One of the thing that people don’t tell you about tour is the crippling fucking boredom. I mean, I know that everyone says tour can be boring and that’s part of what makes it so hard, but guess what, take however hard you thought it was and quadruple it and add a healthy dose of bad smells and self hatred. Now you’ve started to get a sense for the pain. Even if you pack a ton of things to do and are good at sleeping in a car at the end of a three week run you are going to need even more entertainment, believe you me. Humans were not built to spend as much time driving up and own the East Coast as I have, and after a certain point the bland sameness and punishing hours in the car leave you a slave to boredom of a sort you thought previously impossible.
Going into this tour I thought I was set. I brought like six or seven books, my laptop, my phone and a willingness to nap. As it turns out, those entertainment options get a little bit stale after twenty straight hours in the car. Car chargers are great to be sure, but there is only so much that I can write in a given day before I go insane. On a similar note, I also can only read for so long before it starts to really get to me. You really need wifi to do most of the work you want to do and being stuck in the same spot for hours can punish you. You can only do so much on your phone – especially when you have a limited data like I do. As it turns out, when you are tour managing you also don’t have a huge amount of time at the venue to dick around on your computer and get shit done, so you find yourself starting to drown under just so goddamn many hours in the car you guys.
So how do you deal with it? Well one member of Tengger has worked out a little area in the back of the van where he can play his chanzy (A traditional folk instrument) and a few others just use their unlimited data plans to read stuff on the internet. Naps too are a big one. The hard part is that after a point being cramped in a tiny vehicle your body starts to break. Your body hits a demented wall, there is no actual way forward that is comfortable because you can’t help but to be tired, bruised and broken. Yet it’s the boredom that’s starting to slowly grate at my sanity and make me question why I’m alive in the first place.
It’s funny how it’s the things you don’t expect which kill you on tour. (The cramps are another thing that have started to punish us, especially as we drive through Atlanta with four more hours to go in this frikking drive) I rarely get bored at home so I figured it would be the same on the road. I thought since I’m so good at keeping myself occupied when I’m by myself (And not just through intense masturbation) I should have no issue when the van with five other people to talk too. Boy was I wrong. Not that any of those things aren’t great, but after a while you just want to stay in and chill out. After all – boredom is a psychological torment on tour that is on par with any physical one that gets worse with the lack of sleep.
Perhaps the greatest addition to the boredom comes from the fun that is traffic jams. We are currently in one by Atlanta and it brings me back to that old question, why does anyone even bother to go on tour? Boredom sets in and you feel your brain starting to rot, I guess the simple goal is not to break down crying, but even that can be a little hard. I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone (Myself included) has had their own private (Or not so private) moment of weakness. In all honesty I kind of doubt that it’s the lack of sleep really punishing people (Though that is certainly a factor) and more the boredom that is killing us.
In other words – that’s going to be your biggest struggle when on tour. It’s going to be the thing that makes you want to die and wonder why you signed on to this in the first place. Especially when you don’t listen to your manager an turn a ten hour drive into a twelve hour one. This entire thing is painful and tiring, and while we certainly all are working towards changing it we need to embrace the pain and realize that it’s this that makes tour tour just as much as any crazy stories that eventually might arise on those beautiful drunken nights.