Get to know psych rockers Marion Walker as they document their tour across the US. Encountering the good and bad of touring, from van troubles to cool stories about Danny DeVito as told by their host in LA, the band makes their way through California and Texas in this first installment.
Stream their single "Seriously" / "Silver Drone":
Words + Photos by Marion Walker
Let’s make a few introductions first. We are Marion Walker from Reno/Seattle/Eisenhower Interstate System. We are a three-piece psych-rock band of sweethearts with sharp teeth out here on the road meeting some incredible people. Being on tour, you can certainly count on meeting some folks who will take you in, feed you, fill your ears up with stories and songs, and wrap their arms around you before they send you off down the road again.
Our first week out, we were traveling with our dear friend Meagan from Nevada. She got to experience the cold reality that touring can be at times (with all our van trouble, wild weather, and the daunting task of finding places to rest). Without Meagan, we wouldn’t have been so pleasantly lighthearted as we were stranded on the side of the road. We'll forever be grateful for the Meagatron! Also, we all became so very keen on Melinda who let us dive into her den of crystals in Los Angeles. We stayed at her house for two days and she told us stories of how a young Danny DeVito lived there back in the day. The house had been a salon in the 1970's and apparently they let DeVito live upstairs in exchange for sweeping up hair.
WTF is going on with our van! Mercury went into retrograde the day our tour started which had a direct effect on our van. We had a ghost electrical issue that we have since tracked down, but not without a chaotic first week of breakdowns. We missed our first out of town show but made it to our second show in San Francisco just in time. While loading into The Knockout on Mission Street, we were double-parked in front of a parking garage. Some impatient locals were trying to exit and the van died again! Luckily, through the true kindness and perseverance of strangers (about 5 or 6 people), we pushed the van up a classic SF hill and push-parallel-parked into a prime spot which miraculously opened up directly in front of the venue.
The picture below is us at the Santa Cruz boardwalk. It was the first morning we didn't have to wake up and go straight to an auto parts store and we were all extremely happy about it!
We gotta send some love to C.A.F.E. INFOshop in Fresno for being such welcoming and admirable individuals. The people who live above the shop (Audrey/Janelle/Dallas/etc…) took us in a day early and gave us a place to crash for a few days while in the area. The INFOshop has been around for 10 years and is killing it! The folks in Fresno are a group of artists who are not only in a ton of great bands, but are also running a Food-Not-Bombs out of the space, and taking care of their neighborhood in a variety of ways. They were truly refreshing people to run into while in the center of a drought-ridden California.
As we ripped across the West Texas arid environment last week, we were unknowingly entering one of the most torrential thunderstorms in Austin’s history (...in fact 95% of the entire state of Texas was under a flash flood warning). There were tornadoes ripping off roofs of houses and flood waters were rising so fast that entire houses were swept off their foundations. Both Austin and Houston were consumed by water and the destruction had barely been comprehended as we traveled through the area. Mother Nature shouldn’t be trifled with, but she must have some sympathy for touring artists as she has granted us a pass so far.
First off, we come from a small town, so the concentration of weirdness isn’t something we shy away from. Our show in Houston was so much fun and certainly one for the books in a number of ways. We played at Super Happy Fun Land and were introduced to some seriously open-hearted folks whom we quickly befriended. Corners of the warehouse were filled with Raggedy Ann dolls from floor to ceiling, every surface was painted, and the stage show had more lights/lasers/projectors than most dance clubs. Our newest cohort, Lorrack, was our guide throughout the evening. We broke all the rules during this show: played some songs twice for the late arrivals, even jammed on Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” with the other band (twice). During the jam, Lorrack smeared glow-in-the-dark paint all over his face and we caught a picture of it...while he looks like a fire-daemon here, he is truly a sweetheart and a friend for life.
Check back on Thursday 6/18 as the tour diary continues!