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Mihal Freinquel

Mihal Freinquel

Posted: February 19, 2010 04:47 PM

Almost Famous: On the Road with Nico Vega (Part 1)

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For the next ten days I'll be living a music lover's dream and going on tour with a rock band -- one of my favorite rock bands -- Nico Vega. You may remember them from a recent post I did HERE. If you don't know them yet, it would behoove you to check their MYSPACE right this second and get acquainted. I'll be driving with them, bunking with them, dancing, eating, hustling, and of course, partying with them. I will also be chronicling the whole thing and sharing it in installments.

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Part 1 of my "Almost Famous" series documents The Road.

It's not glamorous, it's not particularly comfortable -- but it's rock n roll, and somehow that alone eases the pain. It's a confined space where musicians become one with their pillows, everybody is alone yet completely surrounded, and the waves of energy flow up and down as quickly as capacities of our bladders. On the road I have found myself more aware of my bladder than ever -- because now my bladder isn't just my bladder, my bladder is everybody's bladder -- we're all in it together.

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In case you're ever lucky enough to tour with a band (or even if you're just reading this to live vicariously through me for a few minutes), I'm going to fill you in on some insider must-haves for The Road:

Snacks: On-the-road meals only happen in the morning and at night (if you're lucky). If you're an eater (which I am) and that schedule just won't suffice (which it doesn't), you have to prepare ahead and supplement with some hearty snacks. My personal favorites: almonds, Greens+ Protein Bars, and organic beef/turkey jerky. None of them go bad, all have good proteins and fats, and they're all yummy. Also if you can get your hands on a water bottle or some juice, bring some protein powder in a ziploc and make yourself little protein shakes. Though you do run the risk of cops thinking it's cocaine if you get pulled over and get searched. Eh...

Warm socks: Feet can get surprisingly cold in those big vans. On top of that, shoes are generally off for the long halls, so it's important that your feet feel warm and cozy at all times. Guitarist Rich Koehler prioritizes socks as well, though he is particularly keen on the freshness factor - buying a brand new pack before every tour. There's just something really good about a solid pair of socks. Nobody can argue with that.

iPod: I say iPod and not book because a) I can't read in a car without wanting to vom, and b) van conversation can start at any moment. With music you can take out an earbud and jump into the flow without a hitch, but with a book you have to stop, hold your place, then pick up where you left off later. It's annoying and confusing. Save the books for the hotel rooms (that is, if you get time in between the sleeping/partying).

Chapstick: Touring involves a fair amount of climate change. Also, I've decided that I'm going to totally dehydrate myself so I don't have to be the one to make everybody stop for pee-breaks. Both of these things contribute to very dry lips.

Those are just my tips and I've only been on the road for three days, so I certainly don't fancy myself an expert. What to the professionals have to say have to say?

Aja Volkman, Vocals: Almond butter and rice cakes, bead kit for her side hustle as a jewelry designer, down comforter for much needed snuggly time.

Rich Koehler, Guitar: El Yucateco Extra Extra Extra Extra Hot Sauce, Sharpies/paint markers to unleash the creative beast on t-shirts, the tunes of Hank Williams.

Dan Epand, Drums: Lawry's Seasoned Salt, Final Cut Pro (he kills it on the drums and edits Nico Vega live footage!), Bose headphones.

There you have it, music fans. There's more to come from my walk on the wild side with Nico Vega, stay tuned. Rock n Roll.

 

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