They’ve only been around for about a year, but Gland has already made some heavy waves in New Orleans and beyond. Originally formed as a two-piece with Kallie Van Tassel on guitar/vocals and Farra Mones on bass, Gland has since taken on ex-Turboslut drummer Jean Trapezoid and Baaba Blacksheep on Omnichord and vocals. Together, they make quite the racket, reminiscent of early Lookout! Records bands like Jack Acid or Good Grief, followed by an enveloping haze that could either be witchcraft or weed smoke. Gland recently embarked on a Southern/Midwest tour, bringing their coven to venues small and large, and travelling in the Community Records veggie oil van, which roadie-driver Greg Rodrigue told ANTIGRAVITY tops out at about 55 miles-per-hour. We asked Gland to document their voyage, and Farra was kind enough to oblige.
Leaving New Orleans, we downed a whole box of donuts and found some bullet shells on the sidewalk. We got in the van and I missed the city immediately. Before the show even started we got a text from The Vomettes. They wanted to borrow Jean, our drummer. We listened to a couple of their songs and Jean was confident she could fake it. We rolled up to the venue and almost immediately a turbulent lush was in my face asking me why I was picking my teeth. “They’re broken,” I barked, and he showed me his jacked up mouth. He dumped some candle wax into the palm of his hand and I coquettishly asked if that was his sperms. He looked slightly confused but mostly disappointed and walked away. A reaction I’ve seen many times. Bad Dad opened and they were sick. Aesthetically, they looked like if House of 1000 Corpses was a punk band. Later, I spoke with a member of the band and told him I usually play in a creepy mask but felt like I’d be biting their style tonight. He encouraged me to wear it and politely informed me it was perfectly legal to go topless. Good to know. A couple of our bronies from Lake of Fire chilled with us on the sidewalk while we smoked pot. In the back of my mind I was fighting off homesickness (why can’t I have a beer on the sidewalk?!). Once we were sufficiently baked, Kallie spat water into my mouth. Gotta stay hydrated.
Fittingly, we parked our van under a dark bridge and trolled ourselves towards the show. We passed a line of cowboys on our way to the Yeti and they tried to not look at us. Everyone at the bar was in high spirits. I learned you could smoke indoors here and everyone’s happiness suddenly made sense to me. This was our first of three shows with Arc Flash, a band we know from Kansas. The bartender gave us free drinks all night and told us he named his eldest son Harvey Danger, the band that sings “Flag Pole Sitta,” my karaoke jam. Incredible. A libertarian with a clipboard walked up to me and asked if I would sign his petition. “Sorry, I’m an anarchist,” I said, half jokingly. He blatantly stared at my breasts and told me Gary Johnson would defend my rights to wear skimpy clothes in public. The next morning, we got a late start because half our band was getting stoned while listening to all these new tracks from Mike of Cucumber and the Suntans, whose house/ recording studio we crashed at. Kall said she felt like a real rock’n’roller.
Molly, our friend/roadie/groupie, and I crawled into one of Granada’s green rooms. There was half-eaten Chinese food on the floor giving us bedroom eyes. We started feasting on it with our bare hands and snapped at each other over portions of sugary chicken goo. We snatched up some unattended tall boys, too. This venue was huge. I wasn’t sure that it would fill up by the time we went on, but it sure as hell did. Kallie shouted “Girls to the front!” and the first four rows animorphed into beaming female faces. I couldn’t help but smile right back at all of them. I wondered if they made music. If not now, maybe they will soon. I hope so and honestly, I can’t wait to see what they come up with. After the show I spoke to a man who had been feverishly snapping photographs of us. He was brazenly rude in an amusing way and he told me our drummer was a “powerhouse.”
We descended into an icy basement. Bad Ideas and Chasm played before us and they crushed it. The punks in KCMO look especially dramatic. Older men with silver fashion mullets and chicks with hair teased twice the size of their bodies. The cold didn’t bother me much but my fingers barely cooperated when I tried to play. Baaba was like a feral banshee when she performed “Safe Space.” I love watching eyes transfix on her when she unleashes this side of herself. Her ferocity really amps up the crowd, and how could it not? It’s like watching a man turn into a werewolf. It was seven degrees out. These punks were diehard for making it out to the show.
Two beautiful young witches hosted us at their home/DIY venue called The Swamp. This would turn out to be another frigid basement show. Thee Mistakes played before us and their music was so beautiful that all of Gland was on the verge of tears. We played and the young potheads lost it. A spry lad paid $13 for an encore. Know this, ANTIGRAVITY readers: Gland will do anything for $13. Anything. The next day, one of our witch hostesses read our tarot. It was disturbing and accurate. Kall, whose cards amounted to 22 knives in total, cried and was melancholy for most of the drive to Tennessee.
We played with Butthole and Roman Polanski’s Baby. The energy was electric, their eyes wild, and their screams shrill. Gland chugged moonshine our landlord daddy bought for us and we danced to stay warm. That night, we slept in dusty piles of trash and dead roaches. Not complainin’. The next day, we laid low at Roman Polanski’s Baby’s house. Kall hand-poked a Sonic Youth washing machine onto a boy’s chest and we replaced all the air in the house with pot smoke. Baaba and I bonded on the couch and Jean puffed cigarettes and watched the playful partygoers zipline over a creek in the backyard. I dumped a milkshake onto my chest and fell asleep.
This DIY venue made me feel like I was tripping in the Great Northern Hotel from Twin Peaks. Jean felt more of a Turkey Point from Crybaby vibe. Regardless, it fit our aesthetic. The other bands’ performance really heightened the sense of colorful surrealism. Our friends Bryan and Michael, who own the record shop Sisters in Christ, drove up from NOLA for the show. Kall was ecstatic to see her bros, and their constant support of Gland has been important to all of us. The show ended with Calvin Johnson rapping, interpretive dancing, and making lots of eye contact with the youths. He wrote a poem for us in which he stated that Gland “regulated” him. We’re still not sure what that means.
In line for the bathroom, I bonded with a horde of intimidatingly pretty women who thanked me for being in an all-girl band. It’s something I’m not sure if anyone notices or cares about most of the time, but moments like this make me feel like I’m doing something right. After the show, me and my bandmates danced and screamed to Le Tigre. Baaba was cuttin’ a rug in tube socks, Jean was shaking her wild curly mane, and I was hideously grooving in a gorilla mask I found somewhere. I resisted the urge to invite myself into the coke room and I passed out to the sound of pounding dance music.
Finally we were back in hot-pants weather! We all changed back into our standard filthy cutoffs. Jean had galaxy bruises on her inner thighs the size of my head from hitting herself with her drumsticks every night for ten days. She wasn’t fazed by it at all but I was in pain every time I looked at the purple on her stems. Despite being in agony from abstaining from masturbating for eight days, I had a great time partying with these electric sweeties. Dumspell did a cover of “Tainted Love” and my throat still hurts from screaming along. Big Bleach and Plastic were aggressively inspirational. I loved watching Big Bleach’s front- woman shout and pace around like a caged tiger. Plastic’s drummer got slutty with a banana, a gesture I can always appreciate.
I walked up to a woman after the show and small talked while gear was moving around. She told me she was thinking about learning to play bass and by the end of the conversation she told me she was gonna start a band. I excused myself so I could weep tears of joy in the shadows somewhere.
Swampass opened and as always, they were incredible. Watching them makes me wish Gland was sludgier. The Gloryholes, an all gay band from Memphis, sang songs that could make a sailor blush. If I were born a man, I’d want to be in The Gloryholes. The members of Helta Skelta are my favorite breed of punk: polite and kind off the stage, and fiery beasts when performing. I wish I could see them play every day. Then it was our turn. “This set tonight is dedicated to kratom,” Kall said from under a velvet cloak, looking like a glitter goth sorceress. I’m on it too and it has me feelin’ right.
It was difficult to see through the red and green lights but when I wasn’t staring down at my bass, I managed to peep the crowd. I saw big smiles, hand tatts, and muddy boots from people dropping drinks and dancing on each other. God it feels good to be back.
On the whole, this experience has left me feeling touched. I never expected to travel with such amazing, strong, brilliant people. Thank you Maanasa for staring into my eyes while feeding me corndogs. Thanks Greg for supporting us and letting us ride in your veggie oil- powered whip. Thanks for reading, see y’all at the next show.
Gland will be releasing their first cassette, tentatively titled Neurotica, later this spring on Community Records. For more info, check out Gland’s Facebook