With the guys from Paperhaus in the midst of their national two-month tour, the band shares their adventures while on the road. Bonus prize-they’ll also be sharing an exclusive playlist!
By: John Di Lascio
It’s 8 o’clock in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’m standing on the corner with a belly full of chicken waffles, a mandolin in my hand, and a pink bunny hat on my head. Two bars down a modest crowd awaits the start of a show my band Paperhaus is scheduled to play. On my way to the door, a homeless man named “Cash Cow” stops me, “Yo! Let’s hear a song!” Stanislavsky said theater begins at the coatroom, so I oblige. The first few chords put “Cash Cow” into a trance, and sitting comfortably inside, the groove gives me a moment to think. Only a month ago I was stuck in traffic on my way to a white, windowless office ready for another day of faceless corporate monotony. Something in my life seems to have changed. “Cash Cow” high fives me and asks, “Can I have that hat?” I shake my head, “This is mine!”
That hat along with a small collection of other items, amps, guitars, a synth, and a couple of growlers are the few possessions my three friends and I stuffed into our periwinkle Ford Econoline as we pulled away from our Petworth home. The next time we see D.C., we’ll have played over 50 shows and hit up almost all of the 48 contiguous U.S. states. I see what’s changed: I have a real job now.
Asheville is our second stop: a small town tucked in the green mountains of North Carolina. The fact that it was here Robert Moog made the first personal synthesizer tells us we’re in good company, and we don’t miss a chance to catch a quick tour of the workshop and trip through a sesh on the new sub fatty (among other crazy arpeggiators and theremins). All this psychedelic noise making puts us in the mood for some tea. The Dobra tea salon soon has us shoeless, seated on oriental rugs, and sipping aromatic red and black flower teas. The shop has hundreds of Asian and African varieties, each with flowery explanations of their cultural significance and ancient poems detailing the teas’ transcendental powers. No time for too deep a meditation though. Paperhaus is about to embark on its long anticipated Asheville barbecue safari. Weebos, a top Asheville spot tacked onto the side of a corner Shell station is take-out only, and we cut down the street to the mall food court to dig into some unspeakably face melting smoked turkey, pork, and brisket. The baked beans are so amazing it draws us into a moment of collective silence. And this is the second best BBQ place in town! With lines out the door and a bump from the president himself, 12 bones is Asheville’s unofficial town hall. At the risk of falling into complete food bloggery with this little story, I’ll say only one thing about 12 bones: Blueberry Chipotle Ribs.
Onto Rockhill, South Carolina. We arrive at around seven at night, following our GPS to the DIY spot. Alex turns from the driver seat in confusion, “This is the address, but where’s the venue?” Somehow, we accidentally got sent to the town courthouse. We pull into the back where a 5’6” goatee clad male in cut off shorts rolls out on a dolly to greet us, “You must be Paperhaus!” Eduardo and Brandon exchange surprised glances. “I’m Mike, come this way.” Mike (a local DIY booker and music encyclopedia) leads us down a marble hall, past the post office and up a spiral staircase into a huge, red carpeted room with a chandelier, a piano, and a black judge’s table. Rockhill’s courthouse turns out to be the town’s most coveted venue and for good reason. The surprise itself brews excitement within our group and after a quick collaboration on “No Diggity” by Blackstreet with some locals, we’re ready to take the stage. The crowd jumps into the music immediately and the energy gets so intense on our last song, I fling my boots into the audience and finish it barefoot. Afterwards, Everyman, a tattoo covered, sweaty gypsy punk outfit takes the stage, blasting hellish music that charges the room. The show apexes with a noisy devolution into a circus nightmare complete with a game of limbo under the stand-up bass, a fire breather, and the mandolin player rolling through the crowd on a unicycle. Rockhill clearly has earned its name as the hill of rock.
Right now I’m writing to you from a dusty old, junk filled venue in Gainesville called “Display” listening to a guy clumsily saw his way through a rusty piece of metal (the opening act). Next time we meet up, I’ll drop you some words on our two day banger in Charleston with Young Rapids and various other hijinks bound to happen over the next week. Until then, here are some lessons we’ve learned from the road so far:
Alex Tebeleff: Nobody likes Margaret Thatcher
Eduardo Rivera: Coffee shops have the best bathrooms
John Di Lascio: Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while Alex is driving is a sure way to get jelly on your pants
“Willy Wonka: We’re there.
Mrs. Teevee: Where?
Willy Wonka: Here. A small step for mankind, but a giant step for us. All ashore!
Mr. Beauregarde: Let me off this crate!
Mike Teevee: Now why don’t they show stuff like that on T.V.?
Mrs. Teevee: I don’t know.” says it all
And now onto the photo album:
Necessary tunes while on the road: