As Dopapod hits the road in anticipation of their upcoming album, Never Odd or Even, (due out November 11), they have agreed to be our eyes and ears on the front-line of Rock-n-Roll and report to Honest Tune about what life on the road is really like for a touring band. The band will periodically be checking in and delivering their thoughts and musings from the road. After a stretch of six shows in six days, guitarist Rob Compa checks in while watching The Mummy (spoiler alert, it’s not as good as he remembered it was).
Hey guys! It’s me, Rob, again. I originally envisioned this blog thing being a little more of a collaborative effort wherein each week a different band member would type something up, but I just can’t stay away from all you lovely folks out there on the information super-highway, so I’m being greedy and just taking care of it myself. I don’t know how many of you have ever been on tour, but any task at all is a welcome occurrence when you’re sitting in the van anywhere between 3 to 7 hours each day for months at a time. So here I am again!
The last time I spoke of our epic adventure, we were on our way to Morgantown, West Virginia to play at 123 Pleasant Street. Well lemme tell ya, that was a hell of a night. We’ve played in Morgantown a handful of times and have always had a blast, but this marked the first time that we played for a sold out crowd. There’s no better term in this industry than “sold out,” so we were all walking on air.
The first set was solid and tight, with my personal highlight being when Gabe Marin from Consider the Source came up to play some guitar with us during our song “Bahbi.” We don’t play that tune very often anymore, and the studio version on our album Drawn Onward actually has Gabe on it, so I always enjoy hearing what he adds to the song. That being said, this particular version was easily my favorite one that we’ve played with him so far. All of the CTS guys are just about the coolest dudes you could ever find. You’ll never meet three cooler, more down-to-earth people anywhere. And as a guitar player, I just can’t stress enough how brilliant Gabe is. Honestly, every time I’m on stage with him, I can’t help but appreciate that I’m lucky enough to be playing guitar with someone who does things that I’ve honestly never seen anyone else do on the instrument. He is, for lack of a better word, a total motherfucker.
If the first set was solid and tight, then the second one was the exact opposite, but in the best way possible. We threw caution to the wind and played whatever we wanted. We took a lot of chances, some which worked and some of which didn’t, but man did we have fun. And the crowd did, too. We definitely put all of our energy into that second set, which was totally worthwhile, although the load out afterwards was a pretty agonizing endeavor.
Listen to Dopapod’s full show from 123 Pleasant Street here:
Finally, and most notably, the evening ended with easily one of my favorite tour stories of all time. Be warned, however; this tale is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. We all packed up and left for the hotel, with the exception of our monitor guy, Tim Foran, who stuck around to hang out with some friends he had in town. The next morning, he told us a riveting tale. After everyone had left, he had gone to a friend’s apartment next to the venue to hang out with some people. When they arrived, there was a person lying on the couch passed out, as is often the result after a rowdy concert. After a few minutes, this said person awoke to lean over the side of the couch and barf everywhere. That’s not horribly out of the ordinary, except that while in the process of spewing, the person let out a huge, wet fart and pooped their pants…They barfed and pooped their pants simultaneously…You heard me right.
After that, we headed to the great state of Ohio to play the Resonance Music Festival . We arrived to discover that it was extremely cold, although how could we be surprised when we’re pulling up to an outdoor music festival in the northern U.S. in October? We’ve dealt with colder, so we were ready. And despite the frigid temperature, we were warmed down to our plums with an abundance of good friends. As had been the case with every show of the tour up to that point, our buddies in Consider the Source were there when we arrived. But we were also greeted by our good friends in The Werks, Papadosio, the Main Squeeze and many more as well. It’s always good to get to a gig and have it be teeming with your best buds.
Our set was pretty standard, but definitely a good time. And we were honored to have our friend Dino from the Werks come up to play bass on our song “Black and White” with us. That tune definitely requires a little homework, so we were flattered that he took the time to study it, and he nailed it to the wall. After that, we brought up Gabe and John from CTS to play one more version of “War Pigs” with us before our bands parted ways for the rest of the tour. I’m gonna miss those dudes, but we always cross paths pretty frequently, so I’m sure we’ll see them again soon.
Listen to Dopapod’s full set from the Resonance Music Festival:
Sunday took us to the great land of Lincoln: Illinois, at the Canopy Club in Urbana. Now that we had parted ways with Consider the Source, we met up with another terrific band, Tauk . If any of you haven’t heard this band yet, they are absolutely fantastic and worth every ounce of hype about them that you may have come across on the internet.
After sound check, I made my way over to the local college’s music building to teach a guitar lesson. I honestly love teaching when I have the time to do it. Before we started touring full-time, I actually made my living teaching in Boston at the School of Rock. It was a great time and although I would much rather play than teach, I miss it and the people I met doing it. My student for the day was a nice dude named Jonah with a really gorgeous Gibson ES-335. Really nice guy and he sounded great. Before we started the lesson he gave me a bit of a warning that he had already studied some of my playing, and had even learned a couple of our tunes. As soon as we started jamming, I could hear what he was talking about. A bunch of the lines he played were definitely similar to ideas that I often have when I’m playing. I’ve read some interviews with guitar players who say they don’t like it when someone copies their playing and feel they’re being ripped off or something. I, however, can honestly say I was moved that someone took the time to learn some of what I do. I know that when I hear one of my favorite players do something that really hits me, I immediately want to sit down and study it, so the fact that I played anything that meant enough to another player to dedicate their time to picking it apart was very, very cool to me. He even learned the fast middle section to “French Bowling” and the intro melody to “Vol. 3 #86,” although I can’t take credit for either of those since both those parts were written by Eli.
I headed back to the venue and listened to Tauk’s set for a little while, and man do I dig them every time I hear them play. They are a really cool blend of funk music that’s still forward thinking and unique, and they all play the shit out of their instruments while still leaving space for each other and being great listeners. I’m psyched to be able to listen to such great music before we play for the next few shows.
Our set was pretty fun, although I think we were all a little winded from playing six(?) shows in a row that week. Nevertheless, we persevered and had some good moments in the set. Since I was teaching before the show, Scotty made the set list for the night, which led to some really cool, different things.
So here were are now, making our way to Columbia, Missouri for the next show. I’m watching The Mummy as I type this, and it’s a way shittier movie than I remember it being. But whatever, I’m just down for anything to pass the time. After Columbia, we’ll be making our way to the great state of Colorado for one show in Fort Collins and two in Denver at Cervantes. Should be a blast. Til next time!