Nick joined the band. We found a bass player shortly after. Dia and I considered ourselves extremely lucky to be joined with two very motivated and capable dudes. Ryan understood what he liked to call "The Scene". He knew the right bands, the right people, and the right way to butter up his connections.
He actually booked our first tour all by himself utilizing the mysterious powers of Myspace to connect with bands such as "Lydia" from Arizona and "The Higher" from Las Vegas. (Anyone remember those guys?) We coordinated with these other bands in our region of the U.S. to "show swap" and give each other the names and numbers of local promoters and venues.
All of the pieces of our journey seemed to fall together quite nicely. We continued to sell Dia and my first demo cd. We found a lead guitar player, Kenji, online to complete our band. (The internet is such a magical tool, wouldn't you agree?) Kenji now enjoys radical success playing guitar for Bruno Mars, which is quite incredible actually. Good for him. I'd be happy just to be Bruno Mars back up dancer! Um…o.k. let's not go too far. Ha ha. Basically, we simply packed up our belongings, our really terrible musical equipment that we didn't really know how to use yet, and hit the road in my Infiniti SUV.
Yup, no van. No trailer. I'm not even sure how we fit a whole drum set along with all those amps and our luggage in my vehicle back then. (Yes, this is the same vehicle that I drove throughout my college days and wrecked in that Smith's parking lot.)
When I think back to those first tours we did I have to sigh a lot, and that same twirly feeling that you get in your stomach when you develop a crush on that special someone (you know the feeling!) begins to tornado through my abdomen. That first tour just seemed so simple. So happy. I don't think we hardly sold any cds. We traveled along through Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, and up through Washington and Oregon. We played in small coffee shops, bars, and even a lot of parks, parking lots, and people's houses. I think we drew 20 people at the most to each show, the average being about five to ten. Five to ten! On the last tour I played opening up for "Blake Shelton", we played for five to ten THOUSAND!
I wouldn't have traded in that experience for a cute little house with a white picket fence. (Which is what I'd like most in the world right this minute, so that's saying a lot!) We used to sleep in Wal-Mart parking lots and wake up before the crack of dawn to use the Wally Mart restroom to brush our teeth. On the last tour I did the band on the Blake Shelton Tour had two giant green rooms complete with catering and a liquor bar. My how the times change, right?
I remember bringing out a friend on tour once, who insisted that she needed to shower. So finally, I had Nick pull the van and trailer over in a strip mall complex right up to a Starbucks where I proceeded to explain to my friend the mechanics of a "sink shower". I won't go into detail in my blog, but I'm sure you guys can imagine how this experience works…
We made so many great friends in those early days. If we had a bad show, we simply laughed it off because there wasn't any pressure. Who was there to be upset about a sour note? The two guys at the bar quarreling over who hates their construction job the most?
Ignorance is bliss. Innocence is hard to come by these days. I will lock those first shows in a box and keep them in a safe place deep inside heart until…until forever all right! I'm sure all of you have many "first" experiences in whatever field you are in that were tough, but necessary to get you where you are today. I would love to hear about them in the comments:)