We awoke to a blanket of snow on the ground in Rochester, which we all know is not my favorite, but we were on the road again at 9:30.
I took a brief nap in the car, and we attempted to finish up some interviews in the van. I’d put this off because videos in the van tended to have quite a bit of background noise, which isn’t ideal with interviews because they’ll primarily be used as voiceovers on top of other videos. It was definitely better to have poor-quality interviews than none at all, however, so we did our best. We parked on the street, and after lunch, I was able to finish all of them up. I know this was a huge pain for the guys, but it was a huge relief for me, so I hugely appreciate their willingness to work with me.
My parents had driven over from Indiana during our travel time, and they met Cory, JTru and I at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was really great to see my parents, although it was a little strange to see those two worlds colliding. I almost wish we’d started the tour in Cleveland, because seeing the exhibits was super inspiring, especially the female-centered section about an amazing photographer and the women she photographed. It kind of brought the gravity of what I’m doing home—The New Schematics are hardly The White Stripes, but great musicians are thrust into the spotlight because people connect with their music, which is the whole goal of touring and bringing someone to document it.
We returned to the van and finished up a few last interviews, but my flight left at 8:00, so I had to leave the band shortly after we were done. I’m not sure if it was the sentiment of my impending departure, but Cory said I was his favorite part of this tour in his interview. So like yeah, I cried.
We said our goodbyes, which was so so so hard. It brought me back to when the guys picked me up on the first day and gave me these awkward obligatory hugs as a way to forcibly break the ice, but now I didn’t want to let go.
I think it’s become clear that my depression has been very much under control for at least a year or two. I’ve been very happy with my situation, whether it be shooting shows, moving to Arizona, being in college, etc., but I’ve always felt as though something was missing. I think it’s very important to find your “tribe,” which I didn’t think I’d done before this tour. I had a great community of friends in high school, but people would come and go and it never felt quite permanent. In college, I have a variety of different friends and groups of friends, which really does suit me just fine. But it almost felt like a community in the tour van. We were there for each other, whether it be venting about a show, planning and analyzing aspects of the band, complaining about the weather, or making sure everyone in the van saw the dog on the sidewalk. I really don’t think I’ve ever been a part of an intensely close-knit community like that.
[New York City, NY]
Touring is an incredibly immersive experience, which I think contributes to that sense of family. I have spent 263 hours with these guys, living this lifestyle (minus the hour from 264 for showering). If you hate the way of life or the people you’re with, you don’t get a break. You’re in the game 110% of the time. And I love it.
[New York City, NY]
I don’t think I would love it nearly as much if I weren’t with such amazing people. All the guys are extremely driven, in addition to being practical, talented, hilarious, and compassionate. You have to be a very intense person to survive touring, and people who are motivated generally get along better. Michael is always down to complain with me, pet a dog, or make me try new foods, but he singlehandedly assembles tours and makes it look easy. JTrudawg literally always has something positive to say, and has brought the guys together in a way I’ve never seen before. Shanan is a jack of all trades, doing all the graphic design for the band in addition to playing, and always lets me geek out about photography with him. Cory is simultaneously the most organized and energetic person I know—I’m not actually convinced he isn’t two people like the Olsen twins.
Maybe it’s weird to call a bunch of 30-year-old guys my tribe. Maybe every band is like this. Maybe I won’t end up back on the road with them again (pls no). Maybe that sense of community was just something I felt. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I just had the most incredible experience of my life with some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met, and I think that counts for something.
I’m back in Phoenix, and everything is different. The last time I looked at my dorm, it was 4:30 a.m. and I had no idea what the future would hold. Now, I know that touring is absolutely what I want to do with my life. The last time I showered in a space this small, my world was a lot smaller. Now I’ve been to Canada and New York and Maine and Philly. The last time I was this warm, I was 18, I’d never slept in a stranger’s house, and I’d never had Indian food. Now, none of those things are true. I’m not saying I want to drop out of college, but accomplishing a goal I had for the next four years after eight months makes me feel like I’ve outgrown some things.
You guys, I actually did it, I went out tour with a band. I did that. I did that!
I sent a band a DM on Twitter, had a phone conversation, and booked a tour for my spring break.
I explored almost a dozen cities in ways I’d never seen them before.
I spent $8 on cookie dough.
I ran the lights at a concert.
I met a hundred new people with amazing stories.
I filmed a documentary (what?) and made a music video.
I wandered the streets of Canada for almost ten minutes looking for a fricken’ trash can.
I became family with strangers.
I learned about new places, new people, new equipment, new struggles, new victories, new questions, new answers, and I learned about myself.
The band got a three-page long thank you note, but I’ll keep it simple for you, reader of my tour blogs. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for appreciating my art, and encouraging me to make more of it. Thank you for reading my content, and for caring enough to share it. Thank you for telling me that I inspire you—that’s all I ever wanted. Thank you for following me on this crazy journey.
This tour is over, but I don’t think this is my last trip with The New Schematics. When you click with a group of people this well, you don’t just call it good enough. This tour has been the start of something beautiful—stay tuned.