by Matt Hopper
Five weeks on the road is just long enough to where it feels like forever...so when you finally come home and lay in your own bed, with your own bathroom, access to all the clothes in your closet, etc. it just feels nice. Then I seem to spend about a week just sleeping / watching movies and generally doing nothing. It's so nice to not have to get up and drive another six hours or so to the next stop.
That being said, touring is a blast! Where else can you get a pizza like this but near Glacier, WA.
At our Seattle show we had a good turnout even though it was a Monday night and yet the club stiffed us. We'd like to publicly send shame onto Sunset Tavern in Ballard, Seattle, Washington. To our friends in other bands - we encourage you to not play this club. After driving from Boise to play and watching as they charged about 30 of our friends $6 at the door and god knows how much booze was consumed to not get paid A SINGLE PENNY it a very unsettling way to begin a tour. But enough bitching about that.
Glacier was a breath of fresh air. Our friend Kreg set the show up and we had a good time. They hooked us up with some pretty amazing pizza out there.
I flew to Alaska to do a couple of shows without my "lower 48" band...opting for the cheaper option of using my friends in The Roman Candles up there to back me up. Alaska is an amazing state! The shows were really fun and it was a cool little trip within a trip so to speak.
Flew back down to Portland, OR to continue the tour after that weekend. Our Tuesday night show in Pdx was awesome! We played with Half Handed Cloud, a band on Asthmatic Kitty Records (Sufjan Stevens' label) and also our good friend Bryan Free, a brilliant piano man. We all felt pretty good about the show there and continued to have a real blast in Oregon in general. Our best stop by far was Bend, OR at Silver Moon Brewing Company. Our friends there are so warm and welcoming and encouraging and the crowds seem to get a little bigger every time we go out there...also was nice to get two write ups in the local music papers about our band. THE SOURCE WEEKLY WROTE ABOUT US as did THE BEND BULLITEN.
It was also fun to play in Cottage Grove, OR - which is the town where I recorded "Jersey Finger" with Richard Swift. Mr. Swift even showed up to check out our show on his bitchin' bike.
Soon we found ourselves in Northern California where we played two really fun shows in Redding. Redding and Red Bluff is where my current band mates are from so there was a lot of friends excited to see us. Bryan Free opened up quite a few of these shows with us before heading back up to Portland to get back to work.
The coolest thing that happened to us in that area was getting an extra, unexpected gig playing at a harvest party in Mt. Shasta. We jammed with some cute 4 year old girls and stayed up really late with the locals shredding on guitars.
We found this creepy photo of Doug Martsch on a poster somewhere I think in Bend:
The rest just kind of turns into a blur...through San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, etc...
Joaquin Phoenix came to our LA show! Check out this photo of him leaning on our van:
Swimming in the ocean in November was a trip.
Having beers at Stone Brewing Company was a good time...until afterwards when our van wouldn't start. It took a lot of banging on things and finally my friend Katie's sister figured out it was a spark plug issue and sent us on our way...but soon our CD player was out...as was our blinkers for part of the journey - kind of scary.
We partied in Santa Barbara for Halloween with Zach Turner - some of you might remember him from Vel Texans and Earnest Orange - some Boise trivia for you. Zach booked me at Pi at my first ever show in Boise back in like 2003 I think. Here he is with his lovely wife Laura:
Here's Zach and Jeremy on Halloween - ha ha ha:
Arizona was amazing...which is pretty par for the course. I love the desert and getting to go on a hike in Sedona always lifts my spirits. Prescott was a blast, as was Tempe. We played with a pretty popular band down there called Black Carl and they had the place packed to the gills...it was a treat for sure to play to a sea of faces - kind of a rare opportunity for our band.
I had lost my ID in Long Beach somehow so it was tricky getting into some clubs unless we were playing but I mainly just started to enjoy NOT going into bars and venues for awhile towards the end of our journey. I was weary.
We had a night off and went to go see Dr. Dog. Our drummer Zach was doing lots of audio recordings of our band on this tour and he captured a live Dr. Dog concert. Check out his site for more details at www.hungoverproductions.com or find him on Facebook - Zachariah Boes. He has been posting live songs from their set and they sound amazing.
Soon we found ourselves in Utah on the final leg of the tour where we got a chance to play with some of our good friends - The Devil Whale and The Head and The Heart...also some new finds - The Archers Apple and Cody Rigby. It was a really great night at a great club and just a fun way to wrap up our tour.
Here's a shot of McCafferty - Devil Whale's drummer destroying a drumset:
We grabbed a bite to eat with all the bands plus our friend Jeff Crosby the next morning before heading back to Boise - Jeff asked me to sing on his new record so we swung over there for an hour or so to get some work done.
And then we were home...a few wrap up gigs in Pocatello and Boise and I hung up my saddle. Time to focus on the next record over the winter...and we're working with a new drummer as Zach had to go back to Red Bluff, his home.
Meanwhile here is our next upcoming show:
Yee haw. Thanks for reading.