Ramming Speed are in the home stretch of a Winter tour that has them playing across the country for an entire month. Along the way, Ramming Speed’s drummer Jonah will be sharing highlights and pictures of all the craziness that’s been happening while on the road in his 2011 Ramming Speed Winter Tour Diary.
I’m currently sitting shotgun in the van and it occurs to me that while our tour has around a week left, it really is about time for another Metal Insider tour journal. I’d like to whip out three of these in total and time seems to be slipping by. We’ll start things off by quickly touching on the main difference between the first and second legs of the run. While the Saviours dates gave us a chance to dip our toes into the “pro gear/pro ‘tude” world of for-profit venues, now that we’re on our own it’s back into the garages and living rooms of America.
It can be a great experience hearing your band go from a tiny practice space to a big stage, complete with huge sub woofers, racks and racks of power amps, and, occasionally, a phenomenal sound guy. That said I definitely found myself missing the BYOB chaos of the DIY world during the first week of club shows. Playing the Swamp House in Oakland with Witchaven and Ex-Mortus (curated by the wildly handsome Scotty Tankcrimes) was every bit an unhinged, awesome mess, and ended up being the gateway to a run of brutally fun house shows from Cali all the way through Texas. The Killer Clam (garage) in Bakersfield, Casa De Sam Snead (garage) in El Paso, and Slamalot (living room with the criminally heavy Hatred Surge and Chest Pain) in Austin, all put us face to face with the sweaty, drunken youth of America. Our gear was knocked around, covered in sticky shitty beer every night and at many times the crowds were out of control to the point where it was difficult to finish songs. So basically it totally ruled.
However, load ins haven’t only been to houses. We’ve also played the basement of a pizza place (J&J’s) in Denton with Wild//Tribe (think Poison Idea, Motorhead, Paintbox etc…fucking awesome..) and Vegas, ah yes, Vegas had us in Yayo Taco. That movie The Hangover fucking sucked, but after waking up as the little spoon to a large naked viking of a man with very few memories of the night before, my first instinct was to check the digital camera. The little bastard had little to offer besides a photo of the viking and I peeing into a large Christmas tree and a second picture of us giving the “Sign of the Hammer” in front of early-morning neon.
While Reno (earlier in the tour) was a high speed run of weird vibes and odd locals, shooting through bars, casinos and the back room of an art gallery, Vegas snuck up behind us, offering a wink and a pill on the tongue. It was this quick decision somewhere around 4am on the old strip that lead to a complete failure of all muscle control and 3 or 4 hours of missing time. What I do remember clearly is our show, a drunken rowdy affair at the taco shop. Metal-hungry teenagers shoving each other around while our band and a promising young thrash troop plowed through our sets early in the night. After that we checked into our complimentary suite at the El Cortez (where I had gambled my way into a minimum of clout on a previous trip) and promptly hit the blackjack tables for an hour of polite small talk with the locals, many rounds of Singapore Slings and light betting. It was shortly after this when I recall pulling the viking out from a pile of security guards outside the Glitter Gulch on Fremont Street and my legs beginning to wobble.
I obviously I look upon this confused adventure with fondness, and seeing as all were accounted for and ATM receipts vaguely made sense, it was very much time to move on. The taste of adventure still fresh in our mouths, we left Nevada in high spirits. The tour has continued since then with far more highs then lows. The van has continued to have brake issues (which we continue pouring money into), but huge pockets of Boston friends keep popping up and this week we point the nose of our Ford E250 to the North East for the final leg.
Coming soon (I hope) – New Orleans is as sloppy and wonderful as always, Florida provides beaches, fear and loathing in spades, and back to the cold tundra of New England…