Okay, so our favorite fellas are playing the penultimate show (Thank you Mr. Miller for the vocabulary lesson) for this leg of their tour in support of TGT, Vol 1 tonight in Brooklyn, New York. Not only did Philip share his helpful OCD packing tips on Rhett’s video diary, he was sport enough to answer our little touring questionnaire. Let’s see what the greatest drummer to ever come out of the great State of Texas has to share, shall we.
1. The energy and intensity of TGTV1 has been compared to Too Far To Care. Thirteen years down the road, how does touring life now stack up to the touring life from the TFTC era–Still a rowdy, whiskey-soaked frat bus or more of a quiet, herbal-tea-drinking Christian Science Reading Room?
Touring life is much better now than then, for many reasons. No more or less rowdy than TFTC era, although we did spend a night in Iowa back then on I-80 at a truck stop in a blizzard surrounded by idling 18-wheelers. We nearly froze to death if not for running the heater periodically and discovering an unopened bottle of Dewars Murry lifted from Delila’s a week earlier. Nowadays we only have to worry that the bus has a clear signal from the satellite.
2. I overpack for weekends away let alone a two-month trek. How in the world do you pack enough clothes for that long an absence? Seriously, who owns that many pairs of gutchies*? How do you deal with the laundry issue?
The “laundry issue” can be a bit of a whip while touring. Just finding the time is the biggest obstacle. So to combat the difficulty, I pack enough socks and undies for a week, a plethora of t-shirts, 2-4 pair of jeans, 5-7 button down gig shirts and, depending on the weather, coat and/or hat.
3. Speaking of gutchies: Boxers, Briefs or Commando?
Boxers. Anything else would be immature or uncivilized.
4. What are three things you absolutely must have with you on tour?
Cell phone, iPod, and pictures of my family.
5. You can’t have four guys living on a bus together for weeks without some kind of hijinx. Are you the prankster or the punk’d? What are some of the best pranks ever pulled on you, by you, in general?
We’re pretty lame when it comes to shenanigans. However, while on tour with Chris Isaak, his drummer Kenny put cheese slices in my stick bag. Fortunately, I found them later that day, before they had a chance to get funky.
6. In Juliana Hatfield’s autobiography, she talks at length about the horrors of backstage dressing rooms: the ubiquitous mystery-stained furniture, horrifying toilets, membrane-melting odors. At this point in your career, you’ve played in just about every club in America. Surely you’ve experienced some hellish environs. Can you share with us the best of the absolute worst in dressing rooms or clubs?
Most every dressing room sucks, worse than you can begin to imagine, so I prefer to forget about them as soon as we’re done with them. Some clubs go out of their way to spruce them up (newer sofa, clean refrigerator, a bathroom that actually gets cleaned) but House of Blues is the king of caring for bands in that regard. They even have dressing room attendants for crissakes!!!
7. Riders. What are some of your must-haves? Have you ever thrown in a completely ridiculous demand, ala Van Halen’s green M&M’s only clause just to see if the owner has read it? If not, please do and entertain us with how that goes.
No completely ridiculous demands (in my opinion) but we do rely heavily on it to provide a sense of “home” (cereal, milk, bread, peanut butter, etc). Maybe we’ll post the rider someday, but it’s really not very exciting, unless our tour manager Mike Dalke sneaks in a hilarious request, like monkey butlers.
8. Regarding chicken and women, leg or breast man?
YES to all the above.
9. Which cities are givens on your touring schedule and why? Any place you haven’t ventured that’s on your wish list?
Given cities are: Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Seattle, NYC, Philly, St Louis, LA and Minneapolis.
10. What are some of the craziest things to have happened on tour, either on or off stage?
Showing up for a gig in Memphis and finding an abandoned club, completely trashed the night before from a show by The Grifters. We were late due to snow and ice and the room was just trashed, bottles and cans scattered EVERYWHERE and two cash register drawers full of greenbacks still sitting out on the bar! The owner finally showed and told us “we’re closed tonight – huge snow storm bearing down” (this is also an effective method for club owners to back out of a contract that they fear will be a money loser). We argued until he gave us a case of Budweiser, then we found a nearby hotel back in Arkansas, spent a chilly night 4-up in a tiny cheap room, and drove to St Louis the next morning..
11. Okay, so who’s the one most likely to funk up the bus?
The eldest member of the band – just like grandpa!
12. All of you are married with young children. It’s got to be very difficult to leave them for an extended period of time. Is there anything special you always do with the kids before you set sail?
Days/hours of hugs and kisses.
13. Come on. You’re a Texan. Fess up. How many cowboy hats and boots do you own?
Zero. Only ever owned one pair of boots as a kid, and the only cowboy hat I’ve ever owned was part of a Halloween costume. And I’m a 2nd generation Texan.
14. Let’s say you accidentally knock over your on-stage drink when you’re kicking it up during a particularly energetic part of the set. A sad, sad sight indeed. What beverage might one purchase to replenish your toppled glass?
Ice cold bottled beer.
15. Is there anything you miss about the lean years traveling in a broke-down van?
Very, very little, other than abundant physical energy and the naive belief that anything is possible.
16. Your fans will agree nothing beats cranking Old 97’s songs on long road trips. What are your favorite touring tunes to make the miles motor along?
I have a wildly diverse collection of music so saying there are some “favorites” is difficult for me, although lately, I’ve been listening to Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire and The Dodos a lot.
17. And finally, Dude, are you stoked? The McRib is back!
Stoked only that it will be gone again soon. And they should just call it what it really is: “McBologna”…
Got it. Ice cold bottled beer, hold the McRib…far away, preferably in another dimension. Kudos to Philip for having the cajones to pony up a concrete answer to question #11. And boy, who wouldn’t want to see a monkey butler or two wreaking havoc backstage. Am I right? Thanks again, Philip!
And then there was one… I’m looking at you Mr. Bethea. 🙂