Archive for August, 2013

The Calm Before the Tour

Ants are taking over the house. They know we’re leaving. They scurry in a new way, a way of pride, a way like they know we aren’t going to try to force them off with lemon juice or soapy water or poisons. They think, “We can stay, because you’re leaving.” In the end, in a world of impermanence, the ants win out.

I don’t remember what you’re supposed to do before you leave a place for tour. Cancel things? Gather important papers? And then on top of that not-remembering is me asking my non-remembering self: Do I not remember because life is a blur? Because it doesn’t matter? Because we could just leave, tomorrow, with three things, and be fine?

Or is the memory fog that I am just exhausted (I am exhausted) from a year and a half of switching off nearly-full time jobs with Hawk so the other parent can stay home and raise our son. Which is our preferred method, no doubt – we know our son. We know the cravings of each of his baby molars – raw carrots or ice. We’ve heard practically every single word he’s ever spoken. We’ve watched him develop. We have followed and lived the arc and trace of his obsessions with various wheeled and winged mobile vehicles. He is our son, truly. We raised him. We were poor and we worked our asses off and we did it ourselves. I’m proud of this. But it also meant (and still means, ten days before we leave) that we have no days off together. We have no relaxing family mornings that are not chopped at the seams by responsibility. If we want a family outing, we have to pry it from the cold, dead fingers of being guilt tripped at our jobs for taking time off coupled with a loss of money, money we use to pay rent and buy food and play more shows. It’s exhausting. Whatever form your parenthood takes, it’s exhausting. A new kind of Tired, one where you just keep going.

Now more than ever, I love and appreciate tour, because we get to spend it as a family. For our entire last year and a half we, as a family and thus as a band, have had just hours, collections of ticking clocks and snippets of bonding and getting shit done book-ended by one of both of us charging out the door in weird clothes and hopping in the van and clunking off south down Church Street for work. Every time we have a show, one of us works that morning, sometimes right up til the time we leave. We pack the van in a flurry and cook dinner and welcome and set up the babysitter and get dressed and then soar off. Last week during an interview the interviewer made the connection between our family life and what he called a ‘sense of urgency’ on our record. And it made us laugh. It made sense. Yeah! Give any parents the task of making an album, and it’s going to sound fucking urgent! Ie, Lio’s napping, I need to record this part, please don’t wake up, please let me get a good take, please let me record this before the dog barks and wakes him up. Urgency – a nod of respect to the present and a middle finger to the foot we have anchored to paying rent and working all the time. And that’s why there’s a direct correlation between living your dreams and not wasting them. It’s urgent. For you, for me, for us, for everybody. We don’t get a lot of time together. Not in a day, not in life. You don’t have a lot to start out with and you don’t have a lot at the end of the day. So fuck it, let’s make albums and quit our jobs (again) and go on tour and not know where we’re going to wind up (again). We worked hard so we could do this. We get to do it together.

What’s coming is tour, our especial time to break free from all earthly constraints as individuals and as a family. Shows are awesome, good things happen, we get to meet great people and reconnect with old friends. But the best part is we’re doing it altogether as a family, mom-dad-son-dog, and we’re a barricade, we’re a force, we’ve got each other. We share it all. We were there for it all. No matter how many good things I have to say when we get home from a tour, the number one thing I tell Hawk is “it’s so awesome we got to spend all our time together, every day.”

So maybe I’m forcing myself to forget. It’s easy to erase the field of technology and jobs and economic society when you’ve been living out of your van for even a few days, and in my mind, I’m already there. In our own heads, we’re gone.

The ants know this, they can sense it, and with no sense of urgency at all they begin to slowly invade and take over the kitchen.

tour before/before tour