Chris Howorth’s Off The Record: Tour Adventures
All-around nice guy Chris Howorth from In This Moment is back again with the second installment of his Gun Shy Assassin column “Off The Record.” This time, Chris takes us on the road and relives some of the band’s craziest tour adventures.
I am writing this installment from my own bedroom in Van Nuys, California. I am supposed to be playing in Lubbock, Texas, tonight but three days ago — right before our show in San Antonio — we got the news that we were going straight home. No more shows with Disturbed and Korn and no headlining shows either…it feels like we slammed on the brakes and the machine stopped working. All this was due to events outside our control and although it was a bit of a shock to us, we had no other option than to make the best of the situation.
Some people booked flights home, and the rest of us stayed on the bus for the “dead head” drive home (dead head is a long drive straight to a destination with no stops except sleep for the driver). We are all comforted by the fact that we still have the whole second leg of this tour in March and the missed shows will be rescheduled.
Since we started touring professionally, we have experienced all sorts of unforeseen issues we could never predict or plan for. Touring is an adventure and you never know what each new day will bring. When we are on tour or “rolling” as i call it, we are like a big traveling machine that goes from town to town, playing shows. Everyone in the band and crew are slammed into a metal tube for momths at a time and forced to get along with each other. This can be a very challenging prospect most of the time and creates a natural tension that is almost like a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off…combine that with months away from home, a different city every day, crazy weather and all the other things we deal with on the road, and it makes for a very interesting way of life. I still can’t believe this is what I do — I used to work at Public Storage six years ago! Weird! Here are a few of my tour adventures.
The lost/damaged passport:
Back in 2007, when we were still in a van, we were on tour with Lacuna Coil and others on “The Hottest Chicks in Metal” tour and during a restroom stop at some random gas station in the middle of nowhere, Maria’s passport fell out of the van. Losing a passport is always serious business but this was really bad timing (we were scheduled to leave for Europe in exactly one week for a month-long festival run playing all the huge festivals). Maria discovered the passport was missing three hours and over 100 miles after we stopped at that gas station. We had no options but to turn around and drive back to that gas station in hopes of finding it. Once we made the drive back, of course, the passport was nowhere to be found. Then, in a random twist of fate, a truck driver called Maria’s phone saying he found her passport on the ground so we arranged to meet him somewhere along the route to collect it. Amazingly, this guy met us and had the passport.unfortunately for us, the passport looked like it had been run over by his truck a few times before he found it. So we had to make the last minute decision to cancel the remaining three shows with Lacuna and expedite the process for her to get a new passport. We drove for four days straight, only stopping for bathrooms and food, and got home just in time to get her new passport and made it to Europe!
The lost trailer:
Again, in 2007, on the Megadeth tour while heading to a show in New Mexico (this time in a small RV), we hit a bump…the whole vehicle jolted pretty hard and outside the passenger window, we saw our trailer flying along beside us, off into a ditch with a huge cloud of dust and dirt…it was a scene right out of a movie or something. We were in the middle of NOWHERE! We had no option but to pull over and unload the trailer and try puling it out of the ditch by hand. Imagine our whole band on the side of the road with a huge pile of equipment trying to get our trailer hooked up to our RV again. Lucky for us, a few of the good people of New Mexico stopped to help us and we actually made it to the show that night.
The day at the rest stop:
In 2008, on our tour with Five Finger Death Punch, we were sharing a bus with Bury Your Dead and heading for our highly anticipated day off in Florida at a beautiful hotel right on the beach. We had been playing shows for 10 days straight and everyone was really excited about this day off. Our bus on this tour was what Scot (our driver) referred to as the “Motel 6 Bus.” It was a really old Eagle bus that made lots of noise — although the bus had made it through half the tour so far and it was really cheap! On this day, the Motel 6 Bus decided it was done. It started smoking and made this crazy noise. Scot got us off the road and our tour manager sprung into action — she formulated a plan: Scot was going to get into a cab and fly to Nashville, Tennessee, to get a new bus and meet us in a couple of days…we would have to rent a van for the bands to ride in and a U-Haul to pull the trailer with our equipment. The bus had to be emptied out and towed away leaving ITM and Bury Your Dead at a Florida rest area with all our personal belongings and equipment piled in the parking lot We had a grill, some hot dogs and a picnic table — we spent eight hours at this rest area and got to our beach side hotel at 9 p.m. The next two days were hell — two bands in one van is a brutal experience but we didn’t miss any shows and two days later, we were in a new, nicer bus to finish the tour.
The sick dog:
On our co-headline tour with Nonpoint in 2010, Maria’s dog and our band mascot, Twinkle, became violently ill. Over a four-day period that covered three states, she underwent multiple vet visits and X-rays and no one could pinpoint what was wrong with her. She couldn’t hold down any food and we knew something was terribly wrong. She got more frail and weak with every passing hour. Finally, in Houston, we decided emergency surgery was the only option. During our show that night, our dog was under the knife fighting for her life. After we got off stage, Maria and I went to the hospital and found out that she had a huge piece of rubber blocking her intestines and they had to remove a section of her tubes. We were happy that she survived the surgery and that we now knew what was wrong with her, but we still had three more shows in different cities and she needed to be in a hospital for a day or two after her surgery in case of in complications. So for two days after the surgery, we were driving to a new city checking the dog into a hospital, playing a show and then checking her out and driving to a new show. It was insanity…in the end she survived the ordeal and we didn’t miss any shows.
You never know what’s gonna happen in life from day to day and no matter what you do for a living, crazy unexpected shit can happen…but when you tour for a living, crazy shit seems to happen more often!