Des Moines how I miss you, let me count the ways. The first real adventure I remember about heading to the capital city of Iowa was on the very first Officially Terminated Tour when we were 19 or 20. Back then nobody was carrying a cell phone with GPS on it. So I used my parents computer and printed out the entire 10 day tour route via Mapquest, which was inevitably always wrong. I had a three ring binder with all the directions. We loaded up our old church van for a solid week plus of touring. The first night was schedule in Des Moines and I had hooked up with a punk rock promoter that was booking The Backyard Babies at a place called Hairy Mary's. Some how I convinced him to let us open the show. Now The Backyard Babies are one of those legendary Swedish bands that brought good rock n roll back in the early 2000's. They are huge and we were opening for them first night of our tour. We got to the club and they wouldn't let us even set up on the stage. We had to play on the floor in front of the stage. It didn't really even matter we were just happy to be there and happy to not be heading home anytime soon. The show was outstanding but I can't remember a ton of people being there. The promoter who also happened to be the bar tender felt bad for us and paid us with his tips at the end of the night. We had no place to stay and no where to be so we asked The Backyard Babies who were riding in a tour bus if we could crash in their hotel rooms. Silly silly silly. Not a chance. We followed them to the Holiday Inn and attempted to sneak into their after party which again did not happen. We decided the next best thing was to stay in the parking lot for the evening.
Here is where things get a bit interesting. Whenever I tell this story to my mom she just cringes and screams "Sam I had no idea that's what you guys were doing out there." In the parking lot of the Holiday Inn where the headliners were staying we posted up camp. We gathered the chairs and coolers and proceeded to get entirely wasted while listening to music. Cigarettes, beer, liquor, the whole works. We were on tour after all. As everyone started to pass out we soon realized there wasn't enough room for us all to sleep in the van. Maybe it was the liquor or maybe it was the adventure but we dragged out the sleeping bags and made our beds in the grass, on-top of the van, and even underneath the van. As morning set it and the breakfast crowd started to file in, the hotel management soon realized they had a bunch of vagrants sleeping in their parking lot. 5 AM hangover still fresh they kicked us out. We drove a few blocks down parked the van in front of somebody's house and crawled back into the grass to finish off getting a few more zzzz's. It was dangerous and insane but honest and pure and that's what made it so good. I can't remember where we went after that but I know every place we played, if we didn't find a place to crash we were sleeping like hillbillies outside of the van. I don't expect that magnitude of intensity this weekend but it's sure going to be nice getting back to a city with so many great memories. Time to start a new chapter in the book.