At roughly 6:00 am GMT Sunday, only a few short hours after walking off stage in Belgium following the final show of our 2017 European tour, we packed our bags, said our goodbyes and left the home of our friends Jan and Dafne due for Lünen Germany. At 8:30, we met our friend Robert at the headquarters for Gate To Hell backline and van rental company to unload gear and pay our bill. Robert drove us to a car rental facility, helped us deal with the process. The car they had for us was too small for the 6 of us and our gear, so we ended up having to rent a second car to accommodate. From there, we drove to Frankfurt airport and went through the normal arguing and negotiations about our luggage, namely our guitars and our absolute refusal to check them (just give us one overhead! It's the same cubic space as 4 bags!). From Frankfurt to Keflavik, from Keflavik to Chicago through customs (where I was delayed and questioned after making a wrong turn and mistakenly walking through customs without getting checked. Oops.). From O’Hare airport, several stops on the Blue Line to Tony’s apartment where his fiancé Laura, his brother-in-law Shrek and father Dave were waiting with a fresh pot of potatoes, sausage, cabbage and a plate of cookies were waiting. Ty, still at the airport, waited patiently to board his flight back to Denver which had been delayed due to severe weather. The remaining 5 of us passed out, Tony in bed with Laura, the rest of us on the floor and couch. This morning, Monday at 6:30 am, Logan, Parker, my dad and I woke up and began the 16 hour drive back to Denver, the opposite direction of the trip we made the day before our tour due to a huge price difference between flights out of Denver and flights out of Chicago ($200 cheaper per ticket to fly out of Chicago).
We go through this exhausting process in one form or another for every tour we do. Why? Because we love traveling the world and making people smile more than anything. We, like many bands, make the investment of time, money energy to bring our stuff to the stage and perform it in front of total strangers in the hopes of applause and a few bucks to offset our costs. We love what we do. We love all of it, even the shitty parts! We love the hero’s journey. The same adventurer’s spirit that lived in the hearts of the Romans, Greeks and Vikings exists in the heart of every touring musician. The romantic and foolish desire to see what lies over that next hill, to meet the people there and return home with tales and treasures to share with our loved one. This is what we live for, our ikigai, our reason for getting up in the morning.
We could not do this without the help of a whole lot of people. As we drink the water, we give praise to those who dug the well:
For helping us get merch printed on time, for continuing to work with us and for giving Parker the time off, we thank Carey-Ray Jaramillo.
For driving to pick us up from the airport (5 hours in traffic), for fixing Logan’s bass, for renting us a car, for providing us with quality gear and a badass van while working with us every step of the way, we raise our glass to Robert and the staff at Gate to Hell.
For teaching us a thing or two about putting on a world class live show, for being cool guys and for hooking us up with some merch, we thank Electric Eel Shock.
For a hot meal, a place to sleep, comfort, kindness and hospitality (not to mention holding our records and keeping them safe!), we thank Bert and the staff at Immerhin Würzburg.
For a hot meal, a place to crash, a good time and great show, we thank our good friend Victor, The OD Kids and the Staff at The Cave Amsterdam.
For being welcoming, inviting us onto their bus, for their friendship, for teaching us a thing or two about putting on a killer show, slanging merch as well as teaching us about Norwegian and German culture, we thank 9MM and The Carburetors, both band and crew. We love you guys!
For safe driving and being a cool dude we thank Michael, our bus driver for The Burning Days of Rock n Roll dates.
For your professionalism, quality sound, hospitality and accommodation, we thank the staff at Turock in Essen, HeadCrash in Hamburg, Hellraiser in Leipzig and Backstage in Munich.
For getting us our first show in Switzerland, for providing us with food and a place to sleep and for showing us around Zurich, we thank Fabian and Lotrify, Angry Again, Lars, Chris and the staff at Werk 21/Dynamo.
For your hospitality, kindness, professionalism, flexibility and for an incredible show at the most awesomely weird club we’ve ever played, we thank Yo Yo, Stonedrifter and the staff at The Sage Club in Berlin.
For a surprisingly killer show, for your hospitality and for such a kickass time, we thank Thomas, the staff at Mad Music club in Hamelin and Sleeping Well.
For taking the time to give Ty the credit he deserves, we thank Spike. Can't wait to see the article dude!
For helping us lay the foundation for success in Europe, for making Thieves of Thunder sound amazing and for filling in when we really needed, we thank Steve Goldberg.
For a killer last show in a heated tent with beer and kebabs and whiskey and loud music, we thank Steele Justice, Grace, Josiane, the sound crew and staff of Cafe ‘t Danis. We will ALWAYS do a show for you guys.
For taking a huge risk on an unknown band, for taking us to places we could not get ourselves and for believing in us, we thank Thorsten Harm and Rodeostar Records.
For the fantastic press around the record and tour, we thank Matthias, Classic Rock Mag, Piranha Mag, Earshot and Popmonitor.
For your continued love and hospitality, for your friendship, for wine and beer and delicious food and space and time and pictures and gifts and on and on and on, we thank Jan, Dafne and your awesome family. We love you guys!
For offering help and giving support even though we couldn't afford your invaluable skills and hard work this time around, we thank our tour manager John Fate (Dude...we cannot do it without you next time, so clear your schedule next summer).
For coming out to shows, helping us out, getting us stoned and drunk, for buying merch, for carrying gear, for laughs and good times, for hugs and stories and everything else amazing you do, we thank Jerry Matula and our Chicago family, Cécile, Chacho & Julie, Arne, Barbora, Betty, Herbert, Wolfgang, Insa, Lies, An, Francesco, Burn, everyone from all the Turbojugend chapters, Gitte, Peter, all our other friends new and old...it's been a long couple days so forgive me if I forgot anyone!
For your love, support, patience, positivity and patience (again), we thank our women, Jessi, Laura, Becky, Amber and Sara (and Fonz and Nini).
Finally, for stepping up, coming along for the ride, working hard and roughing it out, not to mention making this whole thing possible in the first place, we thank my dad and new merch guy, Mike Howell.
We love our job, we love our life and we are honored to be of service.
Thank you very, very much.
Aaron Howell on behalf of Ty Blosser, Logan O’Connor, Parker Meehan, Tony Lee and MF Ruckus.