Chez Slick Willie

8/11/10 – Hot Springs

When we arrive in Hot Springs (Home of Bill Clinton!), we can’t believe how cute it is. We’re playing a club called Maxine’s, which is a former brothel owned but a couple from LA, Kevin and Agnes. They feed us and keep us hydrated, and generally make us feel incredibly welcome. After the show, during which they sit in the front row, Kevin and Agnes tell us they have missed only 2 shows at their club in the last year and a half. So impressive–they obviously really, really care about the music they host.

The town is packed full of 1920’s era bath houses made to host people wanting to partake of the hot springs. We stay in a great old spa hotel. Yoshi and I have designs to go get massages and mineral baths the next day, but like most plans on tour, they fall apart.

A Texan Paradise

8/10/10 – Austin

In our Texas hotel room, we wake up one foot away from each other as usual. We’ve all slept horribly. Nick announces that he had Dave Matthews Band’s “What Would You Say” in his head all night. We offer our condolences. I mention that I woke up singing Aerosmith’s “Take Me To the Other Side.” Nathan says his mental soundtrack was the first song on the Harlem record. Yoshi confesses to total radio silence.

We head to Lockhart TX to eat some barbeque, hitting up both Smitty’s and Kreuz to compare and contrast the brisket and hot rings. We agree that Smitty’s wins.

Then, we head to Austin. Oh how we love Austin, even though it is 104 out. We arrive late afternoon, panting from the heat. My friend Andy has kindly donated his entire house to us, complete with a pack of feral cats outside to keep Yoshi the Cat Whisperer happy.

We hydrate, and then rehearse for our Daytrotter session that evening. The recording takes place in a compound set back from the street, engineered by a great fellow named Matt. Nick’s pedals start to act up, my throat gets scratchy, and then I start to hallucinate that I can’t find the key of the song. We finally get three good takes and pack for the club. On the way out, Matt tells Yoshi he’s a great drummer. For about the eightieth time, I thank my lucky stars that I fired myself as drummer.

Loading in the Mohawk, I get excited–it’s a massive sprawling complex but not overly precious. To me, this is one of the hallmarks of Austin as a city: lots of space and time dedicated to having laid-back fun.

The bill is amazing–a band called Stunts, Horse+Donkey (who Nathan totally loses his shit over), and The Carrots, who sings awesome girl group songs and are extremely good looking. The audience is fired up and we have a terrific time both playing and spectating.

At the merch booth, I see a woman named Mikelle who we met last time we were in town–she had driven THREE HOURS to come see us. And she showed up again! I kept introducing her to people: “This is the woman I told you about!”

We’re having such a good time, the club has to kick us out. We go back to our hijacked house and sleep the sleep of people who really need sleep but have had too many beers instead.

Supersize Us


TOUR INDEX – August 8, 2010

Average number of medium-sized servings of french fries consumed per band member at 2AM: 1.25

Consecutive days Bon Jovi’s tour epic “Wanted Dead or Alive” played on radio, reminding us that “sometimes when you’re alone all you do is think”: 2

Inadvertent off-roading incidents: 1

Giant cockroaches spotted outside of Arby’s, Casa Grande, AZ: 5

Birds and Batteries live sets viewed since 11PM yesterday: 3, all well worth it.

Times an hour the car topper keys temporarily vanished: 0.5

Disembodied mannequin heads in the window of Wig-O-Rama, Tucson, AZ: 31 female, 1 green-skinned male

The indices


As today is a day off (already), we are introducing a new feature called the Tour Index. It will be a recurring feature, the frequency of which is impossible to predict at this moment. Regardless, this innovation will change the world.

TOUR INDEX (retroactive) – August 7, 2010

Number of girls at our show a Soda Bar patron named Rob told Yoshi he’d “mentally inseminated” already: 2

Percentage of Eux Autres guest list that vomited between the hours of midnight and one AM: 40%

Number of eggs thrown at band after show: 1

Times Katie Perry / Snoop Dogg’s “California Gurls” came on the car radio: 5

Average length of unicorn puppet shows performed by Heather while filming herself doing so: 42 seconds

Hours of backseat naps Yoshi logged: 5.3

Times the “code of the road” invoked: 8

Camouflage sleeping bags purchased: 1

Vacation Already


Before I even have my coffee, Nick makes fun of me for filming everything on my flipcam. Which I thought I purchased in order to film everything. But evidently, I was supposed to do some sort of art project with it. I keep filming anyway.

We arrive at our great friend’s house in Valley Center, California. It’s set back in the hills, surrounded by fruit trees. It looks like Tuscany around here.

It’s only 2 PM and there’s plenty of time for naps and wine, or both.

Our friends Sara and Gabby make a great dinner and we drive to El Cajon for our show. We are the first people at the club and Nirvana is playing on the sound system, which is really encouraging in a weird way, reminding me that music totally matters. Nick and Yoshi and Nathan battle it out on the club’s (free!) Streetfighter game as we wait to take the stage.

We play a great set and make it through a song we’ve never played live–I’m so thrilled that I clap for us and jump up and down. Then, I think to myself that that must be pretty stupid looking. But then I remember that recently in SF, I saw the amazing tambourine player from Candy Claws applauding for her own band after every song, and it was quite an endearing pendulum swing from the indifference some bands project. It says, not only do I totally care if you like us, but hey, I really like us too!

After we load out, we’re standing around in front of the club talking to Birds and Batteries after the show and all of a sudden an egg explodes on our car. There are about 30 people out there with us staring at the egg dripping down my car and muttering things like, whoa, bummer. But I’m actually pretty excited by it; egging is such an anachronism. Our first review of the tour.

We hit a drive-thru on the way back to Valley Center. Nathan, who is always trying to avoid the magnetic pull of meals in paper bags, eats some fries and says, “Hey. This isn’t so bad. I guess I was wrong about fast food.”

As we pull up to the house, we see a baby coyote trotting along in front of our car. He is the size of my pet beagle and he keeps looking back at us worriedly. Our headlights sweep across a hill exploding with scattering rabbits, and we know that as we sleep soundly, nature will be having her way just outside our windows.



We actually make it to Oxnard, California. This is almost enough of a coup to just leave it at that. But we play a really fun show at a bakery as the smell of cupcakes is wafting all around us onstage. This is our sixth show as a four-piece and I can actually feel the click happen as we, somewhere in the middle of the second song, finally become a band. I almost cry.

Great lineup: A band called the Avocados. Our buddies the Tartans. One of those shows that makes you feel lucky to be part of a community of people.

Late night tacos. The best part of playing in Southern California.

We crash out at the Tartans place as Yoshi, Mayburn, and Brian Tartans spin records and sing ten feet from my head. I feel happy, as it reminds me of going to bed during one of our parents’ raucous parties, listening to them laugh and sing as I drift off to sleep.

Here We Go

Welcome to the tour diary of the Eux Autres Summer “Highway to Hella” Tour 2010.

HEATHER, the author and singer/percussionist/keyboardist
NICHOLAS, the author’s brother, the singer/guitarist, and the superior driver
YOSHI, the drummer, the first person to dare to enter the sibling vortex, an excellent sleeper
NATHAN, the bassist and newest member of the band, lover of thrift stores and fresh produce

An opening salvo: How Not to Leave for a Cross-Country Tour

1) Do not think that you will naturally wake up early without an alarm because you are so anxious
2) Do not drive your dogs to the dog camp all the way in Marin County while having a panic attack and totally bum the front desk woman out in a transaction resembling the family-movie scene that was written solely to illustrate that the absentee parent doesn’t know jackshit about her children’s lives:
Front desk woman: Uh, we don’t need those leashes. Uh, you can take the bowls. But did you bring their beds? Where’s their food?
Me, very feebly, with a drowning expression: Sorry, their dad usually does this.
3) Do not ask your brother why he is still in his pajamas when you arrive to pick him up. This will only cause him to want to kill you.
4) Do not try to ship the album art for the upcoming record the morning that you leave
5) Do not lose the key to the car topper that will hold all of the luggage
6) Do not get stuck inside of your own garage as the automatic door goes on strike for approximately ten harrowing minutes with you and the tour vehicle inside when you’re already 110 minutes late to get the rest of the band.
7) Do not leave your keyboard in the stairwell of your apartment building, causing yet another 45 minute detour on the way out of town

August tour dates!

Eux Autres will be hitting the road for most of August. We are extremely excited to play Athens Popfest (finally!) and hit parts of the country we’ve never even seen. Oh how we cannot wait to eat three consecutive barbeque meals in Lockhart Texas. To pay homage to early REM in Athens. To drink pilsner in Williamsburg. To make mom cook for us in Omaha. To be the first Larimers to play at the Larimer Lounge in Denver. Plus we will be playing with some seriously rad bands. All the details are up on the gigs page.

Please please drop us a line to say hi and give us some tourist tips if we’re coming to your town. We especially like weird local food, thrift stores, karaoke, roadside statues, swimming holes, and anything involving cats.

We can’t wait to meet all of you (or see you again.)

Day 15: 8 August 2009 – Dresden

Nick, Michael and I wander off to get the car, which we’ve left parked at the club overnight so that we could go to places like Mr. B’s. Since we’re already going to be in the tourist area of Munich, we want to buy some souvenirs. Plus we realize we’ve bought nothing on this trip. First we hit a football store, picking up some birthday gifts for our littlest brother Mikey, then I discover a store that could best be described as marzipan wonderland. I adore marzipan, and this place has marzipan shaped into all sorts of other food—pretzels, sausages, beer steins, turnips. I consider buying a new suitcase to accommodate all this marzipan, but settle for two small “pretzels”.

We get the car, go pick up Yoshi at the hotel, and hit the road for Dresden.

We have one more show, and the whole drive, I’m thinking about how to approach it psychologically. Should I say to myself, hey, you–tour has exceeded all of your expectations, so don’t worry about this. Or should I secretly hope for the astounding finale? I can’t decide. I’m very nervous.

For the first time this whole tour, we arrive at our destination early enough to check into the hotel and explore. Dresden is such an intense experience, because everywhere you look, you imagine the rubble that was left from the firebombing. And then here and there, there is actually rubble, or charred bricks way up on a tower. The texture of the cityscape reminds me of an old growth forest, with all of these generations of structures co-existing–some dead and fallen and some just beginning, telling the story of the place.

Political poster in Dresden

The club Osto-pol is a space that has been dutifully restored to East German-ness, down to the glasses, the light fixtures, and even the wallpaper. It is truly one of the most compelling bars I’ve ever been in. Sitting in there is like being transported.

The proprietors have made us vegetarian pasta, and we sit in the low light of the empty club and eat like a family, the four of us seated around a weathered farmhouse table. We are quiet, conserving energy and avoiding the temptation of sentimentality about our last meal together.

By the time we play, the club is packed with the most glorious indie kids. They are radiating happiness and love, or maybe it’s just me, but I don’t care because the room is full of the kind of noise that only we make and all these people are smiling. When we finish, the crowd spills onto the giant patio out front, where everyone sticks around, hanging out and talking like old friends into the wee hours of the night.

We walk slowly back to our hotel where we pack our bags for the last time and set the alarm for far too early and then we are asleep and then awake again and it’s not until I’m on the plane that I absorb that it’s over. I pull a notebook from my bag and scrawl pages of notes so that maybe when I get home, I can write at least some of it down for real. Then I fall asleep again, because finally, I can.

Emergency Exit

Day 14: 7 August 2009 – Munich

After another day off in Berlin, in which we eat ice cream and wander around and I am terrified by trying to ride a bike all over the city, we head out for Munich. At the rental car place, we realize that we’ve accidentally packed up the other band’s cymbals along with ours. This creates a major logistical glitch that puts us very far behind schedule. We have a long drive ahead, and a radio interview we’d really like not to miss.

But soon, we’re on the autobahn. We’re all very sleepy, but Michael is navigating through the speeding traffic like an expert. Nick is talking a mile a minute, making him laugh to stay awake. But his charm doesn’t reach the back seat; Yoshi and I fall asleep.

The scenery is beautiful, and wherever there’s a retaining wall, the kind that in the States would obstruct a breathtaking view, it is instead constructed of a clear material, to preserve the aesthetics. Ahh, german engineering.

We pull over at a gigantic rest stop. Yoshi hits the Burger King. He tells us about a controversial incident on the Still Flyin tour in which he was forced to abort a mission to Burger King. He takes a photo of his meal and emails it to members of SF, just to let them know that Yoshi has not forgotten.

Finally, we reach the radio station in Munich–which is clean and very perfect-seeming. The more polished cousin of boho-Berlin.

We go inside and record an acoustic mini-set in their performance studio, then do a radio interview. The acoustic set sounds great, really different than normal (duh), and the interview questions are really thoughtful. For example, we’re asked why we named ourselves Them Others; do we feel like outsiders in the world?

The show is at the Atomic Cafe, an extremely cute place. It seems like noone is showing up, and then just as we start to play, it starts to fill in plenty. The mics are feeding back insanely, but the crowd stays with us, and we soldier through.

We take a cab back to our hotel. We ask the driver how long it would take to get to Dresden, where we’ll be driving tomorrow. He seems to have no idea what we’re talking about. “DREZ-din,” we keep saying. Finally, he understands: “Oh, you mean DREEZ-din?” We’ve never heard it called DREEZ-din, not by Germans even. (The next day we will ask someone in the city of Dresden why this man was calling it DREEZ-din, and she will be just as baffled as us.)

After we check into our hotel, we go out in search of a nightcap. We wander into a bar called Mr. B’s. It is a jazz club, and it turns out that the proprietor grew up less than a mile from where I live in Brooklyn. He proceeds to tell us a lot about America. Michael is fully engaged, but the rest of us drop out of the conversation and stare tiredly into our drinks.

Then, a very drunk young couple comes in, asking loudly for a cold ­we mean COLD–drink, preferably beer. The other two patrons in the bar, obviously so regular as to be part of the furniture, get completely furious, insisting that ALL of the beer is cold, and what do you mean anyway asking that kind of question?! Much screaming and table pounding ensue. Mr. B evicts the couple. We finish our whiskeys and head back to the hotel, where we’re sleeping four to a room. All tucked into our twin beds, we get the terrible giggles. Things have taken a turn for the ridiculous.