… or at least answers 17 inane questions.
Okay, so the fourth and final installment of our 20 minus 3 questions comes from our favorite guitar shredder, Ken. Let’s see what the man with the country’s #1 jazz patch has to share.
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?
It’s changed a few times through the years. In the beginning when we drove ourselves, it was chaotic. Lot’s of showing up late, sleeping over at fan’s houses, and once we had to sleep on the side of the road, snowed in in Iowa. Now it’s pretty quiet: Front Lounge is usually movie stuff (Lebowski, Idiocracy, Adult Swim) and the back is usually video games. Lately I’ve been watching movies in my bunk. A couple of years ago I watched the entire Battlestar Galactica series there. Also I’m a huge board game player so I bring some board games. We got stuck on one called Power Grid last summer and played it 6 or 7 times.
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?
Usually I try to get away with one wash day. So if we are gone for 14 days, take once set of clothes. 3 weeks you have to take enough for 10 days. That usually works.
3. Speaking of gutchies: Boxers, Briefs or Commando?
Either boxers or I have a few pair of those boxer briefs that I wear sometime.
4. What are three things you absolutely must have with you on tour?
Xbox, board game or two and skateboard.
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?
My best target, our old Merch guy Noah Polk now lives in Austin and owns East Side Pies. Before that, I used to prank him all the time. Cigarrette loads, hiding his food etc. Best one though was in San Francisco at the Phoenix Hotel. We had played a soccer tourney on a video game. Noah was never really good at it, but he not only won the tourney, he didn’t allow a goal. His keeper was amazing. (If anyone knows soccer video games, the keeper is the ONLY player that is computer controlled. So really, it wasn’t even Noah playing, it was the game system.) So we got ready to play another tourney and I switched out his keeper for a 3rd string midfielder. Noah went from giving up no goals to giving up about 5 per match on just stupid easy shots. He never did pick up on it. Just kept swearing and throwing the controller. Hilarious.
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?
They really aren’t that bad. Well, they are nasty, but not that bad. I hate the smell of bleach and beer though, which is what they all smell like when we first get there at 3pm.
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.
coke zero is the only think I really want. Not diet coke. Coke zero.
8. Regarding chicken and women, leg or breast man?
Hmmm…both are pretty good. I was formula fed as a babe though so I guess I will always be chasing the large booby to make up for being deprived at an early age.
9. Which cities are givens on your touring schedule and why? Any place you haven’t ventured that’s on your wish list?
We’ve played everywhere in the US but Alaska and Hawaii. So either of those would be cool. My favorite is NYC and then I think Madison or Columbia or Lawrence. I love college towns.
10. What are some of the craziest things to have happened on tour, either on or off stage?
We aren’t very crazy. Once we had two backstage areas (Chicago at Shuba’s) Anyway, I had a girl that I was kissing on in each backstage: a blonde upstairs, brunette downstairs. Not that crazy by Motley Crue standards, but fun for me.
11. Okay, so who’s the one most likely to funk up the bus?
Me. Once I even sharted in the land of the Amish. It was a disaster.
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?
Just tell them I love them and plenty of hugs and kisses
13. Come on. You’re a Texan. Fess up. How many cowboy hats and boots do you own?
None. I had some when I was a kid but never really like them. I’ve pretty much dressed the same way since 4th grade. jeans, t-shirt, tenny shoes.
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?
water or gatorade. I hardly ever drink. I’m just too susceptible to hangovers to have any fun drinking.
15. Is there anything you miss about the lean years traveling in a broke-down van?
Nothing. It was a beating.
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?
Hmm… It changes. Green Day. Coltrane. I still love Queen. Right now my son is crazy over Boston so I’ve been revisting their first CD for what, the millionth time?
17. And finally, Dude, are you stoked? The McRib is back!
We are Texans. We don’t get our ribs from McDonalds. I like their Southern Chicken Sandwich though. It’s just like Chik-Fil-A, but open on Sundays.
Great answers, Sk8er Boi! Somehow I can totally see you being the perpetrator of the hazing. (Note to self: don’t leave your computer game controller lying around unattended while Ken’s in the room.) Kudos to you for owning question #11. You’ve earned a gigantic Coke Zero for that one.
Thanks again for playing along, Ken. And a big thanks to all the guys for taking the time to share a little insight into life on the road. Well that’s it for now. The 97’s hit the road again next week (1/19) for their West Coast leg, then it’s off to the races in earnest February, March, April…
Don’t forget to keep checking the shows page for current and future touring dates. Remember: travel safely, drink responsibly and sing out (w)recklessly. Cheers!