Hit the breaks man, hit the breaks!!!! Those were the last words I heard before almost bringing me and my band to a fiery Montana death. You see, being a pacific northwest band you generally have two ways to get home from a trek out on the road playing the dive-bars of America. Those two highways are Interstate 90 and Interstate 5. We generally would route our tours around playing Portland off I5 before coming home to Seattle, or playing eastern Washington or Montana off of I90.
We were nearing the end of a six week run on the road and preparing for our album to hit stores in a month. The last date of our tour was in Montana and unfortunately I cannot recall the town, but I can guarantee it was small. At this point we didn’t have an album in stores and basically were playing anywhere, any chance we got. So it’s safe to say we played A LOT of small towns. But honestly, those shows were always the funnest and rowdiest. Some of the best shows I’ve played across America were the back-road VFW halls in Wyoming and 200 capacity venues in Illinois. Generally these places were only big enough to pack in a giant group of music lovers as eager to hear something new as we were to play rock shows and wake up in a new town everyday.
Anyhow, back to our story. So, we had just wrapped up our last show of the tour and were getting ready for the 12+ hour trek home to Seattle. I’m not sure how, but I got roped into doing the first shift of our long drive. On into the night we went. A few hours had passed and by this point it was well past midnight and we were speeding down a two lane highway in the backwoods of Montana, heading for I90. At this point everyone was asleep except for me and our singer at the time who was riding shotgun. We were discussing how great the tour had been and our overall excitement for the album release. Then out of nowhere appeared the biggest animal…… Well, I think I’ve ever seen.
Out of the woods and straight ahead of stood a moose as tall as our van and trailer and as wide as the two lane highway. This thing was HUGE!! I starred at it in amazement of how large this creature was, and knew if I didn’t slam on the breaks, or at least slow down this animal and us were going to collide. Luckily, we were able to slow down and honk our horn enough for this beast to leave the road and scamper off into the darkness to hang with his moose buddies.
Thankfully, both the moose and the band made it out alive, but I’ll never forget that tour, and the creature from big sky country that could’ve prematurely ended our fun of driving our the country playing shows, slinging CDs & t shirts, and some of the best years of my life.