by Mike Zimmerman
Snake Island! slithered south to play 21 shows for our first tour from June 22-July 15. Since every day is a story in itself, we’ll trim the fat and personal accounts to give a brief overview on the tour as a whole. There were mostly great times, but also small frustrations. At some point in the tour, Garrett described being on the road as a “super fun nightmare,” which to me seemed accurate since the bad times made for great stories the next day.
The coolest venue we played may have been the Bottletree in Birmingham, Ala. Unfortunately this was probably our least attended show on the road. However, they were by far the most accommodating venue. They fed us and then let us stay in a couple of ’70s-style campers overnight that were fenced in by barbed wire. These things had big TVs, Atari, bedding, A/C, baskets of clean socks, massage chairs, etc.
The song "Dirty Bones" inspires a guest to join the band at Tequila Rok in Beaumont, Texas.
Houston, New Orleans and Chicago were possibly the three coolest cities we played in. Houston surprised us as our favorite city in Texas. Everyone talks about Austin these days, but they should be talking about Houston. New Orleans had a lot of character and was preserved more than most places you go. It makes you feel like you’re in a Tarantino movie at night. Chicago was a good place to be winding down on tour. It’s a big city with good food, great bands and no public bathrooms anywhere.
There were some awesome moments, some of which crossed the line between amazing and weird. In Detroit, a guy threw an empty beer can at me while I played drums, and then threw his Iron Maiden shirt at me. I threw it back at him, and then he just threw it at me again. He swiped his card at the bar for $50 in $1 bills and ran on stage throwing all the money at us, literally making it rain. After that, he put his hat on Garrett’s head, stage dove straight into the floor, pissed himself and then ran off with one of our shirts. Our minds were blown. Who was this guy?
We got really used to the uncertainty of where we were sleeping each day. It was one of those things that we usually had to figure out at the show we were playing by asking around. There was only one night that we didn’t get a plan figured out, which led to us sleeping in the woods with no camping gear. This was not necessarily an ideal scenario, but you can only get lucky so often. If we did get a place to stay, there was the chance that they wanted to party all night. Going to bed after 4 a.m. became routine.
Snake Island! performs two songs in a mashup at Hairhole in Columbia, Mo.
The more interesting stories are about the people we met on the road. We met a 53-year-old local crackhead avant-garde music legend in Texas, saw someone breathe in the fumes of their burnt chest hair followed by shaving a question mark in it, and had people lighting sparklers inside on the 4th of July. Someone even asked if they could take Garrett’s socks off for him.
Despite someone attempting to break into our trailer in New Orleans, playing a show with a broken tom head, and unpredictable sleeping patterns, the tour was a success. We made friends with awesome bands such as Thunder Brother, Tennessee Scum, Strange Baby, Soft Jolts and others. All in all, there were more good times than bad. We’ll begin recording our full-length record in August at Make Believe studios. New record, new lineup, new songs. We’re ready to shed our skin and hit the road again.