Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dreams Do Come True

For so long, it's been my dream to be on the road with a band. And not just on the road in a van, though that placated my gypsy soul for a while. It was one of my biggest hopes in life to tour with a band on a tour bus. Finally, after years of hoping and waiting, my dreams came true and I finally got to say that I was a merch girl living on a tour bus. 

(I know, this likely will be yet another of those posts that you "normal" folks just won't understand. Why in the world would I dream of being stuck on a bus with 8 guys, going to random cities just to sell shirts? My answer: because its freakin' amazing! I had the time of my life, going to exciting cities, meeting amazing people, and feeling, just a little bit, like a rockstar. It was more than I can effectively put into words, other than saying it was amazing. So normal people, go back to your normal lives and continue to criticize me for my straying from what was expected of me. I just pray that you, as you do what you're "supposed" to do, are as happy as I am.)

And.....I'm done with that rant. Back to the exciting stuff! 

I was in one of my very best friend's weddings on the first night of the tour, so I had to fly to Detroit to meet the band the next day. Let me just say, I felt like such a big kid taking a taxi to the airport, flying across the country, and taking another taxi to the venue ALL BY MYSELF. Though by patting myself of the back for something like this, I'm probably proving that I'm not a big kid at all. (I'm probably not helping my cause by continuing to call myself a big kid. I don't think big kids do that.)

I will say that the quality of a lot of these pictures is a little less than perfect, and for that there is a perfectly reasonable excuse: I was taking them all sneakily, trying not to act like the excited little girl that I really was. So bear with the quality, and just pretend you were in my shoes trying to play it cool when you were so not cool on the inside :) 

The front lounge of the bus. (!!!!!)
My bed, the very top bunk. Trust me, there is a definite art to getting in and out of that bed, and it involved ninja moves, gymnastic skills, and a little bit of yoga. And that still led to me hitting my head or back or other random body part every time I got in or out of it. And it was awesome!

My bed! The DVD player was more useful is giving me bruises on my back as I downward dog roundhouse kicked my way into bed since I didn't bring any DVDs to watch, but still. I had my own DVD player. In my bunk. On a tour bus. (!!!!!!!) 

My first tour bus! It definitely did not suck at all. 

Sunday, May 19
St. Andrews Hall
Detroit, Michigan
I had an awesome merch setup that night! 

Getting ready in a tour bus bathroom is a bit of a challenge, especially when it's moving. I managed, though, and only smeared red lipstick all over part of my face. 

I had such a moment right after I took the above picture. The bus was parked across the road from the venue and there was a line of people waiting at the door to get in. One of the venue staff knocked on the door and asked me to come in so we could do some merch businessing. At that moment, when I got to walk from the bus, past the crowd, right in the front door, I felt amazing. It was the smallest thing, but such a memory in the making  for me. 

The bus on the sketchy but beautiful streets of Detroit. 

Monday, May 20
Day Off
New Jersey/New York
I woke up on the bus to this awesome view in New Jersey at the hotel the driver was staying at and where we were showering. It was gorgeous. 

The band named me "Little Wing" which I absolutely loved. It was like I was a stray cat they had taken in, and by naming me it meant they really liked me and wanted to keep me. So Little Wing and the rhythm section (as we fittingly deemed ourselves) decided to go out and explore The City (NYC). We had a great time- eating some awesome pizza, chilling in a little hole in the wall bar, listening to some way cool music, and just wandering the streets. So much fun. 
The group/band we watched at Rockwood. It was so different from the music I typically go out and see, but so very cool. 

The News Corp Building, where Fox News is held. 

We were supposed to meet the bus and the rest of the guys here at 1:30am so we could load in for the Don Imus "Imus in the Morning" show, but we were a little early and they were a little late so we decided to explore a little more. 

So we went by the Radio City Music Hall...
Rainbow room...
Rockefeller Plaza....
And Times Square! 

I'd been to New York City twice before this trip, but neither time had I been able to just wander around Times Square. The pictures don't do it justice. It's just amazing.

Yeah, I selfied in Times Square. And was straight up caught by Scotty and Johnny. An Embarrassed Little Wing I was. 

Tuesday, May 21
New York City
Imus in the Morning//The Bowery Ballroom (in the night)

So, once the bus got there and they loaded in and went to sound check, I went to sleep because really there was nothing for me to do but be in the way. I did wake up early the next morning (like 8ish) to go in and watch some of the filming of the show. It. Was. Awesome. I was just chilling in the green room of a major cable television program, watching people eat bagels before walking into the studio and talking on national tv. We even got to go into the studio and be the "live studio audience" for some of the performances. Once again, it was awesome. My mama even saw the back of my head on tv at home. She's so proud ;) 

On the set of the Imus in the Morning show. Terrible pic because it was taken all super secretly, like I was not a ridiculous redneck in my first cable tv studio. 

The studio, taken sneakily once again as we left. 
After we finished the show, we went back to the bus and slept for a while before going to load in for the next show. So this was the view from my bunk window, as I went to sleep. Basically right between Times Square and Rockefeller Plaza. I mean, that happens everyday, right?! 

Also, Bret Michaels was there for another Fox show and his bus was parked right in front of ours. It is one of my greatest disappointments that I didn't get to see him and his plastic face in person. 

Bowery Ballroom Bathroom Selfie. I loved my dress, don't judge.  
Yes, yes it is. 

Such a cool venue. Love love love NYC. 

New merch lady friends!

After the show, a few of us decided to be adventurous and go explore a little more before bus call at 4am. So Little Wing and the Rhythm section plus Tour Manager went to little India and I had my first Indian food! Yay for new experiences!

Fat kidding it up at 3am eating Indian food. My life :) Also, I'd like to thank Shaun T for that semi-buff looking arm right there reaching for some totally unhealthy yummy sauce. 

Haandi. Pretty tasty. 

Wednesday, May 22
The National
Richmond, Virginia

Sound check at The National, a gorgeous old theatre. 

Bartender or Merch Lady? People were confused all night. 

The Other Life movie played before almost all the shows, and it was one of my favorite parts of the night because I got to see my favorite bar, bar manager, Lexington/Kentucky band, and of course the big white van I spent so many hours in. It made me so happy every time I watched it. 

Merch, merch, merch!

Thursday, May 23
The State Theatre
Falls Church, Virginia

The view from my window in Falls Church. We'd have some fun times in that bar in the left corner of the pic after the show was over. They had some great tiki signs ;)

This day involved a lot of hurry up and wait. Which meant I did a lot of sit in the green room and eat all the food. And it was delicious. 

More hurry up and wait time. So I painted my nails out by the bus. Because why not. 

I had to have crab cakes. And I ate them classily under the merch table. Like a lady. 

I've said it a million times, but I take full advantage of my anonymity and acceptable weirdness in my merch girl wardrobe. Because I can. And I kinda love it, cause I sure as hell can't dress like this in real life. 

Friday, May 24
Gus' Bar
Jacksonville, North Carolina

I woke up to a sandy parking lot and a sense that I was close to the ocean. Too far from said ocean to actually see it, but it was close enough to imagine the saltiness in the air. 

Another glamorous dinner at the merch table, eaten in between attempted pickups by precious little Marines. Bless their hearts.  

But seriously, that mahi mahi was some of the best fish I have ever eaten, even if I did eat it with a plastic fork out of a styrofoam box. 

Saturday, May 25
The Shed

Little Wing got her first radio! Which I couldn't actually wear because it made my shorts fall off but still, if I was in distress I could call for help! And by this point the band and crew had become my brothers, and if Little Wing felt threatened, there would have been 8 kinds of hell to pay. And that is why I love being a girl with the band. 

Sunday, May 26
The Atomic Cowboy
St. Louis, Missouri 

I learned a valuable lesson on the road in between Tennessee and Missouri: be careful with leftover potato salad. Food poisoning is real fun when you're on solid ground. Imagine it as you roll 70mph down the bumpy road on a moving bus. It was the low point of the trip for me, and I shall never eat ribs or potato salad ever again. Just in case you were wondering. 

It was miserable, but I tried to tough it out and make it through the last stop of the tour without puking on anyone. I was successful, thankfully. 

Home. I'm trying to think of a cute way to quote Sundy Best lyrics but I got nothing.  So, just home. I could have stood to be out for a few more weeks, but it was good to come home, take a shower without shoes or fear of foot aids, and to sleep in a bed that was more than two feet wide and not moving. But you had better believe I'm already ready to go out again. Like the button in the picture above said, "this life is a dream." I'm such a lucky girl to be living it. (Btw, that button can be yours when you purchase a limited edition gunslinger box! Ask your fav merch lady for more info! ;) Haha)