For the next two months I’m on tour with the classic British rock band Supertramp. The current leg is in Europe, playing stadiums and arenas in 11 countries. It’s a big production with six semi trucks hauling around the stage, PA, lighting gear, and our instruments.Our crew is 50 guys, which is about 48 more crewmembers than my band takes on the road! They travel by bus and work very hard setting up a virtual city five days a week.
We travel by private jet, which is pretty darn rock ‘n roll glamorous. We’re “hubbing” out of the great cities of Europe and staying at fabulous hotels. There’s an on-board flight attendant that can make you anything you want and there’s no airport security, no taking out your laptops or taking off your shoes or belt.Flights average around 38 minutes and we have big swivel chairs and couches, and tables for hot meals or card games.
I have nine guitars on the road and a great sounding five-amp system for the shows, but there is one small problem. The jet, a Falcon 900, only holds the band, road manager, tour accountant, senior management and our entire cache of luggage. When changing cities it’s only possible to bring a suitcase and a single carry-on. This means on certain “hotel changing days” I can’t carry a guitar with me to practice in the hotel room.
This drives me crazy! I’ve got songs to write and technique to work on, not to mention the insatiable addiction I have for pushing strings around every day. You begin to realize how strong that desire is when you’re faced with two days off with no instrument. I found myself wandering the streets of Milan looking for a music store where I could “try out” a nice Strat for about an hour!
Question: “How do you get a musician to complain?” Answer: “Give him a GIG!”
Nice problem to have! —Carl Verheyen