Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Laundry Day

Ah, Laundry Day - when the road dogs celebrate getting to cleanse the tour funk from their suitcased lives. The sweat of myriad performances is swept away in a couple of glorious, change machine-funded hours. Permanent press? Spin cycle? Heavily soiled? These are the questions dealt with by every independent band who's ever toured and they are enough to make you wonder: is large scale success really worth it if I have to forfeit all of this? I mean, what will a tour be if we're simply employing people to do our laundry for us? Where's the poetry in that?

Anyone else get that I'm a bit bored watching my clothes go round and round?

This update's long overdue, folks. I know that. I apologize. Except, I don't. The reasons for the delay have been both numerous and legitimate. First, the band was able to enjoy a bit of a siesta during the tour after our show in Nashville. Most of the crew loaded up the van and drove south to enjoy a few sun-soaked days on the beaches of Florida before continuing with our performances in St. Petersburg and Orlando. I, on the other hand, hopped a plane and met my beautiful wife for a long-awaited jaunt to Walt Disney World. It only took me 30 years to get there, but, by golly, I got there. And let me tell you all: it is not overhyped or too good to be true. I got to spend a couple of days feeling like a kid again. The music, the rides, the food, the sights - all of it conspired to bring out that old joy that made my jaw drop the first time I saw Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast in the theater as a youngster. Great times.

Once we all got back to the business of musical performance, however, the grind set in and set in hard. 5 shows in 5 nights from Florida all the way up here to northern Virginia makes for a lot of setup and tear-down, a lot of playing, a lot of driving, and not a whole lot of good sleep (or a lot of time to blog). Thus, as we have another short break here outside Washington, DC, both our fearless leader and our tour manager are quarantined away in their hotel rooms trying to recover from a particularly nasty bug. The rest of us are trying our hardest to keep our hands washed and away from faces, our vitamin C supplements handy, and our bedtimes sensible. (Well, ok, maybe not so much that last one - Parks and Recreation is too stinkin' funny.)

Anyway, here's hoping that the next two weeks go as smoothly as the previous few have gone. This North American leg of the tour has seen very few on-stage missteps and loads of great audiences. The shows, in a word, have been fantastic - exceeding expectations and taking our performance quality to new highs.

Additionally, I'm thankful for these guys with whom I'm on this tour. 3 months solid (give or take) on the road with the same group of people has the potential to be overwhelmingly grating & frustrating. Sometimes you just want to get away from people. But these cats are easy to live with, even when living is in a van & out of a suitcase. Not every crew functions this well and I'm exceedingly grateful for these guys. We spent some drive time in the van after our gig in Charlotte a few nights ago recalling as many of the shows we've played together during the previous year as we could. Our grand total is close to 100 performances over the past 365 days alone, and each one was its own experience - a memorable venue, a particularly great crowd, a killer pre-show dinner, an embarrassing technical meltdown, a comedy of terrible circumstances getting to a show, an instance of musical magic - all of them has its own unique imprint on our lives. What a trip its been.

Next stop: Jersey. Boston. Philly. New York. Here we come, colonial America. It's time to bring the rock to the old country.

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