As I set about planning my next tour, I can’t help but reminisce back to September last year. It seems like so long ago! My dear musical friends Luke Rhodes, Tyler Nakoa, Holly Mae and I set off on a musical road trip that’s now seared in my heart. The ‘Making Tracks Tour‘ was my first ever tour. I didn’t begin 2017 with a plan to overcoming self-doubt and making it a year of firsts. It just somehow magically turned out that way!
Earlier in the year, I called up my dear old friend (and once upon a time, my music teacher!) Luke Rhodes down in Bellingen.
“Luke, I’ve decided to record a cd in December. So I think I should go on tour to build up some momentum and confidence before hand. I was thinking to call it the ‘Making Tracks Tour’. You know… to symbolise journeys, moving forward… making new tracks as we walk through life… which is kinda what songs are right? Writing songs is like carving tracks in the soil as we walk through our life-journey. What do you think?’
“Not because you’ll be making tracks? Like song tracks?” he replied.
“…..Oh yeah… I hadn’t thought of that… That too! Do you want come along?”
Without too much thought, he was down for it!
Then I half-heartedly contacted Tyler and Holly, not expecting much of a response from these wonderfully busy humans. But hey, what’s to lose in just throwing it out there?
“Hey Tyler, do you want to come on tour with me in September?”
And that was that. I guess the fact that we all work in schools, and my tour proposal dates fell in the school holidays helped somewhat…
We soon realised we needed to work out a way to travel with 4 people, instruments and sound gear. Take 2 cars? Boring. Hire a bus? Borrow a van? Hire a trailer? Borrow a trailer? As these things often turn out, Luke came across a small furniture trailer on the side of the road just down the road from his house. With a little Luke sweet-talking, we had borrowed the trailer for $100! I had a tow-ball installed on the back of my car, et voila! We were ready to go!
But that trailer….. Oh that trailer.
After our first (wonderful!) gig at No 5 Church St in Bello, we left early and made our way south. We were headed for Canberra in one day! 600km down the road, we were roaring along the pacific highway (well, tootling..), just north of Newcastle, when a car passenger hailed our attention as they passed, pointing frantically to our rear. We pulled over. The back of the trailer had come open. Luckily everything seemed to be in there. We drove to the nearest servo for a closer inspection. On arrival, we ran into the fellow who had passed us, who informed us that he had run over a big back pack. And watched a good few other cars run over it too. And trucks. On the highway…
A second trailer contents inspection illumined us to the fact that my back pack was missing. My back pack with all of my clothes, toiletries and camping gear for the trip. Great.
Tyler and I left Holly and Luke to try and fix the trailer whilst we drove around for over an hour trying to look for a stray squashed bag. I kept picturing my clothes scattered all over the highway, and imagining the op-shopping trips we’d need to make time for along the way. In our hurry, Luke and Holly had left their phones in the car. After some hours had passed, Luke and Holly’s growing concern for our where-abouts lead to them calling the Maitland police with the service station phone. The police couldn’t tell them where we were, but they did mention a big green backpack had been handed in!
Tyler and I arrived back, long-faced. No bag guys. Gone. Aliens?
Luke and Holly set us straight, and so back we tracked to Maitland to retrieve my bag. The bottom was busted and my shampoo had exploded all through my everything. But at least it was all still there. After a trip to the dry-cleaners in Canberra and $24 later, my sleeping bag is cleaner than it’s ever been. (And smells of lavender and Ylang Ylang! Great shampoo 😉
It was after dark, and we still had another 6 hours of driving. We took it in turns to keep each other awake and gorge on chocolate. (Except for Tyler. He doesn’t eat chocolate. So we had to eat his share too. We managed.)
Well after midnight, as eyes were more frequently dosing, Luke, who was driving, pipes up:
“Hey, where did all the signs to Yass go?” …
Suddenly we were all awake, map apps out. As we turned around to drive the 70 odd km’s back to the Yass turn off, we engaged in deep discussion about changing the name of our tour to “Making Back Tracks”.
At 3-something in the morning we finally pulled into Canberra, and crept into a house of sleeping people we’d never met, but who’d offered us a place to stay and left the back door unlocked for us. Ahh thank the lord for beautiful people. With spare couches. And back doors.
Our second gig, The Front in Lyneham, Canberra. Yeah!
Our third at The Delatite Hotel in Mansfield, thanks to the almighty Dean and Gil. Then Open Studio in Westgarth, Melbourne. And onto the Cambewarra Hall, on the south coast of NSW, and The Old Vic in Maitland. And finally, a beautiful house concert and the lovely Gigi’s house back in Mullumbimby.
As I’m supposed to be planning a tour here and not writing a blog entry, I should probably stop this story right here and get back to it!
Before I sign out though, I must mention… the trailer saga did not end there. The shutting mechanism and the lock didn’t work. It never worked again. And our main, on-going band discussion topic became: ‘How do we keep the trailer shut and secure without spending too much money, and without it resembling too much like a large gift-wrapped thief attractant shouting in a flashing neon-light type way,
‘VALUABLE GOODS INSIDE. YOUR WELCOME.’
Needless to say, with the ridiculous amount of cheap chains, locks and jockey straps origami-wrapped around the whole damn thing, we failed there.
We certainly succeeded in having a mighty fun time though!
Until next time… Adios!