It is the height of the summer tour season for bands across the country. Everyone from Korn to Kayne are hitting up the major venues and performing in front of millions of people only to pack it all up and do it again in another city. But what about those other bands that have not quite made it yet. Those still seeking advice with how to survive being on the road need to look no further than here as I present to you How to Survive on the Road.
Rock Star Tip #1: Touring will bring your band closer together; as long as you don’t have to talk to one another.
You have been with the same people for the last fourteen days and have taken five showers collectively; there is nothing to talk about except your ride. Where are we now? How long until we get there? Did the ball fall off our hitch and go through the windshield of that SUV? Most of America’s highways look the same. Grass, grass, road kill, exit sign, toll booth, bus full of old people, grass; and for some reason license plate games and show tunes do not go over as well as they did on the fourth grade field trip to the zoo. Besides, you do not have a license plate.
Rock Star Tip #2: Truckers are King of the Road, and sometimes Queen, too.
You only need to push your broken down ride into a truck stop once to see a guy wearing nothing but a zebra stripped thong and a smile to understand that truckers work long hours on the road and if your band doesn’t make it, truck driving school is not an option.
Rock Star Tip #3: Sleep is for the Weak
Sleep in shifts. Most likely the places police allow people to sleep will not be in the best neighborhoods. The only thing worse than waking up in a van smelling like sweat and White Castle, is waking up in a van smelling like sweat and White Castle without your equipment. Occasionally you may wake up without underwear on, but that’s the reason you joined a band in the first place; embrace it.
Rock Star Tip #4: The Red Wings are No Longer My Favorite Hockey Team
During a conversation with a kindly fellow named JP Long in Texas after our ride broke down for the third time that trip, I learned, in full one-toothed detail exactly how to earn your ‘red wings.’ When he first said it, I really hoped he was a Communist Fighter Pilot…
Rock Star Tip #5: Ten Things to Always Keep In Your Van
1) Secret Gas Money Hidden from the Drummer.
2) Extra Empty Bottles Because “I just stopped 10 minutes ago!”
3) Video Camera to Film Sexual Exploits like our Hero, Scott Strapp
4) Assorted Pornography (combined with #5)
5) Sandwich Bags and Vaseline (most clubs have a microwave somewhere)
6) A handle of Seagrams 7
7) Phil Collins – No Jacket Required Cassette Tape
8) Another handle of Seagrams 7
9) Box Full of Puppies in case the Ladies Do Not Dig that I Play Guitar
10) A Cooler Full of Hopes and Dreams, Natty Light and Newports
Rock Star Tip #6: LA was not built for Mid Sized-School Buses
LA has the craziest traffic in the US. With the amount of Ferraris and Bentleys people drive to pick up milk in that city, it makes for a rather expensive obstacle course. In order to drive safely in LA one would have to possess no remorse for the human life, but since this is Los Angeles we are speaking of, that is not hard to come by.
Rock Star Tip #7: You Will Never Breakdown Near Anything
If you just passed a truck stop or civilization of any kind; worry not. Your ride will not breakdown on you. Nor will it breakdown during the normal daylight business hours of any local mechanic. Remember, your automobile is vengeful and growing ever-smarter by the day. It becomes self-aware at 2:14am.
Rock Star Tip #8: Accidents Will Happen
Statistics show that driving is the most hazardous mode of transportation, so it is likely you and your band mates will be involved in something. Though when you come home and your girlfriend tearfully admits to ‘accidently’ have slept with your best friend, you are on your own.
Rock Star Tip #9: Do Not Let Others Disrespect Your Ride
The only thing keeping you from walking the rest of the way to Tulsa is the 1984 nine-miles-a-gallon stallion you are riding in. Do not, by any means, let anyone that has not woken up in a cold sweat using the snare drum as a pillow put her down. That is your home, and you want people to care for it as if they lived among the once cushioned seats. You and your band mates, however, should spend your mornings talking about the crappiness of said ride until lunch.
Rock Star Tip #10: Remember the Good Old Days
Once your band hits the big time and your ride is updated to a multi-million dollar bus with more luxury than the typical suburban house, be sure to remember the early mornings spent explaining to the curious police officer why you were in a van spooning with your mohawked bass player when the heat broke. These are the glory days, so when you are hanging out on the bus late at night after the third sold out stadium show you can lie to all your fans and tell them how you would rather be sleeping in the van like the old days.