RTFM TOUR part 10
hi y'all, this is howie the drummer again with my second tour report! RIGHT NOW, we're driving down this two lane road somewhere in oregon, on our way to boise, idaho. remember the scene in close encounters of the third kind where the car's driving down the road, late at night? that's what it looks like out here. i feel like we're sitting ducks for an alien abduction or something. that would be sooo cool! in other news, i broke down and gambled at this last chance casino at the nevada-oregon border. i played blackjack for about half an hour and only lost a few dollars. surprisingly, the people at my table were very helpful when it was obvious that i didn't really know what i was doing. it was fun, but i probably shouldn't make a habit of it. well, the tour's almost over and we all lived to tell about it. just a few more shows and then home sweet home. one of the best things about this tour, for me, was the new friends i made in failure and summercamp, the two bands we were on tour with most of the way. great people and great bands! watch out for the chupa cabra y'all...
Back to rose, North on State Route 95, Southeast Oregon
The sky is the color of a sky-blue crayon and the air smells like someone sprayed Pine-scented Pledge all over the grasslands, an odor just hanging in the air above the ground, so potent you should be able to see it. It's beautiful outside, driving north along SR 95 in Nevada. The sun must have baked the scent out of the shrubs covering the land. Off in the distance, the sun sets gold behind the mountains. The drive to Boise from San Francisco involves driving through Reno, feeling the temperature rise from about 65 degrees in San Francisco to 85 degrees inland. Then you get onto State Route 95 through Oregon, which starts in Winnemucca, Nevada, pretty much the last town you see until Boise, 5 hours later. Once out of Winnemucca, you drive through more grasslands, more perfumed air, and on the map, there are no towns at all. Just a little red line that forks somewhere in southeast Oregon. I was actually fearing for our lives later on on that thin red line. There really was NOTHING along the road for hours, except the pine-scented bushes.
Today we went to the Boise radio station 100X and a DJ named Tim INTERVIEWED us and PLAYED 4 songs! During the DAY!! Man, "Dream Small" sounds really great on the radio. Really bassy and pretty. I almost felt another twinge of sadness that people won't be able to hear that song, ever, on the radio. Unless they live in Boise, ID! Well, who knows. Maybe one day. We've given up on radio for right now though. In August it will be time for us to REALLY try with 0 for 1.
We have a 13 hour drive. We stayed in Laramie Wyoming, Motel 6. We're conserving money again. I'm on page 200 of Infinite Jest. It's getting hard to sleep. I'm really worried about the web page, too, and tired. I hope people come to the Boulder show. Everyone is in way too good spirits. Only 2 shows left! :-(
I suppose I really ought to elaborate. Somewhere on the order of 200 people showed up to see our show tonight and they just looked incredibly happy. (They looked really healthy, too; the people in Boulder always look really, really fit, tan, and healthy to me.) But imagine that, 200 people in a town that we've only played about 4 times! During the show, I think we all tried to out-jump each other - I wasn't going to let the thin air get to me, and either was anyone else! At one point, Howie got out from behind the drums and raced around the stage; I tried to chase after him.
The promoter of this show was in such a good mood after the show, and you could just tell that the audience loved it all. We were just so happy after the show Rick drove around the wrong direction, into the mountains getting lost for like almost a half-hour, all of us laughing and yelling in the van. I just stared at the moon and watched how it illuminated the bushes, trees, and flowers growing on the mountains.
Driving home from Iowa City, sopping wet, smelling like Gabe's Oasis, is a very familiar feeling; we've been doing it for probably 7 or 8 years. Gabe's is one of the first places we ever played. It feels very comfortable, in a weird way - believe it or not, there are actually bars you can recognize by the smell. Gabes' scent is of wood, sweat, beer, and a slight tinge of urine, the smell of overexertion of drunken, collegiate bodies hanging off the ceiling beams as House Of Large Sizes plays. Tonight of course, House was not playing, but Iowa Cities audience was as endearing as ever - 2 new li'l kids saw us play today - had never heard of us, and asked if we had any records out. There were other kids there with "x"s on hands; STR8Edge. Tonight in Iowa City was no different than the first time we ever played there, except the terrifying metal staircase you load yr amps up is now getting so bent down that it's getting even more hazardous of a load-in. The smell is the same, the carpet has been taken away from the dance floor, but the same crochety old bartender who sells cups of water for 25 cents is still there. This is like terrific nostalgia for me - I've heard some bands get angry that they're still playing the same places year after year, but we rarely do. I guess that's how they base their success. To us, we base it upon how happy we are. And we're pretty happy tonight.
The drive back on a full-moonlit night - the green hills look like a blue-grey dim sea, and there are ravines on either side of the road where you either see deer playing or steam rising. We have driven this 4 hour ride between the city of Champaign and Iowa City from the beginning of the band, but back then, we were playing on a weekday and had to make sure we left by 3am in order to get back at 7am - so we'd have time to shower before we rushed to work. Tomorrow there is no work. Just me probably going into our backyard garden and figuring out how to hack through the 3-meter thick single mint leaf I'll probably find covering our entire yard.
If that's not success, I don't know what is!
seeya in a couple of weeks!