent the rest of the night partying with models and generally wasting their raw european sexuality.

Back in crustyville, we were about to play. There were a lot of people there and we were actually glad to be touring. Beav did a good job, and the show was taped (you can find some of it on Mixtape 3 or maybe 2). We made friends with people from the band Bruce Banner, and by friends I mean the singer licked my nipple while we played, licked Jonahs knee scab he'd got from playing, and we spent the entire night awake at the guitar players hat talking about punk records. Before we left to sleep, two hote Swedes asked if we wanted to go midnight swimming in the harbour downtown, and for some reason we declined.


We told Rolf that we wanted to go as deep into Europe as possible. That morning we woke up ("LEAVING EARLY IN THE MORNING!!!) for the 12 hour drive to Umea Sweden, capital of Swedish sxe (also the capital of Vasterbotten County), and less than a days drive from the arctic circle. The thing we were all (except Sandy) the most excited for was playing with The Viscious, a band that featured that woman from The International Noise Conspiracy. We figured that we'd show up and all make friends, which we knew from last night meant mostly licking and then staying up all night. Instead her and her friends (mostly people from the fashion show the night before also) prowled around the show like shadows, unerred by the hopes of a few smelly Canadians. The band played and were pretty good (pronounced "reeeaallllaaa guud" in Swindish). Our new friends Rabid Grannies also played, and hosted us that evening. We spent the dinner before the show at their house eating more weird Swedish food and making fun of their accents.

That night we stayed at the Wasted Sounds compound, an apartment so small that the kitchen consisted of a microwave perched on top of the toilet in the bathroom.


Seeing how we were in the middle of nowhere, it was going to take a long time to get anywhere that wasn't nowhere. Seeing as how we weren't in a rush, we decided to take our time and drive to Linkoping, which was the closest to somewhere you could get in Sweden that we hadn't already been. It was 1200 kms straight north (for you Americans and British people - 1200 kms, plus gas, plus swimming stops is basically a 14 hour drive straight around the Gulf of Bothnia,)

We had no directions to this show, and didn't even have the name of the club written down anywhere. Linkoping is (surprisingly) not that big, so we literally guessed at an exit after driving past the town and back again on the highway 3 or 4 times for more than an hour.

By some stroke of crusty luck, we managed to find a show. I still to this day have no idea if this was the show we were supposed to play, or if we just gate crashed it, but after an hour of looking for our show, this one would have to do. Fortunately, it was with that band The Blood Brothers, who we hated, because back then we only listened to thrash and Dangerhouse records. Now we probably sound exactly like them, but whatever. They were nice enough to not talk to us and let us play AFTER them and hang out on their tour bus while we played. Which is exactly what we'd do now if the situation was reversed and the other band was any band, but whatever.

We set up and start playing while the last remaining people are buying Blood Brothers merch and trying to get autographs from the band, and end up playing to about 5 people, but whatever, we were awesome and Mark Hurst (who was with us on the entire trip) played drums and Jonah played 3rd guitar, so that's where the idea for us having 3 guitar players comes from, if you are still wondering. Years later we are on Matador Records, and Jaguar Love who featured the singer for Bloor Brothers was for 2 minutes until they got dropped, but whatever.

That night we stayed at the venue, in a bedroom that we would later (the next morning) find out was haunted, because a woman had killed herself in one of the same beds we slept in a few weeks ago. Or maybe it was 50 years ago and she was the Princess of Bothnia County or something, I can't remember. Either way, there was ridiculous Swedish graffiti in the bathroom ("France Sucks", 1-2-3 NEJ) so we had a good time. We also spent about 3 hours playing euchre in the hallway, a 4 player card game we were so addicted to at that point, we would create makeshift tables out of books and magazines and pizza boxes so we wouldn't have to stop playing in the van, even with all the windows open (ac is not punk obviously) and the wind throwing the cards all over the van like playing cards...Sandy also spent the night drawing a massive mural on the wall of two aliens listening to an iPod (the iPod being foreign to us a the time that only Mark had one, which meant he controlled the music. Which meant that we had to pick music in 3o minute chunks, because that used the battery the least, and the only US-EU power converter he could find at the aiport was one of those ones that inexplicably has a circular outer ring of plastic making the actual sockets inlayed into the plastic by about half an inch - which is great for plugging in regular plugs on the ends of long wires, but useless if you want to plug in anything like an iPod which just has a foldout set of metal jacks that come oh-so-close in an almost romantic sexual way to dipping right into the socket, but so far. It was so tantalizingly close that for the first few days of tour Mark could occasionally be found trying to rip into that plastic ridge with all manner of utensils like knives and forks, and I once even saw him knawing into that fucking thing with his own teeth like a wild animal so hungry for iPod juice that he would risk breaking parts out of his own mouth, that like photo of an alligator that was at first blush hungry enough to eat a snake so large that the snake ended up breaking the alligators body in half with it's combined girth and thrashing strength, and then you just have a dead snake carcass inside a broken-in-half alligator body (the ultimate zero-sum game), but then when you think about it more carefully you understand that the alligator didn't attempt such a quixotic meal simply out of hunger, but out of that wild urge that makes animals animals, that striving towards satisfaction at any cost, even the ultimate cost, like those mosquitos that will suck your blood even long after the must know that a) they have become too heavy even to fly away because they contain so much weight in your blood relative to their puny buglike bodies and b) that you are obviously just letting take so much blood because you are going to deliver upon them retibutive pwnage by waiting until they have sucked the last possible drop into their carriage, at which point you, in your own mini-animal urge, sacrifice a bit of your own blood in order to watch it burst out of a dying mosquito between your fingers, which you then rub on your pants or something, because while you are in fact an animal on paper, you are actually a person, and the thought of putting your own blood back into your body, after it's brief but altering journey through even the most sterile mosquito insides is too revolting to consider. Anyhow Mark was like that when he was chowing down on that plastic converter. We ended up having to be frutal with the power because in the end he did never get that plastic rim off, and only was able to charge it by either finding the euro version of the cable from friends, or finding elusive sockets with no rims) inside their spaceship. The other consequence of Mark having the iPod was that we only listened to Mark music. Keep in mind that in 2005, already none of us was listening to punk save for Jonah, and The Beav, who actually was on a quixotic quest of his own, to have every punk record ever on his own super-futuristic 80 gig ipod (which I think he left at home?) and so everyone was going a little wild with their tastes. Josh was listening to stoner metal or like political speeches, Sandy was listening to Nico and free Jazz, I was listening to Northern Soul and embarrasing electroclash bands like Fischerspooner and Adult., and Mark was going out on the ultimate limb and listening to like The Doors and The Band and crazy stuff like that so mostly we just didn't listen to music and instead made fun of Martins accent.

That night we had a great sleep, because of the aforementioned haunting of the room, the fact that the room was the size of a large closet, and had beds stacked 3-high, and also due to the fact that we had to wake up at like 5 in the morning to get to Den Haag, another 1000 plus km trip. Once on the road, we realize/decide that we're on what is literally an impossible schedule, and we ditch on the drive somewhere in Sweden, where we find not another great lake to swim in, amongst the already plentiful bevy of swimmable lakes, but instead a giant water park just off the highway. We don't pay to get in, and spend about 3 hours playing on water slides with 5 year old Swedish kids, and in the sauna with 85 year old Swedish men. Refreshed, and wearing our towels like capes, we set out into the European dusk, who knows where we may land.

As darkness begins to fall over Germany, we do one of the most inexplicable things we've done as a band. Our pockets and bags stuffed (literally) with euros and kroners, instead of going into whatever city we were next to to find a hotel and get a good nights sleep after 4 days of driving 12 hours a day, we decide it would be best to save the money and sleep on the side of the highway. Not the parking lot of whatever gas station was just across the way, but the actual highway, sleeping bags on the paved shoulder. Beav that night would remark, to his legend, that this may have been what it was like for his grandfather, a fighter in Germany (for Canada) during ww2. We all stifle our laughter at this precious and dramatic moment of tribute, and try to sleep without thinking of what it would be like to get run over by an 18 wheeler (or a German tank). Josh being a pro at this sort of behavior (see CD inlay picture in "Epics in Minutes") he's asleep in 2 seconds. The rest of us count the stars and try not to inhale too many bugs until the sun rises the next morning.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Five years ago we did our first tour of Europe, and have been to Europe every summer since then in some capacity. It's 2010 now, and European tours for us, while not as posh as some might suppose, are still a far cry from the psychic attrocities that took place on a daily basis on our first trip across the pond as a band. Since nothing funny is happening on this tour we're on right now, I felt it would be a good idea to re-visit what things were like for us a mere five years ago.

The story of this fabled trip begins sometime in the late spring of 2005. Damian and Jonah had been working on their other band at the time Pink Eye, who had just played a show in Chicago. At this point we were already dealing with the pressures of transitioning between a stuck up aesthetic hardcore band, to a full fledged sell-out professional violin friending touring machine. I had played in a band previous to Fucked Up, and had been on a threadbare tour in Europe before, and at this point I was still really punk, so the prospect of touring across the industrial wastelands of Germany and the cultural labyrinths of Benelux offered to me endless delight. We had a mission statement as a band that we would "never tour", but just having completed succesfull tours of the East and West coasts of the US, we decided to just bite the bullet and try our luck in Europa. We didn't have a booking agent at this point, and relied on what was known as the "international diy community" and thus made contact with one Rolf, who played in the band Hellstrom, from somewhere in Germany, and who we had never actually met or gotten any real references from. I would take long lunch breaks at my job at the lightbulb factory to check email frantically to put the final details in place for the tour. Even before we had been to europe, we were "so over" conventional stops like Germany and the Netherlands, and so the only instructions I would ever give Rolf would be to book us in the craziest places he could get in contact with. When we got the tour manifest and saw that included places like Prague, Belgrade, Macedonia and Slovakia, we licked our lips in anticipation of the trip.

In the weeks leading up to the tour, there were some fracturous developments within the band, as there always where during those dark times. Lots of fights, arguments and attemps to sabotage. I can remember several "I'm not doing this" fights after we had bought our plane tickets. When I got a call from Damian 2 weeks before our tour, while he was in Chicago, explaining to me why he couldn't do the tour, it was no real surprise and we moved ahead with a different singer without hesitation. It actually brought resolution to a bunch of fights we'd all been having, and as we sat down as a band to discuss who the replacement singer would be, we left the meeting in the best union we'd been for ages.

This event would however set the tone for the rest of the tour. None of us saw it as foreshadowing that we'd had to deal with a major crisis before we even got on the airplane. We calmly just plunked down for a 6th plane ticket and merrily packed our bags.

I hadn't been on an airplane in a while and at this point for some reason didn't have any anxiety about flying. I can remember saying something about "never getting on an airplane again" after 9/11, and I think I managed to hold out until this trip. Meaning that in 2005 I still had yet to perfect any of my OCD pre-take off rituals that extend to visualizing the take off weeks before the flight, running around the city trying to get high strength anti-anxiety pills without a perscriptions, and obsessive packing in order to make every preparation. It was as a result of my lax attitude toward the lottery of the skies that I was able to show up at the airport with the wrong passport. My old passport had expired in May of that year, but I for some reason carried it around in the same pocket of my backpack as my new passport, probably because I liked looking at it and remembering that once I had crossed the border between Hungary and The Czech Republic, or that once I had boarded and airplane bound for Washington DC (for a protest!).

When I handed the ticket agent the expired passport my brain immediately honed in on the exact location of the correct one - on my desk at home - as I started sweating and playing out scenarios in which somehow I ended up making it on a plane that day. There are lots of ways to wiggle at the airport, but an expired passport is a dead-end.

I called my only friend who owned a car, who also had doubled as our roadie for the last few years. He was at work but agreed to take a break in order to break into my house to grab the passport, hand it off to Josh's girlfriend, who would drive through rush hour traffic to the airport to try and get it to me on time. And by on time I mean that my gate was closing in 30 minutes. You should understand that this is the story of a diy hardcore band touring through Europe. As you will see later, adding expense was not an option - there would be no buying of another flight, no taking a cab back to my house, no re-routing or taking the train from London. As the attendend starting to book me alternate flights that day, and the invisible green dollar signs started hammering down on my forehead, we waited for traffic updates from Stef. 25 minutes later, my backwindow freshly smashed, it somehow looked like we were going to actually make it. We turned to see Stef run through an empty terminal, I threw it baton-like at the attendant, who got me on one of those golf carts you see in airports but never get to use, and that chariot raced through the terminal towards the gate. I was the last person on the plane.

The first day of tour for us now is as a rule the chillest. Half of us have already been there for a few days on vacation, and are chipper and ready to hit the road. Back then the first day was always the longest and most hellish. This would have been the case on this tour as well, since day 1 was one of the most arduously boring days of my life, but it would pale in comparison to what we'd go through on the days that followed.

We'd arranged through a friend of Jonah's to hire a 16 year old dutch kid named Martine to drive us. He'd never done a tour before, and his first day was an 800 kilometer drive from the airport in Amsterdam, to Copenhagen, with a stop in Hamburg to pick up our gear. We also learned that day that he chained smoked, had gotten his license a few weeks before the tour started, and lived in Haarlem, which is the poshest suburb in the entire great nation of Holland. He also really liked bands like Antidote and The Abused and that stuff, and pretty much hated every other kind of music. He was also mean in a perfectly Dutch way. He immediately started making fun of us in the airport waiting room, and then drove us to his mansion in Haarlem so we could rest up for our intense drive the next day.

That night we played at OCCII in Amsterdam. It was awful and should be forgotten. We were still tired and jetlagged, and hadn't done many practice with our replacement singer Michael (The Beav). Dutch people aren't subtle, and they let Beav know how they felt about the show afterwards - that he was terrible, subhuman, etc. Not a pretty sight.

In America we were in control enough to be able to book a tour with no stupid drives. We've been touring nonstop for like 5 years now, and have still never had to dead-head it across the country. The longest drive we've ever had to do was like 14 hours between San Fransisco and Portland, and a similar drive through the rockies between Vancouver and Edmonton. Those are the high water marks of distance abuse for us on the continent. In Europe it's different because Europeans are different, have different schedules and weird rules. Thats why last week we drove through Cologne 3 times in 3 days on our way to 3 different cities all within a days drive of Cologne (and almost every other city on the continent). That's why I once had to drive over night non-stop from Vienna to Rome. Europeans will tell you it's because of vacation, and that "everyone is away there right now so you can't play", but really it's because they hate you and want to watch you drive 19 hours a day for no good reason, as you drive by 15 ancient cultural centers and perfectly good places to play a concert, on the way to where your show us. So thats why the first drive of our tour drove through 4 or 5 places we could have played instead (and 3 that we would play later on that tour).

We left at around 6 in the morning, and got to Hamburg in time for rush our. We had to go through a long tunnel that was jammed and sat there for an hour and read newspaper articles about terrorism. We loaded the van up with the biggest amps we'd seen in our life and got back on the road. At midnight, we finally arrived in Copenhagen, watching the lit Tivoli signs blur by as we raced to make our set time. We didn't have proper directions, because this was before ipod translator aps, and GPS machines, so we had a book full of broken english directions and half-printed and pixelated road maps to try and make sense of. Asking people out the window for directions was harrowing at the best of times, but tonight we were looking for a squat, and go no help. We circled a few blocks for 20 minutes, on the phone with the promotor who toyed with us, telling us to look for "a giant park" and that it would be around there.

Somehow we made it and set up and went straight on stage. We were excited to be in what was at that time the international center of DIY punk. Ugndomhuset, which has been covered on this blog in the past, was a great place to play if you were a cool Danish punk band. If you were a bunch of future-sports fans from Canada, no one cared. Lots of people showed up to hang out in the back room and drink cider and be beautiful. We played to a handful of people, spending most of the set wondering what everyone was talking about in the other room.

We slept in the squat that night - our room was where the police scanners were. Because there could be a raid at any moment, someone had to stay up all night every night and listen to the police scanner. We thought maybe that was a tad dramatic that night, but then a few years later the building was raided by the police and torn down. Apparently the room was haunted or something as well.

Saturday, July 24, 2010



You an hear Year of the Ox right now HERE. This is the full studio version, not the live CBC version. Feel free to also actually BUY IT here, if you like it, from MERGE and MATADOR if you live in a part of earth that isn't North America.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Hey we are playing in France tommorow - it's not last minute, I just haven't put up any of the info because I'm lazy. We tried to get a show in Paris because duh, but it didn't work out. So we got this show in Le Havre at Mac Daids so come to that if you are french.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Thursday, July 15, 2010


Hey who gave this twerp a copy of our new album?

Monday, July 12, 2010


HI. We are leaving for Europe this week, somewhere we go every summer at least, sometimes twice or three times a year, because we are anarchist backpackers. Just kidding we are yuppies and secretly spend out entire euro vacations skiiing in Montreaux in the winter and lounging on the Canary Islands. When I post tour dates I just copy and paste them off some really punk bands blog so it looks like we are really playing in squats every night and driving 1000 miles every day. Anyhow, here is another face-saving FU euro tour schedule. If you live in any of these cities, feel free to come and say hi in any of the many languages you learned at your 8 years in state funded free university.

JULY 15 Cardiff UK
JULY 16 Guildford Rocksound Festival UK
JULY 17 Dour Festival Belgium
JULY 18 Melt Festival Grafenhainichen (I am not making that up) Germany
JULY 19 Cologne Germany @ MTC (german MTV I think)
JULY 20 Nijmegen NETHERLANDS De Affaire Festival (of losing the world cup)
JULY 21 Marina Di Ravenna Hana Bi Beach Fest (honestly I don't know what part of that is the town and what part is the name of the festival, but whatever. It's on the beach in Italy so that's [almost] good enough for me)
JULY 22 Turin Spaziale Festival Italy
JULY 23 I think FRANCE but not Paris
JULY 25 Truckfest Oxford
JULY 26 Tampere Finland @ Klubi
JULY 27 Turku Finland @ Klubi
JULY 28 Helsinki Finland @ Tavastia
JULY 29 St Petersburg @ Tanci
JULY 30 Moscow @ Aktzal

(attn everyone - this big gap in the tour schedule definetely means we are looking for shows on all these dates in hungary and macedonia and stuff cause these are holes in our tour, not our awesome vacation in russia)

AUG 6 Standing Calling UK
AUG 7 Hevy Festival Kent UK
AUG 8 Rebellion Festival Blackpool UK
AUG 9 London @ Hoxton Bar
AUG 10 I can't remember
AUG 11 Oya Festival Norway

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Hey sorry I've been out of touch lately, you know how it gets in the summer time. Hope you don't think it's because I don't care about you or that I want to make this more akward than it already is. I obviously feel like I'm on thin ice a bit anyhow, so I guess that made me more hesitant to write you lately, seeing as how I'd been so late as it is.
Things are good...we've been recording which is nice, staying busy. We're doing this new 12" "Year of the Tiger" and also we did drum beds for a bunch of songs from the next LP. They all sound really good but it's been a bit tense in the studio for some reason, so that's kind of's also crazy hot here, so we basically watch the clock until it's time to go so we can try and go swimming. The pools here have been staying open until midnight, which is good for us because we've been doing the studio from noon to like 11pm or late every night...I tried to go twice this week but Josh bailed on me because Shiri was leaving town or some thing. Went last night for like half an hour, then went again on break today. Anyhow the songs are sounding cool, we had Katie come in and do piano on one of them today. The bside is like 25 minutes long, we're basically handing in another full length as our next single. How is the weather where you are? I keep thinking it's just not ever going to get cold again, that it's just going to keep getting hotter and hotter until the planet just shrivels up like an old peach and then turns to dust and then god just mops it up.
Anyhow sorry again for not writing. We've been away working every weekend this month, in New York, the Calgary, Chicago this weekend and then Europe for the rest of the summer. We leave tommorow at like 7am, play tommorow night at the bottle, then a street fair or fest or something at Chicago and Damen on Saturday, then we drive straight home through the night after that so we can watch Spain vs Netherlands at home and not there. I also didn't really have anything to say all month because all we've been doing is watching 3 football games every day since the world cup started. We all kind of just want to get it over with now.

Anyhow, I miss you. How are you doing?