Wake up cold because at some point, Marissa took all the blankets. I distinctly remember pulling the blanket over me, and Marissa immediately yanking it off. Oh well, time to do some work. I hunker over my laptop and quietly sip coffee while everyone still sleeps. Its a short drive to New Orleans, so we are in no rush today. Plus, JD was up late getting the remix release ready so he should sleep as long as he wants to. After some work, I decide to get my personal belongings organized as the last three days has been an explosion of swimsuits, appropriate footware and loose t-shirts. I can’t find my jeans. I swear I had them after we went tubing two days ago. I tear the whip apart to no avail. Marissa thinks I’m stressed out, but honestly I’m not—I just like knowing where my crap is. I feel like whenever I’m not stressed out, and someone says “don’t be stressed” I have no idea just how to convey that I’m not stressed out. Should I just put on a hat that says “I’m fine?” I’m really not stressed, but trying to convince someone I’m not IS stressful. Nightwitch arrive and we all have some coffee before saying goodbye to them. It’s been a great three days with them. True rippers. Eliza gets the Baloney Bros sorted, and we head out to New Orleans. Last time we were in New Orleans, we were there for a total of five hours. Thankfully that’s not the case this time, and we’re all excited to hang out. On the drive out, we’re listening to crucial New Orleans cuts by Dr. John and The Meters. This was a show we were supposed to play with Thou, but they had to cut their portion of the tour to go to Europe. A shame, I really miss those people. We are staying at Bryan from Thou’s house, as his partner Emily will be home. We’ve received texts from Bryan demanding that we take bath’s in his “beautiful bathroom” but to also avoid the orange cat as he will attack us. I for one, am a true sucker for beautiful bathtubs and this bath has been on my mind for days. So much, that I skipped a potential shower this morning, and boy does my bod need it. Two days of suntan lotion, sweat, and saltwater hair.
The vibe feels truly serene… we’re driving through the south jamming “Walk on Guilded Splinters,” and there’s not a care in the world. The scenery is just beautiful. Marissa calls her dad; turns out he and his wife Judy are in New Orleans for the week and is coming to the show. I’ve never met Angelo, but I’ve heard many stories. I have no idea what he even looks like, as I’ve seen one video of him mowing his lawn. In the video, he’s wearing a skull cap and shades, so I’m really lost. I am excited to meet the guy that helped raise one of my best friends though. We eventually reach New Orleans, and post up near the French Quarter. Mike’s quiet and that worries me. He’s still not drinking, and walking around the quarter can be so tempting! We take our time walking around and hearing all the different bands playing. Jarrett and I want to embrace the novelty of stupid cocktails and walking around in public. We dip into some spot that seems mellow enough. Two Hurricanes to go “I got the next round,” affirms Jarrett. “Alright that’ll be thirty dollars.” “I got the next three rounds!” affirms Jarrett. We chuckle and are on our way. There are so many beautiful houses around the quarter. Each one with french windows and colors different than the next. We get back to the whip, and Marissa motors us over to Gasa Gasa. The parking situation is difficult, so we park illegally at a pizza shop next door. This mangles my merch set up time, and I spend most of soundcheck waiting by the car for a space to open up. It’s pretty lonely. I watch a guy berate someone over the phone while he waits for his pizza to be made. We heard tell that Bryan’s record shop, Sisters In Christ, was right next to Gasa Gasa, but it turns out they’ve moved about a twenty minute walk from here. No dice. It’s still lovely outside, but I want to get set up and I want to park this whip and the anticipation to do those things is stressing me out. Eventually a space opens up, the whip gets moved and I resume my set up. Everyone goes upstairs and eats the catering (homemade veggie tacos) but I’m still riding the solitary wave. Not sure why, just a strange mood…feeling alone. I help myself to a tecate and a smoke, and do a little bit of writing. Some bros saunter in and shoot dice at the table next to me.
“Hey who’s playing tonight?” one bro asks.
“Screaming Females” replies the bartender.
“Huh, what’s their deal?”
“I don’t know, wanna hear some of it?”
Bartender fiddles with his phone, and starts playing the Taylor Swift cover.
“I don’t like this!”
Can’t win em all. Eventually the bartender pivots to The Meters. Then Sleep. It is “Four Twenty” after all. The show isn’t for another three hours, so just waiting for something fun to happen. Still feel pretty alone, but that’s okay. In less than a week, the tour is over and that’s giving me mixed feelings about returning home. While this run feels longer than others, I’m by no means excited to get back to Chicago. I’m fully expecting to return to extremely cold weather and no inspiration. This warm weather is a tease to endless nights, long bike rides, shorts and cut ups, pools at sunset, and loud dance parties. Summer is the only time I feel alive. Sun has set, and another Sleep record plays on the patio. There’s a lot of cute queers and freaks rolling in. I go to the green room, and chill on the couch. “What ya looking at Sowley?” “Records.” “Dental Records?” Turns out there’s an aspiring dentist chilling with the band. I have always had a contentious relationship with dentists, and immediately excuse myself from the conversation. Woof kick the night off with some bratty punk-thrash growlers. Serious attitude from these rockers and it’s just perfect. Angelo and Judy show up…he’s shot out of a cannon this guy. He looks like a younger John Cage but with that New Jersey gruff. He immediately eyes me and slaps a j-bone in my hand. “Let’s fire this up, baby!” Our friend Beck runs into Angelo “Hey Angelo! I haven’t seen you in so long!” “Oh yeah, how do I look?” Mike caves and buys a cocktail “Vodka Redbull. I don’t even like Vodka, I just want the caffeine.” At some point, Angelo presses Mike on his drink of choice. “You gotta hang out with me, man. You know the body is a temple to the soul, Michael. You don’t wanna poison your body with that redbull shit!” Hanging at the merch table, a person comes up to inquire about some records. They’re wearing the sickest Nancy t-shirt I’ve ever seen. Like, I was full of admiration for the persons ingenuity in making said shirt, but I was also mad that I wasn’t wearing that shirt. I was visibly shook. We kindly offered up a trade—one signed LP for one t-shirt. I gave them my mailing address and I will gladly wait for my part of the trade. I got a glaciers patience for a Nancy tee. Gland followed up. Now, Gland played with Screamales last year, during our blur of a New Orleans show. Another extremely wild, very snotty punk band and it’s a joy to witness. They’re all so nice and cool, and it’s great to see them again. Between Gland and HIRS’ set, Angelo sits me down.
“You’ve been on this earth for 41 years, you’ve made it this far, and you’re dressed like that.” I’m wearing a t-shirt and a jacket and jeans.
“Hey man, listen—I’m hauling gear, I’m sweating, I’m—“
“Do you own a button down shirt?”
“Of course I do! But I’m doing this, I’m gonna keep it loose cuz it’s a rock show…I wear a button down when I bartend.”
“So you live a double life.”
We carry on for a bit over education (I’ve always wanted to work with children) and what not. “I always loved Marissa’s writing, I thought she’d be a great english teacher, but she does this instead.” It’s a loose and goofy conversation but I’m glad I got some face time with the man.
During HIRS set, I get a text from Jarrett. “Can someone bring my shirt and drum pad upstairs? Two people just aggressively pushed me, and I need to be alone.” Thinking there were two goons upstairs hurting my baby, I run up with the shirt, the pad and my knife. “Where are these assholes?” Jarrett explains they aren’t here, but somewhere in the bar. “I guess I was just standing in the way of something because on two separate occasions, two different people pushed me hard.” I hate that…stupid toxic bullshit. I’m glad JD is okay and lives to rock another day, and boy did he rock. Screamales pulled out all the stops with their set: Ripe-> Skull->Glass House…High->New Kid->Drop By Drop. You already know, it’s a wild one.
Merch run is busy, but Scott and I keep it moving fast with some efficient sales. At some point a fan walks up and says “I have a gift for The Baloney Brothers.” Oh lord, what’s this? It’s a beautiful homemade box with two j-bones, and some fancy old school matches. The J’s are labeled “Let The Ghost In,” and “Cool Cig.” Back at Bryan’s, we are informed that due to our early departure tomorrow, our bath plans are out for the evening and I doubt we’ll have time tomorrow. Such a shame, but what can you do? Mike and I settle on the porch and “Let The Ghost In.” I curl up on the couch and the ghost has fully taken over…my pulse is pounding, I can’t shake “the fear” and tears are streaming down my face. I am way too high. The ghost is here. Try to sleep Sowley, try to sleep.