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Death Drive: Final week of Ice Balloons Tour

Ice Balloons is back from tour! See the last installment of their tour diary below.


An old man sat down next to Kyp and Sean outside the Lost Lake Lounge and began a friendly scatological conversation about his wife and the various shitty problems he has faced in his long colorful life. He was drinking some kind of loaded tea from a brown sack but still had some red in his cheeks and a smile in his eyes. Then I sat down and he turned to me and began telling the same stories over again and it wasn’t quite so captivating the second time, and I doubted the existence of his supposed ‘shit-wife,’ who he said ‘carried around a shit-bag’ because of some digestive difficulties.

Later that sunny afternoon, Dani walked down Colfax to get some vegan food from the Hari Krishnas and on her way back was convinced by a different homeless guy in a wheelchair to push him a few blocks down the street, where whom did she meet? The wife with the shitbag! She is real. Never doubt a cheerful drunk homeless guy is the take-away.

We stayed up at my dad’s house way up in the mountains above Evergreen, which is the very house where ICE BALLOONS WAS CONCEIVED! In sleepless darkness, frozen skies and de-oxygenated air.

Though it was 75 the day before, it snowed six inches overnight and we almost got stuck in a ditch less than a hundred feet from the driveway after skidding down the first incline sideways. The van was really loaded and the hill was steep so we had to drive under 5 mph until we wound down the remote dirt road back to some civilization and plowing.

Here’s a little game called ‘Match the Quote with the Band Member:’ “I was just looking in my bag for a toothbrush and I saw a condom and it laughed at me.”

Regional Clown

Regional Clown


I decided to fast this day and had nothing but coffee all day until we got to the O’Leavers where I switched to Coors Banquet. It’s usually easier to get drunk if you have eaten nothing all day but I only had a few beers and was embarrassingly un-drunk when we played. Sean’s mom Linda drove all the way up from Fayetteville, Arkansas and she is always a blast to hang out with!

The show was really fun at O’Leavers dive bar and volleyball court, the opening bands were awesome and the staff friendly and accommodating and some guy came up to us after and said we were posers if we take his mushrooms! We’d been fungi-dry since El Paso so I took him up on his challenge and… TO BE CONTINUED


I was surprised anyone came out to the Empty Bottle given the torrential rain hammering down like wrathful demon spitting all day on innocent Chicago, but there were a good 50 rain-troopers there, including the excellent animator JIM TRAINOR who made our video for “Fallen Family.” By weird and awesome coincidence, the lead singer/shredder from THE SUEVES Joe  Schorgl had been an animation student of Jim’s at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Sueves fucking rule, I highly recommended balancing shot glasses on the head of drummer Andy Martin and buying all the band’s records. They’re on Hozac so they’re label-mates with Dani’s band Surfbort now.

We went back to Taryn’s BALLING 37th floor apartment for a pizza party where it was discovered by DAN that I had totally lied to his face about not being on mushrooms! Taryn kinda blew my shit up because she couldn’t stop laughing and tried (unsuccessfully) to break us into the golf-simulator and was rolling all over the floor – it was so fun! I love mushrooms and I love Taryn and sometimes you have to lie to Dan so he won’t get overwhelmed with jealousy. I felt bad about it, and I regret not handing around the mushrooms more liberally, but I also didn’t want to be on stage while he was trying to figure out his bass shit on shrooms, not that I haven’t done that before and been fine, and if it were anyone else but DAN I would have felt bad about it, but I just laughed as he laid down on the pizza box like a beacon of thwarted class shining over the Chicago skyline.

Wastoids in their natural environs

Wastoids in their natural environs


play at the UFO FACTORY in DETROIT but some developer ‘accidentally’ cracked the foundation when demolishing the place next door so they could attempt to take it over – GOOD LUCK ASSHOLES! Luckily EL CLUB was nice enough to let us hop on the bill they already had there, even though it was wildly inappropriate for us –  pop-crooners with all pre-recorded music (i.e. no bands, just singers belting it out) Lucky for us the incredible LENA MARQUISE came out to perform with us – she brought a clear chair, transparent strap-on and a really cool spider/gimp mask for stage action. After four weeks of touring we were tight as shit and the sound was really good and it was one of our better shows. The other bands were so different from us that it was kinda ok actually. I mean, I wish we’d played with MEXICAN KNIVES again (who loaned us their bass cab – thanks guys!) instead but what can you do.

Dan’s recently divorced brother Chris was on a wild tear – he got us rooms at the MGM Grand and we went back after the show in a good mood and Dan hit the blackjack tables right away and won 160$! I made him give me half so he wouldn’t blow it all, but it didn’t matter cause later he won another 800$ on the goddamn ‘fish’ video-slots where you can’t understand what’s happening! FUCK YEAH DAN! He did a little dance around the floor of the casino until the elation began to fade. Moneybags.

LENA MARQUISE on her clear chair

LENA MARQUISE on her clear chair


I hadn’t seen Yalan since she moved here and opened up her rad club DOUBLE HAPPINESS. She made some Pha for us that was so delicious and then we recovered on the wide wrap-around couches, which, UNBEKNOWNST to us at the time, we would be sleeping upon later that same night.

After our show we hung out with this DJ Rudy from WCRS fm and he told us about the GREAT CIRCLE EARTHWORKS outside the city built by Native Americans approximately 1500 years ago which unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit but I really wanted to. Also he and Kyp, without knowing each other, had been at the DAPL PROTESTS at the same time earlier this year. Fuck that pipeline bullshit! We played a benefit for movement over the summer, but it doesn’t seem to have slowed the process of shitheaded developers fucking things up over there.

Anyhoo, we drank congenially and it was cool and then the smoke died down from the fire and it seemed fine to lie down on the floor and pass out, so I did.


Kyp had to fly out of Columbus this morning to LA cause TVOTR is playing a David Lynch benefit for transcendental meditation, so Dani was on her own to lay down the blanket of noise in Philly – and she did great! The show was kinda weird, in a batting-cage place called ‘Everybody Hits’ which I just assumed was about drugs before I got there, but it’s not only not about drugs, they don’t even have alcohol there – just a cavernous brick room and a few people standing around, I dunno, it wasn’t our best show to end the tour with and we were all kinda exhausted and just wanted to drive back to Brooklyn and sleep in our own beds for the first time in a month, but we met some cool people and played with heartfelt sincerity and the psychic tightness that you get from playing every night for a month. Maybe next year David will pick us for his transcendental meditation show! We’re kinda Lynch-ish.

BA peeled off in Philly cause her husband Greg (who played the cadaver in our Night Slave video) picked her up at the club. We drove the two hours back to Brooklyn and dropped Sean and Dani off and it took 20 minutes for the little hoarders to scrape all the clothes and knick knacks they’d squirreled away on tour out from all the crevices and cram holes in the van. We said bye and hugged and then I dropped Dan off at his house and we still had to wait for his roommate to get home to let him in and drag all his equipment up two flights of stairs then I drove to my house at four in the morning where luckily I found a parking space right in front and went inside smoked a hit of Sour Diesel and blissfully yielded to the dream world in my wide and well-pillowed bed like a spring lamb who finally found the perfect lettuce leaf to lie beneath.

Pleasure vs Death in a vicious spiral - everyone wins

Pleasure vs Death in a vicious spiral – everyone wins


As if on cue, Dan ripped open the final bar of WOODBLOCK CHOCOLATE we’d gotten in Portland as we drove into the bowels of New Jersey to return the rental van. It was bitter-sweet, as the end of every tour and chocolate bar should be.

Earlier that day I had been sitting in the window of my apartment cutting my toenails for the first time in weeks, looking out at the trees that had turned from green to yellow in my absence, reflecting on how unnatural and disturbing tour is – who would live this life? Sitting or lying down all day then being too tired to exercise, eating McDonalds garbage or fasting then getting drunk or even worse not getting drunk, breaking your ears over deafening jams then smashing your head on some part of the van as you drive off to sleep on someone’s uncarpeted floor like a dog? No wonder everyone dies all the time.

The cycle of tour forces you to be bi-polar. The elation you feel playing for people you don’t know in places you’ve never been before and having them like you and your music fades with each night – you’re gone maybe even before you get to relax, and a feeling not unlike depression hits you some time the next day, probably right after soundcheck, when you’ve abandoned your new friends and are now in another strange city staring at colored bottles on the wall fingering a tarnished ashtray, feeling pointless and redundant.

But then you smoke some aromatic dry-growth weed, maybe score a colorful shirt at a thrift store and get some mexican food down the street and you’re set for another bliss-filled night of busting your dumb head open!

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