Claude VonStroke Week 7 Tour Blog
Detroit – Thursday
Track of the night….
Once again it was Marc Houleâ€™s Yonkers but this time with a Detroit special â€œlet me bangâ€ accapella i put over the top just for my D town people.
Marc Hole – Yonkers – CVS / Dj Deeon Edit (mp3 clip)
Thereâ€™s no way to do this blog about Detroit without talking some history. Letâ€™s just begin at my parentâ€™s house for dinner. Dad made some amazing seafood pasta. Itâ€™s great to go back home to play a gig and sleep in a big comfy bed in my old house. My Mom and Dad still live in the suburbs of Detroit (called Grosse Pointe). They are really funny and great parents. My Mom even made my Dad come out to the show in the dingy basement of Oslo downtown at 1 in the morning – and dance!
My good friend Anthony soon showed up for dinner. Heâ€™s a film director. We met a long time ago in Detroit doing location management on a little movie called â€œPolish Weddingâ€ filmed in Hamtramck. (a Polish suburb of Detroit with more bars than people.) I had come back to Detroit from a terrible Fran Dresher film called â€œthe Beautician and the Beastâ€ at Paramount I was working on in LA. I made the job change so i could upgrade from Production Assistant to Assistant Location Manager. Whoohoo. Anyway, Anthony was already working in Detroit as the location scout on Polish Wedding. We became friends pretty quickly. (Anthony kept working on films and commercials even after I moved on to music so now he directs car commercials and music videos for Eminem, White Stripes, Slum Village, Black Milk, etc.)
This is all relevant because when I moved back to Detroit from LA Anthony quickly corrupted me and had me going out to all the real Detroit warehouse parties and raves. I barely slept working on that movie and it didnâ€™t take long for me to get my head totally back into music. In fact i never went back to LA, i moved in with Anthony in a building downtown which also was the home of players like DJ Bone. If you know Detroit itâ€™s the building above Nikiâ€™s pizza in Greektown on Beaubien. From there i re-built my music rig and played at some Poorboy raves like a mini-Orbital with a flashlight on my head and everything.
On a weird side note, Anthony used to hook me up with car commercial work and on a few jobs i worked with Jack White back when he was just forming the White Stripes band. If youâ€™re into indie rock and that stuff we also worked a lot with Dan Miller from Goober and the Peas and also the band Blanche. Those guys were always a riot. In fact i donâ€™t really get Jack Whiteâ€™s somber persona, he was always the funniest, liveliest guy on set – and he never had a sour face. Even weirder is that later on Anthony directed a couple White Stripes music videos and I was a video editor by then in San Francisco so I actually edited the â€œHotel Yorbaâ€ music video for them!
Well anyway…Detroit really IS a small town. So Monty Luke showed up for dinner after Anthony. He has a couple records out on mothership. We were friends in SF and he actually moved from San Fran to Detroit to help Carl Craig run Planet E. (insanity??) So of course after dinner we stopped by Carl Craigâ€™s house. That was a bit surreal because Carl had moved only about 4 blocks away from my parents house. His daughter was attending my old high school! Carl and his family were really nice and we chatted about stuff like the book Middlesex (plot set in Grosse Pointe) and just general â€œhow did you end up here?â€ stuff. It was kinda hard for me to believe I was sitting in Carlâ€™s house just talking shit, but thatâ€™s Detroit for you. After that it was time to get downtown to the gig at Oslo. (And Carl came down to the show later. Cool!)
Monty Luke – Art Love & War out this week on Planet E with Carl Craig Remix
The actual show
I was somewhat fatigued from the previous night in SF when i played an all vinyl drum n bass set. So the first hour seemed a little uninspired and i was feeling tired. The mixes werenâ€™t tight, the tracks were too housey, i was playing too soft. But at some point a switch went off in my head that said..â€Hey fucko…youâ€™re in Detroit. Are telling me you are going to have a bad show in Detroit?â€ Well of course that was not an option. So i stopped the music entirely. The crowd started yelling. I waited for a minute then began fresh. After that it was all mayhem, 100% siiick party. Sometimes it is best to just start over again and reset the room cause the party was amazing after that decision. Thanks to Chuck from Paxhau and the countless friends of mine that came out like Dat, Brian, Greg, Dave, Anthony, Monty, my parents, etc.
BIG TRAVEL PAINS
The next morning began one of the most convoluted and insane travel scenarios I have ever been on. Did anyone see planes trains and automobiles? I was the John Candy of Djs this weekend. It all started about 30 min before we were supposed to leave for the airport. All the sudden I realized…shit…Iâ€™m going to Canada this weekend. For some reason I forgot we were no longer all living in a happy world where going to Canada was just showing your drivers license and smiling as you crossed the border. AND I FORGOT MY PASSPORT…
Even funnier was that my Mom put all my clothes in the washing machine so even if i did have my passport i had nothing to wear to the airport. She kept apologizing and counting down the minutes until my pants would be dry enough to wear in 15 degree weather. It was pretty funny and sad at the same time.
Now I will do anything not to miss a gig. Iâ€™m not going to mention any names but i know some DJs who will cancel on a runny nose or because they feel tired or they partied too much or countless other pussy reasons. I would never do that. I have to be a Dead Man Walking to miss a gig.
Totally dismayed, I thought for a second the lack of passport was going to crush my weekend. But there are some advantages of being at home. One advantage is access to documents. Just when i thought my weekend was over my Mom comes up out of the basement with my original birth certificate. And apparently i COULD get into Canada with just the birth certificate and a kind border guard.
So 30 min later my Dad and i drive across the border to Windsor with the birth certificate. My Dad shows his passport and tells the guard a story about how I forgot my passport. There is that 30 seconds of really uncomfortable silence while the guy looks over the documents. tick tock tick tock. Then all the sudden we are inside Canada. Success. Iâ€™m going to make it to Toronto! My Dad drives me to the Windsor train station and drops me off to wait for the train. It looks like iâ€™m going to work this out…easy.
OK, so of course 5 minutes after my Dad drops me off my agent calls me and tells me there is no Saturday delivery to Toronto. So now I am now trapped inside Canada with no chance of getting the passport delivered. the reason I am trapped is because you CANNOT get back into the USA with birth certificate. It has to be a passport for America. uggggg
Top ten scenarios for me getting back into the USA without my passport.
1. Fedex passport Saturday delivery to Toronto – Originally this was the best plan. Reason it didn’t work::: The fedex employee who answered the phone didnâ€™t know what they were talking about. When Andrew (my agent) got to Fedex they said there is no Saturday delivery to Toronto on Fedex UPS or DHL.
2. Fly Boz (label manager) to Toronto with my passport and then he gets to party there as well. Reason it didnâ€™t work::: He would have to take a redeye and miss the show anyway, plus there was no ticket without connections for less than $2,500.
3. Fedex passport to my parents in Detroit and have them drive it to Toronto. Reason it didn’t work:: My parents (bless them) would have to drive 5 hours to Toronto with a 1 hour time change after getting the package with my passport at noon. It was not enough time to make my flight to Chicago from Toronto. Then they would have to drive back home as well.
The winner…after over 30 scenarios considered…
1. Dad drives me over the Windsor / Canada border with birth certificate that my Mom found in the basement. They see his passport and my birth cert (on which he is the father.) They take pity on me and let us in.
2. Dad drops me at Windsor train station where i take a 4.5 hour train to Toronto.
3. Next morning I wake up and get right back on the train from Toronto back to Windsor. (train is delayed and takes 6 hours)
4. Fedex with my passport in it arrives at my Parents house
5. My Parents drive across the Windsor border and give me my passport. Then we drive back across into the USA with my passport.
6. I go to the airport and catch a flight to Chicago (of course delayed another 2 hours)
7. Arrive in Chicago. Play in Chicago!!!
8. Sunday morning book entirely new flight from Chicago to San Francisco using the refund minus change fee of the entire Toronto/Chicago/SF flights i missed the day before.
9. Arrive in SF beat to shit!!! Wow…that was hard core :)
Lessons learned – Aways bring our passport on every trip. AND, you are never too old to get help from your parents. :)
Toronto – Friday night
After the insane travel and a few hours of sleep I arrived at the Mod Club in Toronto. The club was pretty big and it was set up in a way where I was very far from the crowd. Iâ€™ll admit it was a little bit tough to fully connect with the stage set-up like this. The good thing was that I met Talal and Zoi who just signed the track â€œSilky Kingâ€ to dirtybird. These guys were really nice and enthusiastic. They hung out on stage with me as well as the guy from the Nacho Lovers who just signed up on my same booking agency.
Silky King – Talal & Zoi (mp3 clip)
So the support was there and the set went well but i canâ€™t truthfully say it was amazing for me. It was packed all night and I really did give my best effort but i should have been down on the floor with the people. Thanks to the few fans out in the crowd who made a point to come up on stage and say hi to me. There was also a nice girl at the end who told me she loved reading the blog!! It was the first time anyone had ever come up and talked to me about the blog so I really appreciated that.
Jeff, the driver/promoter was a cool guy and i went to grab a Falafel at the all night joint with him. The french fries that came with it were incredible. So good that i knew i shouldnâ€™t be eating them. Next time we will put the booth down on the floor or play a more intimate space. I really love Toronto and all of Canada. I could even imagine living there if it wasnâ€™t so cold.
I think most people would agree that Canadians are the nicest people on planet Earth. A rare fact about me is that my favorite movie of all time is a Canadian movie called â€œStrange Brew.â€ It is probably also one of the stupidest movies ever made but hey, it made me laugh when i was a kid.
One funny comment on the train back to Windsor came when we were de-boarding. It took a long time because everyone had all their Xmas luggage. A guy from the back of the line shouts â€œHey, whatâ€™s the hold up, eh?!!â€ Then a guy from the front shouts â€œTake it easy, weâ€™re all going to the same place!â€ And then the guy behind me sums it all up in one sentence… â€œIf we were in the States there would have been a fistfight.â€ and both Canadian guys chuckle.
ha!! so true.
Chicago – Saturday night
Chicago at Smart Bar is always a good gig for me. There is a new guy, Nate booking the shows who is very enthusiastic. He picked my up from the airport and we shot the shit for a while about Miami and Detroit and how to best do parties in these towns. He was very knowledgeable and I hope to work with him further down the road.
This time in Chi town i was teaming up with Justin Long on a dotbleep vs. dirtybird night. Justin is an amazing DJ. he is one of those guys you love to watch. He jumps, growls, dances, everything. When i got there he was going strong, rocking the crowd and just raising the energy of the club in that crazy way that he does. I saw about 45 minutes of it before i went on. He definitely had it thumping in there.
As soon as i went on, Nate got on the mic and announced our new dirtybird residency. We are now going to be doing a quarterly party in Chicago. It is out first real label residency outside of SF and iâ€™m really happy about it.
Chicago is always great and the crowd were fully down for the night. I played for ages. A guy Jon from Casual records came down and hung out for a while and told me Green Velvet would be interested in working on a track with me. Now this is some serious news for me because when i started out the only track that really influenced me was â€œthe Percolatorâ€ by Cajmere (same guy as Green Velvet.) It was the only track i heard that sounded exactly how i wanted to sound. Funny but serious. Booty but still techno. I still think this track is probably the best dance music track I have ever heard. So Iâ€™ll definitely be calling Mr. Velvet back!
The Percolator – Cajmere – Cajual Records (mp3 clip)
In Smart Bar they close the bar at 4 instead of 2 so itâ€™s all good in there even late night. I was feeling a little bit faded from the hardcore traveling but the crowdâ€™s unfailing energy and enthusiasm kept me going. The people were really giving me back to love so I finished the set with the original â€œAundyâ€ mixed into the drum n bass remix by Marky & S.P.Y. It was a great end to a great night on a great weekend. Peace to Chicago. And see u soon!