Friday, March 26, 2010

    Be in a band. Tour all the time.

    If you are not on tour or the owner of your own Waffle House franchise, you have one foot planted firmly in the grave. And when I say that I really mean that if you aren’t doing something you love, then you are clearly missing the point of life, the universe and everything.

    Over Spring Break, I went on tour with my best buds in Ghost Mall. We played 8 shows in Ten days from March 11 to March 20. We played in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (I’m starting to feel like Howard Dean), South Carolina and stopped in every state in between mostly because of my band mates’ overactive bladders. I learned a few lessons about touring and life that I will share with you free of charge.

    1. No matter how many times you check to make sure you have everything, you will always forget something. Minutes after getting on the NYS Thruway, I realized that I had forgotten the hi-hat stand. Where did I leave it? In the middle of the kitchen. When was the last time I was in the kitchen? Immediately before we left, I thought it was crucial to bring a can of beans with us. I also forgot my jacket.

    2. If a band you are playing with has a scary live show, chances are that their house where you are staying will be too. We stayed with Three-Brained Robot in NC. His set was insane! Crazy puppets and strobe lights. It was as terrifying as it was enjoyable and Sam, the man behind it all, was super nice, nice enough to let us stay at his place. But his place had a ton of owls around. Plus when your host says “All the other bands that have ever stayed here are in the basement, you’ll be meeting them soon” right before he goes to bed, you know you are getting much sleep even if he was just kidding.

    3. Anybody named “Baby Huey” is probably incredible and you should befriend them. ‘Nuff said.

    4. Don’t ever have any rules about pooping. Alex, my keyboardist, can attest to this. He had to go but we were at a bar. His rule was to never poop at bars. His rule soon changed to “Poop whenever you can,” after he had to wait over 3 hours before unloading.

    5. The South is awesome. What’s not to love about a place with a Waffle House on every corner and incredibly nice people at every turn? Seriously, if someone told me that I had to move to Mississippi or Texas. I’d do it in a heartbeat. One of the promoters we met paid us even though originally he said we probably wouldn’t get paid AND he bought me a shot. In South Carolina, we made money at a benefit show because besides paying admission for the charity, people DONATED money to us. Another band even took us out to eat once. Show me a band in Brooklyn or Manhattan that would pay for 6 meals.

    6. Never believe Bank of America when you call in to check your balance. I am currently $195 dollars in the hole because they decided that it was way easier to fuck me with the long, hard reality of four 35 dollar overdraft charges rather than tell me how much money I actually have.

    7. It is always better to play than to skip a show in order to drive. You never know who you might meet. We were absolutely floored by the generosity of South Carolinians especially since we contemplated backing out of the show. They bought a ton of merch and made for one of the best shows on tour.

    8. Despite what you think, you are not developing a Southern accent just because you spend a week in the South. We were all pretty convinced that we were getting accents. To the point where, after saying something, we would ask each toher if it sounded like a Southern accent. It didn’t. We were just trapped in a car with each other for too long.

    9. If a cop asks you if that dude you sort of know that’s passed out on a lawn near where you were staying is your friend, just say yes. Hell, even if you don’t know him, say you do. That guy probably just had nowhere to crash. In our case, it was our friend from The Shakes who was supposed to stay at the house we were at but part of the address had rubbed off of his arm and he didn’t know where to go.

    10. When in doubt, throw on the classic rock station. There is almost never a bad song on and as long as you don’t get sick of “Rock the Casbah” or “Don’t Stop Believin’” You’ll be alright.

    As the great Henry Rollins has said “Knowledge without mileage is bullshit.” I assure that I’ve gone the distance to back all of this up.

    -Pierce Lightning

    Originally printed in The New Paltz Oracle.


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