Things I’ve learned touring with a band

To borrow a quote from Tim Hawkins, “We ain’t no rock stars”.

blue sky nine heads out on tour again throughout this spring, and even though we aren’t huge or famous, we get to have some pretty cool experiences as we travel. Here are some things you may never come to know until you tour the world with a band:

  • All “Flying J” truck stops are the same. And as far as I can tell, none of them know the difference between brake fluid and coffee.

  • You can wear the same pair of pants 4 days in a row, as long as the only people who see you every day are also in the band. Because, you know, they are also wearing the same pants THEY wore Tuesday.

  • The number of days between laundry stops = (the number of pairs of underwear you own) minus 1.

  • The only real value of McDonald’s is to placate small children on long car trips. Those things are everywhere and I NEVER eat there.

  • “The World’s Largest Truck Stop” is on I-80 in Iowa, not far from Des Moines. I have been there 8 times. It is also “The World’s Most Shameless Attempt At Creating A Tourist Attraction Out Of A Truck Stop”.

  • College cafeterias, despite significant advances in food preparation and storage technology, still serve bland fatty fried foods.

  • Prison food really is terrible. It’s the stories you hear while eating there that make it worth it.

  • Being a band from the U.S. is a big deal in a lot of other countries. If you’re there, they assume you must be famous, and treat you like rock stars. This is extremely gratifying.

  • When in another country, if you do not know the language, you cannot communicate. You will say something, and no one will understand. Then, reflexively, you will say the exact same thing again, only louder and more slowly. This does not work.

  • When in another country, if you learn certain key phrases like “Thank You” and “Hello”, it will make people feel like you’ve at least tried, and they appreciate it, which is helpful.

  • Conversely, learning the phrase “I don’t speak Russian” in Russian (“Ya ni gavaru pa Ruski”) is not helpful. Being able to explain in their language that you don’t speak their language invites them to see how much else you might know, which is nothing. This is counterproductive.

  • To truly appreciate how large the U.S. is, you need to drive across it lengthwise. Or, if you’re on a limited schedule, just do Nebraska.