Tales From The Road – Get Off The Bus

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The bus is parked in the parking lot behind the venue. The band has a TV interview to do half a block away and we have minutes to get there. I am walking 2 guys from the band over – the guitarist and the singer. The guitarist is ready to go, as he always is. This interview is a pretty big deal. The show tonight isn’t selling very well and this is a chance to remind thousands of people that the band is in town. The singer is in the back of the bus and doesn’t feel like taking the walk over. I am almost thirty years old and I am a fucking glorified babysitter.

It’s not that I can’t get him to do it, it is that I am tired of having to force him to do things that benefit his career and do very little for mine. I will get another job after this tour, he may be out of the business in 6 months if he keeps this up. Usually I approach him with a level head, play off his ego and get the results I am looking for, this time I didn’t have it in me. I headed to the back of the bus and already heard him start in with his million reasons why he was just not up for it. I threw down a sheet the promoter had just handed me and I let him have it, “You have sold 243 tickets, this place holds 1,500. Your second CD has sold less than half what the first one sold. You keep this shit up and you can kiss that major label deal goodbye. You can act like a diva when you go platinum again, until then you are just another one hit wonder who will spend the rest of your life regretting the way you have acted for the last 6 months.”

He looked up at me and had tears in his eyes. He knew it was unraveling quickly and, for the first time, he showed he he cared. He got his stuff together and we were heading to the TV studio in minutes. He didn’t say a word on the walk over and showed no signs of anything being wrong during the interview. After the live interview was done we loaded into the station van and headed a few blocks over to do some recorded interviews that they would run during the music news segments the following week. Things could not have gone smoother. I thought I may have been remembering things a little differently than how they happened but, thanks to YouTube, I just watched them again and I was right. There we were, all smiles as they showed us walking into the restaurant they were doing the interview in.

The next five weeks went just as well, he was putting the effort into his own career. It wasn’t until 4 or 5 years later when we met up again that he told me that little talk changed him. He said it was the first time someone was honest with him. Unfortunately things turned out as I had predicted. They were dropped after the second release and were now slugging it out in the clubs trying to climb back up. I stood in my old position, stage left, for the show that night. As the band headed back out for the encore he told the crowd the story of what happened on the bus that day and thanked me for waking him up.

He walked off the stage that night, went straight into the bus and broke down sobbing. Seeing me brought it all back and he talked about the regret he carried for the last few years, how being lazy had cost him his dream. He never got that major deal again but he is still out there, a decade later, working his ass off to keep the portion of the dream he stills has left alive.

road dog

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