I’ve posted a few times in this blog about the status of my tour with Tengger Cavalry. I figured now as we enter the home stretch I owed you beautiful people an update. I’m currently schlepping across the desert to get into Austin, to give you some context, we just exited Orange County. Things are… while not bleak perhaps, certainly getting there. (Editors note: The drive ended up taking 26 hours) We are well rested though, we had a lot of time to chill out in Los Angeles and had some beautiful times on the beach, and best of all managed to get out of each others hair before we have the real nightmare begin on what promises to be a frankly epic journey across the country. We will be kissing the beautiful waters of the Atlantic in a mere 123 hours. We need to start preparing ourselves for all that will entail.
Journeying across the country in just a few days, really only as merch guy and tour manager feels distinctly different from doing it as a musician. If you’re a musician at least there is some sense of accomplishment ever night and you can hide in your green room. Being the merch guy and tour manager means that you need to face a nine hour commute on six hours of sleep and then work a full shift at a retail job, followed by negotiations for thousands of dollars. That’s not really something that sane people can do, and people wonder why the road has traditionally been a den of depravity. This whole experience has made me wonder who really has the hardest job in the tour bus on the day to day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to devalue what the band has done, they are killing it, getting along with each other nicely, handling long drives without complaining and generally kicking ass across the country. In fact, one of my favorite parts of this tour has been watching them get progressively better with every day we spend on the road. It makes me truly excited to see what these guys can do as they continue to evolve. After all, once this tour is over they have another five or six weeks of touring lined up for the rest of the year. They are only going to get better from here. That’s simply how it works when you are transitioning to be a full time touring band striving to take over the globe. It’s a hard life, but one hat after a little while starts to make sense.
Despite all this rambling, I still haven’t given you a proper update on the tour. I don’t want to reveal too many numbers or anything, but I will say that things are going significantly better than I anticipated and it looks like we are all going to be making money. The band might have set their expectations a little too high, but that’s what bands do. They are almost required to set their expectations too high. As a whole, things have been moving along nicely, trucking across the country for ten hours a day is a weird way to see it but it gives you a truly unique perception of the world. Running around on a schedule seems like it would be stressful, and in many ways it is, but still – you’ve got to embrace the beauty of it, otherwise I guarantee you will go insane.
I feel like sanity has come up a lot in this particular essay – and it should. Touring is all about preserving your sanity and remaining someone who the rest of your band can stay in a van with, no matter how long you need to drive forward for. In many ways touring is more of a personal test than anything else. Obviously the interband relationships and friendliness between members is something you need to work on but it’s the personal struggle of touring, the individual fatigue and the need to help maintain morale that really is going to get you moving towards something sustainable and productive for years and years to come.
So yeah, now it’s our time to get stuck in traffic in the middle of the desert and wonder who the hell is trying to get anywhere on these godforsaken highways. I never thought I would truly understand Shakespeare’s image of the blasted heath, but now that I look onto these mountains that just seem so brutal and forgotten it suddenly all makes sense. Traveling the country and checking out the different states has been fun thus far, and now with 122 hours left on the road, it’s easy to see why people are willing to power through, despite the pain and isolation.