Home Is a Suitcase.

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09 04 2008

Hi there.

We're back in Los Angeles for a spell ... been living out of vans more than our homes since May, and it doesn't look like that will change for a while. That said, we're completely thrilled to be spending the Fall and early Winter touring with Neil Young, Death Cab For Cutie, and Wilco! To say that it's a dream come true would be an understatement. We just got home from a West Coast tour with the wonderful Parson Red Heads. I can't say enough about this band. They're bright and their songs made us smile night after night, and sing every morning. It was a pleasure to hang out with them and share some memories. To Evan, Sam, Brette, Erin, Aaron, Charlie, Dane, David, and the rest of their lovely clan.. THANK YOU! You made the trip incredible. Special thanks to Evan for all his hard work setting up the tour. If you live in LA, they're playing Amoeba next Wednesday.

It was a memorable trip. I'm going to jot some thoughts down here, hopefully to help me remember it all. In San Francisco, we had a blast with the kind folks at The Independent (love it there!). Got to see my oldest and dearest friends for not nearly enough time. Ian from Real and Bryan from Another Planet took great care of us. Playing the first Outside Lands Festival at Golden Gate Park was great. We got to see Radiohead and Tom Petty, and were blown away (as always) by Matt Ward and Devendra. I got to see my high school english teacher Chris Baron, for the first time in probably 15 years. Spotting her in the crowd made me shake and tear up. She really opened my awareness when I was 16, and encouraged me to do what I'm doing now. A heavy and truly amazing moment for me to see the Baron family and catch up. Also, I got to hang with my old friend Chris Colbert at the soundboard for the Walkmen, always a treat to watch him try to beat the decibel police as Hamilton tore his throat to shreds. Sacramento was an pleasant surprise with a great turnout filled with new faces, great friends (Two Sheds!), and the Pollard family. On the way to Seattle we made a quick stop to visit Richard Swift & family, Lance Troxel, and Chris Colbert at the Swift studio/compound in Cottage Grove, OR. We arrived in Seattle and quickly settled into our ridiculously nice hotel (Thank you Heather Campbell)! We went up to Ballard a little fishing town where I got my first tattoo years ago and sat down for dinner and a few beers at Hattie's Hat, next door to the Tractor Tavern. We got to watch some of the Democratic Convention in hopes of seeing Silversun Pickups, but alas we missed them. They were kind enough to loan us a trailer last minute for the tour as ours started to crumble, so thank you SSPU! So excited to hear their new record. The Tractor Tavern show was a lot of fun. Great venue. I hope the we play there again soon. We were lucky in that our good friend Shayna happened to be home visiting her mom and came out to see us. She just beat cancer and her attitude is an inspiration every day! It was also great to see sweetheart Liz Burns, Beligerent Buzzard Blue, and Quick Pickin' Wein. It's fun to see old friends when we're away from home. The next day we got up early to do radio performances on KINK and KPSU in Portland. I think the sets might be archived on their websites? Then on to Salem, OR. Interesting night! Nice club and we had some pretty great down-home mexican food. The Parsons slayed. The next day we all split off to wander around Portland. I did my usual and hit Powell's books hard, and then went to some thrift stores with J and Byron. When we got back to the hotel, we found that our van had been broken into and everything inside had been rummaged. Fortunately, only a few things were taken. Portland is becoming infamous for this amongst touring bands, and it was a huge drag to an otherwise pleasant stay. The show at the Artistery that night was a blast though, and we capped the tour with the Red Heads with a nice late-night dinner at Montage. I've been going there since 1994! On the way home from Portland, we again stopped by Cottage Grove this time to shoot a guerrilla-style-no-budget video for "Rebels In The Roses" with our super talented friend Lance (he made this website!). We hope to share with you in the next few weeks. I'm anxious to see what Lance comes up with. There's a gallery on the photo page to give a rough idea.

A big thank you to Byron Reynolds and Eli Thomson for not only playing with us, but for killing it every time!

We've been getting a bunch of notes about the vinyl, and I'm happy to report that I've actually held the completed package in my hand. It's a double album, 180 gram gatefold edition with slightly different artwork specifically for this release. Thanks to the kind folks at Vapor Records, we were able to spread the music over 4 sides so we could maximize the quality of the sound. I can't believe how good it came out. It's like hearing the album for the first time - in my mind, the ideal way to hear our music. All in all, I think it was worth the wait. I believe it will be in stores and shipping to pre-orders next Tuesday (9/9/08).

This month we're not playing shows but we'll be super busy. We're getting back into the practice room to work on new songs and jam out the Ghost Notes tunes with Eli Thomson on bass and Davey Latter on drums. Really looking forward to that. Russell will be sitting in with the Watson Twins at the end of the month for their performance on Conan O'Brien. Conan twice in one year? Congrats Russ! And big hugs to Chandra and Leigh Watson who deserve all the amazing things that are happening for them. Their record "Fire Songs" is one of the best albums to come out this year. Next week, I'll be sitting in with my favorite band Two Sheds for three shows including LA, San Diego, and Santa Barbara. I almost had a heart attack when they suggested I sit in with them. My heart swelled up so big I thought I was gonna faint. I'm really excited to play their songs. Please come out. I can't recommend Two Sheds highly enough.

ok, hope yr well...
joel

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