Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Early Departure

February 6, 2014

Friday January 31st, 2014 – Findlay, OH

This is turning out to be an especially nasty winter, but we’ve been due for one for a few years now so I’m not complaining. If I’m going to be based where I am, it has to be expected. I’d love to be based somewhere else in the winter, and maybe that will happen in the future. But not now.

I have a booking tomorrow night in Kalida, OH with Tim Walkoe, but there’s a big snow storm on the way and Tim suggested we drive tonight to beat it. I had a booking tonight that got moved to a future date, so I happened to be off and agreed with Tim. It’s much less stress to get in early.

We agreed to split the cost of a rental car, and since Tim was working on a cruise ship he asked if I wouldn’t mind picking it up and then picking him up at his house in Chicago. He had been on a plane all day, and I totally know what that’s like. Getting to the next gig is always a challenge.

Tim has been out there slugging even longer than me. He started as a musician, and still plays a guitar at the end of his show – much to the delight of audiences. Guitar acts are often mocked by comedy ‘purists’, and I can see why. They often use the guitar as a crutch, and it’s a cheap laugh.

Those that do it well take it to a whole new level, and Tim is one. He is a brilliant comic talent in his own right, one of the funniest I’ve ever seen. He has a natural rhythm that lays me out, and most comedians that have ever worked with him will agree. He has huge respect from his peers.

He can slug it with the best of them, and then he picks up his guitar at the end and takes it even higher. I love to watch him work, and he still makes me laugh out loud even though I’ve seen his act literally hundreds of times. That’s the true sign of a seasoned pro, and Tim is definitely that.

I picked him up at his house about 7:30, and we started driving to Findlay, OH where the hotel we’d be staying at tomorrow was so we wouldn’t have to move. We were able to get a corporate rate from the event booker and it was a really nice place, so we decided to make the investment.

That’s part of the cost of doing business, and we’ve both been at it long enough to know it was a wise choice to beat the weather and worth every penny we spent. The stress it saved us from an all day white knuckle ride tomorrow was appreciated – especially by Tim who just flew all day.

I hadn’t seen him in a while, and started to tell him of my change in thinking of late. I’m trying to avoid as many of these trips as I can, and get myself more corporate type bookings that are far less demanding as far as frequency of travel. I don’t have the need to be on stage like I once did.

I could feel a separation between us as I talked about it, and it was very awkward. He’s still out there slugging, and I have nothing but respect for him for doing it. It’s a flat out brutal existence, and nobody works harder than Tim Walkoe. He started years before I did, and is still at it today.

I understand why he’s doing it, as I did it myself all these years. But I’m finding my life going a totally different direction, and I’m fine with it. Being on stage is fun, but truthfully at this point it just isn’t worth racing the elements to obtain. I have other interests developing, and the stage just isn’t the necessary element of daily life it once was. I can’t speak for Tim, but as for me I like it.

Tim Walkoe is without a doubt one of the funniest comedians working today. Period.

Tim Walkoe is without a doubt one of the funniest comedians working in North America today. Period.

Too Much Travel

January 9, 2013

Tuesday January 8th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m only home for a couple of days before having to head out again, and I’m realizing just how much effort is involved in living the road life. I did it for decades without giving it a first thought much less a second, but now I see just how much energy it takes to travel week in and week out.

I used to do it for the adventure, and there was plenty to be had. It was exciting to experience a constant variety of new places and faces, not to mention learning the craft that consumed most if not all of my entire being. I was so immersed in it all I failed to notice how difficult traveling is.

Now I’m doing it mostly for the money, and I see it from a completely different angle. It would be much more economical not to mention a whole lot less stressful to be located in one particular city or at least region rather than flitting around like a moth visiting scattered flames on a whim.

That’s how it’s been lately, and I’m less than thrilled. My routing is all over the place, but so is the available work. Two weeks ago it was Reno, and then last week it was Nashville. Thursday I have to be in Eau Claire, WI and then Minneapolis for the weekend. That’s way too many miles.

It’s also impossible to be efficient with all activities off the stage. Any kind of regular schedule for anything from eating to sleeping to exercising gets ruined, and one can only absorb that for so long before it starts taking an expensive toll. I’m sure I’ll have to pay mine far sooner than later.

Finding some kind of stability has got to be a priority. The benefits of what I’m getting out of it aren’t even close to the price I’m paying to keep pounding it out on the road. When I was starting I needed stage experience, plus it was fun to travel for the first time. Now it’s the total opposite.

I now have a heaping helping of experience, and it’s not fun living the gypsy lifestyle. Staying in hotels gets stale very quickly, as does having to drive 500 miles in a day or spend hours sitting in the middle seat of an airplane between the unwashed and the morbidly obese. It’s a hard life.

I see why places like Las Vegas and Branson exist, and for an entertainer that would be heaven on Earth. The audiences do the traveling, but for them it’s a vacation and they have the feeling of adventure I used to have when I started on the road. Having a ‘normal’ life appeals to me now.

That’s why I chased radio so long – even though it kept stomping on my soul with the force of a landlord stomping on a cockroach. I thought in theory if I landed the right gig I could have had the best of both worlds and experience stability along with being able to still perform regularly.

The performance part never gets old, and I still love it even now. Being on that stage when it is going well is a feeling I can’t see myself or anyone else tiring of any time soon. It’s nothing short of intoxicating, but the audience benefits also. If there was ever a true win/win scenario, this is it.

I want to perform every single time I can, but I want to do it as close to home as possible. After crisscrossing the continent for as long as I have, steady time in one place would be a treat beyond words. I never thought I’d feel this way, but I totally do. Either I’m maturing or just wearing out.