Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t want to live like a rock star? The fame–the money–the endorsements–the lavish splendor–the opposite sex throwing themselves at you constantly (or same sex for the Ricky Martin or Lance Bass fans) appeals to just about every person chasing the American dream. In fact, living the life of a rock star may be the closest definition of the American dream in itself.
The Australian rock band AC/DC coined the phrase, “It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock ‘n’ roll,” and I am here to tell you, dear readers, that they couldn’t have said it any better. Trying to be in a successful rock band is absolutely romanticized by the media, probably because if people knew the nitty-gritty details of what actually goes on behind stage, fans would flee as fast as possible.
I have been playing in bands since high school and have even gone on tour with one. To be able to entertain people with your music you must be very well rehearsed. This means spending countless hours in the practice room writing, recording and reviewing songs with the same dudes. I spend more time with these guys than my own girlfriend, but don’t tell her that.
Eventually, your creative juices produce enough material to play a live set. To do this, you have to have literally thousands of dollars invested in guitars, amplifiers, microphones, drums, transportation, a trailer and merchandise.
Don’t stop there, though! Not looking like a complete dork on stage is ridiculously important, and that takes hours of practice on its own. With that said, not looking like a complete dork OFF stage is equally critical, if not more so.
In the band life if you are not on stage, you are networking at the venue. Most bands have to load in equipment at the bar they are playing at many hours before they actually play, so there is plenty of time to talk to other bands, club owners, musicians or fans. In reality, that is all there is to do.
I toured with a country band once. It was our job to do this every night. We would play for two to three hours at a bar, find food wherever it was available, which would usually end up being fast food (fat food), load/unload gear and merchandise then sleep in the van on the way to the next gig while taking turns driving.
We would be lucky to find a shower if we didn’t make enough money to rent a hotel room. It is truly a nomadic way of life, and if your soul enjoys the comfort of home, this is not the life for you.
However, if this is your cup of tea, it can be the most rewarding and liberating experiences that can’t be found anywhere on earth.
Even though I may as well be dating three other men and have gone days without bathing just to play some dumb songs in other parts of the country, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Being able to express myself through rock music is where my soul harmonizes with the rest of the universe.
It is more than my calling; it is simply me.
Travis Hull is a sophomore general studies major from Henderson.