Baltimore Day 0:
By 1pm, most of the band and crew were scrambling to load the last of the equipment and personal bags into the tiny U-Haul trailer we’d rented only the day before. In order to save money, we’d decided to drive Drew’s 2013 Jettasportwagen on this tour instead of renting a 15-passenger van. I walked outside and noticed a particularly frazzled Drew smoking a cigarette and looking at the back axle of the car. Only 12 hours before, him, Janelle and I spent the better part of 3 hours in an abandoned Borders parking lot trying to figure out how to back up our “rig” without jackknifing the entire thing. Each of us only had one or two successful attempts before lack of sunlight forced us back to the house.
Everyone had been dreading a nearly 8,000 mile journey across country in a 5-seater sedan, but we finished loading up last minute things and all piled into the car, sandwiched together in the back seat like a can of Vienna sausages (the kind your grandma used to give you), to set off on the adventure that lay ahead. As Drew turned on the engine, morale was pretty high. We were about to set off on a 4 week tour with our friends Save Us From The Archon, The Fine Constant, and Aenimus! The car eased forward as Drew’s parents looked on smiling from the driveway. Then suddenly SCREEEEEEEEEEEECH. The weight of 5 people + the gear in the trailer was too much for the already low-to-the-ground Sportwagen, and the back end scraped begrudgingly along the road outside Drew’s house. Our friend, Jay, put on his best Shia LaBeouf mugshot “it’s fine” face and encouraged us to hit the road. We made it 7 feet before it was pretty clear that we were pretty fucked.
Defeated, we climbed out of the car and begin to scrape together plan B. Earlier in the month, I had made a reservation with Enterprise for a 15-passenger van just to see how much it would cost. That day, they called me to confirm and I told them to go ahead and cancel it. Such a foreshadowing moment when I let the words “We won’t be needing a van anymore” cross my lips to the man on the other end of the phone. Now we were without transportation to a tour that started in less than a day. I frantically called Enterprise and told them that someone had “taken” my phone and ~*fOoLiShLy~* canceled our van reservation. Drew’s mother, Andie, being the angel that she is, agreed to help out with the van costs and within an hour, the whole crew was working together to pack our newly acquired home for the next 4 weeks.
Cambridge, MA Day 1:
Sometime after 3pm, we arrived at the venue, which we quickly found out doubled as an art gallery and antiques shop. I ran, I mean ran in to release the malevolent entity that had been possessing me (and wreaking havoc on everyone else in the van) since we began the drive some 4 or 5 hours before. Once the exorcism was complete, I had time to check out the venue and unload our gear. At the front door, I was greeted by the biggest dog I have ever seen (who was affectionately named XO) and it made a homesick dog-shaped hole in my heart. First shows of the tour are always a little rough, but surprisingly this one went off without a hitch. I got to meet the other bands for the first time, and was generally impressed with AJ from Save Us’s energy and upbeat demeanor when we crossed paths while setting up merch in a small corner near the venue’s entrance. To make this tour a little more interesting, we decided to rotate which band headlines night after night and tonight was our night to close down the show. Between all the chaos that was DAY 1, I managed to sneak in some time to peruse the thrift shop and snagged a fancy lil’ leopard dress. Ya know *cue Vanessa Carlton* ~*~jUsT giRLy tHiNgs~*~.
Manhattan, NY Day 2:
The tour seemed to be off to a good start. I want to emphasize the word seem. Seem, SEEM, seem. It was Drew’s turn to drive and so far, his luck with horrendous city traffic and terrifyingly high bridges has been 777 jackpot every time. I don’t know how one person can get so fortuitously fucked over day after day, but I’m starting to think he should play the lottery, or at least buy a ticket so one of us could win instead. That’s how UNLUCKY this guy is with horrible drives on this tour compared to me and Janelle. ANYWAY, after the emotional mental breakdown we all experienced entering lower Manhattan, we decided to explore the city. We made it about as far as the bar next to the parking garage we left the van in. We had “a beer”, which quickly led to a pitcher, then numerous free shots from the bartender, who turned out to be a huge Angel Vivaldi fan and ended up coming to our show later that night! He also managed to single handedly (literally) beat a team of 4 people at beer pong, but that’s a story that should be buried…
As for the show…….I didn’t have a microphone. Besides an entire slew of other problems that kept the show from sounding good, both microphones weren’t working, so I was reduced to a hardcore kid, circling “the pit” in a tiny room whilst still singing the set into peoples faces. Jay (our Shia LaBoeuf friend) who traveled up from Baltimore came in clutch once again by acting as our own personal hype man. Despite the sound being a total shit show, he kept band and audience morale high with his energetic presence. Not DSME’s finest hour, but hey, it was Day 2.
Hamden, CT, Day 3
Today was a particularly eventful day on The Revenge of The Internet Tour. Shortly after loading out of our show yesterday in New York, we came to discover one of the worst things a band can collectively realize: We forgot Kevin!! No, but really, by some series of unfortunate ignorance on our parts, we managed to leave 2/3 of our CDs in the green room in Massachusetts. We had been staying at Drew’s cousins’ home in Connecticut for the past two days, and since the show later that night was only 40 mins away, we figured we might be able to sleep in, enjoy a little relaxation time and maybe catch up on our social media responsibilities.
Wrong. While half of the band drove up to Cambridge in a car borrowed from Drew’s cousin Will, Ryan and I took our van to get an oil change and a desperately needed tire alignment. After we dropped off the van, we had lunch at Five Guys and raided the opportunely located SUPER Goodwill across the street. After spending hours cruising the bookshelves in the back, I found a book of childrens’ scary stories to keep us company on the long overnight drives to the next cities. The entire thing was filled with grammar/spelling errors AND plot holes, but hey, I don’t know what I expected for $1.
Right around the time we finished up feeding my thrifting addiction, the van was ready and we made our way to the venue an hour away. We ended up being the first of the touring package to arrive, so naturally we productively utilized our free time burning rubber and doing donuts in the parking lot. No, but we did check out the cute little hipster bar across the way. By the time the rest of our crew arrived, it was pretty much time to load in and start getting ready for the show.
We watched our BFFs in The Fine Constant kill the game, and for the first time on the tour, I actually had the time to really listen and enjoy their set. We were up next, and it was (monkey) business as usual until, during the last note of the last song, the show came to an abrupt halt as the headstock on Drew’s Ibanez RG2228 collided with my skull and knocked me out cold. I don’t remember how it happened or how long I was out, but I woke up feeling embarrassed and annoyed that I didn’t get to sing the last line of the song, so I pulled it together real quick, sang my part acapella and then let the pain really sink in. Of course, I was swarmed with people giving me free food and free bottles of water (a tour commodity just as serious and unlikely to happen as knocking out a band member on stage) and I made my way to the merch booth to keep myself occupied until the show had ended, in case I had a concussion.
Unfortunately for Save Us From The Archon, most of the crowd followed me and the guys out the door and they played to an emptier room than they deserved (sorry guys!!) We loaded up the van and headed back to Libby and Christie’s place for one last night of showers and bed rest before the next leg of the tour began.
Clifton Park, NY: Day 4
So I guess I should take this time in the blog to mention that we in DSME are not the most, er, punctual of people. Not that we’re intentionally late or don’t plan for “bumps in the road”, it’s just that, as a group we move real slowly. Rest stops are cycles of someone running to the bathroom and someone else sparking up a cigarette in the meantime. Just imagine that on repeat until the driver literally starts pulling away in the van to end the vicious cycle. That being said, the drive from Connecticut to upstate New York is 3 hours, which equates to 6 hours DSMEST (Drewsif Stalin’s Musicial Endeavors Standard Time).
As we were about to leave, I checked the glove box and noticed that our Enterprise rental agreement had been left at Firestone (doh!) the day before. Janelle, Ryan and I made the hour round trip in the unseasonably brutal rain to retrieve it, while Nathan and Drew stayed behind to work on some last minute adjustments to the backing track in our set. When we reconvened around 2PM, we finally began the trip up to Clifton Park and didn’t end up arriving until around 30 mins before our set time. The show itself was a total blast, especially when we saw Chris Delano (HBIC at It Djents) happily moshing along with us during “Collapse”. Each member of DSME makes the most of their wireless equipment, but no one utilizes it as fiercely as Drew, and tonight’s performance found him on the outside of the venue looking in through the window. After the show, we all shot the shit with Chris before I slipped away to spend some alone time writing in the van while the rest of the guys wrapped up load out.
Kent, OH Day 5:
Some people on this tour refer to me as The Hammer, and I can only imagine it’s because of how much I nail my performance night after night……Or perhaps because of how adamant I am about leaving the shows at a decent time when we have long drives ahead of us. We ended up leaving Trickshots in NY at around 1am, a little later than I would have liked with the 7.5 hour (10 hour DSMEST) drive to Ohio that we had ahead of us. About an hour and a half into our drive, we pulled in at a lone service station and noticed none other than The Fine Constant parked on the other side of the parking lot. Janelle, Drew, Nathan and I ran screaming, phones in hand snap chatting, to the van and relentlessly banged on the window until they opened the door and we literally dog piled in on top of their guitarist Steve-O. One of the reasons why I love TFC is because they are always down to laugh and have a good time, even at 3am when they’re half asleep, which is not a quality that everyone can graciously possess. After we bothered the shit out of them for a few minutes, The Hammer came down and we headed back to the van.
We drove through the night and into the morning, passing around the aforementioned book of childrens’ “scary” stories with Drew and Nathan ad-libbing in the best of our band inside jokes to beef up the flat storylines. As usual Ryan, who “can’t sleep in the van”, was sound asleep in the back of the van. We only ended up getting as far as the Wal Mart parking lot in Buffalo, NY before we decided to take a break and resupply the van with shitty bargain bin CDs and even shittier Subway sandwiches.
We rolled up to the show at the Outpost in Ohio to find out that we shared space on the marquee with the one and only Hawthorne Heights. 14-year-old me squirmed and squealed (okay, 25-year-old me did too…) I was pleasantly surprised to see some familiar faces in the crowd. The first person I ran into was Eric Emery (Meytal and Skyharbor) and his beautiful girlfriend Holly, then Allan Marcus, who I knew from my days working the booth at NAMM for Ola Strandberg of Strandberg Guitarworks was also in attendance with Nick Cetrone and his beautiful wife Tala.
This was one of the most fun shows on the tour for me, not because of how many people were there, but because of the quality of those who were. Touring can start to get rough after awhile and it makes you start to appreciate the little things you may have taken for granted before, like hot showers and meals that you didn’t scramble to throw together at a service station in the middle of the night. During and after the show, we witnessed our first Ohio heat storm, which was cool and all, until it dawned on us that Drew and Nathan would have to crawl into a soggy tent at a now muddy campsite to get any sleep later than night.
Chicago, IL Day 6:
Janelle and I slept through most of the drive to the city, but both of us were miraculously resurrected by the sweet aroma of Chicago hot dogs cooking at the venue’s restaurant next door. After the minor disaster of a show that was New York, I honestly had very low expectations for Chicago. I guess generally speaking, unless you’re selling out the biggest venue in a big city, the shows tend to be hit or miss. SO very happy to say that Chicago was a TOTAL HIT for everyone on the ROTI tour. As part of on-stage antics, every night I climb to the highest high point in the venue I can find, and in Chicago I found myself on the second story dangling dangerously above the stage and the crowd. Fortunately for my band, we didn’t get kicked out of the venue (or banned) for my shenanigans, and even more fortunate for me, I did not fall and break my neck in the process. We also got the chance to see Outrun The Sunlight, who are absolutely UH-MAZING. If you haven’t checked them out, you should!
Post show, I had the most delicious catfish sandwich (mad props to Reggie’s feeding hungry bands that roll through) and an even more satisfying shower in the green room downstairs before we started next drive to Warren, Michigan.
The Revenge of the Internet Tour begins its second leg with Aenimus. Catch one of the remaining shows:
6/15 Greensboro, NC – Shiners
6/16 Atlanta, GA – The Drunken Unicorn
6/17 Nashville, TN – The White Building
6/18 Ocean Springs, MS – The Juke Joint
6/19 Houston, TX – Walters
6/20 Austin, TX – Dirty Dog
6/21 Fort Worth, TX – Tomcats West
6/22 Lawrence, KS
6/23 St. Louis, MO – Fubar
6/25 Madison, WI – The Red Zone
6/26 Minneapolis, MN – Opinion Brewing Co.