Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Notes from a Tour Van

Notes from a Tour Van
Current mood: chipper
Joining the Circus

I read Water for Elephants a few weeks ago. It's about a young veterinarian during the Great Depression who hops a train car and finds himself working in a circus. Antics ensue, as expected, but they are emotionally heavier than you might expect.

Touring with Days of the New was a bit emotionally heavier than anticipated, both good and bad. Maybe instead of the circus analogy, I should go with a thrill ride analogy.

Anyway, I have about ten different blogs in me, so I might space these out over a few days.

This is also difficult to write because I am constantly amazed at how many people read this blog ... and those people who copy and paste it onto other sites, like freakin' WikiPedia for example! I'm sure the Days of the New message boarders are a'watchin'. And that's fine; i have no secrets. I just know that people often misinterpet the written word, so I have to think think think before I write write write. I don't like writing that way.

I feel like I've been on the road for months. It's a good feeling, but I'm tired. Usually a four-day tour wouldn't phase me, even with lack of sleep. But I had a wonderful time traveling with six of the coolest people I've ever met.

We rented Peter Searcy's WonderVan for this leg of the tour -- complete with DVD player and captain's chairs and a built-in cooler I had not previously noticed.

Life in a van is probably different from life on a tour bus, but you still spend a lot of time with the same people. And these particular people were a brilliant match. The only person I would have added to the mix would be Mr. Searcy himself, only because we have the silliest and funniest conversations. I wish he had been there too because he would have loved to hang out with the Days of the New crew.

Travis traveled in another van, but the rest of the band was together.

Some highlights from the van:

First, I should explain that I am a laugher. Seriously, when something amuses me, I can laugh and laugh and laugh to the point where other people are uncomfortable because, well, maybe there was more to the joke that they didn't get, seeing as I am still laughing. I don't laugh at everything, but when something tickles me, I am seriously tickled. So that overly-sensitive funny bone, combined with slap-happiness from lack of sleep, yields wildly funny times in the van.

The overnight drive from Chicago to Detroit (so we could make a 9am soundcheck, which totally didn't happen because apparently Michigan closes all its roads during the summer) was especially funny. By sunrise, the kiddos in the back (yes, Paul, you are "kiddo" too) were watchin' a movie and Gareth, who graciously drove all but 100 miles of the journey, announces that he is watching a movie too. "It's called Trucks." Wow, did that have me in hysterics. For a solid ten minutes. To the point of tears. I still laugh thinking about it. I mean, think ... it's like he was watching a movie, but he wasn't, and it was a really boring movie, just starring a bunch of truck butts. Trucks! Ha! (There's an extra special thrill laugh to a joke when it is immediately followed by a thorough explanation of exactly why it is funny ... oh, the level of silliness in my brain is sometimes unbelievable. Hee hee.)

Paul also managed to snore a bit, which is cool. But when we hit some bumpy bumpy roads in Chicago and Paul's snores undulated with the van's movements, I couldn't hold in my laughter. He was like a snoring beat-box, with a DJ scratching his snores back and forth. Then he woke up and asked me to change lanes, which I did, but only because i was laughing so uncontrollably that i swerved a bit.

Then there was that ear massage from Malcolm after the Detroit show.

I think maybe my odd sense of humor comes from being an only child. I spent a lot of time entertaining myself, telling myself jokes, reading joke books, listening to funny songs, writing. Now that I mostly live alone, I also spend a lot of time amusing myself.

Imagine me writing "Future Mr. Used-to-Be" ... when I came up with that, I laughed heartily, probably even guffawed, then spent another hour, totally amusing myself with verses. I've done that with a lot of songs, so maybe that's why I like writing funny, clever, lyrics. It amuses me so.

Back to the van ... there was that ear massage again.

It turns out that half of the van was mildly Jewish, so Malcolm amused us with an assorted variety of JewJokes(tm). They were particularly good because of his New York accent. Lots of grandmother stuff that made us giggle, which was totally okay because, like that Seinfeld episode of the guy who converted to Judaism just for the jokes ... we were all allowed to laugh.

Really though, anything Malcolm said was hysterically funny.

There was that other time in Ohio somewhere where we saw a Continental -- you know the kind that JFK was shot in -- at a gas station. And Malcolm and I decided to be from Boston and New Zealand, respectively, and go talk to the guys with the sweet old car. So Malcolm says, "Wow, bro', that car is wicked awesome." And I'm trying to hold a straight face with a New Zealand accent, when the car's owner says "You from Boston, bro?"

And then ... we watched Talladega Nights. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have the same effect on me that the rest of the van does ... total uncontrollable laughter.

They must all be sick of hearing my giggles by now. But that Rachael's got some wit on her. And Gareth destroyed me several times over. (Still laughing over the simplicity of "Trucks." I guess you had to be there.)

Paul had me laughing mostly because he insisted on keeping his GPS system on the whole time, even though Gareth's GPS system on his Blackberry was far superior. So the GPS girls were arguing, then Paul would switch his to French, which was hot and all, but was like an obnoxious french backseat driver. After a while, i just had to laugh at that too.

And then ... that ear massage.

More about the tour, shows, hotel antics, girls, etc, later.

Read more: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=19356498&blogId=406778801#ixzz0tZbujjeE

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