Notes from the Road by Jeremy Mackinder: Episode One


May 20th, 2011 by Rami

Once a month-ish, Jeremy Mackinder, the bassist of Whitey Morgan and the 78s, checks in with us to regale a tale from the road ...

We’ve for the most part been on the road for the past three years. It does funny things to you. When you spend more time on a van bench than you do on your couch, things get pretty disorienting. Everyday becomes a Saturday and usually all you see is the bar and the hotel of each town. It’s a rare occasion when you actually “tour” a city.

On our fall tour, we were out for two and half straight months. Usually we’re out for around 3 weeks at a time, then home for a few days. We landed in Chicago about 15 days into the tour and sat down for lunch after stopping by the Bloodshot offices for a minute. Someone asked out loud at the table, “What day is it?” We all kinda looked at each other. It was a Wednesday, not one of us had any clue.

I often pop out of the van on long trips, head to counter and ask the attendant at the gas station, “Where are we?” They always say what town we’re in, which leads to my next question, “No, I mean, what state?” On the last night of the aforementioned fall tour, we were heading back to Michigan from Green Bay. I was exhausted, and passed out in the back seat. We stopped for fuel and I woke up asking, “What time is load in?” It was the ritual.

I never watch the news either on the road. It’ll just end up pissing me off anyway, and there’s plenty of things out there to do that without learning that your gas price is going up another twenty cents this week. Believe me, we know that before anyone else does.

All you think about is where you’re going next, what route your taking there—and the little things become an everyday focus. Like, do we get meals there? What about drinks? Anybody know where we’re staying? That’s your thought process in the morning.

I hope to someday have the experience of walking off a bus (we pass them on the highway sometimes, our heads all turn towards them with looks of desire that I’ll leave to your imagination), into the venue, grab a drink, hit the stage, play the show and head back to the bus after a few more drinks—and not think about anything else. The likelihood of that ever happening is slim to none. One can dream though. Jeremy

When we were in Nashville last week, watching musicians finish a set in one club, then walking down the street to play a set at another club with another group of people—it just ain’t the same. I understand the appeal of it, but, playing for fans of music, which is usually what finds their way to our shows, is the thrill. For bands at our current level, you have to seek us out to know we exist. Playing the Nashville circuit, it’d be like playing for tourists everyday. I don’t think it would feel much different than a cubicle job. I might be wrong, but I don’t want to find out.

So, the road it is. Soaring gas prices, constant repairs on the van, bad fast food, blown tires—and a different town every night. I’m exhausted, what time is load-in?

Catch Jeremy and the rest of the 78s on tour now.

[Road photo via The Library of Congress]