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OUR STORY begins as late in the morning as possible. Some of us will sleep until the last possible second before the dreaded knock on the hotel door from the tour manager. Others wake up for breakfast-which is extra awesome in Germany. Eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, incredible breads-the works. You would think the Italians would do a good job at breakfasts, but they tend to put their energy into dinner.
We don’t mind eating a big breakfast because a) it’s free, and b) it’s free. No, there is actually another reason-with the amount of exercise we get from playing every night, we burn off more than a day’s amount of calories. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves, as we pretend not to notice that we’ve started gaining weight.
One little life issue dealt with in a traveling band is laundry. You tend to re-wear pants or T-shirts way more than you probably ever would at home (I’m convinced that this is one of the reasons people think of musicians as unkempt folks). So for me, part of the daily ritual is sizing up the laundry situation.
Generally, it’s time to do laundry when you’re down to about three pairs of boxers and socks. Why three pairs? Usually you start to bug the tour manager about needing fresh drawers, when he says, “OK, sure, cool man. We can’t do it today, but hey, tomorrow looks good.” Then tomorrow comes and, if you’re really lucky, he’ll pull up to a laundromat somewhere-but you’d be better off planning on one extra day. You’ll probably need it.
We stagger onto the bus. It’s sweltering these days in Europe, so it’s pure misery to get in. Our bus has no air conditioning, so windows are open all the time.
Sam, the lead guitarist, usually goes right into the sleeping bunk area and collapses-he’s asleep for what may amount to 25 hours per day. Keith (bass), Milo (drums), John the roadie and I usually put on a movie. Highlights have been: “Slapshot,” “The Fan,” “Sneakers,” “The Omen II,” “City Hall,” “Scream” and, best of all, “Spies Like Us.” We might go buy “The Big Lebowski,” which is the official Down By Law favorite movie.