We named our Feb/March/April US tour “The American Way”, and this was largely in tribute to our beloved tour manager Seb, a Frenchman, who we were exposing to our homeland for the first time.
We have toured with Seb in Europe for years, since 2010, but in the states we’ve always been on our own. Seb has breezed through America once, previously, in the cushiest of circumstances, working with Metronomy on a short arena tour supporting Coldplay. By now it was time for the real deal. Five weeks in a van with the Deez. Bars and clubs. The USA, up close and personal. A cultural exchange, if you will.
I realize now that there was another purpose for naming our tour The American Way. And that, my friends, is that when on tour, it’s useful for bands to have a rallying cry. Because, as romanticized as the rock ‘n roll life can be, the vast majority of tours are surely peppered with humbling, near-pathetic moments when the only consoling words are a well-chosen slogan that keeps the team together.
For example, in 2010, we named our fall tour “High Life.” Thus, when you find that you are sleeping on the floor of a one star motel, using a chair cushion as your pillow and your coat as a blanket, you can shout out “High Life!” and everything feels a little better. Similarly, on this tour, when our dinner consisted of a bag of Fritos and a Tropicana orange juice, we would comfort each other, explaining that it was simply “the American way.”
We were refueling our vehicle at Love’s, a widespread American truck stop, and Seb decided to also refuel his body with Arby’s roast beef-like sandwich products inside the station. He stepped up to the soda fountain. “What’s this?” he asked me, pointing. “Ah ha, it’s Mountain Dew, you should try it, it’s very American.” Seb skeptically discharged an ounce of soda into his Arbys cup. Took a sip. Processed. “It’s weird!” he exclaimed in his thick French accent, paused, and then proceeded to fill his cup up the rest of the way with delicious neon green carbonated corn syrup.
American women are smitten by Seb. We had to fend off several Taco Bell assistant managers determined to run away with him.
“The girls are very wide here,” Seb observed as we battled through a grueling 12 hour drive through Indiana, Missouri, and Kansas.
“Where are you guys from?” was a frequent question our band encountered at gas stations and Waffle Houses. Truckers and waitresses and janitors were always delighted to hear that we are a traveling band. “People are friendly here,” Seb praised. ” In Belgium or France, a stranger would never talk to us like that.” I liked touring the states with Seb. I liked seeing it through his eyes. This country, it’s not so bad after all. I promise.