"The term 'Rock' symbolizes to me all the pompous, conceited music that I can't stand." -Elvis Costello
(The following is Andrew's B2P show diary for 2002. It is in no way meant to express the opinions of anyone else in the band, or the band as a whole)
11.2.02/The Star Bar:Finally, we got to play a show with Catfight and Boss, two bands that have supported us 100% from the very beginning. This was very exciting for me since I'm a big fan of them both, so it made me very very happy to share the stage with them for this show. When Born To Please started playing out in Atlanta (fall 2000), not many bands cared to check us out or support what we were doing. I was already a big Catfight fan, and happened to see the girls from Boss (formerly Pinkeye) modeling t-shirts on the Catfight web page. Basically we took a chance at contacting them, and it turned out that they were very friendly people. I'll never forget meeting them, and how crazy I went when we started doing shows together. They are not only talented musicians, but great friends as well. You don't run into very many people like that, especially on the Atlanta scene. It's a scene that is unfortunately very cold, competitive, and seems to be designed to discourage even the most hopeful and hard-working bands.
But enough of that. Also of note, this was the first time we played the Star Bar since January 2001. We learned a lot around that time, but the main thing being our music doesn't go over well with the 21+ crowds. It was a fun show, and this last one was no exception. It's just a different atmosphere, and one that we don't come in contact with much anymore. Nothing against 21+ clubs, because they certainly are better managed and more professional, but I would rather play to a bunch of high school kids in a K-Mart parking lot than I would a bunch of cynical, hipper-than-thou scenesters. That's just how I feel.
But tonight wasn't about that. It was about being in the company of 2 great bands that I admire, and showing as much support for them as I could. I like it when I see them smiling back at me. I know sometimes it can bring you down, playing a lot of shows to small unenthusiastic crowds. I used to wonder how they could keep doing it year in and year out, but now I know. You got to love music, and you got to love your bandmates.
As for my bandmates, they played a hell of a show, and the new tunes sounded wonderful to my ears. As usual, I played my guts out because I feel I don't have a choice. I hope the people watching us realized that there is blood on my guitar for a reason. If I look like a spazmic retard up there, it's because I'm not thinking of anything else but serving the music. Hot and fresh, bad hair and all.
8.17.02/Under The Couch:UTC is little place located on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, and this was the first time we ever played there. We've tried to get booked at this place ever since the band started, but nobody ever returned our messages. Then when we played at the Vineyard this past June, the band High Carbon Steel that we shared the bill with actually asked us if we wanted to play at UTC with them (apparently knowing a Tech student or BEING a Tech student are the only ways to get booked there). So thanks to the nice fellows in High Carbon Steel, the B2P train rolled into campus on this hot, humid night for an evening of all-ages tom foolery.
So earlier this week, I had to get a few stitches in my right leg near the shin. I'd been limping around for the past couple days, and I knew that I had to watch it at the show so I didn't jump around too much and fuck my stitches up. Anybody that has seen me play knows that I don't seem to be able to stand still at all. Anyway, at some point early in the set, I said fuck it and just went for it like usual. I didn't feel anything rip and I didn't see any blood, so I thought I'd be fine. We steamrolled through the set, pausing only when Santiago's string broke (and the expected tuning breaks that resulted). Despite not having practiced for nearly a month, we did really really well. We officially "retired" a few songs after tonight's set, so you will not be hearing "5 Foot One", "Comfort For Freaks", "Pop Chaser", or "Little Soldier" live anymore.
The only act on the bill that I caught was Sarah Sevier, who opened the show. She's a solo acoustic performer, and I'd heard that she sounded like Harriet Wheeler from The Sundays (one of my favorite bands). I was amazed at how much Sarah really did sound like Harriet; incredible voice. I normally am too shy to go up and tell someone I liked their music, but I went and shook Sarah's hand. I hope I get to see her play again. Also, I should mention that a girl asked me to autograph our CD and I don't even know who she is. She looked familiar, I have seen her at a few shows. None of us know her. So she's an actual fan. I can't tell you how amazing that was. I wish I wasn't so damn shy, I don't think I even looked at her.
When I got home, I took off my bandage and got a look at my stitches. It bled a good bit but nothing was torn up. Just a little delay in the healing process, for the sake of the band. I couldn't stop myself from acting up I guess. No smoking or drinking are allowed at UTC, which was awesome. I actually was able to breathe and there were no drunk assholes to be found. I have asthma, so it made a huge difference in my performance to not be in a smoke-filled room. My energy level and stamina were far greater than usual. In addition to the blood on my leg, I noticed a lot of dried blood on my right hand index finger. Apparently I played too hard or something, the cuticle was completely gone from the nail and it was just a scab basically. Eeew! One of those things that doesn't hurt till you see it. I remembered feeling something wet on my hand while we were playing, but I figured it was either sweat (it was extremely hot there) or drool. Sure enough, there was dry blood on my bass too. Why doesn't anyone tell me this shit?
Well, we're taking a break from playing live so that we can write new songs for the next CD...so I don't know when I'll be writing in the diary again. But I would like to note that we've played nothing but all-ages shows this summer (Vineyard was 18+) and it was a great experience. This year we've played a lot of new places and we've met a lot of new people, and for the most part it has been pleasant. We connect more with the younger audiences, and they are a lot more fun to play for than the 21+ crowds we used to encounter all the time. I'll play just about anywhere, but it would suit me fine to continue playing the Vault, Penumbra, Nuci's Space and The Vineyard alone. I love trying out new venues and seeing different faces. We're only as limited as we allow ourselves to be. Born To Please is a kids' band and we know that. And incidentally, we rule ass!
7.11.02/The Vault:Oh man, the Vault is my new favorite venue in Atlanta. The staff are all nice people & extremely good at their jobs. The place is awesome inside...it's very creatively decorated. One room is literally like sitting in a bank vault, another is designed to look like you're in an ice cave. The main room & stage are stunningly constructed, it's hands-down the nicest I've ever played in. I was completely happy with the way this gig went down, from the attentive & professional manner in which it was booked...right down to the easy load-out. I was actually sorry more people didn't show up to this place. Maybe that's because it's in Buckhead, an area of Atlanta that I don't spend too much time in. Then again, I have no friends besides my bandmates, so I guess it wouldn't matter in terms of how many people came to see me.
I made the mistake of not eating much of anything all day, which made it extra-hard for me to not fall over and die from how hard I pushed myself physically during the show. I definitely need to get more exercise apart from having sex regularly and playing in the band. I came closer to passing out than I ever have before. But dammit if we weren't awesome up there. The guys in the 2nd act, Taj Motel Trio, were all nice to us and actually enjoyed the show. A lot of bands ignore the other acts on the bill when you do shows, so it was cool to have strangers support us like that. I actually got several compliments afterward, which never ever happens to me. Kristi said it might be because I let Jeri do my hair in the parking lot before we played. I normally don't do anything special to my appearance when we play shows, so perhaps I need to. That would be weird but I'd get used to it. If it wasn't so hot onstage, I'd like to play in a big blue furry Cookie Monster outfit. That would rock ass.
6.15.02/Penumbra:What is Penumbra? It's a cool little space in Lawrenceville that recently started up, full of art and graffiti and children of all ages. I really like the guy that runs the place, and I was happy that Lee Smith hooked us up with him. Anyway, we got there around 7pm, set up on the stage, and waited for the other bands to arrive. The High Strung, who were travelling all the way from Brooklyn NY to play that night, were the ones supplying the P.A. system for the evening's entertainment. They got to the place around 10pm and promptly set up and got things rolling, they were very cool guys.
The audience really dug us, and I put every ounce of my energy into putting on a fantastic show. I'm the clown of the group, so I loved hearing the laughter of the crowd, seeing their smiles. I always let them know that I don't take myself too seriously, and that if they care to watch me, I'm gonna make it unforgettable somehow, even if I fall down dead afterwards. No one has ever accused me of not giving my all.
I thank Ampathy for coming out to do the show with us, The High Strung for making sure everything sounded great, and Mux at Penumbra for liking us enough to put on this show. I wish him all the luck in the world with his venture, and I'm glad we got to play there before all the emo punks and self-important indie rockers (make no mistake, THESE are the hippies of the new generation) find out about Penumbra and completely take over.
My good friend Kristi and her pal Dagger showed up to support us, which was a wonderful surprise. Kristi brought her 6-month-old son Mica along, and he just about stole the show from me. She put this cool little hat on him so the sound wouldn't hurt his ears, and I'd say it worked a little too well. My lasting memory of this show is looking down and seeing him ASLEEP on kristi's shoulder as we thumped away onstage. It was incredible, and just might have made my summer.
6.7.02/The Vineyard:First time we've ever played in Marietta, and our first time playing in a church in a strip mall. I can count my favorite Born To Please gigs on one hand...and this is now one of them. It was an all-ages show, no smoking & no alcohol. The place was big, miked the amps, had air-conditioning, they gave us towels & water, they set up a merch table for the bands, it was astounding. To top it all off, wall-to-wall carpeting. Even on the stage!
The bands we shared the bill with were incredible too. The opening act High Carbon Steel were a refreshing change from the type of bands we usually play with. HCS is made up of three energetic young guys with a great sense of humor and sincerely good music. I was so happy that they weren't emo or hardcore or punk or metal. They actually had substance and originality. I loved it.
The next band was Nillah, whom I'd read about last year and have been very eager to see live. Man, they were brilliant. Pop rock all the way to the bank! They reminded me of a band I used to play in called THUMPER, only way more advanced. Again, a welcome change from a lot of the crap bands we've been onstage with!
As for us, we kicked complete and total ass. That was probably one of the best sets we ever played. I'm sitting here with my ears ringing and my whole body aches. I know I've done well when my head is pounding, my throat is dry, my fingers have been ripped to shreds, and I feel like I ran a marathon. I gave this show my all, like I usually do. So I hope the folks that came really enjoyed themselves. I wanna play the Vineyard again!
5.25.02/9 Lives Saloon:Playing at The 9 Lives Saloon in the "Little 5 Points" area of Atlanta is always interesting. The first quirky thing is you gotta drive your car up ONTO the sidewalk (where a bunch of people and children are usually standing) in order to load your gear into the place. It's funny how both cars in traffic and people on the sidewalk react to a vehicle jumping the curb and parking in the middle of everything. After that, you enter the dark, hot cavern of 9 Lives and try to pick out which of the black t-shirted white people (since everyone in 9 Lives fits that description, it's not always easy) are your bandmates. Next, you venture out into the streets of Little 5 searching for a place to eat that won't make you puke (stick to the sandwiches @ The Vortex and you'll be fine), meanwhile dodging the gazillion panhandlers and hippies that clutter your path endlessly. Then you sit and wait to play, while listening to loud metal music and enduring the blistering heat (yes, even in the winter time it's hot as fuck inside 9 Lives).
Tonight we lucked out because we were on first. The sound guy is the coolest fellow, very nice and professional (which is a rare thing to find), he had us sounding great. We pounded thru our set to the brave souls who actually ventured out to see us, and we kicked a supreme amount of ass. Those who just happened to be in the club waiting to see someone else, or who were just having a drink at the bar, popped their heads in to check us out (this always happens when we play here because they are so used to hearing the usual screaming hard rock bands onstage). If you ever wanted to know what it feels like to do jumping jacks for an hour inside an oven set to 350 degrees, I recommend playing onstage at this club. And people wonder why I strip down to my boxer shorts at these shows. Regardless of the heat and the atmosphere, we did exceptionally well (we haven't practiced in weeks either!!!). And I'm thankful to be able to play anywhere that'll have us, so don't worry 9 Lives.
We finished, quickly loaded our shit out the back door, and caught our breath amid the sweet stench of garbage and beer behind the club. I could see the leather pants & leopard print thru the exit as the next band took the stage. The door slammed shut, and with a rebel yell of "Hello HOTlanta!", they blasted into their (you guessed it) screaming hard rock. Free at last, free at last.
I may sound like I'm down on the Atlanta scene or "rock" bands in general, but I'm not. They do what they do and I do what I do. Wether or not they return the respect I give them is their choice but it doesn't hurt me one way or the other. There's something you need to know about me and about the band I play in. Age-wise, we fall right into this gap between the Creed/Korn wanna-be's and the beer-swilling, tattooed "rock veterans". And to make it worse, we also don't fit into the emo/hardcore/indie rock category OR the punk category. Fuck if I know what we are. But I know what we're not. As for me, I have known (and liked) who I am for most of my life. Either you like me or you don't and that's fine. Fitting in doesn't make a fuck to me. Where I fit is in Born To Please and I love these guys. And at the end of the day it's us against the world and that's cool too. I was home in time to put ice on my blistered fingers and watch a rerun of "Saturday Night Live".
5.15.02/Athens Music Factory:This show was supposed to be a "battle of the bands" type thing, but it didn't seem to be organized very well at all. The promoter was also the guy who was managing the floor AND running sound, so he was pretty frustrated. At one point I saw him looking in a copy of that week's Flagpole magazine just to see what bands were playing, and in what order. Poor guy. I know what it's like to have bad communication w/ your co-workers.
Anyway, we played dead last at around 1 in the morning. It really reminded me of one of our very first shows, back when we didn't know any other bands and all we concerned ourselves with was being the greatest band on the bill. Plus, the crowd for the previous band had left, and we were down to a few dedicated fans who drove all the way out to see us, and some assorted others who whose curiosity we'd attracted.
We played awesome, no question about it. There was this drunk, homeless man right up front the whole time who was doing this oddball 'interpretive dance' stuff along with our music. Each and every song! Plus, he was dancing with a big stuffed teddy bear! Man, that was so cool. I wish someone had gotten a picture of us with him. Anyway, it was lean and mean time for Born To Please, something that hasn't happened in forever. In the early days, we just went onstage ready to be hated. There was no sitting in a couch backstage, no load-in or sound check. Nobody knew you or gave a fuck about you, and it made you smile because you knew you were about to hurt them so bad when you got up there.
Don't get me wrong, I like it so much more now that we have people actually wanting to hear us, people coming that LIKE what we do. But there was always something tangible in the air when the room would all but clear, and there was a silence before we played. It felt like the moment right before a fight, when you know the guy is coming at you and you ball up your fists, waiting for the moment of impact. We destroyed the AMF and nobody ever really found out who the winner was when it was all over. But you know I think we all know who the real motherfuckers are. Smile.
5.2.02/The Echo Lounge:We seem to be hitting the Echo about once a year, each show more hi-profile than the one before it. This time, we headlined the evening (meaning you're the biggest name on the bill), and that's a real accomplishment considering this is a "2nd tier" venue in Atlanta. Not quite big-time, but not exactly a little dive bar either. Our album impressed somebody enough that Creative Loafing magazine did an article about us, and that helped us land such a good show. I'm very proud of what we've done in the last 2 years, and I'm very happy that we're not the only ones who enjoy this music.
The show opened (late) with Sasparilla the Singing Gorilla, a guy in a gorilla suit who sang & played upright bass. I loved it, it reminded me of the time when Elvis Chicken opened @ the (defunct) 513 Club. Some people thought they were 'too cool' to enjoy Sasparilla's act, but unfortunately this wasn't a night for those type of people to be at this venue. He was a really nice guy and very talented. Next up were our longtime pals Diesel Cockwrench & The Pornographs, who did an incredibly tight set and interacted well with the crowd. It made me happy to see how great a live act they have become. They really are fun. Their drummer threw one of his busted-up cymbals out into the audience after they finished, nearly chopping up my legs. But hey, Justin nearly killed Santiago by doing an even more dangerous off-the-cuff stunt once upon a time. It goes with the rock business I guess. Ampathy played after, and they ripped it up. I don't know these guys but they're friends of Jeri's and all seem like very cool people. For some reason they think a lot of us, and I'm glad to have a band like them on our side because they destroy. Their music is real no-frills rock, it speaks for itself. I respect that.
So we went on last. Things were running late and I could see that those who hadn't left the club already were tired & anxious for us to do our thing so they could drag their asses to work in the morning. So we went on and served it up hot and fresh like always. Everybody in the band played so great that night. I was all smiles. It seems like I push myself harder and harder physically at every show, and it's starting to scare me. Sometimes I feel like I'm gonna bust wide open, explode or something. It's so hot onstage but I can't stop myself from jumping around like a freak. I want to slow down and rest but I don't, I can't. It's like the music won't let me stop. I know I'm sick because after driving an hour and a half to get home @ 3am, I didn't crash. I sat in a chair & played my bass for like 2 hours. The morning after the show, my fingers were swollen and my neck & shoulders hurt like fuck. But I feel happy knowing that everyone who took the time to drive out, pay their money, and waited all night to see us, got the 100% full-on Andrew bass in their face. I can't wait to do it again.
3.29.02/Nuši's Space:Although we practice in Athens, write our songs here, and we recorded our album here, we rarely get the chance to PERFORM here. It's a small town, but the music scene is huge. Getting booked is rather difficult if no one in town knows you and YOU don't know anyone. Luckily, our friends at Nuši's Space (where we do all our writing/rehearsing) are all about helping struggling musicans (read more about Nuši's at www.nuci.org), so they asked us to come open this show. Yes, we do fall under that category. Especially when you're talking about us in Athens.
The show was absolutely incredible. We played astoundingly well, our collective energy bouncing off the walls and shaking every ass in the room. It didn't feel anything like Atlanta, that's for sure. Perhaps we were finally in our element. Perhaps performing at our 'home base' provided us with the audacity & confidence we needed, who knows? Either way, it really was our finest hour. Looking out into the crowd of mostly complete strangers, I could see right away that our attitude & sound had a visible effect on those who were present. Everyone was smiling and cheering us on. Regardless of if they were laughing AT us or WITH us, we fed off the enrgy and gave it right back. I had such a wonderful time.
I can't say what the future will hold for us in regard to Athens. Maybe they'll show us more love than Atlanta has, or maybe they'll turn their back on us as well. One thing is for sure, Nuši's Space has had a huge impact on the band, and has enabled us to do so many things that would otherwise be extremely trying and difficult. It is a positive environment for making music, and a true blessing in our lives. I can't imagine where we'd be without it. Definitely not where we are now. As long as Nuši's Space is around, we will always have at least one place that supports us 100% and that is such a great feeling. Sorry to get all mushy, but I give credit where it is due. And I feel sorry for anyone who missed this show! HAHAHA!!!
3.17.02/The Masquerade:This was our first live performance of the year 2002 (our first show in 3 months!!!), and we played incredibly well. The Masquerade's stage is way way bigger than the ones we usually play on, and we noticed the last 2 times we played there that something was disrupting our communication. So we made a conscious effort to situate ourselves as close together as possible, and things worked out beautifully. Not only did I feel close to the band like I do in practice, but I felt closer to the audience as well. I don't really like playing on stages that are up high. In fact, I prefer to play right on the floor with the crowd standing directly in front of me. But hey, we all have our little preferences.
Anyway, we didn't know ANY of the other bands we played with, so we kind of just kept to ourselves and did our own thing till it was time to hit the stage. Since we were on last, there was ZERO pressure! All we had to do was set up and whoop ass, and we did. Looking out at all the familiar smiling faces made me so happy I can't even put it into words. I know I can be a sappy bastard, but I like that kind of stuff. And it was so awesome to see people singing along to our songs. It's been happening for a long time, but I never get used to it. Our fans are the fucking best people ever. Incredible.
Lastly, I wanna thank Roni Sarig from Creative Loafing magazine for writing such a great little thing about us in that week's issue. To know that a stranger can listen and completely understand/appreciate what we're doing leaves me with an amazing sense of pride and accomplishment. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I couldn't ask for a better band, and a better group of people to play music with. Here's to whatever 2002 brings us...
CLICK HERE for the 2001 DIARY
CLICK HERE for the 2000 DIARY