Life as a touring artist brings unspeakable volumes of filth, fun and profane awesomeness. We offered up our blog as a road diary and our friend Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die graciously took the bait. In Keith’s final entry (sad, we know), as he gets ready to start his next tour, lets us in on a horrendous nightmare as well as his battle with a poorly prepared hotel breakfast.
If you haven’t already yet, be sure to pick up your tickets to ETID’s Violent Gentleman Tour with The Ghost Inside, Architects and Hundredth, here. Now, let us begin.
It’s 11:52 on a Wednesday night in early November and I am in a hotel room in Dayton, Ohio on the way to begin a tour that doesn’t end until a few days before Christmas.
Yesterday morning I was watching the sun rise on a beach in the Dominican Republic on the last day of a vacation with my wife and some friends and today I was dragging myself out of bed in Buffalo, New York at 8 am in order to rake leaves before the van picked me up so that the snow that will inevitably fall between now and the next time I am home doesn’t matt them down and smother my luscious grass. A lot of people think a snow fall will simply put them out of sight and out of mind for the entirety of the winter season like cigarette butts or dog poops or old denim jeans that a hobo discarded but this is irresponsible thinking and if you are one of those people who allows their Tall Fescue to suffocate for months under layers of precipitate in total darkness you should have your lawn taken away from you because you are a son of a bitch.
As this is the first day on the road, the clothes I brought are meticulously packed in the London Fog suitcase I got from Marshall’s over a year ago. Marshall’s not only has great prices, but also plenty of color options for husky dads who may require a XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXL Tommy Hillfiger polo. My socks are carefully rolled and my shirts are folded neatly and placed according to predicted necessity. Since we wont be in cold weather until much later in the tour, the jackets and sweaters are near the bottom while the tees and deep v’s are floating at the surface like dead cotton fish - an analogy which I am immediately and thoroughly ashamed of making. The Umbro shorts which Andy bought for me a few months ago from the children section of Dick’s Sporting Goods store for $8 are set aside along with my sneakers and hoodie because I have plans to run on the treadmill in the hotel gym tomorrow morning before showering and dressing with enough time leftover to partake in the hearty continental breakfast offered by the Comfort Inn before it ends at 9 am. For this reason, I am brushed and washed and sober and under the covers with ABC Family on in the background playing a John Hughes movie. The jar of powdered Cleansing Green Super Nutrients is on the table next to my bottle of water ready to be mixed and consumed right before I do 20 minutes of meditation. My iPhone is charging. I will write for another half hour or so and then I will read a chapter in James Hillman’s The Dream and the Underworld and then I will fall asleep. Everything is where it belongs. Routine and order will reign. The mercurial temperaments of a winter van tour will not see me compromise my resolve. Not this time. Goodnight, sweet princes.
I woke up out of a nightmare world at 7:30 am. In the dream that I was having - or in the dream that was having me!? kinda makes you think - my real life friend was driving ETID around in his father’s Jaguar. I was up front with him while the rest of the band was sleeping soundly in the back. My friend (we will call him N. Georgiaddis. No wait, Niko G. much more inconspicuous.) Niko G decided that he would take advantage of their unawareness and vandalize a church, explaining to me that I had no choice but to come along for the ride as his partner/captive/unwilling participant. Ignoring my protests entirely, he turned the car into the parking lot of a cathedral that appeared neither prior to nor as a result of its need by my dream self. He began doing donuts and smashing his father’s expensive, pristine car into its walls. I was terrified not only for myself but for him, as the car gave my soul the feeling that it was both new and expensive and taken from his father without permission. Niko, however, was exhilarated, howling with ignorant delight as the rest of the band slept peacefully just behind us. The destructive tactics repeated timelessly as things in dreams tend to do until finally a priest came out of the church and ran towards the car. Seeing him, Niko threw the Jaguar in park and took to foot until he was violently apprehended by the clergyman across the infinitely large parking lot. In a panic, I jumped behind the wheel and sped off down the street. I felt fear for more than just my earthly life, though what little concern I did have for it was vested in the well being of Niko’s poor father and his missing car named after an animal. After just a few miles, I came upon a road block. Cops had their guns drawn. The rest of the band woke up just in time to see me overtaken by the police, not privy to any of the prior events or the fact that it was a misunderstanding. I felt humiliated and scared. Then it vanished.
I laid there for a moment and reviewed the events of the dream as my heart rate slowly returned to normal and my mind replaced the previous horrible certainties with the immediate not so horrible ones. James Hillman would say that there was no point in fishing dreams out of their rightful place in the underworld and looking at them in the light of day and language of earth, but sometimes I find James Hillman’s unwillingness to apply mystic symbology really fucking boring. Unable to go back to sleep, I got out of bed a half hour before my alarm was set to go off, put on the shorts and hoodie and sneakers I had carefully and hopefully laid out just a few hours earlier and went downstairs to discover that there was no gym. I probably should have looked into that.
Feeling a little defeated but not yet entirely overwhelmed, I got a plate full of bright yellow chemical egg saucers from the breakfast spread and sat down in the lobby where I ate them so fast that I began choking thanks to a smooth, benign, circumferential and narrow ring of tissue in the lower end of the esophagus that I was born with known as a “Schatzki Ring.“ When un-chewed pieces of food bottleneck at this level of my throat/chest area, the panic divides my mind from my body so that it might conquer my entire being more effectively. As per the typical routine of public suffocation while standing at a buffet (this isn’t my first choking rodeo, pal) I immediately began sweating and I could feel my eyeballs getting tighter. The subsequent embarrassment set in right about the same time as my diaphragm began violently pushing air up in an attempt to pop the food loose like a champagne cork, which is futile since an opposing part of my “body-as-wonderland” started producing an excess of saliva in an ambitious endeavor to lube the impaction so throughly that it slips down into my stomach where it belongs until it is made into poop and put in the toilet where it REALLY belongs *wink*.
While this devastating push and pull plays out inside of me, I am outwardly making a series of weird burping/gagging/drowning noises, my back is hunching in spasms like Zelda’s in Pet Cemetery and my eyes are watering profusely. While it SEEMED as if people in my vicinity were beginning to notice that something was amiss, I simply folded my napkin in front of my swollen, red face and wordlessly excused myself from the table. Once having causally sauntered out of the lobby and around the corner, I frantically scrambled to the closest bathroom and began to induce vomiting. Mounds of egg encased in saliva like baby cows in an embryonic sac were pushed (with force, mind you, quite unlike typical vomiting) out into the cruel world and every muscle in my upper body ached, as I was essentially having contractions. Then, after all food was expelled, I took my first deep breath in what felt like an eternity, wiped my eyes, flushed the toilet and I returned to my room where I meditated for 20 minutes on the glory of life.
That leads to now. This is my last contribution to the website and I think it’s appropriate that it ends as soon as something else begins. Today we start the trip west to do our last tour of 2014. I will most likely opt to wear the same comfortable shirt 7 days in a row instead of any of the ones I jammed into my luggage. I will probably not finish the book I started reading or remember to drink my green supplements or have the chance to exercise everyday. In fact, there’s a 99% chance I will be trying to quietly jack off in a gas station bathroom half drunk at 2 am with a belly full of chocolate milk and ham slices within just a few days of writing this. But all that is cool with me, particularly that last part about being drunk and whacking off. This is not the kind of life that abides a real schedule and if I try to force one upon it, it responds like a fitful child and will use a bright yellow egg patty to remind me that I am always at it’s mercy and my planning is irrelevant. Really, the most I can ask for anymore is that by the end of tour I have not been kidnapped and forced to vandalize one of the houses of God.