In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the rock band, The Others Are Dead, Steve, shares one of their stories from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
Rock the boat
I couldn’t help but smile as Harvey’s Doc Marten enhanced footsteps bludgeoned me into consciousness as I lay on the kitchen floor. The previous night had seen our nervy but ultimately triumphant debut to live music, as our band had formed as a socially distanced song writing project during the pandemic. We had played at Hot Box Records, a skate shop by day but a charmingly vibrant music venue by night and a hub of the local scene located in the sprawling metropolis and cultural mecca of Chelmsford, Essex. Having staggered collectively through a set fuelled by rum and Guinness, the band had elected to continue our revelry in celebration of a return to near normality. Like something resembling a stoic hero of Scandinavian folklore, only Steve had favoured sensibility by returning to London with our gear in tow, early and unimpaired by inebriation.
The rest of us (Ash – bass, Harvey – drums, Kat – vocals and Mark – country licks) had continued imbibing and holding court with the delightful citizens of Chelmsford who had been kind enough to endure our peculiar brand of noise. At around midnight, it became clear that the window for returning to London via train had elapsed and as the festivities wound down, we quietly resigned ourselves to a fate wandering the streets until morning. As we succumbed to this sobering thought however, our intrepid drummer Harvey surprised us by affirming that he had in fact booked accommodation for the night, and invited the band to continue our escapades at said accommodation.
This rallied us, and while Harvey remained guarded about our destination, we eagerly began our voyage through the streets of Chelmsford towards the penthouse Harvey had presumably reserved. After an hour or so of vaguely aimful wondering, we arrived at the local moorings where to our collective astonishment, we discovered the rest of our night would be spent onboard a narrowboat. While this venue would clearly lack the ornate furnishings and comforts of our imagined penthouse, it did nothing to diminish our spirit (and in any case, we had plenty of liquid spirit on hand to replenish our stores). We cheerfully launched into a blow-by-blow account of our earlier set, with highlights joyously lauded to the splash of our rum filled mugs and any reports of low points or inadequacies in our (admittedly rusty) playing banished by even more fervent toasting and consumption.
As the conversation and merriment raged on, we regaled each other further with tales of exploits in our previous bands, our fears, hopes and dreams. A feeling took hold that we were in some way embodying the ideal that all great bands resembled a romanticised notion of pirate ship crews. A disparate group of vagabonds united in the pursuit of adventure. We had perhaps taken this idea too literally given our current nautical surroundings, though admittedly the high seas of the Caribbean likely offered greater allure and chance of plunder than a canal in Chelmsford. And while her true reasoning has surely been lost forever to the sands of time and alcohol, it was perhaps upon this realisation that Kat elected to throw herself into said canal at 3 in the morning. Her safe return to the boat prompted further carousing of a similar nature to that described earlier, and gradually we each slipped off to sleep as dawn began to break.
As I lay on the floor listening to Harvey stomp around the boat making coffee and breathing new life into the band with his charisma and good grace, I reflected on what the previous night meant to each of us given the previous year of unfulfilling monotony brought about by Covid. Last night had surely been why everyone involved with this band carry on persists with it, quite apart from being useful fodder for a promotional PR piece – for the stories (hazily remembered as they may be), the characters and the sheer joy of playing your own music to an appreciative crowd.