Key to the Highway: John Davidson of the Brummies

Interviews Key to the Highway Series

Americana Highways’ Key to the Highway series

Fans always clamor to learn 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 John Davidson of THE BRUMMIES.

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

JD: At home, I do pour over coffee which is a time consuming, intentional process I use to wake up instead of letting the coffee do all the work. On the road however, we all love coffee and will take it any way we can get it. I’m talking gas station coffee, tiny hotel cups of coffee, cold coffee, bad coffee… it doesn’t matter. Coffee is coffee on the road and it’s not just for morning time.

AH: What’s the most interesting or strangest motel/hotel or place you have stayed (while on the road?)

JD: Well we have an extensive list on stories we could tell about places we’ve stayed. One being where there was no heat in a place in Ohio with the temp in the single digits. I slept with a hair dryer that I’d occasionally have to use for survival. We’ve also stayed in a bunch of hostels while touring in Europe.

One place that stands out is when we were playing a festival near Birmingham, UK. We played the show and had no plan as to where we would stay. Jacob somehow talked to the staff and got them to give us a yurt on the festival grounds. That was our first yurt experience and it felt like a mix of magic and like we were in the Hobbit. There’s a burning fire in the middle of these things and about halfway through the night, the carbon monoxide alarm started going off. We had to open the door and ventilate the place so we wouldn’t die. Somehow a lot of places that we stay at really test our survival skills.

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

JD: At this moment, I’ll go with ‘Skiptracing’ by Mild High Club. We had a certain “experience” out in Kentucky during a writing trip that we did. On a trip within the trip, we listened to the full album possibly 10 times in row. I don’t know… time felt weird in that moment so it could’ve been more than that but I do know that we found new things we liked about it each time.

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

JD:  Cameras are a hot item for us to have on the road. Headphones too. But I’d say the one item that we would turn around for other than our phones and wallets would be weed. It’s considered “essential.”

AH: 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)?

JD: We hit all kinds of food while out, but we do have some favorites that we look forward to, depending on where we are. We were recently in NYC and of course we had to find the best pizza (John’s pizza…thanks Vlad Holiday), but even more exciting for us were the late night gyro stands. I’m talking pretty much every night, that’s how you cap it off.

AH: 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?

JD: So many places. We’ve always loved the thought of living in London for a bit since we’ve toured there so much. But I think the top vote from all of us would be a place called Byron Bay, near the Gold Coast of Australia. This place felt like a travelers dream. We stayed in a giant Teepee at the best hostel called The Arts Factory. The town is on the Ocean and just felt like a nomad’s paradise.

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

JD:  There was this one man outside of Seattle that offered some great advice. He had traveled all his life and told his life story along with plenty of other rants. We started walking around the city and he followed along with us as he told us all kinds of advice and little parables. We eventually had tell him we had to split as he tried to come to the venues green room with us. Out of all the advice he gave us, we wish he had led with “Don’t talk to strangers.”

Find all things The Brummies, here:

See other Key to the Highway interviews here: (click here for: Bruce Cockburn Charlie Musselwhite Jim White Danny Barnes  Patterson Hood Jerry Joseph BJ Barham Rodney Crowell Todd Snider Elizabeth Cook Tommy Womack Eric Ambel, Dan Baird, Robbie Fulks, Malcolm Holcombe Jon Langford Steve Poltz, Lilly Hiatt  Sarah Shook & the Disarmers )

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