Everything You Need To Know About the Science Club Tour

nicknicnickatthetroc

Science Club is going on tour next week.

Let me write that sentence again, in case it isn’t sinking in. You are forgiven for thinking that, maybe, I typed something wrong, or I am playing an early April Fool’s day joke, or I’m just flat out lying to you.

Science Club is going on tour next week. It’s going to be so dumb. It’s going to be so great.

As far as tours go, this isn’t a big one. Even if you look at through the lens of self-booked, go-nowhere regional punk bands, which is totally the correct lens to look at this tour through, it isn’t really anything to write home out. Three bands are playing four cities in four days. Thursday to Sunday. Basically an out-and-back.

That’s not how to look at it, though, not really. You’ve got to look at it is both a labor of love and an act of supreme triumph, because that’s really what it is.

Let me tell you about it.

Part 1) Find Myself a City to Live In

 

Here’s how the tour looks, with dates and all:

  • Thursday, April 3: Rochester, NY, @ The Bug Jar
  • Friday, April 4: Syracuse, NY, @ Monirae’s
  • Saturday, April 5: New York City, NY, @ ABC No Rio
  • Sunday, April 6: Philadelphia, PA, @ JRs Bar

The first thing to notice is that a lot of these dates, approximately half of them, are taking place in upstate New York rust best cities. There’s a perfectly good, perfectly boring reason for that, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like playing at places like this. I’ve long had a fascination with places built on industry, and how those places have carried on once industry leaves. Then you’ve got Syracuse, which is a town trying to build its modern foundation on the bones of a fallen titan. If you can’t admire the spirit in that, the idea of making a home out of ash in a place of ash, then I don’t understand why you’d listen to Science Club at all. This band is all about taking things that are shitty and trying to survive. We are a rust belt city.

The Rochester show is a special one for me, since it will make the first time I’ve played my birth city with a full band since I was 19 years old. Shouts out to Frank Burns, but I’d like to think I’m coming back better than I left. It’s not really my city anymore (in fact, it never really was. I left when I was 18, long before I ever spent any time downtown), but it means a lot to me to come to it and play some punk music. I’m going to be weird at that show. Sorry, everyone.

The New York show is special, too, because it is a day time, all-ages punk show, which, if you listen to Nick, is the kind of show we should have been playing all along. He’s totally right, of course. I can’t expect my friends with children and mortgages to enjoy a pop-punk band who writes sounds about not being good enough. Teens, though? Oh man, that’s teen bread-and-butter. I’m really excited about that NYC show.

It’s my birthday, too. I might get a tattoo.

Philly? Well, tour’s gotta end somewhere. Since we’re from Philly, it makes sense. Also, I love JR’s Bar more than you love your favorite bar, but I already told you about that.

2) These Are the People that I Group Together

The bands going on this tour with us are as follows: The Sexy Teenagers, The Pastries, and Hopeless Otis.

I don’t know a ton about Hopeless Otis. I found them on the Internet somewhere, they are from New York, and their songs really blew me away. They seem to be trying to pick up where Latterman left off. They make positive, feel-good punk for the bad times, and I think they’re gonna blow the doors off ABC No Rio. I’m going to buy one of their shirts, for sure.

Playing with The Pastries is great for me. The band has formed from the bones of two of my all-time favorite Philly bands, J.Fox and Algernon Cadwallader. A lot of digital ink has been spilled talking about how wonderful Algernon Cadwallader is, so I don’t feel the need to rehash it here. Suffice to say, if you aren’t familiar, you should get familiar.

J. Fox, however, largely went unheralded in its prime. The band was a three piece from Bensalem, PA, and they made some of the weirdest, shortest, most cleverly-worded, charmingly strange rock music I’ve ever heard (full disclosure: Science Club drummer Joey is a former member of J. Fox). Listening to J. Fox felt, to me, felt special and present the same way I imagine hearing Pavement in 1993 or Modest Mouse in 1994 felt to tiny crowds in nowhere rock clubs. When they played, it felt like an event. It felt like something was happening. They disbanded, for whatever reason, and, for a time, a great rock and roll voice was lost. So having it come back in the Pastries, and having the chance to hear them four times in a row, and to expose them to a new group of people, means the world to me.

The Sexy Teenagers. What can I even say about them? They’re the silliest drunk-punks around and they’re going to be incredible. They are the co-headliner for this tour, and without them, there likely wouldn’t be a tour at all. The band is fronted by my little brother John, and I can’t even really explain what it means to me to be playing on a tour with my brother. I could try, but you wouldn’t get it and I wouldn’t do a good job. Suffice to say, it’s important, and I can’t believe how I lucky I am that it gets to happen.

With this team assembled, we cannot fail.

3) Where Did All The Money Go?

Shirts

The last thing you need to know about this little excursion is that THERE WILL BE, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EXISTENCE, SIGNIFICANT, ACTUAL, PROFESSIONAL-GRADE SCIENCE CLUB MERCH FOR SALE.

We’re selling our first-ever pressing of our latest EP, Aging Punks, at all the tour stops. We’ve got 100 CDs. I predict we will come home with 90 CDs.

The other thing we’ve got is t-shirts. There are only 20 of them and, if there is any luck in the world, we will come back with none of them. Rochester is probably going to buy them all on the first night of the tour, because Rochester goes deep.

4) Do You Like My Party Ticks?

We’re going to play some new songs on this tour. They might be on an EP that gets recorded later this year. They might be on an album that gets recorded later this year. You might never hear them again. I don’t really know what’s happening with them yet. We’ve got ‘em, and we’re going to play ‘em. If they stink, let us know. If they’re good, keep it to yourself.

If this goes well, I want to book another one. We’ll see.

I promise you this: we will not write a tour song about this. Nick has a song about traveling, but we will not write a song about being on tour. We aren’t Good Charlotte.

So that’s about it.

 

Thanks to ABC No Rio, JRs Bar, The Bug Jar and Monirae’s for letting us play at these places.

Thanks to John and the Sexy Teens for helping us book the Upstate NY part of the tour.

Thanks to our jobs for letting us take two days of from work to act like we’re 21.

Thanks to everyone who bought an online copy of Aging Punks, because that money helped us practice for these shows.

Thanks to everyone who came to the Trocadero show, because that ticket money allowed us to make shirts and CDs.

Thanks.

This is so dumb. This is going to be so fun.

 

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I Know What I Want To Say But I Can’t Get it Out

trocstageI don’t think I’ve ever articulated it before, but after every Science Club show, I take stock of the performance and consider if we should be a band or not.

After our worst show, the massacre at Frank’s garage in Montgomery County, I had real reservations about being in a punk band. I left that show pretty convinced that we were, at best, a bad band that shouldn’t keep playing shows. I strongly considered quitting the band after Frank’s garage.

After most shows, like our recent run at the Voltage Lounge or the Lit Lounge, I come off stage thinking that we at least deserve the right to continue being a band. These shows, which are 90 percent of all out shows, leave me hopeful about our chances of developing as songwriters and confident that we can find a way to write songs that we like (and that, hopefully, could appeal to others).

After Saturday’s show at the Trocadero, far and away the largest and most-attended show of Science Club’s brief and stupid existence, I felt not only that we should keep making music, but that we were a good band. Science Club is a good band, and I’ve got the proof because I was there.

liveset

From a technical standpoint, the show was kind of a disaster. About five seconds into our first song, Nick blew through his bass strap, almost dropping his instrument right out of the gate. Our friend Joe called it “the most Science Club thing that could have happened,” and he’s kind of right. I’ll touch on that more in a second.

Not long after that, I myself blasted through my own guitar strap. So, for those keeping score at home, that’s two guitar straps in less than 10 minutes. Later in the set, my guitar pedal died mid-song, leaving Nick and Joey to play a bass-and-drum version of one of our new songs. After that, I blew through yet another guitar strap, bringing our band total to three and making for our most error-ridden show to date.

Here’s the thing about all that, though: even when everything started going belly up from the jump, we were never out of control or panicked. I don’t say that to brag, but just as a statement of fact. We were too jacked up about playing a real stage, too excited about our songs, too practiced to let something as little as “not being able to stand and play our instruments” hold us back. We had a plan and we followed through on it, and nothing short of physical harm was going to stop us, because this wasn’t just some other show at a dive bar. This was a chance to prove that we belonged, that we could entertain a room full of strangers, that we are a thing. We acquitted ourselves nicely. Call it bragging if you want to, but fuck it: we’re a real band, and we’re good at what we do.

undershot

A great deal of thanks has to go to any number of people. Steve from Mantis, the promoter / booker for the show, was an excellent guy to work with. He was up front and professional from start to finish, going so far as to scramble to help me find a guitar strap when my second one blew off my body. I would book a show with him and Mantis again in a heart beat. Thanks must also go to Mobius Trip, who volunteered to let us use their drum set and was very supportive while we were on stage.

The most thanks, of course, has to go to our friends and family, many of whom came from parts far and wide, who supported us at this show. A very, very large part of why this show was successful can be directly attributed to loved ones offering up their money and their Saturday night to watch what very well could have been a train wreck. I have rarely felt more supported in my life. To those who could make it out, I thank you a hundred times over. You are noticed. You are appreciated.

Breaking a strap seconds into the first song of an 11 song set is, in fact, the most Science Club thing ever. For a while, being Science Club meant trying to have fun, not taking ourselves seriously, sloppily fucking up and trying hard to not be boring. It still means all those things, I think, but after Saturday, it means something more. We’re not like we used to be. We’re better. I’m going to keep breaking strings and straps. Nick and I are going to sing flat and out of key at times. Joey is going to miss his fills on occasion. It isn’t going to matter. We’re going to be fine.

I’ve never been more excited to be in this dumb band. Our tour is going to be great (oh yeah, we’re going on tour. More on that later).

Science Club forever.

sclubcrowd

 

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