Tour Update 9

by Swingset Showdown on 2013/09/22

The Radio Review

Our last official stop on the tour was at a student radio station called KRFH in Arcata, CA. It is a student radio station on the Humboldt State University campus. We saw this as a rad opportunity to publicly reflect on our tour and our band.

Aside: I’m sorry it’s been months since we posted a tour update. I crapped out after the second to last one because once we got back, I got sucked into doing some tasks that required immediate attention and took priority over everything else until pretty much today. This will be the final update, and it’s basically written from memory and some random notes.

We woke up in Oakland and I immediately started putting my shoes on. There was a guy on the mattress next to mine who also woke up to the sound of my 7:30 alarm clock song, Wake Up, by NoMeansNo. I apologized and he said, “No man, don’t worry. I had a good time sleeping with you.” We both laughed, and I gathered the troops to make for our final destination. Eric slept in the car because we weren’t in the best part of Oakland. A van loaded with equipment was a target.

CreepyStatueWe hit the road and headed north on Highway 101 through part of the Redwood Forest. There wasn’t much to see, aside from large trees. We did, however, find a Sasquatch-themed gift shop on the side of the road. I pulled us over for a break. There wasn’t much to that, other than some wood sculptures, one of which was pretty creepy. Click the photo to see what’s so creepy about it.

Some more driving, and we finally made it to the radio station. We were early, so after we met with the two Music Directors, Ash and Tyler, I somehow got a chance to sit in the booth and guest DJ for a while. I tried to give some radio play to Seattle bands by bringing up their spotify or bandcamp pages. It worked out well. If you have a band in Seattle that I like, you probably got some airplay over in Humboldt County.

Eventually, it was time for the interview. We had been practice interviewing each other in the car ride on the way up, so we were prepared. Ash, the DJ that would be interviewing us, was a sport, and pretty much let us continue to interview ourselves. We got to talk about road stories, band stories, and a multitude of other junk that just popped into our heads. You can and should stream the entire interview at the bottom of this page.

When the interview was over, we went with the DJs to a local Mexican food place. Everybody claimed that they knew where to find the best Mexican food outside of Mexico, but what else is new? This is just what happens when you get tacos with Californians like Eric Harvey.

With the final tour stop completed, we wanted to get a jump on getting home, so Eric and I traded off driving through the night to get to Ashland, Oregon, where we crashed at the home of one of Julene’s friends.

In the morning, I insisted we go try the Ashland Lithia water, and we listened to Tartar Control’s album as we drove around. It was just the right kind of entertainment for us. Eventually, we made it to the Lithia fountains. We chatted with a tourist who watched as we all took big sips from the fountain that tastes like salty, foamy blood. I noticed that there was a guy sitting at a nearby information booth whose sole form of entertainment must be watching tourists cringe after drinking from the fountains.

Soon enough, we were back on the road, heading back home to Seattle. We stopped at a diner out in the middle of nowhere that was pretty good, and when we hit traffic in Portland, I convinced the crew that it would be a good idea to pull over and get beers. Eric wanted to power through, but got outvoted. I think I really just wanted to prolong the tour experience. Nobody really wanted it to be over. We pulled off and relaxed at a bar in Portland with the intention of “waiting out the traffic.” It was the first place that looked kind of homey to me, and was the first sign that we were entering familiar territory. The bar was full of hipsters and had some “cocktail” called an Iceberg, which was just a Rainier Float with frozen Margarita instead of ice-cream. It was decent.

Eventually, it was time to load in to the van for the last, uneventful stretch. When we got to Seattle, everybody got dropped off, and just like that, it was over. We had traveled a total of 3,370 miles. The experience was something that no amount of describing could ever touch, but I hope I got close. We are all thankful for the friends we picked up along the way, and the experiences we shared throughout. I don’t have any profound words that can put the trip to rest in my head. In fact, I probably have flashbacks about it daily. A tour like this is not something you can only do once, though, so as long as gas stays somewhat affordable for a band to take a trip like this, there will be future stories from the road.


Tour Update 8

by Swingset Showdown on 2013/07/13

Day 11-The Warm Reception

We pulled into Oakland, for the last show of the tour. Almost immediately, and without saying anything to each other, we split up. Julene and Jason just disappeared. Sofia took off in search of transportation into San Francisco to run an errand.

San Francisco’s Pride parade was happening on this day, and as much fun as that would have been, I didn’t have the stomach to deal with the logistics of crossing the bridge for it. By this point in the tour, we had been operating on little sleep, and long days of driving, planning, or partying.

Eric and I were at a loss of what to do, so we headed down to a farmer’s market that we had glimpsed as we came in. It was just as boring as any other farmer’s market. While wandering around there, we received a message from a friend that would change our heading.
[click to continue…]