Written by Andy Herrin Monday, 09 April 2007 15:56
Six a.m. came too soon this morning. After our drunken graveyard party last night, we are all exhausted, but still in good spirits.
Today is our first stop on the tour. We arrived in Philadelphia around 5 p.m. Since we didn't have to be at the club until 7 p.m, we decided to stop off and have a Philly Cheese steak. Lucky for us, there was a restaurant right across the street from our hotel. The restaurant claims to have "the Best Philly Cheese Steak in town." We weren't sure if this was true, but we have to say they were rather enjoyable.
We arrived at The Red Stallion around 7 p.m. It was a cool-looking club; it seemed more like a sports bar, but we were still excited to be playing in Philadelphia. We were setting up our gear as the owner approached us asking for our I.D.s. Mike and Neal are only 20, and as soon as the owner realized that, he told us we had to leave. We had not been informed by the headlining band that this would be a problem. I pulled him aside and told him that we had no clue about this rule, and that we would do our best to keep Mike and Neal in the back stage area until we played. Luckily, he calmed down and let us play. The show started at 8 p.m. with an acoustic act.
We took the stage at 9 p.m. By that time, the place had filled up and we were ready to rock 'n' roll. The crowd response was pretty good considering they were a sports bar crowd. We sold a good amount of merchandise and signed some CDs as well. Surprisingly, the owner went crazy for us and wanted CDs and stickers. He even wanted us to play the Red Stallion again the next time we are in Philadelphia. We just might do that, especially since Mike and Neal with both be 21 next month.
Today is the second stop on the tour. We are in Baltimore.
The drive today from Philadelphia was about two hours long. We got to the hotel so early we couldn't even check in. The show was to take place at Mac's; it was an early show at 4 p.m. We found out that it was a metal show and we were the opening band; we were very anxious to see how metal this show was.
We arrived at Mac's at 2 p.m. All day long the radio kept saying a blizzard was coming today. It finally started snowing like crazy as soon as we got to the club. When we got to Mac's, it was a huge place. It reminded us of Pop's in St. Louis. We set our gear up on the stage and got ready for sound check. As we were doing this, the snow was just piling up outside. Unfortunately, around 3 p.m. the owner came in and told us the show had been cancelled due to the snow. We were bummed, especially since we were already set up and ready to play. We broke our gear down and loaded it all back in the van. We decided to go check out the downtown Baltimore area, since we had no show now. Mike is a big fan of the HBO show The Wire which is based in Baltimore, so he was having a blast there. It was kind of a bummed-out day, but Mac's is having us back when we do our next East Coast tour this fall, so it's good we have a contact with them now.
Today is our first show in New York City. It was about a four-hour drive from Baltimore, and we are ready to rock 'n' roll. Yesterday's cancelation has only made us more driven to make the rest of the tour rock. We are thrilled because tonight we are playing Arlene's Grocery in Manhattan. We arrived to Arlene's pretty early in the day and got a premier parking spot right in front of the club. We decided to stay in that spot and keep feeding the meter. We didn't want to keep driving around NYC looking for parking.
Arlene's Grocery is a very cool and popular place to play in NYC. We were honored to get to play there and couldn't wait to play on that stage.
The show started at 9 p.m. with an opening band, then us. We were kind of nervous, being we were playing in New York for the first time. We've always heard the saying, "If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere," so we knew we had to play well. There's a bartender at Arlene's Grocery who is one tough-looking guy. This bartender has a microphone at the bar, where he introduces the bands and talks to them while on stage. We don't know of any other clubs where the bartender has a microphone, so we thought that was pretty cool. Also, in NYC all the clubs have in-house drum kits that you have to use. None of them are really all that nice, but some are better than others. Arlene's drum kit was definitely not one of the worst; I didn't mind it that much at all. We played eight songs our first night in NYC, and the crowd responded amazingly. We sold CDs, people were cheering, and we felt good knowing that NYC took a liking to our music. After we got off the stage we loaded our gear out and came back inside for a drink of two. That bartender who we were so intimidated by loved us and gave us free drinks the rest of the night. We sat down and watched the place get packed more and more by the minute. They have this show every Monday night at Arlene's Grocery called "Rock N Roll Karaoke." Basically, they have a band that plays the song you want, and you sing with them. It's quite a production they have on stage, and it takes weeks to sign up to do it. We've seen karaoke done many times, but not like that. Our first night in NYC was great, and we can't wait to see shows two and three have in store for us.
Today is our first day off in NYC. We are staying with my friend Scott in Brooklyn, the four of us and him—that makes five guys—are all staying in his rather small room. We are staying here for five days, so I'm sure we will get used to being so close to each other all the time. It's no different then the van, if you think about it. The sleeping arrangements are Neal and I on an air mattress, Mike and Dei in Scott's bed, and Scott in a recliner. We are very thankful for him letting us stay here; it's saving us a lot of money, being NYC hotels are expensive. Today Scott showed us the sights of NYC. We went to the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Ground Zero, and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Today is our second day off in NYC; unfortunately, Dei isn't feeling well, so he decided it was best to hang out indoors today. We are hoping he feels better soon, it always seems it's the singers who get sick on tours—always the one person that has to be able to use his voice. The rest of us have decided to go see some more sights in NYC. We stopped and had lunch at the Seinfeld Diner. It doesn't look the same on the inside; only the outside was used in the show. Either way, we had a great time there. We found ourselves in Time Square for the rest of the day. We made a grave mistake of going to one of NYC's finest strip clubs later that evening.
Being we have a very small budget on tour, we won't be going to any more NYC strip clubs on this tour.
Tonight we are playing the Baggot Inn in Manhattan. We've enjoyed our two days off in the city, but we are ready to play again. We showed up to the club around 6 p.m. to load in. Once again, I am using a house drum kit to play. This one is much different then the others I've played on here: it's a Budweiser kit. No lie, the beer company for some reason has made a drum kit. It doesn't sound all that great, but its pretty amazing to see such a thing. I am under the impression that Budweiser gave these out for free, 'cause I don't think they are worth buying by any means.
The show tonight was pretty cool. The Loudest Whisper from Ireland opened the show. If you don't know who they are, they were a band in the early '70s, and they had an album that was Number 74 in Rolling Stone's "Most Important and Rare Albums of the Past 100 Years" countdown. They were really nice guys, and a great band. We also played tonight with Coppersonic, the New Heathens, and Red Rooster. All great bands. The New Heathens are by far our favorite band to play with so far; they are super cool rock 'n' roll, with a dash of country. Their singer was born in Montana, so he has some true country roots. We are playing with them tomorrow night as well. The night was going smooth until I came outside to get the van and I noticed I had parked illegally. Now keep in mind I've been doing great on getting up early and moving the van across the street to avoid tickets every day here. When I parked the van it look like it was a legal spot; however it was downpouring rain, so maybe I just read it wrong. $115 for a parking ticket; yeah, I don't think we will be paying that one any time soon.
Tonight was our last show in NYC. We are playing a rough-looking bar called Hank's Saloon. It's definitely a rough-looking place, but its also pretty cool looking. They use a cinder block to keep the drums from moving.
A lot of people were coming out to this show, so we were a bit more nervous than the other nights here. A few friends I graduated with were also coming out, so we knew we had to bring it. We took the stage at 9 p.m. The show went amazing. We played flawlessly and had a great reaction from the crowd. It's funny how we thought this would be the worst show in NYC, but it turned out to be the best one yet. The New Heathens closed the show after us, and those guys brought the place down. We can't wait until they come to St. Louis and we can rock 'n' roll with them once again. What a way to go out in NYC.
We got up early today and made the four-hour drive to Boston. We all had a blast in NYC, but we were anxious to continue on the tour. We arrived in Boston around 2 p.m. We had a few hours to kill, so Mike, Neal, and myself decided to see the town. Boston is one cool town; everyone has cool accents and its such a beautiful town. We went to the harbor and checked out downtown Boston. We arrived at the show around 7 p.m. We played a place called Frank's Steakhouse. We were told it was a great place for bands to do acoustic gigs on Saturday nights. However, when we arrived, we noticed this was not the case. The place was a really nice restaurant; everyone there was age 55 and up. They had a lounge singer singing show tunes and what not. We asked the owner if we could play, and he looked at us like we were crazy but he went ahead and told us we could do a few songs. The stage was really small, and it already had a piano up there. Dei took to the piano, Michael sat up his small practice bass amp, and I sat on my cajone. Neal couldn't even fit on stage, so we decided to just do piano songs and he would sell CDs. When we got ready to start playing, it was the most uncomfortable we have ever been. Everyone was looking at us with a sense of confusion. When we started playing, everyone sat and listened politely. Then a strange thing happened: As soon as we finished the first song, people started clapping like crazy. The lounge singer narrated the whole thing for us, and Neal sold a ton of CDs. When we finished playing, people were asking us all about our music. They were surprised a band all the way from St. Louis was playing for them here. We had a blast. After the show, we were all in such a great mood. We knew we had to get up at 6 a.m. the next day, but we didn't want to go to sleep. We still had some 40s left from NYC, so we decided to make a night out of it. We drove the 20 minutes north to Salem (where the witch trials took place in the 1600s). We found this huge graveyard and totally trespassed into it. We spent the next few hours drinking in the graveyard. We then took a tour of Salem; it is one creepy but cool town. For the first time on the tour, we all seem to be having fun at the same time. Rock 'n' roll, Boston, rock 'n' roll.
Six a.m. came too soon this morning. After our drunken graveyard party last night, we are all exhausted, but still in good spirits. We had to drive eight hours to make it to Washington D.C. We were supposed to be playing the Meeting Place. When we arrived at the club, we were all tired from our no sleep and eight-hour drive day. Unfortunately, the club owner didn't show up, so after waiting for about two hours, we realized the show was not happening. We found out there was some confusion with the guy that booked it, so all the bands were there waiting with no show. I decided I didn't want the day to be a waste, so I got on my smartphone and found us an open mic night in D.C.
(This is a tip for any band that hasn't toured yet, but is planning on it some day. There is always an open mic night in every city you're in, on whatever night. Definitely look those up when your show is canceled—and trust me, it will happen to you.) We showed up at Rag Time for open mic night. Washington D.C. is a big college town, so a lot of people were there.
We only played three songs and we sold about six CDs, so we made $60 just for three acoustic songs. It was great. We had a lot of people digging us, so we felt we had made the most out of Washington D.C. We were now all ready to go to bed.
After getting some rest, we were all ready to hit the road this morning. We drove eight hours to Columbus, Ohio, for a last-minute show. We arrived at the Ravari Room around 8 pm, and enjoyed some pizza at this place called Hound Dog's Pizza. Afterward, we went on over to the club and set up. This was definitely more of a metal club, but we were still excited to be there. The turnout was pretty small, but the response to the set was pretty good. We seemed to impress the owner and sound guy the most; they loved us. They gave us all the free beer we could want and are wanting us to come back. We didn't sell much merchandise tonight, but the vibe was good, so that's all that matters.
Tomorrow morning we are hitting the road early to drive the seven hours home. We are feeling torn about that. Of course, we are looking forward to getting home, but we all feel like we could go another 13 days out. We definitely had a blast out here, and learned a lot. It's really good to know that we can be together this much and not kill each other. That's a big thing for any band to realize. We are looking forward to our West Coast dates in May. Then in October, we are hitting the East Coast for our second time. We can't wait to do this all again. | Andy Herrin
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