Tuesday, May 21, 2013


This is the tale of the greatest card hand I ever received and it was in Omaha, Nebraska on Earth Day 2013. This particular outing was the longest I had been on tour as a performer and it spanned twenty days in April.  We toured the Rust Belt to expose the lies of the Republican Party in the 80’s that is still in Congress and trickle-down economics that left the cities in such disrepair, creating the belt we gigged across. This is what I remember from the Dust Angel - Reagan Youth Rust Belt Tour. 

Initial Transit-

I left Louisville on April 7th. My folks took me to the bus station. The Greyhound was late as usual. I slept on the floor in the bus station in Detroit my first night out. The following evening in Pittsburgh I met a guy named Max on the bus. We chatted and he was excited that I was catching a bus to NYC to sing with Reagan Youth. He said he would come out to the first show in Trenton, NJ.  As my hometown simultaneously won the NCAA championship, I was dropped in Times Square.

Starting the Tour-

The first few daze in NYC I lost my camera and hat on the subway. Doesn’t matter, the longer you are on the road the more Zen one becomes. I left my boots in the city before we left and I couldn’t care less. After two daze of travelling and two daze of inactivity I was ready to do this. We caught a ride with our friends Lindsay and Chris from North Delaware and played Trenton after a very short practice with Stig, the human beatbox, in Jersey. Max did in fact show up to the gig and brought a few friends and I was happy to see him. The crowd at Mill Hill Basement was good and danced. This was the first time we had played in over two months. It felt good.

I noticed something in Trenton, the moon was new, and I remembered the moon was full when we ended in Louisville. I could follow how far along we were on the tour by simply following the moon. Good signs all around. We returned to NYC and played Old Gallery in Brooklyn the following Friday. We were showed love and I saw some familiar faces in the city. Shout out to Crusty P, one of the only people in the city outside of band mates that was excited to see me. Paul told me that I had played a true NYC hardcore gig. I was honored to have been a part of such a rich history that kept elbowing me in the throat. We started the tour with nothing and were able to pay for the rental vehicle from the last two gigs. We may be on a limb but we are still on it nevertheless. Fuck it let’s roll.

Albany, NY-

I stayed the night at Stig’s house and we secured the rental vehicle then drove to meet Paul and B. Let me tell you, Paul insisted that I brought along this ridiculous, mustard colored, gold miner’s hat not only on the road (I mean I left basic necessities at home), but wear it at a show and make sure it was somehow documented. So we pack this fucking hat and head to Albany.

I will never forget the show in Albany, ever ever. Albany was much further than we thought and lemme tell you, leaving the city from the north side was the most difficult I think I ever did as a driver. We arrived and were told the show was over because we were too late to play. Keep in mind it is 9:30pm on a Saturday. Whatever. There were six police cruisers in a row at the stop lite. I mean we were tripping over cops and now this club was hassling us, this was looking like a rough start. Off the top, my favorite Albany punk, Twon, approached us and told us we could still play at his house in the living room. Punk rock, I’m game and always loved playing houses and parties because they are the my favorite shows. Wait, no PA...

Did you ever see the flagship punk documentary Another State of Mind? There was a scene where Minor Threat was all set to play but there was no PA. They did the set without one and it somehow worked. I figured if Ian could do it I could. I stood up front and led the crowd in a sing-a-long. We were shown major love and support as we played a very long jam set. It went on until we ran our of originals and covers. It ended up being a two hour Reagan Youth show and I was honored to be a part of it. These guys from Philly kept feeding me beer as I played. I don’t even remember falling asleep that night I just remember waking up hours later. The next morning Spanish Mike from Florida got us right and we started west.

Buffalo, NY-

I never thought I’d have made it to this city in my lifetime. It was first true rust belt stop on the tour. When we pulled up and there was an abandoned project across the street, I have to say I felt right at home, like I was still in Louisville. The club was a DIY space appropriately named the Funeral Home for it was just that before it was a venue. We played where wakes were once held and the energy was good. We were made to feel welcome and our girl Nicole had our back so we knew things would be great. The crowd was very cool to us and we met a lot of generous people.

The show was too cool. The bands played on the floor and the audience was slam dancing. Another interesting point is that we finally got to see some out of town bands. We saw a band from Toronto who caught my eye named Brutal Youth (I still have their button that’s how I remember their name, hey merch works!). They still play good hardcore in Canada, I can tell you that much just from digging this band. This was hands down the best show we played on tour thus far. After the set we were invited upstairs where the housemates lived and slept a very good sleep. The night was so cold and the couches were so warm. The next morning Nicole took us to eat a Mediterranean breakfast. We then visited Niagra Falls and started driving to Ohio.

Cleveland, OH-

If you ever rent a car, let me be the first to tell you, look in the glove box. You will be amazed what you may come across. Someone left something in the car we rented outside of the city that they would really, really miss I already know. Let’s leave it at that. We pulled into Clevo on a Monday and set up shop at Peabody’s where they fed us and handed us a case of tall beer cans. This really made me happy. Sour Towel set us up and were the only reason anyone came out on a Monday. My friend Randy showed up and brought a few people. No matter what, Clevo, the club, the bands, and the people were too cool.

After the set we were invited to come across the street to Cleveland State’s college radio station and we did an interview. It was meant to be ten minutes but we were feeling alright, so things turned into an hour plus. We started talking 80’s hardcore, then gun control, then I don't recall what, I mean we were all over the place. Afterwards we got a motel on the side of the road. This was the first time I slept in a bed in over a week and it was the most awkward nights sleep in a week. Gimmie a floor already. 

Warren, MI-

We were very excited to play Warren. Jay and the punx at the Toepher House were the first to confirm and post a flyer when we started booking the tour in January. We drove into Detroit and admired the strips of abandoned buildings and thrifts stores. Beth and the punx at Toepher were kind enough to let us get some much needed rest as we prepared to play to Motor City’s finest punx. The bar was set high after we witnessed the bands plays. I remember having a conversation about can deposits and another about handguns. I knew I was in Michigan at this point.

This was the best house show I had ever played in my life. Wayne County is a dispensary county I should add. We got game faced as the basement was filling up with more and more people. There were a great deal of people outside and they all somehow fit into this room. Paul, in good spirits, chuckled at me right beforehand and said, “Trey, go have fun”. No problem my man! Anytime I went into the crowd I was immediately engulfed and spent the remainder of the songs trying to get back up front. The Warren Punx were quite enthusiastic and we returned the energy. I knew the area that spawned The Stooges, MC5, Alice Cooper, MOTOWN SOUL!, and so many more would result in a terribly good show. We were on the right side of 8 Mile if you ask me.

Chicago, IL-

We left Warren after the gig and drove to Chitown that night in the interest of making both gigs the following day. We booked an all ages matinee show at The Township and a over 21 show at Ultra Lounge. After arriving in town at 8am we got some much needed downtime and sleep. It started raining harder than I had seen in awhile at this point. A wonderful great lakes storm and let me tell you, it was still a beautiful day. Our friends and fans showed us an amazing all ages show during a colossal downpour in the afternoon. At this point things were getting blurry. Although I couldn’t see the moon in the rain, it was halfway through the lunar cycle.

The crowd at the second gig watched us, a few danced, but mostly they watched us. Good because after two shows on three hours sleep I couldn’t handle fighting off elbows the entire set. I did most of this one from the stage. Afterwards a fan approached me and apologized for the few slam dancers. I told him he had nothing to apologize about, they all watched and dug us! Afterwards a man I had recognized during the show approached me backstage and told me he knew Dave and how I reminded him of him. I later found out it was Ari Lehman, the actor who played Jason in the first Friday the 13th. Shouts out to When Falling Feels Like Flying, they were the first band with girls I had seen along this tour. Sweet Home Chicago indeed.

Milwaukee, WI-

I had never been in this part of the country before and I did not know what to expect. Let it be known that when we crossed into Wisconsin the bands, people, hospitality, and beers suddenly became top notch. When Beatrice and I pulled into town the fog was so thick we couldn’t see the buildings. We were welcomed into Rush-Mor Records and handed micro brews and asked to sit and rest. The hospitality, like I said along with so many other things, was top notch. The city is really well-known for its breweries, and they really live up to their reputation. The drink tickets were good for taps all night. It was around here that I noticed the people of Wisconsin will stop and talk to you and the conversations are friendly and good. This was odd to me but I dug it.

Ryan from One Track Mind Productions really booked a promoted quite a show. Frank’s Power Plant was filling up. The openers were some of the best I had seen so far on this tour. A metal show up the street was letting out and the club was packed. We played to a good drunken crowd and afterwards Stig and I were led into Jesse’s (Population Control, I almost forgot the name...I blame what made Milwaukee famous and those Wisconsin pines) and thank God because the temperature dropped so low that night. I remember Jesse told me he just got let go from a job the day before. Keep in mind we were just entering the weekend. Needless to say we drank until we fell asleep on the floor.

Madison, WI-

I didn’t know it at the time but Madison would become my favorite city on the stop. When we first got into town it looked amazing but it was so cold. A few blocks walk was a bold move trust me. We tried to stay inside the best we could as the main strip of the city circled the massive capital building and flyers for the show covered the city. Tim Offensive (Pyroclast, what?! I loved this band for real) hooked us up once we got to the Frequency. We were made to feel right at home immediately and best of all, there was a backstage area in the basement. Listen, when a band has been playing and driving for a week and then arrive in a strange new city, it’s nice to have a place to sit for a while.

Stig and I were sitting at the merch table and noticed how fast and tight the bands were. The Vampirates (some dice rolling punx from Las Vagas) began the set with a lot of energy. Pyroclast set the bar even higher. They reminded me of the bands that always played Austin, Texas when I stayed there that I loved so much. At about this point in the evening Stig turned to me and said “we have got to play good and fast tonight”. Indeed. Before we played, like minutes before we took stage, these two girls and I were talking backstage and somehow I took a hit off an e-cig that had hash oil inside. Oh god you wanna talk about high and stupid. Now it is time we had to take a good sized stage with maybe the best crowd on the tour yet on a Friday night and I am higher than I can remember.

I did the first few songs with my eyes closed or just squinted I couldn’t tell. This crowd allowed me to stage dive and they would hold me up as I sang. This always gets the people in the back to come closer and looks good in pictures. They were digging us as much as I was digging them. This was an emotional night because Tibbie and Mike (the bass players, our friends, and road companions) had to head back east. We hung in the backstage area until the bar emptied playing table hockey and huffing the Wisconsin air. We retired to Tim’s house with the Vampirates and it being a weekend, another night of sleeping on the floor at a loud party.

The next morning I woke up and switched the current rental for a larger rental. We initially had six people in two cars. Since we had plans to pick up the replacement bass player, Shiro, and condense to one vehicle, we had to upgrade. In the center console I found something that some previous driver had left and would surely miss. Allow me to reiterate... If you ever rent a car, look in the glove box. Well, look in the glove box and the center console. 

Appleton, WI-

Due to a colossal fuck-up with the airlines, Shiro was stuck in NYC and we were leaving for Appleton with no bass player. Let me hip you to something. Along the road once we hit Chicago when I mentioned Appleton or and the venue, The Subterranean, I mostly heard “how are they gonna fit that many people into that basement” or “Appleton, they’ll take care of you!” or something like that. Also, Eric Hammers, the Promoter and singer from Wartorn (yea, that Wartorn) and I had been chatting regarding that show a few months prior. I didn’t want to put his good name on the line if we couldn’t play. Plus it was April 20th deep into Wisconsin. On a Saturday. Think about it. Paul wanted to go power trio but we got Eric to play bass for that gig. I knew he could do it and playing together would be fun. We arrive at a large punk house, did a practice, then headed to the Subterranean for the show.

Can I say Wisconsin punx were my favorite on this tour? They were. The venue was a house with a basement stage area. The residents were kind enough to open the upstairs of the house where they lived to us. We celebrated the holidaze, I drank Mickey's, and made so many friends and acquaintances (due to the clouded vision and being so tired from being so deep into the tour, I forgot so many names but- a big fat peace, love, & unity to Appleton). I barely remember even doing this but we played a great gig, Eric sounded amazing, Appleton showed us mad love, then we went back to a party. We slept on the floor as the drinking ensued on a Saturday night, ate pizza and fried cheese curds, and fell asleep. We also sold the last of the shirts. I’ll say it again, I love Wisconsin.

Des Moines, IA-

One thing I sadly noticed the night before was that the moon was filling up quickly. The tour was ending but we were excited to start gigging so far west. Once we crossed into Iowa and headed to Omaha the drive times became much more serious than before. I had never been this far into this part of the country before. Thank god Paul drove into Des Moines, I was too tired after not sleeping for so long. We had word Shiro was en route to Des Moines via Chicago by plane while we were driving a drive that we seriously underestimated. We picked him up at the DA airport and less than 15 minutes later the first note of Dust Angel’s set had begun. Being in a traveling band has it's close calls.

My friend Tim from Kentucky, who I had not seen in quite some time came out. I tried to catch up the best I could while getting our set in order. We played the Lucky Monkey to a good crowd. Rat hooked us up. I met some very cool people and some older punx. I love chatting with those who had been around before me because they are always so wise! We partied at the bar the best we could then retired to Tim and Tabitha’s house. They opened their home and hearts to us and fed me Kentucky pork burgers to boot. It is always good seeing old friends no matter the circumstances. The next morning Shiro and I awoke and drove into town. It took less than five minutes to paint it red on a Monday morning but we did enjoy the coffee and architecture. 

Omaha, NE-

Time to get to the part involving the card hand in Omaha on Earth Day 2013. Remember I told you Paul talked me into wearing this mustard colored gold miner's hat in Omaha. I lined the hat with various playing cards, all meaning something to me. I had placed to 7’s in the hat to be used as visuals when we played Lucky 7. When we crossed into Nebraska it began to rain like we were back in Chicago. We got our second hotel room of the tour (not bad for a 12 day run and counting) and laid low as the rain kept falling.

The Hideout and Zac really made us feel welcome. Another nice backstage area and free beer, love, good times. The Omaha bands were really cool and a lot of people came out on a rainy Monday night. So as we play I am wearing this hat and I am really trying to keep it on but it’s difficult to play a rowdy punk show and keep a bucket hat on deck. Obviously I lose the damn thing four songs in. Right when we start Lucky 7 it is somehow placed back on my head. I feel around and there at 3 cards left in the hat. I pull the two 7’s I needed and the ace of spades. We played a very fast, rowdy show, then the night blurred out with a backstage party until the club emptied. We went back to our hotel and cut some radio promos (Emma and Nebraska Punk Radio reprazent) in a haze.

Laying in bed I remembered this was about it, time to backtrack home. I took quite a chance coming out to all these strange cities and things were a terrible success. No fights between the band members or at the shows, we ate well, met a lot of amazing people, managed to make good choices and come back with some money to pay our rent. The card hand symbolized the whole ordeal. Best of all there were no shoot outs of any kind. Roll down your sleeve, pick up your money and carry yourself home.

Eastbound and Home-

We had a very long drive across the Ozarks of Missouri to make it to St. Louis. More rain was falling but it’s the Ozarks, what do you expect? I always loved St. Louis and was happy to see my first St. Louis punk show. Fubar was easily the premiere club and they made us feel very welcome. They comped us some of that world famous St Louis BBQ. The place actually sold out of meat when we were there. We played a cool show and afterwards we met two of the baddest girls on the tour, Devin and Tess. They began to interview us for a radio spot then we started popping shots. We crashed with Tess and her so many roommates. We ate great diner food and went to the arch the following morning. Around then we realized there was a time difference and we had to get to Louisville sooner than we thought.

The moon was indeed full as we drove into Louisville. My man Brent booked the Louisville gig. It was a small word of mouth show in a pizza joint. You know, keeping it hood, Louisville style. This was the only gig where a fight broke out and it was between two different groups of friends of mine. Go figure. Mike Defendant and the band slept over my place after a drunken Cahoots night. I celebrated with Lone Star Beer myself. We had more acoustic guitars in the house than people so needless to say we jammed that night until the sun had been up for hours. I showed the guys around my hometown the following evening and sadly hugged them goodbye as they drove back east to the city and my life returned to the way it was twenty days prior. Only I would never do the same.