Tour Diary: Since Last We Parted Again

The behemoth that isn’t Wussy is attempting to get up and moving again. The word lumbering, so often associated with us, comes flitting to mind. Like the image of a waterfowl running across the water desperately attempting to gain flight, spastically flapping its wings only to alight a short distance away on the other side of the pond, exhausted, dismayed, and disheveled.

Our natural cycle seems to be a year at home making a new record and then the next year out promoting it. “Attica,” our last record had a lovely reception. People seemed to like it and some very nice things happened, like being on TV and more people coming out to the shows. It felt that maybe we were on the verge of something small but exciting (like free bunion surgery – thanks Obama!) And as responsible indie  rock purveyors maybe we should go back out and tour that next summer (2015) in order to keep the momentum going. We did exactly what we had done the year before to set things up, but the widening gyre collapsed on itself and the tour fell apart. When we finally pulled the plug everyone let out a collective sigh of relief and we realized that to a one, that while we were all trying to be good tin soldiers, what we really wanted was to be home and making a record. We love making records. Making a record means lots of time in the rehearsal space making things up. If nothing gets made up on a given night it doesn’t matter because you got to spend a night playing around, or talking about bands and records. As long as you don’t consider one kind of night better than the other then things tend to go pretty well. Eventually you go into the studio and get to make stuff up all over the place. And if you fall out of love with a song you just say, “well at least we’ll have a good B-side.” Maybe sometimes during the mix sessions things might get a little snippy as the decisions get all nit-picky, but if the blood isn’t a little bit high, if there are no stakes at all, then why even bother being there?

We finished “Forever Sounds” in June of 2015, or thereabouts. With our main touring time being the summer, we were presented with a nice long chunk of time before we would head out again. Our label Shake It got excited about the notion of having a longer roll out, just like all the cool kids labels do, and went so far as to have promo copies of the record printed up to send out to all the media outlets. When I was a kid finding a promo copy of a Springsteen single (Prove It All Night) was a score, and Chuck was even more excited, seeing as he made his living as a record dealer for awhile back there. It just felt professional. Up until this point we usually cut it very fine indeed and prayed we’d have the CD in our hands before the release show, and then pray we’d get some press before we toured, and then pray the tests came back negative.

With a new booking agent (see two paragraphs ago) and a new press person we were informed that once again the world had changed and that we were doing it all wrong. Or more specifically the way you promoted a record had changed. In the past the primary goal was to get mentioned in print media, especially a national one like Rolling Stone. Now however the goal is to provide exclusive content to the big web sites. (whoever the hell they might be) This could be as simple as giving a site the first 24 hours to stream a single, or a video. Then they get clicks, which generate money to them, and the band gets some front-page action on a well-traveled site. I don’t know, seemed to work OK. We can’t afford to keep someone on retainer promoting the band all the time so we pay someone for a few months and then it’s time to go play shows.

We are attempting what for us is our most ambitious slate of touring ever. Some short treks in the spring to celebrate the release of the CD, (see next entry) our first full band trip to England and environs, a swing out west in June, and then finishing with another trip east to finish up in July. Without actually doing the math it should be over 50 shows and over two months on the road. It is a little daunting, seeing as nothing has really changed in our lives to make touring easier other than more consistently getting two hotel rooms a night. There is a sense however, that for various reasons that will be enumerated throughout the summer, that our ability to go out like this is becoming more finite.

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