Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour -S2 E1: I Don’t Know How I Survive

This blog is part 8 in an ongoing series and is the official transcript for the Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour podcast on Spotify. Listen to the episode now featuring “I Don’t Know How I Survive” or go ahead and read on for the transcript below.

If you’re behind, jump back to a previous transcript here:

Introducing the Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour! (it’s a podcast)
Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – S1 E2: Roman Candles
Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – S1 E3: The Ghosts of Beverly Drive
Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – S1 E4: Company Calls
Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – S1 E5: Tiny Vessels
Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – S1 E6: 60 And Punk
Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour – S1 E7: Bixby Canyon Bridge

Welcome back to Season 2 of the Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour. It’s me, hi, I’m your host it’s me, Death Bus. Yeah, that’s right I’m still here chugging along these deserted highways. I was fortunate not to get axed during the winter podcast layoffs after refusing to do a holiday episode, but I suppose we’re still in the middle of the season so maybe I shouldn’t draw too much attention to that right now. 

In Season 1 I focused on some of my favorite Death Cab For Cutie covers so far and told you a couple stories, but this season we’re gearing up for something pretty big. 

Not the show, but me personally. 

I, like you, had a mild panic when I realized it was the 20th anniversary of Transatlanticism; where did the last two decades even go? 

But more than that – it’s been 20 years since The Postal Service? 

I feel like The Postal Service were with us for such a brief time and then they disappeared like a ship lost to sea without a tracking device. 

Not a single blip since.

I just finished watching Season 1 of 1899 on Netflix and you should check it out if you haven’t already; it’s weird but in mostly the right ways. I think there’ll be a season 2 but then I heard it got canceled so, don’t get too invested. 

Anyways, it didn’t take long for me to realize that the Transatlanticism/Give Up tour wouldn’t be making its way to sunny, sunny Toronto, Ontario this year. 

So I did what any sensible fan would do. 

I buckled down. I grabbed my credit card. I signed up for the pre-sale. I stood in line.

I didn’t get tickets to the Seattle show. 

Not one of them. 

You guys are fast over there. I had a 3 hour head start and I still couldn’t get through!

I want to tell you guys something.

When I was 17 and trying to decide where I wanted to go after high school, I was pretty dead set on making my way to the States to attend an American school. 

I’d met with our school guidance counselor a couple times to figure out how to do it as a Canadian. I had half-decent grades but I didn’t really push myself towards attending a university like most of my friends did. While they were all sweating over Biology and Physics exams, I took classes like Creative Writing, Photography, Drama, Art and Physical Education that allowed me to mostly goof off and learn how to do fun things I wanted to understand better. It’s way more fun developing your own scripts and characters for a play you have to act in than learning about how different substances react with each other or whatever they were doing. 

My guidance counselor didn’t seem worried about all those things, instead he’d just tell me about how I’d had to take the SAT’s and that they’d be a big undertaking. 

But I was going to try it out; I picked out a couple California based schools because I thought that’s just where you go if you want to do music or act and that’s where I settled my big career plans – in about that much detail, too. 

I’d been talking about moving to California since I was like 6 years old – I don’t know where I got that idea then but it has been firmly planted in my mind for most of my conscious life. 

I didn’t end up applying to those California schools, though. I ended up picking one closer to home where I could take audio engineering and music production, instead, because I was working at a local recording studio at the time all of this was going on and they encouraged the idea enough that it seemed the smartest move for me then. 

I foolishly thought that after completing my voluntary position at this studio and backing it up with a formal education, I’d actually get a paying job in the industry here. 

Never make this assumption if you’re planning on getting into music. That’s the biggest piece of advice I can offer anyone as I stand here today. 

Because while I was afforded lots of job opportunities, none of the people promoting those opportunities cared to pay their engineers back then. 

You had to earn it. 

For how long? 

That seemed completely up in the air. 

If you were more tightly entwined with someone in the industry, you’d get there faster. Like my friend who’s uncle owned a studio. 

If you were a girl you’d be put through a way longer trial period no matter where you went. 

I don’t know if that’s still true today – but it probably is. 

But that’s neither here nor there. 

So I couldn’t get tickets to the show in Seattle. 

But the band were playing other places. 

I looked into a few of them when Ticketmaster booted me out of the Seattle queue again. 

Arizona? Sold out. 

New York? Sold out. 

Boston? I’ve already been to Boston, even if it was only for a couple nights. I wanted to go somewhere I hadn’t been before.


Do I really wanna go to Minnesota? The Canada of the South?

What about the Dakotas? That’d be a funny place to end up.

They all sold out while I was thinking about this. 

But then the additional dates started popping up. 

Good, good. Another opportunity for tickets or failure. 

I had a bit of time to think. 

At this point I, like you, knew a second Seattle date would be added and frankly it felt ridiculous that we were all waiting for it. 

But I knew it’d be tough. 

So I settled on a back-up plan. 

L.A? No.


Where is Berkley anyway? 

I took an Ableton Live online course once from Berkley and I knew it was supposed to have a great music school, but I actually had no idea where it was. 

Sure, it was California, but where? California is pretty big.

I pulled up a map. 

There are lots of cities I’ve envisioned myself flying into in California, guys. L.A, for sure. San Diego, definitely. 

Where is Berkley…


San Francisco? 

Wait, how far is that from actual San Francisco? 

I’m sort of bad at telling distances on maps – always have been. 

Turns out it’s like an hour out of the city which is further than I expected but that’s also plenty close enough for me to consider it an easy day trip. 

So when Day 2 of the pre-sales arrived with a new Berkley date, I was ready. 

Again, I was 3-hours early. 

…and Ticketmaster apparently fucking hates me because somehow I got booted out of the queue again and didn’t get any tickets for that date either. 

Guys, it is really important that I attend this tour. 

It’s arguably more important than the two Toronto dates I’m otherwise already seeing Death Cab play this year here in Toronto for the Asphalt Meadows tour. 

Those tickets were sold directly from the venue and I had no problem at all getting them. Thanks Massey Hall. 

Yes, I tried the second Seattle date, but that was a bust, too. 

Which is a shame because what better place is there to see a Death Cab/Post Service double header than Seattle? 

The answer is Berkley and here’s why. 

I haven’t been to California, despite this being a childhood dream that I’ve abandoned several times over. 

It’s warm there. Warmer than Seattle if I’m to understand it correctly, especially in October when these dates hit. 

But really the Berkley venue for this tour just looks way cooler than that arena in Seattle. 

I don’t mind arena shows – they have their place and I’ve seen plenty of great artists perform them, even from nosebleed seats which yes, yes I tried those, too, but I couldn’t even get those shitty ass seats. 

But I really wanted General Admission tickets because I like the freedom to wander around even if 90% of the time I stay pretty firmly footed where I park myself at the start of the show. 

It’s important to have choice. 

Plus, I like being up and close to the band. I know the sound isn’t as good from a few feet from the stage, but it’s where I like to be. If I wanted impeccable sound, I’d just listen to the record. 

The only other time I’ve ever seen Death Cab was at an arena. And our seats were alright, up a level and off to the left of the stage, but it just felt so far, so I didn’t really want to relive that type of experience for them.

And the Berkley show is outdoors, which I’m all about. 

But it’s also pretty fitting that I end up seeing this band in this state because when I was first introduced to both Death Cab and The Postal Service over 2 decades ago, it was by a friend of mine that lived in California. And I can almost remember the way that introduction went perfectly to this day – a conversation we had over MSN Messenger of all things. That’s obsolete now, right? It used to be a pretty big deal. 

These two bands were staples to that friendship so, while I’ve lost touch with the friend, it seems the right place to take in The Postal Service live show. 

The good news is that I managed to get tickets for the tour – thank God they added a 3rd date for this city. This means I also then had to book some flights from Toronto to San Francisco and secure some sort of place to stay that wasn’t going to cost me a thousand dollars for the week. 

Since I’ve never been to San Francisco, I’m staying for just shy of a week to see as much as I can and not feel like I’m rushing around while I’m there. 

And as this trip approaches, I wanted to celebrate it in some way. So, surprise! I’m rebuilding the entire Postal Service album from scratch because I can and you can’t stop me and I might have developed a problem with these covers.  

I’ll weave it all into some sort of metaphor for not giving up on your childhood ambitions over the course of the next few months.

And that, in short, is what this Season of the Death Bus For Blondie Variety Hour is all about. Each episode will feature not only a Death Cab cover, but a Postal Service cover, too. 

I’m aiming for about 1 per month leading up to our adventure in California. 

Okay, now that we’ve got all that out of the way, let’s start the episode. 

I’ve already sort of released the first Postal Service cover which was Clark Gable, so I’ll save that for a later episode but you can grab it on my YouTube channel if you want to hear it, but today I wanted to feature one that I haven’t put out yet and just finished. 

Quite literally. I just re-tracked a couple of the vocals just ahead of recording this podcast because a couple lines just weren’t sitting right – I’m much happier with them now. 

Here’s “Sleeping In”.

Canada Post Project – Sleeping In (The Postal Service Cover)

This time of year is always pretty tricky for me because I hate the cold and lack of sunlight here. While most of the year I’m up bright and early and full of energy, these days I find it near impossible to get out of bed and start my day. If it wasn’t for my dog getting me up at 7 or 8, I’d be in bed still, for sure. 

Despite that once I’m up, lately it’s been really tough to focus on much of anything. The circumstances of my life and the world we live in these days is just overwhelming and it all feels a little hopeless these days. I’ve always chalked myself up as someone who can put a positive spin on most things but, I seem to be getting a little worse at that. For now, I blame it on the weather but I sometimes worry it’s more than that. 

Honestly if I wasn’t spending my days working on these covers, I don’t really know what I’d be doing. They give me something to turn my attention to that doesn’t make me feel terrible and are a welcomed escape from everything else going on.

On that note, I’ll cap this episode with “I Don’t Know How I Survive” and see ya back here when the next set is ready.

Death Bus For Blondie – “I Don’t Know How I Survive” (Death Cab For Cutie Cover)

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