We've left the big states and the 8-hour drives behind at long last! We've left the torrential rain and tornado warnings of New Orleans and are making our way north to Memphis, a great town with lots of people we dig. But, what's happened since Tucson...?
DRIVING. We left the Hotel Congress, which we found out was haunted. Or, rather, that Tom and Stacy's initial room was haunted. It was dubbed the suicide room for harrowing reasons. Decades ago, a woman shot herself in the head in the bathroom of room 242 and, apparently, you can still see a bullet hole in the closet. When Tom and Stacy checked in, none of the power worked—the only room in the hotel with such an issue. Upon changing rooms, they were informed of that room's grisly history.
Anyway, we motored our way to Las Cruces, NM, for the night. We unfortunately didn't get to spend any time in the town (apologies to L.A. Bry!); we checked into our rooms, ate dinner, and passed out. The next day, we'd have a 9+-hour ride to Austin.
Photo: Stacy Barrett // Photo: Overlake (Watch our for smiling houses on highways)
Oof, that ride. Some massively boring country between Las Cruces and Austin. Big shout-out to the MVP driving tandem of Tom & Stacy who split the ride while Lysa & I worked in the back. Austin: cool place, weird gig. Bartender didn't know we were playing; the only thing on his radar was the open blues jam at 9. Not our most auspicious gig of the tour, but we had some
good friends in attendance and it was cool to play for them and some bewildered blues dudes. "Not my thing, but that was a good set," was the consensus among them. Post gig, Lysa and I went next door to visit her friend who co-owns (and happened to be bartending at) Full Circle Bar. Similar in theme to Ace Bar in the East Village, this place had a few lanes of skeeball. Turns out, the owners are Ace Bar alums. As some of you may have seen on my Instagram, one skeeball reveler had a KILL LINCOLN shirt, which any Fast Times at Ridgemont High nerd would recognize and flip out over. I did just that. I brought Lysa with me (as not to appear creepy[-ier]) and excitedly asked for a pic; fortunately, she was game!
As is the theme of this tour lately, we arrived at our crashpad—the beautiful home of Mark and Amy Schuman (Related: Definitely see Mark's fantastic documentary on Morphine. I knew nothing about them or their music and came away a total fan. Amazing job.)—with designs for continuing the night, but ended up just passing out in our respective beds. We had a slightly less soul-destroying journey to New Orleans the next day.
Ah, New Orleans. The greatest city in America. One in which I cannot live because of the sweltering heat and, now, enormous flying roaches. More on those fuckers later. Our New Orleans gig was to be our last with the greatest #merchwife of all, Stacy. Another weird gig, but a good one. We played this very cool DIY spot, Neutral Ground Coffeehouse. DIY spots are generally a lot of fun, but occasionally you hit logistical snags. This time out, it was a different booking guy adding 2 solo acts from 8-9 and 9-10.
This meant the first band inour show, the fantastic Push Push, started not at 10, but at 10:30 once everything was said and done. And when your venue has a hard stop at midnight, maybe not the best idea to stack the bill ahead of the full-band performers. So, with everything pushed back, and everyone already playing truncated sets, there was precious little time for our closers, Rudy Stone. Faced with the non-choice of playing for 10 minutes or not playing at all, they opted to just cut their losses. Being the extremely understanding and good-natured folks that they are, they allowed us to play another tune instead. We're planning an October jaunt across the country again, so it's our hope to make it up to them when we're back in town. (Lysa and I did get to catch some of the Rudy Stone-rs play the next night, at the Circle Bar with 2 different bands, Mr. Universe and Plantain. Great stuff.)
At the end of the night, we tried to get a group shot with old friends of Tom's, John and Cecily, but ended up getting dive-bombed by an enormous flying cockroach instead. Not sure if we ever got the shot, but we did get some hilarious action photos of us in various states of wild frenzy.
The next day/night, some actual time off for us, Lysa & I ate at our favorite NOLA vegan eatery, Seed, did laundry, and attempted to replenish our now-long-ago-lost T-shirt collection with a trip to Kulture Vulture, while Tom & Stacy trekked over to the wonderful NOLA record store, Euclid Records. Stacy reportedly walked out with armfuls of vinyl! We then headed to The Broad Theater to catch Chasing Trane, the phenomenal John Coltrane documentary that Lysa slept through. Check it out, if you can!