Road Blog: Saturday October 22, 2016 - Charleston, WV
October 22, 2016
The Empty Glass - Charleston, WV
As we were leaving Philadelphia the effects of the previous night's revelry set in big time and the 7 hour drive to Charleston, West Virginia was a long one for this soldier. Gabe drove the whole way. We stopped for lunch at a service plaza on the PA Turnpike where they had a meatball fast food place and I got mine in a bowl with spicy sauce. I'm big on meatballs. These were ok, a little dry, and the "spicy" in the sauce was probably unnecessary. Not great hangover food, but I couldn't pass it up. I started to rally as the afternoon progressed, watching the beautiful mountains pass, joking around with the boys, and was feeling myself again by the time the sun set. Then the fun started.
We checked into our motel just east of downtown Charleston where the owner and wife told us they were 15 minutes away from giving our rooms away. Odd, I thought, seeing as it was quarter after 7pm and we had them reserved for weeks with a credit card, and our reservation entitles us to show up at whatever hour we want, or not show up at all, as long as we pay for the room. Well, no worries, they had them, so we checked in and dropped our stuff off. That's when the missus came running down the sidewalk and informed us that they were overbooked and we'd have to share a single room. Well, the husband followed and she backed off, and he and I got into it pretty good. He tried everything he could - including putting the blame on me for booking through a 3rd party - when it's the 3rd party that the official hotel site sends you to when booking. Things got heated and I stood my ground, explaining that this was his problem and not mine, and after several tense minutes he eventually huffed off, muttering some sort of profanity. After that drama in Philly and a long, brutal drive, I wasn't having it. Still, even in victory, I don't ever like that kind of conflict with anyone. it was not a good situation and left us pretty wound up.
We loaded into The Empty Glass, a cool single-room venue with a lot of history near the WV state capitol. The bar has music until 3am - so we were in for a late night. We met the sound guy Bill, set up our merch and walked over to a nearby Indian restaurant for some curry. The food was excellent and we were calmed down from the hotel incident and ready for the show. Back at the venue I met Pepper Fandango - the girl who would be playing before us and also after with The Charleston Rogues - a Pogues tribute band. She booked the show and we talked about the logistics and all that. She's a sweet girl - and a hell of a songwriter/singer/banjo-player/performer too! She plays a kick drum and hi-hat with her heels while strumming or picking a banjo and singing. Great stuff!
Apparently it was a busy night in Charleston, with (gasp) a Garth Brooks concert that went until after midnight, and a big art-show punk party that a majority of the indie music loving community were attending. That left slim pickins for us to play to, but we did our best and ran through our set. After us the Rogues took the stage. If you know me, you know I love The Pogues. These guys were great - playing lots of my favorite tunes and even calling me up to sing (ruin) Sally Maclenanne and The Body Of An American. Thanks guys! Good times, good people. We were disappointed in the turnout and that the last night of our tour couldn't have gone better. The bullshit at the hotel and the drama the night before in Philly didn't help anything, and top it all off with no sleep and grade-3 hangover and you've got some grumpy dudes. We went back the motel sometime around 3:30am, scarfed down our leftovers, set the alarm for 3 hours, and crashed out.
The morning came way too soon. I gave the hotel owner a wink and a rye smile as I returned my key, knowing damn well I'd never see him again. Sorry to whoever he had to screw over after he failed with us, for real. We drove through West Virgina and into Ohio and up to Michigan, stopping for lunch at Taco Bell in Columbus. Patty drove the first half and I got us home.
We're home now, happy to see our wives and homes back in Michigan. We saw a lot of amazing country - especially the fall colors in the mountains of Vermont and West Virginia and the Atlantic shore in Maine. We saw 5 bald eagles total, ate some fantastic food, hit some cool record stores, and saw a lot of new cities.
We had to deal with some intense drama and had a couple shows that were really tough - more than usual. We know that's all part of the deal, but it doesn't always make it easier to digest. We'll live to fight another day and adjust accordingly.
On the plus side - we had a few really great shows and a couple decent ones. We played with a ton of AMAZING bands and made so many new friends that we know we'll be seeing more of. We also saw some great friends from the past and that really means a lot to us, so far from home. Big thanks to you all!
Thanks for reading the blog! That's it till next year. We've got some local stuff lined up and plans for a new record a ton of shows in 2017 are coming together now. Be safe out there friends - as our pals from Columbus always say, we're all we've got.