Chicago-based food photographer Derek Richmond has never been on tour before, but his high school friends, Sean and Erin Woods of The Spits, sure have. The “punk for the people” band has been touring since it was formed back in 2000.
“Food is a little more punk, a little more dangerous these days,” says Richmond. After spending the past few years in kitchens photographing a crop of tattooed chefs with a decidedly punk ethos, Richmond’s decision to take his art on the road came naturally. After spotting Yo La Tengo at one of chef Paul Kahn’s Chicago restaurants and hearing tales of an ill-fated attempt at tour-bus Crock-Pot cookery by The Spits, Richmond decided to join them for their East Coast tour.
“I’ve been documenting The Spits since 2000,” Richmond explains. The band is the subject of a documentary currently in the works. Richmond’s plan is to piece together vignettes that capture everything leading up to the band’s entrance to the evening’s venue, in other words getting from point A to point B, including the food on the road. Richmond outfitted the band’s van with two mounted, HD GoPro cameras acting like “flies on the touring walls” and packed two digital single-lens reflex cameras for still and video imagery.
On the first day of the tour, Richmond and the band loaded up on snacks and supplies at a Michigan health-food store, purchases contrary to the beer and gas-station burritos that most people think of as tour food. “Food is a big part of health and sanity,” explains Richmond. And entertainment.
While most of the band’s meals are going to be of the play-it-by-ear variety, there are a few special meals scheduled into the itinerary, like a dinner at Montreal’s Joe Beef, a panzarotti pilgrimage to New Jersey and a mandatory cheesesteak in Philly (Pat’s is the general consensus).
You can check out The Spits on Sunday at 8 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.), where they’re playing with Watery Love, The Abandos and the (totally appropriately named) Useless Eaters.
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