Stupid rock tricks and other sleep deprivation experiments

I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. It’s been a long, bleary-eyed four days. I think I’ve logged over 48 hours in front of the computer from Friday through to today… busy toiling away on a site for work with a rather immovable deadline. Lovely.

pillow.jpg Sleep deprivation is a fascinating state of mind. As Dale Cooper once said, “Sleep deprivation is a one-way ticket to temporary psychosis.” I haven’t lost my mind yet, but at the very least it’s, well… misplaced. It’s also a bit scrubbed.

The longest I ever stayed awake was the first of many tours I went on with this crappy band I was in. We did this marathon driving / playing excursion, where we somehow managed to book Edmonton to Vancouver to Calgary to Victoria, and then into the U.S, all on consecutive nights.

Now, if you listened carefully during Canadian georgraphy class (or, heck - if you’re Canadian), you’ll know that all of those cities are at least 10-12 hours drive from each other. That meant the methodically insane schedule consisted of:

  1. Drive to city very fast. No stops allowed, except for gas. If you had to pee or leave a porcelain deposit and didn’t go at the last gas stop, tough luck.
  2. Stare at a city map intently during the drive to find the venue. Hopefully. instead of wasting valuable time driving around the city, one can sleep, and partake of arcane hygiene rituals.
  3. Drink massive, overwhelming amounts of coffee that would kill a normal human being. Musicians aren’t normal humans, though; all of the internal organs of a musician are super-sized and ready for anything. That is, all organs except for the brain. Especially those of drummers.. but we won’t start in on that.
  4. Try to evade ones cranky, underslept and over-caffeinated companions. Pray for a reprieve from the drummer’s unending flatulence. Smoke a lot of cigarettes to mask the smell.
  5. Play a lot of crazy eight countdown. Over and over.
  6. Arrive in the city and promptly spend an hour and a half completely and utterly lost.
  7. Finally find the bar. Hump music equipment up three flights of narrow, treacherous stairs. If you’re lucky, you then find out the show is still on. Watch the strippers stream in to prepare for the night’s, ahem, pre-show.
  8. Eat dinner. What was normally dinner? Don’t even think of going there.
  9. Play a lot of pool, drink more coffee, smoke more cigarettes, wait and wait and wait to play.
  10. Finally. Rock like you’ve never rocked before.
  11. Load up gear. If you’re lucky you then get paid for the show. If you’re even luckier the establishment actually pays you in real money and not cheap-ass portables like beer, or insincere flattery.
  12. Drive off to the next city, 12 hours away. It was usually 4am at this point.

On this particular tour I stayed conscious (saying “awake” here would be a rather unforgivable exaggeration) for a grand total of just under 120 hours. I arrived back home, collapsed into bed and slept for 26 hours straight. The problem is that I thought I had only slept for two hours. It took me a long time to get my internal clock back to a semblance of normalcy.

Rock and roll touring glamourous? Feh. Maybe if you’re Creed and you have handlers and a tour manager and ridiculous backstage riders to fill your stomach and airplane tickets to fly your pampered ass everywhere. Otherwise, it’s fun, but most of the time, to paraphrase Mark Twain, touring is “a good rood trip spoiled.”

Goodness, look what being underslept can bring out. That’s enough screeching - G’ night.

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