blog: Chris Randall
subject: And that would be that...
Posted on July 2, 2004 at 9:41 AM
In the last 61 days we've played 54 shows in 32 states. We've done shows in everything from a tiny little bar in Smithtown, NY where the patrons had to cross the "stage" to get to the bathroom, on up to First Avenue and Metro, the two nicest clubs in the United States.
On the two vans we had, we put a collective total of almost 25,000 miles on the odometer. We saw gas prices from $1.69 in Oklahoma, on up to $2.89 only a week later in San Diego. We got one flat tire (unusual for a tour this long), and were never pulled over by police even once (unique for a tour this long). We had about a dozen incidents where our lives flashed before our eyes (the worst being the accident in L.A. that happened right in front of us, and hitting the deer before the tour started.)
I had to hear the phrases "Dude, the first time I saw you was..." and "I didn't know you guys were still around" literally thousands of times. I was going to count the number of times someone in the audience yelled "Freebird" during the tour but stopped doing it when I got to the mid-three digits. At least four times on the tour I had to walk away from a "fan," because the things they were saying to me made me want to hit them in the face. At least a dozen times I had to do this same thing because of someone in the van with me.
On our rider was a total of 2592 bottles of beer, plus 1212 drink tickets. I drank 6 of those beers. The other 9 people on the tour drank the rest, plus an unknown number of drinks they bought without my intervention.
Statistics do no justice whatsoever to what it takes to do something like this. In the heyday of industrial music, when we had a bus and a crew, our complaints were on the order of "the label only bought one half-page ad for this show?" and "the club didn't get everything on the rider?" and "man, I have to go play? I haven't finished this level of Abe's Odysey yet!" On this tour, in a very different environment for both industrial music and the touring market, my complaints were more on the order of "well, I'd like to get hotel rooms tonight, but the owner of the venue shorted me 50% of the money," or "because we just payed $2.60 a gallon for gas, I had to dip in the salaries..."
In the 6 years between our last national tour and this one, things have changed in America. The touring market is down overall, and for the type of music we make, it's almost nonexistent. I would be surprised if more than 60% of the clubs we played on this tour are open in a year. People are not going out to shows any more, for whatever reason. It was everything I could do to get this tour to the finish line, and it has left me drained, both financially and physically.
There are people that were part of the tour that went far above and beyond the call, people that merely met expectations, and people that dissappointed me so bad that it's unlikely I'll ever speak to them again. I made new friends, new enemies, and reaquainted myself with old friends and old enemies. But most of all, when everything is said and done, I can say that I did something that most people can't do, and the ones that can, well, they're afraid to. We put three bands in one van for a 61-date national tour, and anyone that chickened out or said it wasn't possible or doubted at all can just go fuck themselves. We did it and they didn't, and that's what it comes down to when all is said and done.
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