Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tour Log #4: Songs In My Head

I couldn't sleep last night. Songs were in my head. Usually when songs are in my head it's because something really dramatic has happened, bad or good. I tend to deal with tragedy or comedy or irony by putting them into songs. 

I woke up on a bench in the van at three in the morning. We'd arrived at the hotel, Skip said, and  I had to check in. I knew I had been completely asleep because my eyes were dry and my voice was gone. After arguing with the kind folks at Hotwire and Super 8, we were told that if we wanted to upgrade our two rooms with king-sized beds to two rooms with two queens each we would have to pay $67. Per room. Because we're being frugal, Dutty had to sleep on couch pillows on the floor, and because Robbie was already asleep in the van the other four of us got to split the two available king-sized beds. It was already 3:30am, and we had to be showered and ready to leave by 10am to make the Lafayette show in time. 

Still, I lay awake, lyrics and melodies become rhythms, which become albums, which become shows and tours. My mind wanders. Occasionally I grab my iPhone and thumb lyrics into it. I can't rest. These lyrics are folk. They are story telling, and I like a good story. Songs that carry me through scenes and perspectives give me a sense of comfort. I think when you can capture a moment you can capture history, and when a song becomes a part of history it becomes timeless. Like John Lennon's Happy Christmas (War is Over), or Bloody Sunday by U2, or any number of Dylan songs. There are countless hit songs, timeless ones, that depict specific events. I generally like these.

There are a few reasons for these songs in my head, I think. Last week my granny (mom's mom) died. She was a pretty frequent visitor in my childhood, and although I hadn't seen her in over ten years death is always a rude awakening, an awful reminder that we all are mortal and soon will pass. I've had a handful of folks close to me die, and a song is usually always born in their memory. In this case there is nothing specific in any of these songs to indicate that they are about Granny. I didn't really know her throughout my adult life, and I can hardly say we were close when I was a child (I think I took to Grampa more). Nonetheless, tragedy has always seemed to inspire me. I create, I think it's how I tend to mourn. 

The second reason for my sleepless, song-ridden night is that last nights show in Plano gave all of our spirits a lift. We've been on this tour a few weeks, and the last week was especially tough. The shows were poorly promoted, small and disorganized. Our performances suffered as we struggled to find our rhythm and shake the rust off. We even had to cancel one show because a promoter went completely AWOL, so when we got to Plano we were all secretly praying, "Oh please God, let this show not completely suck." We needed redemption, and we got it. It was by far the hottest, most energetic show of the tour as over 250 bodies packed into The Door's cozy room and moved with us to the music. I remember looking around on stage at the other guys, on the verge of suffocating from lack of air and heat exhaustion, and thinking, "Man, this is why we do this. This is so fun." 

We all needed that shot in the arm. As musicians, we are innately insecure. A string of four bad shows can bring the even biggest band to its knees. We start asking, "Do people even care? Are we as good as we thought we were? As we once were?" We even go as far as to ask, "Have we reached our apex? Is this the twilight of our career? Should we all go home and get "real" jobs?" 

When 250+ people show up and shout your lyrics so loud you can't hear your monitor, all those questions disappear.


  1. I have songs in my head all the time. They aren't my own but other peoples. One of my best friends passed away a couple of weeks ago to cancer and one song in particular was in my head when I got the news. Yesterdays by Switchfoot. I'm glad that you and the guys had a good show. I think the music is awesome and hope the rest of the tour goes well. When ever I get the opportunity to finally see the awesomeness then that will be good. Darlene

  2. Glad the show last night re-energized you. I was among the 250 and could tell that ya'll were having a great time. It was a electric in there for sure! Keep putting out good music and writing what is on your heart and God will take care of the rest if you trust him to provide.

    Enjoyed the blog post as well! Keep up the good writing!

  3. That's Awesome I'm glad everything is goin better! You guys are the best and have been my favorite band since I first saw the abracadaver video three years ago! You're all the best!

    Always praying for you,

  4. I've had some of your songs stuck in my head lately, I've been listening to an HD radio station that plays a lot of your stuff. The songs "Salt In The Snow" and "Sing" keep popping in my head.

    I knew it was just a matter of time and you guys would get back in the groove! The more I read of your life on the road, the more I'm dying to see TCC live and in the flesh!

  5. i was really glad i was at the show last night. i've been a fan since Albatross came out and have been wanting to go to a show so badly ever since. i almost didnt get to go this show actually. i was scheduled for work that night till late and i didnt know ahead of time to ask off cause i just heard about it earlier in the week. so i was bummed. but then, some how i was able to get off work extremely early do to crazy happenstances. it was a gift from God, i think, that i was able to go to your guys' show. it was a blessing to me and apparently a blessing to you guys as well. keep doing what you're doing, its great, we love it, i can't wait to see you guys again.

  6. I'm so glad I was able to be at the Plano show last was amazing, I'd been wanting to see you guys live for a while now, I'm glad it was fun for you as well and that it lifted your spirits! Hope you have more great shows on the rest of the tour! I'll try to catch you guys again in May! God bless and I'll be praying for you guys, TCC rocks! :D

  7. Glad the show went good,
    One bit of encouragement through those tough shows, coming from someone in a crappy local music scene, sometimes, there is 1-4 people in that tough crowd who have been waiting to see you guys for a long time, and despite the apparent inability of the crowd to connect, those select few are bobbing their heads to the beat, feeling your pain on the lackluster crowd, but soaking it all in nonetheless.
    Keep doing what you do, it is appreciated, blog-wise, and music-wise

  8. I agree w/ Bpuckhead. The Claremore show may not have been Plano to you, but it was def. Plano to me and my friends. Sending all of you love and support from UA Fayetteville!

  9. I hope the songs in your head will one day be the songs in my head. Creation is the best form of mourning, in my opinion, making something out of loss. It's a beginning from an end.

  10. Man, I hope I get to see yall this tour. Theres a CHANCE that I'll be able to make the drive to Nashville, but I can't promise myself that. Loving Vagabonds. Great alblum. COULD be my favorite, but its hard to beat Silver Cord. Keep it up, man.

  11. Dood your stuff is amazing don't ever get down,

    I've been listening to Broken Mess on repeat for like last 5 days.
    I'd buy Vagabons again if it was the only song on that CD.

  12. I am glad you guys came to Lafayette. I can't imagine how stressful a tour is but I just hope we as a crowd gave you a fraction of the joy you give us.

  13. I wish I was there. Your nostalgia has swallowed me and lullabies my mind, but I'm not asleep...I'm sitting. Thinking. Wondering things which may or may not be relevant to my life. Funny how that works out.