Monday, April 20, 2009

Where There's Smoke

Yesterday was one of the most eventful days of the tour and rock music had nothing to do with it. The terrain quickly changed as we headed west from Amarillo en route to Albuquerque. To the left it looked like a panorama found in the best spaghetti westerns. I kept looking for a man on horseback in the distance, clad in a poncho continuously lighting his homemade cigar, squinting his way across the prairie. Wild horses were running free in front of painted and craggy mesas jutting up from the earth... To the right, longhorn cattle sedated and grazing, makeshift meth labs on secluded hillsides, junkyards frozen in time and dusted tumbleweeds rolling into rusty swingsets.

Then about 40 miles outside of our destination, (a club called The Launchpad in downtown Albuquerque) a woman in an Altima speeds up besides the van with her window rolled down, frantically waving her hand,subsequently to warn us about something. We pulled over and jumped out in time to see the rear right trailer wheel spewing smoke and tilted slightly out.....Deeepppp Breathhhh as we realized the tragedy narrowly averted. The wheel had either lost its bearings or the axle had bent to the point where that thing could have come off in a matter of minutes..going 70 miles an hour. The trailer could have swung out on to the highway,hit another car, the fulcrum plus speed could have flipped the trailer full of gear and the van with 15 men inside causing serious injury and/or a pile of broken bodies.

We then realized that we all were safe. We would be late. We would have to wait in the middle of nowhere for a tow truck for several hours to get us out of there. But we were safe. That stranger on the highway basically saved our lives. 15 men did not smell the burning grease and smoking metal of that wheel. 15 men were either sleeping or talking or deep in an ipod playlist or book and had no clue what was happening at high speed behind the van.

A tow truck did eventually come and towed the trailer right to the club for us so we could get our gear out and set up for the show. The weariness and stress and low turnout was a factor during the show, which was not one of our best. But in the thick of the 10-12 people that were there were on a Sunday night were some insanely rabid fans. One freakshow of a guy was so into the rock that he picked up the monitor wedge right in front of Bryn and I and threw it hard onto the stage in a bodyslam like motion. He also came up onstage and screamed into several mics without warningin a haze of wannabe. I was pissed off about the monitor toss. He could have crushed Bryn's foot in his wastoid state...Bryn seemed to laugh it off...I guess the reality of the days events tugged a bit at my emotions. The guy was a super fan. The repetitive motion of slugging back tequila until his wits disappeared must have contributed to his stupidity.

Today we wait for a mechanic to either fix or give last rites to the trailer before heading to San Diego...a 12 hour journey with only desert and more ghosts of dead cowboys and desert shamans in front of us......I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. I am loving every post of your blog, Sean. I was in a touring band in the early 90s and I can't tell you how many transmissions we dropped and trailer wheels we destroyed. We had to do many a tour with the bulk of the band traveling in the pitch black back of a Ryder truck for hours and hours (with the gear) b/c no one could fix the van. The road ain't all glmour, that's for sure! But you are making people happy with your music, and in these times that is a noble calling! Have fun the rest of the tour. If you get to Portland, I'll come check ya out.