Bad Manners Ska Tour

Bad Manners On Tour

Blog

Jake - Thu Sep 02, 2010 @ 05:58AM
Comments: 103

After 2 crazy nights in Baltimore, it's back in the Bounder for the drive to Carrboro, North Carolina. We drive as fast as we can and barely get to the club in time to load in. Somehow, The Beat and our mutual booking agent think that we're traveling from Boston (WTF???) and send us helpful emails about drive times and how we won't make the Carrboro show, but maybe if we drive non-stop we can make Atlanta. There's also an email going around where the powers that be are calling us "Bad Planners." It's funny, but also fucked up that it's funny. The staff is super-cool and work with us to make it happen, unlike Foxboro, MA. FU Foxboro. We play a good set, but the crowd is mostly older and largely male...more of an 80's nostalgia crowd. No mods, skins or scooter kids. Super music fan Ms Barbetta Jones is at the show, and she took a bunch of cool photos of the band. We leave that night for Atlanta.

Comments: 103
Jake - Sun Aug 29, 2010 @ 09:39AM
Comments: 7

Let me start by saying that I'm a huge John Waters fan, have enjoyed some Barry Levinson films, and am a fan of The Wire and Homicide. I love Edgar Allan Poe. The Ravens did win a Superbowl recently. So Baltimore has a lot going for it. On the other hand, WTF???? I don't think that I can adequately describe our Baltimore experience without causing offense. Pablo Fiasco, our keyboard man, is based here. So is Skanking Commodore Dave Vermillion, and those are two of my favorite people from this tour. My friend Aneela Maraj lives in Odenton, right outside Baltimore. Kristin from the Scotch Bonnets, an excellent Baltimore reggae/soul band, is also aces. She provided crash space for multiple BM members this time around. She even made me a vegan breakfast and cooked bacon for Matt. Anytime you're in LA, Kristin...

Nevertheless, Baltimore has this post-apocalyptic urban decay thing that I can only compare to Detroit.

We played a "secret" warehouse show at Pablo's spot. The PA was better than some clubs we've played this tour. Buster and Johnny Trombone apparently had a contest to see who could get drunker before our set. Not sure who won, but the audience lost, as indicated by the sparse crowd at the end our set.

Comments: 7
Jake - Fri Aug 27, 2010 @ 07:33AM
Comments: 3

Hey you! Don't watch that - watch this!

Here is a Flickr gallery with many photos of the 2010 tour:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stillbreathing/sets/72157624807152892/

Go deh!

Comments: 3
Jake - Wed Aug 25, 2010 @ 09:35AM
Comments: 3

Where were we? Oh yeah on the way to DC, this time on a bus from Manhattan. Not a luxury cruise, but it beats the Bounder on smell alone. Matt, Johnny, Justino and I make it to DC in plenty of time and catch a taxi to the club. I've got time to grab some Ethiopian food and make a few calls before soundcheck. Last time I came through DC as a musician, I played the old 930 club location. Now it's one of the premiere clubs on the East Coast. The staff are top-notch and really helpful. The old punk rockers in the band are feeling the old-school DC punk vibes - we'll do this one for Bad Brains tonight.

Tonight I also get to see an old friend from Trinidad: Aneela was a journalist for the Trinidad Express and sang in bands down there as well, now she lives outside Baltimore with her husband and young son. We catch up on old times. Here she is looking exactly as she did when we met over a decade ago in POS:jake and neel 930 club dc

The show goes off very well. Probably our best of the tour so far. We get great response from the audience. One thing about a Bad Manners show, we always have our contingent of hardcore fans who know all the lyrics and routines. It's great. But equally cool is how the band captures unsuspecting concertgoers and turns them into BM fans. I've had dozens of people tell me they came to see The Beat, or had never heard of BM, but are now fans of the band. It's pretty hard to ignore the onslaught that is a Bad Manners set.

During The Beat's set, Riddim's kick drum pedal goes down, and tour opener Chris Murray, who's been playing rhythm guitar on some Beat songs this tour, is put on the spot - Dave Wakeling tell Chris to start one of his tunes, and the band joins in. Chis has been a great part of the tour, this time doing his one-man ska band thing. Hearing him with the Beat backing him up is a treat for sure. I predict big things for the lad. First he needs to put on 200 lbs and shave his head.

Go HERE for a review of the entire DC show, from Chris to Bad to Beat.

Comments: 3
Jake - Tue Aug 24, 2010 @ 06:00PM
Comments: 13

So yeah, we leave RI at 5 am or so. It quickly becomes apparent that our transmission has other ideas. We limp to NYC at 35mph, unable to get out of 2nd gear. It takes forever, but we still get there early. And first. But where are the Beat? Their fancy tour bus has broken down and they haven't left Providence yet. But who's gloating? That would be unseemly. The irony of the role reversal is worth savoring, especially when we get a 2-hour soundcheck. The Beat barely make it in time to slam their gear on stage before doors open. It's important for us to do well in New York, and we do...do well. Marja Stone joins us on fiddle for 2 tunes and also goes over quite well. Her and hubby Sam are real snappy dressers and a cool couple. I have a fucking blast during the show. I haven't played NYC since the 90's and it's a great way to reconnect with a city where I used to spend so much time working. We go to Mama's bar after, where I meet a Russian chick named Anastasia, and fall madly in love. I'm pretty sure we're engaged. BM sax player Matt Mason lives in town, so we head off to catch a few winks before heading down to Baltimore and DC. We stop to get pizza and get into a conversation with a lovely Indian gal about Matt's tattoos - she's trying to make a point about Westerners having Eastern symbols as tattoos but not understanding them. I break her down with a little disquisition on Durga and the Kali cults and we part respectfully. At Matt's I have an entire couch to myself, AC, and a shower. Heaven. The next morning, four of us decide to catch a $20 bus down to DC. Somehow Joni, Justino, Matt and I all meet up and catch the bus without incident. Everyone knows we rocked New York and we're all feeling good as we roll down to DC. Buster has just told me that he and BM bass man Lee are "the closest thing to Laurel and Hardy you'll ever see" and I have no reason too doubt the man. Coming up next, we get all Mid-Atlantic with it in DC and Baltimore.

Check out these amazing photos of the NYC show at skapunkphotos.com

And the same guy who took the photos, Brian Kremkau, also reviewed the entire show here

Comments: 13
Jake - Tue Aug 24, 2010 @ 05:25PM
Comments: 5
Hello to all you fat bastards out there! Here's the latest and greatest from the road: But first, I have no idea how Steph managed to blog at all on the last tour. The amount of drinking, waiting to drink, and recovering from drink, not to mention playing 6-7 shows a week really takes it out of you. You shower when you can, wear the same clothes for days, and for me, also try and get some vegan grub up in my belly. I'm tired, smelly and lonely for my own bed. Does that paint a picture? Bless meh fadda, it's been 4 days since my last confession. Let's catch up...I'm Jake Smith, recently out of a job, at loose ends and decided to run away with the circus, AKA Bad Manners. In a previous life I was a working musician and record producer. I've been working "real" jobs for the last 10 years and dabbling in music and dj'ing. After losing my dream job as Senior Recruiter at a large non-profit in Los Angeles, I got the offer from Big Mike Redd, BM Tour Manager, to join up. I took the gig, and here we are. Special thanks to Popeye in Boston for setting up the show there, and for coming to Lupo's and playing The Beat's tambourine w/ us. On the way up to Lupo's in Rhode Island we have a scary blowout on the highway. Left front tire goes out with a bang, I'm jolted awake, but Angry Frank safely brings us to a stop and we eventually get over to the shoulder, where a helpful state trooper parks behind us with lights flashing until the tow truck arrives. Big Mike has also sprung into action, and in minutes a van pulls up to take band and gear to the venue. It's Jamie from Midnight Creeps. Fucking aces! Thanks for saving the day. Lupo's is a huge theater, with dressing rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The production staff are rude and have stupid accents. We play a good show. There's a strong contingent of our fans there and much disposable income has been spent on Fred Perry gear. I see a lot of folks from Boston. After the gig (isn't that a Discharge song?), we go to Jamie's bar and drink heartily. We need to leave directly from Rhode Island and drive to New York to make an early load-in.
Comments: 5
Jake - Fri Aug 20, 2010 @ 12:29PM
Comments: 3
After the Foxboro debacle, we're taking no chances, and head out early for the New Haven show. The club is literally across the street from Yale, where I majored in lock-picking many years ago. Justino and I cruise around the area, admiring the various old brick and stone buildings that make up the Yale campus. The venue is called Toad's Place. Staff are friendly and very helpful all around. We played one of our best shows yet. After 10 days on the road and 9 shows, we're starting to really sound like a band. Justino shines in particular and the crowd is really into it. Buster's in fine form and we all have a blast onstage. During "skinhead girl," we're joined onstage by an adorable little skinhead girl who dances with Buster and gives the punters something else to look at besides our ugly mugs. Her name is Stephanie and I invite her to be out guest at the Rhode Island show on Friday. The best bit is when we use Josue's hotel connections to get 2 discounted rooms. I wind up in a bed, in a room with functioning AC. Bliss. In the morning, I shave, shower etc and feel ready to take on the world, or at least Rhode Island...
Comments: 3
Jake - Thu Aug 19, 2010 @ 06:48AM
Comments: 6

Let's see, where was I? Oh yeah - Operation "Heavy Manners," my undercover assigment to infiltrate this secretive and nefarious "Ska" operation is proceeding as planned. I've gained their trust but at what cost? The amount of drink, drugs and cleaning fluid one must imbibe to keep up with the Bad Manners crew is quite staggering. An abstainer would raise too may suspicions. As my spiritual guide Mighy Sparrow would say, "in for a penny, in for a pound."

Please burn the above and continue reading as we...

...struggle to get out of Manhattan and get up to Western MA to play a show in Foxboro. Somehow, despite plans and contingencies to the contrary, we find ourselves racing to make our show in Foxboro. My friend Mark Olier, who I haven't seen in over 10 years, is driving from Springfield. We're in constant contact with the production staff at the venue, and when we're 5 minutes away, someone tells us we'll be able to play if we can set up quickly. When we arrive, it's obvious another agenda is at work: the turnout is soft, and the promoter is looking for excuses to cut his losses. We are cut from the bill. It takes all of 30 minutes for us to line up a show in Boston proper, where we should have been booked in the first place. O'Brien's sticks us on a bill, and all the people that came to see us in Foxboro turn up. We sell the place out. Jolly good show!

Here's some video thanks to Grant Thayer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=incCAXsM5aQ

We hang out for a while at this guy Dave Tree's silkscreen shop, but an afterparty without single girls is too much like the Bad Manners RV. The people are all cool, but as the beer runs out, we run out of gas and head back to our hostess Jenny's place. She hips me to the coffee shop where I can get a soy latte and the cupcake store with vegan options. In the morning, I locate both. Showered and caffeinated, I somehow don't feel like punching someone in the face today...I love everybody, even Angry Frank!

The bathroom in the RV still doesn't work, but this information apparently hasn't "trickled down" to everyone yet.

Hey, go on over to the "tour dates" tab - I've updated the thing!

Comments: 6
Jake - Thu Aug 19, 2010 @ 06:39AM
Comments: 29

After a good night's sleep in NYC, we head out to Teaneck to play a show there...The place is small. Quaint main street, a laundry to dry my black shorts. We have one of our best shows yet. Justino is particularly good tonight, and the rest of the band plays well too.

We get invited to an Irish pub in town, and spend a few hours drinking there. There are a bunch of Brit expats in attendance: old skinheads, longtime BM fans and assorted nutters. Buster is in his element, and we have to pry him away, hoping to spend some of the night in NYC, Teaneck's charms notwithstanding.

Somehow, it's 5am by the time we roll into Manhattan, and sleep is all I can think of.

Did I mention that the East Coast is in the midst of a heat wave?

Comments: 29
Jake - Thu Aug 19, 2010 @ 06:23AM
Comments: 8

The Midwest properly rocked, we head to the East Coast, and our first stop there, Philly. We're playing a nice venue connected to the local NPR station, World Cafe Live.

First however, we have to get there. We have to stop outside Philadelphia to deal with some mechanical issues, including some brake work and a new alternator belt. Pablo's (keys) friend Dave shows up, and is nice enough to shuttle us around to various coffee shops, music stores and strip clubs until the RV is ready. Bad Manners' RV: Now with stopping!

The Philly show goes off quite well, and we meet some cool people. One guy brings me over to met his friend, who despite having one artificial leg, had to dance to our set. That's the good stuff right there! Justino (drums) and I have a drink with them before loadin out.

After the show, the call of NYC is too strong for Matt (sax) and Johnny (tromboner), who convince us to head for the City. I wake up up in Matt's place in Hell's Kitchen, happy to have a shower and some real big-city coffee.

Comments: 8
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