Hot minute on the road and thoughts on venues.
Hey there friends, we are on the road for a hot minute with a few shows - out west. My emotions have run the gamut just like they did at home when I read the news and wondering where, when and how live music might return and if it might be possible to do what we do.
Back in early May, our dates in the SW seemed like they couldn't have worked out better under the circumstances. Michigan was struggling still with hospitalizations and closures while many parts of the country were getting back on their feet. Of course things have almost flipped upside down in recent weeks but we are still every bit as grateful for the opportunity to perform live as well as remember the goodness of people.
We decided of the dozens of dates cancelled, we would commit to the tattered remains of a tour. A handful of events were green lighted and we felt confident about everyone involved to operate as they do, at a high standard, and set some standards for ourselves. We worked out the new logistics of traveling and drove across the country, because that's what we do - and what are we supposed to do? Its been our career and livelihood. We accepted the fact that we might have to start from square one, navigating a changing live music culture, and considered it an investment in our business and our sanity.
A welcome sight. We love seeing those peaks in Flagstaff from far off, no matter what direction we are coming from. Its like pulling up to your family home. We arrived right when the tide was turning in AZ to see more cases. Initially, we were wondering how people would feel about us coming from MI, which not long ago been one of the covid hotspots. As we arrived, we were wondering how many of our friends thought we were either crazy or irresponsible.
Some dates have been on, off, on and off again. Its been an emotional rollercoaster for all involved. A lot of cities we love to visit are having it hard, and many venues have not opened. Quarantine and stay at home mandates aside, it is just not logistically or financially feasible for many to open. I've spoken with venue owners that have opened and have since taken a few steps back. Others are wondering if they are going to get new mandates right after opening as some regions are seeing increases in cases. Live music venues and bars are seen as both a scourge and as victims of the world we are living in.
One of the Famous Wig Wam Motel Properties in Holbrook, AZ - right outside Navajo Nation. We spent some time an hour south of here in the beautiful White Mountains, and played a couple shows. On our way there from Prescott we had to drive north to Flagstaff, across i-40 and back south instead of directly across due to historic wild fires NE of Phoenix - and revisited our old friend, Route 66.
I am going to update this blog in the next few days, but just wanted to get a jump start because of the urgency I feel. Things are opening, life seems normal to many and the last thing on many people's minds is the well being of venues, musicians and industry people. Things are not normal yet and won't be for some time. I know so many hardworking people that built their lives and careers around music. Don't take it for granted - their future depends on you. Support them while they are closed - they may offer carryout food or drinks or have merchandise for sale. Follow them on social media, and abide by the standards set by the venues when they are open for the good of them and everyone.
If you would like to help the musicians, tour professionals, and venue employees in the Detroit area - please join our efforts. Nationally, check out what NIVA is doing and learn about how music venues contribute to local economies.