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Dayton, OH
United States

Poptek Recs is a simple label with big pop songs.

Tour Journal

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Tour and Beard Journal (Day 10)

Andy Ingram

The Florals drove back out to and played Lock Haven, PA last night. It is a really nice, small town in the middle of Pennsylvania where we got to see our friends (or meet in my case) Sam and Kayla. Think of North Bend, WA, where Twin Peaks was filmed, with huge hills hanging over the town instead of Mt. Si. Or think of a more vibrant Urbana, OH with rolling hills in the close skyline. The river that runs through the town is gorgeous. Lock Haven University is here. Penn State University is 30 minutes away. Williamsport, PA, where the Little League World Series is held annually, is close by as well.

Avenue 209 Coffee House is the place we played. It was very friendly show mostly because a long-lasting friendship (like Brenna and Alex have with Sam and Kayla) makes sharing music so sweet. That simliar friendship, either with long-time friends in the towns we toured through, or with people who encouraged us at shows, or just among the tour/ bandmates is to me what makes the hassle of traveling and touring so worthwhile. You can't develop friendship like that by sitting at home playing video games.

With that show, the Florals' first tour has come to a close. And with that last show, so has the tour beard. Did anyone really expect me to keep it? Didn't the complaining foreshadow the outcome? I had gone in to hiding the last few days- steadfast in carrying on the committment but embarrassed at how I look with such sparse and unkempt facial hair. As Paul Varjak responds in Breakfast at Tiffany's, "I'm the sensitive, clean-shaven, bookish type." That's just who I am and I realize that more than ever.

I do have to applaud all of you men who have committed to the razorless lifestyle. You may call it follicle laziness. I call it follicle dedication. You are better at being a man than I.

Yet I feel so clean right now, and I couldn't be happier. The End.

Tour and Beard Journal (Day 6)

Andy Ingram

We got back from New York last night. The 9-hour drive ended up taking 11 or 12, but we had no place to be and no need to worry. The tour so far has been a thrill but it is really nice to be home. Traveling reminds me how much I enjoy my own bed, towels, time set aside to do nothing, and being able to shave.

We have one more show in Lock Haven, PA that we will drive bck out to on Saturday. Thanks to everyone who came out to see The Florals and offer your encouragement.

The beard is officially wierding me out. I find myself touching my face a lot more, but mostly becuase it's just a bizarre experience. The textures of the hair on the top of my head compared with that of my face are just too different to be real. I'll reference Peter sellers again and just say that my beard feels like a costume, like one of Inspector Clouseau's disguises.

I am eating a lot currently, like for two people. Is that usual? Do beards need that much nutrition?

Tour and Beard Journal (Day 5)

Andy Ingram

So we kicked off the tour with a great, fun show in Kent. Now it's nice to say that our best show on the tour happened in Brooklyn. It took place at Don Pedro, another dive bar, but one that serves burritos and has skee ball. The atmosphere was simple enough but there weren't very many distractions from the music playing, even with skee ball and pinball. That is always a good personality for the venue to have. I think we played our first error-free set. And the lineup was just really good and complimentary. The Rizzos were a fine 2-girl/2-guy kinda-Ramonsey rock band. Then Field Guides were just great- catchy songs, players who knew how to fit within those songs, and personality. Ben's voice and demeanor was reminding me so much of Pulp's Jarvis Cocker (which is a good similarity). His guitar tone was brilliantly over-the-top. And the songs were well-written. Alex and Brenna have a pre-existing friendship with Field Guides and it was encouraging to see how supportive everyone in that band were to them. Then The Meaning of Life were probably what someone expects when they think of a Brooklyn band. They were snotty, female fronted, and reverb-drenched. They had one song that should be a sure hit single. I'm actually suprised that Field Guides or The Meaning of Life have not been recruited by any of the hipster Brooklyn labels like Captured Tracks.

Overall the line-up was very solid. It is interesting to know that Alexander booked the entirety of this show from 585 miles away, working with two bands he did not know and at a venue he had never been to. And it worked.

The night was made sweeter by the friends in attendance. The crowd was peppered with labelmates and Daytonians (Johnny and Alex), former Indianians (Leah), and former Springfieldians (Sarah and Brad). And everyone else in the attendance greatly encouraged The Florals after seeing us play. Music is great but the friendships involved in music and the life encompassing the music make it special.

I don't know what more to say about the beard at this point. It's just there, not fully grown-in but substantial enough to make me want to do things to distract people from my face. I just don't have confidence in it. So yesterday I decided to wear my white pants. Wearing white pants is the psychological equivalent of not wearing any pants at all. Or at least it just seems like the whiteness covering my legs draws all the attention. "You just have to own it" according to Gigi, which is easier said when you are The Greek God of Style. The rest of us struggle. The diversion tactic is at least a bit more comfortable being in Brooklyn. There was one other guy we passed who wasn't wearing any pants. I bet he was growing a beard too. Hang in there dude!

We leave for the drive home as soon as everyone wakes up. The tour has been a blast but it will be a joy to be home.

Tour and Beard Journal (Day 4)

Andy Ingram

I have now reached the point where I can feel the beard taking over. My personality is changing. I have this insatiable desire to grow a jheri curl. It is both confusing and empowering. If you see me during this time, please be careful what you say around me. I am very fragile. So . . . very . . . vulnerable.

I have joked that I would some day run away and change my name to Sven London. Maybe I don't have to run away at all. WIth this beard and new personality, I can just hide in plain sight.

The drive to New York was quite easy. Long, but easy. We got in later Monday and missed any holiday traffic. There was some delay going in to the Holland Tunnel, but I would guess that that is normal. We even found gas for $2.56 on the Jersey Turnpike. That's a New York steal.

Driving in New York has been exhilerating for me. The aggressiveness needed in this town is a temporary amusement. My passengers may have been a bit stressed but I am having fun.

We play Don Pedro in Brooklyn tonight. We dropped by last night just to see the place. There was a Drag Show happening. Yeah, we don't know excatly what Alexander got us in to. Stay tuned. We are expecting a fun turnout though. I was pleasantly suprised on the drive in to find out that Johnny and his awesome girlfriend Alex are in town. They will be at the show. Are hosts Sarah and Brad will be there too. Ian has a bunch of friends who may show. Henry, who treated us to lunch and showed us around at Etsy, issupposed to come. Maybe a few other friends will suprise us. And the bands seem like they will be fun to play with. So I think we are all looking forward to tonight.

Tour and Beard Journal (Day 3)

Andy Ingram

I feel so dirty. So very very dirty. I have taken two showers already today, exfoliated my skin, used moisturizer and I still can't get rid of the feeling that there is stuff all over my face. How do the bearded cope with this psychological burden? Can someone answer me before I crack?

The show in Pittsburgh last night was definitely interesting. We played at the Mr. Roboto Project, an all-ages DIY venue that has existed since 1999. That is a huge accomplishment in the DIY scene. It was especially cool to read through their roster of shows. Death Cab for Cutie, Camera Obscura, Ted Leo + the Pharmacists and many other notable bands (mostly punk/ hardcore/ metal) have played there. The atmopshere and size of this place reminded me so much of the memorable but short-lived Dayton Dirt Collective. That was some nice nostalgia.

The interesting part of this show was just that it was one of those shows where most of the people in the crowd were there to play. And two of the bands were metal. I enjoyed talking to the other band members, especially the Michigan guys from Change Is. I just can't identify with metal other than slamming my head in the air to the beat. Curse Words was good and much more in the melodic genre. We dug them and they dug us. So we are grateful for them and their support and for Guage for setting up the show.

So it was a wierd show, kind of what we expected, but the few positive reactions and conversations we had made it worthwhile.

I have been to Pittsburgh many times but just to see a Pirates game. Driving around Pittsburgh helped me to better realize how big of a town it is. This place still reminds me so much of Seattle. That is always a good experience.

So today we have an off-day. We leave in an hour to make the drive to New York City. Time go to get the Jeep ready and cue up that one Jay-Z track I like.

Tour and Beard Journal (Day 2)

Andy Ingram

Two shows down and both have been good and fun. Last night we played Buzzbin Art + Music Shop in downtown Canton. Buzzbin is what you expect in a dive bar but it is a very welcoming one with a long traditon of hosting some very good bands. We played as part of another complimentary line-up, headlined by Quiet Hollers from Louisville, KY. They were a tour-tested alt-country band who had some very good songs, especially "Liar Song". Across the Viaduct hosted the show with their poppy punkiness. We then stayed at Steven Turner's house who subsequently recorded us in his studio until 4 AM (I bailed at 3). Ian filmed the session. So expect a live video of the unreleased "Pep Talk" soon. Steven made us sound really good.

Now on to what everyone has been waiting for, the Tour Beard Journal. There is a scene in Wes Anderson's debut film "Bottle Rocket" where one of the main characters, Anthony (Luke Wilson), is innocently and alternately touching his face and that of his new, non-English speaking girlfriend Ines. "Sandpaper. Silk. Sandpaper. Silk" is what he was repeating and trying to get her to understand.

My face and beard is in the sandpaper stage. And it's the cheap stuff with enough of a grain to be annoying but not enough to actually get any work done. This is the point in my life where previously I would bail on the mission and shave. I am a man of my word though (sometimes) and I am holding out for eight more days. It occured to me this morning though that this hairied committment may go one of two ways. 1) I may never shave again, basking in new found freedom. Maybe even explore moving to a nudist colony. Or 2) I become one of those "shave everything every other day" kind of men. I hope I land in the middle but this is a very big mission and the outcome and the consequences are unknown at this point. Stay tuned.

Oh, we are on our way to Pittsburgh today. We play a metal show. The Florals are a pop band. Add that up and come to your own conclusion. I may take some bets as to how long it takes for some progressive metal kid to figure out that I don't know how to play scales. I'm not afraid of confrontation (actually yes I very much am).

Tour and Beard Journal (Day 1)

Andy Ingram

So THE FLORALS are going on tour and I am joining them to playing bass and drive. Here's a little secret though, I have the worst driving record of any of the four going on this tour. Don't tell them. I'm pretty sure they won't read this. It's just that I had about a year, post-TBI, where speed limits were a really hard concept to grasp. I'm not a bad driver, I don't think. But if you need to know of the where abouts of any speed trap in the Montgomery, Greene, and Clark County areas, I am your snitch.

The first show of the tour was a blast. We played Kent in this small but trashy cool gallery/ skate park. My friends Syd and Kreigh played as Shisho. My longtime friends Kris and Tangela were there as well. Newer good friend Caleb set-up the show. The atmosphere was simple but very cool. It reminded me of seeing Damien Jurado in Boomington, IN in a open room above a Subby's. That is one of my favorite live music memories ever. We also met a few others who I had seen around town on my previous visits but never really talked to. This time I did. And it turns out most of them work at Scribbles Coffee Co. which was started and still owned by friends of mine.

The Florals' set was so fun and rambunctios that Brenna broke her Stratocaster. My first night as a bassist only resulted in 3 bad notes. Someone needs to develope a baseball-like analytic to track how reliable of a bassist I am becoming. Even though I am a drummer, my tempo rating would grade below-replacement-level.

In other news, I have decided to grow a beard on this tour. It's not that I really want a beard. Ingram men have a long tradition of hiding behind facial hair and like any good son, I have rebelled against that tradition. It's more that I don't want to carry a sharp object in the backpack that may need to also serve as a pillow on this tour. So I have made a half-hearted covenant to let my facial hair grow wild . . . at least for ten days. And of course in this day of social media ever-presence, I feel the need to journal about it.

So here's my Day 1 entry: Nothing is happening so far. Do I need to water this? Is there a vitamin to take for beard beauty? In analyzing my goals though, I know what I want. The one extreme of a lumberjack-full beard is just too common for me. I'm not "Basic" as my friend Amanda so greatly reminds me. The other extreme of a George Michael "Faith"-era thin beard may get me thrown in jail for looking like one of "America's Most Wanted", or just for looking like George Michael. So I am aiming for the ever trustworthy and inspirational Peter Sellers late-60's-era beard. You can Google image search for him and find one pic where he actually has a real beard rather than any of his Pink Panther disguises. If I am going to commit to this, I am going to look Peter Sellers-chic. Sixties fashion is so inspiring to me.

Yet as much as I have goals, this whole process induces a lot of insecurity. I am on tour with Alexander and Ian who both probably have had beards since their teens. I can't compete with that. Being clean-shaven for so long has not only been because it compliments my subtle suave good looks but also because I have the physical maturity of a 12-year-old Andy. Ask me what foods I like and you'll get a long list of those I don't. Just like a kid. So I am in for this. It's going to be a long ten days though. I already can't wait until I get to experience that clean-shaven feeling a week from Sunday.