(Editor's note: Cincinnati rockers Banderas recently kicked off an extensive tour with local Rockabilly/Psychobilly band Rumble Club. We've asked them to keep notes and they have obliged with some excellent, entertaining journaling. The "West Bound and Down" tour has hit as far west Anaheim and includes stops in Arizona, Texas and Tennessee.)
Day 1: Lemmon Party
April 3, St. Louis, Mo.
"I feel like I'm in a room with a bunch of 14-year-old boys." — Bartender Kris
We arrived at our first show … and I say "show" because only drunk Englishmen can get away with saying "gig" without coming off like a complete douche. The show (not gig) is sans Rumble Club, who we are supporting the rest of the tour due to some scheduling shenanigans.
We arrive at Lemmon's, which also doubles as a pizza joint, and are greeted by the lovely Kris who gives us the standard hard-ass female bartender jive. You can't blame her. I mean, who would really want the task of making sure we don't ask any locals if they have "Warner regret" or make out with anyone's wife/mom.
Kris quickly melts like a cheap popsicle when she overhears us listening to "I'm on a Boat" by Andy Sandberg and we also meet our other bartender; Paul. Paul also knows some Cincy locals … a couple of the guys in Foxy Shazam and country jailbait-songstress Lydia Loveless. It's a pleasant surprise when you meet people that know the people you know back home. We chat with our new friends, who also happen to be in charge of the flow of the booze in our story's setting as well as the Chicago style deep-dish pizzas. It's good when you're on the winning team.
Time comes, and we receive notice that we are opening on a bill with bands that are a Folk-Pop or Roots-Pop style of music. This makes us a bit leery as we're more Eardrum-Pop considering how loud we are.
The sound is decent, and we play adequately. We dismount, chat up and sell merch to the people that enjoy the occasional tornado when it comes ripping through their mobile community. Thank Valhalla for those people. If not for them, then our business would be no business.
The Folkies and the Poppies and the Dubs and the Whatever the Fuck You Call Thats carry the night onward (don't let my tone fool you, the bands were top notch and top notch fellows to boot) when some sort of military wedding reception walks into Lemmon's. One of the few and proud who must've had one or five on the way in face-talks Jesse (for the uninitiated, that means when you get thisclose to someone's face and talk to them about whatever nonsense is on your mind) about Elvis and how he had boot camp at the same place as E did. We and our bartender friends look on in horror as another female member of the wedding party decides that her trotters are too sore to stand around in her pumps and proceeds to prance around barefoot in the bar.
After the garish display of cankles and the rest of the patrons pass through the night, we grab the loot. We close the bar down with Kris and Paul and grill burgers with our handy little travel grill.
Back at Bartender Paul's house, the conclusion of the night is a hazy mess of tequila, Jesse singing Toadies songs with the sound guy and epic fails courtesy of YouTube. Things get all inky for me on a cramped love seat to the tune of an inebriated Donkey's snoring. We
wake up, leave a Dear John letter and make sure Donkey didn't pee the couch. Success.
Day 2: Killers, Crackheads and Hippies, Oh My!
April 4, Decatur, Ill.
Sunday. First order of the day is food and to kick off a little boredom. We're only a two-hour drive to the next club, so we drive down
St. Louis looking for a little action. We pass a park that is holding a kickball tourney and get denied the chance to enter the draft, which
is probably for the best, knowing T.R. and Jesse's athletic abilities. I was a miniature wonder on the kickball field when I wasn't scrapping with all the other little booger-eaters. We go further and arrive at a mall so I can maybe pick up some sequined scarves or underwear or something. I gotta keep it fresh for the ladies.
The mall, as Juice puts it in one of his many juiceisms, "has been bitch-slapped by the economy. And she is a very fickle mistress." Back home in Cincy when you went to the mall on a Sunday afternoon you were up to ass and elbows in after-church goers, mall walkers and teenage pregnancies waiting to happen. Not the case here. No siree. Tumbleweed was rolling through this mall.
Every major store you could think of was out of business. The shopkeepers of the not-soon-to-be-still-open stores looked at us like junkies or truckstop hookers on the make. Even the food court was widdled down to just Subway and Cajun Grille. I swear, even after a nuclear fallout I'm sure you'll still be able to go to the mall and get bourbon chicken. There will probably be some fallout zombie offering you a little piece of chicken on a tooth pick or something. My roommate, Johnny, Juice and Donkey drop off some brown mail and we blow this bad scene. No sequins. Poor ladies.
We stop and grill out at a rest area. We're trying to save cash by just hitting up grocery stores for food we can cook on a grill and avoiding fast food altogether. I take time to wash my hair, pits and ass in the rest stop bathroom among all the kids that couldn't hold it
any longer and old people looking to empty their depends. Massing looks from everyone in the bathroom, I've decided that modesty is for people that are rich or haven't spent more than two nights away from home.
We make it to the club and set up shop and greet Rumble Club, who I'm sure have no idea what they invited on tour with them. Whiskey
Throttle takes the stage and blazes expertly a set of old Rockabilly standards. We get up and get Altamont on the Sunday greasers, who love every minute of it. Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus sing back to me silently through a TV screen while we play. Great club. Great sound. Great people.
Jack and the rest of the Rumble Clubbers put their new tunes on display, and it's hot shit. We forgo our place to stay and drive through fog after people at the show inform us that we are in the soy, meth and, at one time, murder capital of the world.
To be continued …