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Friday, June 30, 2006

Independence Day Celebration/Homecoming Dance Party

Friends of the Union, now is your chance to celebrate the Blood Arm's return to the homeland and our Great Nation's Independence all in one fell swoop. Also, alcohol.

This Tuesday, 4 July, the Blood Arm take the stage at Cinespace in Hollywood, California at 11pm.

Expect fireworks.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Great Depression

Please forgive my lack of updates recently, I have been stuck in a Great Depression.

Fortunately, I eventually noticed the stairway out, and things have been better ever since.

Stuff that has happened lately:

- Summer

- Wife got older

- Wife became a Jewish Woman

- The Blood Arm became a Jewish Woman


Ben Lee

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Brief Synopsis of Our Latest UK Tour

We have just lustily toured the fuck out of the UK. Below is a brief summary. To read more about any of the selections, simply click on its heading and you will be routed directly to the honeypot of your choosing.

World Class Travelers - In which we drink, fly to London, and a small creature that only Nathaniel can see tears up the wing of our plane. In London, we ae acquainted with Tour Manager Chalkie.

Nottingham, Glasgow - In which we revert to the days of black and white, then later, grainy color in Nottingham, and are molested by Graham of the Flying Matchstick Men in Glasgow.

Liverpudly and Leedsian Love Affairs - In which Crazy Pete from Stealer lives up to his moniker and we fall in love with the Grates all over again in Leeds. Also, Dyan gives us a tour of the Korova bar.

Middlesbrough, Sweaty Men - In which my Semitic livelihood is threatened by a large skinhead.

London Calling; We, Coming - In which we pick up a straggler, hang out with famous people, and things get a little mixed up. Like our sexuality. And our minds.

England Wins! Also, Stoke
- In which Tour Manager Chalkie's true priorities are revealed, and we witness some Emoks in their natural habitat.

Manchester Roadhouse; Federline, Yo - In which we learn a little more about Zachary's mysterious past, and the Blood Arm play their greatest show ever.

Milkshake Mix in London; More Crazy Pete - In which Dyan is tortured savagely by Zebastian and Zachary while I eat lunch with my fancy friends. Also, video of Crazy Pete acting something other than sane.

White Heat is White Hot - In which London's premier nightclub sticks ice down our pants, gives us a wedgie, then makes love to us like an untamed beast (AKA doggie-style). It's hot. Also, celebrity guests.

Drowning in the Sound of the Grates - In which the Grates blow up balloons with their name printed in bold letters on the front, and we jealously pop them. They cry a little bit, we take pity and blow up more ballons for them. Even more than before. Our last show of the tour. Also, I get a side job. Later, a hand one.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Drowning in the Sound of the Grates

June 14, 2006

On this, our last night in London, our record label asked us if we wanted anything special.

"Anything?" we replied. We were wary, they having posed this question before, with they not delivering the Wilmer-Valderama-in-a-cake as we requested.

"Anything." They said. "Even Wilmer Valderama in a cake."

We wanted to play with the Grates again. At their record release show.

And you know what? The fine folks at City Rockers Records delivered. It was very, very good.

Earlier in the day, I inked a deal with the fine folks at Drowned in Sound to become their Los Angeles correspondent. Every month, I will be contributing more than a thousand words of content to their pages, so get your reading glasses ready!

See you in Los Angeles!

-Ben Lee

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White Heat is White Hot

June 13, 2006

White Heat at Madam JoJo’s is always a memorable experience for us. (When I type “always,” I mean “both times we have performed there.”) Tonight was no different.

This is what it looks like right after I finish my emcee bit:

This is what it looks like when Nathaniel gets everyone to sit down:

This is what it looks like when Teri of the Budget Girls and Christian of the Datsuns sell t-shirts for the Blood Arm:

And this is what it looks like when Phil Howells, CEO of City Rockers Records, hugs Tabitha of the Queens of Noize:

We have fun, basically.

-Ben Lee

Monday, June 12, 2006

Milkshake Mix in London; More Crazy Pete

June 12, 2006

Today we drove to the Dairy Studios in Brixton, London, where the band recorded an alternate, milkshake version of 'Suspicious Character' for a future b-side. While I was away dining with my fancy London friends, Dyan was locked in a glass case and forced to play the piano until her fingers bled while Zachary and Zebastian prodded her and laughed.

The pianist had her just desserts later, however, as the drummer and guitarist were later thrown into the transparent prison and bound to their instruments.

The rough mix sounds delicious.

Also to be filed under 'delicious' are the Middlebrough, London, Stoke, and Manchester diary entries I finally got around to posting today. Simply scroll down to read them, they're posted reverse-chronologically.

Lastly, here's Crazy Pete from Stealer, teaching us to speak Liverpudlian.

Londoners! We will be seeing you tomorrow and Wednesday!


Ben Lee

Manchester Roadhouse; Federline, Yo

June 11, 2006

At the Roadhouse venue in Manchester, the painting on the door of the men's room bears a striking resemblance to our very own Zachary.

The reason for this is simple: The painting on the door of the Roadhouse men's room is Zachary.

It seems a Mancunian artist was present at Zachary's audition to dance in a Kevin Federline video and stole a few of the drummer's audition stills. This prohibited Zachary from landing the role--it's impossible for the casting agent to give a boy a part if he has no pictures of him--but the men of Manchester scored a handsome welcome to their rock 'n' roll toilets.

If you think about it, what is dancing to a Federline video if not welcoming people to the pisser? (Oooh. That was awful. I apologize. Also, I apologise.)

The show was, in my humble opinion, the best Blood Arm gig ever. Our dear friends the Flying Matchstick Men were breathtaking in their guitarless debut as well.

Later, we all practiced losing to the hotel barman at arm wrestling. Not Nathaniel, though.

Nathaniel practiced winning.

I love you all,

Ben Lee

England Wins! Also, Stoke

June 10, 2006

Chalkie, our tour manager, is a calm, caring man. He always says "please" and "thank you." His table manners are impeccable. Instead of kicking Zachary in the head to wake him up in the morning, as is our usual protocol, he whispers softly in his ear, easing the drummer into consciousness. We're all sort of in love with him. So it came as a surprise this morning when he was weirdly anxious and irritable.

When a car cut our van off, he said "fucking hell!" instead of his usual smile and wave. When we paused at a rest stop to use the bathroom, he yelled at us to "make it quick!" Then, about an hour outside of Stoke, he pulled the van off the freeway, parked hastily in front of a pub, and ran inside. Confused, we chased after him.

The pub was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with Britons, all dressed in white jerseys adorned with a red cross. It seemed that a match featuring the English team in something called the World Cup was about to take place. We found Chalkie amidst the masses, finally smiling again.

After the England team finished off the Paraguayans, a contented Chalkie took us into Stoke. In Stoke, there lives a mysterious tribe of children who roam the field behind the Underground venue playing football and making out with each other. The locals called them Emoks, a conjunction of Emo and Kids. I call them totally awesome.

The show was amazing, as was the club afterwards. (Though the strip club we went to after that was amazingly bad, in that there was no nudity.)


Ben Lee

London Calling; We, Coming

June 9, 2006

Tonight's show at 93 East was unique in that Dyan sang, Nathaniel played the piano, Zebastian took over on drums, and Zachary had his turn on guitar.

People danced. People Drank. Old friendships were broken and forged anew, but this time in blood. Also, ink.

It should be noted that as of today, Tour Manager Chalkie's van, Rude Kid, will be burdened with an extra passenger. Malia James is the one to the right of Zachary, or the left side of the picture, depending on how you want to look at it. She'll be photgraphing and videographing the band for the next few tour stops, trying to make everyone look sexy. (Dania--the one to Zachary's left--is married, so back off boys.)

-Ben Lee

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Middlesbrough, Sweaty Men

June 8, 2006

Middlesbrough is an old port town where men enjoy walking around without their shirts on. They also seem to be fond of sunburn and doormats with pictures of dogs on them.

The Empire Club venue in the township is amazing—an extremely large place with sculptures and columns adorning it so that it is reminiscent of a Roman Bath… so much so that after a few minutes inside I was tempted to take my shirt off and find some hairy gentlemen to carouse with. After the show—which was a memorable one—I did.

More dashes and hyphenations coming shortly...

-Ben Lee

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Liverpudly and Leedsian Love Affairs

June 6, 2006

As today is 6/6/’06, we of the Blood Arm posse figured it fitting to have a show scheduled in Liverpool. In our prior experiences with the city, we have witnessed a violent football riot, been chased by a bloody man brandishing the leg of a barstool, and encountered the one person in the world who had never heard of the Beatles. The people we actually performed for and later made love to were wonderful, but we figured them to be exceptions to the general hellishness of the place.

Then we arrived at the Korova Bar, Ladytron’s recreation of the milk bar from A Clockwork Orange. It felt like heaven.

Dyan gives us a brief tour below.

After the show, at which we fell in love with opening acts Stealer and the Wombats, we fell further in love with Liverpudlians Crazy Pete (Stealer’s front man), promoter Steve REVO, and medical student Eleanor (who is actually German). Crazy Pete is indeed worthy of his moniker, but in more of a King-of-the-Party kind of way than a Let’s-Run-Away-from-This-Guy-Before-He-Hurts-Us kind of way. His King-of-the-Party-ness trumps that of everyone we’ve ever met, and that “everyone” I just typed includes Wilmer Valderama. If Metallica named an album after him, it would be called Master of Parties.

(While we’re on the subject of crazy people, it should be noted that those of the Let’s-Run-Away-from-This-Guy-Before-He-Hurts-Us variety have an uncanny affinity for Zebastian. Whether we be drinking at the bar, walking down the street, or checking into the hotel, the guy with the sunburn on his face and yesterday’s lunch all over his shirt always wants to have a word with him. Does he put out a scent that only crazy hobos can smell? Is there a gene for this scent? Can this gene be isolated and put on the market?)

The Absinthe flowed, secrets were shared, and we returned to our hotel with a rosy glow in our cheeks and a newfound appreciation for a city that once gave us nightmares, gonorrhea, and general incontinence.

June 7, 2006

We love Leeds, and we love the Grates. So partying with the Grates in Leeds was sort of like a double-dose of loveliness in one shot, except it felt like more than a double. Maybe a triple. A quintuple even. We were head over heels love-drunk.

Here is a list of things that pushed our love-intoxication to total love-inebriation:

-Robert Willey—perhaps the friendliest man in the world—was there

-Playing Frisbee with the Grates

-Witnessing the Fallout Trust

-Discussing the ethics behind robot dog-kicking with the Grates

-The MoveOnUp Soul Night at the HiFi Club, which featured the Best DJ Ever

-Phil Howells’—Patron Saint of City Rockers Records—supersized dance moves

More tomorrow, and Leeds pics coming soon!

-Ben Lee

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Nottingham, Glasgow

June 4, 2006

We say "yes" to Nottingham. Then we say, "Another drink? Why not?" Also, "It tickles a little, but in a good way." And finally, "Now it's starting to burn... a lot."

The show at the Social was a blast. (Not for James Birtwhistle, the poster designer. Apparently, his arm was broken in a mugging and he couldn't make it to the show.) Nottingham University's High Society knows how to party. The heat was turned up, mic stands and stage pianos were broken, a pitcher of White Russian was passed around...

June 5, 2006

In Glasgow, people are always willing to buy one a drink. (When I say "one," I'm really typing about "me." I have never lived in anyone else's shoes in Glasgow.) Chances are, those Glaswegians buying "one" drinks have probably been molested by Graham of the Flying Matchstick Men at some point. As far as I can tell, everyone there has a story. And it feels so right!

Other things that feel so right:

-Dyan's new stage piano

-Nathaniel's mic stand-less performance

-Zebastian's head bouncing on Dyan's new stage piano

-The couch in the dressing room

Tomorrow... Liverpool!

-Ben Lee

Sunday, June 04, 2006

World Class Travelers

June 2-3, 2006

We flew from Los Angeles to London. At the airport in L.A., we steadied our pre-flight jitters at the bar.

Then on the airplane, as it tends to happen on international flights, there were free drinks. This helped us to steady our on-flight jitters.

They had a radio station on the plane strictly devoted to Morrissey. Dyan loves Morrissey. (He helps her to steady her on-flight radio station jitters.) There is a brief video of Dyan doing an impassioned lip-sync to one of the tracks, but she has threatened that if I post it, a severe beating will follow. Thusly, you will never see the video.

When we arrived at Heathow, Chalky (our tour manager for this venture) and his trusty van, Rude Kid were waiting for us.

We drove halfway to Nottingham, finally stopping in a beautiful town called St. Ives, which happens to be Chalky's home.

Check back tomorrow for a detailed account of the Nottingham show!

Ben Lee

Friday, June 02, 2006

A Brief Summary of Our First U.S. Tour

The following is a brief synopsis of our U.S. tour with the Charlatans. To read more about any of the detailed days, simply click on the highlighted title.

-Holding Steady on the Flight to NYC: In which we fly to New York City, and I make a special friend.

-Webster Hall... and Twins!: In which Zachary introduces the reader to our transportation for the U.S. Tour, and we are introduced to the Charlatans at Webster Hall. Also, a celebrity guest.

-The Blood Arm Party Pants: In which Zachary, Nathaniel, and myself star in a hilarious video in Washington D.C.

-Washington D.C. - it's Paradise to Me...: In which we familiarize ourselves with our nation's capital.

-From Philly to the Hershey Highway: In which Vampires, Philly Cheese Steaks, and the Hershey Chocolate Factory are visited and discussed.

-Border Penetration: In which we visit the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, visit the Niagara Falls, then cross into the Canadian border to party with the Charlatans.

-There Can Only Be One: In which we are harassed by the American Border Patrol and lose a minivan.

-Chicago Knows How to Party: In which we learn that Chicago knows how to party, discuss the possibilities of black-tar heroin abuse in a peculiar shower and visit with Tyson Thurston of Head of Femur and Magical Beautiful.

-Purple Rain, Purple Rain...: In which we get in touch with our inner Princes, Dyan takes us on a tour of the Purple Rain venue, the Blood Arm's t-shirts are modeled, and we party at a gay bar.

-Beautiful Country: In which Zebastian and the van become inseparable.

-Mount Rushmore: In which we acquaint ourselves with the Mountain of Rush.

-Denver?! I Don't Even Know Her!!: In which we become friendly with the Denver Police.

-Salt Lake City: In which we win a gun on the radio, and drive home following a surprising good show.

Now we are off to the U.K.! Stay tuned for more stories from the road!

-Ben Lee

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Salt Lake City

May 30, 2006

Over the course of our drive to--and our brief stay (and play) in--Salt Lake City, we feel qualified to make a few generalizations about the state of Utah:

-It is perfectly acceptable for Alternative-Music radio stations to give away guns to the twentieth caller.

-Though the crowds appear to be quite polite and subdued at the beginning of rock shows, once the music gets pumping, the dancing gets dirty real quick.

-In spite of its state political leaders' views on homosexuality and gay marriage, male citizens have no qualms about hooting and hollering on the subject of Nathaniel's sexiness. Take your shirt off!, they shouted.

It was a great show, and we can't wait to visit again.

Now we are driving home minus Tour Manager Jen (she opted to fly) and plus more gear (the Charlatans are taking most of it to L.A. for us, but it won't arrive till Tuesday, and Dyan's keyboard and Zebastian's guitar must fly with us to the UK on Friday).

Nathaniel carved out this adorable little niche for himself in the back seat:

Before we fly out, I promise to post a synopsis of our entire U.S. tour... stay tuned!

Ben Lee