Everyone who considers him-or-herself a professional musician is going to have to do some crazy stuff to make it work, and all of us have stories, mostly about sleep deprivation and travel. So I don't normally like to bore people about stuff like that on my website/blog, since it's never really anything new. All the same, this week has offered such a perfect cross-section of the costs and benefits of being a traveling musician that I thought I'd share.
Last weekend began with an experience not many people get to enjoy in life, which was to perform at ACL Live to a sold-out crowd (Nelo opened for Pat Green). I have no idea how many thousands of people were there, but it was a pretty incredible experience. Pat and his band are also extremely nice people, and pro as pro can be. The next day was when things started to get hairy.
Saturday consisted of driving to Fort Worth for a show at the Aardvark. After the show, which ended around 1:00AM, several friends of mine and I drove back to Austin so we could make our 7:30AM church rehearsal. Immediately after THAT, it was back in the car, back to Dallas, to meet up with the Nelo van and start the 30-hour drive to Whitefish, MT on zero sleep. Fortunately, a couple guys in the band had actually slept the night before, so the rest of us got to sleep in the back.
But now, after adventures through Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming, and 30 hours over 2.5 days in a van, I'm sitting at a first-class coffee shop in Whitefish enjoying incredible weather and beautiful mountain scenery, getting ready to play a show at an excellent venue called the Great Northern, where they put the band up in the apartment over the club and treat us like royalty. Then it's off to the Pacific Northwest, my favorite corner of North America, for a pair of shows, before starting the breakneck journey back for a Progress gig in Austin.
There are times when I get tempted to settle down and get a proper job, but now is not one of them.