R. Justin Shepherd | PART-TIME PUNDIT


Time to go
26.April.2008, 11.28 am
Filed under: fxhl, life, music | Tags: , , ,

Starting this Friday, Foxhole is officially on tour. (It starts Friday in Louisville, and hits Bowling Green on Saturday… CLICK HERE for info on the BG show or any other).

This is where the magic happens.It’s far from the glamorous, drug/booze/sex-filled scenes you’ll see in TV and movies. Who knows… maybe some bands actually do this stuff. But for us, it’s more of a brief road trip, through entirely random places, dotted with performances and sleepovers with people we’ve never met before. Our tour bus is actually a van—a pretty shoddy one, at that, with no AC and just enough seats for people and which gets all of about 10 miles per gallon on the interstate if we’re going downhill. Our venues include a church, an old theatre, a couple clubs, a cafe… it was supposed to include a grocery store, but somehow that prime spot fell through.

Anyway, reflecting on the few brief jaunts we’ve taken—some for days, some for just a weekend, and at least one trip to Michigan and back for a single show—brings a bunch of great memories. There were crappy parts; in fact, when in the middle of it, it almost seems like one continuous journey through irritation and despair. But good memories tend to crowd out bad, and thank God that they do. If not, I’d have had good reason to ditch this whole rock-star idea a long time ago.

Top Five Tour Memories

FIVE: “Your mom’s a nice van!” | It’s hard to fathom that I’ve been in this band, with three of the same people and a rotating cast on drums and in the auxiliary spot, for almost eight years. When we started, we didn’t know how to play our instruments, nor did we have any clear idea of what we were trying to accomplish. That didn’t stop us from recording and self-issuing an EP, and in Summer 2002 we hit the road for two weeks of shows.

It’s worth noting that some of these turned out to be something other than “shows” as I understood that term. One place a freelance “agent” “booked” for us turned out to be open mic night at a bar that usually featured country acts. Having driven all that way, we went ahead and played, and a younger couple that happened to be there did buy a CD from us. So we made $6, gross, on that show.

Anyway, on the first night out we played near Hell, Ohio… in fact, our van broke down in Hell. While waiting for it to get fixed—which took all day—we hung out at a roast-beef restaurant next door, juggling and eating Equal packets and generally bemoaning life. The show that night? In some dude’s garage. Surprisingly, there were a lot of people listening to music in Hell, and so the show wasn’t too bad. It was the beginning for us… the beginning of driving a long way to play music for a few people, of spending our own money in an attempt to share our music with the world.

FOUR: Rockin’ the art museum | On that same tour, we stayed with my friend Taylor’s brother, Wil, and played with his band True Solar Holiday in Roanoke, Va. … Well, that’s not quite right. We actually showed up late; he and the venue had given up on us, and when we walked in everyone else was walking out. Wil (the funniest guy I’ve ever met, period) tried to get the crowd to stay; meanwhile, we went ahead and set up our stuff, then played a show—mostly for Wil, who was one of three of four people left.

The good part of this memory is the camaraderie of staying with he and his girlfriend, Anousheh (a gifted songwriter and singer herself), staying up all night and talking about music, movies, and our general philosophies of life (Nathan, who’s no longer in the band, trying to tell Wil about Jesus, and Wil telling him straight to his face that it was the second-stupidest thing he’d ever heard). The next day we went with Elizabeth (a nice girl who did the art for the band) and Graham (in the most ridiculous metal band I’ve ever heard) to a river-rope jump and then to a posh art museum.

THREE: Signing autographs in Minsk | Outside of Foxhole, I’ve done very little performing. One exception was in 2003, in Minsk, Belarus, where the girl I was courting lived as a missionary. She played too, and so we set up a couple shows—a rare occurrence in Minsk, much less with two Americans. The funny part was that, at the end of one of the shows, literally every girl there wanted my autograph. (If I hadn’t been performing with the girl I’d wind up marrying, I’d probably have ended up in a lot of trouble.) Worth noting, too, is that our trip to the first show was delayed by a opposition protest in the streets, complete with police (militia) in riot gear, after which a few people disappeared. Belarus is still a dictatorship of sorts, but change is coming.

TWO: Naptime’s over — now, some rock! | A show in Owensboro, set up by a friend (to protect his identity, I’ll simply call him Brandon Andrew Miles, and we’ll call his band Stellar Kin)… which was populated mostly by children under the age of 8. How he came up with this idea, I’ll never know… but those kids sure did love the rockin’ anthems of Stellar Kin! Our music, which is a bit more nuanced, didn’t go over quite as well. We radically re-evaluated our sound after this, and are hoping our next album gets some buzz through cross-promotion on Disney Channel.

ONE: To the future! | As with romance, the best part of touring is often the anticipation. Getting amps fixed, guitars restrung, practicing in large concentrated chunks (tomorrow will see me head to Nashville for practice beginning at 10 a.m. and probably lasting until late afternoon)… the fun is in the planning.

“Ooee” (from forthcoming “Murkville” compilation, also included as bonus track on new vinyl version of “We the Wintering Tree”, soon to be available from Burnt Toast Vinyl)

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3 Comments so far
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Aw, come on man. That show was in the thriving metropolis of Russellville, not Owensboro. And it wasn’t my idea that the kids were all under 8… it just turned out that way somehow. Stellar Kin played the same church months back with a band called Fighting the Fall from Canada, and tons of people where there between the ages of 18 and 30.

Those little brats did like us though, didn’t they? SK rocks your faces off, stubble (or cookie crumbs) and all!

Come to think of it, the daily lives of SK would have made a great teen disney show. That’s where the money is anyway!

Comment by Brandon Andrew Miles

Where and what time are you playing Friday?

Comment by Glenda

We’re playing in Louisville, at the 930 Art Gallery, 930 Mary Street, Louisville, KY, Glendar.

Justin, Brandon’s right. It was Russelville, much smaller than Owensboro. Also, we stayed with HIM and his girlfriend.

Comment by Derek




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