Nothing is worse than going on a business trip and forgetting your laptop charger. Well, maybe remembering it and finding out that your cat chewed a hole through it.
That, and maybe when you realize this fact the next day when your closest Best Buy or Wal-mart is 30 miles away. Regardless, there are (few) things worse than a forgotten laptop charger, especially when it comes to musicians on tour.
In light of our leaving for the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, I thought I'd make a checklist of three important things to remind myself, and other musicians, of what NOT to do on tour. We all make mistakes; lists just happen to help avoid them.
Missing Bus Call
We get it — you want to go have fun with your new friends that only care about the fact that you’re in a band. We’ve all been there: You go to get a couple drinks. “A couple” inevitably turns into “endless,” and by the end of the night, you’re so wasted that you can’t even remember how to answer your phone, let alone remember what the “TM” means after your tour manager’s name pops up as an incoming call. So you do what any normal guy would do. You keep grinding up against some chick in silver booty shorts while some guy does the same to you from behind. Bet you didn’t realize you were at a gay bar. Neither do any of us.
I’m all for fun, and meeting new people, but the last thing a tour manager (and driver) want to deal with is a drunk idiot that can’t remember his ass from his face, and how to get back to his bus. We’re on a timed schedule, and if you’re not back, sucks for you. Worst-case scenario: trying to sleep while listening to an Orc from outer space speak in tongues on Gwar’s bus to the next show because you got left behind.
Losing Your Passport
If you’re like most Americans, your passport is one of the important documents you keep in a safe, along with your Social Security card and birth certificate. If you’re like most seniors with Alzheimer’s, most 3-year-olds or a raging alcoholic, the chances of you losing one of these aforementioned items are pretty high. In fact, if you’re a raging alcoholic you probably shouldn’t even try to go out of the country because a passport isn’t the worst thing you can lose; especially in the blue light district of Amsterdam.
If you’ve ever been overseas or out of the country and lost your passport, you know the feeling of your heart falling into your ass, because there’s no way you’re getting home without sitting in the American Embassy in Denmark for two weeks while they “get your papers together." What they don’t tell you is that they’re secretly waiting for you to crack and tell them that you have 100 grams of cocaine in a condom somewhere in your intestines, like that one girl did, except in the other hole.
All of us mess up once or twice on stage. I say “all of us” because, let’s face it: We all miss a note or come in late/early once in a while, even the most on-point professionals. Unless you’re Yngwie Malmsteen, which you aren’t, you are the only exception to this thought and are God’s gift to the guitar community.
Without sleep, however, these slight mishaps turn into entire chunks of a song butchered. Remember back in high school at the battle of the bands when you laughed at that kid who couldn’t play AC/DC’s "Back in Black" to save his life? Well, as sort of a karmic twisting of the knife, you become that kid without sleep. Your reflexes are off, your hearing is dumbed down, and your hands refuse to work together like they’re in some sort of relationship crisis and are avoiding each other until one of them apologizes.
The bottom line is that sleep is just as important for guitar players as it is for singers. Don’t be that kid at the talent show in the wolf shirt who can’t even play the tambourine on tempo.
Ricky "Horror" Olson is a guitarist and backing vocalist in Scranton, Pennsylvania's Motionless In White, who are part of this year's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. For more about the tour, visit rockstarmayhemfest.com.