One of the coolest experiences of being on the road was when we hit all the spring break hotspots along the gulf coast in the spring of '04. We played everywhere from Panama City, Florida to Corpus Christi, Texas and everywhere in between. One memory that will stay with me my entire life was when one night of overnight driving, I awoke in the passenger seat of our converted church van about 5:30 in the morning. Had a conversation with Clancey (who was driving and everyone else was asleep) and we talked about how cool it was to really be doing what we were doing. As we drove we got to watch the sun rise in an empty stretch of Texas, which was so flat you could see at least 50 miles in any direction. It hit me that morning that I had proved everyone wrong who had ever told me that being a musician was a waste of time. I was living my dream.
Along the Spring Break stretch, we played in Acuna, Mexico. It was strange as we were entering Mexico because we were the only vehicle going in and there was a 3 mile long line of cars on the other side of the highway waiting to get out. We were given specific instructions to never go anywhere alone, there had been a rash of American kidnappings, and to keep some cash on us in case we got arrested and could bribe the Mexican police to let us go.
The club that we were playing at was the Corona Club. To give you an idea of what the club looks like, just rent a copy of Desperado with Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. The bar at the beginning of the movie where Quentin Tarantino tells the joke about the guy peeing on the bartender, is the front part of the Corona Club. Of course studio magic made the bar look tiny, but its actually about 10 to 15 times that size. It looks exactly the same, but the back part of the bar is huge. It also has an outside area that is enclosed where the bands play and about 200 people could easily fit in there. There is a scene in the movie when Antonio grabs Salma out of the bar and walks down the street with her, and in the background you can see the door to the bar and a small alley that slopes downward. That is where we parked our van and unloaded our equipment. As soon as we walked in there were signed pictures and posters from all of the movie crew, it was definitely an awesome experience.
We arrived at the Club early in the day and had a lunch date with the promoter of the show. We ate at a very nice restaurant and I had some authentic mexican tacos which were outstanding. After the meal, our road manager and promoter went back to the club and we (the band) decided to walk back to the club which was about a mile away. We leisurely made our way back over the next few hours, stopping to check out the small businesses along the way, trying to figure out the conversion rate of things we wanted to buy, hoping not to get ripped off. As we neared the club, we realized all that walking made us hungry again and decided to stop at a quaint little deli that had about 4 tables with mismatched chairs. It was quite the seedy little establishment. I opted for a meatless chalupa, figuring that I couldn't go wrong with a tortilla and beans. I can't quite remember what Clancey ordered, but it was a tortilla covered with what appeared to be ground beef. We scarfed down our food and as we were walking back to the Corona Club, Clancey looked at me and said, "Dude, I don't think that was beef." Luckily, he only turned green for a little while and seemed ok.
The whole day we were walking around, there was an American student following us around. He was quite aggravating because he was obviously drunk and trying to score marijuana off of us. Which even if we did have any we wouldn't have been stupid enough to carry it across the border. Our subtle attempts at getting him to go away were not working and we kept running into him. Later that evening after the show we were all chilling in the van, trying to get some naps in before we made our trek back across the border, he sticks his head in the window of the van and wakes us up. Very drunk and barely able to stand up he exclaims, "Hey guys, I can't find my friends!" To which Mickey replies, "Well you won't find any in here!" He finally got the hint as we all howled with laughter.
We crossed the border back into America somewhere around midnight and drove across the desert into the night onto our next destination.
To be continued....