Murder Burger Or Bust
Drink all night, sleep all flight.

The post show plan was to go to a place called Whammy Bar, a few blocks away. Like most of the shows on this tour, and others, HP always falls victim to some kind of competition for an audience. In ‘05, Rise Against played up the street from our show in Berlin. Tonight, there was a roller derby event, and apparently that’s the hot thing in Auckland right now. Well, that made sense when we arrived at Whammy Bar because that’s where the roller derby afterparty was going on. We didn’t have a terrible crowd at The Thirsty Dog, but a little on the small side for a Saturday night with three local support bands. 

The night went “zero to forty” (yeah, I know it’s sixty, this is an inside joke) from the moment we got to WB. No more shots, but lots of beer, and that usually leads to lowered inhibitions. Throw in some ’80s pop songs (Cyndi LauperMichael Jackson, etc.) and it was the beginning of the end for me. Scott claims he tried to play “wingman" for me with the ladies, but once I started dancing he said it was a lost cause. Bryan and Dave agreed with him, that all bets were off with the ladies at that point, but those married-with-children jokers had it all wrong. That was the point were I decided I no longer gave a shit about being “cool” and trying to pick up some local kiwi chick. I spent two weeks playing it “cool” and trying to live up to this Southern Hemisphere, folklore, bullshit and guess what? It’s just that, bullshit. What happened in Brazil in ‘07 is as rare as blue moons, Haley’s Comet, and Vancouver Island Marmots

Darryl went over to Whammy Bar with us and we had a great time hanging out and getting to know the man behind the twisted Murder Burger marketing campaigns, and ideas for swag. He was actually the first to bail, but no criticisms there because it was really late, and Bryan cruised not long after. Scott and I stayed the course like we vowed at the start of the evening. I believe “Drink all night, sleep all flight” was the theme. We both did quite well. I actually tried to bail out at some early-morning hour, but after getting some food from a Turkish kebab shop, I went back to the car to wait for the others. I waited, and waited, and waited, before finally realizing it was a bad idea. I went back to WB and found Rahhpz and some others still hanging out. They gave me a lift back to Dave’s place sometime after 6:00AM. 

We slept until 9:00AM when Dave woke us for breakfast. Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, ham and coffee. Just what I needed to soak up the excess alcohol while I packed up my shit for the long flight home. Rahhpz picked us up at Dave’s just before 11:00, and we were off to the airport. 

Horace Pinker, Dave and Boston.

We left for the show a little after 9:00. Ghost Echoes were the openers so they needed to be somewhat on time. The club had a weak, but usable wi-fi signal so I was able to post a couple of things about Murder Burger from there, but limited to only photos on my phone, or on Photobucket

The show, for the fourth night in a row, had incredible support bands on the bill. Ghost Echoes kicked it off with an aggressive melodic hardcore reminiscent of the Gainesville sound. With two backing vocalists to support the insanely powerful growl of the lead, their sound was so full that I couldn’t imagine what they were like before recently losing their second guitarist. 

Suckafish were on next. Bringing a raw, snotty, and in-your-face style of punk rock, this trio didn’t fuck around. The Dead Heads stepped things up one more level by combining the hardcore of Ghost Echoes with the blast-beat tempo of Suckafish, and after a minor guitar glitch in the second song, they proceeded to melt the faces of everyone in the room. I was starting to feel like a bit of a pussy thinking about playing the, self-proclaimed, “adult contemporary” portion of our set.  

Lucky for me, Mr. Darryl Murder Burger himself showed up during the third set, and before I knew what was happening I had a whiskey shot in one hand, and a fresh beer in the other. I was ready to melt a few faces of my own by the time band number three finished. I couldn’t promise quality, but the show would make up for what I lacked in playing. ;)

It only figures that we’d hit our stride when we were at the end of the tour. From the first chord of Second Best, to the attention grabbing drive of Appreciation, we were on, and by the reaction and interaction from the crowd, they felt it too. Scott easily changed the “adult contemporary” introduction of More At Home 
and Retrospective into a “Dance, fuckers!” vibe and we blazed through those without a hitch. 

Into The After, Bryan’s Song and Refined closed out the set. Not being much of an “encore” band, we had one last trick up our sleeves, and that was the oft-unknown, but always a hit, One To Two, by Dag Nasty.

Photographs at the top:

  1. Ghost Echoes
  2. Scott with the Thirsty Dog door staff
  3. Scott with Darryl Murder Burger
  4. Darryl giving Scott the official Murder Burger welcome

Forty-Seven

We took our bags to Dave’s place after soundcheck, and were happy to see a couple of beds made up for us, all with bright, white linen, and blankets. Accommodations acceptable. I apologize if that sounds shitty, but you never know what you’ll get with punk rocker types. We were actually staying in the flat below Dave’s because he and his wife have a young son, and it would not have been a lot tighter fit up there. 

We sat around talking over beers for a bit. Dave is actually a proud owner of Forty-Seven, Horace Pinker’s first 7-inch. I believe Scott said it was a first pressing, as well. Dave is a big fan, and has been waiting years for the Pinker to return to NZ. He was stoked to be playing with us, and being able to hang out all night. We signed the record sleeve for Dave as well, even though neither Bryan nor myself played on it.

Murder, it’s all the rage.

Rahhpz sent a text to a former co-worker—oh yeah, he used to work there—to let him know we would be there shortly. We posed for a couple pictures under the MB sign before finally stepping inside.

There we were met with a standing ovation, confetti canons, and balloon drop, all while a big band played When the Saints Go Marching In, and flash bulbs popped like fireworks on the 4th of July. Bryan shook hands and signed autographs, Scott kissed babies, and their mothers, and I posed for a photo with Miss New Zealand 2006 and Murray, from Flight of the Conchords. The Prime Minister was indisposed at the time so we had to accept the key to the city from some cobber who looked as if he had just enough time to step out of his gummies after milking his girls.

Or, it might have been more like this. We walked in, were introduced to Doug, the manager, and placed our orders. Bryan got the Ostrich Burger, Scott, the Double Beef w/ Wild Boar Bacon, and I had the Gourmet Beef Avo & Bacon. We got a large order of chips to share, and some waters, since they don’t serve beer.  


Don’t get me wrong, a big todo was not what we expected at all. We actually timed it perfectly because there was no wait to order, or trouble finding a seat. Murder Burger, it turns out, is quite a small operation. The menu board hangs over the counter where you place your order, prep takes anywhere from 5—15 minutes, depending on what you get, and they bring it out to you when it’s ready. A streamlined, well-oiled machine if I’ve ever seen one. And there was a consistent stream of people through the doors the entire time we dined. 

Not long after we got settled in, Doug came out to let us know that Tony Moffat, one of the owners, and one that I emailed with over the course of the week, was on his way over. He walked in a few moments later, and I recognized him immediately from a photo I had seen online. A handsome man, I would guess to be in his early forties, he towered above us with outstretched hand eager to welcome the silly Americans that travelled to the other side of the Earth to get his burger. 

Meat, me, and Mr. Murder Burger.

Tony sat with us, and after taking some photos with him, we took turns telling our story of how we ended up at our current places in life. Before I get too far ahead, I have to say my burger was freakin’ awesome. I was torn between the avo bacon burger and the double w/ wild boar bacon that Scott ordered. But no regrets. The burger wasn’t so big it needed to be cut in two to manage, but big enough to need two hands to eat it. I’m not much of a carnivore anymore, but I do love a good burger every now and again. I manage to get to Kuma’s in Chicago once every year, but that’s about it. 

Double Beef w/ Wild Boar Bacon

Ostrich Burger

Kangaroo sausage

Kangaroo for me, not you.


The aftermath of murder.

We finished up with our meals, burger, fries and kangaroo sausages, before heading back to The Longroom to get better acquainted over some beers. Tony was as much interested in what we are up to as a band, as we were about the Murder Burger empire, and how it all came together. He phoned Darryl, another partner and the creative force behind the madness, to see if he was able to meet up with us, but he was on a shoot about an hour north of the city. Although Darryl admits to living in the bush, the “shoot” he was on was NOT a kangaroo hunt, but for a tv commercial. Of course, Tony did say he’s a bit insane, so who knows what kind of cockeyed shit goes on outside the city. ;)

Rahhpz said he had a costume party to attend later. Sure, and I have a date with that Miss NZ I mentioned earlier.

We were corralled into the borrowed hatchback a short time later by Rahhpz to go to the club for soundcheck. We thanked Tony for the beers and hanging with us, then cruised over to the club. Once there we met Dave and Zach, from Ghost Echoes, and found out we would also be staying at their apartment. The soundcheck went great. Another pro set up, and we were also told that the man behind the board was one of the best in town. That was reassuring because a sound man can make or break a set. 

"If you like rock ‘n’ roll, you can’t hate Horace Pinker."

It’s about 12:45AM back in Chicago, and I reckon my mates are good and pissed at a bar right about now. The kid sitting next to me has been encroaching on my personal space since take off, but I’m totally getting back at him by ripping some pretty foul smelling gas. Damn, maybe that’s why it’s called Murder Burger. Ha, just kidding guys. It’s been raging inside me for a couple of days now. Dave (Ghost Echoes), that was me this morning, not your son. Sorry little man. Thanks for taking the fall.
 
"If you like rock ‘n’ roll, you can’t hate Horace Pinker.”

That was sort of adopted as the sub-sub tour name.

Australasia 2010: Murder Burger Or Bust! — “If you like rock ‘n’ roll, you can’t hate Horace Pinker” Tour.

Too wordy? Yeah, I think so, too, but you get the point. We finished up the tour last night in Auckland, New Zealand. Just like every show on this tour, there was some other event, or circumstance, that got in the way of drawing a larger audience. This night was roller derby.

Auckland skyline. (From Wikipedia)

Regardless, the show was incredible in so many ways I don’t know where to begin. We arrived in Auckland at 3:30 in the afternoon. Rahhpz, from 5th Threat, met us at the airport and like clockwork we loaded our bags and gear into his tiny, borrowed, hatchback, and hit the highway to the city. Auckland is quite a bit larger than New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, with about 1.5 million people so it was a bit of a ride to get to the Ponsonby Rd. neighborhood where the club, AND, Murder Burger are located.

After talking it over with Rahhpz, we decided we had enough time to get a drink before going to Murder Burger, and still make it to the club for a soundcheck. We settled on a place called The Longroom just next door, and proceeded to get warmed up for the main event. Mac’s Black was the regimen of choice this fine day, and it wasn’t long before we were down on one knee, saying a quick Hail Mary, and heading to the ring. We made it. Next stop Murder Burger.

HP and Rahhpz @ The Longroom

You, me and Black Mac.

Scott with his blanket.

Scott sharing his blanket with a local.

I’m coming home. ‘Cause I’ve missed you most.And I’ve never been so lost. Now I’m coming home. And when I wake in the morning, I’ll be all right.
-Kansas City Mike
———————————————————————————————————
It’s eight and a half more hours to LA. I feel like a million lira. I have hangover depression, end-of-tour depression, I-don’t-want-to-have-to-talk-to-anyone-back-home-yet depression, and “What am I gonna do with myself now?” depression. Did I mention I’m hungover?
We’ve crossed the Intl. Date Line, but not the Equator. Southern Hemisphere Greg might still have a chance. Ha ha. Forget it, it’s over. The outside air temp is -47 F. I feel like I’m on a fuckin’ time machine because we are flying straight into yesterday morning. Whoa! Heavy shit, Greg. ;)
So, here I sit, seat belt fastened at 35k feet, Crooked Fingers provides the soundtrack to, what I have built up in my mind to be, the blog to end all blogs. My epic (that’s a bit arrogant to say myself) tribute to our little trip to the other side of the world. For rock ‘n’ roll and Murder Burger, for good times that will eventually be the “good old days”. For new friends and old fans, and for the story, not the glory. For you, for me… this fictional romance.

I’m coming home. ‘Cause I’ve missed you most.
And I’ve never been so lost. Now I’m coming home.
And when I wake in the morning, I’ll be all right.

-Kansas City Mike

———————————————————————————————————

It’s eight and a half more hours to LA. I feel like a million lira. I have hangover depression, end-of-tour depression, I-don’t-want-to-have-to-talk-to-anyone-back-home-yet depression, and “What am I gonna do with myself now?” depression. Did I mention I’m hungover?

We’ve crossed the Intl. Date Line, but not the Equator. Southern Hemisphere Greg might still have a chance. Ha ha. Forget it, it’s over. The outside air temp is -47 F. I feel like I’m on a fuckin’ time machine because we are flying straight into yesterday morning. Whoa! Heavy shit, Greg. ;)

So, here I sit, seat belt fastened at 35k feet, Crooked Fingers provides the soundtrack to, what I have built up in my mind to be, the blog to end all blogs. My epic (that’s a bit arrogant to say myself) tribute to our little trip to the other side of the world. For rock ‘n’ roll and Murder Burger, for good times that will eventually be the “good old days”. For new friends and old fans, and for the story, not the glory. For you, for me… this fictional romance.

We are playing our last show of the tour tonight at the Thirsty Dog in Auckland, NZ. Ghost Echoes were frick’n awesome, and The Dead Heads just finished a killer set. Not what I expected at all from a band called The Dead Heads.

Oh, my mistake. That was Suckafish that just played. The Dead Heads are up next.

More people are showing up every few minutes so it’s looking to be a good crowd by the time we take the stage. I’ve had to cut myself off and switch to water. After the beers with Tony, and a few at the Ghost Echoes house, where we are staying, I’m a little sauced.

We are playing our last show of the tour tonight at the Thirsty Dog in Auckland, NZ. Ghost Echoes were frick’n awesome, and The Dead Heads just finished a killer set. Not what I expected at all from a band called The Dead Heads.

Oh, my mistake. That was Suckafish that just played. The Dead Heads are up next.

More people are showing up every few minutes so it’s looking to be a good crowd by the time we take the stage. I’ve had to cut myself off and switch to water. After the beers with Tony, and a few at the Ghost Echoes house, where we are staying, I’m a little sauced.

Mmmm…urder…burger

We made it. It was delicious. Scott got the  Double Beef & Wild Boar Bacon burger, Bryan had an Ostrich Burger, and I had the Gourmet Beef Avo & Bacon. Tony, one of the owners, met us and chilled for a while. 

We went up the street for some beers where he told us the history of MB, and we told him about HP and how it’s been 14 years since the band has been in NZ. 

I’ll upload some proper photos soon.

Mmmm…urder…burger

We made it. It was delicious. Scott got the Double Beef & Wild Boar Bacon burger, Bryan had an Ostrich Burger, and I had the Gourmet Beef Avo & Bacon. Tony, one of the owners, met us and chilled for a while.

We went up the street for some beers where he told us the history of MB, and we told him about HP and how it’s been 14 years since the band has been in NZ.

I’ll upload some proper photos soon.

Murder Burger here we come…

Okay, friends and followers, we are a mere five hours from our destination. I know I’m jumping out of sequence here, but I can’t fly off to Auckland knowing full-well that I’m going to Murder Burger without you all, and I didn’t have the courtesy to let you know. Then again, you may just think we’re jerks because we are rubbing it in your faces. You decide, we’ll get over it.

So, we have to get the hell out of Wellington, but I’ll do my best to finsih this blog up proper when I can.

Wish you were here!