- Larry lays it on the line.
From the crowd, all we see is the band take the stage, play its set, perhaps tell a few humorous stories in between cuts, wrap up the show and then they're gone - out of our consciousness until the bus (or van) rolls into town the next time around. But for a band like Larry and His Flask, there is much more that goes into touring than simply playing a string of shows. There's also, of course, a whole lot of driving. And there're also some wild cards that are sure to be dealt the band's way.
And LAHF hasn't been without its share of wildcards during its recent touring days. From jail cells to sleeping on dirty floors to playing street corners for extra cash - LAHF has seen it all.
But a night in January down in Ashland took the cake for these mostly bearded young men. As we reported in the Upfront section a few months ago, the boys ran into a wave of contention when they arrived to play a scheduled show at Southern Oregon University opening for the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. While loading in gear to the venue, some of the guys were approached by campus public safety officers.
"They said that we were trespassing. They told us that we weren't supposed to be there, but no one talked to us specifically. We heard through some other people that they didn't want us there," said guitarist Dallin Bulkley back in January.
The band says it was never told that they were banned from the campus as a result of a previous run-in with campus security - which Bulkley remained relatively vague about. Admittedly, the men of LAHF weren't as cooperative as they would have been had they been dealing with actual police officers. Bassist Jeshua Marshall declined to give the safety officers his name or I.D., at which point the band says the officers attempted to put handcuffs on him.
"When [Jeshua] wouldn't give them his I.D., they started grabbing him and yelling at both of us," said Bulkley.
Soon after, Ashland police showed up and-long story short-Bulkley, Jeshua Marshall and Jamin Marshall spent the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend in jail while they waited for the courts to reopen. They face charges including harassment, disorderly conduct and trespassing.
"We watched highlights of the inauguration over the Spanish channel," Bulkley says.
Bulkley says that the safety officers accused the three band members of hitting them with closed fists - which he insists isn't true. The case is still under investigation and the men of LAHF won't appear in court until early next month.
But after that court appearance, the band is back out on the road for a tour that takes them all the way to Chicago. While on tour in San Francisco in early May, Bulkley touched base with the Source, letting us know that the band had broken "the jail trend" with the recent successfully West Coast tour. What "jail trend" you ask?
Long before the SOU incident, while playing on the street in Newport Beach, Calif., the band was confronted by police, and a few members ended up in jail.
"I think you know the way we look and quite possibly the way we smell, and to be in a place like that, we were definitely stepping into their bubble," said Bulkley a few weeks ago.
Playing on the street - or "busking," as it's called - is part of the LAHF touring protocol. Given that the mostly acoustic band translates well to street corner performances, the band will often play on city streets to generate not only some extra cash, but also support for their shows. Bulkley says that it's not out of the ordinary for the band to meet people while playing on the street and inform them of their upcoming show that night - and the people show up.
In the end, the Newport Beach fiasco resulted only in a few fines after the band was forced to miss the original court appearance - because of the fact that they were in jail from the SOU incident. And as for the whole ordeal on the campus, it's pretty much a wait-and-see scenario. But still, Bulkley says there's been some silver lining in the otherwise dreadful event.
"There was a lot of really positive support. We have a lot of great friends that we've met and that we've had for a long time," says Bulkley, "It's great to know that people care about all of us."
For more on Larry and the rest of the local scene, check out the annual Local Music Issue on stands this week.
We're taking you backstage to find out how our local artists put their sounds together and get them out to the masses. Look for pieces on the DIY recording scene, a behind scenes look at local music video production and a glimpse inside the Breedlove guitar factory. We're capping it all off with a local music extravaganza this Friday at the Old Stone Church with 7 Bands for $7, with Larry and His Flask, Dirty Words, Tuck and Roll, and Necktie Killer among many others.