The first thing you have to expect when going on tour is that the bus is going to smell bad. Though you can try to mask this smell with air fresheners, sprays, and pot smoke; there is no repellent from the conjured odor of seven men on a bus. I speak, of course, in generalities. I don’t know what its like for other bands when they tour; because, frankly I have never been on tour with any other band. In fact, none of us have. So for us (the respective members of eliquate) to say that this is what tour is like is really another way of saying this is what tour was like for eliquate. That being said, I think it is important to distinguish that we (Eliquate) don’t do things like most bands. We run this band very much like a kid who discovered how the gas pedal works, before he learned how to drive.
Yet despite our best efforts at self sabotage, we always seem to land on our feet. This is because failure has never been in our vocabulary, and remains as obscure a concept as say, giving up, or backing down. As cliche as it sounds, we would just as soon die than give up, on anything… ever. However, one thing that I find remarkable is that it has become undeniable that we are getting better at this. On our first tour of the Pacific Northwest, we left with no home to come back to, and a bus that barely made it 10 feet before it attempted to off itself. This bus was filled with stuff that had more business in a storage unit or a dumpster then on a three week tour. Our next tour, same story, homeless upon arrival “home,” same deadbeat tour bus.
We were then forced to humbly admit that Carla Malone had met her match, and that touring was going to have to consist of a caravan of cars and Dan’s pick up truck until we could save enough money to purchase another bus, preferably one that wasn’t going to break down every thirty seconds. After some fancy footwork, we were able to procure Carl Malone, a top of the line International diesel school bus with a huge Aztec calendar airbrushed on the side. This coupled with the fact that we were all comfortably residing in a consistent living situation at “home,” eliquate was more ready for this tour than anything we have done in the past. However, despite all our preparation, the weeks leading up to the tour were hectic to say the least. We even ended up staying awake the final three days before departure tying together all the details.
Which bring me to another important fact, we (Eliquate) do everything ourselves. From construction of the bunks on the bus, to rewiring of the dashboard, to booking dates, to mailing our promo material, we do it all. Though not all the members actually play music, eliquate is a seven man operation and every member contributes to be as hard headed and un-discourageable as possible. Another thing that sets us apart from a lot of touring bands is that for the most part they are going to play for already established fans.
When we go out on the road we treat it as if no one knows who we are (which is more often the case), but we are not going to give them a choice but to find out who we are.
Honestly, to say it was our pleasure to live like gypsies and tour this great land would be a horrific understatement, it was our honor. Not just because we got to spend nights partying with the Washington State Cougars, or cyphering till the sun came up outside the 2 Bit Saloon in Seattle (big ups to The Knowgooders, Kelly Castle Scott, and The Nightcappers. and Thad Wenatchee for making it happen) Or basking in a warm Oregonian hot spring with 6 of your best friends. It was mostly because we were able to give back. In Point Arena we played a fundraiser for the Grace Project : Our good friends Dysphunctional Species, have a wonderful cause they call the Grace Project. They host events that bring Autism awareness to those in the Humboldt County and surrounding areas. The whole town showed up to The 215 (Main) and we were able to raise a good amount of money. Not only that but they came to party, like par-tay! Playing shows is always the most fun we could be having, and to know that our fun helped contribute to a good cause automatically validates every bit of effort we have ever invested, and makes any discomfort we have ever endured seem so trivial that it is hardly worth mentioning.
Riding that high we entered Chico. We had never played in Chico before so we made up for it by playing three shows in one day. Again, cyphering till the sun came up. This all served as a good warm up for the reason we were there, to play Splatterfest with Del the Funky Homosapien. However, there was a misunderstanding about permits or something and the show got shut down before we were able to actually able to hit the stage. Our sentiments were equally matched by that of the crowd, but being the kind of band that never takes a shitty situation as anything more than encouragement to triumph over adversity, we grabbed the acoustic gear and headed for the middle of the compound. After crashing someone’s campsite we played to a growing and captive audience of previously disappointed and disenchanted festival goers who did not get to enjoy the show they were promised. It all culminated with a crowd of about 60 singing ‘Just a Friend’ at the top of our lungs, dancing and celebrating in the stead of lamenting and sleeping. A lot of people spent a lot of money for a show they didn’t get to see, and to be able to bring people together in a shitty situation is another significant perk of what we do. We then returned to Downtown Chico, where Common Culture Clothing hosted us at Lost on Main for an insanely fun last minute show. Those folks sure do know how to have a good time.
After that we pressed on home where it was back to the real world. Exhausted and hungry we couldn’t help but feel a bit anxious about when our next departure would be. Sure enough we began planning that trip the day after we got back. It may not be the most glamorous or impressive way of going about things, but its our way, and its getting really exciting, no matter how bad it smells.