Stuck Inside of Worcester with the...
Friday night, we played in Boston at a club called P.A.'s Lounge. The weather that day had been disastrous to say the least and thus we left a rather large amount of extra time for our journey to Washington D.C. the next day. Little did we know that we should have left an extra four days. About 35 miles outside of Boston the van started to make this terrible noise that sounded much like a muffled machine gun, certainly not an unfamiliar sound considering that we had to have the spark plug replaced at the beginning of this tour (the reason we had to cancel our Dallas show). However, this time we were convinced that the problem was something different and we pulled off the interstate to find the closest mechanic. "The closest mechanic" came in the form of a non-descript mechanic shop attached to a Getty's petrol station immediately off the Mass. Pike. As soon as we pulled up, a man in a cap came out and told us to shut off the engine, which we did. He opened the hood of the van, took a quick glance, and simply proclaimed, "You have blown a valve, engine is destroyed." My knowledge of cars/trucks is limited to say the least, and I'm pretty sure this particular mechanic was aware of that fact; we were all panicked, pacing and trying to figure out the best way to get back on the road to DC. If the engine was in fact destroyed, it could take as long as a week to rebuild the damn thing and it would likely cost approximately two thousand plus dollars. Still, we were fixated on the idea of making it to the next show.
The most obvious plan of action: rent a van; a seemingly simple task, though finding a fifteen passenger van on Saturday in Worcester, Massachusetts is no easy feat. We managed to find one twelve passenger at the Worcester regional airport and promptly phoned a taxi to take us there. We arrived and were faced with a rather intimidating invoice, but were still prepared to pay as long as it meant we would make it to the remaining shows of the tour. As we were practically signing the dotted line on the contract, a woman appeared with her husband, two hours late to pick up two twelve passenger vans for a 5 hour family reunion. [Insert the sound of dreams being crushed]. It was now clear that there was no way we could make it out of Worcester in time to make it to any of the remaining dates and that the remainder of the tour would have to be cancelled. There was no feasible way to even reach another mechanic before Monday.
I phoned my Dad's friend Liam, who came and picked us up, helped us transport our gear to a motel, and bought us dinner at this Tex-Mex restaurant called "Williker's," the only dining establishment within walking distance of our motel. Upon entering Williker's, we were seated by a really nice girl named Erika, who informed us that the place hosted a karaoke night at the weekend, the first positive thing we had heard all day. That night we drowned our sorrows in tequila and proceeded to completely take over the event, churning out a wide variety of songs/artists, including: Johnny Cash, Soul Asylum, The Band, Journey, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, The Spin Doctors, The Beatles, Guns and Roses, Otis Redding... the list goes on. By the time Mitch and company took the stage to perform a very drunken version of the Crash Test Dummies classic "Mmmmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmm...." it was clear that things had gone too far. Perhaps our state of anxiety had become too much over the course of the day and karaoke was the perfect release. We all went a little nuts, and fortunately the entire thing is on video tape, some of which we hope to host on the Voxtrot web page soon.
Over the next four days, we made friends with our waitress Erika, who provided salvation from the all too familiar motel scenery, visited the Candy Mansion, and spent multiple hours propping up the bar at Williker's, our new local. I entered a rather Brian Wilson-esque phase where I refused to leave the bed, preferring to lay in bed pretty much all day, watching re-runs of MTV Cribs in my flannel pajamas.
Then came Monday, the fateful day where we could get our van to a real mechanic and find out what exactly had been the cause of damage to the problem and what the cost of fixing it would be. Three auto shops and one billion phone calls later it became evident that it was in fact a spark plug. A fucking spark plug. Those assholes at the first mechanic had lied to us and tried to weasel us out of our van, saying it was totaled and offering us a used minivan with no odometer in exchange for the title. By doing this they destroyed any chance we might have had of making it to the Washington, Chapel Hill and Georgia shows. In the end the cost of fixing the fan was approximately one half the combined costs of the Rainbow Motel and the bar tab at Williker's. However, as I said earlier I know nothing about anything auto related and this fix might not be a permanent one, so I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch. It just appears to me that they very knowingly tried to use our ignorance against us for malicious intent and it cost us the potential of completing the second half of our tour. That's pretty shitty.
Today we made it back to new york city and I have my fingers crossed that the van will stay safe and fixed. We are incredibly sad about the cancelled shows and have scheduled a last minute show tomorrow (Wednesday) at nine pm at Magnetic Field in Brooklyn to try and fundraise some of the lost money. Just as a brief update, when we return to Austin we are finishing off material for the upcoming Mothers Sisters Daughters and Wives EP that should be completed in January/February and officially released at the beginning of March. Touring will take place in February (West Coast), then we play SXSW, then more touring in March (East Coast). I shall keep you posted. We are very thankful for everybody's support and we hope to make up for the mishaps of this tour in the near future.
PS. If anybody would like to respond/comment I would really like that. I only realised today that I had the "member-only" response setting on. It has been changed.
I'm sure the grammar on this has suffered a little due to length. I shall try and edit it tomorrow.