Some days it's an incomparable high. The lights burn brighter, the smiles wider, the fun never ends. There's an extra burst of energy in the legs, thoughts just feel sharper, and every thing you touch turns to gold. Truly, some are like that. The other side of that is pretty much what you'd expect. Legs of lead, foggy brain, stuck face, furrowed brows, half closed eyes, the fun can't come soon enough. Touring has it all, and most days, the downs don't really creep in much, they're just that annoying subway rider for a few stops. Some of them really burrow in, and those are the days when a hug goes such a long way. A whiskey and a joint too.
Only The Strong Survive. I'll be frank. Touring isn't easy. Sure, on a touring level Kanye it's luxurious and posh, (and comes with it's own caveats..) but as a rock band coming up on the highways of America the Gigantic, the glamour is rare, and the occasional victories are cherished and celebrated. To me, a victory is a full house, an energetic show by both the audience and us, everyone who came to see us went home with more than they were expecting, buzzing from a unique night out. Anything less than that just isn't acceptable. Every night is important, every person is important, and unless every single person in that room is watching and wondering what comes next, it's not a victory. There are just too many other entertainment options.
That said, we've had many V's on this tour. The shows have been killer, and the company divine. Smallpools are a great band, professional and hard working. Same with their crew. It's inspiring to watch them day in/day out as they start their full length album tour. Hearing their back story, the winding roads of their last few years, it was surprising to hear how similar it was to ours. And yes, we've finished recording our full length. Release date is still being worked out, but it's a beautiful feeling to complete an album. Or as some wordy wordsmith once said, "A record is never finished, only abandoned.".
So we're out here in the Grenade RV, bombing through the country with abandon, sleeping when we can, probably drinking too much (it helps with the sleep), giving and receiving loads of hugs (tour fuel), and rocking the fuck out night after night. My back hurts something awful. Some days I wonder if it's broken. Load in, load out, sit, stand, jump, dance, bend over, walk, eat, drink, sit, sleep awkwardly sitting up, open instagram too many times, be annoyed at Facebook, make bad puns on twitter, stare out the window, and on a really bad day, empty out the septic. It's a damn good thing I love my crew. It's an honor to be out here with these guys, all of us united in the joys and sorrows of this tour life. Sometimes we disagree, sometimes we rally, sometimes we laugh, sometimes we're silent for hours, sometimes we are kings of the world. We have a goal, a huge, monumental goal. The strength it will require to get there, and stay there will be immense, maybe even unfathomable. That tunnel vision, that stubbornness, that tenacity, that focus... it can't wane. One misstep on the side of the mountain, and it's curtains, I tell you, curtains.
Speaking of inspirations, a couple of weeks ago we played at Hangout Fest down in Gulf Shores, AL. If you've never been down there, it's basically like being in a hot wet sock. Humidity and heat combine in oppressive fashion to make sobriety damn nearly impossible. The show was so much fun, and I'm not normally much of a sweater, but I was thoroughly drenched afterwards. I was literally a hot wet sock, inside of another hot wet sock. Later that evening, we got to hang with the Foo Fighters for a little while before and after they played, and watch the rock show from close up. It was awesome. Epic, even. To see one of the longest running huge American rock acts do their thing, and absolutely crush it, was inspiring as fuck. Our show the next night in Denver reflected that. Grohl and Co. are great guys, and I owe a special thanks to my man Rami Jaffee for inviting us back to hang. Dude is an L.A. legend, playing keys on so many great records, producing things, and just being an excellent human. So much damn fun.
Getting back to the West Coast is always a comforting feeling. The Pacific air, the green of the north and the brown of the south. Portland was the first stop coming from Salt Lake City, and we had a couple of days to kick around with friends in nature and let off a little steam. Glorious, I tell you. If you've never been to Portland, Oregon, do yourself a big favor. From there, it was up to Seattle, down to San Francisco, and onward towards home for two shows in the L.A area to close out the Smallpools run in grand fashion.
Bottlerock was a whirlwind of a time. We had an afternoon set under the tent, followed by a handful of zany interviews, acoustic performances, and bottomless wine refills. Napa is a damn beautiful place, I may or may not have fallen in love. The only set I was able to catch was Robert Plant, who's still got the mojo at 75. Played a surprisingly large selection of Zep tunes, which of course the grape-soaked crowd swooned over. Played a siiiiiiick version of "What is and What Should Never Be". The first big concert I went to as a teen was Page and Plant, down at what used to be called Irvine Meadows in California. Had a pleasant little full circle nostalgia moment just then.
I'm soaking up the home feels for a few days, to rest my bones before the next leg back across the country. Yes, I will be down at the beach, shooting sunsets and birds, eating burritos, and well.... that's probably about it besides sleeping a whole lot. :-)
See you soon, wherever you are.