The 2002 East Coast Tour

In the fall of 2001, Tim from The Stepford Five and Billy from Miranda Sound met and sketched out a plan for the two bands to spend a week on the road together promoting Miranda Sound's new album coming out in March of 2002.

Over the following months, the two spent hours researching clubs across the East Coast, sending out press kits, making phones calls and booking shows. Eventually, eight shows were booked over nine days. Like with other Stepford shows, a gig diary was kept, chronicling the ups and downs of a pair of Midwestern rock bands making their first trip East.

While attempts to book shows in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts failed, others were lined up Washington D.C., Virginia, Connecticut, Northeast Ohio and multiple shows throughout New York.

With less than a month before leaving, The Stepford Five suffered a blow when their band van, a 1990 Pontiac Trans Sport, was stolen with band gear inside. New gear was purchased, but the band ended up having to load into two cars to replace the van.

March 22
Gig : At Hi-Fi Bar & Grill in Cleveland, Ohio: The Stepford Five, Miranda Sound and Brandtson

Gig Diary: Well, it's probably safe to say we were spoiled on the first night of the tour. Opening up for Brandtson (Deep Elm Records), the crowd was quite receptive to our brand of the rock. Unfortunately, Miranda Sound got pushed to last, so our drum kit/bass rig sharing plan was shot. The best laid plans... On the way up, we tested out our new toys - walkie-talkies. Oh the fun, trucker banter all the way up I-71. Apparently, Cleveland is the new Columbus when it comes to road construction. Back to the show... We're playing a lot of the new stuff, seems to be going over well. Started out kinda rough, Keith broke a string on the first song, but Mr. Peake was in there quick with a back-up and restringing. We're all gonna get some roadie training as well. Hopefully, Danny boy Gerken will toss his cello at me in an instrument switching frenzy, I'm pretty sure I can catch it, I've got mad goalie skills.
Thanks to all the local folks who dropped in, even if you missed us 'cause of the early start. Oh yeah, the Hi-Fi looks friggin' great since the Warrant fellows took over. werd - MCtim

March 24
Gig: at the Velvet Lounge, Washington, D.C.: The Stepford Five, Miranda Sound and Echo Mutt
Gig Diary: Well, after a really smooth drive from Columbus to D.C., we arrived in Arlington at our hotel, just past the Pentagon. To say the damage to the side of the building that was struck by the hi-jacked airliner on 9/11 is minimized on a television screen is more than an understatement.
After some order-in pizza at the hotel and a visit from the late-arriving Miranda crew, we headed out to the uncharted depths of D.C. for our first big road show of the tour. The Velvet is located down by other clubs like the Metro and Black Cat, and we had the opportunity to drive through most of D.C., including the Washington Momument and White House.
The show...well. Sunday doesn't bring out the best rock crowds, but we did our best to rock out to each other and the openers Echo Mutt. The Velvet is a cool little bar with an upstairs performance space. The MS crew ripped it up, as expected, and both bands came away with a cd-r recording of the show, which will eventually make it up to a website sometime soon.
Oh, and as usual, the TS5 crew got lost heading back to the hotel. out- DJtim

March 25
Gig: At The Galaxy Hut in Arlington, Virginia: The Stepford Five and Miranda Sound

Gig Diary: So much to see, how the hell are you supposed to fit all of this tourism into one little day? The MS and TS5 camps came together for a whirl-wind tour of the D.C. area thanks to Billy's friend Chrissy. We checked out The Supreme Court, Capitol Hill and various memorials before heading out to Arlington for the 4pm MS in-store at Orpheus Records. Unfortunately, some miscommunication prevented the show from going on, so we split up and MS headed to Georgetown while the TS5'ers head back to the homebase for nap (yeah, we're lame).
Back to Arlington later and to the Galaxy Hut, the cool little club has a capacity of only 48 but has had much rock pass through, including Columbusites Silo The Huskie and Pretty Mighty Mighty. At first there were some worries about a repeat of last night (i.e. - no crowd) but by the time TS5 hit the stage (ah, actually no stage) the place was near capacity. While it was a bit more subdued and relaxed than we're used to, we still rocked out. MS did the same, and Danny Gerken even had a student (he's a prof at OSU ya know) drive all the way to check out his mad guitar and cello skills. The night ended with singalongs of Pixies and Dismemberment Plan songs and free drafts, so you know the tour was in full swing by now. later - Tim moedee


March 26
Gig: The Continental in New York, N.Y.: The Stepford Five, Miranda Sound and Hula.

Gig Diary: The MS crew left late Monday night to head to NYC and meet with family while the TS5 gang stayed over in D.C. and headed out Tuesday morning to the Big Apple. We knew driving to NYC would be a bitch and a half, but with the cold weather, misty-rain conditions and various traffic headaches, it ended up turning the drive into a near 7 1/2 hour knuckle biter.
Finally ended up at the club around 7:15 (with an 8pm start time) with MS loading in and setting up. Everybody not from NYC wants to play there, but really there is no difference to play in a bar in NY or a bar in Columbus, you gotta rock and get people out, so we did our best and to our surprise the crowd was pretty damn good. Both camps played rockin' 35-minute sets to a receptive crowd. However, the real insanity started after the show.
We hung out for awhile and then headed out, with MS doing some quick sight-seeing while TS5 headed to our hotel in Danbury, CT., home of our next show. Unfortuntately, our Mapquest/Yahoo! driving directions have been kicking our ass this whole trip, and they didn't stop. While MS glided into the hotel with ease (albeit in a nasty storm), the Stepford nearly ended up in Albany after a series of poorly designated exit signs and missed turn-offs. With our options running out and one exit left before we hit Quebec, Mark told us to take exit 17 off of 87 and that would hook us up to I-84 and right into Danbury, to which I replied, "I don't care if the exit at 17 says 'Hell' or 'Not the way to Danbury,' we're getting off." Luckily, it didn't say Hell.... seeya - eazyTim





March 27
Gig: Colorado Brewery in Danbury, Connecticut: The Stepford Five and Miranda Sound.

Gig Diary: If anyone thought this tour was going to go smooth and without any hiccups, well, Danbury produced the first one. Being that this was the last show we confirmed, and the last bookers we talked to (last Tuesday), we assumed this would be a no-brainer: get in to Danbury, do a little bowling, grab some din and then go rock out.
Story goes....after transversing the horrible storm Tuesday night, we grabbed some lunch Wednesday and headed out in search of a bowling alley to waste some time. We drove around the area for a good hour and half, misdirection after misdirection, insearch of Danbury Lanes. Finally, we stumbled upon it, only to walk in and find out it was a mini-bowling alley, with softball sized bowling balls and little pins. After all the searching and U-turns, this seemed like an appropriate end to the afternoon. Fast forward to dinner at Billy Bean's, a local sports bar watering hole, and I'm trying to get a hold of someone at The Player's Club, our scheduled club to play at that evening. No answer, so we role up after dinner, to find out the club has been shut down, sign taken down, and bills hanging in the door handle.
What do we do? Start heading from bar to bar to see if they need a couple of indie-rock bands from Columbus, Ohio to rock out for a few hours. After a few "no-thanks," Mike and Kathy at the Colorado Brewery & Steakhouse gave us a chance to make something out of the evening, so we stripped down the loudness a bit to not piss off the dinner crowd and did a "5-song and switch" with MS all night. Mike kept our spirits up with homebrewed ales from the bar, and what went from a bad to worse day, ended up making the evening more fun and productive than we could have ever hoped. We even played a brand new song, Ted Hughes, that had never gotten the live treatment. Still rough, but what the hell, the road is hard... seeya - Tdog




March 28
Gig: At The OPL in Syracuse, N.Y.: The Stepford Five and Miranda Sound

Gig Diary: After the ups and downs of Danbury, we were happy to move along. The drive to Syracuse was definitely one of the highlights of this trip, zipping through the Catskills taking in the mountains and rivers. A 4-hour drive seemed like nothing, and we made it into Syracuse by 3pm in time to catch the MS boys rocking out at the local suburban Media Play. After some on campus promotion, we all headed over to Pronto's Italian restaurant for a little fuel, and then to The OPL.
To our surprise, the club was actually open and operating when we arrived, so that was a positive for the evening already. After loading in and wondering where exactly the sound system and headining band was, we were informed that the headliners had cancelled, and no PA was available. To say our morale was taking a beating would be an
understate. But, in true form, with the MS in-store PA, we were able to put together a vocal PA and get this show on the road. I probably haven't mentioned this, but MS has been rocking their asses off at every show, and this was no exception. The boys busted out the full catalog this night, and even played a completely brand new song, 10 Cents. The most important thing about this whole tour has been the chance to get to take time out from our daily lives and have fun rocking out each and every day.
As Keith has been saying, going back to work on Monday is gonna be a bitch. 2daysleft - TtodaItodaM

Gig Diary: So the TS5 gang is not a very religious or superstitious gang but every once in awhile you get the feeling like you were touched by an angel or you passed a shiny black demon on a long and lonely road.
When we rolled into Syracuse I can't say our spirits were high. A busted out Danbury gig, a failed bowling attempt and the shithole city known as syracuse were not putting us high. We even found out most of the students were leaving for the holiday weekend.
We showed up at the OPL which resembled an old VFW hall. But within the dwindling crowd of uninterested specatators stood one man. He called himself Karl. Now at outward appearance Karl was just the normal middle age guy you'd expect to find in this type of place. He spoke with excitement that either made him godlike or just really drunk.
But the more the man spoke the more our spirits were uplifted. He spoke of rock's past present and future with such passion. He mentioned it's about the fun and the fact that we are doing something the other 95 percent of the population will never understand. And that night on that dirty wooden stage in Syracuse, one of the greatest rock shows was played between TS5 and MS. While only karl may have appreciated it, the show was played like we were in front of thousands.
So this post is not really encompassing everything Karl was about because words cannot totally describe. For Karl...this is just a tribute! - Keith




March 29
Gig: At the Mohawk Place in Buffalo, N.Y.: The Stepford Five, Miranda Sound and Vox Humana

Gig Diary: Friday started like all Good Friday's should - BBQ for breakfast! Actually, on advise from friends, we stopped by the world famous Dinosaur BBQ early to beat the lunch crowd before we headed to Buffalo. Imagine the coolest blues club with the best BBQ'd chicken, ribs, beef brisket and anything else you can think of, and you've got an idea. Holy meat heaven!
After gorging ourselves, we convoy'd it to my hometown, and (how rock and roll is this) crash at my parent's house. After a little relaxing, the MS boys headed down to New World Record's for an in-store, and then we all feasted on authentic Buffalo wings, pizza and assorted Italiano favorites at the Casa di Minneci. Because of the late start time, we had time to kill before loading in at the club, which allowed us to come to the following conclusion - Headlines News is junk. Since when do we need segments about why High Heels aren't worn in combat?
Whatever, we hit the Mohawk around 11pm for load-in. It's a very cool venue, older but has a very classic feel and look, almost like an English pub. The stage, for some reason, is smoldering hot, and after about three songs we were all dripping. Vic (Vox Humana) from the band Maceo Ruiz did a 25-minute acoustic set of cool indie/acoustic rock inbetween us and MS. Thanks to the schools being on spring break (a recurring nightmare for this tour) the crowd was thinner than hoped, which has definitely added a little bit of frustration (along with bars being shutdown and headlining bands cancelling on us, but it's all relative I guess). 1togo - djeazyTim

Gig Diary: Hair now clean following an incident in which Mr. William Peake of Miranda Sound decided it was in his best interest to douse accompanying friends and band members in Labatt’s, we made our way from Syracuse to Buffalo. As Tim already mentioned, Miranda Sound had an in-store at New World Records located in a cool little section Buffalo reminiscent of pre-Campus Partners era High Street but cleaner. While watching MS I was afforded the opportunity to pick up the new Sparta album “Austere” and must conclude it is but At the Drive-In light. The Mohawk was an all right venue to play albeit we lacked the mulletude to keep the regulars from leaving and the stage temperature was slightly above the 65 degrees we require of every venue we play. In the end, all had fun being that the bar didn’t kick us out until 4 AM. - Mark


March 30
Gig: At The Lime Spider in Akron, Ohio: The Stepford Five, Miranda Sound and Yesterday's News

Gig Diary: After breakfast at the homestead, we took a quick ride up to Niagara Falls to gander at one of the 7 natural wonders of the world...for about 5 minutes. Unfortunately, the wind made the area so cold we were hardly properly prepared to hang for too long, so we bolted for Akron pretty quickly.
Did we mention that 4 hour drives feel like nothing? That's scary, we've become road warriors, chewing up and spitting out America's highways and byways.
We hit Akron early, saw the backward baseball stadium (the damn thing is facing West!), and grab some din at a local pub before load-in at The Lime Spider. With a style combining '50s camp and '70s punk, the LS is probably one of the 2 or 3 coolest venues in Ohio. The wall over the bar boasts atleast 100 different beer choices, and the sound system is top notch. The crowd was slow to roll in, but after we played our last set of the tour, the place was pack for MS boys finale. Yesterday's News closed it out with a set of emocore-flavored rock, and then it was over.



So here are a few of our tallies:
Approximate # of miles driven all tour: 1900
Cost to enter and exit Manhattan island (3 vehicles): $47.00
Number of times someone said "Are we there yet, 'cause I gotta piss really bad....": 97
Number of hours Jason didn't drive: 1
Number of clubs with a soundman: 4 (out of 8)
Number of clubs without a PA: 2 (out of 8)
Number of pedestrians struck with moving vehicles: 1
Most states/areas driven through in one day: 7 on 3/26 (Washington D.C., MD., VA., DE., NJ., N.Y., CT.)
Books read:
Gabriel Gacria Marquez - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Chuck D - Fight The Power
Nick Hornby - About A Boy
Dean Koontz - One Door Away From Heaven
John Grisham - The Summons

That's about it, thanks to everyone who made this possible, to borrow from PMM, thanks to everyone who put us up or put up with us, we had a blast, and we're already plotting out the next tour... - TS5
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