Mark Mallman tour diary, Vol. 1
|Photos by Mark Mallman|
We were backstage five minutes before showtime. It was my drummer, Aaron Lemay, myself, and Dick Valentine of Electric Six. We had poured three shots of Petron into paper catering cups and Dick said, "Sometimes it's hard....and sometimes it's hard." I'm assuming he was referring to the road, to the tour, but you never really know with enigmatics like Dick. Whatever he meant, he was right. Sometimes it's hard. A person might think that 10 years of touring America in vans and sleeping on floors is tough. It's not. It's fun. It's not the "paying of dues" that Dick was referring to. He meant the constant smiling in the face of diversity. Even during the funniest, happiest movie you'd ever want to see, you might find yourself leaving the theater with sore cheeks. But it was enough pontificating, we knocked back the tequila. I changed into a wild beast for 40 odd minutes on stage, and that was that.
|Mallman with Joe Puerta from Ambrosia|
At 1 a.m. we drove to the house I grew up in, ate frozen pizza, and watched Adult Swim till 3 a.m. In some ways, not much has changed in my life since high school. #win. We had the next day off and drove back to the Twin Cities where I had just shy of 20 million short battles to wage before heading out to Ames, Iowa the next night. It was so busy, in fact, that I skipped "Transmission" '80s night. I figure, I spent the previous night hangin with Joe Puerta, so my '80s fix was satiated for the week. I released my new single, "Minneapolis," earlier in the week because we pushed the full-length album till spring 2012. So I was up late prepping for the recording sessions that would begin the day after we get back from tour.
It was a short three-hour drive to Ames, IA the following afternoon. Conrad from First Avenue called saying Electric Six found a duffel bag at the club the night before and wanted to know if it was mine. I said "If it's full of weed, then, yes." I guess it wasn't, cause he didn't call me back. Aaron and I were playing the Maximum Ames Music Festival at "The Maintenance Shop," which is the rock club at the University of Iowa. I tried out some material from my the new record, and played "Minneapolis" live for the first time ever. The opener, "Little Ruckus" is a one man show who jumps off risers and tables like some jungle creature with a microphone. He was totally nuts and super fun with his shirt unbuttoned to the short shorts. I signed up for a challenging road when I started this ultra showman crazy guy routine - cause promoters put performers like Ruckus on my shows and it keeps me on my toes. I like to give the full show, kick ass songs, kick ass band, kick ass show. Did I mention I do my best to make everything kick ass?
Case in point: the cheapest motel we could find was a death trap. It smelled like bleach and body parts, but the man at the front desk, Harry, gave me a five dollar discount. We laughed ourselves to sleep. Harry's five dollar discount, doesn't that sound like a sex thing? Oh, 10 years of touring and each day just gets... it gets... it goes. In the morning we were going to a zombie-themed burger restaurant. I finished my hard lemonade and shut out the light. Yeah, blueberry 16-proof hard lemonade isn't worth the 1.59 you pay for it, but a 16-ounce can drowns out the impossible rhythms of the headboard on adjacent wall. It's always good to have one handy if you pay less than 50 dollars at a motel.
Check back for more updates from Mallman's tour with Electric Six here on Gimme Noise.
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