The ten days I didn’t sleep….Sounds pretty cool right? 90% of it was NOT cool. In all honesty most of this time was quite boring. I’m not sure if you’ve spent much time in a tour van, but generally the time between cities and shows just kind of blurs together in a mess of anywhere between 3 and 15 hours and before you know it you’re in a new town, city, state, or country. When you’re on the road 250 days a year summer turns to fall, which turns to winter and the only two things that are constant are the time in the van staring out the window and the 27 minutes you’re on stage. I spent many years logging the “time in between”and this is one of the coolest stories I have of that time.
When On the last Day was wrapping up the tail end of our first European tour it was looking like the US tour we had lined up directly after arriving back in America was shrunk down to a few weeks on the road, which sounds nice after 90 plus days straight on tour. But we had a record to promote and any chance to get in front of people we had to take. Originally we were going to fly back to Vermont (where our van was covered in snow) from Amsterdam where the European tour ended and hook up with another tour. But those plans got botched and the US tour ended up getting pushed back a few weeks. So, when we arrived back in good ole’ America we jumped in the van and started our LONG trek back to Seattle from Vermont, keep in mind after a 12 hour flight from Europe.
A day or so went by and I couldn’t sleep at all. I never was that great at sleeping in the van and I had too much on my mind. Regardless, we powered on through the snow in January on I90. On the 2nd day or so day I got a call from a fellow who was in charge of booking bands for a large stadium festival that would be hitting Seattle in just a few days asking our band to open it. Play in front of 10,000 people? Sure!! So we continued on, going faster and faster, trying to get home to play this show. Well, we made it home late the night before, drove straight through with no sleep, just rotating drivers. 3000 miles.
The day of the show was like a haze. I had lost track of the last “full” night of sleep I got. But none of that mattered, and it never did. The only thing on mind was stepping out on stage in front of a sea of people and playing my guitar. At that time in my life I lived for that moment, that moment right before the first song kicks in. I ate and drank that moment. The show went on, we played, we rocked, and we jumped back in the van.
You remember that “other” tour I mentioned at the beginning of this blog? Well, it was supposed to start on the east coast, where we would be when arriving back from Europe, but due to it getting pushed back it would be starting in Florida. So, the night of the big show in Seattle before the last chord echoed through the stadium we packed up the van, filled up the tank, said goodbye to our friends and family for another 4 weeks and drove straight to Florida. By this point I was borderline going crazy from the lack of sleep. The days it took us to get to Florida was again a blur. I would fall asleep for 10 or 20 minutes and wake up, pound some coffee, drive for 4 hours, sleep, stare out the window, eat crappy fast food, repeat. Then one day around 5 or 6am we crossed the state line into Florida, the sun was shining and I knew the next month of my life would be filled with rock shows, long drives, late nights, and experiences I’ll never forget.