In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the neo-soul duo, Sleepy House, chats about a story from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
For a period tunnels caused extreme anguish, and we avoided traveling at night for fear of entering one unawares. That went out the window around San Francisco, along with a Walmart receipt cataloging the frequency and tenor of our month-long tour expenses. Items included but were not limited too, one large beach ball, one egg-shaped styrofoam cooler, two bottles of Dayquil, two bottles of Nyquil, one awful and wrong Moleskine sketchbook, eighteen Modelo’s, a wolf’s mask, and a responsible collection of Maruchan Ramen and Snickers bars.
We were somewhere outside Point Reyes on the edge of the forest when the pangs of hunger settled in. With only gas money to spare until our next gig, we carried on, skipping the fast food chains off Highway One. Hand-rolled cigarettes, beer floating in a pool of water at the bottom of the cooler, and candy bars sustained us. In a word, we were handling the tour the only way we knew how to handle it: exhausted, moneyless, and hungry, but thrilled to be handling it all the same.
It was near freezing when we arrived at Jack’s Saloon. Grey and bulbous clouds hovered overhead, and the first drops of rain began to fall. A car sheened by, their wipers on Sporadic. A man stood outside smoking a cigarette, watching us unload our instruments. From where we stood, we could see only his silhouette, the glow of his nose and mouth as he took a long, slow drag, tattooed-elbow angled.
“Perfect timing,” he said. “Star Wars just started.”
Now, arriving in a town with a gross population of eight-hundred-forty-eight people, drunk and an hour late is a dangerous high-pressure gig for anyone, under any circumstances. Everyone is there to see you, or at least it seems that way. At the same time, nobody cares about you at all. The mood is simply expectant.
When we walked in lugging our gear, the feeling of dismissal was palpable. Everyone’s eyes were fixed on the T.V., and we were told that the movie would continue while we played. We just nodded agreeably as if to say, Well, isn’t that great? It felt as if we were competing with George Lucas for attention.
The first set featured a strange encounter with a red-haired woman wearing a Darth Vader costume wiggling on the dance floor in front of us. She did two turns, bowed, and wandered off in the direction of the bar. By this time, Star Wars was nearing its climax. Luke had joined the X-Wing fighters and was heading out for battle. The Death Star was on the brink of extinction.
A lightsaber battle ensued in front of us during the second set. Tiny, expressionless animals slashed and speared each other with reckless abandon. It was as if a surreal film had begun. A man, wielding his saber like a horseman, trotted around the dance floor. He was, by all appearances, the same man that greeted us when we arrived. At one point, before he could be stopped, he climbed a mountain of Jedis and attempted to stage dive. His execution was flawless. A slow clapping built into syncopated yips and the pounding of feet on Jack’s wood floors. The lightsabers’ continued throughout the night until the lights went out.
That was our first and only lightsaber battle, and we’ve learned a few tricks since then. Like the multitude of ways a Jedi can save you, and the absurd and alive feeling of a small town.
And the importance of buying a twenty-four pack of Modelos at Walmart, not eighteen.
That was the joy of our time at Jack’s Saloon.
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