I just had a dream that I forgot what I was dreaming about… I have been trying these natural sleeping pills to try and make up for the insomnia that the european drinking band we are sharing the bus with have been providing for me, and ll they do is give me weird dreams, in 15 minute intervals of drool time.
It’s weird, I used to be able to shoot an 8-ball of coke and go to Target. Now, if I drink 2 cups of coffee, I have to shut my phone off, and hide in the bathtub with the lights off. I guess my tolerance for downers has always been a little higher, but I’m not about to down a whole bottle of German valerian root, just to get some extra sleep. It’s all for vanity reasons anyway, I think much more artistically when I only get a couple of hours in, but I look like I’ve aged 15 years and went vegan.
The cigarettes don’t help, even though I’ve got it down to roughly 2~3 a day (after show only), and I drink a ton of water, I’m just old enough to feel the effects so heavy, that I might as well be smoking a pack of Pall-Mall non-filter, washed down with 2 liter diet coke on the reg.
I’ve never been able to really sleep on anything moving, it feels to out of control. Like if something were to happen, and I was sleeping, so, it just makes me not sleep… I also broke some serious wind in a rem drop one time on an airplane next to really pretty person. The McDonald’s breakfast I had eaten in a moment of weakness, mixed with the cabin pressure at take off, and the coolness of the plastic window on my temple, had made a little “brrrffttt” that woke me up. I wasn’t sure if it had really happened or not, and then it hit me… then, it hit her. Probably the most embarrassing plane moment I’d ever had. My Grandmother taking me clothes shopping for 7th grade on a Saturday in my hang mall was less embarrassing than that.
So, I normally just stay up laying in my bunk till about 5 or 6am, dreaming about all the creative things I could be doing, while I stare at how many likes the picture of me and my cool face-maker is getting. Then pass out and sleep all day, till like 20 minutes before soundcheck. I swear I might as well be on heroin.
The bunks are big, but they are a hard sleep, and the way I sleep in them really fucks my back up. Lifers will tell you that they would rather sleep in a bunk bus than a real bed… they're idiots who either don't have a real bed, or hate their wives.
I slow pace it to the dressing room like Fred Sanford, with the back of my hand against my lower back, and my face wincing at the ceiling. I grumble over to whatever Terminator 2 Electric Boogaloo european coffee machine they have provided, and stand there for 20 minutes trying to figure out how to use it, until some weird over smiley dude comes over to help me. I thank him, and he nods 30 or 40 times walking away backwards. I get enough coffee in my system to feel the right amount of clammy, and anti-social, and make my way to the bathroom that the opening band has completely destroyed with all their european rocking and rolling weirdness. I lay towels all over the floor, and spray all the dyed black hair resinating all over everything, into a rusty blackened drain, that seems to lead to the bowels of where old metal dudes go to die of no sleep. I also lay a towel inside the shower, because sometimes, it just feels that gross. its really not, but it just feels that way…
I wash the night befores shower off, brush the thick, staining, german, coffee off of my teeth, and douse myself in Agatha’s oils, leaving the bathroom cleaner than anyone had ever left it, and smelling like a head shop in Portland. I make one more cup of coffee (with no help this time), eat five rolls soaked in glorious freshly churned butter, because the bread is always absolutely fucking amazing just about anywhere out here, and make my way to the stage to muddle through a song or two.
I don’t really need soundcheck, it’s more for Tommy and Art to dial in their sounds and make sure their shit actually works.
They have lots of pedals, and pads, and bleeps, and bips I don’t even have anything in my wedges, I’m so fucking deaf, It doesn't really matter anyway. I lay my phone on the top of a cabinet, because I’m still waiting for the love of my life to text me and tell me to come home. It’s never going to happen, but I wait anyway. Tommy and Art are incessantly noodling their instruments to the point where I want to scream, but I just sit there and wait for them to finish so nobody looks at me like I’m a fucking dickhead. They already look at em enough for it. I painfully smile as we start a song, it sounds tight, killer, loud, and we impress everyone on the floor. Now it’s finally time to go back to the dressing room to stare into luminous space television. man, that was a brutal 10 minutes of actual work…
As I feel myself getting dumber from super important Facebook opinions, I reach for that last cup of coffee… the one that always puts me over the edge. I know I shouldn’t have it, but, maybe this time, it will be different… nope. Not different. Everyone is against me now, or trying to kill me, or am I against them? No matter, I go back into my curtained off cave and stare at my phone, but she still hasn’t told me she wants me to come home. The pillows are always so weird on these busses, it’s never a bed pillow, more like an overly soft throw pillow, encased in a foot of extra fabric that you can never really put anywhere, the blanket is comfortable, but always and inch or two too short. The tempurpedic day bed mattress fits my body just enough to where I can almost roll over without crashing from a middle bunk drop to a hardwood death, so I lay in that one position until it’s time to quickly flip myself over with some quasi-Bruce Lee move, that’s most likely going to throw out my lower back again… I’m 45 years old, I pulled my left bicep a few days before we hit the road reaching for dryer sheets. No joke.
She finally text me, but it was just a few pictures of our son, our gorgeous son who I can’t stand to be away from for more than 12 hours… so these runs really hit me hard now, but hey, at least she’s texting me something.
I’m able to get a couple more hours sleep before the show, even though the bus door keeps opening and closing, and stupid heavy metal boots are clomping up and down the 7 stairs of the double decker, in thick Schwarzenegger whispers. I dream about stuff I can’t really comprehend. I’m on a plane, but it’s a boat, there’s a hot leprechaun in the seat next to me eating red vines, but he doesn’t speak english… Journey is playing over the talk box, and the TV on the back of my seat is playing an old Morton Downey Jr episode, but he’s screaming at the television in Dutch with smoke billowing out of his mouth. I soon wake up in a coffee sweat to realize that it’s just the singer of the opening band trying not to wake me up, but whispering right next to my fucking bunk. I huff through the curtain very passive aggressively, patting him on the shoulder as I gimp by, trying to straighten my body out from being in the truck stop coffin too long, and realize that he actually did me a favor because it’s almost show time.
Yes, I blew another chance to see another amazing city. Art does that stuff all the time, goes out and looks at buildings and shit. Sometimes I’ll go with him, but for the most part, I’m just going to sit backstage in the same spot for hours and hours, knowing I’m totally annoying on the internet, but trying oh so hard not to be, and yell at this particular part of the country for not having Netflix yet, then hate myself for not knowing how to work the gnc or whatever the fuck I downloaded to get that stuff to work in every country I’m in…
20 minutes to show, I pop my old man pre-work out shit, and stretch like that’s actually going to help anything. The way I act on stage is cool for a 24 year old shirtless dude with nipple piercings and shitty tribal tattoos, but not for this 45 year old man with chewed up pencil erasers for nipples and a bunch of cover ups, but I can’t help it. I know no other way…
The show goes over very well as it always does, and one more time I didn’t stroke out from banging my head like an idiot. I try to contain myself, but I just don’t have that off switch when I’m up there. If I’m into it, I go all in, If I’m not, I still go all in.
I stumble off stage, dripping in bottled water, sweat, and ego. I sit on a wooden chair that doesn't really feel all the way put together, and dramatically put my head in my hands, running my fingers through this beaver dam I just turned my hair into.
I look up, and there it is again… fucking pizza. Boxes upon boxes of weird, european pizza, which I reluctantly shove in my face because, well, because its just there…. it’s always pizza or kabob, bags of leaky hot cabbage and unidentifiable meat, soaking through a flour tortilla, ruining your stage pants. Neither of these things make for a very pleasant bus ride. I sit around all day, do like 20 push ups to make myself feel a little better about myself, then pound carbs and sugar like I was going to the fucking electric chair after midnight.
There’s a reason I don’t take my shirt off anymore, you can ask anyone, I fucking love being shirtless… but the ripples have slowly turned into waves over the years, and I’m just sitting there wading through the chocolate and potatoes, hoping it all goes away without me having to do any actual work. Like this is just some kind of fat fluke, and has nothing to do with age or laziness.
99% of the people that come to our shows, want to see Tommy, this is no big mystery, but he likes when we are at the merch booth with him. So I reluctantly go, to take pictures and sign shit, while drunk, sweaty, old men, tell me in the most broken of all english, that the first time they saw Prong was in 1991… they ALL say it. it’s actually quite phenomenal.
I usually last there about 15 minutes, smiling, thanking, and sweating. I sneak outside to the front, to smoke my celebratory cigarette, congratulating myself for not smoking all day. I sign a few more things out there, take a few more pictures, and head back in to shower. She still hasn’t asked me to come home, but that’s ok. I get through another day, with gratitude, patience, and a cynical manipulation of public opinion.
Sweaty pants hang in the balance of love and hate, drying themselves, while soaking the concrete floor. Everyone has to soak a concrete floor once in a while in order to dry themselves out, its the nature of the beast. Maybe I’ll go to the back lounge and pound a Snickers bar while I watch Star Wars again, maybe I’ll go smoke one more cigarette with Marcel our driver, maybe I’ll lay in my bunk and stare at my phone until she tells me to come home, ending up luminously blind and crying. There’s a rack of paper cups on the back of the seat that have been driving me crazy for a few days now, maybe I’ll move them to a place where people can actually enjoy them, so they stop pissing me off…
Do I feel like a lucky mother fucker to be sitting in this truck stop somewhere off the autobahn at 8:46am with a broken back and a jones for machine spewed caffeine? In the immortal words of Cliff Burton, “Abso-muthafuckin-lutely.”
I’ve had much worse jobs, in and out of this profession… it’s all a “Slave to the Grind” in one way or another ;)