In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, Clayton Chaney of the indie folk band, The Show Ponies, talks about one of their crazy moments from touring. You can check out the feature, after the break.
It was early February of 2015. We were visiting Kansas City for Folk Alliance International and needed a free place to stay for five nights while we attended the conference. We do everything possible not to spend money on hotels while we are traveling, which means we sometimes come upon interesting sleeping arrangments. The only people we knew in Kansas City were the in-laws of our fiddle player Phil’s college roommate. They didn’t have room for all five of us, but they had some friends about 30 minutes outside the city who had offered their place to us.
We landed in Kansas City at around midnight. It was 16 degrees outside, ice was all over the roads, and we finally got to our host home around 2AM. We had an email about how to get into the house and park and so on. We pulled up to the house and it was completely dark. No cars in the driveway. No porch light on. Nothing.
We entered a code into the garage access panel to get in. The garage door opened so we assumed we were in the right place. We followed our instructions to go down to the basement where there were supposed to be places set up for all of us to sleep. There were 2 beds and a couch. Luckily we brought a couple of air mattresses with us. Our drummer Kevin and Phil went back upstairs to find a few more blankets and pillows.
While Kevin was fumbling around with a flashlight and going through every cabinet in the living room looking for blankets, he heard a loud voice behind him forcefully inquiring, “WHO THE F**K ARE YOU?!” At the same moment Kevin whipped around, he realized he decided to wear a black hoodie that day (classic burglar garb). The large bald man behind him was wearing only long underwear. The form-fitting attire made it clear who had been using the weight set in the basement. The man’s arm was cocked back, ready to strike Kevin’s perfectly symmetrical face.
“Uhh, um, uh… we’re The Show Ponies,” Kevin replied.
Now Phil popped out from behind one of the couches. For all the homeowner knew “Show Ponies” was code for “attack.”
“Hi, I’m Phil!”
With a nervous smile on his face, Phil extended his hand to shake. The man’s cocked arm slowly lowered and puzzlement spread across his face.
With a tremble in his voice, Phil studdered, “Kathy said we could stay here. I think she’s friends with your wife?”
The man replied, “I think I’m dreaming. Is this a dream? Whatever.”
The man turned around and went back to his bedroom. We slept in his basement for 4 days until we finally met him in the daylight. Turned out that his wife had given our distant connection the “OK” for us to stay with them, but she had to leave town for a family emergency before she relayed the details to her husband. She got back home two days into our stay. They both ended up being nice people. The husband was a federal judge and we were lucky that he used good judgment and didn’t send any of us to the hospital. On the last night of our stay, they fed us grilled cheese and we watched the Academy Awards together. Lesson learned: don’t dress like a burglar when entering the house of someone you’ve never met at 2AM.
(Photo credit: Daley Hake)