1. Happy birthday Adam! @shewantsrevenge

     


  2. Unreleased SWR rarity now on itunes, Amazon, Spotify, Rdio, etc…

    As featured in the bonus materials of the Girl/Chocolate Skateboards incredible new video, “Pretty Sweet”. Hands down the best skate video of the year and one that lives up to the usual quality from our friends at the Girl family. After having our song, “Us” in their last video, “Fully Flared”, it is a nice bookend to be a part of their latest offering.

    This song is a special one for us that seemingly came out of nowhere; Adam started it in the studio and it was like nothing we’d done before. I started building upon it with no preconceived ideas and then passed it back to him and the result was unlike anything we’d done before. A post-Valleyheart b-side holiday present to those close to us. 

    xoxo

    Justin


    http://www.amazon.com/Kiss-the-Night-Away/dp/B00AIJUT2C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355516298&sr=8-1&keywords=kiss+the+night+away%2C+she+wants+revenge

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/kiss-the-night-away-single/id584495876

    http://open.spotify.com/track/1MBZ2noxIRXWGA7M0FWdXF

     


  3. CALIFORNIA LOVE


    As most of you know we have decided to put our beloved band on an indefinite hiatus as we pursue individual projects and other avenues of expressing ourselves and creating beautiful things.

    It’s been 9 years that Adam and myself have been making music together, (long before any of you heard it), and it has been a huge part of both of our lives which we have put more of ourselves into than you could possibly know. While this is not goodbye, this is a time for us to take a breath and see what’s next.

    But before we do, we wanted to do a small tour of our home state of California, the place and the people most dear to our hearts.

    For those of you who live out of state and are unable to attend, we have fond memories of playing in your cities and perhaps we will see you again.

    But for those in California please come out and join us, as it will be a very special run of shows.

    Just as we’ve always done in the past we have again selected some dear friends to join us, and we hope you’ll enjoy them as much as the many bands we’ve had the pleausre to turn you onto in the past.

    Thank you for your love, devotion, dancing, and the many, many kind words you’ve shared with us both online and in person over the years. You mean the world to us and we hope you’ll continue to support us as we pursue other interests and grow as artists and people.

    We plan on filming as many of these shows as possible for part of a long in-the-works docu-concert/thing of sorts, as well as playing some songs we’ve never played, possibly some guest appearances, and definitely an emotional and special time for all.

    With love,
    Till death do us part.

    Justin



    Observatory, OC - Sept. 14th -  http://tiny.cc/275ljw
    Belly Up, San Diego, Sept 16th - http://tiny.cc/b95ljw
    Roxy Theater, LA -  Oct 5th - http://tiny.cc/w45ljw
    Roxy Theater, LA - Oct 6th - http://tiny.cc/155ljw
    Great American Music Hall, SF - Oct 7th - http://tiny.cc/905ljw

     

  4. Paris.
    What can be said?

    While some Europeans (read: Germans) complain that though France is a beautiful place, Paris is full of rude people, traffic, overpriced food and hotels, I say they’re CRAZY. Paris is the shit, and while there are other parts of France that are in fact beautiful and perhaps more welcoming to outsiders, Paris is a magical place that has to be experienced not just once, but several times in one’s lifetime. I was lucky enough that this was I believe somewhere around my 5th or 6th time in the city of lights, and I couldn’t believe our good fortune that we had a night off to hang and experience the city.

    We checked into what was the largest hotel room I’d ever seen in Paris, then hit a cafe around the corner for a perfect French meal. We all sat together and enjoyed the ambiance and food, and of course the bread.  Though it was in the very touristy part of town known as Montmartre, the cafe felt like it was the Parisian version of a Silverlake bistro; young staff, hipsters, great food, beer, wine…just less beards and no one was wearing Tom’s with cut-offs.

    After lunch I walked the area looking for a place to do laundry (though we’d be leaving for home the next day, there was no way I was packing a bag full of dirty clothes), and I found one a block from the hotel which I decided I’d hit in the am.  Back to the hotel to change and rest, and after a short hang, Adam and I met up with Peddy, Thomas and Pop along with our Parisian promoter at a bar that was hosting our “after show party”, but seeing as how we were leaving early the morning after our show, they threw a “pre-show party”. Adam and I walked past the Moulin Rouge, many sex clubs and street urchins to find our way to the club/restaurant, and once there we watched Peddy and Pop eat raw hamburger and my mind raced, filled with visions of parasites, Dateline television episodes, and stomach bugs in foreign lands. On the table was a bottle of hot sauce just begging for me to try, so after Thomas sampled it, I felt as if I had to. It was without a doubt the hottest, most offensive thing one could ever put into their mouths. Certainly the “Ghost pepper” was a key ingredient, and it was a solid 10 minutes before I regained feeling on my tongue. Try as I might Adam would not sample said hot sauce (wise move). I had a mineral water, chatted up the promoter and crew, then Adam and I split, as the “pre—party” was apparently one or two goth girls in the basement, not quite enough for Adam to break out the turntables as they had hoped.

    The next day Adam and I walked the neighborhood trying to decide where we were going to have our Moules Frites, so we checked out every spot in walking distance until we found a place that seemed suitable. We ate at the sidewalk cafe as an old man talked and blew his cigarette smoke in our direction long after his colleagues had left. I know it’s Paris, but the cigarette thing is a real drag for non-smokers…but I digress….

    After lunch I hit the laundromat and sat and did laundry like a good Montmartre local, then after, walked with my bag full of clean clothes to the nearby venue for sound check.


    The venue was great, much bigger than the last place we’d played 6 years earlier when we were last there, and besides being the last show of the tour, it was going to be special as Paris is one of our favorite cities.  After sound check we all split up and went our separate ways. I joined Jason for some pastries and coffees at a nearby Patisserie and bar then we headed back to the venue to kill time till the rock show.

    The upside of Paris for me is it’s the one place where I can speak enough of the language to get by, being that I was the guy that took 3 years of French in junior high (smart for a kid from North Hollywood to pass up Spanish, I know), so I can order food, clumsily hold conversations with an accent so true they forgive my searching for the most basic of words, but never the less they are always impressed and it makes me feel good finally not being the dumb American looking to his promoter/guide to ask a question, order food or hold the smallest of conversations.

    The show was everything I’d hoped, sold out, packed, sweaty as fuck, and a great time. The crowd sang along, danced, and made for an amazing night of music and a great send off to a tour that meant so much to us.  (Besides the fact that we’d not played Europe in 6 years we knew that we had no idea when we’d be able to make it back, so for us it was a way of saying thank you to the kids who’d waited so long and patiently to see us play, as well as a way of saying to ourselves, “hey, you’ve waited this long, go have a blast and rock the fuck out….you’ve earned it”).

    We had some after-show pizza with our promoter, had a long emotional goodbye with Peddy and Pop (hands down two of the best humans and crew we’ve EVER had the opportunity to work with), said goodbye to Jason (as he was staying on in Europe), and headed back to a sketchy hotel by the airport to crash for a few hours, the US of A getting closer by the second.

    The 4th of July.

    Adam, Thomas and I woke, hit the airport, and said our goodbyes. (Thomas was off to Sweden to visit friends). After spending an ungodly amount of money on our baggage and guitars, Adam and I hit the terminal in search of food, and lucky for us we found what we were looking for and so much more when we stumbled upon Ladurée, favorite of Blair Waldorf and soon to be mine. The decor was unbelievable; all pastels and something out of a Disneyland child’s ride. Hues of pink and green and a menu that would put a real dent in one’s wallet, but seeing as it was our last meal of the tour we treated ourselves and went big - omelets, fresh squeezed orange juice, the best crossaint EVER, coffee and pastries. Well worth the $100 plus dollars for the feeling of UES extravagance and Serena and Blair style breakfast fun. We stopped off to grab some grub for the plane, bottles of water, and soon it was time to board our flight home.

    On board (window seats of course) I sat in front of Adam, and occasionally we’d check with one another, conferring about the movie selections, trying to pass the time with the best possible cinematic experience while avoiding the dogs. I watched movies for hours, slept a bit, did some reading, caught up on some blogging, and waited patiently for the moment my feet hit the soil of our motherland on the day of our independence. It had been a long tour and tired didn’t begin to tell the story; all I could think about was my family, the ocean, and sunlight…..oh, and not having to eat ham for a very, very long time.

    Los Angeles, CA.

    Home. Passport control. Baggage claim. Curbside goodbye with 12, and then to the parking garage to meet my lovely wife and son with hugs and gifts. It was a long hard tour, and seeing their faces at the finish line is what I’d been imagining whenever it started to get to me.

    If you’re not in a band and have never toured you may think a journal like this is strange (food, coffee, jogging, country by country minutia), but let me tell you, touring is not what you think it is.

    It’s not drugs and groupies, parties on the tour bus and 1970’s Cameron Crowe fantasy. It’s not all epic shows, camaraderie, back-pats and Madonna prayer circles.

    Often it’s finding a decent bathroom, hoping for a window seat, praying for a good monitor man, crossing your fingers for a healthy walk-up when ticket sales are slow. It’s wake, coffee, bathroom, shower, sound check, food, nap, show, shower, food, sleep and repeat…..and repeat.

    It’s looking for a clean healthy meal, and writing about it when you find one, it’s a joke between band members, a fight on the sidewalk, the joy of a few hundred people connecting with something you and your best friend wrote in your living room before….everything.

    It’s being excited for Waffle House, jonesing for Cracker Barrel, and feeling like you’re back at home when you stock up at Whole Foods. It’s the team-spirit of a midnight Wal-Mart run, stocking up the bus with snacks and deciding what the next episodic television series everyone is going to dive into in the back lounge.

    It’s choosing your bunk on the first day of the tour and buying a fresh pillow, it’s cash in your pocket from the club giving you a buy-out, it’s the rush of playing new songs for the first time; the terror and panic of forgetting your parts/words, but the feeling of satisfaction when you nail it.

    It’s 5 friends sitting in a Starbucks waiting to use the toilet and the cute girl behind the counter knows exactly what’s going on. It’s celebrating Thanksgiving as a road family, or coming home with tattoos. It’s huge cell phone bills and girlfriends coming to visit, it’s fighting with the opening band, their bus catches on fire, then you make up and drive them to the hotel and forget why you fought.

    It’s your favorite food in your favorite city and the best fans in the world who are going to come see you yet again, and you feel lucky every time they show.

    It’s waking up and wanting to be home, grinding out the most boring day of your life, being pulled from your bus bunk to play a show, then meeting the kids who drove 8 hours to see you for the first time and in that moment you remember why you’re there and it’s all worth it.

    It’s being thousands of miles from home, exhausted, out of your element, sick, lonely and depressed but still having the presence of mind to know that this is THE DREAM, this is what you wanted since you were a kid, and no matter how exhausted, how out of your element, how sick, lonely or depressed, at that very moment you are still the luckiest guys in the world. Whether there were 20 or 2,000 people in the crowd, it is an incredible way to live one’s life; making something out of love and having it find love in the world, sometimes thousands of miles away.

    Touring and being in a band is not what you think it is; it’s not easy, it’s not always fun, but it’s the best gig in town, and anyone that says anything to the contrary is a either an asshole, a fool, or not paying attention to the big picture.

    Thanks to all those that came out for our Russian/European tour, it meant a lot. We love you guys.

    Prologue.


    Back at home, sunny California, sitting in the back seat of my car beside my son as he talks my ear off as a nearly 5 year old boy should when his dad’s been away for a month. I ask my wife to stop for coffee, and with just a quick stop to refuel we weave through the holiday traffic making our way to Malibu to celebrate the 4th of July in the way I had since I was nearly 5 -  on the beach, with fireworks, family and friends, and eating barbecued meats.

    America, fuck yeah.

    Justin

     

  5. Madrid.

    Did I mention that Adam and Jason’s bags never made it to Portugal from Russia?
    Well they didn’t, but sometime around Madrid they got them and had a lot more options for clothes, shoes, and toiletries. Total bummer. So with bags finally in hand we hit the hotel.


    The venue was weird, I’ll just say that, and the opening band were really annoying (like 10 or more deep in a shared dressing room and no concept of boundaries, space, or protcol), and a girl who I’m only half convinced was in fact a girl kept filming our sound check, at which point I had to pull aside our lovely promoter Albert and ask him to politely ask her to stop.


    The local promoter took us next door for Tapas and we ate as a group of local fans stood beside us, drinking, poking at their food and trying to act like they weren’t watching us selectively eat from the mostly unsatisfactory table full of strange small plates of food.


    Back at the venue we told Albert that he owed us a good meal in his home city of Barcelona and that we wouldn’t hold the tapas debacle that occurred next door against him.

    The show was actually pretty fun, and despite it feeling like a college cafeteria (much like the one we played in San Diego once, complete with a Pizza Hut calling out people’s orders OVER our set), it was a good time and the crowd was absolutely awesome. I had heard from Jason that the Spanish people thoroughly enjoy shows and show their appreciation, and he was right, it was a great show, but after a long day I was exhausted and ready to hit the sack, so back to the hotel, a bit of weird fishy after show food with Adam and Thomas, and nighty night.

    Barcelona, and a day off, how could this suck?


    After YEARS of hearing how incredible this place was I was ready to see for myself. We stayed outside of town in an area called San Just, and though it wasn’t all Gaudi architecture and sights to see it was tourist free, which is a rarity and makes for a great way to see a city.


    We checked into our rooms and Jason and I walked the city looking for food. After a long search we settled on a big outdoor cafe that was packed with Spaniards, not a tourist in sight, so we knew we were in the right place. We both had grilled chicken, fried egg and french fries, and after sucking down a few bottles of Barca’s delicious and salty Vichy Catalan mineral water it was time to head back to the hotel, change into our running gear and hit the pavement.

    Jason and i ran for about a mile before he headed back and i continued on a psycho mission of shirtless running in the BLAZING Barcelona sun. I ran through almost all of San Just, past a great little skatepark, through the main thoroughfare, to the edge of town and back through the back alleys and side streets, finally ending up in a great little part of town filled with locals all seated at sidewalk cafes. The fruit markets were calling my name, so I headed back to my room to grab my wallet, and hit the fruit market for a huge bag of plums, peaches, oranges, and several huge bottles of water. I don’t know how to describe it, but if you enjoy running/jogging, there’s nothing quite like seeing a city for the first time while running. All worries, stresses, problems and concerns slip away and it’s just you and the sidewalk of this place that you are seeing with fresh eyes. So after such an inspiring day it felt great to eat the local produce and get ready to hit the venue, refreshed, alive and in the home stretch of the tour.

    The venue was in Barcelona proper, and was a great sized club. Albert our promoter and a stellar human hung out as we got our sound dialed in, told the lighting guy the drill (no white lights, easy on the strobes, moody and not too flashy), and then it was off to eat some real tapas, as Albert had to prove to us that there was in fact good food to be had in his country.

    We found a nice sidewalk cafe and had a nice little meal. Mine was nice, but unfortunately some of the others weren’t as lucky, (let’s just say that when Adam ordered potato chips with his meal they brought out a BAG and cut it open with a pair of scissors. Class).

    Back to the venue for what was one of the best shows of the tour. The crowd was amazing, we played our asses off, and after I got a chance to speak with some of the local kids who were unbelievably nice and gave me a great sense of what the people of Barcelona were like. It’s interesting how different Madrid and Barcelona really are, besides the people of Barcelona being Catalan, and the Madrid folks considering themselves Spaniards, it was really a pronounced difference in the cultures. I’m not choosing sides, but I will say that Barcelona showed us a great time and I can’t wait to go back and visit again.

    The next day was a day off and while we woke with visions of sightseeing and touristy fun in our heads, what we found was a sky pissing down rain that was anything but welcoming to the on-foot tourist. We checked out of our hotel and made our way to new hotel in another strange part of town and dropped our bags. Once there we decided to brave the rain and got dropped by our driver at a cafe for shelter and some Cortados (basically Macchiatos, Spanish style). We waited for Albert and his girlfriend who were going to take us sightseeing, but by the time they joined us, half of us had backed out and were ready to call it quits, so while Adam and his friend went with Albert, Thomas hit the hotel and Jason and I caught the train to go meet up with a friend of his.

    Taking a train is a great way to get to know a place, and when we exited and hit the city center, I quickly got to see the Barcelona that everyone talks about, that is until we had to run from awning to awning seeking shelter from the unrelenting storm.

    Jason’s friend Dave was a musician and ex-pat American from our part of town who had moved with his family some years ago. He walked us around town and found a great restaurant where we dug into some traditional Catalan steak plates and of course plenty of our favorite, Vichy Catalan. (I’m serious, you HAVE to try this water).

    With a new friend in Barcelona and a great sense of the city we headed back to the hotel, and tomorrow, Paris.

     

  6. Rome.
    What can I say? Quaint hotel, gorgeous, sprawling old city. An INCREDIBLE lunch with our guide and promoter (Pizza, roasted vegetables, to die for), and a quick espresso at the hotel before a disco nap and sound check.

    Italy was playing in the world cup, so everyone was well excited (much like the girls walking the streets of Germany with painted faces, only minus the face-paint and not as pasty). Some hotel visitors watched the match on a tiny television in the lobby as an older woman made espressos and cleaned cups. The greatest thing about touring Europe is the espresso, which with the exception of Germany, seems to be in abundance at every hotel and makes the mornings easy and the pre-show pickup a breeze.

    The venue was small and perfect, I knew it would be packed and a great time.
    Pre-show we hit a nearby restaurant for what was one of the best meals of my life, no hyperbole. The antipasto bar/buffet was like something out of Defending Your Life…..every imaginable combination of grilled or fried vegetable, cheese, 10 types of tomatoes, cured meats, breads, you name it.

    The Margherita pizza I ordered was going to work nicely for after show food, and the Carbonara and Bucatini Amatraciana which Adam and I split was among the 5 best bowls of pasta I’ve ever tasted, and as you can tell I’m no slouch when it comes to putting food in my mouth.

    The show was incredible, packed, sweaty, and incredible. Just a great, fun, appreciative crowd and the kind of small show that makes you remember the early days and why it was so great. Back to the hotel for some z’s (and Za), quick psycho workout on the carpeted floor to work off the self-induced carb hell, and in the morning Turin.


    Turin, or Torino.
    We stayed in a strange place, semi industrial, and without anything in sight. We walked as a group and found a small place to eat and I tucked into a nice plate of grilled chicken and grilled veggies. I felt bad having to send the chicken back, but being as I’m supremely neurotic and in constant fear of undercooked poultry, I asked them and they graciously obliged, bringing back a charred plate of lovely bird that would do nicely before the long run I had planned.
    Back at the hotel Jason and I checked into our shared room and got dressed for our run. We ran the city and found a nearby park which we cut through and got to see a lovely panoramic view of Torino. Jason headed back after a bit and I kept on, hell-bent on hitting 5 miles before I turned back to the hotel.
    Hot and sweaty (as the temp was well into the 90’s), I showered, and we headed to the venue to do the big wait.
    Sound check, world cup on the big screen, and then a lightly attended but still fun show capped of a rather nice day in a city I didn’t think I’d ever visit but am most certainly glad we did.

     

  7. Hamburg.

    By far my favorite place in Germany. I didn’t think you could beat Berlin but congratulations Hamburg, you’ve done it. We checked into a decent little hotel near the Reeperbahn, then headed over to Maharishi, the Indian restaurant run by a close friend of Peddy’s. The restaurant was closed but he opened it up so we could dine this late afternoon, so we ordered a few things and the rest he just brought us. It was a lovely meal, and the fact that he opened the place for us was greatly appreciated.

    We relaxed at the hotel then went to load in, sound check and the usual routine. The venue was great and it felt like this was going to be a special show. Back to the hotel for rest and get changed, back to the venue and a rock show. The crowd was great, super receptive, and with us all along.

    After the show the whole band and crew stopped at a local spot to sample the German favorite, Curry worst, or as I like to call it, a large hot dog/brat covered in sticky sweet vaguely curry flavored sauce. It was decent, but nothing I’d rush out to get anytime soon. A plus side was a fine non-alcoholic beer ON TAP! A rarity. As a non drinker I always look for a nice non-alcoholic beer, and Germany didn’t disappoint, and I was able to sample some of the greatest N.A. weiss (wheat) beers I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. A nice hang with the whole crew and then back to the hotel with a day off on the horizon.

    The next day was a day-off and Adam and myself decided to visit the Neuengamme concentration camp to look upon a bit of history that besides being a huge part of American/German history, touches our lives as Jewish Americans.

    It was a day filled with emotions, images, and thoughts, most I’ll not ruin by trying to summarize, but I will say I was glad that we went.

    Following the visit to the site of the camp, Peddy, Adam and myself had a traditional schnitzel meal at a very nice little restaurant, then it was back to the hotel to unwind.

     Hamburg treated us well and it is a city I cannot wait to return to,
    I later met up with Jason and we hopped on a train so he could show me the city (he’s spent a ton of time there and it’s like his 2nd home), and we had some gelato, and ended the night with yet another schnitzel….as I learned, you can never have enough schnitzel. In the end Hamburg was hands down my best experience in Germany of the 4 or 5 times I’ve been there. Peddy and Jason weren’t kidding, it is a special place, and though you are extremely cool, Berlin….Hamburg has my heart.

     

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  10. Though our time in Germany was fun it was time for a change, and luckily it was time to visit Prague, a place I’ve always been curious about, and now was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit.

    The venue was in the city center, which is a rarity, but was fantastic because it allowed us to make the most of the limited time we had there. When you tour like this, playing shows nearly every day, you never get to see very much, it’s the same story; drop bags at the hotel, hit the venue, eat with the promoter at the most local and regional place you can find, rest, maybe see a thing or two, play the show, then crash at the hotel, wake up early, get in the van, and either do the airport security dance or fall asleep in the van as you head to the next town/country/continent.

    This time we were especially pressed for time so we dropped our stuff at the venue, sound checked and went our separate ways to check out the sights.

    With only an hour and a half to spare I walked at a fast clip through the city center towards the historic tower, buildings, and churches that comprise the sightseeing center of Prague. I walked to the top of the old tower that overlooks all of the city and though I’m not one for tourist-y shit, the view was absolutely stunning and well worth the effort. I spent about a good half-hour gazing at the city from every vantage point, taking it all in, relaxing, unwinding from the rigors of the road and shooting photos on my phone to bring back and share. An upside was the hike to the top and back down, which though there was an elevator encased in a spiral corkscrew that went all the way to the top, I was more than up for the cardiovascular challenge, as I’d just started running again in Gelsenkirchen and I wasn’t about to stop now.

    After the castle I walked the narrow streets and alleyways of the city soaking it all of the remarkable city which the Third Reich left intact as according to Thomas our resident guitar player and historian, Hitler wanted it as his trophy town once he conquered the world, but seeing as how that plan went to shit, it remains as a pristine example of pre-war Europe. The town center was full of homeless drunks, tramps, bums, or whatever you like to call them; rowdy, singing drinking alcoholics, usually with dogs, who could use a good wash, some exfoliation and a fresh liver. One striking thing was the few beggars I saw were all on bended knees much like a Muslim praying to the east. They bent down with a hat or a cup outstretched past their head and rocked back and forth in some type of act of genuflection or humility. Pretty heavy, but not too heavy to photograph for the blog.

    A walk down by the scenic waterfront, a few souvenirs for the family and it was off to the venue to get into show clothes and bring the rock.

    The crowd was thin, as not only was it our first time there but also a weeknight, but no matter because those in attendance were not only singing and dancing, but totally with us from beginning to end. When faced with a smaller crowd we usually do the opposite of conventional wisdom and rather than do a short set and get out, we play an extra-long show like it was a stadium and make sure that every person who leaves not only had an amazing time but tells their friends so that the next time is packed.


    Afterwards, sweaty, exhausted and ready for sleep we walked back to the small quaint hotel, and after a Max Cady like workout of push ups, sit-ups and stretches, I put my head on the pillow, ready to wake up and hit the city I’d only been to back in the mid-90’s, the place Jason had told me so many good things about, and home of our tour manager and friend Peddy, Hamburg.