About Me

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Long Island/Brooklyn, New York, United States
Exemption is a three-piece aggressive progressive rock outfit that started on Long Island in 2004 when the members were only 13 and 14. In 2007 they put out their first full-length, "The Rabbit Hole." In 2009 they released the "Harmony of the Spheres EP," and in October 2010 they put out their second full-length "Public Cemetery Party." Their sound has evolved into something truly their own, combining progressive metal, stoner rock, pop, blues, and alternative ambiance once earning them the title of the "bastard children of the Beatles (The Metal Den)." Check out http://exemption.bandcamp.com to hear some music, all the releases are available on iTunes and Cdbaby.com. This blog is for the members to share stories and news with their friends and fans.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Public Cemetery Tour Part 1 - Tour Diary

11/6 - 11/18/10

I’m writing this en route to Oneonta from Philly in the passenger seat of the van.  Currently almost all the way through Volume 4, debating whether or not to put on another Sabbath album after it’s over.  The tour so far has been simply a good fucking time.  We’ve done three shows thus far.  The first in Chesapeake Beach, MD was the best of the three.  It was a house party (mostly alcohol free!) with a bunch of cool local bands and there were a lot of kids there.  They called it The Foster Home, after the family that lived there.  Non Grata, Tigerscout, and Teens and Trucks were awesome and all really nice guys.  The house was on a very narrow road so before the show even started the sheriff came by to tell us to unblock the road because he was already getting complaints and was definitely going to continue to get them all night for the noise.  The show itself was set up in this enclosed backyard patio area for the first few bands.  There were, I believe six bands playing total and for each the kids there were moshing and jumping on one another and crowd surfing/being carried around.  There energy was great and totally positive and fun; no goons or fights or singling people out.  Around 9 a cop finally showed up to tell the Fosters that they had to quiet it down or they were getting shut down asap, but instead of quieting the bands and stopping the show they opted to move it from the backyard into their living room for the last three bands.  Tom and I helped them move one of their couches into the backyard.  Needless to say I was and still am very impressed by how cool and supportive they were of keeping the music going even if it meant having close to 40 kids plus loud ass bands in their living room, in front of their fire place, below the mounted deer head.  We were really grateful too, because for awhile we were getting increasingly nervous that the show was going to get shut down before we got to play. After driving six hours down there and then getting denied playing a full house of enthusiastic people by the popozows like we have so many times at home would have sucked quite hard.  The show wound up being awesome though.  I’ve been waiting for a show like that for so long.  Free, totally DIY show/party with people pushed up until they were a foot away from you, all of whom were pumped.  A lot of people there had already checked us out on Myspace and shit when they heard we were coming out and were into it, which was really encouraging.  We played a short set: Hyperspiral, Blood Heaven, Mutating Skulls, Cold Bodies, and Tasted By Love, so as to not take up too much of the last band’s time.  It was really rewarding to be right in people’s faces while they danced and rocked out however they felt suit.  We sold a good amount of CDs and a few shirts and our new friend Cornelius was cool enough to collect tips for us for gas money (so far the only compensation we have received!).  Really can’t thank the Foster Home, the other bands, and Pierce of Teens and Trucks for having us on such a badass show.  We’ll definitely come back whenever we can.  My only regret is that I forgot to set up my camera to film any of it but so it goes… 

Our awesome friend Jackie drove down from DC with a car full of friends to see the show and after the party was over we drove back to DC and had some beers at her place before crashing.  The next day was the Delaware show but before we left we did some tourist shit with Jackie and her friend Brittany.  Paid our second visit to the Lincoln Memorial and National Monument and our first to the Capitol Building and got I got some funny footage of our disrespectful shenanigans and us riding a carousel amongst small childrens.  We forgot to take note of where we parked (reoccurring theme in unfamiliar cities) so after getting some food we speed walked about until we found it.  Left with very little time to get to Wilmington, DE for the show at Mojo 13 but it didn’t wind up mattering much.  Mojo 13 is a cool crazy-clown-themed bar/venue with a nice sound system on the Philadelphia Pike.  Unfortunately Sunday night is apparently not a very popular night to go out for Wilmington and we closed the night to two guys from the band before us and the guys that worked at the bar.  We had fun playing to them though, and talking to them between songs.  It also gave us a chance to practice songs in the set we’re not 100% comfortable on yet like “Hounds of Sound.”   Incidentally, we played really tight to those two dudes!  After the show we drove straight back to Brooklyn to drop Tom off and then back to Long Island for me and Ray.  Left two days off for each of us to work before we went back out.  I think we all shared the sentiment of not wanting to go home but we weren’t gonna just chill in Delaware for two days at the creepy clown bar. 

I guess I should make note that I’m no longer in the van on my way to Oneonta.  I am in the van but now it’s on it’s way to the last show of the tour in Rochester so it’s six days later from when I started writing this.  Woops.  Didn’t want it to be broken up so much but honestly never had the time/brain cells to continue in the days that have passed until now.  Ray is driving again and we’re listening to new Cee Lo Green album “The Lady Killer” which is quite smooth.  We’re on I-90 W and just had our second Trooper on our ass since we started our trek from Boston to Rochester; not that we have anything to er… worry about but still they are scary…like sharks.  Anyway, the first show after our little break was at The Fire on W. Girard Ave in Philly.  I’ve wanted to book Philly for awhile, not because I know anything about the scene there, but because it is home to my favorite record label: Relapse, hence my excitement to hopefully play with some original metal bands.  Our long time amiga/photographer/Ray’s boo, Alli Murphy joined us for the trip to Philly.  The GPS must have been set to “whack routes” cuz that drive took way longer than it should have but regardless we arrived to the show on time after picking up our friend Adam at his place.  The Fire was a cool dive bar on one side, venue on the other type of deal.  We played with a very cool stoner band whose riffs were very Sleep-ish called Twin Temples.  Our set went well, played most of the new album.  Alli got plenty of pictures.  Went back to Adam’s and drank a 30 rack of Labatt Blue with him, mad grits, slept like drunk baby lambs.  We woke up and went to the “bitch diner” (titled such because “as soon as you get your food you just gotta bitch about it”).  Parted ways with Adam and went down to walk around South St. in Philly, which is a beautiful city.  The best part of that was the Magic Gardens, which if you’re ever in Philly you should definitely go see.  It’s essentially a house that was turned completely into a work of art with glass, ceramic, bottles, statues, junk, bicycles, etc…  that at first appears endless.  It was a very beautiful and chill place to hang out and kill time.  Alli got a lot of great pictures there and I may or may not have got some funny videos.  Afterwards, dropped Alli off at a bus to Boston where we would eventually rendezvous again.  From there we started driving to Oneonta (where this journal started).  “Upstate” PA or wherever the fuck we were driving was beautiful, probably my favorite drive so far. 

Got to Oneonta the night before  our show there so we met up with our friend Justin (Dutch Masters, Samurai Pizza Cats, Casual Sweater Tuesday), whose dorm we were staying it until the show.  Parking situation on campus was fucking stupid; had to get multiple parking passes, move car off campus just to move it back on early in the morning.  The night we got up there we went to General Clinton’s Pub, where we would be playing the next day, to see this blues/classic rock cover band from the school and to get drunk and bullshit.  After awhile at the bar we went back to one of Justin’s friends houses nearby to jam for a little while; which was a really fun time being it so late and us being so lifted.  We took a cab back to the dorm, slept for a few hours and then had to get up to move the car off campus before 9 or we’d get a ticket (which we got -$15).  This doesn’t sound like such a big deal but Oneonta is essentially just one big fucking hill after another and some of those things are steep, so don’t get wasted, sleep for three hours and then get up and walk up and down steep ass hills for fifteen minutes if you want the rest of your day to feel normal.  When we got back, Ray passed out right away on Justin’s couch for the rest of the day.  Like an idiot, I watched the first season of Louis (C.K.) on Netflix all day while Justin was at class.  That show is hilarious by the way, but sleep would have been smarter.  Anyway, spent most of the day lounging and bullshitting, waiting for the show.  I couldn’t help but laugh at how Ray’s snoring; slumbering person on the couch reminded me a lot of “the guy on the couch” in Half Baked. 

General Clinton’s Pub was pretty packed out by the time Samurai Pizza Cats opened the show that night.  Justin fought for the show to be 18+ which worked despite the bartenders being unhappy.  SPC was fun, they played some good covers and the crowd seemed to be having a really good time with them.  Next was Justin’s hip hop group, The Dutch Masters who also did a great job controlling the crowd and put on a great show.  We closed the night which may have been the only flaw in the show, seeing as how basically none of these kids knew our music and we don’t currently have any covers on reserve.  The first half of our set went pretty well though and I saw some bouncing, head banging, and dancing which makes us very happy chaps.  Unfortunately the majority of the crowd was underage and drinking anyway, and as Friday night became Saturday morning they got worse at hiding it and many of them were kicked out in droves.  So our crowd that we played our last song to had decreased significantly from the one we had opened to, which was honestly disheartening at first, but the kind words of the kids who stayed and learning more of what had happened to many of the departed lifted that weight a bit.  Still though, heckling calls like “play a song!” and “play something good!” from the collegiate/fuckhead/goon/Bro/dawg/roofie-dropping/future pedophilic gym teachers in the audience really got my blood boiling.  I get that they don’t understand where we’re coming from with this style of music, and that they really just wanted us to play “Don’t Stop Believing” so they could finally put a move on their dog-faced dates but seriously FUCK YOU, EAT SHIT, IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT GO SOMEWHERE ELSE (howaboutbackupyourmother’sass?)!  Okay..sorry, got that out of my system now.  We made some decent gas money which was definitely very helpful.  Gotta thank Justin 100x over for his help with getting us the show and actually getting us some money for a change and thanks to his bandmates for being cool to us and helping us out. 

The next morning (Saturday 11/13) we got some pretty good breakfast outside campus at this little bagel shop and we took our time heading up to Albany for our show at Bogie’s.  Bogie’s is a kick ass metal venue.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone in or out of the genre.  Thanks to In the Pit Productions for having us on the show!  The sound guy Dave, who also plays guitar in the band Marauder, was a very chill dude and talked to us for awhile about his label, touring, and sound engineering.   Unfortunately while we were loading in Ray came to the realization that he was missing his snare drum.  Luckily he had brought a backup snare, but not unluckily a little bit later he realized he was missing his double bass pedals as well.  After an hour or two of internal freaking out, we finally got the call back from Justin that some of his band members had mistakenly/drunkenly packed up his shit.  Sucked but at least they were not lost/stolen anymore.  The drummer of one of the bands we played with, Breathless by Dawn was nice enough to let Ray use their double-bass pedals for our set.  We opened the show and played pretty well except a few hiccups.  The first being that Ray completely busted the bottom-head of his backup snare drum (lol), making it sound like a fisher price toy snare.  The second was when I went to step backwards off the drum riser at the end section of “Blood Heaven” I lost my footing and fell ass-over-tits from the back of the stage to the front, somehow managing to slam my back into my monitor and fuck up my knee simultaneously.  I did manage to start playing again before the song was almost over and I was sure I hadn’t broken anything.  Besides those goofs, we played really tight and got a pretty good response.  The majority of the bands we were playing with us were admittedly much heavier than us.  Several had a very NYDM groove meets hardcore/breakdown kinda stuff.  Breathless by Dawn, and the two bands that followed were really tight though and there was surprisingly no bullshit machismo sitting in the air, making everyone grumpy and hostile like at similar shows at home.  Maybe it’s cuz we were the out-of-town band but mostly everyone we met was overtly friendly and supportive so we’ll definitely be trying to head back to Bogie’s on our next upstate run.  (Side note: found out I really enjoy Guinness at this show).

Unfortunately we couldn’t stay for the whole show.  Our original plan was to meet up with our good friend Megan and Alli in Boston at Meg’s apartment where we would be staying the next few days but since Ray’s pedals and snare were still in Oneonta we had to drive back down that way first and decided to just crash there for another night.  We went to a party that was pretty fun.  Found out that Rock-Paper-Scissors makes for an excellent drinking game.  You start to feel like you’re reading the other person’s mind.  The excessive beer-drinking may have started to take a (noticeable) toll on our organs this night but meh…still had a good time.  Our cab driver home had a very Lawnguyland-souding accent and I had to ask him.  Of course he was from Lake Ronkonkoma or something and his name was Nick too. 

The next morning in Oneonta was eerily the same as the one before.  It took us about five hours to get to Boston.  Parking in Brookline was also a bitch, but parking anywhere in an Astro van filled to the ceiling with equipment and bags is a bitch.  We arrived at our long time friend Megan’s apartment around 6 or 7 I think where Alli had been chilling since Philly.  Megan took the pictures of us that are on the inside of “The Rabbit Hole” album art and we were friends way before that.  She’s an OG and coincidentally a great host as well.  Her and her roommates (also really awesome) made us a big Italian dinner: chicken parm, eggplant parm, pasta, and garlic bread.  Definitely the best meal of the tour by far.  Eating sucks on tour.  You eat what’s in front of you when you’re hungry, which is usually pizza and hopefully not fast food, and you’re constantly pissing away money on food that sucks and makes you feel like shit just because it’s the only thing around, so having said that, a home cooked meal was God, son.  Boston was a lot of fun this time around.  The day of our show at the Midway CafĂ© in Jamaica Plain (Mon 11/15), Ray Tom, Alli, and I took a free tour of the Sam Adams Brewery.  That was awesome, got to eat barley seeds, smell fresh hops, and a got a few glasses of free beer, plus nice glass beer pints to take home.  Thank you Sam Adams…for everything *single tear*.  The show at the Midway was fun but unfortunately the only local band on the bill dropped last minute (another reoccurring theme) so we shared the bill with Nowhere Fast who were from Kentucky.  They were a really good melodic punk band and really nice guys also.  We traded albums and will hopefully play together again someday.  Besides a few of our new and old friends who were nice to come out on a Monday night, we played to the other band and the bartenders.  We still had fun though and rocked out pretty hard.  I have videos of most of these shows that I’ll be cutting up and posting soon.  The next day we ate burritos, dropped Alli off at the bus terminal, and Megan was gonna show us some Boston attractions in the downtown area, but first we got turned around a few times and spent a good chunk of time looking for parking.  We walked through Boston Commons park which was very purdy, as was the rest of the city.  Tried to hit up this historical cemetery where (who else but) Sam Adams was buried but we got there a little late and it was closed (cemeteries close?).  We still had a good time walking around and just chilling with Megan that night.  Gotta thank her again for being such a long time good friend to us.  M@d luv grl. 

So this morning was our last in Boston.  Another of our OG friends from back in the day, Liz Pelly (pellytwins.blogspot.com), was cool enough to have us on the morning show of WTBU (Boston University Radio).  We played four songs off the album (“Hyperspiral, Blood Heaven, White Animal, & Tasted By Love”) and talked about the tour and recording of the album, amongst other things like our friends from home.  That was very awesome of Liz to have us on the show last minute.  We are definitely blessed with some very gracious and awesome friends.  Listen to her show at WTBU.org and check out pellytwins.blogspot.com! 
Since leaving Liz at eleven this morning we’ve been driving to Rochester, as I mentioned earlier.  Sadly, tonight is the last show of the tour at the Bug Jar in Rochester.  It’s been a great time, and we’ve been waiting awhile to finally get out there and do this again.  If I weren’t so completely depleted of funds (and shows) I would want us to just keep going for as long as we could, but sadly I am a broke ass.  I’m gonna wrap this up after the show tonight and on our way home tomorrow.

So…I’m home now.  We got to our friend Kristin’s house in Rochester around 6 last night and headed over to where we were playing – The Bug Jar - at 8.  The Bug Jar is a really cool place.  They have a lot of crazy paintings and big fake bugs everywhere.  The side with the stage in it has furniture like refrigerators, tables, and fireplaces hanging upside down from the ceiling as if you are a fly looking down on a room from the ceiling.  The show was only us and one other band, Psychopath from Oswego, who were a pretty tight tech-death metal band.  We didn’t have high hopes for the turnout, being that it was a Wednesday night with no local on it, but we were just going to have a good time with it and put on a good show for Kristin, her friends, and the other band.  Luckily though, right before we played, seemingly out of nowhere, a crowd of around twenty people added themselves to the room and they hung out for our whole set!  We met a few of them and sold a couple CD’s and it wound up being a great way to end the tour.  Needless to say we were fucking psyched to go out like that.  We met the owner of the Bug Jar, Bob, who bought us a round of beers and shots of Jager (bleghhergh).  We talked to him for awhile before we left about bands that had played there before they got big (i.e., White Stripes, Ted Leo, Arcade Fire..).  He talked to us about all of the 60’s psych bands he was into.  There are some really nice people upstate.   Went back to Kristin’s and crashed pretty early.  Took us about 6 and a half hours to get home today (worst part was getting through Manhattan to Brooklyn to LI). 

I’m happy to be home, but already anxious to get out again.  Hopefully it won’t be long until we’re on the road again.  At least I can eat something nontoxic today.  Lots of love to everyone who helped us out the last couple of weeks, everyone who bought a copy of the new album, and everyone who took the time to read this.  Friday, November 26th we’ll be playing the Third Annual Black Friday show at Broadway in Amityville!  That’s gonna be a great time. Hope to see you there. 

-Nick Lee