Two of my favorite things in this world are good music and good beer. Somehow they've always gone hand-in-hand with me, so I thought I'd spend a little bit of time explaining what I like in both. The making of each to me is an art form and both are necessary to a good outlook on life and general happiness. They both seem better while you're sharing them with others, and each enhances the other.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Los Lobos - Fighting the boredom of touring

I once had a job as an electrical field engineer. I'd travel from city to city installing newspaper printing presses. The hours were long and you'd spend months away from home. I'd have to work with people that I hardly knew, or had just met on the job. I'd spend many hours at work with these strangers with not a lot to talk about. Many days after work a co-worker nicknamed Skeeter or Pork Chop would ask if you wanted to go someplace to have a beer, and sometimes I'd say yes and wind up at Bud's Country Lounge or some other smelly dive drinking a Pabst and wishing I wasn't there. Most times I'd say no thanks and find myself talking to the hotel bartender, who nearly always was my best friend in town. I'd usually have more in common with him than Skeeter. I know why musicians drink too much while on tour. It's boring as hell out there. Most days seem just like the other. You can only watch so much television. If I made more money I'd have tossed the tv out the window too. I'm glad that job didn't last too long.

Eric Clapton used to get so drunk that he would have to lay on his back while performing onstage.  I  remember stories about more than a couple of musician who during a set would go offstage or behind an amplifier and get sick. Not what you'd call inspiring performances. Too much beer and other libations can spoil a show for everyone present.

Sometimes a band will have a drink or two in the dressing room just to steady any nerves they may have before taking the stage and it really can work wonders. Sometimes a band will enjoy themselves a bit too much and the alcohol winds up affecting their performance, but not to the extent that they have to perform from a supine position. Here's an example of such a show. Los Lobos at the Jam on the River music festival in Philadelphia on May 24th of 1998. This is an enjoyable show and the drinks started to become apparent midway or so into the show. Enjoy.

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