The Frostbite tour continues to exact its brutal toll upon our bodies and psyches.
We had 2 shows to play at Winter Wondergrass on this last Saturday. We were turned away at the gates by an armed security detail. Our bonfire of the day before had not, apparantly, been met with good humor by the festival staff. Being resourceful, we found our good friends in the band Cabinet. Using their natural generosity and good-will to our dastardly benefit, we rendered them unconscious with chloroform, disguised ourselves in their clothing, and made our way back into the festival unmolested.
Our sets were rowdy, raucous, and very confusing to fans of either The Brothers Comatose or Cabinet.
We ate all we could of the backstage hospitality food, wrapped what we couldn’t in the tablecloth that it had been set upon, and with wild eyes and ear-splitting whoops, we made our naked dash (our full bellies gave us pangs of conscience, and we gave the good lads of Cabinet back their clothes) back to the van.
In all of the high-speed-Steamboat-Springs-Police-chasing adrenaline that followed, we didn’t realize that our own clothing was also left strewn across the festival grounds.
We needed clothes, and shelter. (Food, thanks to our soggy tablecloth full of grub, was in great supply.)
We sheltered that night in an abandoned condominium. We stitched great robes out of their curtains and sheets. We tore the upholstery off the couches to make our footwear.
Thusly attired, we drove the snow-blown roads over rocky mountain passes to the quaint, tasteful, refined and upscale town of Crested Butte.
We were met with dropped jaws, wide eyes, and frightened screams. Our gravy-smeared faces (for we had feasted on our tablecloth spoils all the live-long drive) and strange raiment must have unnerved the locals, for they gave us a wide berth. Sadly, stores pulled the window shades down and locked their doors at our approach. Our attempts to find new clothes, food or lodging were thwarted.
Without lodging, suitable clothing, or a new supply of food and water, we would not last long in that high-altitude, eternally snowing, unforgiving land.
Joe reminded us that friends of ours from Florida had come to this frostbitten alpine place for the weekend. They had even invited us (ha!) over for dinner. How foolish of them! We, however, collectively leapt at the opportunity. We made sure to wipe all foam from our mouths and clean our beards before we approached their warmly-lit palatial estate.
Not surprisingly, they did not believe that the bedraggled, curtain-bedecked, frostbitten travelers were, in actuality, the Brothers Comatose. It wasn’t until Ben and Alex sang “Brothers,” shivering on their doorstep that they put away the shotgun, and opened the door wide to our savagery. Oh sweet warmth! Oh, how the wine and beer and whiskey did flow! Oh, the feasting that was feasted! Our Floridian friends watched us from behind the solid, granite counters of the fortified kitchen.
We woke the next day in a great pile of curtains, pasta sauce, cookies and blankets in front of the great fireplace in the main room of our host’s home. Someone, during the night had covered us with blankets. Clothes were laid out for us – in our sizes, in our own inimitable styles.
We scrawled a thank you on the wall with the remnants of the Tomato Sauce, and headed towards Crested Butte with vigor and confidence.
In our new clothes, with full bellies, we had our way about the town. No whiskey was too expensive. No earthly delight would be denied us. We made real estate deals. We ran for office. The police was ours to control. The seedy underbelly of Crested Butte yielded unto us its black pearls of iniquity.
The show that night was played in a haze of power, lust, excess and wild extravagance. Ben was carried to the stage on a litter born by the local high school football team. Phil played the entire set being fanned on a divan whilst eating grapes. Decrees were made. Proclamations were proclaimed. Again, we drank deep of that heady liquor that is a great, rowdy crowd at a show far from home. It intoxicated us.
In the great white blanket of that late night/early morning snow-blizzard, still drunk on the vapors of a raucous show, we lost our way. The night was spent huddling close for warmth in the van; drinking the remaining whiskey in turns to try and stay warm; drawing straws should one of us need to be eaten.
Dawn broke just as Phil was being prepared for his noble sacrifice.
He was spared – the sun shone, and the way was clear. We drove, dear reader. We drove to outrun the bitter snow; the wicked cold; the frostbite that threatened both body and soul.
After two days, we arrived in Boise.
What do I recall of these two days? Very little.
Only that now we were 8 people in the van. Where did Pat come from? How did he become a fixture in the back seat? Did anyone know him? Did he, as he repeated incessantly, truly have our best interests at heart? Only time would tell. The odometer proved we had traveled far, and the frigid mountains now loomed in our rearview mirror. I couldn’t explain the tattoo, the recent credit card purchases or the new passenger… but we were safe from Old Man Winter…. for now.
The snow, for the present had been left on the mountain tops. Boise was cold, but dry and clear. The people were loud and triumphant and incredible and boisterous. We loved them, and they loved us. In a hazily-remembered fog, I can recall a key to the city being accepted, Ben donning a leather glove and calling a Peregrine falcon to his wrist, and a flow of fine ale that seemed like the mighty Mississippi in the years of the great floods.
It is now night.
We are warm. We are alive. We are clothed.
Tomorrow we rise early to, again, summit the highest of peaks – this time towards Victor, Idaho. Will our good fortune last? Will our supplies hold? Who is Pat? Will the Frostbite tour overcome our noble heroes?
I vow to report and relate all just as it occurs, dear reader.
In the meantime, wish us warmth, luck, and clear roads.