"Six Month Reality Check" by Jeremy Mackinder


August 8th, 2013 by Rami

Jeremy Mackinder, bassist for Deadstring Brothers (formerly of Whitey Morgan & the ’78s), just wrapped of six months of touring with the band, and with that, the band charted new territory and learned new lessons. Jeremy recounts and reflects below.

Today officially marks six months of touring for Deadstring Brothers in 2013.  A lofty goal for any band, and we still have 4 months left to round out this year. It seems time for a reality check.

We’ve seen growth, and it makes it all worth it.  And we’re having a great time. The bond between the three of us at this point is nearly impenetrable; the way we lean on each other is so important in what we do.  We’re kinda like a three legged dog at this point.  It feels like we limp around sometimes, but we always get where we’re going.

July felt more like that than any other month. It was the first time we truly headed west across the country. It creates longer drives and more nail biting situations when you run into vehicle troubles, which of course we did.  We started the month with our new-to-us Sprinter van. We modded her out with four bunks and a lounge, a fridge, and more comfort than we’ve ever had.  Named her Lucinda. It fits.


As with any new-to-you vehicle, Lucinda had some issues. I’ll just rattle them off in no particular order: wrong size battery; previous owner had only put water in radiator without coolant; resonator on turbo cracked; blew an inside tire on the back duallys; needed a new trailer hitch; and then by the time we blew a trailer tire (which Kurt said he had never done in all his years of touring), we didn’t even react. We got out, changed it, and hit the road before anyone else woke up.

We were very thankful and blessed to have had Tripp Brockwell with us on the first few weeks of the run. The young pirate knew more about the mechanics of our vehicle then we could have possibly dreamed, and his efforts in driving and loading gear on those long days was immeasurably valuable.  Hopefully we get him back out here, should his schooling permit.

We've headed into August now. Sturgis lies large in front of us; five days at the largest biker rally in the country. We're also returning to Texas and most of the markets we have hit throughout the tour, meeting new friends and seeing old ones.  It's really one of the best parts about touring.  Little pockets of family that you create that help you endure and bring you more joy than most of the shows.

And that brings us to one of the largest reality checks we can have. A good friend of ours passed the other day.  Details are slowly filtering in, but it was a motorcycle incident.  Dianna Williams was her name.  I had worked with her over the years, first on helping to bring Whitey Morgan and the '78s to Kansas City for a show she was promoting(I had quit the band before the show happened) and then later as an advocate for promoting Deadstring Brothers in the area.  She was a good person. Loved music, loved her dogs; put both bands up at her home, generously providing a safe haven for us travelers.  We are so far removed from society, rarely seeing the news or knowing much of what is going on.  It just becomes expected that we’ll see these fine people each time we come through.  Hearing of Dianna’s passing was a sharp slap in the face for each of us.  We lose touch with where we are, what’s going on in the real world, and often become absorbed in the party. It’ll be a long time before I complain about anything for any reason.  Van troubles? Who cares? Bad show? Doesn’t matter. We’ll miss you, Dianna. Thanks for taking care of us and for taking care of everyone you knew. You will be missed.  Kansas City will be very hard next time.

Deadstring Brothers will continue to tour throughout 2013 in support of their new Bloodshot Records album Cannery Row.