TOUR TALES # 2
When you’re on the road, it’s like you’ve stepped away from real life and then stepped into an alternate timeline where there are a different assembly of cause and effects, risks, consequences and even comforts as well! It’s like you pull off your mechanic jumpsuit or lazy slob pajamas and hop merrily into a pirate costume or… your lazy slob pajamas… whatever the job requires.
Maybe you continue to wear the same clothing without a shower for 15 days while performing every night, or you make a bag of trail mix last for 5 days as your only source of nutrition, or maybe you bring a Nintendo with you on the road – literally playing it at all hours of the day except when you are carrying gear, playing or getting some blessed sleep. Less of the later, of course.
The problem with this style of living, is that it isn’t a very luxurious or lucrative undertaking. It is best enjoyed in short spurts, or during particular times of the year…
Have you ever tried falling asleep in a van in a Home Depot parking lot in -30 degree celsius weather while wearing a pirate costume after eating way too much at Waffle House at three in the morning after driving for 11 hours? I don’t think so many of you have, but those select few fondly reminiscing of that special time in that special place they had while on the road will know in their heart of hearts that this isn’t something they would want to engage in 12 months of the year. Or maybe they do… If so, I would seriously recommend a psychological evaluation.
Anyway, I forgot where I was going with that…
At the end of the day, The Road is a wild playground and despite there being minimal rules to being there, the fact remains that most of it will be unfamiliar territory. Therefore, it should be respected, not neglected.
This tale begins much like many of the tales of glory, lowliness and general neutrality: from within the confines of a tour vehicle… Or rather in this case: from outside of a vehicle.
It was Autumn of 2014 and I was in Zagreb, Croatia on a European tour with a few bands from around the world; Coincidentally, all from British commonwealth countries!
The promoters of this evening’s show were excessively generous with giving us food and drink. They, as with many European promoters I’d come to know – spared no expense to make sure the foreign bands they’d booked were comfortable. I remember specifically there being bottles of Rakija, which is basically plum brandy. It is strong and delicious, and a very welcome addition to any burly, alcohol-abusing Canadians’ sensibly-crafted palette. These bottles of Rakija were even adorned with each of the touring bands’ logos! So cool! It didn’t last very long though… especially after the Australian band found their predetermined supply.
After the show had finished we all made off into the crowd – who were happy as hell for the tour to have stopped there. They were so happy that a few of us – already stumbling around – got offers to go get Croatian beers at a bar down the road. ‘Of course I will!’ I exclaimed before trudging off into the warm night with a group of the friendliest strangers of the day. This is where the night began to get a little hazy, and I do remember being nudged back to consciousness several times by new friends to finish the beer in front of me, which didn’t require too much effort on their behalf. Fairly intoxicated, I stepped out of the dimly lit Croatian tavern, vaguely aware of the bus call our driver and tour manager had stipulated for the evening.
When I stepped outside, I immediately heard familiar voices frantically calling my name. As intoxicated as I was, I knew I’d fucked up. I basically ran as hard as my legs could take me back to the bus where literally every crew and band member of each band was outside panicking that I’d been lost somewhere. As soon as I stepped onto the bus, our driver Max threw it into drive and we began our trip to the next city. I was pretty tired from all the drinking and adventuring that I’d taken part of that day, so I fell asleep in the bus lounge as the other band members partied around me.
Then, I was violently awaken by my guitarist…
We had arrived at the Slovenian border, which required us all to present ourselves for questions by their border patrol and show them our passports before entering the country.
I obliged and, still intoxicated, queued up with our troupe at the Slovenian passport control office booth. I regretfully didn’t get a chance to look in a mirror prior to getting off the bus, so I didn’t get a chance to see the Peter Criss cat face paint and dicks that had been drawn all over my face while I lay passed out in the lounge of the bus during that night’s party.
Needless to say, the border patrol were not too happy with my appearance. But I managed to get my passport stamp without too much difficulty. Linguistically, maybe…
I found out the next evening that they were five minutes away from leaving me in Croatia. I was pretty close to becoming a permanent fixture of Croatia.
The moral of the story here is that: The Road, while both alluring and intoxicating, could quickly assist in finding your demise. I’m not just talking about your musical career either. Keep your wits about you, even when you are letting loose with newfound companions. And keep your passport on you at all times if you can help it. And don’t fuck with the Slovenian/ Croatian border patrol.
If you made it this far: thank you for reading Tour Tales!
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