Valentines Day weekend 2012 marked the return of THE HUMMS to the road, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ill’inoise. An overheated van, a Hells Angel. GYPSY field reporter, ZZ RYDER was on the scene to capture the happenins’. The following is his un-edited tour diary. Photos by Serra Ferguson and WJAY.
OUTSIDE of Athens, GA, I forced myself to play three Humms shindigzz in a row the weekend of February 17-19, a refreshing change to the mostly twee scene who’s usually on stage here these nightz. I want to be able to make fans in other states as well as here, and claim our spot as some of the last great rockers of this generation, while livin’ by my own rules: THE HUMMS and GFR are challenging conventions., and we do much more than just try to be so avant-garde (under the influence of drugs on you people) or counter-productive; and our label imprint, GYPSY FARM, is quickly becoming a badge of coolness for all of us on this trip — this power trio we had going on this particular one included the bass playin’ of Matt Garrisson as well, along with Serra and Tyler along to keep the ship afloat.
Do you wanna know something about Ziggy Zag? This trip was special to me because I got to play the music I love for the first time in every one of these three towns we visited. We smoked out Murfreesboro, TN; Murray, KY; and Carbondale, IL. We played with some brilliant bands including Uncle Skunkle’s Skarecrow Family and These Magnificent Tapeworms. We were fortunate that we did not have to play a traditional style tour, but rather lo-key parties with old friends — there were some people we knew, and I loved all of the new folks too. A total punk-out trip (audiences didn’t hesitate, and that’s what made everything so good.
And why were these cats who I haven’t met before so determined to get down with us anyway? Need an example? We were killin it’ the whole way for music freaks of all ages, and we were diggin on some solid jams the whole time that we weren’t rockin’ ourselves. I would say that we definitely expanded the GF FAMILY. Which of them will make it into our GYPSY studio next out of them? Jack Brunson and Ethan Rose have already been fixin’ to bring UNKLE SKUNKLE in sometime very soon! Won’t we all probably be looking back one day on the GFR history and remember what a great scene we had? THE HUMMS are DEFINITELY leading this current wave of great rock n roll…
The TN house show we played wasn’t too different than the vibe we had recently last month at our RLK Jr fest. and I had no problems rockin out with UNKLE SKUNKLE and all of the others there who were tearin’ OUR souls apart! This is definitely one for the our backpages. Their scene was strong enough to support our stop there by buying a bunch of merch and even takin’ donations for us. It’s truly been a golden year so far with gettin’ everyone in the rooms we play all glad to be there rockin. It’s all about the celebration of music to me! How much more energy could be given out during a set? WOW That was a mighty fine blast of rock! Some other bands came on that night, but TN Scum was the only one I had the opportunity to catch play; but the others sure are not without love because they kept the night rockin on forever it seemed like! I’m a big fan of the TN rock pioneers such as Sun Records. We rocked it real good in their honor and, lookin back even further, all the ol’ blues cats that came before them but who never got their due. I’m sure some of these pix capture the head over heels benevolence that was shared between everybody in this step of the tour. I want to continue having adventures like this one all over America! I like how there is this underground network of hip kids that we can travel around to play with, and I shall plant the seeds of tomorrow for them in return. Who’s ever stopped to think of the divinity that these TN teens channel through rock? — Garage rockers are pretty authentic cats, and they are definitely not just trying to revive old timey tunes. I was trippin out to all kinds of music that nite actually, even some country. I don’t know if the other bands had any albums out, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a hold of any on this nite. I guess I was too busy focusing on the looking glass to ask, as well as giving out THE HUMMS’ LEMONLAND LP, though it seemed as many folks there already had it. We plan on continuing to release equally attractive ghoulish delights!
First thing Sat. morning we listened to some VU song and prepared for our night as undersea folk prisonerz. I’ve been one ever since I was a 13 year old dopehead. Let’s experience/ smoke/ and our minds, influenced, often by revolution? Outlaw souls? Anyway, I attribute this all to our van overheating the night before. “It’s up to us to hit up the hippie commune on the hill, cause Chase said they could rig up the van to at least get us back home to Athens.” Chase also said,” I kinda burned the bridge with them after not gettin’ paid for playin’ their pow wow party(s).” Well every time he would repeat this, he also assured us that it would all work out, but who knows what was gonna happen – perhaps the damn hippies have gained a greater new consciousness, even though they blew the deal with Chase, and the “bridge was burned,” so let’s just get on with it. The hippie was safe from harm with his magnificently invisible nature up on his VW graveyard hill. Well we all were skeptical of the hype but we bought into it all. Was Chase really gonna come through for us? Heh Heh Heh, Well who were we to pass judgement on him and his HIPPIE HILL? Who knew what events could unfold with this man? We just wanted to be able to continue the tour that we had booked, but the van that we just repaired before leaving was a big concern. Was Serra down for hitting up this mysterious hippie cro-mag? I figured that someone on the hill would have different spiritual practices, partial cult, with women – too great, too lovely, too deep for a world of hate. Before we made the call to the hill, we were worried it was gonna be something serious where we’d have to call off the tour. “We don’t understand why this is our fate, and we can no longer roll. Why is this happening to our band? It’s so unfair.” No one can understand why we were being held back like this. And what happened to Zeke?
Well at this point in the story we’re finally rescued by the hippie gods and before we go track Zeke down we go up to the hill to dig it for ourselves…VROOM VROOM The van seemed to be workin’ strong and once we arrived upon the hill, we were offered some grub. Put it down in the books that we met back with the hippie for him to finish his work on the van, and we began figuring out our route to KY. We were inspired by the hippies with a flood of ideas, memories, music,and funeral darkness all at the ready. Are they part of the Gypsy Farm family now too?! They want us to come back and rock there….VROOM VROOM All of us were wed together in death this day – wedded into a funeral of hippies. Somehow this primitive wedding call happened fast, and as a gift I received an autoharp. How do I play this thing? It was in funeral fashion, a transformation towards upcoming jams, a joyous outburst of magic. It was a strange daze to say the least.
And what can I say about TERRAPIN STATION in Murray, KY? It could’ve only been improved if we showed up early enough not to miss all the other bands. I guess that it was an early show, and we had to drive in after leavin’ hippie hill, gettin’ lost on the way. How much more straightforward RnR could this record store have been to us? — Bigtime donations and even hosting us in their home that nite! Were we burning some grass there or something? HEY lucy! Can’t you tell by the hypnotic gestures in the pix? I remember some solid moments from this gent Tim Peyton. Why is it that sometimes I feel like a rantin’ robot? I don’t like these standard ZZ comments such as,” Damn what a ripple effect, how did we do that?”
I cannot forget the first show I ever remember playing at a Mexican restaurant in Carbondale, IL called Tres Hombres. After being so late the night before, we found out that the Carbondale scene gets thing started much later than I would’ve expected. I was told that they were charging at the door, which I figured would save our asses on getting gas money for the way back home. The single local band was These Magnificent Tapeworms, who do actually have a couple of records out, (one being BEACH FEVER, recorded at our very own GYPSY STUDIO in 2010) and are in the midst of working on another full of their own special blend of trashy pervert surf rock. It was clear that they were an evil live band, which turned the show seemingly upside down. Im jonesin’ for more of their raunchy psychedlia! And how bout that Unkle Skunkle? I couldn’t wait to get in on some more of their evol punkness. Besides the incentive of more burritos we could buy, how notable were Z-Dog’s howls? The inaugural show proved that they’d be hard to hear over my spastic beats, but we went out on a limb to play some retro boppers for em.
So what were all the bands’ inspirational performances like exactly? These Magnificent Tapeworms’ otherworldly patterns of thought were depicted in Carbondale, and isn’t that why they’re part of GFR? Some would look for more than their songs offer, and we’re into CAN too, which tells me that future days are upon us. I hope to be on heroin again soon too.
I learned many new ways from the hippie, but was that lady his wife? Let’s go on to explore why a man in every relationship is expected to marry, and enter in on a woman’s screamedelica. The hill was full of some femme fatales, arty like us, all waitin for their man, and I really didn’t expect somethin like that in TN. Although it does seem monstrous to chain them to life on the hill at some a young age. The man had also added a stage up there on the grounds. His world was much more native, complete with teepees, almost european in a way. I couldn’t believe they have festivals up there. You can’t put restrictions on top of a mountain. I’m curious of these mighty pulsing organisms in fur. The men knew what women wanted better than Jim Morrison, and perhaps we should get busy setting up music camp at some exotic remote place as well. The hippie asked what else I needed, and took me to the top of a teepee to give me drums. What’s the key to unlocking this secret stage between us? We all want our paradise, but not everyone can be responsible enough, and are not even conscious of this kind of relationship. There’s an evolutionary demand to waltz through space – RUN RUN RUN down moonbeam roads on the black bay at the edge of existence. Dead men dancin under a voodoo teepee is terrifying to some, among absent friends with all the good moonshine. Hippie hill was suspect, like any other paradise, and they don’t always work out well in the end. I think it’s our childness that we all shared in each other. I took the chance to dance with him at the pit and say,” Today, lets go on a trip.” Hells Angels are dangerous men; that one just got stuck in his 60s pot party. I think he’s got to overlook the bullshit to focus. I’m not sure if it’s possible to love a group of women – I don’t really think it is for any man to go there, but a true captain can sure run a tight ship of them!
I’d be proud to be the son of the Black angel of Death.
BY ZZ RYDER