Sunday night we played in Colorado Springs. We haven’t been there in about two years so it was almost like our first show. The venue is a cool place called the Zodiac bar that features music, comedy, and even burlesque shows. Although it began as a sparsely attended and mellow affair, by the final few songs we had a rowdy crowd up in front dancing and singing.
Highlight: There is an energy drink manufactured in Colorado Springs called Cock Strong. Yep, it is also supposed to be a male enhancement thing. Pretty hilarious. We had a lot of fun making up taglines. It’s almost as good as “That’s what she said.” For example, when we were talking about pancakes at the end of the night, our Denny’s server said, “The cooks always make the pancakes different sizes. They’re supposed to be six inches, but everyone’s six inches is different.” CockStrong: Everyone’s Six Inches is Different.
Other random thoughts: Presidents’ Day
Why do we celebrate the presidents? Is it for their leadership? The things they’ve accomplished? What about the congress and the voters and the cabinet and judges and supreme court? What about Democracy? I guess that’s what Independence Day celebrates. I don’t know it just seems like a strange thing to celebrate. There are so many good things to celebrate in life, most of them small and everyday. I celebrate the smell of good coffee (I’m in a coffee shop right now), bright sun on a snowy day, waking up late, waking up early, the brilliance of technology, the soreness of muscles after a hard run or a tough climb. I celebrate deep conversations, catching up with old friends, making new friends, discovering something new about yourself or someone you love. These things don’t need holidays, of course. Maybe the presidents need a holiday… do you think the president rests on Presidents’ Day? I hope so.
You might think, “What does this have to do with Achachay!?” This thinking and discussion is one of the things our band is about. Plus, it’s part of the luxury of the road. Traveling the way we do, constantly interacting with new people, new geographies, and new situations, you get the opportunity to reflect on yourself and the world around you in a way that isn’t always available in a more stable setting. You’re shoved into new perspectives. It’s our job as a band to share these experiences with the you. It’s our job to offer you the same insights we receive from these perspectives when you join us in song and dance.
We had the opportunity to do a really fun interview before Voodoo Fest for the Voodoo Rules website. You can read it in its original format here. Our host, appropriately dubbed “The Witch Doctor,” asked some great questions, including:
- How did the band get together?
- Who were your influencers?
- What was your most unusual experience while performing?
- Tell me about the low point in the band’s career.
- Tell me about the high point, (so far) in the band’s career.
- What unusual steps have you, as a band, taken to promote your music? Did it work? Did it fail? What did you learn?
- Where do you envision yourselves in 4-5 years?
- Tell me what’s unique about Achachay! and why that difference qualifies you for stardom.
I’ve copied the last two answers for our blog, because they cut right to heart of our purpose as a band. We’re motivated for reasons far beyond making great music, although that seems to be our most fitting, exciting, and inspirational conduit. Please enjoy and let us know what you think!
7. The Witch Doctor: Where do you envision yourselves in 4-5 years?
Ryan: I see us selling out huge concert halls and there being a high-demand for Achachay!. I also see us at the forefront of however the music industry has morphed at that point.
Hooch: Achachay! headlining festivals around the world.
Jordan: Our music is a great influence on people’s minds and hearts – they are inspired to push the boundaries of creativity, to search the depths of their psyches, all the while having fun, dancing, and remembering to laugh. Our success shines a light all over, in different industries. We develop a battery powered van so we don’t have to use gas, and we get other bands and shipping companies to use battery powered vans too, thereby cutting down our carbon emissions and our dependence on foreign wars. We’re able to bring great ideas like Conscious Capitalism and Holacracy, and good media sources like Ted Talks and Good magazine (good.is) that are now fringe to the forefront of the mainstream. We give voices to other artists, authors, philosophers and visionaries like Ken Wilber and Don Beck, just like Oprah did with Eckhart Tolle and Tool did with Alex Grey’s artwork. There’s so much good out there that gets ignored, and so much silliness that gets way too much attention. Four and five years might be a short time to accomplish all of this, but I know for a fact that in four to five years we’ll be empowering humans to think for ourselves, think outside of the box, find a deeper purpose, expand our limited perspectives on ourselves and our context, and shake our booties.
8. The Witch Doctor: Tell me what’s unique about Achachay! and why that difference qualifies you for stardom.
Ryan: Achachay! is unique because we refuse to settle and write songs that sound like what is deemed “popular”. We are trying to get people back on the dance floor with groovy tunes and infectious beats created by dedicated musicians. We pull from a ton of influences and don’t shy away from having songs that don’t all sound similar: you might here ska, samba, jazz, and funk all in one song. We realize there is no easy, golden ticket for success: we love to play and we are willing to work harder and tour more than everyone else to get to the place we feel our music deserves.
Jordan: Yes, it starts with our music, and continues with our mission, our attitude, and our purpose. We give stars an incredible amount of power and attention, and ask very little in return from them. Most people give stars value beyond their music (or acting, or whatever they’re famous for) but don’t hold them accountable for anything outside of their music (or whatever they’re famous for). I believe if you’re considered a star, you should shine light 360 degrees. We live everyday to make the world a better a place. We live everyday to wake the world up from the inside out. It starts with us individually, personally, and the small things we create. Achachay! will always make something you’ve never heard before, from us or anyone else. It will always be created with the intention of being fully honest, fully embracing, and fully inspiring. Whether it inspires you to dance or cry depends on the honesty of the moments we make it in. Our attitude is one of passion, service, and love, and our purpose wrapped up in all of these things. What qualifies us to be musical stars is simple musicianship; but what qualifies us to be true superstars is the creative light shining from every fiber of our being. To share something meaningful with the world and make every being in it better for it, that’s what really makes a star.
We awoke at 630 am Friday morning to drive a ridiculous 12 hours to Otter Rock club in Morro Bay California. We arrive to a beautiful bar on a beach harbor, play a fun long show to a decent crowd of entirely foreigners, and pop on over to SLO for the night. The show is brilliant; its a great crowd and atmosphere for our almost a capella song (ryan’s now on djembe). We also sell some Keep Austin Funky shirts to some friendly Arizonans.
Anyway, there are two stories even more worth telling here. The first is about a sweet jacket. The second is about shitting in a bucket.
(1) Flagstaff and the jacket… Ryan already mentioned the jacket but let me elaborate. There is a group of four people hanging out, waiting for us to play. One guy says he doesn’t want to stick around because he’s really cold. I’m heading to the van to warm up vocally anyway, so I grab him my one and only jacket. It’s a stylish, tight green affair from H&M that I got on the last tour. He wears it, they stay and have a really good time. Good enough that he gets drunk enough to walk off with my jacket!
A little cold, and a little bummed. We head home to Dan’s. Dan is about the most generous guy you’ll ever meet. He loves to make people feel good. He’s in the process of getting rid of as much of his stuff as possible to go traveling in a month. As soon as he hears about my plight, his face lights up. “I’ve got the coolest jacket you can have. It’s going to look perfect.” He goes to the closet and pulls out a freakin’ sweet crazy tan cow hide and sheep fur masterpiece. I don it; it fits. “Thanks Dan!” I throw a leathery wooly hug around the man, and have hardly been able to take off the jacket since.
(2) SLO and the poo bucket… Our couchsurfing hosts in San Luis Obispo (SLO) are a bunch of badass dudes. They were totally welcoming, and down to host us after our Morro Bay show even though we’d be getting in late and never met them before. We had a sweet jam with them in the morning (made hooch and I want to buy a banjo), and in general they made us feel like home. More mentions will be made of them as we stayed with them another night. The important part here is that we walk into the bathroom and there’s a red Home Depot funnel labeled “Pee here,” going through a hole in the floor, and there’s a bucket – just a bucket - with a toilet seat that says, “Composting Toilet. Poop here, cover with sawdust. No pee! Save 1.6 gallons.” Yeah, that was the deal. They poop in a bucket.
I have read about this before, but I had never had the pleasure of getting to participate. It really does save a lot of water, and investments into sanitation equipment and sewer systems (if you properly compost it. Here’s the wikipedia article about it). I’m not ready to jump on the bandwagon, but I’m glad that people are experimenting with more environmental ways of disposing of waste. It wasn’t too bad to use, and it seems to be going okay for these guys (For the record – they’re very normal people. They study mechanical and civil engineering).
Just some savory tidbits from life on the road.
monday we played in san luis obispo (forgive the failure of the shift key on this computer, there will be no capitals) at a place call the frog and peach. san luis obispo (heretofore known as slo) is a college town – cal poly – and a perfect crowd for our style of music, so we were excited to get our foot in the door, impress some people, and get a better night for the next time we are in town. we did just that. we had a lot of fun even with a small crowd, and we’ll definitely be back in late september – playing a weekend or possibly frog and peach’s 1 dollar pint night on tuesdays.
after the first set we took a break and most of the crowd left. i suppose college kids do have to study sometime… thats good i want the world full of educated interesting people. we like that kind of crowd. anyway we started the second set and quickly played “sad sad city” by ghostland observatory. a couple guys that are show promoters heard the sweet phase shifted notes from down the block and were instantly drawn to our show like starving men to a free buffet. they stayed and danced for the entire rest of the night, even running out into the street and convincing people to come and see a song.
comically, every fifteen minutes or a so a huge group of 20 people would come in for some girl’s (always a girl, i dont know why) 21st birthday, take a shot, and leave. we would pick a good danc-y tune and get them to groove for a song or two, but they had their list of bars to take the lady on her first legal day, so they went off on their journey. it kinda felt like we were back at the dizzy rooster, thirsty nickel or chuggin monkey in austin. fun times.
another good aspect of slo is that we got to be the first time couchsurfers for our buddy nelson111 (pretend those 1s are exclamation points). he is a great guy and a great host. in his initial message he said something really funny about us being the first at his house. it was something along these lines, ‘my roommates are all cool with it, except one who is worried that you’ll be really messy, but even if you are i dont mind.’ needless to say we were immaculate. nelson came to dinner with us and then stayed up a bit to chill after the show, so we got a chance to know each other a little better. couchsurfing is so wonderful. it always makes me happy about the state of the world we live in. i dont think something like it could have existed that long ago, because people just didnt have as much trust for strangers, or openness about their lives. even now most people think that the idea of couchsurfing is crazy, and they cant believe that it works, that there arent more horror stories. there is an evolution of culture over the course of history, and this couchsurfing is one positive manifestation of a more inclusive, egalitarian sense of self and other. pretty sweet.
We’re working on a new song which will hopefully be debuted at Stubb’s. Here are the tentative lyrics. Let me know what yall think.
it never goes away
we just remove
the blocks that are in our way
What would you do with your time if you had it?
Watch movies read books or study mathematics?
Kick a habit?
Play video games, stay at home all day
Garden, throw a party, work your body or start a new fashion?
What’s your passion?
Do you need activities that make you you?
Who would you be if you had nothing to do?
If no sports or magazines, no money suit or screens,
No kitchens or cooking or food or things,
Defined who you were
And who you want to be?
Would you just ask them back to fill
A whole hole black,
Stack paper on paper
And paper on plastic till you had so much nothing
That you couldn’t not have it?
Would you sit in a cave,
Stave off hunger and rage, temptation
Thinking crazy till you found what you were made of?
It’s a trick question
If its all in our minds
Doing and not doing are the same
It’s the thought that counts in this video game
The why the motivation and what you think is real
Can you under the layers like an onion peel?
You might start to cry it’s a natural reaction
But you’re gaining traction
Satisfaction comes cause the tears mean nothing
Why be upset when the result shall be sumptious?
I’d do what I’m doing but
I’d take it all lightly.
Knowing what I like to see aint sighly
My eyes are flightly, slighting me slightly.
I laugh at it all, knowing I’m all mighty.
And then I’d love the world
Every creature without other
Seeing each enemy as none but my brother
Treating every stranger like my very own mother
Undercover, smothered in respectful non-judgement
That is the truth of what we meant that love meant
No energy spent, no sacrifice rent
Love only grows is never lessens
You can’t give up what you are,
You just question it
Messing it, testing it.
Just confess it.
You need nothing,
Cause you’ve already got it all.
Just gotta work to get the veil to fall
Hit the lights yall, we’ll dance at the ball
You need nothing, naught at all
Can’t be a lack when you’re born with it all.
copyright 10/6/10 Jordan Myska Allen
This is totally off topic from the band, but here’s the deal: The band is my life. There is no separation, so I’m going to just start posting my thoughts about various things I encounter on this site. It’s a blog, and it will connect you more to the band because it will shed new light on lyrics, why we do the things we do, and what we stand for. I am, after all, 33% of the musicians on stage most of the time. Plus, its part of what we have always wanted to be – not just good music, but an inspiration to think and act outside of the box, creatively. If the other guys want to share their opinions, they can too. Haha and maybe then Ryan will learn how to post a blog. Anyway…
I just read an article in Good magazine, which I love (although often disagree with), about how Robots are Replacing Middle Class jobs. Their take home point was that it’s a terrible thing that we should all be very afraid of and that this fear should inspire us to all become Marxists and make “meaningful jobs” a basic right.
It incensed me. Why? Deeper psychological reasons aside (I don’t want to look at what I’m projecting, I just want to share my opinion right now), I think the conclusion is absurd. I want us to stop being motivated by fear. Robots can’t doing “meaningful” work. Being a security guard or working in a factory is not, in my opinion, meaningful work. Dear security guard, You may feel fulfilled keeping people safe, which is great, but I think that if your job was taken by a robot, you’d end up finding even more meaningful work. You might create art, or build bike powered generators, or open up a new business which would help everyone out a lot more than your security efforts did.
We’re always so worried about losing jobs. It’s just the same old fear of death and change, which i think is unjustified. Look at nature: death always brings new life. An animal dies, and it feeds another. A tree dies, and it becomes a nest, a home for insects, fungi, and protects other plants in their infancy. Our existence is a beautiful symbiotic relationship between life and death. Let it be. The same will happen of jobs- people will lose a job, be scared shitless, and then they’ll find something better to do with their time. Good’s own article exhibits this fact very well. They profile 8 people doing what they love, and six out of the eight started their project / new job within the past 2.5 years. Wow, that’s exactly when all of this economic madness started happening! Coincidence?
I don’t think we should just throw money around, but if we are: Instead of bailing out GM, we should be funding Tesla, ZAP, Aptera, and ZENN (These are all small all electric car companies). Instead of providing unemployment benefits, we should give grants to people starting new businesses and non-profits.
We cling to a mindset that says “doing something new is hard. Change is not desirable. Stick to the status quo.” I encourage everyone to change (haha) that mindset. Before you post any criticism of the current rant, see if it’s motivated by that mindset. See if its motivated by fear. If it is, you’ll know what my response will be. Operate from love instead! Don’t be afraid! Have hope! It doesn’t matter if everything works out, that’s the beauty of an optimistic mindset. You have a choice to see the world a certain way; even if things don’t go the way you want them to, if you look for the bright side you’ll always see it.