So, for most of July, I was out there on the road with the town of Balthrop, Alabama, drawing on the big screen while the band played all the hits.
(You can click on the Facebook sidebar over there on the right if you wanna catch up on our many video updates from the trip. Georgiana Starlington got real serious about her role as a talk show host and was all the time making these videos about what our favorite things were--the Balthrop, Alabama Facebook page is full of them.)
During the trip, I decided it would be fun to try and draw a journal of the road from the car. I have to admit, I wasn't too diligent about it, but it was fun while it lasted. It started strong enough as we left the Northeast, but I was pretty much over it by the time we hit California (the road drawing, not the tour).
We had a good time as always. Everyone in the band gets along so well; we mostly laugh to pass the time. It helps that everyone's clever and kind and you couldn't ask for a better group of folks to cozy up to for a seven thousand mile drive around the country. Sometimes we smell bad, that's the truth, but the less said about that the better.
You meet a lot of interesting people out there in America. In the Midwest, this woman who ran the club we played, came out to watch as we were strapping some of our gear to the top of the van. "Sounds like you're whipping jews out here!" she declared. We must have looked at her funny, because she quickly tried to defuse the situation, by saying, "It's OK--I made out with one last week."
I gotta say, we put on a pretty good show. Don't take my word for it though--there was this guy that came up to me after one performance and told me, "That was the best three dollars I ever spent! Seriously, that there was a ten dollar show!" I guess we're still trying to find our price point, but in troubled economic times, it's nice to offer folks a bargain.
We like to swim every chance we get and have been known to detour miles for a good swimming hole. In Montana we jumped into a mountain stream that was about the coldest water I've ever dipped my delicates into. Chris lost his sunglasses in the current, I left some shorts in Chicago, Jason left an air mattress cover in a hotel somewhere and Pascal had to buy a fancy new bathing suit in Phoenix, but for the most part we returned with what we had, plus a tan. Josh was peeling from his sunburn after California, which he'd never done before. He still looks like Josh, only one layer of skin less and darker.
One of our favorite nights was the night we got to Amarillo about the same time as a Texas thunderstorm. For the last mile or two it looked like we were racing a tornado to town and we might just lose, but we got there in time and had a great show.
The evening ended in a recording studio owned by the guy who ran our sound that night. He had a bottle of good tequila--which he drank exclusively because beer has too many calories--and a bunch of talented friends, and he was generous with both. So we stayed up late--but not too late--listening to music and being inspired. It was the kind of night that makes the madness of touring seem completely worthwhile. Maybe, we're just lucky, because, out on tour, we have a lot of those nights. Or maybe we're just blessed to have a rabbit farmer that goes beyond all reason to take a town on tour.
I'm not gonna try to figure it out, I just count myself as a fortunate man.
Anyways, we went to a lot of places I've never been and I wish we'd had more time to see more things, but, for the most part, the trip was a joy and I miss everyone now that we're back, despite the fact that I see most everyone in the band fairly often.
We'll probably do it again one way or another. There's a lot of swimming holes we missed and there were a couple of places we played where the four or five folks who showed up promised to bring more friends next time we came. In the meantime, we have a few shows closer to home and it's nice to be back in New York City.
This last drawing was started the first night of the tour in Pittsburgh and I finished it up in Athens, Ohio on the last night. It was my warm up sheet, the doodle page I played around with while I was focusing the camera and adjusting the screen. It was background to the band sound-checking and collecting the gear and if it looks like a crazy swirl of activity, then there's probably a reason for that.