Big Stories

POZ Road Blog: Sparrows (Update V)

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 15, 2012

Sparrows just wrapped up a PropertyOfZack sponsored tour along with Under The Gun Review. Today we’re stoked to be posting the band’s final Road Blog from the run of dates. Check out the new Road Blog entry below!

Okay so here’s the last blog. Problem is I’ve now been home for a week, so the memory is getting a bit hazy. Sure I had three days off when I got home when I could have written this, but we all knew that wasn’t going to happen. Why would I do work when I could relax in the luxuries of my own apartment after a month living out of a van with threeother dudes? Then I had to work for 5 days in a row, and let’s face it, after a day at work all I want to do is relax in the luxuries of my own apartment after a month living out of a van with three other dudes. Note to self, copying and pasting doesn’t make things sound any cooler, even though it’s quicker so I can spend more time relaxing in the luxuries of repeating the same joke so many times. No more filler, back to tour. 

After Alabama, we headed back in to the fine state of Georgia to Atlanta. Another big baseball stop for me was Turner Field where the Braves are hoping for a nice post‐season run (update: they were eliminated after one game). Beside that was the site of the former Atlanta‐Fulton County Stadium, where my beloved Toronto Blue Jays won their first World Series back in 1992. Standing on the same spot as Joe Carter brought back memories of the videotape I watched because I was only 2 years old when they actually won. Shame on me. Rem and I also visited the World of Coca Cola that day. Getting to taste every flavour of Coke possible was pretty amazing. It’s been a week at home and I’m starting to go into Cherry Coke withdrawal (yeah, we don’t have it here). Our show in Atlanta was at Under The Couch on Georgia Tech Campus. We played with Kelsi Grammar (before you get excited, double check the spelling). They were phenomenal. Definitely one of the best bands we’ve played with on this tour. Definitely would recommend them to anybody. Drove up to Chattanooga, Tennessee that night and crashed at (surprise) a Wal Mart. Found out the next day that Chattanooga is actually one of the most dangerous cities in America, so we (possibly literally) dodged a bullet on that one not getting robbed or anything. 

Our day was consumed with driving.We started in Tennessee, dipped back into Georgia, then made our way up through Kentucky (yeah, we got KFC) and ended the day just south of Indianapolis, Indiana. We got Chili’s, which was pretty much the only thing around. Rem got a steak, which he paid for himself. To quote Dan, it was “the first steak paid for and eaten in the history of tour, by someone on tour”. There was a big storm that night, but we definitely dodged the bulk of it, luckily. The drive from there involved going through a big patch of windmills, which was neat. 

Next stop was Chicago, easily one of my favourite cities in the U.S. Big fan of the skyscrapers and the food there. Personally. Got to the venue, and it turned out to be two blocks south of Wrigley Field. That’s a pretty big deal to me. Only ballpark with more history to it nowadays is Fenway in Boston (which, if you recall, we walked by earlier on this adventure). Rem’s parents flew in from Colorado to see us, and very generously got us a room to stay at that night. We’d sincerely like to thank them for that, as well as all the nice things they had to say about our set. The added bonus to the hotel room was we could leave the van parked the next day and train into the city. Parking in any city, especially the major ones, is both expensive and a pain to find. The Sunday we had off so We went to see a Cubs game. Seeing a game at Wrigley is a real highlight. The atmosphere is indescribable. You can really feel the tension and depression that can only be caused by over a hundred years of losing. Kidding. It was great. Except the cold. Post game meal was none other than real Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, courtesy of Pizzeria Due. Our waitress was hilarious, and the pizza was delicious. Easily my favourite meal of the tour. A walk through downtown and a trip to the bean wrapped up our time in Chicago. 

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POZ Road Blog: Sparrows (Update IV)

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 2, 2012

Sparrows just wrapped up a PropertyOfZack sponsored tour along with Under The Gun Review. Today we’re stoked to be posting the band’s fourth Road Blog from the run of dates. Check out the new Road Blog entry below!

Wow I totally forgot we were doing these blogs for a while until Dan said “Hey man, have you been doing those blog things” and I said “Dude, I forgot them for a while!” So it’s been a full week since we last updated this. That’s a lot to catch up on. I hope my memory is working. I put on my thinking cap (note, it’s the same hat I wear every day). Let’s get to business. We left off heading to Savannah, Georgia, which involves taking a huge bridge into town. When you look out from the top, you have the scenic city on your left, then factories and pollution on the right. We stuck to the left side. First thing I noticed about Savannah was how beautiful the trees and boulevards were. First thing Dan noticed was how the boulevards lined with trees made driving a headache. To each his own. We went to see Chippewa Square, notable as the park where the opening scene in Forrest Gump was filmed. Life is like a box of chocolates; there’s eating involved at some point. To keep up with our recent trend, we ate at Angel’s BBQ, and it was delicious. Our show that night was with the band Big Awesome in an underground taco shop. They had an assortment of pool tables, air hockey, mini‐putt, arcade games, and more. Dan and Colin from Big Awesome had an air hockey match that was destined to determine the future of Canada‐US relations. Dan had a big lead and was one or two goals from winning, then choked. Bad. I’m embarrassed for my country.

The show was missing a second mic stand so mine had to be taped to the ceiling in front of Rem. Offered a different dynamic to the show since I couldn’t see the crowd, but it made for a good time nonetheless. Big Awesome I would personally describe as Average‐Height Awesome. All jokes aside, those guys ruled. Next day we had a show in Lakeland, Florida. Let me tell you something about Florida incase you haven’t been; it’s (bleepin’) hot and incredibly humid. We’re walking around completely drenched in sweat from merely existing, and people are walking around bein’ all like “Oh wow, this is much colder than seasonal.” You know what’s colder than seasonal in Florida? Snow. Lots and lots of it. 40‐plus degrees Celsius (or around 105 Fahrenheit) with extreme humidity is not cold. But the palm trees were cool, I’ll give you that. We drove through Orlando and got to see the 3 highway exits for Disney World. We didn’t think it looked fun enough so we decided to pass (it wasn’t because we’re poor, no not at all). The show in Lakeland was great. We played in the back room of the record store Evolution. They had a sweet space set up there. Except you couldn’t lock the bathroom door. Awkward. Thanks to the staff there for being awesome and having us out. And that kid who was there. I can’t remember his name but his dad claimed that Dayglo Abortions had a shower at his place once. A little Canadian connection there.

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POZ Road Blog: Sparrows (Update III)

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 17, 2012

Sparrows are out on a PropertyOfZack sponsored tour along with Under The Gun Review. Today we’re stoked to be posting the band’s third Road Blog from the run of dates. Check out all their tour dates here and the third Road Blog entry below!

While I write this, we’re currently driving from Richmond to Raleigh, North Carolina. We’ve spent the past 4 days in Virginia, so it’s pretty fitting to write a blog about our experience of the state (spoiler alert: we had fun). After the sweaty basement show in Philadelphia, we drove down and camped out outside of Wilmington, Delaware. In case you’re wondering, we all took turns saying “Hello. I’m in Delaware” as we crossed over into the state. Thank you Wayne’s World for making something moderately entertaining about Delaware. If you’re from Delaware and you’re insulted from reading this, I’ve never really visited Delaware and my impression of your state is based solely off Simpsons references. They really don’t help your cause. We continued through Delaware and partially into Maryland before getting to Virginia. Driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge‐Tunnel to get to Virginia Beach was definitely an experience. We saw wild dolphins swimming under the bridge, which is unheard of in Canada. Especially living in a land‐locked city that’s hours away from the coast. Our first Virginia show in Virginia Beach was the first of three shows we had with Postcards. Those dudes can shred. And break things, including my sternum (thanks to Matt, their bassist, giving me a solid push during their set last night). If you’re reading this and you live in the Richmond area, check them out now. I remember them saying they have a show coming up Saturday (I would confirm this but I’m not getting reception here) (also, if this blog gets posted after Saturday, you should have gone to see them and missed out again). We concluded the evening with Hardee’s, where Rem and I tackled the Monster Thickburger. For our Canadian friends, it’s got 2/3 lbs. of beef, cheese, bacon, and probably should come with a defibrillator. We tried sleeping in the van that night, but it was easily the hottest and most humid night of the tour. Me, sleeping under the bunk in a pretty tight space, woke up at 3:30ish (after going to bed at 2) completely drenched in sweat, and struggling to breathe in the thick, damp air. Took me a good 40 minutes before deciding to open the back door so I could get some fresh air (I didn’t want to wake anybody up). As soon as the door unlatched, Dan kicked the door wide open; apparently he thought someone was trying to break in. We got out and took a look at the van. The windows resembled the ones from the car in Titanic when Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio are getting it on, except instead of her hand streaking down the fogged up window, we got Brandon’s foot. When we found out we couldn’t sleep in the heat, we had the brilliant idea of eating a box of cereal each along with a Krispy Kreme apple pie. I went with Crunch ‘N Berries, Dan settled on Cookie Crisp. Does anybody remember going camping and getting those 6‐ packs of single‐serving cereal boxes that you’d cut open and poor milk directly into? Yeah, we did that with our full sized boxes of ultra‐sugary cereal (we weren’t crazy, we didn’t go family size). Jimmy Eat World just came on the radio and now we’re all pumped. Back to Virginia, next day we went swimming in the ocean. So much fun. I haven’t seen waves that were actually surfable in forever. And the water is soooo nice down there. I’m hoping it’s going to get even better when we get to Florida. We played that night in Norfolk, and got to sleep at the venue. They gave us free pizza and had Netflix. It was a Christian Youth Center, so of course the obvious thing to watch was the wholesome, family entertainment feature known as Jackass. I also got to do some laundry there, which was a bonus as my stage clothes were starting to get some pretty bad salt stains. Next day we had the day off, so we went to the beach again. This time we bought a boogie board, which was the best purchase of this tour. We drove up to Richmond and stayed at our new friend Sam’s mansion. Yeah, mansion. It needed two Wi‐Fi routers to cover the whole place. Their walk‐in closets had closets of their own (and before you get all sassy with me, they were indeed walk‐in closets and not just bedrooms. You had to walk into the bedroom, then into the main closet, then there was a closet in there. Yo dawg, I hear you like closets…). We would sincerely like to thank Sam for letting us stay there and his roommate for making us breakfast (Dan says sorry for using all the toilet paper). Getting a night indoors and getting to sleep separately from everybody goes a long way for morale. And everybody knows it’s all about morale. Our Richmond show was crazy. Definitely in the top 3 so far this tour. I still can’t believe I broke a guitar string in the intro to the set. Didn’t even make it to the first song. Embarrassing. But other than that things went great. Postcards ruled once again and I hope we get a chance to play with them again in the future (adding future seems kinda redundant).

So I forgot to email in the Virginia blog so I thought I’d throw in the Carolinas blog in here too (for free!). After having two nights in a row sleeping indoors, the sleep in the van after Richmond felt gruesome.

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POZ Road Blog: Sparrows (Update II)

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 11, 2012

Sparrows are out on a PropertyOfZack sponsored tour along with Under The Gun Review. Today we’re stoked to be posting the band’s second Road Blog from the run of dates. Check out all their tour dates here and the second Road Blog entry below!

It’s Tuesday, September 4, and we’re currently stuck in a McDonalds in New Jersey close to the Pennsylvania border. The weather has kicked and it’s a bit of a bummer. I’ve been told that it’s partially from the hurricane that swept through Florida and the Gulf of Mexico early this month. Regardless, it’s a bit of a downer. But you know what isn’t a downer? The past few days, that’s what! Last time we checked in, we were in Worcester, Massachusetts. I believe I had left for some pizza, and man it was delicious. After wrapping up there, we played in Putnam Connecticut the next day. We started off the day with an epic (seriously, epic) round of handball. Dan, on the motivation of a promised cupcake (which he has still not received), dominated profoundly to win his first two games of the tour. Running totals so far: Dan 2, Rem 7, Brandon 10, and I’ve got 18 wins. Unfortunately my arrogance has lead to a few games of “everybody try to get Devlin first”. Skill can get you so far, but you can’t escape the wrath of 3 dudes sick of not winning (losing sounds a bit too harsh, so I’m trying to avoid using it). Show in Putnam was a great show, definitely gonna be a hard one to top. Servants, a local three‐piece hardcore band, were a definite highlight. You rarely see a three‐piece band that sounds that full. Plus they were super nice. Headlining the show was Neighbors (in Canada, they’d be Neighbours, and they’d probably leave their doors unlocked, cuz that’s how we roll). Their guitarist, Chris Kelley, has to be one of the nicest people we’ve met on this tour or any other tour for that matter. We’d like to thank him deeply (yeah, deeply) for all of his hospitality. Next day, we took a day trip to Boston, and Dan nearly had a heart attack, which is not cool for those keeping score at home. Things started off picturesque, with a stop at historic Fenway Park. Being a huge baseball fan (Dan too), this was beyond incredible. Brandon and Rem thought it was just an old piece of junk, but their brains can’t comprehend the finer things in life. I mean it’s 100 years old this year! Things then got a bit worse. Driving through downtown Boston had it sights, but driving in a van with a trailer is pretty challenging. Finding a parking spot is basically impossible. The original plan was to check out the waterfront and some of the freedom trail, but when we got lost and ended up a few bridges north of everything, we gave up a settled on seeing the Harvard Campus. It was pretty scenic, I think my IQ grew exponentially by walking through the historic Harvard Square. Our stop for the evening was Lowell Massachusetts, where we had the privilege of playing on Umass Lowell’s WUML radio. Funny story, after setting up and about 5 minutes before we were on the air live, we were informed that if we “swore or said anything offensive”, we’d be fined $20,000. Yeah, twenty THOUSAND dollars. When we have to debate whether a $5 Big Mac is too expensive, I’m pretty sure $20,000 is a bit out of our budget. And I don’t know about you but I have a really hard time not dropping a few f‐bombs in regular conversation, especially on tour. Its almost become a substitute for a pause in my day‐to‐day conversations. However, we were then told afterwards that the station gets fined, not the band.

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POZ Road Blog: Sparrows (Update I)

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 3, 2012

Sparrows are out on a PropertyOfZack sponsored tour along with Under The Gun Review. Today we’re stoked to be posting the band’s first Road Blog from the run of dates. Check out all their tour dates here and the first Road Blog entry below!

TOUR BLOG DAY 1
Hello people of the internet, I’m Devlin, the guitarist/back‐up‐ vocalist/butt‐end‐of‐most‐jokes for Sparrows. We’re on a fall tour through the Eastern United States for the next 30 days, and since I brought my laptop, I’ve been officially designated as the “tour blogger”. I guess you could say that I’ll be your co‐pilot for the next month as we take off in Burlington Vermont, reach our maximum altitude in Florida, then touch down in the Great Lakes Region. I’m trying to make a metaphor about how this tour will be like a flight, if you didn’t catch on. Dan (vocalist/guitarist/driver/everything‐important) just informed me he’s going to be proofreading all of these so that airline bit is probably going to be cut. What a shame. He’s pretty much in charge of this whole operation, but he’s like that really chill boss that you can talk to about whatever, which totally rules. While I’m at it, might as well introduce the rest of the band. Sitting behind me in the middle bench is Rem (he’ll introduce himself as Rembrandt to sound all fancy), he plays drums and is the only one in at least decent shape. But he probably eats worse than the rest of us, so that’s nuts. Genes I guess. Or that he gets somewhat routine exercise. I’ll get on that at some point. Maybe. Beside him is Brandon, bassist and height. He makes us look tougher as a group, which might come in handy someday. Like if some thugs or hooligans are trying to mess with us, they’d probably see Brandon and run away. So if you’ve been reading this far, congratulations, you now know the band. It’s as if you’re in the van with us. Minus the smell. And general lack of decency. Last night, we left home and endured the terrifying experience that is crossing the Canada‐U.S. border. Always a tense experience. Things pretty started feeling a bit calmer when the border patrol joined the rest of the band in making jokes at my expense. Apparently making fun of me is that easy that the U.S. border patrol, who I’ve always been informed to never make jokes around, felt it was not only appropriate to tolerate the band’s jokes, but worth adding a few cracks of their own. My life. Anyways, less about my life story and more about tour. Much celebration was had when we finally made it over into America. We drove to Plattsburgh New York, and checked in to luxurious Wal‐Mart parking lot. I think I speak for all of us when I say shopping for food was difficult. We were all pretty overwhelmed by everything we can’t get in Canada, like Cookie Crisp, Reeses’ Peanut

Butter, Frosted Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc. So much deliciousness but not enough appetite (or money) to sample them all. This morning, Dan and I searched for sim cards so we can use our phones over the next month. Apparently that is unheard of here. I hate Verizon, using GSM (or maybe I have a GSM phone and they don’t take that? I can’t remember. With the GSM and CDMA and 4G LTE, there’s simply too many letters to remember). We’re currently stuck on a bridge between New York State and Vermont, on our way to Burlington for show number 1 of this extravaganza. Some highlights we’re looking forward to: the Ben and Jerry’s factory in nearby Waterbury, the gorgeous waterfront in Burlington, and the world’s tallest filing cabinet! It’s a bunch of filing cabinets stacked on top of each other in a random field. Awesome!

PS. Rem(brandt) has an eye infection, we’ve been here less than 24 hours.

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POZ Playlist: Sparrows

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 30, 2012

Sparrows are about to kick off a late-summer/early-fall tour that is being co-sponsored by PropertyOfZack and Under The Gun Review. To help kick-off the tour, we’re stoked to be doing a brand new PropertyOfZack Playlist for fans of the band to enjoy. Check out the Playliss and listen to the songs on Spotify while reading everyone’s thoughts! 


Northstar - Rigged and Ready
This song gets played in the van every time we leave town for a tour or weekend. Just an excellent song (and record) to get you stoked to be on the road.
Moneen - Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now
Again, another fantastic song. High energy and just crazy. Good for long overnight drives or expelling pent up energy while in the van.
Bon Iver - Perth
I love his voice and the way his songs flow. Nice to try and relax to after a good show.
Sights And Sounds - Neighbours
A great band that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention (probably because of the full time act of the singer), but this whole record is fantastic. I actually can’t get enough of this band.
Dikembe - Scottie Spliffin *Song is not on Spotify
I just came across this band a few months ago. And as good as their new full length is, this EP rules. Plus they reference Freaks and Geeks. Among other things.
Propagandhi - Supporting Caste *Song is not on Spotify
Devlin especially is a huge Propagandhi fan, but this record is the one we all agree rules. Personally this is my favourite song from that record.
Pianos Become The Teeth - I’ll Get By
Weird choice to be adding to this list (as far as lyrical content) but the song is beautiful. Again, I actually love this whole record. But this song is the gem of it.
Park - Gasoline Kisses For Everyone
I’ve loved this record since I saw Park with Moneen in Kingston, Ontario when I was 16. I can play this record/song for anything, and I listen to this record weekly.
Refused - Better Off Dead *Song is not on Spotify
We all love this band. Not much else to say about that.
Make Do And Mend - Lucky
A good song to keep you focused. How much does this record rule? A lot.

POZ Tour: Sparrows

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 27, 2012

PropertyOfZack is excited to be taking the wraps off of a fall tour with Sparrows co-sponsored with our friends at Under The Gun Review. The tour kicks off on August 31st in Burlington, VT and ends on September 29th in Rochester, NY. We’ll be bringing you great content from the tour alongside Under The Gun, so make sure to head out to the dates and check back into the site!

POZ Track-By-Track: Sparrows - Goliath

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 17, 2012

Sparrows are reissuing their Goliath EP on August 21st via Paper + Plastick Records on cassette, and it can be ordered here. PropertyOfZack is teaming up with the band for a Track-By-Track feature on the EP as well, which can be read below!

I will start with the fact that I’m not as sad as I seem.
I also never expected to have to explain this. So I’ll try to not make it too painful.

Teething
Teething was written as an attempt to write an upbeat song. So it’s hard to write an upbeat song without being angry. The lyrics are really me dealing with some significant changes in my life, and the anger associated with the fact that you can’t  always control the things happening around you. Or the people, for that matter. It was hard to watch a lot of the relationships I had depended on, crumble based on other people’s decisions. Watching them throw their lives away, I guess. It’s frustrating to waste your time with people. Devlin really likes to play this song live.

Shook Them Bones
This is a depressing song and there is no way around it. When i write songs, there are no rose coloured glasses for me. It’s almost impossible for me to write happy songs. But even this is a dark song, by my standards. I’m not a sad dude, by any means. But sometimes you have to take a look at yourself and be critical. Everyone has guilt they carry with them, whether they want to admit it or not. Things are not always happy. This was my attempt to make mine public, in a sense.

Sleeping In The Seconds Between Breaths
As we’ll deal with in the next song, I have a pretty rough relationship with religion, and a lot of the terrible things that happen in the world because of it. This song isn’t entirely based upon religion, but it has a strong part to it. The song, from a lyrical standpoint, was a sort of “tongue in cheek” way of dealing with the guilt associated with life, and the guilt you’re supposed to feel. The Chorus “Savor it, because I’ll maintain, doused in gasoline” is a reference to a book I was reading at the time,  where a guy lights himself on fire over the death of his child. Guilt is a strong thing.
A little known fact about this song. At the end of the song, there is an old recording of a man singing to a woman. That is my grandfather singing to my grandmother. It was recorded sometime in the early 60’s.

Salesman At The Pulpit, Congregation Of Sheep.
This is purely my view on religion, and how terrible it makes people be. There is such a hypocrisy involved with it. And how much it hampers our ability as people, to just co-exist. I grew up in a fairly Catholic family. Going to church on Sunday’s n all. And the older that I got, the harder it was for me to stomach how things were dealt with. Religion makes a lot of people do crazy things, and use it as a shield to get away with a lot. It becomes more of a status, than anything.
I spent a good chunk of my youth failing to understand why people talked about the good, and making a difference in life, and then living in the opposite way.  urning their noses up at the people they believed were beneath them. And quite frankly, It’s all a load of shit.

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Ernie Ball