20130623-124319.jpg

I have been on the road tour managing now for about three weeks. And while I perhaps should wait to write anything until the whole shebang is over and done with, last night I was perched on top of a rickety bar stool in Mobile, Alabama, and was overwhelmed with senses and wanted to write them down.

This is my first time touring, and when people ask me why I haven’t been writing much during the down time, I can only explain by illustrating tour as a very slow blur. A hazy and bright rush of countryside and tattered green rooms, nice people, mean people, people riding down the streets of New Orleans with a boom box strapped to a bike, blasting zydeco as I nervously take pulls from a Moscow Mule on the sidewalk, sure that it can’t possibly be legal to drink under a speed limit sign (it is).

Tour has been a shock of color, like waking up with the sun in your eyes and sitting up to the room filled with red and blue and green spots blinking everywhere as your eyes take too long to adjust. Nothing is that different, but everything is. It has been a study in extremes; enormous sound and heavy silence; breathless rush and impossible slowness; happiness and frustration; vibrance and exhaustion; stretches of kinship, and comical bursts of the awkward. I bought a sundress yesterday morning because the South has caused my whole body to wilt like the dry Western flower I am. I have seen long lost friends and met strangers. I met a fifteen year old girl and her father in Houston. She wants to be a graphic designer and live in Russia. He uses records to teach his small town science class about waves.

I had a guy in Salt Lake City tell me I shouldn’t carry guitars because I was a girl. I have since decided that women in Utah just must not have arms. Which makes me sad for them, because it means they will never know the joys of raising the roof or waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care.

We accidentally left the trailer door open on the way out of Denver one early, early morning, to be honked at on E-470 by a man in a truck, gesturing wildly to the rear. In an hour of panic and tension at 6 AM, we circled around my parents’ neighborhood, finding guitars stacked on the sides of roads and against trees like Easter eggs. We left having recovered 4 out of the 5 guitars, only to get a call from my parents later saying that they had found the last one- a firefighter had found it outside his home and had promptly printed up signs and taped them all along the street. We got it back in New Orleans- when we arrived at the venue it was cozied up on the green room sofa, much better rested than any of us.

I have been asked thrice who in the band was my boyfriend. All three times I have given three different answers:

1) All of them.

2) No one, I have a boyfriend at home in Seattle (the truth).

3) I’m not into dudes.

I’ve made mistakes while tour managing for the first time, from not being vigilant enough with the promoter, to not managing time well enough, to not seeing a speed bump in California late at night and terrifying everyone dozing in the van. I haven’t worn make up in three weeks, and I’ve worn the same shorts for 75% of the run. No one has slept much, and I ate a shrimp po boy yesterday that is still having a conversation with me.

We have played big shows full of excited and dancing fans, and small shows where the merch booth is a small and lonely island.

And I can’t wait to do it all again.

Advertisements