by Foilface the Metalhead
On Feb.13th, This Ol’ Metalhead was invited by Wes Whitman, current Tour Manager/Sound Tech for the band NONPOINT, to a concert at the Rocking Rodeo in Denton, TX. I got to spend some time on the tour bus watchin’ behind the scenes. So instead of me flappin’ my dentures on a complete show review, I figured I would first share what its like on a tour bus with any band. First and foremost, most bands don’t allow any pics on the bus. On the road, this is their home and only means of privacy from crazed fans and pryin’ eyes. But privacy is still very limited because the band also shares the bus space with a tour manager and a variant amount of crew ranging from guitar techs, drum techs, audio techs and merch personnel. Each bus is designed with 12 small bunks that can be transformed into eight condo bunks. The bunks are 30″ wide by 70″ long with a thin mattress pad and small curtain for privacy offering just enough space for one person to stretch out and rest/sleep. The rear of the bus is the lounge area with comfortable couches, big screen TV and phone system to talk with the driver. The driver doesn’t sleep on the bus. A band’s professional bus driver always stays in a hotel close by during the band’s set.
The bus has a small kitchenette, eating table and entertainment center with either Xbox or PS3 gaming stations for the band. There is a small bathroom on the tour bus, “But taking a shit in the toilet or using the shower in it is against the rules,” says Wes. He adds, “On the road, we might travel 6 hrs to 8 hrs from one city to the next venue. The bus will have to stop and refuel. Most of the bigger truck stops along the interstate highways offer bathrooms and showers. This gives everyone a chance to do their business and clean up while on the road going from gig to gig or until they stay in a hotel for the bigger shows.” Seeing that Valentine’s Day was the next day. The band and personnel were each looking/searching for a private place to chat on the cell phone with their loved ones back home, away from listening ears. Impossible to do on a tour bus.
That night, I noticed how tough it is at times backstage for band members. It’s a job for them, and every show and ticket, shirt, and CD sold helps make a paycheck. Elias, the singer for Nonpoint, hurt his back two nights before during a performance, so he spent most of the time in the rear lounge of the bus resting and trying to heal up. The rest of the band just checked out the venue and area surrounding Rocking Rodeo. I was standing next to Wes when he received a phone call stating the band’s nationwide tour will be extended 3 more weeks joining up on a tour with All that Remains and Hell Yeah. The band has been living on the road away from their families for five weeks. Now, on Valentine’s Day, they have to break the news to loved ones that they will be gone another three weeks before returning home.
The old saying, “The show must go on!” is still going on today. Being on the road, getting hurt or sick means a lot of time in the tour bus. That night after the show, the band changed out of sweaty clothes, and cleaned up using baby wipes, then finished helpin’ loading up all the equipment before starting to relax watchin’ Storage Hunters on the Big screen TV on the bus. At 5 am, the driver returns and starts driving them to the next show.
Thanks Wes and Nonpoint for allowing this ol’ man on the bus for a few hours.