>For Road Junky
>Of beauty and serenity: life on the road.
It’s day eight on the road for Big Tree, an indie-pop band based in the Bay Area and making its way to New York for the summer. We’ve driven down the California coast, saying goodbye to the enchanting Pacific Ocean, and slowly trudged east, driving through suffocating L.A, mountainous Colorado, and desolate Gallop, New Mexico. On the 11th of March we finally made it to Taos, excited to enter a small world tucked away in northern New Mexico that exudes a sort of magic. We had traveled by way of Santa Fe, stopping at a less-than nice hostel to fill up on grease for our veggie-oil van (that’s for another day).
The outskirts of Santa Fe depressed us; strips malls, abandoned houses, and taco bells cluttered the almost clear blue sky. Thus, when we made it to the quaint town of Taos, embedded with pueblo art, clay houses, and all things teal and periwinkle, we sighed with relief. We looked around us and saw snow-capped mountains in the distance and dust beneath our toes. In between the dust and the snow, we saw where we were staying:
Life on the road for a band is always made simpler when you know people. Quality Inn’s and Howard Johnson’s aren’t really worth the $60 stay, and nothing beats staying in a warm bed with families who welcome you with open arms. Lucky for us, this house in Taos offered not only warm beds, but a hot tub, three adorable ridgeback dogs, and a plethora of fish tacos and tequila.
We were supposed to play a show that night at the “Taos Bar.” We had trouble getting in touch with the venue’s owner; the guy who booked our show was on an impromptu vacation in Alaska (of all places…), and our other contact was mysteriously “out of town.” We asked some locals where the Taos Bar was, and after a few failed attempts, learned that no bar by that name exists. Finally, we found the sole Taos bar: Mountain View Lodge. There we met Ralph, the extremely friendly owner who had no idea we were supposed to play a show that evening. He offered us a beer as a condolence, which we politely accepted. We learned he had no mic’s or amps, and obviously no advertising for the show had been done in town. We thanked Ralph and made our way back to our rental mansion for the night, not entirely disappointed that we would be missing out on a night of music.
Janet, a family friend and owner of the house, took us out for authentic New Mexican cuisine. We devoured fresh guacamole, rice and beans, and an absurd amount of cheese and tortilla chips before cozying up back at the house— sipping on margaritas in their hot tub until our tired eyes let us sleep. The next morning, Janet’s husband John took us out back through his blue door for a lesson in shooting a gun, which for all five band members was a never-explored, er, “hobby.”
We reveled in our surroundings, the hospitality of our friends, and kept repeating over and over “we are the luckiest people in the world.” Traveling across the country in a band is not always easy, yet we made our way across the US with relative ease as we visited old friends, made new ones, and played shows (almost) every night. Although the main purpose of the tour was the music, every now and then we let ourselves relax and take in the overwhelmingly unique pockets of America without worrying about needing to play a show. And this is exactly what Taos, New Mexico provided for us.