When we left Philly we could barely make it down our street without sliding into parked cars. The snow was more than knee deep and most areas hadn't been plowed. As I packed my suitcase I stared at a pair of shorts in my drawer for awhile then thought, "Nahhhh, there's no way that it's possible to wear shorts anywhere right now." I did however pack 2 winter hats, a scarf, and a lot of layers... like an idiot. GEORGIA. FLORIDA. DUH.
Speaking of packing, check out Dustin's suitcase. Have you ever seen anything this fucking organized?
At a North Carolinian gas station we watched mulleted children punch magazines (?) while their mustachioed fathers bought ciggs and we perused the oddities ("BIG AZ Burritos" and other cleverly named foods) that southern travel stops offer. Dave was chastised for taking a picture of a note on the women's bathroom door which read, "Never men. No!" by a man who yelled, "NEVER MEN! NO!" which led us to believe that he was the mastermind behind the signage.
This stop also marked a milestone in tour- the first gas station ramen. Let me explain, for vegans not in the know or those who think veganism on the road is sooooo harrrrrrd and soooo expeeeensive.
I send this section of this blog entry out to Pierce. No wait, I'll do this proper. THIS IS FOR MY BOY PIERCE, HE'S BEEN HOLDIN DOWN TOUR RAMEN SINCE DAY 1!
1 pack of Top Ramen Oriental Flavor (the only vegan flave) available anywhere for about .$.25
1 coffee cup (16+ oz- these are sometimes free, sometime cost around .$25
hot water from the tea tap
Break ramen into chunks while still in package. Dump into cup. Fill cup with hot water to top. Pop a lid on the sucker. Wait 3-5 minutes, then drain in the parking lot. Stir in seasoning. Savor the salty, MSG-laden taste of tour. Sure it's not healthy, but what road food is?
The sun fell and Pames told ghost hunting stories, the spookiest taking place at Witch's Pond in Stafford, VA (rumored to be one of the most haunted towns in Virginia.) Back during the witch-trial days, women who had been accused of witch craft were brought to this pond to either sink (and die human) or float (and get killed for being a witch.) Pames has been multiple times at "the witching hour" (3 AM) and heard, as many claimed to have before, splashing (in still water) and screams (when no one was there.)
It's time I tell you about our van. We rented a cargo van... you know, one of those windowless, creepy molester-style jawns. What's great about renting a van is that you never have to worry about it breaking down, blowing your loot on repairs, or premature ejaculation from tour due to van drivile dysfunctions because if your van shits out, you get a new one. They're clean and good on gas, and guaranteed to get you where you need to go. On our last tour we spent 6 weeks in rented comfort, but when Dave went to pick up the van this time it wasn't quite like before. Oh no, no inconspicuous roomy white van for us this time. Nope, we got a neon yellow van with a fucking CAGE behind the front two seats. Pames and Dustin sit behind the grate in semi-darkness like kidnapping victims, or stray dogs, or tool boxes. We pass food between the holes. In order to see where we're going they have to get on their knees and grip the grate. Pames actually has cuts on his hands from gripping the grate so often.
It was dark when we pulled up to Luna Nueva. Luna Nueva is a Mexican restaurant that allows hardcore shows but continues to serve locals food while they happen, which leads to both a painfully awkward and hilarious environment. Kids there told me about Backtrack playing while families were seated and eating empanadas at tables just a few feet from moshers.
(a fountain directly behind where people stand during shows)
As I walked around and checked out the venuraunt kids came up to me and said things like, "I'm so excited to see you!" and "So glad you made it!" and "Thanks so much for coming to Atlanta!", which after bombing in Richmond was good to hear.
The opening band featured some young kids, one of who's sister came to check them out. She seemed about my age. We chatted as the band played and it was strange to share so much and little with someone at the same time. She was a snappily dressed young professional. I was black-clad punk rocker. "So like, what night is this? Do they do things like this often here?" I explained that the show was set up because my band came all the way from Philly to play it, which as I said it and looked around at the people eating corn chips, seemed really bizarre. We came to Atlanta to play this Mexican restaurant.
My friend Josh showed up and we talked at length about the sad state of hardcore and the idiocy of the newer kids, which is an often had, pointless, and frustrating conversation that pops up a lot with those of us over 25. We miss the hardcore we remember, we resent the kids now for not giving a shit, and grumble to each other about this trend or that phase. Deathbed started playing and, as if echoing our memories of shows from '95-'00, played vintage hardcore- 90-'s alive, rockin' Earth Crisis gear and all.
Pames and I sat behind the merch table to watch the next band, which sounded a lot like Modern Life Is War and said about their new record, "It's a split with an avant garde version of ourselves" and mentioned something about playing glockenspiels.
Our set was fun. After we finished playing I plopped down on edge of the stage to cool off and a couple of kids came over and talked with me. A dude and I were talking about Philly's hardcore scene when a girl approached and started talking at me rapid-fire, almost frantically about how great she thought we were and in the same breath, about how she was raped and how hearing it talked about on stage, openly and publicly, was fantastic. It was so much at once, so flattering and personal, I didn't really know how to react. Unable to think of anything else to say, I thanked her. She left, and the dude next to me and I resumed our hxc chit chat as if nothing has happened.
After the show this happened:
Then we hung with Josh and had a new conversation about hardcore. This time it wasn't about what we hated, but what we loved. Not the sell out reunions and the asshole new jacks, but bands likes Earth Crisis who stand behind their words and music and friends who are still doing cool bands and keeping real hardcore alive. Not the people who take advantage of hardcore, but those who move it forward.
We crashed with a dude from Deathbed, watched a strange Paulie Shore movie, and got some much needed sleep.