Monday, November 12, 2007

Tour Stories - Part 3

Adulterous Woman's last tour at the beginning of 1993 was an attempt to check out the East Coast and see if perhaps we would fit in better there than we did in Phoenix, which only had (easy) access to the West Coast. Heather and I had an idea that being all Throwing Muses-y as we were, that perhaps the more heady rock audiences of the East would dig us more. So in mid 1992, we began sending out tapes to independent labels to see if we could get a bite, and started trying to line up club dates.

We managed to get a Bar None Records showcase, which we all were enthused about. They had some acts then that we would have been pleased to call labelmates. And the label was just big enough to have decent distribution, but no so big as to expect us to sell millions of records. We also managed to book gigs at The Rathskellar in Boston, and CBGB in NYC. Despite having a friend in the DC area who we were going to stay with for a couple of days, we weren't able to get a booking there.

Time being so hard to come by for us working stiffs, we had to try to fit our tour in to two weeks, with driving time threatening to take up almost half of that. Heather decided that we should just take shifts driving and do the cross country trek straight through, only stopping for meals. We set out on an early January morning in a rented minivan with the band (guitarist Natalie, Bassist Heather, and Drummer me), Kelly, and our friend Aimee. Heather did a lion's share of the driving, with me and Kelly probably sharing most of the rest.

Driving from southern Arizona in to southern New Mexico (or in fact from anywhere in Arizona in to New Mexico) one realizes just how beautiful the State of New Mexico is, and how dingy the Arizona desert is by comparison. Then you get to Central Texas and you get lost in the expanse. It seemed like we'd never get through it. The highlight for me was seeing a sign for Palo Duro Canyon which is mentioned in the Throwing Muses song Dizzy. Yes...that literally was the highlight.

At the butt crack of dawn the next morning we finally entered Arkansas and headed up toward Little Rock and on to Memphis. Then at dusk, we were just entering the southeasternmost part of Virginia when we encountered snow. We stopped for dinner at a Waffle House (We saw a lot of Waffle Houses on this tour). When we got back on the road the first "incident" of the tour happened.

Heather was in the driver's seat as we headed back out in to the snowy evening. I was directly behind her, and resting so i could take a driving shift later. We were still about 8 hours from our friend's house and Heather had already been driving before our dinner break. She pulled back on to the snow-covered freeway and was getting up to speed when all of a sudden i look up to see a shower of burning cigarette parts flying in my face and lap. I started loudly, "Hey!" and the van began switching left and right in the slush. Heather tried to correct this but the van was at this point on the inside shoulder of the freeway, and to our shock, was heading directly toward the wrong side of an overpass. I had immediate thoughts of us careening down the hill and flying on to whatever was below that overpass; a creek, another road, a ravine? Luckily in those few seconds, which seemed an eternity, Heather was able to get control of the van and put it back on to the pavement in time to go over the overpass.

Everyone sat quiet for many minutes after that. We were just counting our blessings that we were alive. Apparently she had dropped her cigarette on the floor and had bent quickly down to pick it up and then tried to roll her window down and dispose of the damn thing. Instead the wind whipped it back in to the van, and in to me. All of this took place within a few seconds and, momentarily confused and surprised, Heather didn't notice that she was off the road on to the shoulder. Trying to correct it initially is when the pitching left and right began. I think we all lost a few years off of our lives that night.

But at least we didn't see any ghosts. (to be continued)

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