Yeowza! Makes me want to create one of those moth-eaten tour T-shirts with all the dates on the back. (You know, the ones everyone had in high school, back in the 80s.)
Hope to see you at a show! Please tell your friends!
In order to celebrate this mammoth undertaking, we are going gangbusters with two totally rad contests! You could win prizes, fame, and fortune!
First, the IJG remix contest: remix our tune “Howl” (from the album LEEF), and you could win a $50 prize. Plus, your mix could be included on our next album! Details here. Deadline: December 31, 2009.
Second, the IJG video contest: make a video for our song “The Job Song” (also from LEEF), and you could win $250! Details here. Deadline: January 31, 2010.
Fundraising for the tour continues. If you have been waiting for a good time to contribute, wait no longer: now is a good time to contribute! We need all the help that we can get! Details here. And thanks!
Around 1980, my cousin Billy often used the word “biffit” to describe “10 pounds of x in a 5 pound y.” 1
Ever since our band broke the 10+ member barrier, The Industrial Jazz Group has had to figure out how to deal with the challenge of playing in smaller places. It’s fun to walk into a venue and do the mental tetris to figure out how we’re all gonna fit. Even though we have trombones and music stands and a keyboard and furiously gesticulating singers and dance moves and such, we always manage to make it work, and also to make it super-fun.
Friday (10/16) we played at The Green Line Café in Philadelphia and despite the teeny space, we ROCKED it. That was most definitely a biffit: 20,000 pounds of awesome crammed into a 5 pound bag… and by “5 pound bag” I mean an 80-square foot slab of floor that required the trombones to stand on the windowsill so they could play over the heads of the trumpets, and 9 tunes crammed into a 40 minute set. And by “20,000 pounds of awesome” I mean that our show contained booty-shakin’, hootin’ and hollerin’, audience-member smoochin’, and a big-time bangover the next morning. Or: to paraphrase Durkin: “On a 40-degree rainy night, we had the place rockin’ so hard that the venue had to turn on the air conditioning.” Oh hells yes!
On Saturday (10/17) we were invited to play at Galerie St. George, which is an old, huge, beautiful home on Staten Island that’s been turned into an art gallery. Despite the lipstick on this (absolutely gorgeous) pig, this show was still at its essence a house concert. You might be thinking, “How on earth can a 17-piece band play a house concert?” The answer is: With awesomeness, baby.
This event was another biffit: We stuffed 17 people, 15 music stands, a PA, a keyboard, and two mic stands into a 120-square foot center room of this house. Only the band could fit in this room, but the the audience sat in the surrounding spaces and they had a great time, goshdarnit. So did we! It was probably the most unusual setup we’ve ever had, and it was cool figuring out ways to engage the audience. I got to resurrect the signs by parading them around the house, which was good fun. I’ve missed those signs, and I plan on using them for most of our other gigs on the tour. Keep your eyes peeled!
Anyhoo, tomorrow (well, technically today as it’s 12:16am EST, despite what the header might say) we’ll be on a big, beautiful stage in Brooklyn at The Bell House. I’m very excited to share a bill yet again with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, and to experience for the first time Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra. The show starts at 7:30, and IJG goes on around 9. Can’t wait to see you there!
But now: Sleep. Today was a full day of mystery-gigging and bacon-cookie-making, but I’ll tell you all about those at another time.
The Industrial Jazz Group’s east coast ROCKTOBER tour unofficially began yesterday, as a few west coast members made their way into the eastern time zone. Yesterday I rented the smallest of the three tour vehicles: an “arrest me red” 2009 Chevy Impala. This afternoon the rest of the band flies in, and we head straight to our rehearsal in Brooklyn, and then we’re off to Pittsfield, MA to play as part of that city’s Jazz Festival.
This tour is our most ambitious to date; I just loosely mapped it out via Google Maps and this is what I discovered: This tour, from city to city, is just shy of 2000 miles. Insane, isn’t it?
That's a lotta miles: 1938 of them
Another new high for us is the hiring of an official tour photographer. Out of the many photographers we know, we chose Steven Noreyko of Austin, Texas. I freakin’ love his work, and his specialty is capturing people interacting with odd environments. If a 10-city, 10-day, 2000-mile tour with 17 people crammed in three vehicles and sleeping on floors isn’t an odd environment, I don’t know what is. I told Steve that he could do with us as he pleased, as long as he got at just one shot of us in front of an Applebee’s sign.
For tour updates, keep your eye on this here spot, as well as on Twitter. Durkin, Dan Rosenboom (our skeletor/trumpet master), Matt (our mirthmaster), Steve (our photomaster) and yours truly (the bee-master) all have Twitter accounts and will be keeping you up to date in 140 characters or less. We’ll be trying to use the #ijgtour hashtag, character-limit permitting. If you attend one of our shows, please use that tag, too! (Unless you hate the show. Then use #KennyG.)
When I was living in San Francisco, one thing I grew to appreciate was the ubiquity of earplugs at bars, music venues, and thumpy clubs. Just ask the bartender for a pair, or grab a set as you paid your cover charge and you were good to go. You could hear the nuances of the music just fine, but your ears weren’t ringing for three days post-event. Lots of people wore them, and it wasn’t considered dorky.
I always keep earplugs in my pocket or purse, because I never know when I’m gonna be in an emergency rock-and-roll situation– yessiree, that’s the life I lead. One minute I’m shopping for soup, and the next minute: METAL!!1!
Singing for a big band means that I stand in front of 14 other people playing their hearts out, which translates into ow-ow-ow-ow after the second song if I’ve forgotten mah ‘plugs. You should see the fabulous set Tany has– I bet she’d show you if you asked nicely. (Her EARPLUGS people, her earplugs. Tany will show you her fabulous set of EARPLUGS. Good lordy, you are that pig!)
Because some venues let audience members sit close to the stage, I can see folks cowering a bit during the loud bits, and relaxing more during the quieter moments. But let’s face it: Even when 16 people are all playing softly, it’s still loud.
Folks, we want you to be able to enjoy our music for many years to come, so you have to protect yourself. Practice safe listening!
You can do this by:
1) Not listening to shitty music
2) Buying The Industrial Jazz Group’s albums, either online, or at a show
3) Supporting the band by donating to our fund raiser (Honestly! This is scientifically proven to protect your hearing!)
4) Wearing your earplugs.
As a comfy, environmentally friendlier, low-cost, effective option, we like Argus Hexagonal Polyurethane earplugs. Hexagonal design means there’s less production waste than round or conical earplugs, and they expand comfortably in your ear canal just fine. Polyurethane means no latex allergy concerns. And we buy them in black, because black is the (non-)color of ROCK.
So this is why I, Jill Knapp, The Industrial Jazz Group’s Patron Saint of Hearing Protection, will make sure that earplugs will be available at our east coast shows this ROCKtober. Like I said, we want you to enjoy our music for many years, but you can’t do that if we make you all deeef.
Our faux-mustachioed brethren, Sons of Maxwell, sing a true song of woe called United Breaks Guitars. The band’s singer/guitarist, Dave Carroll (no relation to our own Ian Carroll), had his Taylor guitar obliterated by the United ground crew at O’Hare, and when he didn’t get no satisfaction from that fine airline over the course of 9 months, he decided to get all songwritey and YouTubey about it. YES! I love this man!
This, my friends, is why The Industrial Jazz Group is a Southwest Airlines kind of band. I love their low fares, snarky attitude, no-change-fee policy, blah blah blah, all that. They just freakin’ rule.
You know, for all the cross-country flying that we do (which is a lot, considering we’re 17 people), I think Southwest should give us some kind of corporate sponsorship. Don’t you think? “The Industrial Jazz Group: The official avant-garde party band of Southwest Airlines” sounds pretty good to me.