The "Road Dog" Diaries from The Off the Couch Tour of 2019
Day 3 7/7/19
The tour has been a lot of fun so far. About to start day 3. We’ve been making due with the digital/computer Ryan. We had the hiccup in Phoenix at the Lunchbox where the first four tracks were smooth, but then we got thrown off during the second half of the set. We powered through it. We made due. It definitely sucked though.
A true fan, Danny, came out to see us at that show! He was happy that we played our song “Caroline”, and I was like, “wait, what? you know our songs?” That was a really cool and special moment. Helped remind us why we’re on the road.
Time to travel onward. We’ll be camping in the Santa Fe National Forest tonight in New Mexico. We’re excited for the hot springs that are nearby our campground, even if they are a ten mile hike roundtrip.
We cleaned out the van and did a full repack. Felt good. We also got some supplies at Wal Mart, which was also where we slept last night. There’s gonna be a lot of wall mart camping on this trip. We started watching the new season of Stranger Things in the van. The lightning storm that surrounded the highway made for a fitting viewing atmosphere.
This tour has been amazing, a really beneficial trip. We made the ten mile hike (roundtrip) to see the legendary San Antonio Hot Springs (Not in San Antonio) while we were camping in New Mexico before our Taos show. It was a truly magical place.
I hurt my foot on the hike, but it was well worth it.
We got stopped at a BS military checkpoint on the way out, probably some Trumpian shit. Kacey couldn’t find his wallet to show ID, and we scrambled to find it under threat of a van search. Luckily, we found it just in time in one of his pairs of pants. We made the Taos show barely just in time thankfully. We needed that payday real bad.
There was a couple there named Phillip and Katie from Dallas that was celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary, and they were big fans of our song “Big Sur”! Can you believe that? That was so extremely fucking cool. We ended up playing it twice for them, and after the show they spent a hundred bucks at our merch table. They were truly nice people, and I’m glad we met them. They were both teachers as well, which was cool.
After that, we made the twelve hour drive to Kansas City to make a show the next night. We slept in turns and made it through the night. When we arrived at the truck stop shower in town, the one, their power was out, so we had to get a motel 6. It ended up being worth it because we needed a little civility. Hot showers, a good place to sleep. After some Costco pizza, a blog telephone interview, catching up on band business items, we made the show in KC.
The cover band played past their set, but we eventually got up there and we made the most of playing for the few people that stayed. It ended up being a really fun show, and we sold some CDs and made some fans. It felt good to play our hearts out, even if only a few people were there. We’re getting better at playing to strangers. There is an art to winning people over that don’t know you, in a place you don’t know. Small crowds appreciate when you play like they’re a large crowd.
Now were in Hannibal MO, Mark Twain’s hometown, camping at the Twain Caves Campground, the place that helped inspire stories in Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. It’s pretty awesome and beautiful.
The night was nice, a little humid, but a comfortable temperature. We made insanely good burgers and drank lemon shandy by the fire. We turned the van into a theater and finished season 3 of Stranger Things.
The plan today, check out the caves, see where we might be able to take our donut inner-tubes from Wal-Mart into some water, see Twain’s boyhood home, and wander with our freedom and sense of adventure as a guide. We’ll be in Chicago tonight and tomorrow playing at Moe’s Tavern, a Simpsons themed bar.
Been an incredible trip so far. From the Lunchbox in Phoenix, to the Christy Cabaret where Kacey fell in love with “Winter” aka Vanessa, to the Bikini Coffee Bean the following morning where we both fell in love with a girl from Bakersfield. Hitting LA Fitness to shower. Playing in Tucson, eating pizza at Skybar, meeting cool people in every town, like Aaron, Raw, and Denzel in Tucson, Danny, the Maybe Next Years in Phoenix, Phillip and Katie, MJ in Taos, Ashtyn in KC. Camping in awesome places, getting in hot springs on top of the world. Seeing the Mississippi. Cooking great campfire meals. Eating that awesome Mexican Sushi in Tucson, Sushi Lito. Been a hell of a trip. Day 8. 144 shows played as Raised on TV.
Day 15 7/19/19
We’re now on Day 15. We just kayaked on the Ottawa river in Canada. It was a sight to behold, and also something on our checklist for this tour. Kacey had never kayaked before. We saw a giant crane while on the water.
Last night we played in Ottawa at the Avant Garde Bar. The night was slow but we still had fun. The other band, Peaks, was really cool. We’ve been on a bit of a dry run since Taos as far as making money at shows, but we’re still having a great time and getting by. We’re seeing North America and it’s funded by Raised on TV. We’re also meeting a lot of cool people and making fans everywhere we go.
The poutine has been nice! A Canadian staple that we both never before experienced.
Our time in Canada will not soon be forgotten. We basically lived in Toronto for nearly four days straight with our good friends Flavio and Teri in Queen West, a hip part of town. The show at the Dakota was cool. We partied with some fun Irish people, two couples: Vanessa and Jason, and Lauren and Mike. Kacey was very smitten by them. We continued the night at their apartment until four am after Kacey hopped in an uber with them. I ended up sleeping in the van in the underground parking lot to make sure everything was safe.
We did some cool Toronto things like getting a beer at the Distillery, hanging on lake Ontario, and taking in the Toronto skyline. We also ventured out to Niagara Falls. We got into a cool routine of Tim Horton’s, seeing cool places, going out at night and meeting people, good food, and then doing it again.
We also had Chicago before Canada. We devoured a deep dish pizza from Lou Malnattis that was insanely good. We also took the donuts out onto Lake Michigan on Montrose Beach. The show was a low turnout because the other bands bitched out, but we still powered through and made due.
Now we’re back on the road, about to make our way to Montreal and then back to the US. Phoenix, Tucson, Taos, Kansas City, Hannibal, Chicago, Toronto, Ottawa… Done! So much fun.
Traveling wakes up the soul. It opens your eyes. It places you squarely in the present. Traveling plus music is just divine. Throwing music in the mix brings everything up a notch. 15 days. 147 shows. Onto 148 in Wolfeboro, NH.
It is day 19 of this tour. We are soldiering on. Left New York and onto Philly. We lost Ryan through a text message he sent after saying he was too sick to fly. Some crazy fucking shit. We will not be deterred by his bullshit. We will soldier on. As Mike Morrison said in NH, “There are lifers and there are posers. Be a lifer.” Ryan has revealed himself to be a poser.
We are entering Philly now after having a great time in New York. The sweat, the rain, the heat, the humidity. We continue. The show was fun last night, after we tried our best to emotionally stabilize after Ryan’s page long text that we received right before our NY show. We got ourselves together and delivered one of our best performances. Made fans of strangers, which is an art in itself. We saw and hung out with my Aunt Shannon. Which was cool. Hadn’t seen her in over four years. The bartender, Anna, was extremely cool. She told us we woke her up and hooked it up with some free booze, which meant a lot. Winning over a bartender, someone that sees live music night in and night out and is so desensitized to it, feels like a triumph. It’s one of those little victories.
We cut some vinyls at Leesta Vall which was really cool. while it was also insanely sweaty. A heavy storm rolled in right after, so we were forced to stay in the van which gave us some much needed time to reorganize. We put the cooler out in the rain to cleanse. It still smells. We forgot about some food in there for many days. It was a great moment when we were crossing the border to get back into the US and getting hassled by the US border patrol, and one of the patrolman opened the cooler to check it and caught a horrid disgusting whiff.
Wollfeborro NH was one of the best nights of this tour without a doubt. Such an amazing crowd. A small, but mighty crowd. Dylan, The “These Trees” guys, Oliver, George, such cool guys. The beer flowed freely, and was really good. Everyone was buzzed and feeling the moment. The buzz seemed to last the entire night, and it wasn’t just from the booze. We felt alive.
7/26/19 Day 22
Day 22 of this epic perspective altering journey. I love feeling so awake, and that’s the feeling out here on a tour like this. Even with all the discomfort that goes along with it: sleeping in the van, in the midst of an East coast heat wave mind you, waking up sweaty, being dirty a lot of the time, being disoriented sometimes. It’s all worth it.
Yesterday we skated all through the Washington Mall observing the monument, the phallic monument to George, the reflecting pool, the WWII memorial, and my favorite, the Lincoln Memorial. We spent a good amount of time there. There was a nice summer shower that set in. It felt like Lincoln was crying on Washington, given its current occupant in the White House. We skated from end to end, the Capitol building to Lincoln. It was tiring but awesome.
We’ve been keeping up with our LA Fitness showering on a budget while on the road plan. It’s been nice to work out while on the road, and also use the hot tub.
The Philly show was amazing! Big crowd, engaged, our merch table was on fire. Tough Guy Soda and Coleman Rigg were both very cool bands. Andy, our cousin, came out, which was a nice surprise since we had no idea he was in Philly. WE had some good times with him. Got Philly cheese steaks from Geno’s and Sonny’s. (Sonny’s was way better.) Checked out some bars in Fishtown. Our van got tagged up by some asshole and we were able to get it off with rubbing alcohol that we had in the van for the purposes of cleaning Kacey’s vape of weed residue when we got to the Canadian border. Mother fucker! Kacey and I checked out Old City which was extremely cool. We saw Independence Hall, where the Declaration and the constitution were signed. We walked through the neighborhood of Benjamin Franklin, which has mostly been preserved. It was really awesome. Some really cool history. The history has been one of the coolest parts of this trip, and we’ve seen so much. Twain’s hometown of Hannibal MO, The Boston Common (America’s oldest public park) Old City, The Mall in DC, to name some things.
Sitting by Falls Lake in North Carolina. This place is absolutely beautiful, peaceful, and mind clearing. A retreat, a getaway, deep in NC. Our show here in Raleigh the other night was fucking awesome! Another show on this tour where we felt like we were making true fans. Our merch table caught fire after the show. Two kids bought shirts after only hearing Soul on Fire. (I had broken a string too, but rolled through) A group of drunk kids loved us from the start and hyped us up while we played. So much of this is being able to come off to strangers as relatable. There is an art to it. That’s what makes people want to support your band. It’s more than the music. Shows like that have made this tour so special, and we’ve had a great amount of them. We’ve grown some wings on this tour, the two of us, the two man show. We’re gonna take the two man show back home. There’s nothing holding us back it feels like. A weight has been lifted, an ulcer removed.
Thinking back on the DC show, day 22, it was definitely an off day. LA Fitness were douchbags, trying to stop us from using the gym, and charging Kacey. I had to bust my ass on those extra tracks, and there were constant glitches. The set up for the show was hell. We had to park the van super far away, and forgot certain cables and headphones for Kacey. Kacey got on the skateboard to get that stuff and realized halfway there that he’d forgotten the van key. All the while, the pressure to play, and to play on time, was building. We eventually got it together and made due. The crowd was small, but the show was big.
“There are no small shows, only small crowds.”
Our first set killed, and we got people inside the bar, but the three sets without a bass player definitely was wearing on us, and we were simply short on rehearsal material. We made the best of it, making friends with Lita, the bartender, and Michael, the manager, who ended up going all out with the booze hook up. We stayed in the bar until 5am, drinking shots and beer with Michael, an extremely cool guy, until we were thoroughly wasted. We got the van in a place as nearby as possible to crash for several hours before the drive to Raleigh on day 23. That’s road life, tour life, band life. We’ve definitely gotten off the couch, which is what this tour was all about. Getting outside, living, tasting the air.
It’s now day 25. We have today and tomorrow off. We’ve gotten past the halfway point on this tour. It’s been a fucking blast, and can’t wait to take these experiences back home.
Lake Falls, you’re beautiful. Gonna take that donut and get back on the water before we leave.
It’s funny how time slows down on tour. How a week feels like a month. I guess you get more engrossed with the moment. If you’re experiencing more, than time seems to go slower. At home, stuck in a routine, life just whizzes by, and that sucks when you think about it. That’s life down the drain. This is life lived, with open eyes, and an open mind. Good and bad, ups and downs, but it’s life lived, and isn’t that what life is all about?
Long live these connections and these experiences. The thing about experiences is that you take them with you everywhere you go for as long as you go, unlike possessions.
The night in Wolfeborro, I never want to forget that night. Drinking beers on lake Winnepesauke, getting bothered by the one cop out there. The amazing people. Mike Morrison, who said, “There are lifers and there are posers. Be a lifer.” How fucking right he is.
Day 27 7/31/19
Currently in Richmond VA. Got in yesterday. We stopped at the Roanoke River finding what appeared to be musket bullets. We stopped for the best Denny’s of the trip so far. We checked out the Virginia capital square for a bit, which was pretty cool, aside from the Confederate monuments. We went to the movies last night at Saw “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” needing a dose of everyday civility. The movie was cool and enjoyable while also being very dark and heavy. We then went to Cookout for dinner and talked about our current money problems. We need to have some good turnout at these remaining shows to make it back without dipping into a credit card, truth be told. That’s how this tour has been though from the start, ups and downs, riding on fumes at times. Gotta stay positive, gotta move forward, gotta believe. The run has been incredible, legendary even, a life changing sort of trip. If flying too low to the ground at times is the cost of such a tour, then lets fly low, knowing that were due for some big time elevation just around the next bend. I remember feeling low, and getting low in Taos, in DC, and we picked back up like never before. Richmond, Charlotte, Columbia, Gainesville, St. Augustine, New Orleans, Houston, Austin, lets do this!
In Charlotte, NC, at a McDonalds. We’re gonna try to hit up some college radio stations later today to make the most of being out here. Don’t have a show until tomorrow in Columbia, SC. We met an awesome band last night at a Cookout waiting in line. They’re called Carver Commodore from Alabama. The show last night was cool, but the headlining band dropped out last minute, which was super lame. It’s happened a good amount on this tour. Chicago, Ottawa, Tucson, Richmond, and now Charlotte. What’s with all these bitch ass bands? Petra’s was fun though. It was a good show. The other band, Sunset Cassette, was cool too. We played to a small crowd, but it was a mighty crowd.
It’s important that we end this tour strong. Six more shows. We’ve done fourteen on the road so far, fifteen if you count Harvard and Stone. We have Columbia, Gainesville, St. Augustine, Nola, Houston, and Austin. Hopefully no more bands drop out, and we have good turnouts. Money wise, we’re hanging on by a thread, but we’re getting through. This tour has been legendary so far. Lets end it strong. Day 29. 14 shows. 154 so far as Raised on TV.
The journey rages on. Our great North American adventure rages on. In Columbia SC. The south is definitely an odd place. It’s starting to wear on us a little I think. We play tonight and then do five more shows in six days. Six shows in seven days is all that’s left after this quest that’s been nothing short of fucking epic. We got something on this tour that will last the rest of our lives I think. Everyone should be tested at some point in their lives. It lets you know the person in the mirror that much better. We’ve been tested on this trip, no doubt about it, in a multitude of ways. Losing our bass player for the first half, having to adapt and form a two man show under pressure, up against the flame, and then losing our bass player for the entire tour midway. Man, that was fucking nuts. Prepping all those tracks so we could carry out multi set shows, god damn. So there’s that. And then we’ve been tested in all the other ways the road and long distance travel will test you. Poor sleeping conditions, insufferable heat, being far from showers for days on end, lack of money, rolling through thunder storms, dealing with sickness on the road, and the general fear of the unknown, just to list off some of the things that will test you. It really has been amazing though. Raised on TV grew wings on this tour. I’m marking it down here. The summer that tested us like none other. The summer of a lifetime.
Day 32 8/5/19
Sitting on St. Augustine beach in Florida. We played Gainesville last night and had a great time. A small crowd, but a mighty crowd. Felt like we were able to connect with strangers again, and it was incredible. Played with two local bands, Sangs and Flown. Sold a shirt to a guy named Jose, and felt like we made a true fan.
We’ll be playing here tonight at a place called Shanghai Nobby’s. Thankful for this beautiful beach, warm, white sand, beautiful women. Felt amazing to take a salt water bath as a substitute for showering. (No LA Fitness in this part of Florida.) Our first visit to a beach on the Atlantic this trip. We went to some beaches on the great lakes, Montrose, a beach in Toronto, also have had a lot of lake and river time, which has been great, but there’s nothing quite like a salt water beach off the ocean. So cleansing, so powerful, so beautiful, so bright, so clear. This is fucking great. Day 32. Running low on funds, but we’ll pick it up somehow. This has been the trip of a lifetime. What we’ve seen, where we’ve been, who we’ve met, what we’ve done, beyond words. It’s been eye opening, mind clearing. Solidly in the moment, through ups and downs. Starts and stops, pulls and drags. Day 32. 16 shows.