The Terror of Trollhättan.

A few of you have noticed that I've been away for a few weeks.

To tell the truth, I've been way too preoccupied with getting all up in the fiddly bits of a 19-year-old Swedish model.


1) LF wheel w/ air hose 2) Transmission bell housing w/ slave cylinder 3) Clutch disc w/ misc. ©Ryan Schierling

Which is to say, I dropped the transmission on the Saab, replaced the clutch disc and pressure plate, slave cylinder and throwout bearing, and subsequently had the tranny rebuilt. Many, many thanks to Rob at ScanWest (and his passion for the fiddly bits of Swedish models), and many thanks to Julie for tolerating my general greasiness and automobile philandering.


Go away, come home.

Spanish For 100 @ Nectar, 9.03.09. Seattle, WA © Ryan Schierling

I stopped shooting live music in Seattle, for all intents and purposes, in 2005.

There was no money in it. My lungs had suffered innumerable cigarettes, my liver endured endless drink tickets, my tender tympanic membranes had been terminally torched by tinnitus. I loved the music, but showing up hours before a set and battling crowds was becoming more and more exhausting. I found myself having to justify access to bands, or labels, or explaining myself to door security when I showed up with a fat black bag of camera gear, even though I had photo passes.

And so, after five years – as much as I loved and had ties to burgeoning Seattle indie rock – I took one giant step away from the scene.

In 2007, I was contacted by local band Spanish For 100 to shoot some promotional photos. I'd never met them, didn't know what they sounded like, and had no idea what they were looking to get out of their promo shots. We met, talked about it, and a few months later, scheduled two shoots.

After the photos, as we were leaving, Aaron Starkey laughed and said "Hey, you know what, you should come on tour with us and shoot photos." I couldn't tell if he was joking, and everyone else had chuckled, so I didn't think too much more about it.

A few weeks later, I gave Aaron a call. I mentioned that I had some down time right around their summer tour schedule, and if they wanted me to come along and document the whole "tour experience," I could.

Three years and two summer tours later, I've spent more than six weeks on the road with Spanish For 100. They have become my favorite local band, and they've also become great friends.

They kicked off their west coast tour with an incredible show at Nectar in Seattle last night, and pointed their tour bus Horchata south today. Unfortunately, I'm not able to be with them this time out.

I will miss shooting on the road, the strangers met at hole-in-the-wall bars on nights off, and the odd things that tend to happen when you're out of your hometown comfort zone (and by the end of tour, most likely half out of your mind). I will miss the familiar truck stops and unfamiliar diners, and I'll even miss the red fold-out bench seat in Horchata that became my home away from home.

I will miss Aaron, Corey, Ross and Chris, and I will miss hearing one of my favorite bands – period – play live nearly every night of the week.

If you're able to make it to a show, do it. You might just find you've got a new favorite band.

9.03.09 ~ Nectar - Seattle, WA
9.04.09 ~ The Woods - Portland, OR
9.09.09 ~ Hotel Utah - San Franciso, CA
9.10.09 ~ Audie's Olympic - Fresno, CA
9.11.09 ~ Mr. T's Bowl - Los Angeles, CA
9.12.09 ~ Divebar - Las Vegas, NV
9.13.09 ~ Mojo Underground - Saint George, UT
9.14.09 ~ 5 Monkeys - Salt Lake City, UT
9.15.09 ~ Visual Arts Collective - Garden City, ID (Boise)