september 25, 2002 baltimore, ottobar

today we are making a beeline through virginia (the old dominion state pop 7,078,515) for baltimore, md (the old line state, pop. 5,296,486). this is where we recorded venus luxure and cruise yourself with ted niceley. it was once a very prosperous port city - that was a long time ago. baltimore also hosts some of the most amazing accents ever (ref. john water's pink flamingos narrative) which nearly puts our newly invented accent to shame. our drive is one that we have done several tens of thousands of times. this stretch of 95 is so familiar to us that we take the baltimore washington parkway, cruising past the nsa and immediately hit the crappy traffic for which the dc area is known. the ottobar is a cool club with what appears to be a crack house for a backstage. eli and i both suffer pretty horrendous deaths, but get better once we leave the city. baltimore has some of the coolest untouched old buildings and is definitely still in "fixer-upper" stage. what more can I say about tonight? radio four rocked. we rocked. case closed. baltimore check!

september 26, 2002   washington, d.c. , the black cat

we drive back in our old hometown of washington, d.c., capitol of the united states (pop. 281,421,906), home of dischord records, anthony williams, the write-in incumbent mayor (?) and dubya. it is time for the effects of hurricane isadore to reach up into this part of the country. apparently we just missed it in new orleans, so we consider ourselves lucky. but it is raining cats and dogs and we sink into the comfort of the new black cat, dante's masterpiece and home of the new food for thought. I, of course, am late, since I go to the music store and get stuck in traffic. this reminds me of the time our old band was playing at the chevy chase community center and I was driving back from the music store and late as always. dave grohl stepped up and played drums in my place. I bet it was great except I was staring at the bumper of some ford pinto at the time.

tonight's show we get to see a bunch of our old friends. jeff nelson, ian mackaye, henry rollins, guy piccotto, brendan canty stand around and discuss how stuff. during radio 4's song "our town," henry ran up on stage and picked anthony up, bench pressed him 3 or 4 times drawing ooh's and ahh's from the crowd. then he tossed him at the back wall of the black cat like a half stack of blueberry pancakes with a little strawberry on top (just a few scratches, nothing serious, we checked). pj tried to step into the fray and got picked up and piledriven into the stage and then tossed off the stage like a pile of wet rags. it was awesome. I wasn't actually there to see it but I'm pretty sure that's what happened. well, ok, maybe that didn't happen at all but it would have been pretty cool. the beer at the black cat is homemade and very strong.

september 24, 2002   philadelphia, the northstar bar

after a good night with old friends and family, much like an old lowenbrau ad, we head out for philadelphia, pa (the keystone state pop. 12,281,054). passing through delaware (the diamond state pop. 783,600), we stop at a rest stop and notice a woman who was 106 years old. amazing. I bet she saw a lot of old shit. speaking of old shit, philly is the home of old shit-ben franklin, the liberty bell, the hooters and will smith. we arrive on time and load into the club using an elevator I'm afraid will slice me in half because it's old and rickety. we block the alley and annoy a lot of people trying to get through. after we load upstairs we discover that we have actually loaded into the wrong club. apparently we missed the fax about the change of venue and so we load out again. a quick idiot check to make sure we haven't left anything behind reveals 4 idiots that we try to leave but we can't get them out of our bodies-a damn shame. we load into the northstar and after the second even more bizarre load-in eli's spine starts popping like champagne corks. champagne wishes and caviar dreams!

we meet up with our label dudes from jadetree-they tell us we need more hooks and verse chorus verse chorus hit! oh wait, that was the last label dude. darren and tim from jadetree take us to dinner and butter us up and make us feel like a million bucks-now we feel like what we look like. philly is a damn sexy town and we are feeling it. it's raining like crazy here and we are ready for our own private wet t-shirt contest but our sense of decorum stops us. philly actually has even more amazing accents than baltimore and I'm told by a young lady with a conspicuously bare midriff which my eyes conspicuously stare at, that philly has at least 5 separate dialects. and they all seem to get along too (except for the occasional beer bottle over the skull or broken rib)!

september 25, 2002 boston, the middle east

boston, ma (the bay state, pop. 6,349,097) is the last stop on our US tour before new york city (the last show). traffic in between philly and boston is not good as usual but we get to see a steady parade of the haves in their super plush cars. apparently new jersey (the garden state, pop. 8,414,350) connecticut (the constitution state 3,405,565) houses some very wealthy folks. the drivers in boston are notorious for their rather eclectic driving style. apparently passing on the right at 120 miles an hour is not only ok but encouraged. there is no fighting at the middle east although ted leo and the pharmacists and buffalo tom are playing right next door at tt the bears. ted comes over and makes a special appearance with radio 4. can you be sexy in boston and attend a radio 4/gvsb show? yes, absolutely. we are heading back to nyc for a little r'n'r now-bowery ballroom next friday. see you there-thanks for tuning in!

the french fry cookers
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