We see our first hipster in the Las Cruces, New Mexico gas station; we must be getting closer to SXSW. We gunned it in the rented Kia Forte straight to El Paso, where we have a fly-by, "gas station money" gig at a place called M's Lips Lounge.
As we pass the exit for Truth or Consequences in Texas, Abe phones our hostess in Austin:
"Hey girl. hey, gurrrlll. Hey, do you have any crazy costumes at the house? ...did you say, 'American Flag Burka'? Okay. Okay. Yeah, because we might have some alternates who will also partake ... Do you know where to buy some shoes in Austin? I'm still wearing my work shoes, and I look like an idiot. Well, not now, but I will with the spandex on and these fucking mountain shoes."
Yep. I'm officially on tour with Treasure MammaL.
Lips is a dive bar supreme, and I'd have to assume one of the better places to play in El Paso, TX. But Abe is still a little pissed because (1) the PA is too small, (2) the show is running late, and (3) the venue isn't giving us free drinks.
Outside, I talk to the band playing after us, an L.A. rock outfit called The Royal Heist, and one of the beautiful locals. The conversations with like-minded strangers are maybe what I look forward to most this week.
When we take the stage, the night changes. For the better.
Treasure MammaL, above all, is about sharing. I'm a Bro who wears spandex, does yoga, and waves his Swisher Sweets around proudly. That's my character. That's me.
I bust my hand open on the concrete floor, rolling around on top of a drunk guy who'd fallen while dancing. The sequined, crucifix-embroidered cowboy hat I bought in Las Cruces also serves me well.
Unfortunately, we have to jet right after the set. We have a show in Austin the following night, and need to eat up some more highway before sleeping. I say my goodbyes to nice bros The Royal Heist (one of whom, fortunately for us, had a dream catcher tattooed on his neck -- pictures to come) and the local beauty. The hardest part of touring is what you have to leave behind...
We leave El Paso just before midnight. Adrenaline wearing off. But we hang in there, passing the time by counting the area's uniquely-named strip clubs: Tequila Sunrise Men's Club (next to Red Roof Inn); and Jaguar's Gold Club, rumored to be a favorite of Tracy Morgan.
At around 1:30AM, fatigue setting in, we settle for a random roadside Super 8. I go to make hotel coffee, but they only have decaf so I hop in the shower instead. The Super 8 also left the last person's coffee bag floating in the coffee maker, rotting in water.
So Treasure Mammal stickered the hell out of it and bounced.
They also overcharged us for our room, and closed continental breakfast at 9:00. That's 7:00 Arizona time. Fuck Super 8.
I still have a lot of things to learn about "the music business." Why isn't it okay to be friends with "typical L.A. bands," as Abe calls them, if they're really nice people to talk to? Do you always have to be networking? And if we're all just musicians, just making art to share with our fans, then why does it fucking matter so much who plays last? I hope to answer these questions on tour as well.