After a show in Lawrence, Kansas my old band Ex-Girlfriends pulled up to a random house where we were going to sleep that night. There were garbage bags covering the garage windows, conjuring images of the mutilated dead bodies hidden inside. Our bandmate had set up these accommodations last minute and assured us it was fine, promising to go in first to make sure we wouldn’t get murdered. When she got out of the van an adorable french bulldog puppy ran out and a random dude from the show had made dinner for us – and it wasn’t poisoned! Even though we all survived and everything worked out, it’s important to avoid unnecessary anxiety and shenanigans by planning ahead. We spoke with LG from Nashville’s Thelma & the Sleaze about her touring tips and what motivates her to continue the DIY touring grind.
AF: Could you share some funny, crazy, and/or scary stories about crashing after shows while on the road?
LG: This one time in Memphis this lady said we could crash but didn’t ask her boyfriend and I guess he wasn’t pleased so he came home with a Samurai sword. I was like, let’s get gone from wacky ass mother fucker!
AF: What are your tips on staying safe while traveling around the country?
LG: Be patient and polite. People are not friendly everywhere but you get further with honey then vinegar. Also never travel through Texas with drugs. And get AAA – it pays for itself over and over. Read motel reviews; this saves us a lot of trouble!!
AF: You are an incredibly inspiring non-stop touring force. What motivates you to continue working so hard and what would you like to see improve or change in the music industry as a whole?
LG: This question could get very winded and I address it on my new [forthcoming] podcast at length. I will say I feel very blessed to have great fans who have taste and actually want a good show. I make very genuine and interesting music which is not really in fashion, to have substance and individuality. So I have to wait ’til people scratch the surface and actually look and listen to what my band has done. We are not face value, we are non-distilled raw goods. This is exceptional and worth the effort.
AF: What are your goals for Thelma & the Sleaze for 2019 and beyond?
LG: Release as much music as possible and play it for as many people as possible. Hold myself and my fans to a higher standard, keep pushing the envelope, spread positive energy and gratitude.
Buy Thelma & the Sleaze’s latest 7” HERE.
More tips on where to sleep soundly on the road and avoid getting murdered:
- Promoter: Ask the venue if they would be willing to provide accommodations in your deal for the show first. Sometimes venues have a place for the band to stay inside them (especially if it’s a DIY space or house show) or the promoter may be willing to put you up at their house.
- Friends & Family: If the venue won’t put you up, it’s smart to stay with people you trust in different cities. One of your bandmates could have a hospitable aunt they haven’t seen in ten years who will put you up on their farm and make you a huge breakfast.
- Bands on the bill: Next best option is to see if any members of the bands you’re playing with have extra space at their houses. Bands are usually accommodating since they have been on tour before, and you would be able to return the favor when they play in your city.
- Airbnb: Depending on where you are, Airbnb for a band could be your cheapest option, but it’s a little more difficult to book them for one night the day of.
- Motels: Always read the reviews first to make sure there are no bedbugs / recent murders. Also: sometimes rest stops have magazines filled with motel coupons.
- Hotels Tonight app: If you’re feeling fancy, this app will give you pretty decent hotels at a discount. You can find rooms not too much more than your average motel, but they’ll be much nicer and could even have an indoor pool.
- Sleep in the van in a Walmart parking lot: For whatever reason it’s legal, perfectly acceptable and usually safe to sleep in the parking lot of Walmart. If it’s near a national park, you will usually see many RVs doing this. Your van might be more comfortable than you expect!
- Airbed & blankets: The self inflating queen sized high top Airbed was the best investment I made for tour other than my van. While DIY touring on a budget, accommodations can be completely different from day to day so it’s comforting to know that no matter where you might be sleeping, you’ll have a somewhat comfortable experience.