Monthly Archives: November 2013

This is the last stop

Days 71 & 72: The New Brookland Tavern
W. Columbia, SC

Having the last show of the tour be so far away from home made tour’s end feel slightly anticlimactic. Now, three days and 850 miles later, I’m sitting in my bedroom, stuffed on poultry and carbs, drinking coffee and reminiscing on the amazing time that our two and a half month long tour was.
On our last day of tour we woke up already in W. Columbia, SC, so the day was pretty much set to our own pace. We had breakfast, did our Planet Fitness routine, and then Nate and Stevie recorded some guitar tracks for one of the songs on the new record.
It was a very ‘business as usual’ kind of day. We headed to the club, loaded in, then grabbed some pizza from a nearby pub. We were on 3rd of 4 bands, so we had time to watch the opening acts and make friendly with the staff. The club had a semi dive bar feel to it, yet had a decent sized stage and plenty of room for the crowd.
The guys took stage and played with the attitude that only comes from being on the road for months at a time. After having so many shows in a row to be able to tweak the bugs out, it becomes an incredibly tight show.
The final load out was slightly different then the system we’ve grown accustom to. We had to pack the gear in a way that allowed everyone access to whatever they needed based on what order they were going to be dropped off the next day.
When we were all packed up, we hit the road north, everyone itching for home. We knocked out about two hours of driving before stopping to sleep.
We got back on the road by 7am, with about 10 hours of drive time on the gps. (Add an hour on to that because our bus’s top speed and the actual speed limit don’t always see eye-to-eye…) It took about 6 hours into our journey for us to hit our first bit of traffic…. And from that point it was all downhill.
It was two days before Thanksgiving and everyone seemed to be headed in the same direction that we were. Traffic added an extra four hours on to our trip, and by the time we finally pulled into the city we were all exhausted. I was the first to be dropped off this time, as I had a train to catch. I said my goodbyes and headed into Grand Central Station, another 3.5 hours ahead of me before I’d be home. The rest of the guys made their rounds to drop everyone off at their homes, and then it was official. The Motor Energy Fall Tour 2013 was over.
The end of this tour brought the close of a chapter in Man on Earth history. It marked the end of the “Things They’d Never Believe” era, and the beginning of something new.
For the last year or so, we have been dual promoting, both “Things They’d Never Believe” and some of the new songs that will be on the forthcoming album. Next tour will see us with a completed new album, the dawn of a new cycle in the Man on Earth chronology. We are ever moving forward, on to bigger and better things.
I would like to take a second and thank everyone who helped make this tour a great success. Motor Energy Drink, for helping us in all the ways that they do, and for being a huge part in bringing us to every city along our journey. Our family and friends who, even though they miss us while we are out, are right there with their love and support as we take over this country one day at a time. The fans, both old and new, for being the inspiration that keeps us going…. And I personally would like to thank everyone who follows along with this blog. Your kind words and constructive criticism have been the fuel that has kept me going. I hope each and every one of you is here the next time we set sail. Until then, stay safe, be well, and have fun!
#MoEontourforever
-Michaels

Fight for your right to party

Day 70: Drive Day

I was originally going to lump this day in with one of the other posts, but there was a few adventures that are encompassed in ‘Day 70’ that warrant it having it’s own post.
With the last show of the tour in our crosshairs, there was a lot of questions about the plans for the next six months floating in the air that were begging for answers, and it felt like the right time to get them hashed out. So we woke up, stopped for showers, and then we headed over to the Landshark Pub, the Jacksonville Beach sports bar that our friend Brett watches the football games at.
Before we went in though, we had a band meeting focused on 2014. Big things are on the map, so y’all better stay in your seats! When the meeting was adjourned, we headed in the pub.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are far from being a Super Bowl contending team, and their fans know it. Nonetheless, they are not fair weather fans. The bar was full of die hard jersey wearing fans, chanting like frat boys every time there was a good play, or actually, any positive play, even just getting a first down. Bret told us that if the Jags won we all got free corn dogs, giving us incentive to rabble rouse and cheer along too. The Jags pulled it off, increasing their record to a dismal 2-9, but the win was so important to the fans that they never even thought about the big picture. The jubilant crowd was living in the moment.
When the corn dogs were brought out Root went over to grab a couple. Immediately, a mob mentality sparked up, Jaguar fans barking at him like feral dogs protecting a spilled garbage can, accusing him of being an outsider and to leave the corn dogs alone as they were only for Jaguar fans. I was sitting at the bar, watching how this was playing out, mentally mapping out my first move into the indignant mass of people if things got ugly. The loud mouthed leader sitting with his back to me would be first…. I glanced up at Root, and I could see him assessing the situation as well. While he appeared calm and cool, I could tell he was ready if things deteriorated. If he had been The Wolverine, his claws would have been starting to show.
Then, as quickly as things had flared up, they were done. Brett was right there, telling everyone that we were his friends and that we were cool, that he had offered the corn dogs to us, and there was no reason for complaints. As fast as they got riled up is as fast as Root was accepted into the crowd, crisis completely averted. The moral of the story is that we got some free corn dogs.
We decided to put some miles on the road instead of watching the second game. We made it up to southern South Carolina by 8pm, and found a small town pub in which to watch the Patriots game. Keeping up with the weirdness of the day, as soon as we entered the bar we were descended on by the barkeep and a few customers, all telling us that we had entered a private bar. Not wanting to cause issue, we asked where the closest public bar was. The barkeep told us that county law prohibited bars being open on Sunday nights, unless they were private members only establishments. And members could sign in a guest, but since we were strangers, no one could vouch for us. Resigned to keep driving, we prepared to leave.
But the barkeep kept asking questions, and soon, she changed her mind asking us to stay. It turns out that the county sends undercovers to try to bust bar owners who let in nonmembers to their bars on Sunday nights, and the fine is up words of 500 bucks an incident. Once we were accepted as non spies, everyone came up to us, introducing themselves. As we were hanging out watching the game, from across the bar we heard ‘Bombs Around Me’. One of the patrons, James, and his girlfriend were watching the video on YouTube. When they were done they came up to us, complimenting the song and the video, saying that come payday they were going to visit our iTunes Store.
The Pats were loosing horribly at halftime, so Root and I decided to hit the road and read the highlights later. It turns out that we missed one of the best 2nd halves of the year, the Patriots coming back from a 24-0 deficit, to pull ahead then to take the win in overtime.
I was sitting on the bus, receiving the dramatic play by play through the NFL mobile app. The real-time aspect of the app was flawed, creating a several minute delay in the information that we were getting. I felt as if we were World War 1 soldiers getting updates over the telegraph wire.
We drove all the way to Columbia and spent the coldest night of the tour in another Walmart parking lot, one more show to go before we headed home.

Memories make me want to go back there

Day 69: Jack Rabbits
Jacksonville, FL

I couldn’t believe that it had been a full year since we had been to Jacksonville. It really seemed that it had been 6 months, at the most, since the last time. We’ve been so busy, touring like mad men, that the last year has flown by as fast as a space shuttle on reentry.
We took the morning to finish driving to Jacksonville Beach, having decided to try to squeeze in another beach day before the rain came back. It was a bit chillier than West Palm, but I was giving Mochello so much crap about being a wuss about the chill that I had to show him up and dive in the ocean without a complaint. Root was actually the first one in, taking his time acclimating to the chill of the water. Once you were in the water it wasn’t THAT bad, but the initial shock of jumping straight in felt like a kick in the teeth. So, refusing to show weakness, I dove in, waving Mochello and Nate on. The two of them finally raced down the beach, and in a display of brashness, both of them dove straight in to the chilly Atlantic. For all of our false bravado, Mochello and I tired of the cold water quickly. Root and Nate stayed in, body surfing the choppy ocean waves for a while before coming in to dry off in the on again off again sunshine.
After a Planet Fitness stop to wash the dried salt water off ourselves, we headed to the vicinity of Jack Rabbits.
During the course of our touring history we’ve spent a lot of time on Hendricks Ave. We often use Jacksonville as a base of operations during our Florida stints, and we would stay at Steven from Jack Rabbits house, which was right off of Hendricks, a block from the club.
Root and I had dinner at one of the local Mexican spots, while the rest of the guys went to the smoothie/wrap shop down the road. After dinner, we headed back to Jack Rabbits for load in.
Jack Rabbits feels like home. The staff is awesome, and we have tons of friends that come out to hang. Jacksonville is the home city of our former tour mates Son of a Bad Man, and also Shawn Fisher’s new project with his girlfriend Jordyn Jackson, Flagship Romance. (Who also toured with us!)
Son of a Bad Man’s guitarist Brett, who usually bar tends at Jack Rabbits but had the night off, came out to hang, as did Shawn and Jordyn. It’s always fun to see past tour mates, it brings back tons of great memories. It’s like a high school reunion. Some of our other friends including the Jack Rabbits staple Richard, and our friend Elyse also came out to hang.
The show started on time, and since we were headlining, we had a late time slot. One of the opening acts consisted of a crew of very talented 16 year olds, and we all agreed that if they keep on their game, they have the ability to go places.
The crowd interaction for Man on Earth in Jacksonville is always phenomenal. The energy the crowd feeds back is palpable. It invigorated the guys to give one of their best performances of the tour.
After the show, a bunch of us went to Waffle House for some late night waffley goodness. Breakfast food is amazing anytime of the day or night, but especially in the middle of the night after a show. Apparently, everyone else in Jacksonville had the same idea, because we had to wait almost an hour for a table, then 8 of us crammed in to one booth. On the way out the door, Root noticed that a random person who we’ve never met but happened to become a connection on Foursquare with us the last time we were in Jacksonville was also checked in to the Waffle House. What are the odds?
We said our goodbyes, and headed to a local Walmart. Since the next day was a day off, and football Sunday, the decision was made to stay in Jacksonville and watch a little of the games. We went to sleep, the positive feeling of a successful 2nd to last show of our fall tour dancing in our heads.

Soak up the sum

Days 67-68: The Funky Buddha
Boca Raton, FL

Even though we’re in Florida, all of the days off this week were really getting to us. Once we get into the groove of playing shows nearly every night, having 3 days off in a week really put everyone in a funk. The guys were really itching to play, and even though we have band related stuff that were doing, it gets very monotonous.
We got to the general area of Boca Raton sometime on Thursday. (Honestly, time doesn’t really exist when you’re on the road, so I’m not really sure what time it actually was when we rolled in to town…) we grabbed a bite to eat, then set up shop at a Starbucks to work on some video editing and such.
Nate I decided to finish the night by going to see Captain Phillips. (Absolutely amazing movie by the way. It’s good to see that Tom Hanks hasn’t lost it! Top notch acting!)
While we were in the theater, the rest of the guys were outside battling a raccoon that was harassing them. We came out to a bus that was on lock down. Windows and doors were closed, and I imagine if there had been spare plywood on the bus all the points of entry would have been boarded up. I was half surprised Mochello wasn’t standing guard with his wooden sword. We left the wild animal in the parking lot and headed to Walmart for some sleep.
Rain had kept us from having beach time on the first day we were in Boca Raton. The next day, however was a different story. 75° and sunny, we hit West Palm Beach in force, jumping in the ocean for a nice refresher. There were some killer waves that kept rolling in, and the surfers were out trying to catch them. I spent a bit of my time just soaking in what felt like the remnants of summer, dreading the fact that there would most likely be snow waiting for me when I got home. We hung for a few hours, then hit some showers.
We got to the venue early. The Funky Buddha was a restaurant/hookah bar, both standard tables and lounge benches populating the room. Fragrant smoke swirled lazily through the air, the sweet smell of the flavored hookah tobacco a pleasant change from the normal smell of a classic smoke filled bar.
The room was fairly packed by the time the guys took stage. I had to run the sound board again, which is a fun change in our regular scheduled mayhem.
After load out, we took off for Jacksonville, our home away from home in the south.

Days go by

Days 64-66: The Jam
Gainesville, FL

Monday: NFL
Tuesday: Office work
Wednesday: Show day…

We had the better part of three days in Gainesville this tour. Our experience there this time was a stark contrast to our previous visit there last year. Last time we were on the outskirts of the city, and while the club was cool, the neighborhood wasn’t. This time we found ourselves in the area of The University of Florida. There were people milling about constantly, most being college students in their late teens or early twenties.
The first night we rolled in we found a sports bar near the university so that we could watch the Pats game. The pub was running some killer chicken wing specials, so we just hung out, watched the game, and had some dinner. Nate and Mochello had stayed on the bus, so once the game was over the rest of us met up with them and headed off to find our hotel Walmart.
The next day, we woke up, did our Planet Fitness routine, then set up shop to clean the bus. We did a thorough scrub down, after which we set up at Starbucks to hammer out some office work. After a few hours of that, Mochello decided to start a crusade to find a new mattress for his bunk. Because the bunks aren’t a standard size, options are limited. We hit up a few different stores before winding up at a Target, where he decided to get a baby crib mattress as a base, and build around it to make up the width, then cover it with toppers to span any gaps between the filler and the mattress. All this added too much thickness to the mattress, so the search was pushed to the next day.
After waking up, Root and I walked to a Waffle House for some breakfast. Because we weren’t in that much of a hurry, we hung out and had about a pot of coffee each before hearing from the rest of the guys that they were ready to head out. Mochello had already returned the crib mattress and found a new prospective solution in a nearby shopping center. He picked up a foam mattress that seemed to work, then we headed down toward the club.
The Jam was an eclectic place. All types of music and events of all kinds of genres make their through it. We arrived early so we hit the street with some flyers for a bit before load in time. We had to wait to load in until an African drum circle dance class was done. After they finished, they moved to out back of the club where a bon fire had been started, and they continued their endless rhythmic bongo pounding.
Stevie’s dad and his wife showed up again, keeping with their penchants for running into us at random spots across the country. (And this time they brought some super tasty pasta!!)
The rest of the night’s music was just as diverse as the club itself, and everything was wrapped up by midnight. (Except the backyard drum circle… That, I bet, lasted long after we left!)
We left Gainesville with a better taste in our mouths than the first time, and headed on our way toward Boca Raton.