Plenty of people go to see bands when they come through their town, but most people don’t think about everything that it takes to get those bands to their favorite club. Being on tour for a musician is both enlightening and daunting, as physically and mentally draining as it is stimulating. And no matter what, there are always stories to tell. In Tales From The Golden Road we let musicians tell their own stories of life on the road to get a behind-the-scenes, up-close look at what really goes down between each show.
The Band of Heathens are on tour now supporting their new album Duende. We’ll be publishing dispatches from their tour as it progresses. For a full list of dates and music visit bandofheathens.com. You can read Part 1 of this series HERE.
As the second week of our Duende tour begins, we find ourselves in New York City in the middle of a Nor’Easter. The city has an almost mythic quality, when under these conditions. As we crossed the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan an $81 toll, our van was pounded by 50 MPH gusts of wind, and sheets of rain came rolling across the windshield as we sloshed south on 9th Avenue.
We took the Lincoln Tunnel into the city because everyone knows that you can’t drive a commercial vehicle and trailer into the Holland Tunnel; well almost everyone, (we learned that on our way out of the city, but more about that later)…
Tonight’s show at the City Winery was great fun and we had a tour ending jam with The National Reserve, what a group of great guys and a cool band, make sure you go check them out.
We also learned earlier in the day that our record had gone to #1 on the Americana Charts. I’ll be honest and say that we truly don’t make music to win awards and be recognized, we do it because we love to make music, it’s a passion and a way of life for all of us. I can also say that we feel grateful that this music is resonating with people and it’s being heard. It’s really a great gift to have people embrace your work.
At around 2am we were ready to head out of the city and park our ride in New Jersey (can’t park trailers in NYC on the street), but we were stopped by a police officer for trying to enter the Holland Tunnel. For all you bands out there with trailers, NO HOLLAND TUNNEL.
We had a great day of press and radio work on Tuesday, with visits to Relix, SiriusXM and Paste Magazine.
We did a mini-desk style concert for Relix and I was given a tour of the archives of Relix’s files on The Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia. I consider myself to be a pretty strong Deadhead, so this was quite a treat.
PS: If for some off chance you’re reading this, don’t come up and quiz me on shows and dates to see if I’m a “true Deadhead.” Do however, ask Trevor our keyboard player that question because he will know the answer.
Next up was a full studio performance for Outlaw Country on (Sirius XM). It’s always great to see our friend Jeremy Tepper and hang out in the music library that is Sirius Studios. We performed 4 or 5 originals from Duende along with a cover of “Alabama” by Neil Young and an acoustic version of “Ruby” by the Dave Rawlings Machine. We got to pretend like we had our own radio show for about 30 minutes and we had a blast.
After slamming down a falafel and 2 slices from NY Pizza Supreme on 8th Avenue – there is such a wealth of delicious food in this city and so little time to eat it – we headed over to Paste Studios for a live streaming performance from their tape archive room. Brad, the head engineer showed us all sorts of masters that they have been transferring to digital in an effort to preserve the performances. They had bootlegs, studio music, interviews and outtakes from literally every artist you could imagine, it was truly a library of tape.
We finished the evening off with some good hot Thai curry at MamaK on 2nd Ave. in the east village. As we drove out of the Holland Tunnel and crossed back into Jersey to pick up our trailer, the rain turned to sleet and then to snow…
Moving through the week proved to be relatively easy. We stayed at a good friend’s lakefront house in New Paltz, NY and had some time to relax before we hit Darryl’s House Club on Wednesday night in Pawling, NY. We didn’t get to meet the man himself, but I got to take a candid picture with his carved likeness.
Had a cool visit to a bunch of great radio stations this week. Support your NPR stations and your community radio stations, they’re providing really good quality programming and are a living organism in your community!
We have to say thanks to Jimmy at Radio Woodstock in Woodstock, NY, Albert and Jay at WUMB in Boston, MA Rob at WVOF in Fairfield, CT, and Bruce at WPKN in Bridgeport, CT.
Coolest moment was finding out that the building that housed Radio Woodstock was built by Albert Grossman (a titan in the Artist Management field). We also learned that this was his final resting place.
We were going to try to go by Big Pink and check it out, but we were running short on time. We did learn that Big Pink is available as an Air BnB. Just a travel tip from us to you, you’re welcome.
We wrapped up the week with some great shows in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey. We had Reid Foehl open up a few shows for us and got him up to sing “Brown Eyed Women” a couple of times. It was great getting to know him and hear his songs. Make sure you go and find his music.
Well it’s 1:51am on Sunday Night, (it’s technically “Monday Morning”, but I never call it that) and I’m in Budd Lake, NJ at a Holiday Inn finishing up this tour diary.
As we all scatter and head home to spend time with our loved-ones, we are weary, but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment at releasing our album and playing these new songs live. The response thus far has been fantastic, our fans have been showing up, in larger numbers and more vocal than ever.
We’ll take a week, decompress and recharge and see you back out on the road in Kansas City on February 8th.