Mount Righteous Dispatches From The Road: Day Two, Panic! On the Great Plains

We first fell in love with Mount Righteous after the band wowed us with their performance at Good Records' eight birthday bash. Since then, we've taken in their debut disc, When The Music Starts, and we've interviewed 10 of the band's 11 members for an upcoming story on the disc's release--which won't officially take place until after the band returns from it's 13-day tour. In the meantime, band member Justin Spike (guitar, accordion, vocals) has agreed to document the band's tour with a daily tour diary exclusive to DC9. Enjoy.

We rode into Lubbock with high spirits, ready to play two shows that had been well-promoted locally by friends and college radio. Sadly, by day’s end, we’d suffer a pretty serious blow to our morale...

First, the good news: Our first show of the day was at Ralph’s Records, an amazing independent record store next to the Texas Tech campus. Our friend Daniel Fluitt from Thrift Store Cowboys works at Ralph’s and was our man in town all day and night; he brought us a few bicycles from his house so we could explore the town and run some errands, and generally took really good care of us, going out of his way to make sure we had a good time in Lubbock.

The in-store show at Ralph’s started at around 6:30, and a good crowd showed up to see us. It was a lot of fun to play to a lot of faces we’d never seen before, sandwiched between stacks of used rock CDs and cases of old Nintendo paraphernalia. We got a few of our CDs on the shelf for sale and encouraged everybody to come out to the show that night at Conference Café.

In the meantime, we had a few hours to kill, so we had a couple beers at Ralph’s with Daniel and the rest of the staff. They even let us pick out any used CDs we wanted and take them with us, an amazingly generous gesture. We felt so loved by the folks in Lubbock—they’d been playing our CD at Ralph’s and on the radio and promoting the show for weeks. Now they were giving us beer, bicycles and CDs. There are some really fine people in Lubbock, Texas.

After leaving Ralph’s, the band and Daniel took a basketball to a halfcourt nearby and had a couple intense games of pickup basketball. Daniel plays a mean game of ball, even in cowboy boots.

We began talk of forming a Mount Righteous competitive basketball team. We’ll see.

The truly remarkable and unfortunate events of the night occurred later at the Conference Café, a large bar across the street from the Texas Tech football stadium. Local punk/country songwriter Dirty Charley opened the night up. Then came One Wolf, a band fronted by another friend of ours who works at Ralph’s. By the time of our set, a really large crowd had accumulated and we played with great energy, thanks to the enthusiasm of all the Lubbock kids, many of whom we had seen earlier at Ralph’s and had come out again to see us.

But at some point during all the excitement following the show, a trombone went missing. We noticed it as we were loading the trailer that we were one horn short, and we went looking in the venue, in the van, and anywhere else we could imagine it might have been misplaced. Sincerely hoping that another band had simply picked it up by mistake, we alerted all the staff at Conference and made phone calls to our friends in town. The night wore on, though, and it didn’t turn up.

So the verdict seems to be that some sleazy jackass figured he could make a few bucks on a trombone and took off with it into the night. We’re examining our options, and considering renting a new horn here in Lubbock for the rest of the tour. Pawnshops are closed Sundays, so there’s no hope there.

One way or another, we’ll get our hands on another horn and continue the tour. But we’re disappointed that such a great experience was tainted by the sticky fingers of some anonymous thief, and that it happened on only our second day of tour.

Despite the misfortune, we still had a great time in Lubbock. As the adage goes, the show must go on, and we’ll be all smiles at our show in Santa Fe tonight because you can’t keep a good band down. --Justin Spike and the rest of Mount Righteous

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman