No aspect of rock'n'roll lore has been more romanticized or scrutinized than life on the road. But for musicians of all styles and statures, relentless touring — especially at
the height of festival season — has never been more crucial. So we abused our access privileges for an intimate fly-on-the-wall look at how they get by. DAVID MARCHESE
MOMENT OF PEACE:
"It's actually a really good warm-up," claims Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney about the physical benefits of a little table tennis before the band's headlining show. "[Singer-guitarist] Dan Auerbach is a better player
than me, but he's still no match for any of the Arctic Monkeys guys. We've been touring
with them. They're insanely good."
"We have an air-hockey table and a Ping-Pong table and a vintage record player that we travel with. We'd rather be at home between shows, but we can't always do that, so we do that thing that people say to do: 'Bring home with you.' But unless you live in a basement below an arena, it's never going to feel like home.
"When we first started touring ten years ago, it was me and Dan and my brother Mike. We'd stay up all night driving and see a lot of weird shit. It was more of an adventure. Then you get a tour manager, a sound guy, a merch person — you start realizing you need all these people to make the show better. Now we have four buses and five semi-trucks. We used to literally fit me, Dan, Mike, and all our gear in a space as big as one of the bunks on our bus now. But I don't think it's possible to do it any differently at this level. And I'd question the sanity of anyone who tried."