As I'm on the road for a couple of weeks "hugging the Gulf coast" I stopped to finish a blog that's really an addendum to my last post. What I didn't mention that I feel so very, really fortunate to have friends peppered around the country who give me respite on the road. These have become friends who began as supporters of my music. If you can call a handful of people these kinds of friends you are really blessed. And, I am.
Of course what happens is when you blast out on social media that you'll be traveling and would welcome a couch, floor, shower etc., well it can feel like crickets. People who said hey anytime you're coming through you have a place to stay somehow avoid you like a homeless hitchhiker. Who knows why. But, other touring musicians I've spoken to have similar experiences. It can feel beyond awkward to message people saying, "hey, erum remember that time when you said if I ever came through ......yada yada?" They say begging is good for the soul. And people wonder why traveling musicians have so much soul.
The alternatives like AirBnB, Couchsurfing.com and countless so called "indie" musician groups and message boards rarely pan out. Trust me. My personal experience with AirBnB was so pathetic I gave up. Somewhere along the line when potential hosts would read I'm a musician or see I was of ambiguous ethnicity (American Indian) they would suddenly have a regular coming in or forgot the house was being fumigated etc. Seriously. There was a great show about it on NPR's Hidden Brain.
So mostly I camp in state parks, on NFS land or sometimes KOA's. Camping allows you to sleep next to your gear and that is very important when touring. Otherwise you rent a sketchy hotel and have to take "everything" into the room and back out again. I stayed with a good friend in NOLA couple years back and me and my sherpa, Tony, emptied the car and stored it in the patio then got up at 3:30AM, loaded it all and were on the road to Florida by 4:15 sleepy as hell and as tired as a OTR driver. When your tour starts out you have to plan miserly because you've no idea how your gigs will go. Last summer I began by camping at Clayton Lake State Park in NM. A powerful thunderstorm started around 1AM and collapsed my new tent. (I hadn't set it up right) I ended up sleeping in my front seat. Sleeping is meant sarcastically. The next day I was setting up my tent at Lake Mead in Kansas to 55MPH winds thinking what the hell am I doing with my life?
Civilians won't ever understand any of this and that's ok. People think hey you're a friggin musician who gets to travel around and play music. Dude, You Are So Lucky! I would kill to have your life. And you just smile and sit on your hands. Sometimes touring you gotta just have a sheer force of willpower to marshall through and laugh as much as you can. And, cry in your proverbial beer, just not around fans. (huge no no) Humility is something served or earned and you'll have plenty of both when you venture out to actually support yourself and your work as a musician Good luck!
Ok so I'm on my "Hug the Gulf" tour and I love me some gulf states, food and folks. Please check my website and share my dates (they are all over Facebook of course. Gotta be!) I'm teaching some all day workshops, doing a couple of house concerts, playing at the Leesburg Center for the Arts in Florida and a UU Fellowship in Houston. Scheduled for Moosehaven in Orange Lake, FL though having a little trouble confirming that. It will work out. When you see musicians post they are looking for a couch to surf, please believe them. You, the musician, go ahead and post and let folks know you're serious and that you don't actually have manners haha. Posting your green complexioned, hungover "Cinco de Drinko" pics probably not a plus.
Details for my Gulf tour on my Calendar page. In Spring, TX, Mosele, MS (Near Hattiesburg), Leesburg, FL, Orange Lake, FL and again in Houston, TX. As always, I'm always looking for pick-up gigs and no venue too small for consideration. Just contact me.
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