Everybody Get on the Lucid Bus
Article by Julie Canpea
Photography by Laura Carbone
According to their bio, Lucid was “born in a small Adirondack town called Plattsburgh” where the locals love live music and this band is happy to oblige. This month, the boys of Lucid leave the nest for their most extensive, farthest reaching tour yet, “Lucid’s Spring Swing South Tour 2012”. Having created a solid fan base for their “V8 blend of genres from jazz to rock, honky-tonk blues to reggae” in the North Country, Vermont and greater New England, the band leaves for warmer climes and towns with clubs called Family Dog and The Bomb Shelter, in Atlanta and Tallahasee, respectively.
“There comes a time when you have to commit to the music, so this is the test,” says Lowell Wurster, singer, percussionist and harp player. “But this is what we do – we’re musicians. This tour will really push the limits for us. When we start out, we will be playing sixteen straight shows in a row.”
Wurster has routinely booked gigs for the band, acted as unofficial manager, and adds wryly, “If there was any money, I handled it.” But the Southern coast tour has taken shape with some outside assistance. Lucid members met keyboardist Jay Metcalf of The Alchemystics at the Wormtown Trading Co. music festival in Easthampton, Mass. With a mutual respect for each other’s music, the band members hit it off, and Metcalf booked some gigs for his new friends.
The Alchemystics’ agent Simon Says Booking saw some promise in Lucid’s marketability and helped garner them some gigs down the pike, which it is then the band’s job to promote. Derek Haviland of Full Circle Music Productions has also gone to bat for Lucid, with bookings and promotion in the Northeast. Wurster gives the late Pat Gallagher credit for getting the ball rolling on the tour in its early stages, and reflects that Gallagher’s absence will be deeply felt.
Fast forward after all the leg work, and Lucid’s final tour schedule spans stops in Western New York State, multiple stops in Pennsylvania, then on to West Virginia, Virginia, Georgia, North and South Carolina, with the southernmost show in Gainesville, FL.
What mode of transport will the band be using on this high mileage adventure? They will be travelling in style on the newly outfitted Lucid Tour Bus 2.0. After their brightly painted and Sanskrit-inscribed circa 1989 Blue Bird bus “Lucy” went down for the count last spring, a new bus was located and refashioned much as her predecessor.
Gabriel Leavitt’s artwork, a deep take on Noah, the ark and a big, beautiful fish, adorns the new Lucy. “Our friend is a master welder, and he made us retractable bunks for the interior of the bus. The bottom bunks can double as a seat, for card playing and relaxing during downtime on the road,” says Wurster. There are also shelves that will hold equipment and other tour necessities, like a grill and a very large cooler.
The GPS has been upgraded, and programmed with the vehicle’s weight and dimensions. “Last year we were coming home in a huge snowstorm from Vermont, roads were closed and the GPS had us taking back roads that nothing without four wheel drive should have been on,” recalls Wurster. “We call Ryan [Trumbull, drums and vocals] ‘The Surgeon’ for the way he can weave in and out of traffic, and negotiate a parking space in downtown Manhattan. He has experience driving commercial trucks. But even he knew that the bus’ height clearance on a particular bridge we were crossing was a close call using the old GPS. I think we made that one by an inch.”
In addition to Wurster and Trumbull, the band’s core members include Kevin Sabourin on guitar, Andrew Deller on keyboard, Chris Shaklett on bass and James Armstrong on sax, with everybody pitching in on vocals. The band will have one crew member, Kyle McCarthy, assisting the group with everything from loading and unloading equipment, stage set up and anything else that comes up. The band will do their own cooking, to keep costs down, and they have a personal chef of sorts in Armstrong, whose day job before going on tour was cooking at local restaurant, The Pepper.
“We’ve had a great experience travelling on the bus on short jaunts,” says keyboardist Deller. “I know all the guys will shine on the tour. We love getting our music out there, throwing down while people are out there dancing.” Deller grew up in Virginia and spent 7 years in Georgia, so it will be great to see some familiar faces showing up along the way to support the band.