In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, Jillian Speece, of the alternative folk duo, The Bergamot, talks about one of their crazy moments from touring. You can check out the feature, after the break.
One of my favorite crazy tour stories goes back to Chicago, IL in 2011. Before I start into the story, let’s get one thing straight – living life on the road is one amazing and crazy adventure. Between the tollbooths, venues, late nights, and cheap eats, we can always count on asking the question, “Where are we going to crash tonight?” This question leads us into our crazy tour story.
It was a normal winter day in Chicago. We had a late night set downtown, and around one o’clock in the afternoon, we were scrambling to find a place to crash.
Nathaniel got on the phone and called his second cousin, Will, who lived in the area. Will was excited to hear from Nathaniel, and told him that had a place with his girlfriend Liz, but on this particular night, he was out of town. However, he was kind enough to set us up so we would be able to stay with Liz.
Later that night, we met Liz at their place. She was really nice, and very busy because she was studying to become a doctor. After a bit of time had passed, Liz handed us the keys and said, “Hey guys, remember to lock the door. It can be a bit tricky – you have to make sure you turn the key four times to the right. Oh, and have a great show.”
After she left, we started unpacking. I was thirsty, so I went into the kitchen and grabbed a glass. I walked over to the fridge for the water pitcher and poured myself a glass of water. Nathaniel came around the corner and asked if I could pour him a glass of water as well. I grabbed him a glass, and as I poured his water, I noticed there were dirty dishes in the sink.
Even though we did not make the dishes, I felt like it might be a kind gesture to clean them for Liz. I knew how busy she was studying.
I started washing the dishes, and Nathaniel looked at me and said, “Jillian, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” I replied, “Why not? She is a busy lady, and I am sure she would appreciate it.” Totally disregarding Nathaniel’s caution, I continued washing, drying, and putting away the plates, cups, forks, spoons, and knives.
Now, time was running out and we needed to leave to make it to our gig on time. I locked the door with four turns of the key, and we were off. The show happened to be really rad – a great turn out. We stayed out till two in the morning. When we finally arrived back to the apartment, we were exhausted! Nathaniel went to the kitchen first to grab a glass of water, and noticed a note that read, “You wouldn’t happen to know by any chance where the BUTCHER knife is, would you?”
He brought me the note and said, “Read this.” I did, and said, “I remember cleaning it and putting it away this afternoon.” There was a frantic moment between us, and I lead Nathaniel over to the drawer where I had placed the butcher knife.
There it was shining in all of its glory, sitting right where I had left it in the knife drawer. By this hour, we knew Liz should have been fast asleep, but we were freaking out because of the note.
She must have overlooked the knife in the drawer, and on the note, she put a strong emphasis on the word “butcher” by writing it in all capital letters.
Did she think we took the butcher knife to our show? Or that we were going to have it tucked under our pillow for the night? It was such a strange note!
So there we are wondering, “What is she thinking?!” I asked Nathaniel, “Do you think she has a knife in there”, pointing to her room, “to protect herself from us?”
That night we did not sleep well. Once paranoia crept in, our minds were racing. I don’t know how we derailed that much, but we were totally freaked out. Between the two of us, we thought perhaps she was armed and possibly thinking we were going to try to use the butcher knife. So, as perfectly rational people, we went ahead and blockaded the door to our room with a small bookshelf.
The next day when we awoke, we realized that no one barged into our room with a knife trying to kill us and that the small bookshelf was still in front of the door. Whew!
We got up and went to the kitchen to see if Liz had left another note for us. She had, but this time, all it said in reply to the first note was, “Oh, silly me. I did not even check the knife drawer! I found it.”
And that was that just another sleepless night out on the road. Oh, and I learned to never wash our hosts’ dirty dishes because you never know when they will need their butcher knife.
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