When we last heard from journalist/King Of France drummer Michael Azerrad, he was preparing to hit the road for the band’s first tour. Azerrad has been jotting down his thoughts, giving us an inside look as the King Of France embarks on a string of dates with Robbers On High Street. The latest installment of his tour journal comes from Boston’s rock venue TT The Bear’s.
The thing about touring is, actually playing the show is such a tiny part of it, timewise. You spend 24 times as much time either traveling, sleeping, or hauling equipment as you do playing. And a lot of the sleeping and traveling you do is in the van. Music is very important in the van, and it’s sometimes a bit of a power struggle about who gets to play what on the stereo. I have a somewhat unfair advantage since I work for eMusic.com and have unlimited access to what is basically one of the most amazing record collections on the planet. I burned a bunch of stuff from the site so we can play it on the stereo: the Kinks’ Come Dancing, Eddie Izzard’s Glorious, the Soft Boys’ Underwater Moonlight, the Turtles’ Battle of the Bands, Arcade Fire’s Funeral and a bunch of other stuff. I tried to pick crowd pleasers. We’ll see how it goes. My credibility is really on the line here!
Well, that whole line of thought was totally moot, since we barely listened to any music the whole way up. We rocked a little Nilsson until the rain started coming down in such Biblical proportions that we had to turn off the music so Steve could concentrate on the road. Then radio silence until Steve pretty much insisted that Dawn and I watch a DVD, just because we could – we’re rockin’ a Honda Odyssey and it’s got more bells and whistles than Santana’s rhythm section. So we watched the Talking Heads video compilation. Meanwhile Steve munched on something called Veggie Booty, which I refuse to eat sheerly because of the name.
We stopped to get some gas in Meriden, Connecticut, and it was so funny to look at the three of us (singer-guitarist Steve Salad, keyboardist Dawn Chan and I) wandering around the racks of junk food and knick-knacks – usually musicians stick out a lot at rest stops, but we couldn’t look less like a rock band – three clean-cut people with no tattoos, crazy hair, piercings, etc. Maybe it’s because we were watching a Talking Heads DVD in the van but I imagine that’s what it was like when they’d wander into a rest stop on tour, back in the day, looking like a bunch of rumpled preppies. Speaking of Talking Heads, they’re about due for a revival. I can’t think of any band that was cooler and more influential in its heyday that has since lapsed into such obscurity. But mark my words, their day will come (again).
A brief Spinal Tap moment, 2005-style: We pull into an excellent parking space in front of TT the Bear’s and get ready to get out of the van, load out our equipment and get ready to conquer! Only one problem: Steve can’t manage to open the doors. He can’t get the keys out of the ignition either. We’re trapped in our own van. Steve has no idea what the deal is. It’s a little anxiety-producing. This van is so complicated, there are so many doohickeys, it’s like something out of a James Bond movie. I still can’t figure out how to lower the stereo volume in the back without lowering it in the front. It’s like this Swiss Army knife of a vehicle. To make matters worse, Steve does not have the van’s manual, which has got to be well into War and Peace territory. So he has to call and ask how to get out of the damn van. Thanks to some diligent customer service, it turns out the transmission was not in park. Problem solved. Free at last!
I’ll tell you about the show tomorrow…
Source: Michael Azerrad