Saturday, January 30, 2010

Profit Prevention Tour (Australia) - Final entry

Pt. 1 Byron and Newcastle

After Australia (Invasion) day I spent some time with Kirstie and her hilarious and clumsy dog Falkor for a few days. Mostly we just went swimming.

Had a farewell swim in the ocean with Marcus and Rick before Kirstie and myself drove down to Newcastle. after an exhausting 8 1/2 hours we arrived at Amy's and slept like you wouldn't believe. The next day we visited the skatepark, checked out the bogey hole again* and ate thai food (of course). Played a show on the Hamilton Station Hotel with Will Wagner and the smith street band, The Anorexic Olsen Twin, Like...Alaska and Phat Meegz. A rowdy and fun filled event** that dragged on into the next day. After the show I said my goodbyes to Kirstie (sadly), and went back to Amy's for a sleep. The next day was a nice and quiet show in Suzie's zine shop with the bands from the night before all playing acoustically. Afterwards had dinner at Govinda's (a Krishna restaurant), and hung out for a record party at Totoro's Teahouse a few blocks away. Jamming on the sidewalk with some of the smith street band, a car passed and an egg was thrown at us. Luckily the person sucked at throwing (and probably at life as well) and the egg landed a few feet short. We kind of just had a laugh and kept on shredding. Somehow I ended up saying goodbye to the smith street band probably about 3 times... once at the zine shop, again at the teahouse, and then the next morning when Liam and I ran into them at the public baths we said it again. Skated the park for a few minutes, and then caught my train out to Sydney.

Met Amber at Central station, though I didn't know what she looked like and she didn't recognize me either. I just saw a girl wearing a Gorilla Biscuits shirt walking around, so I figured it was probably her. After Correctly Identifying her we ate at the Green Palace in Newtown (of which I had 2 plates of my own food, and the rest of hers), ate some banana splits and watched Interview with a Vampire (Tom Cruise is a weirdo).

*A man died at the swimming hole a day before we got there. Drunk and all partied up from Australia day, he jumped off a ledge into the shallow water and split his head open. A helicopter airlifted him out but he died in the hospital the next day. The city may be using this as grounds to close the Bogey hole, which would be a major bummer.

**I have officially brought "logging" to Australia. A game where you fold up a piece of paper, place it on someone's shoulder, watch and wait till it falls off or they discover it. Chris from the smith street band had 5 on him at one point, but Will Wagner holds the current record with 7 on his shoulder while he was drunkenly hugging someone goodbye. It was like a feeding frenzy... right as he turned his back me and 2 others bombarded him with Logs until there was no more room on his shoulders. I doubled over with laughter at that point.

Pt. 2 written in the sydney terminal

A lot of emotions are running through me right now, and I'd be lying if I said I was eager to return to the states. Sitting in the airport waiting for my flight, I have a bit of time to reflect on my stay here. Although this trip overall was an awesome and amazing experience, there were some extreme lows as well. Though I could go on about the negative things about this trip I'm not going to... the people that fucked me over and/or abandoned me are well aware of this, and talking about it in further detail will just make me angry. Instead I'll take this time to thank all of the people who have done amazing things for me since I've been here, and without them this trip would have been a total disaster.

Alix for taking care of me when I couldn't walk and giving me a comfortable place to stay. Joe for working so hard at getting me shows when everything fell apart, and recording my performances. Kirstie for helping me get back to Newcastle when I completely ran out of money, and for letting me hang out with her super rad dog. Marcus for all the emotional support and friendship (you definitely helped me through some dark times). Mitch and Laura for housing me when I was on crutches, and just being all around sweet people. Jamie Hay, Babs and Bosma for helping me get on some shows in Melbourne and being super accommodating. Will Wagner and the Smith Street band for all the high fives, hugs, sing alongs and late night jam sessions. Steve, Lewis and Rayne for all the late night skate jams and impromptu ginger beer parties. Liam for being an awesome friend and bogey hole enthusiast. Josh, Gab, Brooke, Morgan, Louise, Ben and everyone at the Canberra Vegan House who have helped me out so much. Rhys and Sommer, Mark Jolley and Ben from Maclean for opening their houses to me to perform. Suzie, Jen, Amy and Like...Alaska! for helping me out with Newcastle shows and all the fun times. and lastly, Amber in Newtown for feeding me banana splits and being the last person I see before I leave Australia.

Going home broke, filthy and exhausted. I have less than a month to prepare for my Euro tour with xTrue Naturex so I literally have to get to work as soon as I land. I have a long few months ahead, but keeping busy generally keeps me happy. I'm starting to feel like what I'm doing actually makes a difference again, and I want to continue on this path.

See you all soon.

for love and liberation,
Mike XVX

Monday, January 25, 2010

Profit Prevention Tour (Australia) - "feelin' pretty devo this arvo"

Spent my last few days in Yamba, NSW skating the park with Rayne and some of the local kids. Swam in the ocean one day alongside a giant tiger shark (I didn't see it but Rayne was pulled out of the water). Apparently it was about 12 ft long, so maybe that's average length for a tiger shark? Also, earlier on in my stay in Yamba I was stung by a Blue Bottle Jellfish directly on my nipple, which was not fun at all but I guess it says something about how many exotic (and deadly) sea creatures there are out here.

Said goodbye to Alix and all my Yamba friends after we went swimming at the quarry in Angourie (blue pools) which was pretty sad. Then drove out to Byron to meet up with Kirstie and Marcus.

Drove up to the Gold Coast and went swimming at the Natural Bridges Waterfall

You're not actually allowed to swim in the falls, or even go anywhere near it, but we didn't want to pass up a great opportunity. Once the last of the tourists left the cave we climbed over the railing and hopped in, even after a threat on a sign of an "80 points fine"... whatever that means? The water was the perfect temperature, and the falls were not too strong to swim underneath.* When I got out I realized a group of people had gathered and a couple of them were filming, I thought we were busted.. or at the very least going to be hassled, but a lot of them were just excited for us.

Played a pretty awesome show in Rhys' backyard (pictured underneath the waterfall in the second picture). When he wrote free ginger beer on the flyer he wasn't kidding... there were over 40 bottles in his kitchen. I could finish one, and that was my limit.Rhys also filmed this show with a super high-tech camera

oh yeah, and I shaved off my beard.
(and I look super sketchy)

Drove back the Byron that night, and in the morning met up with Marcus and Rick at the Bangalow markets which was INSANELY big, and it was scorching out in the sun. Ate some delicious raw food and hung around the Sea Shepherd tent mostly. Afterward went to the local Co-op grocery store and met up with Rhys and Sommer. Hung out in a park down the street for a good while, until an Aboriginal man approached Marcus and myself accusing us of staring at him without having the common decency to introduce ourselves. We were taken aback because neither of us had been staring, and there was really no opportunity to even get a word in otherwise. Accused of being racist, and not given the chance to talk about it we left the park. I was pretty bummed about the interaction, but Marcus and I talked about how his fear of being judged by us is the same that we felt. and that his approach to the situation is reactionary to the racist society that he lives in.**

Spent the rest of the day skating at the park in Mullumbimby. Pretty awesome park, that's all I can say.

My last 5 days in Australia starts today. Not wanting to go home, though I probably should. Marcus jokes about getting a petition started to have Australia "adopt" me haha. A lot people tell me if I want citizenship I just need to know who Kevin Rudd is (he's the prime minister, duh) so I think I could handle that.

For Love and Liberation,
Mike XVX

*Last time Marcus was there it was raining pretty hard, and apparently almost drowned when he swam underneath it

**Aboriginals have faced (and still are facing) hundreds of years of oppression, assimilation, displacement and genocide. Their plight has a lot of similarities to the treatment of indigenous peoples during the colonization of the Americas. In fact tomorrow is "Australia Day", which is considered by some as "invasion day". In Byron there is a celebration of Aboriginal history and culture at an event called "Survival Day" which I will be attending. I'll let you know how that goes.
P.S. fuck nationalism

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New release! Internet download only!

So I've finally got around to uploading my new release! "our lives have meaning, our lives have value" is available for download for a suggested donation of $5-$10.



Contact for the download code!

or you can send a donation via paypal to!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Profit Prevention Tour (Australia) - "when the world falls apart some things stay in place."

Just got back to northern new south wales from an exhausting 5 days in Melbourne, VIC. Played 3 shows with Will Wagner and Chris Burrows, who both played really awesome sets by the way, but had to skip the 4th to rest and go see Walter from Gorilla Biscuits play an acoustic set.

Spent the first 2 nights with rad Josh that I met in Canberra at his house in Northcote, and then spent the rest of the time with Jamie Hay and his awesome roommates and friends in Clifton Hill. Skated the weirdest park I've ever been to - it was just box stacked on box with a few stair sets. No transitions or ramps anywhere, so bizarre. Went for several bike rides both with Jamie and Josh... one of which Jamie warned me that we'd be riding along a river for part of it and that I, of all people, should be reeeeeeally careful.*

Melbourne is known as Australia's most vegan city, and I definitely found this to be true. Ate at a ton of different places that were all pretty delicious... except Trippy Taco kind of weirded me out. You just shouldn't eat Mexican food overseas if you grew up in Southern California; it's a written rule that I chose to ignore. Also had a great lunch at Lentil as Anything, which is a vegetarian restaurant run by volunteers. All you can eat and pay what you think the meal was worth; pretty good deal, hey? It's also located in an old convent that was converted into several shops, including a bar, a pretty sweet art gallery,a petting zoo, and also hosts a weekly farmers market. I would send photos but I haven't taken any since I've destroyed my last camera in the lake crash.

Feeling super flemmy and nauseous even though I've been back for a day. Every place I seemed to play or go was literally filled with cigarette smoke, and I'd end up having a coughing fit the next morning. Had to step out of my comfort zone a lot to play some of the time as well, since everyone was drinking, smoking and being super rowdy. It's definitely not something I'm used to, but I put on a smile and handled it the best I could... though I felt pretty uncomfortable and overwhelmed a couple times.**

I'm just trying to take everything as it comes, though what's been coming is sometimes difficult to deal with. I don't know if any of you experience this, but I feel like I build something emotionally for myself, or try to build a strong relationship with another person, and then have someone or something come along and just (metaphorically) kick the supports out from underneath it. I suppose that's how I've been feeling lately. Or maybe I'm just exhausted and lightheaded from that trip and that's amplifying my emotions at the moment.

Anyways, playing a show on the Gold Coast on the 23rd and my last and final show in Australia in Newcastle on the 27th. I hope to see a lot of people there, check the dates on my myspace blog if you need anymore info.

Going to make the best of these last 2 weeks,

Mike XVX

*Still getting ripped on weeks after the lake crash, haha. So if I've learned anything it's this: crash into a filthy lake with your friends trike and ruin all your things just once and you'll never live it down.

**I don't want anyone to think I'm being arrogant or elitist either, I simply just don't feel comfortable around drinking in any capacity.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Profit Prevention Tour (Australia) - Kobe Bryant!

So I was able to skate for the first time in a good while today. I was walking in downtown Yamba and I ran into Rayne, so he took me swimming at this awesome rock formation at the beach called The Key and afterwards we went to the skatepark. Once we were there for awhile I was approached by a group of young kids.
this was our conversation:

Kid #1: Hey are you American?
Me: Yeah, I am.
Kid #1: (gasps) whoa, so like... where exactly?
Me: um, California.
Kid #2: Oh so like, Denver Broncos?
Me: Well, no. That's Colorado. We have the Lakers I guess.
Kids: (all yell) Oh Man!!
Kid #2: KOBE BRYANT! KOBE BRYANT! (makes swishing noises and pretends to pass a ball between his legs)
Kid #1: Well LBJ is better, right?
Me: Uh, yeah. sure. But I gotta get back to skating.
Kid #1: Oh yeah, do your thing man. (gestures with arms)

Leaving on a plane for Melbourne tomorrow. A little nervous, but I'm looking forward to seeing Victoria for the first time. The dates are posted on my myspace. Hope to see some of you there!

For Love and Liberation,
Mike XVX

Monday, January 11, 2010

Profit Prevention Tour (Australia) - chuck a coupla stubbies in the eskie

As some of you American friends will notice when I get home, I've been working hard building my Australian vocabulary. I have to say, when I first got here I had a hard time understanding what anyone was saying to me... but now being a little more exposed to the Australian vernacular I have a better understanding. By the way, I'm stinging for a stubbie right now.

Anyways, played an awesome show last Saturday in Maclean (the Scottish capital of Australia!). Had a barbie with some mates, chucked back a coupla stubbies and played some music. A friend named Joe tried to record the show somewhat successfully for a bootleg "Live in Australia" CD he's making. I'm pretty excited about that! and you all should be too! Thanks again to Ben for letting a bunch of sweaty kids hang around in his basement.

The next night some friends and I drove up to Byron. Ate some Krishna food and went swimming in the SALTIEST water I have ever been in. Had a great view of the famous Byron Bay lighthouse from the beach, and is also known as the most easterly point of Australia! The show wasn't "officially" booked at the Youth Activities Center (YAC), but since there wasn't a show scheduled that night I figured I might as well play out in front. Surprisingly a pretty large amount of people showed up, and I think all in all it went really well. Lesson learned: don't rely on someone else, do. it. yourself.* Spent some time with some really sweet kids, and got to see cane toads for the first time (super cute, but apparently are a total pest here in AU). Great, great show.
Spent the night out in Lismore, and drove up to the Gold Coast to party at "Dreamworld" for the day. As I was standing out front trying to figure out a way to get in, a womyn approached me and offered me one of her family pack tickets, which included a wristband to get into the waterpark, for $30 instead $75 (plus another $20 for the waterpark). Once we passed through the ticket line and I was in the park, she seemed to be incredibly nervous about me handing her money and thought that everyone that worked the front gates was "watching her". so she said "you can have it for free, have a nice day" and took off. I guess I lucked out that she was so paranoid, so Marcus and I shared the cost of his ticket instead. Played lazer tag (alien vs. predator vs. YOU) which you battle not only eachother but the predator and the queen alien from the movie series' as well. Rode some awesome rollercoasters, got splashed by some nasty water on a couple of the boat rides, and walked around in nearly 100 degree whether for the day. Nearly had a heartattack on the ride where you freefall 377 ft.. which I had to ride alone because no one else wanted to tempt a brain aneurysm with me. (pictured below. the freefall is the side track)

After we left the park we were thoroughly exhausted and starving so we drove out to Tien Ran in the Gold Coast. Which is one of the few all vegan restaurants I've been to since I've been here.
Grabbed a few stubbies on the way back, laid down and had one of the deepest sleeps I've had in quite awhile.

I love my friends,
Mike XVX

p.s. there's not a whole lot of room here for my photos, so feel free to check them out on my myspace.

*although I do owe a great amount of thanks to all my friends who helped caravan kids out to the show, advertised for it and drove me around. and of course all the friends who have in any way supported me since I've been here. A million times thank you!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Profit Prevention Tour (Australia) - Oh. Shit.

Just got back from a rowdy couple of days in Canberra, NSW so I'll fill you in on what I've been up to:

Took a 15 hour train ride down, with a stop off in Sydney where I made $1.40 busking in the tunnels (pretty good huh?). On my connecting train I saw a couple in the seat in front of me get into a fist fight (full on face punching and everything), while I sat there wondering if I should get involved. After about 20 seconds they got up and walked off, wondering what could be weirder than that to see on a train ride.*

The next day in Canberra, Josh and I rode bikes out to the botanical gardens, and then eventually hiked all the way up black mountain in some serious dry-heat. We made it to the Telstra antenna at the top but it cost $7.50 just to go up into the revolving restaurant. Instead we walked into a restricted area to take photos of the city (coming soon), and on the way out a womyn with an accent I couldn't place screamed in face about us not being allowed out there. We laughed, said thanks and walked back down the mountain.

Went for a ride around the bacteria and blue-green algae filled man-made lake, and once again my recklessness ended in disaster. Choosing Josh's trike instead of a regular bicycle, I consciously chose comfort over maneuverability. I learned my lesson while coming down a hill on the bike path alongside the water. I approached a soft turn, so I figured I'd be able to take it at the speed I was going... but coming around the bend it became nearly a 90 degree angle and I had to jerk the bars and leaned as hard as I could into it. I wondered at one point why I couldn't steer, and why I was only going in a straight line towards the lake. and then I wondered why the brakes weren't working. and then when I approached the edge I stopped wondering and the only thought that popped into my head was "I'm fucked."
I flew off the 2 ft. wall at a pretty decent speed, clearing a small ledge and landing in the lake face first; backpack and all. I, and the bike were completely submerged at that point, and when I broke the surface choking on the nasty water and scrambling to stop the bike from sinking, all I could hear was Josh's laughter. My phone was ruined, and the verdict is still out on whether my cameras are broken or not - and whether I will have intestinal problems later on, haha. I looked into my backpack and all my items were literally swimming in a couple inches of water. Everyone had a good laugh about it, especially me. One of the funniest parts being that Josh only heard me yell "OH SHIT!" and turned to see me mid flight. Pretty epic indeed.
(p.s. you can make fun of me all you want about this. everyone else has, haha)
(p.p.s. photos coming soon hopefully)

Played a show that night in the living room of the Vegan House, ate some amazing vegan cheesecake and gluten-free vegan corn dogs, and hung out with some of the nicest people I've met in Australia so far.

The next day Josh and I went out on bikes again (this time I chose the beach cruiser, obviously) and rode to the portrait exhibit at the modern art museum. After that we saw some awesome stuff from Cezanne, Monet, Picasso and Munch in the art gallery. Ate some strange mexican food that made me miss San Diego a whole lot, drank a xginger beerx and then played scrabble in the park for a few hours (always awesome).

A show got thrown together last minute by an awesome person named Louise at The Phoenix. I had all I could drink juice and xginger beerx, watched a couple other bands, and then played the sweatiest set of my life. It was incredibly hot in the building, and the stage lights beating down on me didn't help much at all. Also, it's always weird playing through a PA but there were some rad friends there showing there support... so all in all it was a pretty good show.

Had to wake up at 6 am the next morning, except Morgan's clock was wrong and he woke me up at 5 by mistake, haha. I packed my things and realized it was still pitch black outside so I went back to bed for awhile. I was scheduled to transfer in Sydney, and I would have had to wait for 5 hours for my connection, but when I got there I managed to get on a train that left 2o minutes once I arrived so I caught that instead. *It seemed to be a strange train to catch though, for the first 5 hours a bogan with 3 babies sat behind me. Watching them get on in Strathmore I knew right away they were going to be trouble. Not once in that whole 5 hours were any of them quiet; they were either screaming, crying or talking baby nonsense while their dad would mumble inaudible things... except every once in awhile I'd hear "you betta stop that an' fuck off, mate". I woke up at one point to one of the babies pulling my blanket off of me at the height of my frustration. She was lucky. After they left I was quite relieved, but we still had a large, drunk bald man walking around the train harassing everyone. He would walk around the train telling everyone they were "in his seat" even though he wasn't from our car, and then stand in between cars and yell the station stops as they'd come and go. When we got to Wauchope 2 cops got on, and when he saw them he ran and sat in the seat across from me pretending to be doing nothing wrong. They asked him to leave, and he did and I took a photo with my new phone. I kind of missed that guy after he left actually, he was funny.

Sat in a near empty train car for the last hour of my trip. It's always a haunting feeling to be sitting in a brightly lit train-car seemingly by yourself when it's pitch black outside. I heard 2 Americans talking up near the front, the first since I've been in Australia, but I didn't want to talk to them as much as I assumed they didn't want to talk with me either. It's kind of a bummer to run into other people from the states when you're in a different country.

Playing a show in Yamba tonight, then Byron the next day, and then going to Dreamworld (!!!). Hope to see you all soon.

for love and liberation,
Mike XVX

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Profit Prevention Tour (Australia) - New Year, A Giant Banana, Dodg'em Cars and Fairy Floss

Some good news for you all: After 2 weeks on crutches I am finally beginning to walk again. I feel as though the dark cloud that's been hanging over my head since then is finally starting to pass. I haven't felt the need to write in this for awhile since I didn't want to send out any negative news, but now things are looking up.

It's only been the new year for a couple days now, but already I'm feeling refreshed and revitalized. This past year has been rough, as I know it has been for a lot of my friends as well. I had thought at first that I was just on a streak of bad luck... but I realize now that a lot of the negative experiences I had this year were consequences of not trusting my own intuition and judgment. So I guess my new years resolution is to take a step back from my life from time to time and re-evaluate my goals as an activist, musician and friend, and reaffirm what's really important to me.

So I just got back from a rowdy night at the fair in Yamba, NSW. Ate a bunch of Fairy Floss (cotton candy) and got a mild seatbelt burn on my neck from the Dodg'em (Bumper) Cars. Afterward, a friend and I beat the crap out of each other inside a giant inflatable worm while screaming children jumped all over me when I was down. It was awesome to be on my foot again and feel like I can fully enjoy my time here.

I am so grateful to the friends I have made on this trip so far. I was feeling pretty alone there for awhile since this tour fell apart. but with their help it's been coming back together. I hope you all had a wonderful New Year's (my favorite holiday by the way), and I hope to see some of you at the upcoming shows this week/month/year. Take care.

for love and liberation,
Mike XVX