Philly band plans to tour Florida, Russia

Andrew Gelburd and Marco Florey of Placeholder hang out together in their house. | Brendan Menapace TTN
Andrew Gelburd and Marco Florey of Placeholder hang out together in their house. | Brendan Menapace TTN

The members of Placeholder, including Temple student Andrew Gelburd, are no strangers to long rides in a van.

The band has toured all over the country in the confines of a Subaru Outback.  This fall and winter, however, will take the band farther than it has gone before.

Following a tour on the East Coast this month, the guys will be playing punk rock festival The Fest in Gainesville, Fla.  That’s a lot of traveling, but it’s nothing compared to the group’s winter plans: Eastern Europe.

This past September, the band released its second full-length album, “I Don’t Need Forgiveness,” which was recorded in Massachusetts with Justin Pizzoferrato, who has worked with Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth.  Since then, Placeholder has kept busy putting together shows and preparing for its upcoming tour.

Gelburd, the guitarist and a senior communications major, got permission from his professors to take time off for the tour.

“My teachers were all pretty cool about it,” Gelburd said.  “That was a huge sigh of relief because it’s my last semester, and I don’t want to miss out on this opportunity as well as jeopardize my chances of graduating.”

Gelburd and drummer Marco Florey grew up outside of Harrisburg, Pa. The band will leave on Oct. 26, beginning in Lancaster, Pa., the home of Placeholder’s singer and guitarist Brandon Gepfer.  From there, it will play Richmond, Va., Greensboro, N.C., Atlanta and Jacksonville, Fla. At The Fest, the band will play on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1., alongside acts like The Menzingers, Daylight and The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, among others.

The East Coast tour could be daunting for some, but the group said its plans for Eastern Europe prove a bit more intimidating.

“We’re all pretty nervous,” Gelburd said.  “We don’t want to end up in jail like [Russian punk band] Pussy Riot.”

“I’m not worried about the shows being good or anything,” Florey said.  “Just about not dying or going to jail.  We want to get a dashboard camera for many reasons.”

With the help of a friend from Moscow, Placeholder has set up a two-week trip to Russia, playing in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladimir, Kazan, Samara and Ekaterinburg, then Kiev and Harkov in Ukraine.  The band will be touring with Russian band Rooftops.

Placeholder will have plenty of opportunities to see the country, as the shortest drive from one show to the other will be at least four hours.  However, it will have help navigating Russian roads from the band’s friend, Gena.

“Gena has done this a bunch before,” Florey said.  “So we have a lot of faith in him for stuff like places to stay.”

As for lodging, band members said they will hopefully be able to sleep on friends’ couches or, as Gelburd said, “anywhere that looks comfortable.”

Placeholder said it has embraced the exposure, but there have been a few roadblocks along the way.  It has gone through a few lineup changes since releasing its debut, “Nothing Is Pure,” in 2011.  Gelburd took over guitar duties before the recording of this past album and a bassist left the band.  Since then, it has had a few friends fill in on bass for shows and recording, but the band still doesn’t have a permanent bass player. Luckily, the band has someone to play with it on tour. On Placeholder’s upcoming EP, Gepfer handled bass duties in addition to guitar, vocals and songwriting.

“Unfortunately, Flea [of the Red Hot Chili Peppers] said no,” Gelburd joked.

“I Don’t Need Forgiveness” is out now on Black Numbers Records, and Placeholder has a 7-inch split EP with Rochester, N.Y.-based Such Gold coming out soon.  The latter will be packaged to resemble a pack of baseball cards as part of a release from Secret Audio Club.

Brendan Menapace can be reached at BSMenapace@temple.edu.

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