One thing NorCal hardcore punks Ceremony have made clear with their new album, Rohnert Park, is that they're not particularly thrilled with the static malaise being served as current American stimuli. So when we heard they were headed west for their first Asian tour, opening for Bane, we asked them to document what they saw in the brave new world. Singer Ross Farrar checks in with words and photos from the first leg in South Korea after the jump.
I got out of Anthro 1 at 1:30pm on Tuesday, aced the final, waited for Jake to finish Political Science and traveled all over Rohnert Park on various errands. Jake went to Lonnie Macs (notorious barber in Rohnert Park AKA The Mac) for his leaving the States haircut and we purchased a couple St. Ides to celebrate out beginning of summer. Ceremony was going to Asia for the first time.
We boarded Japan Air at around 2PM Wednesday. This was by far the greatest airline we've ever been on. The food was on fantastic, the seats were comfortable, we had free drinks the entire time—sake and Asahi—and the movie selection was amazing. I watched Life is Beautiful because I had to, it was only right. Ten hours later we arrived in Tokyo, but unfortunately we had a three hour layover. Already we were on past schedules and sitting in a waiting room felt like certain hell: it especially hurt with the excitement of being in Asia for the first time. Hell.
It took two hours to get from Tokyo to the airport in Seoul Korea. After getting off the plane we met up with the guys in Bane and the rest of the crew who were driving, showing, helping us along our way. After five hours of driving we arrived in Busan at around 5AM—this felt like the longest drive of my life—and went straight to spider world: sleep world. When we awoke there was the beautiful Pacific under our hotel. We were perched in an 11th floor apartment/condo at the very edge of Busan. The first thing we wanted to do was go swimming but at this time of year it's illegal to go in the water because of the lack of lifeguards, but being tourists, being American freaks, we decided it would be the best idea to go for an illegal swim. You don't get to go illegal swimming very often. Across from the place is a 7 Eleven, so I used my credit and got a beer and a small bag of dried squid (jerky squid) and lied on the beach with the people. Slowly more and more people scaled the beach. A few of us went swimming and there was a fake beach guard on a jet ski wearing a thong patrolling the watercourse, occasionally picking up chicks and setting them on the back of the ski, zooming back and forth, giving us the thumbs up whenever possible. All the females wear heels in Korea, well most of them, so they would come off the street and walk straight into the sand with their six inchers…it was funny watching them totter and stagger through the sand.
At 4PM we drove to our first Korean show. The drive to Daegu (second largest city in S. Korea) was nice. Green rolling hills, a few industrial sites, but for the most part it was beautiful. Upon arriving we were drilled by narrow crowded streets of young fashionable Koreans, in a section of the city much like Williamsburg, South Street Philly or Upper Haight—only much heavier packed with people, mostly female humans, mostly female humans shopping for American product. Once again, you could barely walk without getting stabbed with a spike heel and it was cool. It was beautiful. It was like being in the tease intro to an Asian porn film, but only the introduction: the rest was left out.
The show was fun. The club we played was small and only about sixty people showed. The Geeks and Sinklair played great sets and another band by the name of Omando All Stars, which was led by a guy named Brutal Lee. Brutal Lee had around fifteen to twenty facial piercings and most of them were spikes protruding from his jaw (in the shape of a smile below his bottom lip.) After the show Jake and I skated through the streets real drunk and I lost some hardware, so I was forced to stop - no fun - no fun - no fun.
After the show we drove to Seoul (S. Koreas largest metropolitan city) and people separated to other parts of the city, other homes and houses and condos. The first night the bands split up and crashed wherever they could fit. Ceremony's been sleeping at the same condominium the entire time, my dude Bomb, Bum, Pum, which ever way you would like to pronounce it, took us in. He lives in Seocho-gu, which is the high class area, the swank and plush bod of Korea.
DGBD was our first show in Seoul. There were seven bands on the bill, maybe five and the place was packed by the time Bane played. Ceremony played before Bane and people seemed to be having a good time. There was a banister so I took advantage and climbed up and away. There was a street vendor selling some limpid pearly juice out of a cart and me and a bunch of English professors bought some to share with all the drinking people aboard. The myth is the stuff is made with whale sperm or some shit and then the myth escalated over the years into human sperm: so who knows. We drank the stuff and felt stuck the next morning.
As I'm writing, this our last day in South Korea is tomorrow. This is very unfortunate. This may have been the greatest place we've toured in the full six and one half years we've been together. We spoke tonight about what's to come in Japan and everything we've heard thus far is far from anything we expected. We know it's going to be just like this country. There are some things that are going to happen there that will change our lives forever, just like this trip to South Korea. Something has changed us since we've been here and I think that happens to you anytime you go somewhere that's absolutely foreign. You gain something unexpected. You get cultured. You get going and along.