On the Road Again”
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be on the road with the Schwag? The following blog will give you a sneak peak into life on the bus with Jimmy and company.
6 a.m. Days begin early for Jimmy, who is usually up and at ‘em by 6 or 7 a.m. to answer and send business emails. About once a week, Jimmy washes his 20-year-old dreads — an hour-long undertaking of utmost importance when some of your following refers to you as the “Jesus of hippies” … you can’t lead the hippies to salvation with dirty hair!
7-8 a.m. Next, he’ll often stop by the Schwag’s office, referred to as Dead Space, to sign and fax contracts for upcoming shows as well as attend to other office work, which ranges from designing ads for newspapers and sending out press releases to booking shows and updating the Schwag’s Facebook page. (To stay up-to-date on shows, make sure to “like” the band’s page if you haven’t yet.)
9 a.m. Now it’s time to make sure the rest of the band and crew are awake and ready to leave town at 10 a.m. (This time fluctuates depending on where the band is headed.)
10 a.m. Once on the road, members of the group may catch up on sleep, as the tour bus comfortably sleeps up to nine people. If everyone else is awake, you can rest assured drummer “Dirty” Dave Clark is snoozing away in his bunk – a place he happily sleeps more soundly while on the road than at home. As I write this blog, I still feel a bit of envy for Dave’s ability to sleep through just about anything.
12-1 p.m. With a full kitchen, the group often eats lunch going down the road on the bus — lasagna, pizza rolls and chicken strips are a few favorites.
2 p.m. If phones aren’t doing the trick to beat boredom waiting to arrive at the next location, the group might bust out a board game to kill some time. FYI: The Rolling Stones version of Trivial Pursuit is significantly more difficult than you might imagine: even guitarist and vocalist Sean Canan, who has performed amazing tributes to the Stones during his Wednesday residency at the Broadway Oyster Bar, eventually defaulted to jokingly answer “Ruby Tuesday” to nearly every question. Many of the songs mentioned in the game were so obscure the band hadn’t even heard of them.
6 p.m. Depending on where and what type of the show the band is playing, load-in is typically about 6 p.m., but it varies at different venues. After getting set up, they’ll get some grub, often from the venue at which they’re performing.
8 p.m. Before the show, the band gets together to outline a set list for the night, which could easily change once they’re on stage. They like to play the list by ear depending on the vibe of the crowd and location, and have even been known to take requests (but don’t bank on it). Oftentimes, however, they’ll get on stage with simply a list of songs they could play — nothing definitive — and go from there, which has repeatedly proven to offer an amazingly authentic Grateful Dead Experience.
9 p.m. If the Schwag is playing a typical bar gig, they’ll go on about 9 p.m. or a little after and take one break between two full sets. The band loves and appreciates when the crowd really gets into the music, and they feed off the energy of anyone who lets “the good times roll.”
After midnight: Concerts at typical bars will end between midnight and 1 a.m. Then it’s time to tear down the equipment, which can take several hours depending on how large-scale the production was. After the gear has been put away, the band and crew are free to mingle with the locals, sometimes attending after-parties and other times getting to bed immediately to rest up for the next day to do it all again.