During the band’s six-song set, Simonett told their Philadelphia story about getting paid in cigarettes. “It’s nice to see it evolve into all of you,” he said to the crowded room.
As fast as the setup in Rochester, they tore down the stage and tore off to Baltimore. In a rare daytime bus ride across three states to make another unpaid gig, some of the guys slept. Most hit their phones for e-mails, texts or games. The mandolinist tried the bus’ Apple TV to watch “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” but the streaming video proved to be a trickle.
“It took me 2½ hours to watch an hour-and-a-half movie,” said Berry, Trampled’s resident chicken farmer.
In Baltimore, the guys did as much listening as they did talking.
“I saw you at [Del McCoury’s] DelFest and was blown away.”
“I’ve listened to you guys every day for at least the past year.”
“You guys changed my life.”
The band was treated to comments such as these as they autographed copies of “Wild Animals” at the Sound Garden, an uncommonly large record store in an unusually nice part of Baltimore.
No wonder bands still do record-store appearances even though they rarely make money on records. The store was already filling up with fans when the band pulled up to perform another six-song set on a Murphy-bed-like stage that folds out of the wall.
As at every gig that week, numerous fans from back home popped up in Baltimore. One even brought an old sampler CD, “Mayor’s Mix: Duluth Homegrown Music,” with a picture of the city’s hip young mayor, Don Ness. Trampled’s banjo player grinned as he reached for his phone to text Ness:
“I just signed your face.”
• • •
“We limit the lengths of our tours so everyone gets to go home and see their wives and family. That would be the hardest thing about touring now. Before, the hardest thing was playing a show till midnight and then packing everything up ourselves, loading into a van and driving halfway across the country to get to the next gig.”
Dave Carroll, banjo player
BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C.
Saturday, July 19