I just arrived back home from a three-week tour. A tour in which I actually circumnavigated the globe … went all the way around it.>"/>
I just arrived back home from a three-week tour. A tour in which I actually circumnavigated the globe … went all the way around it.
Duff McKagan is the founding bassist of Guns N’ Roses, the leader of Seattle’s Loaded and a member of Walking Papers. His column runs every Thursday on Reverb.
I did the math on my flight home from London. I played live music, for a total of roughly 15 hours, tops. Not much music played, right? Right.
I also did the ridiculous math for how much a person has to travel to get to these particular locales to play said 15 hours. It goes something like this:
Time on flights: 50 hours (Yes, 50 hours!)
Time at airports and customs: 9 hours
Time in a van: 30 hours (We drove from London to Tillburg, Holland, then Amsterdam, Hamburg, Germany, Cologne, Saarbruken, and Paris, France … and then back to London.)
Time on a ferry: 4 hours
Time on a train: 4 hours
Time in cabs: 5 hours
Okay, so that is about 102 hours of travelling, to rock only those measley … but kick ass … 15 hours onstage. A guy or gal has to love to travel if being in a touring rock (or any kind of music) outfit is your game.
But I have learned to get out and see things. We did a dinner stop in the medieval town of Bruges, Brussels, just because.
I went to that gigantic gothic church in Cologne (Cathedral of St. Peter), and went inside to gaze at the brutal beauty of so much manual labor.
Walked the lanes of the red-light district in Amsterdam.
Strolled through the enchanted streets of the 20th Arrondisment in Paris.
Went to Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, and the WWII Churchill bunker in London.
And sometimes, you just get lucky when travelling. To whit, the Bowie exhibit in London was showing.
If you are a fan of rock and roll music, it should follow that you are most likely a David Bowie fan; his career thusfar has spanned so many genres (glam, Iggy, film, pop, industrial, etc), it seems impossible that at least one of Bowie’s endeavors was not to a rock fans’ liking.
I had heard talk and murmur about a Bowie exhibit at the V&A (Victoria and Albert) Museum in London. The word on the street was that it was a “must see” for any real Bowie enthusiast or otherwise. Of course, most of us don’t live in London, or get a chance to go there … but I did this past Monday. Let me tell you a few things…
First, Bowie’s exhibit is a multi-media art-history full-frontal attack. It fits nicely, and has as much weight as the “Tudor” and “Religious Iconology” exhibits that are also currently showing at the V&A. The exhibit spans his life from childhood to present, and begins with the view of a child in bomb-trashed England.
Seeing the costumes on display from so many different eras was awesome (Rock Factoid: Slash’s mother, Ola Hudson, designed all of Bowie’s clothes for The Man Who Fell To Earth). The hand-written lyrics to certain songs, and hand-written journals and doodled clothing designs were killer too.
But it was the music that pulsed through the wireless headphones that the viewer gets upon arrival, that really added a jaw-dropping soundtrack to this exhibit. One can easily forget how David Bowie has constantly morphed and challenged his own pop success. A restless soul, who seemingly never did anything twice.
Going to the Bowie exhibit, sort of re-affirmed why I love rock and roll so much. It is, of course, much too difficult to explain in a few words, what this exhibit is. I hope it tours to America.
So now I am back. My ass hurts, and my mind is way too foggy to do much today or probably the next few. My daughter Grace wanted to practice driving the moment I walked through the door, and my dogs wanted to both get on my lap. My other daughter Mae wanted to schedule the next few months with me right then too. My manager needed a reply to about 15 different emails, and I had to sign and scan a tax-extension or some-such thing.
Ah, but life is grand, and I would not change any of this. Not the 102 hours of travel, or the 15 hours of stage time, or getting to see really cool stuff out there on the road. But especially, I wouldn’t change having an epic family and dumb dogs to come home to.