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Natalie’s Take on Tour 2010: We are Family

For me, there were so many highlights and adventures on tour, but the most substantial impact that it had on me was the joy I got from closeness and camaraderie within the band.

The band at the taco stand

For starters, we gave David a crash course in being around girls (and we’re not even that girlie… ok, well maybe I am…) Another band member (who was going to remain anonymous, but she outed herself in her own blog post) and I both forgot to bring bras. “Why might that be bad?” David wondered. So, we got to explain to him the physics and mechanics of what happens when you wear the same bra for an entire week. He subsequently named the tour “Bratastrophy Tour.” David also got to learn about periods/tampons, what are “boyshorts,” men’s restrooms are WAY grosser, and he also learned to embroider, but I don’t think that should be gendered.

We made fun of Teresa for a good 4 days for her dislike of lettuce due to the “work to fullness ratio”. Apparently you have to work really hard to eat it, and then you’re not that full? After numerous lettuce recurring jokes, I remembered the story of a friend of mine who got really tired of being made fun of for years and years just for asking to eat fish and chips one night. So I stopped giving Teresa a hard time. But really… lettuce?? Plus, she wouldn’t let me bring “potato” as my desert island choice of vegetable during the desert island game , so I owe her a little for that.

Fake tats at gas station

I didn’t really make fun of Rebecca or give her a hard time, (did I, Rebecca?) although I did try to convince her to get a real tattoo, just out of spite for Sonny not responding to one of her texts about her fake tattoo. “That’ll sure show him,” I told her. Pretty sound advice, if you ask me.

Following is a day-by-day account of our trip, from my perspective:

Monday, Sept 13th

Teresa and I loaded up the van, and swung by Rebecca and David’s corporate job to head out on our journey. I was a little nervous about the van because it smelled funny and shook every time we went over 50 mph. Luckily, the van got better over the course of the tour- either that, or I just got more laid back. I’m hoping it was a little of both. 

Packing up the van

We stayed in Eugene and David and I barely slept since we were sharing a bed and were both deathly afraid of accidentally violating any social or personal boundaries.

Tuesday, Sept 14th

Kimo’s in San Fran

We inched our way to San Francisco, where we rolled up to the venue right at show time. What’s up, rock stars. The San Francisco show was a little rough around the edges… I totally forgot my part to 95% (one of the easiest and most played song of ours), and when we tried our new song, my mind went completely blank on the words. Teresa wrote some really great lyrics to this new song, full of amazing imagery and allegory and irony (you know, all those thingy-things you try to use in writing), and my mind just saw a blank page. David also sang some beautiful harmonies to “No Stars” using the word “watermelon”. There were a few cool things about that show, though. We got to warm up for our show at Silverlake Lounge the next night, and we got to suck a little in front of a seemingly tolerant crowd. Teresa added in some fascinating banter about a street performer shooting something out of their booty with a cigar or something (?) and an underwater puppet show? I’m not sure, but it was charming as hell. One of the guys from The Facekicks told me that he could really relate to the song “No Stars”, as he has a window in his apartment that has a view of the city sky. Wow… someone was actually listening to the words? And relating?

Wednesday, Sept 15th

It was a moment of solidarity for the entire band when we were driving from SF to LA, and an email from Eli at The Croc came through my phone. He was asking us to play a show!! We’ve never played at the Croc, and it’s sort of been a dream of ours forever (am I projecting MY dreams on the band? Yes). It’s the kind of dream you don’t really try for because it might just make you sad or waste your time (unless you’re writing to ask to open for Idlewild, which I did, and no, we’re not opening for them  ). The fact that we were all together when we got the email felt a little bit like the part in “That Thing You Do” when they get played on the radio for the first time and they run around hugging each other and turning on all the radios. Except we didn’t have a radio, and we’re not allowed to hug each other unless we’re not at band practice/doing band business. It’s an unspoken (and spoken) band rule.

Silverlake Lounge

We arrived in Echo Park, parked illegally, ate avocados, got a ticket, and hung out with the famous Becky Gebhardt . The order is a little fuzzy, I know. We made our way to Silverlake Lounge and we felt really cool. I mean- I didn’t- but I could tell everyone else did. Suckers. Becky Gebhardt now plays in a rock band. They were really good. They were supposed to be all “careless” and “raucous”, but they were frickin’ tighter than we’ll ever be. It was probably the best night of music we have ever taken part in. Praise the lord we stepped it up, because I am not even kidding you, these bands tore our faces off… literally. Wait. Not literally. But you know, for real, yo. My friend Garth came to the show and took hundreds of amazing photos. Oh- and I got to play out of Becky’s amp and I sounded good. We got to meet Jenn’s friend “Jobby Job” and he brought us a delicious guava cream cheese pastry. That’s rock n’ roll, folks.

Thursday, Sept 16th

Today we had a little bit of time off, Teresa and Rebecca visited with friends, while David and I got to have an amazing breakfast prepared by Becky Gebhardt. Teresa joined us again later for an epic game of “Sentence Picture Sentence Picture Sentence”. The rules of the game are simple. First person writes a sentence. The next person draws a picture of that sentence, and the next person writes a sentence off of that picture (not being able to see the sentence prior) …. the most Important part being that you cannot see anything anyone else has drawn or written besides the one right before yours. It’s like “telephone” with drawings. This one has to be my favorite, but I had to edit it slightly in case any of our impressionable fans end up reading this.

Sentence / picture

At night, we played an acoustic set at KUCI, and got to spin tracks from all of our favorite local bands: Danielli, Elba, Ghost Lobby, The Sound of Speed, The Quit, Buzzing Silence (Rain City Rock Camp band), Cober, She’s Your Sister (not local, but Jenn Johnson is). We also played a lot of us. Later, we took our charming DJ, Rita, out to a night of debauchery (otherwise known as a pleasant dinner with 80’s Muzak). David tried to order a “garden” burger in Orange County, but was appropriately corrected that it was a “gardeeen burger.” Duh.

Teresa KUCI

What can I say? Los Angeles, I love you. I have judged you unfairly in the past. But don’t take it too personally. I also judged Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, expensive shampoo, and avocados, and I ended up coming around to loving those things eventually as well.

Rebecca & Nat, KUCI

Friday, Sept 17th

Fish house

Drive, drive, drive, drive. Teresa made us see a fish house, and we’ll never regret it. We stayed with Craig, Teresa’s brother, and had fun with the genetics game. We went to Martin’s loft in Oakland to play a show for his handpicked crowd of intellectuals. He was awesome. It was HIS birthday, yet he made US feel special. He bought us Thai food and made people give us money and stuff. My kind of guy. We played to an attentive crowd that was snuggling body pillows (and bodies), and got to sing through cordless mics. I’d like to have body pillows and cordless mics at every show from here on out. Craig’s band McPuzo and Trotsky played, and sang all sorts of clever innuendos and dressed up as grasshoppers halfway through the set. Sounds like something the sibling of Teresa might do.
The next morning Craig and Jane took us to delicious breakfast and I had a burrito that I am still dreaming about. Some people were really mean to me and Rebecca, but I still think Berkeley is nice. Luckily I don’t hold a grudge or anything.

Saturday, Sept 18th

We trekked up north to the resort town of Ashland, OR and tried to find people dressed up in Shakespearean outfits. No such luck. We pulled in to the Caldera Taphouse, scarfed our comped meal, and set up our sound for the night. David played a beautiful opening set for us. Teresa, Rebecca and I cried into our free beers at the gorgeous sounds coming from the stage.

We pretty much played to no one, except for a baby boom biker couple, but I loved it. Apparently we did have one audience member who came down later on because she received a text “You’ve gotta come down here, the band is awesome.” The crowd may have been sparse, but they seemed to appreciate us. We only had one mic and one mic stand, so the entire night was like a choreographed dance around the mic- swinging and swaying in and out of the way of the next vocalist. It was FUN. Maybe just for me, though. It added a level of athleticism that I’ve been missing out on since living the rock n’ roll lifestyle. Yes people, that was my workout for the week. By the end of the night, after one too many tastes off the tap at Caldera Taphouse, I got it in my head that it would be brilliant to call our next record, “Don’t Spoon with Strangers.” Hmmm… I think I’ll just set that one aside for a rainy day. But it’s pretty sound advice, nevertheless.

Sunday, Sept 19th

Cell phones charging. They get priority over the amp.

Today we played in Portland, and for being the city that all of us are enamored with (and supposedly know people there?), we had quite a bit of trouble finding a place to stay and finding bands to play with. We had the fortune of playing with Leslie’s newest incarnation: Lather, Rise Repeat. She is my bass sister, and it was so awesome to see how her basslines have taken on a life of their own. I’m pretty sure we killed that show. Even if we didn’t, I’m choosing to remember that we freakin’ killed it. It was the last night on the road, and everything just flowed under our fingers like butter and the dynamics took on new dimensions. You weren’t there, so how would you know? Just trust that it was epic. I know that word gets overused in music writing and describing, but you know what? That’s the word

Monday, Sept 20th

Teresa and David: too much fun

We treated ourselves to breakfast at Bijous with some of our remaining earnings from tour. We stopped by our old stomping grounds, Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls, to donate the remaining CDs from our tour to their Ladies Rock Camp. We owe them for all that we are. I stumbled my way around a conversation with sts, then we made an imperative stop at MLK Fashion Plaza. Teresa and David had fun with tutus and undergarments with bling.

When it’s all said and done, I think the entire trip is best summed up by this Mad Lib that Teresa created for us that we all did together during the last stretch on I-5:  (if you click on the image it’s easier to read)

APC mad lib

Thank you to my band. I love you. Thank you for amusing me and my crazy ideas, and for making my dreams come true.

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