Motorama recently did a whirlwind tour to Portland, Sacramento, LA, Mexicali (Mexico), Phoenix and Las Vegas, 5 states/provinces, 2 countries in 10 days, not bad.
I started booking this tour in August; I had a tiny window between two teaching jobs where we could get out of town but as I was booking the sucker I was hired by Elections Canada to take care of the computers and the database for the election for the Vancouver East Electoral District, if the writ was dropped one week earlier I would have had to cut my trip out to Eastern Canada short, one week later and I would have had to cancel the tour, which would have been unfortunate as I had procured some kickass gigs that had taken quite a lot of time/correspondence/blood/sweat/tears.
Timing worked perfectly however and I was able to do all 3, it seems Ktulu was with us.
Three Chord Rebel put this one on for us, thx Gord - where's our fucking money!!??
Some alternative/progressive band from England jumped on the bill and kicked off the evening, our friends My Suit and Shotgun played second, and some young kids - Faithless Future finished the night off.
This was a decent show, especially for a Wednesday. Many of our friends showed up (thank you!) and we played well.
We played some new songs we just added to our set for the tour, our intention is to record them once we’ve toured them so they’re good ‘n tight. I think we pulled ‘em off OK
I was very hung over the next day but I had to take our van to get the fluids changed, plus get a haircut etc.
We hit the road after work on Friday, had to be in Portland to play by 12 at the latest so we hauled ass, a quick stop for gas south of Seattle and that was it, we made it to the venue (the Tonic - awesome place) while the first band, Legend of Dutch Savage, was just firing up, they are kick ass, they play stoner/prog/garage rock properly.
We drank, smoke (you can still smoke in bars in Portland) and re-united with all our wonderful friends in Portland, we hadn't been to Portland since last summer, (when we played the soapbox derby after party - Bert blacked out) our friend Guenevere had just moved to Portland from Oakland so we got to hang out with her as well,
The bill of our Portland show was loaded with quality acts, we got to play with:
Pure Country Gold - a two piece blues/garage rock band
The Muddy River Nightmare band - our brothers and Last Chance Records label mates
And the aforementioned Legend of Dutch Savage
This particular event was also held to celebrate the Birthdays of Jason - singer guitarist in the Muddy River Nightmare Band, and Tree Gold the drummer in Pure Country Gold
Two of our friends in the Muddy River Nightmare Band used to have guest rooms for their friends in travelling bands but one of 'em just recently had a baby so we weren't welcome there, and the other had walled over their guest room,
I've heard that there were still a few members of one particular travelling band in that guest room as they walled it over, it is said that late at night, when it's very quiet, you can still hear their screams.
We left Portland late-ish to head to Sacramento, again drove like fiends 'cause we knew we were probably going to show up late to the Tree Capital of USA.
We showed up as the opening band was finished and loaded into this all ages space that also serves drinks - Sacramento is very civilized.
Everyone left as we were setting up so we were anticipating playing to the girl who runs the space and our friend Nancy.
This didn't end up being the case, most people returned and more showed up as we started playing and actually stayed and danced for our entire set despite our crushing volume.
After the show we went to the gay bar, stayed up late, told off color jokes, drank whiskey, and woke up late, hitting the road for LA later than we should have...
..So once again we had to drive like madmen, can't really remember the drive to LA too well, it's generally uneventful, we hit some traffic in LA which put us late for our show at the Anarchy Library, we were supposed to play at 7 but we showed up at 7:30
Aside from the bartender there were only 2 people in the bar. The soundman had already left so we decided we'd take a break and not play on that particular evening, we drank some bourbon and Pabst and watched a baseball game and then the evening shift showed up.
They run a Burlesque night at the Anarchy Library on Sunday nights and said that we could play between the dancers' sets, this sounded way better than what we had signed on for so we went with it.
Had we showed up on time the show would have sucked ass, however since we're irresponsible dawdlers (well those guys are anyway) we ended up with a way better show
Short drive (5 hours) to Mexicali from LA, and very beautiful, got some footage of that particular leg of the tour, we weren't expecting much from a Monday night in Mexicali but it ended up being a packed show at a great Venue with amazing bands and a super cool DJ, stayed up very late carrying on.
We enjoyed our only day off watching the Last Supper (Sabbath Reunion) in a super swank pimping crib above a rock shop/skate shop in a Mexican shopping mall,
this was a very special treat, in Vancouver our host would have been mad at our friend for bringing dirtballs like us into his place but in Mexico everyone’s all “mi casa, su casa” and stuff
This was the very worst day of our tour.
The sniffer dog took a special interest in us crossing the border coming out of Mexico, so we had to go through a secondary inspection.
5 US border guards took turns interrogating us while the guy with the dog searched through our personal belongings; needless to say we were frightened little Canadian boys,
The officers insisted we had been smoking marijuana in our car (we had not, we are not idiots) but finally sent us on our way, with a stern warning.
We were broken and terrified.
The I-8 to Phoenix runs parallel to the US/Mexico border and they have these fucking surprise border inspections placed randomly along it,
We ran into one of those and again the dogs liked us, 4 US border guards interrogated us threatening us with prison time, our vehicle being impounded and generally putting the fear of god into us before they sent us on our way, again broken and terrified.
We arrived on time at our venue in Phoenix, the Stray Cat, which is a beautiful bar with a smoking room and whatnot.
Our nerves were shot so Bert and I had a bit of an altercation on stage.
Bert and I are very different people so we have at least one blowup every tour, we’re getting good at them though so we handled this one properly, complete with sweaty hugs/sloppy kisses and tear filled apologies (I was doing all this, Bert was just standing there - frozen stiff and horrified)
the next day we hung out and got drunk with our good friend Johnny, Cori and Johnny's hilarious roomate Sam, I managed to sober up and get Motorama to our second show in Phoenix which was at the Ruby Room - a very nice place - reminds me of a David Lynch movies set.
We played with our friends the Toomstoners (kick ass rock-a-billy) got a great reception from the small crowd which restored our faith in Phoenix and the beast that is Motorama
Friday night at a great venue, the Divebar, in Sin City - good bands and super cool friends, stayed up till all hours at the Real Shames house, I spent most of the next day gambling on penny slots in a really cool old casino in Old Vegas, we stay away from the strip; it's a suck-ass place for tourists
This was our final show of the tour and we managed to pick up a show at the Double Down (thanks to Marianne of the Real Shames).
The Double Down is the best dive bar in Vegas; we played first, sold some stuff, and stayed up all night.
Reggie stayed in Vegas, he had to fly back to Vancouver otherwise he'd be late for work, so me and Bert drove to Bakersfield where we stayed in a $35 fleabag motel and then woke up early Monday morning to head to Portland (a 14 hour drive)
Our friend Sam from Phoenix gave us a book on CD, read and written by John Joseph (singer from the Cro-Mags). We listened to that for much of our drive and were suitably inspired. You think you got it rough? Read or listen to John Joseph’s book and you’ll learn otherwise punk.
We spent the night in Portland with our good friend Kelly of the Muddy River Nightmare Band, went to a bar near his house where I got black out drunk (the only time I could do this on the entire tour as I was always driving)
Woke up late, grabbed breakfast and had an uneventful drive back to Vancouver
I had a great time on this tour thanks so much to all our friends who let us sleep on their couches/floors.
A special thanks to Randy who lent me his handy cam and GPS unit, the GPS made getting to the cities/venues very stress free, and I'll be posting video footage and photos on YouTube real soon.