Tension & Comfort
When you take people out of their comfort zones and throw them into the wilds of adventure, tension is going to rise. Constant exposure to new situations is the only way to get over fear of the unknown. So far, nothing has happened that I can’t handle…but whenever shit gets rough, I always think about life on tour with The Mentors last June.
Taking the stigma out of the equation for being a woman on tour with The Mentors entirely and just focusing on my work load and lack of sleep; I was managing a tour with 3 full bands, playing in my own band, doing merch, driving, loading gear, and dealing with all sorts of crack heads and other assorted characters that just comes with the fan base they’ve accumulated over the last 30+ years. I can confidently say that I am a bad ass road dog and I can put up with a hell of a lot…which means I’ve got a pretty long fuse compared to my teenage years. I love Marc a lot, but it’s no secret that he likes to push peoples buttons and “stir up the pot” so to speak, just to see what people will do.
There was a lot going on in my head at that time as well that had little to do with the tour that was also affecting me(which is never a good way to tour), and there was the shit I was dealing with in SHiT as well…so this is where my mind drifts to…June 2012. In the last 4 years that I’ve spent on the road, that was the hardest month of touring I’ve ever gone through, but I did it and came out unscathed. I will work that hard again if I have to, but I really don’t want to.
Now with all that said, I’m on the road with 2 greens. Pam, my merch girl/roadie has never left the West coast until now(she’s super green), and she’s also never worked for a band or had much in the way of life experience outside of drugs, and shitty family/friends to deal with. Jeff has traveled a lot and toured, but he’s never toured the way I’m accustomed to(so he’s a little green, but not completely). I don’t really give a fuck about the aches and pains I accumulate or the roadblocks along the way. Shit’s hard no matter how you go about it, so I never leave the house expecting anything less than major catastrophe’s and I smile when they don’t happen. To quote Martin Atkins, “Welcome to the music business, you’re fucked. If you know your fucked, then you’re not, and if you think you’re not fucked, then you are (or will be).”
If you can’t enjoy the ride, even when it diverts in a less than favorable direction, you’re never going to make it out here. One of my best friends was murdered in 2011, I stayed on the road and did my job without it getting in the way. Broke to pieces when off the clock at night, but that death hit me fucking hard. When the rig breaks down (and it’s not a matter of if, it’s when), I eat the expenses, get it fixed, and enjoy the sites until it’s smooth sailing once again. I don’t bitch, and I make it as fun as I can. Even when I’m disappointed in the way things are panning out, I do what I can to make the best of it. It’s either that or be continually miserable, and I just don’t have enough time for that. Life is too short for misery.
It takes a lot to ruin my day. I don’t see the point in stewing in a funk for hours or days on end. If I find myself in that position, I eject the whore as quickly as possible and I’m done with it. A whore is anything that’s pissing on the wheels of progress, it can be a random groupie slut that won’t get out of the van because she can’t decide if she wants to fuck the singer or not(and you don’t have time for that shit), or it can be that little nagging discomfort that eats away at your brain and keeps you in a shitty mood. If I’m not bitching, it’s not because everything is always hunky dory, I just know that bad moods don’t solve anything, so I don’t spend much time in them.
No one gives a fuck out here that you stubbed your big toe on your kick pedal; not the club manager, not the sound guy, not your band mates…especially when it could’ve been avoided by putting that shit away to begin with. If you take that attitude into the club/house/venue/coffee shop with you, everyone can see it, and you just killed whatever opportunities you could’ve had. You never know who is who until they feel you’re worth their time to tell you. My rule of thumb is to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and never judge a book by it’s cover.
I’m all about accountability, and taking my fair share of responsibility in any given situation. If there’s something I don’t know, it’s because I didn’t ask the right question to the right person or do my research. If I’m hungry, it’s because I didn’t eat. If I piss myself, maybe I should’ve asked the driver to stop a few miles back when I saw the rest stop sign-or maybe I should’ve grabbed a wide mouth Gatorade to piss in earlier on. Bottom line, there’s always a way out, and if you’re having a shitty time for any reason whatsoever, there’s always a better way of looking at it, and something you can do to change it. Sometimes that also means jumping off the merry-go-round when it’s in full spin. Yes it’s going to hurt, but if a few scrapes and scratches is better than losing your lunch, then go for it. Worse case? Tomorrow is a new day, so don’t carry they shit pile you stepped in yesterday into it.
I’m not bitching about my road mates, just stating the facts as I see it. They are good people, they are hard workers, and they are out of their comfort zone at times. Pam’s attitude has improved greatly since her wisdom teeth extraction a day prior to tour stopped being her main focus, and has found other ways to take out her frustrations that no longer involve freaking out on Jeff or myself just because she’s having a bad day. I’m proud of her. The kid has grown a lot in the last 2 weeks and I’m proud of her. She surprises me with every passing day, learning to live in the moment, and I’m glad she hasn’t proved that I made a bad decision by bringing her with. I have a lot of faith in her, she’s smart, she’s tough, and she’s hilarious. Pam makes the gigs a lot smoother, because she’s a good merch girl. It’s been hard for me to back off in that area because I’m so used to doing most things myself, but she’s got it, and I don’t have to worry.
Fucking with merch was a good way for me to deal with my social anxieties, and now that I don’t have that, I am out of my comfort zone, and am finding growth in doing so. It’s easy to talk to folks about merch, or busy myself with folding a shirt 50 times or so in order to avoid eye contact with people…can’t do that anymore. Not if I want more out of my career and my life.
Jeff doesn’t like surprises…luckily enough, he’s been a gutter punk long enough that there’s a lot of situations that don’t bother him much at all, but when things don’t go the way he expected, it ruins his whole fucking day…so far this has only happened twice, and we’re all allowed a shit day every now and again. He’s anti-social, but there’s good people out here on the road, and that’s really all I hang with. It’s important for me to keep in mind that I’m different then a lot of folks; I can smile, nod, and make friends with the scuzziest of fucktards, knowing full well where all of my exits are and confident in my abilities of protecting myself, that dealing with a few idiots is fine. I’ll talk to anyone, even if they drive me fucking crazy. Am I still feeling anti-social and annoyed, wanting time to myself? Yeah, but this is an industry where your career relies mostly on who you know and how well you can network with them. So I’m anti-social when I decompress, and I save it for those moments.
Jeff wanted to learn the ropes. When we first spoke about touring together last October, he said that it would be good to tour with someone who can fill in the gaps of what he’s missing out in the experience department. I don’t know everything, but I know enough to get by and turn a few heads. It’s all a learning process and some lessons take longer than others to learn. I’m passing on my experience, for whatever that’s worth, and if you try to pick and choose your fan base, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.
Me? I’m an experience junkie. I thrive in situations when I’m up against challenges where I’m forced to stretch my capabilities and alter my comfort zones. I’m also learning patience…finally. No situation is going to be ideal 100% of the time, and it’s hard to be trapped in a small box with the same people for days on end. So I guess I’m venting a little, which borderlines on bitching I suppose, but fuck it ya know…I’m sure I’m not always the easiest person to deal with either…I’m a fucking cunt, I don’t sympathize with belly aching much, and the only thing I really give a fuck about is getting to the next gig so I can purge my soul and keep wearing my smile a few more days.
At least I finally got laid again since Salem…if not for the occasional road ass, I’d probably lose my fucking mind. The vibrator is nice to get me by, but sometimes you just need a good dick down to counteract the crazy that lurks just under the surface. I’m sure a day will come before the end of the tour where everyone will know that I am not in the mood for anyone or anything, but so far I’m doing pretty good with maintaining a strong sense of balance. I have to, this is my tour, I have to maintain self control if I want to get anywhere. I’m bald, almost 6′ and frighten most people who don’t know me, I like to keep ’em guessing and surprise them when I’m soft spoken and pleasant. If for no other reason than the look on their face when I open my mouth and something intelligent falls out. Yeah…I’m only a dumb cunt when I need to be. Don’t be a fucking dick, and I’m sure we’ll get along just fine.
We’re on our way to Sacramento, and I’m really looking forward to this gig. I love hangin’ with my friend, Ian. he plays in a band called Waning (which is fucking awesome), and we’re working on an experimental noise project together via emailing tracks online. I’m hoping we’ll have enough time to maybe record some stuff together while I’m down here for that project. We’ll see.
Pam is driving right now and Jeff is navigator. Did I mention she’s been learning how to drive on this tour? I guess you could say I do enjoy flirting with disaster a bit…all I can really say is I’m glad she didn’t kill us on the drive from Leavenworth to Tacoma and she’s doing much better on the Fresno to SacTown stretch. Jeff hasn’t broken the OH SHIT! handle yet. Me…if I die, I die, and at least I’m on the journey of a lifetime. The only thing I really have in life to live for is exactly what I’m doing right now and if I die while I’m doing it, I couldn’t think of a better way to go…so the mp3 player is charged up, the music is blaring, I’m in the back with no seat-belt on, and SacTown is the next stop. Besides, the only way she will learn is to get in the driver’s seat.
I love my life, hope to see you along the journey. 🙂