Monday, January 28, 2008

My true calling...

Friends, I write to bring you news which both saddens and excites my heart. After much internal strife, I have decided to temporarily resign my position as guitarist and back-up vocalist for Minnesota's Best New Cover band*, The Subsidies in lieu of pursuing a career in Guitar Hero. My eyes were opened to my true calling this past weekend as I made quick work of contenders during a GH competition at local wattering hole, Billy's on Grand. Easy, medium, hard, expert - I rocked-steady through all songs of Guitar Hero 3 at all difficulty levels as my competition fumbled their way into anonymity. Having risen to the challenge in similar fashion many times before throughout the local scene, I finally proved to myself and all others present I could compete at a national level. I'm not going to let comments like "guitar hero is not like playing real guitar OR being a real hero," "dude, you can only win $50 a pop at those competitions," or even "real guitar heroes get STD's" hold me back from dropping out of life for a while in order to attain my true dream of beating all contenders into a calloused, bloody pulp of tendonitis and vitamin-D deficiency. YEAH!

I plan to begin my assent to fame and notoriety next weekend at the Madison regional GH open. Song of choice? Knights of Cydonia by Muse. Let the heroics begin! Updates to follow.

*according to Tiffany's Sports Lounge - Fall '07

Sunday, January 20, 2008

you know all those mirrors in the Microtel were two-way...

So I was flipping channels today in my attempt to recover from the insanity that was our show at the Inferno Tavern w/Kicktin in Mankato last night (thanks all - we're lovin' the Mankato like Laura Van loves Duracell) and I just so happened to stumble on a little nugget of life advice from the one and only, Ladies Love (L.L.) Cool J:

"You need plans, plans to keep you going, plans to make something of yourself. Like, if you've planned to go to the supermarket and this dude is all 'yo, lets go hang at the gas station' you can be like, 'naw I've gotta go to the supermarket today' and that way you don't spend all your time chillin at the gas station... then you can really make something of yourself."

Thanks L.L. It's clear why the ladies love you.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fan Mail: Session 8

Well it's that time again. Time for me to switch my Hyundai's oil from 10w over to the good old reliable 5w30. Nothing says winter like viscosity, right? Am I right?

It's also time for me to answer fan mail. Again?! Since I'm knee deep in bags-o-mail, I thought I'd dive right in, but I do have a few things I'd to talk about up front.

At my current place of employ, I've made a move in career station location. Whereas I used to be located 8 feet from a lovely bathroom, I am now a metric-mile away from the nearest place of disposal. I used to be able to go to the bathroom whenever the mood hit me as I was so close in proxemity, even if I didn't have to go but just wanted to mingle. Now with my being incredible lazy and the bathroom too damn far away, I've found that I'm holding my urine in (literally, at times, by pinching the tip of my wedding tackle) for hours at a time. When I finally determine that it's time to extricate my golden flow (determined by a sharp pain in my bladder region and cold sweats), I've found that I've waited so long that I'm basically racing to the stall in fear of having an accident. It's a weird trade off - I don't go as often, but I end up spending a good portion of the work day keeled over in pain.

One more item for discussion (don't you like how I always call it "a discussion," like I'm talking to someone? What a tool.): I wish I had been a bit more proactive in buying stock in Weight Watchers, Inc. The reason is this - Weight Watchers is the parent company of Lean Cuisine, a product which is filling our company's fridge. Each year at this time, the women and one dainty man - Jeff, our booking agent - that I work with go on these weight-loss regimens, spurred on by a low sense of self-image, television campaigns, and New Year's resolutions. "I'd like to lose 20 lbs," one weak-minded fool will say as she stuffs 4000mg's of sodium into her mouth. Like clockwork, the Weight Watchers stock spikes and I am left with another missed opportunity to make money off of the low self esteem of my coworkers (remember the push-up bra fad (WHO DOESN'T) of aught-6? Man, I would've made a killing off of Victoria's Secret stock had I put their catalog down for a minute and bought some. Anyway, give these people 4 weeks and they'll be back to eating deep fried cheeseburgers and sticks of butter.

On to your questions:

"I absolutely love you guys!! Your energy on-stage is contagious and I wondered how you get yourself up for shows? Can't wait to see you at Tiff's in February!!"
Meghan - St. Paul

First off, thanks for the letter Meghan and thanks for being a fan. I love you. As far as getting up (that's what she said!) for a show, I can't speak for the other members of the band, except for Laura who's pre-show routine is a session or 3 with her bed-toy and a violent round of diarrhea. My pre-show routine consists of three kicks to the testicles by my 5-year old son; two to the left ball and the third and usually the hardest to the right. I follow this up with some deep breaths, a shot of mouthwash - both for the booze and to give my teeth that "clean feeling" - and lastly I think of you and know that if I don't give you my all, I'll feel like a piece of crap. You - and I'm talkin' about you specifically, Meghan - deserve 98% each and every show! I leave the last 2% for fear and shame, if need be. Thanks again for the letter.


"Any chance I can get a date or at least some lovin' from your HOT AS HELL bassist? She's pretty much the hotest (SIC) thing you guys have going!"
The Todder - Cool Town

Dude, no offense, but going with "The" before your name is a bit lame. "Hey, I'm The Collin." Actually, that's not half-bad. And you're from "Cool Town"? Really? I'm glad we have more female fans than male fans to be honest, as I don't need to perform in front of "Cool Town's" graduating class of all shirtless dudes. Your question is one I get all the time; both at shows and in print form. Our bass player, Laura, is attractive. She doesn't quite realize this yet, which is actually to my benefit as I don't have to share the front of the stage with her as she hides back by the fog machine. As she's never had so much as a deep tongue kiss, I don't know how to get action from her or how to get her to "feel" you. I do know what she DOESN'T like and that list is as follows:
  • Come-ons such as "I'll let you hold my instrument any day of the week" or "I must be a cannibal because I want to eat you."
  • Standing to next to her on stage, licking your lips and mouthing, "you have no idea... damn girl..."
  • Telling her to "ditch these geeks and come party with you, your buddy Spitz, and "this" bottle of Jag."
  • Giving her performance tips, suggesting ways to improve her play or - and this is the worst - asking to play a song or two with the band suing her bass, as you are also in a band.
  • Having a penis

So, thanks for your question, best of luck taking "The Clear," and we'll see you at a show soon. Sincerely, The Collin


"How do you pronounce your band name? Is it The Sub - CITIES or what? I love you so much and can't wait to see you for the HUGE St. Patty's day show - it's going to be epic!"
Tasha - Hibbing

Tasha - Take a sledge hammer and bang your head a few times. I'm glad you're a fan and thank you for your support, but if you can't pronounce a basic bit of English - "SUBSIDIES" - then you may need to just end it now. I sure the hell wouldn't ask someone how to pronounce "Bacon". "Is the "C" silent? Is is Ba-on?" I don't mean to be rough on you as I'm sure you're hot as hell - most of our fans are -but come on. SUB - SID - EES.


"Hey, you guys are flippin' ridic! Your first album is still in my 5-disc player and I request "That's What She Said" on KDWB's drive-time... STILL. My question is about your upcoming album, The Ill-Advised Audio Experience. Are you changing your sound like other bands always do after a successful debut? I hate that. Either way, I'm buying it and am planning on seeing you at the Inferno this weekend."
Krissy - Mankato

Krissy - thanks for a few things: being a fan, being hot, using the term "redic" in a sentence, listening and still requesting our music, and lastly, for bragging about owning a 5-disc CD changer. You must be rich.

I'm glad you asked about our second album. I too hate when big groups decide that, "hey, we were SO successful on the first album and people love us, but let's write the music ourselves now and go in a new direction." Brittney did this. The Backstreet Boys did this. All the huge bands! I say dance with the girl you brought to the dance, but later ditched to go to the sweet party at Brad's house, but later met up with again after no one hotter would make out with you. Our first album and new album will have the same feel to them. We're going to add some more electronic drum beats on a few new songs, but only because Dave bought the new KJ3000 Synth-kit and it has 80's pop-beats on it, but other than that, expect awesomeness!


Well, that's it for this week. I'll try to throw down some more feedback next week. We're also hoping to have a live chat next week. We're just looking into technology which will allow such an event to occur.

Until then, I love you like I love mayo and cheese sandwiches. Be well and we'll see you Saturday at the Inferno. Be sure to check out the opener, KickTin, they're a blast and extremely talented!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where's the Coke... and I Aint Talkin' Soda

I've been in the 'biz for almost two (that's English for "dos") years now and a few things are on my mind. Would you mind if I discussed them with you? You would? Oh, sorry. I'll leave. Really? I can now? Make up your mind, god!

I signed up for this (yes, Joe actually made me sign something - weird) thinking I was entering the wonderful world of booze, drugs, roadies, and soft rock 'n f-n roll, but much to my dismay, the first couple of years really haven't been filled with mind-altering drugs, nor nights of debauchery; unless you include sharing a MicroTel bed with our drummer Dave and his legs of fury debaucherous (sic).

Don't get me wrong, I'm having fun. I am. I love performing and meeting all the cool fans we've made. I just - I don't know - need something to happen. Something "redic".

The gig we're coming up on this weekend at Inferno Tavern in Fankato could be our group's first foray into those things which shall not be spoken (I'll assume blogging about them is still cool). The Inferno and our opener "KickTin" know how to party. They get it. I'm not talking the kind of partying my wife and I, along with our friends do - you know, Wine Clubs - I'm talkin' 'bout the kind of party Brittney Spears is into. I want to show the world my 'gina. I want the court to take my kids after this weekend. If all goes well, I will wake up Sunday morning naked, my clothes still unaccounted for, badly bruised, but able to limp effectively, and nursing a hangover the size of the medium drink at Wendys. KickTin, a rockoustic band, prides themselves on drinking vast amounts of cocktails, mixed with horse tranquilizers and urine (Horse-bombs anyone??). They drink, sing, drink, and then follow it all up with a little bit of drinking.

I'm thinking you'll want to make this show. I'm feeling that when VH1 does its Behind the Music episode of The Subsidies, this will be the turning point - where we go from a bunch of good guys (and one chick) to a group hell bent on trashing hotel rooms and lining up coke; snorting it off of women and all that!

So, get down to the Inferno early, have some drinks, settle in and just wait for all hell to break loose. I for one am looking forward to it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Burn, Baby Burn!

The Subsidies are heading south to a little place called Mankato in January. This fine town has a local establishment called the Inferno Tavern that, well, bears some resemblance to The Titty Twister from the film "From Dusk 'til Dawn" by Quentin Tarantino. Notably, vampires live there and dine on unsuspecting patrons.

Now, you might ask why we'd risk our lives to play at such a devilish venue, and it's a valid question. Mainly, a band called KickTin, which may or may not already be vampires, is playing, and well, they are a fun band and worth the danger. And, no one tried to eat us while we were there last time, so I've got my fingers crossed. Grant generally smells like garlic, so they might be avoiding us because of that.

There's a very good chance you won't be eaten and turned into the undead, so come on out and rock the hell out of Mankato with us. There will be good, loud music and plenty of fog to go around. We'll see you there!

Saturday, January 19
KickTin starts at 9:30, Subsidies to follow
Inferno Tavern in Mankato, MN

Friday, January 4, 2008

Album 2 - Part Deux

I like to think of myself as famous, but in all reality I'm not really, aside from the contingent of Vander Heydens in NE Wisconsin. With that said, whenever I come across an article about us, The Subsidies, I get a little misty eyed, as it feels like I'm somebody. Here's a cool little ditty about our next album from Blender magazine:

With the impetus of a Minnesota Music Award and a smash debut behind them, Minneapolis band The Subsidies are not about to let that momentum go to waste.

The talented quintet unveiled details of their sophomore album today, dropping an album title and track listing for their follow-up to 2006's Behind The Front Of Us.

The new album is titled The Ill-Advised Audio Experience, and is set for an April 23 international release and an April 24 North American release on Urge Records.

The album will be preceded by the first single, "Gravity Belt Liaison," which will hit stores April 16. The Subsidies will unveil new material during an April 27 set at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California, and have also begun confirming arena appearances for the summer.

Behind The Front Of Us was the fastest-selling debut album in Minneapolis music history, selling 96,000 copies in its first week. The band built a tremendous amount of buzz prior to its release through its MySpace page and by distributing its music at its regular gigs at local bars; O'Gara's Lounge, Tiffanys, and Rookies. Described as Minnesota's Hottest New Cover Band, the curious, yet talented group of 5 hit the road to promote their music and work on new jams, along the way honing their skills as word-smiths.

The Subsidies The Ill-Advised Audio Experience Song List:
1. Sneaking Up On You Loudly
2. Kern That Better
3. Gravity Belt Liaison
4. Ballerina Outercourse
5. As We Lay Or Is It Lie?
6. Only My Best Is Good Enough For Me
7. Are You Sure This Is Enough Of A Tip?: An Ode To My Parents
8. This House Is Built Of Lumber And Dreams
9. We've Been Here Before, Just Not This Naked
10. Mall Kiosk (The Coral Necklace Song)
11. Unpainted Wood
12. Smells Like Failure In Here
13. The Gayest Straight Guy

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Let's See How Far We've Come

You may not know this -- and by "you" I mean the 4 people, all Vander Heydens, who actually read this blog -- that I and the other band mates have full time jobs not band-related. Whereas someone like Bono or Billy Corgan or Paris Hilton for that matter wouldn't find themselves somewhere in middle-management on their non-band time, I on the other hand do.

I, like two of my other band cohorts (Joe and Grant), work for a successful web company. We play music as an outlet to release any sort of stress I suppose, although some might suggest it's our last chance to act young -after all who wants to see a bunch of 40-year old wannabes playing Killers tunes?

During the day we find ourselves working in cube land; attending meetings which seem to revolve around planning subsequent meetings, wearing nice slacks and TJ Maxx-styled dress shirts, and, of course, eating from the trough that is the birthday buffet.

The birthday buffet is a general term used in explaining communal food parties held at offices across this great nation of ours. Birthdays, retirements, celebrations of hitting KEY METRICS, etc. We gather together, share "how do you dos" and eat food items ranging from bagels to donuts, to cake and ice cream to fruit platters.

This blog entry isn't about these gatherings, per se, but more about how we seemed to have not actually evolved as humans. Let me explain.

The other day an email went out from the executive secretary letting everyone know that left over pizza from some board meeting was available in one of the main hallways. Now one would think or half-imagine that as grown, mature, and educated adults, we wouldn't be so quick to jump for a few boxes of cold, half-eaten pizza, but apparently I was off.

Not so much as 1 minute had passed since the aforementioned comic sans-laden email been sent out when the hallway was jammed with people trying to get their mits on some grub. Hadn't they eaten just an hour ago? There were no lines, no formality, just a pack of wild beasts attacking the pizza with such voracity that I half imagined peoples limbs being torn asunder amidst the pizza feast.

This wasn't the only such incident either. Just yesterday a similar bit of correspondence was sent out letting us all know donuts and other similar pastries were available and that we should help ourselves. You should've seen the stampede! It was as if the members of the Chilean (or was it Argentinian?) rugby club had just scaled down the Andes fresh off of some cannibalistic adventure and made contact with the assorted goodies. People were grabbing pastries quicker than Brittney Spears grabs for a man's love sack on the first date. Some people had stuffed small muffins down their pants, while another woman licked three donuts knowing full well that this would stop others from grabbing them - it didn't.

My question is "How far have we REALLY come?" Everyone here is a college (equivalent, at least) graduate making between $35k - 6-figures a year. People dress themselves, speak grammatically correct (except for the use of "supposubly" and "irregardless"), wash their hands after going #2 on an average of 76%, and generally seem well put together.

It seems, however, that when the option of free food, even food which has been touched, is made available, we revert 100,000 years and go all "caveman" on that ass! If you've ever seen a pack of cavemen bring a mastodon to the ground and tear it apart - screaming in the air over their conquest - then you know what these office scenes look like. I get freaked out, man! When the email goes out, I hide under my desk.

Perhaps our DNA hasn't completely made the change from hunter to civilian yet? Perhaps we need this primordial urge to attack the various foods to keep our hunting abilities relatively intact, just in case Armageddon comes and we're forced, one again, to bring down the mastodon (only this time, the mastodon is a freshly unearthed cake, with only one missing piece)?