July 21, 2008 :: Bruce Berry was a workin' man...*
It's taken me a full week to recover. After four shows, four days, three states, and a gazillion hours in a sweltering 1991 Econoline van, I came to work heat-stroked, worn to the bone, and more grateful of the invention of air conditioning than I'd been in years - and I didn't play a NOTE or exert myself in front of even one person, much less several hundred per night. Blake, Blake and Kevin are better men than I.
I feel, after this first trip into band-on-the-road-land, like I've fulfilled some kind of karmic, full-circle thing in my life and my parents'. Growing up, I kind of thought that everybody's basement was full of audio equipment, instruments, and long-haired dudes with microphones in their hands. I think I thought "when you grow up, you buy a bread truck, load your significant other in the back with the amps, and drive town to town, staying in every seedy motel along the way." That was "adult" for my little brain - since the stories my parents told all centered around clubs with chicken wire over the stages, little rest-stops along neglected highways and lead singers who saw God in midwestern bathroom mirrors. It was all day-jobs and red-eye flights, laundromats, tour buses, and weeks in the Big Easy hovering over absinthe fountains. It was obvious to me that they had this really interesting life before my brother and I came along, and I thought that would be my life too. I've mentioned this before, but when I was born, my arrival was toasted by a couple hundred strangers in a smoky bar, miles away from me and my mom in the hospital. How could I have not thought this stuff?
Obviously, as I got older, that vision changed a bit. But last weekend, I couldn't help but feel the ghost of all those stories creep down the road with us. I had a blast. I ate pork rinds for dinner and slept in a hotel where all the drawers were full of used porn. I woke up in the back of the parked van at midnight to the sound of enthusiastic, ear-splitting Judas Priest covers. (the opening band in Ft. Walton was...um...interesting. Ever seen a 6'5" LARP aficionado in leather pants do something called "the dance of the T-Rex?" yeah. Wow.) I've got my own stories to add to the pot now. And we'll do it all again in New Orleans in a couple weeks.
I wonder if they've still got the absinthe fountains?
*From Neal Young's "Tonight's the Night"