Clenching moments from the road, as reported by four Omaha garage rockers.
by Jordan Minnick
photos and entries by Yuppies
Catching up on the phone with Yuppies’ singer/guitarist Jack Begley (they call him Boogs) yesterday evening, he tells me the guys are basking in some pre-show downtime, outside in 80 degree weather. The Omaha act is at a little club called Cheer Up Charlie’s in Austin. It’s a vegetarian cuisine restaurant and bar — only the band’s second bar stop on their nine-day Midwest/southern tour with Noah’s Ark Was A Spaceship.
The two bands also toured together in 2008 when they put out a 7-inch split. The old split is still sold at the merch table, as are a few new tracks on CD-Rs (also hosted on MySpace and downloadable at their Bandcamp page). The garage pop-rockers have an album lined up for May/June, afterall.
"Getting Out" and "Sunglasses" by Yuppies
Mid-tour, they’ve played two house shows, two bars and one “DIY-art-gallery-sort-of-place” in St. Louis — their nights in between spent in sleeping bags on the floors of nice people. Nine guys (eight musicians and one roadie), two bands and two vans. This is their day-by-day documentation of their tour, as told by a different person each day. Comic book exaggeration included.
Today, Yuppies and roadie sidekick Crass whiz from state to hotdog-eating state in their trusty tour van, battling snack-stealers and sassy gas station girls. Tune in next week for part two to see if Noah’s Ark and the 5-0 meet again.
Friday, March 18: The Birdcage in Iowa City, Iowa
We grab gear and food, put it in the van and hit I-80 east to our first tour stop in Iowa City, “THE BIG EASY.” The sun is shining and the grass is brown — I’m homesick.
The concert is at a house named The Birdcage, because it is the home to more birds than humans, which really does a number on their utility bills. The residents of the house play in fantastic rock groups — Solid Attitude, and Wet Hair — who performed after our band. Our band performed to a sedated audience, between 3 and 500 people — the memory has become hazy. Then Wet Hair played — spacey keyboardy, chill, good stuff. Followed by Sic Alps, on tour from San Francisco. They were fantastic — fuzz guitars, banging drums, catchy jamming.
By then it was 4 a.m., and the band we are on tour with played. The guys in that band are rather unfriendly, I do not know any of their names, but their band is called Noah's Ark was a Spacearc, or something. Anyway, earlier that day they stole some of my snacks, so after they set up I detuned all their guitars. Boy did they look foolish when they tried to go into their first number “Sandman” and it sounded like “Kashmir”. Pretty pathetic for a cover band, but the babes seemed to enjoy it. The next morning we got coffee and left for Chicago, “Sin City.” I think Crass fell in love. — BOOG$, aka Jack (vox/guitar)
Saturday, March 19: Empty Bottle in Chicago
We left Iowa and entered Illinois, the land of the creator of Lincoln Logs. Upon arrival in Chicago, we made it to the venue, the Empty Bottle, where we would be playing later in the evening. Another band showed up around the same time, Noah Sarc and the Spaceships, I think. I think they played with us in Iowa City, and now I think they might be following us. They seem like alright dudes, I just hope they’re not trying to steal our fan base, snacks or rocking guitar licks. We’ll see.
We sound checked, and then ate some pizza, I ate my pizza the fastest. We went back to the club and began to mentally and physically prepare for our big Chicago gig. The first band that played consisted of some guys we knew from around the way, they were called Groceries — they had songs about spiders and motor boats. Next up was Noah Sarc. They really rocked it, it sounded like eating a hamburger on acid, I mean like an acidic cow. If you could translate that eating experience into a hearing experience that’s what it would sound like, exactly.
We played next and girls threw beads at us. The last band was a local band called Bat Masterson — they played a sort of psychedelic rocking blues that whipped the crowd into a trance. After the show the dudes in the band Groceries showed us around to a good time. We ate splendid tacos. I fell asleep on a couch and woke up at a gas station somewhere in Indiana.
I needed to buy cigarettes, so I did. The lady behind the counter asked to see my I.D. and then proceeded to ask what I was doing out here “all the way from Nebraska.” I told her that I was playing rock music, she smiled and told me that it was OK, and that I was not going to hell. I told her that her philosophy of art was bullshit and that I disagreed. I left the gas station in anger and boarded our van. Now it’s onto the next stop, Bloomington, Ind., Hoosierville. — The Drill, aka Jeff (bass)
Sunday, March 20: The Blue Room, aka Haley’s house in Bloomington, Indiana
Twenty minutes after Jeff wrote his post, we got pulled over by the cops and he got arrested for verbal assault on a gas station attendant (a little known, but very seriously enforced law in Indiana). Kevin did the Charleston two-step and told a joke about two middle-aged swamp monkeys and an Aquafresh toothpaste tube to distract the police woman, while Boogs and I attempted to sneak Jeff out of the police car. Kevin now has a girlfriend and Jeff was set free.
So we made it to Bloomington … without Crass. Yup, we definitely left Crass in Chicago. We debated for about a minute and a half and concluded that Crass was better off without us and we were kinda hungry anyway. We ate peanut butter sandwiches and headed off to Indiana University to record Yuppies’ newest album Hanga-Fang with our friend Haley. It turned out great! I wrote this great song called “Wreckingball Girl” about getting punched in the face by a girl named Dozer in high school and it turned out great! Everything was great … until we got to the venue/house.
We pulled into the driveway and saw a suspiciously familiar large blue van already parked there with three grungy lookin’ dudes hangin out beside it. We got out of our van and a tall mustached man pulled out a switch blade, “Don’t come any closer Yuppies … or else. We are Noah’s Ark Was A Spaceship and this is our tour now.” The three guys moved aside and behind them was a short young man in a yellow shirt holding a kick drum pedal to Crass’s groin. This man had a hate in his eyes that none of us had ever seen. He spoke, his words like daggers slicing apart our heartstrings with every syllable, “Give us Hanga-Fang or else ol’ Robbie here is gunna do a little bass drum practice. And little Robbie goes through four bass drum heads every practice.”
Boogs shrugs his shoulders and retorts, “Ya dude, that’s cool.”
In sync all four reply, “Really? Alright, cool!” We gave them the record and began to hit it off.
We decided to play the show together … as friends. Everything was great! Haley made us Mexican chili and pulled a few prehistoric Miama Heat fans off the street called Labronasaurus Rex and made them play blues licks. She then played a solo set of beautiful dark, electric, folk/country tunes under the moniker of Circuit Des Yeux. Noah’s Ark Was A Spaceship actually did a better job of covering the songs off of our album they blackmailed us for, so we clapped after every song. I ended up buying two copies. Unfortunately, we got booed out of the basement. I guess we’ll have to figure out some new material for the later dates.
Soon after, the whiskey had run dry. We all decided to continue on our journey together … as friends. Tomorrow “The Big Apple” Saint Louis. — Noah (vox/guitar)
another time in Indiana…
Monday, March 21: Lemp Arts Center in St. Louis
(fun grammar errors left unchanged)
Roadies log Day 4. Though I’m not actually playing music on this tour the girls don’t seem to mind, because everyone in Yuppies and Noah’s Ark most likely spent their teenage years alone in their rooms, with a mirror between their legs, putting sunglasses on their boners and giggling.
The tension is growing at an exponential rate. With every stoical and contemptuous look we send and receive, it makes me wanna drive the van over a quarry, where we will live in extreme pain until May 21st where upon we will witness the second coming of Christ. Morale is very low — we have split in to two factions: the “Rebecca Black Untied Alliance” and the “Anti-Rebecca Black Movement.” Those of us in the Rebecca Black Untied Alliance have launched a smear champaign against the Anti-Rebecca Black Movement, shortening the name to the “Anti-Black Movement,” in hopes that they will be perceived as racists and cave to our demands. Which are: we get to play Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” Bangs’ “Movies” and Nick Manij’s “Did It On ‘Em” any time we want in the van.
We arrived in St. Louis in the early afternoon at the venue, the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center. On arrival we met Mark, local punk rock historian and courier of the Lemp Arts Center. Mark and the Arts Center are doing amazing things for the community, giving inner city kids orchestra and piano lessons during the week, and supporting sustainability equipped with a garden and free-range chickens in the backyard. Apon entrance I received a chess and piano lesion from the local master, due to my golden-illuminated aura he saw from across the room.
Despite our laziness, nap attacks, and sludge-replaced brains, the show went well. Best Yuppies show so far: Phish-esque psychedelic jamming, and Noah’s Ark’s St. Lunatics-inspired Nell-wave movement number really went over great with the crowd.
After the gig we went to stay with our buddy and Omaha native Tyler. Where we reached a new level and commutated in un-audible slang, eye movements and mudslide babble. Another night of content-ness listening to Boogs sleep giggle. Tomorrow, off to Tennessee where I hope to eat BBQ’s and get offered moonshine for the second time this week from sleeveless spit talking rebels. — Crass (roadie)
Tuesday, March 22: Jameson’s in Memphis
We awake in St. Louis to find that it’s my birthday, but not just any birthday, a golden one. 22 years of life on the 22nd day of the month, it was bound to be a good day. After doughnuts and dancing we hit the road.
Now I’ve seen the lakes of Minnesota, been across the plains of Texas and been from sea to shining sea, but I’ve never seen the hills of Tennessee, and let me tell ya, it’s worth writing a song about (which I plan to do after I’m done with this). After a beautiful drive we arrive at the house we are playing at only to see my new favorite band Noah Spark’s Cruise Ship hanging out eating hotdogs and drinking beer. “This is America!” I exclaimed and joined in the activities.
After chatting with some local folk, a few noise acts began playing which made me feel like I was levitating. Whoa. Then a band from Massachusetts called Sore Eros kicked out some wicked psyche folk.
And then something happened. As I walked through the kitchen I notice a pot of a mystery food and seeing as no one was around I decide to dip a fork in and try some. What I later found out were collared greens had a sort of miraculous effect on me. Never have I experienced so much soul in food before. I know that’s what the south is known for but even Al Green would be overwhelmed with the amount soul. Nebraska needs to stop eating corn or whatever it is we eat and start eating collared greens.
After gaining back the soul I had previously sold to the Prince of Darkness, it was time to set up and play. It was music alright. Then finally, what I had been waiting for, my fourth favorite band on my golden day. But much to my dismay they were stopped a few songs in by none other than the fuzz. Jerks. They said, “Bros, come on, mellow out, the neighbors aren’t diggin the vibes.” and Noah Spark (the band’s lead singer) said ok and that was that. The rest is a little hazy, I think we consumed somewhere around 90 beers minus the one I gave to some hippie for advice, which was not worth it. Turns out when you regain your soul on a day made of gold, hippies don’t seem to have all the answers after all. Tomorrow it’s off to N’orleans, the Windy City, blasting “Baba O’Reilly” the whole way to build up our teen movie-esque party fantasies. — Kevin (drums)
Noah's Ark at the Memphis house show.
Jordan Minnick is Hear Nebraska's editorial intern. So far, she's spent her spring break home in Montana raiding her dad's vinyl record collection from the '70s and trying to figure out how she'll smuggle Rubber Soul back to Nebraska. She'll be interning this summer at The A.V. Club Austin. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.