On the road: With Chris Cain from We Are Scientists

With Chris Cain from We Are Scientists

For those who've never toured, the following statements will sound whiny. In 1977, Levon Helm said: 'Touring with the Band is the most enjoyable and worst part of my life so far, easy.' In 1981, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler described touring as 'like heroin', adding: 'It's never been as good as it was in the beginning, and it's getting worse, but somehow you know nothing else is going to stack up.' And only last autumn, in a dimly lit hallway on his way to the stage, my band's singer Keith Murray whimpered to all in earshot: 'This is fucking killing me.'

OK, sorry. I made up all of those quotes. I could have simply said the same myself, but it wouldn't have grabbed your attention, and I don't know as much about heroin as my fictional Steve Tyler does. But although I don't specifically recall hearing Keith Murray say, 'This is fucking killing me', not only did he say it, but so has every other musician who's done more than six months on the road.

I spent my summer covered in festival mud, trying to sleep in buses parked behind tents full of car-sized speakers. I lost weight, my skin went to shit, and I inadvertently stepped on four dead birds in a month, which both the Bible and common sense cite as a bad omen.

But does it suck? Of course not; it's incredible. To be an American band adored by thousands who, if they really knew you, would dislike you: this is the dream, and people like me live it. Only athletes can say the same, but they pay the almost unimaginable price of regular physical exercise.

Playing Reading and Leeds, or T in the Park - standing in front of thousands who know who I am and like me, despite my character failings of which they know nothing - reminds me not of some imaginary quote, but of the time Neil Armstrong said: 'It's a view worth the price of the trip.' This from a man who endured regular exercise, worse food and a much longer bus ride.

Contributor

Chris Cain, We Are Scientists

The GuardianTramp

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