Our band recently had the amazing opportunity to go on tour for nearly two months as direct support for the Scumdogs of the Universe, GWAR. This came with some strings attached, however. No, we didn’t have to service Blothar’s dick-teats, that was voluntary. Instead, a couple of us would be pressed into service for our lords and masters. I was one of those: the shameless, the stepped-on, the slaves of GWAR.
For two months, we would play a show, furiously load our gear out in snow, rain, or heat, and then three of us would run back inside to don a more revealing pair of skivvies and monster shoes. To say it was rewarding would be one way to describe. The other would be grueling.
I didn’t really manage to keep a good tour diary on this last European tour… call it lack of motivation, call it the ability to download and watch TONS of films from Netflix on my phone. Either way, I still feel the need to put something down before it ebbs from aging and already addled mind: at least to learn a few lessons. Yeah, we made some mistakes on this tour, but fuck it; it really was one of the most easy going tours I’ve ever done with a crew that managed 0% slacking and 100% laughter.
There’s no real need for tour stories here; we all had a good time with relatively few crazy adventures. Most of the tour stories would just be us talking about old cartoons or cult movies while imbibing lots of alcohol. So let’s try a list of errors we made and how to correct them.
We finished up our tour with Carcass and Crowbar on the East Coast, so we and Night Demon had a string of shows in order to get back to California. Originally we had wanted to go to Cleveland (sorry guys) but we ended up in Webster, NY, at some old Mason hall or church or whatever… I don’t know. It was near Rochester, and even the few folks from Rochester were like, “Webster?” But whatever, the people who did show up were the right people and had a rocking good time.
We had to drive all night, again, but were set to hit Chicago and one of the best venues in the United States, Reggie’s Rock Club. The staff lead by Edgar is fucking on point, the food at the attached bar is great, they have laundry, a back room, but most importantly, they have insane Chicagoans who know how to rock the fuck out. Easily it bested any of the previous nights on tour… the ENTIRE tour.
We stepped out of the van into the Albuquerque sun behind the aptly named Sunshine Theater. Instantly, I could feel the carcinogens forming in my skin. This place was dastardly hot. The only place to unload our gear was currently baking in the open sunlight, so we opted to leave loading until we could find shade for our multitude of meltable props. Sean and I headed in an Uber to Home Depot and picked up more crap to fix all our broken hardware. We came, we played, we got paid, we were on our way for a two-day drive to Memphis. Until…
We were flagged down on the road by a woman pointing at our front left tire. I pulled off to the next rest stop and had a look. The rubber had quite literally been baked off the steel-belt of the tire, likely by the amazing New Mexico heat the day before. We avoided a blow out, but we did’t avoid being flummoxed by the lack of a tire iron in our rented van.
I mean, seriously, where to even begin? I’d say it was the worst start of a tour ever, but then again, I had one tour start where our guitarist and friend was near death with a burst appendix. Perspective, ya know? Losing a bus and all the money invested is really nothing so long as nobody is hurt. It costs a bunch, but that’s what credit cards are for.
Richmond, VA has become our East Coast home away from home. I can now find my way from our friend Jim’s house to the Slave Pit, but more importantly, to the local WAWA. Of course, we were more than stoked to be invited again for the annual GWARBQ to play and get wicked drunk with all our good friends.
First, we shipped all of our biggest stage accouterments on Amtrak well ahead of our flight. Tip: this is easily the cheapest shipping method for large items in North America. Then, we headed out on an early flight to enjoy the rest of the weekend.
We traveled from Memphis onto New Orleans. Siberia is an awesome punk club, but the way the stage is configured negated a bit of our show. That’s okay, this crusty-laden crowd is always friendly to us and the show was another rager. Once again, I think these fans were cleaner after we showered them with fake blood than when they came in.
A big fear we’d had during the first half of tour was the massive rainstorms coming into Texas. As we headed there, we were promised by the meteorologists that we would be getting the few dry days Texas had in weeks. What they didn’t mention was the horrible humidity that would be killing us as we loaded into Houston’s own Fitzgerald’s Theater. Are we California wimps? Surely. Does it suck to load in a full stage show up stairs in sweltering heat and 100% humidity? Surely.
It’s all becoming a hazy blur… I really bungled my self-appointed position as blogger extraordinaire this last tour. I didn’t write down shit. Was there lots of downtime? Yes. Was I tired a lot? Yes. Did I figure out how Hulu works on my phone so I could watch a bunch of Venture Brothers? Oh yes. Looking at this tour pass, I realize my folly to try and remember it all later.
But attempt to remember it, I shall. How I wish I had recorded my touringest years of 2008-2010, even just a little bit. So here goes… I had gone into work early to finish my Faith No More poster. I churned it out in record time, because Sean had been a tad upset in a text exchange the night before when I reminded him I had work on the day we were to leave tour. Still, I got done fast and showed up at the allotted hour to load the trailer and… those mooks were still painting costumes. It would be four or so more hours until we finally left Oakland. And those fucking costumes still weren’t finished.