By Eric Kamm Published October 16, 2009
I’ve spent some time on the road, but still, there are evenings when it’s easier from me to fall asleep while the van is moving. This particular night, I was out the second I laid down on the vehicle’s floor (in the space between the two bench seats [on which two other people were sleeping]). We were driving from Seattle to Portland, and it was probably between 2 and 3 A.M.. I was half awakened when the bassist, Matt, pulled onto a dirt road and the van started shaking. Now I didn’t know where we were, but I definitely knew that there were no dirt roads we were supposed to be traveling on.
When you are on a DIY tour, you play a lot of bars and basement shows (the latter mostly back East). You’re surviving on pennies, and the only way to make enough money to pay for gas is to play every night, which often results in late night drives from dusk till dawn. For safety reasons, you always have one person driving, and one person riding shotgun—that is, talking to the driver, making sure that he’s awake.
Now Nino, the vocalist in our group, has fallen asleep at band practice before while sitting a few feet away from my drums (while I’m playing them) and a couple of screaming guitar amps. What’s even more comforting is that there's a fifty-fifty chance of Nino falling asleep within five minutes of sitting down while he’s on Shotgun Duty. I awoke this particular evening to find that Nino was half awake, typing away on his Palm Pilot/internet phone (your odds are slightly worse, at about sixty percent, that Nino will doze off while giving directions from his computer phone), sleep talking directions to Matt, and letting him know that he should turn around. Matt puts the van in reverse.
All of a sudden. WHACK!, out of the blue.
And then I was completely awake.
Matt had backed into a metal mailbox. We all stood there in silence for a few seconds. My lost Christian upbringing momentarily surfaced as the slip popped out of my mouth “Do you think we should leave a note or something?” Felony Ron, owner of the label helping us out Felony Records, and esteemed and inveterate Road Pirate, came to his senses quicker than the rest of us. “GO, GO, GO!” he shouted (you earn your nickname where we come from). And once again we were off into the night.