Monday, August 07, 2006

Magnolia Electric Company: Life on the road

If you're anything like me, you're interested in the dirty details of what life is really like for a touring independent band. Somehow -- and it's there on the blog if you're really curious -- MarathonPacks corralled Jason Groth of Magnolia Electric Company (playing at the Black Cat this fall) into doing a tour diary on his blog.

It takes place during the group's recent West Coast tour and, while only scratching the surface of the shows, is a great take on life on the road: sleeping in vans, days upon days spent driving, meals at IHOP, what's playing on the band's car stereo, run-ins with Macbook-toting hippie grovelers in the Northwest, etc. Pretty much all you ever wanted to know about touring, as far as you could get from riotous backstage parties you always hear about. Regardless of whether it's glamorous or not (it's not), Groth is a pretty good writer, making it hard as hell not to have admiration for these guys.

For me, there's a lesson here: if the band you just paid 10-20 bucks to see is grumpy, tired, plays a slightly abbreviated set, doesn't appear amused by your shouted requests, etc...chances are it's because three of their last six meals were purchased in gas stations and they're trying to play you a great, energetic show on 3 hours of sleep on the bench seat of a cargo van.

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