Writing from the last Shikansen ride from Nagoya to Tokyo, I find myself in the uncomfortable position of realizing that this is it in a lot of different ways. In a few hours we’ll do the last load in of the tour and the year for Weezer. This is where the mental illness of my work truly begins. It’s not unusual to get to the end of a tour and find you haven’t done things you meant to do. Many people not only don’t say thanks but even blow off saying goodbye. I don’t think in most cases it’s just rudeness but an inability of some to close the door on anything.

Most road people are convinced that they will never work again. For a business where you can be put in the position of having to find a new job more than once a year, you’d think that we’d get used to it…

No.

I found myself at the end of one year out of work and though I had been on the #2 and the #5 tour of the year according to Pollstar, I was convinced that I was going to be living in a homeless shelter by March and no one would ever call to hire me again. When it turned out that I only worked 12 weeks that year, I still didn’t miss a meal or have to sleep on a park bench or a cardboard box (thanks to my wife being employed, a good tax accountant and some lucky timing from my two employers that year). For over 20 years, I’ve had to call my friends and previous employers, dig for rumors of an upcoming job and cold call management firms. I’ve done some local work but the road is part of me; the only place where I feel like I belong, for better or worse.

I’m still not sure if I have any clue as to if I’m any good at what I do; I’m not sure if it’s a requirement. It’s not clear if what we do is actually skilled labor or if it’s a job that normal people would run from screaming into the night. I find myself looking at articles about people who work for Google or Yahoo and folks who start their own business and wonder if it was something I can do. In the 12 weeks of work year, I actually went to labor companies and temp services to see if I could find local work and if I was “qualified” to other jobs. For most businesses my resume does NOT translate to experience of any sort for the “real” world. You have to find someone who looks outside the box (or at least in the corner where the foam is peeling up on the roadcase) to realize that the persistance and problem solving skills of most road people can equate to day gig.

So, I’ve often said to people who ask me about how to get on the road that it is a trap. I say this for three reasons:

1) To be funny:
2) To cut back on future competition from a younger, smarter, prettier roadie;
3) Because once you’ve made the turn, there’s not a lot of other places to go when there’s no work.

I’m on a fear-based tangent… let’s get back to the title…

We load in this morning for 3 shows in Tokyo, the first two will be filmed for a DVD release the band has planned. The last show will not be filmed as of right now. As Rivers is returning to Harvard to complete his degree, the band is going dormant as of this Thursday night. There appears to be other changes going on as well, so the future of the band is very unclear. Best case scenario for the road person would be after he finishes school, he’d want to go back on the road in the summer. I don’t see that being a reality for a number of reasons.

So this means one clear thing for me: time for a new gig. This is the worst time of the year to find work because less tours are going out and more people are trying for those tours. It’s all about luck, timing and the budget of the tour.

This tour has been great in a lot of ways. The crew is small, funny and great to work with. The band is nice, smart, plays well and has great, great songs. The recording “Make Believe” appears to have sold over a million copies and the first single “Beverly Hills” was the #2 selling single on iTunes this year. For me, it is a low stress job working for Pat and Scott and that’s a big plus. This makes it one of the best gigs around.

Some of my other prior clients are whispering about touring in 2006 which is good. None of them say they are clearly starting in January which is not so good. Nobody has called to block time with me yet which is stinky.

This is it… the last train ride, the last load in, the last hotel… coming soon, the last show, the last flight and the last paycheck. Are we sure that Google or Yahoo doesn’t need a podcasting roadie to help them figure out something?