I want to preface this by saying we are safe and we are so lucky.
The Allison Weiss band jokes about being the tamest band on the road. We rarely party. We go to bed early. We always drive slow and we ALWAYS wear our seat belts. I'm a worrier, you know? It's in my blood. I'm constantly preparing for the worst case scenario, going over the what-ifs in my mind like some kind of religious ritual. We all hear the stories, all bands do. We knock on wood and hope it doesn't happen to us, knowing in the back of our minds that in this business it's probably inevitable. You can plan all you want, but when the moment hits, all you can do is hope for the best.
Yesterday around 10:00am my band and I were traveling from Denver to Salt Lake City. It's a notoriously treacherous stretch of highway and we were braced for bad weather, but when a huge gust of wind hit our 15 passenger van and sent us over a patch of ice, there was nothing we could do.
I heard Liam yell "Oh no" and I tried to go totally limp (I heard you're supposed to do this instead of bracing yourself). The van hit the median and rolled twice, at least. Fear shot through my body. Here I was on my last day of tour with four incredible people who have dedicated their time and energy to back me up on stage every night and in this moment I had no idea if they were okay. One by one we yelled to each other "Everyone alright?! Is everyone okay?!" My glasses were gone. I couldn't see. I scrambled around completely blind as the snow came through the windows and I felt my head pounding. Someone found my wallet. My phone. My glasses. Pete's phone. Liam's laptop bag. All the doors were jammed but we got outside, and I immediately went back in to get everyone's personal belongings. It all happened in about 30 seconds and the next thing I knew we were hustled across the highway to the cab of a semi truck that stopped to help.
I'm sitting here now, it's 7:07 am in Laramie WY. My Fest wristband is replaced with a new bracelet, one that says Allison Amling Weiss and my birthday and the name of the local hospital. I have a staple in my head where the doctor patched up a gash I got when I hit the side window. Pete, Liam, and Will are shaken up but okay. Kailynn suffered a small back injury but nothing serious. We are so lucky. We are SO lucky.
Our van, The Gator, is totaled. We had just hit 100,000 miles on this trip. I felt a sense of adventure when it happened a week ago. I couldn't wait for the next 200k. I pictured me and that van, sailing off into the sunset on tour after tour. The Gator was gonna take me to new territories. I'm sad, but it's just a van. It's a thing. We're all walking and talking and breathing and laughing and sighing. We're okay.
I don't know what this will mean for my touring future. I know we'll keep pushing on, but for a small band like myself, this is a huge hit. We've already incurred medical bills and hotel costs, insurance deductibles and the like. We haven't even had a chance to check out our gear yet, and the idea of trying to find a new van makes my brain hurt... or maybe that's the staple...
I've always been able to survive because of the people who follow me and who love my music. This tour has been incredible. The people I've met who sang my words with me every night, completely understanding the songs I wrote alone in my bedroom, those are the people who have kept me going. You are the ones who have allowed me to keep doing this.
So I come to you now asking for help. If you can spare it, I set up a Paypal donation button where you can send us a few bucks. If you haven't heard my music before, for the next 72 hours my label No Sleep Records is putting 100% of our Bandcamp sales towards our recovery. There are more links below, for my web store and individual records on Bandcamp. Every dollar counts. Your support means the world to me and my bandmates.
To all the bands who are touring this winter, PLEASE be safe. Drive slow. Wear your seat belts. Not everyone ends up as lucky as we did.