We left DC around 8:30 pm (yes that’s pm) to begin our 10 hour trek to Portland, ME. Actually we thought it would be a 10 hour trek, but it took around 12. Kids, when you use a Tom Tom make sure you pay attention to the “Avoid Toll Roads” screen. Not respecting that screen will cost you time and tears.
It rained literally every second of the drive. Mother Nature must have heard the news about Ricky Martin. Connecticut is not a fun state to drive through in the dead of the night during a torrential downpour. Not sure if any state is fun under those conditions, but Connecticut can officially be crossed off the list.
We arrived in Maine a little after 8AM. It was still raining. The key to the house we were crashing at was supposed to be left above a light fixture. The key to the house was NOT above the light fixture. Let me tell you friends, Bath, Maine doesn’t have ton to do at 8AM on Tuesday when it’s raining. Fortunately, our Ira ‘s (tour manager) mom happened to be visiting Maine and said we were cool to come to the place she was staying.
I won’t go into all of the odyssey that we went on next, but it found us driving through wet fields in a minivan, doing parkour and popping by the house of a woman named Blueberry who recently decided to put electricity into her house 6 years after it was built.
We rolled to the show around 3:30. It was still raining. Clutch was mid sound check when we walked in. If you see them live and think to yourself “JP’s drums sound amazing” let me tell you, there is a reason: we listened to every drum on his kit hit roughly once every two seconds for about 45 minutes. The club had internet when we showed up, but apparently the army of people clamoring to get online overloaded the router. No FAIL Blog for Caverns today.
We went on around 8:30. It was still raining. For the first show of the biggest tour of our career, we played well. Even the dude sporting the pirate beard and long hair who was yelling “You better be good” at us as we walked on, seemed impressed. Or maybe he was just drunk. He was probably just drunk. In the middle of our third song, I tripped over a monitor and fell directly into the space between Ross’s kit and Clutch’s kit. This was painful. I couldn’t get up without knocking lots of things over and majorly fucking up the song, so I did both.
Anyways, Portland, Maine was very nice to us. Checked out a bit of Danko Jones set. Danko and his band are about as nice a group of dudes as you’ll meet. Danko does the James Hetfield stance better than James Hetfield, and commands the crowd in a way that is reminiscent of prime Hulk Hogan. Straightforward, balls-to-the-wall Rock and Roll with no bullshit seems to be Danko’s philosophy, and people were definitely feeling it. Dude has opened for Guns N’ Roses, Lemmy, and a host of other legends. Pretty rad.
Meanwhile, out at the merch table Pat and Ira were having an interesting conversation. A girl who likes Clutch so very much approached and struck up a chat. She informed everyone that she was staying over at the Holiday Inn, being from Boston and that she enjoyed our set. I wasn’t there for this, so I’m not sure exactly how the converstation took the turn I’m about to describe, but I think not knowing makes it even funnier. Shortly after meeting Pat and Ira, our new friend made a bet with Pat because he did not believe that she could suck a condom up through her nose and blow it up like a balloon. Unfortunately, after asking numerous strangers in the vicinity if they happened to have a condom, our new friend was unable to produce one and the bet was voided. She was, however, able to produce pictures of genital piercings and pornographic acts starring her on her phone, unsolicited. Pat and Ira were intrigued yet horrified. Pat couldn’t have been too scared though, cause, as we would find out later, our friend got his number.
The end of the night was a bit of a hair puller. It was still fucking raining. We talked to some of the guys in Clutch for a bit. It’s tough to meet a more knowledgeable group of guys. They’ve been doing this a long time and we’re learning a lot from their experience. We’re very grateful to be out on the road with them. After loading our now soaked van, we hit the road. I was driving on one hour of sleep in the last 36 or so, probably not a good idea.
A phone rang. It was Pat’s. Seems our friend from two paragraphs ago wanted to see if we could hang out after the show. We were already on the way out so Pat respectfully declined. Pat then recited the very same story I related above. What he did not do, however, was check to make sure our friend hadn’t called him back and that he somehow hadn’t picked it up by accident. How do I know Pat didn’t do that? Because she called yet again and told him she heard the entire conversation. She wasn’t super pleased, but yet, somehow, informed Pat she just might follow Clutch to their Burlington show, so we may just be able to settle that whole condom nose balloon bet. If so, there WILL be video.
That’s enough for Day 1. Hope it wasn’t boring to read, it definitely wasn’t boring to live.
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