Thursday, May 4, 2017

The S1nd1cate - Tour Diary

Mike Lee was in an electro-punk band called The S1nd1cate from 2002-2009. The following is the tour diary from the Summer of 2008.

Just an update on The S1nd1cate's tour with Ikonoklast;

Sunday night, we tore down the Bouquet in Boise. The S1nd1cate delivered a full Audio/Visual production - and the crowd ate it up like Rosie O' Donnel at the Cheesecake Factory. Ikonoklast played immediately after us and they ripped the roof off the building. The crowd was moshing AND dancing at the same time. To make things even better, Ikonoklast are a bunch of super sweet dudes...and their new drummer looks like jesus. (We made him bless the vehicles before we left town.)

Vert, Chocolate Pudding and I set out a little before noon on Sunday for what was supposed to be a show in Salem, Oregon. Evidently the show fell through - so we were all able to take our time making it to Eugene (which is where the show Monday night is going to be.) After 8 hours of driving (and the new "S1n-Mobile" not causing any problems) we rolled into Ryan of Ikonoklasts cousins place. David is a super-sweet dude who told us he has been BANNED FOR LIFE from Idaho. How does one get banned for life from a state? Is there a ceremony and a reception afterwards? David let Ikonoklast and us crash at his apartment...and the best thing of all - he made the most BOMB chili ever. I'm talking spicy hot, but fucking delicious. The best part of this chili - and probably better for the ozone over Eugene, Oregon - is that it is now the next morning....and after 3 bowls of chili last night...I don't feel like I've just had a colonoscopy...which is always a good feeling.

So we get to Davids, start drinking, settle in. We've been in town for 10 minutes. I walk to the "S1n-Mobile" (77' Sierra GMC with a sic camper on the top) ... and I get stopped by 2 smoking hot mormom missionary babes. They start asking me if I love jesus. Ryan with Ikonoklast randomly gets intercepted as well. We talk for a good 30 and then the chicks realize they are talking to the spawns of satan.....and that I can't stop looking at the fat ones they give us some tracks and they leave.

We end up bull-shitting til 11pm then head downtown. We get some more drinks and check out the bar we're playing tomorrow (Samurai Duck.) There is a 'metal' band playing that is obviously pissed off about something. Every one of their songs was about mystical ponies and wizards or something. Their guitarist had beautifully, manicured hair that he whipped around in unison with the drummers double-bass-pedaling. It was special. The bartender bought the members of The S1nd1cate and Ikonoklast all a drink on the house of their signature shot - which is some kind of crazy Asian thing with a dead snake in it? It was powerful and fucked us all up good.

Choclate Pudding and I head out into the downtown evening in search of adventure. Its midnight on a Sunday in Eugene - so our options are limited. The city is cool, but looks like no one put any long term thought into building it. It seems like sidewalks intercept streets and I feel like I am in a dr. seuss book when I look at the buildings. Chocolate and I find a burlesque show a few blocks away but don't want to spend money on the cover charge. Instead we meet a chick dressed like something from the Flintsones...leopoard print skirt, big thick bushy boots. We end up following her and her friends to a karaoke bar. Most of Ikonoklast leaves and heads back to Davids apartment for the night - Vert, David himself, Jonah (the vocalist of Ikonoklast) and a neighbor of Davids meet us at the karaoke bar and we start rocking it. Jonah and I perform a death metal version of 'Sweet Caroline' to thunderous applause. We plug the show the next night and soon roll out to a different bar.

The bars in Eugene stay open til 2:30am, and sell liquor til 2:15pm....which in that respects makes it about 15 minutes cooler than Idaho. The last bar we visit is kind of a dump and for some reason all they are playing is Afro-Man songs. We drinks some more and head back to Davids. Ikonoklast is already passed out. I eat another bowl of world-famous David chili and crash in the S1n-mobile. Ahhhh yeah..

Stay tuned for more updates from the road.

I'll post some pictures soon

-Mike Lee
Day 2 on the Road with Ikonoklast - Monday, July 14 2008

Monday Monday.
Woke up in the S1n-Mobile. I was parked on this super narrow street in front of Davids (cousin of Ryan from Ikonoklasts) apartment. Huge fucking busses are narrowly missing my beautiful '77 GMC with the chomo camper on it. It almost makes me cry. In fact, as I'm writing this about 10 minutes ago some soccer-mom in a mini-van hit the drivers side mirror of my prized vehicle. It cool though, I beat her up and threw her baby in a recycling bin. Just kidding.

I'm an early morning guy, so I was up at 8am, and wandered into Davids place. Seriously...drunken industrial/metal dudes were strewn throughout the entire apartment...except for a shirtless Vert crashed face down on the floor. Vert didn't even have a pillow or blanket - how hardcore is that? I'm not sure if Vert would consider himself more metal than punk....but there was more angry, pissed off white boy vibe coming from this living room than an Arena full of emo bitches. I mean, the singer from Ikonoklast (Jonah) was snoring, and just his fucking snore had more balls than most bands I have ever seen.

I take a shower, and roll out to the camper. Then I notice Choclate Pudding. He crashed inside of the truck cab...feet hanging out the window. He hung a blanket up to block the sun...but he looks like a bum on a bus bench. Its pretty tight yo.

Everyone kind of wakes up eventually, and David cooks again. This time, he fries these peaches in some kind of mystical sauce...and he makes this scrambled egg stuff with meat and cheese....its amazing. David is such a cool dude. I'm not sure if he's seeing anyone, but if you're a female (cause I don't get a gay vibe from him) - and if you live in the Eugene arena (or are willing to commute) I would highly recomend you fuck his brains out regularly. He'll cook for you in the morning...which usually make one not feel like such a tramp.

After breakfast - Choclate Pudding, Vert and I stroll down to get some coffee. We pass by this huge, run down building that looks like it has been condemned. Hippies wander in and out of the patio like storm troopers on patrol. This hippy chick smiles at us and waves and says something like 'Peace Brothers' or something dumb like that. The three of us approach the house to not be ambushed by hippies and assaulted with their hemp and Bob Marley records. It turns out the chick is cool, and we have just stumbled into this hybrid dorm/hostel. 23 rooms, everyone shares cleaning responsibilities, house meetings every Sunday afternoon, and a Vegan meal every night served communally, And for $300 a month this can all be yours.....but wait, how did hippies make $300 a month? Harvesting their organs? Giving plasma? It doesn't matter, but let me tell you about the tour of this place that we took (and I have no issues being candid...) I mean, what are the chances of any of those god-damn hippies ever reading this - let alone knowing how to turn a computer on in the first place...the co-ed bathrooms were missing actual seats in a lot of them....flies were everywhere...the whole place smelled like feet and with the male/female ratio of 3 girls to 20 dudes....this does not sound like a fun place to live. I mean, seriously...every dude hates a sausage fest, but imagine living in one every day. I've seriously been to homeless shelters that looked better than this place. The chick was nice and took us throughout the whole house, then we saw her armpit hair and Choclate, Vert and I bailed. Out of the 3rd story window.

We get back to Davids place and decide to swim. We get directions and find a super rad community pool just a few blocks away. I know what you're thinking. Community pool....nothing but kids peeing in the water, blah blah...but it really isn't that bad. As long as I don't see any logs floating past me I'm solid. Ryan from Ikonoklast follows Choclate and Vert and we proceed into the pool. But WAIT. The pool doesn't open til 2pm, and its now 1:20pm. How do the members of the sickest hard metal, aggresive, fuck-you-in-the-ass industrial group in Arizona AND the cyberpunk revolutionaries from the S1nd1cate kill 40 mintues of an afternoon in Eugene Oregon? We go to the playground equipment, and you probably guessed it right - we played the lava monster game. 2 super rad kids joined in as well and one of them actually tagged Vert on the butt.

We swim, get burned in the sun, slide down these tubes and do the diving boards and its all fun and games. We head back to Davids, and grill up some pancakes and bacon in Davids apartment. I take a nap, an hour later I'm up and bored. The S1nd1cate camp decides to head downtown to where the bar is and hand out stickers, so we do..but we try to only hand stickers to people that look like they have money. Seriously, all we see here are hippies and homeless people. We wander for a good hour and a half and finally meet Ikonoklast at the club. Evidently a fire-dancing group bailed and is goiong to be performing at the Karaoke bar we were in the night before. Mondays and metal nights at the Samurai Vert and I are nervous. There isn't much metal about The  S1nd1cate anymore - especially with our transition into cutting most of our old songs and re-working them to make them sound a litte more 2008 and not so 2003 when they were written.

We hang out for awhile, load in and play. The crowd was small but they really looked like they were into us. The video was synched really well tonight so the performance looked and felt pretty good. About half-way through the set I noticed that there was only 1 female in the crowd (and she was the manager/sound person.) The S1nd1ate has never performed strictly for dudes (and especially not METAL dudes that want to see heavy-ass riffs, solos and beautiful hair.

We finish our set, Ikonoklast tears the place down and then we all get drunk. The manager chick buys everyone more shots of this $1000/bottle stuff with a dead snake in the bottom of the bottle. Its supposed to be a hallucinogen...some kind of crazy Asian thing. Whatever. I get tore up, Ikonoklast gets tore up and we eventually leave downtown back to Davids. We check out the hostel/dorm hippy thing, cause nothing spells relief after playing to metal-heads, like beating up some hippies. We end up wandering the streets of Eugene like a crew....8 or so of us, 3 in the morning, all wasted out of our minds. Trust me, even if a cop saw us - they would have had to call in the riot police to stop us. The testosterone levels were at an all time high when we decided to start lighting fireworks off that Vert brought. Eventually the party ends and I make it back into the camper of love. Day 2 of 5 on the road- completed.

I'll get some pics of the shenanigans up soon...

-Mike Lee

 Day 3

The late night rampage from Monday night took its toll on us and Ikonoklast. Tuesday morning came early for all the guys. Chocolate ended up passing out in the camper – while Vert crashed on the floor of kick-ass Davids place (Ryan from Ikonoklasts cousin.) It was about 8am when I was awoken by a large scrape coming from outside of the camper. Shirtless, shoeless and rocking a mustache and 3 day stubble I bust out of the camper and see that the drivers side mirror had been hit by this car. The car stopped and I inspected the mirror for damage – but everything seemed OK. I went into Davids, took a shower and headed back out to hear this commotion coming from inside the house the truck and camper was parked in front of. This white trash mom was screaming at her barefoot kid who was yelling that he was going to run away…..out of every fucking house on the block, we had to park in front of the welfare house. I went back into the camper, checked my email and had just gone to sleep….when I hear a loud smash from the outside of the truck. Shirtless and shoeless again, I bound out of the trailer to find that my driver mirror has been completely destroyed. Whoever hit it didn't even stop. (Note, I wasn't that far from the sidewalk….and garbage trucks and city busses had been passing my truck for 2 mornings straight…so its not like we were parked too far in the road.) Hoping the destroyed mirror did more damage to the other vehicle ( I hope it was a Jaguar, or a Hummer), I clean the broken glass out of the street. Chocolate wakes up and we find an Auto Zone and replace the mirror. Of course, as soon as I get the mirror out of the box, I break that fucking mirror too. Awesome. The broken mirror, may have been a pre-cursor to the rest of the days events….

My allergies are at all time bad and are really effecting my nose and throat…so I play diva and try to sleep the symptoms off. I can't really elaborate on most of the afternoons activities because I tried to sleep. I guess from Eugene we went a few miles out of the city for lunch at Ryan's moms house. I stayed in the camper and tried to sleep off how horrible I felt.

We finally rolled into Portland sometime in the early afternoon and met up with the vocalist for one of the bands that we were playing with that night. The dudes name was 'Statutory Ray' and his band was called 'Wombstretcha.' Seriously. They are 2 rappers, a DJ, a guitarist and they sing about screwing chicks and killing children. Did I mention they were all white dudes? For those of you not familiar with the 'horror core' style of rap…think late 80's hip hop beats. They evidently had some interest from Insane Clown Posse and 2 Live Crew for opening slots….so I suppose there is a niche for anything. We end up at Ray's house, where he is a gracious host…handing out CD's with song titles like 'Shake it like a Baby' and "Kiss Me Where I Pee (or You'll get my Wang in your Shithole.") Ray was a cool dude who worked at a strip club and promised us an after party for the record books….as he handed out Wombstretcha t-shirts to all of us that said 'We Take Children' and 'Legalize Child Labor.'

We end up loading into the venue a little before 7pm. We're playing with another band called Ghostmotor that was pretty cool. The venue was awesome….large stage, good sound quality and a great downtown location. I was warned before hand by Statutory Ray, the guys at this venue (Berbatis Pan) are total assholes so be careful. We had no idea how prophetic he was being. And coming from a dude named after a sexual crime, that's impressive in my book.

Homeless people were everywhere in downtown Portland. I could have been mistaken because there were a lot of hippies that looked homeless, so I could have been confusing the two. After we unloaded this very attractive 20-something girl (who was holding up a 'need food' sign) came up to us and was asking for food. David (who called in sick to work from Eugene to catch Ikonoklast and the S1nd1cate a second night in a row) ended up giving this girl some left over Chinese food. What could possibly drive an attractive female in America to having to beg for food and money? We figured that she either doesn't realize that stripping is a legitimate option for income – or she had balls. Chocolate and Vert cleaned out our ice cooler (as I had exploded an entire bottle of ketchup inside our cooler…) and another homeless dude walks by and asks for a soda from us. We emptied out our camper, through our trash next to these large dumpsters (which are locked….so how are we supposed to throw trash away Portland?) And no more than 30 minutes later, bums had ravaged the trash we left out. It was like being attacked by ravenous raccoons.

The venue was called 'Berbatis Pan' and we ended up hanging out inside their exclusive, password protected green room for awhile. I grabbed some coffee from a donut shop that was next door to the club and got what the girl at the register called 'the cute boy discount.' (Which meant, that I got the coffee for free.) Chocolate and Vert started handing out S1nd1cate stickers to drive more people to the show….and soon the first band started. They wrapped their set up and The S1nd1cate set-up. Our banners and TV's were up in no time….and the Audio and Visual was synched almost perfectly this time. The only problem we had was at the beginning of the set the air conditioning in the venue knocking all our banners over….during our intro. We got them back up with the help from some of the guys from Ikonoklast and the show went on. We played to maybe 50-60 people…but we had their attention. People were really into the show and digging the whole 'S1nd1cate' experience. After we played and loaded up our stuff we headed back in to see Wombstretcha.

Now, Statutory Ray works at a strip club….so he got 2 of the most crazy looking dancers you could imagine to dance and strip on stage for his show. For those of you who remember early S1nd1cate shows, we used to incorporate girls dancing into our performances….but it was nothing like that. These chicks were writhing on each other and taking each others clothes off the entire show. Audience members were encouraged to throw money at the girls….which guys and girls did eagerly. Everyone in the group had on long, fake. black mustaches glued to their lips….even the strippers…..i guess the mustaches made them all look like real 'chomos.' Throughout the sets the band members and strippers took turns putting candy into a 'womb-cannon' which is basically 2 legs pulled off of a mannequin – spread apart, with a large PVC pipe coming out of the middle of the legs…with fake hair glued on. And this cannon shot candy out of it into the crowd. My favorite part of the show was probably the end where they warned the audience to protect the women. The zoo had just called and the 'Ape that's trained to Rape' had escaped. All of a sudden this dude dressed in a gorilla outfit runs out into the crowd and starts moshing and dry-humping girls in the audience. The gorilla jumps up on stage and dances around and then the shows over. It was amazing.

Wombstretcha unloads their set and Ikonoklast begins their soundcheck. All night there's been this one cute girl at the Wombstretch merch booth selling T-Shirts and CDs. I take the opportunity to introduce myself and we talk for a few. I've only had a couple beers by this point so I'm not bringing my A game. I reach over onto the counter to prop myself up and knock over a set of crutches. I pick them up and the girl, jokingly yells out 'Oh, my leg.' I pick the crutches up and see that this girl I have been talking to – is missing a leg. I ask her what happened and she tells me that she is a robot sent from the future and that she has a robot leg back at home. Wow.

Ikonoklast tears the stage up. Statutory Ray and I jump up and surprise them during 'Dead Inside' and start a pit in the crowd. The energy is great and the guys sound amazing. Every night I see them (they've sounded better and better. I'm not sure if having another band touring with them 'bumps' the game up…but I almost feel like we're challenging each other. I know that Ikonoklast kicks our ass as far as energy goes and that makes me want to compete and give it my all….them seeing us throwing every ounce of energy into the show makes them want to play harder and faster. We feed off the competitive energy…even if the crowd sucks….which although small, Portland's crowd was very supportive.

Ikonoklast gets off the stage, we help them unload….the bar shuts down….Statutory Ray informs us that he's leaving….so no legendary after party. We're all standing in front of the club and I ask Ryan how much the venue paid Ikonoklast for playing. He laughs and pulls out a piece of paper and informs us that because of the costs associated with the show…..Berbatis Pan gave Ikonoklast a FUCKING BILL at the end of the night for $3.20 - can you believe that? I grab the piece of paper, get as tall as I can on my camper and start screaming out to the other bands, homeless people and anyone that will listen that Berbatis has CHARGED the headlining band because they didn't bring in enough money. Ryan tells me to cool off and that he's not going to pay the $3.20…..but it comes down to principle now. The paperwork shows that the total show brought in 26 paid audience members at $6 a head. That's $156. Hard costs for the show were $160. $100 for the sound guy….and $60 for the door guy. For anyone familiar with band/venue relationships the house always takes food and beverage and the door is either split (depending on the agreement) or the house eats the hard costs of having a band because the band and its fans will drive F/B sales. (From the S1nd1cate and Ikonoklast camps alone we spent over $60 in beer and food in their restaurant….not counting the 26 paid people, the band members from GhostMotor and Wombstretcha….and the supposed 30 person guests list for the bands.) Chocolate and I take the paper from Ikonoklast, amid protests to drop it….Chocolate and I march into the club and lay it out on the manager. He's a cool guy, receptive of what's going on and he ends up calling the booking manager. The guys name is Anthony and for the most part was being reasonable. I asked him point blank over the phone for $40 for Ikonoklast. I told him that the S1nd1cate could care less about getting paid for the show…we were on a vacation tour of one week. Ikonoklast is touring the nation and they spent hundreds getting to this show to play for his bar. Anthony tells me he can't take money from the F/B sales….even though as the entertainment we drove 26 paid audience members, 30 something guest list attendees, and another 20 people in all 4 bands that were performing. If the per cap rate was $4/person for the 76 people that were in the club that night –the bar made over $300 – now, working in the F/B industry….I know the mark-up on food is at least 30% and on alcohol around 300%. I told Anthony I knew utilities aren't cheap, maintaining a liquor license costs money, caring insurance for the club was an expense…..but all in all, his sound guy got paid – his door guy got paid – his bartenders got tipped – and the house made somewhere around $300 (assuming that everyone inside drank only one beer…which is low balling for sure.)….All I was asking from Anthony was $40 for Ikonoklast on the road. Anthony wouldn't have it. I tried my second line of attack; Ikonoklast is on tour again in 6 months. There were 76 people at the show. Next time they come through, those 76 will bring 2 friends. Next time they come around Berbatis could make $600 on F..B. I told him as I'm not Ikonoklasts' management, I'm just on tour with these guys and want to see the right thing done. $40 out of their $300 to save the relationship between the S1md1cate and Ikonoklast seemed like a good deal to me. Anthony wasn't having it. I dropped my goal to $20. My last line was that I mentioned members of the press were in attendance at the show (which they were) – and that I would hate for them to get in touch with either of our bands and us to mention that we won't be playing Portland next tour because of $20. Anthony got livid and threatened Ikonoklast and the S1nd1cate that he knew promoters all over the……yawn……northwest and that with a few emails he…….yawn……could make it so that we would never……..blah blah…… another show in the northwest again and…….yawn……Berbatis Pan has been around for……..yawn……10 years and who the fuck is the S1nd1cate to tell him how to……yawn….manage his club…..yawn….and then he hung up on me.

It was too late to buy beer by the time I made it back out. Ryan had been texting me for an hour to drop it and let it go, but I stayed persistent inside. Even though the results were still a negative, I gave it all I could….I was just sick of seeing these dudes getting fucked over like this.

Bands are the fucking TALENT. It's our job to provide you, the paying guest with entertainment value. If we suck, you have every right to tell us to our faces, throw shit at us while we are on stage and boo us in between songs. The market is flooded right now because EVERYONE is in a band. And the bands that suck ass make it so much more difficult for the bands that don't – because they get lumped in together as 'independent.' Independent does not mean a free ass-fucking in every city…..independent does not mean Ikonoklast and the S1nd1cate are any less as good as a national, major touring act on the Warped Tour or Ozzfest. Green Day started out doing the same thing we're doing……Coldplay started out the same way we did……White Zombie toured the nation for years before they got to where they were able to carry a national fanbase. It's the bands job to provide you with a few hours of entertainment. Don't bitch about paying a $6 cover. Don't bitch that we're selling t-shirts for $15. If you want to sit at home, masturbate and watch 'Lost' fucking do it. If you want to go to work the next day and tell your friends how you played Guitar Hero and got wasted and made it to the Slayer song on Expert mode – then fucking do it. If you want to go to work the next day and tell your friends that you're out supporting local and independent music….that you saw a band from Idaho and Arizona that rocked your world and you bought a T-shirt then do it. You are the kind of fan that we want. Entertainment is cheap, but you get what you pay for. Its our responsibility to provide you with a high quality product, if we don't then we're selling you short. Tell us you think its lame that there are only 2 dudes on stage with a keyboard and a mic….tell us we look like a karaoke act. If you paid a cover to see the show you have every right to complain. Hold your bands responsible if they play a shitty show…..and they'll soon quit. But invest in the bands that are truly providing a high quality product, its not easy doing it on your own…..and an independent band will never turn down support, no matter if its money, a handshake or a blowjob. Support independent music.

Anyways, Ikonlast, Vert Chocolate and I end up driving right out side of Portland into Vancouver, Washington (I think we were all in agreement that the stench of Oregon needed to be put as far away from us as possible.) We rented a hotel room at the Comfort Inn and crashed hard. Day 3 of 5 of the tour is completed. Keep checking back for more updates from the road. And just in case anyone was wondering, the secret code for the Green Room at Berbatis Pan is 97204.

-Mike Lee

Day 4 and 5
So after the  disappointment from the Portland venue, Ikonoklast and the S1nd1cate ended up sharing a hotel room in Vancouver, Washington. Chocolate and I spent the night in the camper, while Vert spent the night with 5 sweaty metal dudes. To make the situation worse, my haggling with the fucked management of Berbats Pan went past 2am. The only thing worse than  pissed off bands, is  pissed off SOBER bands. 

Bright and early I got a call from JP from the Spokane radio station KXLY. JP had been helping plug the 7-17 show by playing the s1nd1cates cover of 'Money for Nothing.' He had interviewed me a few weeks before the tour and he called again for one more talk. I mercilessly bashed our show from the night before, dropping the name of the venue, the name of the booking manager and how horrible and unprofessional the entire experience was. JP was sympathetic and promised that Spokane would treat us much better. 

We headed to Seattle in the early afternoon. I can't speak much to this experience, because my allergies were at an all time high. I kept trying to nap it off….but I had almost completely lost my voice after only 4 days into the tour. I eventually woke up in Seattle, crawled out of the camper in Pioneer Square….and saw nothing but bums. Fucking bums are everywhere in Seattle….and are relentless about wanting your money. They look filthy, smell horrible and have no sense of humor. I ended up suggesting after one bum wouldn't leave us alone that with rising gasoline costs we should find a way to convert energy from ground-up bums…..later in the night Vert ended up punching a bum in the mouth after the bum tried to sell Vert crack. (Vert does not like crack. FYI.)

We loaded into this place called 'Central Saloon' and got situated. The two bands wandered down to a Starbucks (which are almost on every corner in Seattle….much like Mormon Churches in Idaho.) We wandered down by the bay and still saw nothing but bums everywhere so we went back to the venue and proceeded to get shitty drunk.

The show went well. There was a small crowd, but they were really into the performance of both bands.  During our set, the mic cable started shorting out so I ended up grabbing Verts. After the show Vert told the sound guy about the problem – and the guy told him that it 'wasn't his problem.' After warning Jonah (the lead singer of Ikonoklast) about the bad cable – Vert went and told to club manager about the sound guys' negligence. The bar manager mentioned that he had been waiting for 'one more straw' to fire the sound guy…..sounds like that last straw was found in a S1nd1cate milkshake. We played with a pretty sweet group that night called "Pill Brigade' that I thought was pretty tight. This show (as opposed to our Metal Eugene night, and Rap Portland show) had a more industrial crowd in attendance. 

After the bands played we loaded up and headed to a chicks house (Jen) to crash at her pad before the drive to Spokane. The party started and I was up til 5am.  We had met a few girls from the show and randomly traveling through Seattle so they partied with us. They eventually disappeared and as they say…once the 'tail train' runs out of steam, the rest of the engine soon follows. 

Bright and early 4 hours later, we're all on the road from Seattle to our last show together in Spokane. Its an early show (with load in at 4pm) and bands starting at 6pm.  I'm feeling a lot better with all of my allergies cleared up from the trip….now the only thing bothering me was my throat….just from sheer exhaustion.  I've never been to Spokane before, but it reminds me a lot of Boise….the best thing of all was that there weren't many hippies or homeless people in Spokane. Some groupies show up for Ikonoklast and the other bands hang out outside of the venue. Vert and I keep people entertained as we take our baseball bat to full sodas and unopened cans of ravioli. The food and drink plaster the parking lot as Vert and I take turns smashing the shit out of anything we can find.

We load in and get situated with our surroundings. Vert and I are still doing battle with our voices, but we manage to get changed and rock the show. During our sound check, my mic cable started shorting out again (second day in a row.) I had the sound guy trade out the complete wire and the mic…so I started the show with a fresh line and microphone….but of course by our last song the cord was shorting out again – so I had to take Verts again. Its so fucking ridiculous that a club/venue that hosts bands doesn't even check its equipment before shows. Maybe I'm just being a diva, but when I perform on stage, I expect the venue to provide functional equipment. Even when my mic started dying (in the middle of a song mind you) – the sound guy was in the back of the bar playing pool….and made no effort to run new cabling. FUCK THAT. With a renewed aggression (and a working mic) Vert and I finished our cover of 'Dead Mans Party' – I ran across the stage , and stood on one of my TV's and my foot went right through it. I figured the most punk rock thing for me to do was to chuck the TV off the stage into the crowd so I unplugged all the TV's during the songs breakdown and started kicking the TV towards the end of the stage. The crowd saw what I was about to do….then I had a side-though. Ikonoklast has to share this stage after us, and if I chuck this TV into the audience the bar is going to get pissed, the S1nd1cate will get banned from this venue, the promoter (a cool hippie dude named Dustin) will get flak….I decided not to kick the busted TV off the stage….instead I started ripping pieces off of it and throwing it into the crowd. The song ended, the TV was destroyed and our tour was officially over. The crowd cheered and that was that. I ended up taking the broken TV out into the parking lot next to the venue (where all the band vans had been ticketed for not paying first.) I threw the TV into the center of the lot where it shattered. Vert comes running from the camper with the baseball bat and connects with the screen – it shatters and pops loudly – setting off one of the van alarms of one of the other bands. Vert and I take turns smashing the shit out of the broken TV – then leave it in the middle of the lot. That's anarchy. Those assholes ticket our vehicles, we leave our trash on their lot. 

After the show we do a beer run (cautious not to repeat the mistakes of the past.) I get some Taco Bell (much thanks to Kris for the ride….) The bar clears out and we head to the party location. This will be the last night of the tour for us and Ikonoklast. Ikonoklast is heading onto Montana and Colorado and the East Coast. So we rage hard. We sign tits, get drunk, take pictures…..general debauchery…..the owner of the apartment complex asks everyone repeatedly to get quieter but it doesn't work. It ends up being another 5am night for everyone as we drink into the morning.

Now as an early riser, I'm up at 9am and climb out of my camper. I wake up Chocolate and Vert and we find a grocery store where we buy donuts and Vitamin Water for Ikonoklast. We show back up about 10am…just as all the dudes are waking up. We hand out the drinks and donuts to them and we all bull-shit one last time. 

The S1nd1cate has a 7 hour drive (plus an hour time change) so we head out about 1pm. We say our goodbyes to Ikonoklast and part ways.  This marking the longest tour the S1nd1cate has had to this point – there is so much respect for what Ikonoklast is doing. They work so hard to pursue a dream….to make music and be able to support themselves by doing what they love. Truly admirable. In a day and age when bands are created by record labels, and celebrities are made over night…its great to see a bunch of dudes out there making shit happen for themselves.
The S1nd1cate pulls out of Spokane (first we destroy an unopened half gallon of milk with the "S1nd-bat")….and we drive. We drive and drive and fucking drive. I pull into a Subway somewhere between Spokane and Boise, and walk in to order some lunch. The old, greasy manager walks up to me and informs me that I have to be wearing a shirt to be served in her restaurant – that I may be offended her customers if I don't have a shirt on. I walk back out to my camper and throw on a shirt that Ryan from Ikonoklast gave me (it's a band shirt from a side project that he's in)…the t-shirt is just a silhouette with a chick sucking a dude off with an arrow that points down to the crotch saying "Suck Here." I walk back into Subway and ask if my shirt is less offensive than not having on a shirt. The manager grunts and walks into the back. First S1nd1cate tour is a success. We may have lost lots of money, played to small crowds and burned some bridges at some venues….but we've met some great friends, some great bands and have made great memories that we may or may not remember in 10 years from now. Rock on and we'll see you on the road again soon.

-Mike Lee

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