So for over a week now I’ve bet you’ve had one question on your mind. I left you with one of the greatest teasers ever, and I’m certain you’re dying to get the explanation here. How exactly does one turn Tinder into a free version of Uber? It’s remarkably simple, and just about anyone here on tour could relate to this breakdown in some form or fashion. The year is 2015, and as humans we’ve finally pushed ourselves into a place of higher technological advancement. This ability to adapt technology and move ourselves forward has inevitably given rise to a popular social media platform that allows an instantaneous judgment of another human being based almost purely on their looks. That platform is called Tinder, and in my normal, day-to-day life back home it’s used primarily as a means to find a date in an otherwise exceptionally hectic and isolating weekly routine. But on tour, Tinder is a completely different animal. There are those of us who use Tinder to hook up with each other, there are those of us who use Tinder to hook up with random locals, there are those of us who use Tinder to meet new friends who can hopefully show us around in the town that Warped Tour is occurring in, and there are those of us who use Tinder to get around and find new places to shop or hangout.
Now my private life is my own damn business. So before you think I’m about to spill the beans on me think twice. I intend to discuss purely how one would go about utilizing a dating app for the purposes of mobility, nothing more. I don’t need you people getting the wrong idea about your beloved writer. Anyway, it’s quite simple. I begin my day with a massive right-swipe session. For those of you unfamiliar with Tinder, a right swipe indicates and intent to communicate and explore mutual interests, where as a left swipe means “I’m not interested in you.” Basically, I wake up every morning, triangulate my position on the app, and then swipe right until I run out of my daily swipe allotment. Invariably, within the hour I’ve matched a handful of people, and usually based on what I can creep through their profiles I decide whether or not to engage said person in (what I like to call) “Tinderization” or the act of chatting via Tinder (I like to exclaim “Tinderize me, Cap’n!!” when I make a match on Tinder, because you should be having fun whilst Tindering). If an engagement is made, it’s usually because I either want non-tour human interaction or because I need to go to Wal-Mart for something. I’m dead serious. I Tinder strictly in order to escape tour life for even just five seconds and I’m okay with that. And before you think I’m misleading people- I’m very upfront with what I’m doing. There’s no reason to lead a person on, what’s the point in hiding your agenda? I haven’t met a negative reaction yet because most of my Tinder “matches” are attending Warped Tour anyway and understand the nature of the beast. Tinder is a breath of fresh air on tour, and a very simple, free way to make friends in every town you visit.
Speaking of visiting, my last day off involved an extremely thrilling jaunt through Boston. I addressed the bulk of my escapades last week, but I made a new acquaintance that I feel needs mentioning. At the end of our crawl through Boston last week, my Bus 15 Mates and I hit it off with our waitress in McGreevy’s, Nicole. She was extremely stoked to be chatting with Warped Tour people, and treated us like kings and queens the whole evening- going as far as getting us a round of Jameson shots on the house. We enjoyed her company so much that we tossed her and a friend on the next day’s guest list and invited them to spend the day experiencing Warped Tour first hand. Sure enough, the next day her and her friend, Iesha, arrived at the Mansfield, MA date of Warped and spent the day sipping daiquiris with me and jamming out to their favorite artists. They even took me and the homie Josh out for Mexican food and margaritas. You never know who you’ll meet on tour, and you never know who’ll make an impact you don’t forget.
Massachusetts was incredible, and I loved every minute of it. But the Darien Lakes complex in Buffalo, NY had to have been every person’s favorite day of tour so far. We all made mad stacks of money, we were all well-rested, and we all got to spend our evenings riding the numerous roller coasters and carnival rides that are part of the Darien Lakes experience. The weather was as close to perfect as we’ve seen all tour. Sure, the grounds were muddy and we had to set up and tear down in that, but you would not believe the level of joy and excitement we were all displaying that day. Everyone was so friendly and excited, and I made friends with a little dude and his dad. He loved Asking Alexandria and even helped me sell some of their merch with passionate pleas to various passerbies. Pretty sure because of him I had one of my top 3 days in sales- that’s how great the day was. There were some great moments in the amusement park that night, like Riff Raff and his body guard hopping on one of the smaller rides while Raff proclaimed, “I like water slides and shit, but this is not fun!” Or watching the guys from The Wonder Years almost black out on the whiplash ride. Of course, by then I had cut loose entirely and spent one entire roller coaster ride screaming “Warped Tour!” over and over again on repeat. And ultimately, I’m glad we had a day like this because the next three days were brutal, over-bearing, and seemingly endless.
Cincinnati, OH is actually a really rad town. A few years ago, whilst doing some post-college traveling, I found myself in this blue collar town and really fell for it. There’s usually a great vibe here and the people are exceptionally nice. However, Warped Tour likes to throw wrenches into the cogs of your otherwise harmonious perceptions. Our venue had flooded before we ever arrived, and so our space had been chopped in half, leaving all of the vendors in a place where hardly any of us were visible and where we all were forced to only open one of our tents. Most of us run two 10X10 ft tents every day, but with the chaotic situation going on in the amphitheater, we were forced to reduce. The only issue with that was that the next day was Toronto, Ontario, Canada- which meant that I already had to spend a massive part of my day sorting my bins and making sure they were clear of all sellable merchandise, otherwise Sumerian Records and I would be slapped with a massive excise tax. So in order to keep a long story short, I spent my day in Cinci hating everything and having a really difficult time. Fortunately, as mentioned before, when someone on Warped Tour is stressed, we’re usually all stressed about the same exact thing. So in the end I was able to bond with the people around me (shout out to Sarah from Equal Visions Records for keeping my chin up that day) and get my work done in the perfect amount of time in order for the ultimate “safety meeting” to take place.
“Safety meetings” occur daily in my world, usually exclusively with my close friends from my bus. When “safety meetings” occur that involve people on other buses, we will typically call a “Code Verde” on Channel 12 and attempt to find a safe place for multiple people to meet and sort out the various aspects of group “safety.” On the night before our jaunt into Canada, we had many extensive aspects of “safety” to discuss, so we called for a big “Code Verde” and wound up with one of the most phenomenal group experiences I’ve ever been a part of. There were as many “safety devices” as there were people- and there were easily over 30 people at this particular “safety meeting.” The sun was setting behind us, the Bluetooth amplifier was bumping good jams, and we said goodbye to America as a collective whole, bound and determined to conquer the great white north. And let me tell you, dear reader, I’ve never felt more bonded and close with such a large group before. We joked, coughed, and corroborated with one another, and I’ve never been a part of something more beautiful. Nothing could stand in our collective path. Canada was waiting, and we were ready.
Before I go any further, I gotta get something off my chest. I understand that massive tours like this one are planned so they don’t overlap with another massive tour visiting a particular place. I also understand that promoters want the biggest markets to get hit on the weekends so the maximum amount of people can attend. That’s logical, and makes perfect sense. What makes zero sense to me, however, is the decision to go from Cincinnati, OH to Toronto, and THEN go to Maryland. Am I crazy for thinking that sounds absolutely absurd? I mean look at that on a map and tell me I’m wrong- its nuts to rout a tour that way! But it happened to Warped this year, which means we were going to spend time crossing an international border in order for us to be in that country for less than 13 hours. And spend time we did. It took us a little more than two hours to initially cross into Canada, mostly because border patrol demanded to inspect our bus twice because they swabbed up some “safety” residue and were convinced there might be more. Obviously, there wasn’t, so we slid through simply enough, but the delay made us hours late to the venue. Fortunately, the delay left me stuck with only one open spot right next to the main entrance, which brought me heavy traffic and easily my best sales of the tour. I was smart enough to think ahead and I offered my homie Josh some cash to help me sling that day. Since I was anticipating my highest sales all tour, I knew an extra pair of hands would help, and that absolutely wound up being the case. In less than 5 hours of being open we pulled in $2400+ and absolutely demolished our sales goals. Josh’s help was invaluable, and together we drank beers and enjoyed the Torontonian skyline off the distance.
Our trek back to America truly began in the parking lot at the venue in Toronto. We were able to find our “safety supplies,” and once again we gathered en masse for our first and only foreign “safety meeting.” Once that was complete, we piled onto our bus and headed straight for Maryland, which only involved a confusing three hour stop by US border patrol. Our bus was having some emissions issues, and it confused the border officers, but they soon realized it wasn’t our bus that was the issue and let us on our way. As excited as I was to be back in America, and as much as I was looking forward to the Columbia, MD date, I was ill equipped and under-prepared for what was to take place. This venue was both stunning and brutal at the same time. When we arrived, (late, naturally) it was pouring rain and the forest where the venue sat had turned into a mixture of mud, roots, and grass. It was nearly impossible to lug my equipment from one spot to another, even though I was only 60 ft away from where it was originally unloaded. Then I had to pick up a drop shipment. A drop shipment is a delivery of merchandise from the warehouse to me on the road. It keeps my back stock loaded and helps me hustle harder, but it’s also a tricky devil. Drop ship is hard to locate, split in two different locations, and usually only gets sorted at the last minute, so my job becomes more difficult on each drop ship day. Most days, drop ship isn’t even worth mentioning. It’s simple, I get it done early, and as I said before, it helps me do my job.
But this Columbia date was a different animal. Initially the drop was close to the actual venue, but that changed the moment the weather changed. Instead, drop was moved about half a mile, down a hill, from where I popped my tent. Which meant lugging my fresh merch uphill, through the mud (and several thousand kids) before I could begin the process of getting it put away. A process made exponentially more difficult by the fact that I had to also resort my bins from their Canadian reorganization. I basically got stuck working on drop ship for over half of my day, and at one point in time I felt like I was wearing a shirt made of my own sweat. The brutality of it all was really getting to me, but all of that was due to change- thanks to Tinder.
Last week, I barely mentioned Virginia Beach because I really just did not enjoy that day or that venue. However, something happened while I was there that pertains to this week. I Tinder matched with three lovely ladies, all of which are friends, and all of which I was able to hang out with this week. Rachel, Cara, and Heather are fun-loving people who were at the Virginia Beach date to visit some friends. Once we matched on Tinder and started talking, I felt as though we would get along, so I decided to invite them out to the Columbia date. Naturally, they showed up when I was the deepest in the weeds, but it was their natural energy and good vibes ultimately helped pull me out of the crap I was knee deep in. We kicked it a little in Columbia and it was enough to convince them to make the journey out to Holmdel, NJ for Roadie Friday.
Roadie Friday’s are always interesting. For reference- most “normal” people work Monday-Friday and have a weekend. Roadies, bands, and crew members of tours rarely work a “traditional” schedule, so the last day of shows before a day off is referred to as Roadie Friday because it’s technically our Friday. Yesterday’s Roadie Friday included a massive amount of Polaroid pictures, dance parties, and good hangs. The trio of girls made the trek down to New Jersey to kick it for the day, and as the day progressed we kept having more fun. They even stocked our bus with liquor and beer, which garnered a high level of excitement from my bus mates. Once I got my tents torn down we headed to the illustrious Bus 15 for mixed drinks, “safety meetings,” and general pre-party activities as we waiting for the evening’s barbecue to begin. I threw on some neon tube socks and threw off my tank top and immediately headed for the dance circle while the ladies sipped their drinks. I’d venture to say a good time was had by all, most certainly. I was even gifted a golden opportunity to leave the grounds and grab some chicken nuggets, thanks of course to the ladies.
We drove through the night to Gettysburg, PA where the Vans Warped Tour Service Day was due to take place. Each year the tour utilizes a day off to give back to the world around them. This year we helped plant trees and restore the battleground of Gettysburg in order to beautify it for future generations. I was honored to dedicate some of my free time to such a worthy cause, and the good karma from the morning spilled into the afternoon and beyond. The bus began its short hop to the hotel from the battlegrounds and immediately became stuck by a downed power line. While we waited a kind, older Black man ran towards our bus with a large smile and a very heavy looking brown paper sack. He approached the door of the bus, I rolled down the window and he happily handed me the bag while gasping, “I’m so sorry for your inconvenience, but this fresh picked fruit is for you to enjoy.” I opened the bag to see plums, prunes, peaches, apricots, and golden cherrie of all sizes with a friendly business card sitting on top. David and Junko Young are Wellness Advocates who run a small co-op in rural Pennsylvania. They make essential oils, hand-made pottery, and grow fresh produce to share with the world around them. They felt so badly for our predicament that they reached out with all they had. We even offered them money, and they refused, instead handing us a second bag of fresh plums and peaches. There are good people in this world, and I seem to be running into so many of them out here on the Vans Warped Tour. I could not be happier with where I am right now. There’s only three weeks left, who knows what’s around the corner?