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QRD #75
QRD - Thanks for your interest & support
about this issue
Featured Band Interviews:
M is We
Record Label Interview:
Records Ad Nauseum
Cartoonist Interview:
Larry Johnson
Touring Musician Interviews:
Chris Brokaw of Lemonheads
Mkl Anderson of Drekka
Nevada Hill of Bludded Head
Phil Dole of Chord
Rainstick Cowbell
Shane DeLeon
Alan Sparhawk of Low
Zach Corsa of Lost Trail
Short stories:
Takin' Care of Business
   by Phil Dole
We'll Be The Last Ones Here
   by Nathan Amundson
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Touring Musician Interview with Rainstick Cowbell
October 2015

Name: Rainstick Cowbell
Bands: Rainstick Cowbell
Websites: rainstickcowbell.com, rainstickcowbell.bandcamp.com

QRD – What's a myth about touring you wish people knew wasn't true?

Rainstick – The myths are mostly true. Sluts! Boredom! Traffic jams! Excited drunk people! Boring drunk people! A floor as a bed! Exhaustion! Gas station diet! Limited personal hygiene opportunities!

QRD – How many shows do you do a year & how many would you like to?

Rainstick – <100 but if I could book it, >100.

QRD – How many shows does it take before you are in a real groove?

Rainstick – One. I practice a lot & by now I know the deal.

QRD – What's your preferred length of tour?

Rainstick – Three months.

QRD – Do you use a booking agent or book things yourself & what are the advantages of each?

Rainstick – Mostly book myself, but there's a few people that book for me & they are my favorite people in the world. Booking is not my strength.

QRD – With so many venues no longer having an in house promoter & promotions relying so much more on the band themselves how do you get the word out to cities you've never been to before or rarely go to?

Rainstick – Good fucking luck. It's all internet time at that point. It's a pain but it can work. Just takes time. Way too much time.

QRD – When you hear your live recordings are you generally critical or satisfied?

Rainstick – Never am I satisfied with myself. I think I suck. True story. I am not a fan of me.

QRD – What do you do to stay interested in your set each night?

Rainstick – Put my head down & play the fucking best I can play. I never quite get there. Never. Fail every single time. Maybe moments where I'm satisfied, but mostly I find the whole experience to be embarrassing.

QRD – Do you do the same set every night on a tour?

Rainstick – Generally, yes. I'm looking for perfection. Fifty minutes, hour & a half, or however long, I seek beauty through repetition.

QRD – How does the audience effect what or how you play on a given night?

Rainstick – Those dicks can piss me off or humble me. Of course it effects me. All those people, judging.

QRD – Do you take new songs on the road or stick with released material?

Rainstick – Everything leaves my jam room well rehearsed.

QRD – How do you deal with bad stage sound & bad sound guys?

Rainstick – Tolerance & patience. I suck at both. I guess you could say I'm a bridge burner. Scorched earth policy enthusiast. It helps that I don't like people & I've given up on financial success.

QRD – What do you do when equipment malfunctions on stage?

Rainstick – The show always goes on. Never stop! Sure, change a broken string, but fast! Practice that shit, yo.

QRD – What have you learned to do to get better sound regardless of the venue?

Rainstick – Practice your sound. Know your sound. Take time.

QRD – What's something you hate seeing other bands do?

Rainstick – Drinking on stage. A singer holding a beer annoys me. I see compensation.

QRD – What's the best compliment/worst insult you've gotten after a show?

Rainstick – "You are a force of nature!" (Udine, Italy. 2012) "I thought you were rude." (Basel, Switzerland. 2010, I was actually very ill with a high fever, but she was the prettiest girl at the party & she was used to saying whatever the fuck her pretty self wanted to say out of her pretty, perfect mouth.)

QRD – Do you try to listen to the local opening bands on tour?

Rainstick – I like to see the whole show from beginning to end. I think it's respectful.

QRD – What makes you like a particular city?

Rainstick – Clean bathrooms with hot water & towels.

QRD – What makes you like a particular venue?

Rainstick – Clean bathrooms with hot water & towels.

QRD – Besides band members, how many people do you bring on tour & what are their duties?

Rainstick – I tour alone.

QRD – What do you do to keep your instruments & personal belongings from being stolen?

Rainstick – Keep it close. Keep it all in sight. Trust no one.

QRD – Do you rent a vehicle or take out your own?

Rainstick – Rent.

QRD – What plays on the radio as you drive?

Rainstick – Local pop stations. Especially fun in foreign countries that don't silence the curse words.

QRD – What's your main activity to occupy your downtime when not in the van?

Rainstick – Walking. I like to walk around. I'm a good navigator as a pedestrian & I rarely get lost.

QRD – How do you try to find places to eat on the road?

Rainstick – Ask the locals. They want you to try the best local food. Although I mostly eat simply during the day & wait until the provided dinner at night before the show. It's fun to be hungry!

QRD – What's your in a pinch fast food meal?

Rainstick – NO FAST FOOD! DON'T DO IT!

QRD – Do you prefer to stay at people's houses or hotels & what are the advantages & disadvantages to each?

Rainstick – I'd much rather stay at someone's house. Hotels depress me. Plus, there is usually breakfast before you leave for the next show. In hotels you have to wake up early for that shit. I don't do early.

QRD – Do you have separate clothes for onstage than daywear?

Rainstick – Stage clothes are preferable, but they get to stinkin' after a few shows.

QRD – How many changes of clothes do you take on tour?

Rainstick – I guess around four. I ride dirty. I buy socks on the road. Wash some shirts when I can.

QRD – How often do you do laundry on tour?

Rainstick – Never enough, but as often as I can.

QRD – How often do you try to bathe on tour?

Rainstick – Never enough, but as often as I can.

QRD – How often do you try to schedule a day off?

Rainstick – I don't care for days off. Once I get going I don't like to pause.

QRD – Any tips for not getting sick on the road?

Rainstick – Wash your hands constantly. Wash your face a lot. Brush your teeth a few times a day. Don't drink alcohol.

QRD – Do you have a set drinking policy (none before performing or a nightly total)?

Rainstick – I love to drink beer in my normal life, but I don't drink any alcohol on tour. I can't say never, but it's definitely rarely.

QRD – How has touring effected how you feel about playing in your hometown?

Rainstick – It greatly reduced my local shows. It's a big world out there & you become a bigger deal the further away you get from your hometown. Half way around the globe & you become interesting.

QRD – How do you feel about fans putting live cell phone videos up on YouTube?

Rainstick – I think that's great.

QRD – Do you see touring as mainly a promotional tool for your new albums?

Rainstick – Yep. Tour & sales go up. Stop touring & sales go down. You can see it in your online stats. Everything stops when the band stops. Start moving & the money starts to flow.

QRD – Do you have time to practice your instrument while on the road?

Rainstick – Sadly, no. I imagine that when you get to tour bus level it's a lot easier to have your own space to create. That's much harder in other people's space.

QRD – Does your time with your instrument go up or down on the road compared to normal?

Rainstick – Down. Way down. I play more when I'm not playing shows back to back.

QRD – Do you try to hit museums or any touristy things while you travel?

Rainstick – Nah. That's not what it's about. I get very focused on the music. It makes me weird to be completely honest. I feel very exposed & raw. Input at that point is hard for me.

QRD – Do you try to get any rudimentary grasp of a language before touring in a foreign country?

Rainstick – I suck at foreign languages. My mouth just won't do it. It's great to be an English speaker. English does indeed rule the world. I am very fortunate that way.

QRD – Have you ever or would you like to do a bus/train/mass transit tour?

Rainstick – A train tour does sound romantic & I know people who do it. I've never done it. I'm American, I like the car. Cars are expensive, but trains aren't cheap.

QRD – If money were no object, how many months a year would you spend on the road?

Rainstick – Eight.

QRD – What would make you start touring more or start touring less?

Rainstick – Give me a fucking tour bus & a driver & I'll never stop.

QRD – What's something about life in general that you've learned from touring?

Rainstick – People can be beautiful. Angelic even.

QRD – Anything else?

Rainstick – Good luck out there!