Earlier this month I got to go on a 12-day tour of the Western United States opening for one of my dearest friends, Billy Galewood, aka Bushwalla. I knew going into it that it was going to be a great and really fun journey, but it somehow far surpassed my expectations and was one of the funnest two-weeks I've ever had.
Let me start off by saying that touring is actually A LOT of hard work and NOT a giant party, living the "rockstar" wild life, at least at the DIY-grind level I have always experienced. I imagine to do one's job well with the utmost professionalism and execution of awesome shows touring is never easy, even if you're a huge star. You have to really keep your energy in tact, eat healthy, drink lots of water, rest properly, stay focused, and keep the vibes good to do the job right, which is show up and play awesome shows. To even do a show though requires hours and hours of driving, unloading an obscene amount of gear, much of which is really heavy, then setting it all up on stage (there is a lot more to this when you do electronic music, and aren't just a DJ, than when you're just in a band with your one instrument and set up), then you have to set up your merch, and then after playing a show, meeting a bunch of people, and staying up pretty late you have to tear down, load everything into the van again (Tetris!), and then go to wherever you're staying for the night and again unload pretty much everything into the house or hotel so there is no risk of it getting stolen. Then you wake up, Tetris everything into the van again, and repeat. It's exhuasting, however I find the whole experience to be incredibly fun and inspiring!
Touring is the total opposite of being in routine at home. Every so often it is really important to break up this routine, and touring is such a rad way to do it. Even though there is a sort of routine to touring of playing a show, travelling, playing a show, travelling, etc... you are experiencing new places, people, and adventures everyday from the moment you wake up till the moment you go to sleep each night. In a way all of this makes the success of the shows irrelevant to the adventure and journey that touring is, rather the shows you play are just icing on the cake of an already cool travelling experience. This tour I just did was especially great because Bushwalla is one of my closest friends, and our tour manager who came along, Ben Varela, is also awesome and we became good friends too. We were also joined part-way by our homesquirrel, Luna, who helped with good vibes, good massages, and doing merch; we were a great 4-person crew. If I had a dollar for every obscene and sexual joke that sounded like it came from a 7th-grader I would be ballin' out of control right now, makin' it rain son! SO many laughs, so many jokes, so many serious, epic conversations about real shit, so much supporting each other, so many shared ideas, so many beautiful parts of the country we drove through, so much epic nature, so many wonderful cities, so much frisbee played, so many friends and family we got to visit along the way, so many new amazing people and new friends made, so many epic post-show hangs at awesome homes, nice restaurants, or late-night diners, so many inside jokes created and driven into the ground... And of course so much rocking of venues, playing great music and having a blast doing it, and making new fans. It was SUCH a good adventure for me. There were too many awesome moments to get into, but I'll share a quick overview of some of my favorites:
- Renaming almost every singer/songwriter we know from SD and LA with a really messed up, sexual sound-alike version of their name
- Singing and jamming on Eagle Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight" for WAY too long with a really big group of amazing people the first night in Portland
- Posing for some Moonscribe pictures late at night in Portland
- Running into Gino, Justine, and Lena in Portland randomly!!
- Late dinner at the worst Denny's I've ever been in after the Seattle show
- Teeth-brushing twerking battle against Sarah Haywood in the hotel (I won)
- Playing frisbee in the quad after our show at Idaho State University, then playing an epic game of ping-pong
- The legendary Applebee's mission (preceded by me missing the freeway exit because of "see what ha' happened was..." (inside joke)).
- Hiking alone in the middle of the night up the hill to "the pillars" at ISU under a near-full moon
- The crowd and vibe at our Salt Lake City show
- Pre-show dinner in Denver with my dad, aunt, uncle, and cousin as well as our touring crew
- Driving through the Rockies in a rainstorm listening to Gramatik and Alt-J
- Hanging and eating in Glenwood Springs in Colorado
- Driving through Utah late at night under the full moon while listening to "Conversions" by Kruder & Dorfmeister
- Post-show hang at Pedro's house in Scottsdale with sushi and swimming under the bright moon.
- Putting Sun Breeze oil in my nostrils while burning incense and palo santo in the van, all at the same time (smells amazing)
So those are just a few of the incredible memories I now have from the trip. This was a big deal for me also to tour for the first time as 9 Theory rather than Inspired Flight. It has been an arduous two-year journey to get my career as a solo artist back to where Inspired Flight had left off, and it feels really good to have grinded, not given up, and to have finally gotten to a point where I've done a proper tour again. I can't wait for the next one, and I can't wait for them to get longer with bigger crowds and bigger venues. I seriously can't wait to start rocking festivals again next year, and all that jazz. This was the beginning of the 9 Theory journey, and it was fucking epic! I'm so grateful to have been asked by Bushwalla to be the opener, and I can't wait for when him and I tour again. See ya at a show!