Gypsyhawk: Noisecreep Tour Blog #4
I'm attempting to write about this week sober so we'll see how it goes. Pretty terrible so far.
Every time I went back to the dressing rooms to grab something or ask someone to move their van I was greeted with all matters of this and that by someone. I know we were trying to leave, but you can't tell Kyle or Luther you don't want another shot. They just don't understand. So anyways, Ron and I are trying to get on the Brooklyn route and got suckered onto the Manhattan route. First mistake. Then of course we hit one of those butthole toll booths.
Remember when Indiana Jones threw that Nazi off the blimp because he didn't have a ticket? Well, in New Jersey they just make you pay the full amount. What ticket? We never GOT a ticket! No matter. We'll just suck up the literal highway robbery and make way to the abhorrent Manhattan tunnels. Here's where our next mistake came about and I'll confess this was my fault. I should know by now that the Holland Tunnel is the one that doesn't allow trailers EVER. Well, fuck it. Some guys in my band can't remember if we take the 210 west or east to get to our practice space.
So we got to the Holland tunnel, got yelled out, got our trailer searched, and were told to make way for the Lincoln tunnel. FINE. But then the GPS fucked us again. It simply could not handle the metropolitan sprawl of New York City. U-turns were made, cursing was sounded. Eventually we got to the Lincoln Tunnel. What's that? You're closed because of Hurricane Sandy? The Queensboro bridge? What the fuck is THAT?!
We lucked out on the traffic lights there, mostly green, but right when we got to some five way crossing I simply lost all signal on my iPhone. We closed our eyes, stuck our index finger out, and somehow chose the right way. All systems were back up. After making our way down some never maintained backstreet we were finally almost at our destination in Queens. No more than two blocks left and we were stopped by a big rig taking up the entire street. This was when it started to become funny to me. If I had had a gun 20 minutes earlier I would have splattered my brains across the windshield. A sedan behind us must have still been experiencing some degree of frustration because he just drove up on the sidewalk while we waited for the semi to move. Soon enough, it did. In all, what was supposed to be a 90 minute drive took us 4 ½ hours. Now let us never speak of it again.
I gotta say though, even though it can be a nightmare logistically, New York is one of my favorite places in the world. Great food everywhere, lots of great people watching, and it's a massive cultural epicenter. I love it. After breakfast and laundry we went to Webster Hall. They have a union that insists on taking all your gear for you up a few flights of stairs. Fine with me, though I've heard they occasionally will drop your amp so we kept an eye on their progress anyway. These dudes are in some kind of contest with each other and would grab our 8x10 bass cab single-handedly and haul them up the stairs on their backs. Maybe it's not as hard as it looks, but I'm never going to find out. So add another parking nightmare into the mix and eventually we played a glorious show. There were at least 700 people, but there may have been as many as 1,000, and some of them were the type you definitely want to put on a great show for and we did. I'll leave it at that. Some kid mistook me for one of the guys in Lamb of God and when I laughed at him his New York side came out. These people can be very testy. Sorry, dude, but you made a face like an old dog trying to get out a hot shit when you crouched to get a look at me. I laugh at funny stuff and that was funny.
Ron would like me to address an issue here: Civilians in the green room. Hey, civilians. You are not part of the crew. You are not a Defender of Good Times. Just because we're in a band does not mean that the bucket of Budweisers magically replenishes itself. Nor does the Wild Turkey that we just had to walk do the street to buy because you housed the end of our Jameson. You definitely do not get to just use our bathroom because "it's cool, man" especially when you know we're having a meeting. You don't get to be agitated and ask how long our meeting is going to take when we ask if you can step out for a minute. And you DEFINITLEY do not get to eat the rest of Ron's chicken sandwich. Different rules apply to chicks, obviously, but there are age old rock n' roll traditions of give-and-take that must be respected. And dudes? You're just a punisher.
The next night was in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. We had my good friend Nick along for the ride and he had his tattoo machine with him. Only Eric had time to get any, which was a van and trailer on his feet. We got some video of it that might be worth watching. Supposedly the foot is the most painful spot on the body to get grinded on like that. Some of our good bros from Pilgrim came and hung out backstage with us. They brought with them a flask of Jim Beam and a bottle of Canadian Mist, the finest of all the North American mists. Combine that with the bottle of Sauza that Nick smuggled in and you have yourself a full on House Party. And let us not forget about the Bear Fights that Luther and Bonnie had. Do you know what a bear fight is? It's an Irish Car Bomb immediately followed by a Jaeger Bomb. That's basically like picking a fight with Charles Bronson, or hell, a bear. It's meant to fuck you up. You don't just have one as an aperitif. Have you heard of the band I Wrestled a Bear Once? I'm not sure if that's a real band. It must be a joke, but it's about as funny as a herpes outbreak on a hot babe you're about to bone out with.
Boston. Eagle Claw laid down the Eagle Law. Gypsyhawk brought the Gypsyrock. And The Sword played to not The Bored. Eric got food poisoning from a bad falafel. I've never heard such violent heaving before. It hit the ground with the force of an elephant taking a shit from 30 stories up. I think that's where Putrid Pile got their name. Some dude named Metal Bill was having a birthday or something because in between every song people were chanting his name, I assume because he was chugging something. I couldn't help but chant in the mic along with them. I believe the show was sold out. You can read a review of it here.
Washington, D.C. was pretty off the chain. Sold out and beyond capacity. I couldn't even get back into the room during The Sword's set. There were simply too many people in there to open the door all the way. But we got a shit ton of free food and beer. Waffle Chicken sandwiches and buffalo wings. The beer was from a local brewery called DC Brau (I think) who have an endorsement deal with The Sword. They make a dark, vicious beer called Winter's Wolves in their honor. Good night. Great crowd.
Ever read Blood Meridian by Cormack McCarthy? Whenever The Judge and his crew would slaughter a village full of indians the chapter would simply end with, "And they rode." Well, that's all we did after slaughtering Washington, D.C.; we rode out of town to Knoxville where we spent our night off on Four Loko and licorice in a hotel that we won in a bet with a carnie.
Next stop: Birmingham, Alabama. If you've been doing your internet research then you know we've been covering Ram Jam's rendition of "Black Betty". That is a song about some slut from Birmingham. It's been going over fantastic every night. We always hint that we're about to cover it, but the crowd never knows for sure until I hit those first chords. Every night the crowd erupts as soon as they hear it. But not in Birmingham. Something tells me they've seen it before. This town doesn't care much for showing up to catch the support acts, but they were just as wild as any other city for The Sword and that makes me happy. We took a tour photo with all the bands on stage together so look forward to that if you like that sort of shit. I know I was smiling like a buffoon the whole time. Weed has that effect on me. Fuck weed.
Orlando was pretty rad. But it was far and away my worst night of the tour. I could not get in the zone. I'm not sure if it was because I didn't have enough alcohol, or too much, or because Men Without Hats was playing next door, but I think the main problem was that I've taken for granted how good and easy these shows have become. Since about Cleveland I've barely had to try. I just chug a few drinks, plug in, and beat my guitar to death and hope it doesn't snap in half. In Orlando my first mistake was that I fucked up my "Gypsyhawk" solo during sound check pretty bad, but nailed it during the performance. However, I fucked up CHORDS on that song. Played a G when it was supposed to be a D and vice versa. "Overloaded" just felt a little sloppy and "The Fields" wasn't too bad but I think I missed "the big note", as I call it, of my solo. My "Hedgeking" solo was sloppy and I spaced on a few of the progressions, but I nailed "Black Betty".
Last was "Commander Of The High Forest". I don't know. I messed up one little part that shouldn't have been missed, and I think the end of my solo sorta gave out. I just couldn't get in the zone. I couldn't focus. Maybe it was the sound. Despite the sound check all I could really hear was myself. Could it have been that I drank too much before the show? Bah, humbug. I obviously just didn't drink enough.