On The Road Again
It's hard to get consumed by nostalgia when thinking about life on the road.
The main problem is you can't really remember that much of it... well, the eventful stories anyway.
What you do remember though is the distinctive smell from the seats and that funny stain in the shape of Australia on the table in the van where 90% of your time is spent.
You remember what toilets have locks and which venues have showers. Those venues are like honest politicians, rare and abused.
Until you can afford a road crew and tour manager the band does EVERYTHING themselves. You have to fix the van at the side of the autobahn in the snow (never leave home without gaffer tape, WD40 and cable ties, you can fix anything with those 3 magic items).
You setup and sell your merch so you can fill up the van with diesel and get to the next venue.
You negotiate the bands fee and try to blag a meal for everyone in the van.
You budget the tour, plan the travel route, accommodation and visas only to find out the singer has left his passport at home when you arrive at the airport... three hours before your flight to America leaves.
Life on the road is one of the world's best teachers. If you don't plan your accommodation well, and the hotel you turn up at has gun toting drug dealers in the lobby, your sleeping in the van for the night.
You learn to adapt pretty quickly and the most important questions end up becoming;
"How many days have I had these pants on now?"
"Who have I forgotten to invite tonight that lives in Manchester?"
And your prayer every day is "please, please, please let there be some fruit and running water at the venue, I can't handle another McDonald's."
There are a few ways in life to really get to know someone and one of them is spending a week in a crappy van together. Touring is not for the fainthearted. You may come away not remembering everything that happened, but bloody hell you'll have had a good time... you think.
Daniel is a session musician formerly of the band Echotape.