Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Vocational Musings

There have been moments when I think I missed my vocation by not being a tour manager. The irony, of course, is that now that I'm qualified and semi-connected enough to shepherd bands around the world, I don't think I'd really want the job for more than short stints. I did a little bit of tour managing a bunch of years ago and enjoyed it, but it did some crazy things to my psyche. I remember spending the entire week after I got back completely on edge (while awake and asleep) waiting for the cell phone to ring and present me with some disaster to fix.

Despite that, at that time in my life I would've happily left town for 200 days a year. Now, it doesn't hold the same appeal. Maybe it's all the traveling I've done over the last few years, but business travel isn't always a perk. After all, you go places to work and you don't necessarily see much. Touring especially is all about traveling so that you can hurry up and wait for the show to happen. You and your brain don't belong to yourself - you belong to the job - and it's not possible to even attempt to maintain balance in your life.

I've watched friends have a hard time after coming back from being on tour because they don't know how to be in one place anymore and they haven't been able to keep in touch as well as they'd like so they're faced with having to reconnect with people every time. That has to wear away a sense of home if the only purpose that home has is to let you collapse for a few weeks, catch up on bills, do laundry and revisit your favorite haunts.

The huge upside, of course, is that there's nothing like that feeling you get when the show starts and the crowd is totally into the music. Not to mention the comradeship that develops when you're spending every waking moment with a group of people. You become fast family because it feels like you're cramming more moments of living into a day. Everything feels louder and funnier and weirder and altogether more exhilarating. It's that sensory overload that makes for a serious case of the post-rock-tour-blues when it's all over.

Anyway, we all change as we get older, and that's one of the biggest changes I've noticed over the last few years in me. I still love to travel and I have all the wanderlust that I used to have, but traveling as a job doesn't seem to hold sway over me anymore.