Tag Archives: Ft. Wayne

Smoke on the Water

Day 27: DuPont Bar & Grill
Fort Wayne, IN

Ft. Wayne has always been good to us, from the very first time we rolled into the city. While this show didn’t have the search lights criss crossing the skies, 8′ custom printed Man on Earth banners, and light bulbed posters that Pier’s greeted us with, this time we WERE greeted by an extremely drunk man who slurringly offered to hire the Miggs tour manager, Jensen, away from our tour for 60k a year.

For a last minute fill in gig (the show was booked about two weeks prior) the DuPont Bar & Grill wasn’t a bad gig. There was a large stage, and while there’s no in house PA, the venue hired a guy to bring in the sound system. The system he brought in was legit; I overheard the tour sound engineer say such repeatedly.

The venue was just a few miles from Gail’s house, so after load in I took off to start my laundry. I got back in time to grab dinner, which was provided by the club.

The one drawback about the DuPont is that it is just outside of city limits and, being such, allows smoking inside the club. As a non-smoker, I notice that the air is always heavier and acrid tasting in bars that allow inside smoking. In the few hours that we were there the air permeated all the fabrics of our clothes and road cases. I had to keep all the tee shirts in the merch bins sealed as best as I could so that the new fabric didn’t pick up the smell of the club.

For non-smoking singers, which all three singers on our tour are, when a club allows smoking inside it presents another dynamic for them to have to deal with. They have to minimize the amount of time in the club because the smoke dries out their throats. Then during their set they have to drink extra water and/or use a throat spray to keep things copacetic.

There was one time in Memphis, back when we first started touring, when we rolled up to this tiny bar club that allowed smoking and inside the air was nothing but a hazy cloud, making it impossible to hold a regular conversation, let alone sing. It’s the only time since I’ve been touring with Man on Earth that we actually had to pass on an already booked show. (The other factors that night contributed to that decision, such as the PA only having the ability to handle one microphone, and the fact that our set was being pushed later for a trivia night, but the smoke was by far the issue that was unbearable. The rest can be dealt with.)

Gail brought out a crew of her college students to see the show, and gauging by the fact that they all were singing along, I’d think it’s a safe bet that she has been educating them in the ways of the Rock and/or Roll.

After the show we went to Gail and Ben’s house for the night. Late night homemade lasagna rolls and a bit of Jäger later, we found ourselves battling it out in an intense game of Wii golf. (School and family obligations prevented Gail’s cousin Sam from making it to any of the Indiana shows. While this meant that there was decidedly less general mischief and hell raising for me to be a part of, it did however mean that I was present to crack open the Jäger. It’s become almost tradition for the guys to try to finish the bottle before I can get any of it. Not this time!)

While the drive to Indianapolis the next day wasn’t long, we had an early load in. This meant that if everyone wanted to eat and shower before we shoved off, we had to get up fairly early (for us, at least!). So, once the game was over everyone headed off to sleep, at a way earlier hour than usual for us in Fort Wayne.

Blowin’ in the Wind

Days 22-25: The Office
Lafayette, IN

Ok, so it’s not a venue. Or even a defined place. It’s more of a generalization of what we were doing for those few days…. Office work. On this tour we have definitely seen more Starbucks then clubs, to the point where I constantly suggest that we should call this the “Working Class Heroes Tour”. (Ok, before someone in the band calls b.s. on me using that catchphrase, I’ve never ACTUALLY said it out loud…. But I’ve definitely thought about it and whistled some John Lennon while loading in and out.)

We woke up in the casino parking lot, headed to Planet Fitness and then to an Italian restaurant to grab lunch with Rick, the manager of Miggs, who has been a friend of Man on Earth for a while.

After lunch we weighed anchor and set off northwest, in the direction of Chicago.

Our next show wasn’t for a few days, so we pulled up Google Maps to find a place to camp out for a few days. We found an area in Lafayette, IN that had everything we needed within a mile’s radius… Planet Fitness, Starbucks, Walmart…
Lafayette seems to thrive on the existence of Purdue University, and you couldn’t escape the atmosphere that a large college brings to an area.

One of my good friends, Sam (of Nashville/Memphis/Ft. Wayne shenanigans), in enrolled at Purdue so I met up with her to grab some dinner at a downtown pub. When I met back up with the band, Stevie G was giving one of his Skype guitar lessons and the rest of the guys were wandering aimlessly through a Walmart. Root bought a football, and he and I tossed it back and forth a bit, until it started sprinkling.

It was a warm night, the rain had stopped but it was super windy. I stepped outside of the bus for a phone call at about 2am, and watched shopping carts careening uncontrollably, driven by the invisible hand of the wind. Temperature wise, it was still warm, I was completely comfortable in shorts and a tee shirt. Once I was done on the phone, I crawled back into my bunk. The bus retains it’s heat fairly well, especially on warmer nights, so I fell asleep with just a light sheet on. Three hours later, I woke up shivering. The wind had brought a cold front upon us, and the temperature had dropped about 25 degrees in the short time that I had been sleeping. The perception returned, this time in the form of snow, and sleet. As I looked out my window I could see the dusting accumulate on the cars and any other objects that weren’t retaining the heat from the day as well as the ground. Pulling out the heavy blankets, I fell back asleep.

The next day was a typical boring office day for us. After a work out and showers, we posted up inside of a Barnes and Noble Starbucks and worked the day away. After working well into the evening, we grabbed dinner at the mall next door to the Starbucks. The mall turned out to be a much bigger place than we thought, the outside was very deceiving. That night, we all stayed up watching the show Impractical Jokers on Root’s tv. If you’ve never seen the show, check it out, it’s one of the funniest shows, if not THE funniest show I’ve ever seen on television. It’s a reality show where four life long friends set up situations in an effort to embarrass each other.

Night time is usually when everyone decompresses, that bit of solitude that helps keep us sane out on the road. But, every now and again, especially on multiple days off in a row, we need to take the time to all just hang out in a non-band related activity. Out on the road we are living together in close quarters, working together, both at shows and in our office time, day in and day out. If time isn’t taken to socialize in non-band related things, then tensions get high. After a few hours of heavy laughter, everyone fell asleep.

With more of the same on the docket for the next day, we decided to change the pace slightly, and set up shop at the McDonald’s. Nate had a conference call in the evening, so the rest of us worked late, and then Root, Mochello, and I headed to Applebee’s for a quick bite before we headed back out, Chicago in the crosshairs…