The Heathens on stage with our friends The Redtones in Colorado
Has anyone out there ever been on tour with a band? Does anyone know what it really entails?
Well, like anything else, it’s never quite as glamorous as you thought. A band doesn’t just magically appear on your local stage with all their equipment set up and ready to go. Most bands don’t even have roadies to help things along. Not to mention the awful road food you usually have to deal with, the weird hotels, long hours of driving, packing and unpacking, late nights and early mornings doing radio spots and getting to the next town. Seem like a dream? Not so much?
Have to admit, that despite the hard conditions the road sometimes has to offer, every minute out with “The Band of Heathens” is a completely unique, and amazing adventure. Constantly meeting new and interesting people, seeing so much of the world (however briefly), and making a musical connection with our audience everywhere we go. There really is no way to put it down in words, so I’ll just give you a few highlights.
The middle of July had us on “The Big Music Cruise” with “Cross Canadian Ragweed”, “Reckless Kelley”, “Stoney Larue” and “George Devore”. It was open bar cards this year, so I won’t say too much about that, except that I had to buy a new liver by the time it was all over.
What an experience getting to hang out with the great guys that make up these bands, and at the same time, having just as much fun with the 500 or so people that came on the cruise with us. Everyone there is a true music fan. Not just from Texas either. From all over the country, these people get together to connect and enjoy some great music. This kind of passion is the meat and potatoes of what keeps a band like ours rolling. It’s always so inspiring to see people truly enjoying live music with total abandon (and this includes the musicians). It was an amazing experience to say the least. Hope to make it to next years cruise for sure.
The band got to go home for a whole day after the cruise. Just enough time to do some laundry, say goodbye to our loved ones, and get onto a plane headed for Denver, Colorado.
In Denver, we had the pleasure of playing at our favorite restaurant, Elway’s. They have a really fun outdoor music series going on all summer long, and set the bands up with an incredible dinner that keeps us coming back year after year. Definitely the opposite of the “awful road food” I mentioned earlier. Thanks to all our friends in Denver…we can’t get back soon enough.
Next stop was the beautiful little mountain town of Evergreen, Colorado. A place we’ve never played, but are sure glad we did. The club was called The Little Bear, and it was loaded with rich history, frothy beers, and bras and panties hanging everywhere. Needless to say, Colin was in heaven. By the end of the show, everyone was dancing and Colin was trying on underwear. We’ll be back Little Bear.
From Evergreen we hit Montrose, Colorado, where we had played several months back. This time at a little place called the Smugglers Brew Pub. Once again, the people in this little town showed us how to shake our asses, as we partook of the delicious beers and played late into the night. I have a feeling Montrose could become a regular stop…did I mention how tasty the beer was?
Next day finds us in one of our favorite places to be. Carbondale, Colorado. Over the last couple of years Carbondale has proved to be a Heathens Mecca of sorts, and not just for the band. The energy, and good vibes are seeping from every pour of this sleepy little mountain town. And man, can these people boogie. From the bands guest appearance at the Carbondale Mountain Fair with local act “The Red Tones”, to the sold out show that night at Steve’s Guitars, people were dancing, wearing costumes, drinking late into the night and shagging in the alleys. Even the cops are all wearing tie dyed t-shirts. Believe it or not…I saw it with my own two eyes. Simply awesome.
One more stop before we leave Colorado…Pagosa Springs. Of course, first thing is first whenever playing in a town with natural hot springs. A band on the road needs to relax after all. And these springs are highly recommended. About 10 pools all varying in temperature, and nestled next to a beautiful, cold river. Try and handle the “Lobster Pot”, bet you won’t last long.
That night we found ourselves at yet another lovely beer venue (this is becoming a theme), the Pagosa Pub Works. Once again, dancing, drinking, and music lovers abound. The new owners were more than hospitable to the band and we can’t thank them enough. The hotel they provided was much needed after hours soaking in the springs.
From here we moved over a state to Park City, Utah, where we played 3 shows in a row, and then…just hung out for 3 more days. Sounds tough I know. I actually had a birthday on the first of our days off, and had a fantastic time with all our Park City friends.
First gig in Park City was at the Newpark Resort, where they had just built a little amphitheatre next to a wildlife preserve. Park City puts on free concerts like this all summer long at venues all over the mountain. A very cool thing they have going on there.
The next night found us at The Spur, located on the main drag of Park City. We played here for the first time a couple of years ago for the Sundance Film Festival. If you ever get to Park City, this is the place to go for good music and good times. The place was packed and people could have gone on all night. Unfortunately it had to come to an end though; after all we had an early gig the next day at the Park City Arts festival. Opening for us at the festival was the band “Wisebird”. Great guys, great band and great musicians. Check them out for sure!!! And following us was a band out of Nashville called “Bonepony”. A sweet surprise. These guys had a great vibe and energy, and continued switching instruments the whole time. Very impressive. I got to sit in with them that night at The Spur for a rousing version of “Dead Flowers”, and am still reeling from their intense energy. Thanks guys.
After relaxing and hanging out with friends for a few days, we find ourselves on a long trek across the country to Chicago, Illinois, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Columbia, Missouri, and Kansas City, Missouri before heading home for a little while. Funny, but now that the tour is coming closer to ending, it’s hard to remember anything but the fun stuff that’s happened. All the weird hotels, awful food, and long hours in a van with a bunch of smelly men begin to blend and smear into the background. The amazing places and incredible people we have encountered are indelibly etched into the best part of my brain. Anything negative that might have happened just fades away and makes room for more music, stories, and fond memories. A few shows with “The South Austin Jug Band” over the next few days should be a great way to finish out the tour.
What a ride.
P.S. A quick shout out to Trevor Nealon who met us in Denver and played keys with us the whole trip. He plays keys for “Wisebird” and is a badass. We were sorry to leave you in Park City. See you in Austin soon!