Tour Diary: Coping Skills

Mike Mehalick

Philadelphia-based duo Coping Skills are not here for the bullshit. Their recently released new LP, Worst New Music, reflects on the often soul crushing dichotomy of a life of possibilities limited by being of a certain age and privilege in the very dumb year of someone’s lord 2018.

That said and fortunately for us, Rachel Dispenza and Lauren DeLucca make the best of it through their art. They recently wrapped a US tour in support of their new album with Impose asking them to keep a tour diary.

As Worst New Music would suggest, Coping Skills are at the same time acutely aware of and completely unfazed by particular forms of criticism. However, Dispenza and DeLucca are connoisseurs of all things coffee, bagels and fruit and you better believe this extended to their time on the road.

Check out Coping Skills’ tour diary below and stay tuned for a little something special at the end.

The mantra “Bagel Fruit Water” began two summers ago as a morning diet routine, aimed at creating a (possibly misguided) healthy start to our days. Sure, that’s not a sustainable lifestyle. But we still love all three things, so we not only wrote a song about it for our latest record Worst New Music, but we also made finding them an integral part of the record release tour. Of course we were traveling from city to city to play music. But we had more lofty aspirations: What savory bagels could we find along the way? What sweet fruit? And, though water is necessary in its own right, we spiced up the journey by throwing coffee into the search. Coffee is about 99% water and comes from the seed of–you guessed it–a fruit! So it still fits the mantra.

We kept a full diary via this tweet thread to document the bagels, fruit and coffee we consumed, where we found them, and tasting notes on each experience. Below are some of the highlights and a music video for our song “Bagel Fruit Water” created with footage from the tour.


(live photo by Adam Reese)

We spent the first six days somehow touring adjacent to our friends in The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die. This strange coincidence turned out to be a lucky break for us. When our third show of tour dropped two weeks before we left (an unfortunate reality of DIY touring), TWIABP, Pianos Become the Teeth and Queen of Jeans were kind enough to let us open up their show at The Masquerade in Atlanta, GA instead. Still not sure what was sweeter: this greenroom platter of fresh fruit or being invited to sing along to the choruses when TWIABP covered Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy.”

(live shots by Amy Lane)

One really special place we went was Denton, Texas. It was easily the most efficiently run show (four bands in two hours! unreal!) with some of our favorite bands we played with on the tour. The next morning we ate at Loco Cafe, who was batch brewing an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Natural Misty Valley. The upfront notes of blueberry and creamy, pleasant acidity made it one of the best cups of tour.

After a week of reverting back to our OG two piece format, we flew our MVP drummer Jeremy to Chicago to finish the tour with us. We snuck in a practice in the living room of a pal’s second floor apartment, and Jeremy shredded so hard at the gig at Subterranean that they broke the snare head. We stopped at a coffee & record store called Purple Llama the next day. They had a wonderful, varied selection of both. We snagged a bag of El Progresso from Germany’s The Barn to take home, and the staff gave us a sample of a Rwandan coffee from Counter Culture to try!

PSA for Burlington VT: our longtime bud Tyler Daniel Bean is opening up a bagel shop in your area called Willow’s Bagels THIS SUMMER. He was kind enough to give us a tour with a free meal while we were there. This everything bagel breakfast sandwich he created is in the lifetime top 5. Can’t even tell you what all was on there, but trust us: ya gotta visit Willow’s!

(photo by Chris Sikich)

We drove home after our Brooklyn show so that Rachel could go back to work at Ultimo, a specialty coffee shop in Philly, the morning of our record release show. It was a relief to be back in the home of a vibrant Kenyan coffee (Ultimo’s Karatina) just in time for the end of the tour. We were so lucky to play at Everybody Hits with So Totally, Vivian K, Zeta, and Big Quig all while raising money for No More Dysphoria. What a warm way to end the tour!

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