Tales from the Road: Heligoats

12/31/11: I woke up at my apt on State Street wearing shoes and headed for a Bel-Air Charter Bus to Sea-Tac Airpot. I was going to Dallas for New Year’s Eve! It was going to be fun. And warm. And, I was given tickets to see Centro-Matic and Polyphonic Spree at the House of Blues. A friend helped me with cheap flights. I was going to ring in 2012 with a bunch of freaky Texans. It was going to be fun. I would be back in a couple of days, or so I thought.

Instead, I never made it to the show, I barely remember landing in Dallas and I woke up on New Year’s Day at 6 a.m. in a pool of blood in the middle of the street in a neighborhood outside of Deep Ellum. I was rattled, to say the least.So, I hailed a cab back to the airport and flew to Chicago to say goodbye to my family because I thought I was going to die. I landed in Chicago the next day and said goodbye to everyone. It wasn’t as sad as I expected. I saw my nephews and they’re funny little guys.  I then flew back to Bellingham and packed up my apartment into storage and gave my friend Bruce my plants.

It was mid-January 2012. The end of the world was still 12 months away, but the year was already doing me in.  All of a sudden, I got a page from my friend Eef asking if I’d join him and his band, Clem Snide, in Ecuador in February. They were invited as guests of the U.S. Embassy for a 2 week tour of Ecuador and they wanted me to play guitar. All my stuff was already packed up, Bruce had my plants, I figured, what the heck. So, the next day, I flew from Seattle to Los Angeles to Nashville to Miami to Quito, Ecuador.

Before I knew it, I had started a year-long adventure that would take me far from my plants to the actual Amazon Jungle, to recording songs in Chicago, Nashville and Portland, to reconnecting and recording with my friend and drummer, Nate Lanthrum, for the first time in seven years, to driving from Oregon to Vermont and back three times, playing 101 shows with an assortment of wonderful people, seeing family and friends, attending four weddings in three states, spending three days in jail, three in court, five in florida, renting vans, buying vans, selling vans, living in a van, having my van broken into and my guitars and computer stolen, losing my mind in the desert, having people donate new guitars, seeing a Cubs game, dodging a hurricane, filming a music video, recording a Daytrotter session, producing a successful Kickstarter campaign, spending the holidays with family and the 101st show being in Chicago on Dec. 28 and landing back in Bellingham all before 2013.

101 Shows in 365 days

Here are people that I played songs with in 2012: Steve Mitchell, Dave James, Nick Lombardo, Mike Mergenthaler, Moo Haygood, Carly James, Eric Paull, Eef Barzelay, Anna Arvan, Ben Martin, Bruce Shaw, Lupe Flores, Eric Carlson, Brendan Fitzpatrick, Jake McKelvie, SkinnyBones, Rocky Gunderson, Squares, Clap Chapel, Tony Crow, Kevin Nelson, and Nate Lanthrum.

Here are some of the people who facilitated it: Rich Salamander – Superior St. Space, Chicago; Margie Mitchell – Swedish Taco; Carly James – Bison; Todd Berry – Greyday Records; Erik Rassmussen – Observatory Studio, Chicago; Mark Nevers – Beech House, Nashville; and Larry Crane – Jackpot! Portland.

There’s a new Heligoats record coming in February and the touring starts again in March. I’m glad the world didn’t end.

Here are the date specifics whole year tour.

Drai Zich.


02/11/12: Quito, Ecuador, CINE

02/12/12: Quito, Ecuador, Plaza Foch

02/13/12: Manta, Ecuador, Teatro MAAC

02/14/12: Guayaquil, Ecuador, U.S. Embassy

02/15/12: Loja, Ecuador,  Clase Magistral

02/16/12: Ibarra, Ecuador, Incantina

02/17/12: Ibarra, Ecuador, Plaza De Merced

02/18/12: El Chota, Ecuador, Carnival Coangue

02/19/12: Archidona, Ecuador, Mariposa

02/20 – 02/27/12: Nashville

02/28– 02/03/12: Chicago – Full Band, Recording

03/05/12: Batavia, IL, RendezVu

03/07/12: Chicago, IL, Subterranean

03/08/12: Iowa City, IA, The Mill

03/09/12: Northfield, MN, St. Olaf College

03/10/12: Madison, WI, Indie Coffee

03/11/12: Omaha, NE, Slowdown

03/12/12: Des Moines, IA, Vaudeville Mews

03/13/12: Lincoln, NE, Duffy’s

03/14/12: Drive

03/15/12: Austin, TX, Side Bar

03/16/12: Austin, TX,, Wahoo’

03/17/12: Austin, TX, SXSW

03/18 – 04/12/12: Chicago – Full Band, Recording

04/13 – 05/01/12: Portland / Jackpot Studios

05/02 – 05/22/12: Chicago/Nashville

05/23/12: Ft. Wayne, IN, One Lucky Guitar HQ

05/24/12:   Chicago, IL, Hideout Inn

05/25/12: Minneapolis, MN, House Show w/Eef

05/25/12: Minneapolis, MN, Loft Show w/ Squares

05/26/12: Milwaukee, WI, The Laundry Chute

05/27/12: Madison, WI, Indie Coffee

05/31/12: Barnesville, OH, Albert S. George Youth Center

06/01/12: Brooklyn, NY, Pete’s Candy Shop

06/02/12: Wallingford, VT, Wedding

06/03/12: Keene, NH, Starving Artist

06/04/12: Hamden, CT, The Outer Space

06/05/12: Arlington, VA, IOTA

06/06/12: DRIVE

06/07/12: Nashville, TN


07/05/12: Bellingham, WA, Redlight

07/06/12: Seattle, WA, LOFT SHOW

07/07/12: Everett, WA, Eef wedding

07/08/12: Portland, OR, Mississippi Studios

07/10/12: Boise, ID, Neurolux

07/11/12: Nevada City, CA, Cafe Mekka

07/12/12: San Francisco, Hotel Utah

07/13/12: San Luis Obispo,Sanitarium

07/14/12: Ventura, Zoey’s Cafe

07/18/12: Lincoln, NE, Duffy’s Tavern

07/27/12: Cleveland, OH, Brad’s House Show

07/28/12: Ann Arbor, MI, Wedding

07/31/12: Nashville, Eef’s

08/01 – 08/02: Drive

08/03/12: Vermont, Wedding

08/04/12: NYC Living Room

08/05/12: Pittsburgh, PA, Garfield Artworks

08/06/12: Oberlin, OH, The Feve

08/25/12: Woodstock, IL, Wasted Plains Fest

09/01/12: Rock Island, IL, Daytrotter

09/01/12: Iowa City, IA, Gabes

09/01/12: Iowa City, IA, KRUI On Air

09/02/12: Des Moines, IA, Vaudeville Mews

09/03/12 : Drive

09/04/12: Fort Collins, CO, Avogadros

09/04/12: Fort Collins, CO, KRFC

09/07/12: Boise, ID, VAC

09/08/12: Portland, OR, Ron Tons

09/09/12: Portland, OR, 1865

09/16 – 09/20/12: Bellingham / Jail

09/22/12: Edison, WA, Longhorn

09/23/12: Seattle, WA, Sunset Tavern

09/27/12: Seattle, WA, Comet Tavern

09/28/12: Olympia, Le Voyeur

09/29/12: Portland, OR, Banana Stand

09/30/12: Eugene, OR, Cozmic

10/01/12: Salt Lake City, UT, Urban Lounge

10/02/12: Sacramento, CA, Coffee Garden

10/03/12: San Francisco, CA, Hotel Utah

10/05/12: San Luis Obisbo, CA, Sanitarium

10/06/12: Ventura, CA, Zoey’s

10/07– 10/15/12: LOST IN THE DESERT

10/16/12: Denver, Walnut Room

10/17/12: Iowa City, IA, The Mill

10/25/12: Chicago, IL, Hideout

10/26/12: Batavia, IL, RendezVu

10/27/12: Des Moines, IA, Vaudeville Mews

10/28/12: Minneapolis, MN, Pony Pictures

11/01/12: Ithaca, NY, Nines

11/02/12: Keene, NH, Sumner Knight Chapel

11/03/12: Boston, MA, House Show

11/04/12: Hamden, CT, Outer Space

11/05/12: Brooklyn, NY, Muchmore’s

11/06/12: Philadelphia, PA, Hong Kong Garden

11/07/12: Washington, D.C., Columbia Station

11/09/12: Berkely, WV, School Of Harmony

11/10/12: Fredriksbrg, VA, All Ages

11/11/12: Chapel Hill, NC, MotorCo Garage

11/12/12: Atlanta, GA, WonderRoot

11/13/12: Jacksonville, FL, Underbelly

11/14/12: Tampa, FL, New World Brewery

11/15/12: Ybor City, FL, WMNF Live at Lunch

11/17/12: Estero, FL, Pelican Sound

11/18/12: Nashville, TN, House Show

11/19/12: Evansville, IL, Penny Lane Cafe

11/21/12: Aurora, IL , House Show

11/24/12: DRIVE

11/29/12: Bellingham, WA, Green Frog

12/20/12: Bellingham, WA, Honeymoon

12/21/12: Seattle, WA, Chop Suey

12/22/12: Edison, WA, Longhorn

12/28/12: Chicago, IL, Hideout


For more, visit www.facebook.com/Heligoats