Smile Politely

On the road with Bookmobile!

Editor’s Note: In Tour Diaries, local bands write to report back from wherever their tours take them, for better or for worse. In this edition, Bookmobile! recaps their short Midwest tour.

While some edits are made on this type of piece, we like to leave them alone as much as possible. It’s kinda better that way, anyhow.

Written by Luke Bergkoetter, the band’s drummer.

Thursday, January 7th

Leaving Champaign

Various errands and the longest wait for an oil change I’d ever experienced. Later, I pick up Trevey D at the Rail and question him about his single barely packed bookbag, “no problem” he says — Get Jared/ Leave Town/ Kalamazoo bound! Hey, it looks like our six shows in seven days tour is now three shows in five days. Look, if you are a promoter in a band, or otherwise, but especially in a band, and you confirm a date and a show months in advance, Fucking Follow Through! Holy fuck…look, Promoting well is hard work, I’ve done it, my friends have done it, just fucking do the work. You agreed to do the work. Good Lord! We had two promoters just straight up lie to us. “No show after all” kind of shit. You know what’s “punk as fuck” in the D.I.T. community? Doing what you say you are going to do. Pretty basic tenant.

Free Clinic- Kalamazoo house show.

Trevor’s birthday! Happy birthday you old chunk of coal! Rowdy spot. This place reminds me of the Green Street House or Fireflies House in Urbana circa mid 2000’s. Turn of the century Midwestern home, all wood with columns. A non-functioning fireplace with collectibles (that no one really wants) on the mantle. Fireflies House had a plastic skull we kept beer money inside. The Free Clinic featured about 50 copies of E.T. on VHS collected by the promoter Gabe. So if you stumble across a copy I have an address you can send it to. Rowdy set and I think we played well and got the crowd movin’. Gabe requested our cover of Morrissey’s “Suedehead”. We didn’t fuck it up even though we hadn’t rehearsed it. I love that song.

Post Show House Party! I got super silly on some legal(?) medical weed — that’s of course when things get fuzzy — a few dozen partiers — ourselves in the middle of it — met some people-Rachyl with a cat named Maddy. Rachyl was trying to talk to me about tattoos and I insisted on talking about the French director Chris Marker and his influence on why I have a M. Chat (as in Monsieur Chat). I chat about tattoos and why my wife has the same tattoo in the same place and why it’s important. I rambled about La Jetee and its relationship to 12 Monkeys and other seemingly unrelated information. I could hear myself talking and oh boy… I ended up apologizing mid conversation cuz I couldn’t make sense of what I was trying to say, speaking in slow motion or taking entirely too long to start the next sentence. The Bad Boys of Bookmobile! made our way to the living room, more weed and Russian vodka being passed around. The conversation turns boring, something about work and bands people like, so unbeknownst to Trevor at first, I hid behind an entranceway wall and started playing Peek-a-Boo. Trevor caught on and started Peek-a-Boo-ing back. We were giggling our asses off the whole time. Two grown men in our 30’s playing Peek-a-Boo, giggling, in the middle of a raging party surrounded by people we don’t know. By far the highlight of my day. The sun is coming up strong, we crash out in a derelict room upstairs, empty bottles, old drug baggies… all three of us snore but, Trevey D snores like a madman.

Friday, January 8th

Breakfast in Kalamazoo heading to Indianapolis. We eat breakfast at the Crow’s Nest. I would go to this place often if I lived here. Cool, small room on the second floor – good menu, good coffee, excellent omelet (sun dried tomatoes, pesto, potatoes, red pepper flakes) I decide that I’m not gonna worry about the money I spend on this tour. I’m not gonna go nuts or anything, but I’m not gonna eat cliff bars and apples and drink gas station coffee the whole time like last tour either.

Melody Inn – Indianapolis club.

I recognize some familiar old band stickers on the club walls and pool table. Vice Dolls (holy shit! fun fact — Trevey D was briefly in that band sometime around 96’-97’) and Coed Pageant. Vice Dolls (from Danville) members later became Champaign’s very own Roberta Sparrow. I’m already a fan of this place. A classic CBGB style venue and bar. 

First band cancelled last minute so we’re on first. Not really a problem, the show is starting an hour and a half late anyhow. Whoever’s gonna be there is already there, kinda situation. Weird internet troll guy who made up a story about a friend who was travelling just to see a different Bookmobile and who was upset it was us. Posted the story to the event page. I assume he’s talking about the Bookmobile from Indiana and not the one from Chicago. He later told us that the story was fake, but not until after heckling us about it during our set. I later explained that I came about the name Bookmobile! honestly and I don’t give a fuck if two other bands have the same name. That three other bands I’ve been in have shared band names, one of which is signed to a significant label. What are we? Capitalists? Do we need to own everything? Indie bands come and go and any fan can figure out which band is which in like two minutes. Then he made a joke about us not being able to use Google and I wanted to wring his indie handsome neck. Later, I noticed his obviously bored girlfriend making eyes at me and that made me feel better. 

After I had announced that we needed a place to crash to the audience, some women started yelling at Jared about something. I couldn’t hear but judging by his body language I chose to ignore the whole thing. I maintained this policy after the set when I saw them talking again — Jared visibly uncomfortable. The show went well, good crowd otherwise, and we played through the set super fast and I felt like I was gonna barf. Turns out the woman yelling was offering to put us up in a hotel implying that her and her boyfriend would like to party with us. The dude said something about getting high and taking our clothes off. We were fully skeezed out by this line of joshing around and what that says about our potential evening plans. We discussed accepting the room but insisting that we were partied out (which we were). We also discussed how no matter how weird our tours might get, we aren’t gonna get into any orgy shit (buncha squares I know). Accepting the room in any way didn’t feel great, I started fantasizing about chaining the door shut and blocking it with furniture.

Luckily this lovely couple Phil and Megan, who just announced their engagement (Cheers!!!), offered to put us up on couches and a spare bed. I smoked a hitter by the van and made friends with Phil’s two cats, Selena Kyle and Harley Quinn — two female Batman villain cats. Harley and I became instant friends, Selena was a little shy. I took a shower and read for a bit. All Over And Over by Tim Kinsella. Trust me, I do not fail to realize how ridiculous it is to read a tour memoir while on tour. OK, sleep (finally).

Selena (left) and Harley (right).

Note: check out Maravich. A totally rad Indianapolis band that played after us.

Saturday, January 9th

A day off. The boner that was supposed to book a show in Evansville, Indiana failed to do so, so now we have a day off on a Saturday. Fuck it! We’re gonna go goof. There is an Exotic Cat Rescue about an hour away. So after a breakfast of green tea, scrambled eggs, english muffins, apples, prepared by our very generous hosts, we take off to check out some big cats! Quick note: because of eating at new restaurants, drinking a ton of beer, and travel anxiety, I feel like I’m on a tour of toilets: Le Tour de Toilettes.

The exotic cat rescue was great! It rained the whole time but tigers don’t give a shit! This is a wonderful final home for abused and neglected exotic cats. A tiger with cataracts just about broke Jared’s heart. I’m right there with him. Check out Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, Indiana or consider making a donation. Big Cats!

We head to Cincinnati and look up a place to eat with solid vegetarian options. Melt Eclectic. Right away, we notice a Guy Fieri stencil on the wall that says “Guy was here.” Guy’s face done in the style of Obama’s Hope posters. Brilliant! He apparently raved about the vegan chili on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. And So Do I! Guy and Luke Best Friends?! Sharin’ some vegan chili exchanging hot sauce tips?

Trevey D hasn’t seen The Force Awakens!! Imax 3-d. Get ripped in the parking garage. Weird mall in Newport, Kentucky. Two young doods with tiny amps in the lobby attempting to shred hair metal songs asking for change. One of the doods is wearing some Van Halen red and white tights. There was young woman in the mall cafe covering “Wrecking Ball” on a big Yamaha keyboard. I dug the “Wrecking Ball” lady but judged the two hair metal doods harshly. Take what you want from that.
We Priceline an Extended Stay Hotel in Springdale, Ohio. Pumped that it has a kitchen, we can go grocery shopping. Two Home Run Inn pizzas (one cheese, one meat), a bottle of Tapatio, a veggie tray, a big bottle of Bolthouse juice, and a 30 pack of PBR. Get back to the room after a debacle that’s too boring and frustrating to even write about. TV sorta works, Trevor tried to use the same outlet for his phone and it was apparently too much for the outlet and it shut off. Got it back on to watch SNL. Shit. The kitchen has no oven or utensils. Just a fridge, microwave (science oven), and two electric burners.

How to cook a mostly frozen pizza using a microwave and an electric burner:

  • Microwave pizza for four minutes
  • Fold in half
  • Microwave another four minutes or until melty
  • On medium-low heat char both sides of folded pizza
  • Cut into four triangles with dirty switchblade
  • Drizzle on Tapatio
  • Mangia Bene!

We watched Sky High and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. We were all getting into it and laughing about how much we liked Sky High. I also want to point out how annoying and antiquated it is to watch regular cable with full commercial breaks. Super fucking annoying. I finally fell asleep around five.

Sunday, January 10th

Cincinnati. Woke up in a rush/ 11am checkout/ Smoked a roach in the parking lot/ in the snow. Got brunch at Hang Over Easy. It was a hopin’ place and for good reason. Good food and I counted 40+ beers on tap. We had a drink at a divebar a block away waiting for a table and talked about the Cure with the bartender. Trying to decide on whether to buy tickets for the Chicago show or not. I love the Cure but big stadium shows bum me out. Hang Over Easy is Americana food done well. A huge difference about touring now vs. ten years ago — the food. Food culture/ vegetarian food culture has improved dramatically. Also the ability to find these spots by just looking at our phones. Solid start. Our waitress looks like Jennifer Tilly. Being married means no sex on tour. Starting to get itchy palms. Considered chit-chatting with her, invite her to the show. Cuz, you know, that’s exactly what a busy waitress who is cornered by three gnarly punk doods wants to talk about, our band. Honestly though, if I was a single dood, I probably would of done it. Instead I eat and watch Role Models with closed captioning on the TV behind the bar and stifle my chuckles.

After Breakfast we get coffee at Sidewinder Cafe. Finished the Kinsella book (a fantastic read), started writing this tour blog. Reading about another man’s tour, writing about touring, while on tour. You would think I was obsessed or something. Look, It’s a new year. I wanna play a ton of shows. Bookmobile! has a record coming out this year. Take Care has a record coming out this year also. Marathon just released one. Withershins is still proud of and supporting our album from two years ago. It’s time to tour! This is a pep talk. More coffee, less booze, more weed, more shows.

North Side Yacht Club — venue, bar and restaurant.

Bitchin’ club. Free PBR, and our buddy Mark bought us a pizza! Thanks Mark, always good to see you! I shushed the crowd incessantly during a break in our set (No Breaks!). I told everyone to be quiet and that we’ll be starting the next song soon. After a long while of silence Trevor yelled “Why?” and I said I was on some John Cage shit and he wouldn’t understand. Trevor responded with saying he knows who Johnny Cage was and then an audience member yelled a falsetto “Toasty!”. I was really proud of everyone involved and myself. The other bands were rad. Check out Dinge, Mr. Phylzzz, Wet Heave. After the show we went to a bar, Comet. An improv jazz/spoken word band were providing the score to people playing old Atari style computer games projected on a big screen obscuring the band. I drink, chat, get socially uncomfortable then comfortable again.

Emily and Graham from Dinge are putting us up (thanks doods). We listen to records, drinking. I kept rolling up 70’s joints. Emily insisted we play a drinking game, something in the vein of waterfall or other playing card based drinking games. The one thing I know about these games is that someone is always gonna barf. About an hour in Graham yaks and goes to bed. We’re having a great time. Bookmobile! making the same inside joke: A joke always to the affect of: “I’ve been in this business for 30+ years and I know who/what’s got it…and You’ve/It’s got it!” Trevor — “I’ve been in the business of Inflatable American Flag Rifles for 30+ years… and this Inflatable American Flag Rifle has got it!” pointing to a Inflatable American Flag Rifle hanging on the wall. Luke- “I’ve been in the music business for 30+ years… and The Bad Boys of Bookmobile! have got it!”. I tell Norm Macdonald jokes. I laugh a lot. Skip to about 7am and we are partied out. Sleep.

Monday January 11th

Homeward bound (this is a purposeful Simon and Garfunkel reference) ((fuck you, I love Simon and Garfunkel)). The boner in St. Louis fucks us on a show and we couldn’t pick up anything last minute. We wake up and eat at Hang Over Easy again. No sign of Jennifer Tilly. This time I watch Jeopardy! and we recap the night before and crack jokes. We hop on I-74 west and beeline it home. No breaks.

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