Tell us about your tour vehicle.
We’re touring in a pretty standard tour bus, a Prevost. It gets us from A to B, but it’s falling apart in some ways. When it rains hard, water gets in through the AC and drips on my bed. I wake up wet and wonder if I peed the bed.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
I don’t eat cheaply. I splurge on healthy food and not much else. That’s why I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 years. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are where I like to spend my dough. I bring a juicer and a blender on the road.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
I never break strings. Strings don’t sound better the harder you hit them. I do have to change them when they get rusty which is sad because brand new strings don’t sound very good either. Strings are expensive but if you get good ones like Martins, they last a long time.
Where do you rehearse?
I don’t have a regular rehearsal space. I usually just rent a room somewhere. One time I rehearsed in a rental room next to the Jonas Brothers. That was cool.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
It was called “Silly Putty” and “silly putty” were the only lyrics. I just screamed them into a garage over blazing cymbals.
Describe your first gig.
I played at Shakey’s Pizza with my sister. Our guitar teacher set it up for all his students. We played “Grandpa” by the Judds.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
I had a great job working at a natural history museum feeding animals and taking them to kids’ birthday parties. We called them party animals. Snakes, turtles, owls, lizards and other reptiles. I’d wear Hawaiian shirts and do impressions of the animals as well.
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
I make a good living and I consider myself lucky. I still worry about money and the future and have tough times to navigate, but I consider myself lucky to have no boss and to do it on my own terms. There are so many incredible musicians who are better than me that deserve to have what I have or more, and the music biz isn’t fair. I get to travel the world, I have an audience, and I do what I love. I’m very privileged.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
You have to make lots of mistakes. You have to fail and keep failing. Hopefully you live and learn.