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The Pretty Littles' Jack Parsons Recalls 'Beautiful & Terrifying' Guts Touring Moments

16 August 2022 | 11:39 am | Jack Parsons

Guts Touring has made its highly anticipated return, bringing music to some of Australia's most remote and isolated communities, with Bad//Dreems, Birdz, Emma Donovan & The Putbacks, Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers, Children Collide and more set to perform across the country from now until late November. Co-founder Jack ‘Parso’ Parsons of The Pretty Littles fame invites us into the tour van to relive some memorable moments from past tours.

The very first Guts in 2016 kicked off in Hobart with a beauty at the Brizzy Hotel and we snaked up through snow-covered roads to get to Launceston for another beauty at the Royal Oak. Things were going well - bands were happy, people were attending. Day three we played a lunchtime show at a supper club in Burnie called the Butter Factory. Everything was shiny metal and they had Bundy on tap. Kicking off the day at 1:30 was our local support, the Burnie Brass Band, who ripped through a couple of classics like the GoT theme. The venue felt like it could hold 1,500 people easy and the crowd that day was a mother and her two daughters who worked up at the local IGA. As we boarded the Spirit, tour vibe guy Jack Farley mentioned to me that 'a tour like this can’t afford too many shows like that'. It was a deflating comment, but he was right - maintaining a positive group morale isn't easy if you play too many of them in a row.

Sorta right in the middle of South Australia is a tiny town/roadhouse called Glendambo. We had a couple of days to kill before one of the toughest shows on the tour in Glendambo (six people, one repeatedly asking if we knew any Chisel). In Glendambo we wrangled free camping in exchange for a little acoustic performance in the roadhouse. We rolled in, set up camp and started cooking some food - it was all really wholesome. So wholesome that we fed off those wholesome vibes well into the night and celebrated the stunning pink and blue sunrise with one of the fiercest games of cricket of all time. Dingo and myself vs Farley and Dermody. TMs vs Talent. The scene was set, the cricket was world-class, the TMs won.

Played a beauty in Tenant Creek. Great pub, beaut stage outside - feeling good until we realise we had cooked the schedule and underestimated the drive to Katherine. Our only choice is to scrap the accommodation and drive through the night, something to avoid as the wildlife takes over. We organised driving shifts and set off. I take the first leg with Jackson Ackers - we talk shop and I take advantage of the sleeping carriage and break the number one rule (no durries on the bus). There must have been a big truck not far ahead of us clearing the road, because the fresh road kill was endless but we had no problems. The real problem was the small and hungry diesel tank of our bus, Gladys, and every petrol station being shut. We pulled over after coasting on empty for 50 kilometres and grabbed the two 20-litre jerry cans in the back, hoping the 40 litre boost would get us the 200 kilometres we still had to go. Jim and Dermody craaawwllledd into Mataranka through another wonderful sunrise just as a big beautiful petrol station opened for business. Rough night, great memory. What could have been a morale destroyer kinda galvanised the group in the end.

2017 we set off from Ballarat to Bendigo after show one, a quiet-ish night at Karova and a relatively rough night with the entire group cramming into a friend's garage. We're howling down the Midland Highway, feeling about a hundred bucks when smoke starts pouring out of the engine area of the truck. Full panic mode, we pull the bus over quickly and everyone grabs their shit and sprints for cover thinking Gladys is about to self-combust spectacularly just outside of Ballarat. Turns out it was the transmission hose (whatever that is, amirite?) and rather than smoke, it was steam. That steam did a helluva smoke impression though - we were momentarily relieved that the bus will live but then realised we need a mechanic on a Saturday. We start calling around, some bloke answers and says he'll be there in 10 mins. He blows in with such enthusiasm that he goes flying into a small ditch and completely bogs his ute. He then needs to call someone to help him before he can help us. Somehow we made it to Bendigo. It was a beautiful show that night!

We wanted to do something special with the time off we had before the final stretch of shows in our second year. That morale I was talking about earlier was in a bit of a strange spot, so we set off to Henbury Meteor Crater just over the border in the NT. It looked like the most accessible, but we had an old bus towing four-odd tonne of gear and we had about 50 kilometres of corrugated road to go down. The old bus was F***ING SHAKING. The noise was incredible, the speed slow, the panic from the group present - I remember looking back to see Dingo holding on for dear life, gesticulating wildly for us to pull the pin. But Jim nursed us in and we had a wonderful night out in the thick of it. Well, wonderful-ish. I peeled away from the carry-on around the fire, slightly overwhelmed, lay on my swag wide eyed and worried. Dingo joined me and Jim wasn’t far behind him then we had a very frank and honest chat about whether we could pull off the last week. It was a beautiful and terrifying moment that gave us the strength to rally and find a way. Alice Springs the following night got things back on track.

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