Sunday, August 8, 2010

7th Day of the Oddtour!

     I am writing from a relatively upscale hotel room in Gurnee, Illinois; just about half an hour North of Chicago. More things have happened in this first week--regarding our adventures, misadventures, and activities--than many people accomplish in a ten year span. It's incredible that it feels like we've been on the road for weeks or months already, but are only through a third of the total trip.

     Last time I posted a new journal entry, we were in a hotel in Phoenix, and Ian had knocked one of his fake teeth out. We decided to have him get some emergency dental glue from an office the next morning, while we all went out to a cool coffeehouse in the suburbs near Phoenix's industrial center. And I was able to repair my badly falling apart tom drum, since, after suffering from years of my beating the crap out of it through travel and play, the hinge screws decided to cause the drum to almost break off the metal stand I've crafted for it.

     From Phoenix, we headed North through Flagstaff, where the desert suddenly rose several thousand feet in elevation and became evergreen pine forests, as far as the eye could see! The air was fresh when we got out to eat some lunch at an appropriately named road house, The Lonely Pine. Some us still conducted our daily regimen of 50 pushups for each stop we make on the road, be it for gas or a stretch break or to eat. After lunch, we headed east through the open steppes of New Mexico, where beautiful thunderstorms left heavy stretches of dark gray clouds which permeated the air with rain and lightning blasts. The dark red land was beautifully dotted with green shrubbery and not that many houses. We passed tons of signs for selling meteorites and ostrich eggs, Indian trading posts, and religious propaganda.

Albuquerque and Santa Fe
     We arrived in Albuquerque to play a fun show in a bar named The Atomic Cantina, with another fun bar next door, Burt's Tiki Lounge. We met the other touring band who was playing Burt's at the same time we played the Cantina, and soon parted ways. I felt a very cool vibe in downtown Albuquerque-- I really want to go back there. We stayed the night at Nick's friend Ria's house in Santa Fe, about an hour North of Albuquerque, and watched Clerks 2/ enjoyed some hand-made enchiladas, courtesy of Ria as well. All of the houses are made of adobe and are surrounded by cool plants and trees. There is a very strong Native American theme to the area, which is awesome. Anyway, the next morning we grabbed some Mexican food from a locals only type restaurant, including some menudo for me to enjoy, and hit the road for Oklahoma City. Definitely want to return to New Mexico someday. Someday.

Amarillo and Oklahoma City
     We had a 9 hour drive across mostly flat plains to reach our sleeping-only location of Oklahoma City. Since the whole day was based on us driving, we had no anticipated outdoor activities. What better way to have something to do than to eat lunch at The Big Texan steak house, located in the northern Texas panhandle city of Amarillo! And what better way to make a scene, as Oddwood notoriously does, than by switching from car clothes (and it was bloody hot, by the way) to our pirate garb. Besides getting a few weird looks, we sat down at a round table and looked over the menu. The Big Texan is home to the 72oz. Steak Challenge! If you can eat 72oz. of steak, plus a few sides, in under one hour, your meal is free. We considered splitting said meal amongst us, but after finding out the price is significantly higher to order it for a group, we split off and got our own meals. Mine was a super-juicy 18oz. steak, with a baked potato and salad. Completely delicious.
     From that point, we continued on to Oklahoma City, where we reached the ridiculously seedy Motel 6. It was chock full of low-lifes and scumbags and weird people of all sorts, and simply felt dirty. Andre was pleasantly confronted by a person whilst returning to his room with more towels for us to split. The conversation was as follows:

     Andre (while passing by): Hi.
     Guy: Hey I got a girl in Room 108, needs to be f***ed real good and hard. You interested?
     Andre: Nope.
     Guy (sounding a bit disappointed at Andre's response): Well alright...

     Next morning we got the hell outta Dodge and went straight up to Wichita, where we had a super fun show awaiting us at Kelly's Irish Pub. The promoter was definitely into us and spreading the word about us appearing, as The Biggest Party of the Summer! and Awesome West Coast Pirate Rock. We hung out in downtown Wichita, where old brick buildings and brick-lined streets sat heavily upon a near-deserted, borderline ghost town. Since it was a Wednesday night, not that many people were out and about. I kind of thought zombies might appear while we walked around in our defenseless pirate garb, and we were contemplating immediately accessible weapons, just in case.

     Our show at the Pub was possibly one of the best Oddwood performances we've ever had. People were drinking their hearts out and dancing and standing around, while we belted out tunes for two hours of music. My hands were torn up, we were given several rounds of shots and free drinks, which drowned out our sensibilities and required the fun bar wenches to ferry us home to our hotel rooms. I passed out, sprawled across the bed, and I was asleep like a rock the remainder of the night. We gave the bar their best day ever in drink sales, even beating out their St. Patty's Day crowd, which is wall-to-wall packed!!! We rock. Seriously.

St. Louis in passing, and now Gurnee, IL.
     Anyway, we headed from Wichita to St. Louis, where we stayed, again, in a seedy area of town. The drive out was beautiful too, being more of a midwestern treed area. Each Midwest town has their own water tower, decorated in pride with the town's name and sports team, reminding people of our nostalgic and amazing past as settlers and cowboys and outlaws. St. Louis was nothing special.

     St. Louis to our current location, Gurnee, was about 6 hours or so, so we left in the afternoon and got here at 8pm Friday evening. Mosquitos are everywhere! I've been attacked at the feet 12 or more times by those bastards. During the trip, I was in deep contemplation about my relationship with Katt, whom I love very much. She has done so much for me, and I can't wait to see her again! I miss her very much, and I'll still be on the road another two weeks. :/

We've spent this weekend playing the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which is only  about 20min from here and a few miles West of Lake Michigan. Needless to say we turned heads, gained a brand new and ever-growing fan base, and sold a whole lot of BOTH our albums!!! The faire itself is set amongst an old oak forest, complete with a bog, a pond, and permanently built shops and period-era decorations. The shops have very affordable cool things like weapons, leather craft up the wazoo, clothing, trinkets and art. Our shows were super excellent. I managed to get my thumb caught in between two pieces of one of my cymbals during a show, and upon removing it, discovered the sharp metal edges punctured my thumbnail, which was interestingly enough not a terribly painful experience by any means. Not to mention I've destroyed my hands with torn blisters and new blisters and constant healing/breaking down. I need some drumming gloves.

Anyway, that's enough for now, so be sure to check back for another post- maybe sometime this upcoming week, or perhaps the next, depending on how much down time I have.

Until then, this is Drew Peters.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 1 on our National Tour and it's already worth another post!!!

     So I woke up at 7:15a.m. this morning and took off to Vons for last minute items I needed: antibacterial ointment, bandages, and some granola bars for the car ride. We headed to Santee, where, at Ian's house, we loaded up our 2 cars full of merchandise, instruments, and 3 weeks (per person) of luggage. The best part was/is-- we are driving in an '07 Dodge Caliber and a 2004 Toyota Corolla, with eight people.

     I'm writing from a bed on the 4th? story of Motel Six in Phoenix, with 3 other Oddwood members and 2 Oddgirls (whose cars we were using). We're discussing the options for Ian, our resident concertinist, regarding replacing his fake tooth, which, only one hour ago, came out in a pool impact. Superglue, perhaps? Emergency dental cement? A do-it-yourself dental repair kit?

     Today, Murphy's Law was definitely in effect on the ride out, although, considering everything we've done today, we seemed to luck out as well. The Dodge Caliber, coincidentally of American design, decided to freak out about an overheating transmission, despite the fact it was recently given a full service inspection. The ride over, for our car anyway, went without a hitch. The weather on the desert ride out was a cooler (yet still bloody hot) 104 Degrees, eventually dropping down 85 Degrees with a little bit of rain. The smell of desert rain is always a great experience. Last time we came to Arizona, it was quite hotter, and with thunderstorms!

     We stopped by a Guitar Center so I could pick up a few new cymbals (which are SUPER excellent sounding), and a whole bunch of drumsticks. Arriving at the motel, Colleen, Nick and I headed to a Safeway for the eve's dinner pick-up. I took the helm on our first dinner of pasta w/ green peppers, mushrooms and garlic, cooked on some camping burners and such. The sauce bubbling created a mini murder scene all over the mirror and bathroom sink. Success!

Our first show stop:

     We played The Trunk Space earlier tonight, with The Cullens and Wizard Teeth. The Cullens were excellent! Great B-52's style punk, with an ambiguously-gendered lead singer, a hot bassist chick, a fat drummer, and a bathrobe-sporting guitarist, and a guy in nothing more than a  speedo, horn glasses and a headband, playing synths and a cowbell. Weird and hilarious.
     Oddwood went up immediately afterward, and we played a great set. I got to test out my new cymbals! And then, immediately following us, a band named Wizard Teeth played. Basically, their band is very similar to ours. The instrumentation includes upright bass, violin, mandolin, 3 guitars, and accordion--but no drums. They had a decent turnout of crazy punk kids, which I'll explain in a second, but their music was very similar to power metal with Oddwood-esque instrumentation and musical style. Every Wizard Teeth song has catchy, repeatable lyrics, and frequent breaks in volume and random, mostly unpredictable song endings. But what really made their show was the environment. The lights in the venue were all turned off, and there was no mic'ing of the band, which made them the quitest show of the night. But their followers yelled the lyrics to every song, which really brought up the energy. And they also moshed and mad waltzed around, crashing into the walls. Francis and I were standing on chairs along the framed painting-decorated wall, which gave a great view of the crazy Wizard Teeth fans. And one of the madly waltzing couples smashed into Francis, which caused his hand to punch through a glass frame on the wall. The show continued with two people grabbing chairs and literally SLAMMING them at each other, swinging with full force and miraculously (but also regrettably) not gauging out faces. Quite the show.

Then we returned here to commit myself to the pool for a refreshing swim, with and without pool furniture in the actual pool. Part of these antics resulted in Ian's current, one-tooth-less situation. Oh! And Nick, Reece, Francis and I are committed to doing 50 push-ups everytime our car stops (for gas, for a motel, or for pretty much any other reason). We'll see how buff we end up 20 days from now. Tomorrow we're off to Albuquerque; I wanted to post this because so much fun stuff happened today.

Until next time, this is Drew Peters.