Punk Tour Days

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Photo courtesy of Rudest Priest.

Day One

One thing I’ve learned about touring is that you should always set up a show in your hometown the night before hitting the road. This gives your band a chance to warm up and perfect a solid set in front of a crowd that knows and loves you. Hopefully, it also provides you with a few dollars to buy that first tank of gas.

For our first night we rocked out at Launchpad, a Downtown Albuquerque club that has been around for three decades. Our set, as usual, was a mix of one-minute punk songs peppered with ridiculous shenanigans—setting off fireworks on stage, stripping off our clothes, and begging the audience to buy us a beer. The next day everyone asked me, “Did you really drink your own piss on stage? I saw you pee in that cup, but someone said you drank it….” All that really mattered was people loved our new shirts, and we sold enough of them to pay our way to the next town.

Day Two

He yelled into a microphone that if women can’t go topless, men shouldn’t either.

But it wasn’t just Rudest Priest rocking out on this tour! Along for the ride were our good friends, Weedrat. A pair of Albuquerque bands ready to conquer Arizona. We’d just barely made it over the border when our tire blew out. We laughed and cheered and pulled over to fix it. It was our first tour mishap, and it was rather exciting. We joked around with a “well, whatyagonnado?” attitude, and before long we were on the road. No big deal. But then, only another 100 miles down the road, another tire blew out. And this time we didn’t have a spare. Derp. Looked like we wouldn’t make it to our show, which was possibly for the best. That venue had informed us the day before of their staunch “no cursing” policy, so it was unlikely that either band would have made it through their full sets.

Instead, we had AAA tow us to Flagstaff. As luck would have it, some old punk band was playing a show just a half mile from our hotel. We spent the night doing drugs and moshing to songs that were written 15 years ago. After the show we tried to party with said punk band, and when they refused we went back and put Rudest Priest stickers all over their tour van. I spent the night laying on the floor of a hotel while five other people snored all night long. I woke up feeling like shit, but in a good mood anyway.

Day Three

All the punks in Prescott talked with Southern accents for some reason, and were very, very nice. The punkhouse we stayed at had gardens, chickens, recycling and compost. It felt like we were in the middle of the country, but I was informed that there is an actual “city” part of Prescott.

The show space was a small barn in the backyard, the inside of which had been covered in rugs and mattresses. This allowed people to literally bounce off the walls any time if the music called for it. To my surprise we were playing with Phoenix Hooker Cops, a band from Phoenix who came out and played a show with us in Albuquerque one time. Running into someone we knew was unexpected and kind of nice, especially when they said they were excited to see us play again. The show went well, and the actual Prescott cops only came by once. I got drunk on Boone’s Farm, and ended up sleeping on a couch on their front porch. The next morning I helped clean up all the empty beer cans, and we thanked our gracious hosts for a great night before getting back on the road.

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Photo by Billy McCall.

Day Four

When we rolled into Tempe the temperature was 110 degrees. It stayed like that until the sun went down. Our show was at some all-ages space in the back of a strip mall, and there were eight bands on the ticket. Phoenix Hooker Cops drove out to see us play for a second night in a row, even though they weren’t playing this show. I am flattered and excited that they wanted to see us play again, but for some reason became worried that they might tell everyone that I’d worn the same outfit the night before, which is ridiculous, I know. Next door was some crazy, messy record store that sold zines, VHS tapes, old clothes, and lots of music. I bought two copies of a zine called “Freaks,” which came out in the ’90s. I’ve heard of it, but never seen it in real life, so it was sort of like finding gold.

Blood, sweat, and Red Bull, baby!

Due to some confusion when booking the show, the venue was unaware that we were two touring bands from Albuquerque, and only allotted us one time slot. With so many bands on the bill, there’s not much way around this, so we decided to split a set. Weedrat played 15 minutes, then Rudest Priest played 15 minutes. Both bands had their tightest sets of the tour in this rushed format. The kids in Tempe go so hard, moshing and circle-pitting for every song, regardless of whether it’s fast or slow, loud or quiet. A constant flurry of angst and sweat.

Before the show, Matt asked the promoter about their policy on nudity. He replied, “No real policy, but women aren’t allowed to show nipples.” I felt this was a standard response from someone in charge of an all-ages venue trying to adhere to state and local laws, but Matt found it to be stupid and sexist. To protest, he decided to “Porky-Pig it,“ and played the show naked from the waist down, but still wearing his shirt. He yelled into a microphone that if women can’t go topless, men shouldn’t either. At some point someone threw a can of Red Bull on stage. I poured the remaining sticky liquid all over myself, ripped the can in half, and used the shredded aluminum to cut my chest open. Blood, sweat, and Red Bull, baby!

Day Five

We arrived in Tucson early and found a discount theater showing the new Mad Max. After that, we sat down for some Chinese food, then headed to the show space. The last show of our tour was at Xerocraft, a hacker space where people from the community gather to work on all sorts of projects, such as woodworking, painting, 3D printing, and everything else. The show was a benefit to raise money for a new radio station they are trying to build. Although this show was the only one we played with a defined cause, and such a great cause at that, it was also the least attended. We played outside in a gravel parking lot, and other than the bands and volunteers who run the space, there were only a half dozen people there to see us. But everyone was in a good mood, very friendly and helpful, so we played and had fun anyway.

Weedrat played first, and put on a great set. Rudest Priest was next, and we did the same silly stuff we always do. We played a new song and I forgot almost every word. The last band of the night was a local punk group called En Tierra Enemiga. When I asked the drummer about his hand, which was wrapped in gauze and a splint, he just shrugged and said, “Fuck it, punk rock.” They played anyway. Even though this was a benefit that no one came to, they paid us $50 for gas. I felt guilty taking it, but then again we needed it to get home.

The show was done, and so was tour. We packed up and rolled out. The last remaining drugs are consumed before we cross back over the AZ/NM border. I drank just enough booze to sleep until we arrived back in New Mexico. By sunrise we were in Albuquerque and happy to be home.

Billy McCall

About Billy McCall

Billy has been writing and self-publishing since middle school, and isn’t about to stop now. His main realm of expertise is zines, but he has also written for various magazines and newspapers over the years, published one novel, and even writes the occasional song. Currently he is living in New Mexico with his dog and two type-writers. He considers hand-written letters to be the highest form of flattery.

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