The Sixth Great Lake Fall 2003 Tour Diary

Weekend on Pine Street, Burlington Vermont

Rehearsals were simple in the abandoned old studio warehouse on Pine Street. We were blessed with short cold rain downpours and cloudy sunsets. We saw some amazing skies over Lake Champlain as we bashed away on the songs, and even saw a beautiful rainbow. We bought a volume pedal from Advance Music and returned it because it was a piece of worthless crap. Aimee showed up with Tracy and her two daughters, Isabelle and Emily. They enjoyed the sweet sounds of the Sixth Great Lake and then went grocery shopping. Koala’s friend Tom Huddelston showed up with a big beard from Montreal and fell asleep while we tried to learn the ending to “My Old Kentucky Home.” It was here that we realized that Mike’s mini DV videocamera was stolen out of the suitcase on the trip from Nashville to Vermont. Things are off to a great start.

Radio Bean, Burlington, VT
Highlights: Being in Burlington again
Tom meets his quota


The vibe was all crunchy as we set up on the tiniest stage in the northeast at the Radio Bean Coffeeshop. Tuni showed up early with his manic honking and Tiffany Ziter came with a camera. The show was loose but good and the jamacian ginger beer and myers dark rum concoctions worked well. Tom met his quota at the merch table and sold five records, which earned him a free LP. We ended up at the O.P. that night, where we ended up leaving Anna’s jacket on the back of the chair so we had to drive back downtown at two in the morning.

Middle East Upstairs, Boston MA

Highlights: Red Sox win.

Peaches playing downstairs.

Anna’s family and friends show up

We make zero dollars from the Middle East Stayed in Concord at the Jaysane-Darr house everybody sleeps well. Around two in the afternoon we picked up the rental van from Avis at the Burlington airport. The guy behind the counter was really cool and helped us get a couple good discounts on the two week rental and it come out to about $1400 for full coverage. A short drive later we’re in Cambridge with Aimee and Zach trailing the van in a rented PT Cruiser. Load in and set up and we have to pay for our own drinks out in the restaurant until the bar in the club opens up at 9. People start to trickle in and we play a good show to a pretty empty house. With the Red Sox and Yankees playoff game going on we totally expected it. Tony Goddess of Papas Fritas played a set of songs which sounded really good. It was a small crowd, but at least the Red Sox won and we had a nice place to stay. The people who came to the show were cool too.

Southpaw, Brooklyn, NY

Highlights: Play with Jeff and Sasha and Finishing School

Big friendly Rotweiler-looking dog at the club named Remy

Brooklyn pizza and the 12th Street Lounge

Sing along in basement

Kicked out of basment for smoking tubbs

Said “goodbye” to Aimee and Tom as we departed the Jaysane-Darr household and headed to WMBR for a brief radio set. We were on the road to New York by early afternoon. Hello Brooklyn. We’re feeling like we’re travelling with the Red Sox at this point more than being out on a tour – but the baseball players have the night off as they travel down to the big apple but we do not – we’re off to Southpaw to play with The Finishing School (Sasha Bell’s solo project) and tonight is the CD release for “Destination Girl.” Jeffie and Sasha and Julia are at the club when we arrive, along with Jamie Huggins and her drummer, EJ. We have to wait a little bit for “The Silent League” to finish their soundcheck. Brooklyn pizza tasted totally fantastic here. We’re also feeling like we’re driving from town to town sampling slices of pizza and I can’t remember a better tasting slice than the one from Brooklyn. Maybe the Papa John’s we end up ordering after the bonfire in Greensboro, NC, but were getting ahead of ourselves here. The F.S. did their typical fantastic set. It was good to see Jeff and Sasha again and have them up on stage with us – the first time the original full lineup of The Sixth Great Lake performed together live in perhaps three years. Good to see so many old friends at the club, as well, including Jeff Gramm, Michelle Peltier, Bill Wells, Jerod Gunsberg, Britt Myers, Doug E Fresh and Joy and Oshin Baroyan and so many more. Stupidly we capped the night off at 12tth Street Lounge and drank until four in the morning. Hangover from hell ensues.

Knitting Factory, NYC

Highlights: Smelly sound guy and one monitor

Keyboard stand joins the band

Kevin from Currituck opens the show

Jamey of Of Montreal sings on “Hoboken” with Koala

Embarrasing Gary Olson and the icebox band room Red Sox win.

We had the whole next afternoon off in Park Slope and had a nice breakfast and a good little walk around. Koala spent some time over at the Farm, Zach took a nap, Chris met Julia for Lunch, Anna and Mike walked through Prospect Park and curled up on a grassy knoll in the sun beneah a tree. The Knitting Factory was a pretty good show – it was awesome to see Anna Pinto, Janice McDonnell and Bryan Boyce from Nickelodeon days gone by. We found a great keyboard stand in the closet here that was broken, fixed it and took it with us on tour. It was just taking up space so we did them a favor. The sound on stage was crazy with one monitor and from the drums it felt like we were a football field away from the monitors and audience but we chugged through it and chugged some beers. I can’t remember much more about this night except that the shows were starting to blur together and everyone’s beards were getting longer... even Anna’s.

Doc Watson’s, Philadelphia, PA

Highlights: Trolleyvox’s fan base talk through the whole gig

Megan McCracken shows up unexpectedly

Red Sox lose.

Record time load in, play and get the fuck out – 3 hours?

Zach drove three hours after the show

So now we’re actually getting out of town, heading South and there’s no more staying at our own apartments, parent’s pads or places we’ve lived in the past... we’re finally out on the road. I remember listening to Neil Young’s “On the Beach” on the way out of town but that may have just been in my head and not on the car stereo. We did the set up and played and got out of there in record time – we played really well that night, Koala was hot that night and Chris was absolutely stellar – Trolleyvox were nice – their fans talked a lot during our set but it was fine. We packed up right after the show, took the money and ran – we got three hours out of the way for the 10 1/2 hour drive to NC thanks to Zach being the designated one.

Vincent’s Ear, Asheville, NC

Highlights: Long drive, hippie hideaway, skatepunks on acid out front

Long wait after we arrive at Vincent’s Ear.

Wine Pabst Blue Ribbon and coffee Mary calls...

Whaddaya know??? Knoxville is cancelled!

Evan Dando comes to hang out with us Green Fields

Chris and Susan let us sleep at their house

Mellow Mushroom and walkabout Cool record store: Almost Blue

Lots of health food stores, meditation centers, and a store devoted completely to new age music.

Koala went to say hi to Evan Dando who was playing down the street at the Orange Peel with Vic Chestnut. We were hanging out at Vincent’s Ear and Evan came back to hang out for a little bit. He was reading Faulkner and out doing a string of shows. He was really nice and seemed to have things well in hand. It was a genuine pleasure to be able to spend time with him.. Asheville is a total hippie haven – a crunchy mountain folk college town near UNC. They were SO laid back but we finally got going and played to an audience of about ten people including us. After the show Evan Dando came running up the street and played Rolling Stones and Blue Oyster Cult songs at us as we drove away with the van door still open. We did pretty well in merch that night, thanks mostly to Chris and Susan, who also took us in, treated us right and were soooo friendly. Chris played us his record – his band “Green Fields” sounded amazing. Good night’s sleep and breakfast at The Mellow Mushroom – only in Asheville can there be a restaurant based on the theme of psilosybin. (Actually we saw another one later in Athens.) The pizza was really good here... the crust was crunchy, as were the waitstaff and clientelle eating outside in the NC sunshine. Asheville is a really cute little town. You should move there.


Gate City Noise, Greensboro, NC

Highlights: Red Sox lose 4-3 but Zimmer gets thrown to the ground.

Gate City Noise & the crew...Andrew, Blake Wonderful food and bonfire.

Papa John’s pizza to the rescue.

Good sleep, morning coffee, beautiful day.

Spent a majority of the drive trying to find baseball on the AM dial to no avail. We called Anna’s dad for the score update but completely missed the melee on the field with Pedro and Don Zimmer. We arrived at Gate City Noise, and met Andrew who was very cool – the store is great and they had sweet records and a skateshop – we scooted over to the NY Pizza place across the street and caught the end of the game so we were happy but the Sox lost which sucked. Blake made us a great macrobiotic dinner back at the record store so it cheered us right up. We had a great show that night. People came out and were into it and we had fun. We headed off to a bonfire apres show. It was a bit strange but there were three dogs running around and we ordered a late night Papa John’s pizza that really hit the spot because we were all starving by the end of the night. We had a great night’s sleep at Andrew and Blake’s house and woke up slowly on a beautiful morning. Good pancakes at the diner on the way out of town. Corn pancakes, Koala got the bananna pancakes with whipped cream and Chris got the chili pancakes.

Caledonia Lounge, Athens, GA

Highlights: Red Sox win 3-2.

Zach’s monster burrito at The Grit

Shots and cake at The Globe

Finding “Journey Through the Past” on DVD

Cake on stage and happy birthday to Mike

Anna’s Stevie Nicks 70’s dress

Great thrift store shopping and record shopping

Selling merch to John at Wuxtry

Day off due to a cancellation in Knoxville, TN. They couldn’t get a beerslinger to work so...whatever. After waking up and having a nice morning in Greensboro with Blake we got on the road and headed for Athens. We rolled into town and headed for The Grit, where we always go for food when in Athens. Mmm. Zach got the biggest chili burrito any of us have ever seen and was appalled and only had a few bites, but we carried it with us the rest of the night. The baseball game was rained out at Fenway and we were bummed to have a night off but no baseball to watch. We always seem to have to play during the games. Oh well. Koala crashed at Dottie and Derek’s house and we hit the outskirts of town to find a cheapo Super 8 motel. It was “Scarface” on the tube and a pretty good night’s sleep. The next day was relaxing and fun as we wandered around the record, book and thrift stores in downtown Athens where there were college kids doing their college thing everywhere. We started drinking early at Globe (where Dottie works) and had a round of shots and some cake to celebrate Mike’s birthday. It was such a beautiful day out we couldn’t fathom the idea of spending it inside a movie theatre watching “School of Rock” although we all want to see it. Perhaps in Chicago. Mike got a vintage leather tonto jacket and Anna got a 70’s dress that she wore on stage that night. Soon after, or not so soon after, we loaded into the Caledonia Lounge and did our soundcheck and got all ready to go. Again we played to a pretty small audience – We saw John and Will from the Olivia Tremor Control – they’re working with Derek on a new Circulatory System record which we heard a little mix of and it sounded great. Ryan Lewis came out to the show, as well as Kevin, Derek and Dottie (from Of Montreal) and we had a nice time, some birthday cake on stage and pretty much crashed out right after. On a grey, slow-moving Tuesday morning we packed it up, said our goodbyes and got on the road to Nashville.

Springwater, Nashville, TN

Highlights: Having a home at Mike and Anna’s

Good sleep, doing laundry

Watching Neil Young’s “Journey Through the Past” on DVD

Friends from CMT showing up – Hunter’s birthday present

Florida Marlins kill the Cubs in the top of the 8th Inning

The Matiod Red Sox lose to the Yankees in the afternoon.

So we got back to The Riverfront Apartments and the plants were all still alive so we were happy. It was a bit chilly as we drove into the Vanderbilt area to find Nashville’s classic dive bar, Springwater, with the red shiny streamer curtain lining the back of the stage. Setup and soundcheck was pretty laid back as usual, so we headed out for Mediterranean food and to The Great Esape (record and comics) – Back at the club later we realized that there were two other bands playing that night so we were looking at going on around midnight, which sucked for our CMT friends who showed up at 9:30 when we thought we were supposed to play. It was a great show in Nashville – we were able to swich things around so we started playing second - Koala had an awesome set and The Sixth Great Lake played in top form. Carla took lots of pictures. David and Suzanne, Shaggy and Emilie, Hunter, Santos and Stacey Cato came out to support, which was so wonderful. Almost as wonderful as the last band, a 3-piece with a lead singer from Finland who goes by the name of “The Matiod.” We were thorougly entertained with his Zoogz Rift meets Meatloaf meets Billy Childish set. “Makie makie makie makie lovey lovey lovey lovey making love.” We did good merch, sold a yellow t-shirt, got our guarantee, swilled down a few pitchers and watched the cubs lose. Red Sox lost earlier that afternoon and we cried.

The Village Sports Bar and Lounge, IG Festival, Atlanta, GA

Highlights: Turning around and driving back to Georgia after being there the day before

Paying $3.00 for a soda from the club we were playing at

The soda was flat.

Red Sox amazingly win after being so down that we had to turn off the radio

Florida Marlins beat the Cubs and are in the World Series.

Selling no merchandise whatsoever even though the table looked gorgeous

Not getting the beer or guarantee we were promised

Realizing we left the bass at the club the night before

Zach’s late-night four hour drive back to Nashville

Sleeping in the van was the only way to deal with the return trip to Atlanta. The Red Sox, who were ahead 4-1 had allowed four runs so the score was 5-4 when we had to turn off the game on the van radio because it was too painful to listen to. When we rolled into Atlanta, they had a big-screen TV waiting for us with the game on – AND the Red Sox were miraculously somehow ahead by a run when we got there. They went on to score two more runs with Trot Nixon’s homer in the 8th inning. Amazing! That means there’s one more - Game 7 (tonight) and we hope they win win win it would be such a shame after all this if they lose, but time will tell. Actually the game is only four hours away from the writing of this. It was grueling to watch the guy who was opening up, and poor Zach and Anna got stuck in the room enduring that horrid, much-too-loud music and pretending to clap between songs. We videotaped the Sixth Great Lake show this night - which was pretty good – We had an amazing drum kit set up that night. Anna’s cousin Stacey brought the majority of the audience out to this cute little neighborhood (East Atlanta Village aka Five Points) – The vegan/vegetarian restaurant and the pizza place around the corner hit the spot. All we talk about in this blog is baseball and the food we eat on the road. Maybe it would be more interesting to talk about how little money we’re making, all the extra space we have in the empty clubs or how many t-shirts we haven’t sold, but that might be depressing. At least we’re all getting along, having fun, getting fed and getting by with good attitudes. The cans of Pabst arrived really late in the night and Summer Hymns played a pretty good but 5 songs-too-long set, incuding a dead-guy medley of The Three’s Company Theme/Ring of Fire/Werewolves of London with the intent of adding Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” to the end. They did a great version of Neil Young’s “Tonight’s the Night” on a whim and kept playing long after we were ready to pack up and leave. The door guy only had half of our money but we told him he was going to have to answer to Mary Jones. She actually straightened it out the next day with the promoter. We did the overnight drive back to Nashville and landed around 5am wondering weather we gained or lost an hour to central time and crashed out at the Cumberland Mine for the second night in a row. Pancake Pantry in the morning, picking up the bass from Springwater (The Matoid had accidentally taken it home with him and returned it) showers, a few emails and we’re on the road for Newport, Kentucky.

Southgate House, Newport, KY

Highlights: Sasha Bell’s birthday – happy birthday, Sasha!!

Red Sox vs. Yankees Game 7 – Red Sox lose 6-5 in the 11th inning. It’s over.

Meredith and the drive to her house in Miami, KY

Playing “My Old Kentucky Home” in Kentucky

Not playing “Kentucky” in Kentucky

We slept in after the long drive, woke up for showers and coffee and headed out for a late breakfast at The Pancake Pantry in Hillsboro Village. The food was good but a bit expensive. Anna had a hard-boiled egg. Then she forgot her phone at the apartment so we had to go back. 65 North to KY. The Southgate House was the biggest venue we played in on the tour (so far) – rumor has it that it used to be an old gangster joint. The opening band became the headliners and we kicked the night off with the KOALA set which sounded really good and the lighting was awesome. It was a huge stage and there were lots of people there for a change. The bartender was really cool and the soundguy was a super friendly. We rocked the house on that huge stage – the sound was big and juicy and people were dancing and frolicking in the balcony. Okay maybe not, but they really liked it. Colorfest played a hard rockin’ show after we played, while we watched the hard-luck Red Sox knocked out of the playoffs with a Yankee homer in the bottom of the 11th. Bummed out, we munched some KY pizza and did the loadout. So the Yankess go to the world series against the Marlins. Zzzzzzz. It should have been the Cubs and the Red Sox but the curse got both teams this year. I think there should be a “B” division world series for the losing teams. It would be more entertaining than watching ANOTHER Yankees world series. There was a guy there who really wanted a copy of Guppyboy “Jeffersonville” but we never got it to him. Sorry, dude. If you’re reading this, email us and we’ll send it to you. We met a girl, Meredith, who let us stay at her house (Koala had stayed there once before with Of Montreal) and it was a 40 minute drive but she had to take off – it was very cool of her to let us stay there. In the morning, Chris played the Charlie Brown theme and Halloween on the out of tune piano in the front room, counted the money and gave us our per diems from Nashville and we were off to Starbucks and Meijer (pronounced how?) and then back on the raod for Chicago, IL. We got paid pretty well, played a good show, got a food buyout, sold some merch and realized we were coming really close to making enough money on this tour to be able to pay off the rental van. What more could we ask for?

Gunther Murphy’s, Chicago, IL

Highlights: Meeting Mary Jones at the club

Meeting Jeff, who flew in from Omaha to see us play

Accidentally leaving Ziter’s bag at the club with all the tour money in it

Driving around for food for an hour and ending up at The Golden Apple

Staying at the Rydholm’s house and playing with the door buzzer

The Chicago skyline from the rooftop at night with a glowing ring around the moon

Setting off the fire alarm in the house in the morning

The old hometown still looked the same as we drove up Lakeshore Drive past the loop to Belmont (3200N) to find Gunther Murphy’s. Zach, Chris and Mike used to live in Chicago in 1993 so it was nice to be back there together after ten years. Memories came flooding back. We were playing The Dingo Sessions, sponsored by Fosters and The Onion. Strangely enough, the show wasn’t LISTED in the Onion but they made up a cool banner which we snagged after the show. Devon Davis opened the show with a rockin’ set and a packed house. Mary was very nice and supportive and we met Jeff, a big fan who bought the only advanced ticket and flew from Omaha to see the show. Kristin Rydholm came out to see us play and she was very sweet. The show was pretty good, a bit sloppy probably due to road weariness at the end of the tour, but the sound was good and Mike won an Onion t-shirt coming off stage for entering the raffle. Everyone else got Foster’s t-shirts. Koala was eager to see Young People’s show (that we got bumped off the bill from) at Schuba’s. We hopped in the van looking for Mama Leone’s or a Greek place to eat, drove around for an hour, found no parking, contemplated take out at Julia’s parent’s place. We dropped Koala off and finally found a parking space and ended up at the Golden Apple diner – just like old times. The place hadn’t changed a bit in ten years, except for the menu. We drove back to the Rydholm’s residence, found the most amazing parking spot across from the Haunted House party and unloaded. That’s when Chris realized his bag with ALL the tour MONEY and the KEYS to the HOUSE was missing and possibly left at the club or in the alleyway out back. “Mike we need you to get back in the van immediately...” We feared for our lives as we drove through redlights and stopsigns back to the club yet once again with very little conversation and a few “did we look under the van seats?” and “when did you last have it?” type questions. Fortunately it was still there, with all the money sitting on a bench by the stage. Nice one. We went back to the Rydholm’s again, and got the same parking space. A big thanks to Jo and Ralph for letting us stay there that night. They left out towels and bagels. We woke up to a sunny day, a nice walk around Linkin Park and we were off to our last show on the tour in Grand Rapids, MI.

Schuler’s Books and Music, Grand Rapids, MI

Highlights: Jamming out in a bookstore

The amazing food we got for free there that night

The amazing people that came out to see us and listened and loved it

The amount of merchandise we sold after the show

Hair of the Frog (the brewery we hung out at after)

Shawn and Emily

Well folks here we are at the last show on the tour... and we find ourselves in a shopping mall complex at a bookstore in a back room by the cds and music section. We’re feeling like we’re doing the Barnes and Noble circuit... but little did we know the show would go so well this night. One perk was the fact that it was an early show and we had a long drive the next day and we were exhausted from two weeks on the road... but the food was key... we were expecting a scone and a cup of coffee but we all ended up with a tasty meal – I think everyone had the vegetarian chili and a sandwich... oops... no, Koala had the quesadilla. But forget about the food we ate... the show was great – they had chairs set out and there were families and kids and fans and people we wouldn’t get to know until later on. Koala had their full attention as he ran through his set (for the last time this tour) and The Sixth Great Lake got up and rocked both the fiction and non-fiction sections in a way they’d never been rocked before. The show was videotaped by two different cameras, and we were quiet so you could hear all the vocals and we played really well ‘cause they didn’t serve drinks in the bookstore so we were 100% sober. We all agree it was a wonderful way to end the tour... Thanks, Grand Rapids. Shawn and Emily took us out to the Frog after, where Dressy Bessy had played the night before and the Essex Green had played earlier in the year. The IPA was great and a bunch of people who saw the show were there and talked about how much they loved it. We picked up some Heinikens at the 7-11 on the way back to Shawn and Emily’s place. We called Sasha and sang happy birthday to her (it was her party) but she said that it sounded like four drunk guys and that her toilet was overflowing. Then some strange woman knocked on the door of the house asking for money because her child was in the emergency room and she needed to buy pampers. We were perplexed but Chris gave her $3.75 and she left. Then we pet the cats and went to bed. We got up earlier than we ever have in our lives and got on the road the next morning. Mike and Anna got dropped off at the Cleveland Airport to fly back to Nashville, while Zach, Chris and James continued on with the van to NYC. If all goes well, Zach will get the van and the drums back to Vermont, Chris to Brooklyn and James back to London. Whoops, he’s not James in this tour blog... he wants to be known as Koala.

I guess it would be nice to summarize and bring together the whole tour at the end of this blog... it’s not easy, but I guess all we can do is say thanks to the people who came out and supported us, bought records and t-shirts; and to all the clubs, newspapers, radio stations, friends and family members who put us up and put up with us. We hope you enjoyed our music. We certainly didn’t make any money... but we broke even on the van and a bit short on the merch... we did make some new friends and renewed some old vows with each other. Maybe we’ll do it again next year. Maybe not. Oh yeah, a big thanks to Neil Cleary for his drumset and Fred Kovey for his bass rig on this tour... what would we have done otherwise?

See you on the roof.

Published On: Oct 10, 2004 09:05 PM