That's just rock & roll, right?
Let me introduce you to the world of the independent touring band.
My band Crown Point is in the middle of a 29-state US tour supporting the release of our new album, Curtains. We're an independent band by choice: We've gotten label offers, but have chosen to turn them down and retain the rights to our music and our career choices. That means that we tour the country in a Ford van and trailer, guzzling gas at a 9 mpg clip, staying in cheap motels and on couches of fans, and eating cold soup out of a can. We get to visit some amazing places, but never have time to actually explore them, because we're too busy booking and promoting our own shows, and setting up our own gear and lights.
We're no Goliath. We're barely even David.
However, for the uninitiated, cold soup is actually not as bad as it sounds. Call it gazpacho, and it practically becomes gourmet. Furthermore, adding a little Frank's Hot Buffalo sauce to anything makes it awesome.
Here's a rundown of our last 72 hours:
Friday night, after driving all day from Michigan, we played a show in St. Louis to a sparse yet amazing crowd. The local band who was sharing the bill canceled a couple days prior, and a lot of our fans were out of town for Thanksgiving or unable to attend for other reasons. We crashed at the house of a friend of a friend who we'd never met, yet graciously opened his house to us. As a result of the all-night party going on, most of us got little or no sleep.
Saturday, we drove to Indianapolis to play another show in a market we've only played once, back in 2010. One of the local bands on the bill never even bothered to cancel but simply never showed up, and the local band who did, while talented, brought a total of seven of their fans to the show. I was unable to use my in-ear monitors due to the subpar sound board at the venue, and the house monitors produced mostly feedback, so I torched my voice during the course of our 45-minute set straining to hear myself. We made a grand total of $0 from the venue that night. Afterwards, we loaded the inordinate amount of gear we possess up a flight of stairs in 20-degree weather, then proceeded to drive all night and all day to our show in Philadelphia. I had the first driving shift, from 1:30 to 5:30 AM, and had to drink gratuitous amounts of caffeine to keep myself awake and the band alive. As a result, I was unable to sleep on the fold-out bed in the back of the van, which, of course, is about three inches too short for me, when my driving shift was done.
I finally woke up after some fitful sleep and ate some 'gazpacho' just as we were exiting the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We literally spent more in tolls than we'd made at the past two shows combined, not to mention the $600 in gas we'd spent over the past two days. We checked in to our room at the Comfort Inn, showered, and then headed to that night's show in Philly.
Now, we're en route to tonight's concert at The National Underground in New York City. We've had one day off in two weeks, and we can't wait to have two consecutive days free in Florida next week. However, we can't wait to play in NYC, Providence, DC, Nashville, Atlanta, and Sarasota this week, either!
If it sounds like I'm whining a bit, I probably am. I apologize. I absolutely love what I do, and meeting great people across the country and getting to play music for a living (albeit a meager one) makes everything worthwhile.
If you're reading this, thank you. Thanks for supporting independent music, for coming to that Monday night show, for buying that album or that T-shirt. For hanging out with us, for getting to know us, for spreading the word about Crown Point online and mouth-to-mouth.