The news today is that I am a “free agent” and no longer touring with the Kelly Richey Band. Nothing scandalous, just wanting to spend more time at home. I wish Kelly all the best in her endeavors and I’m sure she wishes the same for me. Almost 8 years I was on the road with her and we had played and seen some very cool places and venues and have met some great people. You will all be missed and hopefully we can meet up again. Until then we have the blog.
Spending 8 years out on the road has taught me TONS! For one, it’s taught me that I can actually drive an 8 to 12 hour shift behind the wheel. There were so many times driving just locally that it took everything I had to do a show an hour or two away from home. Actually the same thing happened touring. I would start out ok and then about an hour or two into the drive I needed help. It was usually in the form of Starbucks and/or Red Bull. I’m not sure what the long term effects of Red Bull or 5 Hour Energy shots are but if they want to study my health from here on out, feel free. In recent months there have been reports of teenage deaths from drinking too many energy drinks and overdosing on the caffeine. Not sure if I have “overdosed” but I can tell you that what started out as needing a day to recover from a week’s worth or touring had stretched to needing two days if not the entire week. So if the tour was 2 or 3 weeks straight with no down time to recover… well, let’s just say I know exactly why a person turns to any kind of controlled substance on the road to keep going. It is a rough way to live and even tougher for a Grandpa.
“Well, how do the Rolling Stones or BB King keep going?” That can be a very complicated answer or it can be summed up with one word: Money. A “million dollar tour” is not exactly cash in your hands. That’s generally what your tour is costing. Rest assured, The Stones do not exist on McDonalds or truck stop beef jerky.
Can I keep touring and playing if I had my own roadie, personal chef, trainer, physical therapist, masseuse and driver? YES.
Unfortunately I don’t have that and my body feels it. I need to heal. I need to mend physically and emotionally. And I will do that being closer to home and loved ones.
This is definitely not a retirement, just a break from the cycle. A break from the writing about being on the road and perhaps writing more about what it’s going to take to keep busy with playing and creating. As of this writing I had just finished portraying a violinist in a Charter Hospital commercial so being close to home will allow me to get back into doing what little acting jobs are thrown my way.
One of the biggest things to get used to is playing all night long. The year Kelly took off from touring allowed me to get involved with some local cover band projects which meant the proverbial 3 sets or 3 hours straight of music per night. With KRB I was getting used to the 90 minutes of playing per night but doing at least 3 hours of driving to get there. Your body still takes a toll but just in different places. Driving I would feel it in my shoulders, hands, and in my butt from sitting too long. That’s what I would feel in “perfect” conditions. Throw in a good stiff side wind with gusts and some rain or snow and now your whole body is involved with keeping the vehicle on the road. Sometimes I would get to rest and recoup before the show, sometimes not. And sometimes we would pack up right after the show, move on and start the cycle all over again. Did I mention that touring is a young persons’ game? I should clarify that: Young body with mature mind. If you’re out there driving 40,000 miles a year you need to know your limitations and you need to “know” how to drive. As I‘ve mentioned in previous writings, when you’re driving the band bus you’re responsible for your life and everyone else in the bus AND all families and loved ones tied to each person in the bus. With big power come big responsibilities. The more I would be out on the road, the more I would hear horrible and tragic stories of people I met, other touring bands, running into problems or worse out there.
I’ve been told that I shouldn’t let such things deter me from performing and touring. Perhaps. I’m sure if and when I miss it enough I’ll go back out under the right circumstances.
Playing a local 3 hour show meant I would feel it in my lower back, maybe my left shoulder where I wear my bass, and in my wrists. But I would also get to sleep in my own bed when I was done.
It’s a tough life. It takes a very unique person to keep doing it. 8 years with the KRB was a good run. So many memories and most of them good. That’s a good time to walk away.
I’m a free agent. I’ll be spending more time at the music store and available to do more projects now. Whether it be music, or acting, or writing or even just teaching my grandson how to do all of that. We just got a play T-Ball set. Who else is going to teach him how to bat from both sides?
Until next time,
Bass be with you