Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tour Post 13: "Oh my god it's Ken Ramsey!"

Well sports fans, this is it.  12 days on the road and a pair of travel days in the air and it’s over.  12 shows and one cancellation.  11 countries in three different time zones. An innumerable amount of roadside toilets.  Countless shirts, records, cassettes, stickers, patches, pins went to good homes in trusting hands.  I weaseled my way on to this tour because Nights Birds are more than one of my fav bands – they're good friends.  I love travelling, seeing new faces, hearing new bands, and eating.  Believe it or not, I love working the merch table.  I also love taking photos and writing, so the blog/photography angle seemed appropriate for the band’s second go-round in Europe.  Except I don’t take photos when the band plays, I mosh (well, usually).  For all those reasons, the guys were nice enough to let me in the van. That and I didn’t smell too bad or snore too loudly.  So at the end of this series of tour updates (now, one week after the fucking tour finished!), I just wanted to extend a thanks and a high-five to those of you bothering to read this stream of reflections, memories, and random crap.  Thanks for passing on your kind words at the shows.  Much appreciated!

PS: Sorry for any bad grammar. You should hear the way I talk...

Brian nods forward in the front seat, Adolescents quietly whispering from his headphones. Joe, also sporting headphones, rocks out in his own personal bubble.  PJ carefully reads Artie Lange’s latest with a furrowed brow.  Ryan makes not a peep from the sleepy loft. I’m just trying not to disturb the peace with full-throated laughter while flipping through the barrel of monkeys that is Seinfeld’s book. Michl pushes the van ahead to the next stop. I fucking love tour.

Like two long-lost spider lovers signaling to one another, PJ and Ryan hover in the sky, backlit by the afternoon sun.  Attached to rope and harness, they spring towards the clouds repeatedly, surrounded by the jubilant chorus of our laughter below.  The ritual interrupted only briefly when the man running the operation grabs Ryan by the feet and holds him down on the trampoline for a few extra seconds ensuring an impressive lift-off.  I fucking love tour.

As if I’m watching a TV show in the middle of the night, I was not an actor, but a brainless viewer.  “What are you doing?!” Brian yelled in our Punk Rock Holiday dorm in the mountains of Slovenia.  Michl apparently trying to crawl out the second story window turned toward him and spouted off in tongues.  Not German, not English, pure gibberish.  “What the hell are you talking about?!”  And like turning off the TV, I rolled back over and drifted away.  Also, there were fireworks lit off sometime before dawn.  That’s the reason there’s a chair flipped over in the room.  Of course.  I fucking love tour.

Hearing that we were at risk of another showerless, hobo night in an airport, Masa from Ydinperhe arranged for us to clean up and rest up before the journey home.  Like every night of this tour it was a singular experience – some nights you watch Jingle All The Way; other nights you drunkenly miss the bed after turning off the light and your arm gets torn up like a mountain lion attack, other nights you squeeze into a crowded dorm of 100 snoring punks; still other nights you gotta’ suck it up and skip sleep or even sleep on the floor of an airport.  On this last night we sat around buzzing on the success of European tour and digging Finland’s hospitality while listening to a vintage poetry slam of black power activists from the early 70s.  I fucking love tour.

Every punk, every mosher, every hardcore kid, every normal, every weirdo, every jerk that came to the show.  Everyone that lost their mind, that banged their head, that screamed along, that rattled their brain.  Everyone that stopped by the merch table to chat or throw their hard-earned down for a t-shirt or record.  Everyone who is psyched to wear a dagger pin on their denim, their bag, their hoodie, their leather jacket.  Everyone who drove across town or international border to see NBs for their first time or 50th.  Every local band, every other touring band, new friends and old pals.  Everyone who put the band up, fed them, made them sound good, hung up posters, posted online, or just said hello at the show.  You are the reason I fucking love tour.

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