Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thunder Gunt Rampage Tour- October 8-31 2009 with The Grates PART 1


October 8th- Little Rock, Arkansas White Water Tavern
Our first date with the Grates! We drove from Murfreesboro that day, all pondering on what they would be like. I also had a BBQ tofu sandwich from White Water Tavern on my mind. If you are ever passing through there, you should check that out. I highly recommend.
It was also our first tour with a trailer. We just can't do it without one now... Our mental well being was at stake. We were all very excited for the extra space!

As we were leaving Kelley mentioned she was feeling a bit under the weather... which by the time we made it to the venue I was feeling a bit off myself. We had no idea how much of a dreadful foreshadowing this would prove to be.
After meeting the Grates I made my way over and ordered the BBQ tofu sandwich. Unfortunately when it came I was full from the gross gas station tuna sandwich I had forced down my esophagus earlier. So I nibbled a bit and decided to get take-out.
The show proceeded, opening with the Grates, who are from Australia. We were all impressed with the lead singer Patience's out going nature and way of connecting with the crowd. Very upbeat and energetic. Unfortunately I got up to use the bathroom in during their set and a bartender swiped my sandwich! I was devastated but they calmed me down enough to play.... Seriously if there is one thing in life i can't stand it is my food getting messed with. Especially food you dream about for months. Despite it all the show was fun! We stayed with bar owner Matt White, who had just moved in to his new and awesome house. I was starving upon arrival and Lin and I went on a very Hunter S Thompson style search for food, ending up at a gas station with the choice between a can of tuna or a can of spaghetti-o's. I bought them both and headed home, soon after consuming the can of tuna. It was disgusting. Next thing I know i was puking off the back porch. I'm pretty sure either that tuna was bad or I just shouldnt have ate that much tuna in one day. Either way, what a way to start the tour!

October 9th- Norman Oklahoma The Opolis
Kelley and I awoke to a confirmation that both of us were sick. I was feeling a couple steps above a bad cold, but not anything serious. I slept the 5 hours to Norman, trying to sweat it out. Nikki mentioned a few of the same symptoms we had the day before, it had spread. We all knew it was downhill from there.
Unfortunately, in the panic and sickly haze, we forgot about an on air interview for a Norman radio station... And again apologies to everyone involved.
The Opolis was a pretty cool spot. It is owned by the band the Starlight Mints, who were very nice people.
After load-in we went to the Pink Elephant, a small place about a block away. It had a bit of a weird vibe but the food was really good. I got some soup for my sick self. After soundcheck we had an interview so we went back to the pink elephant. There we met Jesus. Or apparently he was actually David. Whatever. We put him on the list.
We had a few super fans at the show, which I wasn't aware that we had in Norman. My favorite was the big guy with the bottle of jack.
That night we drove to Oklahoma City after the show, where Byron had some friends from high school. I went to bed early, and for some reason they all decided to stay up until 6 AM playing really stupid drinking games. Nikki said it felt like she was back in her old frat again...
I developed a fever that night.

October 10th- Lawrence, KS Jackpot Music Hall

I could tell I had a pretty bad fever when I woke up because when I took a hot shower I shivered the whole time. I spent the 5 hours drive trying to keep warm, but it just kept getting worse and worse. When we finally showed up to Byron's moms house I couldn't hardly move. Lin halfway carried me into the house, where the Grates were meeting Byron's mom. They had brought her a cake and flowers, how sweet!
I slumped over on the couch until Lin got me a thermometer, 103.4 degrees... I was shuttled upstairs immediately, pumped with medicine, and left to sleep it off. Meanwhile I can hear the Grates and the Darlins and Byron's family having a gay old time downstairs. boo.
Byron's mom made us all some yummy pizza and some soup for me. After several hours of passing in and out, hallucinating, and shivering, it was time to go play a show!! My temperature had went down some, around 102. I slept in the green room up until we played, and then commenced sleeping as soon as we were done. To be honest I don't remember what the show was like at all. I do remember I had to change my shirt that night 4 times from sweating through it!!
But I was really glad to be in the hospitality of a mom. Even if she wasn't my own...

sad and sick nikki

October 11th- Day off, drive from Lawrence to Denver

Awoke to 99.8 and was feeling like a million bucks compared to the day before. Unfortunately it was Nikki's turn to be the awful sick on this day.
Byron's mom fixed us a big breakfast of eggs and bacon and pancakes and fruit and everything a breakfast should have. Yummm.
We left a little later than planned, it was hard to rally the troops what with all the good hospitality, comfortable beds, and miserable states of being. Nobody wanted to get in that van, especially not for 8.5 hours. But we eventually made it in.
The drive went fine until we got about 3 or 4 hours from Denver, and as the altitude started to rise, the sun started to fall, and the temperature dropped below 30. And it was raining. The worst part was Deertick John had flown in to Denver, taking a break from his tour, to visit fiance Nikki Darlin. So he was waiting on us, and she was sick! Things on our end just kept getting worse... There was a ton of ice on the road, and after seeing a ton of tractor trailers almost swerve off the road, and almost loosing the control of our van/trailer on about 10 bridges, we just had to call it too dangerous to drive. We found a little hotel 2 hours from Denver, which definitely must've been a retirement home at some point. And I'm pretty sure the beds were made of cardboard. Byron and Lin went to sleep crossing their fingers... they were the only uninfected of the group!

October 12th- Denver, CO HI-DIve

Next morning- it may look like snow but in fact it was just ice! everything was white, but it was much easier to drive than the night before. We checked into our hotel in Denver and it was awesome! The most comfortable beds ever! that made me very happy. I took a great big nap.
On our way to the venue this guy flicked us off and told us to stay in our lane, honking the horn furiously. We all laughed as we pulled up to the red light beside him. He was ready and waiting for the window to roll down. Lin, who was riding in the copilot seat, took the opportunity and pushed every button this guy had. He looked like Bob, the evil spirit and antagonist in the Twin Peaks series. His skin was very porous, and it looked like he had smoked 20 million cigarettes in his life. Highlights:
"Why don't you stay in your own fucking lane?"
Lin-"Where are you from?"
"I'm from Denver you fucking faggot, where the fuck are you from?"
Lin- "Thank god i'm not from Denver if everyone looks like you do!"
"Stay outta my lane, go back to where you came from you faggot, Why dont you go suck a dick"
Lin- "How many dicks do you want me to suck?"
"I don't care how many dicks you suck, faggot. Fuck you!!"
Lin- "hey man, let me ask you something"
"what the fuck do you want??"
Lin- "do you got any extra cigarrettes?" (the man is smoking a cigarette)
"If I did I sure as fuck wouldn't give you any, faggot"
Lin- "What Kind do you smoke?"
"something something faggot something faggy fag...."
Lin-"Do you smoke Charlemagne's?"
"Learn how to fucking drive and shut the fuck up"
Lin- "Im not driving dummy!!!!!!! you got the wrong guy but ill pass it along!"

Our friends the Nicotene Fits opened that night, they're from Denver. The show was fun, although I was still finding it hard to put forth a ton of energy. Ty had been stricken by the undiagnosed sickness... He was so sick he couldn't play. Which luckily for them they used to be a three piece so they knew how to pull it off. Guess he isn't as much of a hard ass as me... haha or maybe he's just not as stupid. Either way, we felt bad that we had gotten him sick, and knew it was inevitable the others would probably get it too. What can I say, Those Darlins make an impression I guess.

Patience and I both noticed that it was really hard to sing at such a high altitude. Up there where there's less oxygen. A mile high!

October 13th- Day off, Drive from Denver to Salt Lake City

Ate at a pretty good Mediterranean place called Abe's. Byron claims we "cleaned up" and Lin says he "french dipped twice." After eating we went to a health food store and LOADED UP on stuff to make us feel better. We had all reached the plateau of the sickness, where it inevitably settled into our chest, giving us horrendous coughs and wheezing chests. But at least we didn't feel like crap anymore. We got some Eucalyptus oil for decongesting, Lung tonic, Cough Syrup, Throat Spray, and Ear Candles. And some tea tree oil toothpicks to chew on in place of cigarettes. We really get down in health food stores. The Grates were also familiar with homeopathic remedies, we totally nerded out.

It was another 8 hour drive that was mostly uneventful. We did stop at this rest stop/diner that was pretty cool. And there was this big golden lab that tried to follow us into the restaurant who was lost. He had a rope on his called that had been ripped. When we left the restaurant he was still waiting outside, so we played with him for a while and debated stealing him because he ruled... We all packed up in the van and watched the dog slowly run over to another lady who yelled at him to get away. It was heart wrenching. We sat in silence for a while, watching, and Byron didn't even start the car. Finally Lin spoke up, "should I go check his collar and see if there's a number to call?" "YES!!" we all said in unison. He chased him down but unfortunately no luck, no number. We bid him adieu as his dough eyes sadly watched us drive away.

October 14th- Salt Lake City, Utah Kilby Court

Kilby Court was our first All Ages show on the tour. It was really cool. You can't drink there but it's worth it to have a space where the under 18 crowd can see music. And the promoters for All ages are always so much more hospitable and appreciate what you do. Lance, who owns Kilby court and also the bigger, main venue in town, was so sweet. He made us dinner, vegetable curry. YUM.
The space was really cool too, and the weather was just right. Not too hot, not too cold. The Kilby Court has a room for the venue on one side, then a big courtyard with a drink and snack stand, and the merch room and green room across the courtyard. In the middle they have a little fire pit, and it was very cozy.
Today was the first day we were all feeling well enough to hang out, but Alana and John had caught the sickness as well. Really not cool. I think Patience ended up getting a little sick, but for the most part her, byron, and lin avoided the bug. Lucky bastards.

October 15th- "Day Off"

Twelve and a half hour drive. Bah humbug.

October 16th- Seattle, Washington KEXP, Sonic Boom, Sunset Tavern

It was raining when we arrived. Of course! We ate at some Mexican food chain, it was okay. Then we hurried over to KEXP to record some songs and do an interview for the radio. You can check it out online. They had some pretty good coffee and it was a good time. And they had a table that had a mama hen and her chiclets mosaic'd in.

We headed straight the record store Sonic Boom after KEXP to play for the 2nd time that day. It was a great record store. I love record store employees. They are usually really sweet and appreciative of you being there. Especially the owners. I guess a record store is usually more of a labor of love than a business venture. Anyway, the stage at Sonic Boom is crazy because it is in the corner where normally there are more record shelves, but when a band comes they pull out this big wooden stage and lay it over top of them. It ends up being something like 10 feet high. When you play it feels like your in the Crow's Nest of a ship, everybody's face is lower than your feet. it ruled.
Next we wheeled our stuff around the corner to Sunset Tavern, where we met up with the Grates again. The Sunset Tavern was apparently a huge part of the grunge scene and Eddie Vedder still hangs out there. And also the dudes from Guns and Roses. Either way, we didn't see any flannel sportin' celebrities but there WAS a wall to wall packed house! It was awesome. The crowd was really warm and jiggly. Definitely the best show on the tour in terms of attendance. But my adrenaline from the show was soon killed as I was crammed back into the van to go to Portland. I slept the whole way, and we arrived at the hotel at 5:30 in the morning. We were playing the Vice/Scion Garagefest the next day and all the bands were staying in the same hotel. When we arrived there were still a handful of garagers standin outside, one of them including Jared from the Black Lips.

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