Tour’s over, and that’s a bummer.
After nine days on the road with City Mouth and Mighty Ships, I’m back at my parents’ house. I move to Chicago tomorrow, and I have a lot of packing to do today, but I want to take this morning while Matt is still sleeping in the basement and before my responsibilities for the move kick in to look back on one of the coolest experiences of my life.
Ten days ago, I had a friend named Tyler who played in Mighty Ships. I didn’t know him all that well, but I liked his music. I don’t think I had ever formally met his bandmates. Now, Tyler, Harry, and Charlie are among my best friends, and leaving them to drive back to Bloomington after our show at Rozz-Tox in Rock Island was a lot harder than I expected.
Together, we put 2485 miles on my parents’ minivan. We traveled through eight states and played shows in six of them. We got noticeably better as musicians and as bands. We learned each other’s lyrics and sang them back, filling in new lines as we picked them up. Even if we didn’t play for big crowds or make much money, it still seems like we really accomplished something. I’ll never forget how this feels.
Could I do it again? I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about that a lot over the past few days. For years, my dream was to be in a band that toured full-time. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything, but I learned that there are a lot of aspects of touring that I doubt I would ever really get used to. I struggle with the inherent disorganization of DIY touring, and the late nights and bad diets wear on my body easily. I can see so clearly how relationships and friendships at home suffer, especially on longer tours.
At the same time, I see exactly why people make those sacrifices. There is so much thrill and excitement in putting your art out there for the world to see, in exploring new cities, in pulling up to a venue you’ve never heard of and hoping the shows goes well (or hoping they know there’s a show that night), in watching how other local scenes function and meeting small bands from other areas. I could keep listing things for a while, but the point is that nothing else I’ve done or will do is quite like touring, so I’m glad I got to do at least one.
Also, some thanks are in order:
My parents, for letting us use their minivan. Tyler, for booking this tour. Harry, Charlie, Tyler, Matt, and of course Dan Bretz, for being the best tourmates. Sami and her family, Dan, Gabe from Cinci, Matt Kennedy, Josh from the Turncoats, Zach, the Sovereign States dudes, and Tyler’s for giving us places to stay and hang out. Josiah from Lions, for opening up his house for a sweet show in Knoxville even if City Mouth couldn’t play. Liesi, for being awesome. I’m sure there’s more. There’s always more.
If you read along this whole time, thanks. These little updates have been really fun to write. Now, I’m on to the big transition into “adulthood.” See you soon, Chicago.