October 5, 2012
And so here I am, back on the road with Conan Neutron: Word Yeller.
Victory and Associates rolled into Denver from SLC on Tuesday night,
performing to a crowd of 10. Neutron's new ("new") band is Victory
and Associates, a quartet of music nerds with an arena-ish feel, though not an
arena sound. No power ballads here, just good ole smart people in a rock band
melting your face off.
Denver was a lowkey affair, a Tuesday night at Lost Lake Lounge. Denver
locals Hooper opened (crowd size: 14!)
So, tour is good, Denver was boring, post-show tacos were uneventful,
V&A crashing at my place was uneventful.
We rolled out on time the next morning, grabbing bagels and coffee, then
hit the road. Before we knew it, we were boned. No one had been paying attention
to how we left Colorado - bleah bleah bleah to 80! 80 to Des Moines! And so, it
was about 2 hours out on 70 before we realized that we were on the wrong highway
system. We should've gotten on 76 straight out of town, but, well, too late now.
Instead, we took the scenic route north though Hoxie, Kansas (population:
Village of the Children of the Damned. No one about anywhere save for 10 kids
along the main drag that stared as us incredulously as we lumbered by, cuising
along at the town's generous 20mph speed limit.), into Nebraska, and straight on
to Des Moines. The boys rushed in, set up, and banged out another furious 9 song
set to a crowd of literally 10s.
Ugh. Another tour entry that sounds like crap before I've even written
it. Last time I did this, out with Replicator, the journals turned into 5000
word epic tomes. Thorough, but heady and rambly. In trying to avoid that this
time around, I've landed at....boring. Ugh.
It's different, this time
out. Last time I was with Replicator, tour was a series of unending, unyielding
stories, moments that needed to be captured and preserved in perpetuity. This
time, it's more relaxed. Fewer momentous events, more prolonged interactions. I
could recount them, but they'd be meaningless. They're quips and banter, stories
that build upon themselves to form a mythology.
Time loses meaning on tour. Hours bleed into each other, lasting forever,
passing fleetingly. It's hard to describe this, and I don't mean it in some
winsome, every moment is precious sort of way. I've been out with V&A for 3 nights, and already the boys can't remember what life on the road looked like
without me. Events that have happened, stories are told, they assume that I was
just there for. They think back to last week, and it seems a lifetime ago.
Brooklyn, the end of their line, is 5 days from now. It seems so far in the
future that it's nearly incomprehensible. The fact that I'll have been replaced
in the van by their other guitarist, Shane, is the furthest thing from anyone's
How could there be any more than right now, than the road ahead of us and
the upcoming show tonite? Do this thing. Then do the next thing. It sounds
plodding, but it's the mindset necessary to get through it. 800 miles on the
road. Set up. Rock out. Break down. Sleep. Coffee. 800 miles on the road.
Repeat. Staying in the now isn't just function, it's survival. (And by now, I
mean a James Brown parody introduction to their radio slot this afternoon.
Internationally known as the sweatiest band in show business, dozen selling
Latest Flame recording artists, Victory and Associates!)
The pace is necessary, exhilarating, exhausting. It's untenable, to be
sure, but that doesn't matter, in the now. There's a certain freedom in it. Not thinking about home, about your "real life," you're able to accomplish and experience things that are beyond the ordinary. Every night, with new crowds, new strangers, new friends that you'll maybe never see again, is no holds barred. Every night gets all that you have to give. You only have one chance to impress Hoxie, Kansas, so you'd better make it good. In the night, with the noise and the crowd, there is, for 9 whole songs, only possibility, only yes.