J.Lynn Johnston's Blahg!

I love my life! You should too…

July 20, 2002 – Pecatonica, Illinois

***Originally published as “J.Lynn’s Tour Diary” on Mad at Gravity’s Official Site.***

-Did everyone see our boys in AudioVent last night? They performed “The
Energy” on the Late, Late Show with Craig Killborn, and they totally
rocked it. On four hours sleep or less! Craig kept pumping their
performance all throughout the show, hitting his little button that
plays soundbites of the song. It was great. And we went to great
lengths to make sure we were able to see it.

-We’d been back at our hotel, showering up before our all-night drive,
and we were glued to the TV watching Killborn. Everyone finished
cleaning up, and the schedule didn’t allow for any luxury time. We had
to get food and get on the road. So we pulled over to get some food at
a 24-hour restaurant on our way out of town, and cranked up the antenna
on our on-board TV. We saw that Craig was on his second guest, so we
went into the restaurant to get seated and place our order. Once all
that was accomplished, we left our tour manager at the table and ran
back out to the RV, just in time to see the boys rip through their song
nicely. Literally, they were just coming out of the commercial break
when we got back to the TV.

-After the performance, we went back inside to eat and then hit the
road. We drove all night, rolled out of the RV, and played our
half-hour set. There were some fans at the show who had painted their
entire car to promote their favorite bands on the tour. I was flattered
the Mad at Gravity took up about 75% of the car. They listed all of our
names and what we play in the band, had our logo in a bunch of different
places… The whole thing was covered! Tires, roof, back window…
They didn’t miss any surface. Now THAT’s dedication! We got lots of
polaroids of the car, which will hopefully make their way onto our web
site soon…

-Now we’re back in the RV on the way to the last show of the Locobazooca
tour tomorrow. The last show of the tour is always notorious for
pranks… I wonder what we’re gonna do… We’ve got water balloons, a
gorilla mask, and a speedo… That should be enough for a good time…

Love and hijinks,

July 20, 2002 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

July 19, 2002 – Toledo, Ohio and Carrying Cars

***Originally published as “J.Lynn’s Tour Diary” on Mad at Gravity’s Official Site.***

-We played at the Hard Hat Café tonight, which isn’t as much a café as
it is a warehouse with a liquor license. There were lots of kids packed
in there, and they were really responsive to our set. That always helps
the morale during the show! But the sound system was HORRIBLE! Every
band had a ton of problems onstage, from shorted out microphone cables
to awful monitor mixes, it was tough to get into the groove of what was
going on. It’s really distracting, and it steals all your momentum when
you have to stop between songs to try to remedy some of the technical
difficulties. The kids didn’t seem to mind all that much, though.
Their energy was boiling over. We just ended up having to work harder
to keep our own up.

-We have an overnight drive now, to Pecatonica, Illinois. It’s the
worst when we play a show at night on our off day, and then have another
Locobazooka show the next day. By the time we get loaded out of the
club and settle with the promoter, it’s usually close to midnight. Then
we still have an eight hour drive ahead of us so we can load in at nine
the next morning for the Locobazooka set. That only leaves an hour or
two that haven’t been spoken for. So we try to sleep as much as
possible during the drive. And we try to leave the club as early as
possible, unless otherwise held over.

-We almost got held over tonight when we got blocked into the parking
lot at the Hard Hat. All we needed was about a foot and a half of
clearance between our RV and the Geo Metro that was blocking us in. We
sat back in frustration, ready to wait it out until the owner of the car
came to move it. Then we realized how tiny of a car a Geo Metro is.
And how light it is, too. Almost at the same time, about three of us
started betting that we could pick the car up and move it out of the
way. We had eight guys of larger than average size… And we all love
a challenge. So we piled out of the RV with determination on our faces.

-Two minutes later, we were on our way. It only took five of us to move
the car over about two feet. And two feet was all we needed to be able
to clear the little piece of tin and sail out onto the highway. We
caused quite a spectacle in the parking lot, though. Imagine going to
see some bands play a little rock and roll, and on your way out of the
venue you see one of the acts all huddled around a car, grunting and
sweating it away from the front of their RV. I took a great polaroid of
all of us right before we manhandled the tiny auto. Ahh, the adventures
we have!

Love and tiny imports,

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July 18, 2002 – Cleveland, Ohio

***Originally published as “J.Lynn’s Tour Diary” on Mad at Gravity’s Official Site.***

-The Agora Ballroom was great tonight. The room was really boomy, and
that made it pretty hard to hear clearly onstage, but that’s the price
you pay for awesome architecture from the early 1900s. The ballroom was
in the middle of a huge restoration process, so it’s nice to see that
the folks in Ohio care about the architecture, too. I took some time
and walked around the whole place from basement to rafters, and I’ve got
to say that I felt like a Californian yet again. There aren’t many
basements in California. There isn’t much structural brick, either.
Masonry doesn’t hold up so well in earthquakes. So I’m sure I looked
like a goofy tourist, walking around staring at everything with my mouth
open. But I want to take everything in. Especially in the places I’ve
never been before.

-I was excited when we met some cool people after the show. They were
from Parma, just outside of Cleveland. Since our next show is only as
far as Toledo tomorrow, we were actually able to hang out after we
played. That’s a rare occasion. It was great. We got food, and then
ended up at “The Spot,” a local practice space shared by a couple
different bands. Again, it was in the basement of a really cool
building. There were a bunch of people hanging out there while a local
band practiced. Just chilling and drinking beers. It was cool to get a
break from the travel monotony so we could hang out with some cool new people.

-Before the show, I was able to make my way across the street to the
Salvation Army thrift store. I found some cool stuff there, which I’m
excited to break in onstage (AFTER I wash it all, of course). Add the
hilarious gift I got from my new Parma people, and I’ve got one stylish
wardrobe going…

Love and junior cheerleader shirts,

July 18, 2002 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

July 17, 2002 – Huntington, West Virginia

***Originally published as “J.Lynn’s Tour Diary” on Mad at Gravity’s Official Site.***

-West Virginia… Mountain Mama… Take me home… Sorry. Just having
a little John Denver moment. We played at Harris Riverfront Park today,
and it was HOT and MUGGY. The crowd was a bit thin until the afternoon
wore on a bit. But we sold out of the CDs that we brought with us to
the merchandise booth, so we must’ve done something right!

-My voice was really pissed off at me today. It’s odd the way my body
responds. While I’m sick, my voice is fine. Then as I get better, I
lose my voice. So let me reiterate… While my body feels like crud, I
can still sing. Then when my body finally feels better, my voice craps
out on me. It’s weird. It always happens that way, too. So we end up
revising the set a little bit, and I end up having to rewrite a couple
melodies here and there. And overall we still have a rocking good time…

-I swear I’ve seen the downfall of the American civilization. We pulled
over to get some food, and the only thing open was McDonald’s. That’s
the first warning sign. Then when we went inside, and I was further
convinced. You remember when the playgrounds were the coolest things
ever? Well… The new playground has officially taken over, and it is
in the form of a video screen. You see, THIS McDonald’s had a VIDEO

-Instead of twisty slides and jungle gyms, there were
three Nintendo Gamecubes mounted into a wall of the fast food joint,
complete with disgustingly grubby controllers jutting out in primary
colors just underneath the monitors. I watched as kid after kid zoned
out with gaping mouths, staring up at the screens above them until their
parents wrenched them away from the games. One kid even yelled at his
mom until she left him in the restaurant alone to finish his game. He
was inside for another couple of minutes before he went outside to join
the rest of his family, who were waiting with the car running. As soon
as they get home, he’ll probably just turn on the same game and dork out
some more…

Love and vidiots,

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July 16, 2002 – Royal Oak, Michigan and RESONANCE!

***Originally published as “J.Lynn’s Tour Diary” on Mad at Gravity’s Official Site.***

-Our album came out today! And I’m sick! This always happens to me.
For some reason, I always end up under the weather for all the major
moments of my life. Birthdays, Christmas, you name it… I’m the one
with the clogged sinuses. Oh, well. It’s probably good for me in a
way. It reminds me that no matter how much happens that’s larger than
life, I’m still a small little human who can be ruined by things like
pollen and lack of sleep. But if the swelling of my tonsils at key
moments keeps the rest of my head from getting too big in the long run,
I’m all for it.

-Needless to say, my illness made the show a bit rough, but by the time
we hit the third song the adrenaline had taken over. I was sweating
like Niagara, but my voice held up. I’m sure I’ll be paying for it
tomorrow, though. We finished the set, hung out for a bit to chat with
fans, and now have an overnight drive back to West Virginia for another
Locobazooka show tomorrow at noon. That’s when my voice will be feeling
it, for sure. Anyway, I’m going to bed! I’ve got to do my part to get better!

Love and 24-hour pharmacies,

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July 15, 2002 – Travel Day

July 15, 2002
Travel Day

***Originally published as “J.Lynn’s Tour Diary” on Mad at Gravity’s Official Site.***

-We’re cutting across Canada to get from New York to the Detroit area.
For all of you who may be wondering, band t-shirts are considered
“commercial goods,” and must be accompanied by appropriate paperwork and
declared upon entry. Oops. We learned that the hard way.

-After having the trailer searched at the border, we stopped to get a
few liters of gas. All the pumps were full, so I put the RV in park to
wait for the next available space that would accomodate all fifteen
meters of us. Everybody bailed out of the RV and disappeared inside the
gas station’s convenience store. After a few minutes, one of the lanes
opened up, so I started to pull up towards the pump.

-All of the sudden our tour manager exploded out of the store, waving
his arms in a panic that was reflected by the size of his eyes. He was
frantically trying to get me to stop. So I did. It turns out not
everyone was inside the convenience store. Apparently Nick, our drum
tech, had gone back into the trailer to make sure things got packed back
up correctly after the border inspection. At the time I started pulling
forward to the pump, he was standing on the loading ramp at the back of
the open trailer! There were road cases and amps rolling all over the
place, and our boxes of the aforementioned band merchandise were
cascading out the back of the trailer. Poor panicked Nick jumped off
the trailer, and was running along behind it, trying to hold the ramp up
off the ground to keep the rest of the gear from going overboard.
Needless to say, it was quite a dramatic nine meters of travel.
Thankfully nothing was damaged, and we were able to finish all the
necessary repacking once we made it to the gas pump. I only wish I
could have seen the look on Nick’s face when the trailer started moving!

Love and metric mishaps,

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July 14, 2002 – Oswego, New York

***Originally published as “J.Lynn’s Tour Diary” on Mad at Gravity’s Official Site.***

-Wow. All I can say is wow. We just played a show in front of about
25,000 people! Today the Locobazooka tour joined up with the
K-Rock-a-Thon, so in addition to the normal lineup of daily performers,
the bill was considerably augmented. Trik Turner, Abandoned Pools,
Puddle of Mudd, and P.O.D. all played after the festivities were done on
the Locobazooka stages. The additional crowds that showed up as a
result were staggering. What an insane experience! With a crowd that
big, a number of things change. One feels compelled to perform that
much bigger, to sing that much stronger, and to put that much more of
yourself into what you do. It all seems normal when you focus on the
crowd at the front of the stage, but when you raise your focus a bit,
the crowd just keeps going! What an adrenaline kick.

-Some random tidbits from the day:

Ben now has an eyebrow ring, courtesy of the generous folks at Walking
Outrage Tattoo & Body Piercing…

Wes from Puddle of Mudd likes the burning bush tattoo on my right shoulder…

Sunscreen is always a good idea…

-After our set when we were signing stuff and meeting people at the
merchandise tent, a group of four guys from Syracuse came up to us to
congratulate us. They told us they play in a band called Jonny Action,
and they play a cover version of Walk Away as part of their set! They
actually won first place in a local talent contest about a month ago
with an acoustic performance of the song! Needless to say, we were all
blown away by this news. First of all, the fact that anyone would take
the time to work up one of our songs is a huge flattery. Second of all,
they won the contest! In a way, that feels like a victory for us, too.
So thanks to Jonny Action for making our day. The rush we got from that
news far outweighs the pride of a successful performance. Even on a day
like today.

Love and the ultimate form of flattery,

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July 13, 2002 – Manchester, New Hampshire

***Originally published as “J.Lynn’s Tour Diary” on Mad at Gravity’s Official Site.***

-Manchester… Due to circumstances beyond my control, I ended up with
about three hours sleep last night. It’s tough maintaining
relationships with friends on the other side of the continent. After
driving into Manchester, I had a ton of phone calls to return and a ton
of emails to respond to. This touring stuff makes for some LONG days.

-Today was beautiful even if it was long. The crowd was thicker than
normal, due to a second stage which was hosting a variety of local acts.
My voice was a bit thin today, but we made it through the set pretty
well. We had to make the drive immediately after our set, so it was a
bit of a frantic load out. Once we were on the road, I pretty much
crashed out on the back bed for the seven hour drive to Oswego, New York.

-It’s tough to find your own space when you’re on tour. That’s
something we as a band have yet to work out for ourselves. When we’re
driving, we’re all crammed into a space of a few square feet. Once we
get to the motel for the night, we’re sharing rooms with two other
people normally. So you have to get creative. Take walks if you need
to breathe. Take cell phone calls in the bathroom. Or you could do
what I do, and just adopt a different sleep schedule from everyone else.
I have a problem falling asleep if there’s anything going on in the
room (or the RV). So I end up awake well into the morning hours, just
trying to clear my head enough to fall asleep. These journals help.
It’s a discipline that allows me to relax and reflect, and ultimately retire.

Love and zzzzzz,

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July 12, 2002 – Portland, Maine

***Originally published as “J.Lynn’s Tour Diary” on Mad at Gravity’s Official Site.***

-Reign of Fire opened today! I’ve been fielding phone calls right and
left from friends of mine who have been seeing our music on the MTV
advertisement. Unfortunately, due to our hectic touring schedule we
haven’t been able to see it! But once again my trusty friends have
called me to tell me that the movie is awesome, and they’re extremely
excited for us.

-Apparently the video for “Walk Away” made its MTV debut tonight on the
Rock Show. Does this mean we can splurge and get another hotel room so
that nobody in the band has to sleep on the floor? Once again, we were
unable to be in front of a television at the appropriate time because we
were driving from Portland to Manchester, New Hampshire, where
tomorrow’s show will be. Oh, well. I suppose that’s the way things go
when you’re on tour. You get back home on a break, and your whole life
has changed while you were away.

-The show today was really nice. It was indoors for once, so we got to
take advantage of a full lighting rig and other indoor luxuries that
fool the public into thinking we are rock stars… The kids were really
into our set, and there were a whole bunch of them there! I never did
get an official head count, but my guess is that there were at least
3,500 packed onto the modified ice-rink floor of the Civic Center. It’s
always great to see an ocean of heads bobbing in time to your music…

-Hopefully at some point this weekend we’ll be able to take a couple
hours out of our day so that we can see Reign of Fire. We definitely
want to support the film in its opening weekend. The better the film
does at the box office, the more benefits we’ll experience as a result!

Love and faux-buttered popcorn,

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July 11, 2002 – Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and the Duality of Man

***Originally published as “J.Lynn’s Tour Diary” on Mad at Gravity’s Official Site.***

-I was reminded today of the duality of man. In so many words, that’s
really what our song “Say It” is about. For every positive action, it
seems somebody has to go and screw things up somehow… Poughkeepsie
proved it. Hopefully with the right encouragement, we can minimize the
error in the future.

-We finished our load-in at the Chance Theater, and walked a couple
blocks down the street to a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint to get some
dinner. There were some guys in line in front of us whom we’d been
talking to outside the venue. Cool kids. Rock fans. Anyway, one of
them paid with a ten dollar bill, and the old guy who owned the place
gave him change for a twenty. The kid counted his change, realized he
had ten dollars too much, and called the guy back to the counter so that
he could give it back to him. His friends all asked him what he was
doing. Like he was crazy for giving away free money. He stuck up for
himself. “It’s not like stealing from McDonald’s, or anything. These
are real people.” I just smiled. Good job, kid.

-A few feet away, there was a box sitting on the countertop that said,
“Win a Jeep Grand Cherokee or $25,000 Cash!” I walked over, thinking it
would be mildly funny to enter a drawing on the other side of the
continent from where I actually live. But sitting on top of the contest
box was a different pad of paper. It was all laid out to look like a
contest entry form, complete with fine print on both sides. But the
fine print outlined a new long-distance phone service contract instead
of the terms and conditions of winning. I looked inside the box, and
there were countless entries submitted by people who thought they had
the chance of winning something. Instead, they were being scammed into
paying 21 cents per minute for long distance service.

-So I spent the rest of my time before I got my chicken parmagian
tearing the fake entry forms off the box one by one, and dropping them
into the box. Blank. I just wanted to make it so that nobody else
could fill one out thinking something positive could come of it. Once I
got through the entire pad, I pulled out a pen and wrote a few choice
words right on the box. I made sure to make it offensive enough that it
would have to be thrown away.

-I think these observations fueled our performance somehow, because it
went SO well! We played with Chevelle and LostProphets. The crowd was
amazingly responsive, and a ton of people who were at yesterday’s show
turned out again just to see us! Thanks guys! You rock! It was great
to see the guys in Chevelle again, too. Before my own music career took
off, I worked at the indie label that released Chevelle’s first record.
So it was great to meet up with them again, this time as peers! They
rocked, and so did LostProphets. It was a great way to spend a day off
from the Locobazooka tour.

Love and justice,

July 11, 2002 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment