Down to Earth
Re-entering the Atmosphere Post Tour
Home again. I’m happy, the cats are happy. Sunlight streams through the rusted leaves under a polar blue sky. The Coast Mountains look so stunning, they become a parody of a mountain postcard. November is usually awful in Vancouver, “where umbrellas go to DIE” to quote a friend, but it’s been crisp and clear. I haven’t seen a single person swearing at the sky, or kicking their useless, crumpled up, inside out umbrella into the gutter. The pleasant weather is making November in Vancouver a little easier on all of us.
☁️ Daydream Trash by Shannon Hemmett ☁️ is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Two weeks of tour seems to be the ideal amount of time. Enough to revel in the thrill of #tourlife, and brief enough to hold it together health-wise (well, usually, more on that later). Tour is tough on a person; the constant travel, lack of sleep, bare minimum nutrition, and the ominous threat of illness derailing all your plans; it’s like PacMan trying to outrun the ghosts in the maze. You gotta keep moving. Near the end of a tour, the punishments and rewards offer up a soup of emotions. We swing between exhausted, wanting to go home, and then wishing it would last forever, not wanting to wake from the dream.
After an exciting Seattle show, our largest ever here, we all hug and congratulate one another on a tour-well-done. We have come a long way as a band. Our first ever US show was in Seattle at The Crocodile on March 23, 2018, but no, not the legendary stage where Nirvana, Soundgarden, and every other major 90s alternative band played; we performed for 8 people in the pizzeria at the back of the venue. We were paid in pizza and sodas after the performance. Despite the modest beginning, it was exciting and uncharted territory for us; we were expanding, taking chances.
When the crowd dissipates in Seattle this time, I recognize some faces from that very first show at The Crocodile. It’s so neat to see that they have come all this way with us too. For now, the US tour concludes here. We stay the night in Northgate to avoid the traffic on the I-5 and Adam leaves for home ahead of us with Abbie. Houdah gets upgraded to the rhythm section seating in the van. She has been a trooper all tour, sitting in a small solitary space beside the guitars and the merch we are affectionately calling ‘The Prison’. We find a McDonalds drive-through at 1am and pig out on Big Macs and French fries, an All American victory meal. The hotel room doesn’t feel right without Adam and we text bomb him to say that we love him and miss him. Leaving Seattle the next morning, we pull on to the I-5 North and Jay confesses he’s starting to get a sore throat. It’s time to hibernate once more.
In a flurry of Hi-I’m-Home mania, I change the litterbox, vacuum, empty the fridge, get groceries, and begin unpacking my suitcase. I lovingly tune-up my espresso machine like a motorcycle mechanic so I can use it first thing in the morning, and do two loads of laundry before I fall into a dark sleep. I try to treat myself with care post-tour. I make lifestyle allowances for a while, free of judgement. I live like a cat. I slink from the bed to the couch and back again. I curl up with the cats and allow myself to sleep when I want to. I watch Selling Sunset, I order Uber Eats. I talk to my Mom. I text Kendall. I wear my bougie Aritzia sweatsuit for three days straight and get caught up on true crime documentaries.
On Day Four, the old familiar dread starts creeping in. It is time to face reality; the tour is officially over. Playing shows is a drug, and the rush is rapidly turning into a serotonin void. I am waking from the dream. I feel guilty taking a few days off even though I’ve earned the rest. It’s not just the tour I need to recharge from, it is the months and months of work behind the scenes too. It is difficult to power down after the pace we’ve kept all year. I feel like I should be doing something useful, but what exactly? Kendall and I FaceTime during her break at the salon, and I tell her I’m afraid to slow down in case the post-tour blues rush in. We are in the same boat, and her company is comforting. Did I mention I’m in a doom metal phase? I put on Sunn O))), pull the hood of my sweatshirt over my head, and free-fall face first into the bed. Bob the Cat walks in circles on my back and flops down in a cozy spot behind my knees. I’m not going anywhere.
I envision myself laying here so long I turn into a dusty skeleton to avoid disturbing him. Eyes closed I wonder, does anyone even know (or care?) that I’m home? I meditate. I eat Twix bars, and shop online without buying anything. I book some tattoo appointments. I drink really good espresso, finally. Why is it so hard to find a good coffee on the Interstate? I drink energy drinks out of habit but I have no way to burn off the copious amounts of caffeine. In the afternoon, our booking agent has good news about next year. I melt cheese on bread. I eat green vegetables. Homemade food feels life-giving. The endless digestive distress from flying, protein bars, fart suppression, and American food begins to abate. I do the dishes. I put the laundry away. I read a novella that I bought in Santa Cruz called “A Shining” and it tricks me with its gentle narrative voice, and then the gravity accumulates and I’m spilling tears all over the last page. I look at my Amazon Wishlist, I add a few new books to it. I type ‘sonic blue’ and ‘fiesta red’ into Reverb for the millionth time, hoping to find my dream guitar even though let’s be honest, for someone who has played for 20 years, I can barely play guitar. I tell myself to do better. I get inspired, sell both of my electric guitars, and pick out a gorgeous red Japanese Fender Strat on trade. I learn ‘So Real’ by Jeff Buckley. I play all the Nirvana songs I learned as a teen. Ok, I can play a little better than I thought. I write Leathers lyrics. I’m in bed so long, that it’s dark again, I get up at 10pm to shower and then crawl back into bed. I read Don Delillo’s book, The Names on my phone in the dark until I start to feel tired. I meditate until I drift off to sleep. My thoughts scatter and come together again. I reboot and try to return to Earth tomorrow…
Thanks for being here ❤️ ACTORS has one last show of the year in Vancouver on December 1st at The Rickshaw Theatre. It’s gonna be a blast, so come join us!
I’m currently going through the photographs from the tour, and I’m aiming to have another post up for you this week with some tour stories, and a special photo gallery for paid subscribers. Now’s a nice time to subscribe, so here’s a special Cyber Monday offer to upgrade your subscription:
One last thing: LEATHERS’ digital catalogue is FREE on Bandcamp this weekend for Black Friday - Cyber Monday! Enjoy!
More soon. XO