Welcome to the first installment of the novel I'll never write.
Back when I started touring with rock bands as a sound engineer, (yes, I was a sound engineer, a 'sound man' can make his band sound good, I could make almost any band sound better, country, rock, punk, New Wave, etc.)
When I was young I started out feeling this is just the start of something GREAT! And it is great! When you start out that young as good friends at the start of a tour, it's you against the odds & the world. You're playing clubs, getting attention from A&R ... and girls, and believe in your band so much you just can't think anything can stop you. But life has a funny way of turning dreams into reality.
You learn the hard way almost anything can stop you. The drummer's wife gets pregnant and he has to get a day job. The singer gets a studio job singing commercials. The guitar player gets a better offer. The A&R folks want a member or two, or maybe the whole band, but they have a stable of engineers and your services are no longer required.
Back to what I was saying about tours: Now these aren't the tours that The Rolling Stones are on, they're club tours where you're driving hours after tearing down and striking last night's gig into a van and a Ryder truck to make the next town. When you get to the next town all you want to do is find your room, or maybe just the place on the floor of a friend to the band, so you can crash.
You carry your own lights and sound because you can't do your show without them, but you have to scale them depending on the size of the venue and what is already provided ... and the scheming, crooked club owners & managers who love you ... as long as you keep making their bottom line higher.
Week one and two are pretty cool, it's still exciting, you enjoy the set breaks, but when the band is onstage you're feeling the power of the room and the rush of being part of that is at least as intoxicating as the JD shots the cute bartender keeps coming you way.
A little Bolivian marching powder doesn't hurt and some crystal blue persuasion helps those late night load outs go even faster.
Weeks 3 & 4 are still OK, you're road dogs now! The stories you share are priceless. "Hey did you see that guy pass out with his head in the mid-bin!?" and "Wow, nice move, I can't believe you didn't miss a beat when you laid that guy out with your strat when he climbed on stage after the singer!"
About week 5 you think to yourself "I miss my girlfriend back home", not that it stops you from enjoying the 'hundred mile radius rule.'
Week 6: Damn, I'm tired and I can't sleep because the guitar player is fucking the girl I wanted to bring back to the hotel ... four feet away from my bed. I hope he gets the clap. Bastard. The coke and crystal have nothing to do with why I can't sleep.
Week 7: I hate the guitar player, I hate the bass player even more because he's louder than the guitar player and we're in a club where the manager is all on my ass because of the volume. The singer is darting daggers because she doesn't have enough monitor to hear over the guitar and bass player. And the guitar and bass players blame the drummer for hitting his cymbals too loud.
I sorta agree with all of them, but I'm the only one who has to deal with the club manager. This really sucks.
Week 8: I hate them all. They fight with each other, they fight with me, I fight with them, they fight with what ever gash they picked up last night ... so nobody is sleeping.
We don't even do drugs anymore, except for liquor & the constant eye out for pot. It's a lot easier to find alcohol in a club. And it really, really helps, but has nothing to do with why I can't sleep.
... hopefully, TBC.
I'll leave you with my favorite song about the road.