The Big Swim: American Sharks Tour Diary

Austin, Texas purveyors of kinetic riffage and uber-burly grooves American Sharks just dropped a sick self-titled debut back in September — check out a stream here — and are now on the road with Clutch and The Sword backing it up.
Bassist/vocalist Mike Hardin checks in with this report…

Saturday, Oct. 12th: Texarkana

Day one. Starting the tour real strong. We played a really awesome tiny little icehouse. I must have had about 7 Bud Lights before we even played. Afterward we took it to our buddy Josh’s house. That’s when the Jim Beam shots started…and the barfing. Nobody cried.

Sunday, Oct. 13th: Nashville, TN

Night two saw us playing another awesome small venue. Unfortunately both the last two shows have been smoking inside bars. If you haven’t lived in an area where there is smoking in doors for a long time it really fucks you up. Whatever, I got drunk so I didn’t care. We stayed at a friends house that night that has the most amazing pup in the world! Her name is Annie and she is a pitbull mix. She slept by us and she was really sweet.

Monday, Oct. 14th: Asheville, NC

Night three was a really cool spot called Odditorium. Played with some really awesome bands. Crybaby was amazing and we hung for awhile and had some cold brewskis. JD from The Sword showed up and it felt great. Seeing touring buds is a real happy and special thing. It’s like business as usual even though he wasn’t playing. We ended up staying at another friends house and I slept on a couch on the front porch using our banner as my blanket. The weather was perfect and we slept in ’til 11 a.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 15th: Richmond, VA

Played at a place called Kingdom. Zero people showed up. We are not there yet, Richmond. Hopefully one day we can return. Got drunk and didn’t give a fuck.

Wednesday, Oct. 16th: Philly

We play at Kung Fu Necktie. Badass spot. Randomly we saw that our friends from home, Bobby Jealousy, are playing at the same spot!! The opening bands are cool especially “Ruby The Hatchet.” We get real wasted and stay at a friends house for the night. His spot rules and is a three story townhouse. This night we stay up til the wee hours getting totally ripped on the roof. Drugs.

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Thursday, Oct. 17th: Brooklyn, NY

This begins a one week stay in NYC. First show is at Cakeshop. Brooklyn Vegan has given us a badass write up talking about a couple of the shows we are doing. This being one of them. The show rules! Dirty Fences rule. Nancy rules. The crowd loves the set and we give em all we got. Things are already getting heated between us in the band. We all leave there to continue getting wasted and eventually pass out.

Friday, Oct. 18th

Hang out at The End Records warehouse and get real drunk. Feels like a company Christmas party or something and we all tell stories and have a blast drinking scotch and some maple syrup flavored whiskey. We play in the warehouse and then after us Ramming Speed makes a surprise appearance and plays. Good night.

Saturday, Oct. 19th

We play at a spot called The Gutter. This was suppose to be the night we open for Godflesh at Irving Plaza but that was cancelled as Godflesh couldn’t get into the country. So, we play The Gutter. This place actually rules and the show turns out really great! I end up telling my bandmates I’m gonna meet up with my buddy who doesn’t show up so I get stranded at this bar and spend the night trying to charge my phone and text people to find out how to get the fuck out of where I was. That’s the thing about NYC, if you don’t know your way around you’re fucked. Finally manage to make it back and pass out.


Sunday, Oct. 20th

Pizza. Beer. Football. Will meets up with our buddy Jay Merritt who takes him on a beer tour. We meet up later to play a show at a place called Acheron. The show rules and we play with some kick as bands called Weird Womb and Livids — featuring the singer of New Bomb Turks. The night is great and we get thoroughly trashed. At Acheron they have these limes that they dip in chili salt…amazing. Later that night I end up stumbling drunk through a park where some guy decides to relieve me of $60. Quick bastard. Reaches in my pocket grabs my money and runs before I even realize whats happening. At least I have my phone and ID. I pass out.

Monday, Oct. 21st

Wake up and decide to take a walk. I stop at a liquor store and buy a flask of whiskey so I can lube up and go with the flow. I meet up with my boy Fat Tony and we take it to a dumpling house. Veggie dumplings 8 for $4 is exactly my style. Afterward I take it to the house to get some rest.

Tuesday, Oct. 22nd

Nick and I wake up to our manager telling us to book it to Manhattan as we are scheduled to be on the Death By Audio show on East Village Radio. We get up, still drunk, and haul ass to the spot. We barely make it but we do. It’s a blast. Nick gets super baked right before we go on so any time he is asked a question he just sort of freezes and it’s pretty hilarious. After the show is over we go with Edan from Death By Audio and hit the town. I grab another flask of whiskey and we take it to a dumpling house. After that we head to Union Pool to play our last show in NYC of the week. The is a success. A total riot. The bands kill. Nancy, Dirty Fences and Hectors Pets. After the show we all split up and get wasted and pass out.

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Wednesday, Oct. 23rd

We are really feeling it today. This week has been filled with all the excess we can stand and we are all pretty slimy. Especially me. I stop at a deli to grab a couple big boy beers. Nick and I head to dinner with our lawyer at some raw vegan spot. Now, I can get down with vegan food. I eat vegetarian mainly so it’s not far off. This food is terrible, though. Nick loves it. We walk across the street and I start downing IPA’s to get rid of this anxiety I’m having. I start to get really drunk. We move on to this party and I begin really downing the whiskey. This is where things get hazy. Nick and I go to a show I can barely remember then the next thing I can really remember is waking up on the side of the road somewhere in Brooklyn at what I assume is somewhere between 2 and 3 a.m. I’m freezing and do not have a jacket. My phone is dead. I have no idea where I am. I try walking to a store they kick me out immediately. I look like a homeless person and I’m wasted and so cold I can barely speak. After about two hours of searching for someone to help a man finally stops when I explain that I’m not homeless that I play in a band. He googles my band. I’m not lying. Finally I get inside use a charger to charge my phone and get my bandmates to pick me up.

Thursday, Oct. 24th

We decide to leave NYC a day early. We have had enough of this city for the year. We take it to the hotel and sleep.

Friday, Oct. 25th: New Hampshire

First night of our tour with Clutch. Tonight is sans The Sword so we play right before Clutch. We get onstage and play to about 1600 people. A mosh pit starts. People start fighting. After we are done we head out behind the venue and the police have one of the guys that were fighting in the crowd pinned and they are yelling that they are gonna taze him. They do. Then all of a sudden some girl comes running out from the crowd chasing a different guy saying that he stole her purse. Night one and things are already getting wild.

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Saturday, Oct. 26th

Drive all day. Seriously thirteen hours of driving.

Sunday, Oct. 27th: Charleston, SC

Today we meet up with our boys in The Sword and start this tour proper! BBC in full effect ad it’s like a family reunion! The show goes off and The Sword is carrying their Vaporizer so everyone gets silly.

Monday, Oct. 28th: Athens, GA

Athens is a really nice town if you’re into vintage shopping. There are a ton of vintage stores that I did not care to visit. This venue shall forever be known as Stair Kingdom to me. Everything is vertical. The merch area for The Sword and American Sharks is upstairs in some kind of museum looking area of the venue. The green room area is on the fifth floor. Stairs. We all got a much needed workout. Later while clutch is playing everyone decides to smoke out the green room super heavy and set off the alarm system. These alarms start going off through the whole building and they are loud. Luckily Clutch is louder so it doesn’t fuck the show up. We take it to the hotel and get some rest.


Tuesday, Oct. 29th: Chattanooga, TN

Nick is getting really good at Priceline by now. He buds the lowest bid and snags us a badass hotel right next door to the venue. This is a $150 hotel for $50. We feel like real rock stars now! We play in a giant airplane hangar. Once again the fire alarms go off after some heavy smoke an once again Clutch is so loud nobody notices.

Wednesday, Oct. 30th

Will and Nick spend the day taking care of errands. Getting the tires changed on the van and having the alignment done. Got some much needed inventory in. Mike gets some much needed TV watching time in. All day. Will and Nick go by The Swords hotel and blaze for a while. When Nick and Will return they decide to each take a Klonopin for whatever reason. Will becomes “bartarded” and starts stumbling around being hilarious. Nick says he can’t feel it. Will passes out hard. And we all go to bed.

Thursday, Oct. 31st: Louisville, KY

Nick wakes up and is really feeling the Klonopin from the night before. He’s drunk and loopy as hell. Will wakes up fresh as a daisy and we hit the road to Louisville. It’s Halloween and our plan was for us and Dave Grooman — The Sword’s guitar tech/stage manager — to all dress as Kyle from The Sword but we couldn’t find any wigs that were worth spending the money on. We don’t dress up. The show is great and some of the costumes rule. The crazy thing is this show is happening in this crazy flea market. It’s another show in an airplane hangar and the green room area is right where the actual flea market would be. We all have a blast. Someone shows up dressed as Little Caesar. It’s extra spooky this night because its raining and super windy. Like 70mph gusts windy so all the doors keep blowing open. We think it’s ghosts. Or Dracula.


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