I don’t travel a whole lot for work, but I do travel perhaps more than most other mobile DJs. I say travel, and I mean out of state or to the next metropolitan area. Of course we travel, we’re mobile DJs, it’s right in the title… IT’S THE FIRST WORD! I just got back from a road trip for DJ jobs in Colorado and Utah with a renewed understanding of why so many rock stars have written wistful songs about life on the road. It can be disorienting.
When I first moved to Arizona 7 years ago, I was traveling to Los Angeles just about every weekend for about 18 months for jobs that I had booked before I moved. I was getting fuel in Blythe California on one of those trips after a bout a year of living that way and as I went to get back on the freeway, I was completely unable to determine, where I was, where I was going, where I had been and the freeway sign wanted an answer- east or west young man? I had to pull over and close my eyes and collect myself for 30 seconds. Even though I was able to collect myself from a purely intellectual standpoint, I was still disoriented from an emotional standpoint and that feeling lasted for an hour.
Someone asked me on this trip when were talking about this, among other things, if I missed California. I often arrange for my California trips to include lunch with Bill in Upland or Sue in Chino Hills or Scott in Brea. I’ve still got some fiercely loyal customers in Southern California and some dear friends and my 22 year old son, Javin, lives there, and so because of that, even after 7 years, it can still seem like home sometimes but that feeling continues to fade. It’s relatively easy to make acquaintances in a new place but it takes some time to make a few friends- people that are part of your inner circle. It’s just the passage or time, the making of new friends, falling into new routines, getting the lay of the land, finding restaurants and shops and other places that you love. I’d say it took a good 3 years for Phoenix to feel like home and then the next time I went to LA for a DJ job, it no longer felt like home.
I guess the next question is this: Is home a place? Or a feeling? When you visit your mamma at your childhood home and you feel those feelings of home, were they waiting there for you- waiting to release upon your arrival? Or did you bring them with you?
I ask that question because of an interesting observation I made while packing for this trip. On event day, I stand in front of the closet and wonder what I’m going to wear on stage that night. What is the nature of the event? What are my customers expecting? What am I feeling? I usually get it right. For this trip, since I would be driving two days and resting one day before the event, that moment had to happen 3 days early and I couldn’t feel it! I ended up packing 4 stage outfits for two events. So there was a rather thick suit bag hanging behind my seat.
It’s an interesting beast traveling for work as opposed to traveling for pleasure. I was not driving a comfortable driving machine- although my Chevy Astro Van has been a battle axe and taken me 13 times around the planet safely and almost without incident. It was a work van loaded to the gils with sound and lighting equipment- my tools. The bigger point is the head space that one must be in. Most people road trip to get away from something. Get away from work, from the heat, from the rain, from the snow, to visit Gramma, to see the sights, etc. As described, the nature of my work is that I take it to a different place for every event. Even when I work someplace that I’ve worked before or even if I’ve worked there many times, it’s a different room set up with a different timeline and a different customer who has different tastes and family traditions and I have to figure it out quickly and work with it- and I have to bring that expertise with me. It was even more so when I was traveling to another state. The owner of the steel company that I used to work for had a small plane and I got to fly with him on several occasions because he was an older man and didn’t have the strength to pull that plan out of the hangar by himself. Even though he had flown for years and years, he would put his preflight checklist on his lap and read it and do it because the payoff if something gets missed may be your life. I double checked my quality control regimen to make sure that I had everything that I needed because if something was left behind, there would be no help for me.
I do love driving and I love the road. I do not love traffic however, and I’m thankful that I don’t commute for a day job and fight that traffic 5 days a week morning and night. It’s not really even the traffic that I despise, it’s the one or two aggressive idiots in that traffic that just have to be in front of somebody and get there 6 seconds ahead of you and they make dangerous moves. I’m usually going into the city at 4PM when everybody else is coming out and I’m heading home at 2AM when everybody is nestled in their beds. Those late night drives when the freeways are relatively empty have always been about my favorite time of the week- in Los Angeles for all those years and here in Phoenix. I can collect my thoughts and review the last week and consider and start to plan the next and somehow figure out the secrets of the universe. Even though I am dog-tired, I’m usually pumped up from the adrenaline of the stage and the work out of loading out the sound and lighting equipment and that usually carries for an hour or so after I get home- no matter how sleepy I am, I can’t sleep until that adrenaline wears down a bit. If I do get sleepy while driving, a cherry coke is a huge wake up for a guy who doesn’t drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks any other time.
I left a day early
People believe their computer/smart phone screen more than they believe their eyes and ears.
idiot who is the arbiter of culture
road trip to get away… taking work with me. head space
Minnesota- felt one quarter turn off
Rock star 22 hours of nothing, 2 hours of stage… Stewart Copeland… sweaty shirt towel and shower.