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Rock, Stupidity, and Good Excuses

October 8, 2009
Stand back, Red Rocks.  This is the Best. Venue. Ever.

Stand back, Red Rocks. This is the Best. Venue. Ever.

ROCK:

Let us cut to the chase. Atomic Drawers, on just a few hours’ notice, played a scorching set of rock last night at Lincoln’s Roadhouse. We started off with This Time of Year, mainly because it’s a classic for LSU fans such as ourselves, and because stupid Billy is stupid flying to stupid Baton Rouge tomorrow for the stupid LSU-Florida game; furthermore, we felt like after hearing Better than Ezra play so well last weekend, we needed to hack up one of their songs in order to bring ourselves back to the reality that is Atomic Drawers on a Wednesday Night. 
Next was Patio Song, followed by Rough Night (we haven’t played that in a while, so singing “shit” in the chorus received a quite favorable response from the crowd), then Billy’s untitled new song which I thought was called Soul Distillery but isn’t, Straight to Hell, and Pussywhipped. (I think we must be back to playing Pussywhipped every single time we get on stage until Dash Rip Rock comes to Denver and makes us stop by playing it themselves, far better.)

We played really well for no apparent reason; when we started, I could count the patrons of the roadhouse on both hands and one foot.  Somehow by the time we finished up, there was a small but rowdy crowd in there. Fun as hell.

STUPIDITY:


So apparently Louisiana has the worst “brain health” in the nation. Big deal–it’s widely known that people with unhealthy brains have far more fun than healthy-brained smart people. One friend, a girl originally from North Carolina, sent me an email yesterday that said,

“Good thing you got out of Louisianna.”

If poor spelling is the tradeoff for a healthy brain, then count me out.

GOOD EXCUSES:

It’s been a long time since we’ve visited some of the colorful and creative reasons for not attending an Atomic Drawers show. And while we did have three die-hards in attendance last night, as well as a good crowd of musicians, drinkers, a softball team, several bikers, and a really drunk salesman of some sort, there were a few no-shows. It was the last really pretty evening for awhile (as I write this, the rain looks like it is turning to snow) but Lincoln’s, overall, was relatively quiet. After taking a short poll, here’s what we have:

1. “I thought about coming to see you play, but we went to the circus instead.”
“Cirque de Soleil?”
“No, Ringling Brothers.”

2. “I had to watch Along Came a Spider, the one movie with Morgan Freeman about psychotic killers that does not co-star Ashley Judd.” (This I cannot condone.)

3. “I was carbo-loading for a big bike race this weekend. I’ve been training for months.” (No entiendo.)

3a. “I ran ten miles home from work after running five miles at lunch because I’m running in a marathon soon.” (You couldn’t run a few more miles up to Lincoln’s?)

4.”I have the Swine Flu.”

5. “I have a four week-old baby.”

Excuses, excuses. 

These are the REAL Atomic Drawers fans:

There might be a liner note credit in the works for Greg and Amy.

There might be a liner note credit in the works for Greg and Amy.

 

The Legendary Keith with Billy V.

The Legendary Keith with Billy V.

MAJOR THANKS to Keith and Amy & Greg for coming out to see us, and everybody at Lincoln’s who watched, listened, and sang along.

Also thanks to John for his usual perfect sound and guidance, Rebecca for serving ’em up, and Chris for pouring.

We’ll see another three to five of you diehard Atomic Drawersians very soon.

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Better Than Drawers

October 7, 2009
Above: Artist's rendition of the type of table upon which hospitality items are generally placed in backstage areas.

Above: Artist's rendition of the type of table upon which hospitality items are generally placed in backstage areas.

I think it makes more sense if I start with the end of the story.

Billy called me at around 10:30 this past Saturday morning and said,

“Dude, we have GOT to figure out a way to sell a million records.”

What follows is a cloudy recollection.

********
Atomic Drawers went Out On The Town last Friday; hitting a Happy Hour at the venerable downtown stinkhole Shelby’s before heading to Atomic Drawers well-wisher Cari‘s birthday party in Five Points. Unfortunately for everyone in attendance, they had free champagne; when my nose gets tickly and numb from the bubbles, I tend to react in high style. (Insert necessary apologies to any of Cari’s guests who were not entertained by our ribald conversational talents.)
Next we caught a cab down to the Bluebird Theater for the Better than Ezra show. Ezra has been around since our college days, getting their start at the legendary Murphy’s Lounge in Baton Rouge, and Billy and I have known Tom (bass) since high school. Tom was gracious enough to hook us up with passes (the show had long been sold out, but in true Atomic Drawers fashion, we had totally spaced the date.)

The show was outstanding; those guys have been playing together for twenty-odd years and were tighter than hell. No gimmicks, no bullshit, just straight ahead power pop rock n roll.

After the show, we wanted to say hello to Tom. We walked over to the backstage entrance and asked the nice gentleman if we could step to the back.  He allowed us based on some neeto stickers that came with our tickets.

They had good beer and attractive people; we introduced ourselves as Atomic Drawers and were met with both confused looks and admiration. (You mean YOU don’t KNOW about ATOMIC DRAWERS?) The only complaint I had was the lack of Miller Lite. Again the beer, the good beer, was entirely too upscale for the likes of us.

We left the Bluebird and headed down to the Rock Bar for a few more drinks; it was loud and crowded and fun. Apparently.

All I know is, our invitation to retire to the Atomic Drawers Creativity Cellar must have been rebuked because the next thing I knew, I was in Billy’s living room with Nirvana-Nevermind turned up to 11.

Major thanks to Tom, Kevin, Michael, and the whole Ezra crew who made it a very entertaining evening.

Now…Billy and I need to figure out how to sell 1 million records.

We’ll get started on that new goal (damn…I need to add that to the list of goals) this evening at Lincoln’s Roadhouse. We’ll be going on around 9 PM; come out and see us.

The weather is going to turn crappy tomorrow. This is your LAST CHANCE FOR PATIO DRINKING UNTIL MARCH. DON’T WASTE IT. COME SEE THE DRAWERS ROCK YOU OUT ON, uhm, NO DAYS OF PRACTICE.

Atomic Drawers? You Betcha.

September 17, 2009
Above: A physically and emotionally spent crowd exits Lincoln's Roadhouse and after Wednesday's Atomic Drawers performance.

Above: A physically and emotionally spent crowd exits Lincoln's Roadhouse after Wednesday's Atomic Drawers performance.

Atomic Drawers played at Lincoln’s Roadhouse last night, and it was fun.  All of the necessary characteristics were evident:  alcohol, cigarettes, blood, laughter, profanity, dancing, audience participation, alcohol, profanity and A LARGE AND ENTHUSIASTIC GROUP OF BADASS PEOPLE.
    
Strangely enough, it was the unflappable Billy who walked up to me before we went on and said, “man, I’m kinda nervous.” 
“Nah, nothing to be nervous about,” I replied confidently, “We’re going to kill it.”
 
And kill it, Billy did.
 
For my part, we got on stage and I was suddenly as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs to be playing in front of several regulars and musicians, but also a bunch of hardscrabble Minnesota folk (in town for Superfans Jared and Pilar’s wedding.)   I easily missed at least one chord change and screwed up at least one line of lyrics on every damned song we played. 
Several of Jared's and Pilar's wedding guests arrive in town from Minnesota, ready for an evening of music, revelry, and pillage.

Several of Jared's and Pilar's wedding guests arrive in town from Minnesota, ready for an evening of music, revelry, and pillage.

 

Thank goodness we’re loud and obnoxious and the crowd is loud and obnoxious with us, because nobody seemed to notice, and if they did, they were considerate enough not to tell us about it afterwards.  It might have had something to do with me yelling, “Go Vikes!” at some point during our set.  It’s always important to remember that when pandering to a crowd, one must always find the most basic way to one’s audience’s heart.
 
We started things off with a very up-tempo Dead Man, which we haven’t played in about a year.  I think we’re going to start playing it more, because it’s fun as hell and people appeared to dig it.  Next was Billy’s fast, loud, frenetic new one, Soul Distillery (Is that the right title?)  We followed that up with The Lemonheads’ It’s a Shame About Ray, a tribute to an old Lincoln’s Roadhouse regular who passed away last week.  Rest in Peace, Ray.
 
I felt like we really got our legs under us for an extra bluegrassy Louisiana Highway One, and took the momentum through T-Shirt.
For our last song, we wanted to do something special for Jared and Pilar, whose wedding is actually tomorrow.  We poured over our song list and nothing seemed to fit.  We discussed learning On the Wings of Love or We’ve Only Just Begun as a way to give these two special people a truly heartfelt sendoff into the adventure of marriage; however,  no matter what we thought of, nothing seemed to convey the unspoken respect that Atomic Drawers has for the immeasurable bond of love and devotion that these two crazy kids share. 
 
So, we played Pussywhipped.
 
And the crowd went wild.  And Jared and Pilar were excellent sports about it.  I have to give major thanks to THE ENTIRE BAR AT LINCOLN’S for singing “WHIPPED, WHIPPED, PUSSYWHIPPED” over and over towards the end of the song with us.
 
Pussywhipped.  I never knew that one song could work on so many levels and in so many different circumstances.  Thank you, Dash Rip Rock, Kings of All Things Sacred in Barroom Rock n Roll, for writing it.
 
For the first time in a long time, I can’t list everybody individually who deserves thanks, because there were too many folks there!  I will try, though, off the top of my head:
Marcus and his lady, Keith and his lady, Kevin, Kelly, Michelle, Rebecca, Jared, Pilar, Marisa, Marisa’s Roommate,  Tall Paul, Casey (GREAT set!), Casey’s lady, Minnesota guy with beard, two other Minnesota guys, and again EVERYBODY at Lincoln’s who made that set so much fun to play.
     
Major Thanks to Chris for Tendin’ and the two blonde waitresses for waitin’.  You three together look like some kind of Scandinavian Tony Orlando & Dawn.
 
As always, John from Acoustic Music Revival, mentor, friend, best soundman in Denver, THANK YOU!
 
See y’all soon.

Drawers Rising

September 16, 2009
The key to being in a successful band is portraying a positive image at all times and making new friends whenever possible.

The key to being in a successful band is portraying a positive image at all times and making new friends whenever possible.

The times, they are a-busy. Atomic Drawers has recently been keeping up a feverish pace on all things not having to do with Atomic Drawers; however, we have found time to do a little bit of practicing and a whole lot of writing. The new songs are stacking up faster than Billy and I can actually figure out how they’re going to sound. 

And, get this: some of them contain neither profanity or nor alcohol references. It remains to be seen whether our fan(s) respond(s) to this strange, new direction for the band, but we must grow as artists, always exploring new planes of creativity within the plying our craft.

With expensive studio time on the horizon, coupled with the fact that we don’t actually get paid anything (except for your extremely valued applause and the occasional and much, much appreciated free drink,) we’ve decided that the best way to fund the new Atomic Drawers Studio Album (tentatively entitled, “Old Glory–A Tribute to America,” or “Kill Some of ‘Em,” or “Soul Kitchenette,” or “Pantless,” or “Coniption Fit,” or maybe “T-Shirt and Fillers”) is through a Celebrity Auction of valuable Atomic Drawers memorabilia.

The following is just a tiny sampling of the various Heirloom-Quality Atomic Drawers Keepsakes that you and your family will value for years to come:

Here’s the pen that Billy used to scribe the lyric to “T-Shirt”:

*The item in the photo above could simply be an artistic representation of the actual item up for auction.

*The item in the photo above could simply be an artistic representation of the actual item up for auction.

Next up, the half-full (as of this writing) pack of cigarettes, some of which were smoked during an Atomic Drawers rehearsal:

This is in no way an Atomic Drawers endorsement of cigarette smoking.  The last thing we need is those obnoxious, healthy-looking "The Truth" kids harrassing us.

This is in no way an Atomic Drawers endorsement of cigarette smoking. The last thing we need is those obnoxious, healthy-looking "The Truth" kids harrassing us.

Next up, some leftover bandages from when I burned the holy hell out of my strummin’ hand after a gig last February:
Don't I take good pictures?  It almost looks like a random image from the internets.  That's what I was going for, though.

Don't I take good pictures? It almost looks like a random image from the internets. That's what I was going for, though.

I know, I know.  It’s hard to believe that we’d be willing to part with such important talismen (talismans?) of our rise to fame, but we need the cash.  I know what your next question is, and no, we haven’t decided whether or not this is going to be an online auction or a black-tie type of event, but we’ll let you know when the final arrangements have been made.
Oh, and we’re playing tonight at Lincoln’s Roadhouse at around 9:00.  We’re doing several originals, a new one, etc. and would love to have you.  Or, if you respond better to directness,  get off of your ass and come see us.

Or, after your Wednesday night date at which the lady will have the Linquini with Clam Sauce and a Coke with no ice, you should head down to Lincoln’s Roadhouse for Atomic Drawers. 

Why?  Because you have The Attitude.

An Atomically-Correct Evening

August 27, 2009
That's right, Kool and Your Gang, there was a party goin' on right here (and by "right here" we mean Lincoln's Roadhouse) last night.

That's right, Kool and Your Gang, there was a party goin' on right here (and by "right here" we mean Lincoln's Roadhouse) last night.

I’ll cut to the chase. 

Last night at Lincoln’s Roadhouse, Atomic Drawers played the best set we’ve ever done.  I mean, I hate to toss out unsubstantiated hyperbole like so much celebratory confetti, but the that was the single best Drawers performance, Chester or Atomic or otherwise, that we’ve ever, ever, ever played.  Ever.  I’m not sure if that’s really saying much when you look at comparables, but there you have it. 

The strange thing is, we did it on one night of practice and played mostly well-worn covers.  We had decided to play last night just to get back on stage and into the mix after a long time off, and that next week was going to be the week where we really put it all together.     

Lamentably, the days of depending upon a support base of near and dear old friends has largely passed into history; however, as it turns out, we still have a few of the old guard who come out to Lincoln’s for a variety of great musical stylings, excellent food, unparallelled service, and the best Wednesday night atmosphere in Denver.   And fortunately, several musicians and lots of random strangers seem to dig our stuff.   

We have found one way to get friends to come see us; give them a ride to Lincoln's in The Atomic Taxi/Tour Bus.  Thanks, Jared, for ridin' shotgun on the long trip from Completon.

We have found one way to get friends to come see us; give them a ride to Lincoln's in The Atomic Taxi/Tour Bus. Thanks, Jared, for ridin' shotgun on the long trip from Completon.

All of these factors and more made last night a freaking blast.  We were slated to go on around 9:20, but instead hit the stage about a half hour earlier and stayed up there for a good long time.  (The joint wasn’t packed, but there was still a good, rowdy crowd.)  

We started off with Chilly Water.  It seemed to take off all by itself. At the end, Billy and I looked at each other like, “holy shit, where did THAT come from?  

We followed with I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, then on to a frenetic East Bound and Down, Can’t Hardly Wait, T-Shirt, and Straight to HellIt was the first time we’ve played Straight to Hell; it’s easy and fun and a lot of folks seemed to really like it, singing along and clapping and such. 

I know, I know, it’s difficult to imagine singing and clapping audience members, but there was a hootenanny a-goin’ on, and subsequently we can cross another goal off of our list: audience participation. 

Excuse the wild conjecture, but I really think, and there was discussion of this last night, that when we finally record our first album it’ll sell ten copies in the first week and go Plastic.  And if by some miracle we can match that sales total in the second week, it’ll go Double Plastic.  From there, we can live on the residuals alone.

Major thanks to everybody who was at Lincoln’s last night, friends and strangers alike:

Keith, Keith’s bearded friend whose name I forgot but might be Phil?, David & Renee, Jared, Kelly, and new Denver immigrant/great old friend John, as well as the Lincoln’s Roadhouse Softball Team and friendsWeird Ancient Hippie Rainstick Lady, and all of the musicians, eaters, drinkers, bikers, stoners, Irishmen, and EVERYBODY who made last night the best we’ve had in a long time.  We hope you had as much fun as we did.

Even more thanks to Chris for pourin’, Rebecca for servin’, and John for sound, support, and organization.     

We are tentatively optimistic that our Atomic Constipation has passed.  We have a ton of new original music that we’re working on and which should be ready for consumption very soon.  Also, I’m hoping to upload a few recent things to this site in a few days.

Until then, I dream of one day having our number of show attendees come somewhere close to that of the blog readership. I wonder if a weekend gig would help?

Autumn Drawers

August 26, 2009
Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.  ~George Eliot

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot

Could it be that the Summer of 2009, one of the finest festival seasons in recent memory, is nearing its coda?

While the rumor among the Atomic Drawers fan(s) is that we’ve taken all of this time off to make absolutely sure we’ve got Working Man by Rush down perfectly as part of our ongoing lovefest with all things Canadian, the truth is far removed from such nonsense. (Honestly, we don’t know how these things get started, but once ignited they spread like wildfire.  It might have something to do with our obsessive yet necessary need to quote this incomparable slice of cinematic excellence at every possible instance.)  And let’s be honest.  Any band who tries to cover Working Man should stop.  Some things can’t be improved upon.

We’ve actually spent the last six-odd weeks throwing our own KICKASS festival, re-familiarizing ourselves with Denver’s nightlife, spending time with friends and family, and pondering the direction of the band through new and truly enlightening experiences.  

For instance, Billy tried an alternative therapy a few weeks back  in order to quit smoking.  It worked for just a smidge over seven minutes. 

I also quit smoking this summer, four times to be exact.  The experience has made me ponder the question of how I want my loved ones to see me:  as a wheezy but pleasant enough person, or as a healthy total asshole.  The jury is still out.

Most importantly, we’ve written a bunch of new songs but haven’t practiced them much.  We’ve played sparingly, mostly covers and older originals, but had a solid (sober?) practice last night and are feeling the inexorable pull of the thee-ah-tah.

Therefore, Atomic Drawers will be a Lincoln’s Roadhouse this evening, probably around 9:00, to play some milk-dipped, cornmeal-battered, deep-fried RAWK for bar/restaurant staff and anybody else who happens to show up. 

Your LSU Tigers start their pursuit of SEC dominance in ten days. Billy is going south to see Kiss, Janes Addiction, and Widespread Panic at the Voodoo Fest in New Orleans pretty soon. Temptations abound.  So get your Drawers while they’re hot, because autumn tends to be a time of mulitiple distractions. (Kind of like summer, actually.)

The Great Gig in the Shire

July 29, 2009
The Drawers' 10KLF stage, made entirely of dirt, dead leaves, and mosquitos.  The bucolic calm before the Atomic Storm.

The Drawers' 10KLF stage, made entirely of dirt, dead leaves, and mosquitos. The bucolic calm before the Atomic Storm.

Atomic Drawers took the monumental step of playing a major summer camping festival last week.

On the bill with bands like Widespread Panic, Wilco, Dave Mathers (or something like that) and countless additional very talented musicians, we finally got our big chance to show the world how freakin’ badass a Drawers show is.

Okay that’s not exactly what happened.  But technically, Atomic Drawers did go to the 10k Lakes Festival, as Billy and I were in attendance. And we did play the 10k Lakes Festival, because we did get out our guitars and perform for several lucky(?) festivalgoers. So there.

It was late, there was a campfire, and we had just seen Widespread Panic play. (Sure those punchy kids from Athens GA are difficult to follow, but we’re Atomic Drawers, for chrissakes.)

There were people with functioning ears and they heard us do it.  That, folks, is a show as far as we’re concerned.  Hell, there were more people there than at some of our gigs at Lincoln’s…

We played Where is My Mind,  Louisiana Highway One, I think, and maybe some other songs or portions of songs before losing interest and turning that loudass stereo back on.

Summer festivals are a great way for Atomic Drawers to get out of our normal routine, see the country, and enjoy nature. And damn, did we enjoy nature.

Major thanks to our corporate sponsors Nick and Anna at Coors Beer, and to John, Shanna, Bud, Michelle, Molly, Brooks, Jim, and the people from the campsite down the hill who listened to us, either by choice or otherwise.

We are back in Denver, ready for The Seventh Annual Denver Catfish Festival, and are looking forward to the onset of fall. 

See y’all soon.