Tour life might seem glamorous and fun, but it ain’t for the faint of heart. Between the homesickness and long drives, there’s also the issue of where to rest your head each night. Up-and-coming bands cutting their teeth playing tiny gig after tiny gig don’t usually get to ride in a lux tour bus much less stay in a hotel room every evening. Instead, they get to crash wherever they can while trying to save up gas money. Having sung with everyone from Savatage to Trans-Siberian Orchestra to Circle II Circle, vocalist Zak Stevens knows all about the touring life and the shady spots where hard-working musicians may have to rest their heads. We caught up with singer — who recently released the debut album, Fallen, from new project Archon Angel — to get his strangest stories from the road.
1. A hostel with a shared bathroom and shower area, and common area, in Belgium
It was just so weird — you were always running into people no matter where you went, and drunk people were flopping on the couches.
2. South of the Border Motor Inn in Hamer, South Carolina
Just very strange indeed, I’ll leave it at that. But it has tennis courts.
3. A hotel in Italy that was attached to a petting zoo
When you had to fill the border patrol card out, it asked, “Have you been around farm animals on your stay?” None of us knew how to answer that. But it had lots of nice animals like donkeys, horses, goats and pigs.
4. A hotel room plus rehearsal studio in Hamburg, Germany
You basically rehearse and then go lay down. It was made for that. It had a full kitchen and bunches of bunk beds.
5. The Graduate in Richmond, Virginia
This concept is really cool. A holding company bought an old dormitory on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University and converted it to a hotel. Your room key is a Student ID card, there are pennants everywhere and tables that look like stacks of books. It is really, really neat. Highly recommend staying there.