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Chapter 16 - THE TWENTY-ONE DAY THEORY

We were on our way to Madison, Wisconsin for our next concert and after I checked the date in my road bible, I realized that we had been on the road exactly three weeks. This was a significant event because it meant that we were approaching, if not at, the threshold of something I like to call the "21 day theory."

This was a theory that was developed years ago while I was doing some heavy touring with Linda Ronstadt. One night, Linda and I discussed this theory at great length in the back of the tour bus while on an overnight drive with a ton of time to kill. I'm not even sure how the subject came up but it certainly made sense at the time.

Essentially, the "21 day theory" works like this. At about three weeks into a tour, give or take a few days, a change begins to occur. It's a very subtle but necessary behavioral change that helps you adapt to life on the road and it always seems to occur at around 21 days. I don't know why, it just does. And it's at this point that you begin to fall into the rhythm and groove of the whole touring thing. This is when life on the road becomes a little easier as you become more adapted to your new lifestyle. You get used to the erratic tour schedule, the long drives and odd hours. You get used to late afternoon sound checks and eight o'clock show times. You get used to staying in a different hotel and a different bed almost everyday. You actually start to adapt to life on a rolling land yacht, except for the bouncing bunks. I never did get used to those. And since we're dependent upon the local concert promoter to provide a caterer, you even get used to a constant array of dietary surprises at the evening mystery meal after the sound check. Some surprises were good, some not so good and some you hoped would be wiped from your memory for fear of future food nightmares.

Of course, your other life, the one you left behind to join this whale expedition, has to be put on hold for a while. You are now a true Road Dog, able to live out of a suitcase, sleep almost anywhere, eat almost anything, anytime, anywhere and you're able to cross great distances in a single bus ride. Your road bible has become your field manual and the Great Book of Roadzilla has started to become a reality.

As I said, it's a very subtle, almost unnoticeable change and it works extremely well on the road until the end of the tour. Then you have to do it all in reverse over a period of a couple of weeks. Yes, you get to sleep in your own bed but there's no maid service. You can go back on a sane diet but you have to get the food, cook it and then you get to clean up the mess. No more room service! You no longer go great distances in a single bus drive because you are now in your car, stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the San Diego freeway. And every day for about a week, at around 5:00 p.m. you feel like you should be going to a sound check and at around 8:00 p.m. you feel like you should be walking on stage to start another show.

Anyway, the "21 day theory" was kicking in and for the time being we were all getting in to extreme road mode. After all, we still had a lot of miles and a lot of shows ahead of us. So, it was on to Madison for another concert and then after the show, we would drive to Chicago where we would reminded of road rule #51 once again.


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