7/9/14 – 7/19/14

We left Brooklyn on July 9th, driving all day to Knoxville. In the morning we drove the last few hours to Nashville, where we were sharing the stage with Dumpstaphunk. The stage was on the river, right across from the football stadium.

We played our show as the sun set, and then sat around drinking free moonshine listening to Dumpstaphunk absolutely tear it up.

On the 11th, we drove to St. Louis and rocked at the Broadway Oyster bar. The next day found us in Bloomington, IL at the Castle Theater.

We found sign of our good friends The Revivalists, and made a blood oath against whoever this “Deuce” may be.

The next day was a driving day – a theme so far on this run. Remember, “Long Drives and Fire.” Don’t worry, we’ll get to the fire soon enough. We stayed with a friend in Tomah, WI and watched the world cup final. The night was full of football throwing, futbal watching, beer drinking and fire building. In the morning, we rose and went to get a celebratory birthday breakfast for Jackson! We found this old school diner in town, and as luck would have it, the walls were covered in taxidermy animals.

And then, later that night somehwere on the way to Grand Forks, ND:

In Grand Forks, we played a summer outdoor series called Concerts in the Garden at the North Dakota Museum of Art. We found some interesting exhibits, including the completely rebuilt room of NYC artist Barton Benes. I had heard about his story on a radiolab episode. He collected some pretty wild things.

Perhaps the best part of touring life (beside playing the music itself), is accidentally wandering into places like Barton Benes’ room in the museum. I had heard that episode, thought that someday it would be interesting to see the exhibit, and then lo and behold there we are.

The next day we woke up and began our journey to Calgary, Alberta. We drove all day from Grand Forks, ND to Havre, MT. Our van became a bug graveyard driving through the night. So many insects. In the morning we woke and drove up to Calgary. The air was heavy and hung with smoke. A series of wildfires had broken out in the mountains outside the city, and the whole time we were there, we never once caught a glimpse of the famous mountain view. Fires and long drives, the themes here. Luckily, we were welcomed by our amazing hosts, Candace and Lorne, who run a concert series called Stampede City Sessions. After our long drive, we were taken into their home and fed grade A Alberta beef, home cooked food and amazing local beer. Such a relief after such a long couple days of traveling. There was a fire pit out back and we sat long into the night drinking beer, telling stories and hiding under the trees to avoid a series of rolling thunderstorms.

The next day was show time. Upon arriving at the theater, we found that they had commissioned a GIANT NEON SIGN OF THE DIRTY BIRD LOGO! WHAT?! In the history of all history, never have we had such an amazing thing made for us.

Don’t worry, we are in the process of figuring out how to bring this on the road and proudly hang it at every show. The whole stage was amazing. Little bird cages, trees, a metal fence. There was a video crew, and eventually the whole night will be available to watch. Candace and Lorne, thank you again! You are creating something truly unique up there in Calgary!

The next morning we sprung up and drove fifteen hours south through the haze of smoke to Idaho Falls. The fire’s remnants followed us everywhere we went, creating the illusion of unreality, as if we were in some strange dream.

Hours later as the sun finally set behind Montana mountains, we blew a tire. All day the van had been shimmying something awful. I was driving earlier and worrying that perhaps the wheels were out of alignment, however there wasn’t anywhere to stop and check. When the wheel finally went, Arleigh was driving. She handled it like a PRO. Cruised that big thing right to the side. It’s pretty scary to blow a wheel at high speed in such a big vehicle. Anyways, Sasha strapped on his headlamp, got out the jack, and the boys went to town. A regular old pit crew we got going on here.

Stay tuned for SSDB Tour Blog: Long Drives and Fire pt 2, coming tomorrow!


As always, thanks for taking this ride with us,


yr friend,


Neon Forever