Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why I'm Not "On Tour"

Before reading this post, you MUST read the recent, short article by Doug Glanville of the New York Times. Otherwise, this post will be coming out of FAR left field... Click on the link below to view the article, then read my post. Please leave a comment if anything in either article gets your wheels turning.

That's an on-point article! While I am only a legend in my own mind (a true minor leaguer), I have tasted what he's talking about while on tour. I learned a WHOLE LOT about how your placement, or image, or status, can dictate how (and how many) people treat you. I can't tell you how many times I have been completely invisible to a female (or male) until AFTER I get off stage, even when I'm not the headliner or a main part of the show. It feels like there is some weird transitive property of fame and status.

I've also watched colleagues use that status to get virtually anything and everything for free while on the road, including meals, drugs, sex, lodging, attention, etc. It didn't take me long to appreciate the path of destruction that is left in the wake. As more and more bridges get burned, and more and more friends are revealed to be just acquaintances, the person with the status pays the ultimate price... they are left empty.

It's feels good to be traveling, but to not be "on tour." In the last few weeks I've sat in a dozen different clubs, listened to a dozen different bands, and met dozens of people. The vast majority of them have no idea that I've performed in front of thousands of people, with some of their favorite artists. I would like to do some shows here before I leave, but I'm not in any rush. I find myself wondering which people, if any, will suddenly take an interest in me once I step off stage... and what their motivations will be.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying just listening to the band, and giving them their props after the show. I guess I'd rather be a groupie, than be groupied.


  1. I like this a lot, but of course I have to find something that rattled my cage. It was this that struck me:

    "As more and more bridges are burned, and more and more friends are revealed to just be acquaintances, the person with the status pays the ultimate price... they are left empty."

    Not so fast. They have to take responsibility for their part in all of this. How much of this is due to them believing their own hype? By buying into the idea of their own greatness and using it as a barter system? At some point you have to pay the piper... and the process of being used and getting used is going to get old. You don't get something for nothing. The exchange for "something" sometimes is hurt feeligns and loneliness, and it's hard to swallow when you realize it's due to your own actions.

    The sad thing is that people think that this false idolhood or adoration from folks they think "adore" them and their talent or power... are often being used just as much as they are using other people for food, meals, lodging, etc. It's a vicious cycle.

  2. Werd B! As you seem to be suggesting, "free" is just too damn expensive sometimes...

  3. Man brotha, I feel this article as well. Its amazing the response you receive when someone thinks you are somebody. I recently performed in Santana Row playing the was hot no doubt, small crowd but by the time I got off the stage it seemed as if I dropped a jelly donut on an ant hill.

    Even on a much smaller scale of any of the shows you have ever rocked, I felt a piece of what it means to be "out there". I can't lie, I liked it, it just makes me want to rock more shows in bigger venues, to get more and is very dangerous and ill have to pass...for now.