Friday, March 30, 2012

How the music died on March 29...

I would like to begin by apologizing to all the people who came down to Thessaloniki on March 29, from all over the place, to see us and a couple of other cool bands, play some live music in Biologica Squat in the University Campus. The gig didn't happen. I'm really sorry you wasted your time, money and energy, trying to stay awake late at night, to come and hear some nice music, only to have to go back home without it.

We had no idea what was going on, and we're still not fully aware of what happened. We certainly don't understand why it happened.

The gig was supposed to involve three acts. Nataraya (from Thessaloniki, Greece), Zone of Alienation (from Great Hobonia) and Keira is You (from Poland). We gathered at the venue, set up our stuff, did our soundcheck, ate some food, and while we were hanging around there waiting to play, all of a sudden there were people running in every direction and a group of people wearing helmets, matching jackets and holding planks of wood and crowbars, suddenly started smashing up the venue. Some people from the venue set off fire extinguishers, some flares went off, and we all moved further away from the venue to not get ourselves involved in something we had no understanding of.

I won't go into details of who was who, because I don't even understand it myself. The moral of the story is that the music died. The gig didn't happen. Most of our equipment was full of fire-extinguisher powder and some of it was damaged. Keira is you came all the way from Poland, and had their drumkit smashed and a laptop stolen. I didn't see Nataraya after the event, so I've no idea what happened to them. Our guitar was thrown off the stage, our cymbals were thrown on the ground and a radio deck we used as part of our performance was damaged. We also had approximately 7 euros in loose coins stolen from our merch stand.

None of the bands got to play any music, and of course none of us even came close to covering our transportation costs. At least we ate something. Keira is you were so traumatized by the whole scene that they didn't even want to stay in Thessaloniki. We took off together for Great Hobonia as soon as the roads were clear again (cops had surrounded the campus when we first wanted to leave, and our tour vans are far from stealthy).

The person from Keira is you, whose laptop was stolen, is so upset that he declared he's never going on tour again. The rest of the band wanted to cancel their show at Larissa tonight, and they are thinking that most likely they're not coming back to Greece again. This is a pretty good insight into how music dies.

As for us, this was our last money that we spent on fuel to come to Thessaloniki to play. The strings on our guitar are on there for more than 5 years now. The tubes on the amplifier had been recently replaced, and as the amplifier was turned on during the chaos, they were damaged. The amplifier still plays, but it just won't sound as good. It crackles. As you guessed it, we're not going to change them. We can't afford it. One of our guitar cables was also damaged. It makes weird noises now. Guess what? We can't afford to replace that either. So next time you see us, when we sound like shit, don't wonder why. Next time you see us looking a bit weary, it's probably because we're hungry. We have no money. We had almost no money before trying to play this show, but we're trully fucked now.

We have spent the past decade of our lives touring, playing shows and making music, doing it the DIY way. We suffer all the hardships of the road, to come and entertain you. We get harassed by border guards and cops all along the way, we don't get enough sleep, we don't get enough to eat, we rarely have access to clean toilets or any kind of washing facilities and our clothes are disintegrating on us. We've driven for 28 hours straight in old beat up vans that barely worked. The money we make barely ever covers our transportation costs. There's nothing left. So when things go wrong, like this time, we're fucked. The 7 euros we made from our merchandise, that was subsequently stolen, would have meant about a week's worth of food. How many of you survive on 7 euros per week for food? Well, we do, quite often. But not now, because it's not even there anymore.

We spent most of the morning today trying to repair Keira is you's drumkit, so they can play in Larissa tonight. They probably will. But it won't sound as good as it would have, if their drumkit was intact. Guess what? They can't afford a new one! Do you know why? Because they're not making enough money for that. They won't be able to replace the stolen laptop either. So that means no internet access for them, which means no more tour updates, no more ability to book DIY shows through the internet, and no more ability to record or upload their music themselves. Their DIY wings have been clipped. One member has already declared that he's never going on tour again, and the rest of the band won't go to Greece again. So if you live in Greece and would like to see bands like them play live somewhere near you, forget it. It's not going to happen anymore.

Do you start feeling how the DIY music scene is dying?

Are you happy just going to mainstream shows and paying way over the top to see a band that's not even got half the passion that we have? Do you like the music you listen to being entirely controlled by evil capitalist corporations? If not, we've got a request for you, from both Zone of Alienation and Keira is you:

Send us an Acer E-Machine. Either the original one, stolen from the band, or any other one. We're not picky. We just need one to keep on doing what we're doing.

Send us a new or used Gretsch drum kit, or at least some new Remo drumheads. For details of sizes contact us.

Send us some new Ernie Ball regular slinky .10 guitar strings.

Send us some EL34 and 12AX7 tubes, matched pairs preferable.

Send us a Paiste 2002 Sound Edge hihat. 14" or 15", both acceptable.

Send us some cymbal stands.

Send us food, money, or both.

Give us fuel for our tour vans.


You either start taking the above requests seriously, or you'd better start making your own music. Don't expect us to last much longer under such circumstances.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The idea behind the Zone...

The main inspiration for the music of the Zone of Alienation came somewhere in the midwest of the US of A, in 2010, during a Jesus is Angry and Eyes tour. That tour started with me playing guitar and modular synth as a solo act. Thomas Tapia, drumming for Eyes on that tour, seemed really into the music, and I really liked his drumming style too, so I asked him to play with me the next day, improvising on the themes that I was playing on my own. We both really enjoyed it, and ended up playing together for the rest of the tour. On one gig, in Normal, IL, we even had Jorge Tapia, Eyes' guitarman, join us on stage as a second drummer, and all hell broke loose that night..

I really liked the idea of this instrumentation, a heavy, downtuned guitar, a modular synth and a drummer.. But it was moving further and further away from the usual Jesus is Angry experimental mood, so I decided I'd better find a new name for it. That tour eventually ended and our paths split, Thomas returned to Illinois and I returned to Sheffield, UK, from where I left almost immediately for a European tour.

Eventually, I ended up in Thessaloniki, Greece, where Stratos lives and we decided to jam a bit together.. Thus, the Zone was born.. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gig on March 29, 2012

Zone of Alienation are playing in Biologica Squat in Thessaloniki, GR, with Keira is You from Poland and Nataraya from Thessaloniki. Come down and see them, bring them presents, etc... There will be a stand with the Full-Wave Rectifier Laboratories DIY distro of rare albums and art by cool people from all around the world there, so bring a backpack..

Pictures from when the Meltdown tour hit Serbia..

Some cool guy from Ruma, SRB or nearby shot these pictures of Zone of Alienation performing there during the Meltdown 2011 tour and put them up on his blog.

Playing Brno with Justice Yeldham..

These here are some videos that people shot of our performance in Brno, CZ, with Justice Yeldham from Australia, during the Meltdown 2011 tour..

This is the first gig after Jesus fractured his finger, sleepless and on hospital anaesthetics... Matches the mood..

On tour...

The usual touring situation...

A bunch of people, in a van, hauling approximately 1000 kg of gear, driving an average of 10 hours per day, selling t-shirts and tapes, fixing the van, and playing music along the way, trying to stay alive in the process...

Meltdown 2011 tour..

Zone of Alienation live and loud..

A gig of the Meltdown 2011 tour of the Communist Bloc of Europe. Christina on grancassa and siren and Jesus on guitar and modular synth.