Scenes from a certain US state.
It’s Miley Cyrus’s alter ego’s last name Hannah, yes, Montana.
We love the open roads, the ridges, the vast plains and mountainous beauty that has caught the attention of my camera, and of my heart as well.
We were thrown for a loop the other day. And boy, do we have stories.
It was 4 pm and half of our van hadn’t had lunch yet. We were up in the mountains and the sun had already set and everything was looking, cool blue.
In search of food, we sat patiently in the van as we drove from one exit to the next with no food in sight. And somehow we managed to drive by all the exits with food. Least three exits! So finally we saw a sign with a fork and a knife next to a bed sign for lodging and I said “We are taking the next right!”
We got off the exit and took a left (seemed like our only choice) and stopped in front of houses and supposed food and lodging area. Except, nothing was lit, and the only thing we could see was a red-florescent Open sign down the street. Thank god it wasn’t flickering but it might as well be. This was a scene from a horror movie. And believe it or not, I was desperate enough to check it out, when our voice of reason, Dave, who had been driving, takes a U-turn and got us back on the highway. He wasn’t having it. We weren’t going to pursue him to stop and have something bad happen to us. Like…getting killed by zombies.
We drove a few more miles and stopped at a place that was a store, a casino, a grocery, and a restaurant all in one. How can it be all of those things? We walked in and low and behold, it was everything it said it was and more.
All sorts of trinkets were sold at the store; including a big collection of samurai swords, rows of daggers, chain balls, knives, you name it, they had them all. It was such an odd sight to me! I turned to one of the guys and asked, “should I be worried?” They laughed and said no. After my initial unease, all the people who worked there made me feel welcomed and comfortable. They were the nicest people, AND I had one of the best, not-so-deep-fried, quality Chicken strips and tater tots for dinner, so, Montana wins!
Oh, all the things we experience on the road. What will we see next?
At this moment that I am writing this (Mark here!), I find myself slightly holding my breath as I watch from the middle of the van, a snow storm whiting out our very, very dark drive through Montana. Everyone has suddenly awakened and sits in caution as the snowy road grabs our attention and slows our progress through the night. Our destination was Billings (MT), but now we question whether we should risk the drive any further. The possibility of stopping in Bozeman and finding a hotel is up for debate. We had awoken in Seattle this morning. In two days we will have a show in Minneapolis. So this morning we began our drive through the long and mysterious North Midwest that we somewhat recall dreading to drive through several tours before. As the discussion continues, I can’t help but think upon the blessings that we have witnessed on the Jukebox the Ghost / Matt Pond / TLATW journey.
It is truly has been a remarkable tour and there is so much to be thankful for. From the new friendships we have made with the band members and team of Jukebox the Ghost and Matt Pond; to the notable venues that we have been able to play at; to the amazing crowds that magically appear each night; and to the simple things like our safety, a van that has literally circled the country and still runs smoothly, and most importantly the support we consistently find from friends and family all across the country. Even some more specific examples that float through my mind are us conveniently finding someone to fix Michael’s amp after it had nearly caught in fire in Charlottesville; us miraculously playing at a venue that is sandwiched between not two but three auto body shops in Phoenix (which allowed us to get some much needed brake work done on the van without missing a show); some fans showering us with gifts of candy in Columbus and San Francisco, and of course the many friends who allowed us to stay in their homes in LA, Orlando, Atlanta, NYC, Seattle, and San Francisco.
So many happenings have taken place on this tour and now a month has passed and again here we are, beginning the last leg of it, finding ourselves in the snow we hadn’t seen since we left New York City over three and a half weeks ago. As we have often said and recorded, we once again find to be true - this is an adventure - and for that I am grateful.
The final consensus was an easy one. The snow is still falling and through the window pane there is nothing to see but the pitch black darkness beyond the 50 feet of road that our headlights might allow us a glimpse of. It’s after midnight, and I now begin to grab my things as Steve guides our van to a nearby hotel in Bozeman.
Touring Is Like Flying
Steve here, giving you an uncensored glimpse into life on the road. We have been traveling for almost a month now and have been wearing the same three outfits for that amount of time. (Don’t worry, we’ve done our laundry)
Life on the road in a word: fantastical!!
Everything spins by in a effortless blur. The cityscapes blend together into one bustling feat of humanity. Life grows in between the long drives through the most incredible landscapes. Mountains, rivers, desert, rolling hills (some of the most beautiful natural things I’ve seen in my life).
For me, it is important to stay grounded by spending time with folks outside of the touring party. Making sure I know what’s going on in the outside world :) I treasure my quality time with friends and family around the country.
All in all, #tourlife is a splendid combination of day-to-day struggles and the feeling of taking a sharp turn on a motorcycle. Seeing the asphalt whiz under you in a black and gray blur and understanding how it must feel like to be a bird hovering just above solid ground…
Spending Time on the Road
Hello, Pacific Northwest!
Today, is a travel day from Portland to Seattle.
Tommy from Jukebox the Ghost takes doodle requests from fans on twitter to keep himself entertained on long drives. Have you ever wondered what we do on long drives? I look around in our van this morning and I see Steve reading, Mike watching a movie on his Ipad, and Dave, chilling like a boss in the bench in front of me. And yes, Mark is driving.
Other times, all of us are on our phones, texting and talking to our loved ones, tweeting or surfing the web when 4G is available. I’ve watched too many episodes of Cake Boss on netflix (Thank you smart phones!) and I have to say, I’m inspired to go home after this tour and make myself a 7-foot Tiramisu Violin Cake. Who wants in?
Lastly, if you are in the van, I should warn you… We might bust out a little Drake, “Started from the bottom, now we’re here”
Ok…. signing out. Much love to you all,
Meet Lisa! (Violin master)
Hey TLATW FANS! We wanted to introduce you to Lisa who has been touring with us a bit and will be on the road with us again in February! She is the coolest, and loves taking pictures!
Tour dates and tickets here: www.thelighthouseandthewhaler.com/tour
Lisa here! I toured with The Lighthouse and the Whaler in October, playing violin and keyboard! I never dreamed of playing with a band and drive through so many major states, but I did!— in our van, we called, Serena. I saw mountains and plains, sunrises and sunsets. I learned Estonian, made a lot of new friends, and reconnected with old ones… I’m a lucky girl!
I wanted to introduce myself because I will be touring again in February/March!
Cleveland is home away from home! I’ve done both my undergrad and grad work at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying Violin Performance. I graduated this past May, turned 24, literally, when I was approached by The Lighthouse and the Whaler. When I first heard their music, I was completely blown away, and like so many of you, fell in love with it! They are AMAZING musicians and their live shows are the best!!!
I hope I’m a good addition to The Lighthouse and the Whaler and make you all proud!
Big thanks for taking the time to read this and see you all on the road!