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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Denver?! I Don't Even Know Her!!

May 28-29, 2006

For most of this tour, the police of America have been unkind to the Blood Arm. There have been speeding tickets in Ohio and Michigan—three of them—harassment at the border, and general intimidation at the venues. (I opened the door for an officer in Chicago, and he thanked me with a sinister glare.) We have lived in fear of the police.

Not in Denver.

We do not live in fear of the police in Denver because the police in Denver are the friendliest in the entire U.S.A. Yesterday, Tour Manager Jen was walking to the grocery store a few blocks from our hotel. It was somewhat late in the evening. A police car pulled aside her. “Where you going?” asked the officer inside.

“To the grocery store,” she replied, shuddering; it was cold and she was afraid.

“Need a ride?”

Now, Jen did not take the officer up on his offer because she firmly believes in never accepting car rides from strangers and she was afraid that if she accepted, her body would be found in a lake weeks later. He offered her a ride, just to be nice. We discussed it later as a group, and decided that the policeman was either up to no good, or a friendly exception to the general rule.

Then tonight, at the show in the Gothic Theater, a uniformed man in blue approached me at the merch booth. I stuffed the money we earned in my sock, expecting him to try to extort it as part of some kind of “protection” deal. Instead, the man eyed a TBA CD and asked, “What kind of music is this?” Then he bought it for his daughter and shook my hand. It was uncanny. Two nice policemen in two days.

Finally, to make this Denver police ice cream the total milkshake, we were pulled over upon leaving the venue. The officer very politely asked for Jen’s license and registration, made a cute joke about driving a Florida vehicle full of people from Los Angeles in Denver, and told Jen our high beams were on, and it might be good to turn them down. Then he wished us a “great, safe trip.” I, for one, will never fear a Denver police officer again. They are the best ever.

Other fun things that happened in Denver, besides our run-ins with the police:

-Dyan and Nathaniel were grabbed by John (the Charlatans’ drummer) immediately upon exiting the stage. In a drunken frenzy, he started jumping up and down, screaming, “I like all the girls/ all the girls like me.” (This, of course, is the chorus to ‘Suspicious Character,’ the Blood Arm’s upcoming single.) It was horrifying, hilarious, and heartwarming, all at once.


Alright, one more show with the Charlatans in SLC, then we’re off to the UK!

Ben Lee

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Mount Rushmore

May 27, 2006

Black Hills, South Dakota is like Las Vegas in that it probably wouldn’t exist if not for a person who was totally insane. Both cities are in the middle of nowhere and offer little natural reason for anyone to visit or live in their respective locations. However, where Bugsy Siegel’s Las Vegan vision entailed a casino in the middle of the desert, Gutzon Borglum’s dream for Black Hills was all about carving massive busts of former American Presidents into the granite hills of the South Dakota plains. Obviously, their crazy ambitions are where the men's similarities end. Las Vegas is the City of Sin; Black Hills is the City of Wholesome, Patriotic, Family Fun.

The City of Black Hills portends to be an old-fashioned gold mining town (which, in fact, it used to be) in that all the shops have saloon-style swinging doors, hand-carved wooden signs, and long, wooden porches connecting them all together. Only now, instead of offering moonshine, prostitutes, and mining gear, most of the storefronts are gift shops, and most of the gifts offered in the gift shops are trinkets emblazoned with the only reason for these places' existence: Mount Rushmore.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to share that we of the Blood Arm posse had a healthy dose of Wholesome, Patriotic, Family Fun this afternoon, and it was totally awesome.

Other wholesome family entertainment ventures we drove past in Black Hills:

- A giant maze

- Goats on a bridge

- A reptile museum

- Magical caves

- A buffalo

Tomorrow we head into Denver, and Dyan, Zebastian, and I finish watching the first season of 24 in the back seat of our minivan.

Has anyone else noticed that i look exactly like Nina Myers?


Ben Lee

Friday, May 26, 2006

Beautiful Country

May 26, 2006

Today we drove across South Dakota. Zebastian has grown so accustomed to van travel that even when we pry ourselves from Ashley, he remains crouched in the fetal position. (Zebastian always travels in the fetal position.)

Later in the afternoon, at our third rest stop, he took great effort to set three barrels around himself in a figurative interpretation of the van.

"I could live here," he said. "This could be my home."

Mount Rushmore tomorrow. Also, more driving.

-Ben Lee

Purple Rain, Purple Rain...

May 25, 2006

Tonight the show was at the same venue that Prince performed at with the Time in Purple Rain.

Dyan gives us a brief tour.

Also, the sexy masses have finally caught on to how wonderful the new TBA t-shirts actually are.

This is what it is normally like at the merch booth.

Tonight, however, the tastemakers of Minneapolis spoke.

Later we went to a gay bar and got incredibly drunk...

-Ben Lee

Oh yeah! The Blood Arm got a mention in this ArtNet article... Special thanks to Emma Gray!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Chicago Knows How to Party

May 24, 2006

Now we are in the Vic Theater in Chicago.

Nathaniel and I exploit the Internet for your blog-reading pleasure.

The Vic Theater has the handiest restroom backstage.

There is a urinal next to a chair, next to a shower. The above is Dyan's photographic interpretation of what might happen with this setup.

Other things that might happen:


-French tickles

-Shower enemas


-Black-tar heroin abuse

-Black-tar heroin enemas


Also, we partied with our dear friend Tyson Thurston of Head of Femur and Magical Beautiful. He is Magical Beautiful.

The show was the best of the tour yet.

Tonight we drive to Minneapolis.

(And if you haven't noticed already, the website has been redesigned.)

Missing you horribly,

Ben Lee

There Can Only Be One

May 23, 2006

Today was a travel day, in which we traveled from Toronto to St. Joseph’s, Michigan. Somewhere between our starting point and ending point came the border that separates the United States from our neighbors to the North. We figured our passing through the U.S. customs wouldn’t be too much of a hassle, as our Canadian crossing elicited little more than a “have fun, eh” from the border patrol. The United States customs officers were a bit grumpier.

After harassing Zachary about the place of his birth for five minutes, a border patrolman told us to pull over and wait in the office while they searched Ashley. From there, we were ushered into a dark, dingy, dirty room decorated only by an American flag and a headshot of George W. Bush. It was cold in the room, so I put my hands into my pockets. “Keep your hands where we can see them,” said an officer, seated behind a desk. After a half an hour of uncomfortable, freezing silence, we were finally permitted to cross into Michigan.

All things considered—our scruffy, Rock ‘n’ Roll demeanor, the suspicious-looking boxes in the back of the minivan, the fifteen ounces of black-tar heroin Zachary swallowed in a latex balloon that afternoon—we were pretty lucky to make it through so easily. But I’ll be damned if the stereotypes aren’t true; Canadians are nicer.

Later, because the Charlatans were so generous to offer to transport our equipment in their bus for the rest of the tour, we returned Mary-Kate to a Detroit car-rental establishment, and consolidated the entire Blood Arm posse into Ashley. From here on out, we’re all in this together…

-Ben Lee

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Border Penetration

May 21, 2006

Before the show in Cleveland this evening, we paid a visit to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. While they had a lot of cool stuff—it was awesome to see the Ziggy Stardust stage costumes and Jimi Hendrix’s elementary school drawings—the whole layout was a bit disconcerting. For one, Jim Morrison is given as much floor space as Hanson, and the rest of the Doors aren’t mentioned at all. And all the stuff is strewn about, so you see the Bowie stuff right next to the Madonna stuff and the Madonna stuff right next to the Clapton stuff and it’s hard to place it all in context.

Photography was not allowed in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, but I did manage to sneak a pic of Zach with this giant hot dog:

Apparently, Phish would perform in this hot dog while suspended from the stage. This furthers my already pretty-deeply established notion that Hippie shit is weird. I heard a story on Public Radio recently about Phish contemporaries the String Cheese Incident. They were looking for a gimmick in order to carve a niche for themselves in the Hippie jam-band circuit, so they started tossing out hula-hoops at their shows. The hula-hoop thing was a success—the body motions required to hula-hoop are not so different from the popular Hippie jam-band dance—and now thousands of people come to their shows to hula-hoop, and the String Cheese Incident are the new Phish, or something.

Oh, those crazy Hippies. (Should "Hippie" be capitalized?)

The show at the House of Blues was fun, and then we drove to Niagara.

May 22, 2006

This morning, we became aware of our own mortality in the face of nature.

The show in Toronto was phenomenal, and we were finally able to party with the Charlatans.

Later in the evening, Zebastian, Zachary and I went to the promoter’s house to play with his pet snakes.

Even later—and this part is only alleged—Zachary held-up a Kebab place for some Beef Schwarma.

-Ben Lee

Sunday, May 21, 2006

From Philly to the Hershey Highway

May 19, 2006

Does anyone remember the hardcore Vampire band called Ink and Dagger? They were from Philadelphia, and their lead singer was named Sean McCabe. The man who is doing the cover art for the ‘Suspicious Character’ single is also named Sean McCabe, and the cover is looking somewhat gory and Vampiric, so naturally I figured that the gentleman were one and the same. However, a brief Google search led me to discover that the Ink and Dagger Sean McCabe died in a hotel room a few years ago in a tragic accident of overindulgence. So not only is Philadelphia the home of hanrdcore Vampire bands, but the ghosts of their dead Vampire singers. It is a spooky city.

The city’s spookiness is multiplied by the fact that it houses the Mütter Museum of medical oddities and abnormalities. The museum proudly displays two-headed human fetuses, hydracephalic pig skeletons, tumored human colons measuring ten feet in length, and Grover Cleveland’s surgically removed upper-jaw, amongst other stomach-turning things that I cannot discuss in a public forum. It was the most disgusting educational experience the Blood Arm has ever had. (Unfortunately—or fortunately, perhaps—photography was not allowed in the museum.)

Philadelphia may be spooky, but its Theater for the Living Arts certainly knows how to throw a party. It was a party. My cousin Corey and his lovely girlfriend Melissa showed up. Zachary, Zebastian, and Dyan enjoyed genuine Philly Chessesteaks. Zebastian ordered his special with Cheese-Whiz.

The following morning, we saw a fancy racecar.

May 20, 2006

Today was a day off, so we visited the Hershey’s Chocolate Factory in Hershey, PA. We all got to take turns making Hershey Kisses, and Nathaniel won a special cupcake.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Washington D.C. - it's Paradise to Me...

May 18, 2006

We had a day off, so today we played the tourists in the capital city of our great nation.

Now we're in Philadelphia, downtown clubbing at the Holiday Inn. See you at the show tomorrow!


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Blood Arm Party Pants

May 17, 2006

We love Washington D.C.

Tonight was a good night.

Webster Hall... and Twins!

May 16, 2006

It is important that you learn about the twins if you are to live this tour along with us via the Internet.

The black one, the one behind Zachary in this picture, that is Mary-Kate.

Now this one, the black one behind Zachary in the picture above, that is Ashley.

While they both look similar, their personalities are completely unique. Ashley has a tape player, reclining seats in the middle, and power door locks. Mary-Kate has an eating disorder and a nasty cocaine addiction. Also, Ashley carries Zabastian, Zachary, and I, while Mary-Kate transports Nathaniel, Dyan, and Tour Manager Jen to venues such as Webster Hall in New York City, and the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. tomorrow. Speaking of which…

The show at Webster Hall in NYC was off-the-hook fun. We were reunited with old friends, made plenty of new ones, and finally were able to behold the magic that is the Charlatans (the Charlatans UK, if you’re reading this stateside). We got new t-shirts. My dad was there. We drank till six in the morning with our dear friends Tim Allen (the neuroscientist from Yale University, not the cokehead sitcom star), Michael Tapper, Peter, and Kellie.


Ben Lee

Oh! How can I forget! A hearty congratulations to Boadwee Blog for being listed on the Top Gay Blog site!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Holding Steady on the Flight to NYC

May 15, 2006

I live a charmed life. For one, I get paid to act like an ass in front of thousands of people, which happens to be the one thing I’m good at. Also, whenever something bad happens to me, the bad thing winds up being better than the good thing that I initially assumed the bad thing was taking the place of. Take our airplane flight tonight for example:

Zachary and I were seated on opposite sides of the row, and we wished we were sitting next to each other. Zachary asked the gentleman sitting next to him, Please sir, can you trade seats with my friend? The gentleman, however, was seated in an aisle row, and he preferred this to sitting next to the window, so he did not trade with me. So I asked the gentleman, the tall, Jim Carrey-ish gentleman assigned the aisle seat next to my assigned window seat if he would trade with Zachary. The man declined, claiming the aisle seat better suited his freakishly tall stature.

I was sad. I thought, who does this freakishly tall, Jim Carrey-ish man assigned the seat next to me think he is, denying Zachary the seat that he was supposed to sit in, regardless of what his ticket says. I also thought, this is going to be a really long and awkward flight, as this freakishly tall, Jim Carrey-ish man seated next to me—in the seat Zachary is supposed to be sitting in—probably knows I loathe him.

Then the man spoke. He said, please do not loathe me for not trading seats with your friend, I am just a freakishly tall, Jim Carrey-ish man who cannot fold his body into a window seat.

The excuse sounded fair enough, plus it was kind of funny, so I decided to give him a chance. We got to talking. It turns out the freakishly tall, Jim Carrey-ish fellow assigned the seat next to me was the drummer for the Hold Steady on their first two records, before he quit due to his wife and baby. (Babies—not rock ‘n’ roll.) Now he works in advertising, making ads about talking cookies. So in addition to being a hip, funny, non-smelly drummer, the guy also worked with talking cookies. Way cooler than Zachary, basically. I live a charmed life.

Later in the evening, Zebastian, Zachary, and I met up with our good friends Steph Sun, Marc, and Michael Tapper (the hip, funny, non-smelly drummer of the We Are Scientists) in Williamsburg and drank a lot. Tomorrow is our first show with the Charlatans at Webster Hall. Stay tuned for how it goes.

(Not The End.)

Monday, May 15, 2006

I Like All the Girls...

The video for 'Suspicious Character' is "in the can," as they say in the biz. (In certain non-showbiz circles, "the can" is a euphemism for "toilet." We do not run in those circles. In fact, the circles we run-in are so bizzy with show that if we ever hear someone refer to a toilet as a can, we go on the sidewalk, just to make a point. Our cans are only for finished music videos, for christ's sake!) In a different can--one that is specifically marked for BLOOD AMBITION contests--is the poster-interpretation competition. (So I lied when I said our cans are only for finished music videos, shoot me.) Nicole Eisenman (aka Corny) is the winner. We will hand-deliver her prizes in Philadelphia, which include free admission to the show. (Someone else will hand her the free admission.)

Now, if my clock is correct (and my clock is correct), we will be leaving for New York in a few hours. I will update this blog as frequently as possible with tales of decadence and debauchery from the road, and also stories of the everyday hardships, like teeth-brushing. (To be honest, Dyan is the only one of who really does that sort of thing. We boys are lovers, not teeth-brushers. Other everyday things we generally forget to do: bathe.)

I should probably say goodbye and pack some clothes to bring along.

I love you all,

Ben Lee Handler

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Blood Arm Schedule Blows-Up; High Society Poster Contest; Suspicious Character Video Shoot

Sunday, David Kleiler is orchestrating the video shoot for 'Suspicious Character,' which is to be the first single from the new album. Monday, we're flying to New York City. Tuesday is the first show of our tour with the Charlatans, which kicks off about a month of touring. We're keeping busy!

A quick note about the poster-interpretation contest below... We're not looking for the correct interpretation (which, I should add, only lies in the demented mind of James Birtwhistle), just the best one. See the winning entry from our previous fan-interpretation contest, when we queried who the "Paul" is that Nathaniel refers to in the song 'Do I Have Your Attention?' (Click here to read!) Remember, all entries must be in the email box by Friday, May 12 at 12PM GMT. (Also remember, the prizes are special.)

Lastly, once-and-for-all, here are all the current tour dates with links to the online sources where one can purchase tickets. Most dates are nearing capacity, so it's best you act soon!

US Tour (Supporting the Charlatans)
May 16 New York Webster Hall Buy Tickets Online
May 17 Washington DC 9:30 Club Buy Tickets Online
May 19 Philadelphia Theater of the Living Arts Buy Tickets Online
May 21 Cleveland House of Blues Buy Tickets Online
May 22 Toronto Phoenix Concert Theater Buy Tickets Online
May 24 Chicago Vic Theater Buy Tickets Online
May 25 Minneapolis First Avenue Buy Tickets Online
May 29 Denver Gothic Theater Buy Tickets Online
May 30 Salt Lake City City of Sound Buy Tickets Online

UK Tour (Headlining)
June 4 Nottingham Social
June 5 Glasgow King Tut's Buy Tickets Online
June 6 Liverpool Korova Buy Tickets Online
June 7 Leeds Club NME at The Faversham
June 8 Middlesbrough Club NME at The Empire
June 9 London 93ft East Buy Tickets Online
June 10 Stoke Club NME at The Underground
June 11 Manchester Roadhouse Buy Tickets Online
June 13 London White Heat at Madame Jojo's Buy Tickets Online

Ben Lee

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Blood Arm is the Lady; Contest; UK Tickets

Courtesy of the High Society - the University of Nottingham's Indie and Alternative Music Society:

Whoever can best explain this poster to us will win a special prize... what is the symbolism here? (If you include your response in the comments section, please remember to leave your name and email. Otherwise send your answers to with "contest" in the subject line. All entries must be posted by Friday, 12PM GMT. (That's Friday, 4AM if you live in California.))Special thanks to Joel Wright and James Birtwhistle of the High Society!

Also, we've made it that much easier for you to buy tickets online for most of our upcoming UK dates via these handy "Buy Tickets Online" links! (For those dates without links, check out the box office at the listed venue for information.)

UK Tour
June 4 Nottingham Social
June 5 Glasgow King Tut's Buy Tickets Online
June 6 Liverpool Korova Buy Tickets Online
June 7 Leeds Club NME at The Faversham
June 8 Middlesbrough Club NME at The Empire
June 9 London 93ft East Buy Tickets Online
June 10 Stoke Club NME at The Underground
June 11 Manchester Roadhouse Buy Tickets Online
June 13 London White Heat at Madame Jojo's Buy Tickets Online

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Charlatans Dates

Prior to the UK dates listed on the website, we will be touring the US with the Charlatans for a couple weeks. We love the Charlatans! (We also love Los Angeles! Los Angelenos, sit tight!)

Check us out in your town:

May 16 New York Webster Hall Buy Tickets Online
May 17 Washington DC 9:30 Club Buy Tickets Online
May 19 Philadelphia Theater of the Living Arts Buy Tickets Online
May 21 Cleveland House of Blues Buy Tickets Online
May 22 Toronto Phoenix Concert Theater Buy Tickets Online
May 24 Chicago Vic Theater Buy Tickets Online
May 25 Minneapolis First Avenue Buy Tickets Online
May 29 Denver Gothic Theater Buy Tickets Online
May 30 Salt Lake City City of Sound Buy Tickets Online

Ben Lee

UPDATE: Just added nifty "Buy Tickets Online" links for each show. The Blood Arm is nothing if not available online! (Except for a few hours yesterday, sorry about that.)

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Very Important People

If you see this girl wandering the streets of London, pull her aside and buy her a drink. Don't pull too hard, as she's very skinny and you might break something. Of course, she is a medical doctor, so if you do break something, she could probably fix it. But your best bet is just to try not to break anything. Maybe tap her on the shoulder instead of pulling. She is Very Important People!

-Ben Lee

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