I don't really know what to write about necessarily, but I do know that when one does have a blog, one should most likely keep it up to date.
I've been on tour for the past couple weeks opening up for The Fray.
It's been incredible, but the only thing I am feeling right now, with a 2nd show at Red Rocks about 6 hours away, is exhaustion.
I think back sometimes to my first tour. I was seventeen, I think. We didn't even have a van. We toured in a car. We booked it ourselves. We played in front of 0 people sometimes, literally. We played for 10 people in a bar. We played for 80 people at a house party. We drove a lot. I thought it was exciting. I didn't care about anything, I just wanted to get my hands dirty. It didn't bother me that we drove until 5 in the morning, only to pull over in a CVS parking lot. My parents loaned us money for gas & studio time. (We paid them back after 4 years). We slept in the park in Berkeley, CA on a drum rug. I woke up to a cop's boot in my side.
"Hey. Hey you! You can't sleep here. You can't even be here this early."
Early, I thought? It's night out. This is my sleep time. You can imagine their surprise when the bundle of blankets rolled over and a 17 year old girl peered back at them.
"We're playing a show here tomorrow. Can we just stay here?"
"No. You have to leave."
I woke up and rolled the rug back up. They watched me. I walked back to the car. My sister Meg was sleeping in the front seat, and our bass player was sleeping in there as well.
"We've gotta move," I said. But even then, I wasn't tired. I was thrilled. I was hungry for everything. I called up all my friends the next day and made up an elaborate story about how I almost got arrested, hand cuffed actually, but they let me go once they realized that I was a minor. Or maybe I even made it sound more incredible. Who knows. Bottom line is: I was having the time of my life.
Sometimes those memories float back to me when I'm feeling jaded. On the 13 hour drive to Denver I sat up front and listened to books on tape on my I-Pod. I looked at the flat country side of Kansas.
"Can we pull over? I have to pee." I say.
"Can you wait for a little bit?"
"How long's a little bit?"
"Like...20 minutes maybe. The next small town's that far away. Otherwise, we'll have to pull over twice. We're running behind."
The boys in the band have been annoyed by my small "girl" bladder for years now. Hey, I can't help it. Us girls pee more often than boys do. Look it up. It's gotta be a scientific fact.....somewhere.
We got to our hotel at midnight. I stayed up till 3 to try to cram in "productive" time. Writing. Reading. Blogging. Studying. I was too tired though so I just wrote for a little bit and went to bed.
As I'm writing this it almost makes me sick to realize how this blog just sounds like a pity party. A list of complaints.
I don't want you to think that is my intention. It's not, at all. I'm just being real, to be honest.
People see me and say, "How is it being a big rock star now?"
I don't get that. Last week at a show in Florida, a gentleman came up to me. He looked about 40 years old. He was with his wife. I was selling CD's at our merch table. He looked at me, leaned over and said some magic words that almost made me burst into tears:
"I admire your work ethic."
I smiled, sold a CD to him, shook his hand gratefully and continued on hustling CD's as best I could.
"Dia Frampton CD's! 15$! Dia Frampton CD's! I can help anyone over here!"
I was watching a basketball game with Carlo (my guitar player) the other day in the green room. It was a very popular team against a team we would call, the "underdogs." The Underdogs were ahead. (I'm not saying which teams because people in sports get pretty angry. Hah.)
"How are the Underdogs winning?" I said aloud to Carlo. "Against Team X, they're winning? What the?"
"They're hungry for it," said Carlo wisely. He's always full of some kind of one sentence "words for the wise." He says little, but whenever he does speak, it means a lot.
Some reason, those words hit right at home. I'm still hungry I thought. I always want to stay hungry, too. (What an odd thing to say out loud, but it's true).
I remember getting tours and freaking out, crying, laughing, jumping up and down. The first ever "Real" tour my band got was Sugarcult, back when I was 18.
"What?!" I yelled at my manager. "We get to open up for Sugarcult!? I - I know them! They're on the radio. They've been touring for years. We...we get to OPEN FOR THEM." I muffled the receiver and let out a yelp.
I remember getting the Angels and Airwaves tour. We were on another tour at the time and our manager called us and told our drummer, Nick, first. I remember that moment so well. I was laying under a blanket. I poked my head out.
"What!!!!??? Tom Delonge's new band!? Are you kidding me!" I freaked out for a good few days.
Tours came in quickly after that. We played maybe...250-300 shows a year sometimes. We toured non stop all the way up until I tried out for The Voice.
We've performed in every state (some 10-40 times) minus Hawaii.
When we got the Blake Shelton tour, that was a reminder of how excited I used to get. I screamed. I called my mom. I called my friends. I did an embarrassing dance in my living room which no one will ever see.
But other than that, sometimes it's hard to NOT be Jaded. I've been touring for 7 almost 8 years now.
When my manager called us and said we got The Fray tour, instead of jumping up and down, I sat down and asked him a bunch of questions:
How much will we get paid per show? Is that enough over the span of days to pay for gas and hotels? Our sound guys out with another band. We have no front of house. We have to fly people to the first show in Kentucky....if we pay for those plane flights and shipping gear out, will we break even after the tour or be in the red? We have no merch. What about merch? How long do we play? Can we afford to take out a guitar tech? Can we afford a sound guy? Are you sure it's okay you loan us money? What about a merch guy? Sure, I can help with merch, as long as it's not too loud. (I've lost my voice a couple times yelling over loud music and crowds at merch tables. Yikes!) We don't have enough CD's for the first few shows. It's a 30 hour drive out to Atlanta with our gear. Can we make that in 2 days? What's the merch percentage at venues? The grand piano can't fit with the stage room provided, and we can't afford to buy a keyboard right now.... What piano would I play? Sure, if we can find someone to "intern" as a tech, we might be able to afford that.... and the list goes on and on.
The Dia 6 years ago would have said only 5 words:
"WHAT?! THE FRAY? SERIOUSLY? YES!"
Don't get me wrong, the list of questions up there would have to happen at some point, but not right away. There was no screaming with excitement. What the hell was wrong with me?
It kind of reminds me of dating in a weird way.
When I would go on dates or meet guys when I was younger, say 17 or 18, all I would ask my friend is:
"Does he have pretty eyes? Does he work out? Oh really!? He's a musician! Cute! Does he dress well?"
Now, if someone were to set me up I would ask:
Is he financially stable? A gentleman? Does he smoke or drink? What religion is he? Is he honest and respectable? Ambitious? Does he want kids? How many? Is he organized and clean?
How our perspectives can change. (Ok, ok. So maybe that was a weird metaphor). Anyway, the truth is, I love The Fray. I watch them back stage performing every night. I've learned so much from them. I'm so happy we took this opportunity. I'm screaming about it now to make up for the loss of screams I had earlier.
We played Red Rocks yesterday. It was cold. After living in LA for a long while, and touring straight from Texas to Florida and then quickly up to Denver, I was not prepared at all for the cold. My throat felt like an ice cube as I walked out on stage. My fingers were stiff. I wanted to put on a good show, the best show, for all of those thousands of people sitting out in the rain. (Outdoors venue). It was...34 degrees I believe, and dropping as the night grew older. I let the uncomfortableness of the cold get the best of me. I got in my head. I could see my breath like little puffs of fog as I took in each breath to sing. I got off stage with a heavy heart. I didn't feel like I gave it 100%, and if I'm not going to do that, what the hell am I here for then?
I watched The Fray go out there. The lead singer walked up and down the stairs of the amphitheater. He sang his lungs out. He sang with the crowd. It was even colder when they played. It was raining harder. You wouldn't have known though....they were performing like the sun was shining.
I learned a lot from them last night.
And that's the key to it all. I'm still learning. I'm still taking baby steps to becoming the performer and artist that I wish to be; To be up there with the performers and artists that inspire me so much today. I'm still learning, and that makes this all okay.
Today we play Red Rocks again. I'm gonna give it 200% to make up for yesterday. And the 17 hour drive to the next show in San Diego? I'm gonna get some more books on tape, and remember every day to be grateful for where I am at, and even more grateful for my dreams and ambitions of where I hope to go, and who I hope to become.
I still have a lot of room for mistakes. I'm still learning. I'm still deciding what is and what is not worth it to me.
Music is everything to me. But when people say that, there is more. It's not just music. It's the 10 hour drives. The sleepless nights. Loading in our gear and setting it up in the snow. (Brrrr!!) The sacrificing of close relationships. Missing a friend's wedding. Missing a friend's birthday.
But, I decided the best thing to do is always stay positive, and remember what you are working toward. On a positive note, I get to be home for Mother's day tomorrow! I told the band, be in the van by 7 a.m. I'm driving us there! 10 hours from Denver to my small city in Utah, but I'm going to be there tomorrow at 5 p.m. eating dinner with my mom!
I'm exhausted right now.
But I'm so damn excited to play Red Rocks that I can barely hold it in.
With honesty and love,