You CAN Come Home Again, But You'll Never Get the Smell Out of Your Bomber Jacket: The Hellion's Tour Diaries, part 4

HMXHellion is Senior Writer/Producer at Harmonix. When not touring with her band, HMXHellion enjoys really pushing the extreme, outer boundaries of what "bottomless steak fries" means. She would also like to rescind her statement about touring bands having immunity, as four of her friends from Razors in the Night were kicked out of the state of New Hampshire on Saturday night after playing a show with VAGIANT in Dover. The cops were pretty nice about it though.

It wasn't me. I swear. But somebody s**t the bed when we got back from tour.

Let me clarify that I mean that quite literally. One member of my touring party, who for obvious reasons will remain anonymous, woke up in a turnip patch the night we got back to our fair city. And said person was not alone in bed at the time. I don't know which is worse: being told by the object of your nakey affections that you need to sleep on the couch due to a spilled milkshake, or having to wake somebody up from a deep sleep to say the phrase, "We have to (1) get out of bed, 'cause I gambled and lost."

I tell this story not just to gross you all out, but as a warning that you are liable to get extremely ill instantly when you get home from tour (2). This is just one example of the many "rude awakenings" that you are likely to encounter upon returning from tour.

Don't get me wrong, some things about coming home from tour are really, really great. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Eating vegetables occasionally
  • Constant and obstacle-free private bathroom access
  • Wearing reasonably clean chonies that you can reasonably assume were not worn by any of your bandmates "in a pinch" and then returned to your backpack surreptitiously while you were distracted by an ad for a new type of toaster pastry
  • Not smelling like you slapped yourself about the head and neck comically with a pair of chipotle-ranch chicken fingers (3) and then didn't shower for the next seventy-six hours
  • Sleep
  • Being neither hungover nor drunk for more than twenty-eight minutes per day
  • Not having to take your "personal stress relief time" in the shower while your drummer pounds on the door screaming about how she is going to "make business" in your combat boots if you don't hurry it up.
  • Not being referred  to as "douchewhip" or "The Funsucker"
  • Losing your tour-earned superpower of being ability to determine, by sense of smell alone, which of your tourmates just let loose a "windy" in the van

So, yes, all of these things are a welcome relief from the trials and tribulations of your touring experience. They won't, however, cancel out the shock of returning from tour to the cruel, cruel working week. Here are the three main reasons why, despite all the comforts of home, it sucks to return from tour:

Being Insanely Busy for Weeks Makes Not Being Busy Seem Wicked Depressing
I have been known to take up to four hours deciding whether I want my cheeseburger rare or medium-rare. My dream Saturday involves a party-sized bag of Twizzlers, Jim Beam, and watching The Thing until it gets really scary and then starting it over again. All day long (4). So, yeah, historically I have been totally okay with not doing a damn thing all the livelong day. Tour changed this, at least for awhile.

Touring is exhausting and fills up your days fast. Traveling alone consumes the majority of your time, and the rest is spent hauling gear, worrying about where to park the van, and trying to figure out how much Gatorade you can get in exchange for seven nickels and a picture you drew of Batman fighting an apricot. Normal daytime activities like "chillin'" and "urinatin'" just don't fit into the schedule. But being constantly busy also means feeling pretty good about oneself.

When we were in Syracuse, we opened for a killer band called Subpar Seth and The Piss Offs, and at one point the singer (Subpar Seth himself) referred to us as "road warriors." I felt so good about this remark that it was like Jimmy Page was giving me an inappropriately sensual back massage. Coming home and realizing that the only thing I needed to do on a Sunday (5) was clean the discarded chicken wings off my floor was more like Jimmy Buffett giving me an inappropriately sensual back massage.

No One in Your Hometown Gives a Sweet Tooty Fart about You
Tour gives you a really weird and misguided sense of your own awesomeness. For about a week when I got home, every time a stranger walked up to me, I would smile graciously and pull out a silver Sharpie… despite the fact that said strangers were usually Night Train-addled hobos who wanted to provide me with helpful information about how Dunkin' Donuts is trying to give me Scabies. This was kind of a letdown for me, and really seemed to agitate the hobos.

By the time you've gone on tour, pretty much everyone in your hometown who might conceivably like your band has already seen you play. They've also already seen you wearing stained sweatpants while buying Better Cheddars and pornography at the convenience store, so by now the bloom is waaaay off the proverbial rose. But when you go on tour, you meet people who are actually excited to meet you. This is a real kick in the sweatpants. They don't know that you just used diaper wipes in lieu of deodorant, or that you think butter is a legitimate pizza topping. They just think you're an exotic rock 'n' roller with leather pants and a pleasant, powder-fresh underarm scent. When you come home and realize that you are just a buttered-pizza-eating hobo-disappointer… well, it's like taking the Acela to Sadface City.

Nobody Is Standing at the Ready, 24 Hours a Day, to Kick the Dinty Moore Beef Stew out of Anyone who Hurts or Irritates You in Any Way
Being on tour is like being in a traveling gang, only without the rad gang signs and with even more lip liner. It's almost inevitable that you'll get in a fight at some point on tour, especially if anyone in your band is named "Sully," "Chuck," or "Johnny C**kblock."(6) Part of the reason for this inevitability is that musicians are crazy, and part is due to the fact that they know you have to have their backs (7).

At first, the responsibility seems daunting and exhausting, but you get used to it pretty quickly. Next thing you know, some dude wearing Crocs and indoor Oakleys gives you a congratulatory high-five to the bosom and you're suddenly really grateful for your friends' supportive truculence. It's a warm, pleasant feeling (8) and is a tough one to let go of. This may help explain why six of the members of my touring band of hooligans are now sporting matching tattoos.

So yeah, coming home can be rough, and it's something you should be aware of so it doesn't come as too much of a shock. As for us, we'll be back on the road soon enough. In the meantime, the memories will tide me over. And, much like getting a tattoo, the memories of the discomfort will continue to fade, until all of us are naïve again enough to get in the van, slam the door shut, and sing along with Body Count's debut album until we arrive, hoarse and stinking of Clamweiser, at our first venue.


1) I don't know which is worse because I've only been on one side of the equation: I did, in fact, once tip over a lemonade stand in bed. ONCE. Not in my childhood, mind you, but in my adolescence when I just so happened to not be alone at the time. And I wasn't even drunk or anything. I was just wicked pissed off about high school… literally, apparently. That's a tough one to recover from, no matter how dope and edgy your haircut is.

2) Some blame this on the fact that you encounter all the germs America has to offer on tour while consuming nothing but local beer and cold Beefaroni. I blame it on Razors guitarist Todd Wilson.

3) Maybe you had to be there.

4) Unless any of those things takes any effort on my part to accomplish, in which case I'll just stare at a wall thinking about armadillos until it's nighttime and I can go see a show or something.

5) "Needed to do" is kind of a stretch.

6) Hey, I think I know what I'll name my firstborn son now. I guess my second child will have to be named "Pepper Crotchpuncher." That one is unisex, though, so that's convenient.

7) And fronts, and all the other ucky parts of them.

8) Kinda like buttering pizza.