Melodic surf-punk trio Last Import have just completed their first multi-state tour, which featured incidents of celebrity encounters, a robbery, and an outpouring of love from their community of fans and family. Certainly, all of this amounts to a feat which is a monumental moment for any band and prompts a bit of self-reflection and admiration to commemorate the occasion.
The thirteen-date run took them east through Chicago, Detroit, Fort Wayne, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, and back across the country through Charleston, Nashville, St. Louis, and Des Moines over a period of about two weeks, wrapping up with a show at Day Block Brewing back here, in their home town of Minneapolis, on Friday night.
The “Fast Times” tour featured many noteworthy moments, including their Direct-To-Vinyl recording at Leesta Vall in Brooklyn and subsequent visit to Times Square, as well as drummer Jane Halldorson’s quest to meet Bam Margera in West Chester, Pennsylvania, which featured an impromptu visit to “Castle Bam” where she did end up meeting the former professional skateboarder and Jackass star.
The tour also experienced some low points, including the show I had the chance to attend after my weekend in Manchester, Tennessee for Bonnaroo. After wrapping up their performance in Nashville at Springwater Supper Club, someone walked off with the band’s cash box, which held over $1,000 of their food, lodging, gas money, and funds still owed on their merchandise.
It was an extremely disappointing end to what should have been one of the highest points of the entire tour. The members of Last Import had spent the day with many members of their family who joined them in town before the show.
Although everyone attempted to keep their spirits up and tried to look at the bright side of things, with lead-singer Emily Bjorke observing, “At least we weren’t robbed at gunpoint,” it was clear this was not a lesson any of the three members wanted to learn the hard way.
Luckily, due to an extreme outpouring of love and support through the form of a Fundly Campaign set up by Jane, Last Import was able to raise $2,000 in less than forty-eight hours. It was this outpouring which motivated the band to finish their tour strong, and they wrapped up their trek with two blistering performances in St. Louis & Des Moines.
Now, back in Minneapolis and currently plotting their next big adventure, Music in Minnesota had an opportunity to sit down with all three members of Last Import to get an idea of how they felt about the tour, what they learned along the way, and what is next for them!
MIM: How much work went into planning this tour, and how did it feel when the day finally came to jump in the car and hit the road?
Jane: It was a lot of work. We started booking it in August of 2018 and fully finished in March of 2019. Booking it ourselves, we had to find all the local bands, places to stay, venues, and promote it all ourselves.
It was really exciting to finally hit the road and was like a dream come true. We’ve all wanted to tour for a long time and to have done it ourselves and go out on this east coast tour, to cities most of us have never been, was super exciting.
MIM: Were there any nerves about how you would be able to handle spending two straight weeks together on the road?
Jane: Yes! Emily was much more worried about her voice or getting sick on tour, and there would’ve been literally nothing to do, especially with 9 consecutive shows.
Good and bad, we got a lot closer these 2 weeks, which was really awesome for us.
MIM: Before the tour started, what show/city were you most looking forward to? After the tour was finished, what ended up actually being your favorite show/city?
Grace: I was excited about Brooklyn, and it was definitely my favorite show!
Emily: I was also most excited about Brooklyn; the turn out was a lot better than expected, and the people who were there really cared about what we were doing and why we were there.
Jane: I was most excited about West Chester, and it was the greatest day of my life for every reason ever. Brooklyn was a close second because of how amazing everyone was there and all the friends I made.
MIM: Who were some of your favorite bands to perform alongside out on the road?
Grace: I loved The Ophelias, who we played with in Detroit. I played them a lot on Radio K, which was cool.
Emily: I loved Legume in Detroit. They had a really cool sound!
Jane: I loved the band Dog Shepherd who we played with in Brooklyn. They were super loud and talented and fun to watch.
MIM: Each of you had family members come and see you perform out on the road, and you were able to stay with many close friends and relatives throughout many of the stops. Did it make it easier performing for friendly faces so far from home?
Jane: It was great to see them all, and it was nice to have people supporting us, but it’s definitely harder when it’s just the people you know. It’s fun going into a show where no one knows you and they have no real expectation about what you’re going to sound like.
MIM: So far in 2019 you’ve released your debut full-length album and completed your very first multi-state tour. What’s next?
Jane: Next for Last Import… MORE MUSIC WRITING! MORE SHOWS! MORE TOURS! Just as much as we can do. We want to reach as many people as possible with our music. We got some great stuff in the works for closer to this winter, so stay tuned!
Although all three members of Last Import made it very clear how happy they were to be back in Minneapolis, mostly so they could all return to sleeping in their own beds, it was quite obvious how much they enjoyed being out on the road performing together. I suspect it won’t be very long before the three of them begin booking their next tour.
Few artists are able to bring energy and passion to their live performance like Last Import does without sacrificing certain pieces of their sound. While I certainly implore anyone who hasn’t yet listened to their self-titled debut to do so, Last Import’s live performance is where their music truly comes to life.
It becomes even more shockingly apparent the kind of potential we are seeing here when you take a moment to remember that all three members are barely old enough to legally purchase alcohol. While the journey ahead of them is still very long, and this industry is a bit fickle at times, I have no qualms in saying that I continue to see an unbelievable success story budding before our eyes.