@jalaliii (Taken with Instagram at Lands End Lookout)
Taken with Instagram
I write to you from my bunk in the tour bus. Outside my window is a mechanic working on a car lifted in the air. I am in an auto repair garage, me and the Hell Hole were towed here an hour ago.
The first tow came around 10 or 11 last night, after the bus slowly died on the side of I-5. The dudes who towed us that time tricked us into paying $500!!!
It was scary being on the shoulder of the highway with our colossal vehicle only inches from the more colossal semi trucks zooming past, rocking us. We all sat, playing Draw Something. Contemplating death.
The tow guys were kind enough to drop us off at a hotel, which was next to a Denny’s. They had a claw machine and Keil won a creature for our waitress as payment for her pretending that she did not see the 32 oz Heineken in the middle of our table.
Denny’s was our second choice, after the drive thru combination Carl’s jr/green burrito. We pretended to have a car and it worked except the green burrito half of the place was closed after midnight.
I finally went to sleep around 4 and woke up at 7:30 to try to get this Hell Hole back on the road. Hopefully the new alternator that is 20 miles away will work and we can make it to the show in time to play. It is going to be a close one!
So I am on the second of two tiny tours which both involve a single set of shows. The first time out we drove through San Francisco and the band played a few shows in Los Angeles.
This time around there is one show in LA and one in Las Vegas, my hometown! For these mini-tours, or extended ventures you might label them, I have begun to dress like a fancy man. I spent a few hours with my cousin Jesse hunting for the right jacket in the clothing stores of San Francisco.
It is a pin striped thing with three buttons and skinny lapels. It conveys a sense of “this guy maybe has an idea of what he is doing”. This is how I wish to represent myself and how I wish to represent the band.
At a college show at UCLA we were very bored and stuck in a classroom. I invented the game of riding down the hallway on wheel chairs and only kicking off other chairs or the walls. I think I misrepresented the band at that moment.
The crew is smaller now, we are without our world class sound engineer and also the band shrank down to four from five. The economy hasn’t been doing so well so I can’t blame the band for downsizing, it’s the way of the world.
At this moment we are driving through snowflakes. A scary thing, but I feel safe despite it. There is a Feeling that I have now, it is hard to name it, but let us call it a hopeful feeling. Some sense of impending doom that will be prevailed through and what comes after can only be a better version of that which came before, if I were to express in language, this Feeling.
Well, the tour is now over and we have begun our return to the opposite side of the country. I made it all the way to Miami! I will recount to the best of my ability a few things:
First of all, New Orleans. That is one crazy crawdad of a city. We had a day off to begin (normally we get days off the second day in a city), which turned out pretty special. I went to a bar where this nice lady was giving haircuts, so I had one for myself which at first I hated but by 72 hours later I was loving it. At one point Alexico was having a drinking contest with this local named Amber. They both lost but she lost real bad. We all were walking around the hobo streets of New Orleans with busted beads in the gutter and her stumbling, unable to stand without assistance. We tried to help find her car but gave up after awhile and her and her friend just took a cab home.
The next night was the show which turned out pretty excellent and fun. I had quite a bit to sip upon that night and I remember my phone being dead and I was all alone trying to find the hotel. Somehow I found it!
The next day we all woke up around noon or 1pm, still drunk as gods, with impending hangovers of death. So we did the only sensible thing and went out for some bloody Mary’s. I also had the most massive fried chicken breast I ever saw and a fried oyster and shrimp po boy sandwich. I felt better than I should have and thought that I could actually sing Katy Perry’s California girls at karaoke. A few verses in and I just straight gave up, apologized to the 5pm karaoke audience of 9 people and slowly dropped the mic to the stage floor and exited.
Keil went on stage and did an amazing version of white wedding. He even got a dollar tip from the bartender mid song! After that we all decided to get the hell out of drunk town, Louisiana.
We drove to Orlando, Florida where the band played a somewhat regular not too eventful show. At some point along the way we sold all the band t-shirts and in Phoenix we got a shipment of all remaining shirts which sold out pretty quick too. I had the idea to stop at a wal-mart and get some blank shirts for decorating. We sold about 15 “hand-crafted by the band” shirts which sold for sometimes staggering prices, depending on how well I was haggling that night.
After Orlando we went to Miami for the final show as well as my birthday, both of which came together! The venue was unlike anywhere starfucker usually plays. It was a clubby sort of bar with naked lady pictures on every wall, women with giant fake butts ordering 20 dollar drinks and a dorky doorman who was charging people $30 for entry.
The contract between the band and venue was for considerably cheaper tickets which ruffled everyone quite a bit. We ended up getting a larger amount afterwards but the band doesn’t want their fans unable to get in because it’s too expensive.
One cool thing though was that the owner of the venue also owned a super fancy restaurant next door which we ate at for free. This happens quite often on tour, but never at such a fine place. I ordered a giant steak that I had been dreaming about all tour long and we all were laughing and having so much fun. I felt so happy at that moment.
Miami ended up being quite a fun time and we all enjoyed ourselves. A few of the band members caught planes in the morning and now the rest of us make our way back across the map.
Before I end this I’d like to make a comparison about food that I think exemplifies tour life perfectly. At one moment we were driving across a wasteland in the south with nowhere to go for many miles in either direction. We were all starving so we stopped in some two bit town in I don’t even know what state. We walked into some restaurant that looked awful and just walked out. Across the street was a pizza buffet and we had no other choice. This place was very sad, the workers were sad, we were sad. The other people eating seemed happy, but the food was just terrible. Bugs in the salad. Just awful. We all felt ashamed afterwards.
Fast forward to Miami and running up a $400 tab we didn’t have to pay at some fancy restaurant eating a steak from the heavens.
Tour is essentially like both those meals. Long intense periods of waiting; on the bus, at the venue, during soundcheck, at the hotel, at the gas station, for the show to start, sometimes for it to end, to take a shower, to get the 8 members of our crew to get back in the bus.
The rest of the time it is like the steak dinner.