I am struck these days on the road by how much our trip resembles a World War II submarine mission. We are locked into a tiny, confined space for days at a time. There is a constant checking of all mechanical operations. Calculations are being made all the time. Estimated time to arrival, fuel consumption, sleep shifts, drive shifts, piloting and co-piloting assignments, distances between fueling stops, equipment to be repaired, a strange array of tasks and problems to be dealt with.
Once in a while we find ourselves at a truck stop and everyone climbs out of the van. We emerge squinting at the daylight, wobbling on uncertain legs weak from long stretches of sitting. Our hangovers are apparently visible to the families who are buying snacks. We set a time for regrouping at the van to move on to our day's objective, the next show.
These ongoing missions are punctuated by the clubs we pull up to. Load the gear in and onto the stage, set it up, sound check it, check the video projectors, open the doors, start the show. These are the hours when we get to move our arms and legs, stand up straight and slowly lose the feeling of rumbling movement. If we seem ill at ease, or far away somehow, it is because there is a part of each of us still in the van, incapable of getting out.
It's strange how the show itself becomes more than just exciting. There's a touch of scary to the shows after a while on tour. We have so much pent up madness from all that time imprisoned in the submarine that when shore leave comes the blowing off of steam can be, well, overwhelming. Actually strapping the guitar on and playing makes your body shake like it has a desperate need to break free of itself.
Yesterday in an interview a DJ said, "I don't do drugs anymore, but when I watch Floater play I feel like I'm stoned." It's the strangeness of this life, I told him. More and more as we travel we feel that same way.
Photo by Sarah La Du