Monday, June 15, 2009

2 tires in 2 daze

yesterday started off in a normal fashion - we woke up in arlington, tx and readied ourselves for the 10 hour drive to nashville. we ate breakfast at a golden corral (eeewish), cozied up in the lead sled and started 'blues brothers.'

it wasn't until hour 7 that smith observed the huge rubber hangnail dangling off our rear driver-side tire. yipes. so we called our friendly neighborhood 'man-with-a-huge-truck-and-jack' and decided to pass the "5 to 50 minutes" (direct quote) by making this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rXun4neL6c

it was the ultimate lemons to lemonade situation.

so, we awoke this morning feeling ready for anything - we had, after all, overcome our first serious-on-the-road-van-trouble the previous day and what could possibly throw us for a curve now? we found out just south of the virginia border on I-81N, when suddenly we were driving 70mph on 3 wheels and a hub cap.

NEVER FEAR! JAMES CLEARE!

what a champ: james cleare steared our crippled sled to the shoulder without even breaking a sweat. traffic zooooomed by but he kept his cool and we got to a safe spot within moments. an hour later, a mechanic named doyle helped us put yesterday's tire back on for our very slow drive to sears. we were tempted to see 'up' in 3-D while we waited for our new tires but decided to grab a bite at garfields instead - we drew on the tablecloth because it was made of paper. very practical.

so now it's 2:30 and we're about 4 hours away from nyc. ahhh the unexpected bumps in the road....

...literally.

gotta love this east coast air,
the lead sled

Saturday, June 13, 2009

arlington, tx

cleare: stoic, vast

smith: aviators and the 80s

robb: mug-shot, overpass

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

drive it up and drive it in

last night we saw 'hangover' (or is it 'the hangover'....can't remember) at a drive-in outside memphis, TN. now good gosh darn it, why isn't every movie theater a drive-in?? that is my question. there is absolutely no reason to see a movie inside when you can see one outside in the comfort and delight of your own car, be the lead sled or otherwise. it is absolute and pure bliss. we got ourselves some 'za, a mosquito coil (weird contraptions, but effective) and collapsed the backseat into a custom-made movie bed - it was perfection.

and that wasn't the only highlight of yesterday's tennessee adventure. check this out:
video
good times.

today we arrive in dear old little rock, where our arkansas family lives. we really love president bill clinton ave.

mugginess be damned! we will enjoy this midwesternsouthern jaunt!
the lead sled

Monday, June 8, 2009

i'm born anew in your genius

well, we're sad to be missing david byrne in prospect park tonight. but the sled is a pretty darn good alternative...

we started the morning with 700+ miles to go. knoxville is FAR. but then we watched 'castaway' and realized hey, at least we have shoes and food and water and shelter and friends that aren't volleyballs and at least we're not engaged to helen hunt, that hussy, who goes and marries mr. big while we're away. so then we felt better about the drive.

we're heading southwest this week cowpeople. dodging tumbleweeds will be our game.

land for sale!
the lead sled

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

yyYYYYAARRrrrrggg.

So here's our non-blogging excuse... ready for it?

Once upon a time, Heather was walking down the streets of NYC when she came upon a woman in rags who had just dropped her change all over the sidewalk. So naturally, Heather, being such a kind person, began to help the lady pick it all up. Upon completion of the change-retrieval mission, the old lady grabbed Heathers arm and gazed intensely into her eyes.

"Do not.... I repeat... do NOT blog of your experiences on the road for just under a month!" she said in a classic croaky old woman voice.

"Why not old lady in rags?" Heather replied.

"JUST beEEEeeccaauUUUsseeeEE!"

"Ummm, ok old lady in rags"

At which point the old lady VANISHED from sight, leaving Heather with nothing but a shiny 2009 quarter and the fateful warning echoing in her head. So it was decided that blogging should be temporarily suspended and was ne'er spoken about again, until now...

OLD LADY IF YOU'RE OUT THERE, IT'S BEEN JUST UNDER A MONTH SO WE'RE IN THE CLEAR, RIGHT?

We'll take her silence as a yes.

So hi everyone! Thanks for your patience, we know it's been a while...

We just got done with a itty bitty baby tour to Cleveland, Evanston and the back country roads of Iowa. It was interesting to say the least.

Our night in Cleveland was wonderful and strange. We were a bit (read: a lot) overshadowed by the amazing Cavaliers game that was going on, literally, around the corner (we were mere paces from the arena) and on the big TV behind the bar.
As we were playing, the room would erupt into unbridled cheers at random moments and at first we thought, "Hey this is great....they REALLY like us!" However, upon further reflection we realized it might have been Lebron's sweet moves, and not our life-altering songwriting, that had our audience on the edge of their seats. I suppose we'll never know for sure - we'd like to think our music can compete with a half-court-nothing-but-net-shot-at-the-buzzer, but we are definitely bias.

Evanston is not Chicago, but it's still awesome and we had a great time there. We played at a place called "Space" (not to be confused with "The Space" in Connecticut), and it was a helluva good time. The room was beautiful, the sound was phenomenal, the crowd was jovial and the hospitality was some of the best we've come across - they fed us homemade organic pizza for goodness sake, I mean what else is there in the world? An all around terrific time.

The final show of our tour took place in a barn. Literally. We were one of four acts playing the 3rd annual 'Farmer Songfest' festival in Ellston, IA, a town which, for the life of us, we could not find on our road map - our GPS ("Ruth") was equally perplexed in finding the festival but we got there, by golly! Upon arrival, we were greeted by two dozen or so friendly Iowans who were all pitching in to set up the festival tents, 8 dogs that couldn't have been muddier, and 45 million june bugs. By the end of the night there were close to 400 people, 15 dogs and 100 million june bugs - the latter were particularly enthusiastic about our music, which they expressed by flying full-speed into our faces and instruments throughout the show. We spent the better part of our hour-long set trapping the enthusiastic little fellas and throwing them back out into the fields. They seemed to show a particular affinity for Heather, which she tried her best to reciprocate but there was something about the whole exoskeleton thing that she just couldn't get over.

After the Iowa show, all we had to do was drive the 20+ hours back east. Easy! We decided to treat ourselves to a happy little detour at the halfway point to split up the journey, so we spent Memorial Day at Heather's grandparent's Day Camp outside Ann Arbor, Michigan. We enjoyed a relaxing day of boating, fishing, arts and crafts, nature walks, swimming, camp crushes, BBQ and archery. Observe:
video

As you can probably tell, we had no fun at all.


All the love from this vehical to you we do send...
~The Lead Sled.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

home stretch

we had a show in philly last night at the world cafe live. this omen greeted us when we exited the van:

(just in case you can't tell, that's a row of melodicas on the sidewalk leading right up to our van)

we felt pretty great about it. and sure enough, the show was a blast. cynics be damned! we will take our spray painted melodica omens however we please!

we were in west virginia on monday night, our second visit to the lovely purple fiddle since the beginning of 2009. we love that place a lot.

also interesting: we played a haunted house in kentucky over the weekend. it was called the southgate house, and the inventor of the tommy gun grew up there. we heard all sorts of amazing ghost stories from the bartender, sharon, who has worked there for 15 years. she has had countless experiences that could convince even the most devout of disbelievers (talk about an oxymoron). here we are sitting on some ghostly pillars outside the venue:
tonight we are playing in annapolis at the ram's head tavern. after the show we are sleeping on the bus with glenn and co. after sleeping on the bus we are going to new jersey. after new jersey we are going to new york, for our final show with this amazing group of people. then we will cry. then it will be heather's birthday and all hell will break loose.

this is a lot of driving:
crab cakes!
the lead sled

Friday, March 27, 2009

join our dragon slaying army

have you ever listened to the doobie brothers while driving through northern Ohio on a sunny march day with the windshield wipers on? NO?! oh my friend, you've not lived.

so. the last time we wrote we were on our way to a campsite. we were excited about a night of good company and good food. what we didn't realize is that we had a BANQUET in store for us, all of which was masterfully prepared by a ridiculous team of kitchen superheroes that have been disguising themselves as a rock band and crew. observe the first course:

video

it was honestly the craziest camping feast we have ever experienced. and the best part is that most of the food was prepared ON THE CAMPFIRE! yeah. crazy.

well, after 3 amazing courses, the inevitable happened - guitars came out, followed by instruments of all shapes and sizes and the singing began. before we knew it, we had attracted a few groups from neighboring campsites and we had a straightup sing-along/dance party around the now roaring campfire. great times were had by all!

Post dinner, post jam session was when we decided to make the bonfire as big as humanly possible...just because. The night took a turn towards cult-like activities because of said fire. Tis possible twas seen from miles around. After we got the fire as big as we possibly could it was feeling like bed time. Smith and Cleare Crashed in the old Lead Sled, Heather got the sweet chance to sleep on the Flufflers tour bus...(luuuckkkkyyy) and Mikey decided to rough it in his sweet one man tent. Don't get any ideas ladies....it's a one MAN tent.

We were awoken the next morning by Mr. Tilbrook a-rap-tap tapping on the van door saying that breakfast was almost ready. Bubble and squeak, eggs, salmon and the biggest garlic mushrooms any human has seen. The banquet continued. nothing but banquets with the Fluffers.

After Breakfast we cleaned up the dishes and headed to Chicago to rock the pants off of The House of Blues (and we're talking the british kind of pants...yeah, you know what we mean). Also playing at HoB was Katy Perry who has inspired us to get a huge inflatable cat with eyes that light up. We were this close to just stealing hers. We must say however, if we ever had the means to have an oversize blown up cat on our stages, we would need a new one every night. Battles would be staged, band mates lost, cats slain...you know...the usual.

So if anyone knows where we can find a sweet blown up animal for our shows....let us know. As long as you know you will never get it back... we couldn't let such a powerful creature live to wreak havoc among the commoners of this world.

So now friends, we continue our journey towards Ohio, in hopes to start our own rock band community of dragon slayers. We will write again once our army has been formed. Any volunteers?

The Lead Sled

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

kentucky showers bring chicago flowers

it's raining in kentucky and we're camping tonight. glenn tilbrook is cooking us dinner over a fire...in the rain. it's going to be historic and amazing.

last night we played in nashville - the night ended with an epic sit-in on two tunes with the fluffers, 'happy disposition' and 'take me.' heather whacked simon's floor tom, smith shattered a tamborine and cleare took a ridiculous impromptu electric guitar solo. the jam ended with all of us destroying the drumset in slow-motion, then lifting cleare up over our heads while singing 'loving you (is easy because you're beautiful).' we love these crazy brits!!

we had a great time the night before last in atlanta, at our main squeeze (no pun intended) 'smith's olde (<--- traditional spelling, doncha know) bar.' the exciting events of that show were, in chronological order:
1) the fluffers sit-in with us for our closing number, 'little bug.' glenn (electric guitar), stephen (keyboards) and cleare (acoustic guitar) all take amazing solos and the room goes wild.
2) halfway through the fluffer's set, we start playing the intro to 'goodbye girl' on guitars and melodica in the middle of the audience. glenn and the fluffers jump off the stage and lead us to the bar. we all climb onto the bar, and the 7 of us play the song from there.
3) glenn orders a mid-song round of tequila shots. we take them at the end of the song.
4) glenn announces: 'the spring standards will now lead us in a cover song of their choosing!' we pee our pants.
5) we decide to go with our old faithful sing-along, 'i shall be released.' we lead the entire room in a lovely rendition - still from atop the bar, mind you.
6) pandemonium ensues.

needless to say, we have had some memorable nights already on this tour and no doubt we will have many more. if we are coming through your town, please come make some memories with us.

now on to a kentucky campsite...
the lead sled

Saturday, March 21, 2009

water flowing underground

we are crossing the george washington bridge. cleare is behind the wheel in purple pants. heather is in the front seat in spearmint pants. smith is in back reading the new york times in jeans. viotti is in the back sewing a patch onto his pants, so he's not wearing any. it's a beautiful march day and we're listening to the talking heads.

this is day 4 of our tour with glenn tillbrook and the fluffers. we're doing 14 shows in 18 days with these guys, and it's off to a killer start.

now i will admit something:
the first few days of a tour always feel sort of like boot camp or fall pre-season, after a summer of goofing off and not running even though your coach warned you about that timed 2-mile run at the end of the first week. we're winded by our second song, random muscles ache, we bleed on our snazzy tour attire and we collapse into whatever makeshift sleeping arrangements we've got at the end of each day. so we've been dealing with a little bit of that for the past 3 nights - first in long island at the crazy donkey, then at the narrows in fall river, MA, and last night in ridgefield, CT. but i think it's safe to say that tonight or tomorrow will bring us over the hump, at which point we will shape-shift into a well-oiled, 3-piece-machine that feels neither fatigue nor pain. we're actually illegal in some countries. i'm not bragging, that's just plain fact. we're almost there...

anyway, back to the tour. it's safe to say glenn tillbrook and the fluffers are some of the kindest, most down-to-earth and hysterically funny individuals we've met in the last year of touring. we first met glenn last fall when we did some dates with 'squeeze,' the new wave/punk-pop band from the '80s that brought us the timeless hit, 'tempted,' among other pop gems. check 'em out:
that's glenn in the green pants. those of you who know us will know he shares our fashion sense, but that's just one of the things we have come to admire and adore about this incredibly talented individual. we could gush for another few paragraphs right now, but instead we'll space it out over the next 2 weeks of blogging. so you've got that to look forward to, loyal readers!

gosh but it's good to be back in the sled...
hope to see you soon!
the lead sled

Saturday, February 21, 2009

today is saturday

we've spent most of today driving through the state of 'unbridled spirit' - kentucky, of course. we've watched 'american psycho', listened to boys II men and eaten many sun chips, but we've still got almost 200 miles before we'll be able to rest our weary bodies. it's snowing out and james smith is a champion of inclement weather conditions

we spent thursday and friday at a marriott in downtown memphis, where we were participants in the the annual folk alliance conference. there were tons and tons of people there, walking around with any number of acoustic instruments and a wide array of fashionable folk music attire. we saw a lot of music, but our favorite act was 'the parkinton sisters,' a group of 5 sisters with more talent than the 20-floor hotel could hold. check them the heck out on myspace and see them when they play in your town - 'cause they will.

tomorrow we're playing the illustrious 'mountain stage' in charleston, west virginia - we're not quite sure when the broadcast will be (it's an NPR show!), but we'll be sure to let you know when we find out more details. we're opening for 'the drive-by truckers' and only playing for 16 minutes (yes, they were that specific), but we're super stoked about it.

in other news, we ate at morgan freeman's restaurant in memphis last night and DAYAM was it a classy joint. amazing live blues music was the perfect compliment to our delicious southern food feast. we were so excited by the meal that we almost got kicked off the trolley we took back to the hotel. but we didn't, so it all worked out.

that's all for now...hope you're warm and snuggly wherever you are...
the lead sled

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

it's snaining

why yes, i DID just invent a word.

SNAIN (noun): a precipitation that combines, in even parts, both rain and snow in order to create the saddest possible weather condition.
Boy, this snain is really making me feel blue.
If it doesn't stop snaining soon I might just have to sit in an empty bathtub and cry.

ok, so it's not really that bad. and luckily we've got some great jams going in the ol' Lead Sled to ward off any true despair. but MAN, just when you're ready to usher in an early spring...

today is the first day of our last burst of touring before a 3 week break - our first real break of 2009! we've been having such a blast touring all over the place for the past month and a half, but a break will be truly wonderful. personally, i plan to sleep for 2.5 weeks of it. i've got some bear hormone pills that are supposed to work wonders...

so right now we are heading in the direction of memphis, TN, where we will spend the next 3 days as participants in the illustrious Folk Alliance Conference of 2009. we don't know very much about the conference, but here is the badass postcard that james designed for the occassion:
we hope they like us and want us at all of their folk festivals. EVERY SINGLE ONE!


keep your chins up kiddles, this snain, too, will pass...
love,
the lead sled

Saturday, February 14, 2009

does anyone really like those candy hearts?

we are all in agreement that they are pretty much the foulest candy ever invented. yeah, sure, those messages are cute and fun and whatever, but does that make up for a disgusting, chalky taste design? we think not. (except for Smith who puts them on his cereal.)

hi. we're driving straight up the center of virginia right now, with cows on either side and mountains in the distance. it's pretty great...a perfect backdrop for a valentine's day drive. we're all holding hands, of course. and eating tons of chocolate. mmmmmm.

we played last night at a place called 'the box' in charlottesville, VA (the town where dave matthews band basically got their start). we had a last minute (ahem) change in plans, but thanks to the unbelievably pro skillz of our management team everything went off without a hitch! good times.

we also played on a local radio station yesterday (106.1, the corner), and i found this seed pod in the parking lot:

it reminded me of a classic episode of 'are you afraid of the dark,' in which two boys receive a magical monkey claw that grants wishes but always in the most negative way possible - kind of a 'be careful what you wish for' situation. it's a really scary episode. anyway, the monkey claw looked just like this seed pod.

we had our first show ever in north carolina a few nights ago, and we FINALLY learned what a tar heel is. finally! do you want to know? ok, then we'll tell you. the term 'tar heel' dates back to the civil war - it was a nickname given to the confederate soldiers from north carolina who were known for sticking to their ranks rather than retreating, as though there was tar on their heels. did we mention we love etymology?

we also had a great time at DC9 earlier this week. in addition to being a super fun club, it was also the site of our first-ever custom designed puffy paint tshirt sale! what am i talking about? oh nothing....just a super cool awesome new thing we're trying out for fun. keeps your eyes peeled for them at the next show you attend!

on one final valentine's note...
regardless whether you're feeling good, bad, glad or sad, we want to be your valentine today.
so if you don't have one already, we're yours.

....and we don't want to see you talking with anyone else.

seriously.

don't even look at another person....
you wouldn't want to set us off on one of our jealous valentine's day rages.
TRUST us.
if we hear that you've been talking to other potential valentines, we're gonna snap.

BIG time.


happy valentine's day friends!
~the lead sled

Sunday, February 1, 2009

apple sweet apple

we're almost home. we recognize the skyline and it feels great. only 3 nights in our own beds before we're back out on the pavement - talk to you then friends!

roll on spring!
the lead sled

Saturday, January 31, 2009

what is a moine?

does anyone know what a moine is? and does des moines mean 2 moines? please help us settle this debate.

in other news, we're heading back east today - with luck we'll make it to pittsburgh tonight and be back in nyc by the time the eagles win the superbowl. that's right...the eagles.

so the elephant in the room here needs to be addressed. yes, we spent the last two nights opening for kevin costner and modern west. yes, he told an amazing story about filming 'JFK'. yes, we all got to shake his hand and to be honest he wasn't any taller than we thought he'd be. all in all it was a great and very memorable experience - his band was super badass and we had a blast playing for packed houses at 'slowdown' in omaha and 'people's court' in des moines. also, his audiences were very enthusiastic and generous and liked buying us drinks. so that was fun too...


did i already mention it's cold here?


so we've got roughly 12 hours and 5 states to go through before our tour-weary bodies will rest this evening. any road game suggestions?

go eagles!
the lead sled

Thursday, January 29, 2009

somewhere in the middle of america...

'august and everything after' anyone? yeeeeah. omaha baby, omaha!

how have we been? well, to put it plainly, we're honestly quite relieved to have made it through the week unscathed. perhaps i'm overdramatizing - sorry mom! i guess it wasn't really so bad. we had a few days of treacherous driving through arkansas, missouri and illinois - crazy stuff. there were ridiculous ice storms throughout the midwest and we found ourselves smack in the middle of the action more than a few times. need some proof? how's this....

when's the last time you saw FROZEN GRASS? pretty neat, huh. it also sounded cool when we walked on it. i liked it.

so we went through about 4 gallons of windshield wiper fluid and there were some whiteknuckled moments, but all in all i'd say this was the most frightening moment of the whole trip:

video
terrifying!

we played in chicago last night at a really cool venue called 'schubas'. also on the bill were two nashville acts, both ridiculously awesome - pico vs. island trees kicked off the night with some tight rock 'em sock 'em grooves and katie herzig closed out the evening with her gorgeously woven melodies and honest-to-goodness storytelling. the surprise of the night was a delightful reunion with some new friends from the rock boat, ryan and pete of gaelic storm (our favorite), who came out to show some post-boat support. it was a special night - the kind that can almost make you forget the fact that you can't feel your feet or your face. almost.

we stayed with friends last night and feasted on cookies that were delivered to us by heather's aunt. the cookies are becoming a chicago tradition - we're super into it.

today we're driving west and crossing into iowa.....NOW. seriously, we just did! all the way across iowa and into nebraska and bam - we'll find ourselves in omaha. tonight is the first of two opening slots we're playing with kevin costner and modern west. COSTNER! we're playing at a venue called slowdown, owned by conor oberst (bright eyes). should be a fun one...that is, if james and james are able to calm their nerves and quiet their inner 11-year-olds that keep telling them we're opening for the prince of thieves. let's hope for the best!


never forget - it's the heart that matters more,
the lead sled

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dearest friends,

did anyone read the family circus this morning?
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
oh silly family circus.

Last night we played a venue called The Rev room in Little Rock Arkansas... and what a room of rev 'twas. It had the look of a large rock room, the feel of a casual living room and a sound system of the gods.

The show went swimmingly, the sound was great and we had a supportive audience of rockers. But let us tell you the main thing we discovered about Little Rock Arkansas. There is a group of people that have a distinct kindness in their hearts much like pooh bear's.

With no place to stay, we were planning on spending $32347486242.00 on a hotel room for the night. But lo and behold, the band that headlined the evening, "Free Micah," lived 10 minutes away and offered us a roof over our heads for the evening.

Little did we know what was in store for us...a night of generosity, kindness, musical and philosophical jamming and unbelievably comfortable beds. We stayed up until all hours of the morning listening to and playing music. Once that was over and it was time for bed, the hosts of the shindig (Jay, Matt and Eli) gave up their own beds to the weak and feeble Spring Standards, insisting that they'd be fine on the living room floor and couch. Wow. No words.

Tonight we're sleeping in a hotel in Neosho, Missouri - our plans to drive all the way to Kansas City today were thwarted by unrelenting freezing rain. A night of pizza, Minority Report, Life Aquatic and complimentary exercise rooms...not too bad.

See you at the continental breakfast (don't really be there, that'd be creepy),
The Lead Sled

Saturday, January 24, 2009

it's done!

today we are driving a million miles north to memphis. only one cool thing has happened - heather finished sewing her felt map to the ceiling of the lead sled:
in other news, it's getting colder. we don't like it.

see you tomorrow night in little rock! president clinton boulevard y'all!
the lead sled

Friday, January 23, 2009

tracy morgan is funny.

we're sorry it's been so long since our last post. our excuse is that we were on an enormous ship in the middle of the ocean, internet was crazy expensive and we were distracted by things like shuffle board and buffets. that's right folks: we've just returned from the one and only ROCK BOAT.

video

in some ways, it feels like we spent a year on the rock boat. in other ways, it already feels like a dream, the finer details blurring and twisting into something unrecognizable. one thing is certain though: it was an experience for the history books.

i don't know quite where to begin - we spent most of our first day on the brink of passing out from our precautionary dramamine intake. that stuff's no joke. the second day had a stop on nassau, where we got the chance to scope out some of the finest legs the bahamas have to offer! check it out:


we also got the opportunity to interact with some genuine carribbean wildlife. and while it didn't quite compare to the 'shallow seas' episode of bbc's planet earth (which we watched the night before departure to prepare us for the possibility of a great white shark attack), it was still a special glimpse into another world. here's james cleare watching a needlefish spear a minnow:


he said it was pretty much as awesome as watching a seal eat a penguin.

that night we saw hanson play mmmbop. it was pretty much as awesome as watching a stingray devour a sand dollar.

we played the first of our two shows on the third day of the trip. we were on the 'lido deck' stage, which is where all the wind goes to hang out (see video above). but it was a blast, and the audience was great and the technical genius dudes who helped us sound like ourselves in the middle of the ocean were absolutely amazing.

one of the coolest things about the rock boat is that you get a chance to see a ton of different performers do their thing in front of audiences from all over the country (and the world). we got to see artists we grew up hearing on the radio (sister hazel, tonic, cowboy mouth), artists we'd heard OF but never gotten a chance to listen to (gaelic storm, aslyn, david ryan harris), friends we've made on the road over the past year (stephen kellogg and the sixers, the alternate routes) and bands we knew nothing about but came to love (the kin, garrison starr, the benjy davis project). also, there was a tangible feeling of community among all the performers, which was neat because the music business can feel quite competitive sometimes. i was so inspired by the feeling of comraderie that i created this scene out of oragami:

in case you can't tell, it's a green penguin playing the piano with an orange penguin singing its little penguin heart out. the green penguin isn't using the piano bench, but it's there for when he/she gets tired or decides to play a heartfelt ballad.

other highlights from the boat include a game of minigolf that got winded out (like rained out, but with wind) and some incredible slot machine victories...
video
...an adventure down the super-duper twisty slide, trips to the ice cream machine and, my absolute favorite, an amazing sing-along at the end of our second set with members of SK6ers, the alternate routes and our new friend brian. super good times. super.

since returning to miami yesterday i've been seeing stars, rocking back and forth inside my skin and occassionally lurching in nonsensical directions for no reason. but it's good to be back on the ground - and even better to be back in the lead sled.


next stop: gainesville!
with tropical love,
the lead sled

Friday, January 16, 2009

farewell jeff taylor

ladies and gentleman,

today we bid farewell to a fine road warrior. a man of stature and grace; a man who loves alexander hamilton; a man who will share his grapefruit and give you his animal crackers, who will take the middle seat without being asked and will think twice before rooting through a lady's purse.

that man is jeff taylor.

we will remember his impeccable british accent.
we will remember his singing toasts.
we will remember his enthusiasm for philadelphia's historic district.
we will remember his leadership in the hotel bed bounce expo 2009.


video


who but such a man could order a pizza to be delivered to the van? who but such a man could run a mile inside a house in jacksonville, florida?
video

the sweet sound of his whistling will echo forever in the lead sled.
in loving memory,
the lead sled



ps...he's not dead. we just miss him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In the Teekie teekie teekie teekie room.


Tampa 200 miles away...

Jacksonville 100 miles away...

Disney World 0 miles away... all we needst do is dream.

(What I'm saying is Minnie better remember me after all I went through for her.)

Last night was Smiths Olde Bar.


Followed by a light show photo shoot with our friend and hostess Kathleen.


Now we're on our way to Jacksonville for the night before we head to Orlando for a sweet show at The Backbooth.

But until then we have big plans see. BIG plans. Including reading in the van, writing this blog and contemplating the difference between Dr. Pepper and Mr. Pibb. (Other than the obvious academic ones.)

This is all friends.

...and, by the way...

you look great.
Do something bold tomorrow and know that whatever you do, we got your back.

The Lead Sled

Sunday, January 11, 2009

back in the siznaddle

so. it's been a while. and yet....it feels like only yesterday we were eating pistachios and watching 'wet hot american summer' while driving through kentucky. did i say yesterday? i meant today. that's what we're doing RIGHT NOW. they're great pistachios.

so we kicked off our tour with jeff taylor (www.dumpsterhunter.com) on friday night with a killer show at philadelphia's own 'tin angel.' this is what jeff taylor looks like:


it was freezing cold in the venue and the stairs were just as steep as they were last time (and the time before that), but we had a blast - it was the perfect way to start our 'divine 09' tour. that's just a name we're toying around with. anyway, after the show we hit up a delaware favorite called 'the charcoal pit' for some ridiculously delicious milkshakes and funtimes with our friend joyce, who's been there for over 30 years. this is what joyce looks like:
fun fact: it's joe biden's favorite restaurant! (but don't tell that to the other half dozen in DE that make the same claim...)

the next morning we hit the road earlyish for the 6 hour trek to thomas, west virginia, home of the illustrious 'purple fiddle.' we hit some nasty freezing rain in the hills/mountains, but somehow we made it there in one piece. more on that later...

the town of thomas, west virginia has a population of 500 people, all of whom are super nice and ridiculously friendly and helpful - at least, that's what our experience suggests. the show turned into a dance party which continued into the night at the pub down the road. we played a game called 'cornhole' with some locals, drank some delicious IPA (brewed on location!) and saw some of the best taxidermy EVER. we ended the night with some bunkbed acrobatics:
now that's a great night.

our plan was to get up this morning and be on the road by 6am, but when we tried to drive up one of the many hills in town, we kinda sorta (well, totally) slid back down and almost had a not-so-romantic rendezvous with a stop sign. remember that freezing rain from our drive into WV? yeah, it had its revenge. luckily, james cleare is a ninja behind the wheel so he regained control in the nick of time. also luckily, we're all ridiculously jacked and agile so we were able to manuever ourselves out of harm's way. after the ordeal, we decided to wait until dawn when the ice would (hopefully) thaw and we could make it out of town. we passed the time in a local 'breakfast and lunchery' called the flying pigs, geeking out over a huge planet-earth-style book and the delicious grub. we ended up on the road 3 hours behind schedule once the ice had melted, but safety first! SAFETY FIRST MOM! always.

so that brings us to our present situation (pistachios, 'wet hot...'), with 212 miles left before we get to nashville where we're playing tonight with jeff and the incredibly talented ben sollee. should be another great one. hopefully this time the city will have gas... (see previous posts for details)

smashville or bust!
leadsled