Editors Note: Going back to this article I realize that this was about the moment touring broke my spirit. Enjoy.
You’re not going to get as much work done on tour as you thought you would. That’s just a brutal reality. As we close down on this tour, with a mere 33 hours to go, I find myself embracing some important closing thoughts. I mean, half completed closing thoughts. The fact of the matter is that any thought I have right now is barely coherent and swamped under days of malnutrition and lack of sleep. I guess on the plus side that means I’ve lost weight. On the downside it means I’m going to be choked out by the devastating knowledge that the second I wake up on Sunday morning I’m going to have to put my nose to the grindstone and play some serious catchup. In other words the true costs of touring come not just during the tour, but also after.
On Sunday morning I am going to wake up, grab a beer and then get to work. I know day drinking isn’t ideal but, hey, it was supposed to be my day off – I have to celebrate it somehow! I’ve already sorted out dozens of meetings that will be taking place in the next week, and this is nothing compared to the mountain of paperwork I’m probably going to have to plow through as we register everything that happened on this tour. This tour taught me once again why the manager and tour manager tend to be two separate people. Managers tend to have way too much on their plates – they can’t take all the time that touring requires.
The issue with touring is that when you are tour managing you end up taking way more time than you expected to take care of the band. This sometimes happens because bands are basically children. It’s part of the perpetual struggle of being an industry professional. You are relying on people who are traditionally on drugs and depressed. Artistic types basically use that as an excuse to be flaky and annoying. That’s why so many bands end up falling through, bands just don’t know how to be responsible or smart. Thus, your tour manager is going to end up super stressed out, because he’s trying to balance two separate worlds.
It’s this war between the worlds that makes the tour managing job so difficult. It’s the having to fit a strict schedule with people who will dawdle and waste time when you’re exhausted. One day maybe I will get to tour manage a band who like to be on time, but as for now it’s going to be a challenge, and so I’m no going to be able to get as much work done as I would like. I’m not trying to bitch about this, I was expecting it going in, it just feels like far too often we grind away to help people who aren’t going to appreciate all that you have done for them. But again, that’s just the tour managers lot in life, perpetual pain.
What this stress teaches you is that Kesha was right – all that matters is the beautiful life. You have to learn on tour that even if you are supposed to be the responsible one you need to live in the moment. No matter how long a drive or how late you are to a show there is at least something you can dig, be it a Def Leppard song on the radio or a really good local beer. The best days of tour aren’t necessarily the ones with the shortest drives, the most girls or the best wifi, but rather the ones where you are most tapped into the tripped out zen of touring. That magical moment where you sit down, vibe out, and let go of the traditional stress brought by this lifestyle.
Cultures of opposition,serious physical trauma, general stinkiness… these are all things that touring can curse you with. I am way to tired for any of this crap, and yet I keep doing it. I’m genuinely unsure why too. Everything about me is sticky, and the money, while okay, is not great. The weirdest part is that I know that I will be out doing this again in September and I’m kind of looking forward to it. The beautiful life is what we are all here for. It’s a circus and no one wants to go home and it’s up to you to stay on board this crazy train.