04|27|09   How touring affects who you are

On the beach in San Francisco

This is a journal entry I wrote a few days ago, whilst staying in Olympia, Washington.

It’s Sunday evening now. Evan and I have spent all day in 70 degree sunshine exploring the Olympic peninsula, including the Hoh Rainforest and various isolated beaches. I’m feeling tired now, and a bit sad, even, that our brief holiday in Olympia is drawing to a close. The first ten days of the tour were immensely exhausting: we played shows pretty much every day, and spent many hours on the road. Looking ahead, now, our days and nights will once again be filled to the brim with driving, setting up, playing, packing down, finding random places to sleep, getting up early and unrested to spend as much as 12 hours per day on the road.

Touring, thus far, has been an incredibly transformative experience. Each consecutive day has forced me in some way or another to lay down and reevaluate my prejudices regarding people and their hometowns. So many evenings that seemed hopeless write-offs have blossomed into the most heartwarming and fun experiences, and much that we looked forward to has ended in mild disappointment.

But touring does more than readjust one’s habit of forming rash judgment: it brings freedom and self-assuredness, as well. It has been a long time since I have felt this confident about who I am and the music I perform. The truth is, of course, not every show has been a great success. We have played to ecstatic audiences, as well as met with indifference and verbal abuse. Most people have been great, but not everyone, perhaps.

Every day we drive for hours as the land around us morphs glacier-like: subtle is the change, but relentless, too. The days produce few constants, but even after only a few days of turbulence and hyper-awareness, one begins to recognize one’s own self as something stable and solid. For when everything around you changes all the time, only two plausible options present themselves: flap around in the wind, or become yourself and let the rest of the world sort out how they chose to relate to you. You present yourself as a constant, and let the world swirl and spin and reconcile itself with what you are. There lies considerable irony in the fact that restlessness and chaos has a solidifying influence on one’s sense of self.

Any kind of change, however, comes at the expense of energy, and so remaining stationary in Olympia for five nights, has been a welcomed change of pace. Tomorrow, Evan and I are heading to Portland to play a show, after which we have to drive 12 hours down the coast to San Francisco to play another show. Then we play a radio show in Santa Barbara, then play Los Angeles, where Evan and I also meet up with my brother, Anthony, and then proceed to Las Vegas, then Utah, then Denver, the Dallas, and so many more places yet. Hours and hours of driving, never properly unpacking, never finding the time for the things one takes for granted, but filled to the brim with with peace and self-assuredness.

Yay! Check out the new Enright House Shop I just finished making! Even if you’re not the type of person who buys music anymore, do take a look at how pretty and shiny it is! :)

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  • http://krismorris.com kris

    great insights – thanks for bringing us along for the ride.

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