Sarah Van Houten on the road with Wild Throne

by Sarah Van Houten

Part 2 of 2

I was in love. We were almost two weeks into tour, and I could not help the way I felt. The hundreds of miles traveled each day, the weird food options and flavors of popcorn, the minimal hours of sleep, and the lack of knowing what city I was in the majority of the time… I was exactly where I wanted to be. I was in love, with touring.

Group shot at the tour's end. COURTESY PHOTO

Group shot at the tour’s end. COURTESY PHOTO

We had the Brooklyn show next, and this was somehow big for me. I had never been to New York, and my heart raced as we got closer, and I saw Lady Liberty far in the distance. We knew that going into the city we had to leave a nice chunk of extra time. Always, ALWAYS leave more time than needed. It is almost a guarantee that someone will need an extra bathroom break, or that it will take you an hour to go the last eight miles to the venue.

The sun was just about to set as we rolled in. A little ways from the venue, we got a call from Adam, the tour family sound guy. He wanted to let us know, that the cones on the side of the venue were NOT in fact for us, but belonged to the biker gang that hung out down the block. Good lookin’ out guys!

That’s the thing. Each band worked together. We had each other’s backs.
It was the show in Austin, at the Mohawk, and I was working behind the merch booth with Chris, Manager of Red Fang. He had a line of at least 20 people trying to get stuff from him. He looks around at me, and I was not as busy because everyone had already gotten our goods earlier in the night after our set. I went and got him a few vinyls from their rig outside, was stoked he even asked for my help.

A few shows later, in Phoenix, the good juju was returned when I forgot my camera battery plugged into the greenroom wall. They see it, notice it, and bring it with them. #likefamily

Part way into tour, the lights went out. The lights that were so perfectly in tune with the Wild Throne music. Each flicker or flash dialed in with the extremities of Josh and Jeff. The lights then just became an extra thing to haul in and out of the van each night. But I knew I needed to let go. I soon realized, that even without that light setup they were so use to using, it was still magic. The energy still swept over the crowd like an unexpected summer lightning storm. Adam did a great job of working sound, as well as using each venue’s own lights to create a great show. Do the best, with what you have. Don’t get pissy, don’t be the diva. Rock so hard, that you break your lights. It. Is. All. Worth. It.

Sometimes we scored on hotels. Like the time in Montgomery, Alabama (I think). This place was literally like an apartment. There was a kitchen, with a oven and full size fridge. It even had two separate bedrooms, one of which I scored to myself all night, with a freakin’ TV to watch whatever I wanted. That was great.
Other times we learned to not go below a certain rating for the hotels. There was one real winner, I can’t recall the city at the moment (there is a lot of that). But, this place was gold. And when I say that, it is just because someone sprayed their golden rain all over the toilet, where it was now dried on. The bathroom had an almost empty roll on the back of the toilet, and where the t.p. should be, was just cigarette ashes. Really. Just ashes lining the holder. The soap on the side of the tub had already gotten wet, then dried again…the label was all smudged. The beds had probably gone without a wash for weeks, and the carpet, well, stained to say the least. This was the kind of night that I was extremely thankful to have my sleeping bag. Bring one on your tour if you can! Also the night that I fell asleep with the thought of waking up with bugs all over me. Once morning came, I was bug free, and we got the heck out of there.

All in all it was a smooth tour. In San Diego, the key broke off in the lock to the van, so we had to deal with that for couple hours, but really, everything was good. After “Sandy Eggo” we were ready to get home. Noah had to get home, so he caught a flight back that night. Josh, Jeff and I loaded in the van with the goal to drive enough each day to be home on the 25th. We were about an hour away from Medford, where we would spend our last night. Jeff was driving, Josh in the front, and me half asleep on the back bench seat. It is dark out, and we are on a 70MPH stretch. All of a sudden I hear, “Oh sh*t, oh sh*t!” coming from Jeff. I can’t see because I am down too low, so I brace for the worst. I get ready for impact with another car, or to have the van start flipping over. I feel the van slow a few MPH, and feel a soft thud. We quickly (but very safely) slow down and get to the shoulder. We hit a deer. Like, a big deer. I never saw the thing. It either got hit into the woods, or it was alive for enough time to run off. The guys said it had huge antlers. Big old boy.

We inspected the damage, and made sure the van could still drive. The deer took out the headlight on that side, and gave us a nasty dent from the antlers, but overall, we were fine. I have to thank Jeff for doing exactly what should be done. You see a deer, do not swerve, just hit it. With all that weight of gear, a taller van, swerving is the last thing you need to do.

A little shaken, and a little amped, we quietly drove the rest of the way.
It still feels like a dream I had, or a movie I watched when I was a kid. The good, the bad. I want more of it.

If you take one thing from this, say yes. That one thing that you have a chance to do, but are afraid you won’t be able to….say yes. You can only gain more knowledge, and get closer to where you want to be. Who knows what you will miss if you don’t take that chance.

Published in the December 2015 issue of What’s Up!