This is the first draft script and unfinished art for a comic project Dottie Alexander and I. The comic, being pitched to a few online music magazine, was to feature stories of are adventures touring with the music group of Montreal.
Although it never saw the light of day it was still totally awesome to make. Here it is in all its glory:
“THE RIDER” #1
I’ve often maintained that the rock n’ roll look is the direct result of the rock n’ roll lifestyle. That seemingly perfectly smudged eyeliner was once meticulously applied stage make-up the night before. The messy mop of hair means that there was probably a turd in the venue’s shower. Somewhere along the way, the lines got blurred, and people actually TRY to look like a hungover mess, sheepishly exiting a gas station Taco Bell bathroom at 8:00 AM, somewhere near Boise. The myths of glamour abound, but in many cases are ridiculous fabrications, both on the part of those on tour, and our dear, dear fans
Being on tour (at least the way I do it) is much more akin to being a pirate than some coddled rockstar. You sleep in a berth, and sing for your whiskey. The myriad inquiries of “life on the bus” always miss the mark (I blame Bret Michales for this), and apart from the Timberlakes of the world, who can afford custom cushiness, varies very little from band to band. Basically, if you want to debunk any delusions of grandeur that you may harbor for your favorite band, the bus is the place to be. As much as it is a step up from a van, the bus offers it’s own new, and very specific set of challenges. We are all about excess and economy, which are in constant conflict throughout the planning and execution of any given tour. Generally this translates to bodies. A lot of bodies. At any given point we can easily be rolling 16 deep: 12 in bunks, 2 in the back lounge, one on the front couch and a driver. Of those 16, at least 12 are usually dudes, which I have cleverly calculated to be a total of 24 balls. So there’s that, for a start. It is also our home, our only constant, so it becomes fiercely guarded. Those are OUR piles of trash and scattered underpants! This is OUR time to watch Arrested Development. Woe to those who enter uninvited. And why would you want to anyway? 16 people have just taken big, long beer pees in a single toilet, and we’ve dubbed the hallway “fart alley”. Just sneak into the backstage like a normal person
Never has there been a more varied series of hills and valleys, highs and lows, thrilling elation, and crippling disappointment, than the wonderful and strange world of the backstage. Some things are constant, like our deli tray. Oh how we patiently wait for it (we’ve dubbed it “our shame”), and wonder what new things it will bring. (answer? Nothing. Always the same. Always exciting when it arrives). Routine has bred ingenuity, as it often does, and sandwich presses, toaster ovens, and veggie steamers undoubtedly come into play. This we can count on. Deli tray, I salute you. Now for the variables. Much like dirty, depressing snowflakes, no two hospitality situations are alike. The pendulum swings to extremes, we’ve dubbed one venue simply “the swirling turd” for obvious reasons.. Then there are the highs: hot tubs, catering, pool tables, steam showers, and once even PUPPIES! The highs come infrequently, but are heavily anticipated, and greatly appreciated. (Holla, Pabst Theater, The National Richmond, 9:30 Club!!!) Really, all we want is a clean bathroom, a shower, laundry would rule, some nice local craft beer, and a secure place to get naked. (not as sexy as it sounds). And the deli tray. Always with the deli tray
BOYS AND GIRL
As much as it pleases me to say that we often bring capable and badass ladies along on tour, many times it’s just me and a lot of dudes. This affords me an almost anthropological peek into their uncensored selves. I often use the Jane Goodall metaphor to describe this phenomenon—they’ve appeared to have accepted me as a member of the group, and go about their normal behavior patterns, albeit cautiously, in my presence. Much like Ms. Goodall’s endeavors, this took time and patience, and is in no way an absolute. A strange thing happens when another woman is around, however. Routines change, voices soften, facial features and body language are subtly, yet unmistakably different. I’ve come to the conclusion that to cope with my near constant presence, they have subconsciously transformed me into to some sort of nebulous third gender. I am fine with this. All of us have our coping mechanisms, and ways of finding precious time alone.
Nashville: DOROTHY HAGGARD IS BORN…
It’s early. Earlier than the boys wake up. Earlier than then what I deem to be the “wake up and shout” crew. So early that “simply lemonade” seems appealing. I am a mess. I look like the best Keith Richards ever has…my makeup from the night before has merged into my face in a way that the most seasoned of makeup artists could not duplicate on their best of nights. I am wearing a leather jacket with a fur collar and paul frank pajama pants. I look both fantastic, and horrific, much like your worst crackhead nightmare. I only need a moment….a sweet dulcet moment to myself, the only girl around.
A breath of air, a smoke, some time alone. I am in Nashville. I can see the eye of Sauron/ Batman building in the background, and feel sorry for people who feel that a sense of place equals success. My life is weird, here I am in strange place of dreams that are no longer real, but manufactured. I think about this, whilst eyeing a nearby sushi bar and wondering when it opens so I can sneak in and I can poop in it, when an elderly tourist couple happens upon the “TURBUS”.
“YO GIRLIE! WHO’S ON THAT TURBUS??”
suddenly alone. I’ve been on tour forever. Can’t remember my last time alone. WAIT! I’M ALONE???
“Well, That’s Merle Haggard’s tourbus, and that’s my Daddy!”
“Well who are you?”
“Well, clearly, I’m Dorothy Haggard”
“George, git the camera, it’s Dorothy Haggard!”
So eager is this family of tourists to validate their travel experience that they hop on this chance to brush elbows with “celebrity”. It’s strangely validating for me as well, and I can’t wait to wake up the dudes and introduce them to my new persona. Country ballads are quickly constructed to honor Dorothy Haggard, with such inspired titles as: “I took the morning after pill the night before you came” (credit: James Huggins) and: “Don’t cross me when I’m cross eyed” (credit: Nicholas Gould). Ultimately it can be the false person you create out of context that can come to define who are, or want to be, on tour
This is the layout pitch for print and web.