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  Monday – June 3, 2023 – 8:25am

And so it finally happens, inspiration to start my tour diary comes at 8:25 in the morning. Who would have thought it would come so early in the day? And what the heck am I doing up at 8:25am?

Well, we were supposed to play a show last night in Cumberland, MD, but do to some not so pleasant relations between the promoter and the venue owner, the show lost a place to call home and had to be canceled. Dan, the promoter, was very cool and is trying to do great things for live music and the all ages community in the area. We give a lot of props to our brothers and sisters who are out there trying to make things happen like this. Thanks Dan (and all you other promoters who are giving us a chance to play). Dan’s cool factor rose even higher when he got us some awesome dinner at the Tombstone Café and led us to a fine campsite along the Potomac River.

I don’t even think the other guys know it is the Potomac River that we slept right next to last night (and that they are still sleeping next to right now). It was dark when we got here and I just took a walk and checked out the maps this morning. Pretty cool little fact (at least I think so). We all do know that the site and the river are right between a semi-major highway and some train tracks because, no matter how dark it is, you can always hear those tractor trailers and those big long trains flying by.

So why am I up so early? I like getting a good 8 hours of sleep. We have not really been getting that every night with the amount of driving we have to do day after day. Last night, when we got to our little campsite, we made a big fire (not as big as the one Mark made when he burned his belongings at the beginning of his tour) and sat around and talked and snacked. One by one we went and got our sleeping bags as we were getting tired. The fire slowly burned out, it got darker, and the mosquitoes started to stop snacking on us. We found ourselves content to just sleep on the grass by the river and watch for satellites and shooting stars.

Our conversations turned to the sky and I realized how little I knew about Astrology. Heather had told Mark that we should have more intelligent conversations in the van (since we tend to be pretty damn silly). Mark’s response to this suggestion was (in true silly fashion) “NO”. I mentioned this to Mark, as we were discussing supernovas and the formations of black holes, and he reminded me that we were no longer in the van. True, true.

The discussions slowly broke down and by 11:00pm all was quiet (or at least I was asleep and it seemed that way to me). I awoke at 8am…9 hours of sleep for me…that’s plenty.


Monday – June 3, 2023 – 9:00am

For me, this “tour” started 2 days ago. Every time I have talked to people and told them I have not felt like I am on tour yet, they look at me like I am crazy. My reason for feeling like this is because, up until this point, I have felt like I have been at “home”.

After we left Los Angeles, our first show was in Las Vegas. I had been there working for 3 weeks for my friends at Rock City Sound so that city felt like a third home to me. Then we shot across the country as fast as we could to get to our next show, which was in York, PA, which is part of the Northeast. The Northeast has been home to me all my life and I know it pretty well. My last band played a lot of shows there over its existence so I have gotten to know the area very well. I guess you could say the Northeast is my (very large) first home. Of course, after that show in PA, we played nothing but shows in the Northeast and slept at many of the same people’s houses I have slept in before including the house I grew up in (2 times - thanks Mom and Dad), my sister’s house (3 times - thanks Kathy, Andy, Bethany and Michaela) and the Snyder’s house (2 times – thanks Charlie, Kathy and Cade). So, doing the shows in May felt like being home and were pretty much the same kind of touring I have been doing for years already, so…for me it has not felt like a new kind of touring.

Yesterday we did 2 shows in one day. We have done 2 shows in a day once before when we played the WDST Morning show and then headed out to the Empress Ballroom in Danbury, CT. The difference this time was that the early show was our last show in New York (on this leg of the tour). It was also the first time anyone from my immediate family saw the “new band”. Thank you Mom, Dad, Kathy, Bethany and Michaela (Andy we missed you) for coming out and being so supportive. I am so glad that you got the chance to see us and that you enjoyed it so much.

The late show was at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ. This was our first time returning to a venue we had already played. Two weeks ago we pulled into the parking lot at the bar and were worried it was going to be another one of “those bar gigs” where it is so hard to get a crowd to pay attention, if you get a crowd at all on a Thursday night. There were a couple other bands on the bill that night and one of them was called Tunnel. Those guys were very cool (and damn funny on stage). They hung out for our set with the small number of patrons who were left in the bar. We felt very good about the show we put on that night and must have wowed those people pretty good because we ended up selling a bunch of CD’s. Jack, the promoter/booker/manager at the club, asked me after the show if they could get us back in there before we left to head down the East Coast. My thought was that there were really no open dates but he asked about June 1st and that worked out perfectly.

(Side note - If you read my first diary entry from a half hour ago this will make sense to you. James Dean, our one man road crew, has been awake for a while now and talking to me. He says we should get a tour boat and sail down the Potomac.)

(Side note 2 – Just as James Dean mentioned the tour boat, an unbelievably bad stank arose from what we assumed was the river. It woke Mark up, who was the last one sleeping in the grass (Ben and Aaron had moved to the van in an attempt to escape being the mosquito’s breakfast). We evacuated the area with much speed and are now back inside Zeus (our trusty tour van) and headed for the fine state of Virginia.)

Where was I…

Ah yes, June 1, 2002. The early show was called the Community in Concert (formerly known as the Music for Mental Health Festival). The show was fun and had pretty good sound. We have pretty good luck with outdoor shows and sound do to the lack of walls and ceilings. Ben broke a string but he made it through the show and we rocked the small crowd that was there so early in the day. Then we hung out for quite a few hours with family and friends (both furry and Frisbee) before finally heading to NJ. On the way we headed to Newburgh to drop off Heather who will be greatly missed on this section of the tour and then turned the compass south. New Jersey here we come.

We were early enough in getting to Long Branch so we hit the beach. James Dean had never seen the ocean before so, the last time we played the Brighton Bar, we brought him down to see it. It was far too late and cold to get in that time. This time it was cold but still light out. After much egging on and calling us names, James Dean convinced Mark, Ben, and I to get in. He didn't get in quite as far because of his “new tattoos”. It as very rejuvenating and we thought we'd be in excellent rockin shape for the show. Of course, the show was 4 hours later so that swim rejuvenation did not last and we were finding ourselves pretty tired by show time. But, the crowd was bigger than last time thanks to it being a Saturday night and our friends from the last visit (including those Tunnel rockers). The first 3 bands were very good and brought fans to the show as well so we got pretty revved and slammed through our greatest hits set encoring with a version of “Magazines” where Mark found himself running into the walls on the stage. It was quite entertaining and the first time we had to do an encore (thanks NJ). Sorry we would not play “Arthur Nix” for you…AGAIN. You guys rock!

We hit a diner with our new “Jersey” friends and then crashed at our buddy John’s house. (Thanks for your hospitality and we'll see you in Vegas dude!) Morning (noon) came and we went our separate ways, John to the beach and us to Maryland. About an hour away from the venue in Cumberland, we found ourselves running late so I called Dan to warn him of our tardiness and that is when we found out about the show being cancelled. We immediately thought of how we could have been spending the day at the beach but the great meal, fine night of sleep and being closer to today’s destination make yesterday’s trip “OK”.

Now we are back to where I started. I finally feel like we are on tour. I figured out that, for me, the feeling has finally arisen because I have no idea where we are or how we are getting to the next show. I have given my navigational responsibilities up to James Dean and we are entering territory that I do not call home (yet). I wish James Dean good luck with his new map-using job. So far he is doing fine so I trust him already. I am so psyched to be on tour!

Friday - July 26, 2002
This country is amazing! Right now as I write this we are driving through the very serious mountains of Northern California. I am very afraid of heights so it has been a semi-frightening experience for me as we travel along the edge of some very steep and deep cliffs. The beauty that surrounds us right now causes a thought to cross my mind again. It is a thought that I have had many times as we have been out exploring this country. That thought is just how important I think it is that people get out and experience more that just their back yard.

I believe that this thought can be applied to many more subjects than just geography. The biggest problem facing the human race is close-mindedness. When people refuse to be open to other ideas, other thoughts, other people, other things, they fail to understand that they could learn so much more, experience so much more, and enjoy so much more. And many times, with that close-mindedness, arrogance follows. Racism, sexism, homophobia, abuse. Scary and sad sad stuff.

It’s funny how I started this out from the inspiration of beauty and then turned to such bad things as I listed above. (It could be that we are listening to Rage Against the Machine in the background as I type this.) Luckily we just arrived at the Pacific Ocean as the sun is setting and I am reminded of that beauty.

My original point was reflecting on how lucky we are to travel and see so many different places…mountains, desserts, oceans, plains, cities and trees. (Speaking of trees, we are heading to the Redwood National Forest to see the tallest trees in the world right now.) We are also lucky, possibly even more so, to meet so many different people. I am a firm believer that the biggest gift we have in this life is the chance to share experiences with other people. We love playing music but what really makes it all worth doing is getting the chance to go out and share it with people.

On top of that is the chance to hang out with people and share even more that just the music…making friends everywhere we go. We have had some really incredible times where our new friends show us their favorite places in their own cities and towns. And just talking to so many different people gives you a clue as to how little you experience by staying in one place. I am sure that it is possible to be happy in many different ways of living but I feel overwhelmingly lucky to be doing what I am doing.

I guess this is my little way of suggesting that you all get out and try to experience new things…new places, new people, new ideas. Anyone who thinks they know everything or have seen everything or have nothing left to learn is crazy and is missing out on so many amazing things. And anybody who has seen some amazing things wherever they may be…please let us know when we come to your town and show us…share it with us if it is at all possible.