Since forming in April of 2011, The Tumbleweed Wanderers have been bringing their electric shows to an increasingly wider audience, from their early performances at small bars and cafes, to becoming a major local headliner, selling out shows at the Bay Area’s best venues such as Great American Music Hall and Bottom of the Hill. Since recording their debut full-length album, they have entered a period of near constant touring, starting on the West Coast, but now including all of North America, most recently opening for Angus Stone at renowned venues in the US and Canada. After releasing their debut record, “So Long” not even a full year ago, the band released their newest EP titled “Worn Down Welcome” this April. Whether it be busking on your street corner or playing a major venue in your town, Tumbleweed Wanderers is a force that isn’t stopping anytime soon.
We caught up with Jeremy Lyon of the Tumbleweed Wanderers. Read on to see what he had to say!
How is the tour going?
It’s been going well! We’ve logged 60,000 miles on our van since January. We’v logged the longest single driving record at 17½ hours.
Is anyone going stir crazy?
We have a routine going. We will go for 3 weeks and then be home for a week. So we’re home long enough to see everybody but not long enough to have to do so much.
Are there any funny stories from the road so far?
Yeah we have a lot. We’ve done a lot of silly stuff. We just walk into gas stations in the middle of nowhere. We stop at all the same gas stations when we need gas or just a break. We had one a while ago where we pulled into a gas station and everyone there was crazy. There was this truck and they had 5 identical dogs in the front seat. And there was this lady with tall blue high heels and glasses that magnified her eyes. She also had a lot of glitter glue. It was in the middle of nowhere right outside of San Diego. We also played a show at a white water rafting center in North Carolina. That was a crazy week. We got there early and got complementary white water rafting. So we did a white water rafting gig for 3 hours and then we drove all night to get to The Hangout (in Gulf Shores, Alabama). There was a pool by the main stage and VH1 did their Top 20 Countdown with some guy from the Jersey Shore right in front of us. I would watch the Top 20 countdown every week when I was a kid. And they had the dumbest interview of all time. They were like, “So. How do you think they got this pool in here?” The guy said, “I don’t know.” And the interviewer was like, “Oh, haha! That’s so funny!” And then we had to drive cross-country from there to get back to a festival in San Franciso. We slept at home for a night and then left to go to Illinois to get to Summer Camp.
Is there any show that stands out as being most memorable?
Absolutely. We did High Sierra Music Festival on the Fourth of July. It’s in Quincy, California. Ever since we started as a band everyone would say to us, “You guys need to go to High Sierra. Not even just to play but just to see it.” We got booked for High Sierra and we were really excited about it. As soon as you get to the festival, everyone is instantly happy and there’s this really special community. We did two sets and the second set we did was for the biggest crowd we’ve ever played for. There were about 2,000 people. The show just got better and better because everyone was responding to it. We had a friend sitting in on percussion for us. By the end of the set, everyone was going crazier than we have ever seen at one of our shows. It was like a legitimate rock concert. And we weren’t expecting it but we got an encore and we were all really touched. We had a connection to the audience and we were on the same wavelength. It made all the driving so worthwhile that we had done all that and we could appreciate how special this moment was.
What is your favorite part about a live show? How do you connect with an audience?
If we’re having a good time, the audience will have a good time. The first thing is to try to get us comfortable and grooving together. If we’re dancing along, the audience will too. In terms of connecting with our audience, the main thing is making sure we have a good time and that they’re having a good time. And trying to be heartfelt, natural, and comfortable is important.
What’s one of the strangest things a fan has done for you at a show?
People will make us a lot of cookies and stuff. This guy showed up with a loaf of bread. He does this a lot. He showed up with a loaf of bread with about 50 ingredients in it and gives it to the touring band passing through. Dates, almonds, raisins. And he writes all the ingredients and gives you this loaf of bread. And we had another fan make 200 wondrous mugs. She carved in lyrics into the bottom and each one was different. She said, “I like you guys and I made these mugs.” They were kind of hard to transport but they were very unique.
What would you say is one of your ultimate goals as a band?
Our most basic goal is just to be able to support ourselves through our music and to be able to live where we want to live and to get to do what we love everyday. There are milestones like if we could tour Europe that would be awesome. But for me, personally, headlining The Fillmore. We got to play The Fillmore and opened for Jackie Greene last Thanksgiving. I don’t get nervous for shows but I was nervous for the sound check. I was nervous just standing on that stage. Knowing Janis Joplin and The Band played there. Just looking at all the posters they had, Pink Floyd and Jimmy Hendrix, lining their walls. Everyone has played there. And just thinking our show is so not the best show that has ever been at The Fillmore. It’s exciting to see where you can go with it. We like to build into having those epic shows. A lot of it is habit. Putting in the years and writing the songs and having the material. My Morning Jacket is one of my favorite bands. They can do 3-4 hour shows two nights in a row and not repeat a song. To be at that level and have a catalog of music that you’re really proud of and that your fans all like. They kind of grow with the band and follow their artistic movements.
Be sure to grab your tickets to see this incredible band when they come to Eddie’s Attic TOMORROW!
Doors open at 9:15 pm.
Show starts at 9:30 pm.
Tickets are $8 in advance and $12 at the door.
Online, phone, and outlet sales end at 5pm on the day of the show