Tales From The Road – That Smell


I remember the first time I was introduced to Febreze. It was the summer of 1998 at a festival stop in New Jersey. I had a friend who was working wardrobe for the headliners and she was about to open one of the four wardrobe cases she had set up around her as I was walking by. I made a joke about not wanting to be around when she opens it because I knew the smell that was about to be unleashed all too well. The case was filled with leather stage clothes and has not been opened since it was packed away two nights ago. Load out is usually a rush so there is rarely time to let the clothes dry out before being stuffed in their case and loaded on the truck.

She told me to stick around, I was about to be amazed. She opened the case and I braced myself for the smell of wet metal god leather and… nothing! Ok, nothing is an exaggeration but it was not bad at all. She showed me a bottle of Febreze and said it was a wonder spray. She sprayed the clothes as she put them away and then again once she had them back out. I had never seen the stuff before but I knew it was a godsend for anyone who had to deal with those road cases of stank. I know what you are thinking – it is just Febreze, calm down. That’s where you are wrong, this stuff was magic.

My friend got back to work sewing up a split pair of pants or sewing a cross back on a shirt and I left to find a runner to send out to get me some of this magic spray. The band I was there with didn’t have a wardrobe person on crew so it was usually up to them to open their own case. I sent the runner off on his mission and started telling the lead singer about this magic new spray that was about to change his life. He listened to me with an interest usually reserved for a story involving multiple women, a makeshift sex swing and Jelly Belly jellybeans. The days of opening the case to inhale the smell of the asses of a dozen Mazzas were going to end today.

The runner returned within the hour with 4 bottles of Febreze. I don’t remember there being any variations of Febreze back then. There was one bottle and no need for a scent. I unloaded about a half bottle into the case and had the guys pick out an item of clothing and sniff it. Within seconds I had these grown men sniffing crotches of clothing not belonging to them and high-fiving each other. Life was good.

Over the next year this miracle spray spread across the touring community like wildfire. While I was getting the credit for it I was always quick to point out that it was my friend Lisa who should be credited for changing the way things were done. Never again would some poor wardrobe person or band member be faced with opening a case only to be attacked by that smell. This time we won. This time we won.

road dog