Roots rockers Tapwater, in the middle of a 72-gig, 12-state tour, recently had a three-day break. They decided to camp through the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Canyon de Chelly in an RV they call iRVin.
"We hit the store, bought all sorts of barbecue food, snacks, and, of course, beer and wine," wrote band manager Anne Tropeano in a recent e-mail. "We pulled into Canyon de Chelly at 10:30 pm. Steve [Moore, lead vocals/guitar] got out of iRVin to talk privately to his dad on the phone. Within a minute or so, a camper came over and got in his face, telling Steve he didn't want to hear him talk on his phone all night. Steve was alarmed, moved away, hung up with his dad, and came back inside the RV to tell us what happened."
The band spent the next hour drinking beers in the RV and chatting. At about 11:30 p.m., Ravi and two of the other guys exited the RV to build a fire and cook some food.
"Within a few minutes, the same camper came back and started yelling," Tropeano said. "I rushed out of the RV just in time to see the guy sucker-punch Ravi in the face. Ravi pushed the guy off him, and the whole band started chasing him out of the campsite. I, as the manager, wanted them to calm down and leave the guy alone. I got in between them and started yelling -- ordering -- everyone to go back to the RV. This guy could have a gun, I thought. He was yelling all sorts of things at Ravi, telling him, 'Just the two of us,' and 'If there weren't six of you, I'd kick your ass....' "
At that point the assailant rushed off into the dark, shouting, "I'll be back!"
"Ravi was very angry and wanted to press charges," Tropeano continued. "We found a number on the info board, which happened to be right next to iRVin. Ravi called the park ranger after-hours number, which was actually the Navajo Police. As Ravi hung up the phone, the guy returned yet again. He walked over to his truck [which was parked next to his tent]. Wes [Elliot, bass] shined a flashlight on him and shouted, 'Hey, man, what are you getting in there?' The camper pulled out an axe and started going toward Wes with it. The whole band gasped and backed up. He had the axe high in the air like he was going to start swinging it...and right then two Navajo police cruisers pulled up just in time to catch him in the headlights with the axe in the air....
"As soon as the camper saw them pull up, he swung the axe into a tree stump. The cops then spread out, two approaching him and two approaching us. After about two hours of questioning, the cops believed our story and arrested him. He was taken to jail in Flagstaff, and we found out the next day that the judge ruled to hold him for psychiatric evaluation. As it stands now, Ravi is waiting to hear if his appearance in court is necessary."
Tapwater plays O'Connell's on January 13.