Welcome to Tour Journals, a Music Times segment where we ask some of our favorite up-and-coming bands to send us a dispatch from the road. In our latest installation, we've asked Jimkata frontman Evan Friedell to keep a journal on tour with him.
The series has been on hiatus for a few weeks due to scheduling, but now we are back with the latest from the band. The last dispatch Evan gave us was about the challenges of compiling a set list. This week, he talks about the band's storied rehearsal space, moving up in the festival circuit, and getting pulled over by cops, who were luckily music fans. Check back next week for more!
When you're constantly out on the road, rehearsals are hard to come by. You never hear somebody say, "Oh yea man you got an extra hour to mess around", during soundcheck. Between the bars, music halls, hotels, and van tires finding a quiet space to find that inspiration for a new song is nearly impossible. So stepping into our old rehearsal space, setting up our gear, fine tuning some old songs and just messing around feels refreshing when it happens. It reminds us that we're just a group of friends playing music which is the origin of most good musical creations in the world.
We've had the same rehearsal space since we've been a band, and all of us have been in and out of the accompanying apartment throughout the years. A humble and nearly always dirty place, it's filled with old amps, cables, drums, artwork from fans, and posters of shows gone by.
Today we head out to play a small festival in Saugerties, NY called Cosmic Alignment. This is usually the story for our summer schedule. Play some festivals, find time to practice and write, and usually find some other work to help pay the bills. This year we find ourselves in the fortunate position of playing some prime night time, main stage slots at a lot of regional festivals and working our way up in the lineups of some big name fests like Summer Camp in Illinois and Peach Fest in Pennsylvania.
Unfortunately with every big festival comes a lot of cops. After driving for a day and a half to get out to Summer Camp we got pulled over for doing 60 in a 55 on a small country road. These cops were psyched! They had set up shop at a local baptist church parking lot with about 20 squad cars, a few dogs, a mobile command unit, and even some off duty cops who were there "just for the fun", as one officer remarked to me. It was clear that for these officers, this was the superbowl.
So they had us pull into this rat trap of theirs where they had been pulling over bummed out young festival goers all day. Its funny how you feel obligated to make pleasant little chit-chat and bite your tongue while they tear through all your belongings. "Oh you're in a rock band huh? You guys must be partying every day right?" They're mostly friendly but cheerily ignorant as the same woman who's there "just for the fun" says she'd like to "try heroin just once before she dies to see what its all about."
In the end we make it out of there with barely a scratch save for a few minor charges and even heard one of the officers blasting "Feel in Light" out of his squad car. Ultimately, in these situations it seems like cop-hating is the easy way out. The law is the law and these men and women are just doing their job. The real issue is the law itself and the way our country continues to fight an endless and extremely expensive drug war instead of investing more in a sustainable future both economically and environmentally. Ah, but no room for all of this rant here. Back to rehearsal!
You can check out Jimkata tonight, headlining Cosmic Alignment festival. Their set begins at 9:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.