Friday, July 6, 2012

Denouement (In Which We Come To An Enchanted Place and We Leave Them There)


This is the last post for awhile. I’ve got one more in mind, which was supposed to be part of this one, but it’s just not going to happen for a while. I’d like to compile how many miles we traveled, how much spent on gas etc. General statistics that I’m curious about myself. We already know that we’re going to lose money on the tour, but no one minds much. Obviously, the Wussy model is not built around profits. We can’t go out and lose money forever, but from the bottom of my cranky heart, it was a life-changing event to head out and see all those people who have supported us from afar for so long. I, and in this case I think I can speak for the rest of the band, wouldn’t change a damn thing. Out of all those shows we only played two to single digit crowds. I’ve tried to not be overly sentimental, and often failed, but I swear the thing I remember most is the faces of all these people who seemed genuinely moved that we finally came to their town. It’s kind of overwhelming because we’re just a bunch of broke-ass, socially inept, fuck-ups. (ask anyone in Cincinnati, it’s not a big secret) Every band I know tries really, really hard to make good records. So to find out that what we do means something to people scattered over this enormous land is the fulfillment of a dream.

The other dream that was fulfilled was getting to see the country from the ground up. When I was in high school I read “The Grapes of Wrath” and it changed everything. It was my first grown-up book, (I read tons of grown-up spy novels. In particular I loved the Alistair MacClean books. So good, but this was different.) I read everything he wrote, coming across, “Travels With Charley” eventually. From that point on I dreamed (for about a quarter of a century) of travelling across the country. Wussy has given me so much, put checkmarks next to so many of my musical dreams, but it’s also not the easiest band to be in. We’ve broken up innumerable times for instance, so in the end I never make any assumptions about our future. I said in an interview once that we’ve made every album as if it might be our last and it’s true. So to get to go on a real tour and see the country, well that’s a big damn deal in my world. When we go east in a few weeks I’ll have gotten to dip my toes in both oceans in one summer. Oh, and this country is breathtaking. I was never bored even after all those hours in the van. People kept telling us that the next stretch was going to be boring but it never was. (Except west Texas. If it wasn’t for Austin I’d say we give the whole damn state back to Mexico. I can already imagine the Austin Airlift. “Forget the food and razors – just send more bikes, pot, and ironic t-shirts. We’re dying here.)

I’d like to thank the band for letting me write the blog. Once they saw what I was trying to do they pretty much let me write and gave me a pass on a lot of the driving. Also, I feel I need to make clear that the opinions in this blog were entirely mine. Not everyone felt the way I did about specific gigs or some of the events I wrote about. No one censored me or tried to butt in in any way (Said Mel Tillis). I really appreciate the chance to do this because it was a blast. And hopefully it will help us remember the damn the tour because Twangfest already seems like a lifetime ago.

I’m proud of how the band handled things. At at (“Empire” really is the best one) least one point pretty much everyone in the band lost their shit (except John) and screamed at someone else in the band (or inanimate objects/strangers). But in actuality we got along really well, had ridiculous amounts of fun, and played a bunch of shows that felt like maybe they were among our best. I set some musical goals for myself, and it was neat to get to play night after night and get to really work on them. It was equally cool to just feel the band rise and fall but ultimately get tighter (in the musical, not alcoholic sense) throughout the tour.

Every single day someone showed us an act of kindness. From bands giving us their door money because we’re on tour, to people helping us out with hotel rooms, to just little interactions with strangers that helped us find food, or a bathroom, or the lost tablets of Hammurabi. Proving once again the axiom, “America! Collectively we suck but individually on good days we’re OK! “ Yay!

When I got home I saw that my kids had taped together about 30 sheets of paper to make me a welcome home banner, and then my neighbors threw me a cookout. After the excitement of the first day home I woke up and could not get out of bed. An exhaustion like I’ve never known filled my limbs with lead. I didn’t feel this tired while we were out there, but man, even after four days I felt like I’d been worked over with a sock-full of nickels. Turns out it’s a tiring business.

Once again, I super enjoyed sharing this experience with you. I haven’t decided if I’ll write for the east coast dates. I’m leaning against it though because we’ve hit most of those towns many times, and although there will be adventures, there’s a reason Foreigner didn’t write, “Feels like the 5th time.”

Hope to see you out there. We’re eternally grateful that you give a shit.



  1. Mark: I've enjoyed reading about the tour. Keep it up for the east coast!

  2. Mark, you're a great writer - hope you keep blogging. In fact, YOU should be the one to write the Wussy book! You could keep overhead low by making it an ebook. Then, watch the $ roll in!

  3. Thanks for writing this for us. it's been fun following you, and I really appreciate your perspective on the people and places you saw along the way. Kind of like a mini "On the Road"

  4. Mark,

    thanks for keeping us up to date with the doings of the tour. It's been a pleasure to read, and we've missed you guys in Ohio. Could you please come back up to Cleveland for a show? Listening to the KHDX and KEXP recordings confirm that you all are, indeed, playing tighter and tighter. I am jealous of my brother who made a double dip to see you in PDX and SEA on back to back nights...