Its just recently that I feel comfortable taking a couple days off a week with the band while on the road. Anything can happen, something often does, and that one extra show can sometimes make all the difference. With a ton of overhead I prefer to know we have some buffer even with the best of luck and planning. At times the pressure has been incredible to book and map out a tour with good shows that will cover pay and expenses, not completely wear everyone out, and not end up in the hole.
In the past, we left for tour with little more than enough to pay our monthly bills in the bank, a couple credit cards, and a questionable vehicle. Our cost of living back home for Dylan and I is minimal, which helps (we have worked hard on that). Being an independent artist on the road, or even a signed artist, is not for the risk averse. But you definitely strive to minimize trouble, potential for set-backs and the idea is to get ahead. Major vehicle repairs, unexpected detours and venue closures, illness, trouble at home. Name it and it has happened and if you don't have a plan and and a good head on your shoulders (or at least have the sense to borrow someone else's good sense) it could set you back for quite a while. We've seen it altogether discourage the most talented people.
Taking two days off does mean less earning, more spending. But the bigger question is "what are you going to do with your time"? Sitting in a cramped hotel room between towns in a remote place with nothing to do but eat at a Waffle House is not a good idea. Stopping for more than day with no destination, no goal in those conditions can cause irritability to say the least. I try my best to organize stops where there are friends, family, outdoor activities and relaxation for everyone - options - and then dedicate a day for driving. Especially as Dylan, our guitarist, does all the driving.
We hit the jackpot with a day off in Austin and a day off to drive into Louisiana. This may seem like small beans but to me its a huge deal. If you are going to have time off, Monday and Tuesday are the best days. We were able to take our time driving into Baton Rouge (about 8 hours w stops) down the beautiful and bumpy I-10 where a friend scored us a great hotel downtown (Hotel Indigo) on October 10th. We walked to a friend's pizzeria (Schlitz and Giggle's if you are ever in BR), met some friendly folks at the hotel bar and got in bed at a decent hour. I woke up nice and early to get some work down on my laptop and walk around the riverfront sightseeing in the early hours. It gave me a profound sense of satisfaction and happiness.
>>>>>>Baton Rouge, Old State Capitol
We checked out on the 11th from Baton Rouge and took the short drive north to Alexandria for our show there, back to work. It was my second visit, enough to know some amazing people. Our first time there last spring in I had been into ER a couple days prior with influenza-something and they treated me so kindly. And this time was no different.
I have come to love Louisiana and so many people there. I especially appreciated their hospitality this time around because the next 4 days/shows would have us back track a few hours to the TX/LA border and then make our way to Miami Beach. Sounds crazy? Not in our world.
>>>>>>>Alexandria, LA show