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In this edition of Sounds of the Desert, we chat with Wilber Pacheco of Coachella-based post-rock band Tribesmen about his recent journey across California. Wilber and Tribesmen, rounded out by guitarist Alec Paul Corral, drummer Freddy Jimenez, and bassist Leslie Romero, logged 1200 miles on the road from Coachella all the way to Sacramento during a week-long tour with LA-based The Closers. We talked with Wilber about the differences between Nor Cal and So Cal, his favorite travel snacks, and other scary yet fun moments he and the band experienced.

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To prepare for the tour, you guys did a fundraiser show, right? How did it go?
Yeah, we promoted the hell out of that show, and we made enough money to get us on the road. On top of that, ANTA sponsored us and helped us out with gas! He gave us a bunch of clothes, beanies, stickers and $100 for gas!

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What an awesome dude! Who else played at that show?
Totally! We played with Thoughts Contained, Fever Dog, and Third Eye Experience.

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You guys hit Oakland, San Francisco (twice), and Sacramento. How did you get there and how did the odometer fair?
We took my car, but I made Alec drive. Alec drove the whole time [laughs]. We probably drove 1200 miles roundtrip, and Alec drove like 1100 of those miles [laughs]. In L.A., on the way home, he was exhausted, so Leslie took over.

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Sounds like a lot of gas.
Yeah, we filled my car up, like, nine times.

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Did Alec’s driving get in the way of his partying?
No. Never. Dude, he was raging it up. He would be driving and have me dunk his cheetoh puffs in nacho cheese and feed them to him while he was driving. [laughs]

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What did you guys do on the long drive up north?
Well… We ate a lot. We stocked up on cookies and snacks. We were snacking every ten minutes. We took a shit-load of cookies.

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What did you guys listen to on the road?
Pink Floyd, Wild Nothing, Youth Lagoon, Neil Young, Explosions in the Sky, and This Will Destroy You.

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What was your favorite city to play in and why?
Oh, San Francisco both times by far. There’s just so much to do and see. It’s incredible.

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What were some of the things you did for fun outside of the venue?
We hit up Amoeba records in Berkeley and San Francisco, saw the Golden Gate Bridge and Dolores Park, went hiking in the woods, and we got an RV space and camped out with our tour-mates The Closers right in front the 49ers stadium. That night was freezing. It was the coldest night of my life. It didn’t even feel like July.

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What are some good Bay Area eats you recommend?
Ikes and The Original Wing Shop in San Francisco were some of my favorites.

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Where did you guys sleep?
Well, one night, in Oakland, we got a motel with The Closers for $60. That night, our neighbor told us that he was at another motel, and when he was there, he got robbed at gun-point, and they took his phone and weed. We were really scared. Everybody in Oakland looks scary and looks at you with bad intentions.

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When it came to partying, who partied harder The Closers or Tribesmen?
The Closers, probably. Eric, their drummer, would wake up and start throwing back beers for breakfast. We made sure to have a blast and enjoy ourselves, but we also made sure the gigs were solid. It was fun to fool around all day, but when night-time came, it was work mode.

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How was playing shows in Northern California different from So Cal?
Honestly, playing out of town it felt like we had more to prove. It was hard, but it was a fun challenge to try to win people over.

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How are show-goers in the desert different from Northern California show-goers?
I still love desert shows way more. In Coachella, the people are more friendly and humble. In Nor Cal, the only people that went up to me after the shows were girls…. But probably because I’m handsome and not because of the band [laughs]. But seriously, when people in Coachella like your band, they’ll tell you. They don’t act too cool.

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What is Sacramento like?
Sacramento is literally a ghost town. Walking around town before the gig seriously felt like the end of that movie The Happening. There was nobody around except a cross-eyed hobo zombie. He didn’t even ask us for money; he just looked kinda dead and stared at us.

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Did any bands you played with catch your ear? Any touring bands you recommend?
Oh yeah! I highly recommend this band called Sunrunners from San Francisco: They’re an indie band that uses pianos, and I think the singer sounds like The Antlers. Also, Garage Voice, an indie/folk band from Seattle, WA, really impressed me. And of course, The Closers.

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What are you going to do differently next time you tour?
I’m gonna stock up on more music. By the end of the tour, we ran out of music. And also, maybe take more clothes. I think I ran out of clothes pretty fast. At the end, I was wearing the same thing for four days.

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Did anything especially awkward or embarrassing happen on tour?
One time I was helping The Closers unload, and I was carrying a big box of T-Shirts and I tripped over some drum stands that Alec left behind. I didn’t see them and I face planted and did a ‘scorpion’ in the middle of the venue. It was so embarrassing and everyone saw. Then I had to get up onstage and play afterwards. I feel like the people that witnessed that were probably, like, ‘Wow, I’m definitely not watching that guy’s band,’ [Laughs].

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What’s the craziest thing that happened on tour?
One of the craziest things that we saw was this artist named MOM. She played this warped Disney music and her voice sounded like a mouse. She wore a red dress and red mask and shouted these scary messages. Then she got naked… like completely naked. What was really crazy is that we had to play after her. It was insane.

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Any realizations you made on the road? Do you feel that this tour changed you in any way?
Yeah! Well, I feel like I was always scared of touring. I always thought being in a local band was an internet war based on popularity, but now I see it’s more about playing shows. I think hitting the road taught me that playing a good show is more crucial than having music available online. People need to see you. I think it establishes a real relationship with people and that’s the most important thing.

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Listen to Tribesmen:

https://www.facebook.com/tribesmencv

http://tribesmenmusic.bandcamp.com/

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