Bowery Ballroom, photo by elizabeth weinberg
Bowery Ballroom, Photo by Elizabeth Weinberg

Words and Photos by: John Vanderslice (except where noted)

We’ve been on a tour for a month, it seems like a year. In a good way. Back in mid-May, we sat in the hundred+ degree heat of Merced and argued the Pat Metheny/Kenny G feud. I sided with Kenny. Seriously, what is the point in attacking Mr. Gorelick?

JV Tour Diary - Photo by Elizabeth Weinberg
Photo by Elizabeth Weinberg

Touring is overwhelming and intense: the experiences are so fast and compressed you can barely take it in. In the past 24 hours we saw a Red Panda at the National Zoo, recorded a show in the NPR offices, walked the Natural History Museum, and played a ridiculously good show at the Black Cat. All that imagery scrolling by your window, the heightened personal connections you make, it can’t be fully understood until you get home. And my home life is the polar opposite of my touring life, in bed at 10pm, it’s all stillness and daylight. It’s the difference between playing your bi-amped Telecaster at the Empty Bottle and strumming a parlor guitar in a small wooden room.

JV Tour Diary - Washington Marriott
Washington Marriott, an architectural marriage between classical Europe and a Scientology welcome center

I’m sitting in the lobby of the Washington Marriott Wardman Park waiting for van call. Over the past year I’ve learned how to game Priceline so we’re killing 4 star hotels this summer. Sometimes we nail a 4-star room for $35 and I feel a small wave of guilt at check-in. That guilt quickly passes. I’ve shared my methods with many bands this tour: The Tallest Man On Earth, Laura Gibson, St Vincent, Telekinesis, Musee Mecanique. If you see me out there feel free to ask me about it.

JV Tour Diary - Van Call
Van call with Jamie, Sylvain and my mom

I see my mom and brother tonight in Chapel Hill. Our friend Dianna will bring strawberry cupcakes, we’ll see John Darnielle, Jamie Stewart and the Bowerbirds. I’ll have grits and biscuits at my mom’s house in the morning and be on the road by 11am. Seventeen hours in Chapel Hill, overwhelming and intense.