I’ve only been home for a little over a week, and during that time, I’ve been thinking about touring and travelling – a lot. I miss it, I wish I could be out there all the time. I want to just get on a tour bus right now and not come back for a month, at least.
I went back to an old blog that I wrote on MySpace after the Jon Oliva’s Pain tour back in 2007. It pretty much says what I’m thinking in this very moment as well.
One thing is for sure – one of my goals in life is to do this thing at least one more time before I die. Probably sounds weird to most people but as much as it can be a pain in the ass to be on a stinky bus, it can also be like a drug, which is why I guess so many “road dogs” who have been on the road their whole lives, can’t get it out of their blood. I understand where they’re coming from…
Life now is pretty much about working to finance what I love doing more than anything. :) And it works. For now. I hope it does for a VERY long time!
It’s only been two weeks since I got home from the Oliva-tour and I STILL don’t feel like I’ve quite acclimatized myself to my normal life.
I know – it sounds absolutely ridiculous. I should be more used to THIS than something I did during a limited time. Yet, that felt more right than this. Maybe it has to do with the kind of person I am. To me, that kind of life contained all those elements that makes me feel good.
First of all – it’s an environment where people know and understand music. Well, that’s self-explanatory. You could hear someone start talking about some obscure old album by Tom Petty or whoever, or sharing some kind of music-trivia, stuff that you never do when you’re around people who don’t know or don’t care about music.
Everything was simply breathing music, rock’n’roll. That’s what I live for and have lived for all my life.
There’s no other place that would make me feel like more at home than being surrounded by musicians and people who love and understand that passion. Cause they are the same. You’re not an outcast on a tour-bus, you belong.
And just the fact that I was on something that was on its way somewhere… I love that!
Sometimes people ask howcome I volunteer to drive here or there as often as I do, and that’s because I love the road. To leave something behind and head to something new. To cover a distance, well, I don’t know how to explain it. I just love to watch things pass by when I look out a window.
I love watching those white stripes on the motorway pass by so fast that they end up looking like one long, white line if you look at it long enough. It’s like you’re hypnotizing yourself somehow, your mind starts to wander, you drift away in dreams and thoughts… There’s nothing else quite like it.
I was just there as a spectator on that tour, as a “fly on the wall” there to experience the vibe and then write about it. Yet I felt like a part of the whole thing,.
But I can understand a musician on the road, why he (or she) gets bummed out when they come home after a tour.
Cause being in a band and being on the road is like being a part of something. You are creating something together, everybody is important and what you do is appreciated by a lot of people. So, you MATTER. It’s as simple as that. You can’t just call in sick like you would with any other kind of job. No matter what happens – the show must go on. You are damn important. That has got to be a feeling like no other.
With a band like Jon Oliva’s Pain, there’s not much difference between the guys in the band and the crew. Everyone is important. It’s like one big family, they all have an assignment, something that needs to be done. Nobody’s more important than anyone else and that feeling of being friends, family and co-workers all at the same time is stronger than in most other workplaces.
Being a part of something that brings big smiles to so many people’s faces has got to be the most wonderful feeling in the world. Again, I wasn’t up on stage but I understand it so well. I have been up on that stage, long ago, but once you got a taste of it, you never forget it.
That kind of life is not bound by rules like so many other jobs and places. Yes, there are a few things you mustn’t screw up.
You need to be on the bus before it leaves, you need to be in shape to get up on stage and play every night, things like that. But as long as you can do what you’re supposed to, and not get anyone else in trouble, you can do pretty much whatever the hell you want.
Party till you drop, sleep all day, behave like a ten-year-old if you feel like it, just be whoever you want to be. Feel free. Then again… that’s only true to a certain extent but that’s a different story.
I would hear people talking and laughing all night long until I fell asleep. Sometimes I didn’t even want to crawl into my bunk because I wanted to stay up and socialize as long as possible. And even those nights when I was too tired for that, I just wanted to be there.
I remember Chris, (Kinder – the drummer), asking me a few times why I didn’t just go to bed, I looked tired. Well, yeah, I was, but I also knew that soon I wouldn’t be on that bus anymore so I didn’t really care if I slept or not. I can sleep when I’m dead. :)
There was only one evening, in Gothenburg, when I was so beat that I could barely focus, everything was spinning. So when Kevin walked up on the bus, happy as a fiddler, and asked if I wanted to go hang out with him and his friends from Crucified Barbara, I said no. Can’t believe I was so anti-rock’n’roll that I went to sleep in my bunk while everybody else was partying!
But that was that one night. I got up to socialize later, like three or four in the morning after I had slept like three hours… That’s crazy too. Nothing is considered to be a “normal” time in a touring-situation.
You are up when most people at home would be asleep, you sleep when most people would be at work – everything is upside down. And I love that. Go figure. :-)
Then it’s all the people – new people every day. Fans, other band members that either just happened to be “in the neighborhood“, other musician-friends that drop by to say hello – people who work at the venue or pretty much anybody… You see new faces every single day. Mostly smiling faces.
If you are a social kind of person, that is a privilege. And I am. :) People I had only seen on My Space or on the JOP message-board that I check every now and then, suddenly became “real people” – not just nicknames on the Internet.
With JOP many of those fans have become friends more than fans. Frode for instance, the “Big Viking” from Norway, has been around for so long that he’s considered to be part of the “family”. And there are many others like that. People who show up year after year, who help out with little things… they are friends more than anonymous faces in a crowd.
I just love that whole vibe that surrounded JOP. People are generally welcomed with open arms, there’s no rockstar-attitude to be found as far as the eye can see. It’s easy to understand why people like those guys.
I was never much of a Savatage-fan before. My ex-boyfriend was. Many of the guys in the bands I sang with through the years, were Savatage-fans too, but I, for some reason, never took the time to listen to all their albums. Don’t know why, really…
Heard a song here and there, that was it. Last year my magazine sent me to Germany to interview “Savatage-frontman Jon Oliva who has a new band now”… I still remember when my boss asked me if I wanted to do it.
It could have been just a job like any other. I could have just went down there, done the interview, went back home, written the article and never given it another thought ever again. That’s how it usually works.
But with JOP it was so easy to feel like they were old friends in some strange way. They made themselves available, opened the door. Such great people in every aspect.
It’s funny… Here I am now, nine months later – seven shows seen in six different countries (the first one in Florida, back in November last year).
I’ve been on the road with them and gotten to know band and crew – and people who are fans and friends. It’s unique. Has never happened before and I’ve been working in this business since 1988. That’s a long time.
It has happened a few times that I became really good friends with someone I interviewed. But that was still different from this.
Skid Row was a band I knew very well back in the day. Sebastian Bach and I were in touch for many years. But other than that, the situation with JOP is so different from anything else.
I’ve learned the music by hearing it during the soundchecks and at all the shows, not by listening to the albums first. Well, except for Maniacal Renderings.
I miss waking up in the morning, being somewhere else than I was the day before.
I miss the vagabond kind of life where nothing is ever to be counted on. You can’t be SURE that you’ll get a decent meal one particular day. You get food once a day, cause breakfast usually consisted of a cigarette and a beer for some – and I neither smoke nor drink beer so I got used to not eating much at all. Great diet. I kept it after I came home – and let me tell you, I’m losing weight!
If the bus stopped at some gas station one could get a burger or something in the middle of the night, or you grabbed a sandwich during sound check (the venue would usually have bread, butter, cheese, juice and stuff like that somewhere on a table for those who wanted a snack) or if you were lucky, the food was ok that the venues would serve for dinner… Which was not always the case. The food at Pestpop in Belgium looked like, to quote a bandmember, “catfood“.
You couldn’t even be sure that you would get a chance to take a shower. The BAND could. But as for everybody else, it was a matter of time and luck. Particularly being a girl meant that you had to forget about being prude. But then again – the GUYS could get a bit embarrassed too.
In Gothenburg, there were only 2 showers – and with two buses full of people, you can imagine what it was like.
And trying to make your hair or makeup look decent was nearly impossible so I looked like shit during those few days.
That’s why I was almost allergic to people taking pictures all the time, cause I really dooooon’t want to be seen in pics where I look like a female bum. It’s bad enough I had to look like that at ALL, I didn’t want it immortalized and put on the web. God!
So… it’s a strange life I guess, but it made me feel great.
April 2007 will go to history as one of the best months of my life. I’ve had a lot of fun in my life- but this was something that suited me like hand in glove. I would give anything to do it again.
Right NOW I’m mostly sulking because I hate this “normalness”.
I don’t want to be alone in my empty apartment.
I don’t want to wake up in the same place and the same city every single day. I mean, that would have been okay if I didn’t have to spend 8 hours every day staring at this goddamn COMPUTER SCREEN when there’s a world out there to be explored, when there’s music to be played and people to meet.
Yes, I get to do that that stuff now too, but it’s still not the same. What I do now is routine, it’s the same shit day after day and I really feel like I want to get out of here.
That month of travelling made me realize what I DON’T want in life. I don’t want to spend most of my time indoors. I want to get out a lot more, travel more, meet even more people.
Who would have thought that an assignment last year (“Go and interview Jon Oliva in Düsseldorf!”) would lead to all of THIS?!
Life has its strange ways sometimes. All you can do is just try to do whatever you can to be happy. Nothing else matters, cause life is too short to worry about much else. Be happy and accomplish your dreams.
Never settle for second best – and if you can’t change the things you’re not happy with, change your way of thinking. There are no truths, only interpretations of the truth.
And right now, I’m starting in one end – if that doesn’t work, I’ll have to change my attitude. But, one thing at a time…
I’m just grateful for what I’ve been given a chance to experience. It will stay in my memory forever.
[When you need to dry your clothes on the road, sometimes you need to be creative…!]
[Jon reading Sweden Rock Magazine (well, I had to do a little PR for my mag!)]
[On the road!]
[Yup…passed out – eventually!]
[It’s a tough job being a rock star, but somebody’s gotta do it…. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz………..]