“This place is closed. Fuck it, let’s just piss behind it.”
We were somewhere in the middle of Washington state. After driving for a couple of hours and slamming coffees, Tom and I both had to pee really fucking bad. The problem was it was about four in the morning and everything in the middle of nowhere was closed. Luckily, when we swung around to the back of the gas station we were about to pee on, there was a lone porta-potty hanging out back under a single ominous light pole.
Relieved, we got back on the road to Portland. “But wait wasn’t the next show in Sacramento?” I can hear you asking yourself. 10 points to you for paying attention. We had to make a quick stop in Portland to pick up Tyler Gibson AKA Doom Toof AKA the guy who probably designed at least one of the band shirts you own, and his dog Leia. They were hitching a ride to Sacramento with us so that Tyler could stay at his grandma’s house or something. Seattle to Portland was the first leg of this long ass eleven hour journey and our shift was fucking done. I was free from my co-pilot duties and finally able to lay down on the back bench and catch those Z’s.
I woke up a few hours later still in fucking Oregon. This was the longest most grueling part of the entire tour; six grown ass men who have barely been able to shower in days and a dog crammed into a hot fucking van for an ungodly amount of time. That’s when we made the best decision we could make at the time: lets stop at Taco Bell for some lunch. I was fucking starving, and went a bit overboard ordering, spending close to $15. Again, this was TACO BELL, where a fiver gets you an entire box loaded with bullshit. So you can imagine how much garbage I got for triple that amount. We were nowhere close to our destination, so when we were finished with our FDA approved diarrhetic, we hit the road with only one goal – drive until we shit.
I was behind the wheel coming down a steep incline when the mountains opened up, and before us lay a giant lake. Shasta Lake. And it looked refreshing as fuck. Did I mention yet it was the middle of August and hot as fuck? Because it was. Someone made an off-handed comment, “maybe we should go swim in that lake.” We all kind of sat in silence for a minute, before we all agreed, “Fuck Heartsounds! We can go in a lake too.” It took us a couple tries to find the swimin’ hole access point, but we finally made it and were in the water splashing around like the man children we are. Tyler and his dog stayed by the shore, while the rest of us swam out and away from the weird rocky beach. Shane and Tom made it out to “Party Island,” a not that far but totally far little piece of land sticking out of the water, just begging for someone to go drink a PBR on it. I tried and failed, I am not a strong swimmer and I was on vacation trying to relax, not fucking work out goddamn it.
We were in the water for a while before we realized, “Oh yeah, we had a show to get to.” So we packed it up and got the hell out of there with the vans new air freshener, Fresh Wet Dog. Tyler stubbed his toe on the way out of the lake and started to freak the fuck out. I guess a stubbed toe when you’re a diabetic is a big ol’ no-no. So when we finally made it to The Blue Lamp in Sacramento, he bounced to his grandma’s instead of staying for the show. We didn’t have the luxury to just go home, so we threw our wet clothes on top of Megataur and loaded the gear in while the weird dad band that played the earlier show loaded out.
Tonight’s openers were Northern California’s VVomen and the homies in Bastards of Young. It was a great show but I was fading fast. There was a Starbucks across the street, so I took this opportunity to buy some overpriced coffee and shit in their freshly cleaned bathroom. DVPs at TheBlue Lamp were over ten dollars, but this cost was offset by the fact that they had a little catered food table in the back with the standard type picnic foods – sausages, macaroni salad, etc. I spent most of the show huddled in the corner slamming hotdogs. Nothing really out of the ordinary for me.
After the show we sat out in the van, struggling to choke down the final drops of the bottle of Tequila Ricky had, while we all told tales of shitting ourselves. Laura Nichol put us all to shame with her story, one which I will not repeat here, mostly because I can’t remember it in full detail. This tour had come full circle. When the bottle finally ran empty, Shane jumped in the van with Heartsounds and made their way home back to the Bay.
Bastards’ Sean Hills and his girlfriend Britta were kind enough to put us up for the night, even taking us to some bar that had a really fucking cool back patio and to get burritos. I will not comment on the quality of the burritos, but we were pretty far North. I’ll leave it at that. We made it back to Sean’s house. Most of everyone gathered around to watch the newest Game of Thrones, the second episode of the 7th season. But I missed the premiere and am super not into the whole group watching a show like this where I already barely know what the fuck is going on. It needs, nay, deserves my full blown attention. I sat in the kitchen with Britta and Ricky and somehow continued drinking, trying to convince my back sleeping on the floor wasn’t a bad idea.
Prologue: Driving home
Tour was over and we made our way back home to San Diego. Taking me on this tour was a goodbye gift from Western Settings. I was just a few weeks away from making a two year old dream finally come true and move out East to Chicago. It was cool to see the other side of tour; from being forced to listen to very rough demos of Western Settings’ upcoming album a billion fucking times, to the long drives and no sleep while being responsible for a van full of people as you drove through the night, to seeing all of the friends up and down the West Coast. The weird part was I still wasn’t even fucking sick of seeing these guys play. That’s how much I love these idiots. I still went to their shows in Tijuana and San Diego the next week.
It might have only been a short six days, but it was an experience I will never ever fucking forget. Not even if it takes me over a year to write about it. From the bottom of my cold dead heart, thanks for taking me with you.
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An ongoing anthology of tour diaries.