Guest Columns




Our number one homie Justin Foley is currently doing a mini-tour with his band, The Austerity Program, and graciously offered to do a tour blog for us. We can never say “no” to Justin and wouldn’t much want to anyway, so we agreed! You can read his account of days one and two of the mini-trek here; the third day is below… enjoy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
New York

Philadelphia, PA last night, aka Quaker City.  We arrived in town with hunger in the belly and a bit of time to kill.  This second thing nearly killed us.  Thad and I never have time to kill; work, family, odd projects, people who need setting straight on the Internet – all of these things consume more time than we have and so things like leisure and friendships are usually left unattended.  And so, an hour or two after getting ‘the best vegetarian cheesesteak in Philly’ (it wasn’t bad – the bread’s the key thing) we had a few hours to burn.

We got a couple of beers (in daylight!  I mean, that’s straight up “Theatre of Pain” decadence right there) we ambled over to catch an early showing of Takashi Mike’s 13 Assassins.  Coliseum had seen it recently and said it was like ½ as good as Thor which means they thought it was awesome.  (The band is completely bonkers about Thor.)

Thad and I settled in to a theatre sparsely populated by seniors and the unemployed and were soon completely assaulted by the film.  I’m not going to spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it, but it was pretty obvious that the whole thing was written backwards.  Basically the cinematic equivalent of a good Helmet song: here’s the gigantic riff that we’ll kill them with at the end, so what else do we need to put in the song to get to that riff and make it destroy?  Props to the movie also for giving us our theme for the trip: TOTAL MASSACRE. (Sometimes “massacre” isn’t enough.)

Only other highlight from the quick break was the graffiti on a bridge, all written by the same guy: “Gorilla Cunt,” “Eat My Taint,” and “Grundle!”  Keep it classy, Philly hooligans.

Loaded into KFN with time to spare and messed about with a new t-shirt storage system for a bit.  The night rolled on and soon it was time for a show.  We were third again, enjoying our second (and final) night with the city’s own Gods and Queens, piloted by the dapper Jamie Getz.  I definitely have a favorite song of theirs, as all of their friends who I pushed out of the way can tell you.  They wrapped it up and we hopped on stage, busy plugging big black boxes into each other.

I think I mentioned yesterday that we were lousy incarnate the last time we played The City That Loves You Back.  Thad broke a string onstage for the first time ever, bad news on a night with no spare bass and a brand new tuner that he hadn’t quite figured out how to operate.  I wasn’t much better, unplugging pedals and probably blowing my voice out about 2 lines into the first song.  We were determined not to repeat that nonsense last night.

And, I will tell you – if you were at that show last night and didn’t like us, you are not going to like us.  We were about as good as we’ve been.  Absolutely into the songs as they were going on but never to the point that it all felt like it was getting away from us.  I’d pound shit out on the guitar and bark out some unholy prayer for the assembled crowd, then glance South to see My Man, bassist Thad Calabrese beating the absolute fuck out of his instrument all while whipping his head to the beat.  I don’t know if it’s because we use a drum machine or just aren’t particularly skilled at our instruments, but some nights you’re riding the songs and some nights, if you’ll forgive the expression, the songs are riding you.  And last night, in front of a few dozen folks on a rainy Tuesday in some scrappy neighborhood in Philly, we were burning that locomotive down the tracks, heading to the magma center of the Earth and ringing the bell while we did it.  Fun.  Fun fun fun.

High fives all around after Coliseum brought it all in and then Thad and I skipped town for home.  Tonight’s going to be Boston, so we figured we’d split the ride a bit and enjoy a few hours of sleeping in our own (respective) beds.  As usual, when things got really sleepy on I95, we took a deep breath and pulled out the big guns – ODB’s “Nigga Please”.  Like all arbiters of fine music, we of course skip right past “Good Morning, Heartache” and “Gettin’ High”, only to max the stereo out on “I Can’t Wait”, “Cold Blooded” and … you know it’s coming … the established masterpiece of “You Don’t Wanna Fuck With Me”.  That record is our ultimate (as in – the final, last word, don’t bother looking for something better because you won’t find it) soundtrack to drifting across dark lanes of interstate.  The intermittent sheets of rain that Dirt Dog sent us from the Great Beyond only made it more poignant when he’d gently croon “KILL ALL THE GOVERNMENT MICROCHIPS IN MY BODY.”  Big Baby Jesus, we were missing you last night!

Our pal Jon Wright will be joining us for the final two shows, smoking cigarettes while we unload the trailer and sitting by the merch, watching people not buy our t-shirts after we play.  Still haven’t figured out where we’re going to sleep.  Something tells me I’m going to regret not having figured that out.

Thad’s Quote, selected by Justin: upon seeing the trailer for Hobo with a Shotgun.  “Is Robert Rodriguez tapping my phone?  That was my idea for a movie.  Shit!”


Justin Foley plays guitar and sings for the Austerity Program.  Their record Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn is out now.  Visit them online at  All messages about urban bike riding, vegetarian BBQ, and monetary policy will be answered first. You can also get a list of their upcoming tour dates here.

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