Stories from The North
It is hard to describe everything that happened on our 10 day tour to the NE that ended just a few days ago. I know that touring is what I love, music and touring is why I am here. But I also love this little person. Ashton Cassady Mackie-Scheve, or, just Ash. We are thinking on a national tour a year from now, and by then I will figure out how to tour with him...not leaving him for a month or more! But on this one we did not have it together for that...
Milby Shaffer is my new drummer. He is a young one that has never been out of this little tiny town in TN, where there is really nothing but religion and white people. I had no idea about any of this when the tour started...how monumental it was in his life.
Shortly before the tour started I bought a 2002 Chevy Express van. I KNOW it is super old, but in really good shape. No rust, low miles, no leaks, 1 owner. Spent 700 getting it suited up for the road.
Milby and I Barely knew each other when we hit the road the morning of March 2nd, headed to Roanoke Va. In fact, it took me a few practices to de-code what his extreme southern accent was trying to communicate! Hill-Speak!
We are about 3 hours in when the Van suddenly loses power on this cold and rainy saturday. We are on the side of the road. I usually have very little money, so there was that worry about getting it fixed...plus WE HADN'T EVEN PLAYED THE FIRST SHOW YET!
That day and part of the next, the scared part of my head was telling me that I should just quit. Call Tom to come get us,
have him take care of everything with the van, and go home and cry. But first things first. Call AAA. We wait for an hour 2 feet away from speeding semis, and when the guy shows up , he barely touches the jumper cables to the battery and it starts. I mean, BARELY. It was strange. The man very kindly followed us to an auto-parts store to have the battery and alternator tested, cable connections checked. Everything checked out fine. We get back on the road, but all the way to Roanoke Va we watched the van battery lose power... Our main concern was getting to the show, we would fix everything tomorrow. Through frantic phone calls while waiting for AAA I even found a mechanic to fix it on a SUNDAY morning in the middle of nowhere Va. We just had to be able to make it 45 minutes BACK up the road to him. We figured we could have someone jump us in the morning to charge up the battery.
We ARRIVED at first show with a weak but running van. And GOOD LORD did we play our hearts out. The people at the Spot on Kirk in Roanoke were very warm and took care of us and even came up with extra money to give us to help with the van.
We gave everything we had that night and it was SO cathartic. All that stress. And we went to another bands house to sleep after the show. And there....we didn't quite fit in.
We were utterly exhausted after the show. The emotional roller coaster and anxiety of that day would be able to level me on a normal day at home. So we drove around in the middle of nowhere till we found the correct house to stay in. I am always beyond grateful when we have somewhere to sleep. GRATEFUL! I fell asleep immediately even though the after-party was pretty raucous. At that point We could have slept through anything.... We had to get up early to make it back to the mechanics.
In the morning everyone was passed out so we crawled around bodies to try and quietly exit. No way did they want to come jump our van. Just cross fingers...right??
No such luck. About 10 minutes going back up the road the van just died on the side of the freeway again. And this time it was raining hard. I call the mechanic and AAA. The mechanic says he can no longer do it anyway, he has run out of time (he thought we were coming super early). The AAA guy arrives and says the van is too big for him to tow. He said you have WAY TOO much weight. We had a cello, drums and 2 speakers.
I am really flipping out by now, so close to quitting...but I couldn't. DO NOT MISS A SHOW. Maybe my ego wouldn't let me, I don't know. So he sent for a bigger AAA truck and I start desperately looking for another mechanic. Chances are small that I will find one in the middle of nowhere VA on a rainy sunday morning. But the first call we make to the closest garage to us and this older hillbilly type man is excited and ready to help! YES!! It really was amazing from there. The next AAA driver tells us the first was just being lazy and he was going to report him, and warns us that the place we are going is a junkyard...he has taken cars there 6 months ago that are still there, and it stinks. and you can't really get the guy to do anything
I don't care how it smells, and I have no options. The driver is about to back up his huge rig with our van on it into the junkyard and THE TOW TRUCK WILL NOT GO INTO GEAR! We are stopping traffic on both sides of the road and the tow truck will not move.
Mind blows. Really?
But have no fear, after a little while it gets it together and we are dropped off. The description of the place is accurate. These 2, mountain men (stinky) come out looking wild but eager to help. And help they did. The main little guy sent us next door to ear mexican and prop up our feet and he had the parts delivered and pulled the van up in about an hour. IT WAS A MIRACLE!
He had lots of musician friends and is mostly retired, just helps people on the weekends. I Gave that stinky little man the BIGGEST HUG and we are back on the road, the van has been perfect ever since.
We head to Baltimore, by this time we are late but we get there. I love Baltimore. We stayed with incredibly kind people from the band Red This Ever (really good goth rock style), and played a cool venue called Joe Squared, and I also need to say a word about Erin Frisby from Fuzzqueen. Not only does she have 3 really good bands (fuzzqueen, city witch and The Osyx), but she helped set up several Polly Panic shows, with other good bands. It was great.
When I say Ada and Roy from Red this ever took care of us....I mean it. .bought food, offered to let us sleep in their bed after they had to get up early to work...it was nuts....
they even packed us away with all kinds of food we could take with us on our travels. The next 3 nights were a breeze. I did dent a car in Philly, but the owner didn't care...how weird is that! It was a nice car too...a far as I know...and I don't really, but it looked really nice till I knocked the bumper off. I left a note with my number of course...
After Philly we head to NYC. I have never seen a white man go as white as Milby when a friend who lives there is driving us around in NYC during rush hour. I kept saying, "go with the flow Milby, this is how it is"...but he couldn't seem to hear me somehow....The New York show was probably the best, Brooklyn to be precise, at The Well. It is a great venue (great sound) with nice people and a fun crowd. We had had a stress free day (outside of the NY traffic) and got to chill before the show, which makes a BIG difference. The show was recorded so there will be videos coming out soon!!! The graffiti in NY is something else entirely...
This is one small example.....
I will have good pics AND videos coming from this show, as there was a videographer and a fantastic photographer there (whom we were staying with in Jersey in this big OLD mansion)(Jessica Tyner, if you need a good photographer)
Off to Albany to play a show and hang out with Melora (Rasputina). I think she enjoyed getting to relax and watch a show for a change! But at this point I was sick with a pretty bad cold so that was a bummer. We had to leave early the next morning for 10 hour drive to Columbus Ohio.
10 hours!! milby really drives most of it cause i am sick and exhausted, yet still can't sleep. But we are almost done, and as tired as I am, I don't want it to end...EVER.
But I miss Ash so much it literally hurts. Like someone is caving out your stomach with a spoon. I get pics like this from home.
So we do the last 2 shows in Columbus and Cincinnati. Great venues and many thanks to Lung for helping out.
This adventure is the first time I feel like I am really being me in a LONG time. I have spent the last several years trying to mold myself to someone else's frame and EVERY time it has ended horribly. Every time. It is a bit of an epiphany. I will not be able to be someone else, I am not capable of faking it. All I have to do is figure out how to bring my baby and my lover with me.
I will work...SO. HARD. To be better and better. There is always something to learn...
I have a go fund me page going right now. I am nervous about it cause I have never done anything like it before. What if I make 2 dollars? But it's worth a shot right? I need things like t shirts and more cd's to sell at shows, as well as back up money if the van breaks down. If you can spare it, please help with whatever you can. We are planning to cut another album in the fall, and any funds not used on tour will go to that. I have 2 jobs when I am at home. I don't expect anyone to pay my bills. But hopefully a few will help me fund Polly Pani.
THANK YOU FOR READING THIS! Next time it will be tales of the south starting in mid-april.
Love to you,