by Anthony Stassi & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & F & lt;/span & lee the Century have gone on only four or five tours, but around here that easily qualifies them as road vets. Last month, they embarked on a month-long West Coast tour reaching all the way down to Juarez, Mexico. The band considers it their most successful tour yet. So that your band might also find success, they offer a few tips.

Chico, Calif.

After playing two CD-release shows and getting only a couple hours of sleep, Flee the Century began their tour a lot like they hoped to end it: feeling haggard and hung over. "The tour hadn't even started yet and we all looked and felt so wrecked," explains drummer Justin Hoff. Nevertheless, they got up, packed their van and drove nonstop to Chico where they played the first show of the tour with Chico locals the Secret Stolen. The following day, they drove to Nevada City, which isn't actually in Nevada (who knew?), to meet up with their friends Tera Melos, a spastic prog-rock quartet from Rosewood, Calif. Though Tera Melos were about to begin a tour with The Fall of Troy -- six degrees of acquaintance with quasi-famous bands has long been the easiest way to get famous yourself; remember that --they weren't too busy to help hook up Flee with a house show. It went off well. Bassist, vocalist and makeshift tour manager Eric Anderson says house parties like the one in Nevada City are a great way to fill gaps in a cash-strapped tour. You usually get a floor to sleep on after.

Reno, Nev.

From there, Flee the Century and Tera Melos made their way to Reno for an all-ages coffee shop gig. With some time to kill before the show, they wandered around Reno meeting "cool homeless dudes" and dabbling in some gambling here and there. The show proved to be one of the best turnouts of the tour, with the band playing to 40 or 50 people. According to Anderson, booking gigs through bands -- not venues -- is the way to go. "I could probably book a tour in like a week or two with all the connections I made on this tour," he says. It also can't hurt to be friends with Tera Melos, touring veterans in their own right. (Six degrees, remember?)

Hollywood, Calif.

After a plan to take the day off at Six Flags was botched, the boys decided to kick it with the stars in Hollywood. They even got tickets to Jimmy Kimmel Live. "We called our friends to tell them we were going to be on Jimmy Kimmel, and now all of our friends think we performed on national television," explains Hoff. FTC may not have graced NBC but they did perform at the Smell in Los Angeles. "It was a lot of fun and we got hooked up with some really cool bands," explains Anderson. On their way out of town, they stopped by the San Clemente beach where keyboardist Chris Hynes threw on some girls' underwear he got from a radio interview and frolicked ankle-deep in the great Pacific. The lesson here: Days off are best spent frolicking on beaches in women's underwear.

Juarez, Mexico

No West Coast tour would be complete without the quintessential stop in Las Vegas. So on their way down to Juarez, the gang took a breather for some good old-fashioned debauchery, everything from swindling fancy hotels to hitting the Strip hard. They reluctantly had to leave the bright lights of Vegas for the unpaved streets of Juarez. Anderson seems less than enthused about their south-of-the-border experience: "We played the show and nobody seemed to care that much." Hoff describes the gig a bit differently: "Scary. Very scary."

Provo, Utah

The best show of the tour, according to the group, was in Provo with their friends, Seve vs Evan. (Again, good networking means good show. Are you noticing a pattern?) Unfortunately, it was also their last before returning to Spokane. More gigs were scheduled in Colorado, but the guys were forced to cancel because of bad snowstorms. Instead they packed up and drove all the way back to Spokane that same night.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & ours are doable -- Flee the Century has proven that. More important, they're worth doing. They aren't easy, they aren't glamorous, and there will be the occasional snowstorm. Suffice it to say, though, Flee The Century is now more popular in Juarez than your band is.

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