Totally Unicorn Tour Diary: Riding in vans with blunts

Writer Frank Rizla tags along in the Totally Unicorn tour bus for one helluva weekend

Den Rad

Outrageous Sydney metalcore stalwarts Totally Unicorn are known for their ridiculous antics, nudity, and ability to go very very hard at shows. So we could see it for ourselves, we asked writer Frank Rizla to join the group in their tour van for last weekend’s trip to Melbourne and back. Total scum, Totally Unicorn will be playing Scumfest in Adelaide this weekend! 

MORE: The Bennies talk smoking weed on tour

The late Bill Hicks once mused, “If you’re at a ball game or a concert and someone’s really violent and aggressive and obnoxious, are they drunk or are they smoking pot?”

I agree with Mr. Hicks. Alcohol’s greatest achievements are matched by its trail of bad decisions and poor form. I wonder though – is weed always a better option, Bill?

Good friends of mine and notorious lovers of the froth, Totally Unicorn, have been kind enough to allow me a seat in their van, which will be making its way to Geelong for a couple of shows in Victoria. The band, known for its partial nudity and continuous alcohol abuse, are obviously the best set point at which to test my recent pondering.

What better way to journal the pros and cons than in an environment where social interaction is nine-to-five? This is my little adventure.


Only four of the band members are leaving from Sydney, so I’m grabbing a lift with them. I’ve thought about just quickly blazing one out back before they arrive and enjoying the sunrise on the highway. Might be best to have a coherent conversation that time of morning. Get off on the good foot. No one needs to wait three minutes for an answer at that time.

First pit stop at a Mickie Dee’s. Everyone’s keen for breakfast. I figure now’s a good time to make the best meal of the day the holiest. Ripped a joint in the car park.

Ibises are fucking everywhere in this country. Everywhere. Shameless bastards.

I’ve been waiting for what seems like 15 minutes and still haven’t got my coffee. I have neither the brainpower nor the confidence to demand answers to its whereabouts. I’m now questioning if my order even went through, or whether I got a rogue cashier.

The drive is quiet. I’m wrapped in the warm embrace of being stoned. One thing’s for sure, whatever capacity I lose for social contact I make up for in patience for progressive music. I turned down Baroness’s Purple, a few times, in fact. But now, I’m down.

I lasted 15 minutes before I got bored again.

I just read an article about the band from a few years back: they had a bus crash in Europe, it was pretty bad. Everyone survived (barely). I’m paranoid that in some serendipitous moment this Tarago will go through a railing and into a creek somewhere near Goulburn.

Second stop for a petrol top-up. The day’s first doob has worn off. It’s been four hours and conversation has been minimal, probably because it’s too early to drink. Who would have thought these guys hold such values?

Lunch break. Rolled and downed a biggun.

Slept for a long time. We’ve arrived at the The Barwon Club Hotel and it’s as crowded as a Pantera cover band show, but way drunker.

Being stoned in a packed pub with people who’ve been drinking since midday is not a great place to be.

The band has wasted no time in rinsing down a heap of beers already. The social gap is widening.

I’m now knocking a few back, too. This is making things a lot easier to manage. People are a lot easier to deal with, conversations are a breeze when you’re drunk.


The motel we’re staying at is a stone’s throw from a bottle shop and a pizza shop. Although I knocked a few drinks back last night, I feel reasonably well. After the boys finished their set, we headed back to the motel, they bought another case of beer and I rolled a joint. After devouring a pizza, I turned down a beer and chilled until I fell asleep. It was a far cry from my usual habit – awake at 3pm on a Sunday with a head the PSI of a car tyre. I can thank the weed for that little saving grace.

We’re on our way to Melbourne and it’s fucking hot. The band has a Sunday night show at The Old Bar. Stopped off at a place that is legit called “Roadhouse” for something cold to drink. I punished a jazzy in the car park.

It’s a blue day outside. Birds are chirping. It sounds like they are having a real nice time. It sounds like a bird party, like they are actually having their version of what thirty-somethings do in parks all over Sydney’s inner west, just with less James Blake.

I choose an iced coffee and so far it’s the worst decision I’ve made today.

We haven’t had any music to listen to, communally, during our whole trip. I volunteer the Forest Gump movie soundtrack as we get under way. All the drinkers are sober and pretty confident about the day ahead. I’m trying to focus on happy thoughts, and not the paranoia courtesy of my wake and bake.

Johnson St is closed off and hosting a Latin festival. It is out of control. Music, food and people are everywhere. It’s a little daunting, but the carnival vibe is hard to resist. I’m still high as fuck, but the festival vibe is easing the social anxiety.

The Old Bar is full of people. This is becoming increasingly harder to cope with while stoned alone.

I’ve folded. Life is much easier when you just go along with the crowd.


I definitely missed the conversation about leaving this early in the morning. I can’t feel my face and I’m pretty sure my brain is vapour doing nothing constructive but pressurising my skull.

I don’t remember a lot. I do remember returning to our couch for the night after smoking a joint incredibly pissed. I even have vague memories of greening out, curled up in a ball, directing all power sources to breathe.

My out-of-this-world hangover is making this car ride home much more difficult than it should be. I’m so dusty, even the thought of sparking one up is making me nauseous.

Ripped a fat one, annihilated some fast food. We have had fast food at least twice a day since we left. My hangover is still horrific.

Everyone is keeping it chill on the drive. It’s a hard thing to get used to. At nights the band is full of life and laughs, then come morning, barely a word is uttered and the disdain is like an elephant jammed into a Tarago.

All spirits are back up – it’s sober time. Conversation is intermittent, but it’s funny and entertaining.

I still feel like death. Had I only smoked last night, I’d likely be enjoying these chilled vibes much more. On the flipside, I would have been home and watching Russell Coight clips on YouTube by 9:00pm.

Being stoned has definitely helped the long car trips. If I had sunk drinks in the car, I would have requested piss stops more frequently. Being high, I slept most of the way.

Home sweet home.

Totally Unicorn Tour Diary: Riding in vans with blunts
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