In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the metalcore band, If Not For Me, shares one of their stories from being on the road. You can check out the story below:
So we released our first EP titled “Capture the Current” in 2018, and we did a ten day run along the east coast to support the release. At the time, this tour was the longest headliner we’d done and is still to this day one of the most memorable for… reasons.
The first night was our hometown release show in Lancaster, PA at the Chameleon Club (RIP). The show went very smoothly and everyone had a blast. Day two was in Worcester, MA, but just miles from the venue, our van’s engine seized up and we broke down on the side of the road. Cancelling shows is something we as a band don’t really do, so Hayden and I [Patty] literally ran two miles to the nearest U-Haul to rent a box truck. The plan was to tow our trailer to the venue using the truck because their vans couldn’t pull a trailer, and then I would take the truck back to U-Haul while the guys loaded in so I could pick up something more suitable to finish the tour with. So I took it back and exchanged it for a cargo van. However, as soon as I got out of the parking lot with our cargo van, I was rear ended really badly by a massive pickup. It totaled both vehicles as far as I can remember. So I was left stranded at this U-Haul for the entire night dealing with police and insurance and the guys had to do the show without me. Once again we were van-less, and U-Haul was completely out of vehicles. The guys hitched a ride back to me and we were stuck there, with the biggest date of the tour being Summer Slaughter the following day. But by some miracle, someone came and dropped off another cargo van right as the U-Haul was closing, and they just let us have it. It could only be a one day rental, but we’d cross that bridge when we came to it. So we took the van back to the venue to grab all our gear, and that’s when we met Flat Black.
Flat Black was an eccentric homeless dude who lived in a gas station parking lot in his black spray-painted Dodge Ram van that had over 900k miles on it, a massive PA system on the OUTSIDE, and started with a screw driver in the ignition. This dude was wild. He picked up our 8x10 bass cab BY HIMSELF and casually tossed it into the back of our cargo van within minutes of meeting him. But most importantly he said he could fix our van no problem, and we were out of options. We figured we had nothing left to lose, so we gave him the keys and let him do his thing. He went out in the middle of the night, found our van, and towed it back to the parking lot he was living at while we went off to play Summer Slaughter in Philly the next day. The show slammed, but then we had to take our cargo van rental back to MA and were stranded in Worcester once again. We stayed with Flat Black in his camper at the gas station while he worked on our van, but ultimately he couldn’t fix it unless we bought a new engine. So somehow we impulse bought another van from his equally crazy friend dirt cheap that at least ran.
We spent the next week homeless in Worcester while we worked on our new van with Flat Black. In between his various shenanigans like asking us for alcohol/hooker money and climbing light posts over busy streets in under 30 seconds, he was also randomly a limo driver, and would drive people around sloppy drunk wearing a blazer over his Black Sabbath tee shirt. And crazy enough, the whole rest of the tour was all in New England, so this dude actually drove us to all of our shows. Finally, we got our new van working just well enough to barely get us and all our gear back home.
So many things happened on that tour that were just unbelievable, and ultimately led to the next layer of craziness to somehow keep us going. I think we went through six vehicles on that run, and somehow didn’t drop a single show. And as wild as Flat Black was, he was also extremely generous and passionate, and I truly believe he was our guardian angel in many ways. When we got home, we found out our record Billboard charted for that week, and that would’ve never happened if we gave up on day two. But God I hope we never have to do anything like that again.