The Twilight Collective – Tour Journal

The Twilight Collective

Date: Wednesday, February 9
Place: Butler, PA
Written By: Matt

Ah, day one of tour. We woke up bright and early, threw a mattress into the bus, and grabbed some coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. We headed to Lancaster to pick up Mark, which was about an hour from Doug’s. Since he has very recently moved back home with his parents, I had the occasion to meet them for the first time, despite the fact that Mark and I have been close friends for about four years. They seemed nice, and we talked for a bit.

Finally, we headed out towards Butler, PA (a 6 hour trip). We began to notice fumes in the bus, especially in the back and in the loft. As we traveled, they seemed to get worse and worse. Doug and I discussed it, and came to the conclusion that they were likely coming in through the holes that we had created in the floor when we removed the seats. We planned to put an extension on the exhaust pipe, and use industrial caulking to patch up the holes. For the time being, we opened the windows wider and popped the emergency vent in the ceiling.

Bad idea. We would later find out that the fumes were cycling around the vehicle due to the vacuum created by our mass and speed. Therefore, all we had to do this whole time was shut the windows. We would find this out the next day, and solve the problem.

As we continued onward, the fumes seemed to get worse. We began feeling nauseous, developing headaches, and, in some cases, becoming slightly incoherent. We decided to pull over, and discovered that we had a flat tire. We pumped it up, found a truck stop, and had it replaced. We “de-fumed” for a bit, got some food, and continued on our trip.

By the time we got to the club, we were wandering around, bleary-eyed, sick to our stomachs, and holding our throbbing heads. People probably thought the entire band was going through detox. Not the best start to a tour.

There were a few hundred kids at the show…which made us feel a lot better. We met up with the Sleeping, and (at least for me) had the opportunity to truly meet them for the first time. Strange fact: We sold 31 pins, which was odd, since kids on the East Coast tend to shy away from pins in general. I guess Butler is an exception.

We went back to the promoter’s house and hung out for a while before going to sleep. Harry got drunk off his rocker, and we all played a lot of air hockey. At one point, Harry broke an electronic darts board, and Doug (the Sleeping’s Doug, not our Doug) was snoring as loud as a grown man’s scream. “Our” Doug seemed to be developing a bit of a cold. Butler definitely left us with a good impression, and according to some Butler area message boards, people were really into our set and want us to come back.

Date: Thursday, February 10
Place: Allentown, PA
Written By: Mark

After an awesome night in Butler, PA, we woke up early and made our way toward Allentown. We left at around 9am, giving ourselves plenty of time so that we could stop for food and have time to relax before the show. On hindsight, this extra time we afforded ourselves was very valuable.

We stopped at a rest stop at around 12pm, and on our way back to the bus, I noticed that the front driver’s side tire was a little low. Since I am regulated to check the bus before any trips for problems, I told the guys, and we filled it up with air. We all decided that it would be a good idea to drive for about 50 miles and have a look at it again. When we stopped at the next rest stop in Snow Shoe, PA, the tire was completely flat, and we were riding on the rim. Luckily, there was a mechanic on-site, colorfully called Snow Shoe Tire Repair. Our options, according to the mechanic, were that we could either buy a new tire for $100, or we could rotate the back and front tires, and he could patch the flat, costing us $25. Since we are starving artists, we chose the cheaper route. We pulled into the garage, and the mechanic used the jack and lifted the bus up, although he didn’t know that we were all still in the bus. We all screamed like little girls. All of a sudden, we heard a sledgehammer smashing the wheel of our bus. The wheel had actually rusted to the bus, and it was the only way the mechanic could get it off. He finally fixed the tire, and we were on our way.

We finally made it to the venue, after calling the promoter and having him wave us down on the street because we got lost. The venue was called The Freight Yard, and it was a very sizeable place with a great sound system. Three local bands played, one of them from my hometown of Lancaster, PA, called Bedford Exit. Then The Twilight Collective took the stage and played a very decent, quick set. We figured that for this tour, we shouldn’t be playing too many songs, since most people had not ever heard of us. We just want to give people a taste of what we have to offer, and hopefully the next time we come around we can have more people come out and be able to play a longer set.

The Sleeping took the stage next, and played an amazing set. Their live performance matches their recording perfectly, but still maintains an energetic presence that blows us away every night. All five of us really enjoy playing with those guys every night. They give us something to strive for, something to look forward to. We are just starting out, so we have a lot to learn, and a lot to prove.

Since we were playing in our hometown of Wilmington, DE the next day, we decided to head home. We left the venue at around midnight. After getting lost, we arrived home at 4am. The bus was then dropped off at another mechanic, where $1100 of repairs were to be made. It was a hectic day, but worthwhile. Being on tour, we know that we will have many roadblocks ahead of us. We just need to get through them and keep persevering.

Date: Friday, February 11
Place: Wilmington, DE
Written By: Harry

Tour, day three. We wake up after a very nice sleep, at the apartment. So nice to sleep in my own bed, yea it was only two days away from home but I’m a pussy and I love my bed. We put Matt up in the computer room so he could get undisturbed, much needed, and well-deserved peace and sleep. Him and Doug held it down the night before driving us home, so long story short he slept from 4am to 4pm. We were instructed “If you wake me up, I will beat you.” haha. We love Matt. And this is just a friendly public disclaimer. Don’t wake this guy up unless you got a fucking broom to poke him with. He has a history I think he tackled someone and maybe punched another guy once. MOVING RIGHT ALONG. WE ARE IN DELAWARE!!!! Hometown and loving it, because we had all been looking forward to this show for weeks. The sickest part about it… well we’ll get there….. Mark Phil and I get up shower and go get some food at the Newark COOP (natural foods, health store) for Mark and Phil our vegan friends. I am really glad we went because they had some tasty hummus and chips sampler thingy and I loved it so I bought some. Mark and Phil got their stuff and somehow this gentleman and I strike up a conversation about chips, you know what’s good what’s bad, and how he was a professional gambler in the early 70’s pretty sick. While we are out doing our thing Lisa is getting water and wristbands, preparing for the show later that night. Doug was home doing laundry which the band was all very thankful for :0) we love you F-bag. – Ok back into the car and drinkin a coffee from Dunkin Donuts getting hyped. We roll back to the house drop off our food and by this time it’s 4 pm so we were like ok this guy might just end up sleeping though the show, we should wake him up. We wake up Matt and luckily didn’t get our asses kicked. We get him up and ready to go, roll to the Grange and start setting up sound. The bands start rolling in and a massive line forms at the door. “Shit’s goin down!”. Everybody was there, it was sweet. The lineup was 4/5ths Delaware and one band from Strong Island baby. We had a late addition to the lineup our good friends My America is Watching Tigers Die. They actually had No Milk records coming to check them out at a show in Jersey. Well that got cancelled and they called us so of coarse we hook em up. After them was The Media siiiiiicckkk and then centerview siikccccckkkkkkk and then Morning Abroad ssssiiiiiiiiccccccckkkk The Twilight Collective ssssiiiiiiiccccckkkkk and The Sleeping sssssssssiiiiiicccccckkkkkk. The show was out of control. The kids were dancing for every band every song. Holdin shit down. We were all really happy with how we played. We fucking rocked the fuck out. The vibe in that place was intense. The kids were really into it and shakin asses. We did really well on merch and sold 11 shirts 20 cd’s and a bunch of stickers and pins. We couldn’t have asked for anything more. Every band played so well, and the crowd was amazing as always. I will deff say it Delaware has one of the best scenes around. hells yea!!!

Of course the Sleeping fucking ruled as always much love to those kids for taking us out with them. Kids have been going crazy for em at every show. Rolled in 500 deep.. Oh and the first two shows we were late to. Today The Sleeping were late. So yo the counts 2-1 boyyyssss. – We really want to thank everyone involved in the show, all the kids who came out, and all the bands that played. MY MAMA for runnin the door while Lisa did merch. Darren for always having our back with security, and once again just everyone for being amazing. It was the best show we have ever done, so thank you. Ok clean it up. The gayest part of the night but it’s all good .We do it up and after two hours of cleaning things are good. TIME TO DRINK – TIME TO PARTY. Oh wait no – people are hungry. Lisa calls. “Can you get us hamburgers? Everybody is really hungry and it’s too late to order pizza. Let’s get Wendy’s.” This is said in typical Lisa fashion. Think of the whiniest voice ever that you can’t say no to. So I go to Wendy’s – closed. Taco Bell right next door. People can’t eat that. SO I gotta hike it down to Mc’D’s. A god damn mad house. So after about 15 minutes I get the 13 double cheeseburgers and 10 fries and 1/4 pounder for matt. Fucking fly back drop off Matt’s burger to him at the grange. They were just finishing up with the cleaning and taking the bus back to Doug’s to caulk the floor and put the lock on. I roll to the party finally around 2 am.. It was sick everyone was hammered and I had some catching up to do. First thing first drop the food on the coffee table and run to the kitchen yelling my patented drinking line “Who wants to take a shot” Grab the 1/5 of vodka hidden in the counter raise it in the air breaking a lighting fixture in the kitchen say fuck it and do about a 5 count on that bitch, and follow up by pouring shots. We raise our cups, beers, and shots and toast to another beautiful and an amazing show. After the chug the shots and a beer in about 5 minutes I am almost with everyone else. I don’t even know what the fuck was going on the party was crazy. We’re drunk talking, acting like idiots Taking pictures, looking at any form Road Rules N00DS. Fuckin Sean and Nat came out – missed those kids so much. Weavers was out we all celebrating his B-Day, and shit. We take an insane amount of drunken video, and it was just a good time. Time to crash. It’s like 4 am – Delaware we love you.

Date: Saturday, February 12
Place: Fredricksburg, VA
Venue: Shooters
Written By: Phil

We got up and out pretty early because our load-in time was set for 2pm. Even though we’ve been on tour for 3 days, this was our first real show outside of the tri-state area, so everyone was pretty pumped to get going. The ride down was pretty smooth now that we finally got our bus problems taken care of. The next thing we need to do is fix our left speaker, which is now completely blown out. Listening to mono-Queen just isn’t the same ::sigh::.

We pulled up to the venue right around 2, but the promoter hadn’t shown up yet, so we decided to check out the pawn shop that was next door to the venue (the venue being in a strip-mall). After that, we decided to check out the pawn shop down the street (no, this isn’t a shady neighborhood at all. Really.). Finally, the promoter arrived. We loaded our stuff in and hung out for a bit because they needed to wait for the other stores to close before the show could start. The layout was pretty interesting. The stage was built around a bunch of billiard tables, which made the crowd bigger from side to side rather then front to back.

The turnout wasn’t too hot because there was a Senses Fail show going on the next town over, but we still had a good 50 or 60 kids there. I can’t remember where exactly we were on the bill because there must have been about 9 bands on the show but we played pretty early. In hindsight it was probably one of our less energetic sets (the stage was so small we kept bumping into each other) but the great thing about tour is that you always have another day to make up for it. The Sleeping were great as always, encouraging the crowd to run laps around the venue during “Believe What We Tell You.” It’s just proof that you don’t have to be playing to a big crowd to have a memorable show.

After the show, we packed up and decided to hit the road and just sleep at a rest stop. After about an hour of driving, we parked and Doug and I gave Matt a disease sandwich (Matt being the meat and Doug and I being 2 sick pieces of bread). Sweet dreams, Matt.

Most memorable quote of the day:

Joe Cinnetti: “Yo, Bagel!” (The Sleepings lighting/merch guy who has since been dubbed ‘Weiner Patty’), “You want my quesadilla?”
Bagel: “Sure.” (Puts it down)
(a roach crawls out of the bag, followed by 2 more)
Bagel: “Ahhhh!!!”
Joe Cinnetti: “What the hell is wrong with you?!”
Bagel: “A roach just crawled out of my quesadilla!”
Joe Cinnetti: “Oh shit. I ate like 3 of those things.”
Doug Sleeping: “Who’s got quesadillas!?”

Date: Sunday, February 13
Place: Gloucester Point, VA
Venue: Jitter’s
Written By: Doug

We start today off at an I-95 rest area somewhere in Virginia. It was either sleep there, or in the parking lot of Guitar Center. We chose the rest area because of the plumbing. We get out of the van after a night of jokes and coughing fits, (my fault) brush our teeth and head to Guitar Center.

We got up early on purpose not only because of our van but….well, it was because of our van. We’d been seeing a pattern of lateness emerge and we were working on fixing that before we earned a “late band” reputation. Fortunately, we were early and had time to stop off at Waffle House for some breakfast.

Going out of Delaware is strange because in Delaware we have anti smoking laws for bars and restaurants. Seeing people smoke indoors sets off an alarm in my head that says, “Ooooooo, you’re in Touuuubleeee”, like when someone in elementary school got called to the principals office.

ANYWAY, we eat at Waffle House, for day 1 of 3 in a row, and then go to Guitar Center for real this time. We get there and not only is a “Sam Ash” right next door, but neither of them open till 12. So, we had some time to kill. The Pet Store next door was open, so we decided to test Matt and Mark’s allergy medication…or lack thereof.

First of all, I have a cat and a dog. My cat is about 20 Lbs. and my dog is like 40. I have a BIG cat, and the 2 that roamed the store freely put mine to shame. Those were some big ass cats. There was also this rockin’ parrot that either didn’t like us, or really liked metal breakdowns. It kept putting out its feathers into kinda a mohawk shape, and moving it’s head around. So we starting mouthing out a metal breakdown and it looked like it was rockin’ out.

Once Guitar Center opened, we got the stuff we needed then went to Home Depot…..for something… then we started making our way to Gloucester Va. Long story short, too late, we go to Gloucester.

Because our Saturday show wasn’t that far away, we had plenty of time to kill. I mean TIME, so we went to Jitters and scoped the place out and decided to go promote a little at the local Mall. We go to the mall, hand out some flyers eat some food. OH! One of the girls working at the Hot Topic signed out guest book and 2 people from the mall actually went to our show.

We leave the mall, Phil does his custom burst out of the bus doors, and we go back to jitters and still get there before The Sleeping! Jitters is a coffee shop that has shows occasionally. It’s pretty cozy in there. OHHH!!!! I remember what we went to Home Depot for. It was screws for the castors on Phil’s speaker cabinet. One ripped out the night before, and we needed new screws, and fixed it in the parking lot before we played.

Back on track; we play jitters, good show, and Dave (one of the promoters) offers us a place to stay along with The Sleeping. The show ends. We go pick up the essentials like… liquor and pizza. Head to Dave’s. Park. Grab our stuff and waltz inside.

We take some showers, watch some videos of other bands, there’s some drinking. I decide I’m tired just as we start watching Napoleon Dynamite. I doze off behind the couch. I get stepped on by my own shoes. (some girl borrowed them to go outside and smoke. I wake up for a little while and do my impression of an inch worm and we all turn in a little later after watching the same part of Napoleon Dynamite 10 times cause some girl named Jade likes the part where Napoleon tows Kip into town…. another day, another Dollar.

Date: Monday, February 14
Place: Charlotte, NC
Venue: The Milestone
Written By: Matt

This was an oddly uneventful day.
We woke up at Dave’s house after quite an “eventful” after-party. I found myself on a 2-foot-wide couch, which I was sharing with Bagel. On the other couch and behind it were Doug and Phil, both of whom I believed had tuberculosis. They sounded like they were breathing through Jell-O. We drove to Charlotte, and arrived at the Milestone. It’s a bit of a classic place; Nirvana played there, and the Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, and Skinny Puppy all tagged the walls. That was kinda cool. We met Whole Wheat Bread, who were really good, and played with Pink Spiders, but I didn’t get to see them.

Mark and I went to Wendy’s with the Sleeping.
While there, we were talking about music and Queen came up. Sal said, “Queen…that isn’t even music. Queen’s a ‘thing.’ Like chicken. Like, who doesn’t like chicken?” It cracked us up, and just kind of stuck with me, because despite how bizarre it sounded, it made so much sense. We also talked to Cameron for a long time…outside, since the weather was getting a bit nicer.

This show had the worst turnout of any show on the tour, but the promoter was really cool and paid out of his own pocket. After the show, we went to a hotel (Lisa paid for it – THANK YOU), and we all snuck in. We got showers for the first time in days and went to bed.

Date: Tuesday, February 15
Place: Wilmington, NC
Venue: The Soapbox
Written By: Mark

After sleeping in a hotel in Charlotte, NC, we got our things together and ate brunch at a Cracker Barrel. We started out for Wilmington, which was about a 4-hour drive. We have never come across more farms and fields in our lives as on that trip. There was a gas station about every 70 miles or so, and they wouldn’t let you use the bathroom. We tried multiple places, and no dice. We finally made it to a Subway, like we did every day, and got some good food before making it to downtown Wilmington.

Downtown Wilmington is beautiful. Very pristine, very clean. We made our way to the venue, called The Soapbox. When we got there, there was a camera crew, lights, trucks with a bazillion dollars worth of recording equipment, and a sea of people. Lassiter, the production assistant, came up to the bus, and told us that we could stay where we were parked, but we needed to be absolutely quiet. We asked her what was going on, and she informed us that an episode of “One Tree Hill” was being filmed, which appears on the WB network. I am sure that you all watch it, so don’t act like you don’t know what it is. We were allowed to sit and watch the filming, which they said will air in a few weeks, surprisingly. We asked to be extras, and tried to sneak into the shots, but we won’t be on TV.

The Soapbox is a really cool place. When you walk in, there is a staircase to your right that leads to the show venue. Straight ahead, there is a really nice coffee shop that shows indie movies and has tables and chairs for hanging out, and video games and pool tables. If you keep walking past those things, you arrive at a Laundromat. We loved it.

The venue was awesome. It had a great sound system, a nice open stage, and lots of room. We played well, and made a lot of new friends that night. We stayed with the promoters that night, and arrived at their house at 3am. They fed us cake, and we went to bed. I had a 6am wake-up call so we could make our way to Waycross, GA.

Date: Wednesday, Feb 16
Place: Waycross, GA
Written By: Harry

This day starts like many other. Driving, hanging out, acting like idiots, and looking for the next Subway. Subway is the best place EVER. So we’re driving, and we get to the address that was mapquested for us. The only thing is that we are at someone’s house. We were a little freaked out because we thought we were playing a fire hall. Phil has to urinate really bad so we let him off and he runs for the woods. Apparently there was a family BBQing and someone might have been stroking a shotgun, so he decides maybe this isn’t the place to do it. We turn around, park, dodge a mammoth ant hill, and call the promoter. Jen comes to get us and soon after we are at the venue. We pull up and meet everyone, and not soon after, The Sleeping arrive. (The Sleeping’s) Doug is tearing shit up on his bitchin’ mini board (seriously this thing was like 2 inches) but it’s all good he’s training for the next X-Games: should be sick. We all load in and there is like 3 bands so it was set to be a quick show. We play pretty good I bled all over my drums and the local was tight, and then The Sleeping do there thing and kill it. GA was awesome, because they made The Sleeping play “If Your Heart Was Broken, You Wold Be Dead”. It’s so awesome that the crowd can alter their set on any given night. Go to a show or two and you’ll see. So we are all breaking down, and since I had some time to myself while the other bands were playing I polished up my drums. It’s always nice to shine em up and give a little TLC. The show is over and we’re chatting with the awesome kids in GA. Some drove like 2 hours to come. We sold a bunch of merch, and made some friends. Also this chick I forget her name, but she had the hottest hoodie ever. Homemade Strongbad hoodie. The pic will be posted. They were really cool and we talked for like a half hour. People are clearing out and it’s time to settle for the night. The promoter was being mad shady and tried to rip us off. Long story short he owned the building, and the sound, and did the show last minute, after he got the call from Jen and Casey (who rule!!!) Anyway we had driven 9 hours to get there and had another 5 to go to the next show. He tried giving us $100 to split between us and The Sleeping. Everybody tried to hit this kid up for more cash, and he wouldn’t budge. So Sal comes to me and I give it a shot. I explained to the guy we know he was making a couple hundred bucks off the show, and screwing us over. He would not have had the show unless the girls called him, so him making anything was better then nothing. His answer was “I Don’t care we aint gonna be doin show like this.” Long story short he freaks out jumps up in my face and say “Dude why are you buggin me like this. I ain’t got no money, and you ain’t getting no more.” Captain Bagel, Magnum roll in for backup. I say “Listen I am trying to talk to you man to man, and make you understand the position we are in. This shit ain’t easy, and every dollar counts when we spent $100 to get here. I don’t want to take it to this level, and you DEFINITELY don’t want to take it to this level, so let’s just figure this out right now and get it over with.” The kid pulls out another $50 and we split. That kid sucked. To Casey and Jen’s house we go. We get there and her mom was cooking MAD hot Dogs and a huge pot of Chili. Nicest lady EVER. It was the best meal EVER. GA knows how to cook Chili. We’re all chillin and having a good time. A couple kids from the show come back to hang out too. There is like 20 of us. It’s nice to get to know people on tour. We got to just chill and hang which isn’t always the case while on the road just trying to haul ass to the next show set up play, break down and roll. It was a good time and they were all really nice. We sleep, we rise, we say our goodbyes, and hit the road heading to FL.

Date: Thursday, February 17th
Place: Orlando, Florida
Venue: Screamers
Written By: Phil

This was the part of tour that we had all been waiting for. While everyone was freezing there asses off in Philly and DE, we were heading down to sunny Florida for 3 days.
Oh yeah, we get to play some shows, too.

We got to the venue early enough to park and walk around in downtown Orlando. We went into a head shop to pass out flyers and wound up giving one to some long-haired, bearded dude. After we left, we heard people talking about the Taste Of Chaos tour (Featuring Killswitch Engage and The Used) kicking off in Orlando the following night. It turns out we gave a flyer to Burt from The Used. He said he’d come by and hang out but we thought he was just being nice. An hour or so later we got back to the venue and loaded our stuff in. The show didn’t start for a while so we hung out with some of the locals and watched Doug try to scale a palm tree. It only took one try for him to realize that he’s not the brightest bulb in the box.

The worst set you can play is the “technical difficulty” set. No matter how much you prepare there’s always going to be a show where stuff just decides to go wrong and there’s nothing you can do about it. In this particular set, Mark couldn’t get a working mic cable, so it took us forever to start. Then, as soon as we went into our first song, Harry’s double bass pedal broke. After that, we resumed playing and all of the lights in the venue went out. To top it all off, the sound guy never showed up, so a bunch of different people with little-to-no experience were trying to do sound (with results varying from mediocre to shit). In spite of all of that, we didn’t play too bad, but the vibe just gets lost when you deal with problem after problem. Josh, the promoter, seemed like a really cool guy. He was having it just as tough as we were, so he felt for us. He’s actually doing all of our Florida shows for us, so we’re lucky he’s a good dude.

A little after we finished playing, Burt showed up. Looking back it was probably a good thing that he didn’t catch our set. He talked to us for a while and said that he still wanted to grab some merch, so we hooked him up with a demo and a shirt. He kept trying to pay for it but we told him not to worry about it. He was really appreciative and seemed genuinely moved.

Ok, so now the show’s over and its time to party in downtown Orlando. We all went to this bar/club that played indie music and myself, Doug, Mark, Matt, Harry, and our new friend/host Jauqi danced it up like a bunch of white people with fresh lobotomies. After a while we went to get something to eat and attempted to go back to Jauqi’s house, where we were going to stay that night. Along the way we watched some dude get clocked and then get yelled at by his trashed girlfriend for getting hit (that guy is going to love himself in the morning). After we finally got to Jauqi’s house, we watched a drunken Bagel do a moonwalk/robot hybrid in reverse into his room, where he somehow passed out with his feet on the bed and his head on the floor. This sure beats being in work!

Date: Friday, Feb. 18th
Place: Melborne, FL
Venue: Melborne JayCee’s
Written By: Doug

We’re all friggin’ dead and machines rule the earth!!!! Heh, just kidding. It’s 2005 and we’re safe….for now….

Today starts out at Jauqi Gdfkujghdid’s (Sorry I don’t know your full name, and feel like I should) house somewhere in Deltona, Florida. We met her and Simone at Screamers the night before and Jauqi offered us a place to stay. Joe from The Sleeping’s uncle lives near Orlando, and they stayed there. Somehow Bagel ended up with us.

Jauqi and her dad could not have been nicer to us. This might be too much information but, my natural body odor smells like crayons, and they put up with me crayoning up one of their spare rooms, and Bagel’s antics, and still gave us food for the road.

We got some showers and got a head start to Bagels’ Mom’s house in Palm Bay. We shoot over there and that’s when 2 things start to happen. 1.) Phil starts not feeling so great. 2.) I notice that our front passenger tire was worn to the threads.

That aside, we had a great time at Bagel’s. Had a cook-in cause the grill was being testy, and had to take our shirts off poolside, in FEBRUARY.

Doug from the Sleeping, Sal, and Harry got their hair cut/styled. While we watched “Family Feud,” Phil slept, or at least tried to sleep with the 2 friggin’ Bears that live there. They’re not actually bears; they’re Rottweilers, but Christ on a cracker they are HUGE and acted like they were small dogs and nearly licked us to death. Thanks to Bagel and his family for feeding us and shooting us with rubber BB’s.

Long story short, too late, we had a great time, Joe the tour manager from the Sleeping shaved The Sleeping bunny into his tummy hair, we ate a lot of nummy food, and then left to go to our show in Melborne. Apparently, it was 10 minutes away, and it took us 45 minutes to get there. Now, The Sleeping has a nice new van. It can go the speed limit. Our bus….not so much. So Matt had to punch the accelerator to keep/catch up.

We get there, load in, and I go to wash my hands. As I’m washing my hands I notice some dirt that’s not coming off. I take a closer look and they are splinters from a palm tree I tried (and failed) to climb in Orlando: A tourist faux-pa to be sure.

So Matt assures me he can get them out with a pin we got from the Milestone in North Carolina. SO, we get a flashlight and he goes to work on ‘em. All of them, save for one, came out painlessly while the first band played. I got some antibacterial cream from Joe (Poop Chicken), the Sleeping’s tour manager, and I’m good to go.

Phil is really not doing well at this point. We’re about to play and we joke about propping him up with cardboard to make it at least look like he’s playing. However, he gets MVP cause we honestly played our best …EVER… that night and the next, and phil put out 110% then crashed.

We finish our set, get off the stage, and decide to load out due to space issues in the venue. I go out to the bus. Turn the key. And then…nothing. The starter is trying to turn the motor over but the motor isn’t giving. I try and try but no dice.

I go back tell Harry and the guys what’s up, and we go into “Band Emergency Mode”. We tried everything we could, which wasn’t much. The bus is very hard to work on – period – let alone not having the right tools and lighting. I’d like to thank Sam. He helped out a lot with the diagnosis of the problem and offered as much help as he could so, thanks Sam and Lisa’s Dad who also helped with the troubleshooting over the phone.

By the end of the show, I’m 85% sure the problem is fuel related due to me forgetting the existence of a fuel filter. ANYWAY, we get the tow truck ball rolling and someone gives us the notion that a Denny’s is close by. We get directions and look but… no Denny’s. To this day, Denny’s was a red herring. We go to Taco Bell, and by the time we finish there, Mark gets a call from the Tow company and we head back to the venue.

*Side note*, I’d like to thank The Sleeping for being the best dudes EVER and driving us around blindly and listening to us bitching all while missing a party. Seriously, you guys are the ABSOLUTE best and we’re forever indebted to you for that.

We get back to the venue and the wrecker is already there. Mark gets out and handles the tow truck driver while we finish formulating our plan for sleeping etc. The Truck backs up to the front of our disabled van and the driver starts to use the levers and prepares to tow the bus. Before he even thinks about touching our van… he blows a hydraulic line. He calls his supervisor, and no one can tow us till 7AM the next morning. Harry and Lisa go with the Sleeping. Phil, Mark, Matt and I sleep in the bus. To be continued…

Date: Saturday, Feb 19, 2005
Place: Melborne/Vero Beach, FL
Venue: Vero Beach JayCee’s
Written By: Matt

This is a story of a day looking unsalvageable, hopeless, and bleak…only to end up somewhat positive. I’m not quite sure who was responsible for writing yesterday’s journal, but when they left off, we were surely going to sleep in the bus, awaiting the second tow truck’s arrival at 7:00 AM.

Mark and I set our alarms for 6:45 AM. The truck, its fat idiot driver, and his whining 5-year-old son arrived at 8:15. We got out of the bus, and managed to get Phil up. At this point, his fever was getting worse, and I was beginning to wonder if perhaps he needed medical attention. We watched the truck guy haul the bus onto the back of a flat bed, and noticed that the bus was surrounded with raccoon tracks. Our windows were wide open all night, so I’m glad that none of the critters got in. Actually, that’s not true. Mark waking up to a raccoon pooping on his face would have probably been the highlight of my life.

With the bus on the lift, we all piled into the front of the guy’s wrecker. His kid sat next to him, Doug sat on Mark’s lap, and Phil sat on mine. Phil put his face against the glass and drifted off into a feverish sleep.

Despite the fact that it was a Saturday, the driver assured us our destination was open. We began our trip, and all the while, this guy ogled teenage girls who were running a marathon through the streets, making lewd comments in front of his young kid. We arrived at the place, which seemed only to deal with foreign cars, and before finding out the establishment’s hours, the moron brought the bus off the platform. He then made some calls, found out that the place was to be closed all day, and came up to us. We told him we needed the bus fixed today, and to try to find another place that is open. He made some calls, and we wandered around the parking lot, looking at the other broken-down vehicles. After a half hour of networking with his moron associates, he came up with no solutions. He had looked into “every place that he could think of in all of Melborne and the surrounding towns.” I stared at the guy for a minute, and he told me that there was nothing else we could do. “No matter what, you’re not going to get this fixed before Monday.” Realizing how little help the guy was going to be, we let him go, but not before I pictured a bear eating his ugly son.

We walked to 7-11 and got Phil some Day-Quil capsules, took him off the ground (where he was sleeping), and put him in the bus. Mark, myself, and Doug began the walk to find some help. About 5 miles down the road, we found a diner, grabbed some breakfast, saw a family dressed entirely in camouflage, and asked the waitresses for help. With the yellow pages and their knowledge of exactly what was nearby, we managed to find a Midas that was open until 5. We called the towing company again, and told them to dispatch someone to our location. They claimed to do so. We thanked the women and walked back to the bus. There we waited for another 3 hours before the tow truck arrived. Harry found a place nearby I-95 that claimed that they could do the work the same day, and so we had it towed there.

The repair shop was called “Tuffy,” and we met Harry and Lisa there (Sal and Joe had dropped them off). The people at the shop were great, and the waiting room was like a palace; Free soda, water, oatmeal, and coffee…magazines, TV, and comfy seats. We watched some of “Primal Fear” and “Heist.” We read Cosmo and shook our heads at how mean women can be (Cosmo Confessions…brutal!). We walked around outside, taking in the palm trees and fresh air. We called home. It was a nice opportunity to take it somewhat easy. Harry, Lisa and Mark went to Perkin’s Restaurant and ate.

A little after 4:00 PM, the bus was done. It cost us a lot of money, and since we didn’t even make enough on the entire tour to cover it, Mark put it on his credit card. We raced to the Melborne JayCee’s, loaded our equipment back in the bus, and headed off to Vero Beach. Phil was looking worse by the minute.

We got to the show, loaded out, and met up with the Sleeping. Before either of us went on, we got together and took some photographs as a group. The tour seemed to fly, and we really got along, so it was a bit of a sad occasion. We played to a good-sized crowd. Cameron came up to my mic and kept singing along and making dumb faces, but I guess he can’t help the latter. Phil said his goodbyes directly after we played and went to sleep in the bus again. For being on death’s door, he still put his heart into every note he played.

We loaded, watched the Sleeping, sold some merch, and said our goodbyes. Since Doug and I are the drivers, we decided that he would start (since I tend to get groggy at night), and we would take 4-hour shifts. Mark was my “shotgun buddy,” and Harry was Doug’s. We later found out that Phil left his bag (full of chords, guitar pedals, etc.) on the ground outside the club, but it was found by the promoter and would be mailed to us later. Off we set, intent on arriving in Baltimore, MD by 4:30 the following afternoon.
Fate had a different idea.

Date: Sunday, February 20
Place: 26-Hour Death Drive
Venue: Our bus
Written By: Mark

Our plan was to leave from Vero Beach, FL and make it to Baltimore, MD in 18 hours for the show we were supposed to play with Brandtson at the Ottobar. Plans tend to change when you drive a mini school bus.

Matt and I were awoken at 2am when Doug and Harry finished their first driving shift. We planned on having one person drive, and another as a shotgun-buddy, so that if the driver got sleepy, the other person could slap or poke him, or if need be, take the wheel. I stumbled into the gas station and made my way to the coffee machine. I knew we had a long shift ahead of us, and I needed to keep Matt awake while he drove. He was thinking the same thing, and got the biggest coffee cup they had.

We made our way back into the bus. We were still in Florida, and our original plan was to do 3-hour driving trips, just to space it out a little. As we started driving, Matt and I woke up more and more, and while everyone else was asleep, we talked about anything and everything . . .from love, to religion, to physics. About an hour into the drive, we made it to Georgia, and the caffeine started to kick in. We shared a bottle of Full Throttle also, which is so filled with caffeine it makes your head spin. Soon our deep and meaningful conversations turned to rhyming the most nonsensical words to System of a Down-style vocal lines. To say the least, we were insane. Our 3-hour shift turned into 5 hours. We made it to South Carolina somewhere at around 7am, and stopped at a gas station. I walked in and was hungry and still in a caffeine rush, and for some reason bought honey mustard potato chips. Big mistake. They were awful. I walked out to the bus while Doug was filling the gas tank, and began running in place in front of him, singing “I am in a state of perpetual delirium.” Then I threw chips at him and took a handful and smashed them on my forehead. Doug fell on the ground laughing, and I ran in front of the bus and threw chips all over the windshield. Don’t ask me why I did this, I couldn’t tell you. Let it be known that I should never have caffeine again.

Matt and I slept for a while . . .I couldn’t tell you how long. We woke up at another gas station, and when I was pumping gas, this little Indian man came out and said “Look at your tire. That is very dangerous.” I don’t know where he came from, and I found that quite odd. I thought I was still dreaming. I told him we were going to get it changed as soon as possible. We came up with a plan when we got back on the road to call AAA and see if there were any truck stops along Route 95 that we could stop at to get a new tire. They couldn’t help us, so I called 911 and asked for highway patrol. They gave me a place to call that was relatively close, but they were closed. We knew we were in serious trouble, because if the tire blew while driving, we had little chance of surviving. Lisa then said “Don’t some Wal-Marts have tire places?” And then, out of the corner of my eye, with a choral group singing in the background and sunlight shining, there was a Wal-Mart Tire Center. We were saved…or so we thought.

We pulled up to Wal-Mart, and went inside and asked for a tire change. The man behind the counter replied “It will be a 2 and a half hour wait.” Our faces went from smiles to frowns in mere milliseconds. We had no other choice than to wait. We called the promoters in Baltimore and told them we would not be able to make it.

To pass the time, we walked over to an All-You-Can-Eat Pizza Buffet. For $3.99 you could fill your plate with pizza as many times as you wanted. Granted, the pizza was terrible, but when you are on tour, you settle for anything. We then wandered around Wal-Mart for what seemed like an eternity. I purchased the re-mastered versions of Megadeth’s “Countdown to Extinction” and Van Halen’s “1984.” We all then met up at the waiting area and watched part of the movie “Tommy Boy” until it broke, and then we put in “Gladiator.” 3 and a half hours after we came to Wal-Mart, we got our bus back.

For some reason, I got to go back to sleep, and Matt and Doug took over with driving. Phil woke me up a few hours later and said we were at Subway. Ahhh, Subway. Initially I wasn’t hungry, and wanted to keep sleeping, but I managed to get myself up and head in after everyone was already inside. I was a complete zombie. Everyone laughed at my face when I walked in. I went up to the counter, and the gentleman mumbled something that I couldn’t even recognize. I looked at him and said “I think I am going to go sit down now.” I tried to regain my composure and went back up to order a veggie sub. He mumbled again, and I said “That’s right, no cheese.” He made me a sandwich and we started out on the road again. I was shotgun buddy for the next 6 hours to Doug and Matt. We hit snow and sleet and rain, saw a few accidents, narrowly avoided getting into accidents, and finally made it back to Delaware at 2:30am. We unloaded the bus and put everything in Doug’s house. Phil asked where his bag that contained all his cords and pedals had been put, and we couldn’t find it. We left it in Florida. My job was to call the promoter from Vero Beach on Monday and see if he had it (he did). Matt then drove me back to Lancaster, and then made his way home to Philly with Phil.

This tour was awesome. We went through a lot of troubles, but we stuck together and persevered. We got to play great shows, meet new people, play in new places, and not be at work. What more could you ask for. We want to thank everyone who gave us a show, gave us a place to stay, let us take a shower, cooked us a meal. You don’t know how much it means to us. We hope we can come back soon and rock with you again.

Jenn Mattern is a professional writer and PR consultant, formerly specializing in music PR for indie artists. She owns 3 Beat Media, the parent company of AudioXposure. While AudioXposure is retired, you can still find Jenn at her other web properties including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, and NakedPR.

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