Michael and I are in a new band, it rules:
It bums me out typing this, but we’re no more. I posted a pretty heartless blog on our myspace that explains things sort of, but because I bet most people don’t actually come here, i’ll divulge a little bit more:
Going into tour I had plans to quit the band after the summer and start a new one with my friends here in South Bend, and that plan stuck until three days into tour, when we were driving in New Jersey with our friend Dexter and I felt this intense emotional feeling telling me that there was nothing better than being on the road with my best friends (who, three days into tour had once again reaffirmed themselves as such) playing music to all the kids who seemed to like us…There was no way I could quit the band, we were finally on tour, finally doing what it was we’ve always wanted to. Why I wanted to quit in the first place is really unimportant, but it had to do with falling apart from everyone else and wanting to do something different…
Then, anyways, tour came to an awkward halting point in Maryland and we came home early. Notice how I quit updating this blog? I quit caring, I was extremely ass hurt about things that were said and I, quite frankly, was at a loss for words. I knew last week that things were grim, but I didn’t want to alert the internets and start another round of awkward drama and “oh lol you’ll be back together in four months”; I let it sit, we played out the last three days of our tour and that was that, as Nick had quit the band shortly before we played the DAAC and said he was done after the weekend. At that point shit was even more grim and I was too stressed out and we were going to try and have Michael play guitar for our South tour and then I guess just quietly be done after the summer…but then we had trouble with even that plan, and it was decided the other night that it was pretty pointless to keep trying as only half the band was putting forth effort to get anything done….and now we’re here, to right now, to where I still can’t really explain what the fuck happened. Tour was amazing, it was everything we could have wanted it to be…and yet, we’re broken up. No words, no real explanations
I’m still starting that band with those guys, and the rest of the dudes are starting a band together and we’re all still kind of friends and who knows what the future holds, honestly. For now, Merchant Ships is done; It’s all rather sudden and it almost doesn’t feel real, but I hope you all can get stoked on other bands and other people and other scenes and other everything that isn’t us. Despite one breakup already, I feel like this time it’s really going to be over, take that as you want.
Day 7, NYC. We woke up later than we wanted to (surprise) and everyone had to shower (surprise, no punx here) and then we caught a one o’clock train from Montclair to NYC. We were all pretty stoked, Dwayne and I got really sweaty walking to the station (surprise) and we all agreed the NJ TRANSIT is much cooler than the South Shore that takes us from home to Chicago. Suck itttt.
After thirty-ish minutes, we got to NYC and all bought subway passes, which was really neat and a new toar-ist-y experience for most of us. Jumping trains to get where you need to go is something I would need at least a couple weeks to understand, but luckily Dexter has stack spundles and is mad wicked yert good at trains and big cities and got us ro “Uptown” successfully.
Our first stop was the Natural Museum of History, which is connected to the sub station we ended up at. I’m not sure if sub station is the proper term, whatever. We were all really stoked on the taxidermied animals and huge, life-size blue whale. We were all just really stoked, like children, to be in New York (intentionally this time).
Outside Dexter had us try street food, which for the veggiez was a soft pretzel and everyone else a hot dog. The pretzel wasn’t very good, but Nick said, of the hot dog, “This is so fucking yert and mad wicked yerpp.” and we assumed that meant good. Yert. Central Park was right across the street and we wasted no time in climbling trees, rocks, and playing impromptu ninja games. Ninja is a game our friends Prawn taught us and we will continue to play…forever. Ask us in person and we’ll teach it to you.
After the park we found ourselves walking towards downtown; no idea how long or far we walked, but the weather was beautiful and spirits were high. There is nothing like experiencing new things with your best friends, nothing. We ended up in Columbus Circle, surrounded by so much life and activity; people were sitting in front of lunch carts watching the World Cup, others were riding bikes or walking, some were just reading. Seriously, I cannot explain in words what I saw. Perhaps it is commonplace to the people that live here, but this was one of many times during day 7 that I was completely blown away by something…perhaps totally insignificant.
One of our major goals in NYC was to eat “real” New York style pizza. We found a place Dexter’s dad recommended to us called “John’s Pizza”, which was built in what must have been an old church right in Manhattan, with a huge, stain glassed ceiling and low lighting. We were all super into it, and the pizza itself was fantastic. Arthur, from Manistee, claims it was the best pizza he’d ever, ever tasted. Go Art.
When we got out of John’s it was raining, and Dwayne refused to bust out his ponchos (for fear of “looking ridiculous”) and so we hit the subway and headed towards our show in Brooklyn, which consisted of a lot of train hopping that I didn’t understand. Waiting for the “M” train (I think it was “M”…) we watched two guitarists play really pretty flamenco-ish (none of us could decide if it was actually flamenco, but it was definitely similar). This was another time I found myself zoning out, sucking in the culture and my surroundings, getting mad yert stoked on the small things.
Brooklyn, or Bushwick to be more specific, was pretty sketchy. I bought a flat billed black hat for five dollars and found myself buying huge things of water from a mexican grocery that smelled really bad. Party Expo itself was kind of seedy, but punx as fuck and fitting for our punk rock tour. We played with Marine Electric again, and this really cool two piece called Surfs Up Nebraska. Party Expo was really dark and smokey and I think there was a fog machine going maybe, we didn’t end up playing until way late and had to bail before Prawn could post rock-it. Sucked.
However, we got to see Times Square before catching the train back to Montclair. It was beautiful, and without a doubt the best part of the day. It is unreal being under all the glowing lights and screens, walking the streets with hundreds of people so late at night. Again, it’s the little moments: cherish them.
The next day began with everyone not liking Nick. To remedy it we got more Villa Vic’s pizza and Silos (32oz milkshakes). At VV, we almost got into a fight with a fourteen year old kid, it ruled. The cops got called and we peaced out quick.
The drive to Connecticut was kind of long and brought us back to more mountainous terrain that sucks to drive in with a trailer. Instead of getting gas, we got dollar icees at burger king before the show and Dwayne got extremely pissed that they didn’t give him the terrible “zesty sauce” with his onion rings… Watertown was really pretty and very “east coast”-y and in the hills kind of. We were into it.
Then when it came time to move our van up to the venue we discovered it was out of gas and had to spend twelve bucks on a gas can, we were stoked as always to spend money. Our friend Greg from the band My Heart to Joy showed up to watch us, but we only got to play three songs. Sometimes on tour you only get to play a few songs, and when that happens you revolt and set the venue on fire. Suffice to say, we are not allowed back in Watertown and had to make a hasty retreat to the Sieber Fever Horseback Mansion in Woodbury, but only after eating Mcdonalds (Ships/Prawn support Fast Food chains, animal cruelty, WalMart, American Apparel, etc) and a very sad goodbye to our new best friends Footnotes. We miss them.
At Lindsey’s house we played Ninja in the basement and swam in her cold pool, some people slept outside and some people people (Tony and I) continued to get more sick. I can safely say that tour wouldn’t be half as fun if I wasn’t weirdly sick half the time. It makes everything more exciting.
In the morning we all took showers and ate food (surprise) and Nick and I sung songs with Gwenn, Lindsey’s little sister. We are sweethearts. It should be of note that this was the first house of three that would be home to tiny dogs, whom I can safely say I am falling quickly in love with.
Providence was really, really pretty. Full of nice, New England-y architecture, hipsters on fixies, and really good vegan noms; it was just another reminder of how bland and Notre Dame-ridden home is. Nick’s friend Lisa works at American Apparel and before the show started we got to buy new clothes at 50% off (how much does that rule? also, what bands buy clothes on tour?)
The show itself was incredible, Conlon ripped things up as the first band, and Prawn played awesome (probably my favorite night on tour thus far). I love Prawn, seriously, I have yet to tire of them as people or musicians. We played last, but it was so much fun. Everyone was really into it, and I got to rock alongside my boy John Barbera. He is the man, and we thank him for bringing all of his friends to come see us. It is such a humbling and crazy feeling to be so far from home and in a town where you know practically no one and are treated so nicely.
We ended up sleeping at our friend Kevin Smith’s house. Nick and I got into an awkward altercation after I told Michael to “fuck off” for some reason. Typing now, it’s pretty hilarious, but at the time I think it was serious. I ended up sleeping under a table and next to trash bags, continuing to get more and more sick.
next time: weird show in Rochester, awesome-AWESOME times in plymouth, and who knows what on our day off. End of tour draws near.
Day four consisted of hangouts at Collin’s and a really weird show in Trenton, NJ. It was in a really nice neighborhood and we were initially pretty alienated, what with the bottle/bag checking neo-BROZ at the door making sure NOTHING was brought in that wasn’t supposed to, and then the extremely nice house and nicer basement the size of most of our houses at home and the thirty band bill and the parents and the…stuff, it felt like we were at some awkward birthday party. Luckily, however, everyone there was really nice and we met some cool bands (Marathon Girl, Aviator, and our internet franz Corcavado) and saw the first show of our friend Tom. Still weird, the show turned out pretty solid.
The main event of day four, however, was the consumption of Fat Sandwiches at the Grease Trucks in New Brunswick, NJ. Not sure how to type out how stoked we all were for those, after watching Man Vs. Food and other food-related tv shows documenting their rad-ness, we were all pretty geeeeeeked. I personally ate a “Fat Brian” - which consisted of veggie burger, moz sticks, french fries, lettuce/tomato, ketchup/mayo. It was nuts. I tried eating a second one but couldn’t. Stoked.
We ended the day/night by returning to Montclair, NJ, our home away from home. Something about the air, the people, the grass, the clouds, or the whatever makes this some sacred grounds for us. We were so excited to be back.
The next day Mr. Loos made us breakfast and we played dodgeball/kickball with Dexter, Footnotes, Corcavado, and a random assortment of Montclair kids (like Aidan…), and ate Villa Vic’s (some of my favorite pizza) and met a lot of really nice new people (like Minnie and Jesse). The show had a lot of bands on it, but we made it work. As always, Footnotes killed it, and shortly after their set Hendrik arrived via a 60 dollar taxi from Newark Airport. He was stoked to be in America and was already wearing his “I Love New York” tshirt. Eventually we played and were met, like last time, with an overwhelmingly positive reaction. I cannot stress how much like home Montclair treats us, and how much we love it here.
Prawn played next, and destroyed it, even though it was only a three song set. I’m so, so stoked to be touring with them; they are four of the nicest, most genuine individuals i’ve met (or thus far anyways, maybe next week I’ll feel differently) and I couldn’t be more excited to play with them every night.
Day five ended with our headrests getting stolen by Prawn (more on that in Day 6) and group pictures with Kevin Barr. He is a sweet person and one of our favorite people on the east coast. Dexter’s dad made us food (again) and it was awesome, the Loos are obnoxiously hospitable and have been way, way too nice to us.
Day six was supposed to be spent on the beach in Babylon, NY, but Peaches (our gps) took us right through Manhatten and decided to lose reception in the Lincoln Tunnel, meaning we were forced to navigate the city ourselves. It also happened to be Pride day and lots of the streets were blocked off. While not necessarily the best way I wanted to first encounter NYC, it was a fun adventure. While navigating intense traffic and one ways, we Band Bombed Jamie’s (Prawn drummer) phone.
The band bomb is an all encompassing text bomb (sending as many texts at one time as your phone can handle, effectively shutting down the receiver’s phone if done correctly at the mass amount of texts he would be getting) done by the entire band. We all typed “headrests” as many times as possible, and sent. I’m pretty sure we added it up to 500 or more texts; we were anxious to meet him later.
The beach (which we finally arrived at two hours later than planned) was kind of a let down. An awkward fog took over the entire thing, so it felt like a bad war movie or something. You couldn’t see out at all really, and the sky was kind of overcast. Needless to say, however, we all made fun out of it. Afterwards we all decided Taco Bell was needed, but the first two taco bells our gps’s found were either torn down or not there. Eventually we found one, though, as Merchant Ships is never deterred when it comes to food.
The show that night took place in Northport, NY (in Long Island) in a place that Dexter aptly described as “some Great Gatsby shit”, with the view from the house we were playing overlooking the Sound. It was beautiful, to say the least.
The show was admittedly more of a glorified party than anything else, but we had a lot of fun. We played with the Marine Electric, whom are really cool and super nice dudes. The house also had a pool, and we love nothing more than swimming (especially in deep pools). Us and Prawn played, and it was cool, and the basement was small and cramped (like it should be) and everyone there was really enthusiastic (drunk) about the bands’ sets. Stoked.
The best part of the day, or perhaps the sweetest, was when we discovered Jamie does not have unlimited texting. They may have stolen our headrests, but we had the last laugh. Fuckers.
Days 2 + 3
Have you ever been to Baltimore? Neither had we.
Day 2 started with a farewell to our friends at the red house (we love them) and a seven hour journey through the mountains. It sucked. At one point Dwayne lost the keys at a gas station and I made him sit in the back after we found them.
Then, anyways, we came upon Baltimore, it was kind of crazy and sprawling and depressing, and it never really got “pretty” or “nice”, which was a bummer. The show, however, ruled. We played at the Charm City Art Space with Prawn and the Lost Tourists and Robbie’s band. We played on a stage and rocked hard and had fun, but my night was offset by the 45 minutes I spent trying to park our van and uhaul trailer…every time I would go left or right away from the venue it would just take me…around the city, with no way back except to complete a full circle around everything. Fuck one ways.
After the show we went to Suzie’s house with Prawn. She was cool, but her water wasn’t cold enough for my liking. While everyone else partied, Art, Mason, and myself adventured the neighborhood and eventually ended up sleeping in the van. It was the sweatiest experience of my life, I think it was seriously like 200 degrees, and we only managed to sleep for like four hours. It was horrible, but when we woke up, we adventured our way to Charm City Cakes. Duff and Geoff were not around, unfortunately, but we took cool cell phone pictures. Adventuring back to our parking spot near Suzie’s, we fell asleep again, but in the heat of the sun this time. Ruled, 250 degrees probably. When we woke up Nick and Dwayne surfaced, informing me that we could go to our friend Kelsey Q’s pool in Lancaster. We went. We swam. I threw her dog in the water, everyone told me it wasn’t cool. (it was hilarious)
The show was fun and the venue had really good burritos. Snowing played, Footnotes played last minute, We Were Skeletons Ripped it up; it was good times, playing two awesome shows in a row is fun and rad and keeps the morale strong. Afterwards we ate pizza with most of the bands and then drove two hours to Collin’s house and swam. It was nice and warm. It’s nice to be with friends.
tour day 1
well, we’ve made it. i am currently sitting comfortably in the red house in columbus, ohio while nick and myself take turns getting our asses handed to us in nba jam by maxwell mckenna. dwayne seems really sick, and michael is patrolling and looking for things with his buck knife, not sick for once.
in regards to the last post, luke and damian both had to bail, which is super bummer news, we instantly missed them as we departed sturigs… but luckily our friend mason jumped in and is hanging heavy in his nice white hat.
i’m going to keep this light, as i’m exhausted and have had too long of a day and tomorrow will be just as long (seven hours to bmore, into ittttt), but a short recap: played a shitty set at a super punk show in a parking lot of a condemned apartment complex surrounded by crust punk kids. we got paid mostly in weed money, and sold quite a bit of merch. cops broke up the anarchist grind/metal band that weren’t stoked on those cops, dude who set up the show almost got arrested (but later called me and said he ran away before they could actually detain him) and then ended up here to eat fruit pizza and yves hot dogs.
red house is full of rad people, and columbus itself seems extremely hospitable and kind, despite the rather apprehensive first impressions we had.
if anyone is curious about going ons, i will randomly be updating our twitter account, as will nick and dwayne apparently. mason likes little boys.
nick: @sticknutsman (<—lol)
baltimore tomorrow to finally unite with our tour mates Prawn and new friends MWNA, and then thursday is the out of control we were skeletons cd release show.
ps. get stoked on free cds, free buttons, free patches, four different shirts, for cameron ep, and impromptu dodgeball matches to anyone who wishes to challenge us.
I’m sitting in a cafe in Laffyette, IN waiting for a show to start (our best friends Analecta and…other rad bands…) while a weirdly intense storm approaches and I find it an appropriate time to inform everyone of the decidedly wylde posse accompanying us on tour, which starts in about four days:
First is one of my best friends, Art.
He is the sweetest, weirdest person you are bound to meet, ever. In my opinion he looks like Friar Tuck (of Robin Hood fame) and brings about a certain hilarity to any and every situation. He and I will be selling merch every night. Snack Pack.
Second is Luke Shears, hottest dude on tour (calling it)
Hailing from Grand Haven, MI, Luke once fronted the band From Crooked Teeth and the short lived (but awesome) Emilio Aguinaldo. He is a last minute but totally awesome addition to the crew. He really totes my goats, to say the least.
Third, Hendrik. He is from Europe and barely speaks any English.
He’s been Dwayne and I’s dearest friend since the 7th grade, we found it only natural that he fly into Newark and travel around with us for a couple weeks. We promised him we’d show him around the great eastern U S of A on a real rock ‘n roll tour, to see our great land the way it was meant to be seen.
Lastly is the infamous Dom Jaws.
An accomplished rapper who goes by the name Dominoe, D. Jaws is a celebrated underground lyricist who has survived beefs with the baddest of badasses. He is riding in our van to document the natural attraction he has on the female race. Deeming it “source material” for his new album, don’t be surprised if your long-time girlfriend is suddenly smitten with a certain pale-faced midwestern MC.
THE END IS NEAR
Our best friend Art made this to to go along with mine. He will be accompanying us on tour this summer and will be video documenting the entire journey.
Alright, so, we are signed. What does this mean? Nothing. Or, well, nothing that necessarily impacts us as a band or elevates us to anything more than we ever were before.
What being signed means for us is that we are now officially a part of a community of bands all united under one label and will be able to write and record and not have to worry about having the money to put it out. What it means is that we are part of something bigger than we were and will now have the ability to release our music on different medias and perhaps hit a different “audience”.
From what I’ve gathered over the last half year is that Count Your Lucky Stars is doing things for the right reasons. CYLS is run by the nicest, nerdiest guy will ever meet and he does a great job putting out awesome release after awesome release and signing countless cool bands (please, look at their roster: Empire! Empire!, The Reptilian, Victor! Fix the Sun, Joie De Vivre, Snowing, Annabel, Into. It. Over. It., etc). From conversations I’ve had with Keith on numerous occasions I’ve learned somewhat about what all goes on with CYLS: how it operates, where the money comes from to put out releases, WHY they’re doing what they do, and so on. And without going into detail about those things and writing out some lengthy, cheesy rant, just trust me when I say that signing to CYLS is one of the coolest, best decisions we’ve made as a band and we couldn’t be more stoked on joining their family. If being “signed” is our next step, then I’m forever stoked that it is with Keith and and Count Your Lucky Stars.
Now, in a less figurative sense, CYLS will be releasing our new EP digitally and on vinyl. The digital version will be available in the next few weeks, with the vinyl happening in August (we’ve got our fingers crossed that we’ll have them for our second tour). What exactly is our new EP? It is essentially a bridge between the old Merchant Ships and what will be a very new one after the summer, with the possible addition of a new member and a somewhat different outlook on things. I’ve spent the last two years of my life singing and screaming about the boo hoo’z that plague me (be it my mom or my girlfriend or my teenage angst in general), and while I’ll probably never escape those things and will always somehow find a way to cry about them, I lyrically am ready to move on. And as a band, we are ready to progress and do the same. This EP is about moving on and growing up but still not being truly happy or content with the way things are, it’s about working on ourselves to become something better. We are stoked for you to hear it.
You know what else we’re stoked about? THIS SUMMER! Fuck yeah! Tour is so close, a little over a month away. Over the course of the summer we will play a little over thirty shows, which is so nuts for us; we honestly cannot express our excitement. We are going balls out and bringing so much merch, SO MUCH. Three shirt designs, patches, buttons, and posters. Music-ly we’ll have SHIPSOGRAPHY cd-rz, BUMMER TIMES EP tape re-release (with exclusive acoustic jawns), a tour sampler with an exclusive new version of everyone’s favorite break up song and, finally, a super limited edition CD version of the new EP in way-too-expensive but awesome digi-pack packaging. You know how much this is costing us? You don’t want to know.
Everything right now rules, I’m waiting on something bad to happen because it all seems too cool to be true. Does that sound cheesy? I think so, but it’s true. We’re playing so many rad shows this summer, spending every day with awesome people and seeing new places and generally just hanging out all summer doing what we love. Be stoked with us and come hang out, we are anxious to meet everyone and show you all what we’ve been working on for the past two years. Get into it or go home.
-jack and nick and michael and dwayne.