Join us as SUCKERPUNCH! tells you onc eof their crazy stories from touring.


In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the pop punk band, SUCKERPUNCH!, shares one of their stories from being on the road. You can check out the story below:

This story happened a few years back with one of our previous bands, most of our current members weren't in it. It's not about a tour, but a series of shows. We drove a lot without pay, so let's bend the rules associated with this series and adjust the syntax a bit so we can share an experience that really shaped us.

The year is 2015. We are young, dumb, and don't know anything about being in a band. One day, while mind-numbingly scrolling through social media at a band practice, one of us stumbles upon a post about a new battle. Battle of the Bands, yuck right?! Even at that time, we knew it was a waste of time, but we still decide to check out the ad, and we were in for a big surprise when we discovered the prize awarded to the winning band. It wasn't your typical 8-hour recording session at the worst studio in town, but a true pop punk holy grail!  

The prize:  
What was this coveted prize? Here's a hint: it involves a traveling circus that lands in your hometown once a year, where you mosh on hot concrete without a care in the world to all your favorite bands from 10 AM to 10 PM. You got it. The contest offered lucky bands from Toronto and one from Halifax, Canada, a 30-minute spot on that year's Warped Tour in NY state. Our jaws dropped. Finally, an opportunity to get noticed and play in the big leagues. WE HAD TO GET THIS!  

The opportunity:  
As we dug for more info, we hit a major snag: the Toronto contest (nearest to our hometown of Montreal) wasn't open to bands from our province, Quebec. That was not acceptable! We scrutinized the contest rules ad nauseam until we found a major loophole. Eureka! They had forgotten to make exclusions for out-of-province bands at their Halifax event. That was our way in. We applied, and although the promoter was a bit frazzled that a band 12 HOURS AWAY had submitted, they decided to give us a shot. WE WERE IN!  

Round 1:  
Band member excitement is at 120%. Having never toured, our planning and budgetary skills are severely lacking at this time. We decide to take 3 separate cars to fit all our gear and hit the road at 5 AM, leaving us no room for a single bump in the road to make our 5 PM load-in. Since humans need to eat and pee, we end up arriving an hour late. The promoter and venue staff cut us a break, and we are able to line check minutes before hitting the stage. Adrenaline is pumping through our veins, and we manage to deliver a solid 4-song mini-set that allows us to overcome the strike we started with and be crowned winners of the night! We celebrate the victory in one of Halifax's best watering holes, crash for 3 hours of sleep, and then it's a 12-hour drive back home on Sunday. We arrive exhausted around midnight, but we are one step closer to the goal!  

Round 2:  
A week of 9 to 5 passes, and honestly, we are still pretty worn out from the previous weekend. But rest is for the weak, and it's time to plan the next drive. Now knowing there's a backline of cabs at the venue, we find a way to cram the gear and band members into one overstuffed vehicle, and we hit the road at 4 AM. Can't be late for sound check again. Band member excitement level is still at a solid 95%. We make it on time, get through our 4-song set, and just try to stay awake until the deliberation. We are getting a good night's sleep this time, no matter what.  

This week isn't like the last, though. The judges take an extra long time before revealing the winner. This is when we start feeling our dream slipping away. Band excitement hovers around 55%. In a movie-like twist, the judges call a tie and ask us and another band to play one more song to help crown a winner. We huddle and pick a song to play. We hadn't practiced the song in months, and we know we are likely done. In a moment of clarity, we say to ourselves, "Hey, at least we don't have to drive down again next week."  

Both bands have played, and by some sort of miracle, they call us the winners. The dream is back on! In complete disrespect for our worn-out bodies, we go out that night and go twice as hard as the last time! The next morning, we are literal zombies. We don't have the energy to pick up our gear from last night's venue, and we just leave it there in storage for the next week. The drive back is a grueling journey in which we switch drivers every hour to make sure we don't fall asleep. We arrive a few hours before we have to start that week's 9 to 5 grind.  

Round 3:  
The following week is a challenge of faith. Not only do we want to puke just thinking about doing that drive again, but we find out mid-week that our singer has to work on the day of the show. We are so close to our goal, and we can't quit after all that we've been through already. We buy our singer a plane ticket so he can make the performance. The rest of the band decides to do an all-night drive to rest before the show. Band excitement level is dipping to 50%.  

Even though we arrive way before our sound check this time, nerves get the best of us, and none of us end up sleeping much. Our plan of showing up more rested backfires. We show up to the venue running on fumes. As soon as we arrive, we make sure all our gear is still there (yay, no one pawned it) and negotiate with the promoter to be the last performance of the night to make sure our singer makes it.

The singer shows up T-minus 5, and we give all that we have left. The performance is solid enough for us to feel like we have a shot at the title. The deliberation is quick that night, and the worst thing that could happen happens: we are the runner-up. We invested all this time and money only to leave Halifax with the 2nd place prize—a t-shirt of the local rock radio station sponsoring the event. The dream is dead. There is no partying that night. We barely speak on the 12-hour drive either.  

Plot twist:  
The following Monday, still reeling from the whole experience, we receive an unexpected email from the show promoter. They congratulate us for our 3 sets and our dedication. They were impressed and offer us to play Warped Tour on an additional spot they were able to secure. We had succeeded. We had everything we had sacrificed so much for!!! But then reality comes crashing down. Canadians who want to perform in the US need special work visas that cost $400 per person. We had spent all the money we had on traveling to Halifax three weekends in a row. Even though it broke our hearts, we had to turn down the holy grail because we hadn't done enough research on what it entailed.  

Almost a decade later, we all look back fondly on this experience. We didn't get to play Warped Tour, but in the end, that didn't move the needle much. We became better friends, learned that being in a band is about music but also making smart decisions and educating yourself. But most importantly, we learned how resilient and passionate we are about our band. All those lessons learned from those string of shows were critical in laying the foundations for SUCKERPUNCH! We got older and wiser, but we are still crazy enough to keep chasing that Holy Grail.  

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