Back in 2008, we teamed up with Viva Radio
to follow the indie elite to and from Austin, TX. It might be a full
two years later, but we're thrilled to finally let everyone in on this.
PRO: Asheville trailer park
CON: The constant rattle emitted from inside the Viva Van
Team Impose woke to the pock of rain on roof, to the certainty that the RV would sink irrevocably into the mud. Acting quickly, we maneuvered it out of one dirt driveway, but attempting a turn in another we did become — irrevocably — stuck. Further attempts to adjust our position only leaned the RV ever more precariously downhill, tires dislodging edging stones and wet turf, until it seemed certain to topple onto and crush the living room end of a trailer belonging to a guy named Haze. Which would have been very bad news for Team Viva, who, unknown to us, were encamped on the couches within. It would also have been rather poor remuneration for Haze's giving us a place to park the night before, after Man Man breathed their manic fire at Asheville's Grey Eagle.
The spot was a traveler's oasis: a place for the road-worn to enjoy hot, homemade fried green tomatoes and goulash, and then stumble into the vaulted, barn-like back show space for, in this case, capering Philadelphia bizzaro-rock and twanging tales of doomed prizefighters (the latter, courtesy of the Felice Brothers, was decidedly suited to the surroundings). We met Haze, a displaced punk living on a hillside of displaced punks, through Claire, an expatriate of East Village New York's C-Squat stranded in town by a band breakup. Ashville is that sort of place. People seem to end up there without clear reason, the town welcoming and drawing them into its hill-strewn orbit. For a while that morning, we seemed fated to join them, our transportation swallowed up in soggy earth. It would hardly have been any stranger than how anyone else had found themselves there.
I guess 500 words seems just too much for someone like me, considering I top-out at about 350 per year. But, well, uhhhh. The tour was like my three biggest enjoyments coming to life: traveling, music, and partying. My true Viva moment probably came when I hoisted (yes, hoisted, as it carries weight beyond worlds) the American flag onto my back and leaned out the window for a real look at things.
The experience made me realize that there actually is some decent music out there besides Led Zeppelin and BTO. To be honest, I don't even remember most of the bands we saw, as I was usually either busy getting drunk or already drunk. I felt like I should've been in a band, and, at some points, I probably was.
Just riding in the van, tunes cranked (no convo necessary), windows down, as long as I had smokes and some kind of bevvy, like a dog, I didn't care where we went. Finding my passport (the first of two times), was a good time. When Sher(i) found my passport the second time, that was pretty good too. I lost a lot of stuff on tour, even though it was for less than 1 week. Passport twice, then found. Cell phone stolen on Amtrak. iPod at Angel's? At least five or six pairs of awesome sunglasses. Not to mention my girlfriend, which really made it an unforgettable trip.
I also grabbed 7 stitches before I even met up with the Viva crew, maybe just to take the bar up a notch?