Friday, April 6, 2007


Yesterday, in the dark part of morning, our thumbs up statue was stolen off of the hood of our van as it was parked near the Sunset strip. For the last six weeks of tour it has gallantly led us through deserts and mountains, along rivers and stretches of farmland, through flurries of snow and heavy downpour, never giving in to the wind, pushing forward always with ludicrous optimism. You couldn’t help but chuckle as it penetrated your peripheral view through the windshield. We expected it to go at any moment, probably somewhere in the deserts of Nevada or Utah, but not to be torn from the paint of our Chevy by an anonymous cologned drunk making his way back from club superficial to his bed of denial. Of course, holding onto such a novelty is a silly notion and it is fitting that our fixture of hope be stripped from us there in the wrung-out gut of Hollywood…

The discovery of our missing thumbs up was actually at the beginning of a wonderful day. The day itself was a string of reminders of the sweetness of life, each holding a bit more weight than our beloved statue. We found ourselves atop the Capitol building, up there in the smog, looking out over LA. A year ago we had first been brought up there when we were visiting the label. Its an old custom for bands they are courting – it’s a reminder that you are being offered something really special. Yesterday it was a good reinforcement of that notion. On the highway you can get to feeling insignificant pretty quick, but not on top of that tower. We passed by it once more as we were leaving town around midnight, all lit up beside the 101. I drove us to the state line and switched off, woke up in a familiar stretch of southern Utah.

Its Bryce’s birthday and per his request we went to see Sara and Sean from Nickel Creek play their weekly show at Largo before leaving last night. They are some of the most inspiring musicians I’ve ever seen. Real shit. Nothing to do with fashion or any bullshit, just pure talent and passion. They play Dylan covers, songs by obscure songwriters, and of course lots of their own material. Her voice is the most pure thing I’ve ever heard. It sounds the way that sorrow looks in someone’s eyes. Its not something you can stamp with a price tag.

Now we’re nearly across The Rockies. Our third time passing over them in this stretch of tour. We spent the last hour and a half in a ditch on the side of Highway 70 just past Breckenridge. One of our trailer tires went flat, and as the tread stripped off it whipped around and around at 70 miles per hour, smashing the fender into a useless bent up hunk of metal. In attempts to get far enough off the road to safely change the tire we found ourselves in a couple feet of sand. The van slipped sideways down the embankment, tires spinning in vain, spraying mud. We were stuck.

A cop showed up and walked over to see us trying to dig ourselves out. He told us to call a tow truck and waited in his car, lights flashing. We changed the tire and in a few minutes our guy was there, ski-bum through and through. He was juiced to be of aid to a rock band. “I’ve towed so many bands its retarded,” He informed us. He was just the character we needed to make this moment enjoyable. With his help we attempted to dig ourselves out a few more times, but only found the van sliding further and further down the embankment. Finally he hauled out the heavy chains and hooks and cables, hitched them up to our trailer, and yanked us out. It always snows when we take this highway and now its coming down lightly around us as we descend into Denver. Moving along...