The night after Birmingham was filled with driving. We had not secured a place to stay for the night, and Raleigh was a nine hour drive, so we would have had to get up early anyway, so we drove. I took the first shift in the napping area (our backseat had been changed into a cozy cave like area as sleep was going to be a precious commodity over the next couple of days.) While I was napping it began raining, and not a light rain either. So when Ryan hit the jackpot of tired, rain, and Atlanta traffic, he was done.
I took over driving. Billy wanted to stop and get a room for a few hours, but Ryan came up with the PERFECT idea. If we could keep going to Raleigh, and get in early (noon’ish) we might be able to get early check-in and we could get two sleeps for the price of one. By 8am I was getting tired myself, something about driving in the dark for 6hrs with driving rain and approaching Raleigh traffic, I had enough. Bojangles breakfast was a nice reminder of the last time I was in this area.
Comfort Suites treated us VERY well. We were able to check in early and get some sleep, but even better than that, the room was a double queen, WITH a pull out couch, so nobody had to share a bed. We felt good having a bit of our own space. Five hours later we all three wake up very refreshed and not even feeling like we missed a night’s sleep.
The show that night was at the 44 Soul Café. For this one, we had one opening act, and I use that term loosely as he has 25yrs experience and credits over ALL three of us combined. Gravedigger the comedian is amazing. He picked on us relentlessly during the show, but he kinda had to as we struggled with this audience too. But let me back up.
We arrived and the first thing we do is get offered food… OMG GOOOOOD FOOD!!!! Understand, I didn’t know what “Soul Food” was until I moved to Tulsa OK from Mississippi. First time I walked into a “Soul Food” restaurant not knowing what to expect. Looked at the menu and said… “Oh, they mean FOOD!” It was exactly what I grew up eating, just good southern comfort food. So, the 44 Soul Café had great FOOD. I had the fried porkchops, fried okra, and collard greens (Yes people I voluntarily ate something green.)
While we were eating a couple of special people showed up. Most special for me was that my cousin Carl Swan drove 3.5hrs from Virginia to come see me. We hadn’t been in the same room for almost a decade. I love that guy! He, along with another cousin, David Ross, were my introductions into both nerd-dom AND great music. Without these two I wouldn’t know classic Rush, Monty Python, D&D, Chess, Yes, Pink Floyd, or probably even Weird Al. Needless to say, this special arrival meant nothing to my tourmates. They were focused on the other special arrival, who none of us could believe we were getting to share a stage with. Terminator X, the original, the man behind the wheels of steel for Public Enemy, TERMINATOR X!!!!! I’m gonna completely blow his rep by saying, he is the nicest guy you will meet.
Well, the audience was small, and while the main part of the audience were not very effusive, my cousin, the club booker, and X’s manager were VERY responsive. Billy had to kick the Gentlemen off, and he did a great job. I was proud of myself, as the middler I girded up and actually went after the audience a bit. Not that I was hating on them, but I tried to pick on them as much as possible. I couldn’t exactly channel Don Rickles, but I did the best I could being the nice guy I am. Ryan had the “benefit” of headlining this show, and he did awesome. Not that he got any more from the audience than we did, initially, but as he went on, he took on that “I ain’s scared of you” attitude. It killed with the back of the room, and saved our bacon with the rest of the audience.
Was glad I had time pre-show with Carl, because afterwards we needed to head back to the hotel to get some sleep as we had a long drive the next day down to our final stop of the tour Summerville SC. Sleep came easy.
Six states down, about half of our driving done, and a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed. Still to come, our biggest audience made up of family and friends of one of our openers, and Billy’s class reunion.