The Desert, The Gallery Hippie, & The Hotel Congress.

Photo 36

October 5, 2009 : Solar Culture : Tuscon, AZ

The southernmost stretch of California, and….well, all of Arizona is a lifeless, tan-and-green mass of desert, mountains, cactus and traffic enforcement cameras parked on the side of the road, with the occasional oasis in the desert. One such oasis came when we stopped at In-n-Out for lunch – sadly, the last In-n-Our stop that geography permits – and met Dave’s grandparents for lunch. They were incredibly kind and funny people. Dave’s grandpa quipped that he can always tell how well his music is doing by whether or not he asks them to meet him at In-n-Out or the nearby, and apparently more deluxe, Cracker Barrell. When I reached for my wallet to buy my lunch, Dave’s grandmother’s hand gripped my wrist with a surprising intensity and informed me she would be paying for our lunch. When one of Dave’s relatives want to give you money, you’re physically endangering yourself by attempting polite refusal.

We rolled into Tuscon and parked next to some train tracks the “venue” is next to. “Tuscon, Arizona looks an awful lot like No Country for Old Men,” I couldn’t help but notice, but luckily we caught a cool night in the desert. Solar Culture is an art gallery first and foremost, not a music venue, as evidenced by the old gallery dude who lives upstairs getting offended by rolled t-shirts being on the floor too close to the base of his sculpture. “Yeahhh, sculptures don’t really make good shelves for merchandise.” Yeahhh, well art galleries don’t make very good venues for professional touring bands who bring several hundred guests to your establishment, and since the merch booth at your venue is a folding table with a bad leg, we’ll have to make do and agree to disagree.

Tuscon was a very friendly crowd. Everyone was super enthusiastic, and when Dave mentioned maybe playing Phoenix next time for all the people that drove down from there, he was met with cries, jeers, and taunts. Some nice people invited us to come have free coffee at the coffee shop they work at – the spoils of being big, huge, famous rockstars are only just beginning to pour in.

I write you from the historic Hotel Congress which is impossibly awesome and remarkably cheap. I’d like to move into one of these rooms if it weren’t in Tuscon, and I wasn’t sharing it with Matt. Today is a drive day, as it’s a long way from Tuscon to Austin, which means that we didn’t have to get up early to make it to a 5:30 load-in. Sleeping on tour is really, really, nice.

See you in Austin.

PS: When we swing through Nashville in a few days I’ll pick up my camera so this blog is not so boring.