Chris Wee - Drums, Vocals 2005 to Present

Articles for The Thin Air

US Tour Diary 


Hello from Philadelphia! As I write we’re at tonight’s venue the Union Transfer, waiting for our soundcheck slot while the mighty The Fall of Troy are doing theirs. We’re on tour with them and a great NY based band called Slothrust at the minute, both serving up masterclasses in their craft each night, keeping us blow-ins from Ireland very much on our toes each night. After this we part ways to meet up and do the rest of the tour with our Sargent House label mates Mylets and Blis.

We’re two weeks into the five week tour, having journeyed from the mid-west all the way to Florida and back up along the east coast, still to further zig-zag the country all the way to California. In between the hectic schedule of shows and the mammoth amount of driving required we have managed to squeeze a little downtime in amongst it. We swam in the Gulf of Mexico the other day during our stop in Tampa FL and we’ve seen some pretty amazing scenery and skylines on our hike so far, the only minor hiccup being a brush with a state trooper the other day due to slightly fast driving by one of us (not naming names) but touch wood it’ll be a smooth ride for the rest of tour.


We first stepped foot over here in 2010 as a completely unknown opening band struggling to get enough dollars to put fuel in our van and eat, so a few years on we’re lucky to have an amazingly supportive record label in Sargent House as well be continuing to cultivate a fanbase over here. Touring is a little more comfortable than it once was, yet you still face the same difficulties in maintaining your home life especially when you’re so far from it.

You experience time in strange ways whilst on tour. On one hand you are dashing in and out of some of the most incredible cities and taking in your surroundings the best you can, and before you know it you have covered several thousand miles in what seems like a day. And on the other hand time can lurch and drag with thoughts of home and the ones we love. We watch our kids grow up and maintain relationships over a smartphone screen, family members and loved ones fall ill, all too far out of our reach, while friends are bereaved with no way of you offering that hug you so desire to give.


It’s an aspect of touring that has always lurked in the background, away from the adrenaline of the shows or the interaction with the fans at the merch table. It’s just a part of life at the end of the day and although it’s not always easy to balance I don’t think any of us would change a thing. From our earliest desires of being in a band, thrashing through punk rock covers as young teenagers we now exist as a full time band in our tenth year of existence with four albums, moving city to city playing the music we love to people who love it too and to some that don’t know it yet. Talk to y’all soon. 

-Chris Wee 

See more live photos from Webster Hall, NYC at The Thin Air

Start a Van 

Hello again and apologies for the delay on this follow-up installment of my column. My friends, family and colleagues will collectively attest to my gross misuse of such phrases as ‘sorry for the late reply’, ‘sorry i’m only getting back to you now’ and ‘sorry I just saw this’. In truth, I am awful at correspondence. I feel like my pre-disposition towards poor contact with the outside world has only been exacerbated by the multitude of social platforms that occupy far too much of my iPhone and more inconveniently, my thoughts. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, FB messenger, e-mail – even the now archaic text message all distracting me from much more satisfying and worthwhile endeavours, such as sitting and writing this right now.

Let’s talk about the more important aspects of human interaction, like playing gigs to people. As I write, my phone is on flight mode and I shall hark back to simpler times, to when phones just about made calls and took shite quality photos and my band were beginning our journey into the touring life. Let’s say 2007.

Buying our first van was a crucial moment in our band’s progression. We took out a loan and bought an old 8-seater police patrol van from a guy on Autotrader, built a gear space and bunk bed into it and hastily hit the road. This single transaction quickly transformed us from a domestic gigging band into a bunch of tour crazy nomads, sleeping on floors and sofas, traversing all corners of the UK in search of people to listen to our band. And it was fucking brilliant. I think most bands will look back fondly to those early times of touring, before you knew what it was like to sleep in a hotel bed or get any sort of sustenance from a venue rider. To when you had absolutely no idea how many people would show up to the gig that night but nobody cared in the slightest because you were new to the road and everything was a discovery. Don’t take that statement as an admission of a now jaded view of touring, for it still is by far the most fun and fulfilling pursuit I have ever put my hand to, I feel that the early baptism of challenging tours made us extremely resilient to the toughest of situations a tour could throw at us. We were fortunate to encounter incredible bands like Adebisi Shank, Maybeshewill andThis Town Needs Guns on these early tours as we quickly realised that there were alternative bands like us out there treading a similar path to us. This knowledge together with tough tours with little financial yield really helped to solidify a strong work ethic and resilience in us.

After fairly relentless UK touring, we got an opportunity to breach mainland Europe, with the offer of the tour support for groove mongers, Clutch. However, our chirpy and excited touring party were subjected to a fairly unceremonious entrance to this new territory, pushing our not so trusty police van off the Eurostar and jump starting it along French soil, watched on by the highly amused staff. This sort of thing became quite a common occurrence for our band. Any band with limited funds travelling with less than stable machinery are bound to run into a comedic breakdown or two. Or 7. We have lost count of how many hours have been spent at the side of motorways and autobahns, awaiting tow trucks or perfecting our jumpstart techniques. Driving without a clutch is a particular proud skill that I have acquired from this outlandish profession.

We have gained many skills and experience on the road, like knowing that sleeping in your van at the side of the road in Sweden in the middle of winter will mean you’ll wake up with an inch of ice on the inside of the windows, as well as learning that when driving through mountains in Portugal and the dashboard of your 7.5 tonne Mercedes Vario starts to beep wildly like a suspect device in a Bruce Willis film, that means your coolant has run dry and your beloved van is telling you it might blow up very soon.

A slightly more sobering skill we have gained through our travels is the paying of the bribe. A foregone conclusion for any band venturing into parts of Eastern Europe and Russia, we have paid off many money hungry cops. A tenner’s worth of Rubles gets you through some borders avoiding lengthy searches of you are your van. Pretending to, or actually being a very poor band and convincing your patrol man of this will skin you a mere 100 Euro bill to get you out of most laughable of ‘traffic offences’ they have stopped you for. We once had Kalashnikovs pointed at us while some Russian police searched our van, strangely they didn’t bribe us that time.

However, this hostility and general sense of dread that Russian police can project is beautifully contrasted by the boundless hospitality that the everyday russian people have. You have a gun pointed at you during the day by a policeman on the drive to a venue but that night you’re playing to a packed out room of the kindest and most animated people you could ever hope to meet.

This lifestyle of extremes that exists on the road is one of the most exhilarating and rewarding aspects to being in a band, one that I relish every morning I set foot in a tour van. Chris 

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