It is nearly impossible to remember everything that was going on in the April southern tour. It had it's highlights, but it was more disaster....Mostly the drummer left in the middle of it for whatever reason, and I finished the tour using my loop station beat box instead. He would not tell me why, said it was personal. We got along great, so it wasn't the typical fighting band members things. I don't know. I would NEVER do that to someone, unless someone I love is dying in the hospital. I have never heard of anyone else doing that and not even giving a reason. I did not see it coming at all, I thought he was joking the first couple of times he told me.
Let's start at the beginning.
Southern tour, dates April 17th-28th, ending in New Orleans. It was a funny path, going down to alabama, back up to ga and nc, then down to fl/al/la. It was going okay...decidedly rougher than the northern tour we had done the month before. You know, sleeping in the van, peeing behind trees, drinking cold water with instant coffee in it....we didn't have as many guarantee's on this one, so money was low, but I was making enough to pay the drummer and put enough gas into the van to get us to the next spot. That means success to me! At this point I don't really walk with a profit unless I have guarantee's. I will change that. I can beat myself up about backing away from Polly Panic during quicksand years of depression, and think "where would I be if I hadn't"....but that is beating your head against a wall. Try to learn something from it? We will come back to this idea later....
I had a good time at the start of the tour, really all was well, if a little rougher, which I can handle any day of the week if I am driving around playing music. Melora Creager from Rasputina is correct, touring is either something you Love, or Hate. There is no in between. I love it. Always feels like the right place, that I am doing what I am good at, my vocation. All those failed jobs where I tried so hard but could not quite fit in....it makes sense to me that I didn't when I am on the road, because there I do fit.
So anyway. We go down to alabama, back up to Ga and NC. The thing that has soured the tour for me at this point is that I miss Ash. Basically I drive the van from spot to spot and cry, because I am missing moments. I will not do that again. Even if he knows I am coming back, it kills me because I was abandoned when I was little and it rocked me to the core. So it matters. I will be taking baby Ash with me always, I will figure it out. BUT. after playing wilmington NC we had a couple days off and were close to Asheville. I really just had to see Ash. 15 minutes away from my house the drummer says...."we need to talk"....in my sleepiness I say"what about"? He says, "I can't finish the tour". And so you can just imagine the drama that unfolded those last 15 minutes in the van and then in the yard at my house. Not pretty. He said part of it was concern over money, even though I had said weeks before that I would give him more money at the end of the tour, so he wouldn't have to struggle when he got home...and he refused, said he had worked extra so it would be fine, he was more prepared. When I offered to match what he was being paid at his day job he said there was also another reason and it was personal and he wasn't going to say.
This WAS fucking personal. I would never do that to someone. 2 reasons I can think of. Someone is in the hospital with life threatening something, or Ash needed me. If tom was having a nervous breakdown I would as well, so 3. But I would certainly tell the people I was screwing over what was going on that caused me to do this.
Clearly not everyone has the same value system.
Part of it is me....whenever I get a new drummer I always feel my head and heart going "THIS is the one! Finally the one!". Maybe one day I will find that one that wants Polly Panic to be an important part of their life. Until then I will juggle drummers and sometimes use a loop-station beat box.
So He left. I had a day off at home, so I cried and slept that day, then hit the road again the next day. My partner Tom talked me through it. The show goes on. Part of the reason I considered canceling was an element of danger. I can't see very well at night, because light reflects off of contacts or glasses. I will see entire roads that aren't even there. I had been driving during the day and the drummer at night. But I went anyway, just very carefully. '
Now the tour got real, me going everywhere by myself, sleeping in parking lots and alley's. As always, other bands helped. I spent 2 nights with Baer and the lady in northern Florida, and the rest and comfort there helped me heal.
The show outside of Orlando FL was financially rewarding, so that gave me gas money for the rest of the tour. I did all the 5-12 hour drives by myself and it went well. Mobile was one of my favorite places. Had a very good energy to it, despite that haunting from the old south. Felt very warm at it's core, or at least, to me. I also got fed a real meal at the venue!!
New Orleans was the last show, and I feel certain I would have loved it more if I hadn't been back on obsessing over baby Ash and utterly exhausted. Needless to say, it took me 2 days to get home and I was glad to arrive. It has been several weeks since I got back, took about a week for me to want to do anything about anything. Now my feet are starting to get itchy again....I even had a new drummer lined up! This time my approach was to go through the music. I feel like, the music needs to matter to them and they are less likely to screw me over, first of all. So, I got a new guy that was not super young and loved the music. So exciting! He could at least do the summer tours. And then, after him practicing for weeks, his employer screwed him over and now he can't go. So that was another blow. He will be able to do the June 8th Asheville Festival with me, but not the tours.
So who knows? I may have a drummer for the summer tours, maybe not. I am not sure what it is I am supposed to learn from this. Maybe given a little more time, I will know. Maybe it is as simple as he was not the right person. Although the music is meant for real drums, the beat box will work in a pinch. And it doesn't talk back or annoy me! And I will have my baby Ash and my partner Tom with me.
Who knows what's gonna happen next? If you are considering touring, take heed. At the end of the northern tour I was jubilant and on top of the world, and the end of the southern tour I was in pieces and it took a minute to recover. But that is somehow a part of the appeal for me.
I will find the right drummer. Until then...marchin on...