Touring w/ a Band: The Handy Guide from A. Sinclair (Pt. 2)
We continue to check in with our friends A. Sinclair, seeing how the road is treating them and what not. Brendan Bond is back with his insights, his anxieties and the story of a man playing in two bands. We won’t bore you with too many more details, we’ll just get straight to it. Don’t forget to check out both bands Brendan is working with, A. Sinclair and What Made Milwaukee Famous.
Embrace the open road!
When you’re young and naïve, it can be really easy to think of going on tour as some big fucking adventure. To the uninitiated, it’s really easy to forget or ignore the practical and logistical details that make planning and executing a tour as a no name to mid-level band such a god-forsaken nightmare. Take this exchange I had with a friend a couple days before I left:
Friend: “Rad, dude, you’re leaving Thursday? Fuck yeah, man, don’t trash too many hotel rooms, am I right? Rock and roll!”
Me: “You mean floors, right? I’m going to be sleeping on a lot of floors.”
Friend: “Yeah, man! And don’t forget about us when you’re famous!”
Me: “I’m more concerned about paying my rent this month. Honestly, I’m pretty anxious about it.”
Friend: “And don’t forget the girls dude, ya’ heartbreaker! ROCK AND ROLL!”
Me: “I really need to talk about how I feel like my life has taken a wrong turn; I feel like I was given all of these opportunities and I’ve sort of squandered them, and -”
Friend: “Rock and fuh-kin roll, dude, have a great trip! See you when you get back!”
Me: “My life is in shambles.”
Keep the van tidy!
Another oft overlooked aspect of a tour is how much it truly, truly sucks to travel in a van. Whenever you see the van before you leave, there’s a twinge of excitement. “Oh, wow, this one’s way bigger than the last one!” Once the reality of daily six to eight hour drives sets in, it becomes clear that this once giant, plushy looking van has, in fact, become your coffin. At least in a real coffin, you have the sweet-cold embrace of death; this coffin finds you alive and smells of BO and farts. Here is what tour currently looks like from my vantage point: See above photo.
Budding anthropologists will note the unfinished Cliff Bar shamelessly discarded on my crotch. Not pictured: crushing boredom, self loathing.
Love your fans!
This tour is unique in that’s I’m playing with two bands: A. Sinclair, whom I’ve been playing with for almost three years, and What Made Milwaukee Famous, which is a much more established act whom I’ve been playing with for all of the three weeks we spent preparing for this tour. This means a couple of things for me. One, it guarantees I’ll be playing for around two and a half hours per night with little to no break. This is quickly becoming rough, mostly because I’m unable to easily alleviate typical tour-based depression with massive amounts of alcohol. Two, it means that I’ll have a regular interaction with the dedicated fans of What Made Milwaukee Famous, whom are numerous and faithful. At tonight’s show at the House of Blues in Dallas, there were people singing along to songs that the band played.
This would normally be amazing! “People care what about what I’m playing,” I’d say proudly as I sipped my beer between songs. “This has all been worth it.” Unfortunately, because I’m so new to these songs and this band, another anxiety-ridden narrative rears it’s head. “These people are singing along. These fucking people are singing along. Holy shit, if I play one wrong note, I am going to ruin their entire night.” As I think this, of course, I’m playing forty wrong notes.
When all was said and done, though, tonight was another great one. The venue staff was super friendly, everyone played reasonably well, and we had an old friend who offered up a place for all eight of us to stay (I’ll write about this tomorrow). Fuck I’m tired. Little Rock tomorrow.