Road Blog: Saturday November 19, 2022 - Eaton, OH
November 19, 2022
We left the glamorous Motel 6 in Knoxville and hit Bojangles for breakfast. Jacob’s got a thing for Bojangle’s, and we don’t have them above the Sweet Tea Line so we like to take advantage when opportunity knocks. This time I got a 2-piece leg and thigh combo with the Cajun pintos and mac and cheese. The chicken was fresh and hot, breading was crispy and had just the right amount of bite, and the sides were good. My best Bojangle’s experience yet.
I took the wheel for the drive back north, out of Knoxville, through the Cumberland Gap, into Kentucky. We stopped at Liquor Barn in Lexington, which is a giant alcohol superstore, and I picked up a couple things, but spent FAR less than I spent at Binny's in Rockford after our Wausau show in September. I was fielding texts from my brother in-law Greg about his list, and looking and things for mine, and stopping at the occasional food tasting kiosk that were set up for various promotions. On the way out I signed up for their rewards program, which will certainly pay off in good time.
Our pal and brother from Lexington, NP Presley came up to say hello and we had a nice chat. I haven’t seen Nate since the before times, and we were supposed to play their (NP Presley & The CEB) record release show that ended up being a virtual stream in the height of the pandemic that we couldn’t come down for. It was a nice visit, I told him he looked like hell, gave him a hug, begged him to take care of himself, and we agreed to connect for some shows in the spring.
Traffic through Covington, over the Ohio River, and into Cincinnati was unusually light and before long we pulled into our dive motel in Dayton. The motel sits behind a muffler shop and an oddly-located, super-creepy little cemetery. By now the wind had picked up and the temperature had dropped and it was downright miserable out. After a quick stop we were back in the van heading west towards Eaton.
Eaton, Ohio is a small little town about 25 miles west of Dayton, via county roads, through a couple other little mid-western towns. The streets were empty and the weather was hostile, we knew it was going to be a weird night. Taffy's of Eaton is an old jewelry store turned coffee house/beer bar/music venue that sits right in heart of the main street strip. Kurt, the owner, greeted us with a big smile and we loaded in. He’s a great guy who, while certainly unique in his own way, reminds me of some of the other venue owners I’ve written about – doing it for the love of live, original music and nothing else. Not getting rich, barely paying the bills, but committed to nurturing live music. It’s heartwarming to see, and these good people and their dedication and commitment mean the world to a band like ours.
As we were setting up, talking to Kurt and a couple of locals, our local support texted to say he couldn’t play the show. For a band like ours, in a small town for the first time, on a bad weather night, having the local cancel without notice is basically the kiss of death. We’ve been there before, we knew it was gonna be a slow night. But these things happen, we’ll move on and make the best of it.
We got a couple fantastic sandwiches from the pizza joint next door and did a quick soundcheck, then ordered beers and eventually started playing around 9pm. Let’s say that the crowd was…thin, but we were appreciative to those that were there and engaged in our set. We played for about an hour and called it a night, loaded out into the Arctic air, had a nice chat with Kurt, and headed back east towards Dayton. As we were climbing into the van a guy across the street was loading up his drums after a gig a nearby bar and hollered "Hey dudes - how was the show?" "Packed man!" I said, as we chuckled and exchanged brief pleasantries. Jake was driving, though none of us had more than a single beer, and we stopped for gas and took turns making up stories about each of the local characters that went in and out of the only open establishment open at the 11pm hour for 20 miles in any direction while we waited for the tank to fill.
Back at the room I had a tiny nightcap, Gabriel crashed out, and Jake locked into some South Park and Family Guy. The silver lining to the disappointing show was an early bedtime as we knew we wanted to get an early start this morning. That was the last Tucos show of `22, number 48 if you’re keeping count, and while we did go out with a bummer, it’s been a hell of a year, and the fall tour (22 shows in all) had way more highs than lows, so no one was too bummed. These things happen, rock and roll can be a fickle son of a bitch sometimes, and if you can’t roll with the punches, you’re in the wrong business.
We left the dingy Motel 6 in Dayton just shy of 9am, after I grabbed a quick photo of the creepy muffler-shop cemetery. It was a brisk 16° out with an unforgiving, dry, biting, mid-western wind. Gabe took the wheel, Jake put on Butch Walker’s first solo album, and we headed north. A quick stop for some McDonalds coffee and McMuffins, and before long we were beneath the new “Pure Michigan” sign that signals an end to smooth roads and the beginning of an endless supply of weed dispensaries, vying for the business of any poor soul unfortunate enough to live in a state where it’s still considered a crime.
And that, friends, is a wrap. A bit of a weird weekend. Not the best run of the year, and not the way we wanted 2022 to end, but we’re not complaining. The Tucos will be back next year, more miles, cities, shows, stories, and blogs. Thanks for reading, enjoy the holidays, be safe, be nice, and we’ll see ya’ back out there in 2023. Xx