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"A guitar player goes on the road and he misses his girlfriend for a while but he manages to get along. A horn player gets out on the road, plays two or three towns, and then he will get lonely, and next thing you know, he is packed up and left... it is better not to hire him in the first place."

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Life On The Road - Part 1
Posted on: November 20, 2013 @ 4:58 pm by Jö Schüftan
Hey guys! Jo here. After 10 weeks on the road as the MC/host/interviewer of the 2013 Living Loud tour (presented by Project Independent), I am back home in New York City and it feels awesome! During my journey through the United States of Metal I learned a lot of valuable lessons that definitely changed my life. So starting today and for the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you a lot of my personal views on what it is like to be part of a massive national tour.

Here is part 1 of my take on living on the road and all the hardships one must endure. Ready? Lets go!

First and foremost, I am glad I packed lightly because with the long flight home at the end of the tour from Los Angeles to New York, the last thing I needed was to carry loads of luggage. To say that we were all beat at the end of the tour is an understatement! Who is we?

On van 1, which is Project Independent's touring van (the one that also pulled the trailer with the bands equipment and all the production gear needed for the webcast) we had:

- Jeff and Momma: Project Independent's CEO and Tour/General Manager respectively.
- Dustin: video director and vocalist of Aghori (Aghori were the winners of the 2011 PI tour).
- Zim: videographer and guitarist of The Freelings (former member of The 10th Hour, the winners of the 2012 PI tour).
- Doc: originally the video director, but he left the tour about 3 weeks in because he was getting burned out.
- Myself

On van 2, which was Element A440's house on wheels:

- Halo: frontman and all around awesome dude.
- Graven: guitarist and PI's stage manager.
- Katt: bassist and an absolute badass chick.
- Animal: drummer and the king of shenanigans.
- Paul: the technical director and a key non-member of the band.

As you can tell, there were a lot of additional elements and people on the tour, which ultimately made this a very intense tour. This obviously added extra stress to all of us, and actually that stress almost cost us the entire tour when before we even hit the road a fight occurred between some of the members of the PI crew. Thankfully, Element A440 were fired up to hit the road and were not going to let an isolated incident dictate whither they were going to go on tour or not. My only comment about the fight: professionalism and respect are essential for any tour to run smoothly. The "fighters" should have either been sent back home or fined by the tour manager.

Once we hit the road, I quickly realized that every man is for themselves while on tour. Yes, there are other people that can help you out here and there, but your survival instincts as a human being are what will keep you going strong while on the road. I guess I was expecting more respect as the host of the tour from the crew, the band, and even the clubs we played at... but my mistake was to pitch in from day one by helping load and unload gear, help setting it up, etc. (which wasn't on my contract). The reason why this was a mistake is because then everyone started expecting me to pitch in and forgot that I wasn't a crew member, which is when the disrespect began. Eventually this caused some friction with the PI crew and the band, but anybody that knows me knows that I know were I stand and will quickly clear the air.

But don't get me wrong, I don't regret being a team player, even though towards the end of the tour I had to stop pitching in because my back was completely fucked (and still is). But hey, who said that Rock N' Roll is a walk in the park? You must give 120% when you live and breath for this awesome music!

Read part 2 by clicking HERE!
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