Here We Go Magic made headlines recently when they picked up a very special hitchhiker: legendary filmmaker John Waters. But long before the band was picking up titans of cinema on the side of the road, bandleader Luke Temple had some pretty fantastic travel adventures. From a cross-country bus ride gone seriously awry to a winter spent camping in the California woods to a horribly boring Hawaiian family trip, Temple shares with Hive some serious stories about his highway hijinks — just don’t be surprised if they end up in the next John Waters flick.
1. The Cross-Country Bus Trip
Once I took a Greyhound bus from Boston to Seattle — the $69, cross-country summer deal for poor students and in-betweeners. When I got on in Boston, there was a woman sitting across from me staring out the window. She appeared to be in her early forties, but was probably considerably younger. She struck me as a biker chick running away from her kids, as dark as that may seem.
Somewhere around Ohio, a guy gets on the bus — he looked like some ex-communicated blue blood. He was traveling with golf clubs [and wore] a mustard-stained polo shirt, khakis and a very red face. We drove for a day, and at one rest stop I noticed him and the woman sharing a Big Gulp. When we get back on the bus, he sat next to her — and across from me. They start to make out and he was going down her pants. It got crazy.
By the next day, they were making a complete scene: he was wasted and talking to everybody. We’re somewhere in the plains, in the beginning of Wyoming, and he was causing a problem so that the bus driver kept turning around and telling him to be quiet. The guy was sitting in the middle of the bus and there was a black kid sitting in front of him and the guy says, ‘How does it feel to finally be able to sit in the front of the bus, buddy?’ All of a sudden the bus pulls over — at what looked like a defunct gas station — and the driver gets up, points at both of them and tell them to get off the bus. Then the woman starts to cry and the guy was yelling at the bus driver, who was a big dude. The driver grabs their luggage and the guy’s golf clubs and throws them off onto the side of the road and the guy is outside hitting the bus with his clubs. And then we drive off and I watch them get smaller and smaller in the distance. They were like a really fucked up Bonnie and Clyde and I always wonder what happened to them.
2. Living in the Woods
I ended up going out to Seattle and staying, but I didn’t have the proper training to survive on my own in the world; I couldn’t hold a job and I was stealing sandwiches from grocery stores and mooching off friends. I ended up meeting these hippie dudes who were taking a road trip down the coast one summer, so I hopped a ride with them and traveled around, eating in soup kitchens, and we ended up in Mendocino, Calif.
When we were there, we got into a big fight and they just bailed and went off. One guy hitchhiked back to Seattle and the other took the van and drove back. I was alone in this town. But I ended up meeting this guy Andy and putting my sleeping bag next to his van in the woods. Soon enough, I got a job at a candy store, but I lived in those words for five months, for the whole winter into the spring. I would go into the candy shop and take a birdbath in the sink every day. It was probably the best time of my life. I ended up getting an apartment, and that’s when shit got really bad. During the time I was actually homeless, life was really amazing.
3. Hawaiian for Magic
My dad grew up in Hawaii and my grandparents lived there, so we used to go visit every year. I thought it was the most amazing place in the world; both my grandparents were professional storytellers and my grandfather looked like Gandalf. He would tell us folk stories.
One time I was there, and I was probably eight or nine, and we went to a Chinese food restaurant and I got a fortune cookie and opened it and my fortune said, “This night will be the greatest night of your entire life.” I was a kid and just like, “Wow, what’s gonna happen?”
So I just sat there while the grown-ups were talking, thinking, well, this isn’t that fun. Then we got in the car and drove back. The drive was fine, but not great. Then we got back to the house and it was almost bedtime and I was sitting on the carpet watching TV — the show wasn’t all that good — and I have to say, that was the beginning of a more pragmatic view of the world. I realized that maybe magic doesn’t exist.
Here We Go Magic’s new album A Different Ship is out now on Secretly Canadian. Watch the video for “How Do I Know” here: