Touring w/ a Band: The Handy Guide from A. Sinclair (Pt. 3)
In case you haven’t already been tagging along with Brendan Bond of A. Sinclair and What Made Milwaukee Famous on his travels on tour with both of these local bands, here is his latest and third installment depicting life on the road. If you missed Part One or Part Two, feel free to go back and catch up, or simply jump in and read on for more details describing this leg of the tour and some tips from along the way. Be sure to check out the latest addition of The Song in the Van for some tunes to put you in the touring state of mind while you read.
“You know, you can get two of those. It’s buy one get one free.” I’m in a roadside convenience store, waiting in line, and the cashier is explaining to the poor kid in front of me that he can have two of the huge (fucking massive) cans of Monster® energy drink instead of just the one huge (fucking massive) can he was originally going to purchase. This poor kid, not merely overweight but obese, lights up and proceeds to waddle-jog to the cooler to grab his other can with a smile that says, “This cashier just made my day.” He was god-damned psyched about his extra can of taurine sugar fat juice.
And you know what? It’s not even remotely his fault. On the road between cities, your healthiest choice of restaurants is the fucking Subway attached to the gas station, and that’s if you’re lucky. The idea of this poor kid subsisting on three square Hardee’s chicken finger combos or Pizza Inn gas station personal pizzas per day is a massive (ha) tragedy.
Over the weekend we played Little Rock and St. Louis. We’re currently on the road to Milwaukee. That means we’ve spent an average of about seven hours a day on the road, which gives one a lot of time to ponder. Themes include paranoia about male-pattern baldness, the redhead I met in Little Rock, and learning just what the fuck Backgammon is all about (our utterly amazing hosts in St. Louis had a New Yorker with an article about the world’s number one rated player).
More importantly, the long drives give one time to examine just what, exactly, is going on with their life. In my case, I’m growing pretty concerned. I call myself an artist, but is that really what’s going on here? While I certainly enjoy the lifestyle that is only socially permissible because I call myself a musician, am I truly a person that feels compelled to create, who feels the Muse (or God, or the universe, or whatever) in the very core of my soul? Vincent Van Gogh languished in obscurity his whole life and never stopped painting, but that dude was so batshit insane that he sent his own fucking ear to the girl he was crushing on. “No, dude, bae is going to love this.“
So where do I stand on a spectrum between idyllic artistic purity and the trappings of a normal adult existence? Problematically, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
Most importantly, have fun!
Listen close, dear reader, and I’ll tell you a tale of a northern paradise known as Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The very name rolls off of the tongue, like the milk of a Green Bay dairy cow freshly packaged and on its way to the cheese factory. Though I’ve been assured that this oasis by the lake becomes a frozen hellscape during the winter, right now it’s a crisp 77 degrees, and a lakefront breeze dances delicately over my lap as I perch on the club’s beautiful street-side balcony.
The venue sits comfortably in a hip neighborhood, and adjoining it are a resplendent theatre and a Whole Foods. There is seriously a fucking Whole Foods right next door to where we’re playing. Have I been transported into some yuppie’s wet dream? This is glorious.
Addendum: Milwaukee ended up being a little of a mixed bag. The crowd (which admittedly dwindled as the night continued) was on the tepid side, and it’s hard to really nail it when you don’t have a crowd having your back. That said, we met an amazing couple who were kind enough to put us up for the night. Max and Marz, you have our eternal gratitude. We have a day off tomorrow, so who knows? We might go visit our friend Matt Bricker in Iowa City, or we might go to a Brewers’ game. I’ll find out tomorrow.