Smile Politely

One monster tour with Bookmobile!: Week one

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 monster of a tour out west.

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.

Saturday, July 8th

Day 1: Champaign, IL at Bentley’s Fringe Fest

Album Release Show Fuck Yes!!! It’s finally coming out, our album, Rocket To The Moon. Our full length album 21 tracks 28 minutes of furious pop. (now available on Vinyl and Compact Disc, in stores everywhere, by everywhere I mean Exile On Main in Champaign and various indie record stores that we happen to be near, so not at Tower Records or Sam Goody (I don’t think these things exist anymore right?) Anyone remember Wave’s Music or Music Oasis? If you look closely in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, Max Cherry buys a tape at Wave’s Music. You never see the store sign but I recognize the displays because I used to work at one.

Picture yourself in the year of our lord 2001, a young dyed black haired labret pierced pimple faced punk getting lightly scolded for dropping f-bombs behind the counter by his pretty cool older metal head manager. This is pre- 9/11, in the heart of Nu-Metal, in the heart of the depressed economic rust belt mid sized town mall culture right on the edge of central Illinois. You picture it?! We get the word that the store is closing and not only that, but the whole chain was closing. Napster and internet geeks had won!  Those poor chain stores just couldn’t maintain their $17.99 per cd ways. No joke, $15.99-$17.99 were normal new CD prices at this bullshit outlet! Anyhow, every employee and manager just took this opportunity to rob the joint blind.

I would have my buddies come thru and pick out whatever they wanted, I would set them aside, and at the end of the night, de-magnetize them. I would then tell my friends to meet me out by my ’86 Ford Grand Marquis, that was three different colors, and sell those CD’s to them for five bucks a piece. I got together six months worth of rent for my shitty first apartment in the last two months of working that job. I went on unemployment and payed my part of the first and only cd of my high school band Violet Skies, featuring one Mark Wyman of modern day Take Care and We The Animals, and was recorded at Great Western Western Recordings (now Earth Analog) with Matt Talbot. What’s all of this have to do with the Bookmobile! album release show? Not much, but it certainly establishes an origin story to this obsession with album making and current band economics.

The album release show!!! We play at 7:15 p.m. at Bentley’s Fringe Fest. We played a very special Bookmobile! and friends set which means we invited our friends to recreate the album as it was recorded. All of our production and overdubs meant we needed nine people on stage! For those doing the math at home, that’s six more people than normal. Christina De Angelo and Joanna Troutman Bergkoetter on back up vocals, Nick Foreman on organ, Mikael Brackett on bass (while Jared switched to guitar), Garrick Nelson on saxophone, and Johnny Lusardi on violin. They all tore shit up and I will forever be grateful to them. If you missed the show, you fucked up and should go jump off a bridge….  or just wait a month and watch the full video directed by Jake Metz with Veronica Mullen and JP Goguen. Thanks to that crew and thanks to Soundguy Bob for dealing with fifteen plus inputs. Ultimately, I thought the set went great, but I, of course, wasn’t that happy with my own performance. At what point does a musician stop feeling like an imposter? Don’t worry, I got plenty of confidence that what we’re doing as a band is rad, but being self critical is the curse/motivating factor for most musicians, myself included (just as long as you don’t let in any of that crippling self doubt). That’s why we start bands, if you’re gonna fuck up, fuck up with your friends.

Thanks To Ashely Buerkett and Garrick Nelson and the Bentley’s staff for putting on a rad festival. No thanks to the bullshit tacos Wedge was trying to pass off to fest goers.

Sunday, July 9th

Day 2: St. Louis, MO at The Sinkhole with Dino Fight! and Sister Wizard.

Rad Venue! Cool promoter! Bitchin’ Bands!

We arrive in a not super safe part of St. Louis. We park about three car lengths from the entrance. We start to unload the van and a jeep pulls up behind us. I don’t think anything of it, grab some shit, and head inside. I come back out and see Trevor holding shopping bags of stuff. I go to ask Trevor what’s in the bags when the jeep peals a U-ie and takes off. I see now that the bags are filled with miscellaneous snacks. Funyuns, Good and Plentys, BBQ chips, etc. Apparently, the person handed Trevor a note, and saying nothing, hopped back in the jeep and left. What did the note say you may be wondering,

“BOOKMOBILE!, Suck a bag of dicks!”

Thanks Surly Snack Santa, whoever you are.

Thanks Matt Stutler and Emily for runnin’ the bar and the show. Thanks to my rad Uncle Tony for coming thru and for my buddy Spencer for coming out and putting us up for the night. We really enjoyed partying in yer basement like angry teens while you and Alicia slept like the responsible adults you both are. We roasted a bowl (outside), drank Stag and ate 7 Eleven burritos. Not sure the burritos where hot enough,

Jared: “I’ll eat a cold burrito”

Trevor: “I’ll eat a burrito out of yer mom’s ass”

Personally, I’m happy to wait a bit.


Also, look out for The Bad Cats Of Bookmobile! First cat up, a real sweet girl named Sofia.

Monday, July 10th

Day 3: Kansas City, MO at Mill’s Record Store

Fun in store show with our pals Schwervon!

Honestly this was a very chill day, all in all. Hot clear skies, easy traffic, fun podcasts. We are listening to episodes of The Blacklist Table Reads aka Ear Movies. The episodes are well produced table reads of movie scripts that never got made or will never get made. One of the funniest scripts ever and the best episode of the podcast so far is Blood From A Stone starring the voice of Paul Sheer. It’s a fucking righteous send up to 80’s rogue cop action movies like Cobra, Commando, Lethal Weapon. Think Steven Seagal from Above The Law, mixed with Mel Gibson’s hair and suicidal violence in Lethal Weapon, and Sly Stallone’s tactics in Demolition Man. Fuck Yeah! Listening gets yer dick pumped!

Anyway, the show is an early show, fine attendance, a sweet record store dog named Loretta, and we got to see Schwervon! After the show we load out and we were about to pull away when I realized I left my side bag in the store. Of course, the store is locked up and I can’t get a hold of the owner, oof. So now I’m kicking myself for being a total idiot. That bag has my wallet, laptop, band money, and my fucking weed. Double oof. OOOOF. It doesn’t really matter. After I stopped panicking we all agree it will be safe and that I’ll call first thing in the morning. So, we get some beers and drink on the back patio at the Schwervon! house. I love playing shows but I really love the hangs after the show. The conversation was wonderful and it got serious at one point with an easiness usually associated with old friends. Thank you Matt and Nan!

Also, Also, look out for The Bad Dogs Of Bookmobile! Two dogs; record store employee Loretta and shy little Schwervon! pup Strawberry.

New tour title: It’s A Hot One: The Bookmobile! Story

Tuesday, July 11th

Day 4: Lawrence, KS at Replay Lounge w/ Nick Henricks and Something and the Whatevers

So someone had a really very super cool idea to tour during the hottest months of the year. That someone was not too concerned with 94 degree weather for band work. The AC works pretty good in the van (only settings 2 & 4 out of 5 turn on) and yeah load in, load out will be hard but the venues will be fine. That same person may have not realized that the sun will suck the life-force out of yer body thru yer eyes and butthole. Yeah, that person is a real…

To be honest we didn’t really do anything yesterday. We went to a closed museum in KC that took forever to get to, went to a bro-y guitar store named Big Dudes for strings, drove to Lawrence (about an hour), sat at the bar and read for a couple hours, then ate some free Chipotle burritos. The latter being, most definitely, the highlight of our day. I also totally recommend Everybody Lies- Big Data, New Data, and What The Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. This book is fully blowing my mind. Essentially the thesis is that everybody lies to pollsters, spouses, psychologists, sociologists, but not to Google. Those search histories tell us the truth about human sexuality, how racist we actually are, that pro basketball players are middle class and up with two parent households, and freudian slips are bullshit, but wanting to fuck your mother is not (that is, for a certain population of men). Anyhow, it’s super entertaining and the future of data research.

The show! People started to dance and move that ass during our set and it took all of the days’ stress away. We also played better than the previous couple of shows and I was much less sober. So what does that tell me, try to fucking relax for christ’s sake. Nate’s set was rad. Gameboy LS DJ driven beats and 12 note theory, truly fantastic. Something and the Whatevers killed it with recontextualized videos of Harry Potter, Anime, bizarre puppet can coffee commercials, Eraserhead, mixed with their own films. All to aggressive pop music with cosmos/nihilism/apathy/Harry Potter inspired lyrics. Thanks Quinten for putting us up and sharing your drugs with us. Oh, and for helping replace our show in Oklahoma City that got cancelled with a second show in Tulsa! Bookmobile! two nights only in Tulsa. Tickets going fast!

Say hi to The Bad Cats of Bookmobile! Empress and Bastet.


Wednesday, July 12th

Day 5: Tulsa, Oklahoma at Cancelled Oklahoma City Show

So here I am, writing this at the desk of a Trade Winds Inn hotel room after taking a cold shower (the only option) and after missing the continental breakfast by 10 minutes. Last nights burrito and 3.2% Natty Light binge not settling well. A pot of hotel room coffee brewing.

12 hours earlier… 

Trevor: “We’re having double shots of well whiskey at The Elephant Run, the bar attached to the Trade Winds Inn in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I just wanted to point that out.”

Jared: “Oh shit, Con Air is on!”

This is the best thing to happen to us today. Don’t get me wrong, our day wasn’t particularly bad or anything, it’s just that we all really fucking love Con Air. So we decide to rip a bowl on the balcony, eat our buy one get one free Chipotle burrito (note: I don’t think Chipotle is particularly good and i don’t want to give them free advertisement but they do give away free food to touring bands and this a detail I don’t want to skip), drink our near beer, and saddle up for the wild ride that is Con Air. Con Air the crowning achievement of 90’s action excess. We got leading men Cage!,Cusack, Malkovich, Buscemi. You got TNG’s Miles O’Brian, you got Bubba from Forest Gump, you got Ving Rhames, Dave Chappelle and mother fucking “Machete” himself Dany Trejo. We had to look up Nick Chinlund, because of how recognizable he is. At first I thought he was Nick Cassavettes but then realized I was thinking of another fuckin rippin Nic Cage movie FACE/OFF. I love you Nicolas Cage. You are the leading man of my life. Aww shit, I miss Joanna (my wife). Last year I bought her a monthly subscription of my own design called “Get in the Cage! with the Nicolas Cage Collection,” where I buy her a new Nic Cage movie every month. August’s selection is boxed up and sitting on the head board of our bed as I type this. I look forward to watching it (I’m not telling what movie it is) on Aug 5th. Sigh.

Where was I, oh yeah Con fucking Air! I kept yelling and loudly pro-claiming it the greatest movie ever made. I am not retracting my statements. Put the bunny back in the box. I also had a fit of giggles from something I said that I can’t remember now as I write about myself in a diary about my band that I’m trying to have everyone in the nation listen to and love. For you amateur psychologists out there taking notes, whatcha make of that?

16 hours earlier…

Our show was cancelled in Oklahoma City at a house venue. The venue was being harassed by the cops and probably promoted to do so by a local bar owner. This is a story I have seen play out often, and in our own home city. So, I’m not mad or anything, but I would like to point out capitalism creates competition, which is one of the many things about that system of governing a society that ruins art and culture. Quinten got a hold of a promoter friend in Tulsa that said we could play his bar, so here we are. We find out we are the only band playing and their was no show scheduled but we can still play if we want to. Uggg. So we start reaching out to local FB shows groups, trying to round up a band that could bring people in. We get a message back about a 2-band rock punk show at a different bar that we might be able to hop on. Now you find us drinking cheap beers waiting for the bands to show up, shooting the shit with regulars and bartenders, watching poker on tv. I can’t wait to hit up Vegas and Reno games. The bands show and one of them is a touring band from Austin that we weren’t told about. They tell us its a four band bill. Fuuuckk. We decide that’s too many already and don’t even bother to ask to get on. That band of polite boys on tour was Leche. I haven’t listened to them yet, but I would like to point out we had a very pleasant conversation.

20 hrs earlier…

We are at Merc Cooperative grocery store. I just finished a kale salad, grilled hoisin brushed tofu, and a strawberry parfait. Feeling pretty good I step out to call Joanna and tell her the good news about the replacement show and how fun the Lawrence show was. We talk about how her Dad didn’t show up and how it doesn’t really bother me because my own parents don’t really go to my shows either. My dad’s seen a few over the last twenty years and is supportive, don’t get me wrong, but late night club shows on weekdays just aren’t really doable. Here we are, well fed, caffeinated, it’s 98 degrees (I see you Nick Lachey) and clear blue skies, ready to tear up the road. Let’s see where this day takes us.

Thursday, July 13th

Day 6: Tulsa at Soundpony Lounge with Plastic Psalms and Class Zero

It was 100 degrees in Tulsa, literally, and we had a whole day to kill on a tiny budget. We grab a salad bar meal, vegan protein smoothie for me, at Whole Foods. We read and bum around trying to decide what to do with our time. We look up Museums but they are all eight or nine bucks a person and I know it doesn’t seem like much, but if it isn’t food or something really special than I’m likely to not want to do it. Also, they all looked pretty academic and no contemporary art stuff, which would of been more my speed.  I look up other indoor AC heavy activities. In checking out movie times I come across a place called Super Savers Cinema. Oooooooooo!

Trevor: “If it’s less than four dollars a ticket, we’re going.”

Luke: “Oh shit, It’s one-fifty before six and two after! DOOOOOOOD!, We’re goin’!”

Now we are pumped! We decide to see a double feature. First up Alien: Covenant and then Skull Island. Museums? pshhhh, let’s look at some monsters tear shit up. We all thought both of these movies were super fun and I’m gonna spare you any detailed reviews because, you know jesus, the last thing we need are more movie reviews. I know I just gushed about Con Air but these two movies are NOT Con Fucking Air. But I will review the Big Buck Hunter game I played. Not super good of a job. Maybe vegetarians shouldn’t fake hunt deer. End of review.

We get to Soundpony, find out we have free beer for the whole night. Already relaxing into the space, already feeling the rad scene this building is cultivating, already knowing it’s gonna be a pretty sweet show. Guess what? It fuckin’ ripped. People dug it, we made some new friends, hug out with an old one, I see you Nic Flores! Special thanks to Jill for putting us up for the night! Yer Rad!

Friday, July 14th

Day 7: Houston at Super Happy Funland with 5’5 and a band that didn’t show up.

After a very pleasant 8hr drive (Big blue skies and I saw a Longhorn bull) from Tulsa, we enter the hellish urban sprawl of Houston, Texas. We arrive at the venue, Super Happy Funland. Come to find out, this place is neither Happy nor Fun, but Super shitty. I interviewed Trevor and Jared about the show and our circumstances. Morale at our lowest, I would say, but let’s review the tape:

Luke: “Let’s stand by this piece of shit smelling dumpster and talk about this show”

Trevor: “Sounds really good”

Luke: “How you feeling right now?”

Trevor: “Hot”

Luke: “Can you describe the venue we are playing?”

Trevor: “It [Super Happy Funland] is a roach infested, heat box, that looks like a serial killer was influenced by, the guy in blade runner where Pris was hanging out.. I’m J somethin somethin (we looked it up later the characters name is J.F. Sebastian).

Luke: “Oh yeah, the robot builder guy, he had that disease where he grew old too fast?”

Trevor: “yeah yeah, If that guy wasn’t smart enough to build robotic things and collected garbage and put it a roach infested warehouse with no air conditioning. That’s what this place is like.”

Luke: “and then invited bands to play there.”

Trevor: “and did no promotion whatsoever, didn’t tell anyone bands are playing.”

Luke: “Expecting people to want to come to this place.”

Trevor: “It’s so hot”

Luke: “I’m currently wearing swimming trunks and I don’t plan on changing.”

Trevor: “It’s so hot, we have to sit in front of an industrial fan to feel any remote bit of comfort”

Luke: “Hey Jared, how do feel about this show tonight?”

Jared: “I’m not having a good time. I think we got boned.”

Luke: “ I think it’s interesting to point out that I feel a little responsible for this show. I mean I booked this knowing that it was gonna be a weird one.”

Trevor: “We needed a show and you got us a show.”

Jared: “I’m just really hot and dirty and hungry because I haven’t really eaten today. It happens, we got boned on this show.”

Trevor: “I look forward to the not 3.2 beer that we are going to drink in the hotel room tonight”

Luke: “Let me reiterate, it is too hot to drink beer”

Trevor: “It comes out of the refrigerator feeling like it’s about to explode from heat.”

Luke: “You have to drink it in a two minute window or it is already warm.”

Trevor: “Putting it to your lips and tilting the can back you can’t even tell their is liquid touching you because it is mirroring your body temperature.” [laughs]

Jared: “And this warehouse smells like hot garbage, I have never seen cockroaches as big as the ones I’ve seen today.”

Trevor: “We have discovered one thing that is certainly bigger here in Texas.”

Jared: “They are fucking huge.”

Luke: “Alright thanks fellas.”

Well, there you have it. One more day in the life of The (literal) Hot Boys of Bookmobile!

P.S. We did indeed drink a bunch of cold beer and eat frozen foods and watch a CNN nostalgia nonsense documentary on the subject of 90’s television. All is fine.

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