This is the first we have heard from So Long Forgotten, a Champaign-Urbana based rockers on a massive two-and-a-half month bad boy of a tour.
_“Trips like ours are greener grass left unknown for fear of believing trite sayings; sayings that are sometimes true. But our friends back home live an existence under the weight and awareness of time; a place we are slowly escaping; a world growing fainter by the hour and the mile.”_ – Donald Miller
July 17, 2008 Topeka, KS
Today is the 4th day of our run to the west coast and back. As I sat in the bus on our way from Kansas City, MO to Topeka, KS this morning, I noticed the book Through Painted Deserts sitting on the floor. It beckoned memories of our origins as a touring band. This was the first book I ever read on the road. It complimented those first weeks as a real touring band like a beautiful soundtrack. Those first few weeks playing shows every night, meeting new people every night, and going new places every day. I picked the book up today and began to skim through it seeing if I could conjure up some passages that really made that time so poignant in my mind.
The passage above explains this perfectly, except for maybe the part about escaping time, or at least escaping it altogether. Our days are still run by a strict time schedule. Strict in that we have a certain time that we need to arrive at venues, and certain amount of time that it takes to get from one to the next. But it still feels as though we aren’t under that same weight our friends are under…the one in which Donald Miller speaks of. On the road the weekdays bleed into the weekend and vice versa. The only thing that that reminds you that a five-day workweek exists is the number of kids that attend shows. There’s always a good five days where the turnout is descent (sic) and then two, or maybe three that the turnout is as desired. But time still isn’t that important. I slept until 12:00 today. One of the guys in Greenwood slept until 1:30, while the rest of us sat around talked about whether or not we should leave early in order to find some more vegetable oil for our bus, and what time were going to have to leave the venue tonight in order to get to the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight”. We left earlier than Greenwood. We checked out some grease-traps on the way. And we were to Topeka by 3 in time to play live on the local news. Things like this keep life on the road pretty interesting. However, I still think the thing I love the most is the traveling. The long rides in which we really get to converse. Todd Reese is riding with us, along with our friends Sam and Adam.
Todd is opening all the shows with his organic folk music. Sam is taking driving duties most of the time, and helping us if our newly installed veggie diesel system breaks down. Adam is using this trip to find himself. I guess in a way we all are. Today we discussed whether or not guns should be legal, or what types should be legal. We talked about existentialism, and as any shuttle bus full of 8 guys would, we talked about sex. It was hilarious. Spending time with 12 different guys everyday for 3 and a half weeks is a learning process. We leave our homes in Champaign and Chicago hoping to go out and inspire people. Usually we are the one’s who come home the most changed. I’m looking forward to the rockies, and the redwoods. Those are places in America where you can still find God. Those are places where you can see things how they were meant to be. And you can forget what it feels like to be a born and raised consumer. I realized today that touring is something that I need to keep me pure. I’m not exactly sure how many national tours we’ve been on. I’m sure I could take the time to count, cause it isn’t that many, but it doesn’t really matter. I think it’s somewhere around 8 though. As I read through Donald Miller’s words this morning I was reminded of what it’s supposed to feel like to tour. Trips that are “greener grass left unknown”. I was reminded that we’ve played our music in 33 states, but there are still 17 to tackle. Not to mention playing internationally. This is Greenwood’s first tour. I hope it can be the same for them as it was for us the first time out. Even still, we have just begun as a touring band. We get to continue meeting new people and seeing new places. We get to continue escaping time, and finding spirituality on the open road. This sounds cocky, but my life is sweet. All of our lives are sweet, better than most, anyway. We are blessed, with or without a full tank of veggie oil. Hopefully I can remember that without having to pick up books full of nostalgia.