I sleep in vans a lot. On tour you can’t help it, but sleeping fitfully in a rental mini-van for three hours is no way for a journalist to live and I vowed that next time I’d make sure to get a hotel. The premise of this festival is that the whole 90,000-odd attendees come for the entire weekend to the remote backwater of Manchester, TN. and camp, Burning Man style, making puppet art, fire-dancing, and waiting for twenty minutes in line for the Porta-potty.. It was suggested to me that I might enjoy the bonhomie of camping myself, as it would give me a window into the heart of the festival, but in retrospect I’d much rather be wearing a three-piece, white linen suit and sitting in a hotel bar somewhere. As it is, the Kentucky sunshine heated my van to a turkey roasting 400 degrees by nine o’clock in the morning. I downed a cup of water, washed the sleep from my eyes and headed off to the first press conference of the day, where the singer of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Alec Ounsworth, was giving a private, acoustic performance just for the press.
I took my mandate as Bonnaroo Festival correspondent for CMJ very seriously. My first order of business upon waking, before even breakfast coffee, was to try and secure myself better credentials. Festivals like Bonnaroo have about twenty-five different levels of backstage pass, which allow access to twenty-five increasingly small and restricted areas. I had backstage passes to a U2 concert once, and it was only when I got backstage that I realized my passes only allowed me to stand in a back hallway under a nearby highway, a quarter of a mile from anywhere Bono was likely to set his drink. CMJ secured me press/photo credentials, which weren’t so hot, but since I was barely a journalist and definitely not a photographer of any kind, I felt hardly constrained by them. There are all kinds of places that a festival like this doesn’t want the press and/or photographers to go, but those are PRECISELY the areas that I, in the service of CMJ, most want to be.
It’s getting so I really hate to fly, which is too bad because I used to be one of the rare individuals who truly LOVED to fly in airplanes and I felt like I was part of some cosmic balance where my giddy delight at flying offset some greater number of people who dreaded flying. But flying in jumbo-jets now, on most major airlines, is becoming something that my dignity can’t bear. Like, my human dignity. I mean, riding a Greyhound bus across the country has always been a terrible and shitty thing, but you did it because it was cheap. The end. That was the only reason to take a Greyhound bus, unless you were trying to have an “experience” of America or some shit, and I guarantee you’d get over THAT idea about halfway through your second day. But flying on airplanes has always had a certain grace, or at least it deposited you at your destination with your grace intact. Whatever you brought with you would remain with you through your flight.
We've got lots of exciting news to report, but we're going to keep it short. Last year we were voted "Best New Product Design" at the Indie-Rock Business Conference and Motocross event in Yreka, California, and we plan on striking while the iron is hot. As one of America's most hottest celebrity dating services, the Long Winters will both "pimp" and "ho" your "ride" at no extra cost.
Another long-lost entry from John Roderick's 2004 Tour Diary. Also catch the East Coast and Southern U.S. entry
We’ve been in Europe the last month and, in my defense, it was almost impossible to keep a regular journal what with all the sitting around in black berets smoking unfiltered cigarettes and arguing about dialectical materialism in French that needed to get done.
John turns up with a previously-unknown entry from the 2004 Tour Diary.
Coming from the west coast I have to admit that I have a total fascination with the American South, and our national tours only really start to feel like an adventure when we start heading toward the Mason/Dixon line. The northeast is becoming so familiar to us from frequent touring that the exoticness is wearing off, yet when we turn to head south there’s still a thrill of heading into another country.
Hello all and sundry Long Winters fans, acolytes, tourists and contributors. I have been a very neglectful contributor to our Internet salon over the summer, and unfortunately missed out on the scintillating political discussion that flared up on the message board, but now I’m taking my vitamins again and the coming of autumn has me all excited to put on my wooly sweaters and jump back into the fray.
Our first night with the Pernice Bros. in Minneapolis was effectively our first show as a three-piece and we were all amped-up to play well and do a good job. We were joining the tour midway and our first show was the last show for the Bigger Lovers who had been the support band up until this point. They were indulging in some end-of-tour celebrations with the Bros. and there was much ass-grabbing posing as back-slapping and other drunken revelry at the end of the night.
One of the drawbacks of being a Seattle band is that it’s a full three-day drive across the Northern plains to get to our first show in Minneapolis. We try and take in the sights along the way and one of our favorite stops is the famous Berkeley Pit in Butte. Butte, Mont.
A long time ago when the Long Winters were on tour with “Carrisa’s Wierd” and “the Prom”, we were busted one day out in the parking lot sitting in our van reading books. The kids in Carrisa’s pulled their van in next to ours and, seeing us all quietly reading, shouted, “Readers!”, and then laughed so hard they spilled their plastic gallon jug of Ten High whiskey.
We were nerds, plain and simple.