Middle East Jesus – The Coke Dares Tour Blog Pt. 1

Think you can handle these jock jams?

The Coke Dares are an American rock and roll band, currently on tour in America.  They’re being kind enough to document their journey for Postcard Elba.  Go behind the music with these unplugged storytellers for the best week ever!

(from Jason Groth)

The Coke Dares are still a band. Despite our drummer diving headlong into (low-interest, hopefully he’ll never have to pay it off) massive amounts of student loan debt to go to a prestigious East Coast Art Institution, we still exist. It’s a bit more difficult — we never see one another, we can’t write a lot of songs, and when it’s time to tour we have to practice every single one of our songs (Last count was 119? 109? I can’t remember) usually in one or two days — but it still happens. Mark decided to pay to fly to Indiana and do it, so Pete and I decided to book a tour.

Is the world ever ready for another The Coke Dares tour? I think the answer is “no,” because we have never done a “world” tour. But we are going on tour in the United States, which is actually a part of the world, contrary to the beliefs of your favorite conservatives everywhere. Oh, and Jesus was from the Middle East, too. Anyway, the particular part of the world that agreed to let us play in their private establishment on Wednesday, July 7th, 2010, was Zanzabar in Louisville, KY.


It’s appropriate right now to discuss how a tour for a band like The Coke Dares might be booked. Despite our professionally duplicated compact discs, our incredibly detailed song titles, and our now-sold-out-t-shirts being sold out, we don’t have what you would call a “draw” in places that aren’t “stacked decks.” In other words, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Now, we have played in places, somehow, where no one knows us, but then, thanks to logic and science, you then know the people there and, if you’re lucky, you become friends with them, and play those places later. Louisville is a prime example. We could not get a show in Louisville until our friends The Ladybirds moved there. And now that they’re there, they have helped us literally conquer the city. You wouldn’t believe the residuals you get from a major city’s property taxes. And, more of our friends have now moved to Louisville (see: Sump Pumps), and some college friends that went on to do things that didn’t involve playing 20 second songs as a 30+ year old (both good and bad) are there. So, in other words, we go to Louisville and the deck is stacked in our favor, to a point. At least our friends will be there… right?

This show didn’t get booked until about 30 hours before the show actually happened, but it got booked, a couple of hours after I sent the message to Sarah of the Ladybirds that said something like “I know this is last minute, but…” Sarah (probably with the help of Middle Eastern Jesus), who knows the soundman (Joe) at Zanzabar (the place we played) made the call and found out nothing was happening that night and — ta da! — it’s on. Sarah’s band mate, Max, also works at Zanzabar. Two aces. A band was found to headline (Your News Vehicles) — bam! These situations, which happen often, make me wonder why we even try to book shows in advance, when they come together so smoothly at the last minute. Nothing could possibly go wrong to not plan in advance, right?

Planning, schmanning.

The trip from Bloomington was an event in itself. Mark and I made two additional stage shirts before we left, too… with a *dangerous hot iron*. Mark almost left his shoes in my house on the way out and, when he realized what had happened, looked at me sheepishly and said “it sucks when a joke you make about the dumbest thing you could actually happens to you.” He was right — that was dumb — but funny!  We then figured out how to put the spare tire back under the van, which probably guarantees we’ll get a flat on the road. Pete sat up front. Mark sat in the back. We listened to Tres Hombres on cassette. We drove, and as we drove I explained almost the entire A-Team movie (which I had seen the night before) to Pete and Mark in great detail. I then said that this whole blog would be devoted to explaining the movie to you, the reader, because (and this is all I’m going to say about it), any movie with an upside-down helicopter, a parachuting tank, tanning bed humor, an extra-unbuttoned-button on Jessica Alba, Liam Neeson barely able to cover up his accent, chests, boat airplanes that turn into firework-carrying container ships, three-card monty, the assumption that the audience won’t question the logic but will, instead, have a great time hoping that the big guy decides it’s ok to kill people, and a special bonus thing after the credits where the old Murdock and the old Face get to get close to their new versions needs to be lauded, and explained, over and over, until people forget that Jesus came from the Middle East.

After the exciting van ride, we arrived at Zanzabar. Zanzabar has been around for years, as explained by the guy who opened the side door for us, Tim. It was called Zanzibar (I think?), and then it was the Brown Bag, and then it was infested with rats, and then it was totally cleaned up and made extremely awesome and clean and well-decorated, which it is today. People, when you walk into a bar and the first thing you see is a cherry Tron stand-up, you know you’re in the right place. It even had a curtain over the 50+” TV that lived above the stage. That’s class, people. Not to mention the sit-down Pole Position (unfortunately not on), the Pac Man, the real Asteroids. It goes on and on. It’s decorated well, it had a a few tables full of people eating, and we knew it was going to be good.

We loaded in, I changed my strings, I borrowed a quarter, I played Tron. We set up. Our friends started filtering in. We ate dinner, there, at a discount. We started drinking. More friends came. We had relearned every single The Coke Dares song we know but we forgot to bring our handwritten master list which we have had tacked up to the practice space wall since 2003, so we made another one. And then we played. We hung out with our friends. We waited, and waited, and waited, and then we played.

What rock stars will spend a quarter to pretend to be.

Notable moment? Well, we didn’t fuck up. And it helped to have our friends shouting requests, encouraging our “jokes,” and, in some cases, even singing along. It’s a reminder, every time when you travel to your not-home-town and people sing along, that it’s fun to connect with people through music. Also, it’s fun to find out what kind of fast food they like. You should try both things.

Show over, we were asked to pose for photographs for a guy. Then we took our wet shirts off. Then we went back inside and watched Your News Vehicles who, in my opinion, sounded a bit like Black Crowes mixed with Black Mountain (with other shirts on, by the way). Their set had some glorious moments, including a cover of “Train Kept a Rolling” (complimenting our cover of “Train, Train” from earlier). Their set also included the following, spoken by their singer, Scott: “Who ate all the pussy?” America, Scott; America ate it all.

We packed it up, discussed Stevie B’s hit single “Because I Love You (The Postman Song),” and whirled our way back to do some hanging, pizza eating and, eventually, sleeping. All three things were successful. The first two were delicious (including the apple cinnamon moonshine noted, accurately, to be a “creeper”). The last? Necessary. On to Knoxville, friends, where, if all goes well, there will be air conditioning.

The Coke Dares tour continues, and you should be a part of the fun at one of these shows.

Mon. July 12th: Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
Tues. July 13th: Brooklyn, NY – Knitting Factory
Wed. July 14th: TBA
Thurs. July 15th: Columbus, OH – The Treehouse
Fri. July 16th: Bloomington, IN – The Bishop, w/ Push-Pull
Sat. July 17th: Indianapolis, IN – The Melody Inn

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