Cerebral Upheaval with Dan Sugarman of As Blood Runs Black - Life on the Road: Removing the Veil
That journal entry right there was just a brief description of the daily ups and downs of being on the road. Keep in mind that it was also only one of the four major trailer issues that we had on this tour ALONE.
After a quick and shitty trailer repair early the following morning, the same issue resurfaced again on June 27 going from Boise, Idaho to Sacramento, California. We actually had to skip the Sacramento show so that we could get a legit repair done and then drive straight from Boise, Idaho to San Francisco. Awesome, right?
And to make things even better, when we arrived at The Fillmore in San Francisco, we discovered a massive pool of engine coolant surrounding our van. This was only one day after we had just barely avoided the second near tour-ending catastrophe.
We somehow miraculously recovered in time though, which was great. The issue in SF was that the van had basically pissed out all of the engine coolant liquid through a hole in the hose. Upon bringing the van into the nearest shop for inspection and repair, we were told that our water pump was ALSO broken. Cha-CHING!
And don't think it stops there either! On August 17 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, we had another major axle issue that threatened to keep us from finishing out the rest of the tour. We were on the complete opposite side of the United States in the most southern tip of Florida. We could have been stranded there for days. Lucky for us, though, we had a mechanic who was a part of the tour package, Oceano's driver, Adam Lavesque -- a great drummer, hard working and an all around awesome dude, who is a master repair-man. He told us about a few of the options that we had if we wanted to make it to Texas. We made the decision to saw off the bent part of the axel and weld on a new straightened axel tip so that we could begin the 20-plus hour drive from Fort Lauderdale to Houston. What a damn long day that was.
Everything was finally starting to look up, and the sun was-a-shinin’, if you will. And after three major trailer issues that threatened our means of transportation, we thought we had finally dodged all of the bullets. But this gun was still loaded, apparently.
We were ready to finish out the last three days of The Summer Slaughter tour, and couldn't wait to get home. The last three days of the tour were in Texas. That state always treats us right, and this time was no exception. All three shows there were highlights of the tour when I look back on our trip, and I can't wait to get back over there and play again.
The last day of the tour was in Dallas. It was a night full of raging, saying goodbye to some of my favorite bands and friends in the world, and realizing the time of my life was quickly coming to an end.
The last show of the tour definitely ended on a high note for us. All that was left for us to do was a 24-plus hour drive home from Dallas to Los Angeles. Yippee?
Excitement to get in our beds and sit on our own porcelain thrones was high. We were ready for the trek to begin. Our guitarist Greg started out the drive, and then our drummer Lech put in some work.
By the time my driving shift came around early in the morning the next day (about 6 a.m.), I was ready to hammer out some serious mileage and get our asses home.
I was maybe 20 miles into my shift and had just purchased my coffee and sunflower seeds -- my vices for staying awake -- when BOOM! We popped a trailer tire. Not the biggest problem in the world for most people, except that most people have a jack and a road worthy spare tire on hand! Our only spare tire was SHOT. It had saved the day for us one to many times before, and another long journey on that thing would not be a good idea. Not to mention, we didn't have a handle for our tire jack to jack the damn trailer up.
We sat on the side of the road, waiting ... and waiting ... in the middle of Nowhere, Texas with nothing to do and no way to fix the problem, when all of a sudden, after waiting on the side of the road for a long while, dealing with serious stress and taking turns kicking each other in the ass, a good man with all the tools we needed stopped behind our busted ass trailer to help us out. We told him we were on our way home to Los Angeles, and he quickly got what we needed out of his truck and helped us get back out on the road in no time.
Thank you for the random act of kindness, kind sir! We are forever indebted to you. I doubt you will ever read this though, considering you probably don’t know what a computer is.
What's ironic and kind of funny to me is the fact that the same sort of situation happened to us on the last day of the Atticus Metal Tour III. Devastation crept up on us once again literally one hour into our drive home.
All of a sudden the RV started to shake and rattle. We heard noises that we had never heard before from a car. BLONK! The RV's engine exploded out of the bottom of our vehicle and shot all over the highway in the middle of New Mexico.
It seems to me as if someone keeps on trying to prevent us from getting home at times. I don't know what there is to be said about that, but it sure seems like that's the case to us.
As you can see, the problems are never ending. If you think about how often the average person is on the road versus how often we are on the road, then you would quickly realize that the likelihood of a major transportation issue coming up for us is MUCH greater than it is for you. Not to mention that the drives on Summer Slaughter averaged out to be about 8-12 hours. That is almost 50% of our day spent on the road en-route to the next show. Not as glamorous as you thought right?
We aren't playing awesome shows every night that end in wild parties and free-flowing pussy, like some of you would think. We don't make a ton of money and then go to strip clubs and then teleport to the next show/party/pussy-fest. Oh no. On the contrary, my friend...
That's some rock star movie shit right there. We are not rockstars. We are simply musicians who are lucky enough to travel the world playing our music to awesome fans.
Touring isn't about partying. Touring isn't about getting laid. Touring isn't about finding the easy way out of having to deal with a regular life and working a 9-5 job. Touring isn't about getting famous.
Touring is about working your fucking ass off 24 hours a day, for weeks or months at a time. Touring is about picking yourself up and moving forward no matter how heavy the load is or how much it feels like the odds are stacked against you. Touring is about family and brotherhood. Touring is about spreading your music across the world -- at all costs.
Remember all of this next time you say that anyone can do this. It is a lifestyle that I don’t recommend to everyone.
It takes a certain kind of breed of human to do this, and not everyone can hack it. Touring separates the boys from the men, so to speak.
If you are a band that is trying to take that next step and you'd like to begin touring, sit your band down and talk with them. Make sure that everyone is aware of the things that I have brought to your attention here today.
You can't afford to lose your vocalist or lead guitarist in the middle of Shithole, Arkansas, because they miss their mommy and home-cooked meals. Trust me. We've dealt with situations like that before. You don't want that. You want to avoid that by any means necessary.
Start talking with your band members NOW. Open the portals of communication and understanding, and lead way.
Well, that concludes my third column, as well as Chapter 1 of "Life on the Road: Removing the Veil." Thank you for taking the time to read this thing, I know it was a little lengthy. Hopefully it was as entertaining for you to read as much as it was for me to write.
I'm sure you've figured out by now that the majority of this column was specifically about transportation and the problems that arise from it.
Stay tuned for the next chapters of my non-existent book, as I will be covering other topics, such as: tour stories, tour diet and dumping, survival and tour tips, as well as putting a positive light on touring (finally, right?)
I do have many other ideas brewing in my skull for more guitar-related columns, though. I may or may not follow this column up with Chapter 2 and 3 right away. As this is Guitar World magazine, I believe I mentioned my guitar not even once in this column!
What would you like to see next? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you’d like to me talk about next. Thank you!
And until next time, this is Dan Sugarman here, signing out.
You stay classy, planet earth.
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