Made this flier for a show I’m playing with Baltimore’s Soft Cat this Sunday. It’s at a new house spot, come check it out: https://www.facebook.com/events/1426224784308528/
Kevin Greenspon live at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, CA - 6/6/2014
I’m excited to present two shows in Southern California for Julie Byrne this March. She’s a good pal, amazing songwriter and among the most captivating musicians I’ve seen live. Seeing her perform in candlelight at my friend Dan’s third floor Chicago apartment, fill the cavernous chamber of Human Resources in Los Angeles and finding old postcards she sent to buddies in Buffalo after hearing her first tape on Teen River are all great memories. I’m grateful for the opportunity to book these shows at two of my favorite spaces here. Hopefully you can come see a piece of music/video I’ve rarely shared in LA, and witness a performance from a hard working friend.
It’s pretty clear I will never be finishing the blog from the 2012 U.S. tour, didn’t even make it halfway through the 82 entries attempted. Trying to do an entry for each day is just way too time consuming and difficult when I’ve been on the road several times since and there’s so much to do that’s much more necessary.
So here is a much more reasonable and feasible attempt at doing a tour blog. It’s probably going to lack structure and have huge gaps. And a lot of stuff won’t be covered because most is sort of mundane.
Two full months have passed since the first show of this U.S. tour and it really feels like things haven’t even started yet. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that I’ve only been playing one show every two days on average since leaving up to this point. Strings of shows are divided by frequent or extended breaks. Lulls are hardly vacation though, and are usually packed with errands or contingencies. The pace of travel has been slow and vaguely circular, with repeated visits to various places that find me with increasingly less to do on each return. More intense days have had me waking up early, criss-crossing the length of Chicago to visit museums, window shop, find food, meet strangers, go to the beach, wait for buses, pop in to shows and sleep on trains at 2 AM. Other days I’ve done nothing but read on a farm miles from cellular reception or other humans, battling a cold with a bag of oranges and granola bars. And then there are the days I play a show, which resemble the predictably structured, inflexible routine of normalcy far more than the rest.
In three days, the pace quickens and routine will take hold. I play every night for the next 3 months except for less than a week’s worth of carefully chosen nights off, and the inevitable show that is canceled or doesn’t come together every once in a while. It’s a drastic shift from lazing about on Lake Superior or in woodlands with no responsibility but to eat and sleep at some point.
All minor nuisances aside, they’re far more desirable and tolerable than those that would plague a life of working in an office, in fast food, in retail or behind a phone. They really are nothing in comparison to the amazing people that I’ll meet, reunite with, play for, and see perform.
I’m so happy to be able to do this. That after years of releasing music for my friends and playing across the country, I’m able to subsist mostly by playing shows that scarcely more than 5-15 people come to in places often skipped by my musical contemporaries. That I’m able to truly see the parts of the country that America forgot, to see it all instead of rush over those important facets and corners in a hurry to get between the big cities that cast a shadow over them. It amazes me to no end that someone like me is able to do this with virtually no money, skills or fanbase and I’m super thankful for how it’s all worked out and that it gets better every time. This isn’t just a vacation or joyride though, it’s a way of life and it’s hard to imagine living any other way.
My new split 12” LP with Former Selves is now up on bandcamp for full streaming below, and two test presses are available for anyone who wasn’t able to get one at the west coast tour dates.
I will be on tour for the rest of the year, performing pieces from this record synchronized to new visual projections. There are about 100 shows left, almost all of which are with friends Big Waves of Pretty.
You can RSVP on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/events/606771602687598/
If you can help with any date that doesn’t have a show listed, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Greenspon / Former Selves
"Betrayed by the Angels" b/w "Apropos of Golden Dreams" 12” vinyl LP
10 songs | July 2013 | Los Angeles, CA / Oakland, CA
For their second split release together, Kevin Greenspon and Paul Skomsvold have written and recorded a pair of miniature albums that seamlessly fold into each other, serving as the definitive work by both artists. Together, the two halves embody the spirit and structure of classical scores and film soundtracks using the vocabulary of ambient, new age, harsh noise and the various other experimental genres the artists have operated within for the past several years.
Featuring artwork by Samuel Partal.
Limited to 500 12” vinyl records with metallic silver labels, packaged in extra thick heavyweight jackets with matte UV finish. Includes digital download card.
More info, videos, and ordering information: http://www.bridgetownrecords.info
I will have a split 12” LP with Former Selves, 7”, 9 new Bridgetown tapes and new visual projections. Absolutely NO town is off-limits, I’m down to come play and hang with anyone, ANYwhere. Small shows or strange situations welcome. We don’t want to play bars and don’t really feel comfortable in ‘legit’ venues. Living rooms, DIY spaces, warehouses, basements, art galleries, anything different is awesome and we can accommodate any circumstance. All you have to do is contact me!
This is going to mostly be East Coast/South/Midwest this time. Hit me up and let’s do this! email@example.com
My “Maroon Bells” video:
Here’s a video I took of Big Waves of Pretty in Michigan last year:
Waking dehydrated, I stumbled downstairs to the kitchen in my underwear to find all the guys sleeping in similar attire, with the most tortured facial expressions. The muggy summer heat. I took a shower and was sweating by the time I exited the bathroom. Loading my gear out to the car was a blast. The hilly ground was soft and wet, hard to keep footing on while carrying 50 pounds of stuff, or to position in the car when it was on a 30 or 40 degree incline and stuff kept spilling, falling, sliding around. Not to mention the stairs down from the house were the last nail in the coffin of the previously existing condition known as full body exhaustion. I finished loading out and took another shower. Sweat on the way to the car as I gave my goodbyes.
Stopped downtown for a little bit, cute and quaint with brick sidewalk and even road. Old. A step back. Gassed up and drove towards Pittsburgh, skirting West Virginia along the way. When I think of the term “middle of nowhere” in the sense of it being amidst thriving nature, but relatively little human inhabitation in spite of how close it is to most of the country’s major urban areas, I think of West Virginia. It really does feel untouched, moreso than most anywhere else, it seems. It’s just deep country. How many X-Files episodes take place here? Enough, that’s for sure. I’d really like to spend some solid time here and see it for real.
The highway crosses a river again and brings me back into Ohio, the state’s slogan is “So much to discover.” I’ve spent around 10 or 11 days here on this tour now, and am ready to leave. It’s been a good time and I honestly don’t know of any other band who has played this state so many times in one trip. Even bands from here told me they saw my calendar and had no idea how I got so many shows in the state. Neither do I, really. It was worth it though, there’s really no sense in skipping a place if you have a chance to try it.
2 hours later, and Pennsylvania Welcomes You.
At the Pennsylvania Welcome Center, there were Christian ladies with a booth set up with free cookies and soda. They were very sugary.
Approaching Pittsburgh from the Southwest on I-376 is very unique, because you see signs saying that the city is mere miles away, but there is virtually no civilization in sight. There are lovely hills dressed in the thickest green trees, ebbing and flowing all across the horizon, and no hint of a mid-sized city anywhere. Then you approach the Fort Pitt Tunnel and it all goes dark for two minutes. When the tunnel opens up, all of a sudden the sun’s radiance explodes and blinds your dilating pupils, the downtown skyline thrusts itself square in front of you, a grand river runs below the bridge, and a volley of highway signs directing traffic to a dozen different exits and offramps shoot up overhead. Trying to pick out which one is yours in the matter of seconds that fly by is overwhelming, and amazing. And then you’re blasting through downtown city streets among the bikers, pedestrians and skyscrapers a moment later. I’d consider this my favorite entrance to a city in the entire country, with Savannah, Georgia at sunset being my second favorite (and in a very different way). There are videos of this on youtube, but they can’t quite capture the feeling of driving in for the first time, not really sure of where you’re going and being overstimulated by it all.
Today’s show was at Garfield Artworks. Richard, who set up the show made it into a late afternoon barbecue sort of thing with like 8 performances, almost all of which had different video artists projecting work for the sets. It was an awesome time. And it was great that there was so much food available and everyone was super friendly. I was having a pretty great time and felt really good about the show. Even managed to read a little bit.
Manny, who owns the space and has been booking shows in Pittsburgh for like twenty years is known to be a bit grouchy or blunt when he’s not happy with something, I’ve heard. That he calls them like he sees them and has no hesitation to unleash what can be vicious words. But I found him really relatable. I like to think I understand why people who have been around forever, or aren’t necessarily the most popular people in town are perceived in certain ways. That it doesn’t really mean anything bad in the long run, it’s just people’s opinions and if you’re making things happen, that’s it. He even confided a few things in me about people we knew, sort of, just kind of talked about things he’s had to go through and put up with. It made sense to me. And after I played, I wandered back to the table for a soda and he straight up told me something that I definitely won’t forget, but can’t remember the exact wording. Something like “That was good. What are you doing, doing this? Playing house shows on these crazy DIY tours to noone, not making any money, releasing your own stuff. You should be signed to like Kranky or something. What are you doing here? Think about it.”
It was pretty powerful, however he phrased it. I remember being kind of frozen by it, thinking about all my friends who have been breaking their backs doing this for forever, fighting for the attention of drunken twenty-somethings caught in a passing phase between teen years and cubicles, that might not mean that much to them, but is all we have, at least for a few of us. Lately I’ve been thinking about how I’ve been getting older, about weeding through the muck, trying to find friends in the only place I’ve ever really known, and how it keeps changing around me. How I’m not here to party and frolic like I’m in a theme park on the verge of going out of business. How my cold, robotic seriousness makes it a little tougher to cope with the reality of living in this sort of subculture than if I just let loose and tried to enjoy the ride until something different dominates my life. If it ever does. Not that I don’t have a good time doing this, but it’s weird to think about the fact that there are alternatives. I’ve seen the party animal reckless musician types and that’ll never be me. And I’ve seen the guys who play clubs that someone who has never been in a band booked them at from across the country. The guys who sit at home and record everyday and never really integrate too much with their peers. All the different stereotypes that exist of underground/independent musicians, or just in general. It’s just something to think about that doesn’t have any clear questions or answers.
After the show, I went to Mike of the Honest Bag blog's house to go sleep. I was kind of wary at first before I met him since I don't align at all with the main theme that prevails throughout his blog, but I knew he'd be a positive and friendly person and wanted to hang out. You really can't judge a book by it's cover. He was among the most sweet people I have ever met, just brimming with soulful energy, so nice and sincere. His mother had been expecting us and laid out a giant feast that we could barely make a dent in.
His mother’s house felt like walking into a Victorian home from centuries ago, like it was on the historic register or something. The furniture and decor might as well have come out of a museum, it was a pinnacle of beauty and splendor. I just felt like I was in a castle or something. Mike and I stayed up and talked about our mutual friends, and our experiences/interactions with music and life, and growing up and everything until past 4 AM and then I slept in the spare bedroom. It was a great day that pushed the boundaries of 24 hours at that point and had to finally end. Can’t wait to go back to Pittsburgh.
Before getting back into posting about the US tour last year, I’d like to excuse the absence of posts over the past several weeks- I went on a West Coast tour with two of my oldest buddies here, released 7 things on Bridgetown, went on a lovely vacation, and came home to a pile of future plans. So much has happened that it is getting difficult to recall the events of that intense journey when other intense journeys have happened since. I’ll try. I really do want to finish this thing out though. It’s almost halfway done.
Maybe for the next couple of posts, please listen to what is one of my favorite albums I’ve heard in so long: “Soft Approach” by iji. I played at Zach’s house while he was out on tour, and he just played at Jack from Big Waves of Pretty’s house in Memphis, the connections never end. Zach is writing some of the most powerful, resonant lyrics out there right now. So many words from this album have guided me these past few weeks. There’s nothing quite like them. “Forever buried treasure, I hope you go for it.”
Okay. So I woke up in Oberlin, in Matthew Gallagher’s bed. He just released his Wax Monsters like, yesterday, so here it is:
I called him up to hang out after waking up and we went to the sauna with Luke. It reached 130 degrees and I lost 8 pounds in sweat. We probably stayed in longer than recommended and quickly proceeded to jump into the icy cold pool. My muscles were so weak, from either the extended stay in the sauna, or from being on tour for a month, or lack of exercise or because they always are, and being in the water made me feel like gelatin. I just bobbed there like a buoy for far too long.
It was so hot outside that I dried instantly, without a towel. Met up with Darrin, who invited me onto his porch and bestowed some amazing sushi. Ran into Bobby Stevens at the Mexican restaurant and he hooked it up with a giant plate of food. People in Oberlin are the best, really. But it was time to leave for Akron for the RCNCAVE.
In downtown Akron, the evening air was like being in a glowing oven, and the orange sky radiated as it dimmed. Sarah was dying for coffee that didn’t seem to exist anywhere downtown. I remember feeling totally sapped of all energy, my mind trudging through the day like an ant on an endless sidewalk. The RCNCAVE is the second story of a large factory building across the river from college bars, and a beautiful view of the buildings and roads presents itself through the windows behind the performers. It was good to be back, and all of the people involved with the space and Rubber City Noise label performed at the show. XXX Super Arcade played a furious drum/modular synth set in the bathroom, then moved to the center of the main area.
The rest is a blur. But Curt played an awesome Black Unicorn set with a great projection setup. Here’s a video of what I think is the very end of the set, or at least of one of his songs:
During the last set, the performer whose first name I can’t recall crooned out the window to the city as if it was one entity and returned to his equipment.
Minutes later two prostitutes came in, thinking this was some kind of cool, secret nightclub due to the lights and beats and voices bellowing out of the window. NOPE. Just a couple of freaky weirdos playing electronic music in a dusty factory building. I’m positive almost this same exact thing happened when I played here a few months prior.
Afterwards, a futon was provided for sleeping on at Curt’s girlfriend’s apartment, which was just being moved into and not furnished yet. A breathtaking bay window cradled the futon at the edge of the apartment. Exhausted and dehydrated, I sweated out another 7 pounds of liquid weight as a heavy duty fan was aimed directly at me for the duration of the brutally hot night.
3/20 @ CAFE Infoshop - 8 PM
935 F. St, Fresno, CA
3/21 @ Storey House - 7 PM
215 Storey St., Santa Cruz, CA
w/ Hermit Convention
3/22 @ The Bat Cave - 8 PM
1164 11th St., Arcata, CA
w/ Tabor Mountain
3/23 - Small Howl @ The Wandering Goat - 8 PM
268 Madison St., Eugene, OR
w/ Statue + Cowboy
3/24 @ Multiplex - 8 PM
625 NW Everett St. #101, Portland, OR
w/ New Forest, Love Cop
3/25 @ Hollow Earth Radio, Seattle, WA
Live on the air from 8-10 PM
Listen @ http://hollowearthradio.org/home
3/26 @ Another Dream - 7 PM, food+drink available
5657 11th Ave., Seattle, WA
w/ Briana Marela, Punishment
3/27 @ Chez Puget? info TBA
3/28 @ Reed College chapel - 8:30 PM / free to all
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., Portland, OR
w/ Lavas Magmas
chapel is in the SW entrance of Eliot Hall: http://goo.gl/maps/OZpFl
email KG if you need help/cell number
3/29 @ Villanova House - 8 PM
802 Villanova Dr., Davis, CA
w/ Woolen Men (Portland, OR)
3/30 @ Sylvan House - 8 PM
427 4th Ave., San Francisco, CA
w/ Gossimer, Glowing Cat Eyes
3/31 @ Rock Paper Scissors Collective - 6 PM EARLY SHOW
($5 entry or $7 for unltd. beer bracelet)
2278 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, CA
w/ Ghost Hand
All shows are all ages / $5