Road Worrier – a book about touring

A photo of three people in front of a frozen Oslo fjord. These people are (from left to right) Iga, Matt, and Ben James Wood

Some of my friends do some very impressive and creative stuff. They never cease to amaze me and Ben James Wood is no exception that.

Ben, who I first met as part of the band Encyclopedia – then later as an addition to one of my all time favourite bands Tellison – is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to fund a book; Road Worrier.

Generations of independent musicians—the out-of-sight and the unseen—have driven complex polygons of Europe in well-laden, worn-out vans, as though they have no choice. Their dreams, needs or contracts depend on it. When I’m not one of them, I’m their driver, merchandise seller, guitar tech, microphone checker, bank account, therapist and personal wake-up call.

Ben James Wood

Aside from figuring out all the trials and tribulations of touring whilst in a band himself, Ben has been travelling the world as a tour manager, sound engineer, merch stand champ and all-round good guy.

Some of the bands that he’s toured with are Lucius, Natalie Prass, American Football, Now Now, Darwin Deez, Okkervil River, Matthew E. White, Bedouine and Vök, amongst others.

If you haven’t heard of any of those bands, here is a Spotify playlist to act as a soundtrack to this post.

Many of these bands have been clients of Elephant Riders – a superb tour management company founded by Ben and Sébastien Renaud, former Encyclopedia band member and good friend.

Side note: For several years, I took a very casual approach to making and maintaining the Elephant Riders website and their company email. Until they learnt better to lay their business communications in the hands of someone with a blasé approach to domain renewals.

Side note to the side note: If you are in a band and looking for tour management, live sound, backline and logistics for the live music industry, contact Elephant Riders.

Followers of Ben’s blog will be used to seeing snippets from the road and his life, including The Beds of 2017 (featuring a photo from the inside of my apartment), subsequent 2019 follow-up post, and a photo-diary of Merch Tables.

But, snippets from the road can only go so far. To get to the real meaty details, you need a book – and that is precisely what’s on offer.

When a tour ends, the world looks largely the same as it did before. The change happens inside people. It manifests in lifelong friendships, bizarre stories, ideas shared and hard lessons learned. These series of brief but intense interactions shape us, but the endless circles and cycles make moments coil up and details tangle. If nothing’s written down or archived, a cocktail of vices and stress will see to it that some days and most nights are forgotten.

Ben James Wood on his book, Road Worrier

Road Worrier is 120 pages of photographs with accompanying short stories, and a map. It will be printed on Panta Alto Creme 115g paper with a heavy, matte finish paperback cover and sewn and glued binding. Lovely stuff.

What are you waiting for? Get over to Kickstarter and help fund the campaign and claim your reward for doing so!

Also, if you are not following Ben James Wood, you can do so on the worst of social media; Facebook and Instagram… or on the real internet (and maybe the RSS feed).

Bye.

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