Archive for category: Biceps & Shows

Touring is like childbirth

For those of you not familiar with my former lifestyle, I married a man-who at 19-had a band that was signed and touring.

 


He met me at the ripe old age of 22, threw me over his shoulder and we kept going.

 


For the first 5 or so years of our marriage, we criss-crossed the U.S., while he bounced around the stage playing bass guitar and singing, I watched from the side-so proud of my husband.

 


Touring with his band quickly morphed into driving our friend’s tour buses during our downtime, which then morphed into a career for the both of us.
We were able to spend every waking minute with each other and make decent money-only working 4 months out of the year.

And, we got to stay in really cool hotels-for free.

 


I mean, really cool hotels-like ones with complimentary white robes and house shoes, Starbucks in the lobby and manager’s receptions.

 


And hotels where Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn and Carey Grant used to stay.

 


We saw more of the U.S. than I ever thought possible in one lifetime, let alone a couple of years.

 


Often, in just a few days’ time, we would go from laid back towns with southern sandy beaches…

 


…to fall weather and the craziness of New York.

 


We were invited to a real Louisiana crab boil, complete with Zydeco music.

 


And we ate at historic restaurants with tortillas the size of a spare tire. (Which subsequently, gives you a spare tire.)

 


We’ve been fortunate enough to experience things in a weekend-all paid for-that most people save up years to do.

And I got to do this all with my best friend at my side.

 


However, for all of the perks, a touring lifestyle can be unpredictable.

Would the bus break down today, and if so, how much money will we loose?
Can we make it through this traffic/construction/snowstorm and get to the show on time?
Will the other bands on tour like us?
Will we get to eat today, and if so, is it pizza again?
Am I going to get to sleep in a bed tonight/this afternoon?
Will I drive Biceps crazy singing, “Baby went to Amsterdam, She put a little money into travelin’, now it’s so slow, so slow…” too many times when traffic slows down?
Will we crash and die?
Am I going to encounter any other normal human besides Biceps today? (Probably not.)

 


But, now that we’re away from touring and into a normal routine of life-getting up at the same time, packing Bicep’s lunches, ironing his “Blues”, being at church every Sunday, cooking dinner every night-I miss the unpredictability of the touring lifestyle.

I miss the sunrises every morning, making breakfast sandwiches on the bus, and having someone else wash my towels and my sheets.

I miss the whirring sound of the bus generator, the early morning coffee time and seeing towns empty out after a huge show.

But, then I think about the slumber party stomach from lack of sleep, blinding snowstorms that scare the crap out of me as I’m driving through New York, and the loneliness of having a flipped schedule from other “day dwellers”.

It’s so easy to forget all the bad stuff, the painful stuff-only bringing to mind all the good stuff. I think touring is a bit like childbirth for me.

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Happy New Year! Party hard-I guess?

We’ve never really celebrated New Year’s-at least, not like they do on tv. I have always romanticized what it would be like to be in Times Square watching the ball drop, bundled up in a very stylish white winter coat, with my one and only.

 


However, to spend that amount of money to get to some place I’ve been a zillion times before on tour, to be around that many people I don’t know (or trust), knowing it will be freezing cold…

 


…my pj’s, bed and fireplace sound pretty good. My New Year’s memories may not compare to a New York one, but they’re mine and they’re of course-weird.

 


One of my favorite New Year’s memory was the night the phone book burned. Why do phone book companies insist on not only forcing me to take their phone books-but also leave a total of 4 books on my two front porches? I had had enough of the phone company’s shenanigans.

So, a few years ago, my little brother, his wife, my dad, Biceps and I loaded up into their tiny white car and drove to a vacant lot. We sacrificed one phone book by lighting it on fire. We then drove in circles around the phone book as we watched it burn, screaming and hanging out the windows until the fire was out.

Beat that Times Square.

 


And many years ago, after spending hours putting on the tire chains, my sweet father loaded us kids up in the wagon-just so we could drive into town to attend a church friend’s party. It took us at least an hour to go a couple of miles, but we sang songs the whole way and still made it in time to eat way too much candy and be sick and miserable the next day.

I call this the year of the “Candy Hangover”.

 


And last but not least, Bicep’s band was hired to play a New Year’s show one year while we were out on tour. It was for a lock-in at a large church-complete with awkward teenage flirting, pizza and nerf guns. They paid us well, so we couldn’t turn it down.

But as the world wore sequined dresses, tuxedos and drank champagne-I was watching my hubby on stage, as he entertained screaming pubescent fans. I enjoyed my orange Fanta from a red plastic cup off to the side, knowing cold pizza awaited me for dinner.

And I loved it.

 


So, while the rest of the world is getting krunk and doing things tonight they’ll regret tomorrow…Biceps and I will attend a small party and then come home to our two kitties, our fireplace and our pj’s.

Call me lame, but this is how I party hard. And, I don’t wake up the next day with a hangover or regrets. Unless it’s a “candy hangover”…and then yes, I am guilty of such actions.

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Guess who’s back?!

Dear Readers:
Unbeknownst to most of you, Biceps has been out on tour for the past two weeks. I like to keep quiet about such adventures-knowing the internet can be a creepy place sometimes. But in less than thirty minutes, I will get to see this sweet face again.

 


I spent Saturday morning cleaning, grocery shopping and getting prepared for his arrival. I think it’s the anticipation of his return that thrills me to no end.

 


I have a roast in the crockpot for dinner (“supper” if you are from Iowa), fish set out for lunch (“dinner if you are from Iowa), snacks galore for in between (pretty sure the same nomenclature in Iowa) and of course-some IPA’s for him and some wine for me.

 


Soon enough, he and his suitcase will be home where they belong. Stinkin’ up the joint, but looking so cute doing it.

Welcome home, Biceps.

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Touring-A Weird Life unto Itself

Dear Readers:
I haven’t talked about touring (as an entertainer coach driver for bands) in awhile. Sometimes, I like to forget that part of my life.

Biceps and I have the occasional rendezvous, but it’s nothing like packing up your life for two months, riding around the country seeing what most never get to see, stressing out over mountain passes and sudden snowstorms, babysitting lead singers that you used to idolize, and watching girls disrespect themselves so that they can have a story to tell later on.

It’s a weird and isolating life.

 


With a flipped schedule from most normal humans, you get to see cities when they are at their quietest. Often, the only people you talk to throughout the day are other bus drivers (which isn’t always a bonus), the checker at the Flying J and your hubby (if you are lucky and his bus hasn’t broken down somewhere).

 


Biceps sent me an article found in Spin magazine highlighting the life of a tour bus driver. The article said that they are only 12 female tour bus drivers in the U.S.. I don’t know if I was counted or not, but even if there are 13 of us-we are quite the minority.

Throw in the fact that I wear a dress when I drive, change the oil in the generator and do my pre-trip inspection, I am in the smallest of minorities.

I both love(d) the life and hate(d) the touring life. But with time, you tend to forget the worst and focus on the best.

 


I loved spending Thanksgiving in a Chinese restaurant in a deserted downtown with only Biceps and a styrofoam container of Mu Gu Gai Pan. Depressing at first, I soon realized we had never spent a Thanksgiving alone, just him and I. It became pretty romantic even if we were eating off of plastic forks.

 


I loved being invited to the home of one of our coastal living crew members and then promptly being stuffed full of fresh caught crab, corn, potatoes, beer and death-by-chocolate desserts.

 


I loved seeing the weird stuff in cities that make me laugh outloud. I’ve seen enough cathedrals, city halls and monuments to last a lifetime.

 


And I loved being so bored on long drives that Biceps and I began to name the bug splatter on the windshield, come up with personalities for each of them and write their obituaries.

 


And isolation isn’t always bad. Enjoying sunrises and hot cups of coffee on deserted city streets with your best friend is calming.

I can handle the drunk lead singers, dragging my luggage through gravel parking lots, a snow goose breaking my windshield on the last day of tour and waylaying me at a truck stop for two days in Canada, having my anniversary outside of a bait shop, all because I was on the adventure with my best friend.

Touring is a weird life unto itself, but at least I was with my weirdo husband and I (think) loved every minute of it.

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