A lot of what is said about the allure and romance of being on “the road” is mostly hearsay, and a lot of it is over-romanticized, but then again, a lot of it is actually true! The reason I say this is of course because I speak from real experience, but also the fact is that many of us who spend a lot of time on the road start to wax poetic about it, and certainly have many feeling about the experience. When I spent a lot of time on the road, I was often amazed at how little it all meant to many of my fellow bandmates. Maybe they were just too busy living it to reflect on it, or perhaps they were just “blank” about it, and to them it was “just another gig.” Well, of course, there are many times something can feel like “just another gig”, but it is precisely then when we must really make the most of it all, and actually “reflect” on what it all means and where it is all going.
The kind of commitment it takes to really have a life “on the road” is one of great dedication and sacrifice. There are many long-term road performers who have a very difficult time maintaining any kind of real home-related family life, and it’s a killer when you have children and cannot watch them grow or “be there” for them the way you would like. It’s also extremely hard on relationships, and there needs to be a great deal of trust and commitment on the part of both partners in this regard, and there also must be the effort to spend as much time together as possible, even while on that road!
The road does definitely have a distinct kind of “allure” when it comes to us performers, and to me it was how I had begun to become so familiar with so many far-off places. It actually seemed that while I always welcomed discovering new towns, cities and open spaces, I also started to long for returning to those same places a few years, or sometimes even just a few months, later. It was intriguing to start to know some of the same people, revisit them, see how some of the restaurants and shops had maybe changed, or maybe stayed the same, and also to see how different my impressions would be upon coming back around a second or third time. The first time it seems, is always much more full of the “romance” of un-familiarity and discovery, whereas subsequent visits have a more real and tangible quality about them; often showing you just how wrong your impressions were when you first went there! Of course, there’s nothing like when you get to a truly friendly place, where they really know how to treat a weary traveler, and where they treat you like a “star”, regardless of your actual musical or artistic status in the world! These of course, are the places you will always want to return to, and where you will always feel as if it has a special place in your heart. So follow that musical dream, and that musical and asphalt road, after all, it’s just another perfect metaphor for life itself!