Some bands, a few buses, a lifestyle.
Screaming, that is all you hear up there. Screaming, guitars, bass, drums, screaming. You can barely hear yourself, just enough to know you're still in tune. Not that half these kids care, they love you so much that you could sing one song and they would still think you were amazing, most of them have queued all day just to be pushed against a railing in the hope that you might notice them, they scream "I LOVE YOU" over and over. I've done hundreds of gigs. I don't remember any of those kids. Some of them only a bit younger than me. Still in school, high on this one night where they get to see their idol. They don't even know their idol.
"Tour bus, tour bus, tour bus!", Adam chanted over and over again.
We were squished into the back of Jack's car on our way to our management company, where waiting for us in the parking lot was a fancy, big, tour bus. Our first tour bus. I was delighted that we would finally get space, sitting on top of each other in a van packed full of instruments and merchandise had lost it's appeal. This was our first big tour and it was a festival tour. We had packed all of our things and left our home town for 3 months. I rested my head back and looked out the window smiling, my feet resting against the front dash. It would be good to get away, well that's what everybody kept saying, it would be good to perform the new album, forget about everything that would happen. Honestly? I was dying to get slammed.
I was only 16 when we got signed, too young according to most of my relations. However, Mom and Dad were cool about it, growing up in the Brooklyn gave me a tough edge, if it wasn't my unmistakable accent then it would my fighting skills that would look after me. Then again, my big brother was coming with me, even though he was only two years older, everyone assumed he was capable of being my parent. We were best friends, inseperable, Jack played bass, I would sing. Adam was our guitarist, we had been friends since we were 5 years old, Ben our drummer was Jack's best friend. We were a weird little family of best friends, we did everything together. We all went to Jack's prom, together.
As we pulled up to the parking lot, we all let our cries of excitment at the sight of our shiney bus. Jack pulled up and we all ran, through the other cars, past our manager and through the open door of the bus, which would soon be christened Henrietta by Adam. We scrambled around the place, claiming our bunks, arguing over toilet rules, jumping on the couches and playing with the light switches.
"Guys! Guys!", our manager shouted, "come on! Sit down...SIT DOWN!".
We all stopped immediately and sat where ever we had been standing, he rolled his eyes.
"A few rules...",
We all groaned.
"Shut up! A few rules, no smoking on the bus, no underage drinking on the bus", he glanced at Adam and I, "you will behave on the bus, you will be on the bus at the designated times, you will not use the bus toilet for anything other than to piss, unless it is parked then you can shit. No parties on the bus, no foam parties on the bus".
This was aimed at Jack, who on the previous tour had filled our first hotel room with bubbles in order to have a foam party, no one knows how he did it. All we know is that we can't stay in that hotel anymore.
"Eh, Rich? Can we do anything on the bus?", Ben asked frowning.
"Good question", Rich smiled, "you can sleep, eat, practice, read, wash, rest, write songs, write a book, write some letters...".
"Can we screw?", Adam asked suddenly.
"Are you old enough to do that yet?", Rich asked.
"Then yes. But no STIs on the bus ok?".
"Ok!", we all chorused, Ben and Adam high fiving.
Rich rolled his eyes again and left the bus to make a call. We all beamed at each other. Adam walked over to the fridge and opened it.
"There's nothing in here!", he gasped whipping around to face us.
"Dude all that's gonna be in there is beer", Ben smiled lying back on the couch.
"And twinkies!", Jack said.
"And chocolate", I added.
"I can't wait to have a party on this bus", Adam grinned.
Rich came back onto the bus, this time he had a big blue folder. We all groaned again, a schedule.
"Fine then", he said, "if you guys don't wanna know who are going to be on tour with you...".
"TELL US!", we all exclaimed.
"We loooove you Rich", I smiled.
He returned the smile and flipped open the folder. He had kept it a secret who we were touring with, but there were two bands who were knew were much, much bigger than us.
"Anthology of Drama", Rich read.
"Who?", Jack said.
"Anthology of Drama", Rich repeated, "just some guys from California, moany, angsty teen crap. Anyway, Spoons..."
"I LOVE SPOONS!", Ben exclaimed.
"Rich, who are the big bands coming with us", I said impatiently.
"After Hours and Hot Pink", Rich said smiling.
"After Hours...", I said, "AFTER HOURS!".
I jumped up and hugged Rich. Screaming like a kid.
"I CAN'T BELIEVE WE'RE GOING TO BE TOURING WITH AFTER HOURS!", I screamed.
The guys looked just as excited, but managed to contain themselves.
"Hot Pink are going too", Jack reminded me.
"I see Janey all the time", I dismissed him.
Janey was the singer from Hot Pink, we had met 2 years ago on the Warped tour and had become best friends. We were completely different, but clicked instantly.
"Just, calm down", Rich said holding my shoulders.
"Calm down?", I repeated.
That night we were getting ready to meet the other bands, I had decided to play it cool. There was no way I would run around screaming the second I saw After Hours. I was not going to turn into a fan girl. I straightened my pink hair, and shuffled my fringe around a bit. Adam was behind me messing up his scruffy black hair. The others had long since departed the bus, they only took 2 minutes to get ready.
"I think I'll get a mohawk", he said nodding.
"Ew", I replied.
"No a nice one", he said.
We continued getting ourselves ready in silence. He popped a cigarette in his mouth and offered me one as I pulled on my dress. I took it and let him light it.
"Don't like the dress", he said after a few seconds.
I look at myself in the mirror and inhaled. I didn't either.
"Me neither", I said as I blew out smoke.
"Just wear your normal clothes", he said lying back.
"Yeah I suppose", I sighed.
I pulled the dress off over my head and threw it on the ground.
"Don't like the underwear", Adam said smiling.
"Fuck off", I laughed.
I grabbed some skinny jeans and a black tank top and put them on. Manuvouring my cigarette around them.
"Now, let's go", I said.
Adam jumped up, patting his pockets to make sure he had everything and followed me out of the bus.
"Do you think they're nice?", I asked quietly as we walked towards the bar we had all agreed to meet in.
"Who?", he asked flicking his cigarette butt on the ground.
"Who caaaares", he said, "we're just going to spend the next 3 months not caring about anything, remember Erin?".
I sighed and threw my cigarette away.
"Yup", I said quietly.
"Don't worry", Adam said softly putting his arm around my shoulder, "everything will be fine".