The Intelligence is on a six-week tour of the U.S. This is our tour journal. A clarification: If I sound like a crank, it's only because this journal will lean towards showcasing the LOWS of the trip, as I don't find much entertainment value in the "we made it there in record time/wow gas is cheap here/they gave us FOUR drink tickets/the place was packed/I found a dollar on the ground/turns out crabs actually "FEEL GOOD" good luck stories, I wanna hear about the horrors. Unless you get to do blow back at Grace Jones's hotel room or urinate into some evil band's merch tub, positive highlights are just kinda boring, okay? All right, lets DO this:
- All Photos Megan Lunz
- The Intelligence
While loading merch into the van at home, (an easy task, since only HALF of the merch order arrived) we get a text message saying "Spokane is worried about the turnout tonight and wants to cancel the show and pay you 100 bucks." Apparently, there is a Coheed and Cambria show that has absorbed our potential crowd. We drive and pick up our cash (which at that point has transformed into $75), and are offered shots of "Fireball" (cinnamon whiskey). We go to kill time at a pizza place/karaoke joint until our host gets off work at 1 am. Time has stopped in this place, and it is 1997 like a motherfucker. Karaoke versions of New Radicals, Folk Implosion, Soul Coughing, Soul Asylum, and it's an entertaining waterfall of other two-word named bands until it isn't anymore, and we move on to MOOTSY'S for DOLLAR PINT NIGHT. As the ladies are deciding on a drink at the bar, a giant and hilarious dude drunkenly leans in between them and asks "WHAT TIME THIS PLACE CLOSE?" and he remains there very close and for an awkwardly long time waiting for an answer. I suggest that he maybe give the cringing girls a little space, and when he turns to me each eye is looking in a different direction. He says "I AIN'T TRYING TO HOLLA AT NOBODY'S LADY" and is immediately kicked out. I feel bad for some reason. Our host shows up, and we go to his place where Susanna and I sleep in the under-construction basement (freshly cut sheet rock and exposed wire and cloudy white dust) and wake up with sore lungs.
Tonight we are playing a house party organized by a very nice 'commune'/Food Not Bombs house (When Susanna is informed this means they might dumpster dive for their food, she says "Then I won't eat the food as a political protest because the food should be left for the ACTUAL BUMS." We are fed spaghetti and offered bong hits by five different people in the first five minutes. (We pass). Six bands play, including Whiskey Whore (sample lyric: "When I die I wanna got to hell 'cause I'm a piece of shit,"), Fag Rag, and Bad Naked—one solitary guy in a Zorro mask and underwear playing an acoustic bass and screaming "Push out the babies and push 'em in the factories!/Push out the babies and push 'em in the factories!/Make the shit we like!/Weld it good!/Sew it good!" Another favorite: "See that old man with his cane/now it's my walking stick/now it's my BEATING STICK." It is a blast. Later our air mattress deflates as soon as we lay down, and I fall asleep with my feet above my head.
It's a 14-hour-plus drive to Fargo (basically 20 after my bathroom stops). We've learned to do this at the beginning of the tour as it can be so depressingly boring that all you can do is listen to Erik Satie and stare into the void. We finally stop around 2 am in Dickenson, North Dakota, and every hotel is booked for hunting season. I thought that the whole point of hunting was to drink the deer's blood and sleep under the stars in its carcass. It doesn't seem right to bag a deer and have a Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity breakfast and watch Becker in a warm bed at the Comfort Inn, so we drive on. Wait, there's a vacany sign—a true dump glowing like a beacon! "One room left," the clerk says. Highlights include two towels for five people (I am answered with a blank stare followed by a shrug when I ask if we can get more), a hornet in the room, and a shower curtain that emits such a powerful cigarette smell that I want to steal it to impress others.