Music

The Intelligence Toured America and This Is What We Saw

Or at Least Here Are a Few of the Low Points

The Intelligence Toured America and This Is What We Saw

Megan Lunz

FARGO ROCK CITY, ND The Intelligence (minus Megan “Shutterbug” Lunz) wandering the streets aimlessly before sound check.

This journal leans toward showcasing the lows of our six-week tour because I don't find much entertainment value in any band's "We made it there in record time/Wow, gas is cheap here/They gave us FOUR drink tickets/The place was packed/I found a dollar on the ground/Turns out crabs actually FEEL GOOD" good-luck stories—I always wanna hear about the horrors. Unless you get to do blow at Grace Jones's hotel room or urinate into some evil band's merch tub (both true stories), positive highlights are just kinda boring. Please allow me to introduce the other Intelli-gents and ladies: on the drums, Beren Ekine-Huett. On the bass keys, Susanna Welbourne. Her sister Megan Rose Lunz on keyboards. And her husband, Eric Lunz, on guitar.

Spokane, Washington, October 17

While loading merch into the van at home—an easy task, since only HALF of the merch order arrived—we get a text message saying, "Spokane is worried about the turnout tonight and wants to cancel the show and pay you 100 bucks." Apparently, a Coheed and Cambria show has absorbed our potential crowd. We drive to Spokane, pick up our cash (which has shrunk to $75), and are offered shots of Fireball (cinnamon whiskey). We go to kill time at a pizza place/karaoke joint until our host gets off work at 1:00 a.m. Time has stopped in this place, and it is 1997 like a motherfucker: Karaoke versions of New Radicals, Folk Implosion, Soul Coughing, Soul Asylum—it's an entertaining waterfall of two-word-named bands until it isn't anymore, and we move on to Mootsy's for dollar-pint night.

As the ladies are deciding on a drink at the bar, a giant and hilarious dude drunkenly leans in between them and asks, "WHAT TIME THIS PLACE CLOSE?" and remains there, very close and for an awkwardly long time, waiting for an answer. I suggest that he maybe give the cringing girls a little space, and when he turns to me, each eye is looking in a different direction. He says, "I AIN'T TRYING TO HOLLA AT NOBODY'S LADY" and is immediately kicked out. I feel bad for some reason. Our host shows up, and we go to his place where Susanna and I sleep in the under-­construction basement (freshly cut Sheetrock and exposed wire and cloudy white dust) and wake up with sore lungs.

Eastern Montana I have never been more bored in all my life. Cue up “Gymnopedie I.”

Missoula, Montana, October 18

Tonight we're playing a house party organized by a very nice commune/Food Not Bombs house—when Susanna is informed that this means they might Dumpster dive for their food, she says, "Then I won't eat the food as a political protest, because it should be left for the ACTUAL BUMS." We are fed spaghetti and then offered bong hits by five different people in the first five minutes. (We pass.) Six bands play, including Whiskey Whore (sample lyric: "When I die I wanna go to hell 'cause I'm a piece of shit"), Fag Rag, and Bad Naked. One solitary guy in a Zorro mask and underwear plays an acoustic bass and screams, "Push out the babies and push 'em in the factories!/Push out the babies and push 'em in the factories!/Make the shit we like!/Weld it good!/Sew it good!" Another favorite: "See that old man with his cane/Now it's my walking stick/Now it's my BEATING STICK." The show is a blast.

Later, our air mattress deflates as soon as we lie down, and I fall asleep with my feet higher than my head.

Drive day, October 19

It's a 14-hour-plus drive to Fargo (basically 20 after my bathroom stops). We finally stop around 2:00 a.m. in Dickinson, North Dakota, and every hotel is booked for hunting season. I thought the whole point of hunting was to drink the deer's blood and sleep in its carcass under the stars. It doesn't seem right to bag a deer and have a Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity breakfast and watch Becker in a warm bed at the Comfort Inn. We drive on. Wait, there's a vacancy sign—a true dump glowing like a beacon! "One room left," the clerk says. Highlights include two towels for five people (requests for more are met with a blank stare and a shrug), a hornet in the room, and a shower curtain that emits such a powerful cigarette smell that I want to steal it to impress smokers.

Fargo, North Dakota, October 20

I walk into the venue and head straight to the urinal, where I make the mistake of not looking directly into the drain beforehand, and as a result 500 gnats fly into my underwear. The opening band "DO NOT HAVE A NAME YET" and are so bad they're great. At one point the singer calls for "less of that bright red light in the monitor," and after three failed attempts to get through the first verse of Devo's "Girl U Want" (introduced as "this song's called Devo"), the singer sarcastically says to the guitarist, "Hey, Dave, why don't you plug in your iPhone and let everyone listen to it a couple times." For the last song, they say, "Have y'all seen the movie Demolition Man? Well, this song is FUCKING ABOUT IT." They end by saying, "Sorry." We stay with the band's bassist.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 21

After complaining about the lack of audience in Fargo the night before, I'm told, "It could be worse. Years ago, Tortoise played there and the entire bar formed a conga line and circled the stage chanting 'YOU SUCK!' during the show." On the way to the house we're crashing at, our host calls and says he's bringing five "meat pile" pizzas home. When I ask for one vegetarian, he asks how many of us are vegetarian; I tell him four and a half out of five, and he incredulously exclaims, "MAN, YOU GUYS ARE SERIOUS ABOUT IT, HUH!?" Another band is staying there, too, and they smoke so much my lungs seal themselves off. I wheeze my way to sleep gasping out the only crackable window.

Quiet time in Milwaukee Just moments after this little man rammed his teeny head into the cement floor flying off of his tricycle.’

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 22

I get a text from my dad saying, "When you're in Wisconsin if you eat a cheeseburger it will be the best one you've had in your f'ing life. That's just a fact jack!" As I've recently fallen off the veggie wagon, I see him his burger—and RAISE him deep-fried cheese curds. Then I walk straight to the ER to get my stomach pumped.

We stay at our friend Kevin Mistreater's house, which has an amazing '60s-style rec room basement with a huge light-up bar and a beautiful record collection and painted floors and beds and cool kids and great breakfast. JACKPOT! His son is a lil' wild man who sneaks into the basement and asks us to pile all the mattresses on top of each other so he can ride his plastic three-wheeler off of them. Just before takeoff, he says, "I'm not supposed to do this!" He flies off and lands directly on top of his skull; my stomach drops, but he pops right up and says, "High five, pal!"

Megan Lunz Contemplating quitting the band to go see a movie. I believe it was Sandra Bullock’s ‘All About Steve.’

Chicago, Illinois, October 23

The Chicago bill is weird. There are pop-punk bands, and two kids who came to see us describe it as "the fuckin' Warped Tour or something." Did I mention that the Gories are playing at our favorite venue, the Empty Bottle, the same night? Did I mention that we absolutely love the Gories? Did I mention that the Empty Bottle wanted us on the bill? Did I mention that they now tell me they offered our booking agency more money than our guarantee here at the "Warped Tour"?! INFORMATION I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE HAD! Ah well, we get to rush over and see the Gories destroy at least.

We have a great breakfast at Big Star tacos and overhear a hilarious debate about Halloween costumes.

Guy: "Man, my worst costume ever was as a cool black dude. I thought I was just going to a party, but we had to stop at a party store and everyone in there HATED me."

Girl: "I can't believe you went to a party in blackface."

Guy: "It's not like I was singing, 'Hey, Mammy.' I had speakers in my jacket that were playing N.W.A. I was just a cool dude. From the '80s."

Girl: "I hate you so much right now."

Fin.

Please kill me But don’t leave me in Kalamazoo.’

Kalamazoo, Michigan, October 24

I've set the bar as low as it can go for this one, but it is the birthplace of the Spits, so it's already more musically important than the entire island of Ireland. Turns out, Kalamazoo is a cool little town and has some great shopping. I have to pass up a fringe leather suit but get a great vintage swamp-monster costume for cheap.

The venue is great, and the morsel of a crowd is very enthused and noodle-dancin' funkier than a Phish concert inside Dave Matthews's tour-bus septic tank. A nice guy offers me some of the whiskey bottle he's hidden in the carcass of a burned-down gas station across the street (I pass). In the morning, we awake to a stray roommate grouchily asking, "Where's the mattress that goes to this cot?" I'm not sure, up your butt next to the stick? He realizes he sounded like a douche and gives us a box of Cheez-Its. EVEN STEVEN.

Detroit, Michigan, October 25

Gary Numan is playing Detroit tonight. Did I mention we love Gary Numan? Did I mention that the show's booker tried to put us on this bill? Do I sound like a broken record? Well forgive me, but WE COULD HAVE PLAYED WITH GARY FUCKING NUMAN?! Ah well, let's go with plan B and just book us at any old dump in town that will take us. The good news is we are the gnarliest pack of road rats anyone's ever seen and we are here to ROCK THIS DUMP! I mean rock this town.

Just as it's time for us to start, Susanna's bass amp craps out and won't make a sound, even though it was fine a second ago. (Tomorrow, when checking the amp, I will find that the sound guy accidentally turned off a switch we didn't know existed when he was plugging in the DI box we begged him not to use.) The sound guy decides it's too much of a hassle to borrow an amp and makes her go direct (this means her bass keyboard is just playing out of a tiny monitor and the house speakers in front of us), and with her bass in the monitor, you can't hear the vocals. But, like I said earlier, this pack of road rats squeaked the lid off this garbage can. After the show, Eric unleashes some insane dance moves—one where he skittles across the floor like an upside-down crab and another I like to call Party-Bot Meltdown where he puts his legs inside his shirt and spins like a top. I Shoe Goo our air mattress, and we go to sleep with our bed barely deflating—a soothing, tiny "ssssssssssss" sound.

Cleveland, Ohio, October 26

We play at a club called Now That's Class and stay with a nice kid from one of the bands. He has to go to school early, so he leaves me a key and gives me a tutorial on the alarm code and says to make ourselves at home and sleep as late as we want and is a total gem.

Before bed, I notice curious notes around the house, and each one contains the same salutation: "Hey Pussies..." E.g., "Hey Pussies: You can't leave the dirty knives in the sink. You have to RINSE them and put them in the dishwasher. If you can't handle this, maybe you should get your own and STICK THEM UP YOUR ASS!" Another one in the bathroom says, "Hey Pussies: It's weird to shut the bathroom door when no one is in here, LEAVE IT OPEN!" Around 8:00 a.m. (which is about four hours into slumber for a touring band, if you're lucky), some guy (the author of the notes, I'd imagine) tells us to get out because an inspector is coming to the apartment in a few hours. Our bullshit detectors are beeping so loud I can't concentrate, but we pack up, I turn on the shower and lock the bathroom door from the inside, and we split.

Columbus, Ohio, October 27

If you are looking for skuzzy rock and roll underbellies, this is your spot, folks. But I like Columbus. I think. A friend offers to put us up—we stayed there last year and it was pretty raunchy (a deep green, spore-covered coffeepot comes to mind), but we don't have any other offers. He has to "run an errand" and asks to meet at a party down the street.

The party is a pretty sad sight: a deep, dark, cocaine den of iniquity—jaws grinding and chattering and eyeballs poppin' out. But it's also pretty impressive for a Tuesday! Errand Boy wants to stay, but he graciously gives us his keys and we split. Unfortunately, the squalor of his place has evolved into a true hoarder-style horror. The guest room's door is hard to push open, and it's filled with old, rotten half-full beer cans; dirty take-out containers; and mold-rimmed margarita glasses. We flip a coin to decide whether to kill ourselves or get a hotel. Hotel wins. As we leave, I look back to see a cat in the window, the moonlight reflecting off its single tear.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 28

I've been booked in the Pits three times, and every time it's been decided to not even unload the van. Usually due to a Steelers game. So I don't think we've ever actually played here. The booker at the Thunderbird bar and grill is a legendary nut, but I like him. Inside, when Beren asks him if we get any food or drinks, the guy just says, "NO," and stares straight back into her eyes until she moonwalks back to the van to weep. The booker says we can have the leftovers from the private Halloween party some real estate firm is having upstairs. Wing bones for everyone! They look at us with genuine disgust as we eat the stale pita and encrusted hummus. Later, we get dragged to "Goth Night" at some other club, and the first sight is a nine-months-pregnant goth girl chain-smoking with her belly popping out of her sweatpants.

We stay with the booker in a giant space that booked our previous two cancellations. The room is probably 2,000 square feet, but he has all of our beds inches apart and in a row like the Seven Dwarfs, and seems baffled when we each scoot to the furthermost corners of the room for personal space. In the morning, we awake to what sounds like a garbage truck being flattened by a steamroller, and we find our host crushing garbage can after garbage can of beer cans in the gigantic, echoing room. A good wake-up system for him, I'm sure, but at this point beer-can crushing sounds like the ocean to us, so we are slow to rise. When I extend my hand and say thanks for having us, our host lays his hand completely limp in my hand and says, "Okay," and just stares with dead eyes until I drop it.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 29

Nice club, nice folks, nice bands. Nice nice nice! They let us sleep in the empty rooms above the club, but the catch is that a guy has to let us out in the morning "at 11 sharp!" So we wake up and are all set to go when the guy calls and says he's running late and "would you mind waiting until 1:45?" Uh, sit in a dank, dark nightclub for three hours? No thanks. "Oh, okay, I guess you can just open the back door then and it'll lock behind you," he says. Not sure why this wasn't an option earlier. So we stock the van with the ATM, cash registers, and a couple kegs of beer, and lock the door behind us. For breakfast, Eric gets a giant cheesesteak; it is one of the best things I've ever tasted in my life.

NYC (Manhattan), New York, October 30

After a traffic nightmare getting into the city, we are blessed with a miracle parking spot that gives me more relief than a negative teenage pregnancy test. We get to putter around the Lower East Side, and everyone but me has a frantic time looking for Halloween costumes. Cake Shop is a cool little basement, and German Measles are playing and they are a joy. McDonald's open the show, and their singer has an orange T-shirt that he's cut into a jack-o'-lantern and his nipples pop out of the eye holes. Our set's fun, but we changed the set list, and I keep getting mixed up. After the hundredth eye roll from the band, I say, "For Halloween, I'm a blind guy." Later, Susanna asks why in the hell I said "BLACK GUY" and I realize why a couple of African-American ladies had been cringing at my stage banter.

NYC (Brooklyn), New York, October 31

We play at the Ridgewood Masonic Temple, an amazing old building with secret rooms and ledgers from the '40s reporting checks cashed for $3.92. The bill features a ton of bands, including one of the Vivian Girls doing a White Stripes cover band, the Beets, and Das Racist. Also: the most bummer DJs of all time. I like "witch house" and Salem, but they cast a kind of fog over the party. I find myself longing to see the kid from last night who was in full Teen Wolfcostume spinning "Monster Mash" and "Purple People Eater." After we play, I notice a guy creeping around the merch table with a sinister vibe. He rips one of our T-shirts off the wall, and I grab him, yank it back, and throw him out the door. He comes back with security and says, "This guy just punched me," then swings the world's slowest haymaker at me. I duck and pop him a few times, and some guys grab my arms and drag me to the floor. He comes at me, trying to punch me while I'm pinned. I kick him, and the guys let me go as they realize that he's the problem. A few more pops, and security drags him out the door. All this happens while I'm wearing a giant, fuzzy swamp-monster costume.

Richmond, Virginia, November 1

Richmond has some of the most hospitable (and drinkin'-est, smokin'-est) people around. The cigarettes are locally made and so fresh you can eat them! Pretty decent show for a Monday and the night after Halloween. Our host and his girlfriend offer us a spare bedroom that they unfortunately refer to as their "weird sex room," because "it has a mattress and internet porn." It is indeed an empty room with a mattress, a computer, a Costco-­sized bottle of cocoa-butter lotion, and a roll of paper towels. After tucking us in, the couple retreats to their room to have a loud, whiskey-fueled argument.

Charlotte, North Carolina, November 2

We play with a nice band whose female singer looks all of 17 and is chugging beers so furiously that she lets loose a 15-second burp into the microphone, which she follows with a gay/Indian joke. Tonight is Megan and Eric's two-year anniversary, so we spring for hotel rooms, and though we expect them to want a romantic evening in, they send a text 10 minutes after check-in saying to come over for pizza and Jameson, and next thing you know, we're tromping through some briar patches under a freeway to get to a nearby gentlemen's club for a nightcap. The joint features two gigantic plasma-screen TVs on either side of the stage, one playing NASCAR, one playing a Flowbee infomercial. We settle on the aggressively oversold drink special, Wet Panty Shots, and I'm a bit horrified to see they are $12 apiece for what I imagine is rubbing alcohol and pineapple juice.

Atlanta, Georgia, November 3

We love Atlanta, and the Earl is a great venue and its burger was rated one of the 10 best in America by the New York Times. I have a guacamole burger that is fantastic but also requires about 15 laps around the block to get my left arm to stop tingling. The opening band, the Balkans, is killer (kind of like how I WANT the Feelies to sound). We stay with our good friend Dave, who makes us "taco soup" and tells me he's been on a big almond kick but doesn't think he chews them enough because "it feels like a cat trying to claw its way out of my insides sometimes." He impersonates the clawing cat.

New Orleans, Louisiana, November 4

This is probably the best city in the United States, and it's where Megan, Eric, and Susanna are from, so we're thrilled. We have decent pho for dinner, which, being from Seattle, is like eating at McDonald's in Paris, but it's cheap and easy. The bill is great tonight. Local guitar legend Guitar Lightnin' Lee is cool as hell. Big Freedia is supposed to headline but plays second. We're told, "When she's on the bill, she does what she wants." They absolutely tear the roof off the place with people dancing upside down and going crazy. It's a tough act to follow, but who cares? We have a blast.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 5

We hang in New Orleans until the last possible second and get into Baton Rouge with just enough time to eat at Schlittz & Giggles ("Silly Name, Serious Pizza"). It makes all of us so sick it's not funny. Tonight we are playing with Polvo, which I am kind of excited about until they rework the few songs I know, and the drummer looks like the owner of Shaboom Shaboom's from Eastbound & Down. This '90s math rock has not aged well. From last night and tonight, we've gone from the blackest bands we've ever played with to the whitest. Plus, the audience is a total fucking dud. After the first song, not even one hand claps, and it's so awkward that we collectively crack up onstage. We get a hotel and watch a creepy '80s documentary about the circus, and I take a fistful of sleeping pills.

Austin, Texas, November 6

We're playing the afterparty for the Fun Fun Fun Fest. We're happy to be a part of it, but when I see the poster, our name is printed in a font that could only be named Microscopic Afterthought. We go get Torchy's Tacos and get back just in time to play at 9:30 p.m. Early afterparty, I guess.

Physics bonus section!

There is something strange going on with how the van is grounded or something—it creates a huge buildup of static electricity every time we drive, so that EVERY single time you get out of the van, the first metal thing you touch gives you a big shock. It's funny how weeks of this begin to wear on you and you become ultrapensive about touching the fuel pump or the gas station front door. If our band is late for the gig, we're usually stalling outside the Shell station doors saying, "No really, ­AFTER YOU" to each other.

Lubbock, Texas, November 7

Text message this morning says, "Lubbock wants to cancel the show since they can't cover the guarantee OR you can play and they'll give you 100 percent of the door." WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES! It's smack-dab in the middle of a 14-hour drive, so why not? The venue is a house, and the kids are nice. They say we can sleep there. ("We have a space heater you can use, too, 'cause it gets SUPER FREEZING down here.") They also buy us a 12-pack of beer and recommend eating at Alfredo's Mexican Restaurant down the street, which gives us a united stomachache—we "crop dust" seven blocks of Lubbock on the walk back. About 20 people show up, and the opening act is a guy rapping over a laptop and is actually not bad. Next is the house band, which is kinda like Flipper played at the wrong speed. We play and it's actually kinda fun and the cops come and pull the plug. We Priceline a hotel while the sweet kids are cursing the pigs. We get paid maybe 30 bucks, six dollars of which is in change.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 8

While shoveling in our "healthy choice" oatmeal this morning, Susanna finds her bank account has been hacked (third time this year) and begins the process of faxing and canceling from out of state.

Los Angeles, California, November 10

Some people hate L.A. Well I hate THEM, 'cause I love it. I don't know why. I love the overgrown ivy freeways and the buildings and the lights, and I just wanna move here sometimes. I love the vibe and the feeling in the air and the sun and the palms. I could see getting a little Hollywood bungalow down here. I love the—wait, brake lights... ugh, traffic, fuck, oh no. We're stopping. WE'RE CRAWLING. I'M TRAPPED. GET ME OUT OF HERE. That's how I feel EVERY time I drive into L.A. I still really like it, though. We are really excited for tonight, lots of friends are coming, our label is here, and the show is with Nobunny and sponsored by Buddyhead. Seems like a good night to try smack. Just kidding, all we want is Mexican food, but Megan and Eric say they are "Mexican'd out," and we are so vitamin B depleted that Susanna and I take it very personally. So we dine alone and it's fun, but we have to stuff ourselves and then rush back to the club and I feel like a Santa suit full of bricks when we play.

We stay with Jed, who takes us to his killer house and makes me the best flank steak taco I've ever had, and we sit in the natural hot tub and then move into the eucalyptus steam room. After 20 minutes of sweating out your toxins, you are so purified that your next 15 cigs feel AMAZING! I'm so elated and lazy that I leave the air mattress in the van, lay my sleeping bag on the cement floor, and wake up with 11 cracked vertebrae.

Over coffee, Jed's lady Jessica shows us the amazing photography book she worked on with Dennis Hopper just before he died, and she tells us a great story of one of their last meetings: He had to approve the bio she wrote for the book, so she shows up and he hasn't read it yet and says, "Oh, just wait, I'll read it now," while she waits. He tells her it's fine. She's surprised and asks, "There's NOTHING at all you want to change?" He stares at her for a minute and says, "Wanna fuck?"

San Francisco, California, November 11

The Eagle is the coolest place to play in SF these days. It's a bear/leather-daddy bar that has underpants stapled to the ceiling. Legend has it that you can drink for free all night if you're naked (and male). Another notable feature of the Eagle is that the men's restrooms offer the always uncomfortable "piss trough" with a bonus: a six-inch tilted mirror running across the entire trough that allows a perfect view of any and all accompanying genitals. On top of that, the bathroom is off to the side of the stage, so when you look into the mirror, you can see the entire front row of people staring back. FUN STUFF! It definitely brings new meaning to the words "pee shy." I get dirty looks when I take my coat off and drape it wide across the mirror every time I urinate.

Oakland, California, November 12

We're basically playing Oakland for two reasons: (1) to spend more time in the Bay Area, and (2) because Sic Alps are playing. And it's great to have a day off in SF. We sleep in and have breakfast at St. Francis Fountain (wisely, no one goes for the Guinness float this time) and walk around and shop in the Mission District (with only three days of tour left, Susanna adds two new additions to "Coat Mountain," the already three-foot-tall pile of unworn coats in our backseat). It is almost a religious experience to be out of the van all day. Tonight, we are playing an old building in Oakland converted into a dingy speakeasy-type bar with a dank room in the back for shows. There are five bands on the bill, and nothing's happening even though it's 10:30 p.m. This is going to be a long night. We play last, at about 3:00 in the morning, and half the crowd leaves.

We came, we saw, we complained Lars “Napoleon Cry-All-Night” Finberg, Beren “Fresca Style” Ekine-Huett, Susanna “Moon Beeps” Welbourne, Megan “Where’s My Kindle” Lunz, and Eric “Beef Brother” Lunz.

Eureka, California, November 13

They say Eureka is a town full of THC-­damaged burnouts, and that may explain why they like us so much here, but all I can say is IT'S NICE TO BE APPRECIATED! We play at a cool art space called Accident Gallery, and it's a blast, with people singing along and grabbing our legs. In the morning, Megan wakes us up with a soft-shoe song and dance about a "burger bonanza" because we have plans for our buddy Jesse to take us to his hamburger stand. Eric and I have guacamole bacon burgers for breakfast 'cause, well, FUCK IT, that's why.

Portland, Oregon, November 14

The 101 may be a beautiful drive (zzzzz), but I wouldn't know—Susanna and I have developed a serious addiction to the show In Treatment, so we watch that on our computer the entire way. We reach I-5 and the middle of Oregon around 5:00 p.m., and it's already so dark and the pines so ominous and misty that it feels like we're headed toward the hills of Mordor.

The show is good, and the crowd is cool and includes one guy standing almost on the little stage with us for the whole set, so drunk that he is slowly swaying like a sapling in the breeze (with one eye shut for balance). He yells the same song ("The World Is a Drag!") after every number, and after about the 10th time, I sadly explain that the band doesn't know it and I'm sorry but we can't play that one. Both his eyes open. "OH, YOU DON'T PLAY THAT ONE ANYMORE. WELL, EXCUUUUUUSEEEE ME!" He storms off. In the morning, the only way to top our unhealthy breakfast streak (burritos, pizza, burgers) is with extreme doughnuts, so we head to Voodoo Doughnut and start another day with regret.

Seattle, Washington, November 15

We're standing in our living room again, and it already feels like the whole tour was a dream. The good news is that only the heat, water, and lights have been shut off. On previous tours, we've returned to find both cars towed from the driveway and put up for public auction, an entire family of opossums having moved in, and the house reeking like a neglected hamster cage. So we consider this one a win.

We play tonight with SF buddies the Fresh & Onlys and Clinic. A fitting end to this tour is that we get to celebrate our homecoming show by playing first, at 9:30 sharp, for $150 (after $80 in gas from Portland, that's $14 bucks APIECE!). But we get lucky, and (perhaps in response to all of our last-minute internet begging) the place is pretty full and it's a very pleasant last show. For our last song, I ask for the 2,000-watt strobe light and afterward receive the compliment "That almost gave me a seizure. I never want to hear that song again."

Typically, Beren and I will have one tear-streaked blowout fight per tour; this tour's happens tonight. She quits (for the fourth time), and then as usual we slow dance and whisper insults to each other to the tunes of Rufus Wainwright. (And then make up five seconds later.) A friend of mine once said, "The thing about playing your last show in your hometown is you GET to sleep in your own bed—but you HAVE to wake up in it, too," and that rings very true. Usually by this point, I'm dying to be home, but this time I'm sad the tour is over; it was the funnest one we've ever done. Now, if you'll excuse me, after my old job text messages me that I'm fired, I'm off to dry a load of laundry with an entire pack of gum in one of the pockets.

Epilogue

I got an e-mail a few weeks later from the same booking agency that represents Gary Numan AND the Gories (as well as Dolly Parton, the Everly Brothers, and Pink Floyd). So maybe this is proof that some nightmares can turn into a regular dream. Or at least if you pay your dues long enough, you just might earn THREE drink tickets. recommended

Lars Finberg is the Intelligence’s singer and guitarist.

 

Comments (15) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
Great read! Make sure that Ben Bishop asshole reads it.
Posted by srsly on December 22, 2010 at 12:41 PM · Report this
2
Good stuff! Make sure that Ben Bishop asshole reads it.
Posted by srsly on December 22, 2010 at 12:52 PM · Report this
3
you are a whiny bitch. why did you ever leave ballard in the first place, crybaby?
Posted by GET OUT OF THE VAN on December 22, 2010 at 3:10 PM · Report this
I'm 85 Years Old 4
@1 and 2 for the win. @3 shut up Ben
Posted by I'm 85 Years Old on December 23, 2010 at 8:27 AM · Report this
5
"For Halloween, I'm a blind guy." Later, Susanna asks why in the hell I said "BLACK GUY" and I realize why a couple of African-American ladies had been cringing at my stage banter."

that's the funniest thing i've ever read on line out. you guys just made my day.
Posted by tabule on December 23, 2010 at 10:13 AM · Report this
Katie B 6
Well-written, hilarious account. I'm probably going to read it again.
Posted by Katie B on December 24, 2010 at 12:31 AM · Report this
7
welcome to the layer cake.
Posted by THE ERIC CARTMAN on December 24, 2010 at 1:42 AM · Report this
8
Caption joke fail: that Fargo theater actually plays some decent films.
Posted by d.p. on December 24, 2010 at 3:39 AM · Report this
9
yeah that would have made people laugh.
but it's true, i actually tried to see micmacs instead of soundcheck.
Posted by Lars Finberg on December 24, 2010 at 3:04 PM · Report this
sevendaughters 10
If you try and get back to the UK I can promise a series of disappointing lowlights coupled with hilarious cultural dissonances that would make a great sequel. Great stuff as usual Lars.
Posted by sevendaughters on December 25, 2010 at 2:31 PM · Report this
sikandro 11
Fun read.
Posted by sikandro on December 26, 2010 at 6:24 PM · Report this
12
About the static: Just attach a grounding strip to the van. Most city buses have them. It will probably totally eliminate the problem, will not waste any gas, etc. JFGI, for example, http://www.mizter.com/car-antistatic-gro… .

Or if you are competent with basic tools, and understand enough about cars not to hurt yourself, get a piece of flexible cable and do it yourself.
Posted by nuh_uh on December 29, 2010 at 8:39 AM · Report this
tunanator 13
Enjoyed this piece. Best description of touring I've ever seen. Makes me glad I never had to do it.

Advice on the van's static build-up: I had one of those too! Dodge? Caravan? Anyway: hold your key to touch anything metallic to avoid that FLASH! BANG! PAIN! feature. This phenom really needs CDC investigation.
Posted by tunanator on December 30, 2010 at 10:35 AM · Report this
14
thanks for the tip!
Posted by Lars Finberg on January 3, 2011 at 1:03 PM · Report this
15
This was an awesome read, Lars. Can't wait to see you guys next time you come through Fargo.
Posted by Zaaaack on February 8, 2011 at 10:06 PM · Report this

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