On The Road With Dischordia: Part I
Do you enjoy fiscal irresponsibility? Do you like explaining your highly irregular pastime to regular people who don’t understand? Do you hate showering? Then join me, amigos, as we climb into a dirty, cramped van full of music gear and sweaty dudes. Ignore the smell, just enjoy the ride. Well, it’s a pretty bumpy ride due to our old rickety shocks, and most of your lower body will be numb from the length of the rides. And your brain sort of turns to mush around hour five. And no matter how much you clean up, there’s always trash everywhere. But, you know, enjoy it. This, my friends, is tour.
My band, Dischordia, is currently on a ten-day tour, during which we’ll play nine shows. It’s a fairly short, intense outing, covering five states as we go from Oklahoma to California and back. This is our fifth tour, and we’re definitely getting better and better at the routine. Well, I should actually say that our guitarist is getting better at booking and organizing, and the drummer and I are getting better at farting in the van. Either way, touring is a really interesting beast to tame, and I’ll be talking about life on the road, touring tips, our shows, and what it’s like to be in my mom’s favorite death metal band.
Here we are! We’re currently en route to Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is about an eight-hour drive. This will be our fourth time playing there, so we have some people that know us and look forward to our shows. The venue we’ll be playing is in the middle of a sketchy area of Albuquerque known as “The Warzone,” so named because your chances of getting shot are comparable to a situation in which trained, armed soldiers are given the sole task of shooting everything. We had a kick-off show in our hometown of Oklahoma City last night, and it went really well. I’ve been really sick for about four days, which is a horrible way to start tour, but I survived the first show and have been able to get some sleep in the van. I am slightly worried because my throat hurts a lot right now and I’m the lead vocalist. However, not being a poser hvkk should help, so we’ll see how tonight goes.
Lux Occulta – Kołyanski
Surprisingly, last night went really well. The venue was a tiny DIY place that had more animal bones on the wall than any other venue we’ve played, and that must have helped my kvlt powers. We had a good show, sold a lot of merch, and got a solid amount from the door. Settling on payment for a show is a really sketchy deal in the metal world, and we’ve been burned a lot. I remember playing New Orleans once and the promoter said we’d get three bucks a person from the door, and the venue was packed that night. At the end of the night, the rule suddenly meant that we’d get three bucks a head if they said they came to see Dischordia. Right, we must have missed that in the original email we went back and read to try and get the money we were due. We also played a show in San Antonio where we were promised three bucks a person, but after everyone played, another band (who wasn’t on tour) complained loudly and childishly enough to the promoter that they got a big cut of our money. Crappy people are out there, and they do seem to enjoy making everything awful.
Fortunately, we’ve come across some really solid people that we can reconnect with when we come back to certain cities. Albuquerque is one of our homes-away-from-home now, and we can always count on a good show. Plus, Dischordia’s original bass player now lives there, so we have a guaranteed place to crash. Oh, and he has a dinosaur in his backyard. We had a good time catching up last night over a couple beers after the show, and this morning he took us to the gun range for some good old-fashioned American fun. Did a terrorist blow up your freedoms today? No, because they all took one look at my grim (and frostbitten) accvracy and went back to Terrorist Land. You’re welcome.
On our way out of town we stopped at a Wal Mart to stock up on food, which brings up a very important point: you need to take care of yourself on tour. We did a tour last year without having a food system in place, which meant that we basically lived off hot wings and beer for the duration. Tour is a weird thing for a human body to jump into, and that combined with our diet on that outing wrecked us. Every bowel movement was a chore, which, uh, always brought to mind a certain writing utensil. So now we spend a few extra bucks at the beginning to stock up on bread, good lunch meat, good cheese, fruits and vegetables, etc., and then we keep it all in a cooler (keep them in gallon zip bags and fill the cooler with ice). I can’t tell you what a different that makes in not feeling like garbage, and the money that it saves in the long run.
After a six-hour driving shift, we’re now in Tempe, AZ. We stopped for a bathroom break in Gallup, NM, where I used to live for six years as a kid. We went to a crappy gas station and the urinal was filled with ice, and that pretty much summed up all my time there. Alright, show time.
Kaizer’s Orchestra – Violeta Violeta, Vol. III
Schizoid Lloyd – The Last Note in God’s Magnum Opus
Plebeian Grandstand – Lowgazers
Lots and lots of Tom Waits
First things first, you guys need to check out Lago. This was our second time playing with them, and those dudes seriously rule. They helped set the show up beforehand, brought a big crowd, and took great care of us. It also helps that they play some really excellent death metal. We made some solid money from the show, and our gas funds are looking to be in good shape (insert fart joke later, cuz gas lol). Story time! There was an old drunk guy at the show who talked our ears off after we played. But before we went on I was warming up behind the venue, and he came over to me, leaned in close, and said “Before your first song, say that you dedicate it to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Grandfather Lynyrd Skynyrd. Everyone in the place will cry. Native American Pride,” and then made very uncomfortable eye contact with me. Tomorrow I’ll come up with an amazing reply, but I think I just said “Yeah man,” and tried to be as invisible as possible.
After the show, a friend from my drum corps days put us up and treated us very well. He lured us in with beer and waffles, we obviously never stood a chance. I gotta say, so far I feel like a bit of a wuss. We’ve had three great shows, we’ve gotten paid, we’ve slept in beds and taken showers, and we’ve eaten waffles. That’s not hardcore at all. We need to be fist-fighting promoters who dodge out on payments, fist-fighting bums who are trying to steal our gear, fist-fighting each other for the best sleeping spot in the van, and smelling like we crawled up our own butts and died. We’re a long way from “making it,” whatever that means in metal in 2015, but thankfully our tours are getting better and better. Making connections is huge, it really helps as you’re splitting your time between revisiting tour stops and breaking new ground. Our dates are partially planned around knowing where we will and won’t make money, and we always count on getting very little from new places. When we play Glendale, CA for the first time tonight, we’ll be fine if we don’t make much because we intentionally started off with some shows that put us in a comfortable place. There are always variables you can’t foresee, and Oakland (our Tuesday show) is a fairly stabby place, so staying flexible and not-stabbed is important.
The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis and Miss Machine
Things to Remember:
-Take care of yourself! Eat decent food, drink water, and get plenty of sleep when you can
-Bring baby wipes if you can’t get a shower
-Be intentional about making connections
I’ll be back for another installment soon!