I tell the bellmen who help us move equipment around, "When you're over fifty and you're still playing rock n' roll, you've long since given up on the dream of having the hit record. You don't even care about the groupies (that much). What you really wish you had were roadies."
I think I've got the gear logistics sorted out for DC. Every year I ship some of my stuff and we rent some stuff and so I've got to pick up my gear and get it to my hotel room because I'm not going to pay the hotel for storage, and the rented gear shows up on Saturday because it'd cost more to have it delivered on Sunday, so we've got to get that moved and stored and then we need to get it all down to the room that we're playing in on Sunday evening and then packed up and stored Sunday night and then back to the various places it has to return to on Monday & Tuesday.
That was just one of the wonderful things about the Brisbane gig. We showed up with our guitars, plugged in and played. It was heaven.
Next Friday I'll do a solo gig at Marty's. The logistics are much easier. A couple of speakers and the mixer. A microphone and the guitar. I'm looking forward to it. I haven't done a solo there in a very long time. Whenever I've played there in the past few years it's been a tag team with Bestwick.
Every experience is different. When I was in Liquid Prairie, back in St. Louis, with Ranger Dave leading the band, I just played my best and sang my songs when Dave pointed at me. But I wasn't the one making decisions about what happened next. I was just rhythm guitar and one of five vocalists. With the Bearded Pigs, I'm calling the songs, and much more out front. And, of course, when I'm playing solo, there's nobody to hide my mistakes behind.
It's going on eighteen years since I picked up a guitar at the Venice Cafe Christmas party and played in front of people again after my thirteen year hiatus. During those years I've played and sang in front of people on five continents, either solo or with the band. I do get paid when I play at Marty's (which, technically, makes me a professional), but the Bearded Pigs have never played for pay. We've all put a lot of our own money into making it happen.
And it is so worth it. I was writing a letter the other day to an old friend and talking about my distaste for the notion of "work/life balance". The implication that there's your work on one side of the scale and everything else in your life on the other doesn't fit the way my life has evolved. I strive for a complete life, not a balanced one.
Making music for people and with people is an important part of that. Even if I have to do it without roadies.