Creepy Cracker Barrels Are Dead to Bay Area Punks Dead to Me
The road is not a pretty place. Tour Is Hell collects your favorite bands' war stories, some of which make Cormac McCarthy look like Dr. Seuss. Today, we get in the van with Dead to Me frontman (and proud self-described asshole) Tyson "Chicken" Annicharico. The Bay Area punks just released I Wanna Die in Los Angeles, a three-track 7" streaming below and available here (via Fat Wreck Chords).
What album can everyone agree on in the van? Who is the most decisive?
We pretty much have a "whoever is driving gets to pick the music" rule. When I drive, I usually choose no music or radio listening. I like to give my ears a rest. But we do all like comedy and podcasts, so we agree on that stuff.
What’s the strangest gig you’ve ever played?
That's a tough one, but I think it would probably be a show we played in Russia. We took a train from Ukraine the night before, and that was one of the oddest experiences of my life because there was a ton of people on the train smuggling black market goods back to Russia. It was all hidden in their little bags and under their coats, and then they unloaded it onto trucks that pulled up next to the train at a stop somewhere in Russia.
Shit was crazy. The show itself was trippy, because folks there don't have a lot of money, so the backline gear was in super bad shape. Our drummer tried the snare out and a cloud of dust shot up — no joke. We had a great time, though, and the show was super fun.
Tell us about your biggest onstage clusterfuck.
Our biggest onstage clusterfuck was probably when we played a CMJ showcase in Red Hook, Brooklyn a long time ago. Our drummer took like a trillion Xanax — apparently on the ride up from Richmond, Va. — and dude was on another planet. Like we'd end a song and he'd keep playing. Shit was bizarre. It's funny now, but at the time I was so bummed.
What’s the worst injury you guys have inflicted on one another?
We definitely inflict emotional injuries on each other — we're not physical dudes, so we definitely don't fight. But we will say some seriously mean shit to each other when upset, because we are so close that we know exactly what to say that will dig deep into the other dude. But that happens in families, unfortunately, and we very, very rarely get to that point, if ever.
Describe your craziest afterparty.
I think the afterparties in Japan and Europe get pretty crazy for sure, but I'm a drug addict / alcoholic in recovery, so honestly, any party we ever had on tour was pretty lightweight compared to my daily drinking or drug use at home.
How do you deal with going days or even weeks without a shower?
It's easy — if you just rinse your mouth out, and your special spots, it's not too bad. But real talk: I keep my person fresh, 'cause I'm not some young-ass kid that thinks it's punk to be disgusting anymore. I've led such an irresponsible life that, at this point, doing regular stuff like getting sleep and showering is new and exciting. So, I'm all about it.
What’s the most frightening experience you’ve had while out on the road?
Black ice. I dare utter the words for fear of attracting it. That's all I'm gonna say. It's evil and it scares the living shit out of me.
What’s your go-to restaurant or roadside welcome center?
Hmmm ... they all kind of suck, honestly. I'm vegan, so I can only fuck with Clif Bars and bananas and peanuts, basically, at the gas stations. As hilarious as Awful House [Waffle House] can be, I don't like their food.
What’s one of the weirder places you’ve stopped to eat?
Awful House [Waffle House] and Cracker Barrel are so weird to me — I kind of don't understand them at all. I mean, Cracker Barrel is like, "Come pretend it's all old-timey, and the simple life, and rocking chairs," but I'm half expecting Larry the Cable Guy to walk through the door at any time and say, "Thanks for eating here, brother," with a sketchy white pride wink and shit. I don't know, man — place is weird.
Who drives the most, and why?
I'm sure we'd all answer, "I do!" But in reality, the answer is that I do. Especially now that I'm sober. It's a no-brainer — sober guy drives after shows.
What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without sleep?
On tour? Probably two or three days — nothing too crazy. It's usually after an overseas flight and then not being able to adjust.
How do you keep healthy on tour?
Nowadays it's all about preventive medicine. Punk rock is a young man's game, and I'm not really a young man anymore. Whole Foods is a great ally on tour, 'cause I can stock up on vitamins and wellness formulas, and all that hippie shit.
What do you do to pass the time en route from one town to the next?
I spend a lot of time going over my greatest life regrets and replaying my worst days in my head. It's great, 'cause I can get sucked into a pit of misery real fast and then just dwell, and before I know it, a few hours have passed and we are almost done with the drive. Fun stuff.
Any memorable, weird roadside attractions?
We like hunting for Sasquatch in our spare time ... usually when we are in the middle of nowhere. When we pull over, we like to be on the lookout for Class A sightings and whatnot. You know, the usual.
What does the band bicker about the most while on tour?
"Why is Chicken such an asshole?" is usually good for a few hours of bickering. There are varying theories, some scientific and some more esoteric, but each member has their own particular take on the subject.