Right about now, Oxford Collapse is somewhere between here and there, on the way to the next sound check.
The Brooklyn-based band -- Michael Pace on guitars and vocals, Adam Rizer on bass and vocals, and Daniel Fetherston in drums -- is on the road for six weeks of shows, heading across the country and back in support of its forthcoming sophomore full-length, A Good Ground. And they were kind enough to let us tag along.
They'll stop in Houghton, Michigan and Lawrence, Kansas before reaching the edge of America. They'll play in Seattle, San Francisco and Pendleton, Oregon, and a few venues along the way (with the Narrator, of Chicago) before heading back east to play some more (with the Constantines, of Ontario). And they'll check in with Prefix from time to time, letting us in on what it's like to tour the country -- or at least letting us watch, safely, from afar.
Greetings from the highways of America! We are Oxford Collapse from Brooklyn, New York, currently in the midst of our second U.S. tour, which'll take us from coast to coast and almost back again through the middle of July. I am Michael Pace, guitarist and singer, I guess. Adam Rizer slaps the bass and sings, and Daniel Fetherston bangs the drums and is tone deaf.
The tour started off on a good note with a last-minute show in Brooklyn on June 2. The show jumpstarted this tour's band fund and set us off in good spirits, but those were quickly squashed when we sat in Holland Tunnel traffic for a good hour at one on Friday morning. A thirteen-hour drive took us straight down to Summerville, South Carolina, a lush antebellum Southern town complete with ominous skies and burnt-out husks of churches. We were playing something called "Tuition Fest" and had our doubts about how we would fit with bands with names like Black Tusk, Accursed Dawn and Blessed Black Broken Angel Wings. When we arrived at the VFW hall, we were greeted by a hundred or so high school kids milling around. At some point, a rap group called Agency 1994, featuring an enormous man in a Jason-style hockey mask, played and took most of the crowd out with them. So we'd like to thank the seven girls and shirtless boys that stuck around and watched us.
On the way down to Atlanta the next day, we noticed our trusty 1992 Chevy conversion van was rumbling at certain speeds, which isn't the best sign. We'd been on the lookout for a tire rack for the van and were happy to find, somewhere on the South Carolina/Georgia border, an enormous junkyard. We got waste deep in mud while going out to the yards to retrieve a rack ourselves from a cemetery of dead conversion vans. But we got the hell out of there when we got busted for taking photos and our female companion Brooke got called a "puta."
By the time we got to ATL, the van was rumbling at any speed. Typically mediocre Mexican food (but strong margaritas) were consumed in honor of Brooke's twenty-sixth, and we had a blast playing her party. We dug into the vaults and pulled out some covers, including "Wild Thing," which had the birthday girl embarrassing herself on stage with us and something close to a riot breaking out in the crowd. The show gave way to the after-party, which gave way to a 5 a.m. dip in a disgusting hot tub at some guy's house. Since we had Sunday off we palled around town with the lovely ladies we were staying with, made an attempt to hit up Abdullah the Butcher's House of Ribs & Chinese Food (it was closed), and took in a double-feature at the drive-in of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Thing, all the while consuming copious amounts of chicken 'n' beer.
Because of the van issue, we had to cancel our June 6 St. Louis show, hardly a problem considering we got to hang around Atlanta with some of our closest friends and save an inebriated half-nude man from choking on his own vomit as he lay passed out in front of his own apartment. We got the van fixed and tried Abdullah's once more, but that didn't happen (closed again) and we had an unspeakably wild night playing Trivial Pursuit.
The next day we made the eleven-hour drive to Springfield, Missouri, a charming town where we played an enormous place called the Rockwell. Our name was spelled "Oxford Calapse" on the gigantic poster in front of the club. The stage was six feet high and surrounded by a metal barrier. Still, we had a good time. An 18-year-old girl offered us three empty beds, food and beer, and showers at her grandparents' house, which she said was twenty minutes away. In actuality it was about an hour away in Branson (where Yakov Schmirnoff performs regularly). After sneaking us upstairs and telling us we couldn't shower, we split the one bed and one couch between the three of us. She woke us up at 4:15 a.m. and told us we had to leave. We drove to a K-Mart parking lot and slept for a few more hours until the oppressive heat woke us up. Where the Ozarks meet the Great Plains, indeed.