I think when buses start catching fire that it’s safe to say we’ve officially gotten into the thick of things. That’s basically how this past week began. I woke up on the way to Mesa, AZ and walked to the front of my bus, and lo and behold, there were four completely unfamiliar faces staring back at me from the couches near the entrance. These unfortunate four were part of a larger group of ten who had been awoken in the middle of the night to find that their bus had quite literally caught on fire. No one was injured, and the fire was put out, but that didn’t put the bus’ occupants out of the weeds just yet. They still had to get to the venue and attempt to set up for the day without much of their equipment, and we were all now suddenly about three hours behind schedule because of the delay. After some meticulous maneuvering and stress filled moments, almost everyone had claimed their place.
Everyone except my new friend, Raeann, that is. She’s the rep for Substream Magazine, and in the all the commotion and chaos of a bus fire, her tent was left behind, so her people connected with my people and we wound up sharing the Sumerian tent for the next two days. I definitely did not mind the company or the help, and as we worked and hung out together we realized we make good homies. And that’s the magic of Warped Tour! We’ve ended up hanging out at the various post-show BBQ’s, taking hard style pictures together, and generally having a killer time and it’s all because her bus caught on fire. These chance connections are a theme that repeats itself, most noticeably in my bus situation.
Bus 15 is the most righteous of buses. We have an eclectic and amazing mix of people, and I feel as though we complement each other fairly flawlessly. There are 18 people sharing a tour bus, and as cramped as it can be sometimes, I would not even contemplate trading for the extra space and risk not having any one of these amazing men and women with me for this incredible voyage. We’re like an amorphous family, changing and adapting together as the needs arise. As the week progressed, I began to notice our bond tightening. By the time we were making our drive from Oklahoma City to Houston we were staying up late and having dance parties in the front of the bus as it barreled down the freeway at 70 MPH. We’ve even started having inside jokes, the ultimate sign of human bonding (“Sam- Why you dick?”). Another pleasant aspect of my bus is sharing it with Larry from Rise Records and Jarrod Alonge (yes, that Jarrod Alonge). These two dudes have been an immense amount of fun to be around, and I have a blast laughing at Larry’s “Larry Face” or getting confused as hell by how dry the two guys are. It doesn’t get much better than this- whether it’s the ultimate homeboy Josh carrying me to my bunk after an absurd night on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, sweet Carol practically begging someone to eat her PB&J, or rap sessions with the crew from TEI- bus 15 knows what time it is and we bring the party.
I absolutely adore these deep and meaningful connections I’m making, and I’m beyond grateful to be bonding with so many radical human beings. But it’s been a point for me to spend time in my own world, doing my own thing. I’ve always been independent in nature, and I was slightly nervous leading up to the tour that I might not be able to find times to nurture myself. To my delight, that just has not been the case. I’ve had ample time to treat myself. I did yoga on top of a massive hill overlooking Albuquerque. I sang the end of “Hey Jude” on stage with two dueling pianos. I’ve quadruple-fisted beers and shots. I hung out with my best friends and dearest Hogan by day and then crowd-surfed Kevin Lyman at night. When I embarked on this adventure, I made it a point to experience as many different things as possible, and I’m really beginning to see the pay off. I smile every day, almost from sunrise to sunset. I’m in my element here, more than I ever have been before.
This leads me directly into an important thank you I must make. Sumerian Records, Killer Merch, and specifically Mark Bubb deserve many thanks. They took a chance on me, and I will always be grateful for that. I’m honored to spend every day in a booth with the Sumerian logo on it, selling the merchandise of bands I’ve literally idolized since I was 16. Naturally, thanks need to go to Jace Dallas for introducing me to Mark in the first place, as it was his recommendation that really got me out here. It’s amazing to know that the hard work I’ve put into being a solid human being, a hard worker, and a lover of all things music has truly started to pay off. I just spent all day today in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel simply because I’m on this tour. Sunday night we had a private party at the Hard Rock Café in San Antonio complete with free beer, free food, and a red-carpet style photo booth. All of this is at my disposal because someone decided to take a shot on me- I’ll be grateful until the day I die.
Looking Ahead to Next Week’s “The Warped Perspective”
- The mid-way point of twelve straight days across the East Coast
- Florida’s relentless humidity
- The Fourth of July on West Palm Beach
- BBQ’s, booze, babes and badasses
Cover Photograph by Larry Wentworth