It’s well known that if you want to have any sort of indie-rock cred, touring is front-and-center in terms of earning your merit badges. But with every successful show, fan love and hot merchandise night, there’s bound to be a host of tour-related mishaps that us civilians could never really identify with, but would certainly love to hear about. We asked Brooklyn indie-rockers Small Black, who on 11/11/11 released their free mixtape Moon Killer (which features Heems of Das Racist on two tracks), for their most memorable tour mishaps. Read what stands out in their minds, plus a bonus memory from Heems.
1. The Homeless Scene
After a show during our European winter tour, our keyboardist Ryan wound up in a bad part of Stockholm. In the morning, he made his way back to the van where we’d all agreed to meet at 9am. No one was there. Turns out there had been a change of plans he didn’t hear about, and so he’s stuck outside in the coldest weather imaginable freezing to death with nowhere to get shelter. He ended up melting together a bunch of candles he found in the trash near the van, making a crazy bonfire to keep warm. Grabbing whatever pieces of leftover cardboard he could find, he fed the fire and stayed alive. Our Czech tour manager gets to the van four hours later and sees what he believes to be a homeless man dangerously close to lighting the van on fire.
2. The Primavera Prostitutes
During Primavera fest in Spain, our hotel was right by where all the prostitutes hang out. They will come right up to you and grab your balls; we saw that happen several times to unsuspecting pedestrians. Walking back to the hotel one night, we thought it’d be a smart idea to walk right by the main batch of hookers. They were way too quick for us, immediately stealing our drummer Jeff’s favorite hat and grabbing all of our balls in a playful manner. The one girl put Jeff’s hat right into her panties and started taunting him, “Come get it.” You wouldn’t call Jeff a germaphobe, but he’s definitely not into STD-covered fabric. Ryan tried to get the hat back, pleading with the girls. No luck. Jeff never found a hat he liked as much.
3. The Lost Shoe Problem
Our singer Josh spent two hours looking for his shoes one morning in Toronto after a show. He had one shoe, but no recollection of where the other might be. It delayed us getting to the next show, we missed sound check. It wasn’t the best excuse, turns out the shoe was on top of the van all night.
4. Hauling Bassists in a U-haul
Our van literally exploded while driving in the west coast. It sounded like a small bomb went off, and the whole bottom guts of the van just poured out into the street. We had a long drive to Portland, and to save some money on car rentals, our bass player Juan (see photo) rode in the back/storage area of a U-haul for 11 hours straight. He was in pitch black with all the gear rumbling around him. He made a bed out of our merch, and lay there all day drinking beers in the dark. He only saw daylight when we’d stop for gas and unhitched the tailgate. We’d call him from the front to make sure he was alive. To his credit, he went straight from the back of that U-haul into the club, setup his bass and played the show as if nothing had happened.
I guess our tour mishaps are mostly physical altercations at our shows with douchey white dudes who wear afro wigs (Birmingham, Alabama), Blackface (Rome, Italy), or say the “n word” (Portland, Oregon). But calling it a “mishap” may make it seem like we regret it. -Heems from Das Racist
Listen to Small Black’s new mixtape Moon Killer below.