The band is getting ready to travel to the West coast of North America for performances in April 2015. The following dates have been booked - get your tickets NOW!
4/17 - Fortune Sound Club - Vancouver, BC - SOLD OUT
4/18 - The Crocodile - Seattle, WA - SOLD OUT
4/19 - Wonder Ballroom - Portland, OR - TICKETS
4/21 - Harlows - Sacramento, CA - TICKETS
4/22 - Slim's - San Francisco, CA - TICKETS
4/24 - Belly Up - San Diego, CA - TICKETS
4/25 - Troubadour - Los Angeles, CA - SOLD OUT
4/26 - Troubadour - Los Angeles, CA - TICKETS
Another video has been released from the new album. Directed by Joe Sams and the Uncle Dad Productions team, the video is now on our very own YouTube channel along with videos for "Pretty Music for Pretty People" and "The Sun Turns Our Patio Into a Lifeless Hell".
If we figure out how to go the speed of light we could eventually each get our own planet. If there really are billions of planets out there then everyone should be fine. Of course a lot of the planets wouldn't have atmosphere appropriate for humans, but I hear they're making much progress in portablizing oxygen tanks. So, I suppose the rich get the oxygen planets and 99% of us get the bad air ones. I still think it is worth it. I think I would love having my own planet. All new natural resources like say, the jellyrock. It's jelly when you are forming it into a shape, but it hardens to an incredibly solid rock that can provide housing and such. And you can eat it in jelly form, too. But you should hope it is digested by the time it is supposed to harden. My planet would be called St. Evens, because my last name is Stevens and it just sounds boring to have a planet called Stevens. I would work and play music and go and do things on Earth, but every Summer I would travel to St. Evens and bask in the warm jellybaths of Cape Aldehyde. I would like a light tint on my helmet, because I should be near a star, wherever I am, and sometimes need some shade. Maybe planets are closer to each other in other galaxies. Neighbors. And hey, if they have oxygen you could always just sneak over there at night and run a line back to your place. Interplanetary outlaws. My wife & kids can have their own planets too, because let's face it, we all need SPACE sometimes.
Joe Jack recently participated in a live screening event in Philadelphia for for the "The 78 Project" movie. He performed the song "Railroad Bill" for a live recording using a Presto 78 recording machine.
October 7, 2014 marked the official release of the new Dead Milkmen album "Pretty Music For Pretty People". Reception from the public and press has been great! You can order the album online from our own website shop or from other outlets such as Amazon, or iTunes. Only 1000 of the SPECIAL vinyl version were pressed so if you see one for sale - BUY IT! They are almost sold out.
I am often awakened in the middle of the night. Sometimes it's by a member of the Law Enforcement community, but mostly it's just because a decade's worth of touring has left me with a very unusual sleep pattern. The point is, I usually wake up around 3:30 AM (the hour in which, when I was on tour, I would often be jolted from slumber by a devoted fan's angry husband), work on some music or maybe a writing assignment and then go back to sleep for an hour or two before it's time to get up for my day job. Occasionally, I don't feel like being creative, so I watch TV. And that is what this series of essays is all about.
About a week ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and tuned into The History Channel in the hope that I might catch Henry Rollins new show. I don't actually watch Henry's show; I just like to lay there with the sound off, silently mouthing the words "I can't believe I used to pay to see this dude." Anyhooooo, I didn't see Henry, but what I did see was some guy, in a makeshift wood-panel office, calmly explaining to some other guys that the Templar Knights had buried the Treasure of King Solomon on the island they happened to renting. Mr. Implausible knew this because he'd superimposed the "Tree of Life" from the Kabbalah onto one of Shakespeare's sonnets. Or, to put it another way...
Now, if Henry Rollins and I were to show up at your house and inform you that Carrot Top had left one of the last surviving copies of the Magna Carta in your basement, you'd probably have a good laugh and then slam the door in our faces. So I was expecting everyone in the room to burst out laughing and then stomp Mr. Implausible like a tub of Calabrian grapes. So I was more than a little shocked when the other dudes in the room stroked their beards thoughtfully and said "Hmmm. This seems plausible. Quite plausible indeed."
What the shit is going on here?
Welcome the "The Curse of Oak Island"; from the network that gave us Ancient Aliens (did you know that Martians built Mt. Rushmore? Then why aren't there Martian faces on it? Maybe there are. Think about it.) and America Unearthed (AKA "History for people who masturbate to the Book of Mormon"). And if you're thinking "I bet the only 'curse' involved is the cursing done by anyone who was duped into watching this show", well, you're way ahead of the curve. But first, a little background.
Oak Island is a small speck of land located off of Canada's east coast. If there was actually anything of value there, America would've snatched it up years ago, because...well... USA! USA! So why does anyone think that there might be anything of value there? It seems that during the 19th century a couple of teenage boys rowed out to the island to look at wood cuttings of naked women or something. Anyhooo, while they were doing whatever they were doing, they found a depression in the dirt and began digging because that's the sort of stupid crap teenagers did before Rock 'n' Roll and heavy petting was invented. They dug for a while and found some logs. Then they dug for a little while and found some more logs. And because this was obviously exciting by 19th century standards, the boys kept at it.
Gentle reader, did I ever tell you how a sinkhole works? It's really rather simple: a depression in the ground develops; the trees surrounding the depression fall in to the depression; the depression fills up with dirt; years later, the ground starts to sink again; the trees surrounding the depression fall in to the depression; the depression fills up with dirt... Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
So, what you have is basically a sinkhole (know known as "The Money Pit", a term which really tells the whole story in three words) that, over the years, people have come to believe is the hiding place for everything from pirate treasure ("Well I think it's 'booty'!") to the above mentioned Templar hoard. As with Bigfoot, Noah's Ark, and Paul McCartney's dignity, years of searching have turned up nothing. Although it would be the bee's knees if the folks on Oak Island found Bigfoot while searching for the Lost Treasure of the Templars.
All of this would be hilarious if it were not for the fact that people have DIED while looking for the Treasure of Oak Island. OK, I guess that doesn't really mitigate the humor factor too much, as these people would've died anyway: probably crushed to death by a falling Henry Rollins or killed in a Bigfoot attack. No, what really kills The Funny about Oak Island is that people have wasted their entire lives fruitlessly digging about in the damp Canadian wilderness. Shit Luther, I only dedicated 20 minutes of my life to the mystery of Oak Island, and I feel cheated.
Fun fact: FDR once spent an entire summer on Oak Island searching for the missing treasure. Which is really only a fun fact if you pause to consider that he was young, wealthy and chose to spend three months in the middle of nowhere, scratching about in the dirt, devoid of the company of women.
Walking around outside today in the frigid post-snowstorm air of Philly reminded me of touring in the early days of the Dead Milkmen. It always seemed that if it was December, we'd be in North Dakota or Wyoming, in a van that had no heat wishing we would have triple layered our socks. If it was January, we'd be fighting our way through a blizzard in Minnesota. Whenever we'd ask our beloved manager, a wise man who is responsible for perhaps 98 percent of our swift rise to stardom, why we would tour in the super-chilled north in the winter, risking our lives on ice-covered Interstates, he would explain his brilliant theory that up-and-coming bands, as we were back then, were better off touring the north in the winter because most of the competition was touring the south at that time. There would be fewer entertainment choices in Billings, Montana, a week before Christmas than in Miami Beach. And so we'd have potentially bigger crowds wherever we'd go because other bands weren't willing to shovel some snow.
Well, after about three years of touring the north exclusively in the winter and the south only during heatwaves, our manager's plan paid off and we got our first hit video on MTV. As a result, that channel decided it would be best to stop showing music videos altogether, but we started to play sold-out shows and were eventually able to tour the north in the summer, and the south in the winter, as do most normal bands who have "made it". We were also able to afford to repair the heater in our van.
But when it came to breaking our act in new territories, Europe for example, our manager went back to his tried-and-true method. Our first trip to Germany was in January of 1991. It snowed every single day we were there. The temperature did not once rise above freezing, which is pretty much equal to ZERO degrees the way they measure it, so you could say it was below zero during our entire trip. I could not wait to leave Germany. Unfortunately, it got worse before it got better. We were routed to Denmark and then Norway in February. The snow had stopped but it did not melt. In Oslo it was a couple feet high.
I have to admit that the fjord-and-hill nestled city of Oslo, Norway on a sunny snow-covered winter day is a beautiful sight, even if it is best enjoyed from indoors. Having a few hours to kill before our show I decided to take a walk by myself while the sun was still out. When we started our tour I had shoulder-length hair. I was too cheap back then to go to barber shops. I had a friend who cut my hair for me in her house every so often. But upon approaching a hair salon on my walk I decided on a whim to get a trim. It looked like there were no customers, so I walked in. The stylist greeted me in Norwegian and I suddenly remembered that I don't speak the language. (So many young people in Norway speak English, and speak it well, it is easy to forget that they have their own language.) It transpired that she did not speak much English but she did know that I needed, and probably wanted, a haircut, and I felt by stepping inside the shop I made an unspoken bargain to use the service and could not turn back. I certainly did not want to deprive the woman of income. Before I knew it she had me in her chair. With no words exchanged she gave me a boyish looking young man's haircut. It was very short and not at all what I had envisioned, but at least it would be good for a laugh when the others saw me as we gathered for sound check later.
The biggest shock for me, though, was walking out of the shop and into the sun-setting afternoon. My ears! My neck! With my long hair gone I thought I'd die of frostbite of the skull. I also suffered ridicule, as I'd predicted, as the hair style made me look too young to be served. We decided later to break up the band during our show, in honor of the fact that Camper Van Beethoven had recently broken up in Oslo, or so were told, but we got back together for our encore and merely confused the audience who no doubt had no idea what we were doing or why. We never got any hit music videos on Norwegian television, and we were never asked back. So maybe there are some holes in our manager's theory after all. But the lesson I learned was: if you're going to Oslo in the winter, pack a hat. And if you're planning to get your hair cut, learn the language.
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