To celebrate Minor Gold's Australian tour, Dan Parsons wrote an article about touring and what the duo have learned through it all.
In January 2020, full of romantic optimism, Tracy McNeil and I [Dan Parsons] finally made the decision to play music full-time. With a three-month tour of Australia booked, we quit our day jobs, equipped my VW Transporter with a secondary battery system (to power a fridge) and built a bed in the back. It was all about economising and embracing minimalism. It all seemed so simple.
Apart from the looming pandemic, which was about to change everything, we had to confront some immediate obstacles. On just the second day of our tour, in a bid to create more space in the van, we found ourselves at St Vincent’s De Paul rifling through our bags, desperately donating dozens of excess clothes that were deemed indispensable just hours earlier. Farewell to the multiple pairs of cowboy boots, baseball caps and the endless ‘just in case it gets cold’ clothing options. As the weeks went by, our minimalist approach to life allowed things to fall into place.
I never slept so well in all my life - I think it might be the feeling of being so self-contained, with not as many loose ends to tie up. With Anytime Fitness memberships in place, a good shower always has a way of washing away the less inspired parts of any day.
There are some wildly wonderful first impressions as a musician living in a van. Playing a great show, getting paid, parking your van next to the Pacific Ocean and falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves is a feeling unmatched. As is the satisfying sense of thumbing your nose at The Man; there’s no landlord breathing down your neck and no overpriced electricity company demanding your hard-earned bucks. You’re earning money doing what you’re best at, and as long as the work keeps coming (and the van doesn’t break down or you don’t lose your only van key down an elevator shaft!), you’re usually one up on the deal!
Just as we started to find a rhythm within our strangely beautiful new life, it stopped. Covid. Almost immediately, I stopped thinking of myself as a working musician. I mean, it’s a true statement - I wasn’t working, but for the first time in my life, I had kind of begun to distance myself from the identity of being a musician. Weirdly, it felt right. The patterns and momentum of your career can propel you through experiences your heart mightn’t still be in. Much like the way an engine will still spin for a while even after you’ve turned it off.
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Luckily, as time passed, I found the muse again in the form of a new project Tracy and I had begun in 2021 called Minor Gold. Now, the wheels are not only in full motion but moving at break-neck speed. In only a year, we’ve released our debut album, toured Australia twice and just completed a three-month North American album tour, which also included four shows supporting The Teskey Brothers in major theatres in the U.S. and Canada. With U.S Visas in place, we are now living on the road across two continents.
Our North American tour van came to us like a ‘Craigslist’ dream. As we stepped inside Dino’s mechanic shop in North Vancouver, the guitar solo from Hotel California was blasting, and a 1999 midnight-blue sparkle Chevy Astro was shining in the sun outside the shop; we knew we found our new ride.
Taking us from coast to coast and show to show, our Chevy Astro kicked off in beautiful British Columbia before heading down into California along the coast. We moved across the I-40 through the Breaking Bad lands of Arizona, New Mexico, and an unwelcomed pit-stop at a dodgy mechanics in Amarillo, Texas. We hit Oklahoma City playing the iconic Blue Door - home to luminaries Lucinda Williams, Guy Clark and Robert Ellis. We showcased at AmericanaFEST in Nashville, TN, shaking hands with industry folks for three days before racing northeast to Philadelphia for our final two shows with The Teskey Brothers. It was exhilarating, stressful, and joyous, and we continually put our passion for this life to the test.
Today, the sun is out; I’m writing this from a local library in Ararat, Victoria, with our Kia Pregio parked out front and our Chevy Astro tucked safely into a garage in Toronto, Ontario, charging up for our return in 2024.
Together, we’ve covered more than 30,000 km of road across two continents, and not a single moment has been wasted, unappreciated or uninspired. When you live the way we do, you are afforded a unique perspective on everyday life.
Most of the time, we feel like observers. Watching the world through the windows of our van, on some long highway, noticing the patterns in a neighbourhood we’ve been parked in for a few days or getting friendly with the man who, because he can’t afford to rent a house, wakes up from the back seat of his car each morning, dressed for work in a crisp suit. It’s weird, sad and wonderful. We’re transient, which allows us to cover a lot of ground, meet new people and have cool experiences. It also means that our sense of home becomes blurry. For now, we don’t mind. We are the blur. Home is where we park it.
Minor Gold are currently touring in promotion of their self-titled album. You can find tickets on their website.
10 NOVEMBER – THREE BROTHERS ARMS, Macclesfield SA
11 NOVEMBER – COOEE ARTHOUSE, Aldinga SA
12 NOVEMBER – THE WHEATSHEAF HOTEL, Adelaide SA
17 NOVEMBER – THE BRIDGE HOTEL, Castlemaine VIC
19 NOVEMBER – NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB, Northcote VIC
26 NOVEMBER – LEFTY’S MUSIC HALL, Brisbane QLD
3 DECEMBER – THIRROUL MUSIC FESTIVAL, Thirroul NSW
16-18 FEBRUARY – RIVERBOATS, Echuca-Moama VIC