After Sasquatch we crawled back to Jerry Sprinter and began the first day of a two-day trek across northern America, on our way to Minneapolis. Shades and I had discussed wanting to see two places we'd been to on tours prior: the Rock Creek Lodge in Clinton, MT and the 10,000 Dollar Saloon. The Rock Creek Lodge is home of the Testicle Festival, a weekend long excuse for people to get naked, get drunk, and hopefully get... it involves Buffalo Balls, or Rocky Mountain Oysters.
We pulled into the bar/store/office for some and ordered a beer. Shades tosses two photo scrapbooks of "Testy Fests" of past and images countless hillbillies naked, drinking, and well yeah dominate our eyes and conversation. It's pretty messed up. Actually, these late '90s photos of people drinking kinda look like those hipster kids that run around today with the '90s neon hats, cheesy 'staches, etc. Except these photos are the real deal. It's like some off the grid world where the internets don't exist, no one cares if your album came out, and Daddy's always right. I didn't finish my beer, I wanted to get outta there.
So onward we go, and we never find the 10,000 Dollar Saloon ("3rd leg" we'd say). Being in the van with the same people for weeks at a time can do a number on you. You adopt similar lingo; the same words and phrases become the currency by which we communicate. If we forgot something and wanted to bring it next time, we'd say "2nd leg" because our summer tour with Tenacious D is broken into three separate legs. Another example of van lexicon is Skip's never-ending Ringo-isms. Skip is rich with phrases that make sense, don't make sense and even one or two I think make sense(?).
For example, when bad news strikes, Skip will say "Oh Boy," except it comes out as "Nyah Boy." Actually, that is what it has morphed into in one week with a few of us repeating it nonstop. I am pretty sure Skip got it from Drew and Mike on WRIF, but who knows.
Anyway, the point is these phrases will get repeated endlessly until they cease to carry their original meaning. They get used even when it doesn't make sense. It can be hard coming home and having to talk "normal" again.
We stay a night in Billings, MT (where Dean graciously splurges for a pizza party) and the next night in Fargo, ND. A few in the band head off to some bars and end up selling some records to the bartender in Fargo. (We've sold more merch at bars, hotels and rest stops than we did at one or two of our club gigs.)
The Twin Cities beckon, and we arrive in St. Paul early. Shades checks us into a Days Inn down the street from the gig and sells a copy of our new album to the general manager of the hotey.
Turns out the dude plays harp and has a pretty interesting backstory (corner Kyle or Dean sometime and ask to get the lowdown).
A handful of us walk around and do some browsing (Midtown Books, Ax-Man Surplus) and some shopping (Kyle picking up another copy of Tetris for GameBoy at a pawn shop-- a must have in the van). We play the gig--The Turf Club--and with two days off still kill it. We sound great, we play our asses off, and most of all, we have fun. It feels good to be out of the van (1,400+) miles later and doing what we do.
All the best,
Current Tour Weight: 133 lbs. (weighed in when I got home)
Photos by Shades