There is the classic scenario where the touring musician shows up on stage and obviously has no idea where he or she is. Even worse, they say good evening to the wrong town!
I think lots of fans put that up to too much drug use or drinking along the way.
But I’m here to tell you I have been that guy. And it’s not because I party hard on the road. It comes from months and months of travel where every day goes like this…
- wake up and remember where you are and what tour you are on. Sometimes this takes a few seconds and can be very weird.
- make coffee or tea, your ritual.
- pack up room (the room becomes your inner sanctum of sanity where everything has it’s place and is where you carefully unpacked it the night before)
- do dummy check to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything
- figure out the days travel: planes,trains, automobiles, ferries, buses, border crossings, time changes
- get moving
- talk with your touring comrades about what/where the next meal will be – this becomes a highlight of the day as it is one of the few things that breaks up the boredom
- find the venue and do soundcheck
- find your hotel for that night, do whatever media stuff you have to do and try to do some business for the next tours
- eat as early as possible so you aren’t full on stage
- greet who you have to at the gig
- do the gig
- socialize for a few minutes with whoever you have to
- tear down
- try to get back to the hotel asap so you don’t burn out – avoid the invitations to go party or jam
- go to bed
- next day, same thing, different place
We often jokingly call it ‘living the dream.’ And it actually is for quite awhile. You get to play music all over the world. You get to play on the streets of Prague and for Presidents and Prime Ministers. You get to play stadiums and ship sinkings.
But, here’s the hitch… when do you hit the overload switch? When do your senses break down from too much new input every day? When does the ‘it’s all about you, every day’ stuff take it’s toll?
I don’t have an answer for this but it does lead to the question, do touring musicians suffer from some kind of stress disorder after years on the road? Can they ‘get normal’ when they get home? I’m not sure this subject is discussed enough for the sake of our health on the road.
I’d love to know what you think!