‘Rumvioli’ and Mushroom Trips Fuel Illustrations on the Road
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 Illustrations frontman Matt King. The Texas hardcore outfit is set to release their new album, Acts of God, on May 26.
What album can everyone agree on in the van? What’s the most divisive?
Whoever is driving usually has [precedence] on what we're listening to, but we can all pretty much agree with everything that's played. A few examples of albums I like to listen to are:
Majority Rule, Interviews With David Frost
Heat Dust, Heat Dust
Deftones, Around the Fur
What’s the strangest gig you’ve ever played?
I'm pretty sure we played with something along the lines of a school orchestra in Idaho Falls once. There was also that time on one of our first tours where we played in the basement of a bar in Chicago; it had very low ceilings and was pretty odd, but people showed up, so it ended up being a good show.
Tell us about your biggest onstage clusterfuck.
We recently toured with the Fall of Troy. That was easily the largest tour we've ever been a part of, but my definition of "onstage clusterfuck" would be setting up in front of two other bands' gear. That shit sucks. I think we might've enjoyed playing on the floor a bit more.
Describe your craziest afterparty.
The first time we played in Las Vegas was with our friends in a band called Burnout. We'd already known those dudes for a while, and had somewhat spoken beforehand about getting a cheap hotel after the show. We didn't think anything of it, and assumed it would be a small, cramped space that wouldn't be very enjoyable. After the show, we pulled into the hotel parking garage and waited for Burnout to hit us up about where our room was and so forth. I got the call and we headed upstairs. We arrived in front of double doors, so my first thought was, "This can't be the right room."
We knocked. Our friend Ivan opens the door, wearing a white bathrobe and holding a mimosa! We walk into this massive room with an insane view. At this time, we were dirt poor, but somehow managed to spend the entire night gambling, walking around the city and drinking at the hotel.
I managed to sleep for an hour or so, but woke up to a banana hanging from a light fixture. Our guy, Vic [Cortez, bassist], had passed out under a table and lost his jacket, which was later found lying at the front door, just out of sight. I also believe this was when an unforgettable alcoholic snack — appropriately named "rumvioli," a can of ravioli mixed with rum — was created. Vic spent the entire next day still drunk. Unreal.
How do you deal with going days or even weeks without a shower?
Oh, that's easy. You just get used to it. Fortunately enough, we've been able to take showers from time to time when we're lucky enough to find a place to stay, so thanks to anyone that's ever put us up!
Be it an accident, crazy fan or place to crash, what’s your scariest experience on the road?
Damn. That had to be on our way home from Boise on a tour during the winter. We had a show in Denver booked the next day, but it fell through, so we decided to go home. Driving through that area during that season is fucked up. We didn't have chains for our tires or anything. I remember our van sliding around on the ice plenty of times, but we eventually somehow made it home.
What’s your universal must-go restaurant or road stop?
Wawa and Sheetz are always nice. There's also a restaurant in Tempe called Filiberto's that we always make a point to go to.
Who drives the most and least, and why?
Cesar [Bernal, guitarist] and myself do most of the driving, it seems. I try to drive as much as possible so I'm not completely bored and don't sit on my phone for hours. Everyone else splits up the rest of the long drives.
What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without sleep?
There was one time our old bass player and I took mushrooms at a rest stop near New Mexico to get some rest, but ended up walking around aimlessly in the desert for about 24 hours, unable to sleep.
How do you try to stay healthy on the road?
I can't say that we stay "healthy," but we survive. As I mentioned before, we're literally dirt poor, so usually we'll bring bags of food from the grocery store in the van at the beginning of the tour and try to make it last.
How do you amuse yourself on long stretches with nothing to do?
I force myself to sleep or listen to a ton of music. Either that or make beats on GarageBand.