[Please welcome our new bi-weekly columnist Sean Galloway, offering a musician’s perspective on life and bathrooms]
The Satellite in Silverlake has a great bathroom for secret pre-show puking. It’s up behind the sound booth, down a long, narrow corridor, and only has one urinal and one toilet, which has a working, locking stall door. This is very important. If you throw up before and after every show you play, the bathrooms of venues take on an elevated importance. Is the sound system good? That’s great. They give the bands the lion’s share of the Door? That’s incredible. They give you a free drink? Even better. Quick question: where’s your bathroom?
Hotel Utah in San Francisco feeds touring bands. For FREE. From their actual menu. Anything you want. They leave a case of Budweiser on ice in the little gear-loading alley to the side of the stage, too. For four tired as hell dudes who have been subsisting on granola bars and floor-beds for a few weeks, this sort of Kindness feels like nothing short of being held like a baby. Having said that, it is of the utmost importance to always remember to leave a Safety Burrito from Taco Bell in the car for after the show, wherever you are. Do not fuck this up. That cold little brick will taste like mother’s milk at 4am.
Mountain Bar in Chinatown, Los Angeles is super appropriately named. The bar itself is on the ground floor, but the bands play upstairs. Way the fuck upstairs. I’m not sure where they found that many steps all in a row, but pushing an 8×10 bass cabinet up them is a Sisyphean job. Actually, Sisyphus would never play there. Tenzing Norgay wouldn’t assault that stairway. I hate that stairway.
Touring is the most fun I’ve ever had.
And while I should probably tell you that certain Real Factors of Actual Importance for Being a Band do exist—you should always show up for load-in on time; touring bands should play in the middle of the bill; bands should introduce themselves to the Sound Engineer right away and be nice to him (his job is making you sound good, dummy); and please! GET YOUR SHIT OFF STAGE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE AFTER YOU PLAY—it’s the quotidian things that happen while you’re not playing that stick with you, or that stick with me, at least. It’s hollering along to Elton John’s “Rocketman” at the top of your lungs with some of your best friends, while you careen down I-5 for six hours to find a place to puke, so you can play.