After posting last week’s update, we headed to Foster’s Main Street Tavern in Beckley, West Virginia. The promoters of the show (Kid In The Background) did a great job of packing the place, and Koffin Kats managed to pull off their intense live show on the smallest of stages.
One of the…um…”patrons” at Foster’s took a liking to me, and was flirting pretty aggressively at the merch table. She made it very clear what she wanted to do to me by whispering into my ear words soaked in beer-drenched breath; I deftly deflected her advances. She must have wanted to get away from me quickly because she proceeded to steal a fan’s truck and speed away!! After the show, the band went back to crash out and I attended an afterparty where things got a little weird with a Vic Victor bobble head.
Overall, the vibe was great in Beckley, and for such a small town they really knew how to bring the ruckus.
From Beckley, we got on the road to Winchester, Virginia. Koffin Kats set up their tour routing very intelligently in that they do their best to make the driving distances between shows as minimal as possible. Our trips from city to city seem to just fly by, and I never find myself bored or wanting for something to do. When we arrived in Winchester we had some time to chill before loading in, so we parked outside the venue (Sweet Caroline’s) and walked around the town, stopping for coffees and to browse a bookstore.
This was Koffin Kats’ first time performing at Sweet Caroline’s, and from the moment we walked in we knew it was going to be cool. The venue has a really good layout, and everyone in attendance has a great view of the band on stage. Also, this was the first truly professional sound system we’ve encountered on this tour, and the sound guy was extremely helpful (thanks, George!). We were able to take a snapshot of the mix from the sound board so we can use it at future shows.
Some of our fans and friends take it upon themselves to do something extra special for Koffin Kats in addition to paying to see us perform. Namely, they bring us food!! One of our fervent followers on Twitter (click here to follow Koffin Kats on “The Twitter”) brought us a tin of snickerdoodles and a container of macaroons, which Eric didn’t eat because he doesn’t like coconut. His loss, because those macaroons were deliciousssssssss. /nomnomnom
The Koffin Kats sounded fantastic through the sound system, and the crowd rocked out hard. A long-time Sweet Caroline’s concert goer had a brief moment of fame when she decided to jump on stage and dance along for half of a song, but was swiftly taken down by the venue owner with a karate chop and brutal roundhouse kick to the noggin. (Not really; he politely beckoned her off the stage and all was fine. Thanks, Tyler!)
After the show, the band congregated near the merch table like always, and we ordered up celebration shots for each of us since the band reached an online milestone of 60,000 “like”s on their Facebook page! We had a great time at Sweet Caroline’s, and we will definitely be back.
Post-show we loaded out and made a short drive to Martinsburg, VA where we stayed with friends. They had noticed our photo of Ian playing Goldeneye on Nintendo 64 from the night before, and had gone out that day to purchase a Nintendo 64 console and copies of Goldeneye and Super Mario Kart! We were totally surprised and thankful to have such awesome friends. After eating some BBQ chicken, I crashed out early — don’t worry, they made sure to tell me I was a pussy the next day — and the guys stayed up partying and playing video games into the wee hours. We woke up the next morning to find that our friends had cooked us a hearty breakfast, and Vic extolled the virtues of “Bulletproof coffee” (which is fantastic, BTW). Everywhere we’ve been so far we’ve been treated like family, and it’s a blessing to have such wonderful people in our lives supporting who we are and what we do.
From Martinsburg we took off for Newark, Delaware. Ian had a speaker cable issue the night before, and Eric wanted to replace the drum heads which were giving him fits, so we stopped at a Guitar Center on the way to the venue (Mojo Main).
Mojo Main was a stark contrast to Sweet Caroline’s. A much smaller venue, it has a real DIY rock and roll vibe and a humble sound system. Someone at the venue took it upon themselves to go above and beyond, and made a chalk drawing of an older Koffin Kats logo.
The stage at Mojo Main was cramped, but that never stops Koffin Kats from bringing their electrifying stage show to life. Once the rock and roll was over, Ian found a surprise waiting for him. The previous night, his treasured Batman goblet was accidentally broken by one of the other bands on the bill. In true gentlemanly fashion, the band (Pain) replaced the goblet with a brand new one. (Thanks, Chris!)
That night we had a rare (so far) occasion of sleeping in the van. Warm weather crept up on us through the night, and we woke up to a stinky atmosphere of booze sweat and man flatulence. Duane, the owner of Koffin Kats’ record label (Sailor’s Grave Records), picked up Ian that morning to go get some fresh new ink, and Vic, Eric and I went to the gym for a much-needed workout and showers.
Swollen and showered, the three of us headed toward our next city (Baltimore, Maryland) and stopped at a local Barnes & Noble to pass some time and check out more books (we love reading!). I found a hardcover, first-edition 2012 biography of Mick Jagger for only two dollars, and snatched that bad boy up lickety split. I love learning about the greats in the music industry, and this dude is one of the greatest of the greats.
We arrived at the Baltimore venue (Sidebar) promptly at 6:00 PM in order to secure free parking directly outside the venue. I set up the merch tables in what was essentially a glorified closet, but no matter; whatever it takes. The venue filled up quickly, and before we knew it we had our first SOLD OUT show of the tour!!! Fans and friends must be paying attention to the pictures we’ve been posting online because we were inundated with food and road necessities! We had so much stuff brought for us that it was hard to find room to store it, so we made several trips to the van to deposit all of the goodies. We even had someone take advantage of our “Superfan” deal at the merch table; one of everything for $300!! Thanks, Baltimore friends!
The band took the stage at Sidebar to a roaring crowd, and no one in attendance was standing still. Check out this clip of The Koffin Kats’ show intro!
Once Sidebar had been laid to waste, we drove towards our next city (Richmond, Virginia) and stopped to sleep in the van after passing through Washington D.C. Learning from the previous night, I slept naked in order to make sure I didn’t wake up in a sweat-soaked sleeping bag again. My sleeping bag is righteous. Not only does it have a snag-free main zipper, there is a second zipper at the bottom of the bag which allows my feet to breath, and there’s a pouch made for storing a smartphone near the head of the bag with tactile ability! I Velcro that baby in there, and fall asleep listening to classical music. Awesome sauce.
(SIDE NOTE: We’ve started a fun little game called #WhereIsVic. If you or someone you know has an official Vic Victor bobble head, put it in a silly situation, take a picture, and post it on Twitter with the hashtags #WhereIsVic and #KoffinKats. We’ll be picking our three favorite pictures each week and retweeting and posting them, so go out there and get creative! Anything goes!!)
When we reached Richmond, we dropped Ian off to hang out with one of his former bandmates, and the rest of us hit the gym for the second day in a row. It’s pretty cool that Koffin Kats take good care of themselves by eating healthy and exercising regularly. (I’ve already lost five pounds since leaving home.) Cardio completed, we showered and drove to the Richmond venue (Wonderland), parked the bus, and went to a local pub for lunch. Lunch finished, we stopped next door to peruse their vast selection of whiskey.
Food comas set in shortly after Eric purchased a bottle of bourbon, and we took naps in the van. Sleep is not easy to come by while on tour, so we take full advantage of every opportunity to get some shut-eye. Following a good one-and-a-half-hour nap, we loaded in at Wonderland. The vibe in this place is creepy (in a good way), and the staff was super-friendly and took great care of us all night.
Richmond surprised us with our second SOLD OUT show in a row!!! Fans were outside for over two hours waiting for people to leave so they could gain entry to the venue. Some even went so far as to show us their boobs and butts in an attempt to coerce their way in. Rules are rules, though, and besides, the club was already as packed as sardines in a can. The band delivered another excellent performance, and we ended up completely selling out of their new embroidered patches!
From Richmond, Vic drove through the night while I kept him company in the passenger seat. We passed the time by talking about old country music stars and band business. Before I knew it, we were at our destination in Fayetteville, North Carolina. We have great friends in Fayetteville who put us up in one of their houses which isn’t being used at this time, so we have the whole place to ourselves!
The house next door to the one at which we’re staying is owned by the Road Devils’ National Sergeant-at-Arms and President of the Devil’s Brigade Chapter. His house is baller, and we’ve been hanging out there for the past two days, which included the Super Bowl party I mentioned I was looking forward to in last week’s post. Even though the game ended up being a blowout — the Denver Broncos took it harder than a Bunny Ranch employee — the party was fantastic! Food and adult beverages flowed all night, and everything was delicious. I didn’t win any of the squares I bet on (thanks a lot for choosing a futile 2-point conversion instead of an extra point, Broncos!!), but I definitely cleaned up in Cee-lo!! (I roll 4-5-6 like it’s my J-O-B.) At halftime during the big game, we had everyone get together for a group photo. We told them it was a photo . . . we lied.
This first 11 days has flown by so quickly, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I’m sure there will be difficult and challenging days in the future, but so far everything has been easy peasy lemon squeezy. This tour life is the life for me, for sure. Thanks for reading this update, and be sure to check back next week for more inside info — or make life easier and subscribe to this blog to get updates in your email instantly.
If you made it this far, you get a reward: here’s “The Way of the Road” performed in its entirety at the SOLD OUT show at Wonderland in Richmond, VA!!
John Kay farts in his sleep, calls people out on their bullshit, and strives to be a better person every day. Subscribe to The Real John Kay’s blog to receive an email whenever a new post occurs!
Wanna know more about John Kay?? Click here to read Part Two of his musical journey.