Jon Foreman, meet Tom's Drip Tank!
On Oct. 24, Foreman plans to do 25 performances in 24 hours - one show per hour - across San Diego County. The leader of the Grammy Award-winning Encinitas rock band Switchfoot will perform everywhere from taco shops and a high school to local rock clubs and a private gig at Rady Children's Hospital. Proceeds will benefit Switchfoot's nonprofit Bro-Am Foundation, which over the past decade has raised more than $1 million for various San Diego children's charities. (Ticket information for "25 Shows in 24 Hours" appears at the conclusion of this article).
Foreman's one-day tour will kick off at 11 a.m. on Oct. 24 at Bro-Am Studios, the nonprofit music school and performance space that Switchfoot opened in July. Foreman will also perform at the intimate studio at noon on Oct. 24 and again at 9 a.m. on Oct. 25. After concluding each of the 25 performances, he'll use social media to announce the location of the next one. He'll have some musical pals do guest spots at some of the shows.
"The concept definitely corresponds with the music," said Foreman, who by the end of this year will have released 25 new songs on "The Wonderlands," his series of four solo EPs. His inspiration for the two-dozen-plus shows in one day idea also stems from the impromptu after-show solo acoustic sets he often performs after Switchfoot's concerts have concluded.
"It's a crazy, dumb idea, but it seems like it could be amazing or it could be horrible," said Foreman in a recent San Diego Union-Tribune interview.
"It kind of stems from the idea that, all of these solo songs - in one way or another - their debut is (usually) at these after-shows. What will happen is, at the end of a Switchfoot set, usually I've got more music in me. So I'll go into the parking lot in back and play a few songs, for whoever is there to hear them. I usually tweet about it right before hand. It can be four people (who show up), it can be hundreds of people, you never know. So this is the logical extension of that. After-show, after-show, after-show, after-show! I think if we do it right, we might break the Guinness Book of World Records, as well."
In essence, then, this will be 25 after-shows, minus the show a typical after-show would follow.
"They are all after-shows!" Foreman said, laughing.
"My hope is, I want to play with a Mariachi band, I want to play at some kid's birthday party, maybe a wedding, I want to play at the beach, I want to play at my old high school, maybe I should play at some 7-Elevens. I want things to get...one of my favorite things about the after-shows is that they are unplanned. I only do them when I feel like it. This one will obviously have to have a little bit more of a plan, but I want those awkward moments, I want those strange things. Because sometimes there's an amazing beauty that comes from the unplanned moment, the chaos."
Might Foreman film his 25-show jaunt?
"Yeah, my buddy was talking about that," he replied. "I think we're going to figure it out. I mean, it's going to be tricky, trying to figure out. How do you do that? Do you just do one continuous shot? Probably not. I don't know. We're trying to figure it out."
At this point, attentive readers may be wondering: Who are Tom's Drip Tank, and why were they mentioned at the beginning of this article?
A very perceptive question!
On July 11, 1990, the San Diego punk-rock band Tom's Drip Tank launched its "Southland Freedom in Your Face Tour," which saw the group perform at 49 San Diego County 7-Eleven stores from La Mesa to La Jolla .
The band, which at the time featured guitarist-singer Joel Nowak, bassist Abbie Zands and drummer-singer Paul Brewin, began their tour at 12 minutes after noon at a 7-Eleven store in El Cajon . From there, the trio made its way to 7-Eleven locations in El Cajon, La Mesa, College Grove, East San Diego, Kensington, North Park, Hillcrest, Linda Vista, Clairemont, Pacific Beach and, finally, La Jolla, where the "Southland Freedom in Your
Face Tour" concluded.
To quote from my original 1990 article:
To execute this highly mobile tour, Tom's Drip Tank has rented a 14-foot truck that has been equipped with several amplifiers and microphones, a drum kit and a 600-watt generator to power the equipment, which the band contends will be no louder than a "ghetto blaster" radio.
Guitarist/spokesman Nowak predicted most people would be amused by his band's mini-tour. At the very most, he said straight-faced, he hopes to earn a free Big Gulp drink from one of the stores he performs at today.
But he grew more serious when asked point-blank if the "Southland Freedom in Your Face Tour" was an elaborate ruse.
"I assure you this is real," said Nowak, a 24-year-old San Diego native majoring in visual arts at UCSD. "The only way it would become a hoax is if we're all arrested at our first stop and can't continue. But I don't think
we'll have any trouble because everybody at 7-Eleven knows me; I frequent those places like crazy...
"Basically, we're doing this because it's 7-11-1990 - that's today's date - and 7-11 represents to me 7-Eleven and the Southern California lifestyle. It's a celebration for and of 7-Eleven, which is a big part of my life and other people's lives."
Southland/7-Eleven spokesman Paul Schmitt laughed when told yesterday of the band's ambitious tour plans for today.
"To the best of my knowledge nobody here knows anything about it," said Schmitt. "Tom's Drip Tank? That's certainly an unusual name... I don't know what to say, I don't know the group, I don't know the songs.
"We plan on utilizing the day to thank our customers for their patronage, and I would only hope whatever the band plans to do fits in with our focus for the (customer appreciation) day. It sounds like they're well-intentioned, which is great."
Drip Tank's Nowak stressed that his band's intention - beyond self-promotion - is to entertain, not disrupt.
"If (any) 7-Eleven doesn't like what we're doing, we'll stop and move along," he vowed. "We'd get in trouble if we continued playing, which we don't intend to do. We want to cooperate as much as possible."