Here's a nice article about the guys. bp
On the road again: Breaking into touring one market at a time
By Kaiya Morrison
I recently gained an inside perspective to the world of touring with the up-and-coming Colorado-based rock band, Tickle Me Pink, when I join the tour in Metairie on Tuesday, September 16 at an all-ages show at The High Ground. The next five days of my life were spent observing, documenting and befriending the quintet from Fort Collins, Colorado, which includes members Sean Kennedy (lead vocals, bass), Steven Beck (guitar, vocals), Joey Barba (bass, vocals) and Stefan Runstrom (drums).
Although I was only with the band for a short time, it was just enough to learn what it’s like to be the new band on the national tour block.
My last night with Tickle Me Pink was spent in Austin, TX at Antone’s, a live music venue located on Fifth Street. Not only was it my last night with the band, but it was the final show of a two month co-headlined tour between Finch and Scary Kids Scaring Kids.
“We’ve officially just broken in to touring,” Runstrom said after they played their set, while we watched Scary Kids Scaring Kids whip the already frantic crowd to an absolute boil. “We just got hazed by the seniors, i.e. Finch. They walked on stage and stole all of our s**t and f**ked with Steven’s knobs while we were playing. Officially, we’ve been hazed.”
Honestly, it was hilarious.
With Drew Marcogliese, drummer for Finch, acting as the primary instigator, the plan to prank Tickle Me Pink was in motion before the doors to the venue opened. They were going to do it when they started playing their hit song, “Typical,” which is the single off the band’s debut album with Wind-Up Records. First they patched into the soundboard and started messing with their monitors, and then they went so far as to remove Runstrom’s entire drum kit as he was still attempting to perform the song.
No one was upset by the prank. It was all in good fun. They are the new band on the block, and it’s not that much different from pledging to a fraternity. Every night different members from different bands joined in during some part of the other bands set. The final show was the first time one of the senior bands had done so with T.M.P., so what would seem to be negative tampering was actually a seal of approval.
“I just really loved this tour,” Randy Strohmeyer, guitarist for Finch, said while everyone on the tour celebrated together for the last time. “It was super fun to hang out with Tickle Me Pink. Bless their hearts, they’re just the sweetest guys in the world. Also, to add, i love my band, and I feel blessed for this opportunity to hang out with my brethren in Scary Kids, who are seriously one of my favorite bands to tour with.”
“This is just the way you want a tour to end. Everybody’s friends!” Marcogliese added.
With a great ending to the story, the beginning wasn’t as bright for Tickle Me Pink. On the day the band released their album “Madeline,” the band was dealt a harsh blow when Tickle Me Pink’s former bass player and close friend Johnny Shoul was found dead in his home. At just 22 years old, Shoul was the oldest member of the band.
“Originally I was very bitter about it and resentful of the press and our local press,” Rustrom confessed to me while we were driving from Dallas to the next show in San Antonio. “At that time I didn’t care about the band, I cared about my friend. Why can’t we mourn the loss of a great person. The press focused on the irony of it happening on our release date, but I didn’t understand why they couldn’t just mourn the loss of a great person instead.
“The whole time I was pretty pissed off,” he added. “I think I was just going through the grieving process.”
I asked the other members if they considered canceling the tour, and they unanimously said that never considered it. Although a tragedy, they had to separate grief from the business of the band and move on. That would have been the way Shoul would have wanted it. However, they were affected throughout the entire tour.
“I still think about it a lot,” Runstrom continued to say. “A lot of the places we’ve been on this tour we’ve been to before with Johnny. There are triggers everywhere. For the most part I am at peace with everything now, but it’s still hard.”
From the highest highs, like meeting Vinnie Paul, drummer for Pantera, to the lowest lows, like having their entire van gutted and cash box stolen in Chicago, Tickle Me Pink’s first national tour was a true roller-coaster ride of emotions.
When it all ended the four had roughly two weeks to return home and take care of business, and spend time with friends and family before they were back on the road for another two months.
“We’ve done the whole small self-supported tour thing before, and it’s hard, especially not really knowing how to do it,” Runstrom explained when I asked about his overall feelings about the hard part of the tour. “Not knowing how to anticipating traffic, or things like that, and playing every night is also hard when sometimes all you want to do is go home and just go to bed. But it’s all worth it.”
Tickle Me Pink will remain the pledges to the fraternity of touring, and this time they have to impress the seniors in Hawthorne Heights, while trying to win over fans and make a name in the industry one market at a time.
The tour with Hawthorne Heights will come through Louisiana on October 23 with the show being held at The House of Blues in New Orleans. This show will be the first time Tickle Me Pink will witness the heart of New Orleans.
You can learn more about Tickle Me Pink at www.myspace.com/ticklemepink
Originally Published: Issue 709 - October 22, 2008