Musicians' Resource Directory
It was a hellish drive, you did some heavy drinking, and you played a kick-ass show. The next thing to do is find a place to crash. You're in a town where you don't know anyone and all your money is going to gas, but you also just showed a bunch of people a good time. Maybe one of them is feeling charitable.
"Our default is to ask the person who set up the show if they know of any place we can stay," says Scott Yoder of the Pharmacy. "Sometimes we ask from onstage, make an announcement to the whole crowd." That strategy sometimes works out well, but it has the potential to get all horror film on you.
"The worst place we ever stayed was a bomb shelter in Pensacola where some of the kids from This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb were staying," says Yoder. "A hurricane had come through a few weeks ago and washed up all these rats. There were rats and rat shit and rat piss everywhere." But that's not the scariest part. "There was a dog named Grendel who had mouth cancer and his jaw was falling off. I fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up I was making out with Grendel against my will."
If you just threw up in your mouth a little bit, don't worry, because it's not always so bad. "We stayed with some kids in a neighborhood in Buffalo that had been voted 'the Safest Neighborhood in America' several times. We played Dance Dance Revolution in their basement all night and their parents made us pancakes the next morning."
When you find a prime spot like that, make sure you make nice. "We always try to bring some food, either by buying it somewhere or dumpstering. We also make sure it's cleaner when we leave than when we got there." A good and respectful attitude adds up to a lot, especially when parental units are involved.
The road can often feel foreign and weird—you're cruising through anonymous towns seeing nothing familiar. Sometimes sleeping in the van is a preferable option. "Staying in the van reminds us of home, Yoder says. "It's a cozy constant. We've never slept in it against our will."
Nature provides yet another unpredictable option. "One time we were in Idaho and we stopped to camp out," he continues. "We built a fire because it was pretty cold, and we had The Lion King soundtrack playing out of the van and it was magical. But then it started raining."
You could always spring for a motel if you're feeling worn out. "When we stay in a motel, it's always a lot of jumping on the bed and a ridiculous amount of cable television," says Yoder. "We don't do it that often; only when another band has brought it up as an option." But a rented room doesn't always equal luxury.
"We stayed in a motel in the middle of a trailer park outside of Portland," Yoder says. "There was a store there that sold only expired Ritz crackers, Cheez Whiz, and King Cobra malt liquor. We found a bong and panties in the bathroom, and there was a stain on the bed that could've either been blood or poop." Either way, that's rock 'n' roll.