July 30, 2016

Diary: Coping Skills East Coast Tour

Copings Skills takes on the East Coast with Naps.

Rachel Dispenza: We’ve been home for a full month now (somehow), and any person I’ve interacted with in that time definitely heard the broken record phrase, “I wish I was still on tour.” I woke up in my oversized Naps t-shirt. I put Naps on in the background while I’m trying to flesh out a cohesive tour diary. I miss Naps. I miss tour.

Lauren DeLucca: I don’t think I fully understood what we were getting ourselves into but even from the first show we knew it was going to be something special. Naps was already most of the way through their tour by the time we kicked it all off at a mac n’ cheese party at The Spot in Montclair, NJ; it really doesn’t get much more awesome than that.

R: We first met Naps last July when they played a show at our house. First show Lauren ever booked! It was a banger. We all became fast friends – spending the night dancing around on our friend Jackie’s rooftop singing the best songs. Later last year, they offered to put out our first release on cassette via their label, Viridian Sounds. I think we all knew we wanted to be closer, so when summer was rolling around, Lauren and I pitched the idea of touring together. Luckily for us, they were into it. Though they played at our house again for their Philly show, our dates together didn’t start until the New Jersey show. What a night that was!


L: We really could not have toured with a more incredible band or a more amazing group of people. The Spot offered a beautiful variety of mac n’ cheese (including mac n’ cheese bites! A band favorite!) and was the only show to get shut down early (only after a disgruntled neighbor called the cops. Even the cops told him to chill out!)

R: My twin brother even drove down for the show (from five hours away!!), adamant that we cover a song together. The last time we played live music was in the fifth grade; we covered AC/DC in the middle school talent show. His choice for this occasion? “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” the Nancy Sinatra classic. One of the really cool things about the Montclair scene is that they speedily moved everything over to another venue after the cops came so that the last band could finish their set. Totally worth it. Clam Jam rips.

L: We played a such a wide spectrum of shows throughout our tour. Our next show was a matinee show on Memorial Day at a beautiful suburban home in Bethesda, Maryland. The crowd was almost entirely high schoolers but everyone was great and respectful and it ended up being one of the best shows of tour! After the show the dad of the kid hosting the show came out and asked us and Naps a bunch of questions about DIY music and seemed interested in and receptive to everything we were doing.

R: During the set, we played a song about wishing we’d dropped out of college (still true), and a couple of people sitting down in the front started jabbing each other. So I asked what the deal was, and the one person said, “I dropped out of high school!” Instinctively, I high-fived them. Still not sure if that makes us a bad influence or not. We stayed at Katryn’s aunt’s house that night and watched tons of Family Feud. Katryn and I visited Record Exchange the following afternoon while everyone else slept in. Then we were off to Richmond.

 


L: Our show in Richmond was one of the most fun shows we played on tour, even though we played to one of our smallest audiences! While we were setting up all our gear we broke out into a spontaneous Naps/Coping Skills cover of El Scorcho. Naps also had some choice VHS tapes for the small TV they brought to play in the background of their set. We put on 10 Things I Hate About You, a movie that Rachel and I (especially Rachel) can quote pretty much every line of even without looking at the screen. Everyone was in good spirits and the show ended up doing well by the end of the night.

R: We stopped at the infamous GWARbar before passing out, waking up early, wolfing down Waffle House, and heading further south. Lauren and I walked around downtown Columbia, SC and stopped in a pretty sizeable general store while waiting for Naps to catch up. That’s when I saw him--a small beacon of light innocently looking up among the wall of stuffed, furry creatures. He fit perfectly in the palm of my hand. I knew we had to take him with us. His name is Doug, he’s a hedgehog, and he became our drummer that day. We played what I consider our best set that night at the New Brookland Tavern. Don’t call it a coincidence.

L: Doug has been such a welcome addition to our band and our lives and we could not be more grateful to Columbia, SC for bringing us all together. My favorite thing about Columbia is that the town slogan is apparently “Famously Hot, Surprisingly Cool” which was corroborated by the locals who were in the audience and I think that is absolutely incredible. Tag yourself: Rachel is Famously Hot, and I am Surprisingly Cool.

 

R: Our friend B (who we met in Philly, but is actually from Columbia) was kind enough to come to the show, give us a place to stay, and show us a SICK breakfast place in the morning. Lauren and I drove right to Tybee Island Beach (right outside of Savannah, GA) with Katryn, Jeremy, and Matt not far behind. Laying on the sand was a perfect afternoon rest. We drank a quick beer as the clouds rolled in. The show was in a small room on the second floor of an apartment. The porch slanted at an arguably dangerous angle, but the punks didn’t care. It was Josh’s birthday (he lived at the house)! There was a shot fired outside the house during our set (completely unrelated to the show). That still doesn’t register in my brain since I didn’t hear it, but everyone else was a bit understandably freaked. Molly and Ryan headed to Gainesville early, and the rest of us split a hotel outside the city. Ask a punk for the address to the Best Western.


L: We went back into Savannah the next day because Matt wanted to go to Graveface Records, which is a very cool record store and label. Everyone found something they wanted to buy at the store, and after walking around for a bit more we stopped at a coffee shop with a photo booth upstairs! We took some sweet pix and made our way back to head to Gainesville. Rachel and I walked around the city for a bit (and hit up even more record stores), which is a much more hip, happening place than I was expecting. There seemed to be a bar/venue on every corner. We met up with Katryn, Jeremy, and Matt for burgers and then went into, wait for it…ANOTHER record store! After spending even more money, we headed over to The Nest, our venue for the night and one of the coolest spaces I have ever been in.

R: I scooped a Third Eye Blind self-titled vinyl--possibly my most important purchase of tour. The Gainesville show was kind of surreal to me. Many of our shows at home have to be over by 11-12; this didn’t start until after 10. The Nest in Philly is a shithole, infamous for stealing money from touring bands among other wretched behavior; The Nest in Gainesville is a neat, welcoming artspace/warehouse. Rose (who booked the show) kept it a safe space for everyone, kicking out the confederate flag wearing dude who was actively making most (if not all) people uncomfortable. I broke a string during our set for the first time ever!! Katryn was quick at the ready to lend me her guitar. Uv-Tv played one of my favorite sets to see all tour.

 

L: When we first walked into The Nest, there was a big potluck dinner going on at a long table and everyone was quick to offer us something to eat if we wanted. I think that’s a real testament to the wonderful community involved with the space. After the show we crashed with Naps at their friend Brandon’s house and let the sweet sounds of Linkin Park live videos lull us to sleep. I was excited to get up the next day and head to Tallahassee to experience Florida the Naps way!

R: I lived in Tallahassee from 2003-2004. My whole family hated it there (except for my dad), so we never went back. The city represents some strange nostalgia for me. I can pinpoint it as a dot on the timeline of my musical influences (in that year, I listened to a lot of Good Charlotte, Relient K, Avril Lavigne), but the place itself holds no magic for me. We visited the street I lived on to find my old house – the only “major” landmark of my time there – before grabbing pizza at Katryn’s work.


L: This show was incredibly special because it was Naps’ homecoming show! Many of their friends came and everyone was having a good time. Before the show started, we were joking with Jeremy in Naps about him playing live drums for us during our set, since he already knew most of our songs and it would be a really fun way to end the portion of our tour with Naps. But he agreed to do it and absolutely killed it, even with no practice whatsoever! I think it was the most fun show we played on tour and definitely a testament to Jeremy’s talent as a drummer.


R: As much fun as we had during the show, having to say goodbye to Naps was more difficult than any of us anticipated. We couldn’t have toured with a better band--musically and interpersonally. The E! True Hollywood Story will show me crying in Jeremy’s driveway the next morning amidst the light rain. Before we pulled away, Jeremy pointed to a #sadmattress across the street. It was an incredibly appropriate parting image.



L: I think touring with Naps has had a profound impact on us as a band. Getting the opportunity watch them play every night was such a pleasure, and seeing how tight they are as a band and how well they play has inspired me to work even harder, get even better musically and write more killer songs. Leaving Tallahassee was tough, but we certainly had something interesting to look forward to: two days off in the great state of Alabama.

R: Our good friend Kayleb is getting their Master’s degree in Tuscaloosa, so we stopped by for a couple of days on the way to Nashville. Alabama is too slow and I’m too fast!!

L: Our friend/old roommate Chelsea flew down to Alabama to meet us for a much needed vacation. We picked her up in Birmingham and there was absolutely nothing to do, so we went back to Tuscaloosa, where there was more to do but still not much!! After two days, we were all very ready to move on to Nashville. After driving up, we immediately stopped at a music store and then the bar (two tour essentials) before heading to the show.

R: Having Chelsea and Kayleb on the road with us was a blast. Our show may not have been well-attended, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves. I love being in Nashville. We had a great time catching up with our pal Cooper and wandering around downtown the next day. After a round of knickknacks, day beers, and coffee milkshakes, we rolled away to Bloomington, Indiana.


L: We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in Bloomington, but we did have just enough time to grab something to eat before heading to the show. The space we played in Bloomington is called The Void, a DIY, community run show space. It was a very cool space run by some very cool people. After spending the night, we had our longest drive yet to Pittsburgh the next day.

R: After visiting so many states where you can pick up a six pack in gas stations and convenience stores, it was a bit frustrating to come back to Pennsylvania. Once we loaded into Art House, we tried making a quick trip to find a couple beers, but wound up empty handed. We were on a really neat mixed bill with bands playing both in the living room and the basement.

L: The Pittsburgh show went well and was a real testament to the fact that the more receptive the crowd is, the better the show will be, no matter how small the audience. My brother goes to school in Pittsburgh but was home in Philly for the summer, so we ended up staying with his girlfriend Abby for the night before finally making our way back home, but not before making a quick pittstop in State College!

R: I was insistent on getting a tour tattoo before getting back to Philly. Kayleb got their undergrad degree at Penn State and used to frequent King Cobra (one of the shops on campus), so that’s where we went. Choosing the right piece to encapsulate the tour was a challenge at first, but then it hit me: Doug. The tattooer, Justin, played along and created a wonderful representation of our little hedgehog child.

L: We had a show lined up in Philly that night, so we had to be on our way. We made it back to Philly just in time to load in for our last show of tour. We played a great show at a house called All Night Diner with a bunch of our friends around. It was kind of surreal to be back on Philly, but as much fun as we had on tour, it was kind of nice to be back home.


xoxo Coping Skills