Captain’s Log: Red Tank! Tour Diaries Chapter 1
The following events took place during a tour which ran from June 24 through July 11, 2015.
- Clipper- the gracious and lupine captain, vocalist and guitarist.
- Jeff- the sandy-haired connoisseur of texture and appeasement, guitar.
- Sam- the bearded and long-haired drummer of even temper.
- Elijah- the young poet, full of heart, blue-haired, bass.
- Dean- the long-haired, bespectacled survivalist, humorist and mediator, merch.
After spending a number of hours packing, tying duffle bags to the roof of the SUV, and driving past mountains and sand dunes, we arrived in San Diego. The 70 degree weather was a lush dream compared to the sweltering, sweaty Phoenix heat of the kickoff show from the night before.
Cricket, a bubbly, middle-aged blues singer, greeted us at our destination. She had moved to San Diego a week prior. She’s the mother of one of Sam’s friends–a friend who responded to Sam’s distress signal on Facebook inquiring for a last minute place to stay. She led us to her modestly furnished, though comfortable, one-room guest house (that she herself had just moved into).
The San Diego show was a quagmire from the get-go. After having a house show fall through, I took over booking duties from Jeff and managed to get us onto a bar show with a few Burger Records bands (hosted by Bujwah Strangers) at Tower Bar just three days before we departed.
The bar was the best kind of dingy (read: cheap beer). They also had a tattoo parlor upstairs. The ambiance consisted of surf videos projected during performers’ sets and Jay Reatard blaring in between.
on underagers playing in bars…
Normally, we clear it with bars up front that two of our members are under the legal drinking age. The typical situation is that they are only allowed inside to play during our set (though we’ve had to clarify beforehand ever since we had a particularly nasty experience with a bar owner in L.A. in January).
Apparently, the promoter and the bar owner had an underlying issue wherein the promoter tried to sneak in a couple of friends with fake IDs. Understandably so, the bar owner was having none of it this go-around, so we resigned to press forward, playing a two person set between Jeff and myself.
Despite being stripped down, the other bands and patrons enjoyed our performance and gave us some gracious accolades. We sold a bit of merch, and saw the other bands before heading out. We bought a bottle of champagne to share with Cricket. We played a few rounds of “Never Have I Ever” and ate hot dogs before passing out.
After hanging out in coffee shops and eating pancakes, we left for our show in Ontario, California. The show was in a “rough part of town” but it felt a lot like home. The house show took place outside, complete with a tarp and a charmingly shitty PA. Hundreds of high school kids showed up to party, see their friends perform, and to sell cupcakes in order to fund a recently deceased friend’s tombstone.
We made friends with the dudes from The Red Pears–the headlining act. Their sound drew heavy influence from The Strokes, The Arctic Monkeys, and other early-/mid-2000s garage rock. They initially greeted us when we pulled up in our SUV. They wore matching denim jackets and were named Henry and Jose. Jose mistakenly introduced himself has Henry, a fact that Dean pestered and joked about with him for the remainder of the evening.
We found the age of the crowd to be logistically problematic when we tried to coordinate a place to stay for the evening. We met with a few friends and ended up staying at our friend Jared’s house–a guy who was still wearing the Hot Topic lanyard someone left from when we played his house in January. His parents got us pizza in the morning. We played chess and got some work done at a coffee shop. Dean compared crocs with a small girl at the coffee shop before cheering and hi-fiving over the existence of airplanes.
After a round of “backyard wrestling” in the living room, we went to our next show at a skate shop in Fullerton. There was a tabletop games store next door. Some of our friends from the area also came to the show. There were a couple of really good bands who performed with us, and the DIY organization that put on the event seemed to espouse a lot of know-how as well as benevolent ethos. Afterwards, we joked in the parking lot and got Del Taco.
The next morning, we drove through rolling, yellow-hued hills, through highways dotted with forestry, past expansive farmland (garlic, strawberries, cherries etc.) and into beautiful Santa Cruz. I had a gnarly headache, likely induced by the pressure change and a relatively grueling 6-hour car ride.
We played at Storey House, a legendary house venue. We were told there hadn’t been a show there in almost a year but that bands such as TWIABP, Pity Sex, and a litany of punk bands had passed through there. They had to cut back following complaints from neighbors. However, this was long after they found their residence had its own Wikipedia page.
The house was reminiscent of the lost boys’ encampment from Hook–a sprawling house with 11 people inhabiting various living spaces. Books were stacked to the ceiling. There were tapestries, brightly colored spray paint, and various works of art adorning the walls. There was also a koi / turtle pond in the back.
We played to a crowd who seemed more interested in grooving, dancing, and moving rather than thrashing. I personally considered this a pleasant and serendipitous departure from the more conventional reactions our music typically produces. After cracking jokes, drinking beer, and smoking cigarettes well into the night, we split a couple of couches to crash on.
From these few days, I’ve gathered that tour is often romanticized–though not without good reason. Thus far, tinges of loneliness and homesickness have popped up here and there–usually whenever I open my phone’s lock screen to a picture of my girlfriend. Keeping in contact with friends, family, and loved ones is sometimes a difficult, though important activity to make time for. Sleeping on floors and couches, eating bad food, and drinking (even lightly) most nights can be a difficult thing to sustain. However, sharing our music and hearing others’ is very fulfilling. Joking with friends and making our own adventures has made the time more enjoyable. Mostly everyone has been incredibly patronly and welcoming thus far–not to mention, extremely receptive to the music. Jumping quickly into and out of very specific cultures and locations seem to bring unexpected insights, so I’m excited to see what the next couple of weeks have in store.