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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 Phil Dole of Chord & X-Bax
August 2015
Phil Dole
Name: Phil Dole
Current Bands: Chord, X-Bax, Dots
Websites: chord.atomicmouse.co.ukwww.facebook.com/dole.xbaxtwitter.com/phildole

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

Phil – That it isn’t *really* work, or that it’s some sort of vacation. Or that it’s a non-stop glamorous fun time party ride.

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

Phil – Right now I’ve scaled back. So this year, I’m probably only doing one super short leg of 5-6 shows plus a couple of one-offs. Traditionally, an active year would be around 50 shows.
QRD – How many shows does it take before you are in a real groove?

Phil – Kind of depends on the chemistry of who you’re playing with & how regularly you’ve been playing locally. But in general, I find it’s a two-tiered thing. The first level usually comes after a couple of shows & another level comes later, like in a week or two.

QRD – What’s your preferred length of tour?

Phil – If you’re well organized, you can get a lot done in 2-3 weeks. I prefer more frequent shorter tours/mini-tours to doing one long haul. Long enough to feel the tour momentum, but not so long that the negative factors start to gain momentum & so it doesn’t start to become a grind.

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

Phil – Everything I’m doing now is self-booked, but I’ve used booking agents a few times. Booking agents are good if you have a good relationship with them & are part of your “team” & in sync with what your label &/or management are doing. If you’re just using them to get the work done for you when you should be doing it yourself, you may indeed end up with better paying gigs in rooms you wouldn’t be able to access on your own, but you risk poisoning any future relationship with venues where you didn’t live up to expectations - if the booker was driven by the commission rather than what’s most appropriate for you at that moment, it’s more bad than good in the long run. Always better to play a full small room than a half-empty big room.
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?

Phil – I don’t think there’s a one-size fits all answer for that. Sometimes it takes a few tries to see what works & even then something that had been working may suddenly stop working. If you don’t have connections somewhere, you just track what you do & try & figure out who will be sympathetic & helpful locally. & sometimes you end up going places that make things work geographically & logistically, but aren’t going to be all that successful. & things change. Ultimately you have to research each local area’s media & scene the best you can. Actually, you always had to do that even when the venues had somebody in-house -- the in-house promotions just made it easier to get noticed because all the people you were reaching out to were already aware of what was happening in the venues, so often you were just trying to provide interesting details to a name & maybe a photo they’d already seen. If you have a manager & a budget for a publicist, you can let them try & sort it out, but there’s a lot to be said for personal connections.
QRD – How do you think the festival circuit has effected touring & do you enjoy playing festivals?

Phil – Have only played really small festivals. They’re as much hassle as fun, but they usually pay & I guess it always looks good if you’ve played one recently -- makes you seem relevant. Does it effect touring? In so far as you end up building your schedule to accommodate it or doing other things you hadn’t planned to do (if you get invited to play a single festival in Europe, chances are you’ll have to get some other dates as well to make it financially viable).
QRD – How do your songs change for your live show?

Phil – Every song kind of has its own life arc. Obviously, unless you did your recordings live off the floor, there are going to be differences. Usually you end up just bringing the essentials to the live show. Beyond that, mutations often slowly start unraveling over time. Sometimes they’re subtle, sometimes significant. Sometimes you fix a little something you think wasn’t quite right or expand a section that needs it in the live setting. But more often than not, the changes creep up slowly & you don’t really notice until years later when you go back & listen to the original recording.
QRD – Do you keep notes on how to play your songs?

Phil – Nope. It’s a good idea though. Would have saved me a couple of embarrassments. Except for Chord - they are meticulously charted using customized “notation” for each player.
QRD – How often do you have line-up changes & how do they effect the band?

Phil – Each band I’ve been in has been different in that regard. However, there always seems to be a key person or combination of people that can’t really be swapped out & their departure is fatal to the unit. You don’t always know who, either. Sometime you replace someone you thought was a core member & the new guy ends up making something good into something really special. But that’s when people up & quit (or disappear). I tend to not want to force people out, so if there’s interpersonal issues & it’s a me or them situation, I will bow out. Chord was an interesting one for line-up changes - the first couple of years were a constantly changing line-up of 9 or 11 guys on stage at a time, eventually becoming a core group of four & eventually the five-piece that has been steady since 2010.
QRD – How do band practices differ from live shows?

Phil – Not all practices are the same. Some are essentially run-throughs that approximate a live show. It’s very different when you’re working on new material for the first time. Some are loose, some are all business.
QRD – When you hear your live recordings are you generally critical or satisfied?

Phil – Fortunately, I put on a different set of ears to listen to live recordings. I listened to a lot of atrociously recorded bootlegs when I was young, so I’m pretty forgiving for the technical issues (both audio & technical performance). It’s the intangibles in a live recording that matter: energy, atmosphere, strange occurrences, etc.
QRD – Do you think of recorded versions or live versions of your songs as definitive?

Phil – I think a definitive version *should* be a recorded version, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Capturing the exact right thing at the right time can be elusive. & a lot of times you record the thing before you’ve learned all the nooks & crannies & nuances. But if you wait too long to record it, it can become too studied.
QRD – Is there a song in your catalog you wish you never had to play again &/or one you wouldn’t mind playing every night?

Phil – Doesn’t matter how good a song is, you eventually need a break from it, if only to refreshen it. If it’s something you *have* to play, sometimes doing a vastly different arrangement for a while just to make it different will help, then you can eventually go back to a more expected arrangement. Hopefully, you’re best material is strong enough that you can rotate something out once in a while without the masses revolting.
QRD – What do you do to stay interested in your set each night?

Phil – It depends. With bands that have an element of chaos about them, there’s plenty to entertain you/keep you busy. In those cases you just stay focused on the show as a whole even if you need a break from a couple of numbers. If the music is more serious & presented, you kind of do the opposite; you go inside the moment & search for something to grab onto while it’s happening -- you have to try & conjure some magic in each moment & ignore the larger scope.
QRD – Do you do the same set every night on a tour?

Phil – In some bands, yes. Others have had modular systems so that there’s some variation, but also keep things moving along (& to accommodate different set lengths). I’ve also been in acts that will have a basic set with a flexible portion (usually the middle) &/or do special one-off sets for particular key appearances.

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

Phil – If you can tell people are into it, you can ride it; it encourages you stay on that course & it can drive you. The specifics vary a lot. In a 60 minute drone set, clues about the audience are few & far between. If you’re doing traditionally structured “good times” rock, the feedback is pretty easy to read. Sometime total hostility from an audience can be a great feed, too. Extreme reactions are always preferable to indifference.
QRD – Do you take new songs on the road or stick with released material?

Phil – Have done both. Not a fan of playing new songs on the road (or watching others play a lot of new songs on the road), but I have to say they’re much easier to record if you’ve done them on the road.
QRD – Do you throw in cover songs & how do you select them?

Phil – Really depends on the band. I’ve been in super serious bands that would never consider playing a note of someone else’s music & I’ve been in bands that were hyper-referential & would sometimes segue into covers in the middle of other songs. I will also confess here that I once snuck out with just an acoustic & played sets of covers of songs that no one would or should ever play like they were acoustic singer-songwriter type material (I needed to get myself & a tour vehicle from LA to Chicago for a 2-week tour that was starting there &… I dunno… seemed like a fun idea at the time but was totally lost on random coffee house audiences in the middle of nowhere…). There are lots of reasons to select a cover. I think most people just grab what they love. Sometime you look for something you like that structurally plays to the strengths of the band. Sometimes you pick something to fuck with people. Or that you know will charge people up. Sometimes you want to grab something that is from an obscure source -- the few who know will be mighty pleased & those who don’t will think it’s yours. & remember kids, if you record a cover, always pay your mechanicals!
QRD – How do you deal with bad stage sound & bad sound guys?

Phil – Sometimes getting them to take everything but vocals out of the monitors helps. The stage sound will still be crap, but it will be a little easier to make sense of what’s what because things will be coming from the direction they are actually situated. & if you’re lucky, you may be able to physically position yourself to get a better idea of what’s going on. The associated risk of doing this is that some guys (especially in smaller rooms) are used to mixing with monitor bleed in the mix -- if the instruments in the monitors were loud, the change will leave them scrambling to figure out how to recover that “sweet balance” they had in the house.

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

Phil – Kick the shit out of it until it works! Or swap it out… which only works if you know where the issue is. People will forgive you having to take a tiny bit of time to swap something out. They will become unruly if you have to troubleshoot a problem.
QRD – What have you learned to do to get better sound regardless of the venue?

Phil – Not much really. I think I came out of an era & scene where the worst possible sound was normal, so you learned to focus on how to get it done in any situation. If I were playing on a larger budget, I think I’d work on traveling with my own monitor system off its own board with my own dedicated sound guy. I remember seeing Hüsker Dü in the mid-80s & was amazed that the sound guy they had on the road with them was not there to run the house sound, just their stage sound, & that’s all they worried about. Then again, that doesn’t always work out -- my wife used to do lights for Guns-N-Roses (in the early 90s) & has told me stories about Axl Rose firing monitor sound guys faster than they could hire them. Hmm. Maybe the real lesson there is to not be in a band with Axl Rose.
QRD – What’s something you hate seeing other bands do?

Phil – Hmm. I hate it when they over-pitch merch. I don’t need a commercial, I know you probably have merch & I certainly don’t want to hear you whine about how poor you are. I may be sympathetic because I’ve lived it, but you’re living everybody’s secret dream, you just look bad. There’s a fine line between the art of asking & the annoyance of begging. So, yes, if you feel your merch isn’t in a visible place in the venue, you might want to mention it’s there. Maybe. Be indirect if you have to: “If anybody wants to talk to me after the show, I’ll be meetin’ & greetin’ over at the merch table.” If you don’t handle it well from the stage, you look like an amateur with misplaced priorities.
QRD – What’s the best compliment/worst insult you’ve gotten after a show?

Phil – Memorable compliments (even if they were backhanded):  “I’ve never seen anything like that before”, “I can’t believe you just did that”, “You’ve got big harry balls comin’ down here & doin’ what you’re doin’…” or ones that start “That’s the best thing I’ve seen since…” Most insults come from yahoos & yobs & wash off pretty easily (or in fact can be relished if you’ve pissed off the right person), but the one that has stuck with me wasn’t an after-show thing. I somehow got called into to fill in for Primus on a bill where 75% of the people in attendance weren’t aware of the change. This was when I lived in Vancouver & the band below us on the bill was a new band formed by some guys (who will remain nameless) with serious pedigree in local punk & metal scenes (& had various amounts of success in the world in general, including a guy who’d sold millions of records in Europe). The two main guys stood at the front of the stage during my entire set & just made fun of me & my guitar playing, mimicking my shit while pulling faces at each other & then laughing hysterically. I found that pretty insulting.
QRD – Do you ever tour with bands other than your own as a hired hand & if so how is that experience different?

Phil – No, I’ve always been playing with the band.
QRD – Do you prefer playing with another touring band or just locals?

Phil – Prefer having a combination on the bill.
QRD – Do you try to listen to the local opening bands on tour?

Phil – I use to be dutiful about listening to everyone, even if only for a few songs. I still try, but sometimes it’s just better to clear your head away from the venue -- I think there’s a shitty band threshold where taking an extra half hour to eat in non-rushed comfort outweighs the possibility that you’ll miss discovering some great little band that no one’s ever heard of. I’m supportive if I’m on site, but I do what I have to do to make sure I’m in the best possible headspace for my own thing.
QRD – What makes you like a particular city?

Phil – For playing, I guess it’s finding & taping into a sympathetic audience. & I’ve played in a wide enough variety of bands to notice that a particular city that is great for one particular type of band may not necessarily be so good for another. Liking a city for playing has very different criteria than for liking it as a place to visit or to live.

QRD – What makes you like a particular venue?

Phil – No flakiness. Someone is there when they’ve asked you to load in. Soundperson shows up when they’re supposed to. Hospitality is nice, but it’s not as important as not being flaky. When their emphasis is on the whole package of putting on a show. Doesn’t have to be ultra-professional, but they’ve got to care. Good sound equipment & a guy who knows how to run it doesn’t hurt; but then again, a room with a great owner who has pride in the experience he provides will win in the end.
QRD – What do you have for merch?

Phil – There’s always physical format music offerings. Some of my bands have also had the usual T-shirts & stickers. I’ve been in a few things where we’ve gone crazy with things like BBQ sauce, booklets, 8X10s, you name it. One time we were even selling “signature series dollar bills” -- dollar bills we’d signed & were selling for $5.
QRD – Do you try to have any specialized merch for live shows?

Phil – Sometimes. The longer the trip is going to be, the more likely there will be something unusual &/or exclusive.
QRD – What’s a merch item you think about selling but haven’t yet?

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

Phil – Lately, it’s been just band members. However, X-Bax will have two people along in October just because they want to go & we have space for them (& they have offered to pay their share of accommodation) -- while they will have no *official* duties I expect that they will help lug gear & maybe watch the merch table a bit. Thinking back, it’s been rare to have more that just one extra person, usually either a merch person or a road manager. I had a guitar tech for a while, but he didn’t travel well so he ended up only on local shows. Everybody always helps with carrying gear, no matter what their “official” position is. It’s always great to have a dedicated sound guy, but I’ve never been able to afford them unless they’re a fanatical fan or desperate to be on the road.
QRD – When you’re on tour, does someone take a father figure role of responsibility?

Phil – Not in a fatherly way, no, but I’ve been the “responsible one” by default in a few bands. Partly because I always know the schedule inside & out (I’m often the one making the day sheets) & also because I don’t party on the road & have the clearest head for getting paid & getting out on time the next day. Fortunately, everyone I’m working with right now is a responsible adult -- it just makes things easier.
QRD – What do you do to keep your instruments & personal belongings from being stolen?

Phil – I leave as little as possible in unattended vans & what I do have to leave is covered by a black sheet.
QRD – Do you rent a vehicle or take out your own?

Phil – Have mostly used my own. Have borrowed a few times & rented a few times.
QRD – What’s the worst car breakdown you’ve had on tour?

Phil – I’ve been incredibly lucky in this regard. Was able to drive away after a wintery freeway spinout in North Dakota -- the mud flaps got ripped off, but otherwise no damage. Had a window broken in San Francisco in an attempted smash-&-grab & had trouble finding the right glass - kept having to call ahead to the next town to try & arrange it. Took 4 or 5 days to work that out. But have fortunately never been stranded or had a problem that took more than a couple hours to take care of. A bit of advice: if you think something is a little wonky with your vehicle, get it checked out & taken care of (if needed). It’s often the difference between a two-hour delay & having a full-fledged breakdown or accident.
QRD – What’s your ideal touring vehicle?

Phil – Not that particular. New & comfortable with amenities are better, but I’m basically an A-to-B person.
QRD – What plays on the radio as you drive?

Phil – Mostly not radio. CDs or iDevices. Back in the day: cassette mixtapes. The key is variety. Sometimes the radio gets switched on for news or local flavor, though the local flavor in music programming has been dead for a long time now. There’s a stretch of New Mexico that has Navajo-language stations -- that’s interesting.
QRD – How do you occupy time in the van?

Phil – Mostly driving. I usually volunteer to drive as much as possible.
QRD – What’s your main activity to occupy your downtime when not in the van?

Phil – I guess if you’re somewhere where there’s something local to see, I’d go see it. Not necessarily the usual thing one goes to see, it’s always preferable to see the something odd or unusual (like visiting the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX or a house that Bonnie & Clyde used as a hideout in Joplin, MO, etc.), but I’ve never found there to be all that much downtime, especially when you’re west of the Great Lakes because the travel distances are so vast. & there’s even less downtime in the internet age because I find myself doing a lot of last-minute plugging for the next couple of shows when I might otherwise have been goofing off.
QRD – How do you try to find places to eat on the road?

Phil – Things are a lot easier now that we all have smart phones & Yelp.
QRD – What’s your in a pinch fast food meal?

Phil – This has changed a lot. There was a long period where I’d eat anything & not give a fuck. When it was clear I was going to drop dead any day from bad lifestyle choices, I began a long descent into vegetarianism & eventually veganism. Being vegan on the interstate system is a challenge -- pretty much reduces you to a veggie sub no cheese at Subway or fries if others are insistent on something where no Subway is present. In cities there are more options, but it varies a lot by region, town, & neighborhood.
QRD – Do you try to make any meals for yourself on the road?

Phil – Have done that. Often have a cooler in the vehicle with drinks & sandwich makings, fruit. Sometimes you can find a great deal on those executive suite type places that have a kitchenette in the room with pots, pan, & dishes, etc. Even if you’re only going to make pasta, it’s a win-win.
QRD – How many days does it take before your body is in sync with the touring lifestyle?

Phil – It’s quick with me. Even though I’ve been pretty much off the road for the past couple of years, whenever I’m on the highway for more than about an hour, my body suddenly kicks into this mode like it’s ready to drive for eight hours.
QRD – Do you prefer to stay at people’s houses or hotels & what are the advantages & disadvantages to each?

Phil – The obvious disadvantages to hotels is the cost & sometimes a check-in or a check-out time can be inconvenient. But the upside is you usually know what you’re getting into. Staying with people you know is good for catching up & maybe a little bit of hospitality, but it doesn’t always help with the sleep factor. & staying with people you don’t know is big old crapshoot, especially if your host is throwing an impromptu after-party that will run until sun-up (or beyond). So, I guess my preference depends on the host: free is good, but not without sleep & maybe a shower. I guess I’ve hit an age where I figure I’ve slept on enough random floors.
QRD – Do you have separate clothes for onstage than daywear?

Phil – I’ve done it both ways, kind of depends on the act.
QRD – How many changes of clothes do you take on tour?

Phil – Never more than a week’s worth. If it’s a short leg, like a week, maybe 3 days worth. Plus “wardrobe” (if applicable).
QRD – How often do you do laundry on tour?

Phil – Getting clothes washed tends to be more a matter of convenient opportunity. There’s a venue in Denver that has laundry machines for band use in their basement!
QRD – How often do you try to bathe & how do you schedule in everyone getting bathed?

Phil – Perfect world, every day, but typically I go 2, rarely more than 3. Have never been involved in other people’s hygiene schedules. It’s certainly easier to coordinate showers for duos & trios than when you’ve got 5 or 6 or 7 people traveling.
QRD – What do you do when a band member has totally different ideas about hygiene?

Phil – Been a long time since something like that has come up. Much more prevalent with people in their early 20s than later on. I remember there being a couple of issues, but I don’t actually remember how it was resolved. Or if it was resolved… the “offenders” went their own ways soon enough for other reasons.
QRD – How often do you try to schedule a day off?

Phil – Rarely schedule one on purpose, it just tends to work out. Potential gaps often present themselves if you’re trying to work with certain venues or get on certain shows, etc. For tours where I’ve been coordinating the booking effort, I usually start by where we want the key weekend shows & then fill in from there.
QRD – Any tips for not getting sick on the road?

Phil – Try not to get run down: sleep, eat reasonably healthy. Wash your hands, you filthy pig!
QRD – Do you have a set drinking policy (none before performing or a nightly total)?

Phil – Me, personally? I no longer drink at all -- my liver gave out temporarily in 2009 & I took the warning seriously. That said, I never did drink much when on the road, even in my 20s, as it starts to have a cumulative effect. If you sing, you’re singing starts to deteriorate. I also did a lot of the driving & navigating, so being hung-over (or still partly drunk) would have been counter productive. Back when I still drank, it also depended on who I was playing with. With a “rowdier” act I might have a beer visibly on stage with me to drink immediately after the set & then I might allow someone to buy me up to one more. But with most acts I did not drink on the road. At home was another story. Until my liver gave out.
QRD – What’s a lesson from touring you keep forgetting & re-learning?

Phil – You never really know what’s going down until you get there.
QRD – What do you do the week before tour to get ready?

Phil – Usually desperately trying to get other lifestuff™ under control & set up for my absence, catching up & getting ahead. I also start avoiding things that may cause soreness or injury or illness, etc. -- I’m kinda famous for refusing to go bowling before (or during) a tour.
QRD – How long does it take to convert back to day-to-day life?

Phil – Depends if you jump right back into it full swing. If you do that, it can be surreal for a while, definitely days, maybe even a week. I eventually learned to pad my return to “day-to-day” life with a few decompression days filled with mostly bed with a smattering of video games & binge viewing.
QRD – How do you test for personality conflicts between band members before touring?

Phil – Tested? No, I’ve always known what I was dealing with before going out. Since personality conflict is sometimes, unfortunately, the source of the magic, you focus on feeding the magic & not the beast.
QRD – How has touring effected how you feel about playing in your hometown?

Phil – There’s nothing as sweet as playing a final show at home with a good turn out. But in general, I’m not sure. I’ve been based in three very different cities over the years. I guess I could say it became clear to me at some point that Vancouver was a very special place to have been in the 80s & I feel very fortunate to have been part of that scene.
QRD – How do you feel about fans putting live cell phone videos up on YouTube?

Phil – All for it. Since I’m far outside the mainstream’s consciousness, it can only help me. Might feel different about it if YouTube was so flooded with live cell phone videos that my officially sanctioned content was difficult to find. Then again, that must be a nice problem to have…
QRD – Do you see touring as mainly a promotional tool for your new albums?

Phil – That’s certainly the way it used to be. Even 8-10 years ago. There’s a lot of talk about the new model being using albums to promote tours, but I don’t think the connection is really as clear as that. Promotionally, you’re trying to get coverage, & to get coverage there has to be something new to talk about. A new release or a new tour are the best candidates & are most powerful when used together. So they feed each other. The what-is-being-promoted debate is more about where your income is going to come from. Since albums don’t really generate a lot of income anymore (it takes 5 or 10 thousand streams to equal what you used to be able to make off a single physical sale), it seems odd to have a business model that is about promoting the album. But at the same time, most of us want to make records (albums, releases, whatever) & have them be heard, so you obviously want to promote that (even for vanity’s sake), but I’m not sure tours help with a new release as clearly as they used to. Or maybe I’m old enough that my back catalog is stronger than the shit I put out now!
QRD – Do you try to practice as a band while on the road or just stick to the performances?

Phil – Since a live show is worth 5 practices, generally nothing extra unless there’s something specific that needs to be learned or brushed up on. Usually this is for a newly scheduled radio or TV thing, or it’s been last-minute arranged to join someone (or be joined by someone) on stage at an upcoming show.
QRD – Do you have time to practice your instrument while on the road?

Phil – Generally don’t practice on the road unless we’re trying to work something new into the set or doing something special for a particular show. Maybe on an off day if I have a song idea… but generally I don’t get song ideas until I’m back home & have decompressed. Then there’s usually a big dump of ideas.
QRD – Does your time with your instrument go up or down on the road compared to normal?

Phil – I go through up & down cycles, so it’s more of an up than a down, but not as intense as say a writing &/or recording cycle.
QRD – Do you try to hit museums or any touristy things while you travel?

Phil – There isn’t often time to do much, but yes. Not necessarily the popular attractions, but things of personal interest.
QRD – Do you try to get any rudimentary grasp of a language before touring in a foreign country?

Phil – Sadly, have never toured outside the US/Canada. However, I usually try to get a few things down when going on personal travels.
QRD – Do you have any pre-stage rituals before each set?

Phil – No.
QRD – Does “what happens on tour, stays on tour” apply for you?

Phil – No. If I wouldn’t do it at home, I won’t do it on tour. In fact, I’m probably *less* likely to do it on tour as I’m ever mindful of complications & possible costs in time & money. This was true even when I was young & stupid.
QRD – Have you ever or would you like to do a bus/train/mass transit tour?

Phil – Not sure how that would work, but if it were pitched to me I’d give it a try.
QRD – What are your favorite & least favorite seasons to tour?

Phil – Even though I personally hate the summer more than the winter, the winter is treacherous for travel. Not just in terms of road hazards, but scheduling hazards -- if you get caught in a blizzard in Colorado, you not only may lose your show, but you may have difficulty catching up to where you’re supposed to be once the roads are clear. & even if you get to the next venue in a blizzard, turn out will be small, assuming they don’t just cancel your show.
QRD – If money were no object, how many months a year would you spend on the road?

Phil – Unfortunately, money’s not the only consideration. Having school-aged kids means not being gone all the time. There were times in my life where I could’ve done it practically non-stop. Depends a lot on who you’re out with. If the kids were grown & the wife were available to come along & it could be scheduled in a way where there were “tourist” days at each stop to get out & see something local, I could do a *lot* of that. Assuming the wife would be down -- she loves to travel but has had more than her fill of touring (as a light tech, including 2.5 non-stop years with Metallica on the Black Album, though it was enduring a Michael Jackson tour that made her stop).
QRD – What would make you start touring more or start touring less?

Phil – I recently made the change to touring less. A couple of things I was involved with came to their natural ends & I stopped giving up so much of that important time with the family. Which is right for right now. If the right call came with the right opportunity, I’d weigh it, but I’d be hard-pressed to go out for more than a week or two any time soon.
QRD – What’s something that would cause you to cut a tour short?

Phil – It would have to be something pretty calamitous, like van accident with band injuries. I suppose a death in the family or other family emergency might.
QRD – What could happen to make you stop touring?

Phil – I think as long as I’m still active, I’ll do at least a little bit here & there. Maybe I’ll be too old & deaf at some point.
QRD – What’s something about life in general that you’ve learned from touring?

Phil – Dallas is a cocaine town. There are good & bad people everywhere. Junk food will keep you alive in an emergency.