DEAF BY ARMS: Our First Tour

by: Ray Zen

Cleveland, OH

Soda, Sleazy, Nick Nasty, Furface, La Rock, Mush, Mick, and I just returned from an 8-day tour we did together. It was Deaf By Arms' first ever tour, and I have to say that it went incredibly better than I could ever have imagined. In the next few minutes, I'mma take yo ass on an abbreviated recap of the highlights (and lowlights) of what proved to be an awesome time.

May 24, 2008 ::Braddock, PA::
w/ She Feels Like Pittsburgh, Ryan Williams, Kevin Wyckoff (Slug's Revenge) and Emily the Banjo Player, Whiskey Smile!, and Luke

After some confusion due to crappy MapQuest directions, we finally got to Luke's house in Braddock. All of the people we hung out and chatted with before, during, and after the show were amazing. It was a ridiculously long night of incredible music. Furface started up the set, followed by us, Johnny La Rock and Mushmouth, Kevin and Emily, She Feels Like Pittsburgh, Ryan Williams, Whiskey Smile!, and then Luke to close it out. Kevin and Gabe (Whiskey Smile!) are a couple of our good buddies, so we were excited to see them again. Our new friend Laney's (SFLP) set was intoxicating and soaring, and Ryan Williams offered his usual serving of angry protest folk. Ryan didn't play for very long, citing drunkenness as his reason, and also did not play naked this time (bummer). I swear I've seen his junk more than I've seen my own. By the time Gabe played, he was HAMMERED and taking requests. He also played a couple of his new songs, "Scumfuck You" and "Moocher's Etiquette", which I highly recommend. Luke wrapped it all up with his brand of insane, melancholic acoustico-metal. He's a really talented guitarist, and a really nice dude. This show rocked!!! If you're interested in checking out any of the artists we played with, you can download their entire discographies for FREE at

May 25, 2008 ::Titusville, PA::
w/ West Coast Burning

We got into Titusville around 5-ish on Sunday, for the second house show of the tour. We were slated to play with a local band called West Coast Burning. This show was at Jade's house, and I have to preface this entire entry with the comment that Jade is a TOTAL SWEETHEART! She was by far one of the nicest people we met on the entire tour. After hanging out with a bunch of cool kids on Jade's porch, the show started in this crazy back sunroom area that had all kinds of cool scrawling all over the walls. Furface played his set and then West Coast Burning came on. Their set was fast, angry, aggressive, and complete with some of the local kids skateboarding around the room to the music. It was insanity. As I stood watching from the kitchen, my eyes locked with Nasty Nick's. He began to gesture five fingers and a fist, five fingers and a fist, all the while mouthing the words "five" and "oh". You guessed it. Nick had spotted Titusville's finest rolling down the street to break up the show. We wound up not playing this date. Some of the local kids offered to move the show to a field about 40 minutes away, but after one run in with the authorities today, we decided to deal with the pain of not playing. Jade made us spaghetti, we said our goodbyes and headed off in the general direction of Newark, Delaware.

May 26, 2008 ::Newark, DE::
w/ some local cover band, and some local blues band

I'm not known for my discretion when it comes to things I don't agree with, so you can understand that I'm not about to hold anything back regarding this show. We hung out in Newark for a few hours, sampling some of the cuisine and shops, and taking in the sights of all of the highly attractive co-eds roaming around the home of the University of Delaware. Seriously, Newark is hot. I'm not kidding. It was one of the most attractive places I've been to in a long time. All this aside, we got to the venue a bit before the time the show was supposed to start. We all started off thinking we were going to have 30 minute sets. Around 10 o'clock, we were told that all the acts on our tour had until 11:15 to play our sets. That's a time crunch as it is. By 10:40 all of the acts on our tour had played. Furface cut his set slightly short which, when played in its entirety is only 15 minutes anyway. We were cut short around 18 or 20 minutes, and La Rock and Mush only got to play 9 minutes. THAT, my friends, IS BULLSHIT. Regardless, I think some of the people at the club dug our sciences, we made a few bucks on gas, and most importantly, got to chill with our friends April and Pat from Guerilla Party ( They are cool people who made cool jams, and you should definitely witness their science at some point. After the show, which included a blues band, that not only took 20 minutes JUST TO SET UP, but also played for almost 2 hours, all 8 of we tourmates crammed into a room at the hotel next door. Some shady lady outside asked Chris if he had any crack. He said, "No, do you?" and she got defensive and said she was just kidding. Silly crackheads.

May 27 & 28, 2008 ::Greenville, NC::
w/ Remora, Hotel Hotel, and MC Homeless

In Greenville, there's a whole lot happenin'. We got down there a day early, since our South Carolina date was cancelled and we didn't want to spend the money to drive an extra 10 hours for a radio show. This wound up being awesome though, because we got to spend two nights chillin' with Davey (AmeriKKKan Hostage) and Homeless, whom none of us have seen in quite a long time. We stayed at their place both nights, and they were honestly amazing. We also hung with Richard, Em, and Emmilee, all of whom treated us with incredible kindness.

Quick story: As soon as we got down to Greenville, we all ran up to Homeless' room to delegate where we were all going to sleep on his floor. I immediately pointed to the spot right under the air conditioner. Eddie pointed at a mic stand on the floor and said "What's that?" I said "a mic stand". Then he pointed again and said "No, that".

It was a fairly substantial roach.

I kicked the micstand causing the bug to scurry, did a 6-year-old girlish, screaming Irish jig, and squished it. Roaches became a frequent topic for the next two nights. That sucka was HUGE! When I lived in Collinwood, we had our fair share, but I never saw one that size. From what I'm told, the further south you go, the more your monthly extermination bills become a regular utility. A lot of people said that if you thought Greenville was bad, you should see some of the bugs in Florida. But I digress. We all chilled all night, and slept in the next morning. It started raining late the first night, and rained ALL day until right before the show. I felt kinda yucky so I spent probably 5 or more hours on the couch in the hallway of the house, as it was cold and rainy. We played an AWESOME show at 21 Eleven, Richard's Beer and Wine store, with some really cool bands. You should definitely check out Remora, Hotel Hotel and of course, LRI's own MC Homeless, who played in an amazing old school star-spangled wrestling uniform. You should also check these people out because they're really cool people. After the show, we headed back to the house and hung with Davey and Emmilee until the wee, wee, wee early hours of the morning. All night, Davey said some of the funniest things I have heard all year. I got him to drunkenly agree to host an instructional video that teaches kids to read. Unfortunately, I could not talk him into moving back to Pittsburgh or anywhere in the Midwest. We miss Davey (and you too, Homeless). After what amounted to a nap, we shoved off toward Baltimore. And by the way, I can't thank Richard enough for helping us out with the show, a place to stay, and door money for gas. You rule, dude.

May 29, 2008 ::Baltimore, MD::
w/ PT Burnem, Breakfast Records, and Pikesvillain

Baltimore is an interesting town. We pulled up to the Turntable Club and were greeted by flashing blue lights on the telephone pole across the street. They were part of a surveillance box that had two cameras on it. On the box, it said something to the effect of "City of Baltimore Police; 24/7 Citywatch". And then on the bottom it said (and no, I'm not kidding...), "BELIEVE". It was some serious Big Brother shit. Either way, we loaded in, soundchecked, and chilled with Kevin, the awesome sound guy, and Missy, one of the cool people who works at the club. We started up the show finally and it wound up being all of the bands playing to each other. I'm not sure what happened, but it must not have been that well promoted. Either way, we had fun, met and heard some cool new people. PT spat some wicked rhymes, Breakfast Records rolled through an upbeat set, and Pikesvillain offered a unique blend of classic rock and hip-hop. Check all these people out. You won't be disappointed. After the show, we got out of Orwellmore and headed up to Connecticut.

May 30, 2008 ::Trumbull, CT::
w/ Brooklyn Panic, Pretend You're Happy, & Mutiny Amongst Friends

This show rocked. I could stop here, but I won't. DIY Bandits set this one up at C-Dawg's House in Trumbull, CT. Despite the fact that gas was the most expensive in CT than any of the other states we were in, it's a really pretty place. There were a ton of cool people at this show, including some really cool bands, and Pepe and C-Dawg of course (Pepe did alot of the leg work that made this show happen so many thanks to him). Brooklyn Panic consists of a chick on sax, xylophone and vox, and a dude playing acoustic and singing. They played a bunch of interesting and original folk songs. Some of the people in the crowd knew these songs and sang along. Furface and JLR/MM played energetic sets, and were followed by Pretend You're Happy (formerly Mantits). They consisted of a dude playing electric guitar, piano, and singing, a flautist / vocalist chick, a drummer, a bassist, and a stand-up bass player. The set consisted of a number of intricately arranged songs with odd timings and cool breakdowns. We played after them, and the kids there were awesome. For the first time the whole tour, we had kids moshing. When I said we had about two more left, Pepe yelled "no, play three!" and some other people cheered. That was seriously awesome and made the whole tour a success in my mind. After our set, Caleb, Emily, and the rest of Mutiny Amongst Friends played a set full of catchy sing-alongs about growing up and living in shitty towns. They are a totally fun band, and will be touring near you this summer. You NEED to check them out. They're also really awesome kids. I particularly enjoyed the last song, a crowd-participation jam that allowed everyone during pauses to say a phrase regarding what they are "addicted to". My first line was "I'm addicted to not getting arrested" (a reference to a run in I had earlier in the week with 7 Maryland police cars that ended with me NOT getting arrested). They played the next bar, stopped and looked at me. Not realizing I needed two sentences, I just looked at them, so Caleb smiled, went "I'm not", and they played again. After the show, we hung out with everyone, and C-Dawg let us crash at his place. His hospitality was amazing, and I have to thank him, Pepe, DIY Bandits, and Emily, Caleb and Mutiny for their separate offer of a place to crash. CONNECTICUT RULES!!!!! I can't wait to play there again. We woke up after probably my best sleep of the entire tour, and shipped up to Boston.

May 31, 2008 ::Worcester, MA::
w/ some band that didn't show

The crowd in Worcester (pronounced "Wooster" or "Wusster", yeah I don't get it either) was sparse, and the band we were supposed to play with didn't show. Nevertheless, we had a great time. The people there were extremely cool to us, and I have to send big ups out to the guy and girl sitting at the bar for the constant head nodding during our set. They were cool as hell, and apparently the dude was way down with stuff from Cleveland, as he and I engaged in a conversation about some random, marginally popular bands from Cleveland. At the end of JLR/MM's set the entire tour party sang the last few choruses of "Grimey" together. I chatted with the kids at the bar some more, we gave them demos and stickers, and then departed eagerly for home and our much-desired beds.

This tour was an incredible experience that I'm definitely never going to forget. I met so many cool new people and felt so much positive energy that I can't wait to tour again sometime soon. I'm totally proud of my bandmates and my tourmates, and I'm ridiculously excited for all of the cool things that seem to be happening at the speed of light.

Once again, I have to thank all of the amazing people who helped make the whole thing so cool, in no particular order:
Laney (She Feels Like Pittsburgh) and Luke, Jade, April and Pat (Guerilla Party), Richard, Homeless, Davey, Em, Emmilee, Kevin, Missy, Kenny, C-Dawg, Pepe, DIY Bandits, Emily (Mutiny Amongst Friends), and Jerry Fels. And of course, all of the amazing people we met and the bands we played with that were mentioned throughout. Thanks is not a big enough word.

Peace and many, many kisses to all.




Pictures of the tour from DBA's MySpace page

(You must have a MySpace account and be logged in to view)