Ramming Speed’s Winter tour, which saw them playing across the country for an entire month, has come to an end. However, drummer Jonah will still be sharing highlights and pictures of all the craziness that occurred while on the road in his 2011 Ramming Speed Winter Tour Diary.
What’s up Metal Insider! Last we spoke, our caravan had just finished up with the Southwestern U.S. and was heading through Louisiana, dipping deep into Florida, and completing the loop back up to Boston.
While it’s temping to go into detail on how our van smelled three weeks into this run, or how all of my underwear was covered in mold, I figure the realities of touring in this day and age have been fairly well covered. Between Motörhead’s seminal “We Are The Road Crew” (“Another beer is what I need, another gig my ears bleed”) and the unheralded genius of Modern Life Is War’s “D.E.A.D. R.A.M.O.N.E.S” (“Sore back, sore feet, a ragtag army and we’re sick in the heat / We’re not pretty and we’re not rich, we’re gonna have to fucking work for it.”), most people that listen to metal and punk these days realize that, for your average musician, touring is basically living like a homeless person. This has never been more clear than on Christmas morning when I awoke on a hardwood floor behind a drum set in Orlando, completely and utterly thankful for good friends, a hot shower, and a free meal. Basically, the same shit that would make your average bum psyched on life. And this feeling of elation was well before the acid kicked in. The point is that touring is for those that don’t sweat the little things (see: back/hearing problems).
But this talk of self-flagellation is not what you, the rock and roll fan, wants to hear about. You get it already, and you’re ready for the GOOD stuff. You want to hear about the boozing and sweating and all-night ragers that end in wild vomiting and pirate costumes. The ups, not the downs, are what attracts us to the flying V’s and light shows of heavy metal, and who the hell am I to not give you what you want??
On that note, what better a place for getting loose then New Orleans? After playing Denton, TX (thanks Billy!), we drove overnight and landed in one of America’s last truly unique cities early in the day. A few of us picked up huge to-go jugs from Gene’s Daiquiris and opted to spend the day wandering the French Quarter. Once finished with the Daqs we picked up complimentary cocktails at a Harrahs’ roulette table, stumbled onto a boat for some quick beers on the river by Cafe Du Monde and eventually ended up at The Mushroom. It was at this head shop/record store by the Tulane campus where Bryan from Thou set us up with an “intimate” (read: awesomely cramped) in-store show with Classhole (memb. of Eyehategod) and provided us with tons of beers and a deliciously spicy vegan gumbo. A crate of porn DVD’s held up the PA and employees looked on with a surprising air of calm as Pete crowd surfed his way towards the “rock/pop” section.
Being that we were very deep into the throes of “The Holiday Season,” none of us were sure how things would turn out in Florida, but oddly enough, we had nothing to worry about. Tallahassee was a sweaty pile of patches and flailing limbs at the AF House warehouse and both Miami and Orlando were hosts to wonderful spells of madness. For our first time in Florida’s southern tip we played with Devalued, a super energetic, riffy, grind/d-beat band, at Beelzebub’s Cave (an impeccably-run practice space/loft/show spot). The show itself was short and sweet, and afterwords the remaining drunks were shoved upstairs to the photo studio/party pad run by local band Shroud Eater (who also handle the Cave beneath) for can after can of shitty beer, shots of spiced rum and the sloppy donning of costumes. Around 5 AM, some deviant got a hold of a smoke machine and as every corner quickly filled with the sticky billows, my head began to spin. It wasn’t until I awoke that the Big Spew finally hit, though someone else was heaving into the porcelain throne long into the morning after I’d taken to a red velvet couch in the side room.
The next day, we awoke to an 80 degree temp and huge blue sky. Cobwebs were cleared with a quick and surreal (we’re from Boston, keep in mind) Christmas Eve dip into the Atlantic Ocean off of Miami’s South Beach, before piling into the van and heading north to Orlando. After loading into to Wills Pub we were all surprised to see that our friend Andrew’s side project Mr. Pussy (he’s also in Khann, KEN Mode etc) totally ruled (despite being the namesake of a monocle cat), heaving down thick, hardcore-informed noise rock. No Qualms, the other band on the bill, are probably one of my favorite hardcore/power violence bands to see right now and they absolutely crushed any holiday spirit with pure dirty vitriol.
There’s no painting bands like these in a light of “Rock-n-roll-fun-time-party-lol-excess” so it’s back to reality. My underwear were still moldy, the heat in our van was broken, and the warm veil of Florida’s “Winter” was about to be crushed by the Northeast. But first! Christmas in the hands of hallucinogens, Blake is hit hard by the brain leeches, Georgia death metal, Philly high fives, and Boston – rad and self-destructive as always – coming next time.