Behind the story of Midnight Kids

For the longest time I thought I needed to keep my mouth shut about my story. I thought I had to hide the bad parts of me. Through lots of counseling sessions and mentoring I’m learning that people can’t love me if I don’t show them my true self. Now becoming aware of this, and stepping into the fear of letting people really know my hurts and mistakes, this idea has started to seep into our songs.

 

I want to tell you how Midnight Kids came to birth. I wrote the chorus melody and lyrics on an iPad piano one morning and was very excited about it. I had a co-write scheduled with a fella named Kipp the next morning and showed him the chorus idea. We started to work through the idea and I thought Tyler needed to be there. So I called Tyler and had him head over as soon as possible. He got there and quickly wrote this bluesy riff that became a verse. We wrote decent lyrics but nothing with weight. It was just another song about being a rebel, but nothing with heart. That same day we also wrote The Lightning. I remember leaving that day super excited having two new songs that I was proud of.

 

Then these songs sat on my voice memos for 2 years. Actually, they were written before Animal Evolve was even released.

 

Fast forward to January of 2015. We were still on the label and the conversation of doing LP2 started to be had. We were asked to start demoing songs to show the label what we had written. We got to Midnight Kids and felt like that chorus was very strong but there was a deeper story that needed to be told.

 

You see, I was this midnight kid. I was a trouble maker who didn’t follow rules. I would sneak out late and ride my bike all over town. I would break into abandoned houses and explore through run down victorian houses. I thought I was invincible, I thought I couldn’t lose. All of this at the young age of 7 years old. So we had this chorus that was arrogant and childlike. Two things I was. I was free and dumb. But we needed verses that came from the heart. So Tyler sat down at this old beautiful piano and wrote that verse chord progression and I had all these words I wanted to use. And over a two day period we wrote those two verses. Those words really tell the aftermath of a thirty year old man who has to deal with his mistakes. “I tried to rule the world, yet no one’s with me.”

 

That’s real. I remember after those two days of writing those lyrics I felt like we had made our best work. We wrote something poignant yet melodic and accessible and I felt so accomplished. My story was put to music in the most honest way. We scrapped everything from the original co-write minus the pre chorus and chorus.

 

I remember in the middle of the first day of the re-write, Tyler and I got really honest with each other, telling childhood stories. And I think that day was the beginning of a new chapter in our friendship. That was when our friendship moved from a strictly business/creative role to a real friendship where we actually try to understand the person for who they are and where they come from. And it’s really changed the direction of this band in the best way ever. This goes back to what I’ve been learning, people can’t love me if I don’t show my true self. I know vulnerability is a scary thing, but it’s way harder to maintain hiding secrets and living in the dark. I promise you, letting people see my hurts and mistakes has been the most freeing thing in my life. I don’t have to hide anymore. Thanks for reading and listening.

 

-Adam

Mental Un-Health

Mental Health.  Such a tidy sounding set of words meant to be a surrogate for something so chaotic, unpredictable, and at times, crippling.  But isn’t that what we do to protect ourselves from things that frighten us?  Surely the best way to inoculate ourselves without even approaching the subject is to wall it off with a label.  Put it in a closet, brick up the door, and put a fresh coat of white paint over it.  Maybe a flower arrangement or placard to memorialize the day we conquered it with words.

                                                …..

Last blog I said I would try and explain my father’s personality disorder, and the toll it takes on our family these days.  I don’t have a clue how to encapsulate it except to tell you a bit about my childhood.  Bear with me.

My dad is a highly intelligent, handsome, self-confident man with a super quick wit and corny sense of humor that can quickly win over strangers.  A charmer.  Every conversation I can remember with him ended with the words, “I love you,” and I’ll remember that as the most important lesson he ever taught me.  His house always felt like a safe place.  But a duality has always existed that wasn’t as noticeable when we were younger.

The world always seemed to be unfair and unjust by his account, and a kid is going to trust their parent.  Constantly having to switch jobs because his bosses were “arrogant a*******” that were intimidated by his ideas so they didn’t promote him, 3 failed marriages that weren’t his fault, broken relationships with siblings that had slighted him.  I have an uncle I’ve only seen at a wedding and a funeral, and that seemed normal.  That’s not normal.  But according to my dad, when his brother dies he’s going to be in for a shock when he realizes he’s not God.  Now, I’m not so sure we wouldn’t get along, because I have a hunch most of their conflict stems from jealousy of his brother’s financial success. 

What twisted their concept of family so terribly?  I know their father was abusive.  Maybe that’s enough to cause your one retired sister that lives in your town to not visit you at the hospital or cancel going to support you at your brain surgery because she had to take her grandkids to a hair appointment.

When I was a teenager I’d received odd parental advice like, “Women are evil.  Focus on your guitar and don’t get married till you’re in your 40s or you’ll never go anywhere.”  Never mind that I have an amazing sister, and he would say that in front of her.  I’m still fighting to overcome that.  Not that I ever believed all women are evil mind you, but the absence of any positive parental advice on how to approach relationships in a healthy manner can really mess with you.  Now I understand that he had severe psychological problems, but my youth along with only spending every other weekend with him made me blind to them. 

Recently, while venting to our mom about how ridiculous this has all become, she said, “I think you’re just now meeting our father, and it sounds like he’s working on his 4th and 5th divorces.”

Touché.

 

Definition - Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you're not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.

 

This diagnosis put a lot of things into focus.  Like why when we would confront him about needing to quit smoking he would get angry and try to change the subject as quick as possible instead of actually discussing the problem.  Why he was never interested in going to see his last wife’s art exhibits that meant so much to her.  Why he would complain about the food I fixed him when I was taking care of him even though I’m an amazing cook.  It just wasn’t fixed the way he’d always fixed it.  Why he would prefer to be waited on like a king at the hospital and trick everyone into doing even basic tasks for him instead of wanting to be an independent man.  Even today he had a nurse take his socks off for him.  It’s about control and feeling like he’s the center of the universe and absolutely infuriating.

My sister and I refuse to be manipulated any more by pleas of “if you loved me you’d help me”, or “I just need a little TLC.”, but where that leaves us is in an awkward headspace of disbelief, anger (at times hatred), mixed with being flat out embarrassed and ashamed of our father.  When I see him ask a nurse to help him sit up knowing full well that he can do it himself with no effort whatsoever, I have a veritable Fox News ticker in my head scrolling “Bill Cook - Lazy Mother &^%$er”.  I know that’s harsh.  I fully understand that, and I don’t enjoy feeling this way towards my father.  I’d prefer to be proud of him and respect him, but it’s the truth of where I’m at, and I write this in hopes that if someone else is struggling with the same thing, they know they’re not alone.  It’s my current battleground.  In any other relationship I believe the healthy thing to do would be to distance myself, but you can’t do that with your dad.

I have always been the level headed person with infinite patience that doesn’t get worked up over much of anything.  But dealing with him has effectively shattered that version of myself.  I believe God is showing me how to embrace brokenness and lean on him and my community.  To feel more deeply.  To speak my heart to others, and see what new forms of connectedness grow in my relationships from it. 

This season has been a desert, but I am positive I will come out on the other side a stronger, wiser, better version of myself. 

 

For now, if you don’t mind, pray for me.

 

 

William T Cook

Forgiveness

I was supposed to write a blog last week, and I failed. I must have started to write around five times and never got anywhere. I was trying to write about forgiveness but the only real thing I knew I wanted to say was that forgiving someone is giving yourself freedom from the hurts they have caused you. When we don’t forgive someone, it’s really only hurting ourselves. Most of the time the other person doesn’t even know we were hurt. So when we forgive we are allowing ourselves to heal. But that’s as far as I got in my blog last week.


A week later and more than half of an empty page left, I’ll just stick with forgiveness. :)


It’s one thing to know something, but to live it out is a different story. I know deep down inside that I’m putting up a barrier within myself to stay protected. But most people who don’t take risks don’t have many good stories to tell. Let’s be honest, forgiving is a huge risk. When you don’t forgive, you have control, and having control means you win. Right? That’s what I was taught and man has it hurt me. I can have the knowledge, but it doesn’t matter until I put it into practice.  Forgiving is a must. Most of the things I have held onto are from a long time ago, and the longer I hold onto them the more it builds. No better time to let go.


I don’t have some pretty way of tying this up. But I know I want to get better at forgiving people, myself included. I want to give up control and let go of things before they rot in me. And it’s not a one way street. The real kicker is admitting I’m wrong and having to ask for forgiveness. That can be such a scary place, but also freeing of having to maintain this perfect posture or excellence. When I actually have the guts to humble myself and not let my pride take over, my experiences are usually that the person I have hurt will have understanding toward my behaviors.


One last thing, my hunch is that I’m not the only one who puts this pressure on themselves, so let’s be nice to ourselves…. We all need to have more grace and forgiveness for everyone. Ourselves included.


Til next time,

Adam

Caretaker

Caretaker

When I was a dumb kid, all I knew of caretakers was that they were mostly plain looking women in their 40s or 50s.  They were boring beyond belief with no aspirations to speak of, and so naturally the responsibility was theirs to take care of their loved one because everyone else in the family was probably busy doing more important things.  They were equal parts nun (to give up their life selflessly), cat lady (to deal with the isolation), nurse (to deal with the weird medical stuff), and elementary school teacher (for a good dose of patience).  Basically they were Mrs. Doubtfire.  If you don’t know who that is, it’s ok; I’m just a lot older than you.

        The last words I would have used to describe a caretaker would be musician, single male, 33, or ME.  And yet when confronted with the option of my father wasting away in a hospital and the government taking everything he owned to pay for his care or taking him home and doing my damndest to get him strong enough for brain surgery I chose the latter.  I had a strange peace about it knowing that it would be a temporary situation (2 months out of the hospital and his insurance paid hospital and rehab days would reset), but I had no idea what it would involve.  Being a perfectionist, if you label a situation as “unknown outcome” it will freak me the crap out, but I’ve started to consciously relabel those parts of life “accelerated personal growth”.

        So I took my dad home.  Just me, a 67 year-old, and my dog, Rev.  Lord help me.

The first night I got about 3 hours of sleep.  My dad had to use the restroom every 2 hours or so and couldn’t walk without me standing next to him to make sure he didn’t fall.  His muscles and joints were rigid from being bed bound for a year and a half.  Think of those scenes in WWII movies where they rescue the older people from the concentration camps and the prisoners can’t walk because their muscles have atrophied.  The next day we began the cycle of me telling him what he needed to do, him saying he couldn’t do it, and me saying, “You haven’t tried yet.  Try.”  No matter if he needed to get up from the recliner to the table, scoot his seat forward, change his underwear, etc, it was the same routine.  “You haven’t tried yet.  Try.”  Him, “I just did.”  Me, “try again.”  Him, “I’ve never done this.  Not in my whole life have I ever done this.”  Me, “Yes you have.  Try.”  That would usually elicit a slew of personal attacks from him like,

 

“I just need some help.”

“Why can’t you just love me.”

 

and escalating to

“Why don’t you like me?”

“I must have made a mistake raising you.”

or his ultimate trump card

“I wasted all my love on you.”

 

        No, I was not mistreating him, and was affirmed by all the therapists that I was approaching his rehab correctly.  I learned I had to be an emotionless, non-reasoning wall to deal with him or I would quickly go crazy.  I’ll cover this side of dealing with him in the next blog.  We’ve learned he more than likely has been a high functioning Narcissist with borderline personality disorder his whole life.

 

I thought I’d have some time to remain creative or get some practicing or reading in, but the time for it didn’t exist, and when it did, I was so worn out that was the last thing I wanted to do.  Here’s a little timeline of our typical day to show you what I mean.

9:30AM - Wake dad up so he can walk to the recliner.  Open all the blinds so the room is filled with daylight and less depressing.  Turn on Fox News so he has some idea of what is going on in the world and maybe something to carry on a conversation about.

10:00AM - Make breakfast.  I have now mastered most versions of eggs and breakfast things and make a killer healthy smoothie.  Time to start a diner.

10:30AM - Eat breakfast

11:00AM - Pills and breathing treatments

11:30AM-1:00PM - Drag him through a series of 5 exercises.  Yes, it takes him this long to accomplish this.

                1. 10 Sit to stands

                2. Standing in place for 5 minutes

                3. Arm exercises with canned vegatables

                4. Hamstring stretch

                5. Balance exercises

1:00-2:00PM - Clean up breakfast and figure out what to make for lunch.  Maybe take Rev outside for 30 minutes.

2:00PM - Eat lunch

2:30-4:00PM - Figure out what to make for dinner.  Make some coffee and listen to some music.  Teach Rev some tricks.

4:00-5:30PM - Round 2 of same exercises

5:30-7PM - Make dinner

7:00-7:30PM - Eat dinner

7:30-8:30PM - Clean up kitchen and bathrooms.  Change sheets if needed.  Laundry, etc.

8:30-9:30PM - Last round of exercises.

9:30-10:00PM - Breathing treatments and pills / bed time for the parent.

10:00-1:00AM - Me time.  Only time I’m not getting a request for something the whole day.  Let Rev run around outside, drink a beer, play some guitar, Netflix, etc.

        In between the lines are all the times I’d have to get him water, walk him to the bathroom, wait 30 minutes for him to change his underwear or shirt, sponge baths (it took a while to get used to seeing a naked old man repeatedly) or searching netflix for something for him to watch, etc.

        I’ve had multiple people tell me that I’ve gone through the experience of having a newborn baby without being a parent.  Maybe so, but with a newborn that will never grow up and can lob nasty verbal attacks your way instead of just crying.  I can not imagine how hard it would be to attempt for years on end.  That is a special kind of selflessness that I’m not sure I or most of us are capable of. 

The hardest part of dealing with him was his personality disorder, and I’ll try to explain that in the next blog.  For now, just know that caretakers lives are absolutely consumed with the cared for, and they probably need as much help and emotional support as anyone in the world.  Community needs to come to these people, because they can’t come to you.  Offer to pick up groceries for them.  Pick up coffee and go hang out with them for an hour.  They’re isolated and can’t leave the house without serious effort.  It’s by far the hardest, most emotionally taxing thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve attempted to make a living playing music.  That should tell you something.  Caretakers are not Mrs. Doubtfire.  They are probably the strongest people you’ll ever meet.

Til next time, 

Tyler

I Have Worth

My name is Adam Agin, I am a passionate and artistic man.  I have a band called neulore. This is my journey of learning I have worth.

I grew up with parents who loved me. Parents who worked hard and didn’t get paid enough. There was a lot of turmoil in our home and money was a huge reason. I lived in conditions that I later found out were unconventional. But growing up, these conditions were normal to me. Conditions such as no running water, some winters with no heat, and getting a new phone number cause it got turned off the week before. Yes, there were “normal” seasons, but those times of my life aren’t what I remember. Yet I can vividly recall getting woken up by a huge rainstorm. You see, I had a hole in my ceiling in the corner of my bedroom and water was splashing off a trash can and hitting me in the face. I didn’t realize the effects of those conditions until more recently. But I know now that I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel protected.

 

I was a curious boy with a mischievous streak. I didn’t follow rules well and I learned early to manipulate to get what I want. You would likely find me on my bike or at a basketball court, trying to avoid home. There were older neighborhood boys who became friends and a bad influence on me. They introduced me to pornography at the age of six and not long after I was sexual abused by one of those boys. This is where I met shame. Shame became a close friend of mine for longer than I’d like to admit (still a first name basis)… I began to believe the lie that I wasn’t good enough and that it was my fault.

 

I want to fast forward a little bit. Home life got better through my high school years. Church groups, show choir, baseball team yada yada yada.

 

The lie started young, but as I hit my twenties I began to pursue a music career. This part is really where my worth began to balance on such a thin wire. The honest truth is it started out of a place of having a desire to be known. I wanted to be loved. I was creative and so I channeled it. But I had an unhealthy motive. This led to many heartbreaks and failed attempts. My worth was dangling on compliments and successes of my career. Which taught me I had to earn being loved. I had to do a dance or in my case, sing you a song to be important. And the times I wasn’t good, or didn’t hit that note, or didn’t write the perfect lyric. I was no one.

 

I turned thirty this year and I really had to go face to face with some of my real issues. I started going to a twelve step recovery as well as seeing counselors to help me walk through being abused. And as I have taken the risk of cleaning out my skeletons, I have got to meet myself again. That bright and adventurous little boy who is worthy of love not because of his talents or success, but just because he matters. For so long I believed I had to do something of importance to be loved. And Thank God, I know I’m loved and have worth for no reason. I finally don't have fear radiating in my chest that what I’m going to create isn’t going to be good enough. Every day is a choice to keep walking in vulnerability and to get closer to who I was made to be.  Thank you for reading. I want you to know that you have worth no matter what you’ve gone through. If you would be so bold, I would love to hear your story.

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Health Care Rabbit Hole

  The Beginning - Health Care Rabbit Hole

 

How do you write about your life when you’re currently overwhelmed by life?  I worry about how depressing it all sounds even filling in close friends, and here I am trying to figure out how to tell the internet about it.  I realize there’s a lot of anger and cynicism that will come out.  That’s just where I’m at right now.

My father’s health has been deteriorating for the better part of 5 years.  He was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s which led to a vicious cycle of doctors treating the side effects of drugs with more drugs which led to new side effects and new drugs to treat those side effects until they had no clue what was going on.  Most of their later effort was spent gently nudging us towards the nearest nursing home.

        Listing a few highlights of the wonderful health care system we’ve been battling seems pertinent.

In Bowling Green his lung doctor stopped his antidepressant cold turkey without consulting his psychiatrist, then told him he had stage 4 lung cancer and should expect to live about 6 months, without having any test results to back this up….and it ended up not being the case.  Whaaaaat?!?!?!?!?!

We fled to an ER in Louisville after he was discharged with “nothing left to treat”.  He had 2 liters of fluid on his lungs, basically drowning.  I’d say that’s not normal and qualifies as a reason to be in the hospital. 

Within 3 weeks of being in Louisville they had over-medicated him to the point of delirium, confusion, and aggression.  Rather than stopping the medication which was causing him to be too much to handle for the nursing staff, they sedated him to the point he couldn’t feed himself, had him in restraints, put a feeding tube in his mouth and called my sister to tell her we should think about signing DNR papers.  For the person who has no idea what that is, it stands for DO NOT RESUSCITATE.  Once again, trying to kill our father with drugs, laziness, and incompetence. 

I couldn’t make this up if I tried, and the saddest part is that if my sister weren’t a nurse he would probably have gone to a nursing home and would most certainly be dead by now.  It makes me sad thinking about how many older people are in nursing homes or dead because of crippling medications they shouldn’t be taking.

My sister demanded a transfer to Vanderbilt in Nashville and within 3 days our father was feeding himself again.  How?  They stopped all his medication to start from scratch and observe him.  Anyone who knows how to troubleshoot any kind of mechanical object might be thinking, “That’s completely what I would have done and I’m not a doctor.”  My thoughts exactly.  If they were mechanics I wouldn’t let them work on my car.

Here’s how most hospitals, except Vanderbilt, work.  You go in, get every test on earth done to you so they can bill insurance, see specialists for around 2 minutes a day, have completely different nurses looking after you each shift that don’t fill in their charts adequately enough so no one is actually able to monitor whether you’re making positive progress or declining, no one listens to family about prior history, and they attempt to shovel pills down your throat regardless of if someone tells you those very same pills make the person go bonkers. 

If there’s not a yelp for doctors that lists which pharmaceuticals companies they’re getting kickbacks from there should be.  One of you smart people get on that.

Around a year and a half of hospital / rehab rooms after his initial Parkinson’s diagnosis the Vanderbilt neurologist said it looked like something called Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, ie. too much fluid in the brain.  It can cause, drum rollllllllll, Parkinson’s like symptoms.  Feet getting stuck to the floor, shuffling gate, trouble focusing, urinary retention, etc.  But since he’d been bedridden for a year and a half and lost most of his strength, the lumbar puncture test that would show whether a decrease in spinal fluid pressure would relieve his symptoms would be ineffective.  He needed to be stronger to have the test and stronger still to have the surgery for the permanent brain shunt if the diagnosis was correct.

 

I’ll leave it here till next blog to avoid writing a novel, but I’d like to urge everyone who is facing serious illness, young or old to never blindly trust your doctor.  Always get second and third opinions and find a family member or friend that works in the health care system to advise you, because honestly, we have a distorted view of what going to medical school makes you capable of.  Troubleshooting skills seem to not be taught, and arrogance is rampant.  If by chance they have the best intentions and heart, they can still kill you with incompetence.  Watch your backs, and if you have any crazy hospital stories or advice for people on how to navigate the healthcare system, feel free to share. 

To Be Continued,

        Tyler Cook

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Day 26: PITTSBURGH, PA

I was in heaven here in PA. We played a winery. Mixing my favorite two things, music and wine. We played to a sold out crowd surrounded by barrel after barrel drinking red wine. It was glorious. My phone started only taking blurry photos so enjoy them as much as you can. You know how Apple starts breaking your phone right before your contract is up. I think that's what is going on. I wanna thank the PITTSBURGH winery for taking such good care of us last night and to the last bison for treating us like family on this tour. Really glad to go sleep deprived with you all. :) 

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I WILL NOT

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Vibe for days

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Creepy dude in the green room

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Hi from us

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Andrew and Amos getting warmed up for their set 

DAY 25: COLUMBUS OH

I was lucky enough to be able to spend easter with my family. They live close to dayton Ohio and they were just an hour away from tonight's show, so it worked out perfect. My mom even made us little easter baskets. :) We got to have a few meals with my sisters but mostly we had to get cracking on demos for the next record. So we turned my moms dining room into a makeshift studio. It's crazy how little you need these days to pull off making good sounds. The show in Columbus was great. For being a rainy Monday, I'd say it was a success. We grabbed some coffee at Mission before soundcheck. The people at rumba always take good care of us and that food truck right around the corner always does the trick for any late night hungrys. If you were there, thanks for coming out. It's always great meeting new friends. 

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Our small little demo set up. 

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Must. Have. Coffee. 

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Um yeah can I add an extra shot? 

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The lone bison

DAY 22: CHICAGO, IL

Whew- this far into a tour I start losing track of what we did each day. We had a 6 hour drive, which was short compaired to a few 12 hour drives we had back to back to get back from the west coast. So it seemed easy. First thing we did when we got to chicago was we got some good coffee from ipsento and made friends with the baristas. We loaded in and soundchecked at the subterranean. That venue is interesting, bands don't like loading in up stairs so yeah that wasn't a fun load in. ;) 

after the show we got some really tasty ramen at furious noodle and they treated us super well! Thanks for taking such good care of us! Was a great way to end our day. Headed to Ohio today to spend a few days with my family over easter break. Playing in Columbus on Monday. 

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Quick pick me up before load in 

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Tyler's love language is coffee 

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The last chandelier 

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Naturally the women's bathroom had a long line so we acted as bouncers while a new friend used the men's room. Stand guard! 

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This very kind lady at furious noodle treated us like kings. And that ramen was spot on! Thanks to you! 

DAY 21: AMES, IA

I woke up feeling pretty sick, but luckily we already did all our driving from denver the day before. So I just rested for the day until soundcheck. Lots of hot tea and DayQuil. I wasn't too sure how the show was gonna go since I had a balloon for a head, but it worked out. We played on campus at ISU at the maintenance shop. The crowd brought it! We had a super fun time with all yall. Andrew from the last bison jumped in our van from Denver so it was rad to have a some new company. I remembered to take some pics.  

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Andrew made a little friend while he was reading on the porch.

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Greenroom party

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Selfie with the crowd 

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The last bison just owning IOWA 

DAY 19: DENVER, CO

About this time in tour everyone is fighting sickness and exhaustion. And everyone is ready for personal space. So much of having a good tour is keeping positive so I'm trying to keep that going. Denver was a good day. We didn't have to drive so we got to sleep in and see some of the city. We went down to 16th street and walked around and grabbed lunch. For a Tuesday night we had a really good crowd. Denver people seem to really enjoy music and that makes me happy.  I enjoyed making new friends and hanging out. We have some really great hosts here as well, Ryan and Courtney Wiley opened up their home and treated us so well. 

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Inside a musicians suitcase 

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These adorable mini Australian Shepard's are named Finn and cash. I want 5 now. 

DAY 17: BOISE, ID

We got to play Treefort Fest and we had a blast. We drove all day from Seattle and got to Boise and hour before we played. So it went by super fast. We loved playing and had great night after. We stopped in bitter creek ale house before we got some zzz's. 

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Drive by motorcycle. You name the band. 

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Thanks Treefort!

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The last bison family really are some the best. Found this on our windshield coming out the hotel parking lot this morning. 

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Thanks for the legit gift bag yall!

DAY 16: SEATTLE, WA

I gotta say, hands down my favorite show of this tour so far. The people of Seattle brought it hard. There's not much to say about the day. Oh, I did have pizza for breakfast. Don't judge me. With only a 3 hour drive, we got to sleep in a little and take our time. Once we got to Seattle, we walked around Ballard for a little while during doors. Really enjoyed that neighborhood. But mostly I'm just thinking about that show. Thanks Seattle for making tonight so special. We have an 8 hour drive to Boise so I better go. 

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Love me some Pacific Northwest 

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Tractor tavern was a cool spot. Cowboy boots hanging from the ceiling 

 

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Side stage love 

DAY 15: PORTLAND, OR

It's so nice to wake up in the city we are playing in. We didn't have to drive all day so we did some relaxing and laundry and ran some errands. We had to stop by progressive to figure out our van issues from the accident as well. We got to stay with some old best friends, Gentry and Liz Morris. Gentry was the first person I met when I moved to Nashville. After soundcheck we got to stop over at the roseland theather and hang out side stage for a few songs of the punch brothers set. It was super cool to hear them! The end of the day was a bit rough. The show was hard for me, guess you can't always have good nights. I'd rather tell you the truth instead of making it sound like we always play good shows. That's a lie, sometimes you just don't know how to navigate some kind of nights. I love the city of portland, I hope we can come back and have a fun night soon. Check out some photos from the day. 

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Hanging with Flo at Progressive 

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I like these kinda billboards

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Over the bridge we go

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Punch brothers, side stage 

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I don't think this will be hard to accomplish 

DAY 14: Drive to Portland, OR

We needed a day to sleep in, so we took our time and slept til check out at our hotel. I didn't realize but we had a 10 hour drive to Portland. We are staying with a close friend right over the bridge in Vancouver. Nothing to crazy happened minus driving through the beautiful northwest. Passing through mount Shasta was gorgeous. We did stop for a Pliny the elder at Russian River brewing co. And got some tasty Pho for dinner in Ashland, OR. But didn't make it to Vancouver til 3am. Tyler is a champion at those late night drives. Didn't take many photos but here's a few. 

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Sorry don't count on me driving guys

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I could get used this sorta thing 

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Pho-ing delicious! 

 

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Late night fuel

DAY 13: SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Welp this was a crazy day. We had a normal start to the day. Got on the road from LA toward San Fran. Nothing unusual. We were 20 min away from the venue on the bridge and a car in front slammed on his brakes. And we couldn't stop in time. Tyler was driving and hit the guy. We were the last 4 cars to pile up. A cab driver was the leader. It ended up damaging our van the most. Not a ton but just took the longest to figure out. The front bumper was rubbing against our left tire. A cop made us drive off the bridge to a less trafficked area with the bumper rubbing against the tire. So it ruined the tire after driving 10 mph for more than a mile. We exchanged info and a tow guy came and helped pull the bumper away from the tire and put on the spare. We ended up getting to the venue 10 minutes before doors. It ended up working out. 

oh and then we had a show. :) thanks San Fran for taking us in whatever state we are in. 

  

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Someone got a little too close for comfort

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Tread on tire after the cop made us drive on it rubbing against the bumper. 

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Got to a pretty little marina and exchanged info with the other drivers and a tow guy helped us pull the bumper away from the tire and put on our spare. 

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Green room hangs. 

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We didn't ask for it but the lighting guy was in the CHRISTMAS spirit I guess. Red and green lights are the way to go guys. 

DAY 12: LOS ANGELES

Playing in L.A. is always exciting and freighting at the same time. We woke up in San Diego and first thing I did was drove to the beach and ate a breakfast burrito while absorbing up the Pacific Ocean. 

We hit the road not too long after and got in time to see some favorite people of ours over at Secret Road and then had a meeting with our label peeps at Chop Shop. All good things!

The show was one I really enjoyed. The crowd had so much energy and it just really brought the best out in us. We loved it. After the show, we obviously got a late night meal at In and Out before hitting the sack. All in all a good day! The weather is perfect out here. 

Mission beach in San Diego

Safety first 

Played the mint. Really wanted to make herb jokes all night. Restrained myself. SentiMINTal. :/

Singing songs is fun

DAY 11: SAN DIEGO, CA

I think the lack of sleep is starting to catch up to me. The past two mornings I've woken up feeling extra exhausted and achey. Oh well, we just press on.

Nothing too exciting happened today. Lots of driving and we got the van an oil change. We saw some crazy sand dunes on our drive. We got in SD just in time to load in and soundcheck. We were all in a weird mood so we had to get into a good headspace before playing. Which ended up working out for the most part. 

After the show we got some grub at The waterfront. I mean, anything at 2am tastes good. But I was starving cause we didn't have time to eat before the show. So it tasted extra good! 

photos below

 

 

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Ben from the last bison

 

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Like I said... Weird mood. 

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The merch area was in this cool outdoor area. Cool lanterns yo.

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Some more wonderful people let us crash in their homes. Kristen helped us out tonight. took this on the way to her house 

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San Diego good morning vibes

DAY 10: PHX, AZ

What a fun day! We woke up in flagstaff, AZ and headed toward Sedona after being woken up by a fire alarm at 7:30am in our hotel. Rumor was some kid burnt a piece of toast. Bleh. Anyway we had a great day in Sedona. The drive from flagstaff to Sedona is probably one of my favorites in the country. The views are just amazing! We grabbed lunch and did some walking and some unplanned sunburning. :/ 

We then headed toward Phx and got there with plenty of time to spare. After soundcheck we played a pick up game of alley soccer with the last bison folks. Which I gotta say, were very welcoming and kind people. It's gonna be a fun 3 weeks! The show was a fun one. Really cool crowd and venue. Andy the sound guy was awesome! See some photos below. 

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Beautiful Sedona

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Sun flares doin all the work

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We get lots of spellings and ways to pronounce or band name. This is a new fun one: the matrix edition: NEOLURE. 

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Pick up soccer keepin us sweaty

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Greenroom art is nailin it

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Super fun set tonight. Thanks to you all! 

DAY 9: drive day toward PHX

Today we didn't have a show. Just had to get a good 9 hours down the road. We woke up in Canyon, TX and got on the road pretty quickly. Well, obviously after some coffee. You may not know this about us but we are big fans of the television show breaking bad. I actually just rewatched it all for a second time last month. Anyway I noticed that the GPS was taking us the northern route through New Mexico. AND THEN IT CLICKED. We were passing through Albuquerque! So I had Tyler do a little googling and before you know it we were in route to see Walter White's house. As we pulled up there were at least 3 other families checking out the house. And the owner of the house was actually working in the garage so we got to talk to her briefly. After that it was a lot more driving through the most gorgeous landscapes. New Mexico and Arizona are some of the most beautiful drives. We decided on landing in flagstaff for the night. and we throught Mexican was a must. So we got some fajitas and a nice big margarita and then called it a day. Unfortunately, the hotel only had king sized bed left. So we went three deep, I being in the middle. My wife on my right and Tyler on the left. Needless to say, we are really bonding out here! 

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Walter Whites house. No we didn't throw a pizza on the roof. Yes that's the actual owner. 

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A-1 car wash from breaking bad.

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This rest area is really searching for a compliment.

 

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What's that creed song about arms wide open? 

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Hurry hurry! There's a cool tee pee. Take a pic!

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Pulling into AZ