Terrifying Drives, Flooding & Booze Welcomes The Love Junkies To The US

17 March 2016 | 8:24 pm | The Love Junkies

"Like a sweaty lava lamp full of phlegm."

March 10

We’re currently killing time at the La Quinta Inn in Burmingham, Alabama. Two beds, four dudes and a lingering fog of ass and foot stank with undertones of stale piss (booze) and ciggie butts. Typical touring conditions.

We’re here just for the night playing the one show at The Nick, then it’s back in the van for a six-hour commute to Baton Rouge in Louisiana. We’ve been in the states now for three days and I think we’re already feeling a little useless. After 30 or so hours in transit you would think a quiet night would be on the cards but of course, our irresponsible tradition had us piss away the little cash we had on cheap beer and blow our lungs out on $6 packets of durries.

Starting a 6,500 mile journey around the US with a debilitating hangover isn’t ideal but fuck it, Broadway Street was buzzing so how could we not? The next day, with our brains still pickling in the dregs of our retired PBRs, we picked up the van and Elle took on the first of the driving duties.

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We headed to a place called Mad Donnas for our first show which went far better than expected. The 30 or so punters stuck around for the entire set, giving us their Tennessee’n ticks of approval. After a few more celebratory jars, the bar staff ushered us out for a 3am close, which worked in our favour for we had an 8am appointment with social security to get our numbers.  

March 12

We’ve just crossed the Arkansas state border into Texas. Rob’s behind the wheel and I’m anticipating my next stint of driving duties. So far it’s been nothing but terrifying. I’m hoping other foreigners have as much difficulty as I do resetting the road rules in their heads. After a week it should all fall into place and I won’t have to shit myself every two hours when my name is called.

The show at The Nick the other night was another win. There wasn’t really many people around due to the weather and the obvious face that being we’re a band from Perth with only a handful of air play in a country that we’ve never toured. The venue however, had an incredibly rich history. This place has had its doors open to young bands since the early ‘70s and its crusty old stage has supported the blood, sweat and bodies of legends both past and present.

The stories both the staff and punters had about the place, like Hillel Slovak nodding off in the office before the rest of the Chilli Peppers scooped him up to play a bullshit show. Dave Navarro supposedly doing the same but taking it too far and ODing in the place. Black Flag. R.E.M... The place demanded respect and carried an energy that made you feel honoured to be there. Again, too much booze.

People were showing off their southern hospitality and the shots were starting to drown my insides. Someone offered to take me back to their house for a casual bit of crack and I felt like I was watching the television again. It happens a lot and I think it’s due to viewing America through a TV for most of my life. Every time I see it in the flesh, my head always struggles to perceive it as being real. Unless I got shot, that would feel pretty real. Anyways, thought it was good time to split.

March 16

We’re just leaving Galveston, Texas. We decided to pop in for a night to kill some time between shows and have a shower. We’ve been doing a lot of camping at Walmart which has been interesting but also tiring.

The van’s big but we’re still snuggling up to road cases borderline foetal. Lewis decided to pack a couple cases of man flu before we boarded in Perth and was generous enough to shout me a dose in the van. We’ve both been crook for the past few days filling the van with our bullshit, so a night off was necessary.

The morning after The Nick had us wake to some bad news. The show in Baton Rouge had been cancelled due to flash flooding all throughout Louisiana. By the time we had tuned in, three people were dead and a hundreds of homes were damaged. A replacement show at The Click had been organised in Tyler, Texas so we decided to start making our way towards the lone state via a stop over in Memphis. Here, we had a first taste of Walmart life.

Once we arrived we bought some stick on hooks, scissors and bed sheets and knocked up some make shift curtains to help keep the creeps out. The car park was thick with fog. Very eerie. We wrapped ourselves up in our blankets and quietly shitting ourselves, fell asleep.

The drive to Tyler had so far been the most visually rewarding. All the rain had filled everything up. All the greens were piercing and everything looked in harmony. We got to the venue which was also half a pool hall. All the posters on the wall suggested it was more of a hard rock/metal venue and the night’s line-up didn’t say otherwise. They were all top lads and everybody in the joint seemed to dig it, offering us praise and beers. Lewis had sunk into the couch backstage with his skin turning all shades of wrong (like a sweaty lava lamp full of phlegm) and needed rest. We said goodbye to them chaps and left for the closest Walmart.

The next night was spent in Fort Worth at a joint called Magnolia Motor Lounge. Low Cut Connie were the only other band on the bill and were also passing through on there way to SX. They were a solid band and just like us, played to 10 or so punters that stuck around. Here we met a quality human being named Spencer who wanted to hook us up with friends of his in Austin, as well as give us all kinds advice on the top eats around town and the best ways to avoid the Austin traffic.

Most of the people we’ve run into so far have been nothing but helpful. As intimidating as America can be sometimes, I guess you’ve got to keep reminding yourself that the same goes in any country. Shit cunts exist everywhere. So do good cunts. Weird cunts will keep being weird and you yourself at times will be a cunt. Just try be a good one.

Super Fun Happy Land looked like the after birth of a burning man festival packed into an abandoned warehouse squat. The voice of Tom Waits could be heard at the entrance and made for a smooth introduction into this weird old acid junkyard. We were greeted by a man who addressed himself as “Glitter Boy” or “Lorak” which I think he said was his last name spelt backyards. He seemed to be running the show. He was a stand up fella with a big heart and a passion for nurturing creativity in his local area. I think he best summed it up when he said, “If there’s no one that can be helped today then God best not wake me up.” Bless his big old hippy heart. The majority of the audience was made up of other travelling musicians on their way to Austin. I wonder what they think’s gonna happen? SXSW tends to make some bands get all funny. Makes people get competitive. I picture it being like the red light districts of Europe, with bands giving it all they can in the windows of shop fronts, trying to lure in greasy big wigs to be bought, used then spat out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all like that but I do feel like parts of it are.

Anyways, Lorak offered to have us sleep at his venue so I pulled up a couch and called it a night.

Written by Mitch McDonald

The Love Junkies take their new single, Nobody, around Australia this May. For all dates, see theGuide or The Music App.