The Austin Chronicle

Thanks, Canada

Krum Bums tour diary 2008

By David Rodriguez, July 11, 2008, Music

Hello, Dave Tejas from the Krum Bums here. I'm going to attempt to recount the blurry events of our most recent tour, April 25-May 21, in support of our most recent album, As the Tide Turns, on TKO Records. I've been confined to a van alongside: Trae Dog (guitar), J.V. Krum (bass), Justin (guitar), and Tommy G. (drums). We traveled up the Midwest to Minnesota, down to Miami, and then back up the Northeast into Canada with our good friends the Casualties. Waste a bit of your time siphoning through the booze and blood-soaked nights we call a Krum Bums tour.


As much as I always think I'm prepared for tour, I eventually realize I haven't even packed my clothes yet. 6:30am, while attempting one last night of sleep before insomnia sets in, I'm woken by sadistic trashmen slamming garbage cans into their metal trucks over and over again. Anxiety sets in – no way to fall back asleep. An hour and a half later, I leave for a court appearance I'm dreading, forced to sit next to a fake-ass gangster wearing a shirt that reads "Don't Be a Player Hata" with a huge pot leaf on it. This guy's a real genius; good luck on that.

Proceeding to leave, with all on my mind, I forget where I parked, walking around the streets for an hour before I find my truck. Shit, it's just where I left it. I rush a quick lunch at Jo's Bakery, then it's off to a radio station to promote tonight's tour kickoff in Austin. The deejay and I bullshit on-air for a while about stinky testicles and funny names for porno movies. Now for the serious part – getting people to the show. It's imperative we make some kind of money tonight, because we owe $500 to Cvok at River City Automotive, $300 to Nolan at Tire Man, and Steve Hunt at Art Don't Pay for screen-printing our T-shirts upfront. That doesn't include the gas we need to make it to Oklahoma City.

By the time we get onstage at Emo's, the band's pretty well sauced up, a lot of slurring and stumbling around. Halfway through the set, Javier falls into his amp and unplugs his bass, as well as Justin's guitar. Tommy, Trae, and I keep going without a pause. Throughout our set, multiple rounds of shots are brought to us, thanks to Lifto. As we get off stage, sweaty and whiskey-drenched – heat-stricken – I immediately vomit straight whiskey, nothing else, just whiskey. What a waste! As we attempt to leave Emo's, no night would be right without Justin getting into a small altercation. Yet, seconds later it's all laughs and hugs. Another great night in Austin!!

Oklahoma City

Wake up for my last afternoon in Austin, and it's a mad rush to pay everyone off and collect all the members of the band. "Where's this? Where's that? Who has the van?" As always, I kick myself in the ass: "Why the hell didn't I pack my bag days ago?" Two pairs of jeans, four T-shirts, and one hoodie. That should be good for a month, along with as many pairs of socks and drawers you can fit, at least six pairs of each. Never forget the hair spray. It's been a long-ass day; time for a drink in the van. Let the games begin!

We arrive in OKC and play a small show at the Conservatory. That's a bad thing considering there are no buyouts for food or beer, and I've already spent all my money on merch for the band! I enjoy a tasty can of tuna and find a packet of relish to squeeze in it. Fuck, no fork. It's the two-finger scoop for me. I think chicks dig guys with tuna fingers.

We find a place to stay, but I don't remember getting there. I'm told I tried to take Tommy for Rosie in my sleep. I wake up on a chair with a bigass dog. The girl we stay with makes us coffee and spaghetti, which is nice. Now it's on to Little Rock.

We stop for gas in a backward-ass town. All the townspeople are buying half-gallon cups of soda, and there's a good chance all their parents are related. They still look at us like we're from Mars. They all walk by us rudely snarling, "Excuse me, guy." The old bag at the register scowls at us, then quickly flashes a smile of recognition.

"Oh I know y'all. I seen y'all on that court show. I watch all the court shows."

Yup, Trae and Justin were on Cristina's Court for an episode of Complete Control vs. Red 7. We're famous!!

Little Rock, St. Louis, Grand Rapids

We arrive in Little Rock, our show at the tiniest pizza place you can imagine, but it turns out to be badass. We're fed pizza, sandwiches, and bruschetta, also as much beer as we can drink, and my favorite, a half-gallon of Evan Williams Whiskey. Everyone is very cool, and the owner's drunk as hell, doing shots with us every five minutes. Luckily the booze makes us sound great, because the equipment sucks! No room to move at all, but the crowd rocks!

We find a place to stay directly behind Pizza the Action; we talk meaningless bullshit, drink whiskey, and smoke cigarettes. Some guy pulls out a gun and passes it around. It's a nice gun, but this would be creepy if we weren't all drunk as hell. The sun comes up as we pass out.

Up at 10am to drive to St. Louis. The show's a bit of a bust, no promotion, but the kids have a blast. We drink beer with them in the parking lot, then off for a 10-hour drive to Grand Rapids, Mich. Trae, Javier, and I all take Benadryl to try and sleep, but no such luck; the roads are creepy, and the van bounces over potholes all night. On our way to the club there, Trae and I split a 40 and a small bottle of vodka, paid for in change. We roll into the parking lot of the venue, Skelletones, and proceed to hurry up and wait.

This guy named Dirty Dave has been messaging us on MySpace (good for bands, horrible for personal business), telling us that he has a place for us to stay, along with food and booze. As promised, he shows up around 9pm before we hit the stage, along with beer, whiskey, and two large pizzas. Wow. What does this night have to offer?

The show's fun, yet the afterparty is unpredictably psychotic. We get to Dirty Dave's and all rush in to have a drink, shots, etc., then Dave tells us his stepson is on acid. The kid just stares at us and laughs, which makes us laugh harder. As the night progresses, many more shots and drinks later, our good host tells everyone that he wants to set himself on fire for us. Don't look to the Krum Bums to stop him. We love this kind of self-destruction/stupidity. But just wait. Before he sets himself ablaze, he decides to publicly humiliate his stepson, who doesn't think this is funny and proceeds to break Dirty Dave's nose.

Beaten and bloody, Dave still wants to set himself on fire. He douses himself with a heavy coat of hair spray on his chest, but needs someone to light him up. Who better than me? I spark the lighter. As his chest is flaming, he wildly tries to put it out, not having any luck. I help. Six hard hits to the chest later, the fire's subsided. The outcome is disgusting. His chest is all bubbly and the room reeks of burnt skin and hair. A girl screams from the back, "See there's nothing to do in Michigan but hurt yourself," then punches herself in the face screaming at us, "Do you want to punch me?"

Pittsburgh, Pa.; Covington, Ky.

We have a nice, long, nine-hour drive to Pittsburgh. The Penguins are playing, so traffic is bumper-to-bumper, which causes us to be two hours late. We find the club and hook up with the Casualties. Now for the real tour to start! The show's great, and the kids are crazy, stage-diving all around. After our sets, Krum Bums and Casualties go to a bar, where a friend gives us free drinks all night. Even better, it's Eighties night.

We dance like fools and piss everyone off. At some point in the night, Jake (Casualties) asks Trae in his Jersey accent, "Ey yo, lemme see yo hand," untwisting a hot lightbulb and sticking it in Trae's hand, burning him. We all have a good laugh. Once again we stay with some friends in a band called the Last Hope. They've got a great basement for us to stay in, and we sleep like little angels. Now on to Kentucky.

As we meet up with the Casualties again, we also meet up with Fredz, our friend from France who accompanies us for the next two weeks. Another long-ass drive, but we prevail and pull into Covington just in time for sound check. Another ugly town. It's bad when the hottest girl is one of us.


I wake in Chicago around 9am. Trae says, "Hey, Fredz, remember when I farted on you?" Fredz responds in his French accent, "Oh my God, disrespectful. It burned my eyes, man." The club is great, and we drink Bloody Marys all morning. After the show, we find out the band Lions from Austin is also playing in another room. We take them shots of tequila onstage; it's good to see more Texans. We meet up with our friend Josh, who takes us barhopping all night. I find my way on the floor of his apartment and catch a few hours of sleep. I love this shitty life.


I wake in the van on the way to the Triple Rock in Minneapolis. There's snow everywhere, a strange sight for us Texans. We're all beat to hell and late again, shit! I think we're all still drunk. We quickly load our equipment onstage, and I splash water on my face; time to sober up. I go to the bar, meet up with friends, and have two quick shots of bourbon. I feel straight again. I love Minneapolis. It's like another home to us, and we have tons of friends here that we've made over the last eight years.

Afterward, we go to play a basement at a house party. I'm dreading this. I'm so exhausted, I feel like I'm on acid or something. Once we say our goodbyes, we quickly rush to the home of our friend Duffy (who's also a stormtrooper at Star Wars conventions) to catch some sleep. As the sun rises, so do we for a five-hour drive to play a crappy festival at a college on a Tuesday afternoon. Whose idea was this? Unfortunately, it's also my turn to drive. There's ice on the roads, the wind is blowing heavily, and each time a semi passes, I feel as if the van is going to flip. The show goes as well as it can. I'm just happy for it to be over.

Iowa City

The club is one of the smallest yet, but the crowd is pumped, and the show is packed. As we play our set, there's no stage, so the kids pick me up and push me up into the ceiling, tiles are falling everywhere! They must really love me – or hate me. That night, once again we look for a dance party. Even better, next door there's a drag show! Who doesn't like partying with 6-foot drag queens lip-syncing Elton John?

To save money, we all sleep in the van. We drive all day, and tonight we must get a hotel room because we all stink like hell and look like shit. Showers are few and far between, and a whore's bath just won't cut it this time. Unfortunately, this is also about the time where you start getting bad phone calls from home. I can never relax. I'm sick and tired of getting shit when I'm miles and miles from home. We play, and as I'm leaning backward on my knees, Justin suddenly jumps on my chest with all his weight. I immediately feel and hear my ankle pop, oh fuck! There's little sympathy for a wound that doesn't bleed, so we finish our set as usual.

Nashville, Atlanta

Onward to Nashville. We're excited that we get to crash with our good friend Matt Walker. We get to the club and climb out of the van. It's humid as hell, holy fucking titty Christ! I see the head of security: 6 feet 5 inches, 400 pounds, obvious piece of shit. He's wearing a jacket with swastikas and white-power patches all over it. We all agree that the Krum Bums and Casualties will not play as long as this guy is working the show. Jake and I walk outside, and the guy comes up to us, "I've got your wristbands."

Jake looks him in the eye and says in that jersey accent, "Ey, I gotta be honest wit you. I don't like this shit you're wearing, and it's not just something you're thinking. It's like you're flying a big red flag, and it's fucked up."

The guy smiles and says, "I can respect that, and I'm a lone soldier."

We walk away, and the guy is asked to leave. No Nazis at Krum Bum/Casualties shows. My leg is killing me during the set, but the kids are going crazy, so it helps take my mind off the pain. I climb up the speakers on the side of the stage and jump off. A finger in the crowd goes straight into my eyeball. Shit!

The next morning we wake up, and Matt takes us to a real Mexican restaurant. Oh my God, we need Mexican food so bad. It's been nearly two weeks! I miss Tamale House and Jo's Bakery. Back in the van, we're off to "Hotlanta." The club, the Masquerade, is two stories, Heaven and Hell. We play in Heaven, badass show with kids stage-diving as I soak them with beer. Reminds me of shows I went to when I was a kid. There's a late-night dance party in Hell with tons of free drinks. I pass out in the van.

Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville

8am. Long-ass drive to Orlando. On the way we get a call: The Casualties' RV broke down, and they have to get a ride from a kid to the show. We arrive first, exhausted, I try to relax backstage, but I'm too tired to rest. Trae and I bro down with the bartender and have some drinks. Great show, 20 kids stage-diving at once. At the end of the night, there's another dance party with way too many shots from the bartenders.

Miami. Everyone looks like Miami. Even the punks are fancy with trendy script tattoos and diamond earrings. We look like scumbags. I love it! We play with this band, and the singer is a douche bag rich kid – wannabe Rancid, makes me wanna puke. The rest of the band is badass, very cool to us. The bartender tells us, "The cocaine in Miami is the best in the world." Ha ha. We stayed with the cool kids in the douche bag's band. He doesn't live with them. He's a personal assistant and lives with a plastic surgeon. Wow, ha. We drink 40s all night, and a friend we met years back in San Francisco sings in Spanish while we fall asleep.

Oh how life plays tricks on you! Today had the opportunity to be a great day, maybe the best so far! Not for me. I must have raped a baby in my past life. Karma is not on my side. I wake up and shower, and there's a sharp pain on my asshole. "What the fuck?" Owwwwww. It feels like a little baby grape. First gray hair, now, a little baby hemorrhoid. Let's see, my elbow is broken in little pieces, my ankle is killing me, black eye from that fateful finger in my eye dive, and now this. Shooting pain on my asshole. This is going to be a very uncomfortable ride to Tampa.

I make multiple phone calls to friends and family: "What's wrong with me? Is this normal?" I find out it could occur from my unhealthy lifestyle: dehydration, lack of vitamins, and the constant strain from screaming. I come to terms with my new problem, name him Hemingway, and buy us two shots at the bar. The show in Tampa seems to be the smallest show so far. We play and get the crowd started. You'd think this would be a horrible show, but no. It turns out to be one of the best Casualties shows I've ever seen. They turn this shit show into such a good time. A free alligator taco and way too many shots later, I actually start turning down drinks. What's wrong with me?

I wake up at a friend's house to crazy screaming from outside. It scares the shit outta me! It turns out the guy next door raises lemurs and little monkeys. Their screams sound like little girls being murdered. Between my irritability and my scaredy ass, I couldn't stand to live there. Onward to Jacksonville.

This is the time in the tour where I'm exhausted, dirty, and needing something good to eat. Rick from the Casualties suggests that we spend some money and have a nice sit-down meal. So a few of us go eat sushi. It's fucking rad and just what I need. That night our friend Perry from the Templars shows up. It's rad; he's a cool guy. After the show, his wife gets into a fight and causes a big brawl. We leave and go stay at their place for the night.

Fuck, 8am, another 10-hour drive. We meet up with Johnny O from the band Cheap Sex, who also sometimes fills in for Lower Class Brats. It's good to see him. Worst show yet, horrible crowd, I think the soundman's deaf. We just can't get into it. Afterward, we go to Johnny O's house to watch movies and relax. It's nice to finally get some rest and hang out with friends. At last, we get to wash our dirty sweat- and beer-soaked clothes.

Richmond, Va.

I love Richmond. Great friends, cool city. The weather feels great, and the show's outdoors, which is a nice change of pace. Oh shit, our friend Matt Bedford shows up. He takes Trae and I to a whiskey bar and buys us shot after shot of some expensive-ass whiskey. We're feeling good, and the fans are into it. During the set, I climb up onto the roof of the bar and jump off into the crowd. I thought I was gonna hit the ground, but I just ended up smashing a few of the kids. Yet again, another dance party after the show. I convince Jake to go dance, and I just watch him and laugh. He looks so fucking serious. He was so into it, cracks me up.

We all wake up at different houses. This can be bad. If we don't find each other, this can seriously slow us down! After multiple phone calls, we meet up at a gas station only to find out that some little shitheads wrote their band name in Sharpie on the side of our van. I can't wait 'til we're back here; we'll let Justin take care of this one. He's got quite the knack for being an asshole. After last night's events, we all look a bit crazy; sweaty, dirty, and I think with all of our anxiety, we're beginning to annoy the hell outta each other. In times like this, the Krum Bums know how to deal: Make fun of each other roughly to see who cracks first.

Lemoyne, Pa.

Who the hell knows of this place? Sure enough, we roll into a backward-ass Northeastern hillbilly town. Even stranger, you can't buy beer and liquor at the same place. You have to go to one place for beer and a separate place for liquor. What the hell is this? Are we still in the good ol' U.S. of A.? We show up to a crappy warehouse where the club is. Oh shit, not this again! We meet with the promoter; it's a straight edge place, no booze allowed. Morale seems low. There's only one thing to do at this point: Fill each water bottle with vodka. Friends from Baltimore, where I used to live, show up. This makes it all worthwhile. Who really gives a fuck if only 12 people show up? We go balls-out and spray the almost nonexistent crowd with vodka – little kids and all. We're jumping and doing cartwheels, the crazier the better!

The next show is canceled. Yes! Unfortunately, we find out that someone died at the club the night before. That sucks! We can't do anything, so we're off to Long Island to stay with Rick from the Casualties.

New York

We arrive at Rick's around 4am. I wake up hearing a familiar voice. Kristina from the Applicators moved to New York and is cooking breakfast for us.

I sleep most of the day and of course call my mom and grandmother for Mother's Day. They both ask how I'm doing. I lie and say I'm doing great. Rick orders us the well-awaited vodka sauce Italian pizza, something we can't get back in Austin, and we go see Iron Man. We're like little kids, so excited, and get popcorn and candy. Iron Man fucking rocks! Back at Rick's I finally take a long shower. Bad news, I think Hemingway is moving on. I'll miss him with all the things we've gone through together. It's sad. My little butt grape is finally going away.

We all get up early and decide to nerd out. Krum Bums venture to the Museum of Natural History. We spend six hours, and it's still not enough. Dinosaurs, tigers, whales, monkeys, all different civilizations. I think we done learneded sumthin' this day!

Enough of all this learning shit. We go to the Niagara, the New York bar that has the painting of Joe Strummer on the side of it. We call Mike from Clit 45, now in the Hunt, to see if he wants to meet up with us. All night we tell old war stories of Casualties, Clit 45, and Krum Bums. It may ruin my reputation as a sweet gentle man of Austin if I divulge anything further about these stories, but if you really want to know, buy me some drinks, and we can talk.

New England, New Jersey

Rise early to drive to New England for a show at some VFW hall. Fuck, it's on the second floor, which means loading in up the stairs, and we feel like shit. Before the show I do a walkabout by myself to see if I can find a place to relax for a bit. I end up finding Tommy and Javier at a bar that also has a restaurant in it. I order a long awaited lobster roll, fuck yeah! Lobster on a hot dog bun, what could be better? During the show I get in a fight with some guy. We roll around for a second, and Justin comes up to knock the guy out, but I stop him. The show goes on without a flaw, another great day!

Asbury Park, N.J. I've heard horror stories about traffic to Jersey, but this is redick. We sit in traffic for five hours and don't move at all! We realize the brakes on the van are shot; every time we stop, we keep rolling.

Tonight, we get to play at a bowling alley: Asbury Lanes. It's rad. There's a stage in the middle of the lanes. Meggers, drummer for the Casualties, set the show up to help us make extra money on the road. It's an awesome time. Some of the guys from the Bouncing Souls show up to bowl and drink with us. We have a blast – shots and bowling shoes. We stay with Meggers that night.

In the morning Meggers buys bagels and cream cheese. We love this guy, a lot of bromance going on. We venture into the city to go shopping and eat. Strangely enough, we run into friends we haven't seen in years. We play in the basement of the Knitting Factory that night. Great show: beer, blood, fights, and laughs. Now off to Canada!


We go to Jake's tattoo parlor to meet with the Casualties to caravan to Canada. We begin our adventure to the North.

I'm tired and out of my mind, but Javier and I split this drive. I really have nothing to complain about since Trae and Tommy drive most of the tour. I'm just not the guy for the job. I have a tendency to fall asleep driving anywhere.

We come to the Canadian border, and of course they ask us to park and come into the office. Shit, they tell me I have to pay $200 to get into the country for some kind of tickets. They tell me from my FBI file that I have to let them take photos of me to put me in their system. Shit, I thought we, as Americans, were the tightasses. Canada's borders blow!

We arrive, and the club rocks! They actually have food, fruit, drinks, and a couch to sleep on. I slam two waters and sleep until the Casualties arrive. The show is awesome, however the Canadians don't know how to circle-pit or stage-dive. Every time a kid jumps off the stage, I almost shit my pants. Most kids dive headfirst into the ground! Ouch.

After the show, our friends from the Ruffianz take us to the best Montreal bars – the Katacombs and Foufoun. We meet many people, and I make a friend that works for Cirque du Soleil. We go to a strip club (I'm told), and I end up passing out. Afterward, the walk to the van is long and tiring. We get there, and what the hell!? There's glass everywhere!! Shit, we've been robbed! They stole everything they could carry: Javier's wedding ring, Justin and Tommy's passports, laptops, iPods, most of our clothes, and personal bags. Even worse! They stole all my hair spray and blow dryer!!!!!!! Ha ha. Fucking shit. I'm so pissed I just go to sleep. Our friend Joe from the Ruffianz makes us a new metal back window. It fits perfect! Now our van has that Mad Max style.

Being robbed always puts a sour taste in your mouth, but we don't let it bring us down. With no toiletries or clothing, I find a cheap store and buy a toothbrush and razor. To lift our spirits, we have a sit-down dinner with the Casualties. I'm close to broke, so I end up sharing an appetizer with Rick and enjoy a pint of cider. As we return to the venue, Meggers and I speak of our interest in Rome and Caligula and how damn tired we are. At this point on tour you just lie, tell yourself you feel okay, and carry on.

Everyone that comes to the show tonight makes it all worthwhile. The crowd really pumps us up, and the lights are so hot I feel like I ran a marathon. Before we leave, Tommy and I go for one last poutine (box of fries, covered in brown gravy and curd cheese). Delicious. We load out, go to a friend's bar, and get hooked up with drinks all night. He later takes us to a tiny flat where there are way too many of us, so I just slump in a corner of the hallway. In the middle of the night, I wake up. "What the hell is that smell?" Aaaaaaah, my head is right next to the kitty litter box.

It's our last night in Canada and our last night with the Casualties. I really hope the Toronto show turns out to be a memorable one. Toronto's an amazing city with lots of shops and restaurants to eat at. Unfortunately the drive is longer than expected, and we have to rush to load into the club. We're all unfortunately lame tonight, exhausted and sad for the tour to be over. We all meet at the way-overpriced bar and make fun of each other. There's nothing off limits with all of us. Your insecurities will all be brought to life. No bitch hearts allowed.

During our set someone breaks open a stink bomb in the crowd. Oh God, it smells like man shit everywhere. I wear my bandana for a real reason tonight. During the Casualties set, I watch the merch booth and ask around for a place to stay. We don't know anyone and can't afford to get a hotel. Then I meet two very strange girls. They ask me what sign I am and tell us we can stay with them. Out of nowhere the crowd drags out a guy with his head split open. He jumped off the stage and went headfirst into the concrete floor. I told you Canadians don't know how to stage-dive. After the show we say our goodbyes to the Casualties, their crew, and Kristina.

As we drive to the hippie girls' house, we find out they're both on Ecstasy. Great! They're having the hardest time giving us directions, and they keep laughing. This is pissing Tommy off to no end. We quickly go to sleep ready to head home. Only three more days.

Unfortunately, the last few shows have been canceled, and with gas prices being what they are, we must bust ass to find house parties or basement shows to play. We manage to book two house parties. I'm not sure how he did it, but Trae got it done! With one day off, we stay with our friend Mike Authority. A well-needed day off. His girlfriend, Amanda, makes us pasta. We watch The Simpsons Movie and laugh all night.

Indianapolis & Champaign, Ill.

With home just a few days away, we play a basement in Indianapolis. The kids are young and all falling down drunk. Ahhh, punkers getting drunker. As the first band plays, I notice smoke all over the basement. No, it's not smoke. It's dust getting kicked around everywhere! While we play I can hardly breathe. Dirt goes up my nose, in my mouth, throat, and eyes. No problem, these kids are nuts! Remember, it's a basement, no stage. We're demolished with kids intertwined with us. Later we drink hot beer at a house party and dream of Austin.

Our last morning, we quickly speed off to Champaign, Ill., for a house party in this quiet college town, not as wild as we would like. We show up to the house, and it looks dead; we seriously contemplate just driving home. No way. We wait and wait and wait and wait. There's isn't a PA, no microphones – still we wait. Four hours later, we play in a little living room. Shit, it feels like we're going to fall through the floor. The owners kept telling me, "No jumping, no jumping." I can't make any promises.

We're lucky we sold a bit of merch because we never got paid, nada! Oh well, let's go home. It's over a 20-hour drive, and we take shifts with no stops other than to piss and get gas. Come on! We have Casino and Jackalope burgers and wings waiting for us.

Once again, I've survived another Krum Bums tour. I come home with a black eye, ripped up leg, broken elbow, and the undying memory of my sweet Hemingway. The memories are priceless. Strangely enough, I want to leave again immediately, this time a little bit smarter. You may not get killed in Canada, but they sure as hell will rob ya.

Thanks, Canada,

Dave Tejas & the Krum Bums

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