HMXHellion is Senior Writer/Producer at Harmonix. When not touring with her band, HMXHellion enjoys using Twizzlers as straws and working on a television pilot about a color blind bomb squad detective. If she could pick an inanimate object to come to life and be her friend, she would probably pick a pair of scissors, 'cause it's not like she's going to run anywhere with them anyway.
Most Likely to Succeed (at Drinking Too Many Jagerbombs and Waking Up Later Passed Out in the Van under a Blanket that Smells Like Cat Food): The Hellion's Tour Diaries, Part 3
I know that lots of things have changed since I was in high school. Kids are texting each other in class, teachers are filling out Facebook surveys about the 25 most awesome things they can do with a bowl of pears, students don't have to leave their bag lunches out in the snowbank due to new "refrigerator" technologies… etc. But if I'm not mistaken, high schools still have senior superlatives. You know, those cute ways of classifying the popular (or at least notable) kids into roles like "most likely to succeed," "fastest car," and "fluffiest dandruff."
Now, this should not come as a shock to anyone, but I was not popular in high school. This could be blamed on the inherently hierarchical Jetta-and-clear-skin-based system of cliques that dominate all high schools… it could also be blamed on the fact that I was even more annoying than I am now, with even worse clothes, and people were even less interested in my complex theories about the patriarchal themes in the blockbuster hit "Independence Day."
I tell you all this not only to make those among you who are students feel better about your current situation (1), but also to point out that I did not receive a "superlative" tag in high school(2). I think it is fair to say, however, that if we such awards had existed for my band VAGIANT's recent tour, I would've gotten one. And so, because I want an award, obviously, I will share with you the superlatives that presented themselves on VAGIANT/Razors in the Night's "I Sold My Hole for Rock 'N' Roll" Northeast tour.
Okay, this one basically speaks for itself. Someone on your tour just has to be the one dude or dudess who can't go without doing something illegal (or at least extremely frowned-upon) for more than three and a half hours. If you happen to be touring in one of those towns with weird laws on the books, like "it is illegal to make lascivious gestures at a goat during nightfall unless the farmer in possession of the goat gives his express written permission," you can be assured that The Troublemaker will disappear mysteriously one night, only to be discovered making "the shocker" motion at a herd of Swedish Landraces (3)… with only verbal permission.
There's really very little that can be done about this band member on tour. All you can really do is stockpile bail money and try to keep The Troublemaker away from drug dealers, scary fans who "know of a great after hours club," and sexy goats.
On our tour: Razors' guitarist Todd Wilson.
THE PARANOID GEAR FREAK
I've discussed gear freaks before, so this one shouldn't be a surprise either. What WILL be a surprise is that, on tour, your desire to bash said gear freak in the kidneys with an industrial-sized stapler will increase to unimaginable levels.
Despite being more annoying than discovering maggots in your Cap'n Crunch, the Paranoid Gear Freak is actually one of the most useful members of your tour. Concerns like, "is our gear safe in the van overnight (4)?," "did we actually manage to get all our gear from the venue into the van (5)?," and "who left this half-eaten Bavarian Kreme donut crammed into my tube amp (6)?" are legitimate queries that need to be heard, no matter how annoying the voice may be.
On our tour: Razors' bassist Swid Swiderek.
THE ANGRY DADDY
Every tour needs a babysitter. The trouble is, no one wants the job. Who in their right mind would want to be the one receiving phone calls at 4AM because "no one knows where the van keys are, but it's possible that they either got swallowed or forcibly shoved into a hot tub drain"? Unfortunately, the most alpha member of your band will have this job thrust upon him/her whether he/she wants it or not.
If you end up being the Angry Daddy on your tour, try to think of it as a compliment. It means that you are the only member of your band who can be trusted not punch out a police officer's headlights or drink a bottle of shoe polish. Just breathe deep, keep calm, and comfort yourself with the knowledge that all your bandmates will be dead one day.
On our tour: VAGIANT drummer LoWreck and Razors' frontman Troy Schoeller.
THE SLUTTY ONE
There is a saying that tends to get tossed around: "what happens on tour stays on tour." Unfortunately, the same does not hold true for gonorrhea. It is worth mentioning this fact (repeatedly) to The Slutty One on your tour. If you have any doubts as to who The Slutty One is, look for the one who is being slathered with Bacitracin ointment by a concerned bandmate in the middle of a rest stop because the scratches on his/her back are starting to turns strange colors and were "possibly caused by a rodent, or pair of rodents, working intandem."
Again, not much can be done to help this situation. Just try to stay out of the way, and don't be fooled when this member of your band starts demanding "Cuddle Time" first thing in the morning.
On our tour: we didn't have one of those. 'Cause even if we did, I wouldn't say who it was 'cause then he/she would make me return his/her collection of Fame DVDs and would also probably kick me in the baby-making area.
THE TOTAL JERK DIVA
Look, I don't really see what the big deal is about insisting on taking the first shower and then spending forty-five minutes in there with the door locked while everyone else waits to urinate… every day. And I mean, yeah, I guess theoretically I could see why it might be annoying to SOME people if one member of the band never hauls any gear or helps to load the van… but that member might be busy talking to actual FANS and hitting on the bar staff. And yeah, sure, maybe some people don't like it when you keep all your hotel roommates awake one night drinking Wild Turkey and laughing hysterically at Spanish language programming, but then yell at everyone the next night for dreaming too loud while you're trying to sleep. But those people just don't understand how hard it is to be you, The Total Jerk Diva.
Solution: everyone else should try to be more awesome.
On our tour: oh yeah, that was totally me.
THE ONE WHO HAS NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON, EVER
You can make a binder full of information. You can send out emails. You can call band meetings. You can call people on the phone. But at least one member of your band will have no clue what's going on, ever. Until I went on tour, I never would have imagined that it was possible for someone to actually not know what state they're in on a given date, especially after having been in said state for several days. But it is. In fact, it is possible for someone to not know what band they're in, or what their name is. On the third day of tour, my guitarist Smokey referred to our merch girl Erin as… Smokey.
It's important to be aware of and attend to this member of your band, because he/she is very liable to miss a gig or get left behind at a truck stop due to "thinking the show was optional," "a big sale at Urban Outfitters," "gum in hair," "busy writing a song about whether wings or tenders are better," or "worrying about robots."
On our tour: VAGIANT guitarist Smokey, Razors' guitarist Ian Clark, and Razors' drummer Jeff Allen.
I assure you, if you go on tour with your band, at least 75% of these personas will present themselves, and you'll discover all sorts of new ones as well. Comment below and tell me about the roles your band members played on tour, and what your tour superlative would be. The next time MY band goes on tour, I'm going to be striving for "The Responsible One." Or at least "The Not-Passed Out in the Sewer Drain One." Or maybe just "Fluffiest Dandruff."
1) Seriously, y'all. IT GETS BETTER. No matter what your parents or pot-addled guidance counselors may tell you, high school is the absolute worst. That whole "the REAL world is a lot tougher than high school, champ" speech is the biggest pile of hippo flop on Earth. This is why in online multiplayer games when 14 year olds try to get hostile with me, I tend to shout, "Hey! Guess what! I'm gonna eat Nilla Wafers for dinner and stay up all night playing video games! And if I feel like it? I'll have some BEER. 'Cause you know why? 'Cause I don't have PARENTS, jailbait." Trust me, adulthood is WAY better. <
4) No. Not in Lakewood, OH, anyway. Way to damage Lakewood's reputation, mystery crack head who smashed out our van's window with a rock, stole some stuff, and got broken glass in the old box of pizza we had open on the passenger's seat, resulting in me eating some broken glass. (To be fair to the crack head, I knew the pizza had broken glass on it when I started eating it. I just really like pizza.)