Touring 3 - the dreaded COLD

Ah yes - there it was. The last two shows of my tour could not go by without me catching the dreaded and wretched cold that hangs like a specter over me every time I'm on the road. Especially on that last show my sinuses were so clogged and my post-nasal drip in such full swing that I almost turned away from the monitor after singing the first few notes of the show with a resounding "urghh!" The horror! The sonic ugliness being hurled back at me by my monitor speaker! Maybe if I drowned it out with a very large amount of very long reverb???

The good news is that I have assembled a pretty respectable assortment of tools over the years to deal with this kind of thing, one of the most useful ones being the lengthy but very effective "Anti-edema" exercise, given to me by the marvelous Estill voice teacher Robert Sussuma. This was not the first time I came to rely on such a set of exercises to thin out my vocal folds in order to not break anything upon hitting my high notes, and it sure won't be the last. But having a constantly expanding tool box handy takes some of the pressure off, even though it doesn't make the actual gig all that much easier. Interestingly enough, I learn a ton of things about singing in these situations, because you simply cannot be imprecise in your technique then. Your voice will give you the finger and stretch out its tongue, if you don't. So yeah, even more learned, more clarified, more overcome.

In the end, the audience actually loved the show, the house was packed, I ended the tour with a dramatically belted high note during the encore ("Georgia On My Mind"), got four (!!!!) bouquets of flowers that night and sold all my CDs. So I guess it can't have been that bad. And lucky for me the coughing didn't start until the next day :)

Touring 2

It's 11pm, I'm in my hotel room, tired after show number 7. The band is downstairs at the bar, drinking and smoking, and tomorrow they will tell me the stories of their hang on the bus. So far, the tour has been going quite well, shows for the most part well attended, people pleased with what they heard, equipment - again for the most part - holding up.
We were lucky today. There was a sound man, whose name I still don't know and also could not ask, since the sound man doesn't speak anything other than Czech and probably Russian, both languages I have not even begun to wrap my mind around. I can politely say "prosim" and "Djekuje", and I can hawk my CDs in a weird but mostly funny mix of English and a select few Czech words, like the price for the CDs. It's my attempt at humor mixed with local flavor, and, again, for the most part, it works. The sound man had his PA already set up when we rolled in, and we didn't have to empty out the bus completely, because they have a gated and guarded parking space!

Two more shows. It is amazing, how quickly this tour has been passing by. It rushes right through me like a high speed train and leaves me completely exhausted but also happy. I'm not saying that this is the happiest I have ever been, that touring is the greatest gift to musicians. At least for vocalists, it ain't. Can't party, can't drink, must go to bed, take care of my voice, blablabla. But I gotta tell you, I have some moments during the day, before the show and during the show, when I am so happy that I could burst. And that's really all I need. Those moments, they make it all worthwhile (plus running water in the hotel rooms, towels and soap :)). Because I get to do this. I get to drive through a foreign country with a group of exceedingly nice guys, and bring my music to total strangers. Ain't that something...

On Tour

Ah the blogging! Difficult while travelling. So I will make this brief, since my internet access is limited. I am in the beautiful town of Trebic right now, we played a great show to a fab audience in a pretty large hall. Nice dinner was had afterwards, and I even got flowers!
We are three shows in, recording the gigs and listening back on the bus, handing out penalties for clams and shoulder pats for winners. The gas station food has not improved since my last tour, and neither has my sensitivity to smoke, which, occasionally, can pose a problem in the Czech Republic.
Tomorrow we will be in Lazne Belorad and Saturday at Jazz Dock in Prague, one of my most favoritest cities in ze woooold.
Will post again on the weekend, when there is more time and uninterrupted sleep to be had.

A little poem about touring

Getting ready to go on the road in Europe again, I'm posting a little poem on the subject matter. :)

it’s an oddity
a bus full of guys
and me
on the way to a wee
little village in
guided by the voice
of prissy ms. Gps
we follow the trail
of white stripes going west
seeking this mystical place called
and hoping people will show up
so it won’t be just the guys and me
on the road through germany