How To Survive On An All Dude Tour, Spirit Animal Weighs In!

Being on a tour with all dudes must be kind of crazy. Do you leave the toilet seat up or down on the bus? What happens if two boys want the same groupie? These are the questions that run through my mind! Spirit Animal, the guys who brought us songs like Radio Brain and the Black Jack White, weighed in on road life while in the middle of their North American tour. Check it out below!

What’s your craziest tour story ever?

Coming back from the west coast, we came through Utah to do some touristy hiking in Monument Valley. Blindly following Google maps (which we didn’t realize at the time was simply taking us to the middle of the park, not to the actual tourist part), we ended up on these desert Indian trails, basically hard-packed clay and sand, in our van. In a series of incrementally worse decisions, we kept pressing forward, going up and down these dunes until finally we were on top of that red Google destination dot. Not until then did we realize how bad the blunder was, bunch of band dudes with little to no outdoors experience, quite literally in the absolute middle of a desert. We tried turning around, the van got stuck, Steve had a heart attack, I imagined getting eaten by coyotes, Cal furiously clawing sand, and somehow got the van moving again. Best part, on the way back over those same trails, we ended up on this ridge – right at sunset – overlooking the best part of the park, basically the postcard everyone sees of Utah. We cracked some warm Coors we had left in the van, and watched the sun set. Just an incredible feeling after almost being stranded, and all the randomness that got us there. Thank you Google Maps for leading us astray. –Paul Michel, bass

How did you come up with the Black Jack White dance? 

Sometimes it’s hard to piece back together how a concept came to be because it’s very physical, it’s happening very fast, and you can lose track of which line went where or when when the adrenaline is pumping. One minute you’re smiling ear to ear, the next minute there’s a thinking crease in your forehead so deep you could put your pencil in it. In the case of “The Black Jack White,” getting over the, ‘are we really about to do this?’ hump was crucial, because it just seemed so ridiculous at first. But after tweaking the words for a couple of hours I realized that the premise — an instructional dance — wasn’t far-fetched at all. It’s something that’s very familiar to people. So even though it seems kind of out there, it’s grounded in something everybody understands. Anytime you get that kind of clear vision for what it is you’re writing, you basically just fill in the blanks. –Steve Cooper, singer

Spirit Animal- General 4 lo res

What are your spirit animals?

Well, our band’s Spirit Animal is the Humpback Whamel. It’s a whale-camel hybrid. It’s at once the most and least thirsty animal on the planet, and that’s what gives it its power. It can be all, ‘damn, I am thirsty as hell!’ and go into attack mode to find what it needs. But in the very same breath it can be like, ‘Puh-lease, I don’t need no water!’ and be totally indestructible and prepared for battle. It’s that balance between thirst for more and confidence in what you’ve already got that fuels us. –Cooper

What snacks do you guys keep when on the road?

We try to keep it somewhat healthy, basically raiding Trader Joe’s snack section before heading out. Lots of wasabi peas, beef jerky. We get the veggie chips, pretending that we’re not somehow still eating a bunch of fried food. Our one go-to on the road now – and I know it sounds gross – is the truck stop salad bar. Forego the iceberg, get a huge plate of chickpeas and cucumbers, bam. Super cheap, not fast food, and you don’t have to go miles out of your way. –Michel

Spirit Animal- General 7 lo res

What does Radio Brain mean?

We dig pop music and mainstream culture and the idea of the masses getting behind artists, stars, and universal ideas in general. But it’s dangerous not to question the status quo. If you’re not able to say, ‘hey, something needs to change,’ then you might slide down a slippery slope into assimilation. Having a “radio brain” is the extreme — when you’re only getting your information and stimulation from one source even though there are millions to choose from. With all of the challenges of life flying at you at light speed, it’s difficult to push yourself to go outside the norm when the norm is so comfortable. That’s where the line, “Why don’t you think for yourself? Might be the only thing you never do,” comes into play. Nobody’s saying it’s easy to be an individual, it’s a classic human dilemma. But self-determination is very important. Identities are passed on to the next generation. The stakes are very high. –Cooper

What’re your tour rules/guidelines for an all dude tour? 

There is no shame in bunking up with a bandmate. Just make sure he shaves his back hair first. — Cal Stamp, guitars

What would Spirit Animanye West sound like?

Ever heard the sound of an MP3 dipped in platinum? (We haven’t, but we’re pretty sure it’s what Kanye falls asleep to every night.) — Stamp


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