Jeremiah Johnson – Tour Diary – Sept ‘21
Ruf Records Recording Artist
5X Top 10 Billboard Blues Artist
9/15/21 – Jumping through Hoops to Survive
There was a point where I thought touring in Europe was something lost to this pandemic and the title “International Touring Artist” was years away. This current tour I am on requires nearly five weeks in Europe that includes 28 shows with the days off we travel all day and a unbelievable amount of hoops to jump through. But after a year and half of trying to survive in an industry that has nearly been choked to death, I was happy to give it a go. There has been an incredible number of protocols from every country we enter. We have taken Covid test after Covid test, filled out multiple forms, registered with this and that app for entry and it changes every day. We even had one Covid test that caused a musician to throw up! (not me) When there is a room full of music fans who have been starving for LIVE music, it’s all worth it. We are all trying to survive, I will do whatever I need to do.
9/16/21 – Overweight in the UK
Just when I thought things were going to go smoothly in the UK for the Blues Caravan, the sight of a police car with its lights on changed everything. On our way to our third show of nine, we are being pulled over to a weight station for interrogation and to check each axle on the scale. Apparently, to the trained eye of the officer, we appeared to be overweight. After all the official documentation was exchanged, they proceeded to check our front axle on the scale, and it was within the 50-Kilo limit. Then we checked the back axle, and it was 600 Kilo overweight! That’s nearly 1325 pounds overweight. How is it even possible to lose 600 Kilo? We have the most basic backline equipment any band can possibly tour with, six people in the van and our luggage. The real kicker was we were told “We had to lose the weight quickly or we could not leave the station. You we had 30 minutes to figure it out.” The station was closing in 30 minutes, and they didn’t open again until Friday which was two days later.
I was ready to start walking with my guitar and suitcase, whatever it took to get the weight down and the van can pull off. In the end we called a taxi for the four of us bigger men, the two heaviest suitcases and the drum hardware. It was a one-hour taxi ride to the hotel. The four of us men probably weight in at around 1000 pounds, we have some big guys in our group. The driver and the tour van were issued a serious fine for being overweight and we had to rent a trailer for the rest of the tour in the UK.
In the USA this would never happen. This is a 9-passenger van and to get the weight correct for the UK, there can only two people in it and 80% of the backline. Why even have a van in the UK, you can’t put anything inside! In addition, 9 seats is considered illegal in the UK, only 8 seats are allowed. We pulled a seat and put it in the trailer too!
My mind is still trying to get my head around this weight limit. I guess you can’t load up anything for home improvement or anything heavy in your van. I don’t know. I have loaded my old F-150 down to the point the tires were bulging and drove with no issues in the USA. In the UK you can’t even fill all the seats in the van. Wow!
9/25 – Blow out in Germany
Today our van had the front drivers side tire blow out while driving down the highway. Luckily we were in the right lane and were able get the van to the shoulder. Thanks to the driving skills of our tour manager, Ronald Our, we avoided a far worse accident. So all six of us got out of the van, climbed over the guardrail and moved into the wooded area for safety. In the USA I would have gone for the jack and put the spare on, but this was a bit different so I sat back to watch this process. First of all the shoulders in Germany are just wide enough for the van. In this case changing the tire would place your rear end in the lane with passing cars and semi’s. Second, apparently, they have laws that prohibit people from changing your own tire on the highway for safety, so we called the emergency roadside assistance on the phone that was on the side of the highway.
I couldn’t believe how quickly roadside assistance arrived, with his flashing lights and bright fluorescent suit on. The guy had a nice hydraulic jack and proceeded to change the tire, just like I would have done. I have to give the guy credit, he put his body in danger to change this tire. All in all, we were back on the road in 1hr and barely made it to the venue in time to quickly sound check and do our show.
Find his earlier tour diary entries, here: Tour Diary: Warm Beer and Castles: Jeremiah Johnson on 2020 European Tour