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Margot & The Nuclear So and So's

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At the moment we are 350 miles into the 800-mile drive to San Francisco. I smell so bad I almost want to cry.

 

 

MARGOT & THE NUCLEAR SO  AND SO'S |
ON A SCHOOL BUS BUILT FOR EIGHT

 

Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s are an eight-piece indie-rock group from Indianapolis. Their Artemis debut, The Dust of Retreat, hit the stores in late March, to much critical acclaim (including ours). We asked guitarist Andy Fry to keep a diary of the band’s tour with South, which they joined following a handful of appearances at South by Southwest.

The cast: Richard Edwards (vocals, guitar), Andy Fry (guitar), Chris Fry (drums), Hubert Glover (trumpet), Jesse Lee (cello, vocals), Casey Tennis (percussion), Emily Watkins (keys, vocals), and Tyler Watkins (bass).

Follow the link for a video of Margot & the Nuclear So and So's on tour.

MARCH 14

Let me fill you in on some background before I explain why I am sprawled out in the back of a rented minivan.

First, our band has had its fair share of vehicle trouble. We were in a van and trailer for about a year and it broke down all the time, usually in remote areas of the desert or in other extreme places like mountaintops. So when Tyler’s brother Lance came across a retired Indianapolis city bus about a month ago and e-mailed us the photo, we wanted to jump on it. First off, it is a diesel, which are generally more reliable for long hauls. Second off, it is about the size of an airport shuttle so there was more room inside for the eight of us.

Yes, we have eight members.

Our label agreed to give us the funding to buy the bus before this tour started, which is amazing. The only problem is we only had three days to completely gut the inside, build 8 bunks and figure out where our gear was going to go before leaving for South by Southwest in Austin.

So, no problem, we get into all that MacGyver type shit anyway so we went at it with full force, stayed up for two nights in a row and actually finished the bus this morning. After we finished, we went to two different DMVs in two different backwoods Indiana towns to get a license plate and then took the bus in to a tire shop for four new tires. For some reason—oh yeah, because they messed up twice and had to start over and probably thought we were queers—the tire shop took about five hours.

I had to leave the shop early to pack for tour, so I left the bus with Emily and Hubert, who had come in for reinforcement when we didn’t think we were going to finish in time. Right when I got back to Indianapolis, telling everyone at home about how the bus was going to change their lives, I got a frantic phone call from Emily. The front wheels were falling off the bus, she said. Hubert could actually see them wobbling from the driver’s seat.

So, after about three hours of frantic phone calls, we found a mechanic willing to look at the bus after-hours and, of course, it’s more than just the wheels, it’s the “ball joints.” I still have no idea what those are, but they are time consuming and expensive to repair. Even if he can fix it, we won’t be able to drive the bus until tomorrow afternoon...and we have to be in Austin (20 hours away) by 7 pm. South by Southwest is like an industry-type event. Beyond how much we all hate to cancel a show, it would have been like being late to your own wedding or something. Lawyers, managers, booking agents...these people know how to get angry.

Anyway, it’s 9 p.m. After a couple of nervous cigarettes I realized that we could rent a minivan, drive the gear down in our van (it seems to do better without the trailer), and still make our first SXSW show. Eventually (after some crying, I might add) everyone agreed that this was our only shot, so Richard and I drove to the airport, picked up a sexy Dodge Caravan, and hit the road. We can drive back to Indianapolis after a Nashville show next week, return the minivan, and then drive the bus down to New Orleans like nothing ever happened. We may have to leave the van in New Orleans, though. But that could be a good reason to hang out in the French Quarter for a while after the tour.

But I digress. I have been allowed to sleep for the first leg of the drive so I decided to make my first diary entry before I forget all of this. Richard is driving. That is a rare event, but he is so damn cute when he drives. He kind of leans over the wheel like an old man and uses two hands. I think we are in Kentucky. We have some speed.

MARCH 15

Here is a note to anyone who may be renting a Dodge Caravan and driving all night to make it to Austin for a show: THE DOORS LOCK AUTOMATICALLY.

We found this out in Memphis. Luckily, the gas station attendant knew how to unscrew the antenna and ram it through the top of the driver’s side door. Luckily, we bought the damage waiver. Luckily, we have speed.

MARCH 16 | AUSTIN, TX

What a clusterfuck. SXSW is insane. We slept in the minivan again last night,

We actually made it to last night’s show with an hour or two to spare. There was some sort of technical issue, though, and we had to stand on stage for about 20 minutes before we started. Always good for the tensions, alongside a 20 hour fuck-we’re-late van ride. I think Richard and Emily got into a fight over the microphones before we played. I just can’t believe we were there.

In other developing news, a couple of our friends from Indianapolis are actually driving the bus to Austin. That is a huge break, to say the least. That’s our house, you know.

MARCH 17 | AUSTIN, TX

We tore it up at Nuno’s in Austin last night. Literally. Tyler snapped the neck of his bass in half on the last song, spit beer all over the rest of us, and walked off stage. It was awesome. Especially considering we are borrowing the bass from one of my friends back home.

But really it was one of the best shows I have ever been a part of. The energy was amazing from the people in the crowd. And also I heard that someone from Big Star might have been at the show. That’s pretty cool.

MARCH 19 | AUSTIN, TX

If I may summarize, I am happy about the way we played in Austin. And it was cool to see some friends and meet a few new people. But SXSW was exhausting and soul-sucking. I hate bands now. No more bands. No more band photos. Every show I wanted to see I couldn’t get into.

MARCH 20 | NEW ORLEANS, LA

Remember how I told you some of our friends drove our bus to Austin? Well, they have decided to stay on tour with us. So now we have a bus, a 15-passenger van, a tour manager, and two roadies/homies. Our tour manager is named Marshall. It’s nice to have a tour manager.

New Orleans is deserted. This is the first time I have ever been here. We played in the French Quarter tonight, one street away from Bourbon Street, and we found parking right away. There is debris and water damage for miles and miles leading into the city. Very haunting.

We met Something for Rockets tonight, who will be touring with us until the end of March. The first thing they asked us: “So, do you guys fuck bitches or what?”

I like these guys. They have Jack Daniels on their rider and their bass player was in Phantom Planet. The keyboardist has a sweet porno moustache, as well.

MARCH 21 | NASHVILLE, TN

OK, seriously. We have been to Nashville about eight times now and have yet to play for more than five people. Total. Why do we keep going back? Well, we finally had a good show tonight. The problem was it was after our “official” show, which was uhhh... “sparsely attended.” We set up, played, packed up our gear, loaded out, and then drove over to the Basement and played an unannounced, secret show to more people than all of our previous Nashville shows combined. And we actually had a great time. Who would have thought? Maybe if they know we are coming, they have time to escape.

MARCH 23 | EN ROUTE TO JACKSONVILLE, FL

If a tree passes out in the bus, does it make a sound to anyone in Jacksonville?

I’m not sure what that means.

But I do know this. We just played Jackrabbit’s in Jacksonville. There was an open bar for us all night. We drank red wine all freaking night. It’s important that you understand that when I tell you this: Our set ended with Richard punching Tyler onstage. Like with a running start. We have video.

What is the lesson from all of this?

If you want us to play an amazing show, give us an open bar for six hours before we play.

MARCH 24 | ORLANDO, FL

Tonight we played our first show with South, who are from the U.K. We played a beautiful room to a large crowd and it went great. The lads in South seem really cool, laid back, and I really enjoyed watching them play. I feel weird. Nothing bad happened. They have a merch seller named “Li-il Jay.” I feel like I am related ancestrally to their guitar player. I mean, my family tree goes back to England and all.

MARCH 25 | MIAMI, FL

Two things you should know about tonight’s show:

1. We soundchecked twice as long as we played. And we didn’t get to soundcheck before we played.

2. My brother fell off the side of the stage when we were loading off. It was really violent; he fell into some hardware and cymbals. Of course, it made a huge crashing noise, as well.

3. (Bonus) A guy tried to board our bus and asked me how much the fare was.

MARCH 28 | CHARLOTTE, NC

The band we played with tonight was a trip, kind of like a combination of Bright Eyes and the E Street band. Casey told the drummer he was a “gorilla.” I don’t think he liked that.

We ordered some t-shirts today and realized we are probably broke again.

 

MARCH 29 | BALTIMORE, MD

We had to get up way early today to make the 10-hour drive from Charlotte to Baltimore. Or, I suppose I should say, most of us had to wake up and transfer beds. Still, never easy to do anything at 6 a.m. Except go back to sleep.

During soundcheck, I heard a strange noise and looked stage left, where I saw a completely horizontal Jesse Lee diving off of the stage with a cello in one hand and a bow in the other. He landed with a tremendous crack and the cello broke underneath him. I thought he was dead.

Somehow Jesse was relatively unhurt and tour manager Marshall located a cello rental place within three blocks of the club. So he played the set on a half-sized student cello and with a deeply bruised wrist. I think we have to have his other cello overnighted for tomorrow’s show. Yikes.

Somehow, late tonight, we got into a scuffle with some bridge people in the club parking lot. When I was falling asleep, I heard Casey and Marshall and a couple other dudes singing Eddie Money songs like sea chanties. Then I woke up to some frantic, ‘“Let’s get the fuck out of here”s and now I am driving toward our nation’s capital.

Later that same night…

Well, it turns out this has been a pretty eventful night. Somehow we lost the van crew on the drive toward D.C. Richard and I, brave navigators that we are, decided to pull off on an exit that promised us an IHOP. We drove for about 20 minutes before we finally came to a closed IHOP. So I turned left and within five seconds two cops were driving straight towards me with lights and sirens and the whole bit.

I realized at that point I was going the wrong way on a one-way street. And that I was driving a converted mini-bus like we were some jam-band. And that I reeked like booze, even though I was pretty sure I was sober.

So I rolled down my window, and what comes out of my mouth but, “Haaay... How dewy gethe exit back” or some shit like that. And I swear I am sober but that’s what came out.

Much to our surprise and delight, he pointed us in the right direction and we drove off.

MARCH 30 | Washington, D.C.

Tonight was tour manager Marshall’s last show with us (he had to go back home and work). He ended up onstage, bow-tied and shirtless during South’s last song, striking Saturday Night Fever poses while perched atop a drum monitor.

APRIL 2 | “A RUDE AWAKENING”

I woke up this morning, surprised that we were moving. I crawled out of bed and sat in the shotgun seat next to Hubert, as we rolled alongside the Hudson River and took in the sunrise over the New York City skyline. As if on cue, the bus started sputtering a mile before we reached the venue and suddenly we were holding up traffic, unable to climb the hills on JFK Boulevard. Somehow Hubert coasted the bus into a parking space near the bar and that is where it remains. Transmission fluid is leaking all over the place.

Tyler and I have been calling repair shops all day from a freaking Starbucks. It’s Saturday. We’re in New Jersey. And we have a diesel mini-bus. AAA just informed me that the coverage we bought before we left doesn’t apply to my vehicle because “it doesn’t have a toilet.” So there’s that.

This is not good. Canada is not looking likely.

APRIL 2 | HOBOKEN, NJ

The show in Hoboken went well except for some sound-related problems. It was packed and hot and sweaty.

Before the show, the lads from South shot footage of Casey strutting and prancing in Times Square to a song off of their new album for a video. Nails were bitten off as Casey made it back to the venue one minute before we started the first song, but I knew he was in good hands. A little dramatic on the entry, I suppose, but it played well.

The hot topic all day has been a possible crabs/scabies outbreak. I know, I know, it’s gross, but it happens. Even to people who shower more than once a week. It seems to be the consensus, however, that if we talk about it incessantly we will annoy the crabs into leaving voluntarily. There is not much enthusiasm for the treatment, either, which is basically spreading cream all over the crotchal/torso region and then laying naked and still for 12 hours.

I broke my guitar strap mid-song during “Broad Ripple Is Burning.” For some reason, I always knock my knees together and open my mouth when I lose my strap. Not sexy.

I think the hours that followed the show were sort of poignant, in terms of capturing the dada and the drama of a Margot tour. Here goes...

[Aerial shot pans in slowly as band lugs gear five city blocks to broken-down, possibly crab-filled bus] Upon arrival to our bus, we discovered that a certain member was “entertaining” a guest inside. We were in a bit of a rush, trying to meet South for a drink before they left us in Hoboken for the Canadian leg of the tour that we just had to cancel.

After considerable debate, we agreed to quickly grab some shit and get out before we saw any body parts.

On the long walk back to the bar, I was flanked by the only two people in the world that wanted to get on that bus. They kept the mood peppy and light by alternating the conversation between impending diarrhea, impending crabs, getting ditched by people 20 yards ahead of us, and an unrequitable urge to enter the love-bus.

When we got back, the bar was closed so we started to make some plans to meet South at a nearby apartment. Suddenly, my brother ran to an alley and vomited.

And vomited. And vomited. He’s a well-hydrated lad, to say the least.

It was clear at that point that we needed to find a bathroom. It was also clear that there was no bathroom or open business in sight. It’s New Jersey, after all. You gotta go to the bathroom? Fuck you! We got him to agree to try to hold it together and walk with a couple of us to a 24-hour drug store about 10 blocks away. Everyone else left on a train to Brooklyn, which is where Chris had been planning to go.

When we got to the Rite-Aid, of course there was a metal security door locked twice over what was once the entrance to the bathroom. No amount of pleading could sway the clerks. Hey this is New Jersey, right? Fuck you!

This was followed by two more failures at two successive gas stations. And I knew that every step he takes was a major risk.

We finally spotted an all-night diner and decided that they would have to let us use the restroom if we sat down to eat. So three of us sat and ate while Chris sat in the bathroom stall. As he strained and sweated, countless New Jerseyans entered and left the stall next to his, some apparently vomiting themselves.

After the meal, we returned to the bus to find the aforementioned lover and his mate sharing a cigarette outside of the opened bus doors. The mate was patiently trying to explain to our beloved band member that it was time for both to head to Brooklyn, where there was an actual bed with four walls around it waiting for them. The band member mumbled a couple of non-sequitor, haiku-like observations and stared at the midtown Manhattan skyline.

The two finally left for the train and the rest of us got on the bus. I pulled out the blazingly fast Internet-ready phone-tron 2000 and, with the help of the last conscious so & so, tried to hunt down a room for the vomiter. As the sun rose over the city of Manhattan and my brother’s stomach groaned and gurgled in the background, we finally located a Motel 6 in Piscataway—the only motel in New Jersey under $150/night, which was only about 40 freaking miles away—who graciously agreed to an early check-in. We called a cab and nudged the other two awake. Ten minutes later, a limousine pulled up to our bus—I guess you have to know people to get a yellow cab—and they were off.

For those who don’t have time for prose, here is my “incident report”:

Cost of chicken quesadilla: free

Cost of two bottles Kaopectate: $11

Cost of diner food for three: $34

Cost of hotel room 34 miles away: $60 plus tax

Cost of limousine to Motel 6: $100

Total: $200

Or:

Cost of chicken quesadilla: $200

 

APRIL 3 | SEACAUCUS, NJ

Monday morning finds Emily and me in a Dunkin Donuts in Seacaucus, N.J., waiting on an estimate for our leaky transmission. A man just walked up to my laptop, stared at it for about 30 seconds, and then typed this:

“33333333333333333333”

I’m not lying to you. I was watching him the whole time.

We spent yesterday in Hoboken organizing the bus while the other troops scattered around Brooklyn in search of free food and shelter. And my brother is still trapped in Piscataway with Montezuma’s revenge.

This town, Seacaucus... sucks.

APRIL 5 | STILL IN NEW JERSEY

So, we got swindled out of $800 by the only transmission shop in New Jersey. Here’s the deal: You take your bus in, they sit on it for two days after making you promise to pay them $800 just so they can “diagnose” what’s wrong. Then they tell you that you need a new transmission, whether you do or not. So you can use the $800 as a down payment toward the $4,000 it costs to put in a new transmission or just eat the $800. See? It’s a good scam.

And here’s another interesting fact: that $4,000 is for a refurbished transmission—not a new one. So, what they do is just recycle the transmissions from other people who they have strong-armed into this position. So, the transmission under our bus cannot be repaired. But it will be repaired and put onto some other vehicle at a later date. People don’t do this kind of shit in Indiana.

All this is weighing on my mind, along with the fact that we simply don’t have $4,000, along with the fact that everyone is about to kill themselves, when our friend Karin tells us a mechanic she knows in Brooklyn will do it for $1,000. At this point, it is really our only option. Again, we don’t have $4,000.

This doesn’t matter at all to the corporate transmission swindle shop in New Jersey. When I tell them we are towing our bus elsewhere, that we don’t have enough money to pay them, the manager starts yelling at me on the phone. Seriously. He is playing some weird emotional card, like we didn’t just pay him $800 to “advise” us on some bullshit. Things get worse when Hubert, Chris, and Casey show up to get the bus. The manager told them I was an “asshole” and physically poked Hubert in the shoulder a couple of times. He said the mechanic we were going to take our bus to uses “junkyard parts” and that we were “fucking idiots.”

All of this had just happened when our manager called Casey and informed him that our label was going to pay the $4,000 for the transmission.

APRIL 6 | BOSTON, MA

So, how is this for a plan: We rented two minivans this morning in Brooklyn, grabbed all of our gear from the bus in New Jersey, and then drove to Boston to play tonight’s show. The gear doesn’t actually fit in both of the minivans, though, so we sat pinned under various instruments and amplifiers for four and a half hours during the drive. Oops.

About 45 minutes before the show, Jesse discovered that he needed to get a part for his cello at a nearby music store. So he and Hubert drove to the store while we set up onstage. They wouldn’t accept our band bankcard without my ID so I had to drive the second minivan over to the store, show them my ID, and then rush back to play. Except I got lost on the way back and then couldn’t find a parking space within a half-mile of the venue. Somehow I didn’t have a panic attack, though, and the show went off on time.

APRIL 7 | NEW YORK, NY

We drove straight back to New York City after the show last night for a 12:30 pm load-in at the Sirius Satellite Radio studios near Times Square. We actually made it on time, although we ran into a two-hour traffic jam just north of the city. When we got to the building, all of our gear had to be examined by drug/bomb sniffing dogs before we could enter. [Postscript: When we opened up our bass cabinet before the San Francisco show two weeks later, we found a sheet of acid!] We passed the test, played some songs, and then rushed over to the Bowery Ballroom, where I sit at the moment.

I want to officially thank everyone who put us up this week in Brooklyn: Caleb (of the Silver State), Karin, and Wendy. And the mean old streets of New Jersey.

My favorite thing about going to New York—and the only good thing about the bus breaking down this time is—getting to see Caleb. He and I used to play together a lot when he moved to Indiana a few years ago. He is an amazing musician. You should look him up on MySpace.

I am trying to savor this moment of calm because tomorrow we have to wake up at like 8 in the morning, pick up our bus, load our gear into the bus, return the rental minivans, drive eight hours to Pittsburgh, unload our gear, and play another show. If the bus is done. I feel like I should use this moment to return phone calls or something, but damn, I just can’t.

Even though we wrecked her apartment, gave her cats crabs, and smoked all of her cigarettes, Karin is going to go with us for the rest of the tour and photograph our misbehavior.

APRIL 8 | EN ROUTE TO ANN ARBOR, MI

Last night’s show at the Bowery in NYC was a total disaster. I’d like to apologize to anyone who was there or was forced to come sit through it.

Now I am sitting in the bus, and with every strange noise it makes, I am hoping for the transmission to just drop out again and leave us stranded in the rain. I am craving some sort of violent resolution to all of the constant problems associated with this tour. I want something bad to happen so everyone will just quit, walk off the broken bus, and into the woods forever.

APRIL 11 | ANN ARBOR, MI

We played a really good set tonight, I think, at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor. It’s a really cool venue, nice people, and I think Nirvana played there at some point. The basement bar smells strongly of vomit. We loaded our gear up right after we played and got the hell on the road, where I am writing now. We play Indianapolis next so everyone is eager to get home into their own bed, say hello to friends and family and all that.

One major coup for us is that we wrestled Li’l Jay the merchandise king away from South to show him a good time in Indy (they play in Columbus tomorrow and then Indy the day after). Basically, he will be treated to a pub crawl tomorrow...but I am really glad he came. I wish everyone from the other two bands, especially the lads from England, were coming tomorrow, as well. Not that Indy is a magical place, but we love it and it can be a really good hang if you know where to go.

So the bus seems to be working, which is a large reason I don’t want to off myself. Everyone is basically in good spirits. I keep going back to a conversation last night in Cleveland, however. Someone said she noticed a lot of tension between us when we played. Very interesting. I thought we were a little less at each others’ throats than we have been, but I am almost proud that the tensions came across. I mean, I absolutely want people to feel like they are getting a real experience when they see us. Sometimes we feel like killing each other, you know. I would rather gamble on being real than professional. And I have to say, that is probably the most important lesson I have learned from Richard.

The Vogue in Indy looms large. I am really excited to play in my hometown again.

APRIL 14 | COLUMBUS, OH

So, Indianapolis was basically b-a-n-a-n-a-s. It was amazing to get to see a bunch of people I love and care about in one place—kind of like a birthday party without all the cake. Except someone actually brought a cake. Cake and beer...mmmm. A lot of people ended up coming out to the show, which especially made me happy as a host for the other bands. We played an all-ages show at a record store in the early evening as well, which was really cool. A bunch of adorable little kids were sitting in front of Richard, who did his best not to curse. There were also a bunch of teenage girls standing no more than four inches away from my guitar pedals during the whole show. I kind of liked it. We made awkward small talk during the show. Someone made the band cookies.

It was hard at the same time, though. I worry that I didn’t give anyone I care about an appropriate amount of time or attention in the past two days. In reality, the band is still on tour and we have all of the daily problems and drama associated with that. I probably only sleep three to four hours a day on tour anyway, so really any time for friends comes out of that. And I detest making people feel pressured about my time constraints. I think wasting time with someone is just about the ultimate display of affection you can make, and I haven’t done that since, like, 2004. I don’t feel like I am important or valuable; I’m just busy. I feel selfish for wanting or accepting people’s friendship and love when I have so many doubts about having the time or energy to return it. Fucking guilt!

So these thoughts, a certain amount of euphoria and a massive hangover marked the day today. We drove four hours to Columbus, Ohio, to play a show that three successive headliners backed out of. So...yeah...I’m ready for bed.

APRIL 17 | MINNEAPOLIS, MN

The Varsity Theater is a pretty swell venue, believe you me. It’s got a really good combination of gravity and glitz. They have actual trees onstage, for instance. Who does that?

We got up to play tonight at the scheduled time, and...uh oh. Where is Jesse? We had to start without him as we had no time to run around looking for him. He never showed up.

We found out after the show that he had fallen asleep on the bus.

I think, honestly, that it was a good show and everyone gave all they had to make up for the empty chair. I heard Hubert covering a lot of his parts on the trumpet, which was cool. And, let’s face it, we still had seven people onstage. But damn! That was just silly.

APRIL 18 | EN ROUTE TO PORTLAND, OR

Driving from Minneapolis to Portland. I-94 has been closed in Montana because of ice, so we are stuck in...I have no idea where we are. In a Wal-Mart parking lot. Tyler and I walked through every aisle in the store for entertainment. When we left, the rain was horizontal and blowing in two different directions on either side of the empty parking lot. We couldn’t sleep so we stole a bottle of Jesse’s whisky and drank it with Karin and watched the rain from the front window.

APRIL 19 | PORTLAND, OR

After we passed out, Casey took the entire remainder of his ADD prescription and decided to drive through the storm. Apparently it was a total whiteout in the morning and he drove for like eight hours. I don’t even think any vehicles were allowed on the road. But we made it into Portland a day early.

In the free afternoon, Karin and Jesse decided to explore downtown Portland. Apparently while filming some people (“streetpunks,” they say) by the river, Karin was attacked. A man in a yellow shirt grabbed her neck and snapped her phone in half when she started trying to call 911. He was trying to break her video camera as well, and he succeeded to some extent. The footage shows only feet and flashes of shirts mixed with the sounds of struggle, grunts, and heavy breath. The police said he probably thought she was trying to film him during a drug deal. She was actually filming his dog.

APRIL 20

Tyler and I figured it out: Every day, there has to be at least one disaster. Today’s was the door falling off of the gear locker on the back of the bus. Luckily it happened while we were parked. But from now on I will try to list the daily disaster. I have the feeling knowing this beforehand will help a lot.

APRIL 23 | SEATTLE, WA

Seattle was refreshingly trouble-free and really friendly for us. We played at Chop Suey, which has a kung-fu motif that I found amusing. At the moment we are 350 miles into the 800-mile drive to San Francisco. I smell so bad I almost want to cry.

Daily disaster: Karin has lost her purse. Her purse, besides having credit cards and money, contains a three-month supply of Zanax.

APRIL 25 | SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Even after a robust 15-hour drive from Seattle, San Francisco was amazing. We have been getting some radio play there and the crowd was ready to rock at 8:30 or whatever ridiculous time we had to start. The businessman’s special, I suppose. But it was great and I wish we could have played for two hours. I must say, as well, that was probably the most efficient and pleasant 10-minute soundcheck we have ever had. So, to the house engineers at the Independent, I say, “Kudos.”

Oh yeah, Emily fell off the stage after the show. She was heading over to the merch booth and tripped over a monitor, plunging off the side of the stage in front of the people waiting to buy CDs.

That being said, we are still two days without a workplace-related disaster. Falling off the stage only counts if further action is required.

APRIL 27 | SAN DIEGO, CA

The last show of the South tour was last night in San Diego. The tour ended with about ten of us putting on pink South panties and running around on stage during their last song, a cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.” I think they were fairly surprised. Unfortunately, the only size they had left for all of us was small. I’m not saying we needed huge undies, but I am saying these are way too tight for anyone but a 12-year-old English girl. I’m still wearing them, oddly.

I think I got rufied last night. I took a couple of shots of Jagermeister, told Brett from South he was a “badass drummer,” and blacked out. I think I was crying on Jesse’s shoulder on the walk back to our hotel room. Then I woke up in my new panties, but no pants. I never take off my pants when I pass out. I hardly ever take off my pants, to be honest.

Here is another highlight from last night: According to Richard, Hubert stumbled into the hotel room with two lassies around four in the morning, jumped up on the bed, and attempted a back flip onto the other bed. He missed the landing (by a lot), landed on his head, and bounced onto the floor.

According to Hubert, he and the Something for Rockets crew ended up at a downtown office and had an office meeting-themed bender complete with charts and graphs on dry-erase boards. This must have been before the back flip.

APRIL 28 | EN ROUTE TO NASHVILLE, TN

I am going insane. I think everyone is. We got up early, changed the oil in the bus, and left San Diego about noon yesterday heading toward St. Louis, only to find that the venue wouldn’t let us load in later than 5:00 and thus canceled the show. I guess we were supposed to leave right after the show in San Diego but that was...unrealistic to say the least. We talked about leaving at four in the morning but everyone is completely exhausted and it would have been a tremendous risk. So with that hanging over our head we are driving to Nashville instead. We still have 800 miles to go even though we’ve covered 1,300.

I can’t really explain the way driving for this long affects the human brain. But it feels like we are getting farther and farther away the more we drive. I don’t really want to be anywhere. I just don’t want to drive anymore. I don’t want to go home even.

I’m still wearing the small pink South panties, I think as a sort of punishment at this point.

APRIL 29

OMG. It’s now 10:30 in the morning Nashville time. We are still about two hours out. If I eat Subway or Taco Bell ever again, I will off myself in public. I like vegetables, you know; I like tofu and sushi. I’ve got mustard all over my pants. My hair hurts.

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