Maeth Tour Diary 2015 p. 1: Midwest/Southwest

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HessianHunter shares some tales of traveling 6 hours a day in a van to play 11 minute songs about dead elephants to confused strangers. This time, in the desert!


Day 1 – St. Paul, MN to Omaha, NE
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The day began in St. Paul, MN with us trying to perfect our van tetris for tour. Maeth is a 5-piece doom band with 2 drummers, 3 string players, and 5 tone snobs, so we have a mountain of gear to fit on stage and in the van. Our vehicle is a Chevy astro, which is the very smallest vehicle you could call a “van”; it’s basically like a tall, boxy, choadish minivan.

The advantages of a small vehicle are that it’s easier to park and less conspicuous than a massive 12-person van. The disadvantages are that we don’t really have room to fit a bunch of gear and our bodies inside. We have to pile amps on top of each other and put drums inside larger drums to make it all fit, and most of our personal belongings are under our feet as we broad-chested manly men sit shoulder to shoulder. It’s a good thing we’re such good friends or this level of intimacy would be intolerable.

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Thankfully my bandmates are all among the most intelligent, wisecracking, and culturally aware people I know, so we generally always have meaningful and stimulating conversations on the road. At the very least, we’ll share some really dank dick jokes.

Minnesota to Nebraska is a dull, dull drive. The Great Plains of settler times are long gone, replaced by cornfields and strip malls. We played word games to pass the time, and jammed some sweet mix CDs we made before we left, teenage road trip style. This weirdo Descendents jam was my favorite contribution to the mix.

We played in an industrial area on the outskirts of Omaha, in a combination bar/tattoo complex called Dr. Jack’s Drinkery. The Omaha/Lincoln music scene isn’t huge, so people are really happy when bands roll through town. We were a couple hours early to the show, so we struck up some conversation with a pair of Steves at the bar. They asked if we wanted to “make it” and get signed, and we patiently told them there’s a small audience for our kind of music and we do this because it’s artistically satisfying and fun, not because we expect to get rich or famous. One of the Steves gave us $50 just because he liked our moxy, and from thereafter kept buying us rounds of the $1 mystery pints until he eventually left right before our set. He probably would’ve been disappointed that we don’t sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd anyway.

After the show we stayed at another band’s house, and even though I slept on the floor instead of a couch I am certain I scored the best sleeping situation; check out my digs.

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Day 2 – Omaha, NE to Denver, CO

(Mountain jams)

The drive out of Omaha was still pretty bland, but as soon as we crossed into Colorado shit got beautiful. Flecks of snow dotted the bushy plains, and as we approached Denver… mountains, bro.

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We had a fun time poking around an establishment called Cannabis Station, so named because it shares a building with a gas station. The Indian food we ate right after tasted reeeaaaallllyyyy good.

The venue was a long-running DIY spot called 7th Circle, a charming dive if ever there was one. It’s a cramped warehouse covered in dirt and stickers, but I didn’t feel like a coked out crust punk might stab me. I’d be there all the time if I lived in Denver.

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The owner/operator of 7th Circle, Aaron, also ran sound. We’re a complicated band to engineer, with 4 cabs, 10 total drums, a flute, and up to 4 vocal mics depending on the songs we choose to play. We try our hardest to be easy on engineers and tell them what is high-priority to mic and what they can ignore when they inevitably run out of inputs, but Aaron was visibly excited for the challenge of mixing such a complicated band and insisted on getting mics put on every noisemaker on stage, tambourine and jamblock included. We haven’t had better sound at a show in months.

That night we stayed with a Denverite friend named Seth Stone whom I met when his sweet garage rock band Dirty Few came through Minneapolis. I knew he partied hard, but had no idea what I was getting myself into by hanging with the guy in his hometown. He knows everyone and drinks everything and if you hang with him, you will too. We caught a cab back to his house to meet some folks, including a belligerent young woman who insisted on loudly arguing with me 2 feet away from my sleeping bandmates. I’m just going to copy-paste from my status on my personal Facebook account the next day:

Shout out to the drunk lady last night who had never heard of a “DIY music scene” and tried really hard to make me feel dumb for using the term instead of “indie” and kept saying “DYI” and didn’t even drink the free beer she said she wanted. “DYI? What, like you’re gonna build birdhouses or some shit?”

 

Day 3 : Denver, CO to Santa Fe, NM

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We got breakfast in Fort Collins at El Poblano, a charming foodbus with a chef who was downright scandalized when I ordered a burrito with no meat, cheese, or sour cream. Guess they don’t get many vegans on a military base.

My bandmates are native Californians so they take burritos seriously. At El Poblano there was a discussion on whether “breakfast burritos” (featuring eggs and/or potatoes) were a legitimate expression within the classic art form of the burrito, and the conclusion they came to was that breakfast burritos are non-canonical burritos, like Ang Lee’s Hulk movie or the Tony Martin Black Sabbath albums.

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Our tour route has lots of long drives, many of which are unexciting, but I’ve actually been looking forward to this particular drive for weeks – rolling through the mountains into the Southwestern desert. High elevations mean the clouds hang low above you, which gives a surreal quality to the already beautiful landscape. Sometimes I would swear I could run over and jump up to grab the clouds.  Right before crossing the Colorado border into New Mexico, we remembered how good that Indian food tasted the day before, and suddenly the views got even better.

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(Desert jams)

Santa Fe is a weird place. It’s a historic city whose income is primarily tourism based. A major part of the attraction is that the buildings all look like old adobe huts no taller than 2 stories, save for the old cathedral in the center of town. The people actually living there skew toward rich yuppies, and the downtown streets are essentially a boutique frontier/Navajo-themed strip mall. I’m not sure if there’s a “gritty underbelly” of a city like this, but like always, the few people who DO dig heavy music love when a touring band comes through. I wasn’t sure what to expect on a Monday night in a “secondary market”, but turnout was strong and we even profited after gas expenses for the day. I highly recommend booking with Kronos Creative for any band looking to play New Mexico. Augustine got us a great show, fed us, and made us feel at home. I can’t wait to get back to Santa Fe to hang with him again.

We’ve all heard too many stories about tours ending because gear gets stolen from the van at night. That’s why we always have 1-2 people sleep in the van if we are parked outside, and tonight it was my turn. In an effort to save space in the van, I didn’t pack a blanket or pillow, and my old fleece jacket was inadequately warm for the surprisingly chilly desert night. After running the heater for 10 minutes it got warm enough for me to continue sleeping in relative peace, curled in a ball in the passenger seat. Come to think of it, I probably looked hella cute in there.

 

Day 4: Santa Fe, NM to Tempe, AZ

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Desert. Mountain. Scenery.

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All. Damn. Day.

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9+ hours of driving, and not a moment wasted.

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Yet again, a weeknight show exceeded our expectations drastically. I shared a choice bean and pickled veggie burrito with Toilet contributor Call The Slambulance before playing an all-ages coffee shop with some killer bands, including alt-proggers The Oxford Coma, who put this show together on very short notice. Back home we never sell XL shirts so we didn’t bother to stock up on them before tour, but lo and behold the flyover states cleaned us out of them in 4 days. Sorry to all the chubby Californians we’ll be disappointing; guess that’s a lesson learned for next time.

 

NEXT TIME: HessianHunter plays with Christian Molenaar’s band and shakes Joe Thrashn’Kill’s tiny little boy hands. Will he successfully hide his disgust? Tune in next time to find out!

All images courtesy of the author.

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  • Keegan Lavern Still

    Why do I get the vague feeling that the stuffed Charmander was… well… “stuffed” at some point in its inanimate life?

    • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

      I need an adult!

      • The W.

        Aren’t you an adult?

        • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

          That’s a good point. That statement disturbed me greatly. I don’t want to picture that ever again.

          • Guacamole Jim

            I can’t tell if you’re brilliant or have lost your grip on reality. Either way, thank you.

          • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

            You’re welcome.

    • Of course! That Charmander is stuffed of nutritional Pokéblocks. Is a very healthy Charmander, according to his skin.

      http://www.serebii.net/omegarubyalphasapphire/pokeblocks.jpg

      I remember that I rescued a Charmander from a really bad neighborhood. It was a sad Charmander that I had to feed and train because it was so skinny that he couldn’t even flame up his own farts.

      Poor guy.

  • Tyree

    So many farts happening, I can actually smell them coming out of my monitor. You learn to like the smell of farts when touring. It’s an art of sorts.

  • Dagon

    A part of me feels jelly of life on the road. It has obvious downsides but all of this looks really fun, including the massive farting.

    Yesterday I added images to a word document until 5 AM. Not really complaining, just thinking about how polarly opposed our day to day is at the moment.

    • The W.

      I travel a fair amount for work, but most of that is by plane. There’s something alluring about the open road.

      • Stanley

        For the first 8 hours. I took a road trip to Bend, Oregon. Driving there was fine as everything was new and interesting. Driving back was a chore to say the least.

        • Dagon

          Were you completely alone?

          • Stanley

            No. It was me and the Mrs so we had to trade off between Dido and Son of Aurelius. We found some common ground with Musk Ox though.

        • Herr Schmitty

          I’ve definitely been a willing/able driver for long drives in my life, but man; I drove from FL to ME 4 different times over the span of about 18 months… 1400 miles or so one way each time…

          And now anything more than an hour’s drive feels a bit like a fucking chore.

          • Dagon

            That is a huge drive.

          • Herr Schmitty

            Yup. Was completely alone for 2 of them. Had the GF with me for one, that was good. Had my grandfather and his dog with me for the other, that was the worst of the 4 by far; much rather have been solo for that.

          • Dagon

            Was that because of the grandpa or the dog? I don’t like driving my mom or my grandma around because I have to drive slowly. My mom is sort of traumatized by a car accident so she is really nervous whenever inside a vehicle.

          • Herr Schmitty

            Definitely because of the grandpa. He’s an insane person- he’s got some early-onset dementia, but swears he knows better which roads/exits to take than the GPS, and would get pissed when I trusted the GPS more than him. Like, red-in-the-face-screaming-at-the-top-of-his-lungs pissed. Totally obnoxious. The dog was really well behaved, to its credit.

      • Dagon

        I agree. When I was in the US my ex-GF, my sister and her GF came to visit me and we took a West Coast road trip. Rented a car in Vegas, drove to the Canyon, LA and then San Francisco via Big Sur.

        Awesome trip. I still want to do a road trip completely on my own, though. For whatever reason.

        • Stanley

          Road trips in areas of outstanding natural beauty >>>>>

      • Tyree

        Fuck Georgia though. Worst goddamn state to travel through.

        • Herr Schmitty

          Yeah man, Georgia sucks something fierce.

        • Keegan Lavern Still

          I was only ever in Georgia when I was 11 for an uncle’s wedding. It was the first and only time in my life where I experienced second-hand road rage.

        • The W.

          A lot of New Mexico and Texas are both terrible to drive through. The crazy thing about Texas is that you can drive for twelve hours straight and still be in the same freaking state.

          • Tyree

            The farthest west I’ve been is Chicago. I’d love to travel in your neck of the woods to experience that shit. I really want to check out Denver and Arizona.

          • HessianHunter

            Those states are gorgeous, dude. We all had contact highs from scenery alone.

          • The W.

            Colorado is fantastic to drive through so long as you aren’t too far East.

          • Scrimm

            Spoiler: Arizona fucking sucks. but if you come here we can get hammered.

          • Tyree

            Boom!

          • more beer

            New Mexico is a much better state to drive thru than Arizona. Once you hit the border on I 40 it is on boring ride to Flagstaff.

        • I love nothing about Georgia. Other than Florida, I’ve never experienced a more intense heat in my life. It smells and people can’t drive too.

          • Tyree

            So Accurate.

          • nbm02ss

            I can vouch for the shitiness of both states. I live in Northern Florida, which is essentially an extension of Southern Georgia, and over Memorial Day weekend I get to drive all the way down to my parent’s house in the Keys. I loathe Jimmy Buffett, and I’m too young to get excited about the Keys.

    • Tyree

      It’s so magnificently lovely! A bunch of smelly dudes in a van. Great times!

      * Farts

  • ChuggaChuggaDeedleyDoo

    Banging their way through the southwest

    • Christian you are mediocre

      • Oh no he didn’t!

        • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

          Oh yes he did!

    • Tyree

      Is this the before shot of the blowjob scene?

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        After, hence the expression.

        • Tyree

          That makes sense.

    • christian’s pre-chortle move

    • J.R.

      It took me way too long to figure out whose hand that was

      • It’s like someone randomly wanted to take some mocos (i don’t know how to spell that in english, isn’t it buggers?) from his nose and failed.

        • J.R.

          Boogers! I call my sister’s car “The booger” because it is small and yellow jaja.
          But I am correct in assuming that is not Joe’s arm? I know I cant bend my arm like that, but maybe I am just not cool enough.

  • This rules, thanks for sharing

  • Maik Beninton

    Hessian, you have such a baby face.

    • HessianHunter

      Ayyy fug u guy

      • Who’s the cutest baby in the toilet ov hell?

        Yes you aaare!!

        *squezzes his cheeks*

  • This is cool. I wish I could travel all over the place like that. Stupid money being a requirement for everything

    • Lacertilian

      You could walk and live off the land using your various under cover outfits and weapons for hunting.

  • This is great, Pumpkin Baby. Thanks for sharing these tales <3

    Stay Healthy and hope all the travel go smooth and you kill all the posers on the date shows!

    A big hug!

  • Maik Beninton

    Descendents is a good jam to have in your van.

  • HessianHunter

    Spoiler alert: our luck tuns out the next day. STAY TOONED

    • Dagon

      Boner alert:

    • Stockhausen

      Haha. It always does.

  • screw this tour! no St. Louis date?!?! lolz

    • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

      If there was a Poughkeepsie date I would go.

  • Ahmed Johnson The Reef Eater

    Where did you get that giant Charmander stuffed animal?

  • Maik Beninton

    This reminds me, where is the final part of stocky’s band tour? Did I miss?

  • OldMetalHead

    Very entertaining travelogue! Breakfast burritos>>>>>>>Tony Martin Sabbath. Just sayin’

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    artists-like these guys in the op—-on the road–spreading music
    an example of the future liberation of humanity
    —–
    it is time to end humanitys assumed predilictions towards tyranny and hate

    both vids at once—full vol
    https://youtu.be/wuax7RKJFKU
    –https://youtu.be/zpOULjyy-n8

  • Guppusmaximus

    Dude, “DIY” has been a legit term to describe any scene where the fans & bands do the majority of shit themselves since I was in a Pop Punk band in the late 90’s.

    *Warning: unabashed old / last band plug ahead*

    This was my last attempt at being a serious musician – these are only demos. btw, I play the drums *yay*

    https://myspace.com/octoberarrest

    • I’m at a bar atm but commenting on this so I can come back when sober and listen to this.

      • Guppusmaximus

        Cool… thanks:) Don’t expect anything earth shattering. This was from like, easily, 5+ years ago. We thought we were producing some sort of Musicians Rock. We never got around (financially) to do a proper recording…

  • Stockhausen

    Awesome diary, tiny pumpkin. I love that 2nd to last picture of that hollowed out mountainside area along I-40, we’ve passed that on tour several times. I used to live in New Mexico as a kid and we would drive through that area a lot, and I always liked seeing the statues they put on the mountainside above the shops.

    • more beer

      I lived in the 505 for 10 years I really like it there.

  • The tour looks like fun Pumpkin Baby. Some nice shots of the scenery as well. Outside of wandering drunk too far away from Las Vegas, I’ve never had a proper desert visit.

  • CT-12

    Yo H.H., I’m hoping to be able to go to your show on the 20th, but I’ll have to see if my boss will let me come to work late the next day (I live a ways from Seattle, and I wake up for work at 5 AM). Nonetheless, if I can’t see your band, you have got to check out the Wayward Vegan Café in Seattle; if you have a smartphone or something, look it up duder, amazing food, even better coffee (me and my girlfriend hit it up almost every time we’re in the area).

  • old_man_doom

    As a Californian, i concur with your conclusion on the non-canonical status of breakfast burritos. This, however, does not distract from their deliciousness. Next time y’all cone through the central coast, you can crash at my dankbox (read: crusty apartment). I dig these road updates from ToH members. Keep it up!

  • Lacertilian

    Great read @HessianHunter:disqus, thanks for taking the time to do this. I really enjoyed the scenery shots & descriptions as I’ll most likely never get to see them first hand.