Feb 22, 2015 1st day off
This is the first of three days off. Not something that anyone would ever plan during a tour. And not one that this group can afford. Also, not all days off are equal. These three rank among the rank.
We began with 15 hour drive, then 24 hours in a German truck stop. We spent over 8 hours in the truck stop's McDonalds. Our standards are so low now, we loved it here. Cheap food and free wifi. Though, clearly we are hitting the wall. While trying to have simple, regular conversations you could see our brain cells retreating and swirling down the drain. Thoughts and, even, words that we were able to access just a few days ago have slipped away to the unreachable realms.
This would a good time to tell the story of the Bus. This bus isn't particularly special. Though tour buses in general have a small, but critical, list of rules:
No crapping on the bus
No pissing standing up
When in your bunk you always sleep with your feet forward
If you leave the bus, put something on the driver's seat so he knows not to drive off without you
Rule number one puts into place the true commodities of touring. Listed by degree of importance:
Toilet for crapping. (Preference is that it has a seat. But in Italy we trade awesome food for no seat.)
We are constantly monitoring these elements and adjusting our stops and all of our movements based on these three.
Obviously, pissing standing up while the bus is careening through the small roads of Europe makes wet feet for everyone else. I suspect some of my buddies weren't always following this dictum.
Sleeping with your feet forward insures, if we have a wreck, that you don't slam your head into the wall. The bunk is damn small. 6' 4” and I am 6' 1”. So I have only three inches of wiggle room. Over the course of the last two weeks I think I have perfected the variations of sleeping postures:
The Corpse. Face up, hands to the side. Don't move for anything. Contemplate your death. Which will never happen. You will be here forever.
The Flopping Gnome. Face fully left or right. Curl up into a ball. As tight as the sides of the bunk will allow. Every 15 minutes (or ever roundabout the bus spins by) spastically leap to facing the other side. Repeat until sound check the next day.
The Epileptic Weasel. Lay very still on your back. The let out a small scream as you jerk your knees upwards, banging the bunk above you as hard as possible. Laugh hysterically. Fall back to sleep. Repeat. Bonus points if the sleeper above you spasms in response.
The Twisted Gazelle. It took me a good week to perfect this one. It won't work for the vertically challenged. You need long legs. While laying on the back, bend up one knee to the ceiling of the coffin. If needed to get the proper height, place same knee's foot on top of other leg. Wedge knee against ceiling tight enough to hold you in place while the bus tosses everyone else back and forth.
The Asbestos Blast. Lay face down. Breathe in the wonders of your bus pillow.
The Ziplock Bag. Works in any position, though the bunk curtains must be tightly closed. Wait for the heating to suck all the air our of the bus. Then wait for the CO2 in the bunk to build up to toxic levels. Exhale and wait a little longer. Them when you can bear it no longer, throw open the curtain and inhale the wonders of the bus. Bonus points if Brian or Graham have just cropped dusted in front of your bunk.
The Snorkestra Rehearsals. Not an actual position, but a good break from the work involved in keeping yourself asleep. Or if your Ambien runs out. Open the curtains and let your ears feast upon the wonders of our side project: The Security Project Snorkestra. If a special improv takes place grab your phone and record it for future releases.
The first rehearsal of the Snorkestra was incredible. It was our first night on the bus and I woke up in what felt like a cozy nest surrounded by warm, protective walruses. Gently swaying with the ocean waves. Low rumbles of breathing and the occasional bellow. But then a high pitched whine burst through and I came to a fully awake state. Oh, damn...I'm on a bus with a bunch of tired old geezers inhaling dust and the fumes of each other. Nothing left to do but make a recording.
Feb 23, 2015 2nd day off – more Bus Action
We spent the evening listening through a whole show. The one from Rome. Since the Berhinger mixing system lets us record 32 channels of audio we have perfect multi-tracks of the show. So we hooked up my laptop to the dreadful sound system in the back of the bus and worked our way through the whole show. This took about four hours.
This was not an easy experience, and might have led to a full dissolution of the band. But, not only are we seasoned-enough pros, we really love each other. And we really want to fine tune everything and makes this performance as special as it can be. So, we dealt with our personal mistakes in front of everyone and discussed improvements. Quite sobering.
Feb 24, 2015 3rd day off
Some of us cracked and checked into a hotel tonight. This was my first hotel since I left home.
My own room. All alone. I began with a shower – first in 3 days. Then a nap. Then a bath. Then a shower. Then a nap.
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