Part Four: I lost all but two pairs of underwear and 3 shirts on this tour.
I did something to my neck…something that, according to Web MD, is going to take several days to heal. I wish I could tell you it happened while doing something like sweating with the lights off or changing the trailer tire that blew just a few blocks from the venue after our last official day on one of the most pleasurable tours we’ve ever been a part of, but alas the reality is I just turned my neck too quickly to look at a noise I heard onstage during our set in Pittsburgh. So here I sit, my neck in what I think is a neutral position with a double dose of Aleve coursing through my veins, attempting to recap the last few days of (because it bears repeating) one of mine and the rest of the guys’ favorite tours to have embarked on to date.
Last I left off, we were heading to play a show on Super Bowl Sunday. This seemingly obvious off day’s show actually went pretty well. Despite having only about 2 and a half to 3 weeks of promotion behind it, the show drew around 100 or so people whom only half cared about the big game. Content with the show’s results we decided that rather than stay the night in a town where surely everyone was partying and yet another night of sleep would be lost to whatever scraps of alcohol the band could find, we would drive a few hours out of the way to Augie’s house in Maryland. It’s a bit of a 2nd or 3rd home to me seeing as we spent so much time there while recording the full length, so it was a bit of a comfort for me as well. Something familiar always feels good on a cold night.
After a decent night’s sleep and a quick load of laundry, we had to hastily make our way down to Vienna, VA for a sold out show at Jammin Java. This unsuspecting venue has become a bit of a favorite of mine due to the quality of their kitchen and selection of beers, namely Dogfish Head’s 60 minute IPA. We arrived without having to deal with much traffic (a change from our usual trips to Northern Virginia) so I took a walk down the street to the grocery to pick up some essentials for the last week or so of tour. The weather as we traveled north had been growing increasingly cold and I was beginning to regret not having an extra layer beneath my jacket. The show went off without a hitch…it’s a show and I don’t think I necessarily need to tell you about each boring details of every show. You’ve seen us play, I hope, and it went just like when you’ve seen us except this time…well I was probably wearing the same thing. I went back to Baltimore after our set, where I indulged in a late night meal of an eggplant sandwich with onion rings. Woke up, rode to Augie’s, and we began out trip to Philadelphia.
It had been a few years but after what I was told (I slept most of the trip) was a lot of traffic and detours, we made back to the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. This was the coldest night of tour hands down. Between the wind and my lack of another layer as previously mentioned, I was near miserable during our load in. You can assume everyone else had the same thoughts on being outside in general that night. Kyle decided to dress me that night and I took rather well to the shirt he lent me, as I wore it for the rest of the tour. People are always great to us at shows in Philadelphia, but it felt really good to be playing in a church basement again. I miss this kind of show. It’s a very informal kind of show and the most prominent sign of that were the people “brown bagging” various bottles and cans throughout the night. This made for a particularly rowdy crowd, something for which we are always thankful.
While everyone stayed in Philadelphia and delivered Andy (Hellogoodbye’s guitarukelelemandolinkeyboardist) a hangover that left him laid out on the next day’s green room couch until nearly doors, I rode to New York. I was scheduled to be the debut reader on our friend and label guy (truth be told I don’t know the name of his official position) Dave Conway’s new podcast “Conway and Friends”, in which I pick a children’s book to read and discuss. I chose “The Diggingest Dog” by Al Perkins. It was a fun time and I’m looking forward to hearing how it turns out. After what turned into a new $20 cab ride through Times Square traffic, I arrived to find that we had already loaded in (I should have felt worse about not helping) so I just made myself a sandwich and chilled out a while. This show went really well I thought and the crowd was far less tepid for New York than I was expecting. The Doghouse staff was there and it’s always great to hang out with them and I got to meet our new booking agent, Mike, for the first time. All in all it was a great night.
The last few days of the tour were great. New Jersey and Boston are always fantastic to us. Perhaps it was having to sleep sitting up in Boston or maybe the fact that I wake up when anybody else’s alarm goes off and they sleep through them for 5 minutes (a phenomenon that still astounds me), but I found myself quite tired. So, rather than act as the type-a, social butterfly I should be at a show, I instead saved my energy for our 30 minute set each of these last few nights and retired to the nearest couch as soon as we were finished. While I was sleeping in New Jersey a very nice young lady, seeing a few days earlier via twitter that I had lost nearly all my socks in addition to the rest of my clothes on this tour, left for me two pairs of very comfortable, clean, business-style socks. I’m going to have to make it up to her for not being able to thank her in person.
Pittsburgh was technically the 2nd to last day of the tour for us. We play the Chicago date in a few days, but we needed to head home to start recording a few new songs for something. I remember emailing Mr. Smalls’ promoter years ago in an attempt to play a show there on one of our first tours. Now here we were. Tucked on a hill in Millville, PA, the venue looked to be a gutted church complete with a rectory and monk’s bunks (that rhymed without intention). The show went well and it seemed our inventory for this tour was planned perfectly, as we showed up to the show with less than 10 shirts. Seeing as it was sort of our last night with everyone, Dylan, HGB’s tour manager, bought us a bottle of gin. I came in 2nd place in a game of Scrabble and then it was time to play. The show went well, but I felt a little off rhythm. I hadn’t had a hot shower in a few days and my neck, as I mentioned at the start of all this, had twisted in a way that made it hard to move as I prefer to onstage. On occasion I would look back throughout the set and it appeared that Kyle was catching hell from Travis and Andy continuously. It looked like he was trying to drive through city traffic. I was very entertained. We loaded out after spending 30 minutes getting the van off a patch of ice and lather, rinse, repeated the night away. We said our “this isn’t goodbye yet, we’ll see you in Chicago”-s and that was that…until a few blocks from the venue we popped a trailer tire 2 minutes into our 8 hour drive. No big deal, it was a fitting ending to a tour for this band.
Now, I’m never quite home…but it’s definitely going to feel good to not be on the move for a few days (JUST a few though). I learned a lot on this tour, mostly things I will internalize and try to use to mine and the band’s advantage in the future but if I’m willing to sing about unknowingly getting a girl pregnant only to be thankful (and then deal with the guilt and conflict over THAT notion) that she drank so much she miscarried, then I suppose I can share one thing I’ve learned which has mostly nothing to do with anything I’ve written about here over the last few weeks: I’ve still got a lot of growing to do. I’m 26 years old with more questions than answers and while that scares the shit out of me, it also excites me to the point of giddiness.
I want to thank Hellogoodbye, Gold Motel, and Now, Now for making the last few weeks such a pleasurable musical and inter-personal experience. I want to thank you for reading this; it means a lot that you care about the band enough to do so. Safe Travels.