some of my tour memories part 1
PSo Foxygen is on tour and I feel pretty alienated from the band other than Sam (obviously) and Justin. In August of 2012 I went back down to my home in Southern California to spend part of the summer with my family. I spent most of my days playing with my 8 year old little brother and going to the beach. After a few weeks I really started missing Olympia, my friends, and had a strong yearning to go back there even though when I left I had no house to return to once back I got back. I had been conversing with my good friend Maia about the possibility of us renting an apartment together but nothing had been confirmed. One day while checking my email I opened an email from a name I didn’t recognize, Sam France. He emailed he telling me what a big fan he was of my music, Globelamp, how he would like to work with me, and told me he was in a band called Foxygen. I recognized the name vaguely because the old drummer in my band Meowtain was in class at The Evergreen State College with Kyle, the ex keyboard player of Foxygen. I was surprised at his email because not many people have heard of my music and I hadn’t promoted it much. I didn’t realize at the time that Sam had lived in Olympia and had seen me play at house shows. Weeks passed, we talked a little, and on September 1st I had a flight booked to go back to Seattle. The day before my flight I got a frantic email from Sam saying how he knew I was leaving the next day and how he was bummed we never got together and hung out. He told me he was going to shoot a music video in the next few days and that he really wanted “Globelamp” in it. I told him I had already bought my plane ticket and didn’t have the money to buy a new one. The idea of doing the video sounded fun, but I had no money and also had never even really met Sam before. I couldn’t even put a face to his name because when I googled Foxygen all that came up was one picture and I didn’t know which one was Sam. He told me he would reimburse me for my ticket and buy me a new one. I didn’t really believe him but when he did it an hour later my plans changed for good. It was surreal.
So I called my friends and told them how this random band wanted me to be in their music video so that I wouldn’t be home tomorrow like I had planned. They wanted to see me but were really excited about it. Maia and River convinced me to do it while I kept giving them reasons as to why I shouldn’t……”I want to see you all, I miss you!” “What if they are weird?” Maia kept saying “JUST DO IT! you should take chances Lizzie!”
"But I’ll have nowhere to live when I get back and I am supposed to start Evergreen in the Fall…"
"I’ll look for an apartment for us to live in so you’ll have a place to stay in the Fall" Maia said
I talked to Sam on the phone a few times before the video shoot but still hadn’t hung out with him in real life. His ideas were “we were going to be in a forest” but then at the last minute asked me if I was comfortable driving up to San Luis Obispo to spend the night and film in The Madonna Inn. I was hesitant at first to drive hours away with a bunch of guys I didn’t know but after talking to him more I felt comfortable doing it and agreed. I drove to LA and stayed with a family friend and waited till the next morning for Sam to pick me up in Culver City. We drove up to San Luis Obispo and talked the whole ride. I remember the first thing we talked about was the bible. We got to the hotel and that was the first time I met Rado as well. He wasn’t as friendly as Sam, something that Sam had already warned me about. It was surreal filming that video on the first day I met Sam because it was weird getting to know someone while being filmed. I know that if we filmed it now it would have been a lot different, just because we are more comfortable with each other now. After the video I hung out with Sam a bit and he told me that he was bummed because Jackie, Rado’s girlfriend, couldn’t go on the upcoming tour with them because she was in school full time. Something happened and the next thing I knew I was going on tour with Foxygen opening up for Moonface. We barely practiced and I basically learnt the songs while on tour. When we did practice it was at Rado’s parents house and he didn’t come out of his room once to practice with us so Sam and I made up vocal harmonies without him. The last show of that tour was in Los Angeles and I flew back to Washington the next day. I really enjoyed playing with Foxygen and developed a close friendship with Sam and Justin. I was sad to be leaving but it was nice to go back to Olympia and have an apartment already there since Maia had signed a lease. It was a one bedroom apartment and my room was in the living room. We put up tapestries and velvet curtains to make it seem like a room. There aren’t many people I could live like that with, meaning I need my own space tremendously, but Maia was someone different. We spent countless hours laughing, drinking wine, listening to music, and talking about life art death philosophy etc. We were both night owls but Maia had me beat. She would stay up till the sun rose on a regular basis painting. She was the wisest person I ever knew and really helped me deal with drama that I couldn’t deal with on my own.
Sam and I continued to talk after that and he really wanted to work on my music, GLobelamp. He kept saying how he wanted to produce the Globelamp album. I was going to have Ben Hargett do it but then scratched out those plans when Sam suggested I fly to Connecticut in November to record with him for a month. It seemed unreal, especially when I found out that Foxygen was going to open for Of Montreal and I was going. As a teenager I drove down to San Diego with my friend Carly and her older sister to see Of Montreal at the Che Cafe but when we arrived the line was spilling out into the streets. I tried to cut in the front of the line where my other friend was but the hoards of people wouldn’t allow that. We didn’t get into the show that night and cried on the way home while eating Del Taco burritos. I never saw Of Montreal until the Foxygen tour so it felt pretty surreal for me. On that tour we drove ourselves around in a van and did it all ourselves (compared to the tours to come where there would be a driver and a tour manager).
Before the Of Montreal tour started Sam, Justin, and I went to New York for a few days to practice for the shows. We had nowhere to stay and Jackie, Rado, and Shaun wouldn’t let us stay in their apartment because Jackie had finals. The first time I met Jackie she barely looked me in the eye and stormed right past me. They had an extra room in their apartment that they wouldn’t let us stay in and I thought it was kinda weird seeing as how they were Sam’s bandmates. Sam logged onto the Foxygen Facebook and posted about how we needed a room and this nice lady named Emmy let us stay in her apartment for the night. She actually left and let us stay there alone. I couldn’t believe that a stranger could be so hospitable and trusting. It seemed like there was a divide in the band even then: Justin, Sam and I ; Rado and Shaun. Rado and Shaun just never wanted to do anything with us it seemed. Shaun occasionally, but Rado never.
After the Of Montreal tour ended Sam and I flew back to California to spend Christmas with our families. We knew we had to go to Europe at the end of January and wanted to go to Olympia before that to see my friends, settle things in my apartment, and drive my car back to California so it could be parked at my parents house. We went to Olympia and tried to get some recording done but were too busy practicing for 2 house shows we committed too and moving out of my apartment. I was really excited for Sam to meet my best friend Maia who I lived with and she was just as excited as him, or more, to meet him. So we stayed in our apartment for a week and a half. I was planning on driving down to California and stopping in The Redwoods or San Francisco but our trip ended up being rushed because of a last minute “Pitchfork” interview Sam had to get to in Westlake Village. Noone had planned this interview and kind of sprung it up on Sam at the last minute and I guess we felt pressured to drive there in 2 days instead of taking our time. I really wish I took my time though because that was the last time I would ever see my best friend Maia.
Two days before I was to fly to Paris my cell phone stopped working and my friends couldn’t get ahold of me. I had turned down the offer to be in the “No Destruction” video because I was too stressed about packing for Europe and the idea of driving back and forth between Westlake Village and Orange County twice sounded like hell to me. I logged onto Facebook later in the evening and saw a cryptic Facebook post on Maia’s page from my friend Joel. Joel was never that close to Maia so it struck me as strange that he was saying such loving things on her Facebook page. I knew something was wrong. I knew something terrible had happened. I felt my stomach slashed with invisible razors. Joel sent me a message telling me I had to call him as soon as possible. When I called him he told me that Maia had passed away. My world felt like it had fallen apart. It felt like the curtains had been drawn, the ground had fallen from beneath my feet. I cried all night and packed my suitcase through blurry tears. I drove to West Lake Village and practiced with Foxygen. Shaun and Justin gave me a hug when they saw me but Rado mumbled out “I’m sorry about….uh…you know..” I was too traumatized to even care what he said but it pissed Sam off and he yelled at him about it.
The European tour was amazing but at the same time hard knowing my best friend had passed away. I lit a candle for her in a church in Paris and imagined walking around Amsterdam, London, and Belgium with her. I knew she was with me and I could feel her in the crowd at the shows. She was the biggest Foxygen fan and was so excited to see me play with them. It really tore me up that she never saw me perform with them. I started singing the monologue part on “OH NO” and I realized that that song made me really emotional when we played it. OH NOOOOOO!!! I could really relate to the feeling of OHHN OOOOOOO. Sam and I would scream OH NO so loud at the end of the song. We had been playing the songs off 21st Century for months at shows but nobody knew the songs until the album came out. It was awesome seeing people singing along after that, but it was a little crazy too, seeing as how we had been playing them before but nobody was familiar with them.
When we took band photos in Amsterdam Rado kept trying to put Shaun in front of me and didn’t want me in the pictures. It was obvious on tour that he was miserable because he wasn’t with his girlfriend and she was torturing him about that. She was pissed off that she was “replaced” by me but in my eyes she chose not to go on the tour and go to school. When I joined the band Sam called Jackie to talk to her to make her feel better about it all. Jackie was never a musician anyway really, she just played the tambourine and happened to be around. Rado never could even call me or talk to me once after the UMO tour about his problems with me and thought he was just going to ignore me forever. Rado never once opened up to me or even tried to be my friend and didn’t talk to Sam either. IT was strange meeting him and knowing they were supposed to be a “duo” but there was no friendship at all, just contracts that needed to be fulfilled. Once Sam and I started dating in November, he never once wanted to accept I was Sams girlfriend or ANYTHING. During the whole European tour and Unknown Mortal Orchestra tour Rado never once asked me if I was doing okay, knowing that my best friend had died. He never once reached out to me. He is the kind of person who acts cold and unfriendly around most people until he meets someone “famous” or something and then he totally lights up and acts nice. It’s insane. At the end of the UMO tour Rado and Shaun blamed all the problems in Foxygen on me, I was the perfect scape goat: the only girl, a new member, a loud opinionated female. Rado said things like I was “unprofessional” which is just a joke. I am unprofessional while Shaun Fleming was/is hitting on girls all the time online, Joe just got jailed on the last tour for being drunk, and Rado couldn’t even tell me any of his problems himself. Instead he just threw them all on Sam and expected him to deal with it. Wrong. He tried to completely control Foxygen even though Sam wrote 95% of the last album. He came out with a solo album out of nowhere and didn’t even tell Sam about it. He made such a big deal about Sam releasing his album “Star Power” online a year ago and made him take it down but then he goes and releases a solo album behind his back. Rado also refused to ever let me play guitar on No Destruction even though it sounded really good with him playing the organ. Finally at the last show of the UMO tour he let me play guitar and he realized it sounded okay. Yet Joe is on tour with them right now and is playing guitar on songs he doesn’t even know how to play. I really feel like he just didn’t want to see me with a guitar because it was too much power or something. He was threatened by Sam and I, saying it was, “The Sam and Lizzie show”. Well we are going to start our own band (not saying it is replacing Foxygen). It sickens to me to see how Sam has been walked all over. He isn’t the type of person to plot out things or think about business, he is just a real musician who is an amazing songwriter. I don’t think he was ready for all the craziness that being a popular band gives you. It’s been hard for us as a couple facing al these trials and tribulations but ultimately it has made us stronger.
I didn’t want any of this negativity in my life, I was just a songwriter living in Olympia and playing house shows. I had no idea that when Sam emailed me that I would be in this crazy whirlwind. You can frame it anyway you want. That I’m “bitter” “angry” “jealous” whatever. It doesn’t matter what you say because I know what is right and what is wrong. I know that it is wrong to treat people like they don’t matter and I hope I never make anyone feel the way that they made me feel. Music is supposed to come from the soul. It should be fun to play with your band. Hopefully Sam and Rado can learn how to compromise and be good friends again. I’d even try to be Rado’s friend again if he genuinely cared or was sorry, but he isn’t. Despite everything, I love Sam a lot. He is an amazing song writer who will continue to make inspiring music. I really like Foxygen the music, just have some problems with the members. I really do wonder if anyone other than Sam and Justin believe in things like peace & magic.