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Gig Life: Remembering The Final Dark Days of Don Caballero

Gig Life: Remembering The Final Dark Days of Don Caballero

Back in the fall of 2000 celebrated Math-rock band Don Caballero left their home in Pittsburgh to embark upon a three week tour of North America in support of their fourth studio album, American Don. At the time, the band was operating with what is now highly regarded by many as their most prolific and well-cultivated line-up to date. (Yes, this was the line-up that featured the prominent personality of Ian Williams, before his re-establishment in the thick of the industry with Battles. Accompanying members included bassist Eric Emm and drummer and present carrier of the Don Cab spirit, Damon Che.) The subsequent tour, however, would wind up to be the bands’ last containing both Ian and Eric.

It’s diary, published in Chunklet – an oddball magazine operating out of Athens, Georgia – shortly after the band put an end to their endeavours both out on the road and to their status as an active outfit, provides an insightful and exhilarating account of what has since marked its spot as one of the more real and honest representations of tour life to date. Titled ‘The Final Dark Days of Don Caballero’, the article was written and compiled by chosen tour support artist and mobility man, Fred Weaver. Whilst a lengthy fourteen pages in reading may shy some away from engaging in the content, I will say this: Weaver’s diary is a fine slice of tour know-how and showcases not only some fantastic storytelling, but sublime journalism also. Furthermore, the issue of Chunklet in which the article originally surfaced 15 years ago has become something of a rare collector’s item for diehard followers: no more copies remain in official circulation as of approximately April 2007, rendering those with access to the article extremely privileged in the eyes of fellow Don Cab worshipers.

However, thanks to the deeds committed by one generous carrier, the seldom seen issue is available, in its entirety, for all to access and share online. Now I would usually shame people who dismantle the value of antiques through tools disseminated by the mighty World Wide Web, but in this case I must make the exception, not only because I consider myself a huge fan of the bands’ work, but because I am, like many other efficient readers, a major admirer of great writing. Fred Weaver’s article ticks all the boxes, from detailed encounters with the many obstacles of touring, to personality clashes, band politics and, of course, the pivotal road accident.

You can view the entire article via the link from Swan Fungus here. From there the page provides 14 further links to JPEG’s, listed serially, of the full diary. I should warn you that Swan Fungus has also published their piece with an author’s introduction, much like I have here. But I assure you there is no more digging to do from there. No breadcrumb trail or Matryoshka Doll-type prank or anything; just Weaver’s article, there in all its glory for you to study, as and when the post-tour blues needs pegging down a notch or two.

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