Key to the Highway: Dan Baird

Interviews Key to the Highway Series

Americana Highways’ Key to the Highway series

Fans always clamor to find out more about their favorite, most beloved musicians and those who travel with them. There’s such an allure to the road, with its serendipity, inevitable surprises, and sometimes unexpected discomforts. This interview series is a set of questions we are asking some of our favorite roots rock Americana artists to get to know more about them and what they’ve learned and experienced on the road. We are sure they have key insights to share and stories to tell. Here’s one from Dan Baird.

How do you like your coffee or other morning wake-up beverage?

strong, no sugar and black. 2 short cups.

think of a triple shot of espresso with that much hot water added. twice.

What’s the most interesting or strangest motel/hotel or place you have stayed?

it was in Barcelona while playing with a friend’s band, The Dusters.

somehow we landed up in someone’s damn apartment. let’s just say it wasn’t gonna make the cover of a magazine. Mauro and I were giving Ken and Barney a hand with their tour, so let us have the 2 “private rooms” while they shared the room with 2 single beds and dinosaur print duvets. my room had a window, though it was 16 x 4 inches, and opened up on a marvelous view of the brick wall a foot away. Mauro really lucked out and could watch TV in his room, but the lady across the street pulled her blinds after while, so the TV was gone. it wasn’t a very good scene. we’ve stayed in hometels as well, but i guess everyone has. converted prison was interesting, but i’m getting kinda old for “interesting”.

If one CD is stuck in the player in the van for the entire tour, what do you hope it is? And why?

honestly? a blank one.

we don’t listen to music communally, except to learn a song. we all have earbuds and know how they work. i’ll send a link to whatever I’m listening to that i think one of the others would really like, they do the same with me.

i know it’s a disappointing answer, but it’s the truth.

What’s one personal item you must have with you on your road trip?

my iPad.

i know you want me to say “my teddybear” or a picture or something. nah, my iPad.

boring, sorry.

What is your relationship with food? How do you handle this on the road, and what’s your favorite dish on the road, (or restaurant, and what do you order there)?

ok, perfect “show day” ritual in Europe (which is where we work most).

1- drag ass out of bed in time to make breakfast. it comes included with the room price and is usually good to very good. if it’s a good breakfast, it’s the one meal i stuff myself.

coffee in Europe is where i developed my taste for strong coffee.

2- showtime over there is usually 8 on weekdays, 9 on weekends. sometimes later (Spain), but usually right around there. i very much like to eat 4 hours before show. don’t get stuffed, plenty of time to digest, lots of energy available.

3- a sandwich after show.

wake up repeat

i can’t eat anything that swims for a living. WAY too long a story without much payoff. i’ll eat just about anything else. i have my likes and dislikes, but i can handle pretty much anything land and air based.

Indian, Italian on off days, and stuff myself silly.

If you could pause your life for a few weeks and spend some time living in a place you only have passed through, which would you choose, and why?

Denmark. the everyday common decency of the populace is better than any mountain or ocean view out there. Norway is pretty unbelievable to look at, and the folks there are nice as well. just something about the Danes.

What quote or piece of advice have you gotten from someone on the road that has really stuck with you?

know where you are.

looks simple, don’t it? but think about it a little deeper.

could mean location, your place in the momentary hierarchy, singing too hard on the first show of 5 in a row, in a club with an “over it” sound guy/gal, or hotel desk that has no one that speaks english.

every now and then (especially when your intuition taps you on the shoulder) stop, ask yourself “where am i?” then tell yourself the truth.

it’ll keep your ass out of a lot of ugly shit.

although i doubt it works whilst intoxicated, but i don’t drink.

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