Have ball, will travel
The Story So Far
Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V
We arrived at the Gorge around 1:30 Monday afternoon, so the whole “almost killing us so that we get there by two o’clock because ambulances can drive faster than regular cars” idea seemed extra stupid. I mean the ambulance probably would have just taken us to a hospital, and not to the concert. In retrospect, it doesn’t make any sense at all. See, this is where I could really use that medical degree. Damn you, standardized testing!
Oh well, hindsight is 50-50.
We went through the gates and I tried to call David to let him know we were there, but the reception was pretty spotty. So I sent him a text, and then sent one to Cameron from Live Nation as well. Cameron got back to me right away and said to text him at 3:30 and he would come meet us and bring us backstage. Although we were told to be there by two at the latest, I said okay, because direct confrontation is not my thing. We headed back over to the scene of Saturdays crime, the El Chupacabra tent for some comedy.
Tig Notaro was on at 2 o’clock. After Tig’s set was Mike Birbiglia, who was one of my “must see” acts of the weekend. Unfortunately, we would not be able to see him since we would be backstage with The Lumineers. That was a fucking bummer.
Virtual Tig Notaro
As Tig Notaro was opening her show, we got another text from David saying he would meet us at the Easy Street autograph booth in twenty minutes. So now we weren’t going to see much of Tig’s set either. We watched another ten minutes and then headed over to do what we came here to do.
We got to Easy Street with five minutes to spare. We were about to go backstage, behind the scenes, where the magic happens. It was a dream come true.
CBS: “Do you think I have time to run over to the bathrooms?”
Me: “Seriously? He’ll be out in a minute and then you can use a port-a-potty backstage. You can poop like a rock star!”
CBS: “I don’t have to poop. I just have to pee.”
Me: “But poop like a rock star is much funnier than pee like a rock star.”
CBS: “It is. But I don’t have to poop.”
Me: “I’m gonna force myself to poop, so I can say I pooped like a rock star backstage at Sasquatch. I’ve heard that all the cool kids are doing it. Or saying they did it. Because all the cool kids are liars.”
CBS: “You should definitely do that.”
Me: “Are you crazy? I can’t poop in one of those things. It’s like pooping in a coffin. Plus, you never know when Bam Margera and his cronies are gonna show up and tip over the shitter. Not on my poop. I’m waiting until we get back to the hotel.”
CBS: “I know you are, Bill. I know.”
We decided that she was a big girl and she could hold it for a few more minutes. While we waited, we watched Imagine Dragons signing autographs. They drew a really large crowd for their thirty minute autograph session. And we were there watching most of it, because no one came out to get us until 3:30. Connie Bigs totally had enough time to pee like a regular girl. Apologies, Connie.
Imagine Dragons signing autographs at Easy Street while Connie holds it.
Finally David and Cameron both came out to get us. We didn’t get any special wristbands for backstage, and one of the security guards said, “Make sure they leave when they’re done.” Like he thought I had plans for us to hide out in a guitar case and go on tour with The Lumineers or something. I mean I didn’t. I couldn’t even fit into a guitar case. Well, maybe if it’s a twelve string guitar.
No, that’s crazy…. But it just might be crazy enough to work.
We went down to the Artist Lounge, where we were told that taking pictures was frowned upon inside the tent. We reluctantly agreed to not go all paparazzi on the rock stars. I was really hoping to sell a few candid photos to People Magazine, or its slutty little stepsister, Us Weekly. I’m always looking to earn myself a little extra walking around money.
On the walk down there, David turned to us and asked us if either of us had ever been on a tour bus before. I asked him if he was implying that my wife was some kind of groupie slut, who traveled from one tour bus to another, doing sex upon rock stars for front row tickets and backstage passes to the show. He assured me that was in no way what he was saying. He was actually talking about the fact that our meet and greet was going to occur on The Lumineers tour bus.
I apologized profusely and explained that sometimes I like to make jokes about things. I then asked him how Connie would go about applying for a job like groupie slut, just in case any good shows came around. Is it a “send in her resume” kind of deal, or does she have to know somebody? He apparently must not have heard me, because he never responded.
This is Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone saying “You Stay Classy, Sasquatch!”
When we entered the tent, the Bose people brought us into a side area to interview us about winning the trip. They had us sit down on a couch and gave us each a microphone. Then they asked basic questions about how the festival had been and what bands we had enjoyed seeing. The lady conducting the interview asked me if I had thought of any questions that I wanted to ask the band. When I told her that I did indeed have some queries in mind, she said that in case I needed some, she had a list of potential questions.
- How did you come up with the song Ho Hey?
- Who are your musical influences?
- Do you like things?
I thanked her for the offer, but reminded her that I wasn’t interviewing the band for Teen People Magazine, or for its slutty little stepsister, Teen Us Weekly. I would stick with the questions I had. Of course, I didn’t express that verbally, being as though I’m a cultured gentleman from the finest of upper lower middle class families. But I’m pretty sure she caught my vibe.
After we finished the interviews, they said it would be about twenty minutes until we would go on the bus. They told us to hang out and grab something to eat and drink. This is where the performers hung out, when they weren’t on their tour buses getting sexed upon by the aforementioned groupie sluts. So everything was free, as rock stars can’t carry wallets because their pants are so tight. Bigs grabbed herself a Kokanee.
Connie sneaking a selfie in the no photo zone.
She’s a rebel, that one.
They had a coffee bar set up, which excited this sickly boy to no ends. I asked the cool guy hipster working there for three fingers of java in a dirty cup. We both laughed, and then I clarified that I really would prefer a new, clean, unused cup. As I’m sure the state of Washington requires them to provide in compliance with all applicable food service industry regulations. Then I laughed by myself. He said that they had just closed the hot coffee part down, but still had ice coffee. I told him I thought that sucked mad balls, but I’d take one.
It was one of those deals where they pour the coffee for you, and you handled your own cream and sugar, but I couldn’t find any. I asked the dude where it was and he pointed to a bottle of liquid. Apparently it was liquid sugar, or some such witchcraft. I poured some into my coffee.
I have no formal schooling in Culinary Arts, unless you count seventh grade Home-Ec class. Which it kind of seems like you should. I mean, it was public school, but I do remember making a mean Cinnamon Coffee Cake. But even with one full year of training, they never covered the “Real Sugar to Sweet Hippie Syrup Substitute” conversion rate. So I had to completely wing it. I asked where the cream was, and he pointed to another bottle….of soy cream. What the fuck, hipster? This is America, I want candy and cow blood in my coffee! I poured some soy in, mixed it up, and took a sip.
“How is it?”, Connie asked.
“I think I just figured out where Sasquatch washes his balls.”, I replied. “How’s the Kokanee?”
We went outside to smoke in the rain, and on the way back in I saw Kyle Kinane. I really enjoyed his stand up set on Saturday, so I approached him and told him so. He thanked me and we chatted for about 27 seconds. It was pretty cool, and I bragged to Connie about it. She confirmed to me what I have always suspected. I really am adorable.
The time came for us to head over to the bus for the meet and greet. We walked over there, with camera crew in tow. They filmed us walking up to the bus, and then, “Cut!”. But they didn’t say cut, they just stopped filming.
“That’s not the way Emilio Estevez would have done it.”, I whispered to Bigs.
They instructed me to open the door of the bus. I asked them if they were positive that I should do that, or maybe we should wait for someone with a higher security clearance than me. Like maybe one of the kids working at the t-shirt booth? I was told that I should do it.
I opened the door, and some dude was standing at the top of the stairs with his arms folded across his chest, looking none too happy at the intrusion. I nervously informed him that this gang of thugs with a camera had accosted me and forced me to open the door, against my wishes, by threat of physical harm to my wife. I asked him to quickly call 911 and tell them, “Billy’s in danger”. They’d know what he meant.
The camera crew went inside and they had Connie and I come up onto the stairs. They told us to wait there while they set up inside. “Don’t peek”, is what I was told. “Don’t you tell me what not to do”, is what I didn’t tell them loudly. When they finally instructed us to enter, the band was sitting on a bench on the right-hand (our left) side of the bus. Or the ‘port side’, as people who confuse not only buses and boats, but also the port and starboard sides of a boat, would call it.
The bench opposite of them was empty. They invited us to sit.
billmcmorrow.com and Wesley Schultz having a good old-fashioned staring contest
The first thing Wesley, the lead singer, said to me was, “So, we hear that you’re a comedian.”
I told him that I did some stand up, but I totally spaced on plugging billmcmorrow.com to them. Or my rock epic Karate. I was going to burn them a copy and leave it on the tour bus. Missed opportunities. Hopefully they’ll read this due to a few well placed tags, in conjunction with a well-timed tweet. As well as some relentless spamming of their personal email accounts, plus an occasional night-time fly by of their houses by this surplus military drone I just bought from a guy on Craigslist, who was moving to a new rooming house that doesn’t allow pets. I’m sure they’re looking for some reading material on the bus sometimes. The road is a lonely mistress, and reading is fundamental.
If they do read this, I wonder if they know how fast tickets to the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, which they’re playing July 28th, sold out? Really fast. Too fast for Bill McMorrow to score tickets for him and his beloved Connie Bigslob to see their beloved Lumineers. I’m just saying that if they are really serious about us all being best friends for life, then tickets to that show would really prove it. I didn’t even say anything about backstage passes, guys, but if that’s how it has to be….
Everyone watching the staring contest. They can’t believe our intensity.
We talked for around ten minutes about a variety of subjects.
I asked why the song Don’t Wanna Go didn’t make it on the album. It’s a beautiful song, that anyone who has experienced the loss of a parent at a young age, such as myself, could surely relate to. I told them that I think it is incredibly haunting. Wesley said that they thought that it was maybe too haunting for the album. I told him I hope they’ll put it on the next album, as I think it’s phenomenal. I offered to arm wrestle him over it. He politely declined, saying something about not wanting to hyper-extend his guitar muscles before the show.
I told them I think that they got screwed not winning Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards last year. The drummer, Jeremiah, rattled off a bunch of other awards they were nominated for, but didn’t win. He said that it’s kind of their thing, losing awards. I told him that I think it was a faux pas of epic proportions, on par with Jethro Tull beating out Metallica for Best Heavy Metal album.
Dude! You totally just blinked.
I never watch the Grammys, but Connie Bigs loves that all those award shows. Her sister from a different madam and mister, Paula Sheafigginsstinn, and her will sit and watch that shit all night long. Grammys, Oscars, Golden Globes, Kids Choice Awards, or it’s slutty little stepsister the Kids Us Weekly Choice Awards, it doesn’t matter. As long as there’s a handle of Captain Morgan, a bottle of Coca-Cola Classic, and a couple of packs of Newport in close proximity, they’re down. Try doing it sober ladies. It’s not nearly as awesome.
But I watched this year. Well, I watched the part when they gave out the award for Best New Artist. The Lumineers lost to the band Fun. Who are good, but come on!
“The Lumineers not winning the Grammy Award for Best New Artist is a fucking travesty and I demand justice is done, and the decision is immediately reversed and expunged from the record, in perpetuity!!”, is what I said to my Congressman’s secretary when she asked me if I wanted to leave a message.
We talked about my winning the trip on Facebook, and how Bigs thought it was a scam, because nobody actually wins those things. So I had called back and asked the guy if I had to buy a timeshare. We all laughed about that, and then Jeremiah talked us into buying ten time shares in Hawaii. What can I say? He was very persuasive, and I didn’t want to come across as rude. First impressions are everything.
The bad part about it is that we can’t even afford one time share in Hawaii, let alone ten time shares in Hawaii. The good part about it is that we now own ten fucking time shares in Hawaii!! That’s baller! Maybe we’ll sublet nine of them, and live out of the other one, solving crimes. Like a real life McMagnum P.I. & Wife.
Wesley and Neyla , the lovely songbird that she is, took us down back and gave us a tour of the rest of the bus. It was really nice. Way nicer than Stillwater’s bus in Almost Famous. That thing was a shitbox. I really wish that we had a Tiny Dancer sing-a-long while we were on there, though, and then Connie Bigs could have said, “You are home” and waved her fingers in my face. We all would have laughed and then everything would be all better again.
Because that’s what sing-a-longs are for. Getting the band over bad acid trips.
As we were leaving, they gave us backstage passes for their set, so we could stand right up on the side of the stage and watch. We were happy with that. The VIP platform only held 45 people at a time, and I was worried about whether we would be able to get up there for them.
L-R: Jeremiah Fraites, Stelth Ulvang, Ben Wahamaki, Neyla Pekarek, billmcmorrow.com, Connie Bigslob, Wesley Schultz
We said our farewells and left the bus. Sad that it was over, but excited about watching their show from backstage. We went back to the tent, where they recorded our reaction to the experience and gave us an autographed guitar. It’s a lefty. I’m pretty sure you have to go out of your way to get a lefty guitar. Like special ordering it and waiting six to eight months for delivery. It’s not even one of the ones in the video, because they’re both righty. I’m pretty perceptive. But it’s an autographed guitar.
After that, it was time to go back out with the unwashed masses. On Friday, Cameron had mentioned that Bose was giving us each a pair of QC15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones and the blue-tooth Soundlinks. One of the Bose ladies said, “That was supposed to be a surprise for Monday. So look excited.” We agreed to look super excited when the time came.
Now the time had cometh, and no one said anything about the Bose gear. As we were making our way out of the tent, I asked Cameron if he was just fucking with us about the gear. He said, “Oh, almost forgot. We can ship it home for you if you want. As they were already shipping the guitar home for us, we agreed that would be fine. It would save us having to ship it home ourselves. I said, “We will get it though, right?”
“Absolutely”, he replied.
When we went back out to the crowd we saw the last half-hour of Imagine Dragons. A lot people suggested that we should see them, and they really put on a good show, despite the weather. I bought their album Night Visions and it is now in heavy rotation. I love it. After their set we headed over to Cliff House to chill out for a bit.
Some dude came over that fence, I’m pretty sure he ripped his balls off
While we were at Cliff House, Connie had to use the facilities again, due to the free Kokanee tallboy she pounded down backstage. That’s my lady.
As I was sitting there by myself, looking out over the Columbia River, I noticed movement on the other side of the fence. I looked down just in time to see a hand poke up. Some dude was climbing up the sheer face of the cliff. He popped up onto the grass and hopped the fence into the private section right next to Cliff House. The security guy there chased him and disappeared out into the crowd. Connie came back and I told her all about it. It was fucking crazy.
Cake came on and put on a great show. The crowd loved them. They’re one of those bands I always forget how many good songs they have. I thoroughly enjoyed their set. When it was over, we went to meet Madison and Brenna from Bose. They were going backstage to watch The Lumineers with us. We peeled off the backs of the passes and affixed them in a clearly visible area so people would know that we were the shit.
Me and my Bose ladies backstage pre-show
Brenna, billmcmorrow.com, Madison
We got backstage and were told to stand-off to the side while Cake’s road crew broke down their gear. I told them that I would go wherever they told me to go. I started telling them this story about when I was a kid and all my friends jumped off this bridge, but they seemed really busy, so it kind of lost momentum. That particular story is a bit of a slow-builder. But if they had the patience to have listened to the whole thing, they would have learnt something about life and love and boys and bridges.
Watching from backstage
The show was fantastic. It was still daylight when they started and the sun set during the show. About halfway through their set, they went out and played a few songs in the crowd. They must have forgotten that we were backstage watching the show, and that we wouldn’t be able to see them as well when they were out in the crowd. It’s okay though. I forgive them. That’s what best friends do, they forgive each other for all sorts of different crazy stuff. When they’re not busy punching each other in the nuts.
After The Lumineers, we headed out of Sasquatch for the last time. It was hard to believe it was over. So many good bands over four glorious days. For free. Well, at least free until tax time.
The drive back to Wenatchee was particularly scary this time because we kept running into fog. Like very thick fog, that would come out of nowhere. It was really creepy. But we made it back alive.
Just in time to pack everything up and take a nap for the long day ahead.
Up Next: Part VII: Home Sweet Home