Guest Columns



justin foley op-edOur 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 and day three here; the fourth day is below… enjoy!

Providence, Rhode Island

We are in the capitol of the smallest state in the US, the Ocean State.  Tonight’s venue is nestled into the downtown, combining an art gallery with a restaurant with a bar with a place for bands like us to play.  Charming little city you got here, Rhode Island.  Nice place; you should keep it.

Funny thing that we’re playing P-town tonight.  A few years back when we put out our first record, we didn’t understand too well how this whole ‘marketing and promotion’ thing worked with records.  So, rather than put out some materials that talked seriously about how important our artistic vision was and how we were for fans of this band and influenced by that scene, we chose instead to make up some bullshit story about how we were suing our record label because they wouldn’t allow us to issue patents on our song.  I don’t know what we thought we were going to accomplish by this, but we thought it was a fun little goof and that no one would actually believe it.

Wrong.  Turns out a bunch of people were mad about some assholes from New York City that no one had ever heard of loudly broadcasting legal action against the beloved label that put out records by Cave In and Botch.  Man, the things people will send to a total stranger over email… it’s just unkind.

Part of the hate parade we’d unknowingly organized against ourselves came from some folks who ran clubs in Providence.  For the next couple of years we had no luck setting up any shows in the city, and one band that tried to arrange something got back to us with a “what the fuck did you guys do to piss people off in Providence.”  At the time I shook my head at how dumb people seemed to not realize it was a joke.  But now I realize that people tend to not think you’re lying to them when you go through the trouble to send them stuff that’s supposed to hype your band.

Speaking of bad ideas, we rolled into Boston last night and, after moving all of the big boxes from our trailer to the club, figured that we’d grab a bite to eat with Coliseum Ryan.  So we hoofed it a few blocks to the vegetarian Asian food place and all settled into a nice big meal of seitan, tofu and other meatless goodness.  Now, the thing about being a vegetarian (and even more so when you’re a vegan like Ryan) is that eating out usually means scanning a big menu for one or two possible things and then just ordering that.  But this menu was enormous and it was all within the realm of possibility.  Now I want you to pay very close attention to this next part: our judgments clouded by an endless option of choices, we began to make foolish choices.  Ordering began and all prudence was abandoned; moments later heaping trays of culinary riches piled in front of all of us and we happily dug in.

Our conversation happily ranged over our reasons for why we do this band stuff and what bands inspired us and what we hope to do with all this and the whole time, eating and chewing and big forkful after forkful going down the hatch.  Finally, sated and glad, we all slid our weighted chairs back and slowly rose.  Paid the bill with a heartfelt thanks and the four of us began to walk back to the Great Scott to go play a show.

And with each step, something unusual and quietly terrible began to take shape.  The meal that we’d enjoyed with such carefree gusto began to change.  All 11 pounds of food that each of us had subsumed into our swollen stomachs now changed, transformed.  And with it so did we.  As we walked, our stomachs ballooned to gigantic sizes, soon too big for us to do anything but teeter down the sidewalks in single file.  The exposed skin of our massive guts smeared against the sides of parked cars, glass storefront windows.  Parking meters were engrossed entirely in a pink, hairy wrap, only to be set free with a loud schhlurppp as we’d finally move past.  And still we grew until we were little more than impossibly stretched spheres with tiny fingers and shoes attached.

Forty minutes later I was on stage plugging a guitar in.  I was already making promises to myself about not eating for a few hours before playing.  Never again.

So we were okay in Boston, but the food thing made me less than solid when it was go-time. I stewed about it for the rest of the night.

Last item of note for today.  We had a bit of time to enjoy ourselves in town and so met up with Coliseum to see a dumb movie that I’ll skip giving the web hit to.  As Jon, Thad and I were walking to the theatre, the sky opened up and just started dumping buckets of rain.  We ran from awning to awning and finally made it inside the mega-mall that housed the theatre, shaking our heads as we looked behind us at the downpour.  Sat through the movie and went outside to see that the rain had stopped some time in the interim.

So we got back to our car and I got over to the driver’s side to hop in and you know that sick feeling you instantly get when you go to open your car door and there’s no window there?  Yeah, I was suddenly overtaken by that exact feeling because the window was not there.  “Uhhh.”  I looked up at Thad, then Jon.  But I couldn’t get it – everything in the car looked fine and there wasn’t any glass all around so what the hell…

Unless the dumbfuck who’s parked the car had just not bothered to roll up the goddam window when he left.  Just straight up left it down with bags and money and a whole damn car open for anyone who wanted to come check it out.  And hey, who was that dumbfuck?

Don’t worry about it.  Not important.

Still, the seat is a bit damp with the several dozen gallons of rainwater that the car must have taken on in our absence.  I’m sitting on the street now with the windows open, heat blasting and all vents pointed to the driver’s seat in an effort to dry it out before the big drive back tonight.  Jesus, I can be an idiot some times.

Hey Providence: thank you for not stealing our stuff!

Thad’s quote, selected by Justin: about going to the movies when you’re a young teen – “You know how when you eat a lot of Skittles, so many that the inside of your cheek begins to swell up?”


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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