"I'm glad we went to that Fick show even though right now we are SOL on the side of Mt. Doom."
Oh man, oh man, oh man.
It's rough being a musician most of the time. Sure, it's brilliant fun to make music with some of your best friends and create a world out of the nothingness that is often every day life. I feel like without music, I would just be another being occupying space. Music gives me a place and a purpose for my heart. And it's not easy- to quote John Ralston, "No one said it was easy." But day after day (by day by day by day...), musicians everywhere have the same struggle that I do: to find where we can feel loved and appreciated for our exhibitionistic narcissism and catharsis. We just want to be loved, really.
That brings me to some sad but all-too-true revelations of late. These things are bound to happen, but a lot has been changing in my life post-college. Basically, both Fick and The Minks are breaking up. Here's an idea of the reasoning behind Fick.
"Hey guys, today I've decided to end Fick. It may seem sudden, but for a while, I've been reflecting on this past year's lack of progress, and I feel it's time to move on before investing any more time. To this day, I've continued to entirely devote myself to this band, but with the lack of progress, no fan base, and no other measurable amount of success, I can no longer justify my efforts. It's not an easy decision, and I know I'll have my regrets, but it's the best decision, at least for myself. But I'm looking forward to hopefully ending on a positive note at the next show. It's been a real pleasure, and I wish you all the best in your future musical endeavors. - Kyle"
One shiny, dysfunctional group of misanthropes.
That's a hard email to read. I don't really understand the idea of us not having fans since progressive metal is a rough genre to break into, not to mention when a band is based out of Gainesville. It's also odd to me because there was much discussion about my involvement with the band after graduating. Though it's depressing for me to admit, I saw this coming. Fick has been an amazing group to be a part of, though there were some seriously trying moments in our band's history. And Kyle's right- it's pretty annoying playing shows that no one comes to, and putting out CDs that no one ever buys. But I see music through rose-coloured glasses; I make music for myself, not for approval from others.
But really, I get it. That's just my sadness monster speaking. And no one wants to keep hearing a sadness monster ramble on and on about memories and death and life and bitterness. Self-indulgence! Hurrah!
Anyway, I thought I would take this opportunity* to relive some of my favourite moments with my bandies since after this Saturday, we won't be "Fick" anymore, though we will still be palsie walsies.
(* See the above disclaimer if you're not interested in feeling all mushy about metal dudes)
"Your incredible tapping skills make me want to lick you!"
Kyle: What a hysterical dude. He is the proud owner of Karma Cream
, a Gainesville sweet spot that's favoured among hipsters and cool folk. He was actually the first member of Fick to suggest that I be in the band after we recorded at North Ave Studios. He helped me with a lot of the physical music writing aspects of the band, as well as always rehearsed with me before shows. He was incredibly patient when I couldn't grasp constantly changing time signatures, weird modulations, and awkward accents. He had a propensity for being a light weight and falling asleep on various couches; he had an interesting way of counting out songs which consisted mostly of "one-onetwooneonetwo-one"; his political and social beliefs were strong but humourously Kyle, aka presented, "Well, liiiiike..."; he also is married to my former high school concert master, which only leads me to believe that we truly live in a small world.
K.D. : Let me just start off by saying that this guy is a complete and utter bad ass. First of all, he's the only brown member of the band, so he gets ethnic points (SORRY, BUT IT'S TRUE.) He also has had a good number of things in his life that have been less than awesome, one of which was being diagnosed with cancer. But did K.D. kick cancer's ass and take names? OF COURSE HE DID. And he came back into the music scene kicking and screaming. He does a lot of thrashing from within, though, because he's usually very calm.
"This is better than giving each other the finger."
Don't be surprised! He is merely planning how to explode your head with mind controlling powers. Some of my favourite memories are sarcastically "wanting" to take shots at 10 am while on tour, starting a mosh pit at Bar 1982 after one of our sets, and watching him actually laugh after a beer or two. (That's a big deal, because the only other time K.D. smiles is when he is feasting on the flesh of his victims.) Oh, and apparently old women like his DEATH shirts.
"I swear this was one of Freddy Mercury's moves."
Dan: Where to begin? Ah yes, HE'S GOT THE GAYS. Just kidding. But it was a recurring theme with us, among five thousand other things. Dan was always protective of me and made sure that the good times lasted (at least until 5 in the morning). I was fascinated that he had been reading a book on philosophy when I first met him, and then continued to be fascinated when I found out he had a ton of poetry books in his room. He is both a sensitive writer and loyal friend. He, like me, grew in up a small, dinky town (he, Arcadia; me, North Port) so he knew what it was like to want to shake off the rural life. I have never felt more metal in my life than when I took my first legal shot of tequila sans lime OR salt with Kellen and him (and that's saying something since I've been known to throw down). He has a knack for saying the absurd, making people watching an Olympic sport, and turning shitty situations into reasons to celebrate life's banality. But I can say with certainty that the loss of his various bandannas has made it finally possible for me to sleep at night.
Kellen: KELLEN SCHMELLEN! He had more than a few hang ups about everyday annoyances such as: his hair*, chicken, ranch dressing*, Republicans, Mitt Romney, southern-raised folk, neo-Nazis, Jews, his hair, meat eaters in general, ranch dressing, obesity, Florida, crappy co-workers, not-tight-enough drum heads, poor venue mixing, Keanu Reeves, his hair...This guy is seriously one of the best musicians with whom I have ever worked. He is ultra-passionate about his drumming styles, technique and attack. He opened up my mind about playing in a prog band because of how fluidly he transitions between time signatures and tempo changes.
Jews taste better.
He has helped me in times where I felt myself falling through the cracks- especially in my final semester of college. He also drove all the way to Tampa to pick me up after my car took a shit on me (see earlier blog) when I was driving to Gainesville to go on Fick's mini tour. Saintly? I think so. Though he may sometimes appear high maintenance, he has a huge heart- and even rescued a kitten from the side of the road! THAT'S RIGHT, WORLD. And despite Fick ending, I hope to make music with him in some capacity in the future. Help me convince him! INDEED.
(* Note: these items have the potential to be mentioned a plethora of times. But I took the liberty of merely mentioning them twice for clarity's sake)
Well, it looks like we're actually the Village People.
I'm thankful that I got to be a part of something so hardcore and bad ass. Females don't often find a place in the heavier music scene, sadly. But with these guys, I never felt like the odd gender out... probably because I make a ton of TWSSs and dick jokes, but whatever. It felt good while I was a part of it. (...twss)
Long live monotone colours... and metal.
I love them all very much, and wish nothing more than awesome musical endeavours in the future. Just remember- FICK created the genre "butt rock". Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
After the show on Thursday night, we hit the place we had been staying to grab our stuff. Kellen took a quick shower since drumming leaves one quite sweaty (twss?) while we loaded the car. I had made my little nest in the cargo area when Kellen started arguing with his Droid. It’s common knowledge that no one likes Kellen’s GPS girlfriend. She has a not-so-soothing voice and seems to enjoy masochistically sending everyone in his vicinity in the wrong direction. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Kellen’s GPS girlfriend is actually jealous of me, considering that every time I talk she likes to interrupt with a newfound direction that has never even appeared on the map before. Let’s just say I’m sick of her girly BS. Did I just bitch out a GPS voice? Sure did. NEXT.
Throughout the night/early morning, I got two hours of sleep here and there. It was glorious when it was actually happening (twss) because sleep is hard to find on tour. No wonder so many band members drink themselves into stupors and pass out in their respective vans. It’s not easy, kids. (Points to you, reader, if you got that reference.) We kept stopping every two hours as well, which is probably another reason I kept waking up. I’m not sure if it’s because the trailer brought on a lot of drag to the car or because the Fick babies have the tiniest bladders known to mankind, but either way we were startstopstartstopping throughout the route to Dallas. One of the interesting places we stopped at was some faux saloon place that has a plethora of awful yet wonderful things to purchase and be perpetually overjoyed with. For example: I bought strawberry jam (a Louisiana favourite!), a mini German chocolate pie (shoot me), a “we don’t call 911” sticker (ultra classy), and then… it was like the angels were blasting butt trumpet fanfares when I saw this:
"That's right, I am a Deputy Sheriff. With two F's."
What COULD be more glorious? You’re right- nothing. What had to happen? You’re right- it needed to be purchased as my new tour crown. I ended up wearing it even while sliding back down for nappy wappy times ten. Billboards of great importance: various Bible quotes about repentance with a Zeus-like figure looking pissy and vengeful, “fried pies” almost immediately after crossing the state line and yes, “FREE CONDOMS HERE” for all the world to see and revel in (the sign, not the condoms). I suggested we pull over for the latter, but then Dan made quips about raw dogging and then- “Are those Dallas stars under the highway?” We were almost there, and the hotel couldn’t come fast enough on the horizon.
There was much ado about nothing aka parking the trailer. We ended up pulling the hangover move of not caring where & how the state of things were left before spastically springing to the bathroom to puke joy over the feat of finally having made it. There was a queen in a room with dividing doors, extra cots, a mini-fridge, and A JACUZZI HOLY SHIT WE’RE ROCK STARS. Doesn’t matter that no one used the jacuzzi, it was still there for using. If we wanted to bathe ourselves in champagne and have a bunch of hot dudes feed us chocolate strawberries, we could. Wait, that’s only what I want? Non factual statement. Surely someone else could work this fantasy into fruition. Dan? Anyone? Hello?
"It's okay, Emily, we understand your plight about sexy men bathing in champagne."
We dropped our belongings and headed out for food. I had been keeping a wary eye out for vegetarian places since all of us boast of animal rights activism. There was a Thai place along the main road that I had seen and suggested, so we ended up there. Kellen was a Pouty Polly the whole time because he was tired – he even leaned his head back to shut his eyes at the table. I had a massaman curry dish that was absolutely fabulous and an epicurean Renaissance, of sorts. If I find the name of said restaurant, I will send everyone in Texas and its surrounding states there. I had leftovers after gorging as well, which were just as good cold as they were hot (especially on the road, when a "meal" means a pb & honey sandwich). Conversations during meal time: the spice levels of Thai food, government representatives, the creation of the world. Literally. We are a fascinating band.
"I would have tasted so much better had we not argued over why the Primordial Soup Model of creation makes the most sense. (I was still delicious, though.)"
We left from the restaurant to check in at the venue (the Boiler Room). It was about half an hour away which ended up taking longer than expected since there was a good deal of traffic. When we got there, no one thought to knock on the front window even though one of the venue workers was inside. Eventually we got merch set up only to have one of the other bands (who shall remain unnamed) set up right next to us with everything looking stellar and expensive. They are local yet had about 5 different shirt designs and a metal shirt hanger rack contraption rich-kid thing on which to boastfully display them. Nothing pisses me off more than a not-so-professional-sounding band having totally-professional-looking merch. They probably have all the means in the world to make themselves better-sounding musicians before making themselves better-looking businessmen. Snort.
When we got back, we needed to start getting ready. Of course, I called the shower first and proceeded to almost break my face in the tiny and poorly lit Quality Inn bathroom. High butt busting quality INDEED. I then putzed about in my skivvies (oi!) for a hot minute and polled the audience about my show outfit. KD and Dan preferred the combat boots with short dress combo, Kellen preferred the Nine West rainbow leopard flats, and Kyle preferred starting at facebook’s advertising page. I ended up with the boots since I wanted to give the “I can still kick your ass even if we’re in Texas” vibe.
Outfit break for that night's show: GUESS? denim dress; brown Journey’s combat boots
Before heading to the show, we stopped at a liquor store like true classy gents and then saw a waterfall billboard! Gasp! It was for Coors, however, which was an extreme disappointment. I listened to a variety of the Dashboard catalogue in honour of John Lefler’s promise to come out. Yes, your read that correctly: THE John Lefler said he wanted to come see me. It was a big deal. It still is. I mean, have you seen his luxurious locks? Have you? Here’s a picture in case you forgot.
Don't you just want to scream, "HA'DAW!" ?!
As for the actual show, we had the biggest turn out thus far on tour. Dallas is a lot bigger than Pascagoula and Pensacola, so that makes sense. There were a lot of sound/technical issues however, and we ultimately played like crap that night. Of course. It figures that when someone legitimately important comes out and there are a decent amount of people there that we would suck. Awesome. John was gracious though, and deemed us a “metal band” even though Fick often holds the alternative/progressive title. I think we’re more of a WTF band, but that’s just me. And everyone else in the entire world.
It was lovely to catch up with John[ny]. I haven’t seen him in a hot minute, so there were many things to discuss such as: relationship woes, musical gear, tour life, songwriting, drinks of preference, and getting “older”. Ladies, keep in mind that he is single and if you are reading this, there’s a good chance you’re awesome enough to holler at him. I’ll act as his personal representative. Good.
Much drama ensued later that evening between band members being drunk and random people showing up to the hotel, semi-uninvited. I mean, they were invited by our front man. But no one invited them to proceed to SMOKE AN ILLICIT SUBSTANCE in our hotel room. Who even does that? I seriously wonder what the hell goes through people’s heads sometimes. I* pulled out the RA card and got all “I can’t believe you’d put us in a compromised situation” attitudinal, which has consistently worked with my fail-stamped residents in the past. Dan was ultimately very apologetic the next day, but everyone was in a pooper-scooper mood on the last day’s drive to Austin/San Antonio. We had all entered into the 007 gear (overtired 0verdrive… 7 deadly sins?!) by the time we hit the road on Saturday morning. The relative atmosphere of the van was tense and thick (twss) which made it all the easier to sit on my iPhone and pretend I had various important, managerial things to do. I did remark, however, that I saw a child of no more than eight years old actually go out of his way to get hotel coffee. No one seemed to think that was remarkable except me, at which point I crept back into my SUV hidey hole.
Austin, here we come.
*For the record, I have never been high (YES, I have NOT smoked weed before, so don’t ever ask me. kthx) and have chosen to live above societal pressures and loser druggies. Take that, America. Go me, self-aggrandizing, pompous, pure blood Emily.
Please let me be a hipster- I took a picture of a Ferris wheel AND used Instagram to post it!
After getting past the morning grogginess, we were revving to go to Pensacola Beach before the show that night. Kyle was being an “on the fence Phillip” about going since his throat was sore. Common knowledge once you join a band: if one person is sick, most likely you will get sick too, or else the rest of your band will be sick and you’ll be so paranoid about getting sick that you’ll end up making yourself sick anyway. K.D. kept repeating how the vitamin D from sunshine would be good for everyone. Thanks, doc! Though Kyle seemed more convinced than he had been before, the task of unhooking the trailer was still at hand. After much ado (about nothing), it was unhooked, locked and left in the obliging yard. Mission accomplished.
Kellen was given co-pilot duties since he used to live in the same area, though there were occasional clucks of disapproval from his friend, the Pensacola native. I was once again given my back-seat-lounge-cargo-space area and tried to steady myself during sharp turns- not so much of a success. We ended up stopping at a local Wal-Mart so that K.D. could look for swim trunks. Here, at this point of the story, I’m surprised that I can’t recall with fondness how a ragingly liberal, vegetarian band didn’t spontaneously combust simultaneously upon even entering said store’s parking lot. Maybe bathing suit material is fire proof and/or flame retardant. It certainly isn’t ridiculousness retardant because…
as K.D. was looking through the hoard of knock-off, cheaply made beach gear, Kyle and I witnessed one of the most amazing occurrences the entire tour. There was an older woman standing behind K.D., wearing a silly hat and a white blouse. Why she had a hat on inside, I’ll never know. Why she decided to talk to K.D. I’ll never know even more. She seemed to be concentrating deeply about what aisle the prunes were on or if she needed a clean-up on aisle HER PANTS. SNORT. But as we watched her from the sidelines, she seemed to be staring at K.D.’s back. After a moment more of observation, I poked Kyle, realizing full well that she was, in fact, reading his shirt. Mind you, the “logo” was written in a Nordic, grunge script spelling out “Death” and then below it, “to all tour”. Not exactly something you want grandma to be staring at attentively. Kyle paused momentarily and almost appeared stricken, then smiled when the woman tapped K.D. on the shoulder. Maybe she thought he worked there, and that was his uniform, though Target workers always wear red? Maybe she thought it was a Celtic design? Either way, K.D. turned around slowly and carefully, finding his words in his own surprise.
K.D. : “Can I help you?”
little old lady : “Why, yes! You can!”
[awkward, life-shattering pause]
little old lady : “What does that shirt of yours say?”
K.D. : “… Uh, it’s uh, a band. They’re a band.”
little old lady : “Are they! I have two sons who like a lot of different music. What a pretty shirt!”
K.D. : “… um, thank you.”
little old lady : “I should ask my sons if they know that band. That sure is a nice design.”
[motions for her husband to come over. Kyle and I are dying.]
little old lady : “Look, honey! Look at this young man’s shirt. Isn’t that pretty?”
little old man : “Why yes, that is a nice shirt.”
little old lady : “You have a good day now!”
K.D. : “…”
Only in a Pensacola Wal-Mart.
We got back on the road for the beach only to realize that not only did it look like rain, but that it was massively late in the day aka massively crowded. Oh, and did I mention that it was Blue Angel weekend? Yes. That. No.
We ended up sitting in the car for an hour trying to find parking. Hardly a successful endeavour until deciding that a tow truck would not actually be able to shimmie into the beach outlet store’s parking lot, so we were safe. Of course the planes were loud as hell, and kept flying by in their annoyingly-neat formations while the locals took videos and pictures; this in turn led to Dan and Kellen getting anti-commercial and anti-community, saying that they were “just planes wasting more fuel” and should at least “do something worthwhile.” You tell ‘em, boys.
"Stupid airplanes doing airplaney things."
We ended up going to a small but packed local bar for a locally-made but famous drink called Bushwackers. Kyle no likely, K.D. semi-likey, Dan LOVEY, Kellen LOVEY, Emily no likey then likey after going outside to the porch. I think it might have been made with 151. Sweet God in-----
K.D., Kyle and I ended up having an extended conversation about marriage, children, and all things adult. When it got too serious, it was time to actually go to the BEACH! Yay immature jokes en route to the sea side! Yay band members feeling tipsy and then attempting to swim! We set up camp by the ultra-hot life guard (sorry, guys. He was FINE.) then ran down to the shore like little school girls. There was much swimming, payload talks and fish discussion- Kellen was sure that they were trying to bite him (the fish, not the payloads). Silly high maintenance Jew not being used to being eaten alive in the ocean.
"Can I even count to 151 after these? NOPE."
I started being the baby from South Park about going on the Ferris wheel that we had passed while driving in. Kellen has initially snorted at the idea of putting in a Ferris wheel but then seemed to soften when my head literally popped off of my mounted jaw
whilst asking to ride it. As the others ran along, Kellen and I got a seat in the enclosed Ferris wheel car. For $50 more per person, we could have had champagne. What a loss! Afterwards, we hit up a pizza kitchen that was ridiculously overpriced while discussing classic rock (mosters! rawr!). At the end of it all, we got a beach picture where Kyle and I blinded everyone with our whiteness.
"Is that Keanu Reeves? And what's with the one lone brown guy?"
The show later that night was highly disappointing. Only two of Kellen’s local friends, his mom and her pal showed up. The door guy was a punky kid who was nice but obviously had no hand in promoting. The bartender was also nice, though possibly high on heroin or drunk or both; he kept making shadow puppets and then pretending that they could bark. They gave us free beers, as well as water. HIGH ROLLERS WE ARE! At the end of the night, we got paid in a case of water and the ticket price Kellen’s mom paid. Good times.
Went back, loaded up, navigated to Dallas, and prayed that we would make it there alive and unscathed. The goal was to drive the whole night and then some. How do you think we did? Stay tuned!
I’m a big fan of lists, so I’m going to make them. A lot of them (twss).
Breakfast: kisses from a particularly tiny kitten, assorted fruit parfait, orange-mango juice, whole wheat toast, Karma Cream Coffee (thanks, Kyle)
First day of tour style: Frankie B jeans, TWLOHA shirt (fears vs. dreams campaign), Let Love Rule Tom’s shoes, orange Zenni optical specs
First destination: Pensacola, FL. Final venue destination: The World Famous Celtic Irish Pub (Pascagoula, MS)
We started by loading a mini-trailer at the warehouse. Though KD has only been on one other tour, he took the initiative to be the trailer-loader and consequently play a mean game of Tetris with all of our gear. Kellen did tedious but necessary drum maintenance- changed the heads and then loaded up his 5000000 piece set. Dan announced early on in the process that he needed to “drop a deuce” and disappeared with the community roll of TP. Kyle flitted about, asking about general band maintenance, funds and map organization. Boys will be boys. It didn’t take us long to get situated like one compact, dysfunctional family in a 5 seater SUV. At this point, the open trunk area seemed to be calling my name. I could easily lounge with a pillow and sleeping bag if I remained in the fetal position, or maybe even make a tour de fort. GET IT?!
U-Haul ... ass?
The total driving time was about 5.5 hours, though no pit stops had been factored in. The plan was to go to Kellen’s old friend’s house, drop off the luggage there, shower & change, then hit the road for MS. Since Pensacola and Pascagoula aren’t very far from one another, we planned on driving back after the show that night. I took cat naps throughout the nearly 6 hour trip until we stopped at Ponce de Leon Springs Park for a bathroom break. Friends, let me share this little secret with you about this location: cleanest rest stop bathroom I have ever used, probably because it’s in the middle of nowhere and nowhere is not a place to have a party. Unless you’re in Fick, in which case anywhere is potential shot-taking territory. Nothing else was extremely outstanding besides seeing a school bus filled with convicts. (From this point forward, I’ll make a list of oddities observed while driving all over America’s south.)
By the time we got into Pensacola, we were collectively worn out. But thankfully, we weren’t even at the first venue! And it was the first day of our mini-tour! Joy! Rapture!
I called the shower first (girl power) and was feeling pretty heavenly for the show that night. When we got on the road, I decided to listen to Fick’s discography. And solfege it all. Finally, four years of music school has practical application! By the time we got close to where the venue was supposed to be, a putrid smell of fishy swampiness greeted us with predictable Mississippian hospitality. After driving past a hospital that reeked of potentially-liquefied, Matrix-reminiscent bodies, turning onto an all-too dark railroad crossing, then backtracking to behind a Lowe’s, we found the venue.
“What the hell is this?”
It was small (twss). It looked relatively interesting from the outside, particularly so because no one was there. The bartender was pretty cool right off the bat, as was the sound guy, who was all-too attentive. There were some people inside who seemed to enjoy drinking alone on a southern Wednesday night. One eventual Fick enthusiast wearing a dangerously short “canary yellow” dress kept asking about “hearin’ that fiddle” when she saw me lug in my 2000 lbs of gear (playing violin in a band has its advantages).
Outfit break: royal blue top from Charlotte Russe, American Eagle shorts, lace leggings from Pac Sun, shit kickers from Journey’s
The guys ended up doing two sets: one of cover songs where I sat out and recorded video, and a full Fick set where I would actually play on every song. Note: The usual drill was walking off stage when I didn’t specifically have a part I was told to play. More recently, things have changed and once again, I have weaseled myself into the entire set after arguing that it was awkward to walk off and on like a musical call-girl. Though it has been a rough practice the night before, I was pumped to finally have the chance to play on every song. We did a full set, something Fick has never done before; this even included the semi-SOAD-reminiscent song, “A Ballad for the Folly of Man
"I will film your horrible stage banter."
For the most part, it was smooth sailing. Of course, there were only 6 people there to begin with and 4 remaining after our set, but it was a start. Ended up having a conversation with a bearded ginger about music school expectations, which is always a topic of much debate. Also had to be convo-rescued when a “meth mouth” came up to me upon the completion of our last song. Here’s how the exchange went down.
toothless man: “Mmmehreshuh mmat FIDDLE?”
me: “Yes, I play fiddle!”
toothless man: “Wheremahassen fiddlesolommmyeah?”
me: “I just played a solo in ‘Daybreak’!”
toothless man: “Mmmmzzzufuhzuzzle…”
Dan: “Thanks for coming out, man! She needs to pack up now.”
Various jokes about “packing” were made while loading the trailer. We got paid (a good start!) and hit the road for the drive back to Pensacola. It was short and sweet, but would be the only non-exhausting drive during the entirety of the tour. Sad face.
Back at band headquarters, I attempted (mind your head!) to shower. Apparently there are these ultra-fancy pants faucets where you pull the actual filter spout thing down and it goes from bath to shower configuration. But after fifteen minutes of frustrated efforts to change the water flow, I settled on a bath*. I did get to snuggle up in the spare bedroom which was a little more distanced from the IAMDRUNKITALKLOUD voices coming from the living room. Suffice it to say, I felt bad for K.D. and Kyle.
What glories await Thursday afternoon?! Gasp, gasp, GASP!
* THAT’S how metal is done, boys.
I’m writing this in the back of an SUV. I am some serious, precious cargo. Not really, but I wanted to write the word cargo. Now that it’s out of my system, I have to spill some deets with how tour life has been going. Make a cup of coco (unless you’re reading this and live in Florida, in which case you’ll regret ever beginning to read this blog only to find such a miserable suggestion), get out your Snuggie and prepare for some hardcore literary brilliance. Sort of.
Know how they always joke about getting the “bad karma” out of the way before you go on tour? I was the lucky bastard to hit situational gold when I was leaving from North Port => Gainesville Tuesday afternoon. I thought my car had been riding a little more oddly than usual, which isn’t really saying much to begin with. For those unaware, I have a ’93 Honda Accord. It is… a satanic pile of metal (to say the least). But I figured that it was actually curing itself of all its various maladies since the motor mounts were no longer making the cabin a massage chair upon stopping at red lights. Oh, and it smelled more like a car instead of an exhaust sanctuary. I was revving to go and left around two-ish, merged onto 75N and thought everything was gravy (though, for the record, gravy is disgusting). I called Fick’s drummer Kellen to let him know I was en route and prepped for the 4 hour drive. I put on our first cd, “Futureshock”, and buckled down for a mental practice run-through. After about ten minutes on the highway, my car pulled another one of its ridiculously evil stunts.
I suddenly saw a black chunk of plasticrubbercarinnards fly out from under front of my car. Obviously, there is no way to avoid roadside hazards caused by one’s own car, so I did what only a pathetic, helpless driver could do: I ran over it. Next thing I know, I hear a sickening crunch; the smell of rubber and automobilic spite was perfuming my nostrils with a buxom cry against the human race. At this point in the story, I’d like to say I was a “calm Christine”…
But I was not.
I immediately called our drummer and pulled over on the side of the highway, too shaken to get out and asses the damages for at least a few minutes. The ABS light was glaring at me with orange vengeance, which confounded me even more. Had my brakes gone? Was I missing some sort of brake belt? My fears were racing faster than my car could decelerate. And then: Was my engine even still there? I told him I’d call back, then called my mommy. Guys, girls, ladies and gents: If you think you can handle your shit in a time of confusion and crisis, remember that your mother will always be around to pull your head out of your ass for you. And my mother, fabulous of a woman as she is, knows exactly how to bring down my panic meter from EXTREME PARANOIA I’M DYING WHAT DO I DO to All Right, This Is A Lot Of Messed Up But At Least I Am Still Alive.
When I got out of the car, I circled around it a few times in a vulture-like fashion, assuming it was either dead or dying. I noticed a floodgate had been opened by the front passenger tire. Clear liquid poured out, which reinitiated my panic. Brake fluid? Transmission fluid? Lighter fluid? Blood? I reported all of these things to my mother who told me to call AAA and describe the problem and ask for a tow truck. Me being a daredevil (and also a dumbass about all things cars), lamely asked, “Well, do you think I could attempt to drive it, or…?” Just get a tow truck and calm down.
So I waited on the side of 75, so close that I was still within North Port lines. I alternated cursing my demonmobile and sweat-crying (when you’re so flipped out that you sweat and cry and you can’t tell which is which on your face). It took a good 20 minutes on hold with AAA before going through the motions of confirming your “how many questions can you handle being asked while assuming your car has undergone irreparable damage” membership.
In the time soon after, one heavenly gentleman pulled over in a beat-up looking van. Just what I needed- a pervert to pass the time. He asked if I needed help and I’m assuming he though I was twelve since I kept repeating that I didn’t know what had happened to my car but that my mom was coming to pick me up. How old am I again? Oh right, not twelve. He reached into a cooler and got me an unopened, un-roofied water, and shared some car horror stories of his own, saying that junkers are often more high maintenance than babies. He speculated that the liquid was brake fluid and wished me well. Thank you, random saint on the side of 75N.
My mom eventually found me as the sky started getting all adverse and crappy. We loaded everything for tour into her two door Yaris and set off for home. I had left the car key under the floor mat so that I could at least get away from such a depressing site. Made it back home with still no word from the towing company. We needed to get a move on since I still wanted to make band practice- especially because I was set to play Fick’s entire discography, which I had never played before. Charming. My mom agreed to drive me to Tampa so that I wouldn’t have to call the idea of touring quits, and Kellen agreed to drive to Tampa to pick me up.
Let me take the time to insert here how solid Kellen has always been when coming through for me. He has driven me to many venues before shows of my other band (the Minks) including the Social, the Beacham, and even House of Blues, all because he knew my car was the spawn of Satan. Oh, and because he’s a stand up guy. He also rescued a kitten, which may not seem metal but is. And though this isn’t entirely the time or place, his drumming will make your shit yourself. And then you’ll have to call your mommy and cry into the receiver because of how hard his playing will blow your mind. Really. You might not even want to listen to Fick if you’re a wussy little bitch. Good, glad we got that cleared up.
Though I had a slight freak out at the AAA rep after spotting my car STILL on the side of the highway two hours after my initial call, the drive was smooth otherwise. We switched cars in a Lazy Boy parking lot then hit the road for Gainesville. By the time we got in, I was pretty crabby and exhausted. We ended up running through as much of the set as we could before I almost suffered a mental (not metal) breakdown. We weren’t going to leave until 11am on Wednesday, so there was time to sleep off all the bad vibes.
NOM NOM NOM
Because Kellen is a glorious human being, he made me a blowout meal of vegetarian, smorgasbording skewers when we left practice. A Jew making kabobs? Glory. Full meal included: watermelon & feta salad; pearl couscous with sundried tomatoes; garlic and orange-glazed baby bok choy; Italian-dressed portabella, soy-ginger tempeh, & tofu ceviche with red and green peppers and onion. And all the while, his rescue-kitten Jezebel fluttered about and mewed, “Luk et meh. Eye’m sew kyute.” Considering I speak Flangdas (I’ll explain my cat language someday), we had a nice little conversation that consisted of me pretty much squealing about said kitten for 20 minutes straight. (Note: I apparently am a bit obsessive about kittens. Whoops.)
Overall, it was the perfect way to decompress after an unnecessarily hectic day. But the real cray-ness would start right off the bat Wednesday morning. Stay tuned! Tour! Inside information! Gig life! Boys! Girls! Things with Stuff!