Hayley's Tour Diary KEEP OUT!!!
(Seriously if you're reading this, go suck an egg!)
Keeping a tour diary, for me, is a lot like keeping a normal diary. It’s a fabulous idea that I am sure my future self would applaud me for (heck, someone’s great-grandkids might even applaud me for it!). But, I just can’t seem to impliment either. When I was a kid, I wrote down everything that happened to me a la Harriet the Spy, and have stacks of notebooks to prove it. But then I became a professional writer, and then a freelance writer. Over the years, playing music became the bigger creative release. I stopped making zines and keeping notebooks and started picking up the guitar more and more.
Suddenly, writing equaled work, and I craved moments of abandon, doing basically the very opposite of writing (i.e. living in the moment, not overanalyzing, not searching for the right word, not thinking about my own thoughts). The last thing I wanted to do on this last tour was WRITE, and, to be sure, I had little time do so as we traveled by van some 3,000+ miles up to Washington and back.
But I did take mental notes. I told myself that when I returned to my sleepy home of SLO, and all my work-related writing assignments, I would still make time write about some of the most funny, poignant, random, and weird memories made.
I took a disposable camera with me in the hope that it would help me stick to my goal. Please realize that it has been probably 15+ years since I last used one for real (I am 30, and I actually do remember developing shots of my friends every summer, then sliding those glossy photos into the clear plastic sheath of my school binder to show off all school year long).
So I paid the ridiculous price of $18.99 for a crummy point-and-shoot disposable (with flash!) because, and if you know me well, you know this: 1) my cell phone is always either completely dead, near dying, or in some state of extreme external/internal decay and 2) I am easily distracted. I might pull out my phone to take a photo, and end up somewhere else entirely. But that’s my entire generation, right!?
As it turned out, most camp sites do NOT have WiFi—and most of the the humans I came in contact with were so fascinating, gracious, and cool that there was absolutely no danger of succumbing to Instagram holes, echo chambers, click bait, or political Facebook posts (or as I like to call it, outrage porn). Let me tell you, it was positively freeing. “WHO NEEDS THE INTERNET?” I thought, gleefully. I would trade peeing in the woods all over my flip-flops for a forced lack of internet connectivity any day of the week.
Since coming home after two weeks on the road (five music dates - the rest, wandering around with Reid), friends and family have inevitably asked, “How was your trip?” It’s hard to describe the experience in one narrative. Anyone who has driven in a van for a few weeks or more knows that sometimes its the art scrawled across the gas station restroom stall or greasy diner eggs you ate that morning that you remember more than where you were going or where you ended up.
So, without further mumbling, here’s a few metaphorical (and literal) snapshots of the Crushers first PNW road trip sort of in order (see my later posts about recording and booking said tour if you want to see how it all started).
Warning: Memories are like photos from a crummy $18.99 disposable camera. Some are pitifully undeveloped; some wildly overdeveloped, and some have my dumb thumb blocking the frame, so no one will even get it but me.
Wildfires. So many wildfires. Could there be any more wildfires?
There’s nothing more disturbingly normal than the scent of smoke that lingers heavy in the air, especially for us California kids. We’ve experienced our fair share of wildfires back home, but this was next level.
Ashland Oregon was a literal “land of ash,” with apocalyptic ash particles literally falling from the sky. Some wore plastic masks over their mouths, some just gritted their way through it. In limbo from another land, we hoped we could hold our breath long enough to get to the next stop.
Our first night in Oregon, we parked at a campsite near Ashland. Sleeping in the van reading my travel book about the 90s Riot Grrrl scene by the flashlight balanced under my chin, I couldn’t really ever breath easy. I tossed and turned. Reid slept like a rock.
It was super hot outside, but to crack the van windows even a little bit meant scorching smoke filling up your lungs.
Still, we found joy between the tufts of smoke. It bummed me out, for sure. This once green land appeared to be awash in a soft gray film.
The pictures show it, giving a ghoulish cast to our tour-time fun, but didn’t break us. We had fun family meals at my Aunt and Uncle’s place just outside of Portland, and we splashed into the water at High Rocks, the perfectly apocalyptic swimming hole covered in graffiti that we had enjoyed so thoroughly just a few summers before.
This next part is written by Dr. Cain himself, as it should be:
Reid to Gabe: 'Dude we're going to take you to High Rocks!'
Gabe: 'Rad, and get High?'
R: 'No, dude, it's this awesome place where you can jump of these like high rock cliffs into a river'
Aunt Sherry: 'Yiou guys can't go to High Rocks it's too smoky.'
R and G: 'Whatever'
We get to High Rocks and there is one dude sunning himself at the top of the highest cliff jump. Clearly The Man around here. He is the only one there besides us. Gabe and I suit up and start building up bravery to jump off the Top Rock, 600 feet of PURE ADRENALINE! Just kidding, it's more like 35 feet and it take more ramping up thinking about how cold the damn water will be when you hit it versus the height at which you are jumping.
R: 'Let's jump from one of these lower spots first dude'
After standing there trying to muster up the courage to jump, we debate who should go first. The Man chimes in,
The Man: 'It's not that high and the cold just hits you for a second.'
R & G: 'Oh'
We stare at the down at the icy cold water below...
R: 'Well if we're going to jump, we may as well go for it from the Top Rock'
Up to the Top Rock.
R: 'Are you going to go first, of should I?'
G: 'I'll fucking go, I'm ready!'
He stands at the edge of Top Rock staring at the icy cold water below.
R: 'Okay dude, let's go at the same time!'
Down lower Hayley stands poised with her garbage camera.
R: 'Okay, let's jump at the same time. HAYLEY WE'RE GOING TO JUMP AT THE SAME TIME! Okay, ready, one... two...'
G: 'Don't count, I hate that when people count down.'
R: 'What? How are we going to know when to jump at the same time?'
G: 'I don't know, count up.'
Airborne. Photo. History. High Rocks.
On our way to drop Gabe at the Portland airport after a week of crazy stunts like this, we saw literal flames leaping from the side of the freeway, and active flames that had “hopped the road.” Still, we continued to sing along to the newly-purchased Spinal Tap CD we had gotten at one of Bellingham Washington’s two great record stores (SLO only has one!).
Turn, Turn, Turn in Portland is just the kind of venue I like. Part record store, part coffee shop, part music venue, it felt like I was hanging out in someone’s super cool older sister's garage. Cool Schmool was soft and sweet and On Drugs were so loud and hard I had to enjoy them from the outside of the venue. Funny how when you build a set and book a tour, you kind of have an idea of how it will flow…but you never really know how the chemicals will mix until you throw it all together. That show went Ka-Boom!
More disposable camera pics by Corbin Corbiin at Turn Turn Turn above. Pictured: The Crushers, Cool Schmool, On Drugs.
Portland did not disapoint. We made two beer-soaked basement videos with a good friend, played a ridiculously weird/awesome show at Twilight Cafe with Sweeping Exits and Soft Butch, who sold really neat-o T-shirts of Mike Pence holding a condom, and a lot of listening to ABBA while driving over the wrong bridges (my bad! My bad again!).
My high school friend Spencer Bone even showed up and we got to play pinball! Isn't it amazing when people you haven't seen for so long show up, and there you are, just playing pinball?
At some point, we stopped at one of those legal weed shops in one of those “hip” neighborhoods of Seattle. It was my first time at a weed shop, although I had been to a "weed wedding event" a few months prior. This trip also marked my first time eating an $8 artisanal jelly donut. The people were very helpful and Reid even found his non-psychoactive CBD weed that makes your body feel good but doesn’t mess with your brain. I can’t handle any kind of weed, as you will find out later in this story (but if you know me, you already know that).
Georgetown is my kind of place. I love this little neighborhood with its planes soaring overhead every second and its nice people and its good pizza. It was here that we procured a recent issue of Pork Magazine and saw our review in it! A pretty good review, too! This was a pretty cool moment that, at least for me, made me feel like I was in a real band, written up in black and white, right next to the Flamin' Groovies. More on that night’s Lucky Liquor show, and the rad bands we played with (including SLOW ELK), here.
Oh, so the weed thing. I don't really do it. But something about "being on tour" makes you think you can do all the things you were never able to before (like make off-the-cuff jokes from stage, or digest massive portions of burgers and fish sauce tater tots - P.S. Thanks Spencer of Bottle Rocket, all your food was delicious and well worth the gas!)...After playing, I walked outside into the dark, cold night (Lucky Liquor isn't really in Seattle, it's in Tukwila, which, at least on that night, felt gloriously like the end of the world).
I saw Gabe outside, who was smoking some sort of blunt thing (NOT the nice stuff from the fancy weed shop, mind you). High off the fumes of an energetic performance, I thought I could get a tiny bit high in the normal regard. Wouldn't that be cool? I could be cool. So cool, you know?
Two puny puffs, and I wandered off to the van to change out of my silver leotard covered in tinsel and my very tall vinyl platform boots, now drenched on the inside with sweat (I basically was wearing the kind of outfit a second rate Beyonce would fancy).
It is completely dark in the van as I change out of my clothes, which is very freeing. For a moment. Then it happens. I am suddenly unreasonably high, because isn't that just how it goes when you're a lightweight nerd like me? I'm freaking out there in the van, completely naked, searching for my "street" clothes for what feels like an hour. I can hear Beverly Crusher inside, killing it, which makes me panic even more. I want to see this band and hang out with my old buddy Logan (also from high school) who is probably wondering where the hell I am! I can't find my clothes or my phone to light the way. I'm almost crying by the time Reid finds me, nude, yelling to myself in the dark.
No comment on what happened later, either, upon staying with a sweet friend in Seattle who so graciously lent us a room in her storybook house. I was terrified we would let the cat out/wake up her airbnb guest/burn the house down in the middle of the night, so it's safe to say I did not sleep a wink.
Weird, too, because out of all 14 days on the road, we only had about three days in real bed, and I squandered it so thoroughly. I guess the van just suits me better...
Part 4 To Be Continued ... (I wanted to post it all, but Reid said it was way too long).