In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the pop punk band, 5606 (fiftysixosix), shares one of their stories from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
I think the craziest thing that’s ever happened to us on tour that is appropriate to share publicly, was on a travel day from Tacoma to Denver. We knew it was going to be a long ride, but the tour had been going well, so our spirits were high. We’d made plans to see friends once we landed in Denver, and even mapped out some kitschy roadside attractions we wanted to stop and see along the way. Our tour bus pretty comfortably slept all of us, and we had 2 certified drivers on board. We were confident this was going to be an easy ride.
Apparently, the road gods had other plans for us. Soon after leaving Tacoma, something happened to our bus. All the exterior security lights went out, and the bus could only go up to about 30-35 miles per hour. We stopped multiple times desperately trying to figure it out, but nothing seemed to work. Because our bus was old Detroit diesel, even the repair places we called seemed to have no idea what to do. I remember fully climbing into the engine compartment when we were somewhere outside of Boise. I had no idea what I was doing, of course, but this drive was quickly turning into a nightmare, so I wanted to help. I found two loose wires and wound up gaff taping them together. Thinking I had solved the problem, I was met with praise when exiting the engine compartment. I was covered in grease from head to toe, but I was proud of myself. I’d fixed the bus! Started back off on the road again and, nothing, the bus was still broken. Whatever I had taped together didn’t work. Of course, it didn’t work. Why would it have worked!
For any of you who have done a stretch down the 84, you know that it can be a bit tricky to navigate – particularly at night. At one particularly hellacious point of our journey, we were driving around Thurston Peak just outside of Ogden, Utah. It was pitch black, all of our exterior lights were out with the exception of our front headlights, and we were crawling along at 30 miles per hour in the slow lane. Every few minutes, a truck would zoom around the bend and swerve and honk just narrowly avoiding us. I was certain it was just a matter of time before someone crashed into us. After all, we were being incredibly unsafe. The road was pitch black, and we were doing half the speed limit with our lights off. I still can’t believe no one crashed into us. None of us slept that night.
We wound up pulling into Denver right around sound check the following day. We had missed our entire day off and had spent a solid 49 straight hours on the road. We had been peeing in Gatorade bottles and eating nothing but spare peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that we had on the bus. When we finally got off we ceremoniously kissed the ground like astronauts do when they make it back to earth. We were definitely a little loopy (and probably a lot a bit smelly). The next day we took the bus in for service at a Detroit diesel specialty shop. The guy heard our story, popped a blown fuse out of the fuse box, fished in his pocket for a spare, and popped the new one in. Sure enough, the bus started right up and drove just fine. Wound up costing us $10 for a spare fuse. Longest and most harrowing trip of my life. All over a $10 fuse. Looking back, though, I think the craziest/crummiest moments on a tour are what make it special. We now love to tell that story, and we tell it like it was the funniest most awesome thing that’s ever happened to us. It’s amazing how miserable we were then – and how differently we recall it now. I suppose there’s an allegory for life in there somewhere, but I’m just the bassist. Moral of the story: don’t ever let a bassist try to fix your bus.
-Andy Warpth, 5606 bassist