Minneapolis, MN

Where to begin.... I apologize for being off the map for a bit but I have a good excuse. When we left Seattle we headed east for the biggest drive of the tour. Seattle, WA to Minneapolis, MN is a 26 hour drive (in a car) plus a 2 hour loss with the timezone change; add in the fact we're driving a 27ft vehicle and stopping for gas every 4 hours we're looking at a 30 hour drive minimum.

About 10 hours into our drive we hit the one thing we were desperatly trying to avoid the whole tour: SNOW. After being in the Pacific Ocean 1 week earlier in sunny San Diego this was a wakeup call to how far we've actually been traveling. We found ourselves in the mountains of Montana traveling 10-25 mph through a snow storm for 8 hours. Needless to say this wasn't helping our arrival time in Minnesota. There was a healthy balance between fearing for our lives as we watched countless cars/trucks, which were much more equipped to travel in the snow & ice, swerve off the road into ditches and guardrails, and the sheer humor of the locals' collective facial expression of "are you seriously driving a 27 ft rv through Montana in a snow storm? What the hell are you thinking?"

After Keith successfully took us through the snow storm (with Brent navigating) and we made our way out of the mountains, Will and I took over the driving & navigating duties respectively.

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Somewhere in PA

Yesterday we had a day off. This was crucial for two reasons.

1.) We only got a couple hours of sleep the night before and

2.) We were running out of clean clothes.

'Clean' of course is a relative term. I have 2 pairs of pants for 60 days, so technically our clothes are just different levels of drity. Yesterday we were starting to tip the scales in the very dirty direction. It didn't help that Will brought more dirty clothes than clean clothes with him on tour. He's the only guy I know who is using tour to catch up on his house-keeping.

Keith busting out the last of his wardrobe for laundry day

After strolling around PA in our Sunday's best we settled in on a quaint laundry mat and cleaned up our wardrobe. After that we hung out in the bus, watched the Wilco documentary (for the 100th time) and went to bed early.

Good night.

Cheers,

Ross

Some Parkway in NY

We've come to realize that government agencies have a hard time with what an RV actually is in terms of vehicle classification. We've already had to switch insurance companies within the first month of owning our RV and have had to take 3 trips to the RMV before we could actually get our vehicle inspected.

Technically, in Massachusetts an RV is a Passenger vehicle, but in terms of height and weight it is right on par with a truck classification. So when you're driving in new cities and states it's sometimes hard to discern where you are allowed to drive. Sometimes you'll see a "no trucks" sign, but you don't know if it's posted because they don't want commercial traffic through residential areas or because there's a low bridge that will take the roof right off the bus.

Departing our temporary home in Brooklyn, NY

Yesterday we had our first brush with where we are allowed to drive or not. Cutting through NY to CT we hopped on the Hutchinson Parkway. Parkways in NY are strictly for passenger vehicles only; no trucks. So you can see where this gets hairy ( read above paragraph). About 3 miles into our trip on the parkway we start getting a barrage of horns, waving, and cars swerving

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Friends of Fort Point Channel

Hi All

Our friend Danielle McNally recently got us involved in the Friends of Fort Point Channel, a nonprofit organization committed to making the Fort Point Channel an exciting and welcoming destination for all of Boston’s residents, workforce and visitors.

The Fort Point Channel is home to residents, artists, offices, well-known cultural and Harbor destinations, a growing Harborwalk and much more. Though still undergoing a dramatic change, the Channel is already emerging as a virtual "Boston Common on the Water" and one of Boston’s best places to live, work and play.

All of Friends of Fort Point Channel's events are FREE and open to the public! Events are held seasonally and include the Annual Flower Give Away, Annual Taste of Fort Point Channel,Waterfront Summer Concert Series, Pumpkin Pageant, Northern Avenue Christmas Tree Lighting, and much, much more!

Visit their website for more information and if you'd like to get involved,

please contact:

Danielle McNally
Marketing and Events Associate
Friends of Fort Point Channel
212 Northern Avenue, Suite 304W
Boston, MA 02210
Phone: 617-451-9239
Mobile: 207-838-9137
Fax: 617-451-0496
Email: Events at friendsoffortpointchannel.org

Thanks and hope to see you at one of the many events this summer!

R.I.P. Nani - Nov 21st 1925 - May 15th 2009

For those of you who know Keith and I personally, you know that we come from a tight-knit family who has always been extremely supportive of our work. Recently, one of our greatest supporters has passed away.

Our Grandmother, better known as Nani died in her home last Friday surrounded by loved ones after a battle with cancer. She will be dearly missed, but her life lessons will stay with us forever. She was instrumental in our development as a band as she would encourage us to practice and perform at her home from a very young age, even when our "music" sounded more like nails across a chalk board than rock & roll.

Thanks for everything Nani,

Love Ross & Keith.

Here is the eulogy I wrote/read at her funeral (click "read more"):

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theWANDAS are a complete 4 piece once again!

As many of you know we recently were on the quest for a new drummer. When we were in our audition process a few months back, we found a great drummer by the name of Will Bierce who has been playing with us ever since we met. After testing the waters on various gigs, a full tour, and extensive background search we couldn't find any dirt on him; very dissapointing.

Nonetheless, we're happy to announce Will Bierce as the official new drummer and member of theWANDAS. For those of you who haven't met him yet, bet sure to say hello at an upcoming show.

 Will enjoying a roasted dog around the camp fire

 

 

Tour - Day 18 - Jacksonville, FL

I don't think we could of drew up a better last show for the tour. After a wild night in Atlanta and a long drive to Jacksonville, we were pretty beat. With a long journey and a Sunday night show, I think we had some doubts as to how lively the night would be.

We were very happy to be meeting up with some of Ross's old friends/roommates from his days in Amherst, MA. We arrived in Jacksonville around 5pm and headed straight to a bar on the beach where Ross's friends were hanging out. To say we stuck out was an understatement. Everyone there was in beach attire with smooth tan skin. We were sweaty, pasty-white, unshaven, and just worn out looking from being on the road for almost 3 weeks. It didn't matter though, nothing was going to rain on our parade. We were so happy to be at the beach we were all smiles. We hadn't been experiencing much sunlight on the tour because we were driving for most of the day; so this was heaven.

Ross & Keith pasty white on the beach w/ friends Mara & Nell. Jacksonville FL

After hanging for a bit we headed to Ross's friend Jay's place to get situated and cleaned up before the show; a real shower never felt so good. The show was on the earlier side which was nice because it was a Sunday night, but we did have to rush a bit to get there on time.

The band who played before us, Longfellow Street were great. They had a bluegrass/country feel with an awesome pedal steel player who played a modified guitar so he could play standing up. They were a great band and great people. I really hope we keep in touch with them.

theWANDAS at Jack Rabbit's in Jacksonville FL

Another bonus to the night was that Brent's Dad and step mom were in town visiting their Uncle Jack and they all came out to the show. Having our friends and family their was such a big boost we were so pumped to play.

It's was awesome playing to the other band's fans who really seemed to dig us right off the bat. They were dancing along to our songs and even had a great group embrace / sway with lighters in the air during Lose You. The band who played after us was great too: Johnathan Appleseed. They had a classic rock sound reminiscent of Black Sabbath. The whole night was amazing we didn't want it to end.

theWANDAS & Danielle (booking agent) at Jack Rabbit's in Jacksonville FL

The tour in general couldn't have gone any better. We made so many new friends, met so many great bands, played at awesome venues and saw a bit of the country. We were invited back to every venue and will certainly be through again. Thank you so much to everyone who came out to our shows and all of our fans who made this possible in the first place. You guys are the best, we love you!

-theWANDAS

WANDA Nation - theWANDAS, Fans, members of Longfellow Street and Johnathan Appleseed: Jack Rabbit's in Jacksonville FL

 

Tour - Day 15 - Athens GA

We had a long drive from Richmond VA to Athens GA yesterday. We pulled into town around 7pm just in time to enjoy a couple hours of sunny weather. We had a streak of rain so the 70 degrees & sun combination was beautiful.

We were playing at a nice live music venue, called Caledonia Lounge, right on a strip of bars and restaurants. Athens has a decent college population so the streets were filled with people enjoying the nightlife.

 Caledonia Lounge - Athens GA

Everyone was in great spirits going into the night. Unfortunately the first band, who's CD release it was, didn't even show up. Maybe they never got their CDs. Even with the first band bailing we were still happy to play. We were playing with a great band who was made up of two other bands called The Interns and The Futureheads. So we were psyched to watch them after we played.

 theWANDAS @ The Caledonia Lounge - Athens GAWe went on a little earlier than expected because the first band didn't show up, but it was great to see the crowd fill in as we started playing. We met a lot of new fans who walked in right off the street because they heard the music. Everyone was very hospitable and supportive. The guys in the Interns / Futureheads were awesome and put on a killer show. I really hope we can get them up to Boston with us.

New Fans of theWANDAS - Athens GA

 After we played we took a stroll down the street to get a bite to eat. While we were out Keith made another new friend.

Keith's Newest Fan - Athens GAWe'll be in Charlotte NC tonight. Looking forward to the show!

 

Tour - Day 14 - Richmond VA

Yesterday marked the end of our mini stay in Virginia. As we mentioned before we had an unexpected day off so we were in town a bit longer, which was nice. We had time to hang with our friends from Pendleton and make a bunch of new friends as well.

As of last night it was back to playing gigs with no more days off for the rest of the tour. It was nice taking a break but the fast pace seems much more suited to playing on the road. We played a show at a cool bar called The Camel right in the heart of Richmond, VA. The venue had some awesome photograhpy on display, on all of the walls.

theWANDAS at The Camel: Richmond VA

Alan and JP from Pendleton put on an acoustic set before us which was great because all of their friends came out that we had been hanging with for the last couple days. Our Converse rep, Lee, also lives in Richmond so he came out as well. It was great to catch up, especially since Converse was so generous with us before the tour.

Richmond VA Friends. Left to Right: JP, Joe, Ross, Keith

We had an 8+ hour drive from Richmond to Athens GA, so we wanted to make a dent in the trip and head out right after the show. We drove for about 3 hours into North Carolina. 2 hours into the drive, Ross got pulled over for the 2nd time this tour. The cop asked if he was tired because the RV tends to drifte a bit from side to side; mostly caused from the winding roads and gusts of wind. Nonetheless the cop asked to talk to Ross in his vehicle; causing the rest of the crew to sweat it out for a good 30 minutes.

Ross returned with good blessings from his new North Carolina police officer buddy. The two talked about the tour, where we've been and where we are going. After taking note of the officer's sirius satellite radio presets; the Christian Station being #1, Ross volunteered to swear on the bible that there were no illegal substances in the bus. The officer loved it, wished us luck, and sent us on our way.

We drove for about another hour pulled into a Kmart parking lot and called it a night. We're on the road to Athens GA right now; the hometown of REM and Of Montreal. Looking forward to the show tonight!

theWANDAS Music - Now Available on smirp

smirp is a new online distribution tool to help artists get their craft out to the masses. Following in Radiohead's footsteps, smirp allows artists to let their fans set their own price. You'll notice in the Download-Music section all of our music is now available through smirp and itunes. 

smirp was created by the same guys that brought you Flickaday; Ross's long time business partner Jeff Durand spearheaded the operation and used input from Ross & theWANDAS to craft a very artist friendly system. If you're an artist you'll most likely enjoy what smirp has to offer. If you just want to get your hands on our music, you'll find there's no easier way than smirp

Tour - Day 12 - Richmond, VA

Yesterday was a very relaxing day off. We spent the day exploring Richmond VA. We got a tasty breakfast together in the morning at a quaint eatery, then sought out a laundromat to wash some of our long overdue clothing.

Keith and Will held the fort down while Brent and Ross went for a stroll through Richmond in search of an ATM. The area we were staying in was smack between a few colleges; VCU & VT campuses were right in the middle of everything.

After laundry we kicked it for a bit and watched some movies. Then we made a nice dinner together and decided to check out the Richmond night life once again. This time we headed for a bar that had $1 PBRs, so we were right at home.

Brent at the laundromat in Richmond VA

We spent the night in the RV on a random street yet again. The street was quiet in terms of foot traffic but the cars and busses were whizzing by all night. The vehicles created a gust of wind that would actually rock the RV from left to right, so it actually felt like we were on a boat. When the big-rigs would drive by it felt like we were going to capsize. We were used to it at this point though. The movement just puts you to sleep.

Today, with the day off, we decided to seek out a campground to park the RV so we could enjoy some trees instead of streets and parking lots.

We're enjoying our unexpected day off but it will be nice to get back on stage tomorrow.

Tour - Day 11 - Easter on The Road

Yesterday was a low-key day filled mostly with traveling from Delaware to Virginia. We had filled in a last minute show in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but we got word yesterday afternoon that show had been cancelled after all. Luckily we hadn't already headed to Pittsburgh because it's about a 5 hour drive out of the way. Instead we decided to head to Virginia early for our show in Richmond on Wednesday. Since our friends in Pendleton live in Richmond and we were playing with them on Wednesday, they offered to let us hang at their place for a few days.

We arrived around 9pm and they were nice enough to let us use their kitchen to make a late-night Easter dinner. Danielle & Keith prepared some ham steaks, mashed potatoes, corn and yams.

Easter on the road : Richmond VA

After dinner we decided to see what Richmond was like and we went for a walk down the street. We're staying right in the middle of a few colleges so there was plenty going on. We went to a bar near by and just relaxed for a bit. It's weird seeing people smoking in bars still. It's been so long since they banned smoking inside buildings, in MA it feels like you never could in the first place. It's a bit of a bummer, but luckily the bars weren't that smokey.

So now we're just hanging around Richmond until Wednesday. After that it's all the way down to Athens Georgia.

Ross & Will breaking the law in Richmond VA

 

Tour - Day 9 - Danbury, CT

We decided to stay in Brooklyn for a little longer since we were only 90 minutes from Danbury, CT. Keith and Will decided to try to make a few extra bucks and do an acoustic performance on the streets of Brooklyn. They made some friends and even had another street musician jump in on guitar. It was a great way to wrap up our time in NYC. Check out the video below!

Then it was on to Cousin Larry's in Danbury CT. I must say, going into the tour I was most uncertain of this venue. Maybe it was the name, maybe it was my lack of familiarity with the location; I'm not sure what it was, however I couldn't have been more wrong. We pulled up and were greeted by a lively staff and group of regulars who were at the bar. We unloaded our equipment and then hit the bus for what has become our pre-show ritual; watching the Simpsons. The band who played before us Panda and Child knew our good friends in 28 Degrees Taurus from Boston, so we felt right at home.

We were the last act and went on around 12:30am. Since there was no one after us we were able to play extra long. We threw in a couple of old ones and even included an jammed out version of Why don't we do it in the road? The crowd was really digging it by the end and we were having a blast. It's safe to say we will be back at Cousin Larry's.

Will's drums looking sharp on stage at Cousin Larry's in Danbury, CT.

Last night we were leaving the club around 2:30am and got pulled over for no real apparent reason; other than the fact we were pulling out from a parking spot and the cop didn't seem to appreciate us doing it in front of him. After a few minutes of running the license and registration, we were let off the hook and proceeded to a local diner where we enjoyed our 3am breakfast.

We're on the road to Wilmington Delaware right now for a show tonight at Bank Shots. Then we have Sunday and Monday off for Easter on the road.

See you in Deleware!

Spread The pabLOVE

The music industry is riddled with stories of self service, deceit, and betrayal; probably more than any other industry. That's why it's so important to share the positive experiences that we come across when working in this field.

On may 17th of 2008 Dangerbird Records co-founder, Jeff Castelaz's 5 year-old son, Pablo, was diagnosed with Wilm's Tumor, a rare form of cancer that surfaces most commonly between 2-5 year olds and effects the kidneys. Since then, Pablo has been undergoing treatment at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) to help him make a healthy recovery.

The greatest judge of a man's character is how he deals with adversity. By forming the pablove foundation, Jeff has turned this gut wrenching scenario into a way to help other people in need.

From their web site:

Each penny donated to the foundation will be matched with our time, our Rolodex, and our reach into the community. CHLA is a stand-alone, not-for-profit institution that has a growing need for community connection.

They also put together and awesome double disc compilation CD featuring Radiohead, Oasis, The Dears, Bloc Party and many more great artists in which $13.88 of every $14.99 goes to the pablove foundation.

You can help the cause by donating to the pablove foundation. Every bit helps!

 

Rockin' for a Good Cause

Next time you go to see theWANDAS perform, not only can you feel good about the music, but you can feel good about making a difference in the world. For our upcoming shows in Cambridge, MA (starting at Tommy Doyle's on March 7th) we will be donating the profits from our CD sales to the Auroroville or bust project.

Ann & Ali are two women in their 20's who are sailing from the U.S. to India where they will be living and working 20hr/week in Sadhana Forest where there is an ongoing effort to restore near-extinct dry tropical forest and revive the dried land and its waters.


The will be working with many volunteers to re-create the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest indigenous to the area. This forest type is found only in Southern India and Sri Lanka and provides a rare biological richness due to its very high species abundance (over 1000 species of trees, shrubbery, and liana). The Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest is now close to total extinction as only 0.01% survives. This is a last moment effort to keep this very rich and beautiful Forest on Earth. Water conservation and soil management are central to the effort.

You can read all about their adventures at donate to their cause at AlternativeGradSchool.com. As always you can view all of our upcoming shows on our Tour Page.

Studio - Day 2

We finished up last night (this morning) at 6am. We tracked all of the parts for "Bending Over Backwards" Everything sounded great. We're using an array of classic guitars and amps which all have great sounds. We returned to the studio for around 1:30pm this afternoon.

Unfortunately we arrived to listen to last night's work only to find that the song sounded just a tad slow. When we investigated further we realized that we tracked the song 1 bpm (beat per minute) too slow. This is a very small difference, but the entire feel just didn't seem right. So, we decided to re-track the entire thing. Sigh...

After the initial depression, Patrick reminded us that it's better to get it right and feel good about everything when we're done. Rather than regretting it after it's too late. Nonetheless we moved ahead in good spirits. Now we're just about done with the song yet again, and will be tracking another one tonight. Since it's already midnight, we'll be having another late night.

On the non-music related news, we've played 2 games of monopoly. I won the first and Brent won the second. Brent and I are also on level 73 of "Bubble Bobble". Which we're determined to beat before the session's end

Cheers,

Ross

Ross to guest DJ at "Happy Endings" - Boston Dance Night

This Saturday (Dec 8th 2007) is "Happy Endings"- the monthly Boston dance night. theWANDAS are big fans of this night, and have made it a habbit of attending almost everything month over the last two years. It's a huge thrill that I will be a guest DJ this saturday. You can probably expect all of my favorite GDM; i.e. Erasure, Flesh for Lu Lu, When in Rome, and whatever else strikes me at the moment.

 l_65c7e4c37e1ac25d9aa663650d7fce26.jpg

Anyway, get there early as the night usually fills up. I'll be looking forward to everyone shaking it on the dance floor. 

-Ross 

Thanksgiving Flu

After our crazy thanksgiving, criss-crossing the state, family events and over eating all brought to a climax by one raucous show at Tammany Hall in Worcester, MA, I think it was inevitable; we got the flu.l_00f827428121d51f81a27ef397a859bf.jpg

I got it first right after the weekend and Keith followed suit a day after me. Our house looked like a quarantined hospital after a biological outbreak.  Lifeless bodies sprawled out on the couch, tissues everywhere, half drank mugs of tea, a few grunts and moans can be heard over the old Seinfeld reruns  playing in the background that no one has the energy to watch.  Fast forward a week and we're pretty much back to good health.

I just met up with Chris O'Coin. He headed up the PureVolume .com video piece we filmed a couple months back. The video includes some live tracks and an 8 minute press reel. He showed me the first cut of the press reel and it looks absolutely amazing. It has some studio footage along with live performance and some interviews.  He does awesome work, and we're really happy to be teamed up with him. As soon as the piece is completed we'll be sure to get it out to WANDA NATION.

Expect more on the blog now that we're back in good health.

-Ross 

 

The boys are back in town

We're back in Boston with our final mixes for the new ep. We took it relatively easy our last night in Montreal. We went out for a late dinner and drinks and called it a night. Even though we were planning on an early night, I think we ended up staying out until about 3:30am which felt like 10PM at that point. We got a good night sleep and headed back to Allston rock city.

We have some cool plans for the release of the EP so stay posted for the latest updates here. We'll see everyone this Saturday at Tammany Hall in Worcester, MA

TammDan.jpg

-WANDA 

It's Mixing Time

After our hefty 2 hours of sleep we set out to go to Clement's home/studio to finishing mixing our songs. Clement lives about 45 minutes outside of Montreal. His place is  completely in the boonies which makes it a very peaceful place to visit. The scenery on the way there was pretty impressive. 

quebec.jpgJust to give you some background on Clement. We were introduced to him through Patrick. He works with practically everyone in Montreal. He's also an accomplished vocalist and his been playing in bands, touring, recording, etc for over 20 years. He's been mixing our album with collaboration from us via phone and email. However, we haven't actually met him in person until today.

We pull up to his house and he meets us outside. "The Wandas are in the building he yells in a welcoming tone". He brings us inside, shows us his home, his studio, offers his home to us as if it was ours. A very nice guy.

He can tell we're pretty beat from last night as Brent says "yeah, we're a little hung over; we didn't sleep much". "No problem my friends, I have just the remedy for you" says Clement. He brings us into his kitchen pulls out 4 shot glasses and a bottle of 10 year old malt scotch whiskey. "You may not like the remedy at first, but I gurantee it will make you feel better". I can see Keith almost gagging from the sight and smell of the shots being poured. "Cheers!" we throw back the shots. 

whiskey.jpgKeith braces himself over the sink for support from feeling woozy and just in case the scotch didn't settle so well. I look at Brent and he has a giant smile on his face with tears coming out of his eys "I feel much better" he says. He puts is index finger pressed against his lips as if he was 'shushing' someone. His cheeks blow up like Dizzy Gillespie and he casually walks to the trash, opens the lid and pukes directly into it. Clement pulls out some gum and puts his arm around Brent and says "what a great first impression, I love this guy!"

I  must say I actually felt fine for the rest of the day. After that, we fired up "Thank You Note" (one of our new songs) and proceeded to work out some kinks in the mix. We really plowed through everything at a good clip. Some of Clement's friends came by chatted with us for a bit, listened to some of the mixes and just hung out. Clement has a great house for relaxing and working on music. They've recorded a bunch of albums in his house because it has great acoustics. 

There is a real sense of local music and strong support that follows it. Over the course of the day, about half a dozen friends came by to say hello, talk about new projects they're working on and just hang out. Martin (Bassist of The Dears) was among the people who popped in, as he's good friends with Clement. He's also been recording a side project at Clement's house  too.  We're hoping to play a couple shows with them in Boston and Montreal.

We're real happy with how everything came out. Clement did a great job and he even offered to mix one more song for us that we recorded after the initial 3 songs. Once we wrapped things up we headed back to the hotel for one more night on the town. All in all this has been a great trip. Lots of fun and lots of progress for the band.

Cheers,

Ross