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The Road is Frought with Human Error

In Hidden Number, News on August 23, 2011 at 3:28 am

The aptly named Human_Error tour is over, and we’ve finally had some time to catch our collective breath. Here is the saga.

The Human_Error Tour Must Have Errors

Loading the van

Loading the van

Error_1  The first job was to find some decent transportation. At one point, we were actually seriously considering installing a hitch on a Prius. But luckily we were able to borrow a Subaru Outback from some very dear family. Once we had the trailer loaded, which is an understatement since the trailer was twice the size of what we needed, the car would not shift out of park. I was thinking, Oh great, we’re not even going to be able to get on the road. But luckily Justin knew how to override the shifting mechanism and get us in gear. Things were getting very, very real.

Who is Justin? Why, he is our Touring Bassist, playlist dj, and Mechanic! The Joe Stuhff that we all know and love, is busy getting the Father of the Year Award for 2011. In fact his whole family was upgrading to some nicer diggs around the time of this tour. No more view of the Space Needle, but who needs that anyway when you get to give your youngest child a real bedroom? Joe is our hero. So is Justin, who Saved The Day several times. More on that later.

Error_2  We got lucky in the past by borrowing projectors so that we could show off Josh’s heartfelt and epic visual display. Yet no unlucky sap would volunteer for the tour. So we stopped off at Fry’s to grab a good projector at a good value (an Acer). The salesperson was extremely helpful. He loaded us down with a ton of accessories. Later, we would discover that the projector came with all the same accessories. This would become the first set of returns we would need to make after the tour. More on this later. After a sandwich and a smoothy, we loaded the car with a pallette of water, our new projector, and 4 fancy lads–and hit the open road for Portland.

[More about the tour after the break…]

Error_3  Justin jacked in his mp3 player and regaled us with his favorite tunes all the way to Portland. This was not an error. This was a success. I’ll have to make a follow up post on what was in his mp3 player. Time flew, and the next thing we knew we were entering Portland at rush hour. As we pulled off the 405, Justin Saved The Day by pointing out that he smelled the delicious and mouth watering smell of coolant. I confirmed that it was a hot day, the AC was blasting, and the car was in fact overheating. Luckily the venue was just around the corner and turning off the AC did the trick. This is where I started dreading the impending doom of the Sexton Pass in Southern Oregon. More on that Later.

The Portland, Oregon, show was great. A lot of our friends actually showed up! And the bartender let us park the car + trailer in the staff parking lot. The projector worked! We were the first band, but our friends totally backed us up and it was great to rock the house and then catch up with everyone. Then we got to watch our buddies, Warning: Danger!, tear it up some more. They had a fill in bassist, too! We are twinsies. Mark put in 100% into keeping Portland safe.

When the night was over, we discovered a few musicians had a few too many celebretory drinks, and it was entertaining watching Warning: Danger! attempt to attach their hitch and nearly destroy their truck. On the other hand, they had begun pranking me with their damned omnipresent stickers. My back was covered in stickers for their band. Also, one of the bands had walked away with all the money–which the club owner gave to them–and no one respondible was left. So much for gas money. After a drawn out adventure in search of comforting pancakes, we eventually filled our bellies and then crashed the night on our friends’ couches in a house that they aptly named The Fortress of Solid Dudes. The next day, we were treated by our friends to more breakfast, we got to see a bro take off his shirt while walking along a highway, and then we hit the road.

Every dive bar in Portland serves the most amazing breakfast. Portland is where you go for breakfast.

Error_4  Eugene, Oregon. Apart from the annoying shift override maneuver (more on this later), the drive was again event free. The main bartender at the club was really nice. And there was plenty of street parking, even for a car + trailer. The bartender continued to be nice. We tried insulting the decor of his sports bar, but he was still nice. We insinuated that a drum stick would be thrown from stage into his 1 ton fish tank. Still nice. Nothing would faze this guy. Eugene pumps HTC in its drinking water.

Another great show on a hot night. Again, some friends showed up and lent their support. Then the next band announced that they had just kicked out their drummer, so I got to sit in and play all their punk rock songs with them! And again, Mark and Warning: Danger! gave 100%. Mark always gives 100%, even if wrapped in a plastic costume covered in a rubber mask. The mohawked punk rock regular was head banging. At the end of the night, the nice bartender gave us a discount on our tab. Gas money!

The Flame of the Rose

The Flame of the Rose

Error_5  This part was not an error. We drove up to my buddy Paul Kincade’s place in Corvallis, Oregon, where he helps run a recording studio and retreat up in the wilderness called Wild Rose Studios. He built up a massive bonfire in the back, and we finished off our beer and celebrated our good fortune at being on the road and having great friends with amazing recording studio/retreats with rejuvinating bonfires. In the morning we awoke to breakfast. I stumbled in, and Warning: Danger! was already embroiled in a game of chess. And then we earned our keep by cleaning out a massive patch of thistles. As we laboured, a woman drove up along a winding dirt road and asked if we had seen her elderly mother hike by. We had not. We all ended up with bloody skin from the barbs, and some with inflamed injuries, but the follow-up of fresh fruit and a soak in the hot tub made the whole thing worthwhile. City musicians sure can whine and complain, but I think it felt good for us to work in the earth out in the middle of Nature. If only we had recorded some tracks there, in the state-of-the-art facility. We met their pet squirrel, bid farewell, and then hit the open road once again–bound for the Sexton Pass and, on the other side, Medford, Oregon.

Error_5  The Sexton Pass was uneventful. I just turned off the AC when we climbed in elevation. No problem. What a letdown. I was expecting some kind of huge disaster, resulting in getting stranded by an overheating vehicle and then being chased through the pine forests by ravaging apocolypse predicting cultists. For a third time, we arrived early. The streets were empty in Medford, Oregon. This is Josh’s home town, but it had been long enough for us in far away Seattle that the town seemed lonely and sparse. A ghost town for a Saturday night. We parked across the street from the club, on the street. This is when another truck pulled up, with a trailer. Was this Warning: Danger!? We saw a kid jump out in a tie-dye shirt. No, that had to be the band from Ashland, the Bioluminescent Sea Witches. Only people from Ashland wear tie-dye shirts in Medford. I learned that lesson years ago, when I grew up in Ashland. Immediately they started unloading our equipment for us. That’s Ashland for you: wear tie dyes, and try to out-nice everyone and be super cool, and bring a lot of fans to the show.

Medford was out of control. Warning: Danger! kicked things off with another 100 percenter from Mark, and nobody in the house stopped rocking until the bar shut down. Everyone was dancing, cheering, drinking, and singing along the whole night. I think a few people went out to smoke during the BSW set, but that’s the Medford/Ashland rivalry for you. All of our best friends showed up yet again, and we partied into the night and played our best set ever.

Thank you Medford for an amazing night!

Error_6  Why stay the night, when you can instead drive 10 hours back to Seattle? That’s what I did. First we stopped at Food 4 Less–still there after all these years!–and stocked up on red bull and snacks. Then, we closed the door on the trailer, because we had inadvertantly left it wide open. And only then did we hit the open road at 3am for home.

I crashed from the Red Bull pretty quickly. Damned sugar Red Bull. Always buy the sugar free. The crash was hard and fast. I watched the sun rise, and I saw an ultralight fly overhead. I was hallucinating, so I pulled over, walked out into a field, and layed in the dirt for an hour and a half. Just as Josh had discovered me and was preparing to get it all recorded on his iPhone, I awoke to discover that we were safe in a rest stop. Refreshed, we hit the open road and I guzzled caffeine the rest of the way home for the most epic 10 hour drive in my life. More epic than driving the Siskyou Summit in the snow.

Error_7  It was then that we discovered that the break light fuse had been blown the entire trip, the cause for the locked shift stick. This is despite having checked it at least twice. This is why we are musicians. Oh, and remember how we considered installing a hitch on a Prius? Well, despite canceling the order, the company billed me anyway and the equipment was waiting for me on my doorstep. Oh good, another thing to return.

KLED can dance

KLED can dance

Error_8  We finished off the tour back in our home, Seattle. And we did it in style: opening for the KLED CD release. The Blue Moon now has a stage monitor, and so we probably had the best sounding vocals in all our history as a band that night. Then Badwater Fire Company played some amazing and simultaneously subtle tunes, followed by the spectacle that is KLED. Four words: disgruntled nude male dancer. KLED is a band you must go to see live, or you have not lived. Also that night, Mark went to the hospital–suffering from Having Given 110%. Keep Mark in your thoughts, please.

We would like to very dearly thank the following people for making this tour the success that it was:

  • Everyone who came out to see us, accidentally were in the same room, shuffled by the club in consternation, or otherwise heard our muffled cries through the masonry. Why else would we do this?
  • The Warning: Danger! crew: Brooker, Mark, Mike, and Seth.
  • Best Friends Forever: Libby, Jake Merriman, Bill, Reuben, Lainie, Travis, Mary, Paul Kincade, Wild Rose Studios, Jenny, Monika, Skeeter, Reb, Jake Cotton, Lauren, Krister, Jack, Neil, Ray, Adam, Jaime, and the Sea Witches.
  • And, as always, our families! Especially for all the important advice that we actually followed for once!
  • Should we also thank Justin for filling in on bass? Indeed we shall. He learned all our songs in a single month.

Thusly the saga ends. We return to the studio to write more songs. Do you have any stories? Were you at any of the shows?

More about Hidden Number:

-=HN=-

[Kai]

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