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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Cops “I Can’t Stay Focused” Tour Blog, Installment 4

Posted by on March 28 at 12:39 PM

Tuesday, March 21

The Cops are now three days past Austin and the Texas brain haze is starting to clear. After 3 days and 26 hours of driving we arrive in Philadelphia. Tonight we play the Khyber, a Philadelphia rock n’ roll institution. The jukebox is stellar and the staff is kinda’ crusty, but nice. Our buddy Paul Severin, a former Seattleite, joins us early for drinks. Paul works for hot shit radio station WXPN, which is coincidentally spinning the Cops. Paul explains to us that Philly is not a big rock town. We’re feeling it tonight. In spite of a nice review in the weekly paper, posters all over town, and radio airplay, there are only 15 people in the audience. Apparently everyone in the city was across town watching David Berman and the Silver Jews. Khyber soundman Josh, who moonlights in riff mavens Pearls and Brass, was fucking awesome. Josh goes above and beyond and contacts our booking agent to tell us we leave our cymbals behinda real crisis averted. After the show Paul takes us into his neighborhood, Fishtown, where we drink with locals at a place called Crazy Fish. These folks are good drinkers and welcome us with several shots of whiskey. Ouch.

Wednesday, March 22

The following morning is fuzzy. We head back to the Khyber and pick up Dave's cymbal bag then head north up I-95 to Hoboken for tonight's show at Maxwell's, another historical rock venue where bands like Yo La Tengo got their start. The drive up the coast is unusually easy and 2 hours later we arrive in Hoboken, NJ. Hoboken (famous for giving us Frank Sinatra) is one square mile in size and home to the first baseball game ever played. A reputable source tells us it boasts more bars per square mile than any other city in the U.S. The Maxwell's staff takes good care of us, and sound engineer Adam rules. The crowd tonight is solid and very receptive to our set. Actually, we slay. The show ends early and we make our way to Williamsburg, Brooklyn and meet our gracious host Neel. Neel plays guitar and keyboards in the Affair, a band we play with tomorrow night at the Knitting Factory. We arrive Brooklyn and promptly head to Daddy's to meet up with the Hold Steady kids for drinks. Daddy's is a dark and hip joint owned by the Roger's Sisters. We catch up and listen to killer tunes on the excellent jukebox until they kick us out at 4:30 am.

Thursday, March 23

After a few hours of sleep, we slowly move out into a sunny day and head to some hippy diner for marginal food. While dining we read our Village Voice show preview that calls us "Seattle rent-a-punks.” Pretty funny, and not surprising coming from the cynical NY press. We load up the van and drive over the Williamsburg Bridge into New York City for tonight's show. The Knitting Factory is four-level club located in the financial district of downtown Manhattan. Surprisingly, we can't find a Wi-Fi signal anywhere. To no surprise there are zero parking spots to be found. Johnny and Brian drive in search for an hour, only to decide on parking illegally in front of the club. Tonight's bill includes the Affair and Looker, two bands from New York City. Our advance phone calls from the highway pay off and the club is packed. The crowd includes our friends in the Hold Steady and a supposed sighting of filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and his pal John Lurie. Our first-ever New York City show was a smash. Seattle rent-a-punks, my ass.

Friday, March 24

We have today off and we're excited to have free time to explore New York City. Brian and John walk the Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan and investigate Ground Zero. Mike hits up some parks, explores the Village, and meets up with Tad from the Hold Steady. Tad and Michael's take Mike to French Kiss Records located on the 45 floor of the Viacom building, the same building that hosts the MTV studios and Carson Daily Show. Mike tries to bum-rush Carson's show to no avail. Their next stop is the Gibson guitar showroom on 54th and 9th, formerly the legendary recording studio the Hit Factory, also the same locale where 50 Cent was stabbed 8 times. Dave spends the day in Central Park where he enters a poetry competition. He's tossed out in the first round for swearing.

Saturday, March 25-Sunday March 26th

After a day in the City, we meet for happy hour drinks at Hi-Fi, formerly the legendary rock club Brownies located on 11th and Avenue A. Hold Steady bass player Galen is tonight's malt man; he graciously sends us several complimentary rounds. It's here where Tad tells us he wants to produce our next record. Rick Rubin won't return our calls, so we may end up accepting his offer.

From Manhattan we make our way to a club in Greenpoint called Coco 66 for Hold Steady drummer Bobby Drake's 30th birthday party. Here we hang with Bob Strakele, the HS soundman and owner of Atomic Recording Company. The French Kiss contingency is in full force tonight, along with another thirty or so Bedford Avenue hipsters. We leave the bar early in the morning and grab a car back to Neel's apartment. At this hour Dave and John try to fix the toilet we broke the night before, John watches the sun rise over Manhattan from Neel's roof, and only a few hours later we awake and prepare for our trek to Boston. We grab a bite at Emily's Pork Store and stop by Café Capri for a coffee (2 essential experiences on Graham Avenue in Williamsburg). New York City tries to kick our ass but we put up a good fight and kick it right back. That's how the Cops roll, bitches!

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Oh my god, I so can't wait for those boys to get back in town. They are so my favorite band AND I almost saw 2 of them naked after their CD release show! See you at the Crocodile on April 8th.

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