Keeping a band functioning on the road for 8 months is as close to impossible as anything I have attempted in life. It doesn’t matter if it is a baby band (new signing to a label) or an established arena act, each of them is a challenge. Infighting, substance abuse, burnout, LSD (lead singers disease) and immaturity are the main culprits that can make each show a challenge.
I was lucky to have never had to work a van tour. The majority of my time on the road was bus tours and fly-ins. One tour in particular stands out. It was a MTV Summer package tour. 4 bands that were having their moment in the MTV spotlight packaged together for a summer shed (amphitheatre) tour.
My band just hit platinum and were getting major buzz at college radio. They were also fiends. By mid-summer I was dealing with a singer with an out of control ego, a guitarist with major depression issues and a bassist who was homesick and needed a peptalk out of the bus each day. Our bassist had an issue of his own – he was not picky. He would wake up some morning and announce he was going to go “hogging” today. Hogging involved bringing an overweight girl into the bus and making her squeal as he had sex with her. I still wake up from the nightmare of him screaming, “That’s my little piggy” at these women he had on the bus. The afterglow of some of the lucky ladies was a sight to behold.
His other issue was basic understanding of life situations. This was his first real taste of popularity and was intent on fucking every girl he met. He also believed that since this was called a college tour that every girl he was meeting was in college. I mananged to convince him that due to strict insurance conditions I would have to card each girl he brought into the bus. He never questioned me on this but was shocked to find out one girl he was bringing back was only 15. I spent a solid ten minutes explaining to him that the tour was not exclusive to college students and I still didn’t feel it sank in. I don’t say this because of the blank stare he gave me but because it was less than a week later that I had to turn away a 16 year old in his company.