Splitsider

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

All Dogs Go On Tour, Part 7: The End

The Final chapter of the Everything is Terrible tour diary, where we reflect, repent, deny and distort and say shit like, “Damn that awesome.”

It was a long journey. We were on the road for nearly three months. We played 75 shows. We had six days off. We drank a lot of beers. We made lots of wraps in the van. We unloaded the van and loaded the van and unloaded the van and loaded the van.  We set up our stage and performed and took everything down and put it in the van and drove towards sleep. Over and over again. We woke up and drove and did it again. The tour is over and I’m exhausted and kind of crazy. I look to my left and my right and I don’t see van walls or six smelly and hilarious guys. There’s no specific destination or time I need to be in some random city, the dudes aren’t here, and I’m not asking one of them, “where are we going?” or on one of the more trying days, “where are we?”

I left off somewhere in Florida, and believe me there were more shows, endlessly there were more shows and crazy people, and gracious hosts, van problems, great successes, fear and loathing, pre-show butterflies, thrift stores and gas stations, fancy coffee and fancy beers, shitty coffee and shitty beers, great audiences, disgruntled hungry searches for decent food, old theaters and new theaters and rock clubs and art spaces, warehouses, post offices and kinkos, the work and the fun, all that shit kept happening. But how many times can a guy write, “We met some awesome people, and we did more shows,” before I start writing about the bottle of sprouts we dropped, the two sleeping bags we lost, the salad we made in a park that could have been anywhere because it happened all over the country and sometimes in Canada?

We managed to keep the van going. We got in an out of Canada twice. We bought stuff and lost the stuff we bought. We put lots of money in the oil industry and lots of oil into the van. We did not end up decorating the van to look like a copy of Jerry Macguire, but we did glue two sexy beefcake posters to the sides, one on the passenger and one on the driver side. My gator necklace (talisman) has gone through several renovations and now is covered in gold spray paint and shiny finish and hanging from a gold chain around my neck. I found new places to visit, and visited many of my favorite haunts around the country. I found out that Everything Is Terrible connects with people in small towns and big cities, and people who come out to our shows generally understand that nothing is terrible if everything is.

People ask me where the best place was, what was my favorite show, or the more cynical folks ask me where the worst show was, what place did you hate the most. My memory of these places is always limited to the set up and performance and maybe a few hours after the show, and a few hours the next morning, which means I often have not more than a two block frame of reference to go on when judging places. I usually end up saying something about New York, because performing for 300 people at the Bell House in Brooklyn was as exciting as you might imagine. But then performing for 30 people in a bar in Ashville after dedicating the evening to my newly dead childhood cat (while of course I was dressed as a cat) was also exciting (And sad, RIP Reebok the cat). Not to mention Ashville had the sweet Mooge factory. And honestly, there isn’t a city I didn’t like. There were a couple of promoters I didn’t like, there were shows that could have been better. But the truth is that when you travel like this, and hit up places that are supposed to be boring, or violent, or dilapidated, and then you realize there are tons of cool people doing exciting things, you only get surprised a few times. After that a city or state or region no longer feels better or worse than another, you realize it depends more on your luck navigating the place. Finding the right venue and the right people at the right time. It’s there, you just have to find it, or in the case of some of the people we met along the way, if it’s not there, you have to start something.

There were great shows in most of the cities, but I just can’t sit and list them all. If I had to pick one at gunpoint our ruffest (get it? Ruff.) was a last minute show in Athens, Ohio which was on Easter Weekend in maybe the most collegey town in the world was not heavily populated. There were three people there who came out specifically to see us. Sharon the Aunt (obviously family), Boomer the Dog (a fan who you might think is a man, but is actually a dog, or at least that’s how he identifies himself, and is trying legally to change his name to Boomer the Dog (Boomer the Dog has become our friend, and traveled with us like a Dead Head.  He drove to three shows.)), and Tenured Professor Eric Williams (my former teacher). Beyond these three friends it was a bar full of people looking to get dinner and some brews who knew nothing about us, and had no intention of learning. These frat people and visiting families were people who would have been annoyed by even the presence of some light jazz or a light rock cover band, and instead got a room full of fog, dancing dog men, and an hour long avant-garde video collage remake of The Holy Mountain. But what can you do? We did the show, they hated us, we drank some free beers, made zero dollars, caught up with a few old friends and drove to the next city. You simply push away the low points, drive away and let the adventure and the monotony of new show, new city everything encompass you completely.

I went through three belts, wearing them down to nothing, perhaps a sign that I was drinking too much and not exercising enough (or at all really). The longest I went without a shower was maybe seven days? I met new people everyday and have been lucky enough to perform with other bands and other video artists, for example Showbeast and Thu Tran. I traveled with five of the smartest, most creative, capable and interesting people I know. I have introduced you to non of them, because it was hard enough to keep my own thoughts and emotions in some sort of order. I had no hope or business trying to portray my friends while I was in the thick of that crazy kind of road living, which is, as I believe someone in The Band once said, “No kind of way to live.” But I will introduce them now. My traveling companions were (in no particular order) Nic Maier, Dimitri Simakis, Aaron Maier, Vinod Gundapaeni, and Scott Whiteman. I imagine right now they are relaxing or having trouble relaxing just like me. They are all excellent people and excellent artists. We did it guys.

Splitsider was wonderful to have posted now seven of these tour diaries. Everything Is Terrible involves many more people. There are crazy and talented folks all across the country posting on the site everyday, and more editors and musicians who worked on Doggie Woggiez Poochie Woochiez. Vinod took all of the awesome pictures that have appeared in this series.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for going to shows. Thank you for bringing us over 2000 Jerrys. Our tower to heaven is ever growing. With your help, we just might make it. It feels strange and a little sad to be ending this adventure, but I won’t despair. After all, a very smart man, with a very cool accent, in a very cool movie told me that, “Nothing has an end.”

Brian Kamerer is a writer and a musician and a lover of dogs. See the tour dates here. Read Brian's fiction here and check out Brian's music here.