On The Road Again

Days 40 & 41: Molly Malone’s
Los Angeles, CA

Ok, so the title ruins the surprise. (Well, we’ve already played a few shows since, so there is no real surprise. Unless you’re not reading this in real time… If that’s the case, sorry for the spoiler!)

We woke up 8am so that we could get the bus pushed back inside the fence and the mechanics at Jim Wilson’s Ford dealership could get back in to trying to figure out what was wrong with our bus.

Nate, Root, and I walked to a McD’s for breakfast and wifi. Nate tried unsuccessfully to restore his phone, and finally gave up, resigning to visit an Apple store as soon as we could. Stevie G and Mochello joined us for a brief time, then they headed back to the bus. Nate decided to stay and work a while longer, so Root and I set out to explore a bit more. There was a reservoir less than half a mile from the dealership that we heard was a good chill spot, so we stopped by the bus on our way there to grab our lawn chairs.

When we got back to the bus the head mechanic told us that they figured out our problems was an electrical short, and they isolated what system the issue was in. Now they were now trying to trace down exactly where the problem was. They said they still couldn’t give us a time table, as they could stumble across the problem at any point as they systematically checked every wire in the area they had narrowed it down to.

Root and I thanked them and headed up to the reservoir, chairs in hand. We found a peaceful spot to just sit and relax by the lake until we heard news on the bus. About an hour later we received a text that the mechanics had gotten the bus started, but it kept stalling out. They also said that they were now confident that we would be back on the road within the next few hours. Taking the seemingly good new with a grain of salt, we stayed sitting by the water, musing that under normal circumstances this would be an ideal day, having little to do while sitting by a lake soaking up some sun. Mochello and Nate joined us for a bit, and not long after they arrived we got the call that the mechanic had found the issue, and was in the process of fixing it, and that we should be ready for launch in a short while.

We walked back to the dealership where we met up with Stevie G. The head mechanic told us that it turned out the issue was some melted wiring. There was a group of wires that ran close to the exhaust manifold (the place on the back of the engine where the exhaust from combustion leaves the engine and heads on through the exhaust system and finally out of the tailpipe. The manifold gets pretty hot!). Over time the wires had shifted from their original place and fell to rest on the hot pipe, causing the plastic casing around the wires to melt and the now exposed wiring to short out on the metal of the manifold. He told us that his guys were currently rewiring the problem area and that we should be on the road within the hour.

Armed with this good news but dreading the inevitable upcoming bill, we all went to grab lunch at a pizza place around the corner. After lunch we returned to the dealership. Walking into their back lot we were greeted by the sound of an angelic choir. In reality it was the rhythmic sound of our bus’s engine purring like a happy kitten, and it was one of the best sounds I’ve heard in a very long time.

Going in to the dealership office felt like being called into the principle’s office at school for winning a fight against someone that’s been picking on you for a long time. There was an overwhelming feeling of elation and relief, coupled with a sense of impending doom for the forthcoming bill. The dealership had literally made our issue a top priority and that never comes without consequence. To our surprise, the bill was way less than any of us had guessed. The manager told us that they had given us a break due to their feeling bad about the previous garage price gouging and also their sympathy for traveling bands. Thanking them profusely, we gave them a few CDs before we finally got back on the road.

The trip to LA was thankfully uneventful. There was some amazing vistas along the way south thru California including a huge dormant volcano, deep ravines with rambling rivers at the bottom, huge roadside vineyards, and mountains galore. We drove a few hours and stopped in Sacramento for a well needed Planet Fitness stop. We drove a few more hours after that and stopped for the night a little bit outside of L.A..

We woke up mid-morning, finished out our drive, and headed to another Planet Fitness to get ready for the day. After a quick workout and showers, we headed over to the club.

We played Molly Malone’s last time we were in L.A., so the load in procedures were already familiar. Miggs were at a label meeting, so we helped Jensen, their tour manager, load in. After all the gear was in, Nate and I walked to an Apple store to get his phone fixed. Ten minutes after we got there they had his phone back to normal. We grabbed lunch at an indoor/outdoor farmer’s market, and then headed back to the club. The guys sound checked, then hit the stage shortly after.

It was one of of those shows where we were plagued with a bunch of out-of-our-control technical issues. Early in the set Stevie broke a string, then our projector died out, and to top it off Roots bass amp cut out and had to be fixed. We have done so many shows in the last few years that autopilot kicks. Everyone kept the show flowing, and the speed bumps in no way became roadblocks.

OAS decided to drop off the last two shows and make L.A. their last stop. So once the show was over and everything was packed up, we said bye to them and headed off to Venice Beach for the night.