Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Coming Soon to a Town Near You

Since I work in a school, I have a few fantastic perks. The best one being that I have summers off. I don't get paid during this time, but having that time off is wonderful. I gives me the time to do things that a typical job would generally prevent me from having the opportunity to do. This past summer , I took advantage of one of those opportunities.

People don't usually believe me when I say this, but I have a son, Christian, who's a rock star. He isn't selling out huge stadiums or giving tours of his home on MTV's Cribs, but his band is seeing a lot of success. He travels all over the country doing what he loves and will soon be going out on a tour of Canada. He plays lead guitar in the band AS WE ARE. You can hear their music here.

I got this image from Google.
Did you know Google tracks you?
Creepy, huh?
While he was in Indianapolis helping me move, he invited me to accompany him on his next leg of the tour. Fifteen days playing venues in Iowa, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. Despite being newlywed, my loving wife encouraged me to take this trip. I don't get to see Christian much and this was a wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time together.

So, a week later we left. There were the four guys in the band and me. They put me in charge of merchandise sales. For over two weeks, we slept in a van, ate peanut butter sandwiches, schmoozed our way into people's homes or hotel rooms to get showers, and lived on almost no sleep. It was rough, but I had a great time.  Plus, we hung out with a lot of bands that I am a big fan of. Here are the ones that I can remember meeting over the course of this tour.
Piercing the Darkness • Newsboys • Bread of Stone • We are LeoMark Schultz • Medic • For King and Country • Everfound • Plumb • The Crossing • Random Hero • Project 86 • Echo • Chris Day • Zachary Freedom • Michael James Band • Disciple • Willet • Lybecker • Unspoken • Leeland • 7eventh Time Down • Rhett Walker Band • The Afters • Bob Lenz • Offering • Steven Curtis Chapman • Chasynn Canaan • Written in Red • Unscene Patrol • Kindred • At the Wayside • Satellites & Sirens • We As Human • The Neverclaim • Climbing Blind • Tim Timmons • Love & the Outcome • Kerrie Roberts • Offering • A Life Set Apart • Manafest • Children 18:3 • Fight the Fade • As Clouds Break • Scott Stapp (of CREED) • Tru-Serva • Eternity Focus • BOTB • Dawna Johnson • Paul Williams • Bubba Dowling • DJ Chris VanDam • What Was Lost • Red Jumpsuit Apparatus • Nine Lashes • The Elim Arrival • Crimson River • Last Watch • Katie Danielle • Captives Set Free • Chris Sanchez • Inner Rain • Death and Desire • Break the Fall • PhinehasThe Protest • Thousand Foot Krutch
Ft Yates, ND
Standing Rock
Sioux Tribe Reservation
We lived a few days in a parked RV, slept some nights in a church basement, and stayed on an Indian reservation in North Dakota for a few days. I saw Mount Rushmore, got a tour of the seedy side of Rapid City, SD from a homeless man, talked my way into the projection room of a movie theater, and spent an afternoon learning to play bridge with a bunch of old ladies in Montana.

Every single day was an adventure due to two simple facts. First, I tend to seek out a good time wherever I go. Second, we had some pseudo-celebrity influence that I was more than willing to take advantage of. Several times each day, I would walk into some business explaining who we were, pass out a few CDs, drop some names of people we had just hung out with and then explain what I wanted to do. It was very rare that someone told us no.

Once the typical person learns that you are in a traveling band and can prove it (or even better, they have heard of you), they bend over backwards to accommodate you. Luckily, I wasn't looking to be deviant. Most of the time, I just wanted to get some interesting pictures. Our first photo op was in Osceola, Iowa. I talked a city employee into letting us into the city council chambers. She actually unlocked the doors and just walked away. I assume it's because everyone trusts musicians.

Next, we visited the Women's Auxiliary of the AMVETS in Osceola. They taught us how to quilt.

In Terry, Montana, we walked into the Historic Kempton Hotel and and asked to borrow a vacuum cleaner. They just handed one over without even asking what it was for.

Then, we went to visit the city pool. Paul had an idea of a shot he wanted to get. They weren't open yet, but they let us in anyway.

I know that this is probably not what most people think of when they hear the phrase "living the rock 'n roll life", but I know I enjoyed it.