Or, “You know you’re not in Philly when...”
We walked into the truck stop where a man wearing a cowboy hat sat with his cowboy booted-feet kicked up on the digital poker game. As he twanged into his cell phone he gave us each a stink-eyed once over. A few steps further in and a man with a thick, red mustache wore a sleeveless denim button up tucked into his stone washed jeans and bought road food from an obese, monroe-pierced, beady eyed cashier who glanced over at us apathetically. This sure ain't home, I thought.
The next stop was at a gas station/truck stop/Japanese restaurant somewhere in Nowhere, GA. Here we ordered the only vegan option, shredded sauteed cabbage with a thick, sweet, sticky teriyaki sauce that was among the most repulsive things I've ever eaten. Pames ate white rice with soy sauce, which in retrospect was a wiser choice. All around us southern folk with thick asses and accents grazed on french fries (made by Japanese people) and stink-eyed us, presumably thinking, they sure ain't home.
If you watched our cat business interview, you’ll have seen the business cards that we were given randomly by a passerby. These were conveniently laminated and hole-punched and have become our tour passes (since we forgot to make them ourselves before we left) and today we started collecting “tour charms” for them.
In the process of booking the Daytona show someone had said to me, "Yeah, you're totally a Daytona band." I had positively no idea what that meant. We've played Daytona Beach on every tour, in fact they were one of the first places to give a shit about us back when all we had out was our demo. We love Daytona Beach. What was that person implying?
I looked around the room as we loaded in. There were kids in jerseys and kids in patches. There were zines and my friend Lars (tattoosbylars) and his girlfriend Gab came bearing vegan blueberry muffins. A toddler ran around the room, little earplugs already in place. Daytona Beach has a scene of kids that still see hardcore's connection to punk and community, to creativity and giving a shit, and yeah... if appreciating that kind of scene is what they meant by us being a Daytona Band, then they were right.
Speaking of Daytona bands... ever look at a band and think you know exactly what they're gonna sound like? The first time I saw Arsis I KNEW they were going to be metal. Like, no doubt. So when Axis started setting up and I saw their singer wearing cargo pants, Sauconys, and wooden beads half way up his neck I pegged their sound as "political '96ish" and prepared to get bored (while I loved that sound as it was happening, it's a style of hardcore whose resurrection I don't enjoy.) I was wrong. So wrong.
Axis musically sound a lot like Buried Alive. They are so fucking heavy it's unreal. The singer spoke between songs and explained what they were about, which was coincidentally very similar to what we're about, and we all got very excited because, well... it's hard to find a band with good ideas AND good music.
Right before we set up, our friend JP (who will come up again later), pointed out what appeared to be a tiny turd on the floor. He explained that it had fallen from the toddler's diaper, and a few of us on that side of the room, giggling and grossed out, questioned him until he admitted that it was chocolate. We sealed our lips and waited to see who stepped on it.
Our set made it 3 songs deep before the screaming started. One of the dudes from Axis was shouting at his friend, "DUDE DID YOU SERIOUSLY RUB SHIT ON MY FACE??!", while everyone watched and laughed, and his screaming went on for so long that we ended up talking/playing over him. Our set was fun... video coming soon.
photo by...? tell us if you know!
Outside everyone chatted (meaning: Axis and us going back and forth saying nice things about each other... I think our bands are courting one another), and loaded gear, and eventually I made my way over to Karim- a dude who we were crashing with who was previously unknown to us. I craned my neck up and stared in awe at the stars, which are something that we Philly-folk rarely see.
Karim told me about Daytona Beach's population of bros and small minds and lack of diversity. ("I'm the darkest person in my neighborhood.") You really don't need to leave the country to experience culture shock, I'll tell you that. Philly is a majority black city, but also chocked full of Hispanics, Asians, Indians, and everywhere else-ians. On our block alone there are Thais, Cambodians, Mexicans, Italians, blacks, and us. There's a bodega, a pizzeria, and an Asian market. That's just one little block in a big city. So when we leave this melting pot and find ourselves in places less... melty... it's almost creepy.
Karim quickly inflated a bed, unfolded a sleeper couch, got glasses for water, towels, gave us internet info and directions on how to use his TV... and it became clear that Karim knew a little something about making touring bands comfortable. Dave mentioned this, and Karim said he used to tour manage bands and spent 7 years on the road. "Oh, what bands?"
"Martyr AD, Dead to Fall, Lacuna Coil, The Black Dahlia Murder..."
".. The Black Dahlia Murder? Were you with them when they got the Danzig shopping list as a rider?"
"... how do you know about that? And yes, I was the one who got it...."
This. Is. HUGE!! For those not in the know, here's the Danzig shopping list:
Danzig's shopping list as received as a rider by The Black Dahlia Murder (pic given to us by Between The Buried And Me's merch guy, Chuck, a friend of Karim's, and roommate of Ben, our old drummer, who we were staying with when we recorded our full length in '09... seriously, RANDOM!):
And because we got Karim telling the entire story on video (to be put into a tour video soon), I'll not ruin it now.
We all stayed up late recounting our craziest tour stories. Before we fell asleep, I got 5 text messages from the dude from Axis apologizing for yelling during our set. He explained that he had believed he was truly getting shit rubbed on his face (which is why he was freaking out so severely), and because he had earplugs in he'd had no idea how loud he was being. He apologized and over-explained to the point that it was both funny and charming, especially because we weren't even upset. Manners man, gotta love 'em.
The next day we bid Karim goodbye, and stepped out of his extremely well decorated house into straight up summer. We took some pictures in front of palm trees, rolled down the windows of the van, and drove off into the 85 degree January day.