Just after the new year of 2008, I was a roadie, on tour with my friends from California when I still lived in Indiana. At that point, I didn't really know what I was doing with my life, but I was almost positive that I needed a big change. For some weird reason, I figured that subjecting myself to extreme temperatures, no sleep and damp basements was a good idea. I was right. I ran around in the snow in Worcester, shot silly string all over SHELLSHAG in Brooklyn, made out with someone in the cold on the hood of a broken down car, rode in the back of a freezing truck for 14 hours, swam in the ocean in South Miami Beach and did some other stuff that should probably not be repeated. It made me want to move away from Indiana...so, I did.
In Huntsville, AL, I got unreasonably upset over mundane things in that way that one can only get upset when returning to a disappointing town where they used to live. Overall, I don't think Huntsville is disappointing, but I had a really depressing "back in my day" moment that could have been easily avoided if I just didn't care so much about ridiculous bullshit. In short, when I lived there, we had shows in dive bars, parking lots, thrift stores, houses, ice cream shops and parks. The show that night was in a fancy bar and a lot of my old friends were missing or born again. Time marches on. It's fine. Huntsville now has an amazing resource called Lowe Mill and I'm sure there have always been teenage punk bands playing in garages consistently for the past 30 years or more.
I spent a lot of time walking around downtown...jumped the fence and rang the incredibly loud church bell for old time's sake....ran through my favorite secret alley. It was fine. I walked back in the bar just in time to see most of the bar patrons trying to ignore MAD SWIRL, who were from Milwaukee and a pleasant sight for these eyes and ears.
The beautiful thing about that era of Milwaukee punk is that almost all of the bands were fun, jangly melodic punk bands who kinda didn't give a fuck but were always good. The other thing is that they always traveled in packs. It seemed like all of the bands shared this one fucked up minivan and they would somehow pile 15+ people in it for cross-country tours. MAD SWIRL was no exception. Their set was fun and kinda reminded me of ANGRY SAMOANS, but maybe that's only because they covered them, because this tape doesn't sound like ANGRY SAMOANS...but it does sound like fun.
I should have been hanging out with MAD SWIRL all night and becoming better friends with them rather than trying to catch up with people who seemed like they wanted to get away from me. Lesson learned. I assumed we'd all be sleeping at the same house, but instead, I found myself at 5 am drinking beer and watching a dolphin documentary with my tour-mates while we all muttered "fuck yeah, this is cool."