We got in the big white van on Wednesday afternoon to begin our Frostbite tour. It started as a clever name. It is now legitimate. I have lost most of the fingers of my right hand due to frostbite. Alex’s mustache has broken off. Ben lost his left foot, Ryan lost the tip of his nose and one of his ears. Phil seems unaffected. I am typing this laboriously with my left hand and the thumb of my right hand.
But, I am ahead of myself. Let me, laboriously and painfully, type away to bring you up to speed.
When we left Wednesday, it was from sunny, mild, never-snowing Northern California. When we stopped driving after just short of forever, it was freezing, we were in Wendover, Nevada, and most of our rations were gone. Tour manager Joe went out into the bleak white wastelands to hunt for supplies. We begged him not to go, but in our weakened, frigid state, we were easily overcome.
Thursday morning, we drove to Salt Lake City. On the way we found Joe. He had pulled a Hoth, and was sheltered in the belly of a cow carcass to avoid freezing. He now only eats his meat raw, and (if you catch him out of the corner of your eye) can be seen eyeing us hungrily when (seemingly) unobserved.
In Salt Lake City we picked up our sound engineer, Rich, and were able to replenish our supplies at the rustic outpost, Whole Foods. Thinking the worst was behind us, we had a debaucherous sold out show at The State Room. We became complacent, ate through our supplies once again, and collapsed in an exhausted, spent heap sometime in the wee hours of the morning, Friday.
Before the dawn we were roused by Joe, (now wearing the pelt of the cow he had slaughtered). He raved about storms, Thor, the ice gods, and an early festival load in. We shambled to the van. It wasn’t until we were well down the icy, snow-covered, endless mountain roads that we realized we left our warm blankets, jackets and hard rations behind. There was no time to go back, and the ferocious blizzard that came roaring ever-closer behind us did not allow us to turn around and reclaim the precious cargo.
Thusly we arrived in Steamboat Springs for Winter Wondergrass on Friday. Thusly we did throw ourselves on the bagel buffet backstage, causing the other guests and bands to recoil in horror as they watched our wild-eyed, ferocious orgy of near-starvation, half-frozen hunger. We played that afternoon on the main stage. With our warm garments carelessly left behind, we did our best to stay warm. We set the house drum kit ablaze on the outdoor stage, and huddled around the flames as we played, trying to keep the piercing, stinging chill out of our bones.
By the end of the set, the fire department was putting out the enormous blaze we had built and fanned, and the paramedics were taking us away to be treated for hypothermia and frostbite.
We were not scheduled to be released for several days, and so Joe and Rich, posing as doctors, had to spring us from the hospital that night so that we might still make our late-night after-party set at Shmiggity’s (I did not make up that name).
In a feverish daze of hospital drugs, beer, and lack of oxygen (due to our hospital respirators being disconnected, and the extreme elevation), we played a set that can only be described as ‘savage,’ ‘unforgettable,’ and ‘a clear prelude to madness.’
Late that night, once the revelers had all gone, we packed up into our van to rush – just ahead of the now on-the-alert hospital authorities – back to our cabin for the night.
The plush amenities there defied our senses which had, by this time, lapsed into pre-historic patterns of survival. We devoured frozen pizzas without warming them. We wrapped ourselves in towels. I slept in the bathtub.
Morning has brought with it a return to our pained and (for some) limb-less senses. The Frostbite tour stretches out before us, with forays beyond great mountain passes, long stretches of frozen tundra, and storms attacking us along every route.
We are planning a shamanic ritual tonight to appease the storm gods and, if we are crafty and cunning enough, we should be able to make off with some warm outer wear left carelessly in a backstage or well-heated beer tent as we make our way back to Winter Wondergrass for our two sets today.
Wish us luck.
Send us supplies, or – if you are planning to meet us at one of the shows, just bring them with you. We are in need of citrus (to ward off the scurvy) and raw meat (for Joe).
See you out there on the cold, cold road.