Now and then our Tour Survival Guide will check in with rockers about life on the road. Here’s Arctic Monkeys‘ Nick O’Malley and Matt Helders on Gary Coleman and the perils of Chinese food.
Judging Books by Covers Since 2006
Matt Helders: When we first started, we used to ask for a novel. We didn’t get any good ones. We never read them, but they just looked crap.
Gary Coleman’s a Fan
Nick O’Malley: [On the rider] we used to ask for a cardboard cutout of a different person. We wanted Gary Coleman. They [actually] made one in England — they just got a cardboard cutout of Yoda, and stuck [Gary Coleman]‘s face on. We asked for Steve Irwin, but he’s dead now, so it’s not funny.
Now and then our Tour Survival Guide will check in with rockers on the road. Here’s The Bravery singer Sam Endicott on the power of Red Bull, Tokyo bathroom etiquette, and disappointing methods of birth control.
Semper Fi, Guys
We asked for extra-large condoms [on our tour rider]. Like the largest condoms possible. I was hoping we’d get XXL condoms or something, but I guess they don’t really make those. The biggest you can get are Trojans. They max out at Trojan Magnums. That’s as exciting as it gets.
No Caramel Macchiato For You!
I basically live off Red Bull. I wake up in the morning and drink a Red Bull. I need as much caffeine as possible, and I can’t drink coffee, because coffee is just disgusting to me. I hate the taste of it. Like whenever I walk into a Starbucks I want to vomit. So I drink Red Bull all day. We actually have a Red Bull sponsorship. We call and they’ll send cases of Red Bull anywhere we want.
Now and then our Tour Survival Guide will check in with rockers about life on the road. Here’s guitarist James Black on how getting punched and packing light keep Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in good spirits.
Just One of the Crew
I help with the load-in and joke around with the crew. They usually yell at me when I try because they say if I break a hand, they’re out of a job. They tell me to get the f*ck out of the back of the truck. I feel like a jackass if I’m not involved that way. It’s kind of your only exercise when you’re out on the road, anyway. I’m not a big runner.
They Give New Meaning to "Packing Light"
We’re always having competitions of who can bring the least. Once Nick just had a little bag. I’m down to one shoulder bag — three pairs of pants, two shirts, couple pairs of socks. I’d love to tour without a cell phone. I long for the days where it used to be you disappear on the road. I did one tour with three pair of pants in a sleeping bag bag. Like a hobo. It’s fun — it’s good to do. It’s nice to know how little you can live with.
Our Tour Survival Guide checks in with rockers about life on the road. Here’s our You Oughta Know artist Aqualung (aka Matt Hales) on school bullies, audience love, and solar-powered calculators.
Ben’s In Charge
It would be nice to think that I was a totally self-sufficient creature who could stalk through this world, bending everyone’s will to my own without anyone’s help. But it seems everything goes better when my brother Ben is there. He’s got a special pair of gloves for helping the load-in, and I haven’t got any of those. He’s also quite good at knowing what time it is.
Calculated Dirty Talk
A few years ago, we were in a dark backstage area at a club gig, and nothing on our rider had arrived, but there was a solar-powered calculator backstage. Which obviously didn’t work, because it was dark. It struck us as the ultimate luxury. So we thought we’d have that on [our rider] from then on. I just like to do that thing where you type in certain numbers, turn it upside down and it says "boobs."
Our Tour Survival Guide checks in with rockers about life on the road. Here’s Meat Loaf on his beauty rest, soup preferences, and recording obessions. His upcoming tour dates are here.
Pissed Off and Pushing Petty. . .
In the ?70s, I had Tom Petty opening up for me for awhile. I had Dire Straits opening up for me. I had Eddie Money opening up for me. There?s more: I just can?t remember them all. I was warming up my voice one night and Tom Petty told me to shut up. I guess the walls in the dressing rooms were thin. I?m loud. He was like, ?Shut up!? I think at the moment, it pissed me off. Back then — that would have been early ?77, we were in Cleveland, at the Agora — I?m surprised I didn?t bust through the wall of the dressing room into [his] room, throw [him] back into mine and say, ?Come here, you?re listening anyway!? That was my intensity, then. I?m pretty intense now, but back then — whew!
Sleep is the most important thing on the tour – a key issue for me. [I have to get] eight hours, or we don?t move. The road managers get e-mails from me if I can?t sleep: ?Bill, it is now 5:30 in the morning. I am not asleep. We will not leave at 1 p.m. I?m predicting that I?ll be asleep in half an hour, which means we?ll leave at . . . 6, 12, 2 . . . 2:30 p.m.? I?m a night owl on tour.
Now and then our Tour Survival Guide will check in with rockers about life on the road. Here’s guitarist Max Rafferty on Tijuana, staying Rolling Stones-style sexy and Courtney Love?s commitment to fandom.
Tough Work for the Liver
The long stretches while we?re on the bus can get tedious, but we all genuinely enjoy each other?s company, so that helps. We usually smoke a lot, drink until we pass out and listen to Bob Marley.
Touring Is Like a Psychedelic Picasso
The freakiest place we?ve ever been was Tijuana. When I went there, I had envisioned the place as an American Spring Break resort. Instead, all I saw were these transvestites wandering around with massive heads and old men playing guitar. Fascinating and a little scary.
Photography: Amy V. Cooper/Wind Up Records
Now and then our Tour Survival Guide will check in with rockers about life on the road. Here’s lead singer Amy Lee on keeping her sanity with video games and tour hygiene.
When Bathing’s Not An Option
Makeup remover wipes and Wet Wipes in general. We’re constantly trying to refresh and get more. The tour is gross and you can only bathe half the time, and when you can’t bathe, you can always use a wet wipe. I always have to wear a lot of makeup on stage, so my face takes a beating.
Look Who’s Talking Now
Kirstie Alley came to a show recently — it was really cool. She said hi and we all took pictures. She was getting an autograph for her son. We all thought that was really, really cool.
Now and then our Tour Survival Guide checks in with rockers about life on the road. Here’s Rocco Deluca on gold toes and ELO.
Don’t Expect a Foreigner Collaboration
I was opening up for Foreigner, solo acoustic at the Sun Theater. [After I finished] I said "Thanks for having me, and enjoy Journey!" I got fired off the tour, the first show. The saddest part was that they filmed the show, and right behind me is a big kick drum with "Foreigner" written across it. The promoter thought it was kind of funny. He paid me extra, but then he told me I had to leave the tour.
Or ELO For That Matter
In L.A. the most random people will come out. The sitcom people, other musicians that you didn’t even know dig your sh*t. It’s a nice feeling. There’s been people that have come out to shows that I had no idea [knew us]. A friend dragged them, or they heard about our live show. I was at the Viper Room and Jeff Lynne from ELO told me that he thought I was the devil, because of the way I play live.
Now and then our Tour Survival Guide will check in with rockers about life on the road. Here’s Mat Kearney talking fine wine and a certain Motley Crue drummer.
It’s a Good Thing He’s Not Playing Phuket…
"Norfolk," in Virginia, is a very tough [city] name to pronounce, without sounding like you?re cursing. So I got myself in trouble in Norfolk a little while ago. It?s a hard name to say properly without offending small children.
Singer, Songwriter, Sommelier…
Oregon Pinot Noir — that?s my red M&M item. I?m from Oregon, and it?s maybe the best Pinot country in the world. It?s been competing with France these days. Sometimes [venues] even get wineries that are within 10 miles from the house I grew up in.
Now and then our Tour Survival Guide will check in with rockers about life on the road. Here?s Dan Gillespie Sells from the Feeling talking legos, warm-ups and a little something called ?Gig-Ade.?
The Magic Gig Elixir
It’s really hard to do a gig without single-malt scotch whiskey. [Guitarist] Kevin [Jeremiah] has a gig cocktail — four espresso coffees, in a big pint cup, with whiskey and honey. It helps him through the show. He calls that Gig-Ade. It’s good for the voice and it keeps you going.
No Legos, No Rawk
We always ask for Legos. By the time we finish the tour, we’ve got our own Lego village going on. I did a road sweeper once — it was the most complicated road sweeper ever. Once we got a helicopter — that was more Legos for older kids. It was a bit too complicated for us. Especially after too much whiskey.
Photos: The Feeling