On the Road (Again) with Peat Rains from You Bred Raptors?: Part 2
Day 6 – Minneapolis, MN – Kitty Cat Klub
I crashed soon after the big jam in Appleton. We were comped rooms at the hotel a couple of blocks from the club and were allowed to keep our gear on stage overnight. Holy shit, that’s a game-changer when you wake up exhausted or hungover. Sure, packing up and loading the van sucks at that time but it’s so much nicer to not have to worry about gear storage overnight.
Minneapolis was a city I’ve personally been trying to book for a few years off and on. You’ll hear it from all nautical corners of the touring world that the Twin Cities has a spectacular music scene. The problem therein lies with it being out of reach three quarters of the year due to snow and the arctic freeze. The upside to trying a show then is that your audience is captive, if for no other reason to reverse the early signs of frostbite slowly eating away at their appendages. We were hoping that this show would be a good turnout, despite it being our first time there.
After a few false starts booking through friends that live in the area, I reached out to a booker on a Facebook touring group. This tactic is wildly hit and miss. I will venture a guess that if you were to send out ten messages to ten different entities, maybe, and I do mean maybe at best, two will get back to you. One of those will fizzle out or you’ll be ghosted, and the remaining one might your wild-card. This was definitely our wild-card. We kept hearing good things about this venue called the Kitty Cat Klub. Our drummer, KC, had sent me their way earlier but had received no responses by cold-emailing. It was pretty much the best place to play for a band at our level in that city. If we didn’t lock in Minneapolis, there was no reason to go that far Northwest and I would have to reroute AGAIN. Long story short, our booker, Braden, was able to secure the night we needed. I was a bit hesitant as school would not officially be back in session. A few years back, I did a tour diary for an entire southern jaunt to eleven cities, over half of whom were in college towns out of season. Each entry became more and more difficult to remain hopeful and optimistic. I mean, how many different ways can you say “no one came to the show tonight and what do all these Greek letters mean on these enormous, smelly houses?”
We arrived at our host’s location where they cooked food for us. I can’t begin to state the overwhelming amount of support from friends and fans. We get fed better on tours than we do in New York City. It’s easy to get bogged down by bullshit and to feel the frustration of the climb. But the outpouring from our cheerleaders handing us cups of Gatorade during the last two miles of the marathon is extremely helpful. If they believe in what we are doing, then there is something there. As musicians, we can tell whom genuinely thinks you’ll succeed and those that are obligated to be there by friendship or proximity. We don’t deserve your burgers and homemade coleslaw but we will 100% take it and make a mess of ourselves eating it in the process.
We hit load-in right on time. I showed my expired ID as per usual to the vigilant door-guy. He looked at it and said he couldn’t let me in. Listen, before you throw tomatoes and cabbages at me, hear me out; I work in a bar doing this exact same thing in New York City. I also look well into my thirties, weathered, battered and torn from years of skating, chess-playing, Macgyver-binging, and hauling musical equipment from one beer-soaked bar to another. The point is that I don’t look young. But I’m not special. I follow the rules. I return my library books on time and pay my Blockbuster late-fees. But this guy was being kind of a hall-monitor about it. He had to put X’s on my hand which told the bartenders I couldn’t drink or go into certain areas, including near the stage. At 36, I’m being designated to the kid’s table and might not be able to play. My passport was back at the host’s house and I was trying to keep my cool. So, my hosts in their eternal awesomeness had to bring it over there to prove I’m not Benjamin Button gracefully aging backward. The ironic thing is that I don’t drink (never have) and I wouldn’t be getting alcohol anyway. All was well and perhaps a merit badge for steadfast dedication to liquor laws would be given in some kind of coronation ceremony later.
Putting the nonsense behind me, I was enamored with the venue. It’s by far one of the coolest places we have played as a band. It’s enormous and has so many dark nooks and crannies full of comfortable, vintage furniture, a pool table, pinball machines and a patio that completed the establishment. It’s winding, stone-built interior and vaudevillian aesthetic fits perfectly with our own style. The whole goddamned place was one big green room. Thank you, Jesus. Braden was one of those rare bookers that put in thought for support bands. We did the tour sandwich and went middle of three bands total. Always opt for this spot. Play it safe, and don’t ever assume a local band’s fans will stay for you. If they will stay, they will also get there early. So, if it’s three or five bands (more on that bullshit later), be the cream in the Oreo and take the middle. If it’s four bands, take the Rainbow Cookie approach and go third. If you don’t like cookie analogies, I don’t know what to tell you; you’re a husk of a human being, and you probably like Rice Cakes. You disgust me.
The first band wailed and warmed up the room leaving us to take the stage around 10:30 pm. Sometimes, this is late for a Monday night but you could never tell tonight. There were over 100 people there, eagerly waiting for us to play. They were engaged and energetic; finally, a college town that delivered with the promise of young, inquisitive minds with a penchant for partying. The set was tight that night and the band fed off the crowd. We killed it on merch and the headlining band put on a very raucous set as the hometown heroes. It’s just great when everything works out. The ‘Golden Show’ is so rare as a musician. This usually contains five elements:
- Great crowd
- Played well
- Paid well
- All the bands were great
- Awesome accommodations/after-party
As a touring musician, you’re lucky to hit MAYBE two of five of those. The rest are not in your control at this level. Your band could put on an awesome show to four people. Usually, those shows have great sounding bands that will get lost in the ether. You could get a good guarantee, but the promoter could bomb at their job and no one shows up. Sometimes, you’ll walk into a packed place only to have the audience all leave after one of the bands. It takes a special planet alignment to make the Golden Show happen. Minneapolis was really goddamned close. We even got to hit a fun after-party with one of the other bands. It was at a DIY house called the Side Pocket that put on shows, had a mini-ramp and a generally very welcoming atmosphere. We woke up the next morning and helped clean the kitchen and folded all the blankets. We are like, the worst rock stars ever.
Day 7 – Omaha, Nebraska – DAY OFF
My original idea for this entry was just going to be “Hey, we went to Omaha.” I felt that it would succinctly capture that thumbtack on the map of our adventure. But I wouldn’t want to insult an entire land-locked state, would I? We originally had a show scheduled in Omaha at a big club. Then that show didn’t happen because a bigger local band in the area wanted the date. In the Utopian world where people barter goods and services, YouTube didn’t force you to watch ads and famine isn’t a thing, Goliath would take David under his wing and let him open up the show and throw them a small guarantee. But that part of the Bible was left on the cutting-room floor. This band, let’s call them “Bon Jovi”, blocked off two dates until they decided which one they wanted, leaving us in limbo. We have no leverage as we’ve never played Nebraska and the show would probably sell out anyway without us. So, I get it; business and politics. Just for once, I’d like to adhere to the old model if bands were more inclined to help those below them. Long story short (too late), they ended up picking our night and we were left without a show three weeks before we left. The booker told me he was looking for a DIY show but then stopped responding to my messages soon after. I didn’t push too hard because we knew we would be making no money so we opted for a day off.
Tara, our cellist, seems to have family in every city. And they come out in droves to our shows. It’s less of a family tree and more of this arachnid web shooting across flying buttresses and barn beams alike. You can tell a lot about someone by the people that support them and the company they keep. Her family, some of whom have never seen her perform, have been some of our best, most captive audiences. They genuinely enjoy it and want to be a part of our journey. We didn’t even play that night and her family got us a couple hotel rooms and ordered us pizza. I mean, who does that? You want my first-born… have them!
Later that night, the band bribed the hotel front desk lady with some Girl Scout’s Thin Mints to open the hotel pool for us at 1am and swam into the wee hours. Because of this staggering generosity, welcomed R&R and renewed sense of self-worth in a very uncertain realm, Omaha turned out to be pretty fucking cool.
Day 8 – Lawrence, Kansas – The Bottleneck
There’s something to be said for the universe balancing itself out. Like Gambler’s Ruin, hot streaks in a casino come to an inevitable end and you usually even out if you don’t press your luck too heavily. The decks are stacked and the house usually wins. Perhaps we should have stayed in Nebraska and taken up corn-husking full time. I’m not knocking it, either. The sheer amount of vowels in that city makes it highly appealing for homeownership.
Two years ago, on this same route, we had played the Bottleneck to some surprising and successful results. It was mid week, we had the same headliner and school was just kicking back in session. The venue was a nice 350+ capacity place that had hosted some stellar and intimidating bands. On our last run, we had played there a night before the Melvins sold it out. So, we’re gonna take partial credit for that, warming up that audience 24 hours in advance. You’re WELCOME, Melvin. The booker was excited to have us back and we were equally stoked to have a familiar place with a tested audience. I was, however, becoming a little worried as promotion was kind of lacking for the event and the Facebook invite page had what could be considered only as a ‘sad’ number of people that said they were attending. I need to call out Facebook here for being incredibly out of touch with events and promotion in this chasm. As more and more people jump ship from Facebook, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to determine anticipated audience. The option to say “Interested” instead of “Going” just compounds this clusterfuckery. You can safely assume the “Going” is close to accurate while the “Interested” number is more akin to the last number for Powerball on any given night or your estimated weight and birthday while visiting a carnival sideshow. My fears were founded as I sat hiding in the green room hoping a bus full of nuns would crash outside the Bottleneck, where they would take refuge inside, and we would get to have some sort of Sister Act singalong during our set (don’t kink-shame me). The first band HMPH! played a SICK set to the other bands. They were mathy and weird but groovy at the same time. All pocket players and not letting the low attendance fumble their precision execution. One of the members to the headlining band said they were perplexed why no one had shown up. It turns out that both of the other bands also weren’t local, but from Kansas City, about 45 minutes east. I felt defeated and then responsible for not being on top of this and pushing the booker to get a great local draw. Sometimes, this is your job and other times, it is not. But I’m going to get this Mighty Giant Ladder System and climb up on that cross anyway. Who’s got the nails? Let’s do this!
We played well to a few dedicated fans that had seen us play here before. The large room looked pretty sparse and the bartender appeared annoyed at the tips they weren’t making. We set the banners and lights up as if we were playing to a sold-out show and did our thing anyway. It’s easy to be tempted to match the energy of the crowd but that’s some silly bullpuckey. You’ll make fans by doing what you do best and putting on a good performance. They paid the cover and you have a job to do. You’re playing to two people: the person seeing it for the first time, and the person seeing it for the last time. I think that’s an old Broadway saying but you can attribute it to me on my epitaph.
After the set, a verbal fight had started at the bar a few storefronts down. Apparently, a man was upset and arguing with his tattooist about a brand new piece she had done on his arm that day. Whether it was a misspelled Chinese character, anatomically incorrect tribal armband or Marilyn Monroe’s face looking like a Van Gogh piece, we’ll never know. A patron from that bar wandered over to us after listening for long enough. He asked for a cigarette and we asked for the skinny on the situation. He answered that “Dick-Tattoo is pissed about some new ink he got today. Apparently, he thinks it’s sub-par.” I’m paraphrasing because his thick accent and annoyed reaction recounting the drama made it hard to understand. We urged him to back up that caboose and naively asked why angry-guy was nick-named Dick-Tattoo. In hindsight, this was a dumb question. The details of this encounter and the many inquiries you will have as a result are too vast for a bass guitar-centric publication. I’ll just let it simmer. It will be like the end of the Sopranos here.
We packed up while the booker for the event left without a word. None of the bands were getting paid. That was not a surprise to me. When the venue can’t pay the door guy, sound person, security or bartenders, the bands ain’t getting shit. Our accommodations for the night were with one of the members to the headlining band. He lived in Kansas City, so while it was a bit out of our way, we could save on a hotel and sleep in as Tulsa wasn’t a terrible drive away.
We arrive at 1:30am and somehow maneuver our junk-in-the-trunk, badunkadunk minivan into the garage with quite literally less than two inches to spare to shut the door. It was harrowing and driving with the cheapest insurance musicians can afford, not without a few breathless moments. Tara and I shoot rock-paper-scissors for the upstairs bed. I was triumphant and took to my quarters while they bedded down on the couch and floor respectively. I was now positively scared about all the other shows. I checked all the Facebook pages for them and sent messages to amp up promotion. I didn’t sleep easily and researched even more local blogs for each city asking them to promote their respective shows. I pass out working on my phone and I’m awakened a few hours later in a post R.E.M.-sleep haze. KC is standing over me saying something. His lips are moving but my neurotransmitters are installing updates and unable to process what he’s saying at first. Groggily, I hear, “So there’s some kind of daycare going on and kids are coming over. I think he wants us to leave.” I sit up, “what time is it?” I ask noticing that the sun still looks dim. “It’s 6:30am” he says with a equally confused look. Apparently, the host had forgotten that it was his house’s turn for daycare and the kids would be needing the living room for whatever kid-stuff kids do. I want to reiterate that the hosts were super kind to offer and these things happen. No hard feelings. KC said it felt exactly like the first season scene in Breaking Bad where Jessie is first kicked out of his place and goes to stay with his old band-mate, only to be told that they forgot they had family coming in when the wife comes home. Jessie realizes what this is and displays some false confidence and understanding, meanwhile walking out, tail between his legs. It was 7am and we don’t have a solid place to crash tonight till well after the show. Tulsa is four hours away so we trudge on. Maybe it’s not too late to turn back to Omaha.
Day 9 – Tulsa, Oklahoma – The Vanguard
I found myself in the van, ass-early in the morning trying to find info on where we were to crash that night. That honor had changed hands a few times from the booker to his friend, to another friend. I was told to hit him up over Facebook. His timeline photo was holding his small child and I made an executive decision to just bite the bullet and get a hotel room. We could catch up on sleep and not be beholden to anyone else’s schedule in the morning, fearing an impromptu barn-raising or crop harvest at dawn. I thanked them anyway for the offer and quickly found a cheapish hotel, where we begged the front desk for early check-in.
Tulsa had been a spot we wanted to hit for a while. Oklahoma is unavoidable geographically and is a good area to hit before the monster that is Texas. Oklahoma City and Tulsa were equal distance from Bumfuck, Kansas and we were lucky to have landed at a great venue called the Vanguard. The other bands had been hyper-vigilant about promotion and the night was looking good. We got to the hotel and passed out almost right away, a few hours before load-in.
It had been a couple of shows without any major hiccups from my pedalboard. I knew I was only tempting fate until it happened. The board was expansive and it was fucking heavy. Any kind of on-the-spot repair is a feat. The Templeboard’s patented Quick-Release Pedal Plates are anything but quick. With pedals screwed into perforated grids, the aesthetic and appearance are clean and organized but it isn’t practical for a touring musician, I am finding. Each day, another pedal has been moved. Either from wear and tear, barely fitting into the case, summer heat dissolving the plate glue or debris and dander from various venues stowing away for the ride. I knew I needed to give it a proper checkup before tonight’s show. I recently upgraded from a board about two thirds this size. On one hand, I had to upgrade to add some endorsement pedals. AND I needed to get rid of a terrible buzz and power-draw issue. With those problems solved, I found myself with a set of new ones; some of my pedals were redundant and while I DID use all of them, most of them were only for one part of one song. The real estate a pedal takes up is reliant on its practicality and use. For instance, I have a stutter pedal that I purchased because we have an entire song using that effect. The previous effect pedal used to achieve this was a multi-modulation pedal (Mooer Mod Factory). I wanted more control over the actual effect as the Mod Factory was temperamental and very touch-sensitive. So, after some successful YouTube viewings and $125, I bought the IdiotBox Mad Stutter pedal. This pedal looks RAD. It has Gene Wilder’s light-up eyes from Young Frankenstein in a cool red, black and white color scheme. Aaaaaand that’s the extent of my praise for that pedal. It has two knobs that kinda do fuck-all and the large footprint makes it a heavy addition to the unit. I don’t mean to slag the pedal but I’m struggling to find a use for it now that I committed it to this tour’s sound. I can’t use it for its intended purpose so forcing it into another song has been the compromise. I guess the lesson is here is that less is more. The board would be lighter, less cluttered and probably less noisy without it. But will that make me take it off? Probably not. I’m a stubborn doofus sometimes.
We had loaded in at the venue around 6 pm. We parked in an alley by the backdoor under the instructions “You can park there. Maybe a 50/50 chance you’ll get a ticket. It’s that or parking across the street without lights or cameras.” We chose to take our chances on the ticket. The green room was great. More couches after such a long day. Yes, please! The Vanguard had a large stage but the bands would be set up in front of it. They did this for smaller shows. A large curtain acted as a backdrop and bands could backline equipment behind there. Deep down, I was relieved. Filling a 400 cap room after Kansas was frightening. But if we got 50-60 people in this half-room, it could look really full and facilitate a good show. The first band, Brother Rabbit, also had a cellist. Tara had found a friend in the wild! They spoke eloquently about studying the instrument and commiserated on the difficulties of making a living doing so. It was fascinating to listen to two people that chose to color so far outside the lines. We’ve had a cellist in this band for 8 or 9 years and I still am in awe of the instrument. We sure shot ourselves in the foot by making them so hard to replace but no regrets. Or in the case of Dick-Tattoo… NO REGERTS.
This band has been around ten years almost and gone through seven cellists. I know how rare they are. I tell people that it’s around 1% of musicians play cello and 1% of those can hack it outside of the classical world. Finding a competent player that can write music, improvise, jam, compete in a loud, rock atmosphere and have an interest in electric cellos, pedals and amps is akin to finding a Minotaur among a sea of unicorns under the shadow of a Pegasus. I fell onto a green room couch while they both had their cellos out. Although were both stepping out of the box from being an orchestral classhole, they both deeply respected the roots of their instrument. As a bassist, we are also indoctrinated with traditionalist regiments and dogmatic rule of how we should treat our sound; Jazz Bass vs P-Bass, four strings only, be a pocket player, Jaco is God. So, I understood, but was immediately jealous how they’re training in those annals had made them so prepared for almost any style. I witnessed a beautiful, haunting, mellifluous jam they improvised after just meeting. It’s a rare and beautiful treat to see such musicianship meld together like molten metal. I hoped that it would be an omen for a successful night. We really needed a win as we approached the halfway point of this tour.
The venue filled up slowly but surely. It wasn’t an amazing turnout but decent for a Thursday night with a bill of music off of the beaten path. Our performances are getting tighter and we are locking into our groove more each night, with or without the crowd’s help. We had a small guarantee for the night so I was hoping for merch sales to keep us above water. We were already running out of medium shirts. A full re-upping was not in the cards before the tour due to our budget. I was hoping we could eek by with what we had but upon merch inventory back in Lafayette, I was less than assured.
After the gig, the locals were telling us places to go. With an early end to the night (around 11 pm), we wanted to make the best of our time there. Most everyone told us with an audible sigh and wry smile to go to a place called the Center of the Universe. A geographical anomaly in the heart of Tulsa on a bridge. The videographer for the night, Jason, took us under his wing and without any prompting decided he would be our guide for the night. He took us to this bridge and explained its appeal; Walk up the bridge, to the big circle, and in that circle, there’s a smaller circle. Stand in the middle and start talking. You will hear your voice echo and reverberate as if you were wearing a diving-bell helmet. Those around you can’t hear the echo but you can, but only in that circle. The bridge had no instructions or explanation. It was none other than a strange, auditory happenstance. A train passed below us and other locals were milling around. The skyline was painted with light pollution and the air smelled clean. I was beginning to feel very far from New York City. My last couple of days there was a blur of packing and frustration before departure. I felt a peace that I usually only feel on tour. The band was happy and having a good time and we squeaked by with enough money to keep us going for the next couple of nights.
Jason took us to a gourmet donut shop and retro arcade bar. Zach, from the headlining band A Mixtape Catastrophe and husband to the gourmet donut baker, showed up to hang out on a school night. He’s a gifted artist and was integral in promoting for this show so hard. He gave me a sketch of Sheriff Hopper from Stranger Things that he had done. I keep getting told that I look like him and I guess it’s better than when I used to get Kevin Smith. We played SkeeBall and got comped free arcade tokens and some drinks all night by Jason and his very expansive connections. We hit the last call as I was slurping down a Slushie from the bar and we made our way back to the hotel. The town had shown us a good time and we hoped we had done so in kind.
Day 10 – Denton, Texas – J&J’s Ol’ Dirty Basement
At some point during the night in Tulsa, Tara had lost her favorite, lucky jacket. After some picture sleuthing and Columbo-like deducing, we realized it was back at the Vanguard. We also had left the back window partially open in the night while it down-poured. Tara’s jacket was found and mailed back to her place in Brooklyn and I sat in the wet spot for like four hours. Life goes on.
Sometimes during tour planning, you can just FEEL a night is going to be fucked. These cursed nights are going to happen. This night… ugh… I don’t know where to begin. I have a moral, internal dilemma during these tour diaries almost every entry; On one hand, I want to be completely honest because fluffy pieces are boring and benefit no one. The flip-side of that is that bands are largely expected to eat a lot of shit and not say a peep about it. You don’t want to burn bridges or trash-talk other bands or promoters. It’s tacky and destructive to the scene. Maybe it was an off-night and a stroke of bad luck. In all honesty, we have been doing this for long enough to know the difference between an errant lightning strike and someone wearing a metal helmet with a protruding spear during a storm. It’s obvious when someone doesn’t care about the bill. And it will be painfully clear when you show up.
The Cliff-Notes version of this booking was that we were booked at a much larger, and reputable venue. With some history in Denton, it was a great anchor date to hang our hat on. Upon looking for other bands to fill out the bill, I received an email back from a possible band that read “Hey man, you sure you’re playing that night? You’re not on the calendar.” Upon further inquiries that were met with silence, I finally got to the bottom of it that the night was double-booked and a party had taken our spot. Okay, these things happen but I wanted to see how they were going to remedy the situation. Normally, you don’t push or pressure your way onto an existing bill. The party was a record label anniversary with local bands. Alright, I get it. We don’t fit that. BUT with that said, the COOL thing to do in that highly unlikely scenario is maybe trying to find a way to make it all work. At least TRY. Labels are there to help bands and the silence here was deafening. That did not happen. This is the same shit that happened in Omaha, all over again. We were given to another place and after a month or so of being on the back-burner, finally confirmed two weeks before we left. The support bands were thrown on last minute with minimal time to promote.
We arrived in Denton early so we traversed the city’s largest book store for a couple of hours. We then met up with another branch of Tara’s extended family. They were fifteen people deep, driving upwards of over an hour away from Dallas to have a meal and see her band play. I was honored to be a surrogate family member for the night. I warned everyone that the venue wasn’t Carnegie Hall or even the basement of Carnegie Hall’s neighbor. The venue was the basement of a pizzeria, in fact. That didn’t sound bad to me as we are a busking band by nature and kick ass at any venue. It was iconic in the small town as a punk rock main-stay for bands. I briefly checked out the space and was surprised and relieved at the equipment available and space provided. I allowed myself to be excited. I remained optimistic as the headlining band had performed with My Life with the Thrill Kill Cult and wore bizarre masks and had a lot of stage energy.
Tara’s family, and the twenty or so other people we drew based on our last time there were the entire attending crowd. I’m not being hyperbolic, but the other bands drew no one. And that isn’t entirely their fault. They came on like champs last minute-ish to an existing bill and had almost no time to promote. They were super kind and appreciated the chance to play with us but to be frank, our band’s mood was pissed. Not at them, but at the consistency at which this is happening. We are a well-oiled and professional machine. We want to be taken seriously. The rock and a hard place here is that the band needs to grow their ticketed numbers in these cities. We can’t do that if we aren’t placed on viable bills. This isn’t a novelty act that needs to be paired with avant garde jazz, noise-music or performance art projects. Our strength is our adaptability and creating sonic crossover with the bills we play. We win over almost every crowd. Compounded with that, we had to compete with an enormous show up the street, that we had booked first. It was a sour taste to swallow. Life’s not fair, I get it. New markets mean you have next to no say in the matter should shit turn to shambles. With management, we might have been able to bully our way onto the better bill and this entry would have had an entire different tone. Our desire to be respectful and adhere to local politics is an unending and unreasonable battle. KC remarked that we get to hit these places once a year at best, and it’s madly disappointing when your invested efforts to build a city/market are thwarted by promoters or other bands that don’t care.
Despite these frustrations, there were some silver linings to the night: we managed to make some hardcore fans, and were given contact info for a few bookers in the area that would curate a solid night for us next time. These are crucial building blocks that, especially following the frustrations of the night, we will gladly accept as a win. We were able to bring people out, play well, be professional and make a good impression. We kept a Friday night show on the books (you NEVER want to give up a Friday night on tour), and made the most of the situation.
My final thought as we hit the top of the proverbial and literal mountain here is that these shows will make you grow. Ideally, the positive growth prevails with lessons learned about what to avoid, how to tackle red tape, and how to salvage a cursed show and make the most of any situation. How to persevere and continue the climb despite countless hurdles and set backs. The negative bullshit will be there, and you have to be careful to avoid growing cynical or bitter about the process. This is what knocks out 90% of great musicians: the bullshit. These things can take you away from writing and being creative, and can pummel morale and breed discontent. Touring is not easy or cheap (on average costing about $2K per week), and for all the time, money and energy you invest, you just want to be taken seriously. This is no weekend hobby for us, and after some 1,100 shows, we just want to be taken as seriously as we take this profession. So we remind ourselves often to keep our heads up and continue moving forward, find camaraderie in our high and low moments, and occasionally, enjoy some good, punk rock pizza along the way.