Tuesday 4-10-07 Washington, DC
Our first show! There are three of us in the band — Phil, Seb and Nathan (Me) — plus Paul who does our sound. We haven’t seen each other since the end of our European tour ten days ago. Since we all grew up and lived in and around DC, everyone has parents, friends and old girlfriends at the show. We also meet up with the other two bands we’re touring with: Psychic Paramount from NYC and Zombi from Pittsburgh. This makes it sort of hard to concentrate on actually playing a show.
Also, during our performance, I keep realizing that I’ve forgotten parts to songs I’ve been playing for 12 years. The show goes well though — especially after our friend Aaron and Seb’s dad get everyone dancing in the front row. Once the dancing spreads to the rest of the audience they both go back to the bar.
Wednesday 4-11-07 Charlottesville, VA
There are two problems that we are aware of with our transport, a 1992 Chevy G-20 cargo van with an added bench seat and loft. The heater has been disconnected (to stop coolant from spilling on the floor) and the windshield leaks, creating a puddles in the drink holders and floor. Now it is raining really hard in Charlottesville and the window is fogged up. We have no defrost option and can’t see anything. The road atlas on the floor is soaked. When we arrive at our hotel, the parking lot is packed with cop cars; turns out we are staying there during a Virginia cop conference — we can see every single sheriff’s car in Virginia.
Thursday 4-12-07 Chapel Hill, NC
This is a sort of anniversary for us since Local 506 was the first or second venue we ever played as Trans Am. When we arrive, the parking lot has a bunch of “extra” garbage sitting around. It smells like a sewer. The backstage looks like the set of a snuff film. Also the sound system is totally screwed — but fortunately we don’t realize how profoundly fucked it is until we are on stage at which point there’s nothing we can do about it.
We eat some good burritos and saw some old friends. The show is good.
Friday 4-13-07 Atlanta, GA
We’ve had it pretty easy so far with the drives, but now we’ve finally got a six hour haul. Also, we pick up our friend Grant who will be traveling out to the West Coast with us.
The drive goes fine until about an hour outside of Atlanta where traffic stops because of a car we can see burning on the other side of the highway. Most of us get out and play frisbee on the highway until we hear a radio report that we could be there for another two hours. We turn around and drive on the shoulder of the road against traffic until we can cross over to the other side of the highway.
We end up on a dirt road behind a bunch of other detoured cars and trucks. We can see shacks and houses out the side but there is so much dust being kicked up by other cars that we can’t see anything in front of us. Seb pulls out his phone to photograph the road and realizes that he can see better through the screen on his phone. We try driving by looking through the screen for a while but then it seems like a bad idea.
Finally we get back on the highway; we might still be on time to the club. Then, 20 minutes later, we hear a weird whipping and popping sound. We blew a tire. We pull off the highway.
There are actually two tire places at this exit, but both are closed. The van limps into a Shell with the tire completely shredded. We have to unload the van to pull out the spare; our gear draws a lot of attention. One guy drives by twice in a sports car asking about our band. He is a producer, apparently. The second time he gives me his card. “You never know in this business,” he says. I agree.
Another guy in a pickup truck stares at our amps. “You got some old-ass gear here,” he says. We agree. Seeing that we are having a problem with our jack, he goes off to grab some bricks from “Old Atkinson Village”, the Georgian strip mall being built next to the Shell. With his car jack on top on the bricks, we get the new tire on. “I’ve seen Rush 15 times,” he says. We give him a CD as thanks. The show is good.
Saturday 4-14-07 Birmingham, AL
We have a short drive into the Central Tme Zone today, but there is a storm headed towards us that has already killed some people in Texas. All we get is rain and the club in Birmingham is so pleasant and relaxed that there is nothing to write about.
I finally realize that all the problems yesterday actually happened on Friday the 13th.
Sunday 4-15-07 Houston, TX
This is a really long drive. Long, long, long and boring — like this sentence. I decide the loft is really uncomfortable but still spend two hours in it. Also, the book I’m reading — a Michael Jackson expose called Man Behind the Mask — is making me feel gross. It is mostly insider hearsay on Jackson’s exploits with little boys. There are also stories about bathing in blood with Malian witch doctors and hotel sheets with faces painted in feces. I decide to finish it anyway.
The venue is a huge metal club in downtown. There are about 70 people inside and two cop cars outside. It sounds great, though. There is one song in which I don’t do that much so I decide to have a mid-set snack. Tonight it is leftover stir fry which I have to eat left-handed with chopsticks. It tastes pretty good.
Monday 4-16-07 Austin, TX
Austin is only about three hours from Houston but we’ve got to play a record store before we go to the club. There are about as many people at the record store as at our show in Houston last night — and we get free t-shirts! I ate a peanut butter sandwich on stage.
The night’s show is good too. We have a bunch of friends in Austin who all seem to have calmed down their partying a little bit — at least on Monday nights. That’s probably good. The first time we played this club was on the 4th of July and we were completely plowed. Also, the club was empty because no one knew us and we were up against Willie Nelson’s huge 4th of July party just outside of town. We play well and everyone seems to like it.