Thursday, July 2, 2009

Danielle Allen of Offsides

Offsides is a fast hardcore band from Ct. and Fl. respectively. I've had the chance to get to know Danielle recently and since they're out on tour right now I decided to send her some questions. It's always funny to see or hear what touring is like from different bands. Not one band will do or act the same as another and that's what keeps me excited about interviewing bands about tour, plus half of tour is about the stories we encounter and people we meet. Enjoy and go checkout Offsides if they come close to you.

1- What are three of your biggest pet peeves while you are on tour? (this can include things from shows, band members, van, other bands)

Having to convince people that I am in a band and not just some girl along for the ride or trying to get in free to their show. Bands that don’t watch the other bands, especially at a show where only a handful of kids show up. Smoking in venues.

2- Do you have any tips for other vocalist that tour on how to not blow out their voice?

If you are using a PA that just doesn’t cut it, don’t try and yell to be heard. It is the main way I always blow out my voice and every time I should know better. Throat coat tea is also the best measure for keeping what is left of your voice.

3- What do you think the biggest misconception of being in a touring band is?

That tour is one giant party. People don’t realize that while it is a blast, the majority of the time you are dirty, hungry and stressed on money (which is something you see little of while on tour). You drive hundreds of miles to play shows where sometimes no one cares that you are playing, then get to sleep in your smelly, hot van and wake up to do it again. I guess all of that is part of the charm and challenge that makes me love it, but in the end tour is not the all hours rager people think it is.

4- What are some ground rules you have set with the band while on tour? I.E phone use while driving, what happens on tour stays on tour, merch trades and so forth?

1. Always give me a heads up before you get naked. This is usually done by someone saying “If you want to see me naked look over here right now” or “Getting’ nake”.
2. Do not eat other people’s food (that’s a law, not a rule).
3. Don’t drink the rest of someone’s “apple juice”.

5- Sketchiest place you've had to sleep at on tour?

During our tour last summer, we had a show in the Midwest and had a ridiculous drive ahead of us. It was one of those staggering drives where just looking at the map is giving you cabin fever. We made the choice to drive after the show as far as we could before being too tired to continue and then just find a place to sleep. A quick fact about our bands is that we can sleep anywhere, and have done so, without complaining. We sleep on cement, sitting straight up in the most uncomfortable chairs, wherever. Anyone that has ever toured knows that driving at night after driving all day and playing a show sucks. Everyone is tired, sweaty, and usually smells like a men’s locker room. Around 3AM, Matt, the singer of No Harm Done, decides this is the end of tonight’s journey and we needed to get some sleep. We pulled into what appeared to be a closed down steak house. Our van, at the time, was a conversion van with seven seats, four of them being captains chairs. There were seven of us in the van, so we decided that some of us would just sleep outside. We filed out, laid out our tarp, and started to get some sleep. We laid out, looking at the stars and enjoying the cool night air and realized there was something amiss with our cool night’s air. We look around and realize there is a full grease trap very near where we are laying. The air was thick with the scent of thousands of old steaks, burgers and whatever other animals were being fried at this restaurant. After getting a few hours of sleep, I awoke to the sound of a car engine roaring into the parking lot and a fellow with some very heavy boots making his way into the steakhouse. In my sleepy state, I was able to also realize my sleeping bag was moist. It was drizzling and we were all just getting soaked. I rolled over and tapped Charles, our guitarist, to tell him someone just showed up and I think we should probably head out. He rolls over, half asleep and really not listening, and tells me “It’s just rain. Stop being a girl. Just go back to sleep.” I tug my sleeping bag up over my head and drift back to sleep. A few hours after that, I am woken up again, but by a much more urgent sound. An enormous crash comes down and wakes up everyone. A garbage truck is just feet away from us emptying the dumpsters. I poke my head all the way out of the sleeping back to take stock of the situation and see a gathering of leather-clad bikers and some cooks, complete with bloody aprons, giving us the eye from not too far away. They are discussing something together and I feel this is probably a good time to go. I jumped up, got everyone up and we broke down camp and headed off.

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