Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tour Blog, weeks 5 and 6.

Finishing this thing up, 3 fuckin months after being home.  Shit gets in the way, my bad. Thanks for reading.

Day 29, a day at the doctor:
So we wake up at Josh's place and start packin' up for our drive to Birmingham, AL, where we're gonna hang out with Gibbs from Dead Heroes, since our show in Sylvania got canceled. Pat gets up, and is hobbling around on his feet, complaining about how much they hurt, which he'd been saying since week one. At first we thought he had a minor case of athletes foot, but he swore up and down that that wasn't it. He starts saying he needs to go to the doctor. I take a look at his feet, and agree. It looks like his feet have been soaking in water for 5 weeks, and where the skin has withered away there are little pockets of pus everywhere. He can't walk flat-footed anymore. So we look up the nearest doc-in-the-box, and head out. We take him in and wait around for about 3 hours. 

He finally comes walking out, with bandages all over his feet. The verdict is: trench foot. For those of you that don't know, trench foot is a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure of the foot to damp, unsanitary and cold conditions.The use of the word "trench" relates to trench warfare from World War 1, where soldiers were stuck in the trenches and couldn't keep their feet dry. Skin starts to soften and fall of the body, leading to necrosis, and eventually gangrene and amputation. Fortunately it hadn't gotten that far, and the doctors just lanced his feet, drained them of fluid, gave him some prescriptions, and told him it was up to him if he thought he could play drums for 2 more weeks, as long as he followed a daily regimen of washing his feet and using special creams, he should be okay. So that was a relief, as we wouldn't have to cancel the rest of tour at the furthest point away from home that we could possibly be at.

We stop at a Wal-Mart to grab the prescriptions, and finally head out to Birmingham at around 5pm. We get to the spot Gibbs is living at, which is a recording studio, and him and a few people have pizza and beer waiting for us. What an excellent end to a shitty day. Some bro-band from Pensacola is recording and staying at the studio, they're all playing "Wise-Wizard", and everyone is already 3-sheets to the wind when we get there. Some of us play catch-up, but Morgan goes to bed in the van, because he's starting to get sick and he wants to try to catch it before it kills his voice. He probably caught what I had, which isn't great. 

Day 30, Vicksburg, MS:
We wake up and get moving at a fairly decent hour, and say our goodbyes to Gibbs. I don't recall much of the drive. Whatever. We get to Vicksburg and meet up with Jesse, the guy who set up our show. He's got a cool spot called The Doom Room. There was some miscommunication about the show, and until a few weeks prior, Jesse had thought it was canceled because Dead Heroes couldn't play the show any more. So it was just us and his band, Black Pussy. We played first, and as soon as we started playing, Morgan knew his voice was gone. The cold had gotten him. Bummer. We got through the set fine, albeit without a whole lot of vocals. People dug us anyways though, which was cool. Black Pussy played afterward, and they were rad. Jesse is a stand-up dude. He took us back to his pad, and we watched some DVD's he had of southern metal bands, and crashed.

Day 31, Baton Rouge, LA:
So this was a show that we found out a few days prior had gotten double-booked. We had the show locked down back in June, I believe. It was one of the 1st shows we booked. I don't know when the double-booking had occurred, but we never got told about it. Usually not a huge deal, if the other band is cool. I'm not gonna name names, but this other band had a $200 guarantee, and demanded that pizza be given to them when they got to the venue. So the promoter had to go buy them pizza. Real cool, rockstars. Some of us were hanging out by the merch tables, and one of the dudes in the band had the audacity to tell us that they were a DIY band. This, we knew, was an outright lie. They had a booking agent. Their shows required a contract. Their records were label-released. They paid for their merch designs. They weren't on any labels at that given moment, but were still operating through a 3rd party. NOT DIY. Don't try to capitalize on an idea that you don't understand. It affects those of us who truly are, and misrepresents your band. Not being DIY is fine, if that's the route you choose to take. But don't lie to your audience, and don't lie to bands who really are.

A couple locals played, whose names I can't remember, and we went on. Earlier in the day we decided that instead of canceling because Morgan was too sick to sing, we would just play an instrumental set. For the most part, we cleared out the room. A couple people dug us, but that seemed to be about it. The other band with the guarantee couldn't meet the guarantee that their contract outlined, and the promoter Matt had to go pull out money out of his bank account to make up the difference. He shot us $20, which was what he could afford to give, which was awesome of him. He also found us a place to crash, and bought us a few burgers to munch on, which was even more awesome. Matt was really apologetic about the whole double-booking situation, which wasn't his fault to begin with. No worries dude. At this point I came to terms with the fact that the promoter I'd been talking to in El Paso was punking out on us and not answering any of my phone calls. So we came up with a re-route and found a show in Amarillo instead. At least I caught it a week ahead of time. Not much, but better than the day of the show.

Day 32, Houston, TX:
Houston was a hard city to get booked. I had to find a venue to play at and book it through the venue myself, and then try to find bands to play the show. Basically had to act as a promoter in a city I'd never even been to. If you're not a grindcore band, it makes things pretty rough. A dude named Jonathan helped me out as much as he could, which was awesome of him, and was way appreciated. We booked the show at a place called Walter's on Washington, and I found a band named Ese to play with us. When we first arrived, we thought the show wasn't happening. Nobody was there, the doors were locked, etc. We hung in the parking lot for quite awhile. I got on the phone and tried to make sure the show hadn't fallen through, and then tried to follow through on the rest of the shows of the tour to make sure we wouldn't lose any more shows.

Eventually the sound guy showed up, and we loaded in. Eventually Ese also howed up, as well as another local who would open the show, named Killing Clover (if I remember correctly). They played first. Morgan was still sick, so tonight was another instrumental set. It went fairly well, the people that were there dug us. They told us after the show that if they knew we were a grindcore band (which we aren't) they would've had us play with some of the local grind acts (which I tried to talk to and got no response). Ese played after us and they fucking killed. They were so good. In a nutshell, they sounded like Motorhead. Really good band.

One of the guys from Killing Clover let us crash at his house, but made sure to let us know that if we stole anything, he was a gun-owner. Welcome to Texas, I guess. We went to his place and got really drunk. 

Day 33, San Antonio, TX:
This show was interesting, but fun. It was at The Ten Eleven, which is a very cool venue. Our friend Matt from Illustrations booked it for us. What made the show interesting was that another promoter in San Antonio got involved and booked the same "DIY" band that we played with in Baton Rouge. He also put locals on to support them. On top of the show that Matt had put together. So there were quite a  few bands playing. We backlined our gear and watched quite a few of the locals. There was a bar there, but we didn't get any free drinks, which was a bummer because I ran completely out of money that morning. Oh well. We don't expect a tab when we play at a bar, but it's always nice. Morgan felt better about his voice, so he was with us again, which felt good. We were pissed about this same "DIY" band being on our show again, and it showed when we played. Probably the most furious I've ever seen Morgan. He kept yelling "FUCK YOU" in between songs, and punching whatever was near him. He made a little spiel about DIY-ism and how some people lie about it and co-opt it for their own benefit. He never named names, but I'm pretty sure the audience knew what he was talking about. We're not a preachy band, we don't talk about ethics or morals or choices in between songs, but this time it felt very appropriate. I also found out this night that our show in Austin the following day wasn't happening. The guy who ran the space wasn't returning our contact's phone calls. More good news in Texas.

About half the audience dug us, which was cool. But again, "DIY" band couldn't make their guarantee, and the promoter had to pay out of pocket for them and their pizzas. Matt gave us some money out of pocket, which was fucking awesome of him. Nico from Illustrations put us up for the night at his parent's house, and we talked about what we were gonna do the following day.

Day 34, San Antonio, TX (again): 
Nico started working on putting together a last-minute show for us that night, as soon as he woke up. He was pretty much on the phone all day long. Morgan had also gotten a guys number that was at the show the previous night, who said he might be able to help us out. We got in contact with him as well and let him know what the situation was. We watched Machete, and his mom cooked us some food, which was awesome. We did the dishes. Finally, Nico found us a house show, and we rolled. The band Botfly, whom we were supposed to play with in Austin, was gonna play with us that night as well. We got to the house, and nobody was home. Somebody finally showed up, and it turns out it was gonna be on their back porch. We started loading our gear. Neighbors showed up, and said no. At first we thought, "fuck it, let's do it anyways" then the person who lived there didn't really wanna do it. Nico kinda pressed 'em a bit about it, but we decided it would be better to not put the people who lived there in a shitty spot where their neighbors might call the cops. We ended up following through on our backup plan that Morgan had put together with the guy who was at the show the previous night. It was a bar show, and we would play after the house band had finished their set. Most everyone who had rolled to the house wasn't 21, so we said our goodbyes and took off. 

The bar was cool, and the bartender gave us a decent sized bar-tab. So we watched the house band, who was called Bob Gnarly and The Gnailers, and had some drinks. A drunk Native American tried to sell us peyote, and necklaces made from buffalo teeth. Bob Gnarly was more of a chill band, but they were pretty good; yet totally opposite of us. We tore it up; Morgan was climbing on tables and rubbing the contents of ashtrays all over his face, and makin people really uncomfortable. Fun show. Some people dug us, and we were able to make a bit of money. Bob put us up at his place, where we slept in his "man cave", which was a building behind his house where his band practiced. It was late and we were half-drunk and tired, but I remember Bob hanging out for a few hours, smokin' everyone out and telling stories. I didn't want to be rude, but I put the pillow over my head and tried to go to sleep, we had a decent sized-drive to Emory, TX the following day to headline the night a fest.

Day 35, Emory TX:
We got on this fest through our friends Dead Heroes and Caulfield. Both bands were supposed to play with us, and both bands had to cancel. We were really looking forward to meeting up with our old tourmates Caulfield, so that was a bummer. This fest was mostly put together by some dudes from Dallas, and it happens once a year about 30-40 miles east of Dallas, out on a nature reserve that somebody's dad owns, I believe. Because of the other bands canceling, we were set to play last, as we were the only out of town band playing that night. So about 5 or 6 bands from the area (Austin, Dallas, etc) played before us. Some of 'em were pretty cool. 

We ended up hangin' out for a good 6-7 hours before we played. Apparently it was a donations type thing for the touring bands, so I found a cup and got one of the promoters to go around and try to muster up some funds to help us out. There was some miscommunication about how many bands were set to go before us, so we were really antsy to get playing by the time we finally got to go. Since it was out in the woods, there was a stage made out of a flatbed trailer, and everything was running off a generator. We started playing, and for some reason, I just fucking lost it. A lot of anger just flew out of me. The week prior had been somewhat disheartening, with cancellations, double-booked shows, a sick singer, etc. I was feeling really confrontational. I remember grabbing this dude by the hair inbetween songs and screaming in his face; nothing personal, I was just furious in general. I remember spitting a lot. People were off at their tents, and I wanted to make an impression on those of us that were watching.

While playing I think our 4th song of the set, Morgan jumped down offstage and some people were getting rowdy with him. I remember somebody throwing him down onto the ground. My remembrance of this is kinda hazy, and I was half-drunk (when you get bored in the woods, what else is there to do but drink?), but I kicked somebody in the head a few times, and apparently it was a case of mistaken identity. I had the wrong guy, I guess. All of a sudden I've been drug off the "stage", and I'm underneath a pile of people, or at least a couple of guys. All I know is that I need to get my bass off of me so I can get some mobility and get out from underneath these people hitting and kicking me.

The rest of the guys in the band had jumped off the stage and pulled people off of me. Apparently Kasey Liu-Kang'd some guy when he jumped off stage. I'm finally able to get out from under people, and the guy who put the fest together has shoved me up against the side of the trailer, and is yelling at me. Next thing I know, I'm in a daze. Apparently someone ran up behind him and cold-cocked me in the cheek. They got a good one in, and I wasn't prepared for it. It put my tooth through my cheek. Everything gets broken up, and some I remember some people yelling to keep playing. Morgan tells me to get back up and grab my back-up bass, as my main one has had the faceplate torn off and the guts of it are hanging out. I climb back up on the stage and open up the case, but I'm told "fuck no", and the guy is breaking down the PA. We get told to pack up our gear and leave before something really bad happens, and to watch our asses if we ever come back to Dallas. I find some of the dudes involved and try to make amends, I apologize and try to explain the situation, but I'm still dazed and bleeding and I'm not fully aware of all the details of what happened. I try to hash it out with the promoter but he won't have it. We pack up our gear and take off and find a cheap motel to crash in for the night.

There's 2 sides to every story and this one can't possibly have all the details, but that's what I recall and have pieced together from the rest of the guys' accounts of what happened. Nobody was in the right, of course, and I'm not really proud of what happened, but it happened and that's that; I did my best to apologize and hash things out, and some people wouldn't reciprocate, which I can't do anything about. I'm sure we'll be back to Dallas at some point, but probably won't be playing with any of the bands that played that fest.

Day 36, Lubbock, TX:
Long drive to Lubbock. My jaw hurt. A cool dude named Mike hit us up and asked us to come to Lubbock, so we did. We played an all-ages spot that had a bar in it, with a band from Amarillo called Cannonball, and Mike's band Throne of Iniquity. There was a good size crowd there, which was awesome to see. People were way into Cannonball, lots of pit-monkeys; but it was actually cool to see that they were pretty respectful of everybody else. Rare thing, in my experience. Show was fun, no fights happened, and people were into it, some folks even knew the words, which was awesome to see. We rolled to some friends of Mike's place after the show and had some beers and hung out. A dude in a gorilla suit showed up, which was the highlight of the evening. We went back to Mike's place and crashed for the night.

Day 37, Amarillo, TX:

Short drive to Amarillo, so we took our sweet-ass time in the morning, grabbed some food, and got into town around 6pm. The show got put together by a dude named Jacob, who offered to take care of us on the day our El Paso show got canceled. Originally we were supposed to go to El Paso and then to Phoenix, but the Phoenix show suffered the same fate as El Paso, so we figured we'd go up to Amarillo, and then take the following day off to make the 19 hour drive to our show in Vegas. It was in a basement that was underneath a Lion's Club (or Eagles Lodge, or something like that; one of those places for old men to go hang out and wear weird hats).

We hung out for quite a bit, fully believing that nobody was coming to the show - we were the only band playing. Eventually around 10pm, Jacob and some friends showed up, and a few more people rolled out. Apparently there had been another show going on that people were at. So we eventually loaded in, and played the set. the people that were there dug us, bought merch, hung out afterwards and everything. We found a Waffle House, grabbed some grub, then went back to the same basement we played in, and went to sleep. 

Day 38, Driving, NM & AZ:
That's all we did, all day. 50mph headwinds through New Mexico. Spent like 250 bucks on gas. No offense, but that section of I-40 is my least favorite part of the country to drive through, without a doubt. Fucking BORING. We got to Vegas around midnight, and crashed with our friend Thor. We watched that Predators movie, which was almost as fucking stupid as the drive we just got done with. Fitting end to the day.

Day 39, Las Vegas, NV:

Didn't go to the strip. Who cares. Rolled to the show about 7pm, played for 6 people. The venue had some security dude there whom I could swear was a white supremacist. I talked to him for awhile, tried to slyly get him to admit to it, but wasn't successful. There was definitely some veiled racism. Merch-Guy Mike sold him a t-shirt; I hope he never fucking wears it.

Day 40, Pocatello, ID:
Another long drive day. Sort of a homecoming show; Morgan, Phil, and Kasey are all from here. Kind of a small town, with a small scene, but the last couple times we've played there the shows were awesome. We spent our last dime getting to the show. The show had a decent turnout, especially for a Wednesday night. Friends came out, and everything went off without a hitch. It felt good to play the final show of a 40 day tour, and know that we were able to do it as a DIY band. The last several days were pretty rough, but we survived, nobody crashed the van, and we never got pulled over, and we were able to make it home without having lost our asses. All-in-all, a successful tour. Oh, and the burrito I bought in Portland that I mentioned in part 1 of the blog? Yeah, it sat on the dashboard the whole time. It never molded.

Here are some stats:

6 guys
40 days
33 states
10,400 miles
7 canceled shows
3 last minute reroutes
1 radio show
1 trip to the doctor
1 case of trenchfoot
7 cases of the flu
1 accidental drink from a piss-jug
2 brake pads replaced
1 $722 rear differential and brake shoe repair
3 shows without a vocalist
1 brawl between the band and the audience
Countless $5 Little Caesars pizzas eaten
1 wallet lost
1 instance of band money being stolen
5 noise bands
4 pop-punks bands
Shitloads of awesome bands
10 t-shirts stolen from Patricks suitcase
30 hours of porn watched on a phone
30 minutes spent in Canada
1 gorilla costume
1 cross-country dashboard burrito
33 very generous people who gave us their floorspace
Countless friends made
3 ounces of weed smoked
3 pipes ditched
12 condoms bought
0 condoms used