Tour Survival Guide: Finger Eleven

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Now and then our Tour Survival Guide will check in with rockers about life on the road. Here’s guitarist James Black on how puppies and towels keep Finger Eleven touring.

Video Games Can Be Hazardous to Your Tour
Our other guitar player Rick broke his hand playing video games when we were touring on the last record. He got killed in the game, punched the wall of the bus and broke his hand. It f*cked the tour up for him for a couple weeks. We play four against four usually, and it gets aggressive. Once a year goes by [on the road] you start to put personal touches on everything you do in the game because you?re genuinely angry at the person. But that?s eight months from now.

Bath Towels: The Ultimate Rock Star Extravagance
We ask for seven to nine towels. Sometimes you show up and they give you these little square, face towels. It?s gotta be a nice clean towel — I?d love a bath towel. Usually it?s a hair towel sized-thing. Sometimes [I steal towels from the hotel], if it?s nice and soft, it’s like "I gotta take this." There?s a drawer in our bus for those towels.

How Much Is That Doggie in the Sound Booth?
We used to have a sound guy who would write on his technical rider that he would need a small brown puppy to be next to him while he did the sound check. But I don?t think he ever got that. Maybe once or twice.

Working (Touring) Stiffs
There are certain parts of the routine that happen every day — the Groundhog Day factor. Your day starts and right in your immediate vicinity there are nine people, and you wake up to that same thing every day — the worst part is when the days end up seeming like they?re the same thing. But I love everything about the road. I think this is where I belong.

Tour Dates
-7/17 Agora Theatre, Cleveland, OH
-7/24 The Basement, Columbus, OH
-7/26 Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa, OK
-7/27 House of Blues, Dallas, TX
-7/28 Nite Town, Lafayette, LA
-7/31 The Varsity Theatre, Baton Rouge, LA
-8/1   Roxy Theatre, Atlanta, GA
-8/5   Willow Island, Madison, WI
-8/6   The Vogue, Indianapolis, IN
-8/10 The Groge Amphitheatre, George, WA
-8/11 Cheney Stadium, Tacoma, WA
-8/14 Pan American Center, Las Cruces, NM
-8/16 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pav, Houston, TX
-8/17 New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA
-8/21 Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH
-8/23 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
-8/24 USS New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA
-8/25 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Charlotte, NC
-8/26 Alltel Pavilion, Raleigh, NC
-8/28 Verizon Wireless, Virginia Beach, VA
-8/30 Sommet Center, Nashville, TN
-8/31 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Maryland Heights, MO
-9/6   Plaza De Cesar Chavez, San Jose, CA
-9/20 Living Room, Providence, RI

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