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The Parusel Files

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Maren Parusel

    WHERE WE STAYED LAST NIGHT


     

    Aug. 3: Long drive today... Listening to some classic rock station, daydreaming, driving, sleeping, browsing online, writing blogs, posting shows on Facebook from our phones. We couldn't talk much cause the wind was too loud. The landscape in the Midwest is just flat. Once you start heading west past Kansas City and St. Louis you start to notice how big the sky is, and it seems like you can see forever because of the flat landscape. Kind of makes you feel small.

    SoundDiego Spotlight: Maren Parusel

    SoundDiego Spotlight: Maren Parusel
    The German import talks about leading a band, her new album and how she got here -- "Kiss You" video by Deadin60years.

    Tonight we played at the Larimer Lounge with a couple of different-sounding Denver bands. It wasn't a bad crowd, but the place is kind of big. Number Station went on first and they had a girl singer. (Every promoter seems to want to pair us with a band with a female lead singer.) Fire Mouth was kind of a rock/funk band from Denver. We are making the best with borrowed equipment and kind of sounded pretty good tonight. Someone blogged the show here.

    It was a fun night, and the bar is in an area with lots of other little clubs and hipsters on bikes riding around at night.

    The next few days have some long 10 hour drives in between, but we are making our way home to San Diego.


    Aug 2: Sitting here in Kansas City, the power just went back on. It was out all over town from record temperatures (the highest since 1983) and too much AC-use.

    Well now its back on, and the regular bar honky tonk band, that plays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. before all the other bands roll in, just went back on stage. They started out with an acoustic performance in a stuffy, dark bar without power and are now back on stage playing some old classics and self-written material. I'm sitting in a booth overlooking the bar with its different people hanging out, talking; some are listening and a few are dancing.

    I just realized that we drove all over the country the past few weeks. We met many people, shook many hands, saw new things and had good and bad experiences on our way. And today I am sitting in this bar in the middle of this big country and I'm happy! It all makes sense, and I wouldn't want to miss out on any of those moments we have been experiencing together as a band.

    I thought about my family back in Germany and that my mom can't even imagine where I'm at right now -- in this bar somewhere in Kansas City watching a honky tonk band play. I talked to the band earlier; they all grew up here and have been playing this music for over 20 years! I grew up in Germany, and now I'm here with them too, and the music connects us all! If it wasn't for playing music I would probably not have been here at this very moment!

    I'm truly enjoying this music. This is one of those real moments I've been hunting after, ever since I wrote my first song and stepped on a stage to perform it. It's just perfect the way it is, and I wouldn't do anything different if I could do it all over again. I realize that being on tour is not just about playing your music every night. It is about adapting and understanding other people who grew up differently, and it is about accepting things the way they are instead of forcing a point of view upon somebody. The beauty about going on tour is that music connects with almost anyone everywhere, and a great written song is a great written song no matter what style! Music will continue to bring people from all over the world together, even in Kansas City! :)

    So tonight it was a local honky tonk band at happy hour. Then, Parts of Speech from Kansas City, Maren Parusel with members from Germany, Texas, Pennsylvania and NYC, and then The Coathangers from Atlanta... all converging in the middle of the United States.


    Aug 1: We left the motel this morning and were soon greeted by three police cars who said they stopped us because of our license plates. They ran their dogs through the van and kept asking us about transporting marijuana. They said the dogs hit on our baggage.

    Turns out the K-9 Cop was once a roommate of Nick from Screaming Yee Haws. (They wouldn't let us take pictures of the dog!) Sorry -- no drugs or money in the van.


    July 31: We left Chicago fairly early for St. Louis, and we are back in a heat wave... and it's about a five hour drive.

    Feels good to know that the drive is taking us back home. Despite the fact we're playing with borrowed gear, feels like things are getting back on track with Ariel meeting us in Kansas City on Tuesday.

    We arrived in St. Louis tired, hot and sweaty, but we wanted to check out the big arch downtown before heading to the club.

    Tonight we played at a club called The Firebird, and everyone was real nice there. We were hungry but wanted to sound check first, so we tried to be patient for the sound man who worked hard to get the sound just right.

    Cart Wheel was the first band to go on. They had some great songs, The lead singer sounded like an indie Lily Allen, and they had a good crowd. We went on right after them, and they gave us their wurlizer to use for the key songs. It sounded different but good! :)

    The last band was called Old Capital Square Dance Club... sounded like a country version of Bruce Springsteen and we really liked them. They had two guitars, a bass, drums and a harmonica/guitar player.

    We had a fun time on Sunday night in Saint Louis, and we drove 30 minutes out of the city to get a hotel for the night. The guys just met this Belgian guy downstairs in the lobby telling them that St. Louis has had the highest crime rate in the country for the past three years, and last year 300 people died from gunshots. He's here from Belgium studying in St. Louis, and his uncle runs the Motel 6 we're staying at!

    Goodnight St. Louis, and please leave our van alone. Not that you would find anything in it at this point!! 


     July 30:  We got up in Columbus for the five hour drive to Chicago, and I wasn't feeling well but was excited about playing tonight. So far, all the promoters have been great about helping us borrow gear that was stolen in NYC. The Beat Kitchen in Chicago was really great.

    Downtown Chicago looks nice. With its big buildings it has a New York City flair but seems a little more calm and very clean. We walked along the river and just looked around to find a Chicago hot dog but couldn't find one!!

    At sound check Kyle's bass shut down again, so almost all the gear on stage is borrowed now except for Eric's drums and my guitar amp. But the place and the bands here tonight have a great vibe so everyone's remaining positive.


    July 29: Today we're in Columbus, Ohio, and we got here early enough to get a motel and crash, rest and do laundry for a few hours. We needed it. Four weeks on the road so far are taking their toll. Plus, playing as a three-piece until Ariel reunites with us is getting exhausting.

    Carabar was just a few blocks away from our hotel, and when we got there another thunderstorm rolled in. It started pouring rain and there was lightening everywhere. I was outside talking to Ronnie, the owner, when all the street lights went out. I was thinking in my head that we can't be that lucky to have two power-outs in two days. It ended up only being the street lights and not the bar.

    The bar seemed to have a heavy metal show planned tonight, and I thought I better turn up my amp. :)

    The first act was Kate. She only had a loop station and a microphone and was looping her voice -- layering her voice on top of some beats. It was pretty cool, but most people didn't really pay attention. Everyone was at the bar doing shots!

    The second band was on tour as well. We forgot their name, but they sounded like the Black Keys! They were awesome!

    We went on third, and I turned up my amp, and we rocked those pop songs as much as we could. It ended up sounding great, and people were really into the music. I met this guy Ron after our set who sometimes plays strings and trumpet for Red Pony Clock from San Diego! Small world.

    The last band was called Eye, and they were a sludgy, melodic slow metal. Kyle said they reminded him of the band OM with a guitar.

    We hung out until they closed the bar. At that point everyone there was pretty wasted, and around 2.30 a.m. they finally closed the joint. We went and got some 3 a.m. McDonald's and crashed out right after to catch some sleep.

    This morning we got up early to drive to Chicago.


    July 28: We found an old church at the given address and were wondering if we were at the right place. We went into the church and realized that it had been transformed into a bar and included a brewery and a giant brewer tank where the altar had been. It was awesome. I guess today the easiest way to fill a church with people is to make it into a bar and sell booze. It had banners on the old church poles saying: "And on the 8th day... man created beer!" Haha.

    We got something to drink and met Kyle's aunt. Suddenly, Kyle's parents walked in and it was a great surprise cause Kyle didn't know they were coming.

    While we were hanging out in the church bar to confess our sins, Kyle got a call from the promoter of Brillobox saying the entire street had no power because of a storm, and that if the power wasn't back on by 8 p.m. the show would be cancelled. We decided to head over to the club and check on the situation. When we got there all the other bands were waiting outside. We hung around and finally the power went back on. Yay!

    Happy that we could still play the show, we unloaded and did a soundcheck. The stage was upstairs and we dragged all our gear once again through small hallways and many stair steps through the old building. Brillobox is a cool hip club. It has two stories -- a bar downstairs and the bands play on the second floor.

    Closet Romantic opened the show. They had a girl lead singer. Falling Andes played a great set and then we closed the show.

    It was a fun night and we made more friends. One girl was there from San Francisco, and she said she is going to come to a show when we return back west. Kyle's family bought us pizza after the show, and we headed over to Kyle's friend's house. We were pretty tired. While I was going to sleep I realized my air mattress had a hole in it... and the thieves in NYC stole my back up mattress.

    We have to get up at 7:30 a.m. cause Kyle's friend Mike has to work, and we have to be out with him. Tomorrow we'll be heading to Columbus, and again we will adapt to any given situation -- break through the walls which get in our way, and hope again that there will be a strong electricity current for Kyle's bass amp and no storm knocking out the power! :)


    July 27: When we got to Cleveland we went straight to the rock n roll hall of fame.  They had a special exhibition about women in rock n roll on the upper level displaying clothes instruments and stories of women ranging from the Supremes to Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, Chrisy Hynes to Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga.  It was great and inspired me to read about their way to success and also their struggle of being a woman in the tough music biz.

    Tonight we're playing at a place called Now That's Class. Very cool kind of a punk rock bar with a skateboard ramp inside.  The other bands consisted of a very young and new band and the closer who was playing acoustic by herself.

     Seemed like Cleveland shows the full effect of the recession - lots of people on the streets, drugs and sad faces. It started raining as well, which definitely helped to emphasis the poor atmosphere in this city. Kinda sad considering Cleveland was once a great music town with a great music scene. Just another example how nothing ever stays the same and places with its people change all the time. We still had a great time in Cleveland. Eric’s uncle came out to the show and we also caught a great acoustic preformance by Corissa Bragg who grew up in here and has great written songs and a great voice. She just sat on the edge of the stage and I'm glad I got to hear her sing about her loss of love and about her city with its people! Cleveland!


    July 26: We got up around 10, and Kyle and I went to grab the free breakfast downstairs. Eric never gets up for breakfast; he slept a little longer.

    Today we drove for six hours, and we got to Newport around 6 p.m. The Southgate House was a huge old house built in the 1800s, and it had a giant ballroom and other smaller rooms where bands play in. There were three levels and a basement. When we got there the Riverboat Gamblers were sound checking. They sounded great.

    When we went on, Kyle's bass head suddenly didn't work. That, on top of us not having much gear anyway since the robbery in NYC, was another let down. Luckily, the band we played with lent us their bass head.

    We played through a short set and then met up with the Riverboat Gamblers who played at the same time as us in the other room. We exchanged some road stories, and I went downstairs into the karaoke room and signed up for "99 Balloons" by Nena. I thought I might as well sing something in German...

    Everyone was drunk, and lots of cigarette smoke filled the air. I sang, and it was fun. We loaded the van, and the Riverboat Gamblers gave Kyle a bunch of t-shirts since the thieves took all his clothes as well.

    It's on to Cleveland tonight where we're going to find a cheap motel to crash outside the city.


    July 25: We got up around 11 a.m. on Monday morning in Washington DC. We stayed at a hotel that night, and after our 24-hour horror experience getting ripped off in NYC, and almost getting beat up the night before by a drunk band playing in Washington at DC-9, we were happy to get at least a little rest at a hotel the promoter had given us.

    When we loaded the van, we noticed all these police cars on the side of the road and suddenly they all blocked the streets. The presidential motorcade drove by. Kyle and Eric saw them flying by. We got some food afterwards and decided to stop at the White House since we've never really seen it. It was kinda fun to stand in front of it.

    Len from School of Rock in Baltimore had heard from Blackpool Holiday -- a band we played with in Baltimore -- that our gear was stolen, and he called us and said he could meet us in a parking lot halfway from Washington to Baltimore. We met him at a rest stop, and he gave Kyle a bass to use for the rest of our tour. Really incredible, the amount of people who have reached out and are helping us.

    We're going to drive close to the next show in Newport, Kentucky and grab a motel for the night.


    July 24: Hey this is Mario Escovedo. I manage Maren Parusel and the band. I got a call around 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning, and from the tone of Maren's voice I immediately knew something bad had happened.

    She told me, "It's gone. It's all gone. They broke into the van," in a devastated voice, and it was like a nightmare. The band parked in the West 80s of Manhattan to get a couple of hours sleep at Ariel's mom's before making an appearance on Sirius Radio with Dave Marsh this morning. That's all it took. Someone broke into the passenger door of the van and grabbed all their guitars, keyboards, merch and money. They even took some clothes and snacks they kept in the van.

    I quickly notified the radio producer Jim Rotolo at Sirius while the band made a police report. Anyone would understand if the band wanted to call it quits at that point, but a few moments later Maren called and said she, Kyle and Eric would take the subway to the show while Ariel talked to NYC Police.

    Somehow they composed themselves enough to perform several songs live on the radio, with Maren using a Les Paul-autographed Gibson Les Paul they had hanging at the studio. Pretty inspiring performance by this band playing the whole "Artificial Gardens" record live throughout the show.

    After that, the band regrouped at Ariel's mom's, and Kyle, Eric and Maren borrowed a guitar from Jeff, an NYC friend. Members of the band Blackpool Holiday heard the radio broadcast driving back from Boston, and they drove into NYC to give Maren $150 for gas money. Then the three drove to Washington DC to play tonight's show at DC-9.

    Meanwhile, Ariel stayed behind and flyered and hit the pawn shops and guitar stores in NYC to look for the stolen gear.

    They still have their drums, guitar and bass amps, and they plan to continue the tour borrowing the missing equipment from other bands on the bill.

    The band has a day off tomorrow, and the tour picks up Tuesday in Kentucky.


    Donations can be made to: Chase Bank
    Account Name: Maren Parusel
    Account Number: 444 201 2871
    4078 Adams Ave., San Diego, CA
    619-280-8872


    July 23: Another night of a couple of hours sleep, but it's New York City -- the city that never sleeps? We picked up the van from a parking garage in Queens and made our way to Philadelphia to play at The Fire.

    We were planning on going to Kyle's friend's house where we could get some rest before the show, but when we arrived there was a birthday party underway and everyone was in full celebration. They were playing something called "boat races," where you race each other to a shot at the end of the ice tray.

    We managed to catch a couple hours sleep in the extreme heat (and with the noise from the party downstairs), and then made our way to the club.

    Kyle's family and a few friends we made along the way were there, and the club said we had one of the best turnouts for a band playing Philly for the first time.

    We're playing on Sirius radio in the morning, so it's back to NYC for a couple of hours of sleep, and then down to the radio station!


    July 22: There's a heat wave in NYC and it is HOT.

    We're pretty tired again, but we may not be back in NYC for a while. Kyle, Eric and I decided to ignore that it was over 100 degrees, and we took the subway down to lower Manhattan to check out some tourist sights. It was pretty hot even walking around the water, but we got a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero which was pretty much just a fence and a construction zone.

    We saw some flowers on the side of the road and pictures of people who had died in 9/11. It was sad to look at all these people who had died here! Aside from the thousands of tourists in the area we were still glad to go there and spend a few moments remembering the horrible event of 9/11.

    We had to head back to get ready to head to Pianos (The club we're playing tonight). The subway was nice and cold, and I watched all the different people just come in and out -- some just getting out of their office work, some were tourists studying the metro map, some just daydreaming or sleeping! There's a great energy in this city, so many people and so much to see. It was very inspiring.

    When we got to the club everything was going pretty fast. We loaded in quickly, found a parking spot, set up, did a quick line-check and played our set!

    The audience was great, and we had another great show. Bug Music NYC came to see the show. Kyle's parents and his brother were there, and Eric's sister showed up. Some of Ariel's friends were there too, so we had a fun crowd.

    After our set I watched the second band Slowness. They are from San Francisco and reminded me of the band NEU. After they had finished their set we went and got some food -- Italian New York pizza slices and tacos. I had a New York taco, and it was actually pretty good for someone spoiled with great Mexican food in San Diego.

    Good night New York.


    July 21: Today we woke up at Ariel's dad's house just outside of New Haven, Connecticut. He has a beautiful house on the lake and today it was a perfect day to go swimming. The Summer heat is expected to get worse so when Ariel's dad came back he asked us if we wanna try again to bring the van into a shop to get it the AC fixed. We were all happy to give it another try and drove into town to get it checked out. When the mechanic opened the hood like no way!!… I guess they have to take the hood off, half the engine out just to get to the ac leak and that’ll take a few days, which we don't have!

     We weren't to bummed about it, cause we kinda expected it to be that way and got ice cream instead to cool us down. I went to the post office to finally buy some stamps for all the postcards I’ve been collecting in each city to send to my parents in Germany. Last time I talked to them they said they printed out a Google map and have been following our tour route since the start. I'm lucky to have them and even if I'm so far away from them.  Traveling through the US in a van, they are still with me in my heart and I know that they are thinking of me!

    When we got back to Ariel's dad and I jumped in the lake again. It was so refreshing and so peaceful! We all got ready for the show after that and left a little early to make it to Pepe's pizza place, New Haven Style. I guess that place is pretty popular, cause there was a line outside the door. We waited for 20 minutes and ordered a giant New Haven style pizza, which is a thin crust corn meal crusted pizza with sweet tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Tomorrow Ariel says he's gonna show us the difference compared to New York City pizza.

    We played tonight at Cafe Nine in New Haven and it was a great place.  A real bar with an old style cigarette machine and locals mixed with college students. The opening band was called Farewood and they were really great and the singer had a great voice. It was a great show and we connected with the audience tonight. Shows like these make it all worth it. We're playing NYC Tomorrow so we're driving back to Manhattan to stay with Ariel's moms tonight and then we can check out the city in the morning.

    It’s 3 am and we’re almost at Ariel's moms place. We were stuck in traffic on the freeway and people turned around on the freeway or backed up to the next exit! Now we’re close to 88th street and I heard that the creators of Sesame Street used to live here and got inspired cause the real Sesame street is just one block away! Very cool :)
     


    July 20: After only a few hours sleep again we got up around 9.30am to make it early to New York. Kind of funny waking up in a room full of sex toys and whips, but I guess that's life on the road (See yesterday's blog). Everyone was up and excited to hit the road for NYC despite another night of just a couple of hours sleep. Ariel was happy to be back in his city and of course a NYC Pizza Slice. This is where he is from and his mom and sister are coming to the show tonight.
    We headed towards the Knitting Factory and stopped at a music store to get Kyle some parts for his amp. Kyle bought bass tubes at this place called Main Drag Music and he had to spend 90 bucks on it cause they only sell it in a double pack. We had to load in at 5pm at the Knitting Factory and we got there a little early, unloaded and I went and checked out a little boutique right next door, but it was all a little to steep for my budget, but they had cute summer dresses.
    I liked driving though Brooklyn today! Its busy on the street, dirty and there are rows and rows of brick apartments and little stores with big old advertising signs out trying each other to have the biggest sign on the block. I like the fast pace of the city and again it reminded me of Europe cause everyone was walking outside, riding their bikes and very busy.
    Tonight we're playing the Knitting Factory with Morricone Youth, which has some former San Diegans in the band and Wet and Wreckless from Los Angeles, which we have mutual friends with and so it was a fun bunch back stage and we had plenty to talk about.  John Castro (Morricone Youth) plays with Steve Poltz in the Rugburns, who goes out with my boss Sharon at Salon Tonic...kind of a nine degrees of separation thing...but it was pretty fun texting them back home.
    Also almost exactly a year ago we met a Brooklyn band called Chappo while we were playing in Portland and they came out to the show tonight and it was good to see them!
    We were very happy for a great turn out and then it was off to Connecticut so we could crash at Ariel's dad's house. Great night. Thank You Brooklyn!
    We play Friday in NYC proper, and then we'll be back on Sunday for a live performance on Sirius Radio with legendary writer and former Rolling Stone Editor Dave Marsh.
    Can't wait!!
     


    July 19: When we got up today around 10 am at Kyle’s parents’ house we had a good night sleep in and were greeted with a great breakfast of pancakes, croissants, coffee, fruit, eggs etc... We ate a lot cause we knew we are gonna be back on the road eating road food again. It was a pretty hot day today and I decided to cut off 2 of my dresses I had brought on the road. After over 2 weeks in and only a duffel bag full of clothes every girl would get sick of her wardrobe. Kyle’s mom was happy to help me cut off the dresses since she has 3 boys and was happy to help with the girl stuff. We did a quick glue to them so they won't open up were we cut it. I guess I don't have new clothes but at least a little different. :)

    Tonight we're staying with Richard and Milan... some of Ariel's friends who live near Baltimore. When we pulled into the street we noticed a deer just standing on the side of the road. First we thought it was a statue or a plastic dear (I guess we lived too long in southern California) but then it moved and ran away. It was so close and I tried to get a pic but it was faster then my camera.

    Richard and Milan's house is designed in a theme...heaven was upstairs and hell downstairs and there are strange things hanging from the ceiling. Bloody knives (luckily fake ones) and other sorts of S and M toys... That's where we're sleeping tonight!
    On the way to the show it was hot and steamy and muggy and I was in the van thinking about my bed at home when we headed out to the club. After over 2 weeks on the road I started feeling a little homesick and couldn't help to question why I'm in this van right now. All the worries were gone when I was back on stage with the band and we were playing a tight set. I thought that all the traveling and lonely days on the road all this work pays off right now somewhere in Baltimore and it made me feel really great about playing music tonight.
    Black Pool Holiday opened the show and they are really nice and young and so happy to be playing. It felt good to be around their enthusiasm and A Cat Named Cricket went on after us. They had a Cello player that sounded really cool.

    After a fun show we headed back to the house and we listened to the crickets and all the bugs around in the forest, which made such a loud noise...getting tired now...going to bed… let them bug sing me to sleep. Now it's their turn to sing!
     


    July 18: After last night's show everyone told us that the only place in town to get food late was another local bar so we made our way over there. When we got there, the owner of the Motorco Music Hall, Jeremy was there with a bunch of other locals. He came over and said hi and hoped we enjoyed playing his club.
    We got some tacos and burgers and headed out on the road. With 6 hours ahead to get to Kyle’s parents in Pennsylvania, Eric and Ariel took the first shift and Kyle and I got some rest. When we stopped at a gas station at around 3am we saw another band pull up in a 15-passenger van, who told us they had played Durham as well and they were from Arizona.

    After that Kyle told us that we were just driving along the biggest battlefields of the Civil War when we passed Gettysburg. It was amazing to just look out of the car window and imaging all these soldiers fighting on these grounds back in the Civil War. Now the grass and trees have covered the once brutal battle and we are driving through this peaceful picturesque landscape at 6 in the morning.

    Kyle’s mom is really nice and we hung out and chatted about girl stuff. She said she was happy to have a girl in the house, because she has 3 boys and she can't talk about nail polish much ha ha. Eric crashed out already, I'm writing a blog and Kyle, Ariel, Kyle's parents and brother are having a good old time outside in the backyard slurping home made McGee Margaritas!

    It’s a new week for us tomorrow and we’re ready to rock the East Coast!

     


    July 17: We enjoyed some rest at a motel in Charleston, South Carolina and before leaving we heard about a place on the way called South of the Border. It's a combination amusement / park rest stop location on the way to North Carolina. It was a lot of fun to walk around and check out the different sights. Their South of the Border is clearly a lot different than our South of the Border!

    We're playing a place called The Motorco Music Hall in Durham, North Carolina tonight. It's a beautiful venue and Jeremy the owner took care of us when we arrived. Very cool place. We cranked out a nice tight set and Kyle and Ariel have a lot of friends and family in the Northeast so we're looking forward to driving all night after tonight's show.
    South was warm and welcoming but we're looking forward to the Northeast coming up this week!
     


    July 16: We woke up Saturday trying to find a coffee shop and ended up getting lost in some mall where they had a break dance performance but no coffee :)
    This is our first National Tour and if it's one thing we've learned so far, it's that ya gotta go with the flow. We learned late yesterday that the show in Fayetteville at The Black Cat was cancelled due to some electrical problem blowing the P-A system or something like that. It was a bummer due to the fact that we count on money coming in every day to keep the tour going, but we decided to make the best of it and head to Charleston, SC and get a good nights rest and catch up on Laundry and things like that. We got there around 7pm, checked into a hotel and went to the water, walking along the bay of this historic city. The houses looked nice and we drove by the park where the Civil War started! After our little sight seeing tour we went back to the hotel and ordered some pizza. We watched some TV and did all of our laundry!
    The hotel was pretty dirty and smelly and we were glad to get out in the morning.

     


    July 15: We left Atlanta after a night in the Sleep In Motel. We're three hours ahead now and the mornings seem to come fast. One of Eric's family friends got the motel for us, which was very nice!
    We pretty much drove for 6 hours to get to Jacksonville, it was hot and muggy in the van cause we still got no AC running. (I think I've mentioned that a few times in this blog?)
    I wrote a new song about the swamp and our experiences in the south/ southeast so far. I was really moved seeing the stadium in New Orleans where they had 1000’s of people living under extreme conditions when hurricane Katrina hit the city! When we got to Jacksonville it reminded us a little bit of Coronado, but the houses looked more like East Coast houses. When we got to the Jack Rabbits club, we unloaded and went to find a coffee shop and a post office. We hung out at the lion fountain and got some coffee... Sleepy mellow town it seems. Very humid and hot as well. When we got back to the club people started filling in quick. Rob our soundman had a Pinback shirt on and we talked about San Diego for a while. Tim Hall who owns Jack Rabbits is from San Diego too!  The first band was a 80s dance band! They had a fun show.  We went on and had one of our better shows of the tour. Lots of people came out and it was fun! After us Sunbears! went on, with their visual art slide show and some great songs they were definitely one of our favorites on this trip. We made friends with them and Jonathan the guitar/keyboardist/singer invited us to stay at his house for the night. We ended the night with some 3am sandwiches and talking about music. You should check out this band, Sunbears! from Jacksonville Fl.!
     


    July 14: You know you're in the deep South when it's pouring rain, thundering and it's still 90-something degrees.

    But that is what we woke up to as we left New Orleans this morning for a seven hour drive to Atlanta. It was a good long drive, and to say we're starting to get used to the heat sounds right, but no -- you never get used to the heat.

    We're starting to look like a band on the road (tired and torn) and feel like a band on the road (hurtin' for certain) and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    Saw a bad wreck on the freeway today, and it seemed like the car disappeared through the trees... really happy to arrive in Atlanta and get to the club called the 529. I can tell Ariel is getting more excited as we get closer to NYC, and after we loaded in for sound check it was time to get some pizza next door.

    Tonite we're playing with two bands from the area: Cute Boots and What Happened to Your Fire Tiger? Both were rockin' with kind of a Tom Petty/Elton John rock feel, and there was a great crowd tonight. The 529 was a very cool place. And we love Atlanta!
     


    July 13: This morning we said goodbye to Texas and jumped in the van for a long ride to New Orleans. We don't have air conditioning in the van any longer but we're trying to keep our cool in the 90-degree temperatures and a positive outlook as we head to the Southeast in the height of summer. We've got the first leg of the tour under our belt and are excited to find out what New Orleans has to offer. It's a bit farther than we thought so unfortunately we couldn't make an on air visit to Tulane 's College Radio Station.

    We got into New Orleans in time to say hello to former San Diego blues singer Romy Kaye who now lives in NOLA with her husband Lance. They're putting us up tonight in a charming house in Algiers Point. Their house has a really warm feel and it was nice when the neighbors came out to say hello as we pulled up!

    Everything in New Orleans is charming just like the club we're playing tonight The AllWays Lounge with a great stage and really fun people. We're playing with Picnic and Tin Types and both bands are really friendly and stylish. There was a great atmosphere because Jakob was celebrating his birthday and we joined in the fun!
     


    July 13: We started heading out of Austin this morning when the worst fears of any band on the road came true...the van Broke Down.

    We weren't far when the engine developed a loud hiss and started spewing steam, so we pulled into the nearest parking lot to call a tow truck. Add in the 90 plus degree temperatures in Texas and you can imagine how this was not much fun.

    A tow truck hauled away our van, and Eric and I stayed behind in what must be the largest Whole Foods known to man! It had rows and rows to look at and best of all it had cold A-C!!

    Turns out the van blew an A-C hose so we decided to ride to Houston with no Air Conditioning. Our Second Worst fear, but happy to be back on the road. We checked into a motel and cooled off with Cold Shiners (beer) and a nice big pool all to ourselves.

    We played at a place called Rudyards in Houston where we even got a free dinner -- Barbeque Rib Sandwiches! We played with Day Sailor; a great band. The singer and keyboard player and her sister (bass) are both in the band and they have some of the best musicians from Houston backing them up. Jealous Creatures also played. We had a great time there.

    We met a guy from London who loved our music and played pool. Ariel and I suck at pool! Kyle beats everyone in the band. Eric has a good game but Kyle still beats him. Ariel and my game lasted forever cause we couldn't get any balls in. Haha.

    Great show and really fun people from both bands.

    After the show we couldn't wait to get back to the hotel and the air conditioning!
     


    July 12: Monday we got a day off in Austin, Texas, and a chance to kick back and relax at the house of James and Becky Nolan who were kind enough to let us stay in their loft.

    Eric grew up in Texas and the Nolan's used to be neighbors of his. The guys used the day to get the van cleaned up grab some supplies at the drum shop and just relax and catch up on emails and posts. Texas people are big supporters of music and the Nolans are no exception.


    But one of the highlights of the trip so far was being invited over to dinner with Austin Singer songwriter Alejandro Escovedo and his girlfriend Mel at their Downtown apartment. We got sushi and pizza and had a great dinner and afterward Alejandro sang some songs for us.  Ariel got a chance to jam with him for a while and Maren played some guitar as well.
    It was a really great night to eat and get some words of wisdom from someone who's reached such success!

    Tuesday we head for Houston and then New Orleans, Atlanta,, Jacksonville, Fayettville and Durham NC!

     



    July 11:  Today is Sunday in Texas and we're off to Austin to play at Emo's. The mix of air conditioning and the heat has left me with a nice head cold.  I'm a little worried about my voice, but I know I have one more show and a day off tomorrow so it should be fine.
    The guys helped load up on cold meds and we drove south on the I-35 with a big thunderstorm off in the distance rattling away!

    We've played Austin a few times coming to SXSW over the past few years, but we're really excited to play Emo's, which has always been a popular club here.
    The opening band is called Triple Scorpio and they did a great job of helping us promote the show.  Our booking agent from Devildolls Booking is based in Austin and she came out to the show along with Alejandro Escovedo who's a Texas legend!

    Our plan to save money by staying with friends and family is really helping and once again Eric (who's from Texas) found us another family to put us up with a comfy couch!
     


    July 10:  We played Rubber Gloves in Denton and then got a nice chance to sleep in at Eric's

    mom's house in Arlington. Plus there were tons of leftovers from the barbeque and a big cooler of beer in the living room. It's Texas in July, so as you might guess it's hot here. Texas hot!

    Soon we were off to San Antonio about five hours north on the I-35. It's an easy drive. We were playing with a band we met at SXSW called The Krayolas. The club is called Salute International, and it’s a real fun place outside of Downtown. It's a smaller club on a street with other venues and taco stands. Pretty cool!

    We were greeted with a nice shrine of flyers at the door, and the place was packed with fun people having fun. We were told the "Jimmy Hendrix of accordion players" played this club for many years, and it's kind of a cherished place to play in San Antonio. And the crowd gave us our first encore of the tour!

    We hotel'd it for the first time and stayed at a nearby Hilton. In the morning we got to check out the Alamo. Being from Germany, it was kind of interesting the way they celebrate this battle. And did I say it was hot here? Texas Hot!
     



    July 9: After a 10-hour drive through the night we arrived at Eric's mom Rochelle's house in Denton, TX. We were all glad to get out of the van and shower up. A bed, shower and homemade food were the best things in the world, and we all took naps afterward. We had a great dinner with Eric’s family, and then drove to the club, Rubber Gloves, where we played with Missile Men and the Hannah Barbarians. Very friendly people.

    Also, Eric, who grew up in Arlington, found out that he went to high school with Chris Luther and Raef Payne from Hannah Barbarians. He used to play with them back in the day. Good guys.

    Rubber Gloves is a cool all-ages club. We were all pretty tired still but had a great time.

    Last night, we had a bed to sleep in at Eric's mom's. Eric’s family’s house is only 45 minutes away from Denton. It was funny to check out all of Eric's childhood photos. Their dog is really cute; he loved sitting next to us as we ate delicious Texas bbq.

    A lot of famous people came from this area of Texas: Meat Loaf, Roy Orbison went to school here, Don Henley, Brad Majors, Janet Weiss and Eric Brozgold from Maren Parusel.\
     



    July 8: After seven hours' drive from Tempe through desert and more desert, and after a  great show at the LowBrow Palace in El Paso, we decided we're still feeling good to drive for another 10 hours through the night to Denton Texas. Halfwaylovers from El Paso were great, and they offered us a place to stay, but we decided to hit the road. Our van is our home for tonight ! We love El Paso! Thank you for a great night in the desert

    A guy we met at SxSW in March came to the show last night and videotaped a couple of songs. He says he loves the new lineup with Ariel on guitar ... bigger, better, tighter! 
     
    Today is Day 4 of our 4 1/2 week tour across the U.S. So far we've crossed California, Arizona, New Mexico and now driving through Texas. While Eric and Ariel took the 2 a.m. shift, we stopped to brush our teeth in a parking lot at 5 a.m. Kyle and I are now driving through Texas landscape into the sunrise.

    All this space everywhere ... after four days on the road now, and our first through-the-night drive, we are finally getting into the tour mode: not much sleep, meeting new people, constant movement and a sense of freedom and the joy of just being travelers. This is our time -- we are a band and we are gonna play some great fun music for you!
     
    Live at the LowBrow Palace El Paso:
     
    "Ordinary Day" and  "Hearts on Fire"


    July 7: The second night of the tour was a blast at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe. We have some good friends there, and we got to play with Captain Squeegee and Daytes. As you might guess by his outfit, Captain Squeegee is a character, and we videotaped an exclusive interview with him that we hope to show later. He's toured before with Aquabats and Cherry Poppin Daddies, and sounds kinda like that too. Hilarious guy!

    For some reason, the soundman never showed up, so all the bands had to figure out how to work the PA system, but the show finally went on, and we were happy with the nice turnout in Tempe.
     
    Today was pretty relaxing, since, for the second night in a row, our friend Jenni from Honey Pistol put us up at her place with her brother Joey and two cats, Boo and Jupitor. Boo, or Kickstand, as Ariel calls, him kind of steals the show, but he does just fine on three legs.

    It was cool to spend the day in her pool and play videogames. We also got to check out a local record store called Zia, and they even bought some of our CDs and vinyl.

    It's going to be a long ride to El Paso in the morning, and tomorrow is a big question mark. So "where we stayed last night" will be a surprise for us, too.
     


    July 6: At 6 a.m. roll time from San Diego, a performance for Coca Cola /Vitamin Water execs, a show last night in Tucson and a giant sandstorm is how we kicked off the first day of our four-week summer tour. It's been one heck of a day, so we were very happy to arrive in Tempe at 3 a.m. to crash for the night.We were greeted by Boo the cat and a nice house in Tempe . Jenni from Honey Pistol and her brother Joey are putting up for the shows in Arizona. Boo lost one of his legs in a glorious cat fight, but that’s another story for another time. Today, Kyle, Eric, Ariel and myself spent the day being lazy, lounging around on the couch while Jenni  made everyone coffee, pancakes with potatoes and pork chops for breakfast. After that, she kicked Ariel’s ass in Rock Band and is now with them all at the pool cooling off.

    Jenni and her band Honey Pistol played with us last time in Tempe.

    We left San Diego early Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. to make it in time for an in-studio performance for Coca Cola/ Vitamin Water at Wave Lab studios in Tucson. It was cool because we also met up with Foster the People and saw them perform live at the studio as well. The performance will be up on the web soon, and we'll keep ya posted on that.

    After that, we made our way over to Eclipse in Tucson, where we met Race You There and Electrosaurus, who were also playing. Really cool bands and nice people who say Plush and Hotel Congress are the two other venues to play in Tucson. 

    Race You there has a cool sound and would probably do well in San Diego. The Eclipse bartender Priscilla was really sweet (she seems to be a little sweet on Kyle, as seen in the picture).

    She likes Zen rock club and her favorite local band is Yard Sale Heart.

    After that, we slowly made our way back to Tempe -- keeping a close eye out for another sandstorm -- to crash and get ready for tonight's show at the Yucca Tap Room.

    This is our first national tour, so we're trying to crash at friend's houses to save money.

    We'll keep blogging during the tour around the country with our adventures and other notes about "where we stayed last night!"

     


     

     


     

    One of the opening bands was called Hemming Birds. They were great. I was watching their merch table during the set, and they had brought a TV that played their music videos. They were fun to watch. We went on as main support and had another fun show. The talent buyer for the club said we are welcome back anytime.

    We got word today that Ariel helped lead police to one suspect in the van break-in back in NYC. They questioned him and hope he'll lead to more arrests because it is grand theft.Now Ariel's going to join the band in Kansas City and we'll be a four piece again!!
     


    July 29: Today we're in Columbus, Ohio, and we got here early enough to get a motel and crash, rest and do laundry for a few hours. We needed it. Four weeks on the road so far are taking their toll. Plus, playing as a three-piece until Ariel reunites with us is getting exhausting.

    Carabar was just a few blocks away from our hotel, and when we got there another thunderstorm rolled in. It started pouring rain and there was lightening everywhere. I was outside talking to Ronnie, the owner, when all the street lights went out. I was thinking in my head that we can't be that lucky to have two power-outs in two days. It ended up only being the street lights and not the bar.

    The bar seemed to have a heavy metal show planned tonight, and I thought I better turn up my amp. :)

    The first act was Kate. She only had a loop station and a microphone and was looping her voice -- layering her voice on top of some beats. It was pretty cool, but most people didn't really pay attention. Everyone was at the bar doing shots!

    The second band was on tour as well. We forgot their name, but they sounded like the Black Keys! They were awesome!

    We went on third, and I turned up my amp, and we rocked those pop songs as much as we could. It ended up sounding great, and people were really into the music. I met this guy Ron after our set who sometimes plays strings and trumpet for Red Pony Clock from San Diego! Small world.

    The last band was called Eye, and they were a sludgy, melodic slow metal. Kyle said they reminded him of the band OM with a guitar.

    We hung out until they closed the bar. At that point everyone there was pretty wasted, and around 2.30 a.m. they finally closed the joint. We went and got some 3 a.m. McDonald's and crashed out right after to catch some sleep.

    This morning we got up early to drive to Chicago.

     

     


    July 28: The repair guy told us that some of the clubs have much older electricity circuits, and that could be triggering Kyle's amp to shut off. So we hoped the club we were about to play in Pittsburgh had updated electricity wires and headed toward Brew Works where we were supposed to meet Kyle's aunt and her girlfriend.

     


     

     

    It was a fun night, and the bar is in an area with lots of other little clubs and hipsters on bikes riding around at night.

    The next few days have some long 10 hour drives in between, but we are making our way home to San Diego.
     

     

    Aug 3: Long drive today... Listening to some classic rock station, daydreaming, driving, sleeping, browsing online, writing blogs, posting shows on Facebook from our phones. We couldn't talk much cause the wind was too loud. The landscape in the Midwest is just flat. Once you start heading west past Kansas City and St. Louis you start to notice how big the sky is, and it seems like you can see forever because of the flat landscape. Kind of makes you feel small.

    Tonight we played at the Larimer Lounge with a couple of different-sounding Denver bands. It wasn't a bad crowd, but the place is kind of big. Number Station went on first and they had a girl singer. (Every promoter seems to want to pair us with a band with a female lead singer.) Fire Mouth was kind of a rock/funk band from Denver. We are making the best with borrowed equipment and kind of sounded pretty good tonight. Someone blogged the show here: http://concertedeffort.blogspot.com/2011/08/looking-back-maren-parusel-with-number.html